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The OWG-11 ‘focus areas’ paper: an IRF2015 review

Jonathan Reeves

Discussion paper, 11 pages

The Independent Research Forum (IRF2015) has developed a framework that is intended to be a practical tool for use in designing and selecting sustainable development goals and targets for the post-2015 development agenda. The framework builds on discussions and insights from a series of three informal member state retreats organised and facilitated by IRF2015,1 and is structured around the three core concepts of a sustainable development agenda that is transformative in nature and universal in scope and takes an integrated approach to poverty eradication and sustainable development. These guiding principles are consistent with those of the Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want, other key guidance to the Open Working Group (OWG) and the progress report of the OWG.

To test its utility, IRF2015 members applied the framework to the latest version of the OWG Co-Chairs’ ‘focus areas’ paper: the working document for the 11th session of the OWG (5–9 May 2014)2. In this paper, we first present overarching comments on the ‘focus areas’ paper as a whole. We then list a set of guiding questions used to help assess the goals and targets against the three core concepts of transformative, universal and integrated, together with SMART3 criteria for assessing targets. We provide a simple matrix that can be used to apply these questions to draft goals and targets. We then apply the guiding questions and criteria to three focus areas – sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition; gender equality and women’s empowerment; and economic growth, employment and infrastructure – to illustrate their use.

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A partnership formed in 2012, the Independent Research Forum (IRF) played an influential role as the Sustainable Development Goals evolved.

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Independent Research Forum (IRF): supporting change for a sustainable future

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