“Business as usual no longer an option” writes the latest European Union’ s draft document about its commitment to eradication poverty and achieve global progress.
I took a big breath – the end of poverty and “sustainable development” is in sight. I was assured that this was no joke; the mighty Council of the European Union is dead serious about it. The highest-level body of the European Union is dealing with it.
To be fair I imagined immediately hordes of rich or well off bureaucrats and politicians getting off their limousines, eco-friendly cars or bikes with EU flags in their arms and going in the worst slums all over Europe and start doing stuff. It is true I thought mainly of them going conferencing in these places. Even that might help as the tones of pens and papers wasted could be of use for some of the children. The conferences’ food will also be a great help. But I decided: no joking. This is serious.
I expected the document to be about the reform of an inept system of funding that sees the majority of EU funds being wasted on everything else but eradicating poverty or changing the lives of the poorest of the poor. I hoped to read about the structural reforms within the European Commission (the bureaucracy supervised by the Council) that will address the huge lack of hands-on experience within as well as the institutional racism when it comes to the most excluded ethnic groups. I wanted to read about ways to address the Syrian and Iraq refugees mess for which we, Europeans, are in some ways responsible. I expected concrete actions, as “business as usual was no longer an option”.
The second paragraph made explicit what was all about: “the EU and its Member States stand ready to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with all stakeholders”.
Oooohhhh you stinky poverty and you tricky tricky development be aaafraaaaid. They stand reaaaady to engage in Diaaalogue ! They are sooo reaaadyyy for DIAAALOGUE that you can not believe it ! They will stand ready for it like they never ever stood before!
Poverty is almost gone as the only thing they have to do it is “an ambitious and transformative Post-2015 agenda which is truly global and universal, with all countries playing their full part”.
For the untrained eye this is the exact thing they did 14 years ago. There is a major difference. This is not anymore European, is not just GLOBAL – this iiiissss TRULYYY UNIIIIVERSAAAL you bloody aliens, space-dust, black-holes, dark energy and whatever else is up there that affects poor people down here !
The new framework should aim to eradicate poverty in all its dimensions and to achieve sustainable development. It must steel our determination to end extreme poverty once and for all, building on and completing the unfinished business of the MDGs. It must also recognise that environmental sustainability is key to ensuring the sustainable prosperity and well-being of all people within planetary boundaries. The new framework must be people-centred and adopt a human rights-based approach in addressing the structural causes of poverty and inequality including violence, weak governance and the absence of the rule of law. Only by addressing these elements will the new framework be transformative.
They will kill poverty in ALL DIMENSIONS including the fifth one! Their determination is STEELED! Their recognition is PLANETARY and probably in 14 years INTER-PLANETARY! Their framework is TRANSFORMATIVE !
Everything is in the framework, the oceans, the air, the forests, RIO, reports, experts and people . But there is even more:
Migration and human mobility should also be fully recognised in the agenda as development enablers. The framework should also tackle other cross-cutting issues such as disaster risk reduction, resilience and culture, which should be mainstreamed throughout.
OOOOHHHH be AAAFRAAAIDDD they have development ENABLERS ! And they will CROSS- CUT ! They will MAINSTREAM … and not any MAINSTREAM but they will MAINSTREAM THROUGHOUT !
And at the end of the fight the EU will do the hardest thing of all it will “remain committed to ensuring policy coherence for development”
Oooohhhh Mighty Lords of Eurotalk – they will REMAIN COMMITTED to ensure POLICY COHERENCE !
And to seal it all; to make poverty history :
“Member States will continue to develop and update common positions on all matters covered by the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations in a unified manner, and prepare the EU to play a full role in these negotiations.”
OOOOHHHH YEEEAAAHHH , OHHHHH BAAAABYYYYYY , OOOOHHHH YOU GREAT GREAT THINKERS this is it. You nailed it. You got it. You are prepared. We are virtually winners
Now please, please go enjoy yourselves !
We know we cannot shut down the doors of negotiation and sustainable dialogue while standing committed to more talks and we know we should suggest to design a multifaceted matrix for universal stakeholders blabla but , seriously just go, enjoy yourselves !
We (those that pay taxes for your bloated salaries) just wasted a few hundred thousands Euros paying you to produce a document that is a perfect proof why there are so many people that vote with anti-European parties. Europe needs you to go have a break. If possible make it a permanent one.
