TWN Info Service on UN Sustainable Development (Jul15/03)
2 July 2015
Third World Network

Post-2015 development: North-South divide over means of implementation

Costa Rica, 1 July (Mirza Alas) – The June negotiations round on the outcome document for the post-2015 development agenda ended without resolution of the means of implementation issue.

The 6th session of the Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations was held on 22-25 June at the UN headquarters in New York.

Means of implementation (MoI) have been the subject of many disagreements during the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) negotiations in 2013-2014 when many developing countries wanted to have MoI under each specific goal while developed countries wanted to keep MoI only under goal 17. Now the discussions are about how MoI should be integrated into the post-2015 agenda as well as how the outcome of the Financing for Development (FfD) track should be incorporated into the final outcome document. The current disagreements show a clear North-South divide.

(The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa on 13-16 July.)

The developing countries, represented by the Group of 77 and China, emphasized the important role that MoI have on the Post-2015 agenda and its fundamental position in ensuring that the SDGs can be attainable. The G77 further stressed that the MoI currently in the text should not be replaced by the outcome of the FfD conference but that the Addis Accord will be a complementary input to the process.

This view was supported by many other developing countries and their respective groupings such as the Arab States, the Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States. Many other developing countries offered their views on the different ways in which the outcome from Addis could be integrated but all of them agree that the MoI, currently present in the zero draft of the outcome document, was not there as a placeholder but a fundamental part of the document.

On the other hand, developed countries want the FfD process to be fully integrated into the zero draft and become the MoI pillar of the post-2015 agenda, which will effectively replace the current MoI language in the zero draft. The European Union reiterated its position that the Addis outcome should constitute the overarching MoI pillar of the post- 2015 agreement, and that the current MoI language is a placeholder text until the outcome of the FfD process is agreed upon. For this reason they did not want to engage on the zero draft at the June session. 

With only one more scheduled round of negotiations left on 20-31 July there is urgency in having a completed outcome document by 31 July. The Co-facilitators of the process Ambassadors Macharia Kamau (Kenya) and David Donoghue (Ireland) in their closing remarks of the recent session thanked the Member States and the representatives from Major Groups and civil society for all the feedback on the zero draft and noted that even though there was not much consensus about the document both of them expressed their confidence that these differences could be resolved and that a agreeable outcome will be ready on 31 July.

A new version of the zero draft will be ready in the next couple of weeks.

Below are highlights of selected country and group statements.

South Africa on behalf of the G77 and China said that MoI constitutes an integral part of the agenda that is been negotiated. This agenda will not be realizable without MoI.  South Africa welcomed the inclusion of the MoI targets and noted that the outcome of the conference in Addis should not replace the MoI from the report of the SDG Open Working Group but should be complementary. It cautioned against pre-empting the outcome of the conference.

The MoI should not be seeing as a mere placeholder and this cannot be a reverse of what we have achieved particularly goal 17, said South Africa, adding that the language on partnerships should be about the Global Partnership.

(G77 has been emphasizing that the global partnership for development is about state responsibility and thus intergovernmental partnership is primary, while developed countries actively promote public private partnerships seen by many as a dilution of state responsibility.)
On the technology facilitation mechanism paper, G77 said that this should be an annex included in the text, as it is a relevant input for the negotiations.  The Group said that the negotiations on this mechanism took place in the FfD negotiations and only minor editing is needed to take the agreement in Addis on this. It added that Member States should consider the establishment of the technology mechanism for technology transfer for the developing world as a key element of MoI.

Algeria on behalf of the Arab States noted that the MoI section is the most important part of the post-2015 agenda.  If we lack effective MoI developing countries will not be able to achieve the wish for development and therefore the post-2015 agenda, it said, adding that the Addis accord should be complementary to the agenda and not substitute it. It is too early to welcome the outcome of Addis because the negotiations are on its way, said Algeria which also called on developed countries to increase ODA (official development assistance) and fulfill their current commitments on ODA.

