January 10, 2014

UN Development Group's People’s Voices Brief Released for OWG 7

People’s Voices Brief Released for OWG 7

The UN Development Group (UNDG) has issued a 'People's Voices Issue Brief' conveying views on topics for the seventh session of the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including consumption and production patterns, urbanization, climate change, and disaster risk reduction.

The brief summarizes the views of people who contributed to consultations on the post-2015 development agenda at global, regional and national levels as well as through the MY World survey.

On consumption and production, the brief details that people believe unsustainable patterns must be transformed by decoupling economic productivity from natural resource use. Survey participants looked towards government policies, private sector responsibilities, and personal actions to inspire such a transformation. Especially emphasized is the need for sustainable food production and consumption systems, integrating efficient energy, water, resource, labor, and ecosystem use. Also important to survey respondents was the need to go "beyond GDP" in measurements of progress, and to incorporate environmental measurements with economic indicators.

On urbanization and local communities, the brief highlights the importance of social transformations that are taking place in rapidly growing cities. It calls attention to growing disparities between rural and urban communities, and the experience of migrants, the working poor and slum dwellers. Participants in national consultations highlighted growing urban crime rates as particularly important to them, including rising violence against women and children. The important role of cities in promoting sustainable development is stressed, and the empowerment of urban populations through education, health care and economic growth.

Climate change and disasters ranked as high priorities to participants, who emphasized their impact on health, water and food systems. Perceptions of climate change as contributing to a deteriorating environment are strong, especially in countries that are particularly vulnerable to changes. Proposals for the post-2015 development agenda include mainstreaming climate change throughout the agenda, with "climate-smart targets" for each goal, as well as a stand-alone goal on the issue. Survey participants also highlighted inequalities of disasters, which affect the poor most adversely, and the need for disaster-sensitive development. Consultations called for a goal that could integrate the issues of disaster risk reduction, climate change, conflict and sustainable development.

The consultations led by UNDG have reached over 1.6 million people around the world, with a particular goal of including the voices of the poor and marginalized.


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