Access to information, transparency, independent media, accountability and citizen participation are not being adequately addressed by the global effort to set a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a diverse group of global development specialists.
Drawn from an informal survey of the members of the so-called Effective Institutions Platform, data suggest that an important group of development specialists are concerned about the effort to set new global development goals. The SDGs would replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.
Media and civil society organizations from around the world have pushed for the inclusion of access to information and media freedoms in the SDGs. But that effort has been stymied by a growing group of authoritarian countries that are opposed to any effort to measure progress on these issues.
The respondents to the survey, which was released this week during the EIP annual meeting in Paris, included around 40 government officials, parliamentarians, and civil society representatives.
The survey results are important because they suggest that specialists in institutional development are skeptical about the likely effectiveness of the SDGs unless they take into account more elements of an open society, including citizen participation and the ability of the media to monitor and help hold officials accountable for their performance.
The EIP is an international partnership that brings together more than 60 countries and organizations, including both high and lower income countries, as well as international organizations and think tanks. The platform is one of the working groups that emerged from the global aid effectiveness conference that took place in Busan, South Korea, in 2012.
The process of developing the SGDs is not completed, but an earlier proposal for measurable global commitments on independent media and access to information looks unlikely to survive through the negotiation process, which is expected to end end in late 2015.