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Fifth Session of the Open Working Group (OWG) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

25-27 November 2013 | UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

Daily web highlights (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Monday, 25 November 2013
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The Co-Chairs met with representatives from major groups prior to the opening of OWG 5.
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On Monday morning, 25 November 2013, OWG Co-Chair Macharia Kamau (Kenya) opened the Fifth Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals by presenting, together with Co-Chair Csaba Korosi (Hungary), on the progress of the OWG’s first four sessions, activities during the five-month interim period, and the business ahead. They identified the following areas as part of the emerging consensus among Member States: the centrality of poverty eradication; the goals must be few, measurable and easy to communicate; the new agenda must build on and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); new goals must be inclusive and “leave no one behind”; and the agenda must be universal and apply to all countries, while recognizing different priorities and levels of development. They said broad support exists for goals or targets on: poverty; food security; water and sanitation; health; education; employment; and universal attainment of a social development threshold.

The discussion of the OWG-5 agenda item on sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and industrialization began with two keynote statements. Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University, stressed that achieving inclusive and sustainable growth means moving away from the MDGs’ approach of having single targets for all countries, and conflating instruments with goals, since the effectiveness of instruments is not always established. Li Yong, Director-General, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), highlighted that no country in history has achieved economic growth and tackled poverty without significant industrialization. Approximately fifteen speakers then took the floor on behalf of country coalitions and OWG constituencies, to discuss their preferred approach to the topics. Nineteen additional speakers will take up this topic on Tuesday morning.

During the afternoon, Mukhisa Kituyi, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), stressed that, while the MDGs equated development with specific social deprivations, the SDGs are development goals that should focus attention on building livelihoods and productive capacity. Amadou Sy, Brookings Institution, highlighted the need to reallocate global investments towards sustainable development, which encompasses, inter alia, strengthening South-South partnerships and using aid as a catalyst for private investment flows. Amar Bhattacharya, Director, G-24, emphasized the need for, among others, improved tax performance and international cooperation to tackle tax avoidance by companies and infrastructure investments. Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, highlighted discussions in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which resulted in recommendations to focus the SDGs on: ending extreme poverty; jobs and continued economic development within planetary boundaries; social inclusion; education for all; universal health coverage; food security and sustainable agriculture; climate change and sustainable energy; conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, including freshwater sources; resilient and sustainable cities; and good governance.

Discussion will continue on Tuesday morning, 26 November, on this agenda item. The afternoon session will take up the agenda item on energy.
Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, highlighted discussions in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) during the expert panel discussion in the afternoon.
The Co-Chairs highlighted twelve intersessional events that have taken place since the last meeting of the OWG.
The recently remodeled Conference Room 3 was packed during the first OWG meeting in five-months.
Funding for coverage of this event has been provided by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
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Daily web highlights (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
Session resources

*OWG-5 website

*Draft programme of work

*General information on SDGs

*Sustainable development knowledge platform website

*Website for the Fourth session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 17-19 June 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

*Website for the Third session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 22-24 May 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

*Website for the Second session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 17-19 April 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America

*Website for the First session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 14-15 March 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America


IISD RS resources

*Post-2015 Development Agenda Meeting Reporting

*IISD RS summary and analysis of the Fourth session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 17-19 June 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS summary report of the Arab Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) on Rio+20 Outcomes, 29-30 May 2013, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) (HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS summary and analysis of the Third session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 22-24 May 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS briefing note of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Integration Meeting on Achieving Sustainable Development – “Integrating the Social, Economic and Environmental Dimensions”, 13 May 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS summary report of the Asia and Pacific Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) on Rio+20 Outcomes, 22-24 April 2013, Bangkok, Thailand (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS summary report of the Second session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 17-19 April 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS summary report of the First session of the UNGA’s OWG on SDGs, 14-15 March 2013, UN Headquarters, New York, United States of America (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of the Caribbean Forum: Shaping a Sustainable Development Agenda to address the Caribbean Reality in the 21st Century and Conference on Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean: Follow-up to the development agenda beyond 2015 and Rio+20, 5-6 and 7-9 of March 2013, Bogotá, Colombia

*IISD RS summary report of the Eighth Session of the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development (CFSSD-8) and Africa Regional Implementation Meeting (Africa-RIM) in preparation for the Twentieth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable (CSD-20), 19-21 November 2012, UN Conference Centre (UNCC), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (English: HTML - PDF) (French: HTML - PDF)

*IISD RS coverage of Rio+20: Third PrepCom and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), 13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

*IISD RS archive of sustainable development meetings

*UNCSD-L - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

*POST2015-L - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Post-2015 Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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