The World’s Poor Need the UN to Step Up

By Elischia Fludd, writing in the Huffington Post:

On September 25, the UN General Assembly laid out a partial road map toward the post-2015 agenda to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Rio+20. The agreed outcome document outlines how the UN open working group and financing committee will provide input to the full negotiations that will take place in September 2014. Civil society has been engaging in the process to provide input as the UN attempts to broaden participation to arrive at a final outcome document that will address the most pressing issues and form forward-thinking goals past the 2015 completion date of the MDGs. Members of Beyond 2015, an international campaign made up of more than 800 organizations, have commented on the need for the draft to address needs for the most vulnerable populations in the world. A range of perspectives call for UN member states to fully address inequality, re-imagine peace and security and do more to address development within a gender justice foundation as catalysts for transformational change to eradicate poverty.

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Change does not happen over-night, but the post-2015 process is a way to engage ideas that must move the world out of a context that exploits people and environment. Commitment by governments to be held accountable for ambitious, yet practical standards has to take shape before tangible actions can be taken to relieve burdened economies, environments and people that are being crushed under poverty that is exacerbated by systemic inequality.

Thus far, the commitment and agreement on a single post-2015 agenda that recognizes that there are common responsibilities that need to be shared within different country contexts is a positive step. Civil society advocates, however, are looking for UN member states to draw deeper connections to the root causes of poverty and commit to action on them. Neva Frecheville, Co-Chair of Beyond 2015 and lead policy analyst on post-2015 for CAFOD, believes that people must be able to participate in developing this new agenda for it to resonate beyond the confines of New York missions. Regarding the direction that the post-2015 agenda is headed, Frecheville explains, “it is important to bring together environment and development. One of the things Beyond 2015 has been doing is working with a breadth of civil society voices who agree that this document has to be based in human rights, poverty eradication, environmental sustainability, equity and about the participation of people in decisions that affect their lives.”

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