The first phase of the MDGs-post 20 discussions has come to a close: the Open Working Group (OWG) of the Rio process has presented its report to the UN Secretary- General http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/4518SDGs_FINAL_Proposal of OWG_19 July at 1320hrsver3.pdf. CSOs and progressive governments achieved a lot, in terms of issues they were able to raise, and keep, in the document. Nevertheless, many contentious points remain and will need to fought out in the next round of negotiations.
One serious risk is that the – conceivably welcome - move away from a patronising and obsolete North-South dichotomy could backfire, with the rich countries backing off from their responsibilities in terms of ODA and other forms of financing development requirements. Ranja Sengupta, Bhumika Muchhala and Mirza Alas have provided a brilliant analysis on this and why the term “means of implementation” was so beleagured in the OWG discussions http://www.twnside.org.sg/title2/unsd/2014/unsd140801.htm
A second serious risk is complacency over the very issue that, 15 years ago, triggered the Millennium Declaration and MDGs: poverty and hunger. The SDG position on this issue raises the question how poverty and inequality are to be treated in the post-2015 development agenda, and how much longer the world community would be willing to tolerate hunger and income poverty. Please see my thoughts on Network Ideas.
Development economist, Munich