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Summary report, 16–20 June 2014

12th Session of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) OWG on SDGs

The twelfth session of the UN General Assembly Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place from 16-20 June 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York. Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, and Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary, continued in their roles as Co-Chairs of the OWG at the second to last session of the OWG, which is mandated to develop a set of sustainable development goals and targets.

OWG-12 represented the first OWG meeting during which delegates worked primarily in informal sessions. Following opening remarks during a formal session on Monday morning, delegates considered proposed goals 7-17 in informal sessions during day and evening sessions from Monday through Friday. The discussion on goals 1-6 had taken place in “informal-informal” consultations from 9-11 June. The Co-Chairs also presented a set of revised goals, based on the informal-informal discussions, for comment on Monday night. On Tuesday night, the Co-Chairs distributed a new set of targets for proposed goal 1 on ending poverty. However, delegates said they did not want to discuss any revisions until they had a chance to review the complete package of revised goals and targets.

On Friday afternoon, Co-Chair Kamau opened the second formal session of OWG-12, noting that the Group had made “amazing progress” during the week. He announced that there would be another set of “informal-informals” from 9-11 July, to be followed by the final meeting of the OWG from 14-18 July. He said a revised version of the zero draft should be ready by 30 June, and that it will have fewer targets, and be a more refined, balanced and “tighter” document. He expressed the Co-Chairs’ confidence that the OWG will successfully conclude its work on 18 July and agree on a set of goals and targets.


During the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, governments agreed to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs. They called for establishing an OWG that is transparent and open to stakeholders, and comprised of 30 representatives from the five UN regional groups, nominated by UN Member States, to elaborate a proposal for SDGs. They also called on the OWG to submit a report to the 68th session of the Assembly, containing a proposal for SDGs for consideration and appropriate action.

The Rio+20 outcome document outlines, inter alia:

•  the importance of remaining firmly committed to the full and timely achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and of respecting all Rio Principles, taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and priorities;

•  the SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, and focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development;

•  the need to ensure coordination and coherence with the processes considering the post-2015 development agenda, and to receive initial input to the OWG’s work from the UN Secretary-General in consultation with national governments;

•  the need to assess progress towards the achievement of the goals, accompanied by targets and indicators, while taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and levels of development; and

•  the importance of global, integrated and scientifically-based information on sustainable development and of supporting regional economic commissions in collecting and compiling national inputs to inform this global effort.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) endorsed the outcome document, titled The Future We Want, in resolution 66/288 on 30 November 2012.

UNGA DECISION ESTABLISHING THE OWG (67/555): On 22 January 2013, the UNGA adopted a decision establishing the membership of the OWG as allocated to the five UN regional groups. According to the annex to the decision, six seats are held by single countries: Benin, Congo, Ghana, Hungary, Kenya and Tanzania. Nine seats are held by pairs of countries, as follows: Bahamas/Barbados; Belarus/Serbia; Brazil/Nicaragua; Bulgaria/Croatia; Colombia/Guatemala; Mexico/Peru; Montenegro/Slovenia; Poland/Romania; and Zambia/Zimbabwe. Fourteen seats are held by trios of countries, as follows: Argentina/Bolivia/Ecuador; Australia/Netherlands/UK; Bangladesh/Republic of Korea/Saudi Arabia; Bhutan/Thailand/Viet Nam; Canada/Israel/US; Denmark/Ireland/Norway; France/Germany/Switzerland; Italy/Spain/Turkey; China/Indonesia/Kazakhstan; Cyprus/Singapore/United Arab Emirates; Guyana/Haiti/Trinidad and Tobago; India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka; Iran/Japan/Nepal; and Nauru/Palau/Papua New Guinea. One seat is shared by four countries: Algeria/Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia.

UNGA SPECIAL EVENT TOWARDS ACHIEVING THE MDGS: The Special Event took place on 25 September 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York. The Outcome Document of the event determined that the work of the OWG will feed into international negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, beginning in September 2014, and that a Global Summit will be held in September 2015 to adopt a new UN development agenda.

FIRST EIGHT SESSIONS OF THE OWG: The OWG 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. During the first meeting (14-15 March 2013), participants shared their initial views on both the process and substance of the SDG framework. During the second meeting (17-19 April 2013), delegates focused on the overarching framework of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and issues including: governance; gender equality and women’s empowerment; human rights and rights-based approaches; and means of implementation. Delegates at OWG-2 also discussed the Programme of Work for 2013-2014, and the subsequent six OWG sessions focused on the issue clusters that were identified in this document.

The issue clusters for which the OWG conducted a “stocktaking” review were as follows:

•  OWG-3 (22-24 May 2013): food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation and drought, and water and sanitation;

•  OWG-4 (17-19 June 2013): employment and decent work for all, social protection, youth, education and culture, and health and population dynamics;

•  OWG-5 (25-27 November 2013): sustained and inclusive economic growth, macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and external debt sustainability), infrastructure development and industrialization, and energy;

•  OWG-6 (9-13 December 2013): means of implementation (science and technology, knowledge-sharing and capacity building), global partnership for achieving sustainable development, needs of countries in special situations, African countries, least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and small island developing states (SIDS) as well as specific challenges facing middle-income countries, and human rights, the right to development, and global governance;

•  OWG-7 (6-10 January 2014): sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport, sustainable consumption and production (including chemicals and wastes), and climate change and disaster risk reduction; and

•  OWG-8 (3-7 February 2014): oceans and seas, forests, biodiversity, promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and the promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance.

OWG 9 AND 10: Based on the first eight sessions of the OWG, the Co-Chairs released a “stocktaking” document on 14 February 2014, reviewing the discussions to date, and a “focus areas” document on 21 February 2014, outlining the following 19 focus areas as the basis for discussions at OWG-9 (3-5 March 2014): poverty eradication; food security and nutrition; health and population dynamics; education; gender equality and women’s empowerment; water and sanitation; energy; economic growth; industrialization; infrastructure; employment and decent work for all; promoting equality; sustainable cities and human settlements; sustainable consumption and production; climate; marine resources, oceans and seas; ecosystems and biodiversity; means of implementation; and peaceful and non-violent societies, and capable institutions.

Following OWG-9, the Co-Chairs released a revised focus areas document for consideration at OWG-10 (31 March-4 May 2014). OWG-10 featured the first extended discussion of possible targets to accompany each focus area, with over 300 targets presented by Member States and Major Groups.

Based on the OWG-10 discussions, the Co-Chairs released a further revision, which they called a “working document,” on 18 April, to guide delegates’ preparation for OWG-11. The Co-Chairs also prepared a document they titled “Encyclopedia Groupinica,” which contains all of the proposals presented during OWG-10. 

OWG 11: At OWG-11 (5-9 May 2014), delegates commented on a list of 16 “focus areas” and approximately 150 potential targets related to each focus area, contained in the working document. Following the discussion of focus areas related to the “unfinished business in the MDGs”—poverty eradication, food security, education, health, gender, and water—Co-Chair Kőrösi noted general agreement that these concepts should be included as goals in the new framework. The discussion on “newer” issues, such as climate change, ecosystems, oceans, sustainable consumption and production, energy, industrialization, infrastructure, economic growth and employment, human settlements, means of implementation, peaceful societies, and rule of law, revealed that governments had not yet settled whether and how to include such focus areas in the framework. At the close of OWG-11, Co-Chair Kamau said the next draft of the working document would include an additional focus area—equality—and would contain many more draft targets. He said informal-informals would convene the week before each of the two remaining OWG sessions, and delegates should be prepared to discuss the working document target by target. The new document, considered the “zero draft” of the goals and targets, was issued on 2 June, containing 17 proposed goals and 212 targets.

INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS: The Co-Chairs convened “informal-informal” consultations on 9-11 June 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York. These discussions addressed: options for merging goal areas; views on the 17 goal headings contained in the zero draft; and the targets proposed under goal areas 1-6. The following highlights a few of the many proposals presented.

On the chapeau, suggestions included to, inter alia, add the climate change paragraph from Rio+20; follow the format of a normal Secretary-General’s report; and add a strong acknowledgement of the linkages between peace and security and development.

On Proposed Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere, delegates did not want to merge this goal with goal 2 (food security). Other suggestions included: merging target 1.4 (employment) with target 8.3 (productive employment); moving target 1.6 (early warning and disaster risk reduction (DRR)) to goal 11 (cities); moving target 1.7 (economic growth) and 1.8 (biodiversity conservation) to goal 8 (economic growth).

On Proposed Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and adequate nutrition for all, and promote sustainable agriculture, there was a recommendation to move reference to obesity in target 2.2 to goal 3 (health). Other suggestions included: merging targets 2.3 and 2.4, which both address food production; merging 2.3 and 2.5 on agricultural productivity; merging 2.5 and 2.8, which address developing food systems and resilient agricultural practices, respectively; moving 2.9 on agricultural biodiversity to target 15.3 on ecosystems; and moving target 2.10 (food emergencies) to either goal 16 (peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions) or merging it with 2.8. Some thought that proposed targets 2.10 and 2.11 (food price volatility) were more appropriate as indicators.

On Proposed Goal 3: Attain healthy life for all at all ages, there were calls to include reference to preventive health coverage and indigenous healthcare practices, as well as better integrating the means of implementation (MOI) targets, contained in Goal 17. There was concern whether some of the targets are achievable and whether some of the targets might be better as indicators. There were calls to merge 3.6 (universal health coverage) and 3.7 (universal access to medicines, etc.). There was no consensus on target 3.8 (universal access to sexual and reproductive health).

On Proposed Goal 4: Provide equitable and inclusive quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all, there were calls to merge targets 4.1 and 4.3, which both address access to education; and 4.2 and 4.5, which address tertiary education and the skills needed for employment, respectively. Some thought 4.4 (universal youth literacy and numeracy), 4.7 (education for sustainable development), 4.8 (learning environments) and 4.9 (quality of teaching) should be indicators rather than targets.

On Proposed Goal 5: Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere, there were calls to make the MOI more explicit and sensitive to national legislation. There were calls to merge targets 5.1 (end discrimination) and 5.2 (eliminate violence), 5.3 (end all harmful practices, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation), and 5.11 (role of men and boys). Some suggested moving 5.4 (access to education) to Goal 4. Others called for moving 5.5 (access to employment) to either Goal 1 or Goal 8. There was no consensus on retaining, moving or reformulating target 5.9 on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

On Proposed Goal 6: secure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world, there were calls to merge targets 6.1 and 6.2, which both address universal access to water and sanitation. One delegation proposed making target 6.5 (integrated water resources management) overarching with targets 6.1-6.6 as sub-targets. There were calls to move target 6.7 on disasters to Goal 11’s target on disaster risk reduction. Some thought 6.8 (adequate infrastructure for water and sanitation) could either be an indicator, MOI or merged with target 8.11 (infrastructure). There were also many proposals to increase the number of MOI targets related to this goal (as contained in Goal 17).


Co-Chair Kamau opened the twelfth meeting of the OWG on Monday morning. He expressed appreciation for the intensity, commitment and interest shown by everyone. He introduced the “zero draft” of the goals and targets on sustainable development of the post-2015 development agenda, and added that getting the right balance was not easy. He reported on the “informal informals” held the previous week, which he said made important progress. He reminded delegates that these are global goals and targets that will guide both global actions and national efforts. Noting that there are ten formal working days remaining “until the end of this journey,” he pleaded with delegates that the time for long statements is over, and stressed the need for focused attention on goals and targets so “we can sharpen this document into something we can all be proud of.”

Co-Chair Kőrösi said the informals the previous week made progress in understanding the interlinkages and interrelationships between the issues as well as in how global commitments might be turned into national commitments. The Co-Chairs then gave the floor to two ministers and others to give opening statements.

Germany, also for France and Switzerland, said the goals on sustainable economic growth and industrialization lacked a vision of inclusive and environmentally friendly growth, as each goal must reflect a “three-dimensional” approach to sustainable development. On MOI, she: highlighted that the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development (ICESDF) is working in parallel with the OWG and said it is too early to negotiate MOI; emphasized the need for a new global partnership reflecting the changed reality of North-South and donor-recipient divides, and making use of all available means and capacities to implement the SDGs; and called for all stakeholders to assume joint responsibility. She said the troika is ready to make the needed changes in their own countries, especially on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and energy. She added her troika’s preference for two separate goals on governance and peaceful societies.

Belarus called for carefully reducing the number of proposed SDGs without losing their content. Among his suggestions were calls to: add elements of the goal on peaceful societies to the goal on gender equality; and combine the goals on economic growth, human settlements and SCP. He noted that at least several SDGs would require a component on MOI.

Argentina, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), said every goal needs to have MOI and targets, expressed his concern about potential imbalances in integrating the three pillars of sustainable development to the detriment of the economic pillar, and called for common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) to be reflected in each goal.

The European Union (EU) emphasized the importance of rule of law, human rights, gender equality, peaceful societies and SCP, and said climate change should be reflected in the SDG framework. She called for two separate goals on rule of law and peaceful societies, and underlined that the proposed goal on MOI fails to grasp the full range of actors that would contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

Benin, for the LDCs, called for, inter alia: differential and preferential treatment for LDCs; a follow-up mechanism and a mutual accountability framework in line with the Rio+20 outcome document and the Istanbul Programme of Action; changing the order of the subgroups to start with LDCs; enforcing the economic dimension of sustainable development; and doubling the share of LDCs’ exports in global exports.

Nauru, for the Alliance of Small Island States, stressed the need for MOI to enable practical change at the national level, through: financial resources; technology transfer; data and statistics; effective governance; and effective institutions. She added that a sense of responsibility can be generated only through the idea of human oneness, reflected in the political will to mobilize the necessary resources.

DISCUSSION ON THE WAY FORWARD: Co-Chair Kamau proposed that the OWG adjourn its formal session and reconvene in an informal session to consider the goals and targets one by one, beginning with Goal 7, since the previous week’s “informal-informals” had discussed Goals 1-7 but had not finished 7. A number of delegations, including Argentina, Barbados (for CARICOM), Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ireland, Palau, Peru (also on behalf of Mexico), Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Turkey (also on behalf of Spain and Italy), and Viet Nam (also on behalf of Bhutan and Thailand), supported the Co-Chairs’ proposal.

Benin requested time for delegations to give general statements before proposing amendments. Some delegations expressed concern that there is a need to discuss the chapeau and that some delegations want to provide additional input from capitals on Goals 1-7. The Co-Chairs encouraged delegates to send comments in writing. Germany, Ireland and Sweden indicated that civil society needs to be able to participate. Co-Chair Kamau said the Co-Chairs would continue to meet with civil society each morning at 9:00 am. Co-Chair Kamau concluded that the consensus was to move into informals.


On Monday morning, following the formal session, delegates began their informal discussions with Goal 7, welcoming comments from those delegations that did not give comments during the previous week’s informal-informals.

Editor’s Note: Since these discussions took place in an informal session, the statements are not attributed to delegations.

