Advancing the global development agenda post-2015: leave no one behind

September 3, 2014

In 2000, world leaders promised to halve extreme poverty by 2015 with a global plan called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The deadline of the MDGs will prompt a final push to achieve the health targets that have helped guide the global community since 2000: to reduce maternal and child mortality, provide contraception and curb the HIV, TB and malaria epidemics. Thanks to millions of people taking action and a massive global effort, we have already made real progress, but it is uneven as the most marginalised and excluded people are still left behind. For example, as maternal deaths have dropped in developing countries, deaths are more concentrated in poor regions; the HIV epidemic still takes its toll in marginalized populations like sex workers and people who use drugs.

For the past two years, STOP AIDS NOW! has been actively engaged in UN consultations, member states conversations and civil society discussions, advocating for a vision for health after the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

The question is: where are we now? 

Advancing the global development agenda post-2015: leave no one behind

UN Open Working Group on post-2015

The UN Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, a group of UN Member States tasked with proposing the new development goals, recently finalized its work. It adopted an Outcome Document which provides the basis for the intergovernmental negotiations among UN Member States in the coming year, ultimately leading to the adoption of the new post-2015 Development Framework in September 2015.

The Outcome Document shows that there is widespread agreement that the new post-2015 framework should build on the current health MDGs, advancing the unfinished business of MDGs 4, 5 and 6 with renewed and more ambitious targets while also addressing emerging health priorities, all under one overarching health goal. We are pleased with the Open Working Group's formulation of the health goal, which is in line with our messages around a single health-outcome focused goal which is not too narrowly focused on access to services or health systems strengthening alone. 

Progress on Universal Health Coverage

We welcome the inclusion of a target on Universal Health Coverage in the Outcome Document. STOP AIDS NOW! has been an advocate on Universal Health Coverage, recognizing that all people, regardless of their social or economic status, should have access to the quality services they need. We continue to push for specific attention to marginalized and vulnerable groups while working towards Universal Health Coverage to ensure true equitable access and leave no one behind

To our great disappointment, while marginalized and vulnerable groups had been included as part of the UHC target in earlier drafts from the Open Working Group, it ultimately proved too contentious. This means that there is a lot of work ahead of us to convince member states that Universal Health Coverage can only be achieved if dedicated efforts are being made to reach the most marginalized.

SRHR advocacy

We have been successful in our advocacy in joining forces with the SRHR community to ensure the proposed health goal includes a target on ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education. Whereas this target is not as strong as we wanted as it excludes a reference to sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR), it was a big struggle to get it included under the health goal at all. 


In conclusion, we could confidently say that the Open Working Group proposals provide us with a solid basis for further advocacy in the coming year.

What we have won and have to protect are:

  • A health outcome-focused goal
  • A target on Universal Health Coverage
  • A sexual and reproductive health target under the health goal and gender goal
  • A stand-alone goal on equality and a target promoting social inclusion for all
  • Reference to the rule of law, anti-discriminatory laws and human rights throughout the Outcome Document

What we have lost and have to fight for going forward are:

  • An explicit reference to marginalized groups as part of the health goal and other relevant goals, and in particular as part of the UHC target
  • The promotion of sexual and reproductive rights for all
  • Stronger language on the elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices and ensuring equal access to justice for all

For more information, please contact Sabrina Erné at STOP AIDS NOW!