Benin on behalf of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) agreed on a new deal on the area of FfD. The outcome of Addis is an important complement of goal 17 on SDGs. Goal 17 does not contain a package of MoI that can transform the agenda. Benin noted that it has participated in the FfD process and hope that a document will be produced that will lead the implementation of the SDGs. There will be need for a critical review on the FfD and if we have a great deal of mismatch of the Addis document then we will need to comeback to goal 17 to make it ambitious. The international community needs to go beyond the approach of reiteration of unmet commitments. We need to do actions and genuine partnership for LDCS.

Benin outlined several key points for the LDCs as follows:

1. A global consensus on specific measures and the 0.25% of gross national income (GNI) of ODA to LDCs to be used in a catalytic way for national resource mobilization. Ensure aid for trade and cancelation of debt and a debt moratorium. Quota free and market free for LDCs in accordance with the Bali package for LDCs. 1% of ODA for a technology bank established in accordance with the Istanbul Program of Action.
2. Specific initiatives and mechanism to build LDC capacity for development. Investment in infrastructure for LDCs and the operationalization of a technology bank for LDCs by 2017 and crisis mitigation and resilience building for LDCs. Tailor made and targeted support for LDCS. Enhancing participation of LDCs in norms settings bodies. Eradication of poverty and achieving prosperity in LDCS is a public good.

Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) stressed maintaining MoI as an integral part of the agenda. It welcomed that the inclusion of goal 17 in its entirety in the zero draft. It further said that it recognized the linkages between the two processes (post-2015 and FfD) but that these are separate in scope, and that the FfD will complement but not supplement what we have.

China observed that MoI is an important part of the post-2015 agenda and this agenda will be ambitious enough depending on the MoI part. The MoI, as outlined in the SDGs, is part of the report and therefore is not a placeholder, it said.  Relations between FfD and post-2015 MoI goals and targets are the basis of the post 2015 and the outcome of the FfD will be complementary and a contribution to the agenda, China also said.
In the text there is no language that speaks to the Global Partnership and this should be based on MDG 8 with North-South cooperation as the basis and South-South as complementary, it added further.

China also said the follow up and review of MoI is equally important so we need language on this to make sure that this will also be delivered.

It also spoke about the importance of the principle of CBDR in the agenda and the need for the reaffirmation of this principle that has been agreed on by many processes and that it should not be something for debate anymore.

Brazil emphasized that the means of implementation are an integral part of the SDGs and a requirement for their achievement. It said the Addis Accord complements SDG 17 and the MoI specific targets, providing the policy framework for the goal and the targets contained in Open Working Group (OWG) proposal.  Brazil also said the Addis Accord should be integrated it into our Agenda in its entirety as an addendum to SDG 17 and the MoI-specific targets.

It further said the Global Partnership constitutes a crosscutting aspect of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and Goal 17 and the MoI-specific targets will be monitored on the basis of global indicative indicators to be developed by the Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDGs. Brazil recalled that the mandate of the high level political forum (HLPF), as established in Rio+20 and the Resolution 67/290, includes monitoring the MoI of the new agenda.

The FfD outcome document is supposed to articulate a narrative and set out a global policy framework to achieve the SDGs, it said, adding that the follow-up and review section of the Post-2015 should clearly reflect the integration of the follow-up and review of FfD into the overall arrangement under the HLPF.

Brazil stressed that the Global Partnership underpins our endeavour; while the Addis Outcome may provide the framework, it does not exhaust all the tools and mechanisms to implement, monitor and review the revitalized partnership.

It noted that the current FfD draft has a number of shortfalls and limitations, saying that the question of the upgrade of the tax committee to an intergovernmental body is a case in point. It also said that arrangements for follow up and review of FfD still seem insufficient to meet the needs of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Technology Facilitation Mechanism, on the other hand, was a positive development, said Brazil.

