Paper 2.4 Gauging our Progress: Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

Paper 4

Gauging our Progress: Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting

Neil Pierre

(Prepared on the basis of the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General)

If we are to succeed, the new agenda must become part of the contract between people, including civil society and responsible business and their Governments national and local. Parliaments must be strengthened to deepen democracy and carry out their constitutional mandates of oversight. All companies must pay their taxes, respect labour standards, human rights, and the environment. Empowered civil society actors, through action and advocacy, must rally to the cause and contribute to a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future.

We must now embrace a culture of shared responsibility, one based on agreed universal norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action and benchmarking for progress. The new paradigm of accountability that we seek is not one of conditionality, neither North to South, nor South to North, but rather one of all actors Governments, international institutions, private sector actors and organizations of civil society and in all countries, the people themselves. This is the real test of people-centred, planet-sensitive development.

Such a model can only be built on national ownership, broad participation, and full transparency. To be effective, it must be aligned with the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and its new goals. To be efficient, it must be streamlined and employ existing mechanisms and processes. To be evidence-based, it must be grounded in the data revolution, and on the indicators and data that emerge therefrom. To be truly universal, it must apply to all actors in both the public and the private sectors, at both the national and international levels. It must include opportunities for mutual review, and for mutual support at the regional and global levels.

In recent months, participants in United Nations consultations have emphasized the need for a voluntary, State-led, participatory, evidence-based and multitiered process to monitor progress.

Thus, a universal review process constructed on these principles could be initiated at the national level, which would inform the national, regional and global level reviews. At all levels, review discussions should be public, participatory, broadly accessible and based on facts, data, scientific findings, and evidence -based evaluations. The principal components might include country-led, a national component for accountability, a regional component for peer reviewing, a global component for knowledge-sharing, a thematic component to chart global progress as well as a component to review the global partnership for sustainable development.

 A country-led, national component for accountability

In the overall review process, this national segment, as that closest to the people, should be the most significant. It would be built on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad, multi-stakeholder participation, including the presentation of national and local governments, parliaments, civil society, science, academia and business. It would establish benchmarks, review the national policy framework, chart progress, learn lessons, consider solutions, follow up and report thereon. To that end, a Government report, a national stakeholder report, with contributions from national non-governmental actors, and a report compiling existing information and data from United Nations agencies and international financial institutions, all based upon globally harmonized formats, would constitute the main written inputs on individual country progress.

A regional component for peer reviewing

A regional component for peer reviewing, tailored to regional and subregional needs, undertaken by existing mechanisms in a participatory, multistakeholder process, would consider national reports, identify regional trends, obstacles, commonalities, best practices and lessons learned and to generate solutions and mutual support and solutions. Regional reviews would incorporate and build on the experiences and successes of mechanisms such as the regional economic commissions, the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process, the Asia-Pacific Forum (APF) on Sustainable Development, the UN Economic Commission for Europe environmental performance reviews and the Organization for Economic Cooperation as well as the Development/Development Assistance Committee peer reviews.

A global component for knowledge sharing

A global component for knowledge sharing, as a forum for participatory, multi-stakeholder and, importantly, universal review, would start at the launch of the new agenda. This would be convened annually under the auspices of the high-level political forum on sustainable development. It would provide a periodic occasion for individual countries to voluntarily present national reviews of progress, to discuss lessons learned in each country’s implementation of the agenda and the opportunity to review both short-term outputs and long-term outcomes related to attaining the goals. Member States should consider multi-annual reviews under the political forum in a five-year cycle.

A thematic component to chart global progress

A thematic component to chart global progress at regular intervals on the sustainable development framework would help to identify challenges and bottlenecks and to mobilize action to address them. While such thematic reviews could be carried out under the auspices of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), they would rely on relevant coordination and review platforms. These could include existing specialized or functional commissions, councils or committees that convene United Nations and other multilateral entities, relevant treaty body reviews, and outcomes, as well as the Member States, partners from civil society, science, academia and the private sector that could monitor and advance each respective thematic area. Existing partnerships could also be linked to such platforms in order to ensure efficient and effective action and accountability. To support and complement the process, and to ensure continuous gauging of progress, the United Nations would provide annual global thematic reports, aggregating available data, together with the global sustainable development report mandated by Rio+20.

A component to review the global partnership for sustainable development

The essential element of partnership and its mobilization of the means necessary for implementation must also be kept under active review. At the third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa, Member States should seize the opportunity to consider how existing structures and processes can help review and strengthen the global partnership for sustainable development, including the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. An important additional role for the review process under this component will be to address the respective conference tracks targeting the special conditions and needs of the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

The current structure of our intergovernmental bodies can accommodate the universal review process described above. The establishment of the high-level political forum, which meets under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly, as well as the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), were important institutional innovations emerging from Rio+20. The reform of the Council has been another important step forward.

Neil Pierre is currently the Chief of Policy Coordination Branch Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York.

Previously he was Chief, ECLAC Sub-regional Headquarters for the Caribbean from February 2005 to May 2010. During his tenure, he spearheaded ECLAC’s work in the Caribbean in the conduct of applied research and analysis, and provision of technical cooperation and capacity building support to Caribbean Governments.


He served as Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Port of Spain between 2000 and 2004 during which he oversaw the conduct of a poverty assessment for Suriname, represented UNDP on the Board of the Suriname Conservation Foundation (SCF) along with several other programme initiatives with CARICOM. He was assigned to Grenada to coordinate the UNDP support programme in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan, and spearheaded the establishment there of the UNDP Liaison Office. Pierre began his career as a Foreign Service Officer with the Government of Guyana from 1981 to 1995.


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