The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG), having held meetings between March 2013 and July 2014, submitted a final report to the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly containing a proposal for a set of SDGs for consideration and appropriate action.

Since January 2015, the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the post 2015 development agenda are taking place in New York. Eight sessions are scheduled between January and July 2015 to bring together the different elements of the post-2015 agenda, such as the declaration, the goals and targets, the means of implementation, and the follow up an review mechanism.

While negotiations are taking place in New York, there are two additional tracks ongoing relevant for this agenda; the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa in June 2015 and the Inter Agency Expert Group on SDGs of the UN Statistical Commission, which develops the indicators framework by March 2016.

The United Nations General Assembly is due to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015.

The Environmental Dimension

Sustainable development has an economic, social and environmental dimension. In elaborating its proposal for SDGs, the OWG has scheduled eight thematic sessions of which many issues discussed are hence closely related to environmental topics. For example, the OWG will have a session in February 2014 dedicated to Oceans, Seas, Forests and Biodiversity. However, there are other topics on its agenda such as sustainable consumption and production and disaster risk reduction, which will be discussed in January 2014, and others including food security and sustainable agriculture, already discussed, all having relevant connections to biodiversity.

IUCN will be participating in most of the dicussion of the OWG and bring in nature's dimension. Preparations are currently ongoing for the meeting in February. Please check out our section on IUCN's work for continuously updated information.

A Window of Opportunity

There is an important window of approximately two years for governments, organisations, civil society organisations and all those who want to participate to discuss and reshape the foundations for achieving human prosperity during the next decade(s). These discussions are taking place in a context of serious economic challenges worldwide and of significant environmental degradation. In that respect, all stakeholders have a responsibility to contribute consciously and take up this opportunity to bring all the different movements (government, non-government, development, environment, cultural etc.) to the same table to reconsider what our human societies mean by “prosperity” and ultimately, to achieve the goal of sustainable development in a finite world in which we dependent on its natural resources and their sound management for the survival of our societies and the planet. IUCN is dedicated to seizing this opportunity through its work.