Written by Anuradha Rajivan
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to bring a stronger focus on longer-term durability of development gains as opposed to the standard approach which sees decision-making targeted at the shorter term. For businesses that has meant annual balance sheets; for development organizations annual results reporting; and for democracies, cyclical elections.
Moving forward we need to ask new questions. How can we support sustainable development that embeds in it economic prosperity, social equity and environmental responsibility, for gains to be durable? How can we harness a wide spectrum of ideas to better respond to rising aspirations among countries of Asia and the Pacific?
As the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes in 2015, we see a strong push for far more ambitious goals than the MDGs. For this region, 12 goals have been proposed in the Regional MDG Report “Asia Pacific Aspirations: Perspectives for a Post-2015 Development Agenda”. This includes an end to extreme poverty rather than simply reducing it by half; zero hunger; decent jobs for all of working age; universal access to social services of water-sanitation-electricity; education with a focus on quality; more comprehensive gender equality: livable cities; responsibly managed environment and others. The time has come for countries around the world to negotiate and agree on a concrete set of new global development goals drawing from the many strands of recommendations made, the latest being the 17 goals proposed by the Open Working Group on the SDGs.
As our clients and shareholders collectively finalize the goals, we look ahead and consider the key challenges to implement them, challenges which will be critical no matter what the final goals are.
Three bottlenecks stand in the way of the region’s aspirations: adequate finance, access to technology; and a strong evidence base. These three are important because (a) they are going to be relevant whatever the finally agreed SDGs will be; (b) these are areas where development cooperation can make a big difference; (c) ADB can contribute through its Finance++ approach – an interlinked mix of money, leverage and knowledge.
Without adequate finance the very credibility of the new development goals becomes open to question. Money is critical but is not enough by itself–easier access to technology and knowledge needs to become part of building domestic capacities for money to deliver results. And complete and better quality data is essential, not just for monitoring and reporting, but also for planning and accountability.
Starting the 20th of October, ADB is facilitating jointly with ESCAP and UNDP an open e-discussion around these three implementation challenges in a dedicated global forum. ADB is facilitating the forum on post-2015 financing, while UNDP and ESCAP will focus on technology and data, respectively. This is the first time ADB is using a web-based platform with an open invitation to all. The e-discussion continues for a month until 24 November. The forum aims to reach out to new audiences and garner a spectrum of ideas, views and experiences (see invitation from VP Bindu Lohani
). All are invited – you may register, contribute, share or simply observe. Here is an opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives!