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Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Volume 32 Number 24 | Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Summary of the UN Sustainable Development Summit

25-27 September 2015 | UN Headquarters, New York

Languages: EN (HTML/PDF) FR (HTML/PDF)
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The UN Sustainable Development Summit, which adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, took place from 25-27 September 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The presidencies of the 69th and 70th sessions of UN General Assembly (UNGA) co-chaired the summit, represented by Lars Lokke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, and Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, respectively.

Before the opening plenary convened on Friday morning, Pope Francis addressed the UNGA. The official opening plenary featured performances by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassadors Shakira and Angélique Kidjo, and a message from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, representing youth of the world.

Heads of State and Government and other high-level representatives, business leaders and civil society activists delivered statements in plenary during the three-day Summit. Delegates also took part in six interactive dialogues on the topics of: ending poverty and hunger; tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind; fostering sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production; delivering on a revitalized Global Partnership; building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development; and protecting our planet and combating climate change. Many other events and bilateral meetings took place alongside the Summit, including high-level events organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4All) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

In total, over 9,000 participants, including 136 Heads of State and Government, ministers, business leaders, and civil society attended the UN Sustainable Development Summit.

During plenary, many leaders announced national commitments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlighted the importance of reaching a strong global agreement on climate at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. Many commented on the historic nature of the Summit and the high ambition of the SDGs, even as they anticipated the challenges ahead. Several commented that the success of the Summit and the 2030 Agenda will be measured not by what is promised, but by how much is delivered.

An informal meeting of Heads of State and Government on preparations for the Paris Climate Change Conference took place at lunchtime on the final day. Olanta Humala, President of Peru, and François Hollande, President of France, briefed the press on the discussions, noting the general expectation that there will be a Paris agreement, but the question remained as to what level of ambition. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that leaders had voiced support for an agreement that will accelerate the use of clean energy, “consistent with a 2º C pathway.”

At the closing plenary on Sunday evening, 27 September, the Co-Chairs of the interactive dialogues presented summaries and general conclusions from each event, and delegates viewed a video, “The Story You Are Shaping,” which highlighted the breadth of the SDGs and the possibilities for everyone to play a role in the new sustainable development agenda.


The intergovernmental negotiation process on the post-2015 development agenda was first mandated by the 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. The Special Event also called for linkages between the new development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mandated at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

MILLENNIUM SUMMIT AND MDGS: 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 SDGs. The Rio+20 outcome called for establishing an Open Working Group (OWG) that would submit 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 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; and
  • 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.

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 outlining 19 focus areas as the basis for further discussion. A “zero draft” of the goals and targets was issued on 2 June 2014. 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, so as to feed into 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).” The resolution included the decision to hold FfD3 and 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, noting it will take place on 25-27 September 2015, in New York with the 70th session of the UN General Debate beginning on 28 September.

On 16 January 2015, the UNGA adopted a decision on modalities for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda (A/69/L.46). 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: A series of eight week-long sessions to prepare the outcome of the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda at UN Headquarters in New York began in January 2015, and included interactive dialogues with Major Groups and other stakeholders.

The first session, from 19-21 January, conducted a stocktaking of governments’ views on the agenda. On the basis of this session, the Co-Facilitators prepared an Elements Paper for discussion at the second session.

The second session convened from 17-20 February 2015. This session focused on the declaration component of the Summit outcome document. The session also included a briefing with the Director of the UN Statistics Division regarding the development of SDG indicators.

The third session convened from 23-27 March 2015. This meeting focused on: the SDGs and targets; 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 its April session.

The fourth session convened as a joint meeting with the FfD3 process from 21-24 April 2015. 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 FfD3 and post-2015 processes; follow-up and review of FfD3 and means of implementation; and coherence between the outcome documents from the two processes, outstanding issues and the way forward.

The fifth session took place from 18-22 May 2015. During the course of the week, delegates 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. Delegates also adopted the six themes for the interactive dialogues.

The sixth session took place from 22-25 June 2015. Delegations and Major Groups provided their reactions and amendments to the zero draft, which included a preamble, a political declaration, the 17 SDGs and supporting targets, a section on means of implementation and the Global Partnership, and a section on a framework for follow-up and review.

The final two-week negotiating session began on 20 July 2015, with discussion of a draft outcome document dated 8 July. The session was scheduled to finish on 31 July. The Co-Facilitators produced new drafts on 26, 30 and 31 July. Delegates reviewed a revised text dated 1 August, and adopted this with oral amendments during the closing plenary on Sunday 2 August. The final package, titled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” contains the preamble, declaration, 17 SDGs and 169 targets, means of implementation and the Global Partnership, and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation.


As the UN Sustainable Development Summit opened on Friday, 25 September 2015, UN Member States and observers viewed a film, titled “Earth from Space,” on the theme of people and planet, and listened to performances by singers Shakira and Angelique Kidjo. Malala Yousafzai, surrounded by 193 youth representatives holding blue lanterns, stressed to leaders that education is not a privilege but a right, and called on leaders to promise children peace, prosperity, education and safety.

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, and Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, co-chaired the Summit and offered introductory remarks. Rasmussen noted Denmark’s support for the target of 0.7% of gross national product (GDP) for official development assistance (ODA) and for global partnerships that catalyze investments in developing and middle-income countries (MICs). Museveni said the SDGs prioritize key drivers of economic growth, such as energy, transport and information and communication technology, industrialization and market access. He called to ensure affordable long-term financing for critical infrastructure projects, and to operationalize the proposed new forum on bridging infrastructure gaps. He called for urgent reform of the UN Security Council and other multilateral institutions. He said the success of the agenda hinges on its ability to address inequality and improve the lives of the most vulnerable.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the 17 SDGs offer a blueprint for success, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) provides a solid financing framework, and institutions need to become fit for purpose. He emphasized the need to adopt an agreement on climate change in Paris that is solid and universal.

Salil Shetty, Secretary General, Amnesty International, said there are four tests for the SDGs: ownership, accountability, non-discrimination, and coherence and consistency. He noted that inequality, injustice and environmental destruction are a toxic combination.

Prime Minister Rasmussen then called on the UNGA to formally adopt document A/70/L.1, “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” He noted that the UNGA’s Fifth Committee will examine the revised estimated Programme Budget Implications (PBI) related to the resolution. Rasmussen gaveled the adoption at 11:46 am. Participants responded with a standing ovation, cheering and waving flags, as a short “Global Goals” film was played.

Following the adoption, the Summit convened in plenary and dialogue sessions, as well as numerous side events, forums and roundtables. This report summarizes the plenary and dialogue sessions.


Heads of State and Government, and high-level representatives of business, international organizations and civil society, delivered statements in plenary throughout the three-day Summit.

Editor’s Note: Given the number of speakers, this report names only the Heads of State and Government, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other designated leaders of organizations.

FRIDAY, 25 SEPTEMBER: On Friday morning, after the opening plenary, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović President, Croatia, noted that the AAAA sets out how to generate financing for sustainable development, and added that, when the Paris Climate Change Conference concludes, we can say we have set the framework for the SDGs. Sauli Niinistö, President, Finland, said we must match the ambitious agenda with ambitious resources. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President, Turkmenistan, proposed establishing a new global coordination mechanism for implementing the SDGs, and called for reinvigorating the UN regional commissions.

Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President, Colombia, recalled that his country proposed the SDGs a few years ago, hailed the goals as laying the necessary foundations for peace, which will in turn support all other areas of development in a “virtuous circle,” and noted the need for credible SDG indicators. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President, Egypt, stressed developing countries’ right to adopt economic and social programmes in line with regional needs. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, highlighted that his country has special vulnerability to the effects of global warming.

José Maria Pereira Neves, Prime Minister, Cabo Verde, highlighted his country’s ambition to build a green and blue, fair and inclusive economy. Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister, Bahamas, said the global partnership must address countries’ high indebtedness, and vulnerability to exogenous shocks.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany, noted that the SDGs apply to everyone and said Germany will report to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on national implementation in 2016. She called for a shared vision on de-carbonization at the global level.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India, said eliminating poverty is our highest obligation. He said the “bedrock of our enterprise” is the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, stressed the need for climate justice, and expressed hope that the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) will turn technology into a public good. Enda Kenny, Prime Minister, Ireland, emphasized the need for an agreement galvanizing action; faster progress on gender equality, and good governance.

Jamaica welcomed the recognition of particular implementation challenges faced by small island developing states (SIDS). Côte d’Ivoire called for a strong outcome at the Paris Climate Change Conference to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Trinidad and Tobago noted that the principle of no one left behind demonstrates commitment to address issues related to SIDS. Afghanistan called for a transformation of the UN development machinery.

Mark Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva, called on the UNGA to provide a roadmap for sustainable capital markets. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group, emphasized the importance of setting goals, forming strategies, and building on lessons from the MDGs. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, highlighted: a 50% increase in concessional resources available to the poorest countries; and intensification of support for fragile and conflict affected states.

Raimonds Vējonis, President, Latvia, said rule of law is the “backbone” principle for economic and social transformation. Salvador Sánchez Cerén, President, El Salvador, called for broadening South-South cooperation and an integral and plural vision for financing the SDGs. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President, Togo, emphasized adapting the SDGs to national and regional contexts.

