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This week I was able to participate in a dialogue with a unique group of Russian leaders to share perspectives related to ongoing dialogue around the post-2015 development agenda.  This session was scheduled as part of the Annual Meeting of the United Nations Foundation Board, hosted this year in Russia by Board Member Igor Ivanov.  The Board met with a group of distinguished leaders to discuss how the international development agenda is evolving, and identified a number of unique ways for participation and innovation to help combat global poverty.
This session was one of many consultations that have taken place since the May 30, 2013 release of the report of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, which included input and support from Russian eminent economist and chair of the Russian Central Bank, Elvira Nabiullina; UN Foundation Board members Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Graça Machel (Emeritus) of Mozambique; and 23 other global leaders.
The UN Foundation Board engaged in discussion with and elicited comments from Russian leaders including Vassily Nebenzia, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russia Federation; Aleksei Kvassov, G8 Sherpa, G20 Sous-Sherpa and Alternate Member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel; and Evgeny Shvarts, Director of Conservation Policy of the World Wildlife Fund-Russia.   Alexandre Gorelik, Director of the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Moscow, moderated the exchange on behalf of the UN Country Team.
Mr. Kvassov highlighted the High-Level Panel’s priority of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and the five “transformative shifts” identified in their report as ways to organize the post-2015 discussion going forward.  He endorsed the Panel’s appropriate inclusion of the peace and security agenda, emphasizing it can no longer be treated as separate from other global development priorities.
Mr. Shvarts focused his remarks on good governance issues in the Russian context and said that, when the next global development agenda is launched, the process will have to be closely monitored, including by the expert community and civil society.
Mr. Gorelik added that the post-2015 agenda will need to incorporate sustainable development goals, climate change negotiations, improved sharing of technology, and a strategy for financing sustainable development, and noted Russia’s key role in these areas.
UN Foundation participants underscored the important lessons Russia can bring to the post-2015 discussion, as it transitions from being a recipient and re-emerges as a donor country, and noted that Russia has an important leadership role to play on the climate change front.
This meeting was a powerful reminder to me and my colleagues of the value of public dialogue and consultation as the post-2015 discussions move forward.  It reinforced some global themes that have been expressed since the release of the High-Level Panel from many countries around the world but also highlighted the unique experiences that each society has to offer as part of these discussions.  The local context is a valuable part of the worldwide conversation.  I learned a great deal from these comments and look forward to how they, together with the many other conversations taking place around the world today, will help build a constructive partnership to help end poverty and create a better world.

Read the UN Foundation’s press release from the meeting.