Proposed Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable modern energy services for all. A few delegations expressed particular support for this goal. One suggested replacing “sustainable” with “safe” in the title.

7.1: by 2030 ensure universal access to sustainable modern energy services for all. This target was noted to be the most important target for at least one government. Others said it should emphasize developing countries and LDCs, refer to access to “affordable” energy services, and refer to “energy technologies.”

7.2: double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. Delegations said: this target should emphasize developing countries, which need continued support for using coal; the target needs to be incumbent on technology transfer and lower costs for renewables, in order to be achievable; and implementation of targets 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4 will vary from country to country.

7.3: double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030. Governments voiced concern about the provision of technology transfer and financing for renewables.

7.4: by 2030 increase by x% globally the share of clean energy technologies, including sustainable biomass and advanced cookstoves. Governments: called to refer to “low or zero-emission energy technology” and preferential provision for LDCs; and expressed reservations about measuring clean energy use, preferring “significant increase” in the share of usage.

7.5: by 2030 phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, with solutions that aim to secure affordable energy for the poorest. Countries called for reference to “the most marginalized and people in vulnerable situations,” and to reduce rather than phase out subsidies.

7.6: by 2030 expand and upgrade as appropriate infrastructure for supply, transmission and distribution of modern and renewable energy services in rural and urban areas, including with a view to doubling primary energy supply per capita for LDCs. One stressed this target’s importance for LDCs, regarding energy consumption as an indicator of economic development, and he favored “quadrupling” rather than “doubling” the supply for LDCs. Others called for the target to include LLDCs and SIDS. Delegations expressed divergent views on whether to expand this target to cover conventional energy services, not only renewable energy services.

Proposed Goal 8: Promote strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. Some called for merging Goals 8 and 9, but many delegates strongly supported two separate goals. In the title, some delegations called to change “sustainable” to “sustained” economic growth, but others objected. Several delegates wanted to include “infrastructure development” in the title and better reflect infrastructure development in the targets. Others wanted to replace “work” with “employment” and add “national circumstances” to the title. Another said the heading should include “economic development.”

One delegate noted that there are only two goals on the economic dimension of the SDGs. The balance should be “dynamic,” but since the document includes 5-6 goals on the social area and 4-5 goals on environmental areas, she said, maybe Goals 8 and 9 could have more targets than the others to guarantee the balance between the three dimensions. There was also support for a stand-alone goal on full and productive employment

8.1: sustain per capita economic growth of at least x% per annum. Several delegates suggested deleting this target, noting that it contradicts 8.16. One suggested merging this target with 8.2. Another suggested removing the percentage. One proposed adding reference to planetary boundaries.

8.2: sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the income distribution of each country of at least y (greater than x)% to reduce income inequalities by 2030. Three delegations suggested moving this target to Goal 1. Others said this issue is included in Goal 10 and can be deleted here. One delegation proposed to replace “sustain” with “foster,” another delegation suggested adding “and the achievement of higher rates for the bottom 40%” at the end of the target.

8.3: by 2030 achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities. Several delegations supported the target. One delegate requested that “equal” be included after “full.” Several called for merging this target with target 8.4. Another said it overlaps with target 1.4, and there should be a different focus on each. Two delegates said “full” employment is economically impossible and proposed replacing “full” with “equal.” Delegates also asked that the elderly and indigenous peoples be included as vulnerable groups. One delegation proposed adding “and in vulnerable situations” at the end of the target, one delegation suggested merging it with target 5.5, while other delegations called for adding “green jobs” and “in harmony with Mother Earth.”

8.4: by 2020 halve the number of youth not in employment, education or training. Some called for making this a “more realistic” target, in line with International Labour Organization (ILO) targets and conventions. Two delegations noted that this issue is partially covered in target 8.3, two delegations qualified it as indicator (one of them for Goal 4), and one delegation called for replacing “halve” with “reduce.”

8.5: create a sound macroeconomic environment with strong fiscal and monetary policies. One delegate suggested adding “pro-employment” before “macroeconomic.” One suggested deletion, another said it should be an indicator, two delegations suggested moving it to Goal 17 on MOI, while another delegate said it is already covered by target 8.9. One delegation called for adding “resilient, predictable, accountable” to “sound macroeconomic environment” and one proposed replacing “strong” with “effective.” Some said this target would be difficult to measure as currently formulated.

8.6: create an enabling environment for business with strong national economic institutions and policies that support investment and promote competition. Several delegates called for deleting this target, and one suggested merging 8.5 and 8.6. Others called for merging this target with 8.8, another suggested moving it to MOI, while another delegate called for adding “open, accountable, well governed” to “strong national economic institutions.”

8.7: create incentives for the development of sustainable tourism which takes into account community participation, local culture and local products. One delegate called for special reference to SIDS. Another said this target belonged with 11.9 on world heritage sites. Another wanted to include reference to cultural and creative industries. A number of delegations called for deleting it, as it singles out only one economic sector, while one delegation proposed adding “By 2030, develop and implement a monitoring system for sustainable tourism” in the beginning of the target and integrating a reference to cultural diversity, and another preferred “environmental preservation” after “participation.”

8.8: creating enabling conditions for increased growth and productivity of micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises, including through policies that promote entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and through improved access to markets and financial services. Delegates: called for reference to industrial diversification; wanted attention to cultural and creative industries; preferred not to include resource efficiency; said the link with decent work should be strengthened; called to mainstream the target with target 8.9; and suggested deletion since the substance of this target is reflected in 9.1, 9.3 and 9.4.

8.9: increasing the share of high productivity sectors and activities in the economy and strengthen productive capacities through technological upgrading, greater value addition and produce diversification, with a particular focus on LDCs. One delegate added “skills development” to the list of productive capacities. One said this target should be universal, or it should be an indicator or merged with target 9.4. One supported it; another suggested placing it under MOI, since measuring enabling environments is difficult. A third supported including environmentally sound technology initiatives. One delegate suggested deletion.

8.10: promote greater resource efficiency of economic activities, including through sustainable supply chains, according to national circumstances and capacities. Some delegations thought this target could go under Goal 12 on SCP, or could be deleted. Others: supported it, suggested moving it to MOI, proposed replacing “promote” with “significantly improve,” and called for replacing “efficiency” with “productivity.” Another did not support “sustainable supply chains,” and proposed “promote sustainable economic activities according to national circumstances and capabilities.”

8.11: support the development of quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure for transport, energy, water and communications, in particular in developing countries with a focus on access for the rural and urban poor. Some thought this target could be merged with 8.12, but others disagreed. Another suggested adding reference to education, health care, training, waste management, sanitation, and wastewater treatment. One delegation proposed moving it to MOI, and another thought it was better reflected in Goal 11. One delegation suggested adding “and safe” to resilient. Others stressed the need for infrastructure for the internet, roads and waste management.

8.12: improve regional and trans-border infrastructure to promote effective regional economic integration and facilitate trade. Some delegates suggested that this target could be moved to either Goal 7, 16 or 17. Some did not want to merge it with 8.11, as had been suggested. One delegate asked for specific reference to LLDCs.

8.13: end child labour by 2030, protect the rights and ensure safe and secure working environments of all workers, including migrant workers and those in precarious employment. Several delegations thought this target should be divided into two separate targets. One delegate said it should comply with ILO standards.

8.14: promote formalization of informal sector activities and employment. This target received support, but some suggested moving it to MOI, placing it under 8.3 or 8.9, or merging it with target 1.4.

8.15: by 2030 lower the overall costs in migration processes and minimize transaction costs of remittances. One delegate thought this target would fit better in target 17.35; another thought it would fit better with 17.34.