 Michelle Bachelet Jeria, President, Chile, stressed social cohesion and the opportunity afforded by the SDGs to achieve economic integration. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President, Malawi, stressed the need to implement gender-related goals. David Arthur Granger, President, Guyana, called for: unity of effort to implement the SDGs, including reforming the UN system; mobilizing all sources of finance; and operationalizing the TFM.

Uhuru Kenyatta, President, Kenya, called for: increased ODA levels, better targeting resources to address the needs of the poorest, and trade reforms to support implementation of the SDGs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President, Liberia, called for a renewed and revitalized partnership among nations, with specific attention to fair trade, taxation and technology, while combating illicit trade and terrorism. Anote Tong, President, Kiribati, called for an ambitious, meaningful, legally binding agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference, with a special mechanism to fast track urgent action for those on the frontlines of climate change.

Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, President, Panama, committed to restoring 50% of Panama’s deforested areas over the next 20 years. He said the widening of the Panama Canal will be complete in 2016, providing more resources to achieve the SDGs. Muhammadu Buhari, President, Nigeria, said his country is committed to transparent financial and fiscal management and putting in place mechanisms to prevent oil theft. Tommy Esang Remengesau, President, Palau, said his country aims for 20% of Palau’s energy use to be renewable by 2020. He said the country is striving to be carbon-neutral by 2050 and is establishing the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, which will close an area the size of France to commercial fishing.

Evo Morales Ayma, President, Bolivia, reported that his country has reduced extreme poverty from more than 40% to 17% and has attained most of the MDGs, which would not have been possible if resources remained in private hands. Truong Tan Sang, President, Viet Nam, said developed countries should take the lead to ensure capacity building, technology transfer, trade facilitation and access to financial resources in developing countries. János Áder, President, Hungary, called for reaching agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference, and noted the short time remaining before the Conference opens.

Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President, Mongolia, highlighted the importance of: taking responsibility to ensure the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda; good governance; rule of law; and reliable monitoring and accountability institutions. King Felipe VI, Spain, remarked that his country established, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the first SDG fund, which is financing projects in over 17 countries. He expressed his country’s commitment to provide 0.7% of GDP for ODA by 2030 to developing countries, with an emphasis on least developed countries (LDCs).

Simonetta Sommaruga, President, Switzerland, said priorities for Switzerland include goals on: gender equality; water, going beyond access to drinking water and sanitation; peaceful and inclusive societies; and healthcare that addresses non-communicable diseases and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, President, Honduras, noted the progress achieved in his country on drug trafficking. He highlighted the importance of creating jobs for women and expressed concern about the impacts of climate change on Honduras. Robert Mugabe, President, Zimbabwe, called for the immediate removal of sanctions on his country, and for adequate financial resources for the implementation of Agenda 2030.

Botswana emphasized progress in implementing a programme to eradicate poverty in his country, noting that women have been the greatest beneficiaries. Guatemala said poverty is caused by an absence of justice and discussed rooting out corruption in his country. Edi Rama, Prime Minister, Albania said his country aims to realize free public healthcare for all and judicial reform.

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway, noted her commitment to: double humanitarian aid for Syria; double assistance for education; and continue providing aid at 1% of GDP as a catalyst for the private sector. Adrian Hasler, Prime Minister, Liechtenstein, highlighted, inter alia, the importance of good governance and rule of law, and actions taken by his country, including combating illicit financial flows and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Calling for a realistic and practical view, Gaston Alphonso Browne, Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda, said: scaled-up support for developing countries is necessary; building resilience of SIDS is critical; and strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries is crucial for a successful development agenda.

Miro Cerar, Prime Minister, Slovenia, stressed addressing root causes of the migration crisis in Europe; and called for an ambitious and durable climate agreement in Paris.

Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister, Tuvalu, called for: including climate change as a permanent agenda item under the Security Council; incorporating the unique vulnerabilities of SIDS into the graduation criteria of LDCs; and enhancing connectivity and inclusiveness of SIDS. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister, Barbados, highlighted the vulnerabilities of small islands, urged the adoption of an ambitious climate change agreement, and called for a strategy of debt relief to release fiscal space.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister, Ethiopia, urged providing the UN with the necessary political support to discharge its responsibilities, and achieving the AAAA goals to support implementation of the SDGs. Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister, Bhutan, discussed the role of the SDGs in the context of gross national happiness, and noted the need to make the UN fit for purpose to achieve the SDGs, including by reforming the Security Council.

Nepal called for: establishing a monitoring mechanism to ensure commitments are translated into action and action into results; international support for capacity building, disaster risk management and resilience building; and a rights-based approach to development. Namibia called for favorable financing terms and sound institutions and effective governance at all levels, and said the international community is obligated to ensure that the people of Palestine and the Western Sahara have the inalienable right to a sovereign state. The Seychelles referred to a pledge by African Union Heads of State to embrace the blue economy concept as essential to Africa’s development, and said a second conference on the blue economy, with support from the United Arab Emirates, would be held in January 2016.

Bahrain commended the 2030 Agenda for taking into account religious and cultural specificities of different countries, and said her country would hold a follow-up ministerial conference focused on implementation.  Kyrgyzstan stressed the importance of hydropower for ensuring sustainable development in his country, and highlighted challenges faced by mountainous and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Niger said her country aimed to: guarantee decent jobs for youth under 25; overcome the effects of climate change by increasing adaptive capacity; and promote good political and economic governance.

The Republic of Congo noted the adoption of a national sustainable development strategy and said reforming the global financing system is required. Suriname said her country has maintained forest cover of over 90% and is implementing a national minimum wage and national pension floor, and called attention to the challenges faced by MICs. Highlighting key domestic achievements, including rapid economic growth and large-scale health reforms, Uzbekistan highlighted the importance of addressing the environmental degradation of the Aral Sea and called for a trust fund to support related programmes.

Belize highlighted its national growth and sustainability strategy that integrates the SDGs and called for: easier access to public finance; sound multilateral trade policies for better market access; and more inclusive governance structures. The Democratic Republic of Congo called for concrete measures to implement the SDGs and stressed the importance of international peace and security in promoting development. Noting that the public policies of Haiti were inspired by the MDGs, Haiti emphasized the need for flexible approaches in development assistance and improved capacity and policies to attract the private sector.

The Gambia stressed: the importance of mainstreaming the SDGs into national planning processes; financing and technology as fundamental in achieving the SDGs; and robust monitoring and verification measures to track progress. Burkina Faso said that success would depend on the full integration of SDGs into regional, national and sub-national strategies. She noted the importance of public finance in supporting social investments, and called for greater support for conflict resolution, conflict prevention, and peacekeeping.

Noting that necessary conditions had been put in place to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs, the African Union emphasized its focus areas, including infrastructure development, human resources and capacity development, and use of Africa’s ocean economy.

Dmitry Pankin, Chairman of the Management Board, Eurasian Development Bank, noted the emergence of new development banks, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank BRICS, and stressed the importance of coordinating the work of all such banks. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, President, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), emphasized governance, addressing inequality and women’s empowerment, and the need to make all institutions fit for purpose. Zhang Xinsheng, President, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), supported nature-based solutions for sustainable development.

Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary, International Anti-Corruption Academy, said fighting corruption is essential for achieving sustainable development, and emphasized that corruption hindered the full realization of the MDGs and costs more than 5% of annual global GDP. As Sy, Secretary General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said, for the 2030 Agenda to be successful, it must address the needs of people affected by humanitarian crises. He called for scaled-up and diversified resources and greater political commitment. Michaëlle Jean, Secretary General, International Organization of La Francophonie, inter alia, committed to help countries elaborate national sustainable development strategies and highlighted the role of partnerships in helping women entrepreneurs.

Stressing the role of youth in sustainable development, the League of Arab States said a ministerial meeting was being organized to forge an Arab action plan to implement the SDGs. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) called for ending dependence on fossil fuels, noted efforts to combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows and, with UNDP, to build tax auditing capacity in developing countries, and supported a “far reaching” follow-up and review process. Fang Liu, Secretary General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said aviation is a powerful engine for development, noting that, inter alia, it opens markets for rural producers and promotes connectivity in SIDS and LLDCs, and added that air traffic is projected to double by 2030.

José Graziano da Silva, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), emphasized that agriculture and rural development are central to combating hunger and poverty, highlighted the need for well-designed social protection systems, and called for building more sustainable agriculture and food systems. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), highlighted UNCTAD’s role in monitoring targets and said achieving the SDGs will require a massive “investment push.” The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) emphasized a free, independent and pluralistic media, as well as freedom of expression, as a means to improve governance and enhance the rule of law.

The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) noted the goal of 15 million people on life-saving HIV treatment by 2015 has been met and highlighted the commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Workers and Trade Unions Major Group said means of implementation for the SDGs fall short, and called for free quality education, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and tax justice, including progressive taxation. HelpAge International called for: ending age discrimination; national planning that analyzes, prepares for and invests in an aging population; and integrating older people into the mechanisms set up to implement the new development agenda.

SATURDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER: On Saturday, the general debate continued, with Baron Divavesi Waqa, President, Nauru, calling for: sustainable use of marine resources; institution building at the national level; and a legally binding agreement in Paris with a long-term temperature goal below 1.5ºC. Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince, Monaco, highlighted the increased role of urban centers, the importance of oceans, and the role of sport in promoting sustainable development. Nicos Anastasiades, President, Cyprus, said efforts to address climate change should be central to the 2030 Agenda, given its cross-cutting nature.

