When the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was announced, Alex Evans laid out a useful typology of the five kinds of people you find on high level panels. They were:
- Visionaries: Those who already know the overall message they want a panel to send and push the process towards that message (whether others buy in or not).
- Experts and Problem-solvers: Those who are capable of engaging on almost any issue, even if they don’t want to steer the overall storyline. They can be incredibly useful in brokering deals, challenging lazy thinking, and generally steering the process towards a successful conclusion.
- Single-issue evangelists: Those who care about one thing in this agenda, and one thing only.
- Blockers: Those who are more focused on their government’s redlines than on what they can bring to the table or what kind of overall story or deal can be crafted.
- Dead wood: Those who can’t be bothered to engage.
It strikes me that the typology is equally relevant to categorizing the potential role of UN member states in forging an agreement on the post-2015 development agenda and financing for development. While many activists are interested in identifying influencers and potential spoilers, I am more intrigued by the role that problem-solving nations could play. Who are the nations willing to challenge conventional wisdom, to bring evidence to bear, to do the diplomatic legwork required to understand member state positions and propose ways forward?