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30 November 2012

Overview of ongoing Thematic Online Consultations, held in the Framework of the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline fast approaching, the UN Secretary-General has outlined an UN-led process to support the development of the post-2015 development framework. To contribute to the UN system-wide effort, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) has been asked to: 1) facilitate national consultations in up to 100 countries; 2) hold global thematic consultations on key issues pertaining to the post-2015 development agenda; and 3) create a web portal for interaction and information exchange. The results of these efforts will serve as input to the work of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Thematic online consultations:
Thematic online consultations with civil society are underway and cover a total of 11 themes, including: Inequalities, Governance, Health, Education*, Growth and Employment*, Conflict and Fragility*, Food Security and Nutrition, Energy*, Water, Environmental Sustainability, and Population Dynamics. All these consultations can be accessed on The World We Want platform.

*There are currently no consultation or online discussion activities on these themes.

This article aims to give a clear overview of the ongoing consultations.

On Inequalities:
To ensure that inequalities are addressed in the post-2015 agenda, the Global Thematic Consultation on Addressing Inequalities (co-led by UNICEF and UN Women, and sponsored by the Government of Denmark and Ghana) is holding a series of online, moderated discussions to gather views from a broad range of stakeholders on what the post-2015 development agenda should look like. The following discussions are currently taking place:

• UNICEF and the disability rights advocacy network International Disability Alliance (IDA) are co-moderating an Online Discussion on Inequalities and Persons with Disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda. The discussion began on 14 November and will continue for three weeks.
• The Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is co-moderating an Online Discussion on Inequalities and Indigenous Peoples in the post-2015 development agenda. The discussion began on 27 November and will continue for three weeks.
• UNICEF, ILO and Save the Children are co-moderating an Online Discussion on Economic Inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda. The discussion began on 19 November and will continue for three weeks.

On Governance:
The Global Thematic Consultation on Governance and the post-2015 development framework is co-convened by UNDP and the OHCHR, in partnership with the Government of Germany. This is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum aims to contribute to the setting of shared governance priorities in the context of ameliorating poverty and inequality, whilst championing universal rights and values.

The Online Moderated Discussion on Governance and Accountability in the post-2015 development framework will run in two phases over the course of four weeks (19 November 2012 to 14 December 2012) and will ultimately feed into the final multi-stakeholder governance consultation, expected to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the end of February 2013.

Phase I (19 November – 2 December) will reflect on the lessons that have emerged about the role of governance in the achievement and sustainability of the MDGs and other international development goals. The overall guiding question of this phase of the e-Discussion is: What should be the governance building blocks for a post-2015 agenda?

Phase II (3 December –16 December) will focus on “Ensuring an accountability framework for delivery on the post-2015 development agenda” and will address the question “How can we ensure an accountability framework that takes into account human rights principles and obligations to assure effective delivery on the post-2015 development agenda?”

On Health:
WHO and UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of Sweden and the Government of Botswana are co-convening an open and inclusive consultation space to discuss the role of health in the post-2015 development agenda, and to start building consensus in five key areas: What are the lessons learnt from the health-related MDGs? What is the priority health agenda for the 15 years after 2015? How does health fit in the post 2015 development agenda? What are the best indicators and targets for health? And how can country ownership, commitment, capacity and accountability for the goals, targets and indicators be enhanced?

Interested individuals and groups are invited to submit by email “think pieces” in English or French on the positioning and role of health in the post-2015 agenda until 15 December 2012 to post2015health@who.int. For further instructions, visit the online platform. Papers will be reviewed by a task team of experts. All accepted papers will be published on the platform.

On Food Security and Nutrition:
FAO and WFP are co-chairing the Thematic Consultation on Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security, together with the other Rome-based agencies, IFAD and Bioversity International, and with support of Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition. Contributing partners include UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNIDO, and UN-DESA.

The consultation process on the theme “Hunger, Food and Nutrition Security” will take place over five months, between November 2012 and March 2013 and will include:
• a web-based e-consultation
• a consultation with the stakeholders of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), proposed for late January/early February 2013; and
• a high-level experts consultation in March 2013, hosted by the Government of Spain.

Over the next four weeks, until 21 December 2012, FAO and WFP will facilitate the e-consultation, aiming to draw on the widest possible group of stakeholders and interested parties on how best to address hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition at all levels. The e-consultation also seeks inputs on the elaboration of a new agenda for action beyond the current MDG framework. More specifically, input is requested on the following three themes:

1) What are the key lessons learned during the current MDG Framework (1990-2015), in particular in relation to the MDGs of relevance to hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition? What are the main challenges and opportunities towards achieving food and nutrition security in the coming years?

2) What works best? Drawing on existing knowledge, how should we go about addressing the hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition challenges head on? For example, how important are questions of improved governance, rights-based approaches, accountability and political commitment in achieving food and nutrition security? How could we best draw upon current initiatives, including the Zero Hunger Challenge, launched by the UN Secretary-General at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and the Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition elaborated by the CFS?

