Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Post-2015 development agenda should focus on agriculture

Post-2015 development agenda has to focus on agriculture development, including increasing investment in agriculture, since it is the sector in which most of the poor people in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Nepal depend on, according to under secretary general and high representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, United Nations, Gyan Chandra Acharya.
"There is a need to mobilise national resources effectively, while emphasising that the developed countries have a greater responsibility in providing the much needed resources in the context that MDG 8 — global partnership for development — has remained one of the weakest areas," he said, addressing the 'High-level dialogue on Linking Istanbul Plan of Action with Post-2015 Development Framework,' organised by South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) here today.
Economic growth did not get enough attention while formulating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as it had focused on human development more, he said, adding that MDGs that are due to expire in 2015 have been partly successful as some of the goals and targets have been met by many countries, including LDCs like Nepal. "The partial success of the MDGs needs to be appreciated."
The Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), which takes a holistic view of LDC development, including building their productive capacity, needs to be taken into account while formulating the post-2015 development agenda, he said. "Post-2015 development agenda has to be more ambitious than the MDGs, and the issues set forth in the IPoA need to be integrated in them."
As the 2015 deadline for the MDGs is fast approaching, with the possibility of many of the MDGs being unmet by the deadline, progress should be accelerated and challenges should be prioritised, according to Acharya.
There are several initiatives going on at the national, regional and international levels to devise a development agenda for the post-2015 landscape.
With the core focus on poverty reduction, MDGs have been partly successful in that they have played an important role in getting countries focus on national development efforts and making development strategies more result oriented.
"However, the post-2015 agendas should address the MDGs weaknesses like flawed design and concept," said executive chair of SAWTEE Dr Posh Raj Pandey.
"The 'one size fits all' approach, ignorance of interdependency among the various goals, silence on distribution aspect, assumption of linear progress and outcome, and not fully reflecting national priorities are some of the lessons to learn despite, its simple framework with limited goals and targets that are measurable in many instances," he said, adding that the new development agenda should also address the emergence of new actors like assertive private sector, vocal civil society, and fast changing technology.
Devising the post-2015 development agenda offers an opportunity to contemplate on the strengths of MDGs to devise more inclusive development approaches for addressing the pressing development challenges, said executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka Professor Mustafizur Rahman.
It is undoubtedly important for any such development agenda to further the progress made on the three pillars of sustainable development — economic development, social development and environmental sustainability — while keeping poverty eradication at its core.
Likewise, the issues pertaining to 'human capital formation' — like health and education — should be continued, while it is high time new issues, like 'technology' and 'migration' be given rightful space. "At the same time, it is important to cater to the special needs of the developing world, especially the rising South," he said, adding that when the MDGs were put in place, the voice of the South was very limited.
"But now that the world has undergone major shifts and that the global South has emerged as a strong power, learning from what did not work in the MDGs, the South needs to have a strong voice in the post-2015 development agenda formulation process," Rahman added.
He categorically argued that ending poverty rather than reducing poverty should be the goal of the post-2015 development agenda, and for that to materialise, apart from building on the MDGs, new and important issues such as the rights of migrant workers should also be included in the post-2015 development framework.
Chief guest of the programme, minister for home and foreign affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire, said that the post-2015 development agenda should be open, transparent and measurable. "LDCs should be kept at the centre of the agenda and adequate resources to help them meet their development needs should be provided," he said, adding that LDCs should also be provided with additional and predictable resources to address the emerging challenges facing them like climate change.
The Istanbul Programme of Action for the LDCs was drawn up for the decade 2011-2020 during the fourth UN Conference on LDCs, held in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 9-13, 2011, and lists out the strategies for the sustainable development of LDCs.
The goals and objectives set-out by the IPoA focus on reducing vulnerabilities of LDCs by tackling the problems that include food security, energy, economic crises and climate change, with a strong focus on structural transformation through increasing productive capacity. It also aims at generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly for the youth.

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