On CBDR, it said that this is one of the foundations of the sustainable development international agenda since 1992; the principle of CBDR will also be key in the discussions for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, as indicated in the outcome document of the Special Events on MDGs and the proposal of the Open Working Group on SDGs. Developed countries still question the validity of the principle on the basis that it does not reflect the changes of the last 20 years – an argument, said Brazil, not applied in other “fora” of the United Nations, such as the Security Council, to say nothing of the International Financial Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.

It stressed that CBDR will still provide the conceptual basis for the global partnership for sustainable development beyond 2015, balancing needs and responsibilities, according to historical responsibilities and respective capabilities of developed and developing countries. Brazil said the principle of CBDR embodies the premise that justice should be a compulsory part of the international sustainable development agenda.

Differentiation serves to the purpose of “substantive equality” at the international level, questioning the formal argument of equality between different States parties in international agreements, it said further. Many international agreements, including trade-related ones, embody differentiation in their provisions even though the principle of CBDR is not spelled out. In many cases, differentiation is used to address special needs of “countries prone to natural disasters” (UNFCCC), or “African country parties, in light of the particular situation prevailing in that region” (Convention on Desertification), according to Brazil.

In other cases, such as in the Multilateral Trading System, differentiation takes the shape of the principle of less than full reciprocity and, more broadly, the provisions on Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries (S&D) contained in practically all the agreements of the World Trade Organization, it went on to say. 
Brazil then provided a reference to the legal definition of equality:  Equality means treating differently those that are differently situated or in different circumstances, and treating equally those that are similarly situated or that are in like circumstances.

India welcomed the placement of the MoI targets of SDGs including Goal 17 in the MoI section and emphasized that those targets belong in the current document and not merely as a placeholder. These targets will form the core of this section going forward, it said, adding that it expects the FfD outcome to supplement and add to these targets.
India said that the draft FfD outcome document speaks of ‘inter-linkages’ between the MoI and the FfD outcome, which is a helpful way to frame this relationship, rather than saying one is the pillar of another or will replace it.

It also said this section will eventually be comprised of the SDG MoI targets together with the FfD outcome, and also the decision on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

India expressed flexibility regarding how to integrate the FfD outcome into the post-2015 outcome document. It said that integrating the full Addis outcome may make this document overly cumbersome, while re-negotiating the FfD outcome into a lite version … would also be difficult”.  “We could therefore simply refer to the Addis Ababa outcome in the form of a single paragraph, which also speaks to its interlinkages with the SDG MoI component”, said India, adding further that the full Addis document can then be annexed to the Summit outcome document. This would also preserve its inter-linked but independent status as a document agreed to by Ministers, according to India.

(The Development Summit will take place on 25-27 September at the UN headquarters in New York during the General Assembly’s annual session.)

Cuba said the Addis conference is one of the MoI, and therefore it cannot substitute but only complement, adding that the current FfD document is not enough for all the targets in the agenda.

(Other MoI for sustainable development include technology transfer to, and capacity building of, developing countries.)

Cuba also said that it is clear that the MoI needs to be proportionate to the ambition and commitment that countries are taking, particularly developing countries. There has to be a balance between the commitments and the MoI to achieve them, it said, adding that FfD and goal 17 as in the draft are not enough to satisfy this criterion. With the exception of a few of the MoI, the majority of MoI are a political declaration of good intentions but today they have not become a reality, stressed Cuba, saying further that we need to take into considerations the lessons of MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).  It also said that to think that developing countries will be able to achieve 17 goals and 168 indicators is a utopian dream without the resources to pursue this.

Pakistan said that this is a highly ambitions and transformative agenda, and an ambitious outcome of FfD will be very important, stressing that both processes are important but separate and the (FfD) outcome cannot replace current MoI but only complement it. The new framework will transform the New Global Partnership and not only ODA, said Pakistan.

It also said that climate financing is being counted as ODA and the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) says that it needs to be new and additional. Pakistan also noted the importance of maintaining CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities) as an important principle.

