Volunteer Groups call for a participatory approach to SDGs follow-up & review

The fifth session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda (New York, USA, 18-22 May 2015) focused on how to organize the follow-up and review of the agenda and its goals, including the role of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF). The UN Technical Support Team (TST) shared a document listing a number of existing review mechanisms. In continuity with the presence of volunteer representatives throughout the negotiation sessions, Volunteer Groups made a statement at the interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders.

In view of the next session in June, The Zero Draft of the post-2015 development agenda will be released early June 2015. VIOs will have the possibility to comment and further position volunteering.

samuel  mensah baah speakingInteractive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders

Mr. Samuel Mensah-Baah, VSO Regional Director for West and Central Africa, spoke on behalf of Volunteer Groups and called on the UN system and Member States to adopt a "strong participatory, bottom up approach to review & follow-up" of the post-2015 framework and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stated that "in this respect, the UN and Member States should embrace the powerful and practical role that Volunteers, Civil Societies and Active Citizens can and do play as conveners of people's participation, especially extending development to the hard to reach and often unaccounted populations in remote parts of the world." (Mr. Mensah-Baah's full statement)

Ambassador Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and co-facilitator of the post-2015 negotiations, commented that systematic bottom-up community engagement in national reporting is among the most important aspects of SDGs review, because this will affect both regional and global action. Ms. Reich, Post-2015 Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, also endorsed Mr. Mensah-Baah's point, reiterating the importance of multi-stakeholder participation. She brought the example of her country, explaining that in Finland the intergovernmental preparatory process includes NGOs and the private sector, who have both been actively involved and plan to produce shadow reports at the national level.

Fifth negotiations session and role of HLPF

The debate at the fifth negotiations session was based on a discussion paper on follow-up and review (also available in French) circulated by the co-facilitators prior to the meeting. Emphasizing that a "robust, effective and transparent follow-up and review framework is critical for ensuring implementation of an ambitious Post-2015 Development agenda", the paper presented a potential overarching set of principles for the framework, and posed questions on national, regional and global level review mechanisms.

There was consensus among Member States about the fact that the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) should be the main body for follow-up and review at the global level; a number of suggestions were made on how it should function. It is important for VIOs to leverage the explicit mention of volunteer groups among the HLPF stakeholders. In fact, UN GA Resolution A/RES/67/290, which defines the modalities of engagement with the Forum, encourages different stakeholders, including volunteer groups, to "autonomously establish and maintain effective coordination mechanisms for participation in the high-level political forum and for actions derived from that participation at the global, regional and national levels," and decides that representatives of relevant stakeholders shall be allowed to "submit documents and present written and oral contributions."

At the end of the session, the co-facilitators shared their preliminary impressions on the follow-up and review discussions, focusing on HLPF-related issues such as the HLPF key outcomes.

The revised themes for the interactive dialogues for the Post-2015 Summit in September were also shared.