Hassan Rouhani, President, Iran, stressed the importance of addressing extremism and terrorism and integrating environmental education in school curricula. He also called for active environmental diplomacy with neighboring countries. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President, Mozambique, noted the importance of integrating the SDGs into national policies and implementing human and social development programmes, including support for reproductive health. Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan, Brunei, highlighted: ongoing discussions on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) 2015 vision on sustainable development; the role of partnerships and international cooperation; and youth engagement in implementation.

Choummaly Sayasone, President, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, committed to integrate the SDGs into his county’s plans including Vision 2030, the ten-year economic and social strategy, and the eighth five-year plan. He called for clear and concrete measures, mechanisms and funding to support implementation. Park Geun-hye, President, Republic of Korea, announced a number of commitments including the Better Life for Girls Initiative, which will support the most vulnerable girls in developing countries, and cooperation with UNDP and OECD to share the Republic of Korea’s experience on rural development, as well as continued support for the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

Agila Saleh Essa Gwaider, Acting Head of State, Libya, highlighted the importance of delivering on finance commitments and the need to respect national culture and priorities in the development of the SDG indicators. Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir, Kuwait, highlighted the role of innovative mechanisms in implementing the SDGs and reviewed his country’s foreign assistance programmes, in particular on humanitarian issues. Raúl Castro Ruz, President, Cuba, highlighted the importance of tackling extreme poverty and inequality, and said the re-establishment of ties between Cuba and the US constitutes major progress.

Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China, announced commitments including: the establishment of an assistance fund for South-South cooperation to implement the SDGs with US$2 billion dollars; increasing investment in LDCs to US$12 billion by 2030; and the exemption of debt owed by LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS on interest-free loans. Macky Sall, President, Senegal, stressed the importance of addressing tax evasion, illicit financial flows, and fair mining and oil contracts. Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia, highlighted the need to: build on lessons learned from MDGs; strengthen the global partnership, particularly to support LDCs; and engage non-state and private actors in implementing the SDGs.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister, Samoa, stressed that implementation, monitoring and review of the agenda will not be “one-size-fits-all,” emphasizing the role of special circumstances and groupings. He said the SDG indicators must account for SIDS’ experiences. He also noted the opportunity to integrate Samoa’s next five-year development strategy, coming out in 2016, with the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway. Mark Rutte, Prime Minister, Netherlands, invoked former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold’s belief that “only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find his right road,” and noted achievements of the MDGs, which he said represented an “unprecedented level of ambition” for the international community. He also called for greater private sector involvement, noting Heineken’s and other Dutch business’ commitment to the new agenda.

Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, Prime Minister, Lesotho, lamented that some MDGs have not been met, but recognized progress on free primary education and women’s empowerment. He underscored the importance of effective follow-up and review of the new agenda. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister, Iceland, welcomed the AAAA and SDGs, and looked forward to the outcome from the Paris Climate Change Conference. He also: noted Iceland’s pledge to become a carbon-neutral country; called for safe and orderly migration, and recognition of the hosting burden; and urged aiming for a land degradation neutral world.

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister, Sweden, noted the launch by several world leaders of the High-level Support Group for the SDGs to engage all sectors and stakeholders in implementation. He expressed his hope that Sweden will be among the first fossil-fuel-free nations, and said his country stays “true to the goal of 1% of GNP to ODA.” Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister, Georgia, identified health, energy, small and medium-sized enterprises, and government transparency among his country’s top priorities. Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Cambodia, said the UN’s 70th anniversary marks the opening of a new chapter in humanity’s history book. In the context of the SDGs, he said Cambodia will incorporate the clearing of land mines and unexploded ordnance as an additional goal.

Timothy Harris, Prime Minister, Saint Kitts and Nevis, welcomed the SDGs on climate (13) and oceans (14). He cautioned against graduating SIDS from LDC status on the basis of per capita income, and called for a realistic, comprehensive climate change agreement in Paris. Tammam Salam, President of the Council of Ministers, Lebanon, said that while his country is the smallest in the region, it is hosting over 1.2 million forcibly displaced Syrians, or one-third of its population. He called for a systematic assessment of the cost of hosting refugees, in order to reliably predict financial needs and make resettlement arrangements based on burden-sharing principles. Rui Maria De Araújo, Prime Minister, Timor-Leste, said his country’s Council of Ministers has already endorsed the SDGs, paving the way to operationalize them within its strategic development plan and budget.

Manuel Domingos Vicente, Angola: supported increased women’s representation at all levels of government; demanded the adoption of concrete financing commitments; and called on the UN to play a central role in leading global development policy. Guinea emphasized coordinating and monitoring mechanisms for implementing the new development agenda and goals. Uruguay supported: universal access to sexual and reproductive health; access to safe drinking water as a human right; and changing existing development models driven by profit.

Sudan said unilateral sanctions and the trade embargo are impediments to eradicating poverty and development. Chad supported: an innovation fund to ensure new technologies are adapted to development; sustainable energy initiatives, including SE4All; the Great Green Wall Initiative, which aims to “green” Africa and combat desertification; and means to implement appropriate follow-up mechanisms for the new agenda. Cameroon called for establishing an international ethics body charged with promoting universal and human values among and within countries.

Canada emphasized: maternal and newborn health as a basis for economic growth; innovative ways to blend financing; partnering with all actors, including civil society and the public sector; and establishing effective accountability mechanisms. Jordan said indicators will be built into the “Jordan 2025” development blueprint to monitor progress in implementing the SDGs, and emphasized national resilience challenges for those absorbing refugees from Syria. Myanmar emphasized the importance of financing to implement the development agenda.

Madagascar, with Chad, supported establishing the TFM. Highlighting social inclusion policies, Ollanta Humala Tasso, President, Peru, discussed a national plan for productive diversification based on centers of innovation that bring together small enterprises, research agencies, and businesses. King Mswati III, Head of State, Swaziland, underscored the importance of finance in achieving the SDGs and noted the convergence of the SDGs with Africa’s Vision 2063.

Ikililou Dhoinine, President, Comoros, called for action on climate change to ensure sustainable development for SIDS and urged implementing commitments to allow for a structural transformation of Africa. Discussing his country’s human investment strategy, Ali Bongo Ondimba, President, Gabon, welcomed the Agenda’s focus on social inclusion and called for a universal and binding agreement on climate change in Paris. Referring to the refugee crisis in Europe, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President, Estonia, called for long-term solutions and said the greatest strength of the SDGs remains in their comprehensive nature and universal application.

Boni Yayi, President, Benin, emphasized: governance, transparency, equity and the fight against corruption; and ensuring implementation of the SDGs while taking into account the AAAA. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Mali, said that countries emerging from conflict cannot overcome challenges on their own, much less achieve the SDGs; mentioned a peace and reconciliation agreement signed by all parties in Mali; and highlighted peace and security as prerequisites for sustainable development.

Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President, Mauritania, emphasized the need for follow up mechanisms and said national solutions are no longer able to meet complex cross-border security threats, noting the establishment of the “G5 Sahel” to enhance cooperation on development and security in the region. Catherine Samba-Panza, Head of the State of Transition of the Central African Republic, said setbacks experienced as a result of the conflict in her country meant that none of the MDGs were achieved. Andrea Belluzzi I and Roberto Venturini I, Captains Regent, San Marino, stressed the need to mobilize a new global partnership, direct attention towards the weakest and most vulnerable, and develop specific and universal indicators.

Danilo Medina Sánchez, President, Dominican Republic, noted achievements in his country related to the MDGs, including reducing poverty and malnutrition. He commended the Pope for becoming one of the leading spokespersons for the poor, and expressed hope that we will discover how to escape the sin of indifference. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President, Zambia, noted that sustainable development presupposes the existence of peace, highlighted that Zambia takes part in peacekeeping missions and called for support to ensure troops are better able to carry out these assignments. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Equatorial Guinea, cited challenges including the need to end terrorism, piracy and interventionism, and to address the inefficiencies of the mechanisms of international development assistance.

Joseph Butore, Burundi, stressed that, while the MDGs have shown that progress has been made, programmes with sustainable and coherent financial plans for the long term are necessary. Kenny Davis Anthony, Prime Minister, Saint Lucia, said extreme weather events wreak havoc with the lives of inhabitants in his region, cycles of repair and recovery are primarily responsible for these governments’ massive debt, and his country “can only pray that we have not been called to craft an agreement” of fleeting illusions that will never be attained. Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu, Prime Minister, Vanuatu, stressed the linkages among the 2015 agreements on the SDGs, the AAAA and the climate change agreement in Paris, and emphasized that success requires access to financial resources, access to appropriate technology and country capacity.

Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President, Tanzania, emphasized the importance of implementation and means of implementation going forward, noting that the unreliability of resources posed challenges in implementing the MDGs. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji, noted efforts to eradicate corruption in his country and, emphasizing the sustainable management of oceans and seas, pointed to a partnership with Sweden to establish the Triennial UN Conferences on Oceans and Seas. Patrice Emery Trovoada, Prime Minister, São Tomé and Príncipe, noted his country’s efforts to reduce poverty by 2030 through, inter alia, economic diversification, management of public finance, and job creation for youth, and supported a more inclusive global governance model.

Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Prime Minister, Tonga, called for: the strongest possible agreement to be reached at the Paris Climate Change Conference; careful stewardship of oceans; and increased access to sustainable energy. Palestine highlighted the challenges faced by the Palestinian people due to the lack of peace and security, including economic blockades. Moldova noted that the Paris Climate Change Conference provided an opportunity to translate environment-related goals into concrete commitments. She also highlighted the importance of strengthening institutions and building capacity.

Papua New Guinea highlighted SDG 13 (climate change) and SDG 14 (oceans) as being particularly salient for his country and called for the inclusion of loss and damage as a stand-alone element of the Paris agreement. The Czech Republic identified the importance of efficient and innovative funding mechanisms and underlined the challenges and opportunities for the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the HLPF in monitoring the SDGs. Drawing on its experience, Azerbaijan stressed the importance of peace and security in achieving sustainable development.

Sierra Leone welcomed assistance to conflict-affected states and identified formulating proactive implementation strategies to ease the transition between MDGs and the SDGs as being key. The United Arab Emirates highlighted efforts to promote clean energy, affordable food and healthcare, and increase women’s participation in government. She presented examples of how they are making the transition to a clean, knowledge-based economy. New Zealand said accountability and discipline regarding resources is critical for success and urged prioritizing “game changing” programmes. Rwanda urged: citizen participation at all levels; the use of both domestic resources and development partnerships; and recognition of the added value that the SDGs bring to development.

Eritrea said it is integrating the SDGs into all its development policies and programmes and said sustainable development is not possible without peace and vice-versa. Yemen pointed to lost development gains and exacerbation of poverty due to conflict in his country. Somalia stressed the need for supporting post-conflict nations on their journey to peace and economic recovery.

The Holy See called for family-friendly policies, including the right of parents to educate their children, and said sustainable development cannot only be measured in economic and statistical terms, but must include an ethical dimension as well. The Marshall Islands said oceans define the future of SIDS, highlighted the participation of Taiwan in implementing the SDGs, and emphasized the importance of ocean thermal energy conversion in helping his country to achieve energy self-sufficiency and renewable energy use.

Nicaragua urged rethinking the current economic model, and proposed an international campaign on access to safe surgery. Noting that a “wave of terrorism controlled by outside forces” was destroying his country, Syria cited combating terrorism as a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development and noted that “erroneous” policies of some countries are fueling this terrorism and mass migration. Guinea-Bissau highlighted the need for, inter alia: judicial reform; modernizing state institutions; and narrowing the gap between rich and poor through ODA and foreign direct investment.

Dominica called for “re-engineering” multilateral institutions to reflect current realities and urged international financial institutions to be responsive to the needs of SIDS including on criteria for graduation.

Noting that sport must engage with society, Thomas Bach, President, International Olympic Committee, stressed the role of sport in fostering understanding and peace, shared values of tolerance, and solidarity and peace. Stressing that justice must come first, Irene Khan, Director General, International Development Law Organization, noted the importance of access to justice and rule of law in realizing the SDGs. Yves Leterme, Secretary-General, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), highlighted the need to address the political dimension of these goals including democratic accountability, coherence of public policies, and support to implement commitments.

Mireille Ballestrazzi, President, INTERPOL, noted that its work on fighting organized crime was connected to ensuring the dignity and equality of citizens. She identified areas where INTERPOL could provide expertise, including building and operating databases, sharing information on criminal activities and tackling cross-border threats. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcomed the recognition of the positive contribution made by migrants in the 2030 Agenda and called for understanding the root causes and consequences of migration for the benefit of all. She noted preparations underway for a migration development index. Noting that complex instability and absence of peace and security are major development constraints, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) discussed the multidimensional OIC 2025 agenda and its synergies with the SDGs.

Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, highlighted, inter alia: the need to ensure lasting peace and democracy; foster inclusive societies; and recognize the two-way linkage between environment and security. Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), said his organization was developing a roadmap for concrete action to realize the SDGs, with assistance from the European Development Fund. Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General, Pacific Community, stressed the importance of: a binding climate change agreement in order to achieve the SDGs; healthy oceans for resilience and sustainable development; and combating non-communicable diseases in the region.

Arancha González, Director, International Trade Centre, called for measuring intervention effectiveness, and discussed doubling the LDC share in world trade, the economic empowerment of women, and the important role of small and medium enterprises in creating jobs. Jean Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat, said sustainable urban development is a prerequisite for sustainable development, and highlighted adequate rules and regulations for governing those sharing common services and better spatial urban planning and design.

The International Forum of NGO Platforms, Seychelles, pointed to building peace and avoiding conflicts as prerequisites for sustainable development, and people-centered development in achieving the SDGs. Evelyn Nguleka, President, World Farmers’ Organization, highlighted the following as important for farmers: increased access to knowledge and skills; investment in education and capacity building; and strong partnerships with the private sector.

At the end of the plenary session on Saturday, Armenia, requesting a right of reply to the statement made by Azerbaijan, questioned the quoted figure of one million regarding refugees from Azerbaijan, noting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has recorded a much lower number. Azerbaijan replied, condemning the military force used and occupation by Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh border region. Armenia responded that Nagorno-Karabakh has never been part of Azerbaijan, stating that the people of the region want to be independent.

SUNDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER: On Sunday, 27 September, Heinz Fischer, President, Austria, underlined the importance of rule of law and access to justice, a legally binding agreement on climate change, and addressing the refugee crisis. Dilma Rousseff, President, Brazil, highlighted: commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supporting domestic policies in the energy and land use sectors; and social programmes such as Zero Hunger. Noting that setting goals based on minimums as opposed to maximums would legitimize current conditions, Rafael Correa, President, Ecuador, lamented the lack of a specific goal on human mobility.

Dragan Čović, Chairman of the Presidency, Bosnia and Herzegovina, called for: enhancing the role of women in decision making; credible means of implementation to support the SDGs; and investment in human capacity and resources. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President, Venezuela, urged the international community to address inequalities and said a fundamentally different power relationship between countries was needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Tomislav Nikolić, President, Serbia, noted his country’s active participation in the OWG on SDGs and in the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. He announced that regional consultations will be organized in Belgrade later this year to discuss the 2030 Agenda’s implementation.

Emomali Rahmon, President, Tajikistan, said his country participated actively in the development of the post-2015 development agenda through national consultations, and is developing a new development strategy 2030, which will take into account the SDG targets. Rosen Plevneliev, President, Bulgaria, stressed the importance of a human-rights based agenda, as well as the importance of accountability, transparency and inclusiveness to ensure the success of its implementation.

Jacob Zuma, President, South Africa, noted that the SDGs are aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and called for: upscaling ODA; binding timetables; recognizing that ODA remains the main source of development assistance for many developing countries; and considering climate finance as additional to ODA. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President, Kazakhstan, announced the approval of a national plan on transitioning toward a green economy, and said the SDGs and their targets are in line with the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy. He proposed that countries allocate 1% of their annual defense budget to the SDGs. Klaus Werner Iohannis, President, Romania, said every nation has the obligation to “rescue people, support and protect them” and indicated that the Romanian National Strategy will be revised to include the SDGs.

Alexander Lukashenko, President, Belarus, remarked that the world is divided as never before and there is a loss of trust between countries. Noting that the UN is a venue for mutual understanding and responsibility, he called for responsible politicians willing to make compromises for the common good. Maithripala Sirisena, President, Sri Lanka, highlighted efforts underway to develop a resource consumption policy that respects the capacity of the environment and is supported by principles of good governance. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President, Malta, called for: a rights-based approach; empowering women, girls and gender minorities; and engaging civil society actors.

Highlighting improvements in food security, Ismail Omar Guelleh, President, Djibouti, stressed: addressing insufficiencies of the MDGs; a strong climate agreement; and enhanced social protection. James Wani Igga, Vice President, South Sudan, noted that the key challenge for achieving the SDGs will be financing and highlighted the untapped mineral resources of his country. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister, Pakistan, stressed the need for a paradigm shift in outlook for implementation, the importance of a robust monitoring and follow-up mechanism, and complementarities between Pakistan’s Vision 2025 and the SDGs.

Prime Minister Charles Michel, Belgium, appealed for the rights of homosexuals, stating that homosexuality should not be a crime anywhere. He indicated that half his country’s aid would go to LDCs and, quoting economist Amartya Sen, he said famine is nonexistent where the press is free. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh, called for a fair and just global trading and financial regime, and said Bangladesh is aligning its national development plan with the new global agenda. Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, Grenada, noted his country: introduced a price on carbon through a fuel levy; aims to conserve 20% or more of near coast marine resources; will host a Blue Growth Investment Conference; and has partnered with Dominica and the Marshall Islands on the “We are the Oceans” Initiative.

Najib Abdul Razak, Prime Minister, Malaysia, said his country aims to double average income of the bottom 40% by 2020, and measure household income, not just GDP; and identified human capital as the most important resource for development. Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister, Italy, stressed the 5 P’s for sustainable development (people, prosperity, partnership, planet and peace), and called attention to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. Habib Essid, Prime Minister, Tunisia, discussed a survey undertaken to determine what kind of development Tunisians desire, and said Tunisia has defined its plans according to those results.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Greece, said the economic crisis, which resulted from neoliberal policy choices in the EU, led to a 25% decrease in GDP, and called for debt restructuring for recovery and “improving welfare states instead of destroying them.” Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, European Union, urged tackling the issue of food waste, noting that 1/3 of food is thrown away. President Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine, said peace and security are preconditions for achieving the SDGs, and said almost 20% of his country’s economic potential was lost due to “Russian aggression.”

