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EESC conference calls for global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development

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10000000000004A7000001897E584A07From 13-14 February, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) brought together experts from a wide range of civil society groups along with national, EU and UN stakeholders to discuss the challenges and prospects for the preparation of the Post-2015 Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Poverty eradication and sustainable development were both at the heart of the debates of the Global Partnership Conference.

"We need to turn the 21st century from a century of fragility into a century of sustainability," said Commissioner Janez Potočnik, who also highlighted that poverty could only be effectively eliminated if we accepted the planet's boundaries. According to Potočnik, the Post-2015 Framework on Sustainable Development Goals could be as important a landmark for humanity as the declaration of human rights.

The importance and relevance of this conference was borne out by the wide range of topics discussed during the one and a half day-long event. The issues on the agenda included the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment, calls to curb money laundering and combat corruption as well as proposals for a quota model for environmental footprints, among many others. The overarching message was that all countries needed to be on board, accept their specific responsibilities and increase their efforts in this area.

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Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and Co-Chair of the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals Csaba Kőrösi highlighted the UN's vision of building consensus around a limited but ambitious set of goals and warned against emphasizing the North-South divide.

EESC Vice-President Hans-Joachim Wilms stressed the need to identify and tackle the roots of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. "Sustainable development must become a political reality," he concluded.

A common agreement was reached on the crucial role of civil society stakeholders, business, local and regional governments, which needed to be fully involved in the policy development and implementation framework.

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The conclusions of this conference, which will be communicated to the European Commission, Parliament and Council, will inform these institutions about the process of defining an EU position on the launch of negotiations on the Post-2015 framework.

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Development

Kazakh president sets out five priorities for #Kazakhstan’s 'Third Stage of Modernization' 

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In his annual address to the nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, announced five main priorities as part of what he described as “Kazakhstan’s third stage of modernization”. The priorities are aimed at ensuring economic growth and supporting the country to become one of the top 30 most developed countries in the world by 2050.

The five priorities are: Acceleration of technological modernization of the economy, improved business environment, macroeconomic stability, improved quality of human capital and institutional reforms, including improved security and more action to tackle corruption.

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President Nazarbayev said in his annual address: “I am setting the task of ensuring the implementation of the Third Modernisation of Kazakhstan. It is necessary to create a new model of economic growth that will ensure the country's global competitiveness.”

He added: “This modernization is not a plan to combat current global challenges, but a reliable bridge to the future, to meet the objectives of Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. It will be carried out on the basis of the 100 Concrete Steps Plan of the Nation.”

The Head of State also instructed the Government to developa package of measures for the technological re-equipment of basic industries by 2025.

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The annual address followed a special announcement given by the President last week, in which he set out bold plansto increase the powers of parliament. President Nazarbayev stated that these constitutional reforms are aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan, as the Government will be accountable to parliament.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has proposed a constitutional reform aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan. During a special televised address to the nation on 25 January, the President announced a number of functions that would be transferred either to the Government or Parliament. Public discussions on the proposed constitutional reforms will take place for the next month, concluding on 26 February. After this, the reforms will be presented to Parliament.