rio+20 towards and beyond
Bali Regional Meeting on Post-2015 Development Agenda: how to create a development space within the planetary well-being? Possible scenarios for integrating post-MDGs and SDGs processes
21 December 2012
The first Asia-Pacific regional consultation meeting on the post-2015 Development Agenda was held on 13-14 December in Bali, Indonesia, hosted by the Government of Indonesia as President Yudhoyono of Indonesia is co-chair of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLPEP). This meeting was held as a regional preparatory meeting before the next HLPEP meetings in February 2013 (Monrovia, Liberia) and March 2013 (Bali, Indonesia). In this context, President Yudhoyono has established a National Committee of line ministries to assist him and organise a series of consultations within the country as well as in the region. The meeting was very high level attended by President Yudhoyono, UN Assistant Secretary General Amina Mohammed, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, and Ms. Paula Caballero from the Government of Columbia and others.

Programme Management Office
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Asia-Pacific regional consultation meeting on the post-2015 Development Agenda, Bali, Indonesia
About 300 representatives from governments, United Nations, research organizations, civil society organisations, and private sector in the Asia-Pacific region, discussed; 1) addressing equity and social inclusion between and beyond countries; 2) economic development and growth: national capabilities and global partnership for decent job creation and poverty alleviation; 3) resilience, equity and environmental sustainability; framework for national and global initiatives; and 4) creating enabling conditions for national and global governance of sustainable development. Many participants agreed that future goals need to address the dimensions of economy, society, environment, and governance in an integrated fashion as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs emphasised.

Growing convergence of development and environment, but need for an integrated vision
CSO sub-group consultation
During the meeting, a growing convergence of development and environmental aspects seemed to emerge as many participants articulated that the Post-2015 Development Agenda (P2015A) must address poverty as well as planetary boundaries and ecological footprint. But despite the good intentions, no clear vision has yet emerged on how to develop integrated goals and targets. Youth representatives were vocal, while others stressed the need to include issues faced by fragile and post-conflict states in the future development framework.

Participants also talked about the universality of the goals, but still need to address the implications of these goals for developed countries, such as lifestyle change, overconsumption and ageing. ASG Amina Mohammed stressed the need to avoid the new goals becoming a Christmas tree of goals, and that it is important to work towards limited set of representative goals. There is also the question of how to create a development space under planetary well-being. To integrate all the elements and be relevant to individuals, a comprehensive vision which could exemplify such aspiration was proposed during my sub-group discussion: Poverty eradication and sustainable human development through just and accountable enjoyment of natural and other resources for all and for the generations to come based on human rights principles.

The way forward: possible scenarios for creating a development space within planetary well-being
To help the discussion going forward, it is now time to consider the possible matrix of goals, targets and indicators for P2015A. The following tables show three different scenarios and examples for developing integrated goals and targets based on my observations from the ongoing discussions. Scenario 1 adds sustainability issues, such as biodiversity and energy, into the current MDGs’ Goal 7 (Environmental Sustainability). Scenario 2 focuses on development goals, and has sustainability incorporated into each goal. Scenario 3 attempts to capture the universality and planetary well-being and takes a differentiated approach based on differences in international and sub-national development levels.

I believe that options for Scenario 3 best address both human and planetary well-being. It is clear that each country has a different set of development priorities and common but differentiated responsibilities exist in our efforts to achieve sustainable development. For many developing countries, ‘basic access’ to essential natural resources (such as clean water) could be an important social concern and priority; for middle income countries, ‘efficiency’ in utilising natural resources (such as energy efficiency) would then be the most important economic challenges and a driving force for innovations, while in developed countries, ‘lifestyle change’ is increasingly called for to reverse environmental degradation. For example, a set of three goals on basic access to electricity, improved efficiency in electricity generation, and increasing use of renewable energy as a lifestyle change could be universal in scope to address climate change, yet could offer meaningful goals for each category of countries according to their level of development. Scenario 2 tends to overlook the overall goal for environmental sustainability, while many governments stressed in the questionnaire for SDGs that Scenario 1 will not be enough to ensure the integration of economic, social, and environmental dimensions, which in essence should be the aim of the future SDGs.(*1)

SDGs Open Working Group (OWG) has now been officially formed. SDGs OWG and the coming HLP meetings in Monrovia (early February 2013) and Bali (March 2013) will have to keep these options in mind for deciding visions, priority areas and the forms of the new goals to be incorporated into the HLPEP’s final report, which will be announced in May 2013.

*1: United Nations General Assembly, Secretary-General’s Initial Input to the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (A/67/….), Advance Unedited Copy, 12 December 2012.

*** The contents of this commentary are the opinions of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of IGES.

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