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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 32 Number 20 | Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Summary of the Seventh and Eighth Sessions of Intergovernmental Negotiations
on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

20 July – 2 August 2015 | UN Headquarters, New York


Languages: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF)
Visit our IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage from UN Headquarters, New York at: http://www.iisd.ca/post2015/in7-8/

The seventh and eighth sessions of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda took place from 20 July to 2 August 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The sessions, co-facilitated by David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, and Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, finalized and agreed on the agenda to be adopted at the September 2015 UN General Assembly Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda .

The seventh session reviewed the text of the “final outcome draft” as delegates first made general comments, and then undertook a section-by-section review of the preamble and declaration, goals and targets, means of implementation, and follow-up and review.

Delegates addressed revised versions of the text at the eighth session. The session was extended for an additional two days, including an all-night meeting on Friday, 31 July, as UN Member States attempted to bridge differences on several contentious issues. Delegates continued to meet informally at UN Headquarters on Saturday and Sunday, 1 and 2 August, as the reconvening of plenary was postponed several times to allow time for delegations to reach consensus on the entire text.

Agreement was finally reached on Sunday evening, 2 August, when Member States adopted by acclamation the post-2015 development agenda: “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

The intergovernmental negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda was first mandated by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2013, which also decided that a Global Summit should be held in September 2015 to adopt a new UN development agenda.

MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: The UN Millennium Summit took place from 6-8 September 2000, at UN Headquarters in New York. Attended by 149 Heads of State and Government and high-ranking officials from over 40 other countries, the main outcome document was the Millennium Declaration. This Declaration contained a statement of values, principles and objectives for the international agenda for the 21st century. Subsequently, the MDGs were elaborated based on consultations among representatives of international institutions. The UN Secretary-General presented the MDGs to the UNGA in 2001, at which point UN Member States recommended that they should be used as a guide to implement the Millennium Declaration, with a deadline for accomplishing the goals set for 2015.

UNCSD: The international community gathered at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, agreed to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Rio+20 outcome called for establishing an Open Working Group (OWG) that would submit a report to the 68th session of the General Assembly, containing a proposal for SDGs. The Rio+20 outcome document outlines, inter alia:

  • the importance of remaining firmly committed to the full and timely achievement of the MDGs and of respecting all Rio principles, taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and priorities;
  • the SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, and focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development;
  • the need to ensure coordination and coherence with the processes considering the post-2015 development agenda, and to receive initial input to the OWG’s work from the UN Secretary-General in consultation with national governments;
  • the need to assess progress towards the achievement of the goals, accompanied by targets and indicators, while taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and levels of development; and
  • the importance of global, integrated and scientifically-based information on sustainable development, and of supporting regional economic commissions in collecting and compiling national inputs to inform this global effort.

The UNGA endorsed the outcome document, titled The Future We Want, in resolution 66/288 on 27 July 2012.

UNGA SPECIAL EVENT to Follow-up Efforts tOWARDS ACHIEVING THE MDGs: This Special Event took place on 25 September 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Outcome Document called for, inter alia: a single framework and set of goals that are universal in nature and applicable to all countries, and that promote peace and security, democratic governance, the rule of law, gender equality and human rights for all; intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 agenda; the Secretary-General to release, by the end of 2014, a synthesis report on all post-2015 development agenda inputs; and adopting the new agenda at a summit in September 2015.

OWG: The OWG on SDGs held its first eight meetings, also referred to as the “input” or “stocktaking” phase, between March 2013 and February 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York. In February 2014, the Co-Chairs, Macharia Kamau (Kenya) and Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), released a “stocktaking” document, reviewing the discussions to date, and a “focus areas” document, outlining 19 focus areas as the basis for further discussion. Prior to each of the subsequent five sessions, the Co-Chairs released revised documents for OWG delegates’ consideration. A document considered the “zero draft” of the goals and targets was issued on 2 June 2014, containing 17 proposed goals and 212 targets. After two sessions held primarily in informal consultations, at the conclusion of the 13th session of the OWG, on 19 July 2014, the Group adopted by acclamation a report containing 17 proposed SDGs and 169 targets, and agreed to submit the proposal to the UNGA for consideration and action at its 68th session.

Synthesis report of THE un secretary-general: The UNGA called on the UN Secretary-General, in resolution 68/6 of September 2013, to synthesize inputs on the post-2015 development agenda in a report before the end of 2014, as an input to the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released an advance version of “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet” on 6 December 2014 and formally presented it to UN Member States on 8 January 2015. The report proposes an integrated set of six essential elements: dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice, and partnership.

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A number of UNGA resolutions have established and set parameters for the post-2015 development agenda negotiations and related processes. On 30 June 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 68/279, titled “Modalities for the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3),” by which it decided to hold FfD3 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 13-16 July 2015, and, inter alia, emphasizes the need for effective coordination with the preparations for the summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.

On 10 September 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 68/309, by which it: acknowledged the conclusion of the work of the OWG; welcomed its report; and decided that the proposal of the OWG contained in its report shall be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs will also be considered in the intergovernmental negotiating process in 2015.

On 29 December 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 69/244 on the organization of the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, which will take place on 25-27 September 2015 in New York with the 70th session of the UN General Debate beginning on 28 September. The Summit will be convened as a High-level Plenary meeting of the UNGA and include plenary meetings concurrent with interactive dialogues. The rules of procedure and established practices of the UNGA will apply, unless otherwise decided.

On 16 January 2015, the UNGA adopted draft decision A/69/L.46 on modalities for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. The decision states, inter alia:

  • the proposal of the OWG on SDGs will be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, while other inputs will also be taken into consideration;
  • “every effort shall be made” to ensure effective coordination between the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda and the preparatory process for FfD3, and other relevant UN intergovernmental processes;
  • the outcome document for adoption at the summit “may include” as main components: a declaration; the SDGs and targets; means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development; and follow-up and review; and
  • the initial draft of the outcome document shall be prepared by the Co-Facilitators “on the basis of views provided by Member States,” as well as “taking into account substantive discussions in the process of intergovernmental negotiations,” and issued by May 2015.

intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda: The intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda began its work in January 2015 and held all of its meetings at UN Headquarters in New York. The first session (19-21 January 2015) conducted a “stocktaking” of governments’ views on the agenda. This was the first of eight scheduled sessions to prepare the outcome of the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015. On the basis of this session, the Co-Facilitators prepared an Elements Paper for discussion at the second session.

The second session (17-20 February 2015) focused on the declaration component of the Summit outcome document. The session also included an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders and a briefing with the Director of the UN Statistics Division.

The third session (23-27 March 2015) focused on: a proposed timeline and roadmap for the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) to create an indicator framework for the SDGs; country experiences in implementing sustainable development; and arrangements for a joint meeting with the FfD3 preparatory process during their April session. The session also included an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders.

The fourth session (21-24 April 2015) convened as a joint meeting with the FfD3 preparatory process. Delegates focused on: the deliberations during the second FfD3 preparatory meeting, which had convened the previous week; a discussion with representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; proposals for the creation of a technology facilitation mechanism and other science, technology and innovation issues; the relationship between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes; follow-up and review on FfD3 and means of implementation (MOI); and coherence between the outcome documents from the two processes, outstanding issues and the way forward. An interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders also took place.

The fifth session (18-22 May 2015) discussed: follow-up and review of the post-2015 development agenda; goals, targets and indicators; themes for the interactive dialogues during the post-2015 summit in September; and the way forward. An interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders took place on Wednesday, 20 May. Delegates also adopted the six themes for the interactive dialogues, which were transmitted to the President of the General Assembly. At the end of the week, the Co-Facilitators announced that the zero draft of the outcome document would be circulated in early June.

At the sixth session (22-25 June 2015) delegations, Major Groups and other stakeholders provided their reactions and amendments to the zero draft that had been circulated, which included sections titled: Preamble, Declaration, Sustainable Development Goals and targets, Means of implementation and the Global Partnership, and Follow-up and review. The Co-Facilitators said they would distill what they had heard and produce a final zero draft ahead of the last, two-week leg of the negotiation process beginning on 20 July 2015.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

On Monday morning, 20 July, Co-Facilitators Macharia Kamau and David Donoghue opened the seventh session of the intergovernmental negotiations and introduced the programme of work. Kamau noted that the last few months of work dedicated to the post-2015 development agenda have been “the final lap of an incredible race,” predicated on the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and subsequent processes over the past three years. He recognized the outcome of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development that concluded in Addis Ababa on 16 July, congratulating all involved.

Kamau introduced the 8 July draft of the outcome document, which, he said, incorporated comments made during the previous session in June. He called on governments to respect prior agreements, saying it would be impossible to renegotiate matters of principles and previous agreements during the closing lap of a process. He stressed the Co-Facilitators’ intention to conclude negotiations by 31 July, and asked teams both in New York and in capitals to help reach this goal. Donoghue encouraged delegations to get in touch with each other on the more delicate issues.

The following summary is organized according to the outcome document and follows the discussions on each section beginning with the discussions on the 8 July draft and continuing with the discussions on the subsequent drafts of 26 July, 30 July and 31 July. A final draft was distributed in the room, marked 1 August, and was adopted with oral amendments at the closing plenary.

OPENING STATEMENTS AND GENERAL COMMENTS

Among grouping and delegations who took the floor on Monday, 20 July, South Africa, for Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), underlined that the agenda is not being agreed in a vacuum but against the backdrop of the MDGs, Rio+20 and the FfD3 outcomes, as well as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process.

The European Union (EU) welcomed the technical proofing of targets, and insisted that all technical changes be included in the final outcome, including target 14(c) on full implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which, he said, must be in line with agreed UN language. He called for the MOI chapter of the post-2015 agenda to describe the “integration” of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) as fundamental to delivering the post-2015 agenda. On follow-up and review, he said progress on the agenda must be monitored against both the AAAA as well as the SDGs and targets.

Zambia, for the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), emphasized the issue of coherence between the post-2015 outcome document and the outcomes of recent major UN global conferences, in particular the AAAA and the Vienna Programme of Action (VPoA) for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024. She called for references to LLDCs in a number of paragraphs and targets, in line with the VPoA, so that LLDCs are not left behind.

Tonga, on behalf of Pacific small island developing states (PSIDS), said the persistent crisis posed by climate change stands in the way of sustainable development for all countries, and the declaration must reflect this fact, taking the opportunity to mobilize high-level political momentum for climate ambition and a universal and legally binding climate agreement in Paris. He also called for reference to accelerating the full implementation of the SAMOA Pathway as critical to the implementation of this agenda.

Benin, for the least developed countries (LDCs), called to fully reflect the AAAA in the post-2015 development agenda, as well as to address issues that were not fully resolved. He called LDCs the “battleground” for the success of the post-2015 development agenda, saying the agenda will be incomplete and lack legitimacy unless it gives focused attention to the LDCs, the poorest segment of global society. He called for several text changes, including on: the importance of economic structural transformation, productive capacity building, commodity diversification and value addition; the essential nature of agriculture, food and nutrition security; the need for a crisis mitigation and resilience fund; and a commitment to the principle of differential and preferential treatment of LDCs.

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic supported the document’s emphasis on poverty eradication as the greatest global challenge, saying it is indispensable for sustainable development. He said the MOI chapter should be in line with the AAAA and that follow-up of MOI at the global level should emphasize official development assistance (ODA) commitments, especially to LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.

Thailand said the declaration should reflect the role of the UN Development System. Supported by Palau, he called for bringing back the reference to culture as an enabler of sustainable development. He supported including “dignity and justice” along with the five P’s (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership), stressed that the targets should not be revised, and cautioned against including new concepts, such as “modern slavery” in target 8.7.

Mexico underlined the need to: address poverty in its multidimensional forms; recognize the rights of migrants “regardless of their migratory status;” and recognize the special conditions of middle-income countries (MICs) in the declaration.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) cautioned that the reference to creating “a Global Partnership for sustainable development” might lead people to think that a new agency is being created. He called for combining the preamble and vision sections as much as possible, or else differentiating them clearly to avoid repetition. He requested streamlining the follow-up and review section, and to refrain from listing some of the MDGs, In the declaration’s mention of continuing development priorities.

Georgia called for reference to refugees and internally displaced persons as an important vulnerable group in the declaration, noting there are around 50 million people displaced worldwide, the highest level since World War II.

Switzerland welcomed the gender equality and human rights aspects of the document, and called for integrating the concepts of decoupling and planetary boundaries. She urged Member States to take “a commonsense approach” to the SDGs and targets, so as not to break the consensus of the OWG.

The Republic of Korea supported the technical amendments to the SDGs and targets, and said that inserting the AAAA as an annex will ensure the necessary coherence. He requested a reference to the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

Monaco thanked the Co-Facilitators for including the June proposal of several delegations on the role of sport in realizing development and peace.

Other delegations to address the opening plenary included the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and LDCs.

TITLE OF THE OUTCOME DOCUMENT

8 July Draft Outcome Document: The 8 July draft circulated by the Co-Facilitators was titled “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Global Action.”

Discussion: Delegates addressed the title on Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 July. Maldives for AOSIS, Colombia, New Zealand, Peru, Israel, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ghana and Turkey all called for the title to include “sustainable development,” proposing various formulations, while Bangladesh and Sudan called to include “development.”

Benin, for the LDCs, suggested: “Agenda for Global Action to Transform our World by 2030,” or in short, “Agenda 2030.” This was supported by Israel, India and Japan. Switzerland suggested the title, “For People and Planet: The 2030 Universal Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Discussion on the Revised Drafts: The Co-Facilitators circulated a revised document in the late evening of Sunday, 26 July, and delegates addressed the changes on Monday, 27 July. The title read, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Further revisions were circulated on 30 and 31 July, and 1 August, retaining this same title, and a further, final version of the text was adopted on 2 August as orally amended.

