Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of FearAvailable Now.
In 2020 and 2025 23 targets of the Sustainable Development Goals will fall. What should be done to address this if anything? Working with two colleagues Jamie Bartram and Gaston Ocampo we have submitted a paper: Misaligned SDG targets: how to handle target dates before 2030 to the Journal of International Development. Looking forward to publishing in 2019. The summer was used to work on chapters for the new book Stakeholder Democracy in Policy-making and Partnerships Enhancing (or Reinforcing or Sustaining) Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear - should be out for the July High-Level Political Forum.
Juen saw an interview in Science X on how the science community has engaged in the UN processes over time.
Could you tell us about the history of the Major Group for Science and Technology? Why was it created and what was it supposed to do? Was this a first in the UN system?
In the runup to the Rio Earth Summit (1992), Maurice Strong, who was the Secretary-General for the Summit, recognized that it was important to have ‘different stakeholder’ views – not only in developing Agenda 21, but also in helping to deliver it. This approach was a departure from the default model of grouping all NGOs together as “civil society”.
The Earth Summit recognized nine stakeholders, including the Science and Technology Community. For the first time, science and technology were given a seat at the table to ensure that member states could hear the latest scientific evidence. But the new system also enabled women to have a chance to explain the gender aspect of policies. It ensured that the next generation – youth and children – and Indigenous Peoples would have a voice. It also brought in local government as a stakeholder, recognizing that in many cases they would be important partners in delivering the outcomes.
Most of these ‘stakeholder groups’ organized global conferences to develop input for the Earth Summit’s main outcome document. In particular, the scientific community gathered in November 1991 to develop input for the Earth Summit at the Vienna International Conference on an Agenda of Science for Environment and Development into the Twenty-first Century (ASCEND 21). The conference was organized by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).
After the Earth Summit, as governments established their Councils of Commissions for Sustainable Development, nearly all of these started by engaging the national leaders of each of the Major Groups. These bodies then played a key role in the years after the Rio 92 conference in ensuring effective follow-up at the national level. The interview continues here.
I had the change to be a respondent to the revised People First Principles for Public-Private Partnerships for achieving the SDGs at the UNECE meeting in May in Geneva. “Scaling up: Meeting the challenges of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through people-first Public-Private Partnerships”. A full copy of my speech is available here.
Principle 1: Projects and Action Plans
Principle 2: Capacity Building
Principle 3: Improving Legal frameworks for People-first PPPs
Principle 4: Transparency and Accountability
Principle 5: Risk and de-risking
Principle 6: Procurement: Promoting, Value for People
The outcome actions were in line with what I called for:
While recognizing a growing consensus in support of the Guiding Principles, the proposed changes on governance, better definitions, among others discussed should be incorporated.
UNECE also acknowledged the need for a strong, one UN perspective on PPPs and the SDGs. Unified guidelines will be more powerful in assisting policy makers to develop PPPs that put people- first and achieve the ambitious outcomes of the SDGs.
Therefore, as a next step, the Guiding Principles will be sent to the other UN Regional Commissions to get comments and decide how to jointly implement them in countries.
Achieving sustainable development requires an enabling environment. Governance plays a crucial role in creating those conditions, notably, for our purposes in the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development agenda process. From creating new platforms to reforming old ones, the process must live up to this standard and its mechanisms should be geared towards fostering this type of new international environment and cooperation for sustainable development. This is the second volume produced by the Friends Group. The first volume presented the period from late 2014 to the end of 2015. The Group also has a website which it places the papers that are being discussed at the Friends Group’s meetings, which can be found here. The chapters of this book are a reflection of the rich contributions made by governments, intergovernmental bodies and stakeholders to the three workshops that the Friends Group hosted in 2017. The chapters are:
Principles and Practices of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development - Guidance and Oversight from UN Decisions Minu Hemmati, MSP Institute and Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute
High-Level and UNGA Resolutions on Sustainable Development Governance: Existing Language for Committee of Experts on Public Administration David Banisar, Article 19
Executive Summary from Inter-Agency Task Force Meeting on Public-Private Partnerships UNDESA
Draft Principles for Public-Private Partnerships James Goldstein, Communitas Coalition
Citizen Data around Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals Davis Adieno, CIVICUS World Alliance
Supplemental indicators for Goal 16: UNDP and the Community of Democracies H.E. Dr. Ion Jinga, Permanent Representative of Romania to the UN
Private sector contribution to financing the Sustainable Development Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute
Suggestions for how to approach SDG targets that fall between 2020 and 2025 Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute
I served as the moderator for the dialogue, which represents part of UN Environment’s commitment to deliver on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document: ‘The Future We Want’. This document calls for “the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms, to promotetransparency and the effective engagement of civil society” within the framework of its decision to strengthen the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the leading global environmental authority.
Stakeholder engagement has been an important component of the development of UN Environment since its inception at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. The concept of ‘Major Groups’ was pioneered by the first UN Environment Executive Director, Maurice Strong, when he was Secretary-General of the Earth Summit in 1992. He recognized that categorizing all nongovernment actors under the term NGO or civil society meant that not all voices were being heard. He understood that in policy discussions it is vital that women are able to provide a gender perspective, that youth can present the views of the next generation, that indigenous peoples are given the opportunity to talk about environmental impacts on their land, and that local and subnational governments can help inform national governments of the challenges to implementation at the local level. In 2004, UN Environment recognized the need to hear the voices of a broader range of stakeholders – beyond the nine Major Groups. This was also reflected by the UN as a whole in the 2030 Agenda. Multi-stakeholder dialogues in other forums could also be used to inform the development of UN Environment’s own approach to embedding stakeholders in the workings of UN Environment Assembly and UN Environment. The UN Commission on Sustainable Development from 1998 to 2001, is an interesting example. The first two days of each session were given over to four multi-stakeholder dialogues on issues that Member States were going to negotiate, enabling them to draw useful lessons into policy decisions. This approach might be worth considering for future UNEA sessions. The development of the Sustainable Development Goals provides a good illustration of how governments, the UN and relevant stakeholders can contribute their expertise to negotiations, encouraging them to engage in the implementation of these goals and targets. Multi-stakeholder partnerships will play a critical role in helping to implement UNEA decisions, particularly if stakeholders are engaged in the development of those decisions. UNEP Perspective Paper 30 available here.
This book explores the role that the Young Liberal Green Guard had on UK politics in the 1980s. It aims to inspire future young politicians of whatever political views the truth of Margaret Meads statement that: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Felix Dodds was Chair of the National League of Young Liberals (1985-1987). He was also a member of the Liberal Party Council (1983-86). His has written or edited fifteen books the first of which was ‘Into the Twenty-First Century: An Agenda for Political Realignment. (1988)’. He was an Advisory Editor for New Democrat International (1988-1992). He is the President of Amber Valley Liberal Democrats.