INTERATIONAL SOCIETY FOR POVERTY ELIMINATION ECONOMIC ALLIANCE GROUP
Achieving AAAA, SDG and COP21 Outcome Document Vision and Words with Action Agenda by 2030 in 306/193 Member States – Part 10
Commentary on UNEP Perspectives Issue 20 on UNEP and Civil Society: An Exchange – A New Landscape for Stakeholder Engagement in UNEP?
We strongly commend the Authors – Mark Halle and Felix Dodds for depth of knowledge on UNEP history, successes and failures as well as passion for design and delivery of Environment Dimension of the SDG that achieve expected results by 2030 target date.
UNEP invites others to comment and provide further views on the subject. This Commentary is in response to the invitation.
Strong understood that the environment is not a sector of activity, interacting with others such as industry, agriculture, or urban development: it is, instead, an integral part of all of these.
The import of this comment is that there is Environment Dimension to all 17 SDGs.
Sadly, Strong liked to set things up but not to run them for long and he soon departed in the quest for other creative initiatives. His successor, Mostafa Tolba, took UNEP in a different direction...
The Earth Summit in Rio, towards the end of Tolba’s tenure, recognized very clearly that integrating environment and development would require the mobilization of the full range of players in government, civil society, and the private sector... Did this development, now in place for over 20 years, break down the silos and take us back towards Maurice Strong’s founding vision?
I will argue that, in its essence, UNEP’s current way of engaging with civil society through accredited representatives of the nine Major Groups, and the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum2 is closer to Tolba’s vision and that it is ripe for a reassessment.
this (third suggested and preferred way forward) approach is very far from the “fan club” behaviour of UNEP’s Major Groups and Stakeholders. It implies a fresh approach both by UNEP and by the NGOs. It is also, interestingly, a “back to the future” return to the original vision for UNEP crafted by its founder, Maurice Strong, and a recognition that, for all his success, Mostafa Tolba was wedded to a “governments first” vision that has lost its meaning in the 21st century.
The implication is that Visions need to be nurtured and grown by Founders and Colleagues who can correctly interpret the Vision and effectively convert same into Policy, Program, Project Interventions, 3PIs and 3PIs Training as One; fully implement 3PIs and 3PIs Training as One with effective Monitoring and Evaluation of this Implementation.
It is evident that this was lacking in Agenda 21 and UNEP Visions and is also lacking in AAAA, SDG and COP 21 Visions. This underlines Mark’s call for urgent reassessment of MGoS and this should start from going back to the UNEP Founding Vision and correctly working out what can and should be done to achieve increasing convergence between AAAA, SDG, COP21 and Agenda 21 Visions Intention and Reality and by 2030 Target date.
the UN culture of “omertà” in refusing to engage in any direct, public criticism of them,
This Culture permeates all UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF entities. It is a Bad Culture that must give way to a New UN System Culture of “4C, Cooperation, Collaboration, Cohesion and Coordination” Driving UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF Delivery as One, DaO.
A government department may be clearcutting large swaths of forest, turning a blind eye to over-fishing, issuing illegal mining licenses, and blithely ignoring its own laws, regulations and international commitments. However, it can sleep peacefully reassured by one certainty – UNEP will not be among the chorus of critics that point a finger at it.
Each UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF Entity must in the new dispensation speak up whenever and wherever any of its intergovernmental peers engage in activities that could hinder work towards achieving Global Goals Vision Ambitions.
This emasculation of UNEP and – to a considerable extent – all of its intergovernmental peers sets them apart from the environmental NGOs who, in large part, exist because governments are failing to live up to the public trust. For those NGOs that exist to point out and correct public sector shortcomings, UNEP is not only of no help – it is part of the problem.
Each UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF Entity must in the new dispensation be effective part of solutions in the work towards achieving Global Goals Vision Ambitions.
We all know, of course, that there is a lot UNEP can do indirectly or behind the scenes, and it does indeed do a great deal. UNEP routinely disseminates public information that is awkward for governments and that NGOs can use to good effect. And what the UNEP Executive Director tells ministers in private is, of course, not known.
NGOs represent a veritable force for environmental action, a fact demonstrated repeatedly in many fields,
UNEP has, over almost all NGOs, formal access to governments at the highest levels. Furthermore, it represents a gravity and authority to which most NGOs can only aspire. NGOs, in turn, have flexibility and a freedom to tell things as they are, move quickly, and adapt, unencumbered by the deadening weight of the UN’s bureaucracy or the political constraints imposed on intergovernmental organizations. They are not obliged to maintain the polite fiction that it is the governments that take all the decisions that count, that allocate priority and funding to global action, or that in some way represent what is acceptable. In important ways, this is no longer the whole truth: in many cases, it is not the truth at all.