During the second reading of the text (26 July version), which took place on Monday, 27 July, some countries welcomed the addition of “sustainable development” to the title, which now read, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” China, India and Indonesia opposed it, however.

The EU suggested adding poverty eradication as well as sustainable development, proposing: “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development.”

During the third reading of the text (30 July version), which took place on 30 and 31 July, the EU addressed the title to reiterate that the agenda is as much about poverty eradication as sustainable development. Peru, also for Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, welcomed the title, without additional concepts. Palau also supported the title.

Final Outcome: The final version of the text is titled “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

PREAMBLE

8 July Draft Outcome Document: The 8 July draft contained a one-page preamble. It described the agenda as “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom.” It included intentions with regard to five “areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet”: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, which became known as the “five P’s.”

This was a change from the 2 June zero draft, which outlined nine items that the agenda sets out to accomplish: end poverty and hunger; secure education, health and basic services for all; achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; combat inequalities within and between countries; foster inclusive economic growth, shared prosperity and sustainable lifestyles for all; promote safe and inclusive cities and human settlements; protect the planet, fight climate change, use natural resources sustainably and safeguard our oceans; strengthen governance and promote peaceful, safe, just and inclusive societies; and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Discussion: Delegates addressed the preamble in their general comments and discussion of the preamble and declaration, on Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 July.

On the role of the preamble, Denmark, New Zealand, the EU, Finland and Norway favored having a preamble, saying it serves to make the agenda communicable. Others, including the UAE and Uruguay found it unnecessary or redundant. Co-Facilitator Donoghue said the preamble should crystallize the essence of the agenda for audiences far away from the UN, but should not aim to be a “mini-declaration.” Indonesia argued that it is not governments’ role to negotiate a media campaign or a communication narrative.

On the “five P’s”―people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership―the US, Germany and the UK favored developing these as communication messages. Finland supported the five P’s in the preamble but said it is important to consider the integrated nature and inter-linkages between the SDGs and gender equality, and that the five P’s should better represent the depth and breadth of the agenda and avoid a silo approach. She said the preamble is important for the communication of the agenda to the public and it must be consistent with the declaration.

Timor-Leste, Chile and Liechtenstein welcomed the peace section, while Brazil argued that “partnership” and “peace” cannot be placed on an equal footing with the first three P’s, which “speak directly to the three dimensions of sustainable development” and therefore enjoy a different status.

CARICOM, Greece, Indonesia, Cyprus, Finland, Malta, Canada, UK and Norway expressed concern that the five P’s seemed to put the various, interrelated issues of sustainable development back into traditional silos.

Some countries identified issues to be added to the P’s: gender (Finland), justice (Thailand, Norway, Spain), food security and sustainable agriculture, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and resilient infrastructure (Indonesia).

Discussion on the Revised Drafts: On the role of the preamble,Japan and the Republic of Korea expressed support for maintaining the preamble. The EU, AOSIS, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey, Canada, US, Philippines, Norway, Israel, India, Malaysia, Iceland, Ghana, Serbia, El Salvador, Pakistan, Tunisia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Algeria and Egypt favored the Co-Facilitators’ shorter proposal.

The EU, US, Japan and Turkey viewed the preamble as a communication tool.

Armenia, supported by Palau and Liberia, preferred the longer version of the preamble, considering it a better reflection of Member States’ inputs. The Republic of Korea, Uruguay, Rwanda and Chad expressed flexibility on the preamble.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, said the preamble is redundant, given the declaration. Maldives, for AOSIS, and Belize, for CARICOM, requested adding a reference to climate change.

On the five P’s, the Republic of Korea noted that the preamble and its five P’s provide an important political narrative for communication purposes, and general background on the significance of the agenda. Brazil and Indonesia opposed the five P’s. The EU opposed any prioritization of the five P’s.

Several delegations called to add language to the P’s. Nigeria for the African Group, Zambia for LLDCs, and Israel proposed adding “rural development” under “prosperity.”

Benin, for the LDCs, underlined the importance of an overall commitment to just and democratic societies for development, and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among other conventions.

El Salvador, also for Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil, Slovenia, Chile and Guatemala, called for: replacing “secure the participation of all people and groups” with “secure the participation of all people and age groups.”

The UK asked for the preamble to include a specific reference to eradicating extreme poverty, and to mention that over one billion people still live in extreme poverty.

Timor-Leste said the reference to universal peace should read: “This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom,” rather than saying the Agenda “also seeks” to strengthen peace. The Russian Federation asked to delete this sentence.

Mexico stressed the importance of social inclusion. Bolivia and Ecuador called for incorporating the concept of Mother Earth. Although India welcomed the preamble’s strong focus on poverty eradication, he opposed mentioning “extreme poverty.”

Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, also for Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, called to add elements from the long version to the shorter one, including SCP and poverty in all its forms.

Algeria and Egypt preferred the shorter version if it includes a sentence establishing the link between the achievement of sustainable development and peace and security, from the declaration’s paragraph on peace and security.

On 31 July, Co-Facilitator Kamau expressed confidence that delegations would be supportive of the preamble. The US accepted the preamble. Bolivia requested including a reference to Mother Earth. Colombia and Mexico called for a reference to the multidimensionality of poverty. Mali called for “peace and security,” rather than only “peace.”

Final Outcome: The final version of the text contains a preamble announcing a “plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.” It highlights strengthening “universal peace in larger freedom,” and recognizes that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. It indicates the universal and collaborative nature of the agenda, and pledges that no one will be left behind. On the five P’s, it says that the SDGs and targets will stimulate action in the following areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. Finally, it stresses the inter-linkages and integrated nature of the SDGs.

DECLARATION

During the course of the session, several issues related to the declaration were heavily discussed. This section summarizes discussions on a few contentious issues arising during this two-week period. Other heavily discussed issues include, inter alia: the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; linkages between water supply and natural resource management; describing the relationship with the AAAA in the MOI section of the Declaration; and the international financial institutions supporting or respecting the policy space of each country.

8 July Draft Outcome Document: The 8 July draft included eight sections: introduction; our vision; our shared principles; our world today; the new Agenda; implementation; follow-up and review; and a call for action to change our world.

Discussion: Delegates addressed the declaration in their general comments and a specific discussion on the preamble and declaration, on Monday and Tuesday, 20-21 July.

On CBDR and shared responsibility, the G-77/China, Brazil, and Pakistan said the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) applies to the entire post-2015 development agenda and is non-negotiable; while India requested that references to it in the document should be strengthened. Egypt, Rwanda, and Ecuador also supported references to CBDR.

Japan expressed concern that the principle, however, could be used as an “excuse for inaction” on the part of developing countries. Brazil expressed disappointment at this point of view, and pointed to the unmet commitments of developed countries, which he said amounted to US$1 trillion since the first FfD conference in Monterrey. The UK said CBDR does not apply to the post-2015 development agenda. The EU said the post-2015 process is based on the Rio Principles of 1992 and the Millennium Declaration, from which CBDR should not be “singled out.” Italy, the US, Canada and Germany also opposed its inclusion.

Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea and others preferred the term “shared responsibility,” whereas the G-77/China, Brazil, Indonesia and Chad called for its deletion, saying it contradicted the essence of CBDR.

On peace and security, the US, Australia and Israel proposed deleting a reference to colonial and foreign occupation. The G-77/China and Iran called to add language on eliminating unilateral economic coercive measures, while the Arab Group called to refrain from unilateral economic measures that violate international law and the UN Charter. Egypt and Bolivia also argued to keep the reference to foreign occupation.

On the role of the family, the UK, EU, Norway, Australia, Finland, Iceland and Brazil preferred deleting a paragraph recognizing the role of the family as a contributor to sustainable development, which called for strengthening and protecting all families. The US, Canada, Israel, and Costa Rica for a group of 30 countries called for rephrasing this to include “all kinds” of families. The group of 30 countries also said “family” is not referenced in the Millennium Declaration and The Future We Want and should not be included here, unless it recognizes the various and diverse forms of families.

Chile, Belarus, Russia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Chad, and Tanzania for the African Group supported the reference to the role of the family. Cameroon said the family is the natural and fundamental group of society. Russia said it recognizes only one kind of family, the union of a man and a woman. Nigeria said “reconfiguration of the family” would be un-implementable at the national level.

On sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), Denmark, France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Uruguay and Peru supported including SRHR in the document to supplement the paragraph on universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services. Iceland suggested adding references to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 process and the Beijing Programme of Action to the paragraph on linkages between the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and other bodies.

Malta said abortion remains illegal in his country, and objected to “unqualified references” to SRHR in respect to all countries’ sensitivities. Nigeria warned against discussing issues that contradict Member States’ religious beliefs, traditional values or legislation, such as abortion, or endorsing “certain tendencies and personal relationships that go against the grain of traditionally accepted practices.”

On migration, the 8 July draft mentioned its relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination, and commits to cooperation for safe, orderly and regular migration, involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants, refugees and displaced persons. Migratory status and migrants were also mentioned in paragraphs on human rights and non-discrimination and vulnerable sections of the population. Turkey and the Philippines suggested referring to migration as contributing to the development of countries of origin, transit and destination. South Africa, for the G-77/China, and Mexico stressed the need to add “regardless of their migratory status” to this text. Greece said the declaration should include: the challenges of migration, human smuggling and trafficking. Tunisia, for the Arab Group, and Lebanon, requested language on ensuring or strengthening the resilience of host countries or receiving communities.

Discussion on the Revised Drafts: On CBDR and shared responsibility, developed countries continued to argue that, in the words of the EU, “CBDR only makes sense in the context of environmental degradation issues,” and said “shared responsibility” must be mentioned in addition to any reference to CBDR. Japan, New Zealand, the US and Australia called for deleting CBDR references. Mexico called for preserving the Lima Climate Change Conference outcome and its agreement on CBDR and respective capabilities “with evolving circumstances.” Developing countries argued for maintaining CBDR references, and Brazil, India, and Indonesia said it should be the overarching principle of the entire post-2015 agenda.

During the 31 July evening plenary, Co-Facilitator Kamau said that paragraph 12 reaffirming all the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including the CBDR principle, was bracketed, but that he believed there was a high level of consensus and he anticipated the paragraph could be agreed on soon.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, and Egypt, for the Arab Group, welcomed the paragraph. The EU, Norway, Australia, Japan and Republic of Korea said this reference can be accepted if the paragraph on the principles and values of the Millennium Declaration would be brought back. Japan accepted removing the brackets.

Co-Facilitator Kamau said that, based on a feeling of broad consensus, the Co-Facilitators were ready to drop the brackets on paragraph 12.

During the closing plenary on Sunday, 2 August, Brazil and India expressed satisfaction with the unequivocal reaffirmation of CBDR, with India calling it “a clarion call for common resolve and action while respecting historical responsibilities.”

On climate change, delegates discussed two new versions of this paragraph, which had been drafted but not discussed previously in plenary. The Philippines and Tanzania, for the African Group, preferred the version that addressed mitigation, adaptation and support to developing countries, which also mentioned CBDR. The US, Australia and the EU preferred the shorter version that did not contain these references, while the EU and Canada expressed flexibility and agreed to have just one reference to CBDR in the declaration, in the context of climate change.

Governments took up the 31 July draft in discussions on the night of 31 July and early morning of 1 August, as new climate text remained bracketed. The paragraph noted the intention, further to the Lima Call to Climate Action, for the outcome of the Paris Climate Change Conference to reflect CBDR and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. This paragraph was the subject of extensive consultations throughout the day on 1 August into 2 August when a final compromise was reached.

On peace and security,the State of Palestine, supported by Saudi Arabia, requested retaining the reference to peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, stressing that the post-2015 development agenda should not leave anyone behind. Australia called for deleting the reference.

“Unilateral measures” were mentioned in a new paragraph urging states to refrain from unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Cuba and Iran welcomed the added text, while the EU and US opposed the introduction of such “divisive issues.”

Israel opposed a reference to the right of self-determination of “peoples” living under colonial and foreign occupation. South Africa, for the G-77/China, Belarus, the Russian Federation, Egypt, and Algeria supported the reference.

At the closing plenary, Kamau flagged that changes to this section were still being discussed informally by delegations. After agreement was reached on the sidelines, Kamau made oral amendments to the text, as discussed by delegations during consultations in the last few hours. The word “peoples” was orally corrected to “people” living under colonial and foreign occupation.

On SRHR, the 26 July version of the Declaration introduced text on the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits on sustainable development, the ICPD, the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their respective review conferences.

Saudi Arabia and Nigeria opposed mentioning ICPD and the Beijing conference. Nigeria, for the African Group, and Qatar, for the Arab Group, opposed mentioning their respective review conferences. The Holy See objected to both the conferences themselves and the reviews. Malta called for deleting any references to SRHR.

Australia, Israel and Uruguay supported keeping the references, and Israel and the EU called for clear reference to SRHR.

The 30 July text retained a paragraph on the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits, including the mention of the ICPD and Beijing Platform for Action, but now reading, “we also reaffirm the follow-up to these conferences,” instead of reaffirming “the outcome documents of their respective review conferences.”

Several governments called to restore the previous reference to the ICPD and Beijing review conferences in paragraph 11, including Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. Chad opposed.

The 30 July draft also retained in the paragraph on health, reference to universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education.