8.16: explore the possibility of a broader system of capital accounting looking beyond GDP and incorporating social, human and environmental capital. One delegate suggested deleting this target. Another suggested replacing “explore the possibility” with “develop.” One wanted to insert “cultural” capital. Another supported merging it with 17.30 or deleting it because its measurability is not clear.

New targets proposed for inclusion under this goal addressed:

•  electricity generation and supply;

•  reference to public transportation;

•  wastewater services and telecommunications;

•  illicit drug cultivation, trafficking and distribution;

•  enhancing the mobilization of domestic resources and foreign direct investment to achieve 40% ratio to GDP;

•  reduce by 2030 at least x% the percentage of underemployment;

•  ensure that the LDCs reach the income level of developing countries with regard to the percentage of paved roads within the number of total roads; and

•  significantly increase access to telecommunications and reach 100% broadband connectivity.

Proposed Goal 9: Promote sustainable industrialization. There was division among delegations on whether Goal 9 should be a stand-alone goal or merged with Goal 8. Some wanted a stronger focus on industrialization, with decent jobs as a separate goal. Others thought the industrialization targets could be incorporated into Goal 12 on SCP. There was a proposal to include the transfer of environmentally sound technologies in the title. There was also a call to ensure respect for Mother Earth.

9.1: achieve structural transformation of economies towards progressively higher levels of productivity in all sectors and activities. Some delegates supported this target, and two suggested merging it with target 8.9. There were calls for this target to be more measurable, include a timeframe (by 2030), give special attention to industrial diversification, and address protection of the environment. One delegate expressed concern that a country cannot improve productivity in all sectors and questioned if this can really be a universal target.

9.2: respect national policy space and national circumstances for industrial development, particularly in developing countries. A number of countries called for deleting this target, one delegation suggested moving it to Goal 8, and others suggested moving it to the chapeau since it is a guiding principle rather than a target. Others suggested merging targets 9.2 and 9.3, or including this target in Goal 17.

9.3: ensure a conducive policy environment for industrial development, including encouragement of industrial entrepreneurship and enterprise formation with inclusion of micro-and SMEs. A number of delegations proposed merging this target with target 8.8, 9.1 or 9.12, or integrating it with Goal 8.

9.4: significantly raise industry’s share of employment and GDP in line with national strategies, including doubling manufacturing’s share in LDCs by 2030. Delegates said this target: should be an indicator; belongs under MOI; does not have global relevance; should be more focused; and should apply to all developing countries.

9.5: increase industrial diversification in developing countries, including through enhanced domestic processing of raw materials and commodities and through new product development. There were calls to include a quantitative value in this target, to address it under Goal 17 (MOI), and to delete the reference to developing countries since the target should be universal in nature. Some pointed to overlap with targets 8.8, 8.9, 9.1, 9.3 and 9.4.

9.6: support the integration of developing country industrial enterprises, particularly in Africa and LDCs, into regional and global value chains. Some thought this idea should be an indicator, while others suggested moving this target to Goal 8 or 17.

9.7: create decent industrial sector jobs and promote job-rich industrial development. Several called for making reference to green jobs. Others called for merging this target with Goal 1, Goal 8 or target 9.4.

9.8: promote industrial research, development and innovation, including raising the ratio of research and development (R&D) workers per one million people by x% and the share of R&D spending in GDP by y%. There was concern that governments are not in a position to set such a target. Others thought that R&D workers need to be defined, and that there is minimal research currently underway in LDCs. Another said this topic is more relevant to MOI.

9.9: upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in developing countries, including in middle income countries, and improve industrial resource efficiency by accelerating the development, transfer and adoption of environmentally sound technologies and processes. Some delegates suggested including it under MOI, Goal 8 or Goal 12.

9.10: promote indigenous technology development and the growth of domestic innovation in developing countries. Several delegates suggested moving this target to Goal 17, and some noted that it is not measurable as currently formulated.

9.11: by 2030 retrofit x% of existing industries with clean technologies and environmentally sound industrial processes to achieve y% energy and z% resource-efficiency improvement, with all countries taking action, developed countries taking the lead and developing countries following a similar pattern taking into account their development needs and capabilities. Several delegations called for deleting this target. Others thought it belonged under Goal 8, 12 or 17. There was concern that developing countries will have difficulty retrofitting existing industries, and suggestions that developed countries should take the lead. Some said the target needs to be universal. Others expressed concern about measurability.

9.12: ensure small-scale industrial producers have affordable access to credit and financial services. There were concerns about overlap, and proposals to move this target to Goal 17, or merge it with targets 1.5, 8.8 or 9.3. There was also a call for including development of local and rural financial entities and facilitation of credit processing.

Several new targets were proposed for inclusion under Goal 9, including:

•  reduce significantly the levels of contamination of industries in all sectors, while achieving high production levels across productive sectors in all countries, in harmony with nature, in context of the respect, restoration, and regeneration of ecosystems; and

•  by 2030 implement plans and measures to strengthen industrialization in all sectors, in harmony with nature, including environmentally sound technologies.

Proposed Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries. Many countries proposed deleting this goal and addressing inequalities throughout the entire set of goals, relocating the targets to Goals 1, 8, 16 and 17. Others preferred a stand-alone goal on inequality since this would send a better political message on reducing levels of inequality to achieve social inclusion and leaving no one behind. There were also calls to differentiate the two sections of this goal on inequalities —within and between countries—and that reducing inequality within countries is best reflected in Goal 1. Some called for bringing targets 16.4 and 16.12 into this goal since they address legal and institutional determinants of inequality. One delegation called for bringing targets 17.34-17.36 into this goal.

Reduce inequality among social groups within countries.

10.1: by 2030 eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices. Some delegates supported this target and two delegations proposed adding “including those with extraterritorial effect” at the end of the target. Others suggested: shortening it, deleting it, integrating it in Goal 1, linking it with 16.15, and making the language more positive.

10.2: achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population that is higher than the national average through 2030. Some delegates supported this objective, but noted that the issue is already contained in target 8.2 and should be deleted here.

10.3: by 2030 reduce inequalities of opportunity and outcome among social groups, including economic, social, and environmental inequalities. One delegation called for deleting “by 2030,” another suggested adding “take affirmative action in laws and policies to” before “reduce.” Several delegations called for replacing “social groups” with “human groups, in particular vulnerable groups” or “people in vulnerable situations.” Some delegations suggested merging this target with 10.5, placing it under Goal 1, and adding specific reference to the needs of vulnerable people.

10.4: work towards reversing the decline of the share of labour income in GDP where relevant. Delegates raised questions on universality and measurability with regard to this target. One proposed moving it to Goal 1. Another proposed revising it to read: “work towards reversing the decline and keep the share of labour income in GDP at highest possible level, where relevant.”

10.5: empower and promote the social and economic inclusion of the poor, the marginalized and people in vulnerable situations, including indigenous peoples, women, minorities, migrants, persons with disabilities, older persons, children and youth. Some delegates supported merging this target with 10.3. One delegation proposed adding “or any other human groups” at the end of the target. Another suggested adding “persons excluded on the grounds of race.” One commented that women are not a vulnerable group.

10.6: promote and respect cultural diversity. While most delegates said the underlying objective was important, there were concerns on measurability of the target. Some suggested it should be an indicator under 10.5, or merged with Goal 1, 5 or 16. Another suggested adding “inclusive societies” after “promote” and “including policies that protect cultural heritage and language” at the end of the target. Another suggested that intercultural dialogue should be added and that the target can be measured through the number of laws, policies and norms that countries put in place to foster dialogue in societies.

