New Horizons - For three days, more than 350 representatives of government, civil society, private sector, academia and the United Nations, from over 40 countries, discussed ways to tackle the most urgent global challenges of the 21st century: lifting people out of poverty in ways that respect the planet's ecological boundaries and advance social inclusion.
The aim was to bring stakeholders from across the Europe and Central Asia together to provide a regional perspective on priorities that should be contained in the post-2015 agenda.
Regional consultations kicked off with civil society consultations on 6 November with the participation of 80 civil society representatives.
Participants agreed that to achieve development targets, universal goals and commitments are needed and the new agenda should be developed in a participatory manner.
Sultanoğlu: “So far, over 1 million people have engaged in the global conversation”
On 7 November, official opening of the event, titled “Perspectives from Europe and Central Asia on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, took place.
Cevdet Yılmaz, Minister of Development of Republic of Turkey, said that it is the responsibility of the governments and international development organizations to secure the social and economic development of people, increase social welfare and protect the environment.
Mr. Yılmaz reiterated Turkey's commitment for the achievement of Millennium Development Goals and said that Turkey has already reached the internationally set targets.
Minister Yılmaz also said that Turkey's official development assistance reached 2.5 billion US Dollars in 2012.
Minister Yılmaz said that international community has to work more to harmonize economic and social development and protection of environment, three main elements of sustainable development.
He said that justice should also be the fourth element of sustainable development because without justice a peaceful world cannot be established.
''This event is an important milestone on the road to the creation of a new development agenda'', said Cihan Sultanoğlu, UN Development Group Chair for Europe and Central Asia adding that the road we are on is unfolding in an unprecedented way and so far, over 1 million people have engaged in the global conversation.
“The global conversation thus far contains two important messages: First, people around the world are asking us to finish the job and secondly, they want us to be more ambitious'', Ms. Sultanoğlu said.
Outcome: Inclusion and equality must be at the center of sustainable development
Several panels on the most challenging development topics were held during the consultations.
Participants attended six panels under three themes, 'Equality of Opportunity and Outcome', 'Putting Planet and People First' and 'Making the New Agenda Work' and discussed issues including human rights, education, health, population dynamics, migration, decent jobs, social protection and environment.
One of the main outcomes of the panel discussions was that inclusion and equality must be at the center of sustainable development, because inequalities and exclusion persist or have raised in a number of interlinked areas including, accountability, employment, health, education, gender equality and environment.
Another emphasis was on the youth participation in determining the Post 2015 development agenda, and Youth Representatives made their voices heard by actively participating in debates and reaching out to the government officials during the event.
The Regional Consultation is a cooperative effort organized and supported by the Turkish government and about a dozen UN entities active in the region, with the core team consisting of UNECE, UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNFPA and IOM.
Regional consultations ended with the closing remarks by Mr. Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Turkey, and Mr. Yilmaz Tuna, General Director of Social Sectors and Coordination, Ministry of Development, Turkey.