One of the main outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference, held in June 2012, was the agreement by member States to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post 2015 development agenda. It was decided to establish an "inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process open to all stakeholders, with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the General Assembly".
Rio+20 stated that the SDGs should be limited in number, aspirational and easy to communicate. The goals should address in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015. A 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly was created to prepare a proposal on the SDGs. Israel shares a chair at this forum together with the US and Canada.
Within this framework of action, MASHAV, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Protection of the Environment, gathered together representatives from the governmental sector and the civil society with the aim of discussing the latest developments on the UN process of shaping the post 2015 development agenda and the SDGs at the international level, and to consider Israel’s positions and possible added value to the process. This process is important from many aspects: It will lead the global development agenda and global sustainable development from 2015 and will have implications also on the domestic approach towards development and sustainable development.
The meeting included a discussion on the global process, how the policy is shaped, preparations of positions and the dynamics of the negotiations. Specific issues Israel will consider promoting were presented and included: maximizing production of food with minimum natural resources (such as water, land, energy etc.). This kind of preposition is linked to issues such as food security, adaptation to climate change, desertification, poverty eradication and more.
The centrality of the gender dimension in the sustainable development agenda as a cross cutting issue that needs strengthening and the issue of new indicators for quality of life was also discussed, as well as universal health coverage, minimizing inequality, regional development cooperation, quality education, alternate development indexes, an integrative approach to development (mainly in the rural areas), partnerships for development between all development partners, capacity building as a crucial component of development activities, local government, development and nature conservation, water management and water treatment, the importance of ecological services and the creation of support mechanisms for development.
It was decided to establish “The Israeli Committee for International Development,” which, headed by MASHAV, will serve as a platform for the exchange of ideas on issues of policy and operation activities in the area of international development.