In Annual Report, UNSG Proposes Transformative Actions for Post-2015 Agenda

United NationsAugust 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has submitted his annual report on implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and further steps to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015. This year's report, titled 'A life of dignity for all: accelerating progress towards the MDGs and advancing the UN development agenda beyond 2015,' stresses sustainable development as the "global guiding principle and operational standard" for the post-2015 era, and calls for ending extreme poverty within a generation.

The report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), dated 26 July 2013 and released in mid-August, notes sharp differences in MDG achievement across and within countries and regions, and challenges faced by countries experiencing conflict or disaster, marginalized groups and rural areas. On environmental sustainability, it notes achievements on water and sanitation alongside continued biodiversity loss, increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and land degradation and desertification, which threaten achievements and undermine future gains.

The report highlights policies and programmes that have contributed to MDG progress, such as those that: emphasize decent employment, inclusive growth and social protection; allocate resources for essential services and ensure access for all; strengthen political will and improve the international policy environment; and harness multi-stakeholder partnerships. The report expresses support for, inter alia, the MDG Momentum campaign, the MDG Acceleration Framework, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL), the Zero Hunger Challenge and the Call to Action on Sanitation. It calls for bolder measures to achieve environmental sustainability targets on biodiversity, forests, land use and water and faster implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

On the post-2015 development agenda, the report acknowledges input from global, regional and national consultations, including the final report of the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP), “MY World” survey, and reports by the UN Task Team (UNTT) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and points to an emerging consensus for an agenda that: is universal yet responsive to regional and national capacities and priorities; is ambitious yet simple in design; prioritizes ending poverty and reducing inequality; protects the planet, including its biodiversity, land and water; and is rights-based.

The Secretary-General's report calls for 14 transformative actions that can bring this emerging vision to life. These are: eradicating poverty; tackling exclusion and inequality; empowering women and girls; providing quality education and lifelong learning; improving health; addressing climate change; addressing environmental challenges, including managing fisheries, forests, freshwater resources, oceans and soil and building resilience; promoting inclusive, sustainable growth and decent employment; ending hunger and malnutrition; addressing demographic challenges; enhancing migrants' contribution; meeting urbanization challenges; building peace and effective governance; and fostering a renewed global partnership.

The report also discusses recommendations for financing and implementing the post-2015 agenda, including monitoring and accountability frameworks and improved data and statistics. 

Looking to next steps, the report recognizes the UNGA President's Special Event on the MDGs as an opportunity for accelerating the MDGs and reflecting on the post-2015 agenda, and proposes Member States consider convening a UN summit in 2015 to adopt a new development agenda.

In closing, the report says the UN "must continue to listen to and involve the peoples of the world." [Publication: A Life of Dignity for All: Accelerating Progress towards the MDGs and Advancing the UN Development Agenda beyond 2015] [Link to Report Available in All Six Languages]