Tunisia supported references to sexual and reproductive health care services. Nigeria called to delete the references to reproductive health. Uruguay called for reintroducing the earlier reference to the ICPD and Beijing review conferences.

On family,the 26 July version retained the paragraph on the role of the family. The EU, Australia and Brazil opposed the paragraph, while the US, Costa Rica and Israel preferred to address “all families.” Colombia, also for Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, suggested keeping the family “in all its forms.” Uruguay proposed a reference to the diverse forms of the family.

CARICOM proposed a new formulation recognizing “the role of the family as a contributor to sustainable development, and the need to strengthen family policy development in international efforts to achieve internationally agreed development goals.” This was supported by Qatar for the Arab Group, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Reference to “all” families was opposed by Nigeria and the African Group. Chad expressed support for the CARICOM and the African Group positions on family.

In the 30 July draft, the paragraph on the role of the family was removed.

In the final plenary, joining the consensus on the document, Nigeria said neither this agenda nor any binding treaty negotiated in a UN context mandates the UN or its agencies to promote or include sexual orientation and gender identity as legally cognizable categories, including the reference to “other status” (paragraph 19 and target 10.2).

On migration, Colombia, on behalf of Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, suggested keeping the references to migration status in the paragraphs on human rights, vulnerable sections of the population, and access to education. The EU opposed any reference to migration status.

The 30 July text included migration status in the paragraph on human rights and non-discrimination, and listed migrants as people who are vulnerable and must be empowered, and who should have access to life-long learning opportunities. However, neither of these references now included “regardless of migration status.” The text also recognized the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development. This paragraph did note that respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants should be ensured “regardless of migration status,” and continued to note that international cooperation on the issue should also strengthen the resilience of communities hosting refugees, particularly in developing countries. However, the text no longer committed to protecting citizens living abroad and reintegrating retired migrant workers who return to their countries of origin. Instead, it underlined the right of migrants to return to their country of citizenship, and said states must ensure that their returning nationals are duly received.

The EU opposed including migratory status in a paragraph on human rights, while Algeria favored the inclusion.

Morocco and Tunisia welcomed a paragraph on the positive contributions of migrants, Tunisia supporting the language on the humane treatment of migrants regardless of their status, and on strengthening the resilience of communities hosting refugees. Nepal called for deleting the sentence on states needing to ensure that their returning nationals are duly received.

The 31 July document, while retaining the previous references, also underlined the right of migrants to return to their country of citizenship, and recalled that states must ensure that their returning nationals are duly received.

Discussing this text, the EU and Australia requested deleting “all” before “migrants” in relation to their vulnerable status, and on access to education. The Philippines and Mexico supported keeping a reference to “all migrants,” with Mexico noting that there are no migrants who should not be treated humanely.

During the closing plenary, Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), announced that while a paragraph on the positive contribution of migrants remained unchanged, it had been moved several paragraphs higher in the Declaration.

Final Outcome: The final document contains 53 paragraphs in eight sections.

The introduction declares the intention of Heads of State and Government to: end poverty and hunger everywhere; combat inequalities within and between countries; build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and ensure lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.

The section, “Our vision,” describes a world free of fear and want, including universal literacy and equitable and universal access to quality education, health care and social protection, and assurance of physical, mental and social wellbeing. The text includes mention of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious food; and universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. It envisages a world that invests in its children, where every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and where all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed. It also mentions democracy, good governance and the rule of law as being essential for sustainable development, including sustained and inclusive economic growth, environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger.

In the section “Our world today,” the document recommits to the full realization of the MDGs, also stating that the framework goes far beyond the MDGs to set out a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives.

In the section “The new Agenda,” the text introduces the 17 SDGs and 169 targets, and reaffirms the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Charter. The section mentions countries and people with specific vulnerabilities, including migrants, but not the qualification “regardless of their migratory status.” Persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth are mentioned with regard to access to life-long learning opportunities. The section also covers health, economic opportunities, SCP, climate, oceans, urban development, peace and security, the positive contribution of migrants, intercultural understanding and sport as an enabler of sustainable development. In relation to inter-cultural understanding, the text also mentions the need for an ethic of global citizenship and shared responsibility.

The section calls for further effective measures and actions to be taken in conformity with international law to remove the obstacles to the full realization of the rights of self-determination of people living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment.

It acknowledges the UNFCCC as the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change, and it reaffirms the need to address, in a balanced manner, inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building, and transparency of action and support.

The section on “Means of Implementation” highlights the need for a revitalized Global Partnership, and notes that MOI targets under Goal 17 and under each SDG are key to realizing the agenda, and are of equal importance with the other SDGs and targets. It recognizes that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development, and that international public finance plays an important role in complementing the efforts of countries to mobilize public resources domestically, especially in the poorest and most vulnerable countries with limited domestic resources. The text acknowledges the need for international financial institutions to continue to respect the policy space of each country. It acknowledges the essential role of national parliaments and their role in ensuring accountability of commitments, and also underlines the role and comparative advantage of an adequately resourced, relevant, coherent, efficient and effective UN system in supporting the achievement of the SDGs.

On “Follow-up and review,” the text states that governments have the primary responsibility, and that the HLPF will have the central role at the global level. The need for quality data for indicators is highlighted.

In the final section of the declaration, “A call for action to change our world,” the text recalls the creation of the UN and its values, and states that “we can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet,” calling on all concerned to ensure that the journey is a successful one and its gains irreversible. 

GOALS AND TARGETS

8 July Draft Outcome Document: The 8 July draft circulated by the Co-Facilitators contained four introductory paragraphs on: the OWG process; characteristics of SDGs and targets; links between sustainable development and other relevant ongoing processes; and respecting the independent mandates of other processes. It also comprised the 17 SDGs and 169 targets. The targets included 20 changes that were proposed in a “technical proofing” exercise, referred to as “tweaks” that were intended to bring about consistency with other international agreements, or replaced the X-values in the OWG text with either a numerical value, the word “substantially” or “all.”

The 21st target “tweak,” a proposed revision of target 14.c (UNCLOS), was placed in an annex. The proposed revision referred to “UNCLOS, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes,” instead of the earlier reference to “UNCLOS for States parties thereto, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes.”

The 18-paragraph introduction to the OWG proposal on the SDGs and targets was contained in full in a separate annex.

In his introductory remarks on Monday morning, 20 July, Co-Facilitator Macharia Kamau acknowledged the concerns of the G-77/China on the tweaking of targets, saying that the tweaks aimed to ensure commitments would not fall below current aims, and would send “the right signals” to partners outside the room.

Discussion: Delegates took up the discussion of the SDGs and targets on Wednesday, 22 July. Kamau said that on issues where there was total disagreement, the Co-Facilitators would revert to the OWG text.

Delegates discussed: whether or not to accept the tweaks; whether to include the OWG introduction (chapeau), or have the new, brief introduction to the chapter; whether to include the reservations to the OWG outcome; whether the MOI targets relating to specific SDGs should appear in both chapters 2 and 3 (MOI); and which international agreements would be relevant to list in the paragraph on the link between sustainable development and other UN processes. They also discussed the way forward on target 14.c (UNCLOS) and New Zealand offered to convene informal discussions.

On the tweaked targets, South Africa, for the G-77/China, called for the entire OWG proposal to be preserved, and not reopened or renegotiated.

India and Indonesia considered that the tweaks to target 8.7 (child and forced labor) amounted to substantive changes, and questioned the insertion of the term “modern slavery.” Maldives, for AOSIS, suggested that, in the short run, countries think of the X’s as political commitments, while giving time for the statisticians to come up with technically sound percentages and figures, given the lack of existing baselines for many targets.

AOSIS and Mexico expressed concern that replacing the X’s with “substantially” did not improve the measurability of the targets. Trinidad and Tobago asserted that the term “substantially” is in effect the same as an X value. Zambia said countries should set the numerical value of targets at the national level according to their national circumstances.

Brazil and CARICOM were concerned that some tweaks lowered the level of ambition of targets by adopting a timeline for achievement up to 2030, as opposed to the 2020 timeline under the Aichi targets relating to, inter alia, forests and water-related ecosystems. Switzerland also wanted to retain the original 2020 timeline for target 6.6 (water-related ecosystems). Turkey suggested replacing “fully” with “substantially” in target 6.6.

Zambia, for the LLDCs, called for adding explicit references to the VPoA and LLDCs. Niger called for bringing target 17.2 (ODA) into line with the AAAA. Palau called for including SIDS alongside with the LLDCs in targets 2.b (trade restriction and distortions in world agricultural markets) and 9.c (information and communication technologies (ICTs).

The EU insisted that all proposed tweaks be adopted in full, as Heads of State cannot be invited to endorse a framework with unspecified X’s, nor express commitments that are inconsistent with international frameworks or that selectively quote from existing multilateral agreements and practices. 

Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, the UK and the US also supported adopting the tweaked targets. Morocco supported including the tweaks but called for “substantially” to replace “all” in some targets.

The US supported the revision of targets and replacing X’s with “significantly,” where assigning a numeric target is not possible. He welcomed the numeric values associated with target 3.2 (deaths of newborns and children), target 3.6 (deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents) and target 6.3 (water quality). He cautioned that target 2.5 (genetic diversity of seeds) and target 15.6 (fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources) are inconsistent with international agreements, and requested clarification on why “ending modern slavery” was added to target 8.7 (child and forced labor).

Turkey supported the revisions made to certain targets, including 1.5 (resilience), 11.5 (disasters), 4.4 (skills for employment), and 4.b (scholarships). She welcomed the reference to humanitarian assistance in target 11.5 (disasters), and called for mentioning, “those fleeing conflicts and host communities in neighboring countries, affected by massive influx of displaced persons.”

Co-Facilitator Kamau explained that this negotiating forum does not have the appropriate expertise to set baselines and numerical values for X’s or evaluate the costs of producing the data that will be needed, saying that these tasks pertain to the role of the HLPF. He cautioned against leaving the X’s in the outcome document, noting the risk that they may be redefined in other fora. He said that replacing the X’s with “substantially,” where possible, would set a global aspiration while leaving countries the flexibility to determine the right numbers for themselves.

On the OWG introduction (chapeau), South Africa, for the G-77/China, supported by Saudi Arabia and India, said it should be included in the post-2015 outcome document to avoid “a contextual vacuum.”

The EU called for maintaining the short introduction in the current draft, rather than replacing it with the OWG chapeau, also suggesting that a reference from the chapeau to “democratic societies” be included. Australia, Canada, the EU, Israel, Japan and Norway also preferred a short introduction, rather than the full chapeau.

On the reservations to the OWG outcome, Cameroon called for preserving the entirety of the OWG report, including the chapeau, SDGs, targets and reservations. New Zealand disagreed with including the reservations to the OWG report.

On target 14.c (UNCLOS), many countries, including Australia, the EU, Iceland, Monaco, Norway, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea, Timor-Leste and PSIDS expressed their support for the revised version, and requested moving it into the draft. Turkey called for preserving the OWG version, which mentions UNCLOS “for States parties thereto.”

Many countries supported deletion of a paragraph on the link between sustainable development and other UN processes. Saudi Arabia objected that only environmental, rather than sustainable development processes, were listed. The UK suggested keeping it only if the Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is mentioned.

On the placement of SDG-specific MOI, the UK, Sweden, Finland, Israel and New Zealand said these should not be repeated in both chapters 2 and 3. Ecuador and Cameroon supported repeating these elements, while Canada proposed placing them only in chapter 3.

26 July Revisions: The Co-Facilitators circulated a revised document in the late evening of Sunday, 26 July. The revised section on the SDGs and targets contained three introductory paragraphs on: the SDG OWG process; characteristics of SDGs and targets; and respecting processes’ independent mandates. It also included the 17 SDGs and their targets.

In the 26 July draft, the tweaked targets, including 14.c, were removed from the text and placed in an annex. Five additional proposals for tweaks, which included reference to the LLDCs, were listed in an annex for targets: 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty); 2.a (agricultural investment); 7.b (energy infrastructure and technology); 9.c (ICTs); and 17.18 (data). The OWG chapeau was contained in a separate annex.

The 26 July draft was discussed on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (27-29 July). At the opening of the session on Monday, 27 July, Kamau noted that the target changes had been placed back into an annex, in view of the many strong voices favoring this in the previous week. He cautioned, however, that for the outcome document to be credible, the technical tweaks should be accepted.

On Tuesday morning, 28 July, Co-Facilitator Donoghue opened the discussion of the SDGs chapter highlighting the issues at hand: which of the proposed technical “tweaks” to the targets are acceptable, and whether to include the OWG chapeau.

John Pullinger, UN Statistical Commission (UNSC), addressed the group by video link. He outlined the task of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) in providing indicators that are multi-purpose where relevant, and that give equal weight to all targets. He reported that the technical work is on track and that, following the IAEG-SDGs’ first meeting in June, a preliminary list of indicators is being reviewed.

On the tweaked targets, the EU expressed concern that the technical revisions have been excluded from the text. He supported the proposed revisions to target 8.7 (child and forced labor), and 17.2 (ODA). Unless the target revisions are accepted as a package, he said the EU would not support the proposed revised target 6.6 (water-related ecosystems), 15.2 (sustainable management of forests), and the newly proposed references to the LLDCs.

On Tuesday morning, 28 July, South Africa, for G-77/China, said he was pleased that the latest draft document contained the goals and targets as they appear in the OWG report. He continued to favor not reopening the OWG proposal, and declined to provide detailed responses to the proposed revisions.