The European Union (EU) said that its position is that the Addis outcome should constitute the overarching MoI pillar of the post-2015 agreement. In this context the zero draft language is really a placeholder text, as clearly indicated in the footnote, it said, adding that the EU did not intend to engage on the text at this stage.

The EU emphasized that in order to secure a high level of ambition both in Addis and at the Post-2015 Summit the best possible outcome in Addis should be secured and then for this to be fully integrated in post-2015 agenda. This is the best way to ensure that the post-2015 agenda is effectively supported and implemented across the board, without unnecessary duplication or inconsistency, it said. The EU further noted that integration is a precondition for maximum effectiveness, efficiency and impact.

It argued that, “Addis is fully capable of being the MoI pillar for post-2015, that “Monterrey and Doha have left us excellent legacy. We need to build on their comprehensive approach by recognizing changes underway in the world.”  The EU also said that Addis, framed in terms of balanced approach to three pillars of sustainable development with financial and non-financial means of implementation, and with a multistakeholder approach, is broad enough to support the effective implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

The EU said a single, robust monitoring, accountability and review framework would lead to much stronger implementation and follow-up for both post Addis and post-2015, leading to better outcomes for all.

Japan stated that MoI and the Global Partnership in the zero draft is a placeholder right now and Member States should wait for the outcome of FfD, adding that FfD supports the implementation of the post-2015 agenda.  It said that it is important to endorse the outcome document of FfD in its entirety in this section of the outcome document, suggesting a simple chapeau for this endorsement. It added that the outcome of FfD should not be re-opened in the post-2015 agenda.

Japan said there should be paragraphs for the technology facilitation mechanism, and proposed deleting the MoI section in the SDGs to avoid duplication from FfD.

The United Kingdom (UK) restated its view that Section 3 (on MoI) is a placeholder and that the Addis outcome plus the MoI agreed in the SDG Open Working Group together constitute the MoI for the post-2015 Development Agenda. It recalled that, “the rationale put forward for holding the Addis conference on Finance For Development prior to the SDG summit in the first place was to agree on a finance and policy package to support delivery of the SDGs.  … therefore … the outcome from Addis should be incorporated into Section 3”.

The UK noted that the text currently included in Section 3 includes the Open Working Group’s MoI targets, including goal-by-goal MoI. It could see how this gives the MoI greater visibility and could therefore result in greater prominence and traction, and invited the co-facilitators to “presentationally … consider how to avoid duplication across the sections in the final version of the document.”

Joining other developed countries in promoting a wider notion of MoI, the UK said that, “to be truly transformational, they must cover financial and non-financial policies and actions at domestic and international levels by all stakeholders, including public and private, government and non-governmental actors.”
(Developing countries and many civil society groups are concerned that a broad approach to MoI would dilute, even negate the long established MoI commitments of developed countries to provide finance, technology and capacity building to achieve sustainable development.)

The Netherlands observed that it is necessary that a strong package of MoI actions come out of the Addis track, to strengthen and build on the MoI that were agreed in the Open Working Group on SDGs.  It also provided a few comments on section III of the Zero Draft on Monitoring and Accountability and Review.

On accountability, it said the "what" is progress on the development outcomes we have defined through goals and targets, and the "how", the means, financial and non-financial resources and policy actions enabling such progress. The monitoring and accountability framework is where the “what” and the “how” come together, with the goals and targets providing a benchmark in terms of outcomes for the inputs we need. It referred to some existing monitoring mechanisms in the UN and OECD, and highlighted the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises for private sector accountability as “could helpfully be linked to the SDGs”.

The United States spoke on mobilizing and galvanizing action for resources with a focus on domestic resource mobilization, referring to the private sector, civil society and academia, among others. It noted that the current chapters are placeholders and that it was premature to come to a conclusion of the Addis conference and therefore it looked forward to the discussion on MoI after the Addis conference.

(Edited by Chee Yoke Ling.)