In 2000, world leaders put in place the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a set of eight goals which have focused global attention on a limited set of concrete human development goals and provided targets for national and international development priorities. Specific progress on the 21 targets and 60 indicators associated with the goals can be found in the MDG 2013 report and progress reports by country can be found through the United Nations Statistics Division.
The MDGs, set to expire in 2015, will be replaced by a new set of goals and targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Currently the international community is exploring what these goals could be. An Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals has been put in place to prepare a report containing a proposal for the set of SDGs. This working group has 30 seats shared by a group of 70 Member State representatives. Inputs are also being coordinated by a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, made up of representatives from civil society, private sector, academia, and local and national governments, along with a UN System Tasks Force made up of more than 60 UN agencies and international organisations.
While the MDGs were established and agreed on by 189 governments following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, the creation of the SDG goals are to be a collaborative effort involving not just governments and the UN, but civil society more extensively. This is being done through a range of local, national, and global consultations, both online and offline, led by different specialised UN agencies, around eleven thematic areas: Inequalities, Governance, Health, Sustainability, Population, Water, Employment, Conflict, Food, Education, and Energy.
The nine major stakeholder groups, identified for consultation during the first Earth Summit, are also providing significant inputs into this process. The groups are Business and Industry, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Women, Local Authorities, NGOs, Workers and Trade Unions, and the Scientific and Technological Community. Each represents the voice of their respective constituencies within UN meetings and the post-2015 process, and each has their own process for gathering and submitting contributions and inputs into the SDG development process.
Three business-related platforms are providing input into the process: the Sustainable Solutions Network of think tanks, the World Economic Forum, and the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact has put in place LEAD, a consortium of 50 large-scale, globally oriented corporations to collect contributions and recommendations. The findings of this consultation process were compiled in June 2013 in a report to the UN Secretary General. The Global Compact also contributed another document to the UN process, Post-2015 Business Engagement Architecture, which illustrates the main building blocks necessary to enhance corporate sustainability as an effective contribution to sustainable development. Companies are also engaging via the Global Compact’s range of issue specific platforms such as the CEO Water Mandate, Business for Peace, and the Food and Agriculture Business Principles.
This process of creating the SDGs will culminate in a high level summit in September 2015. For a full list of meetings leading up to this, visit the interactive time line and for more information and resources about the SDGs, visit http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org.
Five ways to get engaged in the Post-2015 process
- Contribute to the consultation process on different themes: Follow and contribute to the consultations happening online around the different thematic areas and stakeholder groups. A second round of consultations is currently happening online at www.worldwewant2015.org and is an opportunity not just to share your thoughts but also your best practices, research, and to provide inputs on joint position papers.
- Share your thoughts on what should be included: Several online platforms provide a space for individuals to have their say on which issues are most important to them and their family including www.myworld2015.org or post2015.org. Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory is crowdsourcing proposals for post-2015 to feed into the intergovernmental process for SDGs.
- Contribute to the consultations of the business sector: The UN Global Compact is conducting consultations among its Local Networks, around two key themes: how elements of the UN’s post-2015 Development Agenda apply to specific national settings and how business can best support priorities likely to be found in the Sustainable Development Goals. See Engaging with the Private Sector. You can also engage through the work being done via the different issues specific platforms of the UN Global Compact.
- Get your school engaged: Introduce your students to the MDGs and Post-2015 agenda, and have discussion around how business can and should contribute. Explore ways to incorporate the SDGs into your research, courses, events on campus and, once established, participate in making them happen in your community and country.
- Stay up to date about the issues being discussed at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org and follow discussions on social media at #post2015, and on Facebook and Youtube.