The European Regional Ministerial Consultation “Monitoring and Accountability for the Post-2015 Development Agenda – The Regional Dimension” was held in Geneva from 15-16 September, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the R-UNDG for Europe and Central Asia. Bringing together over 165 representatives from Member States, international organizations, civil society and the private sector, the Consultation sought to discuss essential elements of a sound accountability and monitoring framework for the post-2015 development agenda from a European regional view.
Prior to the Consultation, a questionnaire was circulated to Member States, civil society, the private sector and other regional organizations as a means to gather regional perspectives on elements for an accountability framework for the post-2015 development agenda, and the potential for a regional accountability framework anchored at the national level and feeding into the global level. The synthesis of the questionnaire provided the starting point for the Consultation.
The Consultation, chaired by Michael Gerber, Special Envoy for Global Sustainable Development of Switzerland, included an opening session, and four panel discussions that focused on: Accountability for a transformative universal agenda; Lessons from existing mechanisms; Linkages with national and global accountability; and Scope and process of regional accountability mechanism, followed by a summary session of key messages. The interactive discussion allowed participants to consider a possible structure for the framework; how to integrate and adapt existing mechanisms; as well as roles to be played at the local, national, regional and global level.
A number of key points emerged during the Consultation, as summarized by UNECE.
• There was a general view among participants that the monitoring and accountability framework should be an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda and not an “after-thought.” The framework should be multi-layered and ensure linkages between various levels (local, national, regional, global), actors (State and non-state) and sectors.
• Accountability should be understood as a participatory and inclusive process. Governments, as the primary duty bearers, are the key actors to be held accountable. Accountability also needs to involve parliaments, organized civil society groups and citizens, the private sector and international organizations.
• Incentives for countries and other stakeholders to participate in a monitoring and accountability framework were considered a critical factor for success. Shared learning and positive rewards seem more effective to promote progress and participation than negative assessments.
• The need for a “data revolution” was emphasized to strengthen monitoring and accountability. Data needs for the post-2015 development agenda are significant but there are already some initiatives to build upon, including the recommendations of the recommendations of the Conference of European Statisticians on how to measure sustainable development.
• The overall accountability framework should rely on the information, outcomes and lessons derived from existing monitoring and accountability mechanisms.
• The value of peer reviews was recognized but some participants stressed that these reviews should go beyond the exchange of best practices to identify areas of underperformance, analyze the underlying causes and propose means of improvement.
• There was consensus on the importance of the regional level in a multi-layered accountability mechanism as a link between the national and global levels.
• Regional commissions as well as the Regional UNDG Teams can promote the exchange of experiences and good practices and facilitate capacity building. The regional level also is the natural platform to address transboundary challenges such as water cooperation or the green economy.
• Monitoring and review at the global level is essential and depends on high level political engagement. Many participants stressed that the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is called to play a central role in ensuring the coherence of the overall accountability framework.
The Chair’s Summary of the event will be submitted to the UN Secretary-General as an input to his synthesis report on the post-2015 development agenda, which will be prepared by the end of 2014.
For more information, including background documents, the questionnaire, presentations and meeting documents, please click here.
Access the UNECE press release here.
The draft Chair’s Summary is available here.
For the synthesis report of the questionnaire, click here.
This article is also available in French.