Accountability key to ensuring development progress beyond 2015 – UN officials

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and General Assembly President John Ashe address meeting.
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) and General Assembly President John Ashe address meeting.

Accountability key to ensuring development progress beyond 2015 – UN officials

As Member States continue work on a new post-2015 development agenda, United Nations officials today stressed the need for a robust yet flexible accountability framework to assess progress and achieve results, as well as ensure that all actors honour their commitments.

“The move to a universal development agenda will require an accountability mechanism that is comprehensive and flexible, yet robust, holding different actors to account according to their differing responsibilities,” General Assembly President John Ashe said at the opening of an interactive dialogue on the issue that he convened.

The UN has embarked on a major effort to achieve a new post-2015 development agenda to succeed the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Those targets, agreed by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, cut maternal and infant mortality, combat disease and provide access to universal education and health care, all by the end of 2015.

“The time to begin this work is now,” said Mr. Ashe. “We cannot and should not wait until all the global goals and targets are agreed upon; rather, a global monitoring and accountability framework will need to be an integral part of our ongoing discussions on the design of a post-2015 development agenda and its implementation.

“The framework we seek must be inclusive, transparent and based on mutual respect; it must promote mutual learning; it will need to contain feedback and/or inputs from the national to the regional and global levels; and it must fully utilize the new potential of data and technology.”

The President said that making true progress is always at risk without robust accountability.

“Governments everywhere need to be responsive to their Parliaments, their constituencies, their voters, and to their countries’ civil society at large. At the national level, all stakeholders should play a role in ensuring effective oversight for aligning international commitments to national development objectives,” he pointed out, adding that these efforts must be anchored at the global level.

“We need to work together to construct a framework that will ultimately have a positive impact on development at the national level. In the end, this is where the results of our ambitions will need to be observed, measured, and evaluated.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering that accountability is essential to assess progress and achieve results, and that this should happen at the national, regional and global levels.

“All actors, including Governments, the UN system, civil society and the private sector, should be accountable for honouring their commitments. We need an inclusive, robust yet flexible accountability framework.”

Also, to succeed, the accountability system must be universal, he noted. “Any framework for accountability must apply to all, taking into account their different capacities and responsibilities. Accountability mechanisms and platforms should be nimble and decentralized.”

He added that the UN alone cannot be the sole platform for a system of accountability, and that it must be integrated with regional and national action by governments and their constituencies.