2014 Asian NGOs Int'l Development Conference: The role & prospect of Asian NGOs in Post-2015 development agenda

Over 220 people working on humanitarian aid, human rights, poverty alleviation, health and other development issues met in Taipei on October 17-18 to discuss the post-2015 agenda at the “2014 Asian NGOs International Development Conference”.

What happens after the Millennium Development Goals?
The conference focused on what happens after the deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) passes. The MDGs are a set of targets to halve poverty, provide universal primary education and reach other aims,which were agreed by the UN in 2000. The deadline to achieve the goals is next year.

(First day of conference: World Café—international CSOs communication)

Looking to 2015 and beyond, the UN is discussing two sets of targets called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 Development Agenda. As the UN discusses how to combine these streams into a coherent plan for the future, NGOs are stepping up their efforts to make sure the targets are not watered down.

At the conference, participants from 14 countries around Asia and the Pacific examined theproposed 17 objectivesof the SDGs, which include ending poverty, achieving gender equality, developing sustainable energy, and achieving economic growth with high employment.

Ms. Julia Sanchez, President and CEO of Canadian Council for International Cooperation, and Mr. Antonio Tujan, director of IBON International, praised the goals for their ambitious nature, but urged caution that they should not be compromised in the final stages of negotiation leading up to next year.

In stark contrast to the MDGs, the SDGs were developed in close cooperation and consultation with NGOs, givingmarginalized groupsa chance to voice their opinionsand add to the targets.Although this has created a highly complex framework for intervention, Tujan said it was better than no intervention at all.

NGOs have also stepped up the challenge by producing their own set of guidelines to make humanitarian aid and development work more effective, transparent and accountable, which are founded on a “human-rights based approach”.

(Second day of conference: Group photo of participants)

International participation of Taiwanese NGOs

On the first day of the conference five Taiwanese NGOs, including the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, Changhua Christian Hospital, Taipei Overseas Peace Service (TOPS), and ELIV International and Harmony Home shared case studies of projects in Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. Services included life-changing plastic surgery, a health projectin a remote village, education for refugees, and shelter for HIV-AIDS carriers.

South-South cooperation and sustainable development
On the second day of the conference, representatives from India, Cambodia, Japan and Korea shared how they were working in line with the principles of human rights, equality, and transparency to develop communities around Asia and the rest of the world in peaceful, sustainable and inclusive ways.