A roadmap to an agreement on a new list of sustainable development targets to replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 was agreed at a summit in New York on 25 September.
The roadmap is part of an ‘Outcomes’ document of the MDG review summit, and lays out how the world’s currently-distinct development targets and Rio+20 objectives should be merged into one unified set of sustainable development goals.
It charts the way to a UN summit in September 2015 that will sign off on the new global poverty eradication objectives to be achieved by 2030.
Andris Piebalgs, the EU’s top development official, welcomed the document as “highly beneficial”, in a joint statement with the his environment counterpart, Janez Poto?nik. The commissioners said that the accompanying establishment of a High Level Political Forum would play a key role in fleshing out the future goals.
“Together we can do more and we must do more,” they said, noting that rates of poverty, maternal mortality and hunger were still too high. “We want to see every man, woman and child, no matter where they live in the world, enjoy a decent life by 2030.”
The European Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, who has been trailed as a potential next secretary-general of the UN, told the New York summit that EU-funded development projects he had seen while traveling across Africa made him proud.
“The global community must act on two fronts,” he told the assembled heads of state. “First, we must finish what we started – We must keep pursuing all MDGs right to the end.”
After 2015, he said, “eradicating extreme poverty within one generation is possible”. But he added: “that also requires addressing the global sustainability challenge, building on the commitments made in Rio.”
The EU’s five ‘stepping stones’ to that objective are:
- Empowerment through education, basic healthcare, nutrition and access to clean water and energy
- Inclusive and sustainable growth
- Environmental sustainability
- Equity, good governance and human rights
- Peace and stability
The roadmap framework was welcomed by Beyond 2015, a group campaigning for global justice. A statement from the NGO called for targets to be included covering peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality and human rights.
“Governments need to start listening to the people and to raise the level of ambition in order to ensure that no-one is left behind,” said Beyond 2015 co-chair Neva Frecheville. “Civil society around the world will not accept a framework which does not deal with the structural causes of poverty and injustice.”
“The global community gets one chance for deep thought every twenty years,” she added, “and this is it”.