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UNSG Receives CSO Letter on HLP Report

HLP On22 July 2013: Sixty-two Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) submitted a letter to UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon to provide feedback on the report of the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) and make general recommendations on the post-2015 process. The letter is organized around the principles of planetary boundaries, structural transformation, human rights, inequalities, universality, accountability and participation.

On planetary boundaries, the signatories welcome the report's emphasis on sustainable development and the prominence given to climate change. They raise concern about its focus on economic growth alongside its promotion of sustainable consumption and production (SCP), stressing that continuous growth using natural resources will have serious planetary consequences. They criticize the report's reliance on growth, market solutions and technology to “solve problems that require fundamental changes in our economic and political systems.” Rather, the Panel could have presented a transformational approach integrating consumption, equality and wealth, and incorporating climate justice and the principles of 'polluter pays' and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). The CSOs recommend, inter alia: a goal on global greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation; new climate finance mechanisms; and scaled-up support for climate change adaptation.

Similarly, on structural transformation, the CSOs suggest recognizing limits to the growth paradigm and specifying transformations needed for SCP for specific regions.

The letter says the report is inconsistent on human rights and takes “a backwards step” by not recognizing broader definitions of cultural, economic and social rights and failing to address access to recourse for human rights violations, such as policies promoting gender equality and women's empowerment.

On inequalities, the CSOs recommend, inter alia: including a stand-alone goal on inequality and discrimination; considering a target as met only if it is met for all people and monitored using disaggregated data; emphasizing gender mainstreaming across goals; and including indicators on children and youth.

On universality, the groups say the report fails to address power systems or to describe how the new global partnership will be more effective than the one in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 8. They express support for clear, universal and measurable targets on global partnerships, inclusive understanding of partners, policy coherence and innovative, sustainable financing.

On accountability, the CSOs propose, inter alia: a stand-alone goal for accountable, participatory governance; and a mandatory reporting regime for business.

On participation, the letter reaffirms the need to: include socially excluded communities in designing, implementing and monitoring the post-2015 framework; ensure accessible, comprehensive and timely information; and establish an enabling legal environment for CSOs. [Joint CSO Letter] [IISD RS Story on HLP Report]