The Russian Federation said his country has written off US$20 billion in debt and is instituting debt-for-aid swaps for the poorest countries. He also called for creating a UN center for protecting forests for sustainable development and combating climate change, and supported lifting the economic embargo against Cuba. Qatar highlighted its “Educate a Child” initiative, which, with partners, aims to provide quality education for 10 million children, and the role of sports in promoting social cohesion, tolerance and peace, particularly for youth. The Maldives said her country is investing in youth through skills improvement and job development, and aims to transform into a high-income economy.

Singapore said his country is recycling water by turning wastewater into high-grade water, and is using social media through smart sensors, where tweets are sent out if water levels rise. He also urged preventing profiting from unsustainable logging and deforestation, and tackling transboundary haze from forests and peatland fires. Iraq said terrorism has undermined achievements from implementing the MDGs, and urged strengthening moderate religious thinking, combating tax evasion, and bolstering statistical bodies to improve data. Saudi Arabia called for the removal of all hurdles faced by people to realize sustainable development and underlined that its interpretations of the SDGs would be consistent with Islamic law.

Noting that there was a moral and social obligation to share knowledge, Israel called for cooperation on technology, greater participation of women and youth, and investment in people and social services. Barack Obama, President, United States, highlighted the achievements of the MDGs, and emphasized the importance of political will, resources and coordination from all actors to achieve results. He also announced new commitments to tackle AIDS, and underlined that achieving the SDGs would not be possible without addressing bad governance, inequality including women’s rights, and climate change. 

Horacio Cartes, President, Paraguay highlighted the transformative potential of the SDGs for countries in special situations such as landlocked states. He urged a robust monitoring and review mechanism to track progress. François Hollande, President, France, urged leaders to tackle inequalities, address climate change, and recognize rights and fundamental freedoms. He announced an additional €4 billion commitment in support. On climate change, he urged states to: adopt an enduring agreement; announce contributions to tackle climate change to stay below 2ºC; and fulfill the US$100 billion commitment on climate change finance.

Luis Guillermo Solís, President, Costa Rica, emphasized extending a moratorium on oil drilling to 2021; noted disarmament can channel significant resources to sustainable development; called for an index to measure the multi-dimensional nature of poverty, including criteria beyond per capita income; said Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral by 2021; and called for an action plan for cooperation with MICs. President John Dramani Mahama, Ghana, called for reviewing the relationship between production, labor and capital; identified a lack of power as the main constraint to economic development; and noted that graduating to middle-income country status presents both opportunities and challenges.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico, urged recognizing the rights of migrants and their contributions to development in both originating and receiving countries, and highlighted the Open Government Partnership, which encourages dialogue between government and civil society. President Dalia Grybauskaitė, Lithuania, said the lack of democracy is the main cause of conflict and upheaval. President Filip Vujanović, Montenegro, called for a comprehensive, legally-binding climate agreement in Paris, and noted his country’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Solomon Islands, called for more ambitious mitigation commitments by developed countries in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), said his country was incorporating the SDGs into its 20-year national development strategy, and pointed to two hydro projects, with assistance from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said his country has reduced unemployment by over 11%, instituted free healthcare for every citizen, and provided computers for every child in primary and secondary schools.

Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, Japan, said his country has contributed a total of US$330 billion in ODA. Japan has established a global health policy to better prepare for health emergencies and promote universal healthcare worldwide, is implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and its pension fund―the largest in the world―has signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Prayut Chan-o-Cha, Prime Minister, Thailand, said human activity has been the prime contributor to climate change. He called for living simply with a focus on quality, moderation and balance, instead of “rampant consumerism and maximum growth at all costs.” He noted Thailand’s support for non-citizens including unskilled migrant workers.

Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister, Luxembourg, said environmental protection is not a brake on development, but can contribute to developing clean technology and diversifying economies. He called on everyone to “look in the mirror” and acknowledge when their problems are superficial, “luxury problems,” while others cannot feed their children more than once a day. David Cameron, Prime Minister, United Kingdom, said: his country has enshrined its 0.7% ODA contribution into law; women and girls must be treated equally to men and boys in order to attack poverty; and he will host a major anti-corruption summit in 2016. He celebrated that corruption, “rotten government,” and lack of access to justice, rule of law, and basic freedoms are now at the top of the development agenda.

Anerood Jugnauth, Prime Minister, Mauritius: welcomed the SDG on oceans; called for a coordinated approach to preferential treatment; committed to monitoring climate variability; and welcomed the ECOSOC Forum for FfD review, the UN Secretary-General’s task force on SDG and FfD progress, and the TFM. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister, Turkey, called for a stronger humanitarian-development nexus in order to reach the SDGs. He said the World Humanitarian Summit will assess coherence between FfD and humanitarian assistance, and the Migration and Development Summit will address implementation of migration-related goals and targets. He noted that development is at the center of Turkey’s G20 presidency, and that his country has increased its ODA to 0.45% of gross national income and will further increase it.

Slovakia welcomed the inclusion of rule of law, good governance and inclusive institutions into the SDGs and identified the Paris Climate Change Conference as an opportunity to develop concrete commitments for the preservation of the environment. The Philippines called for: recognizing migrant rights; addressing climate change with urgency; and making inclusiveness and accountability central to the SDGs. Portugal emphasized universality of the 2030 Agenda and noted the “multiplying effects” of sound rule of law and institutions.

Underlying education as a national priority, Andorra said human rights and democracy were the best weapons to combat intolerance, promote opportunities, and achieve social cohesion. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea identified a durable peaceful environment as a necessary condition for development and lamented the imposition of sanctions that attempt to achieve military objectives while undermining sustainable development. Australia said her country aimed to double investment in domestic resource mobilization by 2020, and had increased its contribution to the Green Climate Fund to US$200 million.

Algeria noted his country had surpassed the minimum target for primary education, and modernized legislation to achieve gender equality. Argentina highlighted a comprehensive immunization programme in his country; expressed concern over implementing the agenda, noting an imbalance between developed country commitments regarding means of implementation; and underscored efforts on South-South and technical cooperation. President Andrzej Duda, Poland, cautioned against linking development aid with imposing value systems, stressing the importance of traditional family values and the protection of life, in particular. On climate change, he urged not only limiting carbon emissions but pursuing a reforestation policy as well.


Six interactive dialogues took place during the summit. At the closing plenary, the Co-Chairs of the dialogues presented summaries from each event.

Ending poverty and hunger: Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia, and Ralph Gonzalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, co-chaired this dialogue on Friday. Reporting back from the dialogue, Prime Minister Cerar said delegates had discussed the value of a multi-dimensional perspective and the need to tackle structural and systemic issues. He highlighted the need for citizen engagement, increasing the participation of developing countries in global decision making, and building resilience to shocks and disasters, including through risk management and social protection.

An in-depth summary of this dialogue is available at:

Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind: This dialogue was held on Friday and co-chaired by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President, Croatia, and Uhuru Kenyatta, President, Kenya. In her report back to plenary, President Grabar-Kitarović said delegates had recognized the SDGs cannot be achieved unless progress includes women. Areas for further action include: universal access to quality education for girls; equal economic opportunities for women; greater representation of women in politics and leadership, eliminating violence against women, and investing in sexual and reproductive health. In addition, tackling inequality will require strengthening capacities and empowerment at community levels.

An in-depth summary of this dialogue is available at:

Sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production: Charles Michel, Prime Minister, Belgium, and Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Bangladesh, co-chaired this dialogue on Saturday. In his report back to plenary, Prime Minister Michel reported that discussions had highlighted the need for decent work and social protection, including minimum thresholds of social protection. The group stressed the need to promote women in business and invest in women’s health and education as a basis for achieving the SDGs. Connectivity and access to markets, technology and the internet were seen as fundamental to sustained economic growth. The group recommended better defining the public-private partnerships that will be the basis of domestic investments and foreign direct investment for sustainable development.

An in-depth summary of this dialogue is available at:

Delivering on a revitalized Global Partnership: Macky Sall, President, Senegal, and Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister, Turkey, co-chaired this dialogue on Saturday. In his report back to plenary, President Sall said delegates had agreed that implementation of the SDGs should meet the needs of the most vulnerable, while being relevant for everyone, and that ODA is still critical to meeting the needs of the poorest countries. He said dialogue participants had called for respect and compliance with ODA commitments and for national development plans to bear in mind the importance of good governance, rule of law, action against corruption and support for the independence of women and girls. They stressed the importance of having accessible and transparent data to follow-up on policies and ensure the accountability of all stakeholders.

An in-depth summary of this dialogue is available at:

Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development: Park Geun-hye, President, Republic of Korea, and Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile, co-chaired the dialogue on Sunday morning. President Park said her country’s experiences have shown that: education lays the foundation for institution building; the government should lead in formulating national development plans; and rural and urban development are complementary. President Bachelet said participation must be at the forefront of decision-making and designing processes. She said all countries have unfinished business, and Chile needs educational reform to guarantee high-quality education for all, and should empower regions to better manage their own resources.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of Croatia, said the world cannot achieve lasting peace or development if institutions are not accountable. She highlighted: Croatia’s participation in the Open Governance Partnership; its committee for monitoring conflicts of interest; and the need to foster private sector development.

