August 1, 2014

Research Study: Journey to Consensus


The African continent through the African Union’s Common African Position (CAP) on Post 2015 Development Agenda expressed its desire to approach the Post 2015 Development agenda on a unified front in order to avoid the pitfalls experienced in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There were consultation gaps in the initial preparation and formulation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the progress across goals and targets has been uneven.

At Open Institute, we feel that there are numerous lessons to be learnt from the process of The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) ranging from the formation, multi-stakeholder engagement in the work process and output/performance of its mandate.

The OWG is an inclusive and transparent multi-stakeholder process established on 22nd of January 2013 by decision 67/555 (see A/67/L.48/rev.1) of the General Assembly (Rio+20 Conference outcome document (Article 248)). Its key mandate as provided by the Rio+20 outcome document was to propose a set of sustainable development goals that are limited in number, aspirational and easy to communicate while addressing in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development.

The OWG comprised representatives nominated by member states from the UN regional groups. This was essential to achieve fair, equitable and balanced geographic representation. It included modalities for the full involvement of all relevant stakeholders and the expertise of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the scientific community and other United Nations systems. The OWG held a total of thirteen sessions to find consensus on its output. It successfully completed its mandate and prepared a comprehensive proposal for presentation to the General Assembly and hopefully for adoption in the final draft of the global Sustainable Development Goals.

Open Institute is undertaking a study, starting 1st August 2014, on the lessons emerging from the process, experiences and output of the OWG.

To follow our progress, follow our blog for updates or get in touch with us at for more information.

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