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IRF2015 convenes retreat on a transformative post-2015 development agenda

Discussions on developing a post-2015 framework hold more areas of agreement than generally recognised, according to key messages from an IRF2015 hosted retreat released this week.

IRF members discuss the post-2015 agenda

Common themes voiced by participants include a need for a more integrated and universal post-2015 agenda with compelling and clear goals that reflect a changing global development context.

Hosted by IRF2015 on 2‐4 October, the event was the first in a series of informal retreats aimed at creating an open exchange of views on critical issues in the global debate on the post‐2015 development agenda.

The series is intended to support the official intergovernmental process on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 agenda. Participants included representatives from 32 member states, the UN and the World Bank and addressed three inter-related topics: 

  • The nature and purpose of the SDGs and their relationship to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
  • How to design a new global goal framework that integrates the economic, social and environmental dimensions of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
  • How to build a shared agenda based on the complementary principles of universality and differentiation and how to 'unpack' these issues.

The key messages that emerged demonstrated shared commitment to the MDGs and the wish for a more integrated and universal post-2015 agenda. While significant differences remain on 'universality' and related issues, the areas of commonality suggest that there is a stronger basis for building consensus than previously thought.

Areas of broad agreement included shared commitment to the MDGs and a desire for compelling and clear goals that reflect the complexity of today's global development challenges.

Participants agreed that a robust post-2015 agenda needs to go beyond just goals and targets to include an ambitious and visionary narrative, attention to "means of implementation" and the need for improved monitoring and reporting frameworks to measure progress and enhance accountability.

In addition, inclusive and sustainable economic growth as a central feature of any new development agenda, and the important role of the private sector, came through clearly in the discussions.

The discussions also highlighted challenges. The complexity of how to define and apply 'universality' and the need to create goals that are both simple and more integrated are areas for further deliberation.

"We believe the dialogue built a strong foundation on which to base future discussions on poverty eradication, sustainable development, and the post-2015 agenda. While the challenges to design a new agenda are significant, so too are the areas of commonality." Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, World Resources Institute.

Future retreats in this series will build on these open and substantive discussions. Issues will likely include: defining a shared vision on poverty eradication, growth and sustainable development, unpacking the complementary principals of 'universality' and 'differentiation', and redefining the global partnership for development.

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