Mongolia said the chairing of the dialogue by Presidents Park and Bachelet is a “great symbol” after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. He said more stability and more democracy are meaningless without accountability.

Bhekinkosi Moyo, President, Southern Africa Trust, advised localizing the sustainable development agenda and building ownership among the people, who will be the real agents of change, noting that their preoccupation is with livelihoods and that education is the only tool we have to change the world.

Saber Chowdhury, President, International Parliamentary Union, said that without strong institutions, there will be weak delivery, and that national ownership of the SDGs is important. He noted that legislators have the mandated responsibility for holding government to account, and that SDG 16 is a facilitator and accelerator of other goals.

Adrian Hasler, Prime Minister, Liechtenstein, called for doing more to empower women to be part of political and economic life. He said the private sector is crucial to achieving the SDGs, and business will only invest in a country if they know the rule of law will be respected, noting this is a matter of enlightened self-interest. He cautioned that for small countries, building strong institutions must be compatible with maintaining a small administration.

Rui Maria de Araújo, Prime Minister, Timor-Leste, said that by building institutional capacity and investing in people, the country has provided its people with a foundation for security and peace. Montenegro said that strong political commitment is necessary for deep and lasting reforms. Yury Fedotov, Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), envisioned a world free from organized crime, exploitation and trafficking, based on building effective and accountable institutions.

Joan Carling, Secretary-General, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, expressed concern about evictions of indigenous peoples to make way for hydropower, warning that the SDG targets on energy and climate are a threat to indigenous peoples, if their human rights are not respected. She called for going beyond social and environmental safeguards to ensure equitable sharing, human rights and accountability in relation to land rights and indigenous cultural heritage.

Irene Khan, Director General, International Development Law Organization, said laws alone do not provide justice, and can even be a barrier to justice. Institutions must be relevant to people, fight corruption through transparency, and empower citizens, she argued.

Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom, said prison and police systems should focus on rehabilitation, not just punishment. He highlighted the value of institutions adjusting quickly to “changing dynamics of vulnerability.” He also suggested keeping partnerships simple and goal-focused, and said coalitions should prioritize dialogue, not those with power and influence.

Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), highlighted the Aarhus Convention as the only legally binding instrument for ensuring citizen access to information and active participation in policymaking. He encouraged more governments to join it, for a “transparency revolution.” He also called for more, better and more detailed data, and to “leave no woman behind.”

Simonetta Sommaruga, President, Switzerland, said “political culture” is even more important than institutions and rules, and that it takes work. She pledged Switzerland’s continuing support for decentralization and fighting abuse of power.

Palouki Massina, Minister and Secretary General, Togo, said the MDGs’ “mediocre results” show the need for competent people trained for their jobs, and noted Togo’s forthcoming programme for capacity building.

Spain proposed that countries appoint an ombudsman to protect the rights of the child. He said that effective, democratic institutions should not be a luxury only accessed by a few.

Poland highlighted the country’s successes, from being a recipient of development assistance in 2004, to joining development actors by 2014, based on domestic institutional reforms, introduction of rule of law and accountability. He said good governance is not only an end in itself, but is also a tool for transformative change.

The Youth Peer Education Network noted that out of 1.4 billion people in conflict areas, 40% are youth, and only 20% of school-age refugees attend secondary school. Recalling that four million Syrians have left their war-torn country, she urged delegates not to let them become a lost generation.

Gerda Verburg, Chair, UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), highlighted that the CFS was reformed in 2009 and is now the most inclusive intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders, enabling innovation, evidence-based discussion and policy convergence to address price volatility, social protection, and food losses and waste. She highlighted the need to apply the Principles for Responsible Investment to food systems.

Seth Berkley, CEO, the Gavi Alliance, highlighted the organization’s success in vaccinating half a billion children around the world, based on partnerships, and he encouraged all to work towards re-setting institutions through working with the private sector and “that noisy and creative space, civil society,” adding that the ambition of equity runs deep in the DNA of the SDGs.

Yves Leterme, Secretary-General, International IDEA, said SDG 16 is a “historical achievement,” but effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are needed for all the SDGs. He called to move away from procedural democracy to substantive, qualitative democracy, and that citizens need to feel secure enough to hold leaders accountable.

The ADB said it is developing a corporate strategy to respond to the SDGs’ level of ambition, the forthcoming climate deal, and the fast-changing political landscape in the Asia-Pacific region. He noted the Bank’s earlier announcement that it will double its climate financing by 2020, from US$3 billion to US$6 billion.

Saferworld said the public’s verdict should be the primary measure of the new agenda’s performance. He said the SDGs include the freedom to speak out corruption, access to justice, and commitment to ending violence, and “this is why” the 2030 Agenda has potential.

Kadir Topbaş, Mayor, Istanbul, said it is easiest to govern what is near, and local government should be at the table in order to achieve the SDGs.

Thomas Bach, President, International Olympic Committee, encouraged sporting federations to follow the example of the Committee’s reforms to promote accountability, including age limits for service, auditing to higher standards, and open and transparent rules for decision making.

Daniel Stauffacher, President, ICT4Peace Foundation, noted the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society takes place this year. He encouraged international cooperation to establish norms for responsible cyberspace behavior.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), welcomed the 2030 agenda, saying that for the first time, freedom from fear has a home in the international agenda.

Yes Bank said the achievement of the MDGs may have been due to poor governance, noting that lobbying allows access to those with greatest influence. She called for reducing corruption, building trust and transparency, and ensuring inclusive, participatory and representative decision making at all levels.

In her summary of the dialogue to plenary Sunday afternoon, Co-Chair Bachelet said that while SDG 16 is important in its own right, it also facilitates success for all other goals: it is “an essential prerequisite” for sustainable development. Participants in this dialogue also stressed: the need for a culture of justice; integrating the SDGs into national plans; the important role of parliaments and local authorities; the need to unlock women’s potential, and to build bridges between the poor and rich; and the value of vibrant private sector engagement.

Protecting our planet and combating climate change: Ollanta Humala Tasso, President, Peru, and François Hollande, President, France, co-chaired this dialogue on Sunday afternoon. Hollande thanked Gro Harlem Brundtland for initiating, many years ago, the work discussed during the Summit, and remarked that the planet will not stop warming after an agreement is reached at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. He reported that 80 INDCs have been received so far, and said all the INDCs need to be received by the end of October.

Germany, Seychelles and others called on all countries to submit their INDCs.

Tajikistan, Nigeria, Cyprus said they were in the process of submitting their INDCs or have already submitted them, with the Solomon Islands commenting that the INDCs submitted so far have been low in ambition.

Benin, on behalf of LDCs, Nigeria, Luxembourg, Germany, Burkina Faso, and Seychelles called for the Paris Conference to provide a legally binding agreement.

Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Antigua and Barbuda emphasized the need for capacity building and/or financial and technical resources for addressing climate change and the SDGs.

The European Parliament, Trinidad and Tobago and others remarked that the 2ºC target is not enough, with Trinidad and Tobago calling for a target limiting temperature rise to 1ºC instead.

Many outlined initiatives undertaken at the national level to mitigate or adapt to climate change such as: the use of solar energy and methods for energy conservation, and the adoption of a national plan of action to mitigate climate change impacts in Tajikistan; the development of strategies or policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation in Mozambique and Nigeria; a Green Act to decarbonize the economy in Italy; introducing climate agriculture in Grenada; and establishing a long term energy policy, and reforestation in Uruguay.

Finland and Grenada supported putting a price on carbon, and others, including Luxembourg, IUCN and ENDA Energy emphasized the importance of resilience or resilient economies.

Thomas Boni Yayi, President, Benin, on behalf of LDCs, said most of the LDCs, in particular in Africa, do not pollute but suffer the consequences of climate change “in a dramatic way.” He expressed support for an international conference on the climate change impacts on coastal countries.

Sauli Niinistö, President, Finland, noted that the success in combating climate change relies on coherent policies, and on enabling the participation of everyone.

Queen Maxima, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, said populations that are financially empowered can better address climate change, and asked to pay special attention to the millions of small-holder farmers in developing countries that are affected by climate change.

Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister, Bhutan, said that while his country pledged six years ago to be carbon neutral, it is now “carbon negative.”

Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Fiji, called attention to the Suva Declaration, which lays out the demands for a climate change agreement from leaders of the Pacific Islands Development Forum. He also highlighted the support of SIDS for the SDG on oceans, and said his government will propose that the UNGA agree to hold a series of oceans conferences, with the first to be held in Fiji in 2017.

Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister, Saint Lucia, highlighted the need for reversing deforestation, strengthening micro, small and medium sized enterprises, and fully engaging the private sector. Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister, Georgia, highlighted Georgia’s commitment to green growth, and said the SDGs were taken into account when preparing Georgia’s INDC.

Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, Prime Minister, Tonga, called for an evaluation of the security challenges presented by climate change. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Vice Chair, UN Foundation Board of Directors and former Prime Minister of Norway, said our efforts to address climate change are linked to our efforts to address the SDGs.

