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Vienna-based organizations organize a United Nations Reflection Forum


The IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, speaks to particpants at the UN Reflection Forum.

One hundred staff from Vienna-based organizations (VBOs) and non-governmental organizations have participated in a three day event from 14 to 16 May 2013 to learn about evolving global development challenges and to discuss contemporary international development issues - in particular the post-2015 development agenda - in an inter-organizational learning setting. The event, a special United Nations (UN) Reflection Forum, was organized by the IAEA together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the United Nations Organization on Drugs and Crime and the United Nations System Staff College. Participants heard presentations and took part in high-level panel discussions on sustainable energy solutions and the post-2015 development agenda.

Inspired by the United Nations Summer Academy, held annually by the UN System Staff College, the UN Reflection Forum covered key areas of the post-2015 development framework, such as global governance, emerging new partners in development, and the rise of new centres of economic activity. Participants at the Forum also discussed cooperation within the international development arena as a foundation for sustainable development growth, and engaged in practical exercises on developing priorities and processes for the world we want beyond 2015.

Forum lecturers reflected on the effectiveness of the UN's development work and the role of partnerships in achieving UN goals. Many ideas were discussed, including global change and the need for new processes and solutions to share information, evaluate development assistance and improve transparency. Civil society engagement and the inclusion of major development players were an area of particular focus.

"The way we go about doing things needs to change. We need to move beyond aid, and talk about mutual cooperation", said Hanna Ryder, Team Leader for Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in the United Kingdom's Department for International Development. "Global partnerships play a crucial role in effective development."

Fantu Cheru, Research Director at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala, Sweden, emphasized "One model does not fit all. We need to learn from successful examples and adapt the experience according to the national framework." Cheru made a keynote presentation about the role of emerging partners, in particular India and China, in development in Africa.


Staff participating at the UN Reflection Forum.

The post-2015 development agenda is a continuation of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that have dominated development discourse since the year 2000. Set to be achieved by 2015, MDGs include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduced child mortality rates, improved maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability, and global partnerships for development. As the 2015 deadline approaches, with mixed success in meeting the MDG goals, the development community is working to identify a new set of development goals through a comprehensive and inclusive consultation processes. The post-2015 agenda will reflect new development challenges and define emerging global development priorities, taking into account evolving development needs.

The next development goals framework is likely to emphasize the importance of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development, critical areas of activity for a scientific organization like the IAEA. Participation in the Forum has strengthened the IAEA's approach to partnerships as a mechanism to advance the post-2015 agenda and has helped to identify opportunities for potential technical cooperation, in line with the UN vision of the world beyond 2015.

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