“The Road to Dignity by 2030:” Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Analysis of the Development of the Post-2015 Agenda

December 28,2014
By Chris Vincent, Sr. Director, Congressional Relations/International Affairs, Habitat for Humanity International

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon released his much anticipated Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda, entitled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” on December 4, 2014. The report was intended to integrate all inputs into the Post-2015 Agenda thus far, including proposals, discussions, and expert consultations that have taken place over the course of the last two years, into one comprehensive and succinct report. Prior to the Synthesis Report, the Open Working Group’s (OWG) Proposal for Sustainable Development Goals, released in June of 2014, had set the stage for Post-2015 discussions, and it was expected that the Secretary General’s Synthesis Report would weigh in on the 17 goals and 169 targets laid out in the OWG’s proposal, which is substantially more than the 8 goals of the current Millennium Development Goals.  See the previous blog post on the OWG’s “zero draft” report.

Over the past three years, Habitat for Humanity International has been working relentlessly to ensure that housing is included in the Post-2015 Agenda In regards to the Synthesis Report, the biggest concern for housing advocates was that goal 11, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” and specifically target 11.1 “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums” remain in the Post-2015 Agenda.

In his report, the Secretary General did not take aim at the goals proposed by the OWG, but rather noted on “the possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level.” He proposed grouping the goals into six essential elements; dignity; people; prosperity; planet; justice; and partnership. By maintaining the OWG’s goals and targets, he preserved other priorities for Habitat including how secure land rights reduce poverty and benefit women.

The proposed six elements are designed to facilitate discussions moving forward and create a framework for the complex agenda, although it’s unclear if these six elements will appear in the final Agenda and what, if any, their impact will be on the Sustainable Development Goals. The report indicates that “sustainable cities and human settlements” could be grouped under “prosperity”, which the Secretary General defines as “to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative society.” Housing advocates will continue to track whether or not the six essential elements have any impact on the SDGs, specifically Goal 11. The report also included sections regarding financing and implementing the SDGs.

Now that the Secretary General has presented his input, member-state negotiations will commence in January 2015. Until September 2015 when the new Agenda is adopted, countries will continue to negotiate the 17 goals and 169 targets of the OWG Proposal. While housing has remained in the Agenda thus far under Goal 11.1, there will undoubtedly be discussions of narrowing or prioritizing the goals, and we must ensure that housing remains a priority. These member state negotiations will be a crucial time for housing advocates and the work we do over the next 9 months could determine our ability to influence poverty housing for years to come.

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s work on the Post-2015 Agenda.

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