The United Nations and the New Post-2015 Development Agenda

development agenda

Source: United Nations

In 2000, the leaders of 189 countries met at the United Nations to share a common vision and responsibility to ensure the achievement of an international agreement. They focused on the 8 goals with the purpose of eradicating extreme poverty and encourage world development. These targets are set out in the Millennium Declaration, which has a deadline achievement of 2015. However, after the deadline date, efforts to reach this aim will continue unabated with the new Post-2015 Agenda. This agenda will work on the new challenges that have emerged since the year 2000, for example in terms of security (after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) and in environmental issues (global warming), and on the ones that have not been accomplished yet.

The development agenda, which at the moment contains 17 goals that have several targets, is a soft power normative tool in which countries have raised their voices to hearten dialogue between international actors with the purpose of harmonizing politics. The main differences between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda is that whereas the MDGs are composed by 8 goals, the new agenda contains 17, and includes new points such as climate change, sustainable politics and development or the access to justice. Among all the issues covered in the proposal, the most reiterated one was “sustainability”. A lot of importance has been given to the fact that we have to develop thinking about of what we are going to leave to the future generations. Another characteristic of the Post-2015 Agenda has been the way in which civil society has been involved in the process; citizen participation has been attained through enquiries and global conversations[i]. Nevertheless, civil society inclusion in the implementation procedure keeps being a challenge. In the end, world citizens are the receptors of the project, so they should have a leading role during the decision-making process. It is required to provide people with more opportunities and to motivate everybody to get involved in the agenda.

The agreement on the new development challenges is still on and has to be approved in the General Assembly in September. However, a lot has been done by now. Asides from the enquiries and the Dialogues on Implementation; regional, national and global thematic consultations have taken place in the process. The regional consultations were designed to formulate regional common positions and the aim of the national ones was to help countries to build a national stance. The objective of the thematic consultations was to establish which were going to be the Post-2015 goals and targets regarding 11 key issues.

  1. Inequalities.
  2. Health.
  3. Food Security and Nutrition.
  4. Energy.
  5. Governance.

    development agenda2

    Source: World Bank

  6. Education.
  7. Conflict and Fragility.
  8. Water.
  9. Growth and employment.
  10. Environmental Sustainability.
  11. Population Dynamics.

These consultations contribute to encompass a wider view of the universal development challenges. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that all endeavours would be worthless if we do not establish good accountability policies and indicators to monitor achievement. Even though there are indicators to quantify the progress in each field of development, it is required to measure how much of that progress has been achieved through the MDG’s and Post-2015 Development Agenda’s tasks. Indicators are very useful to ease data collection, but they could also become an effective tool to balance ambition with realism, provide credibility and monitor the United Nations work. Another issue that has to be fixed is the adoption of the accountability mechanisms. The liability for non-compliance is a decisive challenge for the new agenda, as the lack of accountability procedures has been criticized in the MDGs. But, in order to monitor countries striving to achieve the goals, it is important to scheme through proposals how to reach the targets. If no one takes the implementation task seriously, the work done would be profitless. On this wise, the accountability and implementation mechanisms should be as important as the settlement of the goals.

The Post-2015 Development Agenda offers a new opportunity to take advantage of the progress achieved in the last years, so that to drive reforms and strengthen global development. As the MDG’s, it is a pure integration tool that seeks coordination and agreement to settle shared objectives and to provide a full view of global development. This partnership for international ruling has established common wishes worldwide above political parties. Undoubtedly, there is still a lot to do in order to reach the world we all want to live in, but thanks to inclusive projects which lead to an international responsibility of all countries and international actors, we are closer to reach a sustainable developed world.

Written by: María Godino

[i] You can take part in the enquiries and global conversations through these websites.

Related links:

The World We Want:

My World 2015:



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María Godino Cornejo

My name is María Godino, born in 1995 in Madrid, Spain. International politics and languages is what drives me, so I feel lucky to be studying what I really like, Translation and Interpretation + International Relations in Alfonso X el Sabio University. However, I am currently studying in France with an Erasmus scholarship. I have a special interest on human rights and development cooperation. In my free time I enjoy cooking desserts, running with my brother and travelling.

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