Benin, for the LDCs, noted that some revisions had watered down the level of ambition, such as target 4.b (scholarships available to developing countries) and 9.5 (scientific research and technological capabilities in industrial sectors). He stressed that target 17.2 (ODA) should be in line with the AAAA, which states that ODA providers should consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20% of gross national income (GNI) to ODA to LDCs.

Belize, for CARICOM, said revision to targets 4.b (scholarships available to developing countries), 4.c (qualified teachers) and others are problematic, and targets such as 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs), 1.a (significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources), 2.a (agricultural investment) and 9.c (ICTs) should include SIDS.

The UK expressed support for the technical revision of targets, and adding “modern slavery” to target 8.7 (child and forced labor). He expressed concern about revised target 6.6 (water-related ecosystems) as it reduces the ambition of the Aichi Targets, and target 15.2 (sustainable management of forests). 

New Zealand opposed the revision to target 17.2 (ODA) and supported integrating the other technical revisions in the document.

Nigeria called for deleting any references to SRHR or the ICPD and Beijing Platform for Action, including in OWG target 5.6 (universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights).

Australia supported: replacing the X’s; and the revisions for consistency with international agreements, except the revision on target 17.2 (ODA) where she proposed mentioning “respective” prior to ODA in a text on “developed countries to implement fully their ODA commitments.

Palau called for including SIDS alongside LLDCs in targets 2.b (trade restriction and distortions in world agricultural markets) and 9.c (ICTs).

The US supported the revisions of X’s, in particular those on 3.2 (deaths of newborns and children), 3.6 (deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents) and 6.3 (water quality); and the addition of “modern slavery” in target 8.7 (child and forced labor). He opposed the proposed revision to target 17.2 (ODA) and called for making it consistent with the AAAA.

Canada, Israel, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland said they could accept the revised version of the targets.

Norway supported the proposed technical revisions, noting they could engage on target 15.2 (sustainable management of forests) to ensure it is in line with the Aichi Targets.

Turkey expressed support for revised targets 3.6 (deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents), 8.7 (child and forced labor), 12.4 (sound management of chemicals and waste), and 15.5 (degradation of natural habitats). On target 6.6 (water-related ecosystems), she did not support the proposed change, calling to retain the OWG version or use “substantially” instead of “fully” in the revision.

On Tuesday afternoon, 28 July, South Africa, for the G-77/China, expressed willingness to engage constructively on target proposals pertaining to replacing the X’s, despite its consistent principled position that the Goals and targets should not change. He specified that the Group’s engagement on the technical revisions does not indicate any intention or will to engage on any other Goals and targets beyond the technical revisions proposed by the Co-Facilitators. He proposed deletion of X’s and inclusion of “substantially” in targets 4.4 (skills for employment), 4.6 (literacy and numeracy), 4.b (scholarships), 4.c (qualified teachers), 6.3 (water quality), 9.5 (scientific research and technological capabilities in industrial sectors), 11.5 (disasters), 11.b (cities and human settlements adopting integrated policies and plans), and 15.2 (sustainable management of forests).

Lebanon supported the G-77/China’s proposed substitutions of the X’s, as well as the revision to target 1.5 (resilience).

Maldives, for AOSIS, declared openness to technical but not substantive revisions, expressing willingness to replace the X’s with “substantially” if this language is adopted as part of a package. 

Egypt opposed the technical revision of targets but indicated willingness to show flexibility “within reasonable parameters.”

The UAE supported filling in the Xs with “substantially” where possible.

On LLDCs, the Republic of Korea, Paraguay, Canada, and Israel, among others, expressed support for referring to LLDCs in specific targets. New Zealand said she was willing to engage in the discussions if SIDS were also added, where appropriate. Ghana noted that, even though he supported the G-77/China’s position on not reopening the SDGs and targets, he found value in including the LLDCs in the targets. Australia noted flexibility to discuss including the LLDCs in the targets in specific cases. The US expressed support to include the LLDCs in some targets but cautioned against losing the focus on the LDCs. Norway said the proposals to add language on LLDCs came late but could be considered. The UK said including the LLDCs in the targets goes beyond technical revision.

Zambia, for the LLDCs, noted that some proposals to include LLDCs in some of the targets have been left out, such as in target 8.a (Aid for Trade). Co-Facilitator Donoghue said five of the proposals on target revisions made by LLDCs had been included in Annex 1 of the revised outcome document.

On the OWG chapeau, the EU, Australia, the US, Japan, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Canada opposed, and Argentina supported including it in the outcome document. The Republic of Korea supported annexing the OWG chapeau to the text, while Switzerland opposed.

On the reservations to the OWG outcome, New Zealand and Canada opposed their inclusion in the outcome document. Nigeria called for integrating the OWG reservations in the outcome document “until the document is entirely cleaned up to our satisfaction.”

On target 14.c (UNCLOS), several countries including the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, the EU, Palau, and the US expressed support for the proposed revision. Turkey called to preserve the OWG version, as the alternate language does not fully accommodate the position of non-parties to UNCLOS.

On placement of SDG-specific MOI, Canada remarked that SDG 17, currently under chapter 2 on SDGs and targets, should be moved to chapter 3 on MOI to give it more prominence.

30 July Revisions: Another revised document was circulated by the Co-Facilitators on Thursday afternoon, 30 July. The draft included five introductory paragraphs instead of the three included in the previous version. The two additional paragraphs related to: calling for increased support for strengthening data collection and capacity building in Member States; and recognizing the different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country to achieve sustainable development, and reaffirming “Mother Earth” as a common expression in some countries and regions. The OWG chapeau was not annexed or part of the document, and the proposals for tweaks were not in an annex anymore. However, the text had been changed to delete all X’s and include “substantially” in nine targets: 4.4 (skills for employment), 4.6 (literacy and numeracy), 4.b (scholarships), 4.c (qualified teachers), 6.3 (water quality), 9.5 (scientific research and technological capabilities of industrial sectors), 11.5 (disasters), 11.b (cities and human settlements adopting integrated policies and plans), and 15.2 (sustainable management of forests). Targets 14.c (UNCLOS) was reformulated, as well as 3.2 (deaths of newborns and children) and 17.2 (ODA).

Discussions on the 30 July draft text took place on Thursday and Friday, 30-31 July. Delegations raised issues related to the target revisions, including on target 14.c (UNCLOS) and the OWG chapeau and reservations.

On the tweaked targets, the G-77/China said the latest revisions made to the targets are acceptable to the Group but target 17.2 (ODA) should be corrected to reflect the allocation of 0.7% of ODA/GNI to developing countries. Indonesia proposed adding a reference to developing countries, not only the LDCs, in that target.

Canada, Norway and Switzerland supported the proposed revised targets, and Belize for CARICOM, and Morocco welcomed revisions made to the X’s.

Zambia, for the LLDCs, called for including the LLDCs in targets 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty), 7.b (energy infrastructure and technology) and 9.c (ICTs). Tonga, for the PSIDS, voiced support for the LLDCs’ argument to accurately reflect international commitments in various targets, and advocated for SIDS’ inclusion in targets 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty), 9.c (ICTs) and 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs), to be consistent with the SAMOA Pathway and the AAAA.

The Philippines asked for including slavery in target 8.7 (child and forced labor). Peru, also for Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico, called for reference to modern slavery and human trafficking in target 8.7 (child and forced labor), and supported the removal of annexes as a “compromise solution.”

Ecuador asked for adding reference to developing countries in target 7.2 (energy).

Iceland, supported by Ghana, Botswana, Qatar and Algeria, expressed concern that target 15.3 (combat desertification) includes the year 2020 instead of 2030. Iceland said target 3.6 (deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents) should be revised to be in line with international agreements.

Switzerland supported Japan’s proposal to bring target 11.5 (disasters) in line with agreed Sendai language.

On target 14.c (UNCLOS), Argentina supported, while Turkey and Venezuela objected to, the revised target in the document. Tonga, for the PSIDS, expressed flexibility on the proposed language.

On the OWG chapeau and reservations, Nigeria requested including a reference to both the chapeau and reservations in the paragraph on Agenda for global action. Venezuela said the OWG report is indivisible and called for the agreed language in that report to be maintained. Australia said issues related to the SDGs and their chapeau should be addressed through a simple footnote that refers to the OWG resolution.

31 July Revisions: Additional changes were brought to the targets in the next iteration of the draft, which was circulated by the Co-Facilitators in the evening of Friday, 31 July. In this version, references to LLDCs were added to five targets, including: 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty); 2.a (agricultural investment); 7.b (energy infrastructure and technology); 9.c (ICTs); and 17.18 (data). References to SIDS were also added to some targets such as 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty) and 9.c (ICTs). Target 8.7 (child and forced labor) was revised to mention modern slavery and human trafficking. Target 14.c (UNCLOS) was unchanged compared to the previous version of the document (dated 30 July).

Delegates reconvened late on Friday, 31 July in an all-night session extending to discuss the 31 July revised text.

Pointing out elements in the text that were inadvertently omitted when revising the document, Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA, said in target 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs), SIDS would need to be added after LDCs.

The EU supported including the LLDCs’ proposals except in 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty) and 2.a (agricultural investment).

Maldives, for AOSIS, called to add SIDS in targets 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty), 9.c (ICTs), and 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs).

On target 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs), Benin, for LDCs, noted the UN Capital Development Fund is the only one mandated to deal exclusively with LDCs, but has been under pressure to devote resources to other countries. Given donors’ natural focus on countries with conditions for success, he said a special focus for LDCs is needed to ensure no one is left behind.

Co-Facilitator Kamau noted that signals given in the previous two days had indicated that the target amendments were acceptable.

Benin responded that he resisted any change to target 1.a (mobilization of resources to end poverty), so the amendment is not consensual. Kamau asked whether the LDCs would be comforted if: targets reverted to the original language, the text included language on LDCs’ special status and need for access to funding, and consensus was found for a dedicated trust fund for the LDCs. Benin responded that this would be a move in the right direction.

Tonga, for PSIDS, said climate change is a critical issue (paragraph 30), and there is appreciation that target 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs) was a factual error and had been corrected.

2 August Revisions: During the plenary session to adopt the outcome document on Sunday, 2 August, Co-Facilitator Kamau introduced the final revisions to targets.

On target 7.b (energy infrastructure and technology), he said “in accordance with their respective programmes of support” should be added at the end of the target.

On target 15.6 (fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources), he said “ensure” should be replaced by “promote” in reference with “fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources,” and “as internationally agreed” should be placed at the end of the target.

On target 2.5 (maintain genetic diversity), he requested to replace “ensure” with “promote” and add “as internationally agreed” at the end the target.

During statements provided by Member States, South Africa, for the G-77/China, welcomed the inclusion of the LDCs in target 7.b (energy infrastructure and technology), and noted the “accidental omission” of SIDS from target 13.b (capacity for climate change planning and management in LDCs).

Benin, for the LDCs, said the formulation of target 13.b “is not the result of an omission but the result of a negotiation,” and recommended the document for adoption without any further modifications.

Maldives, for AOSIS, noted the omission of SIDS from target 13.b, and recalled that AOSIS had also asked for this correction to be made after the adoption of the OWG report. He reiterated the G-77/China’s call to make this correction, and was ready to adopt the document on this understanding.

Nigeria said targets 3.7 (universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services) and 5.6 (universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights) do not create or presume the right to abortion under any circumstance. He also said the indicators for tracking progress on the SDGs and targets should not invade policy space or contradict national priorities.

Turkey reiterated that her country is not a party to UNCLOS, and that reference to UNCLOS in the document does not change the status of her country.

Mexico, for countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Nicaragua, expressed concerns with targets 2.5 (maintain genetic diversity) and 15.6 (fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources) and said the group of countries will ensure that this understanding becomes part of the record of the UNGA.

Final Outcome: A full account of the SDGs and targets can be found in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin report on the 13th session of the OWG: http://www.iisd.ca/vol32/enb3213e.html. The following target revisions were adopted:

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Target 2.5: By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Target 3.2: By 2030, end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age, with all countries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship.

Target 4.6: By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.

Target 4.b: By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular LDCs, SIDS and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and ICT, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries.

Target 4.c: By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially LDCs and SIDS.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Target 6.3: By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Target 7.b: By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular LDCs, SIDS, and LLDCs in accordance with their respective programmes of support.

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Target 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Target 9.5: Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Target 11.5: By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global GDP caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations.

Target 11.b: By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Target 14.c: Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Target 15.2: By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

Target 15.3: By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

Target 15.6: Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Target 17.2: Developed countries to implement fully their ODA commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7% of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20% of ODA/GNI to least developed countries; ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20% of ODA/GNI to least developed countries.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION

8 July Draft Outcome Document: In his opening remarks on Monday, 20 July, Co-Facilitator Kamau said the FfD3 outcome adopted in Addis Ababa should not be reopened, but governments must decide how to handle it in the post-2015 development agenda. He noted options to: annex the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA); refer to it; include its introduction; or address issues not fully catered to in the FfD3 outcome.

In the 8 July draft outcome document, chapter 3 welcomed and fully endorsed the AAAA, had a placeholder for a paragraph on the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), and included the goal-by-goal MOI targets and SDG 17 (which were also included in chapter 2). An annex served as placeholder for the AAAA. The revised version circulated on 26 July 2015 only welcomed the AAAA, no longer had a placeholder for annexing it, no longer had the goal-by-goal MOI targets and SDG 17, and included several paragraphs, including one on the TFM.

Discussion: The discussions focused on: how to reflect and address the needs of countries in special situations; the relationship between the AAAA and the post-2015 development agenda; how to reflect the relation between the post-2015 development agenda and the AAAA in the outcome document; the Global Partnership; the placement of the MOI targets; and the TFM.

