Shaping post 2015 Agenda

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The six essential elements for delivering on the sustainable development goals

Six essential elements for delivering on the sustainable development goals

The following six essential elements would help frame and reinforce the universal, integrated and transformative nature of a sustainable development agenda and ensure that the ambition expressed by Member States in the report of the Open Working Group translates, communicates and is delivered at the country level.

Dignity: to end poverty and fight inequalities

Eradicating poverty by 2030 is the overarching objective of the sustainable development agenda. We live in a world of plenty and at a time of enormous scientific promise. And yet, for hundreds and hundreds of millions of people across the globe, this is also an age of gnawing deprivation. The defining challenge of our time is to close the gap between our determination to ensure a life of dignity for all, and the reality of persisting poverty and deepening inequality.

While we have made important progress in recent years, addressing gender inequality and realizing women’s empowerment and rights remain a key challenge in all regions of the world. It should by now be recognized that no society can reach its full potential if whole segments of that society, especially young people, are excluded from participating in, contributing to and benefiting from development. Other dimensions of inequality persist and have, in some cases, worsened. Income inequality specifically is one of the most visible aspects of a broader and more complex issue, one that entails inequality of opportunity. This is a universal challenge that the whole world must address. The agenda must accommodate the voices of women and the views of youth and minorities, seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, remove obstacles to full participation by persons with disabilities, older persons, adolescents and youth and empower the poor. It must not exclude migrants, refugees, displaced persons or persons affected by conflict and occupation.

People: to ensure healthy lives, knowledge and the inclusion of women and children

Millions of people, especially women and children, have been left behind in the wake of the unfinished work of the Millennium Development Goals. We must ensure that women and also youth and children have access to the full range of health services. We must ensure zero tolerance of violence against or exploitation of women and girls. Women and girls must have equal access to financial services and the right to own land and other assets. All children and adolescents have a right to education and must have a safe environment in which to learn. Human development also means respect for human rights.

The agenda must address universal health-care coverage, access and affordability; end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and malnutrition; ensure the availability of essential medicines; realize women’s sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights; ensure immunization coverage; eradicate malaria and realize the vision of a future free of AIDS and tuberculosis; reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases, including mental illness, and of nervous system injuries and road accidents; and promote healthy behaviours, including those related to water, sanitation and hygiene.

Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion young people and adolescents represent a dynamic , informed and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, their rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda will be a key factor for success. It is essential that young people receive relevant skills and quality education and lifelong learning, from early childhood development to post-primary schooling, including life-skills and vocational education and training, as well as science, sports and culture. Teachers must be given the means to deliver learning and knowledge in response to a safe global workplace, driven by technology.