Italy called for a clear and robust accountability mechanism and for ownership, awareness and action. Germany said her country expects to double its climate finance by 2020, and outlined the need for strong, universal and binding rules to ensure transparency and accounts; and mechanisms to adjust the INDCs.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, said: the UN system is also challenged in re-thinking its approach to be more integrated, consistent with the SDGs; and the energy challenge can be turned into an opportunity, by investing in renewable energy.

Macky Sall, President, Senegal outlined the importance of energy independence, renewable energy and energy transfer in agriculture for his country, and noted the need for operational mechanisms to follow-up and evaluate progress in implementing the upcoming climate change agreement. He announced that his country would develop its climate plan.

Tuvalu said a loss and damage mechanism should be included as a stand-alone element in a legally binding agreement from Paris. He stressed that that is a red line for his country. Grenada expressed appreciation for support from China, and announced they will host a conference on investment in blue growth.

The Netherlands highlighted that his country includes islands in the Caribbean, which are experiencing the effects of climate change. He said it was appropriate that the Summit was preceded by the Pope’s speech because we need to have a strong sense of moral commitment to realize the SDGs. He encouraged all governments to reinforce the social consciousness of their citizens to make the changes needed to implement the SDGs.  

Seychelles called for ensuring loss and damage compensation and scaled up, adequate terms for climate change finance. The Solomon Islands supported the Suva Declaration on climate change.

Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO, Novozymes noted that financial mechanisms, including public-private partnerships, are needed for addressing climate change.

Trinidad and Tobago remarked that his country has announced its plans to reduce its emissions and diversify its economy.

Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) remarked that more than 70 countries do not have the information to take informed decisions on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and called for reinforcing infrastructure and technological capacity to address this issue.

Ecuador reported that her country would increase its renewable energy portfolio by 2025. A representative of the European Parliament said a climate funding package is very important, and fossil fuels should not be subsidized. She called on delegates to think about how to deliver on their promises.

Wael Hamidan, Director, Climate Action Network (CAN), said governments must internalize climate risk into all sectors, warning that the development agenda will be undermined if we do not achieve a significant outcome from the Paris Climate Change Conference. Kazakhstan said it will host a 2017 International Expo focused on “energy of the future.”

The Indigenous Peoples Major Group said there must be coherence under the climate change agreement, the Sendai Framework for DRR, the SDGs, and international human rights.

Japan noted that public finance can play a catalytic role in funding sustainable development.

The Czech Republic said the adoption of the SDGs is a good example for the Paris Climate Change Conference, as it demonstrates that all UN Member States can come to an agreement.

ENDA Energy highlighted the need for sustainable energy access, and for integrated strategies at the national level.

Will Marshall, CEO, Planet Labs, said we are in the midst of a communication revolution where connectivity is crucial, and outlined the added value of satellites and imaging for advancing the SDGs.

Yolanda Kakabadse Navarro, International President, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said adaptation must be “dramatically ramped up,” harmful subsidies must be reversed, and the value of natural capital should be recognized.

The GEF noted that 2015 should be the warmest year on record, and called for a strong agreement in Paris.

The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said total economic losses from disasters can be estimated at US$1.3 trillion, and called for ensuring coherence between the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for DRR, the upcoming climate change agreement and other outcomes, and for common reporting targets and regimes.

In his summary of the dialogue, Co-Chair Humala said delegates had called for consistency between responses to climate change and to poverty eradication. He stressed that de-carbonization is a priority for countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, noting the important role of renewable energy and resource efficiency. He said submission of ambitious national plans to reduce emissions and mitigate their impacts, by all countries, will be a “clear signal that we can have successful negotiations” in Paris. He concluded that “the general will” is to have a global ambitious and legally binding outcome, geared towards limiting temperature increase to 2.5ºC or below 2ºC.


After the last plenary statements were delivered, Yoweri Museveni, President, Uganda, and Summit Co-Chair, delivered closing remarks. He said that despite religious teachings, it has been difficult for people to treat one another unselfishly. He welcomed the 2030 Agenda, which he described as being sensible, global and indicative of the return of common sense to the international arena. He gaveled the Summit to a close at 7:28 pm, and invited delegates to view a short video titled “The Story You Are Shaping.”



The UN had at least two clear purposes in convening the Sustainable Development Summit―to adopt its development agenda for the next 15 years, the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and to demonstrate that all countries are committed to its implementation. Although Member States had joined the consensus at the conclusion of the negotiations on the Agenda on 2 August 2015, their Heads of State and Government needed to look each other in the eye―figuratively, literally, collectively and publicly―to affirm their intention to keep this commitment. As they did so, speakers called the meeting a “moment of hope,” with some comparing it to what happened 70 years ago when leaders came together to meet the challenges of the post-war world and created the UN.

While largely a celebration of the decision to move collectively in a new direction, participants were fully cognizant that they would be judged on the implementation of the agenda and not by the words on paper they had just adopted. Speakers offered sober reminders of the enormity of the challenges ahead, and reflected on the MDGs, which were supposed to have been achieved by the end of 2015. Laments about unachieved MDG targets were voiced alongside reports on successes in increasing levels of education, raising citizens out of poverty, and empowering women and girls.

Many at the Summit also reflected on the successful negotiation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which had led to this point. The negotiation of the SDGs took place during a period of glacially slow progress in other multilateral environmental negotiations. As such, the Summit was not only a moment of hope, but also an opportunity to reflect on the elements for further success. 

The negotiation process of the SDGs―which comprise the central focus of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development―began with an extended “stocktaking” period, during which governments collectively considered the options and elements for inclusion in the final outcome. Many have attributed the successful negotiation of the SDGs to this deductive process. Although more limited in scope and time, the three-day UN Summit for Sustainable Development could be viewed as a stocktaking exercise for the implementation period. It is through this lens that this brief analysis reviews the UN Summit on Sustainable Development.


The Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, which was created by the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to develop a proposed set of sustainable development goals, worked in two phases. Throughout the first phase, called “stocktaking” (March 2013 to February 2014), experts and various stakeholders were invited to provide information on the status of knowledge, progress and challenges related to themes under consideration. Based on that stocktaking, the OWG undertook the second phase of the process (February to July 2014), deliberating on a proposal for SDGs and targets for submission to the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. If the purpose of the OWG was to not only elaborate a set of SDGs but also to build a sense of universal ownership of the goals and targets, it was clearly a success.

During the Summit, many praised the OWG experience and leadership, and reflected on the honor of having been involved in the process. Serbia noted, for example, that it participated actively in the OWG and highlighted that the OWG had been launched during Serbia’s UNGA Presidency. The Rio+20 mandate had been for the OWG to comprise 30 seats, but this configuration was stretched to accommodate the 70 Member States who wanted to participate in the OWG: seats were “shared” by countries that were not always in the same geographic or issue-based coalitions. This unusual composition (30 small groups of countries, also called troikas) was credited with having facilitated discussions and breaking traditional positions to arrive at innovative, consensual solutions. Reflecting the comradery that developed during the OWG, Cyprus thanked his troika-mates Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, and indicated his country’s pride in having contributed to this agenda.

According to many speakers, the OWG’s success also lay in the good guidance and management provided by its Co-Chairs, Ambassadors Macharia Kamau (Kenya), Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), as well as David Donoghue (Ireland) who, with Kamau, co-chaired the final year of negotiations on the 2030 Agenda. Speakers commented on the transparency and inclusiveness of the process, which had engaged constructively with Major Groups and other stakeholders, and its unwavering focus on the international community’s shared goals. Attention during the Summit reflected this focus, as delegates pledged to collectively strive to achieve the SDGs and the new Agenda.


From the speeches at the Summit, it was clear that the implementation of the SDGs has already begun; the sense of ownership over the negotiated outcome has extended into stakeholders’ commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda. Governments reported that they have taken steps to assess how the SDGs will be implemented within their ministries. Others said they had referred to the SDGs while developing their INDCs to address climate change. Intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations enumerated the SDGs addressed in their mandates. And representatives from the private sector reported that they have already begun using the SDGs for their own sustainability assessments.

Some highlighted sustainable development initiatives already in place or announced significant funding commitments, further demonstrating their commitment to implementation. Panama’s President committed to restoring 50% of his country’s deforested areas over the next 20 years. The King of Spain noted that his country established, with UNDP, the first SDG fund, which is financing projects in over 17 countries. China’s President laid out an attention-grabbing list of financial commitments, including the establishment of a US$2 billion assistance fund for South-South cooperation to implement the SDGs, and increasing investment in LDCs to US$12 billion by 2030. The Russian Federation said his country has written off US$20 billion in debt and is instituting debt-for-aid swaps for the poorest countries.


In an agenda that seeks to “leave no one behind,” as speaker after speaker implored, some called attention to the final element of the SDG package―indicators―which are necessary for measuring and verifying that their lofty goals are attained. By March 2016 the 17 goals and 169 targets will be joined by a set of indicators currently under development by the UN Statistical Commission. These indicators have the potential to demonstrate which goals are on track, and where further effort should be expended. Disaggregated data also will be critical, Summit participants emphasized, for measuring each indicator and ensuring that the 2030 Agenda leaves no one behind. Once the indicators are adopted, speakers highlighted the need for capacity building to ensure that each of the UN’s 193 Member States can gather the requisite data to track and assess the indicators. Some refer to this element of implementation as the “data revolution,” and many noted that the 2030 Agenda will be incomplete until this component is finalized.

