The OWG-11 ‘Focus Areas’ Paper: An IRF2015 Review

Jonathan Reeves with input from Tighe Geoghegan, Nicole Leotaud, Zeenat Niazi, Lewis Akenji, Simon Hoiberg Olsen, Tom Bigg, Andrew Scott, Julio Berdegué, Måns Nilsson and Peter Hazlewood • 29-05-2014
The OWG-11 ‘Focus Areas’ Paper: An IRF2015 Review

The Independent Research Forum (IRF2015) has developed a framework that is intended to be a practical tool for use in designing and selecting sustainable development goals and targets for the post-2015 development agenda.

The framework builds on discussions and insights from a series of three informal member state retreats organized and facilitated by IRF2015, and is structured around the three core concepts of a sustainable development agenda that is transformative in nature and universal in scope and takes an integrated approach to poverty eradication and sustainable development. These guiding principles are consistent with those of the Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want, other key guidance to the Open Working Group (OWG) and the progress report of the OWG.

To test its utility, IRF2015 members applied the framework to the latest version of the OWG Co-Chairs’ ‘focus areas’ paper: the working document for the 11th session of the OWG (5-9 May 2014). In this paper, we first present overarching comments on the ‘focus areas’ paper as a whole. We then list a set of guiding questions used to help assess the goals and targets against the three core concepts of transformative, universal and integrated, together with SMART criteria for assessing targets. We provide a simple matrix that can be used to apply these questions to draft goals and targets. We then apply the guiding questions and criteria to three focus areas – sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition; gender equality and women’s empowerment; and economic growth, employment and infrastructure – to illustrate their use.

IRF2015 is a collaboration of 11 leading research institutes from across the globe that responds to the need for independent, rigorous and timely analysis to inform the evolution of the post-2015 development agenda and the concurrent intergovernmental process on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed to at Rio+20. IRF2015 partners envision a post-2015 development agenda that is universal in scope, takes an integrated approach to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of global development challenges, and can lead to more sustainable and equitable development outcomes for all. In addition to facilitating thinking and discussion through a series of retreats, we are developing a range of analytical tools to help governments and other stakeholders in their efforts to formulate and implement SDGs.


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Tags: economic growth,employment and decent work for all,food security and nutrition,frameworks and conceptualizations,gender equality,Global partnership for achieving sustainable development,governance for sustainable societies,indicators & targets,infrastructure development,means of implementation,Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),Open Working Group (OWG) Process,OWG 11,Post-2015 intergovernmental process,poverty,Rio+20,sustainability indicators,sustainable agriculture,transition and transformation,United Nations General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG)