6 February 2013

Liberia: Equity, Growth, Poverty - Dominate HLP Report

The 27-Member High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda have agreed that every effort should be made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, while at the same time framing a single and cohesive post-2015 development agenda that integrates economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

At the close of the Third Meeting of the High-Level Panel held in Monrovia last week, members stressed that economic growth alone is not sufficient to ensure social justice, equity and sustained prosperity for all. Rather, the global community must pursue economic and social transformation leading to sustained and inclusive economic growth at the local, national and global levels, emphasizing that the protection and empowerment of people is crucial.

"This will require peace building and stronger domestic institutions - including effective, accountable and transparent governments and peaceful, just and equitable societies that protect and promote human rights and eliminate all forms of violence," the Monrovia Communiqué emphasized.

According to an Executive Mansion release, the Panel agreed that the transformational agenda should create jobs, develop infrastructure, raise productivity, improve competitiveness and promote sustainable production and consumption. "It should tap into the potential presented by a larger, more educated and better skilled workforce, new technologies and innovation, and the expansion of national, regional and global markets." It added, "We should explore policy options for green growth as one of the important tools available to promote sustainable development. Actions aimed at strengthening international cooperation, particularly in the areas of finance, trade and technology transfers, are also required to achieve the objectives of this transformational agenda."

The Panel stated that achieving structural transformations through a global development agenda will involve partnerships, sustainable growth with equity, as well as creating wealth through sustainable and transparent management of natural resources.

Stressing on sustainable growth with equity, the High-Level Panel suggested that to foster long-term, sustainable growth and reduce volatility, the global community must promote good governance, invest in stable and accountable institutions, fight corruption, ensure the rule of law and build resilience to shocks in all countries. "We recognize the indispensability of economic and social justice, individual choice and opportunity for all," the participants said, adding, "This includes the empowerment of women and girls; investments in young people's development and expanding social protection schemes; and ensuring universal learning and access to health care - including sexual and reproductive health."

On creating wealth through sustainable and transparent management of natural resources, the participants noted that it is imperative to change the current pattern of natural resource (both renewable and non-renewable) exploitation, in order to diversify the economic base and use natural resources sustainably. This must benefit local populations, whilst promoting sustainable development.

Addressing a joint press conference at the end of the Meeting on Friday, February 1, the three co-Chairs - the President of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron, and Liberia's President, H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - praised its outcome.

President Sirleaf, who also hosted the Third Meeting, said the Panel members had made great progress in efforts to identify the essential issues and criteria for a new global development framework after 2015, with a focus on the Monrovia theme: "National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity." "We acknowledged that economic growth, although crucial, is not sufficient to assure social justice, equity and sustained prosperity for all people," President Sirleaf said, noting that the global community must pursue economic transformation leading to sustained and inclusive economic growth at the local, national and global levels. "Achieving this transformation will require greater attention to equity, fairness and providing opportunities for all."

She said the High-Level Panel has set far-reaching targets to reduce child mortality and connect people, homes and cities with new roads, and onto the national grid. "We must work with governments, businesses and civil society. In this way we will play our part in tackling the challenges faced by us all around the world and provide a better world for all children.

Particularly important, co-Chair Sirleaf stressed, is the need to engage the large youth population to improve their education, build their capacity, and work with the private sector to create sufficient jobs. She also highlighted the need for stable, accountable institutions and rule of law. "These are fundamental for strong and sustainable natural resource management," she noted, highlighting the need for infrastructure which is crucial to improve connectivity, health and well-being, local enterprise, regional integration and to attract international business.

For his part, President Yudhoyono of Indonesia said the Third Meeting had set another critical stage in the Panel's work. "Today our deliberation focused on the national aspect of development," he said, adding that the Meeting held productive discussions on the key elements of the building blocks at the national level, looking at sustainable parity and sustainable growth with equity.

He noted that it would be good to share the highlights of the Monrovia Meeting as widely as possible, using all the available avenues at the disposal of the international community. He admitted that there is still much to be done in order to produce a solid final report of the Panel. "Yet, I am confident that with the progress we have achieved thus far, we will be able to live up to our mandate in accordance with the terms of reference," President Yudhoyono said.

British Prime Minister Cameron said the MDGs were a brilliant innovation, which got the world to focus and hold world leaders to account. "It is a hugely important task; almost a sacred trust to be asked to lead the work about what should replace them, how we update them after 2015," he said.

He said it was a passion among members of the Panel to make sure that they get things right and that the Panel gives the United Nations the right framework for the future. Monrovia, he added, was the right venue to be thinking about this.

The Monrovia Meeting is the mid-point of the long consultative process. Consultations will continue both within and beyond the Panel, until the Fourth Meeting, scheduled for Bali, Indonesia, from March 25-27, 2013.

The 27-member High-Level Panel was set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and tasked to develop a framework for a post-2015 development agenda.

During the Monrovia Meeting, which took place from January 30 through February 1, Panel members participated in Outreach Sessions and discussed the national building blocks required for sustained prosperity. They committed themselves to an open, inclusive and transparent process in the development of this agenda. They consulted with a variety of stakeholders globally, including parliamentarians, people with disabilities, youth, children, women, the elderly, farmers, trade unions, the business community and academics.

"All members of the Panel share a passion for finding the right framework for sustainable development to combat poverty and enable people to fulfill their potential. This is - first and last - about people; the lives they are able to lead, the education they can benefit from, the families they can raise, the health they can enjoy and the prospects they can look forward to as they live their lives and look to the future," the members indicated in the Communiqué.

"Our vision and our responsibility is to end extreme poverty in all its forms in the context of sustainable development and to have in place the building blocks of sustained prosperity for all. We seek to make gains in poverty eradication irreversible.

This is a global, people-centered and planet-sensitive agenda to address the universal challenges of the 21st century: promoting sustainable development, supporting job-creating growth, protecting the environment, and providing peace, security, justice, freedom and equity at all levels," the Panel noted.

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