On countries in special situations, the G-77/China called for recognizing the continuing importance of ODA as a main source of development financing for African countries, LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, as well as for the specific challenges faced by middle income countries (MICs). He also proposed language reaffirming strong commitment to implement existing international agreements such as the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA), the SAMOA Pathway, the VPoA, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Maldives, for AOSIS, called for reaffirming and ensuring coherence with the commitments made in the SAMOA Pathway, while Tonga, for PSIDS, said the chapter on MOI needs to reinforce efforts to support SIDS. Zambia, on behalf of the LLDCs, and Somalia suggested the text address countries with specific development challenges. Nepal and several other countries requested a paragraph fully acknowledging the IPoA, the VPoA, and the SAMOA Pathway.

On MICs, Tonga, for PSIDS, and many countries including Belarus, Honduras, Malaysia, Mexico, Somalia and Thailand, said the chapter on MOI needs to recognize challenges faced by MICs. Costa Rica called for setting out a UN plan of action on MICs.

On LDCs, Benin, for the LDCs, noted that provisions in the AAAA are not sufficient to fulfill the needs of the LDCs and called for: 0.25% of GNI of developed countries as ODA for LDCs and 50% of ODA to LDCs; duty-free, quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all LDCs’ products and at least 50% of aid for trade to the LDCs; investment promotion regimes for the LDCs; the full operationalization of the Technology Bank for the LDCs and at least 1% of ODA to the Technology Bank; full debt cancellation for LDCs; a crisis mitigation and resilience fund for the LDCs; increasing LDCs’ participation in international decision making; and creating an international support center for the LDCs under the UN.

On the relationship between the post-2015 development agenda and the AAAA, South Africa for the G-77/China, Belize for CARICOM, Benin for the LDCs, the Maldives for AOSIS, Tanzania for the African Group, Tonga for PSIDS, and many developing countries including Argentina, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Zimbabwe, highlighted that FfD3 was a separate, independent process, and the AAAA is an important complement but not a replacement for SDG 17 and the goal-by-goal MOI targets. Brazil remarked that the AAAA is a long, narrative text “not fit for purpose” to measure goals and targets, and was never agreed as a fundamental or integral component of the post-2015 development agenda.

The G-77/China and other developing countries, including Ethiopia, India and Morocco, noted that paragraph 19 of the AAAA describes this supportive relationship between the two processes. Paragraph 19 notes that the post-2015 development agenda, including the SDGs, “can be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, supported by the concrete policies and actions as outlined in the present Action Agenda.”

The EU and other developed countries, including Italy and Denmark, called for framing the AAAA’s role as an integral part of the post-2015 agenda, with the EU, New Zealand, Switzerland, the UK and the US noting that the MOI of the agenda consist of SDG 17, the goal-by-goal MOI targets, and the AAAA. Sweden said the AAAA is the foundation for the SDGs’ implementation. Japan and Australia highlighted that the AAAA addresses all the MOI of the post-2015 development agenda and therefore it should constitute its MOI pillar.

On reflecting the AAAA in the post-2015 development agenda, the G-77/China, CARICOM, the Arab Group, and many developing countries including Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Iran, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Venezuela, proposed “welcoming” and not “fully endorsing” the AAAA, and opposed integrating or attaching it as an annex. Indonesia said the text should welcome the AAAA only once, either in the declaration or in chapter 3. He called for stating that the MOI targets under each SDG and Goal 17 are the core of the agenda and of equal priority as others.

Developed countries, including Australia and Norway, requested the “full endorsement” of the AAAA. The EU, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Israel, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Sweden, and the UK called for the full endorsement of the AAAA and for annexing it to the post-2015 outcome as an integral part of the agenda. Switzerland said AAAA should be included as an annex “in its pure form, without reservations.” Japan supported the full endorsement of the AAAA but opposed attaching the AAAA as an annex. Rwanda and the US proposed fully integrating the AAAA in chapter 3 of the outcome document.

On the Global Partnership, several countries, including Brazil, India and Mexico, noted that SDG 17 and the MOI targets are the core of the Global Partnership. The EU and other developed countries called for the Global Partnership to be described as in the AAAA. India did not agree to characterize MOI of both the AAAA and the SDGs as comprising the Global Partnership. Rwanda said CBDR is the basis for the Global Partnership. South Africa, for the G-77/China, said that North-South cooperation remains the core of the Global Partnership for development. Pakistan called for “a new and strategic” Global Partnership for development.

The Philippines called for introducing text on global and multi-stakeholder partnerships in chapter 3 and for consistency with the AAAA language on an “enhanced and revitalized global partnership.”

Argentina called for clarifying that governments will play the central role in the implementation of all.

On the placement of the MOI targets,the G-77/China, the EU, Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, Spain and the UK called for keeping the MOI targets in chapter 2. Japan said the MOI targets should not be repeated in chapter 3, as most people would not understand why they appear twice; instead, chapter 3 should explain that the SDGs include MOI-specific targets. Switzerland proposed placing the MOI targets in chapter 3.

Colombia said that the MOI targets should not be separated from the other goals since they are an indivisible package, but observed that taking them out of chapter 3 on MOI would weaken that section; he therefore supported their inclusion in both chapters.

After the 26 July 2015 revision, the EU, Australia, Canada, and the UK requested moving the MOI targets placed solely under chapter 2 to chapter 3, noting that the chapter 3 had become too weak.

On the TFM, the G-77/China, Algeria, Brazil, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Japan, India, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico and Tunisia requested fully bringing paragraph 123 of the AAAA in the post-2015 outcome, with Japan stressing the need “to satisfy the gentleman’s agreement” in that regard.

Others, including the EU, Canada and the UK, called for a shorter way to welcome the TFM and paragraph 123 of the AAAA. Australia said she had not agreed to bring the TFM paragraph from the AAAA into the post-2015 text, and that singling out one paragraph would not be appropriate.

The UAE suggested that the paragraph on the TFM should address the costs of capacity building and the ODA to fund it, without duplicating the work of existing capacity-building and technology transfer mechanisms.

Cuba suggested clarifying that the TFM is dedicated to supporting implementation of the SDGs.

30 July Revisions: The revised version circulated on 30 July 2015 had 17 paragraphs, compared to the nine paragraphs in the 26 July version. The revised text no longer welcomed the AAAA but only mentioned that its policies and actions support and complement the post-2015 MOI targets and included a footnote saying that the AAAA has been adopted by the UNGA; didn’t have a placeholder for annexing it; did not include the goal-by-goal MOI targets and SDG 17; and included a paragraph on the TFM.

Many developing countries supported the revised chapter 3. The EU, Australia, Canada, Israel, Norway, and the US cautioned against picking and choosing from the AAAA, noting that important aspects are missing. The EU said the chapter on MOI is a selective, imbalanced summary of the AAAA, and suggested referring to the AAAA as an integral part of the package.

Australia requested chapter 3 to be comprised of three paragraphs that highlight that the commitment to the full implementation of the AAAA is critical for the realization of the SDGs and the principles underpinning the Global Partnership.

The G-77/China said: the paragraph on international cooperation to promote science, technology and innovation (STI) and the TFM should include paragraph 123 of the AAAA on TFM in its entirety; the paragraph on debt sustainability should reflect the language of the AAAA in this regard; the paragraph on the link between the AAAA and the MOI targets should include “MOI contained in goals and targets” instead of “MOI targets” in a sentence on the MOI targets are complemented and supported by the concrete policies and actions as outlined in the AAAA.

The EU voiced “deep concerns” regarding the link with the AAAA, and the “limited link” by welcoming the UNGA’s endorsement of the document, and called to strengthen the paragraph. Other suggestions included: referring to the MOI targets under SDG 17 and under each SDG as “key to our agenda, of equal importance with the other goals and targets;” and noting that the agenda can be met within the framework of a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development supported by concrete policies and actions outlined in the AAAA.

Japan, supported by the EU, said paragraphs 58-67 summarizing different parts of the AAAA represent a “pick and choose exercise” from the AAAA and suggested striking the paragraphs from the text. He said the reference to South-South Cooperation in the text, as a complement, not a substitute, to North-South Cooperation, “destroys the balance achieved in Addis.”

Tanzania, for the African Group, called to include a paragraph from the 26 July version of the text, which addressed international financial institutions’ respect for policy space. He also requested re-inserting the reference to countries in situations of conflict and post-conflict, into a paragraph on global economic governance.

The UAE, for the Arab Group, proposed including references to private finance in two paragraphs on ODA. Benin suggested that a paragraph on international public finance including ODA includes a sentence on “we are encouraged by those who are allocating at least 50% of their ODA to LDCs” as mentioned in the AAAA.

Canada preferred the AAAA attached as an annex to avoid needing to renegotiate and condense a 134-paragraph outcome into 10 paragraphs, explaining that selectively chosen snippets from the AAAA could open the process up to renegotiation.

Philippines called for including paragraph 71 of the AAAA on MICs.

Australia noted missing language on the LDCs and missing references to the development effectiveness principles and the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in a paragraph on nationally owned sustainable development strategies.

Ecuador stressed the need to add “and other ongoing initiatives” after “such as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” in a paragraph on private business activity, investment and innovation.

31 July Revisions: The revised draft circulated on 31 July 2015 contained: 7 paragraphs, compared to 17 paragraphs in the previous version; said the AAAA is an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda and included a footnote noting that the AAAA has been adopted by the UNGA; didn’t annex the AAAA; did not include the goal-by-goal MOI targets and SDG 17; and included paragraph 123 of the AAAA (TFM).

Introducing the revised draft, Co-Facilitator Kamau reported that Co-Facilitators had tightened up the language of chapter 3 and included the TFM language from the AAAA in its entirety.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, called for reintroducing the paragraph on debt sustainability and, supported by Egypt for the Arab Group, requested replacing the language on the AAAA being an integral part of the MOI with language from the AAAA’s paragraph 19 highlighting the AAAA’s supportive role.

Ethiopia welcomed the AAAA being underscored as an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.

The EU, supported by Canada, welcomed the clear affirmation of the AAAA as integral part of the post-2015 development agenda and said its Member States would have no problem incorporating the language of paragraph 19 on the AAAA’s supportive nature to the post-2015 MOI as long as the reference to it being an integral part is retained. Japan, supported by Australia, expressed openness towards using the exact language of the AAAA’s paragraph19, stressing that this would imply dropping “complemented” and leaving “supported” in the paragraph describing the relationship between the post-2015 development agenda and the AAAA. The US said “integral” helps clarify the relationship between the AAAA and the post-2015 development agenda.

The EU further proposed deleting paragraphs on: international policies supporting the MOI targets; nationally owned development strategies; and, supported by Norway and the US, challenges faced by the MICs. Norway explained that the reference to MICs in chapter 3 makes it unbalanced and called for either deleting it or adding other country groupings.

Benin, for the LDCs, opposed the language on MICs, explaining that the LDCs would have to compete with 61 MICs and SIDS for resources such as ODA and investment mobilization.

Armenia, supported by the Philippines, called for maintaining a paragraph on MICs, adding that the outcome document is meant to be one of global solidarity, not a competition of one constituency over the other.

The Republic of Korea called for reintroducing paragraphs on domestic resources mobilization, labor rights, and trade. Tonga, for the PSIDS, expressed flexibility in bringing back those paragraphs.

China called for restoring a paragraph on trade from the 30 July draft. India opposed any additions to chapter 3.

Australia suggested moving the paragraph on the TFM to an annex.

Final outcome: In the final outcome, chapter 3:

  • describes the nature of a “revitalized and enhanced” Global Partnership that brings together governments, civil society, the private sector, the UN system and other actors and mobilizing all available resources;
  • notes that the MOI targets under each SDG and Goal 17 are key to realizing the agenda and of equal importance with other Goals and targets;
  • on the relation between the AAAA and the post-2015 development agenda, says that “this [post-2015 development] Agenda, including the SDGs, can be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, supported by the concrete policies and actions outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda supports, complements and helps contextualize the 2030 Agenda’s means of implementation and targets”;
  • underlines: that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development; that the role of national policies and development strategies cannot be overemphasized; the respect for each country’s policy space and leadership to implement policies for poverty eradication and sustainable development, while remaining consistent with relevant international rules and commitments; and the need for national development efforts to be supported by an enabling international economic environment, including coherent and mutually supporting world trade, monetary and financial systems, and strengthened and enhanced global economic governance;
  • supports the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of actions including the IPoA, the SAMOA Pathway, and the VPoA, and reaffirms the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and NEPAD;
  • recognizes that the MICs still face significant challenges  and that “efforts to address ongoing challenges should be strengthened through the exchange of experiences, improved coordination, and better and focused support of the United Nations Development System, international financial institutions, regional organizations and other stakeholders”;
  • underscores the importance of the mobilization and effective use of domestic resources, underscored by the principle of national ownership;
  • recognizes that private business activity, investment and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation, and speaks about protecting labor rights and environmental and health standards;
  • promotes a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as meaningful trade liberalization, and calls on all WTO members to redouble their efforts to promptly conclude the negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda;
  • recognizes the need to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief, debt restructuring and sound debt management, as appropriate;
  • reproduces paragraph 123 of the AAAA on the TFM; and
  • reiterates that the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs and targets, including the means of implementation, are universal, indivisible and interlinked.

The MOI targets are placed only in chapter 2, and the AAAA is not annexed.

