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Gender and Social Inclusion

Beyond 2015. Making Sure the Post-2015 Development Agenda Leaves No One Behind

A major planned theme of the opening of this year’s General Assembly has been the post-2015 agenda, the name given to the development framework that will be established to take the place of the current Millennium Development Goals. The MDGs, as they are commonly known, are loved and hated in equal measure. Many supporters argue they have captured the public’s imagination and driven development like no other piece of work the UN has undertaken. Detractors point to extremely uneven achievement of these basic development goals, as well as exacerbated inequality. Whatever your view of them, there will be a new set of goals to take their place, and this time around the process of coming up with an internationally agreed upon set of goals will be the result of intensive consultations across the world at local, national and international levels, and on the Internet.

To date, the UN has held formal consultations—through conferences, e-forums, events, discussions and commissioning of reports. 

Today is the third day of the opening of the General Assembly, and UN entities, Member States, select civil society groups and other partners have come together to hold a special event on the Millennium Development Goals. This is an opportunity for Member States and UN entities to discuss how to leverage good practice and progress made so far towards achieving the MDGs. It builds on the High Level Event on Disabilities and Development that was held on Monday. Progress towards the current MDGs and what would replace them was a central theme of that day as well.

The Special Event will adopt an outcome document with a roadmap for how Member States will arrive at an agreed upon set of new development goals (or “post-2015 agenda”). It will also sketch out what those goals should consider and deliver. Gender equality, human rights, health, education, and peace and good governance will be among them.

The Women’s Refugee Commission has been active in the consultations that have led up to this meeting. It has participated, spoken at and submitted papers to the UN’s inequalities-themed consultation, as well as its consultations around the impact of violence, conflict and disasters on development. It has called for the new goals to: take into account the needs and rights of women, children and youth in emergencies; work towards gender equality and women’s empowerment; be disability-inclusive; ensure reproductive health access for women and girls in all contexts; address the growing challenge of urban unemployment, especially among women and youth—and ensure that employment is decent, safe and sustainable.

The post-2015 process has now moved from a vibrant international consultation to an intergovernmental process. In the next year, Member States must work together to bridge their divides, learn from the MDGs and engage the Sustainable Development Goal movement to come up with a set of robust and measurable goals and indicators that can deliver progress for everyone. Perhaps the one most agreed-upon principle is “No One Left Behind,” which was the theme of the Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons’ report. The Women’s Refugee Commission looks forward to supporting the process in his final phase to ensure that the new goals ensure development and equality for all.

Gender and Social Inclusion