Our Perspectives

The intertwining nature of national and international agendas


children studying in ParaguayParaguay is working towards inclusive development and improving the living conditions of people in extreme poverty. Photo: UNDP Paraguay

Following more than a year of intense consultations and discussion, the Open Work Group (OWG) finalized a draft Post-2015 development agenda - an agenda to be examined by the UN General Assembly in New York. The OWG agenda sets out 17 objectives and 169 goals as key elements defining development on the international arena in the near future.

The OWG proposal is quite ambitious in nature and constitutes a marked departure from the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): for instance, definition of the issue of inequality is very explicit, and there is an objective dealing with the promotion of peace and good governance for all countries.

In August, I attended a retreat on the Post-2015 agenda organized by the Government of Paraguay. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Technical Planning Secretariat invited all government entities operating in the country to come and discuss the drafting of the proposals, as well as similarities between the OWG (the international agenda) and the draft National Plan currently under debate in the country. More than fifty institutions attended the meeting. The workshop enabled participants to confirm the similarity of both proposals, as well as to further reinforce action taken by the Paraguayan government regarding the need to develop a national position for upcoming intergovernmental negotiations and leading to joint agreement on the global development agenda in 2015.   

Two elements were at the forefront of the event:

  • The intertwining nature of the international and national aspects is both evident and inevitable. The solutions and issues at both levels are also closely linked. One of the three strategic priorities outlined in Paraguay’s draft National Plan involves the country’s integration on the global stage. It outlines solutions coming from “the exterior” to resolve problems that are “inherent” to the country - such as attracting foreign investment, making full use of sub-regional integration processes, or promoting the enhanced sustainability of the world’s shared resources.
  • Inclusion leads to ownership of the issues and enhanced participation. The Post-2015 agenda will be debated and approved in New York by the various governments; however, its implementation will require the full involvement and participation of all stakeholders involved. Paraguay’s National Plan recognizes such a necessity, it encourages greater involvement of its immigrants and vulnerable populations, recognizing the fact that Paraguay’s youth’s potential can only be fully expressed to the extent that current policies promote youth participation in development institutions and encompass detailed definition pertaining to the various levels of government and the communities - and geared towards the social development of the various territories.

The goals and objectives put forward by the OWG create an ideal opportunity, not only for rethinking and refashioning the global development agenda, but also for updating national agendas and priorities. Just like its predecessors, the MDGs, the OWG’s goals and objectives can help us to create a shared vision of the world we want.


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