So we have the next set of Development Goals- What now?...

Posted by Nathan Cantley

Sun, 20 Sep 2015

I am student at Queens University Belfast and had various roles within Medsin over the past couple of years at a local and national level. Contact me at


This week (beginning 21st September) is an important week for the international community. The culmination of 3 years worth of consultation, negotiation, investigation, research, arguing, fighting, and any other verb you can think of, is about to come to fruition as the Sustainable Development Goals are FINALLY officially ratified by the UN General Assembly at a special summit in New York this week on the 25th September. As you might expect there is going to be quite the party among civil society organisations and advocates who have seen the process of writing these goals through from the Rio+20 conference that took place in Brazil in June 2012. 

The final list of goals and targets was agreed upon over a month and a half ago at the last Intergovernmental Negotiation Session that took place the last weekend in July. You can watch the final session of the negotiation where the text was agreed and everyone was very happy at the video below. Furthermore, you can read all the statements made by member states and the final agreed text at the UN's website here.

Want an easy on the eyes interactive about the new goals? The guardian has a nice one you can have a goosey gander at here.

Final Negotiation Session and adoption of the text what now?

After a negotiation process that has taken so long it can sometimes be hard to work out where you go from here now that you have a set of goals to work towards. For the post-2015 process there is still a number of big things that need to happen before work can begin in earnest:

  • National Plans of Action: One crucial thing that now needs to happen is the for each member state to discuss internally how they are going to work towards the global goals and bring together a plan of action. In the UK, the government is already trying to do this with a House of Commons Inquiry into the implementation of the SDGs. At the minute there are a series of oral evidence sessions taking place in London. You can have a watch of the Secretary of State for Intl Dev give her evidence to the International Committee below. Medsin-UK actually authored a written evidence submission to the inquiry which you can read here.

UK House of Commons Inquiry into the SDGs- oral evidence session

  • Indicator Framework: Whilst a lot of the focus on the SDGs is always placed on the Goals and targets, the set of global indicators (ie the statistical metrics which have to be met for the community to be able to say we have "achieved" the various targets) are still to be decided. The process of agreeing the set of roughly 150 indicators will be going on untill early next year (a preliminary target of March 2016 has been set) and so if this sort of thing interests you, then head here to keep track of whats going on.
  • The High Level Political Forum:  Have you heard of this? Don't worry if you haven't. This group of indviduals within the UN are tasked (amongst other things) to be the group that will run the monitoring and accountability side of the SDGs. Currently, they have big meetings in July time but a lot of the processes to do with the HLPF and how Civil Society is to be involved is still to be 100% figured out. For advocates and civil society this will be the new place to get shouty each year if the international community thinks not enough is being done either globally or nationally to work towards the SDGs so it is worth getting clued up about what it is and how it might work. To find out more information head here.

Where do young people fit into all of this?

Now the global goals have been agreed upon, youth civil society networks may be sitting wondering what can we do now? Each of the things I have mentioned above are prime examples of things which young people can get involved with. If you compare the SDG era to the MDG one, a crucial change that must take place is young people standing up and holding governments more to account about progress towards these goals as well as getting involved in the actual meat of carrying out the changes in their country which they want to see.

For us in the UK, this could include ensuring vulnerable groups in society such as migrants, refugees, those in poverty, the homeless, the disabled are supported and given equal rights and opportunities such as those the majority take for granted. It could mean getting involved in international organisations that provide SUSTAINABLE solutions to development problems and helping have boots on the ground in countries which need help the most. Or getting involved in the follow-up and review mechanism being involved in data collection and analysis of how much progress is being made towards achieveing our own national priorities. 

We will continue to keep blogging about the post-2015 process and flag up any opportunities that might arise for medsin members to be involved in the SDGs so don't think this is the end of the post-2015 journey- indeed now the real work begins!

So what about this weeks festivities?

If you have a some spare time this week to keep track of the big celebrations then head to here to read about whats going to happen. I will update this blog by embedding a live stream of the events into the website as soon as it goes live (and as soon as I can get it here) so keep an eye out. Also look out for a blog in the coming weeks from a medsinner who is planning to be at the event itself!

For now here are a couple videos to watch! Chat soon!

How can governments work towards SDG3 about health and wellbeing? 


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