There are things UNEP and other UN System Entities Individually and Collectively can do that NGOs and other MGoS Individually and Collectively cannot do and vice versa. This underlines urgent need to design and deliver DaO, MSPs, Globalization as Force for Good and Lobbying as Force for Good that work as well as urgent need to Reform the 9 MGs and other Stakeholder Groups; Reform all UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF Entities and Reform all Government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary Entities in each UN Member State to give our World a UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF that is Fit for the 21st Century. This in turn means implementing Reforms that deliver Original UN System Vision.
The 70th Celebrations of the UN captured the Successes but was silent on the flaws and failures. It will be uphill task seeking to achieve Global Goals without first eliminating as many of these UN System flaws and failures as possible and ensuring the remaining flaws and failures that we must live with are reduced to the barest minimum. The Panama Papers is fresh evidence of flaws and failures in the UN System that must be effectively and efficiently tackled as part of learning lessons from 70 years of UN System so that by 100 years of UN System we are not bemoaning the same problems possibly on worse scale.
Seen from the outside (and this may well be a partial view), such NGOs aim at influencing UNEP in two ways: seeking space to present their views in the plenary of UNEP’s governing bodies; and influencing the language of outcome documents by adding, eliminating, or amending text that would otherwise be adopted. The former – NGO statements – are usually added near to the bottom of formal statements by delegations in plenary or its equivalent (the Committee of the Whole) and, though they may have symbolic value, they have no more significance than the formal statements of minor delegations. These plenary bodies almost never vote because decisions are taken by consensus that is hammered out in group meetings from which NGOs are often excluded. Furthermore, the lobbying of individual delegations by NGOs usually has little practical effect.
This underlines urgent need to design and deliver DaO, MSPs, Globalization as Force for Good and Lobbying as Force for Good that work as well as urgent need to Reform the 9 MGs and other Stakeholder Groups; Reform all UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF Entities and Reform all Government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary Entities in each UN Member State to help achieve increasing convergence between National Goals – National Development Plans on each UN Member State aligned and harmonized with Global Goals – AAAA, SDG, COP21, Agenda 21 Vision Intention and Reality and by 2030 Target date.
It might be convincingly argued that UNEP’s impact comes more from the Executive Director’s political skills and the projects for which he or she is able to raise funding.
This raised Competences – Hard Competences: Learning and Skills and Soft Competences: Character, Courage and Mindset Issues that need to be tackled not only in each UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF side but also in each Government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary Entities in each UN Member State side. It also raises Capacity Building – Individual, Institution and Society issues that need to be addressed.
The issue of Hard and Soft Competences as well as Capacity Building problems UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF, UN Member States – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and MGoS sides is more challenging given the Cross Cutting Nature of the SDGs, especially the fact that each of the four Dimensions – Environment, Economic, Financial and Reform of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cut across all 17 SDGs. Panama Papers underline urgent need to expand SDG from 17 to 21 Goals that make specific provision for Governance, Corruption, Terrorism, Data and Religion Goals.
The sustainable solutions to root problems on Hard and Soft Competences, Capacity Building as well as Four Dimensions of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be left to divine intervention. The arrangements to achieve Global Goals by 2030 Target Date cannot happen on its own, it must be discussed, negotiated and established and on time.
..the main issue here which is what is and should be the engagement strategy of “stakeholders” with UNEP. To answer this, I am going to return to the logic that Maurice had in 1992 for the Major Groups. Prior to 1992, all stakeholders were grouped under the term “NGOs” by the UN system, and if they wanted to differentiate, then it tended to be between the “private sector” and the “others” (now often termed “civil society”). What Maurice and his team very clearly recognised was something that did not speak to the reality of how organizations saw themselves. Not only was that the case, but there was also a great opportunity through Agenda 21 to engage these other sectors of society as a catalyst for implementing Agenda 21. Therefore, similar to empowering different parts of the UN system to help implement Agenda 21, the nine chapters of Agenda 21 could do the same with what we now know to be the Major Groups.
The Key Point is “something does not speak to the reality of how organizations – Entities on Governments – Executive, Legislature, Judiciary in all UN Member States; UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF and MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs and Non MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs saw themselves.
Rio ideas used to develop Agenda 21 have been adopted to develop UNEP Vision without learning lessons from Agenda 21 flaws and failures. Also without learning lessons from UNEP Vision flaws and failures the same Agenda 21 ideas have been used to develop SDG. Is it any wonder then that concerned authorities are finding it very difficult to fill Gaps in AAAA, SDG and COP 21?
Felix makes the case – convincingly and eloquently – that there is something to show for twenty years of interaction between civil society and UNEP.... Yet the questions remain: in terms of advancing sustainable development over this period, has the approach favoured for engaging with UNEP worked better than the traditional approaches used by the different stakeholder groups? Are our successes the result of this form of investment? And are we confident that this form of engagement paid more dividends than other approaches might have?
Yes much has been achieved but much more remains to be done. Progress has been in arithmetic proportions but problems have been in geometric proportions. It is clear that alternative approaches are needed that help Village to Global Stakeholders on Governments – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary in all UN Member States; UN System UNO, WBG and IMF and Citizens – MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs, Non MGoS Member CSOs’/NGOs sides to face New Direction and adopt New Priorities if increasing convergence between Global Goals – AAAA, SDG, COP21 and Agenda 21 Vision Intention and Reality is to be achieved by 2030 Target date.
Paper promises we have by the ship-load. Agenda 21 was a perfectly adequate plan, though most of it was never implemented. Should our efforts really be devoted to producing more documents, holding more meetings, and establishing more platforms? Or is our global predicament such that we need to search for more successful ways of bringing about transformative change? This need not exclude UNEP – indeed, it is important that UNEP be very much included, but in a format where each player does what it does best. UNEP can provide a framework and seek to rally the environment ministries in support, or at least, to run 10 March 2016 interference. Within that framework, the Major Groups can deploy their particular strengths, focusing on how they – the leaders in their communities – can bring others around.
The time from move away talking and thinking and move towards action and accomplishment is NOW.
I would also like to deal with the last point regarding implementation. I have made some substantive suggestions in my previous response on what the future functions of the Major Groups and Stakeholder work should include. I have tried to show how both advocacy and implementation stakeholders – and those that do both – all have a role to play. In the past, the link between UNEP’s work on the ground with implementing stakeholders seldom found its way into political forums; as a result, the unique knowledge and experience they could have contributed was lost in the process. This must change for the implementation of the SDGs.
This is an exciting time to be engaged in the sustainable development agenda and it is vital that THIS time we do in fact implement what has been agreed.
The Big Question is: Can Implementation Challenge be effectively tackled without simultaneously tackling Development Communications and Development Research; Planning and Implementation; Monitoring and Evaluation; Data and Digitization; Performance Management and Measures of Success Challenges from Village to Global levels and on Governments – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary in each UN Member States; UN System – UNO, WBG and IMF and MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs and Non MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs sides? Can clear and correct answer to this question be found without simultaneously finding clear and correct answer to DaO, MSP, Lobbying as Force for Good, Globalization as Force for Good, AAAA, SDG, COP21 and Agenda 21 How questions?
Mark and Felix have many areas of agreements and disagreements on way forward in the design and delivery of Environment Dimension of SDG that works. This is normal and healthy. A deeper look would reveal that areas of seeming disagreement are in reality not mutually exclusive but divergent perspectives that need to be aligned and harmonized to produce synergies that are in Global Interest.
Political Skills and Limited Funding
It is appalling that the entire Budget of the UNO is about the Budget of New York State. There is a need to get more creative about providing adequate funding for each UNO Entity but there is also a need to ensure that each UNO Entity deliver more with same.
It takes Thinkers to come up with Visions but it takes Doers to convert the Vision into Policy, Program and Project Interventions, 3PIs and 3PIs Training as One; fully implement 3PIs and 3PIs Training as One with effective Monitoring and Evaluation of this Implementation and it takes Influencers to provide the Political and Cultural; Economic and Financial; Social and Environmental; Peace and Security and Religious and Moral Space for the work of Thinkers and Doers to Thrive in our Chaotic World.
It will take Thinkers, Doers and Influences working in concert to help all concerned Community, Sub-national, National, Sub-regional, Regional and Global Stakeholders find clear and correct answers to the above Big Question. They must be found and they must be given Platforms to help Drive Configuring our World for Changing our World for Transforming our World in ways that ensure No One is Left Behind in the work towards achieving Global Goals by 2030 Target date.
It is pertinent to note that seeking to address Environment Dimension of all 17 SDG without simultaneously seeking to address Economic, Finance and Reform Dimensions is likely to be exercise in futility. It is pertinent to note further that continuing to avoid or evade finding clear and correct answers to DaO, MSP, Lobbying, AAAA, SDG, COP and Agenda 21 How questions cannot help in the integration of Environment, Economic, Finance and Reform Dimensions of Global Goals.
Points contributed to NGO MG Draft HLPF 2016 Position Paper
On Clear and Correct Answers to MSP, Lobbying, AAAA, COP21, Agenda 21 and SDG How Questions.
