CEPA Symposium on Making Sustainability the Next Metric: the Post-2015 Development Agenda

CEPA Symposium on Making Sustainability the Next Metric: the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals (SV) teamed up with the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), Sri Lanka, in organising a symposium titled Making Sustainability the Next Metric: the Post-2015 Development Agenda during 6-7 November 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh co-organised the event with Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan, Practical Action (PA) and the South Asia Policy Research Institute (SAPRI), Sri Lanka.



CEPA Symposium on Making Sustainability the Next Metric: the Post-2015 Development Agenda 1

The symposium brought together key South Asian resource people and invited participants to discuss Asian perspectives and ideas into the global discussions on the post-2015 development framework.

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, SV and Distinguished Fellow, CPD, delivered the opening address on the Current Debates and Activities in the MDG/SDG Global DiscussionsHe pointed out that, the MDGs did not address a basic aspect of development challenges facing the low-income countries, i.e. the need to transform their productive capacity. Foreign aid flows, often, have been concentrated on humanitarian assistance and social sectors.

While these are also recognised as important priorities, it needs to be noted that development of physical infrastructure did not receive adequate financing. In this backdrop, ‘building productive capacity’ may be delineated as a standalone target in the post-2015 agenda with a view to accelerate the structural transformation of the developing economies.

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The panellists and selected group of invitees discussed the position papers and other solicited inputs through 6 key sessions structured as interactive discussions. The session outcomes are expected to be collated into South Asia’s suggestions for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), processes and measurements to be taken forward through the Southern Voice initiative spearheaded by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Bangladesh.


A number of members of the Southern Voice network participated  as chairs, presenters and discussants in various sessions, including Ms Priyanthi FernandoMs Karin FernandoDr Udan Fernando and Dr. Vagisha Gunasekara from CEPA; Dr Fahmida Khatun from CPD; Dr Shehryar Toru Khan and Mr Asif Saeed Memon from SDPI; Dr Saman Kelegama and Ms Kanchana Wickramasinghe from IPS; Dr Nidhi Sabharwal from IIDS.

The concept for this initiative came from a sense that key global environmental indicators are now deteriorating with frightening rapidity and if the post-2015 agenda does not focus on the need for growth and development to take place in a fundamentally different way, then it will only perpetuate the existing problems and will also not meet some of the key goals of poverty reduction.

In this sense, the proposed activities are aimed at creating opportunities to bring to the fore, the issues of Sustainable growth within resource limits that will directly affect poverty reduction and development in South Asia. Second, it is hoped that the symposium will serve as a forum to relay post-2015 discourse stemming from various international fora; to gain a deeper understanding of issues that are being highlighted at the global level. Thirdly, the event will look to formulate informed proposals addressing Southern concerns and interests in relation to development.

The two themes guiding the content of this symposium are

1) the nature of development goals that address issues that are crucial to the South Asia region and

2) the process of incorporating these goals into the post-2015 development framework.

Session 01: Demystifying the MDGs and SDGs and Setting the Context

Session 02: Economic Growth within Natural Limits


Session 03: Equity and Sustainability

Session 04: Shared Societies and Governance


Session 05: The Role of Technology in Achieving Sustainable Development


Session 06: Ownership for Sustainability and Instruments for Delivery


Session 07: Synthesizing Key Issues and Recommendations


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