FOLLOW-UP AND REVIEW

8 July Draft Outcome Document: In the 8 July draft, this chapter contained one introductory section and three sections on the national, regional and global levels. The introductory section included four paragraphs on:

  • a robust, effective, inclusive and transparent follow-up and review framework operating at national, regional and global levels that will, inter alia, promote accountability and foster mutual learning;
  • guiding principles, including: be voluntary and country-owned; address progress in implementing the goals and targets; identify achievements and critical success factors, among other matters; be open, inclusive and transparent and support the participation of all people and all stakeholders;  build on existing platforms and processes, respond to national circumstances and minimize reporting burden on national administrations; and be based on evidence and informed by data;
  • a set of global indicators to be developed by the IAEG-SDG, agreed by the UNSC and adopted thereafter by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UNGA, and complemented by indicators at regional and national levels developed by Member States; and
  • support developing countries, particularly African countries, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs, to strengthen national statistical offices and data systems.

The section on the national level comprised two paragraphs on: encouraging all Member States to develop ambitious national responses to the SDGs and targets; and encouraging Member States to conduct regular reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels.

The section on the regional level had two paragraphs on: useful opportunities provided by follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels including for peer learning and sharing of best practices; and encouraging all Member States to identify the most suitable regional forum in which to engage at the regional level.

The section on the global level included nine paragraphs including on:

  • the HLPF as the apex of a global network of review processes;
  • the annual SDG Progress Report and the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) to inform the HLPF follow-up and review;
  • reaffirming that the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, shall carry out regular reviews of progress in line with UNGA resolution 67/290 on the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF;
  • thematic reviews of progress to take place at the HLPF;
  • the dedicated follow-up and review for the AAAA and the post-2015 MOI;
  • functions of the meetings of the HLPF under the auspices of the UNGA and maximizing coherence with the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR);
  • supporting participation of Major Groups, the private sector and other stakeholders in the follow-up and review process;
  • the ongoing ECOSOC Dialogues on the Longer-Term Positioning of the UN Development System; and
  • requesting the UN Secretary-General to provide a proposal on the organizational arrangements of state-led reviews at the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, including a possible common reporting format.

Discussion: This chapter was first discussed on Friday, 24 July, when Co-Facilitator Kamau said without a rigorous follow-up and review process, the rest of the agenda will not amount to much. Kamau noted that this will be the first universal review process―universal meaning not only all countries, but all things. He stressed the challenge at hand to set up: comprehensive systems at the national level; complementary regional processes; and a global follow-up and review process at the ministerial level every year by the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, as well as by Heads of State and Government every four years by the HLPF under the auspices of the UNGA.

Co-Facilitator Donoghue spoke of the need to ensure that follow-up and review is “up to the challenge,” without dictating precise arrangements to be made at every level. Both Co-Facilitators said considerable consensus already exists on the issue.

Delegates discussed: the relationship between the AAAA and the post-2015 follow-up and review processes; whether a single follow-up and review framework is sufficient for monitoring both processes; and the relationship between global, regional and national-level reporting. Developing countries drew attention to the need for capacity building in data collection at the national level, and the US stressed the value of capacity building in evaluation as well, so as to “understand what works.” Delegates also debated whether a common reporting format should be developed for national-level reporting processes.

On Friday afternoon, 24 July, Amb. Oh Joon, Republic of Korea, and the newly elected president of ECOSOC, provided a briefing on the HLPF meeting held from 26 June- 8 July 2015. Oh said Member States expected the HLPF to serve as the apex of the global network of review processes on the SDGs, basing its work on evidence and scientific analysis. He noted both vertical and horizontal components of the architecture, saying that vertically, the reviews will hinge on solid, inclusive national reviews, while horizontally, the reviews will be mutually reinforcing. He advised using existing reporting mechanisms to avoid overburdening countries.

On the relationship between the AAAA and the post-2015 follow-up and review processes, the text welcomed, as outlined in the AAAA, the dedicated follow-up and review for the AAAA as well as all the MOI of the post-2015 agenda, and encouraged the HLPF to discuss the intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations of the annual ECOSOC Forum on FfD3 follow-up as part of the overall and integrated follow-up and review of the post-2015 agenda. The EU, Estonia, Germany, Finland, the UK, Italy and others reiterated their call for a single follow-up and review framework for both the AAAA and the post-2015 development agenda. The G-77/China requested the follow-up and review to encompass all the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in a balanced and integrated manner and to avoid prejudice to the FfD3 agreement on its own follow-up and review.

On accountability, the Netherlands called for the follow-up and review process to be based on “a steady rock” of transparency and accountability. Brazil outlined the need for greater participation and accountability from the UN system and other stakeholders, and Belize, for CARICOM, said accountability to citizens should be addressed in the “national level” section.

On the global indicator frameworkthere was divergence of opinions on a paragraph on the global indicator framework, to be developed by the IAEG-SDGs, agreed by the UNSC and adopted by ECOSOC and the UNGA. Several developed countries, including the EU and Japan, asked to avoid subjecting the framework to political negotiations, while others, including Brazil, said the UNSC’s work on indicators should be carried out on a technical basis and then adopted by the UN membership.

Different views were expressed on the relationship between the reviews at different levels (global, regional and national). Tanzania, for the African Group, said that detailed discussion of follow-up and review should be led by regional organizations, and not by the HLPF. Peru and others stated that national reviews should be discussed at the regional level, and that the HLPF should assess global progress based on regional inputs. Some countries, including Switzerland, proposed to make more explicit the link between the national, regional and global levels in the document. The US asked to introduce a paragraph outlining the institutional structure for follow-up and review as a global network of review processes, including not only the HLPF but also ECOSOC’s functional commissions and subsidiary bodies.

On the HLPF as the apex of a global network of review processes, while Peru expressed support for this terminology, Maldives, for AOSIS, said “responsible” would be preferable to “apex.” Brazil asked for more clarity on the role of the HLPF. Canada, Honduras and others said ECOSOC would be the appropriate forum to carry out follow-up and review at the global level.

Member States also commented on a paragraph on follow-up and review at the HLPF to be informed by an annual SDG Progress Report and by the GSDR. Canada and Japan called for clarifying the difference between these two reports. Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA, explained that the GSDR aims to bring science into policymaking, while the SDG Progress Report is statistical, using the goal-target-indicator framework.

On the role of the GSDR, Egypt, for the Arab Group, and India said the GSDR should not be used as a monitoring tool, while Bangladesh and Tanzania, for the African Group, underscored that it should not be a reporting tool. Switzerland called on the GSDR to inform the HLPF held under the auspices of the UNGA every four years, while the SDG Progress Report should include inputs from the GSDR and inform the meetings of the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC. Germany asked for referencing the GSDR as the science-policy interface of the HLPF and the flagship report on SDGs, targets and emerging issues.

On follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels, many said this can provide useful opportunities for peer learning, sharing of best practices, cooperation on transboundary issues and discussion on shared targets. The EU, Sweden, France and Italy called for restoring the reference to peer reviews. Morocco said peer learning is an important incentive for strengthening regional and South-South cooperation, and Germany referenced the positive aspects of mutual learning at the HLPF and at the regional level.

Delegates also reacted to a paragraph that requested the UN Secretary-General to provide a proposal, for consideration by Member States, on the organizational arrangements of state-led reviews at the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, including on a possible common reporting format. The EU, Denmark, the Republic of Korea and Spain supported reference to a common reporting format, but Tanzania, for the African Group, opposed. Egypt showed support, if it is voluntary. Uganda asked to avoid a prescribed format that requires compliance, and Peru called for guidelines from the UN Secretary-General instead.

26 July Revisions: A revised draft outcome document was circulated by the Co-Facilitators on 26 July. The revised draft had the same structure as the previous version but included longer introductory and “global level” sections. Changes brought to the document included:

  • a reference to “people-centered” in a paragraph on follow-up and review principles;
  • in the principles paragraph: reference to global review based on national data sources; and new principles on: gender-sensitivity, respect of human rights; capacity-building support for developing countries; and benefiting from the active support of the UN system and other multilateral institutions;
  • a new paragraph in the introductory section committing to fully engage in conducting reviews of progress at subnational, national, regional and global levels, and stating that regular national reports will inform recommendations for follow-up and review at various levels, along with regional dialogues and global reviews;
  • reference to peer review and learning (instead of peer learning) in a paragraph on the regional and sub-regional levels;
  • new language on encouraging the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, to agree on the scope and methodology of the GSDR at its 2016 session;
  • a new paragraph (in the global level section) stressing the importance of system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting to ensure coherent and integrated implementation of the agenda by the UN development system;
  • new language calling for the UN Secretary-General to prepare a report, for consideration by the 2016 meeting of the HLPF that would include recommendations on a voluntary common reporting format; and
  • a new paragraph calling on the UNGA, ECOSOC and their subsidiary bodies and specialized agencies to take all necessary measures for the effective, comprehensive and timely implementation, follow-up and review of the agenda.

The revised draft was discussed on Wednesday, 29 July. Beginning the exchange of views, Co-Facilitator Kamau reiterated that the issue of follow-up and review had received considerable consensus so far. Many delegates expressed satisfaction with the language of the revised draft, which they said provided specificity without being overly prescriptive. Delegates discussed the issues of accountability, the role of the HLPF, the need for the HLPF to have adequate institutional support and resources; whether to have common reporting guidelines or a common format; and support to develop baseline data.

The EU, supported by Japan and Liechtenstein, proposed language in a paragraph on committing to engage in systematic follow-up and review of implementation of the agenda saying that the implementation of the AAAA and the effective use of all MOI will be followed up in an integrated framework. The EU suggested amending a paragraph on the link with the AAAA follow-up and review so as to state that: “conclusions and recommendations of the annual ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development will be part of the overall and integrated follow-up and review of the Agenda,” and “the report of the Inter-Agency Task Force on financing for development will inform such discussion.”

The EU and several developed countries continued to request that the adoption of the global indicator framework by ECOSOC and the UNGA does not lead to a political discussion on the framework.

On a paragraph on follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels, South Africa, for the G-77/China, called for peer reviews to be voluntary. Some, including Cuba and Argentina, asked to delete reference to peer reviews, and Argentina also stressed that reviews should draw from contributions by other stakeholders but should not be carried out by them. Others proposed alternative wording including: peer learning (Indonesia); peer learning, including through voluntary reviews (Brazil); and regional dialogues (Brazil).

On a paragraph on the role of the HLPF on follow-up and review at the global level, Mexico requested deleting reference to the central role of the HLPF in overseeing follow-up and review at the global level. The US favored referring to the HLPF as the apex of a “global network” of reviews, and India said that while agreeing that the HLPF will perform the role of follow-up and review, the organization at the “apex” is the UNGA.

On a paragraph on reports to inform the HLPF, the EU and the Republic of Korea called for mentioning that the HLPF should not only draw on the GSDR but also on other sources such as the monitoring framework of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. On the scope and methodology of the GSDR, some Member States, including Canada and Switzerland, called to conclude the discussion on this matter in time for the HLPF 2016, and others, including Brazil, requesting to include language reflecting on these conclusions in the HLPF Ministerial Declaration in 2016.

Diverging views were expressed on a paragraph that requests the UN Secretary-General to prepare a report that outlines milestones for follow-up and review at the global level, including recommendations on a voluntary common reporting format. Cuba, India and others called for the report to be prepared in consultation with Member States or based on inputs from Member States. Mexico, supported by Japan, favored asking the UN Secretary-General to provide recommendations on organizational arrangements for state-led reviews at the HLPF, rather than proposing milestones. Indonesia supported a recommendation on common reporting guidelines, but not on a reporting format. In terms of a timeline, the US, supported by Liechtenstein and Australia, said the report should be considered “by Member States before the 2016 meeting of the HLPF.” The EU asked to request the UN Secretary-General to propose complementary arrangements for the reviews at the global level by the end of 2015, while Switzerland noted a “real and urgent” need for a Secretary-General’s report to offer guidance.

Delegates also discussed a paragraph on system-wide strategic planning for coherent and integrated implementation of the agenda. The US, Japan and Australia, among others, opposed the reference to system-wide reporting in the SDG Progress Report.

30 July Revisions: Other revisions, while more limited, were brought to the 30 July draft, including: new language in the paragraph on the dedicated follow-up and review for the AAAA and the MOI of the SDGs, that calls for integration with the follow-up and review framework of the post-2015 development agenda; and new language requesting the UN Secretary-General to prepare a report for consideration at the 70th session of the UNGA in preparation for the 2016 meeting of the HLPF, that would include recommendations on voluntary reporting guidelines.

Chapter 4 was again discussed on 30 July, although very briefly. The EU stressed the need for improvement on the importance of inclusivity and transparency and meaningful participation of stakeholders at all levels, and suggested that the HLPF should: make recommendations for further action at national, regional and global level. He also cited “problematic language” on political endorsement of indicators, and policy space. The US said his country did not want to lose the important idea of a network of review processes with the HLPF at its apex, suggesting that the language in this paragraph could indicate the HLPF as a forum to oversee a network of follow-up and review processes at the global level. He also called for the deletion of the word “official” in relation to “official national data sources” in a follow-up and review guiding principle.

31 July Revisions: Additional changes were brought in the 31 July draft, notably: a mention that the HLPF will oversee a network of follow-up and review processes and will promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies; and the inclusion of a sentence on fostering a dynamic and well-functioning business sector, while protecting labor rights and environmental and health standards, in a paragraph on the HLPF supporting participation of Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in the follow-up and review processes.