· For achieving increasing convergence between Global Goals agreed in 2015 Year of Decision - AAAA, SDG and COP21 Vision intention and reality by 2030 Target date, there is urgent need for Policy Makers and Decision Makers on UN Member States, UN System - UNO, WBG and IMF and MGoS sides to recognize that What questions have been over-answered and MSP, Lobbying, AAAA, COP21, Agenda 21 and SDG How questions are avoided or evaded.
· We all need to understand that UN member States are looking up to the UN System for effective support in the implementation of National Development Plans aligned and harmonized with Global Goals - AAAA, SDG and COP21; that arising from confusing What and How questions, at the end of the first quarter in 2016 Year of Implementation, fundamental issues that ought to have been settled in the first quarter of 2015 before any of the 3 Global Goals were agreed are still outstanding and that UN System - UNO, WBG and IMF themselves need help if they are to help UN Member States and that clear and correct answers to these identified How questions are Technical - this explains why only One Institution in our World today has come up with clear and correct answers to MSP, Lobbying, AAAA, COP21, Agenda 21 and SDG How questions..
· Panama Papers released from just One Law Firm have highlighted huge gaps in AAAA that need to be filled. There is a need to build on current momentum to identify all similar Law Firms, Consultants and Tax Havens wherever they are in the World and to come up with effective Global Cure and Prevention Mechanisms that clearly identify Offences and Punishment and also ensure that no Offender no matter how powerful and in whichever Country gets away unpunished.
· Addressing all fundamental issues thrown up by Panama Papers call for unbundling SDG Goal 16 to produce New SDG Goal 16 focused on Governance and 4 New Goals focused on Corruption, Economic and Financial Crimes and related Offences; Terrorism, Insurgency and Slavery; Data and Digitization and Religion Matters
· It will be important to have a Mechanism for Changing Attitude and Behavior at Scale if necessary paradigm shifts - silos to synergy; business as usual to business unusual; multiple approaches to one worldwide approach etc are to occur and on time. Civil Society through NGO MG as well other CSOs’/NGOs in remaining 8 MGs and 3 or 4 other Stakeholder Groups need to find a way to speak with One Powerful Citizens Voice. This will be sound basis for persuading and where necessary pressing each entity in UN System - UNO, WBG and IMF as well as each entity in each Executive, Legislature and Judiciary arm of each UN Member State to do the same. Civil Society and other MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs and Non MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs need to “Walk their Talk” if they are to contribute their quota towards achieving Global Goals by 2030 Target date.
· NOTES - Not for Inclusion in the Paper
· NGO MG is the largest of the 9 MGs’. NGO MG OPs can invite OPs in remaining 8 MGs to join in producing this Joint Paper to give Citizens One Powerful Voice.
· UNDESA branch with responsibility for coordinating all 9 MGs have a duty to urge all remaining 8 MGs to respond positively and on time to NGO MG invitation.
· All good ideas and pertinent suggestions should be welcomed and synthesized into 2,800 words Joint Paper. Excess good ideas and pertinent suggestions edited out should be accommodated within Supporting Papers, which has no limit, submitted by the MG to which the contributor belong.
· MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs and Non MGoS Member CSOs/NGOs need to start speaking with One Powerful Voice. This joint Paper coming at a time of important meetings in Washington and New York present unique opportunity to Kick Start Global Citizens Speaking with One Powerful Voice should not be wasted.
There are several important meetings scheduled for the next few days – World Bank Spring Meetings 16 April Washington; FfD Forum 18 – 20 April NY; HLDP 21 April NY and UN CEB 27 – 28 April.
We suggest that the Dialogue and Commentary be passed by UNEP to the Organizers of these four meetings to serve as background Papers and that the outcome of each meeting’s discussion on the background Papers be passed to the subsequent meeting to avoid duplication of effort and also passed to concerned authorities – Policy Makers and Decision Makers on UN Member States, UN System – UNO, WBG and IMG and MGoS sides for necessary ACTION Next Steps from their side. This way the UNEA 2 and GMGSF 16 would achieve much more success.
Please find link to the UNEP Perspectives Paper
and to UNDP and UNDESA e-Discussion 2106 – the only UN Event thus far that is appear set to produce SG Report on e-Discussion 2016 in 6 UN Official Languages that actually provide clear and correct answers to the Big Question above
We are willing to offer a more detailed information / clarification on any of the points made in this Paper.
International Society for Poverty Elimination / Economic Alliance Group
5, Moses Orimolade Avenue,
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Email: email@example.com 13 April 2016.