Here the EU document :
With a view to the discussion at the joint WPIEI (Global)/CONUN/CODEV meeting on 14 October 2014 (agenda item 2), delegations will find attached draft Council conclusions as prepared by the three Co-Chairs.
The Overarching Post-2015 Agenda
– draft Council conclusions –
The world has undergone enormous change in recent years and is facing numerous interrelated global challenges. Foremost are the eradication of poverty and achievement of sustainable development in all its three dimensions (environmental, social and economic). To address these challenges in a coordinated manner, we need an ambitious and transformative Post-2015 agenda which is truly global and universal, with all countries playing their full part.
- Achieving such an agenda is a key priority and the EU and its Member States stand ready to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with all stakeholders in order to respond to these global challenges.
- The EU and its Member States remain strongly committed to the Millennium Declaration, to accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to ensuring that the post-2015 framework provides a comprehensive follow-up to Rio+20 to address the structural causes of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation.
- The Council welcomes the range of inputs into the international process, including the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the outcome document from the MDGs Special Event, the report from the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF). The Council also welcomes the many contributions from stakeholders which have also helped engage an increasing number of people across the world in the process.
- [The Council particularly welcomes the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report, which brings these inputs together and provides a solid basis for further work in the intergovernmental negotiations – to be elaborated as the draft becomes available].
- The Council recalls previous conclusions  and welcomes the Commission Communication “A Decent Life for All: From Vision to Collective Action”  as a key input to developing an EU position in the run-up to the summit in 2015.
- The Council reaffirms the EU’s vision and priorities as set out in the June 2013 Council Conclusions, including the need to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced way, ensure consistency and synergies, and address inter-linkages between goals and targets.
- There need to be clear goals in addressing the fundamental global challenges. These goals should be ambitious, achievable, evidence-based, and action-oriented. While the Post-2015 agenda must reflect the complexity of sustainable development, a clear and concise framework is essential for ownership by all governments, stakeholders and civil society. Communicating with the public and gaining its wide support will also be crucial for success.
- The universality of the agenda is fundamental. The framework should be global in aspirations and coverage and universally applicable, while still being based on national ownership and taking into account different national circumstances. It should overcome traditional divides and recognise that all countries have common challenges and a common future.
- The Post-2015 framework should be guided by the principle of accountability, of which the fundamental requirements are transparency and effective review of progress. It should also significantly increase people’s ability to participate in policy choices affecting them and to hold governments and other actors accountable for progress.
- Business as usual is no longer an option, whether in terms of human dignity, equity, equality or sustainability. The new framework should aim to eradicate poverty in all its dimensions and to achieve sustainable development. It must steel our determination to end extreme poverty once and for all, building on and completing the unfinished business of the MDGs. It must also recognise that environmental sustainability is key to ensuring the sustainable prosperity and well-being of all people within planetary boundaries. The new framework must be people-centred and adopt a human rights-based approach in addressing the structural causes of poverty and inequality including violence, weak governance and the absence of the rule of law. Only by addressing these elements will the new framework be transformative.
Achieving a transformative agenda
- The EU considers that the framework should address the following challenges: poverty; inequality; food security and nutrition; sustainable agriculture; health; education; gender equality and women’s empowerment; water and sanitation; sustainable energy; inclusive and sustainable growth; full and productive employment and decent work for all; sustainable cities and human settlements; sustainable consumption and production; oceans and seas; biodiversity and forests, land degradation including desertification and drought; human rights, the rule of law, good governance and effective institutions; and peaceful societies. The new framework also needs to respond to climate change in a way that supports and complements the outcome of negotiations under the UNFCCC.
- Migration and human mobility should also be fully recognised in the agenda as development enablers. The framework should also tackle other cross-cutting issues such as disaster risk reduction, resilience and culture, which should be mainstreamed throughout.
- The Council welcomes the overall balance of the OWG report, which includes the key elements for a transformative agenda. The report makes significant progress in designing a transformative agenda. It is an important step towards establishing a single set of universal sustainable development goals.
- [Consider adding a paragraph on the UNSG Synthesis Report when available]
- The EU takes the following views on the progress so far:
- We particularly welcome the strong focus on a number of key areas including poverty eradication, inequality, inclusive growth, sustainable consumption and production, and gender equality, as well as the environmental dimensions of sustainability. We reiterate that the empowerment and rights of women and girls must be at the core of the
- The EU and its Member States highlight in particular the need for further progress on peaceful societies and the rule of law. These areas need to be strengthened in the upcoming process as tackling them successfully is a key part of making the Post-2015 framework transformative. We need to ensure that people feel safe, that their human rights are respected, and that security and justice institutions are legitimate and efficient and act in accordance with the rule of law. We need to tackle issues of good governance effectively and address the drivers of violence
- Another important area for further work will be targets. The EU and its Member States welcome the overall orientation in the OWG proposal, but also note that the choice of targets will have to be balanced against the need for effective implementation, measurability and monitoring.