On 1 August, when the revised text was discussed, Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA, orally amended the text on elements that were inadvertently omitted when revising the document. In a paragraph on environmental and health standards related to the business sector, he said “and other ongoing initiatives in this regard” should be added after “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.” The US noted that, “everyone is basically in agreement with this chapter” but called for deleting reference to business sector standards. Egypt, for the Arab Group, raised concern about a paragraph on commitment to engage in systematic follow-up and review, and called for the 30 July version to be reinstated, which describes the process as voluntary.

Final Outcome: The document includes an introductory section as well as three distinct sections on national level, regional level and global level. The introductory section contains six paragraphs on:

  • committing to engage in systematic follow-up and review of the implementation of the Agenda over the next fifteen years, noting that a robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework will, inter alia, maximize and track progress to ensure no one is left behind;
  • promoting accountability, supporting effective international cooperation and fostering exchanges of best practices and mutual learning, mobilizing support to overcome shared challenges and identifying new and emerging issues;
  • follow-up and review guiding principles, including: a) be voluntary and country-led; b) track progress in implementing the universal goals and targets, including the MOI, in all countries; c) maintain a longer-term orientation, identify achievements, challenges, gaps and critical success factors, among other matters; d) be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people and support reporting by all relevant stakeholders; e) be people-centered, gender-sensitive, respect human rights and have a particular focus on the poorest, most vulnerable and those furthest behind; f) build on existing platforms and processes, respond to national circumstances, capacities, need and priorities and minimize reporting burden on national administrations; g) be based on evidence and informed by data; h) require enhanced capacity-building support for developing countries; and i) benefit from the active support of the UN system and other multilateral institutions;
  • the follow-up and review of goals and targets by a set of global indicators to be developed by the IAEG-SDG by March 2016, agreed by UNSC and adopted thereafter by ECOSOC and the UNGA, and complemented by indicators and regional and national levels developed by Member States;
  • supporting developing countries, particularly African countries, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs, in strengthening the capacity of national statistical offices and data systems; and
  • committing to fully engage in conducting regular and inclusive reviews of progress at subnational, national, regional and global levels.

The section on the national level has two paragraphs on: encouraging all Member States to develop as soon as practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of the Agenda; encouraging Member States to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress that are country-led and country-driven.

The section on the regional level had two paragraphs on: useful opportunities provided by follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels such as for peer learning, including through voluntary reviews, sharing of best practices and discussion on shared targets; and encouraging all Member States to identify the most suitable regional forum in which to engage at the regional level and encouraging UN Regional Commissions to continue supporting Member States in this regard.

The section on global level includes 10 paragraphs on:

  • the HLPF to oversee a network of follow-up and review processes at the global level;
  • the annual SDG Progress Report and the GSDR to inform the HLPF follow-up and review and inviting the ECOSOC President to conduct a process of consultations on the scope, methodology and frequency of the GSDR and its relation to the SDG Progress Report;
  • the need for the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, to carry out regular reviews of progress in line with UNGA resolution 67/290;
  • thematic reviews of progress on the SDGs, including cross-cutting issues, to take place at the HLPF, and to reflect the integrated nature of the goals as well as the interlinkages between them;
  • the dedicated follow-up and review for the AAAA and the MOI of the SDGs, which is integrated with the follow-up and review framework of the post-2015 development agenda and on feeding the intergovernmentally-agreed conclusions and recommendations of the annual ECOSOC Forum on FfD into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda in the HLPF;
  • functions of the meetings of the HLPF under the auspices of the UNGA and maximizing coherence with the QCPR;
  • the importance of system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting to ensure support to the implementation of the agenda by the UN development system and welcoming the ongoing ECOSOC Dialogues on the longer term positioning of the UN development system;
  • supporting the participation of Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in line with UNGA resolution 67/290;
  • requesting the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to prepare a report, for consideration at the 70th session of the UNGA in preparation for the 2016 meeting of the HLPF, which includes, inter alia, recommendations on voluntary common reporting guidelines; and 
  • reaffirming commitment to achieving the agenda and utilizing it to the full to “transform our world for the better by 2030.”

CLOSING PLENARY

On Friday evening, 31 July, a revised draft was circulated at 7:30 pm, and for several hours Member States held informal discussions on outstanding issues in the text.

At 12:38 am in the early hours of Saturday morning, the Co-Facilitators welcomed a full room of delegations and other representatives to “the final session at which we hope to be working toward the adoption” of the agenda. Co-Facilitator Kamau highlighted the inclusive process that had led to the current level of agreement, and stated that the objective of the session would be to tweak and adopt the text in the room as two sections of the text remained in brackets—one on the Rio Principles including CBDR, and one on climate change and the UNFCCC. He advised that the group working on the climate text was close to reaching an agreement. He also informed delegates of mistakes in the text that did not reflect what the Co-Facilitators had agreed, but had been inadvertently omitted, and invited the Secretariat to brief delegates on these.

Nikhil Seth, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA, noted that in a paragraph on people who are vulnerable and must be empowered, language on “of whom more than 80% live in poverty” should be added after “persons with disabilities.” In a sentence on achieving the target of 0.7% of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.5 to 0.2% of ODA/GNI to LDCs, he said “0.5 to 0.2% of ODA/GNI” should be replaced with “0.15-0.2% of ODA/GNI.

Co-Facilitator Kamau then introduced the document and invited delegations to comment, noting that the discussion would continue until “we feel we have a reasonable comfort and consensus level” on the text.

Delegates then made group and country statements on the draft. Many praised the work of the Co-Facilitators in promoting the current level of consensus. Several delegations declared their readiness to accept the document; however, others voiced remaining concerns.

Benin, for the LDCs, said the new draft does not give the LDCs the attention they deserve, vis-à-vis the challenges of LLDCs, SIDS and MICs. Other concerns included gender equality and human rights language, a request to include “and conflict” with references to peace, and references to “shared responsibility.”

Several delegates called for resolving issues through adding, rather than deleting text, with Kamau noting that “every paragraph in the text has a constituency.” Statements continued until 4:45 am.

Co-Facilitator Kamau said that, based on a feeling of broad consensus, the Co-Facilitators were ready to drop the brackets on the paragraph on CBDR and Rio Principle 7, leaving the paragraph on climate change as the only outstanding issue. He announced a break while a small group continued to negotiate text on the issue.

This break ended up lasting approximately 36 hours. Informal discussions continued throughout the UN Headquarters conference building all day Saturday, as the reconvening of plenary was postponed several times, from noon to 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm, and 7:00 pm. Delegates continued working informally on text related to climate change, as well as on migrants and “migratory status,” human rights, MOI and countries in special circumstances.

On Saturday evening, the Co-Facilitators advised delegates that plenary would resume on Sunday morning, 2 August.

Delegations began convening for the announced plenary at 11;00 am on Sunday, but last minute consultations continued until mid-day on several outstanding issues, including: placement of a reference to SIDS in target 13.b; whether the term “colonial” should be included with a reference to foreign occupation; whether to refer to “people” or “peoples” under occupation in relation to the right of self-determination; and whether to “promote” or “ensure” benefit sharing from genetic resources, in targets 2.5 and 15.6.

A new document was circulated at 2:00 pm. Co-Facilitator Kamau flagged changes from the 1 August version, relating to paragraphs on peace and security, international financial institutions, relationship with the AAAA, international trade, and debt sustainability. He said that all of these changes had been agreed by the major groupings of Member States, with the exception of the paragraph on peace and security, which was still under discussion.

When the plenary convened at 4:40 pm, Co-Facilitator Kamau introduced the document, titled, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: finalized text for adoption (1 August).” He said the outcome document had been negotiated “to the comma.” He noted that some revisions had been done “in a bit of a hurry” and invited the Secretariat to present some language tweaks to the document.

Nikhil Seth said paragraph 35 on the positive contribution of migrants has been placed immediately after paragraph 28 on making fundamental changes in the way our societies produce and consume goods and services. He asked to insert: “which was established by the AAAA” after “Technology Facilitation Mechanism” in paragraph 70; and “as internationally agreed” at the end of target 15.6 (benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources).

Co-Facilitator Kamau noted that this is an intergovernmental informal process and the UNGA will still have to adopt it formally.

The Secretariat outlined the two-stage approval process for the post-2015 development agenda, in which the current 69th session of the UNGA would take a decision to refer the document to the September summit, for adoption by the 70th session. He said that due to the informal nature of the meeting, no formal reservations could be recorded, but Member States could provide explanations of position (EOPs) to become part of the record of the UNGA’s 69th session, or they could circulate letters stating their position. He noted that it is not a practice to attach reservations to UNGA resolutions.

Co-Facilitator Kamau then presented amendments to the text, as discussed by delegations during consultations in the last few hours.

On paragraph 34 (peace and security), he said the last sentence should read as: “We call for further effective measures and actions to be taken in conformity with international law to remove the obstacles to the full realization of the rights of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment.”

On paragraph 44 (international financial institutions), he said “in particular” should be replaced with “including” in a sentence on recommitting to broadening and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries―in particular African countries, LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, and MICs―in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance.

On paragraph 62 (link with the AAAA), he said the second sentence of the paragraph should read as: “The Addis Ababa Action Agenda supports, complements and helps contextualize the 2030 Agenda’s means of implementation and targets.”

On paragraph 68, he stated that “including” is inserted before “African countries” in a sentence on “attaching great importance to providing trade-related capacity building for developing countries, including African countries, least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and middle-income countries.”

On paragraph 69 (debt sustainability), he said the following two sentences have been added to the paragraph: “We reiterate that debtors and creditors must work together to prevent and resolve unsustainable debt situations. Maintaining sustainable debt levels is the responsibility of the borrowing countries; however we acknowledge that lenders also have a responsibility to lend in a way that does not undermine a country’s debt sustainability.”

He then listed amendments to targets in chapter 2.

He expressed confidence that “we have a document” that meets with universal support.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, welcomed the language recognizing that eradicating poverty in all its forms is the greatest challenge and indispensable for sustainable development, and congratulated Co-Facilitators Donoghue and Kamau for their work.

The EU welcomed the 2030 Agenda, saying implementation will be crucial.

Tanzania, for the African Group, welcomed the references to peace and security and stressed the importance of national ownership and leadership in implementation.

Paraguay, for the LLDCs, said the international community has an obligation and opportunity not to leave the LLDCs behind the new agenda, and recalled Member States’ collective understanding and commitment expressed in the VPoA. He welcomed paragraphs 42 and 56 (VPoA), appreciated the reference to LLDCs regarding energy infrastructure and technology, and said the 32 LLDCs look forward to engaging in the implementation of the agenda.

Benin, for the LDCs, said the LDCs were pleased that the Co-Facilitators had resisted attempts to shift the focus of the agenda from the LDCs to less important purposes. He said every change made in this process has been negotiated and agreed upon, offering praise to the Co-Facilitators, and added, “My group will not indulge in any further tweaking of those documents.”

Maldives, for AOSIS, said the process had been led with mastery in an inclusive and transparent manner.

Sudan, for the Arab Group, welcomed the current version of the text, while recognizing it could still be improved, and looked forward to the full implementation of the agenda.

Belize, for CARICOM, said chapter 3, while being distinct, clarifies how the AAAA will contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda; and the outcome document sets a good framework for follow-up and review at the global level.

Tonga, for PSIDS, highlighted the universal and transformative nature of the agenda, and welcomed the inclusion of important challenges such as climate change and oceans.

The US said the outcome document gives birth to a different kind of future, and his country is pleased to join this consensus and adopt the agenda.

Bangladesh and the Philippines expressed concern that “migratory status” was taken out of paragraph 19 (human rights).

Mexico said all actions and negotiations at the UN are carried out among countries and not groups. He said the document makes it clear that the SDGs and targets apply to all people, including migrants regardless of their migratory status.

Brazil said he would have preferred more progressive language on human rights but welcomed: the recognition of CBDR; the “delicate balance” reached in paragraphs 30 and 31 on climate change; the contextualization of the AAAA; and the progress on the TFM.

Switzerland said this agreement is proof that it was right to try “the seemingly absurd idea” of having 193 countries agree on a course for humanity and the planet, at a time of great uncertainty, economic crisis, and humanitarian disasters. He said innovative ways of working together had helped transcend traditional divides, including the constituency system of the OWG. Citing the inclusive nature of the process and the use of Twitter as the main means of communication at times, he said it is an agenda of the people, by the people and for the people. The text is no single country’s idea of a perfect document, he added, which is a sign that it is truly global and universal.

The Republic of Korea said his country will continue to play an active role in implementation, including on follow-up and review, noting the role of ECOSOC on that matter, and the fact that the ECOSOC President is the current Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea.

At 6:25 pm, Co-Facilitators Kamau and Donoghue declared the document officially adopted. They then invited Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet of the UN Secretary-General, to deliver a statement.

Malcorra remarked that “we all thought at a certain point that this would never happen but you made it happen.” She outlined the complexity of the agenda and its implementation challenges, but added that the UN, Member States, regional organizations, the private sector, NGOs and everybody else will have to contribute, noting that “the UN cannot do this alone.” She said the UN Secretary-General is deeply thankful for the achievement of this second milestone ahead of the 70th anniversary of the UN.

Colombia recalled his country’s dream of the SDGs at Rio+20, and said the adoption of the 2030 agenda is another historic step.

India expressed satisfaction with the unequivocal reaffirmation of CBDR, thanked the Co-Facilitators as the “co-pilots of this journey across an ocean of ideas,” and noted the several leaps of faith that had been collectively undertaken, adding that the mutual trust was never broken. He said this agenda enables us to believe it is possible to achieve a world of “no North and no South, a world that is truly flat,” and said a sustainable world, without poverty and hunger, is “the only future worth wanting.”

