What is Post 2015?
Building on the legacy of the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which sought to mobilize the global community around poverty alleviation, the Post 2015 process is designed to address the underlying causes of poverty. Unlike the MDGs, the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize that poverty is not only a ‘developing country problem’ but a fundamental injustice that impacts all countries.
Two parallel UN processes inform the Post 2015 Framework. The High Level Panel (HLP) on the Post 2015 framework led by the governments of Indonesia, Liberia, and the United Kingdom rightly concluded that we must ‘leave no one behind’; aiming to address inequalities across all sectors of development through 12 proposed goals. The Rio+20 Conference in Brazil in 2012 established a global consensus on a link between environmental sustainability, human development and economic growth. The details of how such messages can become a reality will be finalised between March and August 2014 through the Open Working Group (OWG), attended by 70 countries as well as many civil society organizations.
The time for influencing outcomes is now. Whatever decisions are eventually made about the new goals and targets in September 2015, they will not only determine what programs are prioritized in the international arena, but they will also have a significant impact on overseas development aid as well as on national development plans.
As a Muslim inspired NGO Islamic Relief is called on to speak out for justice, freedom, equality and dignity for all. The emerging set of Sustainable Development Goals cannot be ignored by Islamic Relief as they will set out a global framework poverty alleviation and social justice, impacting the lives of millions around the world, particularly in the poorest countries.
“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor.” (an-Nisa, 4:135).
As Muslim inspired institutions and organizations, it is our responsibility to recognize the importance of this discussion to the Muslim Ummah. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population (23 percent) are Muslim, representing 1.59Bn people and around 97 percent of all Muslims inhabit the continents of Africa and Asia, mostly in nations that are developing or under-developed. In order to effectively reduce global inequalities we need to address the structural drivers of poverty. For example; why is it that OIC countries possess nearly 70 percent of world energy resources and 40 percent of its natural resources, around 40% of their populations live below the poverty line?
In Islam, the basic goal of development is to create an environment that enables people to enjoy spiritual, moral and socio-economic well-being in this world and success in the Hereafter (what is often referred to as falah). According to Islamic ethics and law (Maqasid al-Shari’ah) that there are five crucial dimensions of human development namely; spiritual (faith), human (life), educational (intellect), social (posterity) and economic (wealth).
The Islamic model presented here recognises poverty as deprivation in five closely related dimensions. These dimensions are related to each other both as ends and means to achieving well-being. They are related at outcome level because each of them is a necessary part of human dignity and at the same time they are related as means because of the synergies between them. Each dimension contains a set of basic responsibilities and God-given rights that support and reinforce each other within and between dimensions. Tackling poverty will involve discharging the Islamic obligation of safeguarding these rights and achieving social justice
Disaster Risk Reduction
The effects of climate change mean environmental disasters are becoming increasingly frequent, resulting in the destruction of life, assets and livelihoods. Economic and social losses from disasters are projected to double every 30 years. Most Governments now acknowledge it is more economically viable to move from damage control to investment in adaptation and mitigation, but require technical support to implementing successful Disaster Risk Reduction strategies across multiple sectors. Islamic Relief has already implemented many successful DRR programmes with local governments, building on local knowledge and the existing capabilities. Therefore we are well placed to offer practical solutions to those seeking to integrate resilience to shocks into the Post 2015 framework.
Islamic Relief has chosen to prioritize gender justice because of the unique perspectives that we bring to this issue. For instance, we emphasize that equality between men and women is a discussion about complementary and mutually reinforcing rights rather than creating false antagonism between the genders. One of our main advocacy campaigns for 2014 is combating gender-based violence (GBV), which is also an advocacy position advanced by the OIC, as well as the issues of education and sustainable livelihoods – areas in which we have programs in over countries. We are eager to see what our active participation and unique voice can achieve in the discussion on gender justice issues.
The Post 2015 team regularly visits the UN Head quarters in New York to speak with Member States that are participating in the drafting of goals and targets for the Post 2015 framework, offering them our expertise on humanitarian issues and faith sensitive approaches to complex topics like gender.
Islamic Relief’s Post 2015 team has also been hard at work attending the Open Working Group Sessions in New York and regional consultations around the world, making substantive inputs through civil society platforms.
Islamic Relief also organises side events with UN agencies and Governments at global forums such as the Commission for the Status of Women, the High Level Political Forum, and the UN General Assembly.
Acknowledging the importance of generating support for Post 2015 with national policy makers, Islamic Relief is also investing resources in developing relationships directly with national governments through our field offices.