One of the success stories of the United Nations has been its capacity to serve as a forum to agree on global development goals. They include not only those set in the UN Development Decades, but also in the series of UN conferences convened since the 1970s and particularly the series of summits that started with the 1990 World Summit for Children. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which drew from the Millennium Declaration and that series of summits, and the ongoing discussions about the post-2015 UN Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) belong to this long tradition.
This not only shows the convening power of the UN and its character as the most representative global institution (the Security Council aside), but also its strong historical partnership with civil society. Although goal setting has helped place many new issues on the global agenda, a downside has been the weak accountability and even deficient monitoring of international commitments.
For the post-2015 process, the UN has before it two major reports: the 2012 one by a task force of UN agencies and the 2013 report of the high-level panel convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for this purpose. We should add his own report to the 68th (September 2013) session of the General Assembly. These reports are cited here as UN Task Force, High-Level Panel and SG Report. Also relevant are reports by the UN regional commissions and a summary of the “global conversation” organized by the UN Development Group.
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