Iran called for interpreting the document in a manner consistent with national legislation, priorities, culture and religious values and background. He added reporting will be voluntary, and said Iran will officially address its EOP in the UNGA, also saying the agenda will be one of the most important priorities in his country.

Armenia, Nigeria, Japan, China, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Australia, Norway, Israel, Canada, Morocco, Ecuador, Grenada, Iraq, New Zealand and the Holy See also delivered closing statements supporting the consensus.

Co-Facilitator Donoghue praised Kamau’s wisdom, command of the development agenda and his tactical skills, as well as companionship, and thanked both Co-Facilitators’ teams. He said civil society colleagues’ dedication had inspired them, and the fruit of their inputs could be seen in the document. He called for a special tribute to Amina Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, for her inspiration, guidance and encouragement. He also thanked the Secretariat, led by Nikhil Seth, David O’Connor, DESA and other colleagues, noting their enthusiasm both for the post-2015 process and for “the whole project of sustainable development.”

Co-Facilitator Kamau said Pope Francis had continuously prodded them to maintain a very high level of ambition, and a true dedication to poverty, the suffering of the forgotten, and of sustainable development. He also dedicated the last three years of efforts and their product to the memory of Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti who had passed away the previous week. Co-Facilitator Kamau praised Donoghue for his talent with crafting text, and thanked his staff, the Secretariat, the interpreters, and UNGA President Sam Kutesa, whom he said had called almost every hour and who had placed amazing trust in the Co-Facilitators. He also thanked civil society and the business community for their energy, dedication and determination to be involved in the UN system and the agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 pm on Sunday, 2 August 2015.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

- Anatole France, as quoted by Amit Narang, Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations

At many moments over the past three years, it seemed all but impossible to achieve the task of negotiating the post-2015 development agenda: agreement by 193 UN Member States on an expansive and unwieldy agenda that attempted to bring together all aspects of human and planetary well-being. Yet, as delegates trickled out of UN Headquarters under a full August moon on Sunday evening, 2 August 2015, they could take satisfaction that they had made history by charting a course to “transform our world,” having birthed, in the words of one delegate, “an agenda of breathtaking ambition and scope.”

The post-2015 journey began, one could argue, on two parallel tracks, and for several years, no one was quite sure whether and how these two tracks would merge into a single agenda. One track began over five years ago when the General Assembly adopted resolution 64/236 in 2009 and agreed to hold the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The second track originated in 2010 at the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals when, in the outcome document, the Secretary-General was asked to make recommendations to advance the UN development agenda beyond 2015.  Yet, it was not until 2014 that a way forward was found to merge these two paths and create a new, broad agenda that would build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve, but would also embody the three dimensions of sustainable development and leave no one behind. This proved to be easier said than done and the final outcome represented a fine balance of competing interests and concerns.

 This brief analysis considers the achievement of this final negotiating session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 agenda in light of the need to maintain this balance. It is, in effect, a story of how the environment and development tracks have been knit together, and how the post-2015 era builds on two legacies, that of the Millennium Summit and that of the UN conferences on sustainable development.

TWO TRACKS OR ONE?

UN Member States agreed at the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 to elaborate a set of Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators that would be “coherent with, and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015.” This proposal was envisaged by the Colombian delegation, with the support of Guatemala, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and others, who pressed for the Rio+20 conference to have a concrete outcome beyond celebrating (or bemoaning) the years since the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The Sustainable Development Goals, they argued, would create a concrete deliverable that could transcend intellectual debates and create means for measuring―in accordance with the contexts and priorities of each country―both advances as well as bottlenecks in efforts to balance sustained socio-economic growth with the sustainable use of natural resources and the conservation of ecosystem services.

The international community already had the Millennium Declaration, an outcome of the September 2000 Millennium Summit containing a statement of values, principles and objectives for the international development agenda for the 21st century, and which led to the crafting of the MDGs by a small group of experts in the UN system. The MDGs largely focused on social goals, including poverty eradication, although there was a nod to the planet in MDG 7 (environmental sustainability). The MDGs, in essence, set the framework for international development cooperation for the first 15 years of the new millennium.

For a time, there was talk of a “two-track process,” favored by some developing countries, which would have the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda on one track and the SDGs on another. The Rio+20 outcome document agreed that the SDGs would be “global in nature and universally applicable to all countries,” and many called for the SDGs to finish the unfinished business of the MDGs. Yet, it was still not clear how these two tracks would come together.

The Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want, called on the UN General Assembly to establish an Open Working Group (OWG) to elaborate the SDGs. The OWG met 13 times from March 2013 to July 2014. Midway through the OWG process, in September 2013, an UNGA special event took place on follow-up efforts towards achieving the MDGs. This outcome also called for a single framework and set of goals, thus providing an additional mandate that would bring together poverty eradication concerns with those for environmental sustainability. In effect, the two tracks began to come together with the SDGs at the center of the new agenda.

The package of 17 SDGs and 169 targets, when it was agreed in July 2014, however, still needed to be placed in context. While there was broad commitment by then to a single track, it was still to be determined just how the agenda would be spelled out. This then became the raison d’etre of the eight sessions of the post-2015 negotiation process. It was no coincidence that a large part of the outcome document is devoted to means of implementation and arrangements for follow-up and review―the “how” beyond the “what” of the SDGs.

However, the longest discussions at this meeting centered around the preamble and declaration―the “why” of the new agenda. These sections of the document were where governments grappled most intensely with the true meaning of their collective effort, what was new and different about it, and how to balance the concerns of the present with the needs of future generations with the need for more effective stewardship of the planet’s resources, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

AGREEING ON FUNDAMENTALS

In the attempt to make the new agenda easy to understand beyond the “UN bubble,” and to inspire everyone to help bring it to life, Member States crafted a preamble and a political declaration to accompany the SDGs and targets, the chapter on means of implementation and the chapter on follow-up and review.

However, the drafting of the preamble and declaration illustrated just how difficult it was to maintain balance among competing interests. The preamble, in particular, sought to provide, in an easy-to-remember format, the critical areas of the agenda: people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, also called “the five P’s.”

Some delegates remarked that the intergovernmental process should not concern itself with communicability. “The agenda should say what it needs to say, and not worry about the P’s,” commented one stakeholder, adding, “Why not just let an ad agency figure out how to communicate it later?” On the other hand, many highlighted the need for the new agenda to be inspirational and for the UN and its Member States to be able to rally investors, community groups, development aid agencies, and private-sector service providers around the new agenda. In their view, communication had to be a key concern. And far from being an add-on to the “real” technical work, the need to explain how concerns for people and planet fit together will likely continue to highlight points of difference among Member States, and will be an ongoing task for the proponents of this agenda.

Furthermore, unlike the MDGs, the SDGs are to be universally applied to both developed and developing countries. In fact, at a press conference the day after the outcome document was adopted, the Co-Facilitators suggested that US$3.5 - 5 trillion would be needed annually to fully implement the new agenda, providing an inkling of the scale of public and private sector support that will be needed for the international community to fulfil the lofty, newly agreed goals.

While the preamble and declaration successfully outline a vision for the future, and elaborate on the principle of “no one left behind,” it is clear that much more will be needed to launch its ambitions to the wider public.

ENCOMPASSING WHAT EXISTS, OR BRINGING IN SOMETHING NEW?

Sustainable development still suffers from a lack of clarity. Is it different from the development track? Is it mainly about the environment? Is it something new, or a big umbrella that covers everything? Is it a step on the way to poverty eradication, or a result of it? Even at this meeting that was supposed to be elaborating a sustainable development agenda, comments indicated that not all delegates shared a common working definition of the concept.

This lack of consensus on the meaning of sustainable development was demonstrated when some delegates called for the title of the agenda to encompass “poverty eradication and sustainable development.” Doing so would have set poverty eradication as a counterpoint to sustainable development, and maintain the “silos” that so many wanted to dismantle. Instead, the agreed title, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” maintains sustainable development as the all-encompassing framework, in which “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty,” is the greatest global challenge.

Differences in interpretation also pervaded the financial commitments around development and sustainable development. Until the last moments of the FfD3 negotiations leading up to the Addis Ababa conference in July, for example, governments argued about whether to title that outcome document “financing for development” or “financing for sustainable development.” (The agreed title was “financing for development post-2015.”) And discussions in the final round of post-2015 negotiations were fraught with competing outlooks on the means of implementation to support the agenda. Had the AAAA succeeded in expanding the development financing framework to encompass the entire sustainable development agenda, to the point where no other arrangements were needed? Or did the SDGs require more? Many developed countries considered the AAAA to be enough. Many developing countries, on the other hand, asserted the latter, and called for greater attention on trade, debt and technology in order to implement the SDGs. This was a key difference of opinion underlying the debates over whether the AAAA would be described as “integral” to the agenda, considered the entire MOI pillar of the agenda, or as “supporting and complementing” the agenda. 

The tension between the environmental and development tracks was also reflected in the heated debate on the scope of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). Developed countries insisted that CBDR applies only in the environmental context and is not appropriate in the post-2015 development agenda, calling for it to be replaced by the principle of “shared responsibility.” Developing countries, in contrast, called for making CBDR the overarching principle of the post-2015 development agenda.

THE END OF ONE JOURNEY AND THE BEGINNING OF ANOTHER

With the conclusion of the negotiations, the merging of the development and environment tracks seems to have succeeded on paper. Many of the difficult issues, including the references to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, people(s) under occupation, countries in special situations, financing, follow-up and review, and climate change, were overcome largely based on the trust that had been built between the Co-Facilitators and negotiators, which one delegate said in his closing statement had “remained unbroken,” and the consensus-building process that Co-Facilitators Kamau and Donoghue nurtured throughout the course of the negotiations.

Some issues, arguably, were glossed over in order to maintain the necessary consensus to adopt the document. For example, an imminent row over whether paragraph 19 on human rights was extending the responsibilities of Member States to respect, protect and promote the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, by subtly referencing them in the draft by a reference to “other status,”―a suspicion held by some African delegations―was resolved by using previously agreed language from paragraph 9 of the Rio+20 outcome document, which kept the reference to “other status,” but sacrificed language on freedom from discrimination based on age or migratory status, which was not Rio language.

Nevertheless, during the closing plenary, many Member States had warm praise for the process and the Co-Facilitators, noting that even though they hadn’t got everything they wanted, “the perfect must not be the enemy of the good.”

Now it is up to the UN system to prepare for the September summit that will adopt the agenda, and it is up to the UN Statistical Commission and its Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators to develop an indicator framework and a list of indicators for the monitoring of the goals and targets at the global level. The coming months will also be busy with consultations on how the HLPF will undertake the challenging task of follow-up and review of the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

In contrast to the MDGs, which were created by a small group of UN experts, this process has shown that the broad participation of the Member States and stakeholders in crafting the SDGs and the post-2015 outcome document―even though challenging―ensures a great sense of ownership and fosters large-scale “buy-in.” It may be this participation, in the end, that also ensures diverse issues, from both the environment and development tracks, will continue to be integrated in this bold sustainable development agenda.

As delegates applauded and tears flowed at the end of the meeting on Sunday night, Co-Facilitator Kamau noted the end of “a long, long process.” Yet, the end of this journey marks the beginning of another―implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

UPCOMING MEETINGS

2015 International Conference on Sustainable Development: This Conference will discuss implementing the SDGs, the future of global health and mobilizing the private sector for sustainable development, bringing together stakeholders from government, academia, the UN, international agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and grassroots organizers to share practical approaches. Speakers include Peter Bakker, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, and Jeffrey Sachs, Earth Institute, Columbia University.  dates: 23-24 September 2015  location: Columbia University, New York, US  contact: Lucia Rodriguez, Columbia University  phone: +1-212-280-2793  email: lrodriguez@ei.columbia.edu www: http://ic-sd.org/

UN Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The summit is expected to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” which includes: a declaration; the Sustainable Development Goals and targets; means of implementation and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review.  dates: 25-27 September 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email: dsd@un.org www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/summit

Second Meeting of the IAEG-SDGs: The Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators has been tasked to develop an indicator framework for the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda at the global level, and to support its implementation.  dates: 26-28 October 2015 [tentative]  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Statistics Division  email: statistics@un.org www: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/

UNFCCC COP 21: The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and associated meetings will take place in Paris.  dates: 30 November - 11 December 2015 location: Paris, France  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: secretariat@unfccc.int www: http://www.unfccc.int

Second Meeting of the UNEP Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives: The Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives will prepare for the next meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme.  dates: 15-19 February 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies  email: jorge.laguna-celis@unep.org www: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb

47th Session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC): UNSC 47 is expected to agree on the indicator framework and set of indicators for the post-2015 development agenda, among other agenda items. UNSC’s Friends of the Chair Group on broader measures of progress will prepare and guide discussions on the development and implementation of the framework.  dates: 8-11 March 2016  location: UN Headquarters New York  contact: UN Statistics Division  email: statcom@un.org www: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/statcom/commission.htm

Second Meeting of the UN Environment Assembly: The United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme will convene for the second time in 2016. The UNEA of the UNEP represents the highest level of governance of international environmental affairs in the UN system. dates: 23-27 May 2016  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jorge Laguna-Celis, Secretary of Governing Bodies  email: jorge.laguna-celis@unep.org www: http://www.unep.org/about/sgb/

HLPF 2016: The fourth session of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) for sustainable development, taking place in 2016, will be the first meeting of the HLPF after the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs. dates: 11-20 July 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination  email: ecosocinfo@un.org www: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

For additional meetings, see http://sd.iisd.org/