10.7: ensure the availability of high-quality, timely and disaggregated data to ensure monitoring of progress for marginalized groups and people in vulnerable situations. One delegation called for deleting “marginalized groups.” Others suggested deleting this target from this goal and moving it to target 17.36 (under MOI).

International actions to reduce inequalities among nations.

10.8: establish measures at global level to reduce inequality among countries. Many noted potential problems with measuring the achievements under this target, and said it needs to be more specific or deleted. One said it should be part of Goal 17.

10.9: promote strong international institutions, including through the conclusion of reforms for increasing effective and democratic participation of developing countries in international financial institutions. Several delegates supported this target, but others felt it would be better addressed in Goal 17. One delegation proposed adding “transparent and democratic” after “strong” and “in all international institutions, in particular” before “financial,” while one delegation called for replacing “democratic participation” with “increasing voice and participation.” One said that if it is moved to Goal 17, global governance needs to be brought into this target. 

10.10: improve regulation of global financial markets and institutions and strengthen their implementation. Some called for moving this target to Goal 8 or 17. One called for adding “and monitoring” after “regulation.”

10.11: facilitate greater international mobility of labour while mitigating brain drain. One delegation supported this target, while others suggested moving it to Goal 16 or target 17.35. Another delegation proposed adding “guaranteeing the full rights of migrants and their families while” before “mitigating brain drain.” There was also concern expressed about the measurability of this target.

10.12: assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability through coordinated policies aimed at fostering debt financing, debt relief and debt restructuring. One delegation proposed adding “including mechanisms to address debt crises and their impact on sustainable development.” Some felt this target belongs under MOI. Others did not support the target since debt relief should be the last resort of indebted countries, and said the target was not “balanced.”

Proposed Goal 11. Build inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and human settlements. While many delegations supported a stand-alone goal on sustainable cities and human settlements, a few thought that the issues in this goal are addressed elsewhere. Several delegates said the word “build” should not remain in the title, so as to include those urban areas that are not built yet. The Co-Chairs suggested a new title, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and sustainable.” Another delegate thought the title could read “Promote sustainable cities and human settlements.

11.1: by 2030, ensure universal access to adequate and affordable housing and basic services for all, and eliminate slum-like conditions everywhere. Many delegates supported this target, although some thought it was too ambitious. In this regard, one delegation called for deleting “by 2030,” and several delegations proposed replacing “eliminate” with “prevent and upgrade.” One delegate expressed concern since eliminating slums can be done by tearing down buildings and evicting people, and instead proposed calling for “improving the standard of living in informal settlements everywhere.” One thought the target should call for halving the number of people living in slums and another proposed to delete “and eliminate slum-like conditions everywhere.” Some suggested replacing “slum-like conditions” with “slums” or “informal and irregular households.” One delegate thought this target could be placed under energy and infrastructure. Another called for ensuring “access to decent and affordable housing and basic services for all.” 

11.2: by 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport for all, expand public transport and improve road safety. While many delegates supported this target, one thought it could be merged with 11.1 and another thought it could fit under Goal 8. Several governments called for including air quality. One proposed replacing “transport” with “basic urban services,” and another suggested adding “and non-motorized transport.”

11.3: enhance capacities for integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management for all, particularly developing countries. While there was support for this target, some delegates wanted it to be universal and not focus on enhancing capacities. There were calls to merge this target with other targets or move it to Goal 17. One delegation proposed adding “ensuring the development of women’s capacities and their full and active participation,” and one delegation called for deleting “for all, particularly developing countries.” Others called for increasing the capacity of national, regional and local authorities, and increasing capacity for participatory urban management.

11.4: strengthen positive economic and social links between cities and peri-urban and rural areas. Many delegates supported this target, but some said it was vague. One delegation called for adding “including through the promotion of cultural and inter-cultural identities” at the end of the target, another proposed adding “promote non-agricultural opportunities in rural areas,” while a third said that rural-urban migration should be specifically captured in this target. Another suggested integrating economic and social links between urban and rural areas in national development planning. One government called for merging targets 11.3, 11.4, 11.5 and 11.7.

11.5: by 2030, reduce the environmental impacts of cities and improve the quality of environment in cities. Some delegates thought this target was too vague and might work better as an indicator under energy. Others called for adding “particularly air and water pollution, including waste management” at the end of the target, while one delegation proposed including “establishing recycling plants and waste-management plans.” A proposed revision was “by 2030 improve the quality of livelihoods in human settlements in all of its economic, social and environmental dimensions.” Another suggestion was to “reduce the environmental impacts and the consumption of energy of cities and human settlements and improve the quality of the environment in cities.” One delegate commented that there are a plethora of quantitative indicators available to measure this.

11.6: by 2020, increase by x% the number of human settlements adopting and implementing policies and plans towards resilience and adaptation to climate change and natural disasters. Some delegates supported this target, and others thought it would work better as an indicator for targets 11.3 and 11.4. One suggested including “with focus on protecting people in vulnerable situations” at the end of the target. One delegate said this target is related to 1.6, 6.7, and 11.3. Delegations also expressed concern about measurability and why the target date is 2020 rather than 2030.

11.7: enhance social cohesion and personal security, and ensure universal access to inclusive and safe public spaces. Some delegations called for addressing this issue under Goal 16, but others preferred to address it here. There were also calls to merge this target with 11.3, 11.4 and 11.5., or 11.9. One delegate thought it could be an indicator. There were also calls to add references to girls and women, persons with disabilities, and safe play spaces for children.

11.8: by 2030 ensure that all cities are accessible and offer opportunities to persons with disabilities. There was strong support for this target, although two delegations called for merging it with target 11.1 or 11.7, with emphasis on access for persons with disabilities. Two delegations said the target should refer to all vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities, women and youth.

11.9: protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage. There was support for this target, but delegates expressed concerns on measurability. Several proposed merging it with target 8.7. One delegation called for adding “including the conservation of UNESCO world heritage sites and the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage” at the end of the target.

Several new targets were proposed, including:

•  push forward people-oriented urbanization and advance urbanization and building of new urban areas in a coordinated manner; and

•  decrease substantially the number of road traffic deaths and injuries by targeted measures to improve road safety at global, regional, national and local levels.

On the related MOI, there was support for target 17.37 and there was a proposal to include “development and improvement of reliable and sustainable transport including roads and rail links, port, air and trade routes, in developing countries, including countries in special situations.”

Proposed Goal 12. Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. Many delegates supported a stand-alone goal on SCP, arguing that this issue has to be a central pillar of the SDGs. Others called for mainstreaming SCP throughout the other goals. Some delegates said these targets should be differentiated between developed and developing countries, and that developed countries have to take the lead. One delegate commented that most of these targets are important, but primarily relevant to industrialized countries. Another said SCP is absolutely crucial for the post-2015 development agenda and targets must be universal and applicable to everyone. Some said that, if there is to be differentiation between countries and groupings, it should be done in the indicators. Most delegates did not agree with a proposal to merge this goal with Goal 13 on climate change.

12.1: Time-bound effective implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP). Many delegates supported this target. One noted that the 10YFP is already an action-oriented programme and could be included in the goal on poverty or sustainability. One speaker was concerned about measuring its implementation, since it has its own mechanisms for measuring progress. Another noted that the 10YFP goes until 2022, so proposed that the target also read “…and, by 2030, all countries have integrated policies and measures to promote SCP.” Another proposed a new formulation: “By 2020 achieve effective implementation of the 10YFP to accelerate the shift to SCP, within planetary boundaries.” One proposed adding “in accordance with different visions, models, tools and approaches to achieve sustainable development.”

