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Who will chair the UN Post-2015 Panel?

In case you missed it, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has reportedly invited UK Prime Minister David Cameron to chair the UN High Level Panel on the post-2015 agenda. Cameron's co-chairs will be announced later, most likely around the time of the Rio+20 summit in June.

The upcoming post-2015 discussions will shape the global development agenda. At GCAP, we believe this process must be strongly rooted in a human rights perspective , actively engage women and socially excluded groups and include accountability mechanisms for both donor and recipient countries.

“This is really a moment that necessitates a big imagination for designing a truly participatory and inclusive process,” says GCAP co-chair Amitabh Behar. “Just look at the global unrest and narrative of anger. I hope global leaders respond to it.”

Cameron's appointment and acceptance of this new position was first reported by The Guardian and has since been discussed in a number of online publications. The Guardian articles are based on a leak and have not been officially confirmed by the United Nations.

Activists who have been following the process say the UN is likely to appoint three co-chairs -- Cameron plus one leader from Asia and another from Africa -- but only after Rio+20.

We hope this latter information is correct. GCAP's Global Council calls on the United Nations, in the strongest possible terms, to appoint co-chairs to this important panel from the Global South and to ensure that at least one, and preferably a majority, of the co-chairs are women.

“It is crucial that Cameron and his colleagues need to understand the importance of southern co-leadership of this very important panel so that their work is rooted in the South,” notes Behar. “However, equally important, is that the excluded and marginalised must be part of the conversation. We need a process that is not driven by elites, northern or southern.”

“Once confirmed, the panel will need to secure strong global buy-in through a process that engages civil society and governments in the South and North. No other approach will succeed,” adds GCAP Global Council member and INGO representative Stephen Hale of Oxfam Int'l.

Cameron's supporters note that he is a firm advocate of overseas aid, having stuck to his government's commitment to increase Official Development Assistance to 0.7% of UK GDP, despite political opposition in an economically challenging time.

On the flip side, The Guardian reports that as a chair of the UN panel, Cameron is likely to focus on economic development and the role of the private sector, moving away from MDG goals on education, gender and health.

Progress has been made on several key MDG indicators, but far too many people - particularly women and socially marginalised communities - are being left behind. It is essential that we do not back away from human development in the post-2015 world. People, not profits, must be the focus of any development agenda.

“GCAP must act and be the difference,” says GCAP co-chair Marta Benavides. “It must really be a movement for social transformation, so we can speak with moral authority, for our work will also talk for us.”

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