A new global partnership
- The challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development are both common – since they are of universal concern and relevance to all people – and global, since in an interdependent world many challenges call for collective action and global solutions. We need to develop an inclusive global partnership to mobilise action by all countries and stakeholders at all levels. This partnership must include the private sector, civil society, scientific and academic institutions, parliaments and local authorities. It is essential to have a more comprehensive, constructive and effective approach, enabling the implementation of the agenda through various means while taking into account the needs of the least developed countries.
- The EU recognises that universality will require commitment from all. In this context, the SDGs should inform the EU’s internal policies, including the forthcoming review of the EU 2020 Strategy and related policies. In all aspects of the means of implementation, the EU commits to playing its full part, but will also expect other development partners -including new and emerging actors- to contribute their fair share. We need to frame appropriate but ambitious commitments for all under the targets accompanied by well-designed indicators, taking account of national contexts, capacities and levels of development. It is important to develop a shared understanding in order to set national targets guided by the global level of ambition.
- We must ensure an environment conducive to the success of these policies. All countries should promote policy coherence and review their policies, as appropriate, in order to support the successful implementation of the framework. The EU remains committed to ensuring policy coherence for development. We note in particular the importance of trade, science, technology and innovation, knowledge and expertise sharing.
- In a changing global context, the financial needs of poverty eradication and sustainable development remain significant. We welcome the ICESDF report, which highlights the importance of mobilisation and effective use of domestic resources, international public finance, and private finance from domestic and international sources. We also welcome the important ongoing discussions in the OECD-DAC regarding the definition of Official Development Assistance (ODA). Preparations for the Financing for Development Conference in July 2015 and the September 2015 Summit should feed into each other and avoid a duplication of effort. [update reference as required]
- A solid and effective approach to the review, monitoring and accountability of the Post-2015 framework will be crucial in order to assess progress towards the achievement of goals and targets. The review process should be based on openness and transparency, including peer review approaches, benefit from the necessary support from the UN system, and involve civil society, stakeholders and the private sector. Existing mechanisms and processes should be used wherever possible to avoid duplication, while enhancing their coordination. The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) should play an important oversight role in the overall monitoring and accountability scheme.
- Robust measurable indicators will be essential for reporting and should be developed taking account of experience, best practice and expert knowledge. It will be crucial to strengthen the use of existing data and ensure that more and better data are collected, and to capitalise on new information technologies. In this regard the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for sustainable development could make a useful contribution. [Update if report is available] Disaggregation of data will be essential to ensure that no one is left behind. We must recognise the need to look beyond GDP to broader measures of progress, including social and natural capital, to address a more comprehensive idea of quality of life and well-being.
- The Council invites the Commission to develop a concrete way forward on the global partnership, including the various elements addressed above, to allow the EU and its Member States to play a constructive role in international discussions.
- The EU and its Member States commit to playing an active and constructive role in all ongoing processes and support their convergence in order to achieve a single overarching post 2015 framework. For this purpose, the EU and its Member States will continue to develop and update common positions on all matters covered by the upcoming intergovernmental negotiations in a unified manner, and prepare the EU to play a full role in these negotiations.
- The EU and its Member States will continue to work constructively and inclusively with all partners and with stakeholders, including civil society, parliaments, scientific and academic institutions, local authorities, the private sector and social partners.
- The EU and its Member States, including EU Delegations in third countries, will continue to engage in regular dialogue and outreach on these issues. In particular, we will build on joint initiatives and declarations (for example the EU-ASEAN declaration), and work with regional partners, including under the ACP-EU declaration and Africa-EU Summit Declaration. The EU is committed to playing an active role in building the necessary consensus to establish and implement an ambitious and inclusive Post-2015 agenda.
 Council conclusions on The Overarching Post 2015 Agenda of 25 June 2013 (doc. 11559/13) and Council Conclusions on Financing poverty eradication and sustainable development beyond 2015 of 12 December 2013 (doc. 17553/13).
 Doc. 10412/14 + ADD 1 – COM(2014) 335 final.