12.2: by 2030 achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources to enhance human welfare within the carrying capacity of ecosystems. Several delegations proposed merging this target with 12.3. Others suggested making this target more precise by adding at the end “through incorporating natural resource accounting practices.” Another suggested deleting “carrying capacity of ecosystems” and replacing it with “in the context of respect, restoration and regeneration of natural ecosystems,” language from The Future We Want. Another proposed “By 2030 achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources with developed countries taking the lead and developing countries following a similar pattern, so as to promote the convergence of use of natural resources per capita among countries.” Another said this topic is covered in target 15.2, and one said the timeline should be 2020 instead of 2030.

12.3: significantly improve the resource efficiency of economic activities and decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, with all countries taking action, developed countries taking the lead, and developing countries following a similar pattern taking into account their development needs and capabilities. Some delegations supported this target, but others noted: it duplicates target 8.10; it should be more measurable; it is overly ambitious to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation; it needs a timeline of 2030; and it highlights the concept of decoupling. A number of delegations suggested deleting “and developing countries following a similar pattern taking into account their development needs and capabilities.” One said the present wording was too direct/prescriptive, so “enhance the decoupling” would be better. Another said it should reference decoupling economic growth from use of natural resources.

12.4: promote sound management of chemicals and hazardous waste in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and by 2030 significantly reduce the releases of chemicals and hazardous wastes to air, water and soil. A number of delegations supported this target, although some said it needs to be more action-oriented. Several delegates wanted to add reference to harm to the environment and human health. One suggested simplifying the target around promoting environmentally sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle. Other suggestions included: referencing “in accordance with agreed international frameworks;” clarifying “significantly reduce the releases of chemicals;” adding “exposure to harmful substances, including in products;” and combining it with 12.5 into a chemicals and waste target.         

12.5: by 2030 reduce by x% per capita waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. Delegates supported the concept addressed in this target, but thought that it duplicates 12.6 or could be merged with 12.4 or 12.8. Some called for qualitative targets rather than quantitative, because of data availability issues. One called for waste recovery to have a specific percentage and another proposed replacing “waste” with “waste generation.”

12.6: by 2030 at least halve per capita food waste at retail and consumer level, particularly in developed countries and countries with high per capita food waste. Many delegates thought that this target would fit better under target 2.6 or 2.7. Other comments included: a quantitative target may be difficult because of insufficient data; it should not cause distortion to international trade; and it should remain in Goal 12 because it is not just about food loss, but an issue of consumption.

12.7: by 2030 redouble efforts to create a culture of sustainable lifestyles, including through education, awareness raising, sustainability information on products and services, policies and incentives. Several delegates said that this was the most important target and should be at the top of list of targets under this goal. Other suggestions included: move it to Goal 17; make it more action-oriented; delete it because it is not measurable or actionable; change it to read “by 2030 redouble efforts to create a culture of lifestyles that contribute to sustainable development and poverty eradication;” and change it to say, by 2030 ensure people everywhere have the information and understanding needed to live sustainable lifestyles and avoid unsustainable consumption including through education, etc.

12.8: by 2020 create economic incentives and scientific and technological capacities that enable and promote sustainable consumption and a circular economy. A number of delegations supported this target. Other comments included: it should be addressed under Goal 17; it could be merged with 12.5; it could be moved to Goal 8; reference to “a circular economy” should be deleted; reference to “life-cycle approach” should be added; it should be more action-oriented; it could lead to trade restrictions; and “economic incentives” could also be interpreted as subsidies or unfair trade barriers.

12.9: by 2030 increase by x% the number of companies, especially publicly listed and large companies, reporting on corporate social and environmental responsibility, including integrated reporting. Numerous delegations supported this target. Other comments included: it should be an indicator; there needs to be a clear emphasis on CBDR; the reference to “by x%” should be deleted; the entire target should be deleted; “reporting” could be changed to “sustainability reporting;” it should be more ambitious; multinational companies should be included; it could be merged with 12.10; and it must differentiate between developed and developing countries’ private sectors.

12.10: by 2030, increase the share of private sector actors incorporating sustainable development principles in their business practices, including sustainable supply chains, with due regard to the circumstances and capacity needs of micro-and SMEs. There was support for this target, although one delegate thought it could be merged with 12.9, another thought it could be an indicator, and others suggested deleting the reference to sustainable supply chains. One delegate noted that the private sector should have responsibility not only on this goal, but the entire framework, and suggested inserting effective implementation that would apply to the private sector.

12.11: by 2030 increase the share of sustainable products and services in public procurement, including through competitive and transparent procurement processes. Several delegations supported the target, others proposed merging it with 12.10, one delegation called for including a reference the private sector here, and another called for deletion to avoid prejudging the outcome of current WTO negotiations. One suggested including an increase by x% of the share of sustainable products and services in public procurement, including through competitive and transparent procurement processes. Several delegates thought “sustainable products and services” is not clear and called for its deletion. Other proposals included: adding “in accordance with international trade rules;” amending to “increase proportion of public procurement that is sustainable;” and moving the target to Goal 17.

On the related MOI, there was support for 17.38 (enhance international cooperation with developed countries taking the lead) but some delegations said they could not support it or wanted to revisit target 17.39 (establishing and implementing a multilateral code of conduct for multinational corporations to secure social and environmental responsibility and accountability).

A new target was proposed by a delegation who said this goal currently has a strong focus on wasteful consumption, especially in developed countries, with little or no focus on wasteful production, especially in the agriculture sector, which is experienced in developing countries. The new target would be: increase transfer of and access to affordable and environmentally friendly technologies for sustainable production.

Proposed Goal 13. Promote actions at all levels to address climate change/Build a climate change goal based on the outcome of COP21 of the UNFCCC. Delegates were divided on whether to leave this as a stand-alone goal, merge it with another goal, mainstream it across other goals (energy, SCP, oceans or ecosystems were suggested), or craft “placeholder” text, pending the outcome of the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21). Many delegates appeared to prefer a stand-alone goal or mainstreaming it as a cross-cutting issue. Many delegations said this goal should not prejudge or prejudice the outcome of the current negotiations under the UNFCCC. At the same time, several delegates said that a goal on climate change was a necessity because climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and we cannot achieve poverty eradication or sustainable development without addressing climate change. Others stressed that the language in this goal needs to be consistent with the UNFCCC legal language and principles, particularly the principle of CBDR. There was disagreement on whether to address mitigation and adaptation, or just the latter.

One delegate noted that there are already a number of targets in the zero draft that address climate change, including 1.6 (resilience and DRR), 2.3 (food security), 3.9 (air quality and pollution), Goal 7 (energy), 14.3 (ocean acidification), 5.5 (deforestation), and 15.6 (land degradation).

On the title, several delegations proposed replacing “Promote” with “Take effective.” One delegation called for replacing “the outcome of COP21 of the UNFCCC” with “the global agreement on climate change,” while others asked to delete the phrase. There was also a request to include “building resilience” in the title.

13.1: hold the increase in global average temperature below a x°C rise in accordance with international agreements. Many delegations argued that this is still under negotiation and should be deleted. Others called for replacing “x” with 1.5 or 2°C, keeping “x” or adding “by 2020.”

13.2: build resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards in all vulnerable countries. A number of delegates expressed support for this target. Several delegates called for ensuring coherence between this target and the other resilience targets; others called for adding “and national disasters;” and a third proposed deleting “vulnerable,” since all countries must build resilience. There were calls to merge this target with target 1.3 or move it to Goal 11, and to add the early warning language from target 13.5. Delegates also recommended referencing: urban and rural areas; support for developing countries, either here or in Goal 17; adding a 2020 timeline; and adding specific reference to LDCs and SIDS.

