Fruit of two different but increasingly converging processes, the post-2015 sustainable development agenda is set to become the universal framework guiding global and national efforts to support human development in conjunction with environmental durability, from 2016. As the final stage in negotiations approaches, the post-2015 agenda is taking shape in a novel institutional setting, characterised not only by its twin-channels – with Rio+20 state-driven and post-2015 UN-led tracks – but also by its highly participative nature. Indeed the process has ensured large space for public participation and opportunities for input from stakeholders.
The broad reactions to the shape the agenda is taking, expressed as the main outcome documents are published, show that the results may not satisfy those who were expecting a truly transformative shift in the way the international community faces global challenges. According to commentators the working documents do not address the roots of poverty and economic inequality, although they follow the growth-centred path supported by the business lobby. A true human-rights approach to development is not at the basis of the agenda, although it is stressed that substantial progress has been achieved through its universal scope and the inclusion of the rule of law and peace and security-related goals in the new framework.