In 2013, Member States affirmed not only their commitment to intensify efforts to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals but also their determination to craft a strong post-2015 development agenda that would build on the foundations laid by the Millennium Development Goals. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 68/6 containing the outcome document of the special event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the post-2015 development agenda should reinforce the international community’s commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development through a coherent approach that integrates in a balanced manner the three dimensions of sustainable development into a single framework and set of goals, universal in nature and applicable to all countries. Member States emphasized the need for strong support of the United Nations system throughout all their work towards an inclusive and people-centred post-2015 development agenda.

In an effort to assist Member States in building a coherent post-2015 development agenda, the United Nations Development Group spearheaded an unprecedented, multi-stakeholder outreach to facilitate a global conversation to contribute to the work of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the deliberations of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. 

The ongoing initiative provides a space for people’s voices, including a sustained effort to reach out to the poor and marginalized. To date, nearly 2 million people around the world have engaged in a conversation on their aspirations for a global development framework. The consultations were held as national dialogues led by United Nations country teams in collaboration with governments, civil society and other partners, global thematic consultations, along with the World We Want web platform (www.worldwewant2015.org) and My World global survey (www.myworld2015.org).

Building on the results of the national consultations, regional United Nations Development Group teams and the regional commissions convened consultations that further broadened the scope of country representation in the multi-stakeholder dialogues. Preliminary findings of the ongoing global initiative are captured in the United Nations Development Group reports (available from the World We Want web platform), entitled The Global Conversation Begins: Emerging Views for a New Development Agenda and A Million Voices: The World We Want — A Sustainable Future with Dignity for All.

Throughout 2013, the High-level Committee on Programmes supported the preparatory process towards a post-2015 development agenda by assisting CEB in fostering system-wide coherence and addressing, in an integrated manner, challenges and opportunities faced by the United Nations system in defining its own role and contribution within a changed development policy environment. In this context, the High-level Committee on Programmes developed a United Nations system-wide view on the recommendations and findings of the report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development) as an input to the report of the Secretary-General entitled “Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015” (A/67/257). The United Nations system supported the key findings and recommendations of the report of the High-level Panel by endorsing the five big transformational shifts required to drive a universal post-2015 development agenda approach contained therein. These transformation shifts include: (a) leaving no one behind; (b) putting sustainable development at the core; (c) transforming economies for jobs and inclusive growth; (d) building peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; and (e) forging a new global partnership.

The High-level Committee on Programmes also prepared an issues paper that offered thought leadership and critical analysis for further reflection by the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination on the institutional and policy implications of a transformative and universal post-2015 development agenda with sustainable development at its core. Key among the challenges identified was the need for coherent integration of policies across the three dimensions of sustainable development within the broad context of the United Nations mandate of peace and security, development, human rights and the rule of law. At its November 2013 session, the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination subsequently reflected on key issues where a common understanding and clarity and unity of stance across the United Nations system would be essential. Those issues included, inter alia, the principle of universality; the relationship between the sustainable development goals and the unfinished Millennium Development Goal agenda; and means of implementation.

The United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination concluded that for the United Nations system to remain effective in its support to Member States, it would need to converge around the conceptual, procedural and operational challenges to deliver on the future sustainable development agenda. To this end, the Chief Executives Board for Coordination called upon its subsidiary bodies to jointly develop options on how the United Nations system could best support Member States as the international community strives to transition to a new, universal development agenda centred on sustainable development, including implementation at the country level. Five interlinked elements were identified as critical for the post-2015 development agenda: (a) universality; (b) integration; (c) equality; (d) human rights; and (e) the data revolution. The implications of these elements for the United Nations development system as well as a number of possible accelerators for change will be further explored in 2014.