13.3: by 20xx integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies into development plans and poverty reduction strategies. One delegation suggested moving this target to Goal 17. Several delegations proposed making the target year 2018 or 2020, while one delegation asked for adding “national” before “development plans.” One called for adding reference to “sustainable development strategies.” Some suggested that, in addition to mitigation and adaptation, technology transfer, capacity building and finance should also be addressed. There were also recommendations to: include DRR; move this target to Goal 1; delete the reference to poverty reduction strategies; include loss and damage; add a call to ensure that existing critical infrastructure is resilient to the adverse impacts of climate change; and delete the timeframe.

13.4: by 20xx introduce instruments and incentives for investments in low-carbon solutions in all relevant sectors. Many delegates called for deleting this target since “low-carbon solutions” is not in the UNFCCC, and not defined multilaterally. Other delegates suggested that this could be a MOI target, proposed making the target year 2018 or 2020, and noted that incentives are needed for mobilizing public and private investments.

13.5: improve education, awareness raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change impact reduction and early warning. Several delegations expressed support for this target, although there were calls to move this target to Goal 4 on education. There were concerns about measurement and that there should be reference to mitigation, DRR and early warning, access to insurance and adaptation.

There was a call for a new target on loss and damage. Many delegates welcomed MOI target 17.40, but there were also calls for developed countries to fulfill their agreed commitments to the Green Climate Fund.

Proposed Goal 14. Attain conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas. While the Co-Chairs asked delegations if they wanted to merge Goals 14 and 15, the vast majority of delegations strongly supported maintaining two separate goals.

14.1: by 2030, reduce by x% marine pollution of all kinds, including from land-based activities. While there was support for this target, delegates proposed: merging it with 14.2, 14.3 or 14.11; changing the timeframe to either 2025 or 2020 (in conformity with the Aichi Biodiversity Targets); deleting “of all kinds;” referencing marine pollution from both land- and sea-based activities; and change “including” to “especially.”

14.2: by 2020, sustainably manage, restore and protect marine ecosystems from destruction, including by strengthening their resilience, and support relevant scientific research. Several delegates supported this target, although many thought it could be merged with targets 14.3, 14.8 or 14.11. A few thought it could be deleted. One delegation proposed adding “the health and productivity of” before marine ecosystems, several delegations suggested adding “coastal and” to “marine,” and one delegation called for deleting “and support relevant scientific research.” One delegate said restoring ecosystems can take a long time so it may not be achievable by 2020, and proposed instead “by 2020 protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from significant adverse impacts….” Another commented that this issue is already in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and 2020 is not consistent with existing obligations, stressing that it needs to be implemented immediately. Another suggested changing 2020 to 20xx since 2020 is not feasible.

14.3: address and prevent further ocean acidification. Many delegates agreed that this target could be an indicator, or merged with 14.2. Others stressed the importance of this target, but said it needs to be measurable and needs a timeline. One delegation proposed adding “by 2030 increase measures necessary to enhance information on ocean acidification and enhance ocean resilience,” and one delegation called for mentioning greenhouse gases in this target. One delegate noted that acidification is already happening and the target should read: “address ocean acidification in a sustainable manner.”

14.4: by 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing to restore by 2030 fish stocks to ecologically safe levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield. A number of delegates supported this target, but some suggested merging it with either target 14.6, 14.7 or 14.9. Some suggested removing the date or saying “20xx,” whereas others wanted a 2020 target, in line with the Aichi Targets. One suggested adding “giving full recognition to the circumstances of developing countries,” at the end of the goal.

14.5: support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, including by providing equitable access of small-scale and artisanal fishers to fisheries and markets. Several delegates agreed with the Co-Chairs’ suggestion to move this target to Goal 17. Others thought it should reference indigenous peoples and women, that the target belongs in Goal 2 (under 2.3, 2.4 or 2.5), and that instead of “fisheries” it should read “marine resources.”

14.6: ensure the full implementation of existing regional and international regimes for managing oceans and seas by their state parties. Some delegates expressed concern that, because this target is about implementing existing international and regional regimes, it may need to be handled in another way. Several suggested referring to UNCLOS and calling for its full implementation. Others noted the ongoing negotiations on marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, calling for these negotiations to be referenced here, and proposing deleting the word “existing.” Another suggested adding “by 2020 adopt domestic legislation and international measures to” in the beginning of the target, and one suggested adding “and identify regulatory gaps” at the end.

14.7: by 2020, eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices. The Co-Chairs suggested merging this target with 14.9, which a number of delegations supported. One delegation proposed deleting “by 2020,” and one delegation suggested including the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Many strongly supported this target and said it was a priority. Others thought it could be an indicator. Several noted that it may not be possible to meet this goal by 2020 and 2025 or 20xx would be more realistic. One said that the term “destructive” has not been defined.

14.8: by 2020, conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, including through establishing effectively managed marine protected areas, consistent with international law and based on best available scientific information. The Co-Chairs suggested using this target as an indicator for 14.2 or merging it with 14.11, while several delegations expressed support for it. Several delegations called for adding “under national jurisdiction” after “protected areas.” Other comments included: it should be an indicator; the number is too ambitious; give countries flexibilities to also use other “effective measures;” and ensure coherence with the Aichi Targets.

14.9: by 2020, eliminate subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, taking into account the need of developing countries, notably LDCs and SIDS. The Co-Chairs proposed merging this target with 14.7, which was supported by a number of delegations. Several delegations suggested adding “harmful,” and one delegation proposed adding “fishery,” before “subsidies.” One delegate thought it could be an indicator, others said this was a top priority, one suggested “reducing” instead of “eliminating” subsidies, and another said this target is under discussion in the World Trade Organization and the OWG should not prejudge the outcome.

14.10: by 2030 increase the economic returns to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable development of coastal and marine resources from within their jurisdictions. A number of delegations raised the issue of measurability of this target, while other delegations expressed their support for it. Some delegations thought that this issue could be formulated as an indicator. Others commented that it is not a universal target. Several suggested merging it with target 14.5.

14.11: implement integrated and participatory coastal management to increase resilience of coastal ecosystems. The Co-Chairs suggested merging this target with 14.8, one thought it could be merged with either 14.4 or 14.6, some thought it could be an indicator and others thought it was more MOI than a target. One delegation called for deletion. Another proposed adding “national” before “coastal.” One suggested adding “in accordance with national agreements” at the end.

A delegation supported adding a new target to balance the environmental aspect of this goal by including social and economic considerations.

Proposed Goal 15. Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems and halt all biodiversity loss. Most of the delegates agreed that this goal should not be merged with Goal 14, although a couple thought three “environmental” goals were too many. A number of delegations called for MOI targets, highlighting that this was the only goal for which there are no MOI targets under Goal 17. One delegation said that, four years ago, when the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were adopted, biodiverse countries were told to first adopt the targets and then financial resources will be mobilized by 2020. But, he added, now it is 2014 and with the exception of Japan, there has been no progress on financial resources. The OWG cannot repeat this pattern with the SDGs, he warned.

Several delegates cautioned that, by selectively choosing from the Aichi Targets, “we are endangering the viability of the Aichi Target system.” Others noted that the SDGs need to have timelines in keeping with the Aichi Targets and other international commitments.