In addition to the indicators and data, the Agenda’s follow-up and review mechanism also must be further detailed. While the 2030 Agenda outlines general modalities for follow-up and review at the national, regional and global levels, operational details remain to be defined. Discussions are expected to take place in the next several months to clarify the HLPF’s organizational arrangements for state-led review, institutional responsibilities, and annual themes and the sequence of thematic reviews to be considered, among other aspects of the follow-up and review framework. Some speakers highlighted the need to complete the discussion of these issues, and a few indicated that they would present proposals to UNGA in the coming months


While speakers hailed the AAAA as the financing framework for the 2030 Agenda, and celebrated the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, it has been widely noted that the true legacy of 2015 will only be known once the Paris Climate Change Conference concludes. Many speakers stressed the linkages among the 2015 agreements, and looked to the final event for the full completion of the Agenda. Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said, in the first speech after the Agenda’s adoption, that only with an outcome from Paris will we be able to say we have set the framework for the SDGs. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey said the Paris outcome will add “another ring to the chain,” and the three events’ results “will establish the framework of the global development agenda for the next 15 years.” Hungary’s President János Áder reflected many statements when he noted that if climate objectives are not met all of the SDGs will be affected.

Given the importance attached to the Paris Climate Change Conference, it is not surprising that many governments used their speeches to flag their latest positions on climate change. Many speakers supported a legally binding agreement, and many SIDS said it should aim to keep global warming under 1.5ºC. Others outlined the limits of their flexibility, or “marge de manoeuvre,” such as Tuvalu who called for a loss and damage mechanism as a stand-alone element in the Paris outcome, and declared that this is a “red line” for his country.

Capitalizing on the gathering of Heads of State and Government, the UN Secretary-General held a high-level, informal lunch on the sidelines of the Summit, to “inject greater energy” into the climate change negotiation process leading up to Paris. In a press conference that followed the meeting, François Hollande, President of France and President of the Paris Climate Change Conference, outlined that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris agreement are mutually supportive and said leaders had pledged to continue working closely with each other. He appealed to all leaders to show flexibility, vision and leadership, and reviewed his proposal to have Heads of State and Government gather in Paris on 30 November, at the opening of the meeting, to “make sure we have an agreement we can sign” at the end of the conference. 


In the midst of hundreds of national and world leaders, two figures who received repeated requests to appear in other participants’ photos and selfies were Malala Yousafzai and Mark Zuckerberg. Well below the average age of plenary, dialogue and side event speakers, they drew a level of attention and celebrity that some found fitting for this Agenda, which seeks to leave the world in a better place for the next generation. As an activist for girls’ education and chief executive of Facebook, respectively, they demanded safety, peace and education for children, and extolled the possibilities from connecting the world through the Internet. Their messages resonated with participants because they were not just talking about lofty ideas; despite their age, they have had a real, global impact on the issues about which they are passionate. The attention to these two figures, who have become cultural icons beyond the sphere of girls’ education and social media, bodes well for the future of the 2030 Agenda as the focus shifts toward practical ways to transform our world.

Among the inspirational quotes discussed during the Summit, Nelson Mandela’s statement that “sometimes it falls on a generation to be great” resonated with many. Summit participants recognized that the 2030 Agenda represents a last chance to set the world on a sustainable footing, and accepted their responsibility to leave the world a better place for their children. And statements during the Summit demonstrated that UN Member States recognize that the process to develop the SDGs has resulted in an outcome that stakeholders around the world can be passionate about.

Many recognized that the negotiation process was unique, and the outcome was embraced proudly and fully. Going into the talks, many people thought agreement on this expansive an agenda would be unattainable, but the skillfully handled negotiations and the possibility for innovation through the troika method contributed to an approach in which participants explored the possibilities together, and reached an agreement their Heads of State and Government embraced. While the three days in September were a celebration of an agreement, they also lent high-level support for moving forward, and sent some clear signals about priorities. Governments announcing so many commitments surely gave support to the UN, which, in a world of broken promises, can usually inspire, cajole, urge, but never threaten or coerce. The final decisions on the indicators, follow-up and review, and climate change will be critical elements for the Agenda’s success, and their full shape has yet to be determined, as is the full scope of the 2015 pivot towards sustainable development.


Implementing the Oceans SDG: From Knowledge to Action: The conference aims to discuss and identify how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on oceans, including how to make the best use of scientific knowledge and put oceans on a sustainable pathway. The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in partnership with the US Embassy in France and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC/UNESCO) are organizing the conference. date: 2 October 2015  location: Paris France contact: IDDRI  email: www:

Eye on Earth Summit: The summit, organized by a partnership of organizations including the Abu Dhabi Environment Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) and UNEP, aims to identify solutions for greater access to and sharing of, data so as to provide policymakers with timely, actionable information for the critical decisions that will implement the post-2015 development agenda. dates: 6-8 October 2015  location: Abu Dhabi, UAE  contact: Larissa Owen, AGEDI  phone: +971-2-693-4436  www:

2015 Annual Meetings of World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund: The Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) each year bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, and academics to discuss progress on the work of the IMF and the World Bank Group. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial markets.  dates: 9-11 October 2015  location: Lima, Peru contact: WBG Corporate Secretariat Conferences Office  phone: +1 202-473-7272  fax: +1-202-522-7139  email: or IMF Secretary’s Department Institutional Events Division  phone: +1 202 623-0648  fax: +1 202 623-4100  email: www:

Eighth Meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD): This summit is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, and is expected to discuss implementation of migration-related SDGs, targets and indicators. dates: 14-16 October 2015  location: Istanbul, Turkey  contact: Ms. Esen Altuğ. Deputy Director General for Migration, Asylum and Visa  phone: +90 312 292 2325  email: www:

OECD Workshop on Communicating the SDGs: This year’s OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom) annual meeting will focus on communicating and engaging with the public about the SDGs. The workshop on “Development Communication and the Post-2015 Framework: Learning from experience” is co-organized by UNDP and the OECD Development Centre. dates: 22-23 October 2015  location: Paris, France  phone: +33-1-45-24-82-00  fax: +33-1-45-24-85-00  www:

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  location: Bangkok, Thailand  contact: UN Statistics Division  email: www:

High-Level Event: Follow-Up and Review of the Post-2015 Development Agenda: This event will discuss next steps in the implementation of the SDGs, with a focus on the potential role of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) in assisting national governments to conduct follow-up and review of soil and land-related SDGs. The event will convene as part of the GLTN 6th Partners Meeting. Organizers include the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), UN-Habitat and UNEP. date: 2 November 2015  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Oscar Schmidt, IASS  phone: +49-331-288-224-31  email: www:

G20 Summit: The Turkish Presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) will host the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The G20 aims to conclude the Summit with practical outcomes on such priority areas as development, climate change, financing for climate change, trade, growth and employment. dates: 15-16 November 2015 location: Antalya, Turkey  email: www:

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting: The 2015 CHOGM will take up the theme, “Adding Global Value.” dates: 27-29 November 2015  location: Malta  www:

UNFCCC COP 21: The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC is expected to take place in December 2015, in Paris, France to adopt a new climate change agreement. dates: 30 November - 11 December 2015  location: Paris, France  contact: UNFCCC Secretariat  phone: +49-228-815-1000  fax: +49-228-815-1999  email: www:

OECD Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum: The 2015 Green Growth and Sustainable Development Forum (GGSD Forum) is organized by the OECD on the theme of “Enabling the Next Industrial Revolution: The role of systems thinking and innovation policy in promoting green growth.” The event will discuss how to foster the “next industrial revolution” through policies for systems innovation, drawing on the work of several OECD committees, including the Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy, the Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Environment Policy Committee, the Economic Policy Committee and the Chemicals Committee.  dates: 14-15 December 2015  location: Paris, France  contact: Kumi Kitamori and Ryan Parmenter  phone: +33-1-45-24-82-00  fax: +33-1-45-24-85-00  email: www:

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016: ADSW, an initiative of the Abu Dhabi government, brings together policy makers, investors, and thought leaders to address the challenges of renewable energy and sustainable development. It is the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East. ADSW 2016 will include the World Future Energy Summit, among other high-level events.  date: 16-23 January 2016  location: Abu Dhabi, UAE  www:

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: www:

ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment (OAS) 2016: The 2016 Session of the ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment will include a discussion on emerging policy issues, within the context of the ECOSOC dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the UN Development System. dates: 22-24 February 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination  phone: +1-212-963-8415  email: www:

47th Session of UN Statistical Commission: The 47th Session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC), 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 (FOC) will prepare and guide discussions on the development and implementation of the framework. dates: 8-11 March 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UNSC  email: www:

World Humanitarian Summit: The summit is an initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and is organized by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The summit will bring the humanitarian community together with other actors from the development, peace-building and peacekeeping spheres to work toward a coherent approach in the delivery of humanitarian aid. Secretary-General Ban is establishing a High-level Panel on Humanitarian Financing to provide recommendations to help to frame discussions at the summit.  dates: 23-24 May 2016  location: Istanbul, Turkey  contact: Breanna Ridsdel  phone:+1-917-783-9336  email: www:

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: www:

HLPF 2016: The fourth session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development will be the first meeting of the HLPF after the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs.  dates: 11-20 July 2016  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination  email: www:

For additional meetings, see