If you printed all of the reports, briefings, memos, key messages, responses, consultations, op-eds, haikus, and tweets that include the phrase ‘post-2015’, it would reach to the moon and back.
I’ll admit, even I am beginning to feel a little queasy at the phrase, and I’ve been contributing to this sustainable development post-2015 debate for years now. My fingers seem to be irrevocably programmed to type ‘-2015’ after ‘post’.
But for all of these pages and pages, there’s disproportionately little written on the ‘how’ questions around the post-2015 agenda. For every 10 papers on which goals, targets, or indicators should be included in the framework (and Plan has 7 great ones!), there only seems to be one that talks about means of implementation, monitoring, financing, or accountability.
This is beginning to shift as the work of the High-Level Political Forum, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, and the Independent Expert Advisory Group on Data Revolution for Sustainable Development all gain momentum.
1 billion young partners
During this week's United Nations General Assembly, Plan International is launching the publication 'Young people's engagement in strengthening accountability for the post-2015 agenda'. The report follows this 'how' trend, but it looks at an often-overlooked area: the power of young people in holding governments to account for their commitments.
Co-authored by Plan and the Overseas Development Institute in collaboration with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, this briefing paper argues that the world’s 1 billion young people aged 15-24 are critical partners in the quest for sustainable development over the next 15 years.
1 billion young people aged 15-24 are critical partners in the quest for sustainable development over the next 15 years.
This is not only because of the size of the ‘youth bulge’ or because young people have a right to participate in decision-making that affects them; it’s also because their involvement in accountability mechanisms, such as social accountability processes laid out in the briefing, can lead to stronger development outcomes overall.
5 key principles
The paper argues that 5 principles are key for any post-2015 accountability processes to ensure young people’s involvement: meaningful participation and inclusive, accessible, collaborative, and responsive mechanisms.
It also argues that, due to the nature of international agreements like the post-2015 framework, accountability is largely absent at an international level; mechanisms, where they do exist, are non-binding, voluntary, and often do not facilitate meaningful inputs from civil society, including young people.
We state that a continuum of accountability for the post-2015 framework – from the local to the international – should be grounded at the local and national levels: in parliaments, school councils, and ombudspersons, where civil society’s engagement, and young people’s especially, can be most directly guaranteed and responded to. These should form the foundation of accountability for post-2015 commitments so that governments can respond to the needs and rights of their citizens, especially young people.
Better outcomes for all
One fifth of the world’s population are aged between 15-24 – they are at a critical point in their lives and the ability of the post-2015 framework to deliver on their needs and rights and to respond to their concerns is an indicator for success for the entire framework.
An inclusive, accessible, collaborative, and responsive continuum of accountability that ensures meaningful participation from young people at all levels can help to ensure a stronger framework with better outcomes for all.
Fundamentally, a post-2015 framework is about the future. Who could be a better partner – to help us define what we want and to hold us to those promises – than the young people who will have to live with the successes and failures?