Response to the Synthesis Report of the Secretary General

A vision for eradicating poverty by 2030

Development Initiatives (DI) welcomes the publication of the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Agenda: The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet. As anticipated, the report confirms that eradicating poverty by 2030 should be the overarching objective of the sustainable development agenda. Having campaigned for an ambitious target for eradicating poverty for many years, DI is pleased that the report supports the view that this can be achieved within one more generation.

Similarly, the report’s emphasis on “leaving no one behind” and on targeting resources on the poorest and most vulnerable in all countries is welcome, and echoes our own call for resources to be targeted on the poorest 20% of people everywhere. ODA (official development assistance) is the main international resource which can be targeted at poverty eradication and which does not seek profit. So within the post-2015 financing framework it is essential that scarce ODA resources are targeted at where poverty and need is greatest. Aid providers should move away from country-income-based aid allocations and move towards a more sophisticated and people-centred measure that looks at the impact of all resources, especially aid but also private finance on the poorest 20% globally.

We therefore welcome the report’s recognition of the need to mobilise all resources – public and private, domestic and international – to realise the ambitious goals set out in this agenda. We also support the clear recommendation that all developed countries should meet the 0.7% target for ODA.

Where the report could have been stronger

There are several references to the importance of social protection floors, but DI would have liked to see more recognition of the need for international resources to backstop national governments’ effort to fund them –  in order to provide a universal basic income guarantee.

While the report recognises the links between humanitarian crises, poverty and vulnerability, it fails to mention the forthcoming World Humanitarian Summit (2016) as one of the key upcoming opportunities. There is a risk that failure to link the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Financing for Development and World Humanitarian Summit will hinder efforts to promote greater synergies between relief and development.

DI is disappointed that access to information merits only a passing reference in the report. Given the transformative power of information, DI would like to have seen this issue elevated to a goal in its own right in the post-2015 agenda.

Bottom-up approach on data revolution is key

On a more positive note, DI welcomes the repeated references to the need for disaggregated data, including data disaggregated by gender, in order to ensure that no one is left behind. From DI’s perspective, the data revolution for sustainable development needs to start from the bottom-up, providing decision-makers at national and sub-national level with the data they need to make better decisions, rather than focussing on the data required for global monitoring of the SDGs.

Addis is where we must come together

Overall, the UNSG’s report sets out a compelling vision for the future. The challenge ahead is for all stakeholders – governments, the private sector and providers of private development assistance – to come together and mobilise the resources necessary to realise this ambitious agenda when they meet at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in six months’ time.