A Universal Agenda? Echoes of Colonial Power Dominate Post 2015 negotiations

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A Universal Agenda? Echoes of Colonial Power Dominate Post 2015 negotiations

UN Women’s Major Group 

In the final week of intergovernmental negotiations taking place in New York, civil society, from both the Global North and Global South, remain concerned about the EU’s continued ‘business as usual’ approach to development financing, North/ South traditional donor dynamics and continued rejection of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Throughout the three years of negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals and Post 2015 Agenda, the EU has spoken numerous times on the need to raise the level of ambition of the new framework. It has lended its voice and support to a number of key priorities, including the achievement of gender equality and increased civil society participation. The European Union has also headed calls for an increase in political commitment by all to achieve the post 2015 sustainable development agenda, its follow up and review, and monitoring and accountability of the goals and targets.

However, following the Third Financing for Development Conference that took place in Addis Ababa earlier this month, the EU has consistently pushed for the annexing of the conference outcome into the Post 2015 Declaration as the main means of implementation. This despite the fact that many civil society groups, including women’s rights organizations have denounced the Addis meeting as a complete failure to remove global obstacles to development and address systemic power imbalances in the global financial system. There has also been strong reaction from many UN member states including the Group of 77 and China who welcome the Addis Outcome Document as unique and complementary to the Post 2015 Agenda.   

 “EU member states have shared, but differentiated responsibilities in the implementation of this agenda,” said Mari-Claire Price from RESURJ. “Risky and failing austerity measures within the region, continued failure to address debt restructuring and corporate tax evasion, and the culture of illicit financial flows throughout Europe, continue to have significant impacts on people within EU countries, who experience rising economic and social inequalities. The EU can no longer approach the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development as donor and creditor. The EU is equally responsible for the different ways in which sustainable development must be met in their own countries and regions.” 

The European Union must not undermine the progress that has been made over the last year in agreeing on the means of implementation for the SDGs, prior to the Addis Outcome. Instead, it must listen to those countries and civil society organizations that are demanding the Post-2015 Sustainable Development agenda be adopted this week with the previously agreed means of implementation.