20 February 2014, New York. In fulfilment of its core mandate to provide support to UN Member States in critical negotiation areas, UNITAR has launched a new series of briefings for delegates with a focus on the crucial intergovernmental process that will define the global sustainable development agenda after 2015. The first such briefing was held at UNHQ in New York on 20 February, with around 120 diplomats in attendance. The Series benefits from critical guidance it receives from the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning and the Co-Chairs of the UN Task Team – UN-DESA and UNDP.
This new landmark initiative aims to strengthen the knowledge of the delegates to the United Nations to promote evidence-based consultative processes and decision making that will contribute to the formulation of the Post-2015 development agenda. It will feature close to 15 different thematic briefings that will run from February to May 2014 in New York, and from May to June 2014 in Geneva.
The Series was conceived with a view to facilitating the navigation through a wealth of information and knowledge resulting from various consultative processes leading up to the intergovernmental negotiations that will be launched at the beginning of the 69th session of the General Assembly this fall. The negotiations are expected to culminate in a High-Level Summit in September 2015, and the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The objective of the first briefing was to introduce delegates from all countries, but especially from those with smaller missions, to the related intergovernmental mandates, resulting consultative processes, key milestones, expected deliverables and the opportunities to contribute. It also aimed to provide an easy-to-grasp overview of the state of the debate building on the Member States’ discussions in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, and at the 2013 General Assembly Special Event on MDGs, as well as the Secretary-General’s Report “A Life of Dignity for All” and the outputs of extensive consultations conducted by the Secretariat with various stakeholders. Other important intergovernmental process with bearing on the Post-2015 process, such as UNFCCC, follow-up to Monterrey, and Conferences focusing on special groups of countries such as SIDSs, LLDCs, LDCs and middle-income countries were highlighted as an important background to be taken into account.
The briefing featured a number of key experts, such as the Co-Chair of the OWG His Excellency Mr. Csaba Kőrösi, as well as the Secretary-General’s Special Advisor Amina J. Mohammed, UNDP Administrator’s Special Advisor Olav Kjørven, Patricia Chaves from DESA and the Chief of the UN-NGLS New York Anita Nayar.
At the individual level, the briefings seek to help delegates to build an increased “confidence” in fulfilling their day-to-day tasks related to the Post-2015 negotiations, such as applying the acquired information on the current state of the debate when conveying their country’s national perspectives, and evaluating opportunities for their country’s participation in ongoing discussions. These objectives will in turn contribute to the overall goal of the Series – enhanced knowledge and information base for intergovernmental decision making that will shape the Post-0215 agenda. The face-to-face learning experience is supported by innovative learning tools – visual presentations and manuals, and complemented by the dedicated online learning platform.