On 1 January, in many countries around the world has started what will be one of the most critical years in our lifes. 2015 is a benchmark for several reasons. Not only does it mark the year when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) terminate, but the possibility of the post-2015 agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replacing the MDGs and the chance to replace the Kyoto Protocol at the Paris Climate Conference offer an opportunity for the international community to finally fulfill its promise to achieve sustainable development worldwide.
But before the UN General Assembly can adapt the post-2015 agenda at a Summit held from 25 to 27 September 2015 in New York, many obstacles will arise, many challenges have to be faced and many problems need to be solved. One is the financial aspect. Surely, no country wants to bear the immense costs for transforming global economy and society, but on the other hand, there are states that are not capable of financing sustainable development by themselves. Who shall pay the bill? Several meetings are dedicated to answering this open question, culminating in the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (13 – 16 July 2015, Addis Ababa). Some observers state that the adaptation of the post-2015 agenda will depend on the outcome of this conference.
Second, the wording and the text itself: The Open Working Group (OWG) has presented a proposal, consisting of 17 SDGs and several targets and indicators. However, its immense work is now followed by a range of intergovernmental negotiations, starting with the ones from 19 to 21 January and taking place monthly in New York. They are expected to be complicated and the outcome is far from guaranteed.
These challenges are typical for any international negotiation process and should not prevent the international community from focusing even harder on reaching its aim: sustainable development after 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has presented an interesting Synthesis Report about all the steps that had been undertaken so far on “The road to dignity by 2030: ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet”. And Civil Society is increasing its efforts: 7 million voices have been counted in the MyWorld Survey, NGOs are getting ready for a global launch of their activities.
And after all the attention paid to the post-2015 agenda, the Paris Climate Conference in December is coming up. Being the last chance to agree on a replacement for the outdated Kyoto Protocol, this event should not be forgotten.
All in all, 2015 will be a crucial year for the UN, for Civil Society and for people around the world. Let’s use this unique opportunity and turn 2015 into a year of global action!