As the UN works on a framework to succeed the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015, leading civil society leaders have asked the world body to keep the interests of the marginalised section and aim for equitable development.
At a meeting on the issue in the UN in New York yesterday, Paul Divakar of India's Wada Na Todo Abhiyan and a number of activists said there was a need to focus on ensuring equitable and universal human development while finalising the development framework.
"While nobody is challenging the need for development, what is critical are the indicators and metrics of measuring development", Divakar said.
He is leading a coalition of 4,000 Indian civil society organisations at the meeting organised by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan as part of the Seventh Session of the Open Working Group of UN on Sustainable Development Goals in New York.
"This is where we find lack of integration of concerns of the most marginalised in ensuring equitable and universal human development," he said.
The meeting was attended by diplomats from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Hungary and Kenya and a number of other countries.
Echoing the view, Marta Benavides of the Global Call to Action against Poverty expressed concern that community voices were absent in realising the goals.
Rosa Lizarde, heading the Feminist Task Force, highlighted that any new formulation of Sustainable Development Goals would fail if it did not address challenges confronting women who comprised over half of the world's population.
"Time is running out for all of us as advocates of climate justice to ensure decent and quality life to all".
Ajay Jha, who coordinates the Beyond Copenhagen Coalition, underlined the linkage between poverty and vulnerability to disasters and said there was a need to focus on this aspect in the new development framework.
"How people are being treated in disasters has a lot to do with the national policy frame," he noted.
Kenya and Hungary are chairing the Open Working Group (OWG) processes at the UN.
The OWG has been anchoring the UN process of developing new global goals and attendant targets and indicators since March 2013. The OWG has met six times before and the January meeting is the second-last one.