GLOBE’s Coherence & Convergence approach to 2015 agreements

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GLOBE’s Coherence & Convergence approach to 2015 agreements

2015 is a watershed year for decision-making on global sustainable development. This is why GLOBE is calling for a new approach: ‘Coherence and Convergence’ between the four UN summits.

With four major UN processes taking place, each of which could lead to four different frameworks for action. It could be a recipe for disaster or a new way of addressing sustainable development in the round. This is why GLOBE is emphasising a new approach: ‘Coherence and Convergence’ between the four UN summits.

As UN-watchers will know, 2015 is a key decision point for four separate international processes: the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (Sendai, March), the Financing for Development Summit (Addis Ababa, July), the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (New York, September) and COP21 on climate change (Paris, December). In the words of UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, 2015 represents a “generational opportunity for change”. Put another way, 2015 is the ‘mother of all years’ for institutional learning on how to manage risk better as a global community.

GLOBE International has developed a unique ‘Coherence & Convergence Approach’ to the 2015 Summits. It distinguishes us from our peers and places the emphasis squarely on the need for improved coordination between these processes, their outcomes and the monitoring and reporting frameworks adopted. The GLOBE approach is strongly aligned with the UN’s Global Development Framework, and seeks to build stepping stones between each Summit in Sendai, Addis, New York and Paris. Only such an approach will ensure that the different legislative frameworks emerging from each of these summits will stand any chance of coherent and effective national implementation from 2016 onwards.
As GLOBE’s work has demonstrated over the years, legislative chambers have a key role in driving democratic national debate on risk management and governance. In this most pivotal of all years, legislatures must build cross-party consensus for action and create the political conditions for convergent international agreements to emerge from these four major UN summits. This will increase the chance of effective implementation once adopted.

The challenge, however, is that most legislators are unaware of this unprecedented cycle of four major processes offering a unique opportunity for legislative and policy alignment. At most, legislators may be involved in one or two processes, but on parallel tracks. Work in governments is also typically proceeding on parallel tracks. Fragmentation, not coherence is the norm. Gender is also a cross-cutting dimension in each of these summit processes and the Beijing+20 review process has underscored the need for gender to be fully integrated into institutional and policy response and delivery.

GLOBE has been calling attention to this awareness gap and the need for a strategy of effective education and communication for legislative opinion-formers with partners.

One result is been closer cooperation with GLOBE partners, UNEP and UNISDR (UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction). We are aligned on the need for coherence and integration among the four major UN conferences, but recognise that this far from a commonly-shared approach. Vested interests may yet prevent the alignment sought. A concerted effort is now required to prevent the 2015 processes degenerating into battles over turf and further cementing of silos.

UNEP is supporting GLOBE’s Coherence & Convergence approach and a joint discussion paper calling for integration of the 2015 processes will be published in October 2015. In an effort to build a dialogue with other parliamentary networks and partners, the paper will be shared with the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA), and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at key meetings in the last quarter of 2015.

National parliamentary and stakeholder dialogues on the key messages ahead of COP21, the concluding process of 2015, will also be facilitated by the GLOBE International secretariat.