UNGA CONFERENCE 2016 TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD
Sustainable Development Goals to Ensure: NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND
In partnership with the African Union and 61 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from 43 countries, the UNGA Conference is organized by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) and Peace Islands Institute (PII). A High-Level Reception would precede the Conference to provide a platform for the CSOs to participate in early exchange of experiences by global stakeholders and the UN Member States in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs).
Agenda 2030: the Sustainable Development Goals symbolize a collective push by all the 193 Member States of the United Nations to put development on a higher plateau for wider participation by global stakeholders. Conceptually, it views developmental assistance as an investment in, rather than financial aid to, the world’s poorer countries. Operationally, it opens up more areas for result driven intersection among three major stakeholders hitherto better known for trying to influence each other’s decisions: national governments; private sector and CSOs. Based upon the outcome of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the nature and scope of intersection between the national governments, private sector and Public-Private Partnerships could be roughly estimated. The stakes and potentials for intersection with CSOs remain to be determined. Less formal and much more inclusive than Non Governmental Organization (NGOs), CSOs essentially fill up the space between the family and the state as a provider of essential goods and services for people. Rough estimates indicate that for every single NGO listed or accredited with one or more of the 50 UN agencies in the inter-agency task force for SDGs, there may be a hundred more of civil society groups, movements advocating or pursuing one or more of the goals of Agenda 2030.
Financing the SDGs
With finance mobilization at the core of its planning for 17 goals and 169 targets, Agenda 2030 would require not billions but trillions of dollars to accomplish. The estimated annual costs range between $3.3 -$4.5 trillion a year for the next 15 years. International financial institutions, regional and global development agencies, developing countries, private sector investment and donors are expected to pitch in with earmarked global allocations besides mainstreaming some of the costs into their ongoing commitments to development goals and targets. Current SDG-related annual investment is around $1.4 trillion, implying an initial investment gap of up to $2.5 trillion a year according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Unless it increases its participation, private sector could cover up to $900 million of this gap leaving $1.6 trillion to be raised from public sources. Assuming that its interests are better served in some than in other SDGs, UNCTAD sees infrastructure related goals such as power, renewable energy, transport, water and sanitation as “natural candidates for private sector participation with appropriate safeguards” and climate change adaptation as a less attractive investment outlet due to difficulties in designing risk-return models.
Current investment gap notwithstanding there is a fair chance that every dollar so committed may go farther than its purchasing power partly as a result of clearly spelt measures for greater fiscal discipline through transparency and accountability at both ends of the spectrum: global allocations and project delivery on ground. National allocations for SDG related goals that contributed to accomplishments of MDGs may be sustained with projected rates of economic growth in major economies in Asia and parts of Southern Africa that still account for the largest number of people left behind, although reduced by more than half or even two-thirds in some countries. Seen often as natural providers for the needy and first responders to the vulnerable, grass root CSOs may eliminate the middlemen costs of reaching those left behind in societies where the state is not in a position to meet all the needs of all its citizens.
The primary objective of the UNGA Conference is derived from the importance attached by the RI0+20 stipulations for action-oriented and concrete time-bound voluntary initiatives to complement government led actions for sustainable development. Of particular interest to this UNGA Conference are any voluntary initiatives underway on three of the clusters in “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The third in a series on MDG Agenda 2015 and Post-2015 leading to SDGs 2030, the UNGA Conference aims to draw attention to:
- Hunger eradication and poverty reduction in South Asia and Southern Africa that account for the world’s largest number of hungry and poor in absolute numbers and their highest ratio as a percentage of national populations
- Populations at risk to climate change that account over 10% of global population in countries that may vanish as islands under rising sea levels or have large coastal populations vulnerable to displacement
- Migrant groups of refugees at a record high of 45 million in 2015 with 51% of them under age 18, one out of four a Syrian, a global migration of over 42,000 a day and 80% of the total hosted by the developing countries
- Post-conflict countries after prolonged insurgencies with Central America accounting for the longest lasting armed insurgencies resulting in the heaviest loss of life in the post cold war era
In consultation with its Global Partners, PII and JWF will explore the possibilities of encouraging CSOs to support voluntary initiatives for result driven, low cost, pilot projects that:
- Demonstrate connectivity between hunger eradication, poverty reduction, child mortality, health and unemployment among women
- Asses cost effectiveness of a multiple goal package by maximum reliance on locally available human and material resources
- Collect information and insights from SDGs to narrow some existing gaps between an overburden of reporting procedures and lean baseline data for impact assessment
- Perform preliminary consultations with our Global Partners suggest an inclination towards local and community based voluntary initiatives as a basic unit of operation