Sustainable Development Agenda

Post- 2015 process

Achieving a sustainable world for all. Photo: UNESCO.

As the world approaches 2015, the Target date for achieving the Millennium development goals, a process of reflection has begun on the future of global development. The definition of the ‘post-2015 agenda’ is a chance to usher in a new era in international development –one that can eradicate extreme poverty and lead to a world of prosperity, peace, sustainability, equity and dignity for all. Collectively, we need to grasp this historic opportunity to transform our economies and societies.

The outcome document of the 2010 MDG Summit requested the Secretary-General to initiate thinking on the global development agenda beyond 2015. By the same token, the outcome document of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development initiated an inclusive process to develop a set of sustainable development goals.

There is broad agreement that the two processes should be closely linked and should ultimately converge in one global development agenda beyond 2015 with sustainable development at its core. The process of arriving at this new framework is Member State-led with broad participation from external stakeholders such as civil society organizations, the private sector and businesses, academia and scientists. The United Nations has played a facilitating role in this global conversation and has the responsibility of supporting Member States by providing evidence-based inputs, analytical thinking and field experience.

Work Streams

Open Working Group

A 30-member Open Working Group of the General Assembly is mandated by the Rio+20 Outcome document to prepare a proposal on SDGs for consideration by the Assembly at its 68th session (Sept. 2013 – Sept. 2014).

High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

In July 2012 the UN Secretary-General launched his High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Co-chaired by the Presidents of Indonesia and Liberia and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Panel assembles representatives from civil society, private sector, academia and local and national governments. In May 2013 the Panel will publish its report with its vision and recommendations on a global development agenda beyond 2015.

UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda

Established by the UN Secretary-General in January 2012, the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda assembles more than 60 UN agencies and international organizations. Co-chaired by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme the Task Team supports the process by providing analytical thinking and substantial inputs.

The Task Team published its first report titled Realizing the Future We Want for All in June 2012. The report outlined the vision of the United Nations system on the global development agenda beyond 2015.

National, global and thematic consultations

In order to facilitate an inclusive global conversation, the United Nations Development Group has initiated consultations at the national and global level as well as a set of eleven thematic consultations.

In order to facilitate a global conversation where each citizen can make their voice be heard, the initiative My World was established. Without having to sign up, users can select their six priorities out of a list of 16 different themes. Results of the survey will be submitted to the Secretary-General's High-level Panel.

A set of eleven multi-stakeholder thematic consultations are convened on the following themes: education; inequalities; health; governance; conflict and fragility; growth and employment; environmental sustainability; hunger, nutrition and food security; population dynamics; energy; and water. Each thematic consultation is led by two or more UN agencies who work closely together with representatives from civil society, the private sector and academia as well as with co-hosting governments.

Regional consultations

The Regional Economic Commissions are engaged in regional consultations which will culminate in a report on regional perspective on the post-2015 development agenda.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), led by Jeffrey Sachs, is a global, independent network of research centres, universities and technical institutions that works with stakeholders including business, civil society, UN agencies and other international organizations. As a first step, the network will establish 10 global expert groups to support global problem solving in ten critical areas of sustainable development. SDSN also provides technical support to the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact has been actively involved in ensuring that the views and contributions of businesses and the private sector feed into the post-2015 process.


In order to ensure coherence across the different work streams an informal senior coordination group of four Assistant Secretaries-General (ASGs)has been put in place, which includes the ASG for Economic Development at DESA, the ASG for Development Policy at UNDP, the ASG for Policy and Programme at UN Women and the Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. A One Secretariat was established to facilitate the coordination and coherence across work streams, while each of the work streams remains substantively independent.

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