Panel Discussion: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on “Governance and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”

Feb 5, 2014

(as delivered:)

"Ambassador Mamabolo,
Excellencies,
Distinguished representatives of UNDP and OHCHR,
Distinguished members of CIVICUS,
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the Permanent Mission of Germany it is my great pleasure and honor to welcome you to the Briefing on the Outcomes of the Global Thematic Consultations on Governance and the Post-2015 Development Framework.

First and foremost, let me welcome and thank the Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa, Ambassador Mamabolo. The South African Government has been instrumental in providing the crucial framework and constructive inputs to the Consultation  that took place in Midrand, Johannesburg from 28 February to 1 March 2013.

I would also like to welcome Mr. Olav Kjørven, the Representative of the United Nations Development Programme and Mr. Craig Mokhiber from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights who were among the key facilitators of the Consultation. And it is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Mr. Jeffery Huffines from CIVICUS and express my great appreciation on the exemplary manner in which your organisation was involved in the Consultation in South Africa.

The objective of this briefing is to share with you the outcomes of the Global Thematic Consultations on Governance and the Post-2015 Development Framework.  

Almost fourteen years ago, world leaders embarked on an unprecedented global endeavor to eradicate extreme poverty and provide for a dignified life for every human being.  The world has indeed made great progress in fighting poverty. And since the year 2000, the international landscape has also witnessed a dramatic rebalancing of economic power.

Brazil, China and India are now among the world’s leading economies. According to last year’s Human Development Report, these three countries alone will account for 40% of global output by 2050.

These rising economies also witness a growing middle class, growing in size and average income. By 2025, annual consumption in emerging markets is estimated to rise to 30 Trillion USD. 

New voices are calling for more accountability and broader representation. The rise of the South is leading to greater diversity of voices on the world stage.

However, these positive examples cannot disguise the fact that today 30% of the world’s population or 1.5 billion people still live in poverty. One of the major messages of the Human Development Report is that growth alone does not automatically translate into human development progress. But what does? The Report has identified four main areas of focus. Allow me to take a closer look at some of them and show you how they are all interconnected by one common thread: 

Enhancing equity is more than a moral duty. Dissatisfaction and economic inequality – in both the North and the South – can result in serious social conflict and political unrest. The recently published Bertelsmann Transformation Index also reveals that the urban middle and upper classes have disproportionately benefited from economic growth while larger parts of the population have limited chances of social ascent. Bridging the gap between the rich and the poor can only be achieved if we develop mechanisms for inclusive political processes to promote equity and social integration. This requires a constructive exchange  among all actors, including civil society and the private sector. 

The role of demographics in this context is crucial: especially young, well educated, citizens react to the increasingly dire situation on the job market in many countries, demanding decent jobs and a future for themselves. As a result, governments will have to accept responsibility and show the will to generate policy interventions.

This brings me to the importance of enabling greater participation of citizens: especially young people and a growing middle class are demanding more participation in decision-making processes influencing their lives. Ignoring these demands for meaningful participation will reinforce exclusion and injustice. Governments need to respond to demands for political participation and provide for a constructive dialogue with protest movements. 

These challenges for human development have one thing in common: Governance! Without good governance there can be no sustainable development in the long term. Good Governance at all levels – national, regional and global - is a vital prerequisite and the key to the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability. Good governance is synonymous with an enabling environment for development.

As the discussion on the post-2015 development agenda is gathering momentum, it is our duty and responsibility to build on the strengths of the MDGs and overcome their weaknesses. Good Governance is without a doubt a decisive factor in this context – maybe the factor, that will tip the scales towards implementing the “Future we Want”. We look forward to constructive and fruitful discussions. 

Thank you very much!"

© GermanyUN