3) For the post-2015 development framework to be complete, global (and regional or national) objectives, targets and indicators will be identified towards tackling hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. A set of objectives has been put forward by the UN Secretary-General under the Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC):
a. 100% access to adequate food all year round
b. Zero stunted children less than 2 years old
c. All food systems are sustainable
d. 100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
e. Zero loss or waste of food.
Feedback is requested on the above list of objectives and other suggestions are welcome. Should some objectives be country-specific, or regional, rather than global? Should the objectives be time-bound?

In addition, interested parties are invited to submit papers, findings, or on-going work on the topic of hunger, food and nutrition security.

The outcome of this e-consultation, together with the proposed CFS consultation, will feed into the high-level consultation to be hosted by the Government of Spain in March 2013.

On Water:
The Thematic Consultation on Water is mainly taking place as an on-line web-based discussion using different social media. The purpose is to bring in voices from a broad range of stakeholders to build a consensus around key future challenges in water and the need for a new global water goal in the post-2015 development agenda. The web-based consultation will consist of two broad parts; the general global dialogue on water, and the sub-consultations with focus on particular sub-sets of water. The consultation is co-led by UN-Water, UN-DESA and UNICEF.

General Global Dialogue on Water (November 2012 – March 2013):
The objective of the general global dialogue is to host a consultation focusing broadly on water, aiming to attract a wide array of participants to discuss water from different perspectives. There are different ways to engage:
Comment: interact and comment directly on the webpage www.worldwewant2015.org/water.
Twitter: Tweet news; share views on twitter. The Twitter account @WaterPost2015 has been created; interested parties are encouraged to use the hashtag #waterpost2015.
Facebook: read news, post news, state views. The Facebook group WaterPost2015 has been created.
Water-2015 related news: suggest current news and developments related to water and the post-2015 development agenda, the SDG process, cover events and more on the webpage.
Quiz and questions: participating in quiz or polls on pertinent water challenges to raise awareness.
Videos/YouTube clips: suggest existing water related videos/YouTube clips to inform or inspire discussions (professional or amateur videos) or provide a new one.
Links to other sources and web-pages: suggest links to other relevant sources and web-pages, blogs and similar that can create awareness about the water consultation or for reach out.

Sub-consultations (January – February 2013)
This part of the water consultation will focus on identified key challenges for the future water agenda: three sub-consultations on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Water Resources Management and Wastewater and Water Quality. These discussions will be moderated and kicked off by an eminent person posing some urgent questions to be discussed on-line. There will be various means of interaction by the public, primarily through posting direct comments on the web-page, by Twitter or the Facebook page.

On Environmental Sustainability:
UNDP and UNEP have launched a post-2015 environmental sustainability global consultation, which aims to bring together a multitude of voices to stimulate creative and innovative thinking on how we can put global development on a more environmentally sustainable path that can lead us to the world we want.

Within this consultation, there is currently a call for discussion papers. Interested individuals or organizations are requested to share topics that they think should be a priority for the dialogue on environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda.

Discussion papers should aim to stimulate creative thinking and dialogue around the role environmental sustainability should play within both the broad post-2015 development framework as well as the specific development goals that will be developed to support this. Therefore, participants are encouraged to propose topics that:
• build on MDG7 experiences and lessons and/or
• bring forward new and emerging thinking and experiences related to integrated approaches that link economic, social and environmental sustainability and touch on cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, human rights, young people, inequalities and the partnerships necessary to make progress.

Discussion papers should include the following components:
• Brief outline and rationale for a proposed specific topic for discussion
• Brief presentation of existing findings from completed policy and field research or on-going work that provides an evidence base and conceptual frame for the discussion. Contributors can upload or link to the complete papers and existing think pieces referenced in the discussion paper.
• A proposed set of questions that could frame an online discussion on the topic during Phase 2 of the consultation.

The deadline for submission has been extended to 28 December 2012.

On Population Dynamics:
The Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics in the post-2015 UN development agenda, co-convened by UN-DESA, UNFPA, UN-Habitat and IOM in partnership with the Government of Switzerland, aims to stimulate dialogue, facilitate an exchange of ideas and collect and document the views, experiences and perspectives of key stakeholders vis--vis population dynamics. It is an opportunity to contribute to the setting of shared global priorities in the context of ameliorating poverty and inequality, whilst championing universal rights and values.

Currently four discussions are taking place on the following questions:
1) How to ensure a human-rights based and gender-responsive approach to addressing population dynamics?
2) Should we consider expanding targets with respect to individual population issues to include such issues as high fertility, demographic bonus, ageing, urbanization, or migration? What would be the disadvantage of broadening the set of targets?
3) Is it possible to develop a common framework for integrating different population dynamics into the post-2015 development agenda?
4) Why and how should population dynamics be integrated into the post-2015 UN development agenda?

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