From Monday onwards Presidents and Prime Ministers will arrive in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Among the issues they will grapple with, two are of special interest to RESULTS and the development community – first, how to tackle Climate Change, and second, to make progress on fixing a new set of development goals.
Alongside the political figures, leaders of all the major development institutions will be present, many of which RESULTS works with on a daily basis. Institutions such as Gavi, the Global Vaccine Alliance; GPE (The Global Partnership for Education)and SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) will hold events to publicise new successes or discuss innovations. Steve Lewis from RESULTS UK will be present during ‘UNGA week’, along with our partners from Canada, the EU, Kenya, India, and of course the USA.
An international consortium of NGOs called “Beyond2015” has been working to urge global leaders to set ambitious targets for the next set of Development Goals, starting 2016. The current Millennium Development Goals ran from 2000 and end in 2015. Last week, Beyond 2015 in the UK asked Development Minister Lynn Featherstone to explain what the UK is hoping to achieve from the UN discussions.
“The post 2015 negotiations will be one of our top priorities in New York”, said Ms Featherstone. “UN negotiations so far have made some good progress, but there is much work to do. The current draft set of goals needs to be more concise, compelling and implementable.”
“The UK has shown leadership on setting strong development goals. But efforts to combat poverty will be totally undermined if Climate Change is not reversed. If the global climate does rise by 2 degrees we will face a very challenging situation – crop failures, steeply rising hunger, mass migration, to name just a few examples ”.
The UK will be represented in New York by Deputy PM Nick Clegg. The government is proud of recent progress on UK aid. A bill is moving through parliament to guarantee in law the current 0.7% of Gross National Income for international development. The second reading of the bill was supported by 166 MPs, with only 6 votes against. This will be used in New York as a ‘good example’, to encourage other countries to raise their aid contributions. As Lynn Featherstone described it: “We need to broaden the shoulders of the aid effort…. at present the same countries are supporting most of development programmes. We need a wider set of contributors.”
RESULTS and other Beyond 2015 agencies will be listening closely to the sessions next week to keep the UK to its word, and to try to encourage other countries to also increase their commitment. We are insistent that the next development framework includes ambitious goals – and that this time the goal is not a reduction in poverty but an end to extreme poverty by 2030.
Please follow this blog next week to get updates from the UN and find out what has been achieved.
Photos: Steve Lewis/RESULTS
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of RESULTS UK.