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HLPF Side-Event on Democratic Accountability in UN 2030 Development Agenda Monitoring

Posted: 2016-07-15

New York City, 15 July 2016 – The Permanent Observer Office for International IDEA to the UN has co-organized today a side-event to the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development entitled “Making the People Count: Democratic accountability and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The event serves as a platform for various stakeholders to discuss democratic accountability tools that citizens can use in monitoring public sector service delivery as governments implement the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets.

Accountability is a cross-cutting dimension of the UN’s new development agenda, and it is within the language on Goal 16 – ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’ – where accountability is most legible among the goals.

At the level of targets, SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 10 on the reduction of inequality within and among countries, and SDG 17’s call for data for monitoring progress in achieving the goals all include language on the accountable provision of public services as a vital enabler of sustainable development.

The Transforming our World document’s Declaration makes specific reference to “the essential role of national parliaments through their enactment of legislation and adoption of budgets and their role in ensuring accountability for the effective implementation of [Member States’] commitments” (para 45).  Paragraphs 47 in the Declaration and 73 in the Means of implementation and the Global Partnership section both further refer to the follow-up and review mechanisms needed at the national, regional and global levels to ensure that accountable implementation of policies and provision of services has occurred.

The event also marks the recent release of IDEA’s three policy briefs on regional lessons learned regarding democratic accountability in service delivery. The regions included are Africa, ASEAN and South Asia. These policy briefs emphasize the enabling effects of democratic political processes and peoples’ own assessments of accessibility and quality of services on the SDG monitoring process.

International IDEA is hosting the event with the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the UN, who is currently the Chair of IDEA’s Council of Member States, and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO).

Ambassador Sukhbold Sukhee, Mongolia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, provides the opening remarks, followed by a panel with representatives from intergovernmental organizations, national statistical offices, and civil society groups.  Helena Bjuremalm, Senior Programme Manager for Democracy and Development at International IDEA; Judit Arenas Licea, Director of External Relations and Deputy Permanent Observer for IDLO to the UN; Lisa Grace Bersales, National Statistician and Civil Registrar General of the Philippine Statistics Authority; and Anselmo Lee, the Secretary-General of the Asia Democracy Network will all be included on the panel.  Closing Remarks are provided by the Permanent Observer for International IDEA to the UN, Massimo Tommasoli.

The event takes place a day after the launch on Thursday evening of the SDG16 Data Initiative, a partnership compiling and publishing existing statistical indicators for the measurement of SDG 16.  Such data can be used as an accountability tool by citizens globally.  More information can be found on this project at http://www.sdg16.org.

Friday’s event is held across from UN Headquarters at the Uganda House from 13:15 to 15:00 EST. The event’s live stream can be viewed at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/scannews, and live-tweeting can be followed via @GrafStephen and #AccountableAgenda.

A brief video introduction to accountability entitled “Democratic accountability in service delivery: Make a difference in your community” can be viewed on Youtube.

For further information, contact Stephen Graf at +1-212-286-1084 / s.graf@idea.int