Liberians have every reason to be proud that their country, a founding member of the United Nations, is this week hosting the UN High-Level Panel mandated to
prepare a bold yet practical development agenda to move the world beyond the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
We welcome the 26 Eminent Persons drawn from civil society, private sector and government leaders holding the unprecedented meeting here since Liberia signed the charter establishing the United Nations in 1945.
The meeting in Monrovia is expected to discuss national growth, economic transformation, and development while global partnership and means of implementation will be discussed at the fourth meeting in Bali in March before a report is submitted to the Secretary- General in the first half of 2013.
When Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed 26 Eminent Persons as panel members with Co-chairs President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, he said he looked forward to the Panel's recommendations that will have "shared responsibilities for all countries and with the fight against poverty and sustainable development at its core."
The Panel already held two meetings on the fringes of the UN General Assembly and in London, respectively.
We believe that panel members, while in their deliberations, will appreciate constraints that continue to prevent Liberia from achieving most of the MGDs.
Hence, we applaud the farsightedness of Member States to call for open, inclusive consultations involving civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to the UN system, to advance the development agenda beyond 2015.
It is also noteworthy mentioning the world body's mandate to the Panel to scrupulously reflect new development challenges as well as draw on experience gained in implementing the MDGs, both in terms of results achieved and areas for improvement.
The Panel and the intergovernmental working group tasked to design Sustainable Development Goals, as agreed at the Rio +20 conference are directed to closely coordinate their works before submitting their reports to Member States for their further deliberations.
Recommendations concerning the vision and shape of a Post-2015 development agenda that will help respond to the global challenges of the 21st century, building on the MDGs and with a view to ending poverty will form key points in the report.
The report would also provide key principles for reshaping the global partnership for development and strengthened accountability mechanisms.
Its recommendations would also focus on how to build and sustain broad political consensus on an ambitious yet achievable Post-2015 development agenda around the three dimensions of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability; considering particular challenges of countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.
The Panel's first meeting on 25 September in New York provided an opportunity for initial brainstorming of their agenda keeping the current Millennium Development Goals framework and urging accelerated efforts to reach the MDGs in the next three years.
But they admitted that all MDGs would not be met by 2015, making it necessary to bring this unfinished business into the new framework that should be built on the foundation of the MDGs, drawing from lessons learnt from the past 12 years.
The Panel has hinted that post 2015 agenda should be focused on poverty eradication and promotion of sustainable development, upholding sustainability, inclusive growth and productive capacity, conflict, gender equality and women's empowerment, and global partnerships as core issues for any new framework.
The legitimacy and success of the process will rest on the degree to which it meaningfully reflects and incorporates the voices of key stakeholders. There is a need for global, regional, and thematic consultations with a plurality of key stakeholders including: people directly affected by poverty and injustice; women; youth; business; and broader civil society.
The second meeting in London focused on individual and household level poverty in the areas of human development, as well as jobs, livelihoods, and how to reach the poorest and most marginalized.