On the title of this goal, a number of delegations supported saying “protect, sustainably use and restore….” Others wanted to refer to forests, mountains, desertification and/or land in the title. One delegation thought the title was too ambitious since it discusses halting “all” biodiversity loss, and proposed instead “protect terrestrial ecosystem and prevent loss of biodiversity.” One delegation said the title of the goal should refer to “harmony with nature.”

Some thought that many of the targets were already covered by the Convention on Biological Diversity and that there is no need to include all of them in this goal.

15.1: by 2020 halt the loss of all biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. While there was support for this target, there were also calls for its reformulation and alignment with the Aichi Targets. Proposals included:

•  address all that drives biodiversity loss;

•  reverse the decline of protected and endangered species

•  remove “all” before “biodiversity”

•  change to: “by 2030 halt the loss of all biodiversity, including habitats, and protect threatened species”;

•  replace “threatened” with “endangered” species;

•  by 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained;

•  “reduce” instead of “halt” by x% the rate of loss;

•  by 2020 halt the rate of loss of biodiversity and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species; and

•  reinforce action to halt the loss of biodiversity and by 2020 ensure ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide services to all and threatened species are protected

15.2: by 2020 ensure conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems, with particular attention to wetlands, including through restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems. Many delegates called to include reference to mountains, wetlands, forests and soil cover to this target. One suggested merging it with 15.7, but others said this was one of their priorities under this goal. Several wanted the target to be consistent with the Aichi Targets. One delegate suggested adding “carbon sequestration services” to highlight valuable contributions of healthy ecosystems.

15.3: maintain genetic diversity of both cultivated plants, farmed and domesticated animals and their wild relatives including through effective cooperation of national institutions. Some delegates thought that this target should be merged with Goal 2, possibly combining it with target 2.9. Others thought it could be combined with target 15.7. There were also calls to delete “including through effective cooperation of national institutions;” replace “maintain” with “conserve and use sustainably,” making it more consistent with the Aichi Targets; adding through effective fulfilment of relevant international instruments; and adding a timeline by 2020.

15.4: by 2030, ensure the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests and of mountain ecosystems. Some delegates proposed merging this target with 15.5. Others thought that there should be two targets here: (1) by 2030 ensure implementation of sustainable forest management of all types of forests; and (2) by 2030 ensure implementation of sustainable management of mountain ecosystems. Other suggestions included: adding reference to ecosystems’ contribution to global water and food and energy security; and taking into account adaptation for climate change.

15.5: by 2030 reverse the loss of and enhance forest cover worldwide, increase reforestation by x%, including by providing adequate incentives for developing countries. There was general support for this target, although some preferred to merge it with 15.4. There were calls to further clarify “reverse the loss of forest cover” and various proposals to rephrase it. Some wanted to also include language on: decreasing deforestation by y%; sustainable management of forests, fragmentation, afforestation and reinforcing existing instruments to prevent the manufacture and demand for precious wood.

15.6: by 2030, halt and prevent land degradation, reclaim land affected by desertification and drought, and improve land productivity and soil quality. Many delegations supported this target and called for adding language on achieving a land degradation neutral world (LDNW), although governments did not agree on whether this could be done by 2030. Some delegates called for replacing “reclaim” with “restore.” Some delegates wanted to delete the word “halt.” A few delegates called for merging this target with 15.3 or 15.7. Others wanted to refer to natural disasters, fires and floods. A few thought this target belonged in proposed Goal 2 on food security.

15.7: ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. A few delegations preferred to keep the wording the same as in the Nagoya Protocol. Some thought it may be difficult to measure. Others proposed merging it with 15.3 or 15.10 or deleting it.

15.8: end poaching and trafficking of endangered species, and end demand and supply of illegal wildlife products. Many delegates strongly supported this target as is. A few wanted specific reference to: endangered species of flora and fauna; illegal wildlife trafficking; illegal logging; end poaching and illegal trafficking in wildlife in source, transit and consumer countries; and the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES).

15.9: introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems, and by 2020 control or eliminate the priority invasive species. Many thought that this could be an indicator. A few others supported it and suggested ways to strengthen it using language from Aichi Target 9.

15.10 ensure free prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities in decision making and natural resources management, and promote the use of their traditional knowledge. A number of delegations supported this target in principle, but suggested moving it to Goal 16 or 17. Others thought it might work better as an indicator. One suggested changing it to: ensure inclusion of local communities in decision making and promote and protect traditional knowledge systems of all local people by 2030. Another said that the language should reflect ILO Convention 169, Article 6. Some wanted to delete it because it is not a universal target. One wanted to add a reference to “approval and involvement” of indigenous peoples and local communities.

15.11 integrate natural resources and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, and accounts. A number of delegations supported this target. One delegation called for adding “ecosystem services” after “natural resources” and replacing “values” with “data.” Other proposals included: replace “biodiversity” with “ecosystem”; reference incentives harmful to biodiversity; integrate natural resources, ecosystem services and biodiversity, and moving the target to Goal 8 or 12.

Several additional targets were proposed including: ensure restoration of degraded ecosystems, in particular of critical ecosystems; enhance sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems by indigenous people and local populations; integrate measures for adaptation to climate change in conservation planning and management; and by 2020 integrate sustainable resource use into national development models.

Proposed Goal 16: Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law, effective and capable institutions. Many delegations expressed their support for maintaining this as a stand-alone goal. A number of delegations proposed splitting it into two separate goals: one on peaceful and inclusive societies; and one on the rule of law, effective and capable institutions. Other delegations called for integrating key targets in other goals, or the chapeau, instead of having a stand-alone goal. Governments underlined points that need further consideration: making the indicators measurable, ensuring that measurement is objective, and deciding what entity and constituencies will follow up on implementation.

One delegate argued that this goal would conflict with Article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter, which says the UN cannot intervene in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state. Furthermore, he argued that the implication would be that the UN Secretariat would become responsible for grading and ranking member states on governance; the task of ranking states could be seconded to NGOs active in this domain; and any gaps in social, economic and environmental fields could be used as an excuse for interference in domestic affairs.

Some delegations who called for mainstreaming the goal argued that the OWG has no mandate on this matter and that it should and will be addressed in other UN fora related to the post-2015 development agenda. Others said that this “fourth pillar” goes against the agreed definition of sustainable development, and could “securitize” the development agenda. A few governments reminded the OWG that Rio Principle 25 states that peace, development and environment are interdependent and indivisible.

A few cautioned against “politicizing” the SDGs. Several delegations called for respecting the principle of universality and national sovereignty. One commented that the current formulation seems aimed only at problems facing developing countries without concern for universality or balance. The delegations that supported the stand-alone goal underlined that this should not be considered a form of conditionality and that all states will need to work on it.

One delegation that supported mainstreaming suggested discussing these issues along the lines of strengthening institutions and creating an international enabling environment for sustainable development, while another argued that “enabling environment” predominantly refers to private investment and called for caution in framing the discussion. One delegation proposed integrating indicators related to stakeholders’ engagement, including youth, civil society, academia and the private sector. Others said the role of women in building peaceful and inclusive societies must be reflected.

On the title, some proposed to change the goal’ title to “strengthen institutions for enabling sustainable development.” Others thought it could reference enabling effective institutions for development and environment to move in the direction of peaceful and inclusive societies. Another suggested “to promote peaceful and inclusive societies and capable institutions.”

Fostering peaceful and inclusive societies.

16.1: by 2030 reduce levels of violence and related death rate by x%. While many delegates said that this was one of their priority targets, some expressed concern with the definition of “violence.” Others suggested merging it with 16.2. One proposed adding: “by 2030 end sex violence and gender-based violence in conflict and post conflict areas.” There were also calls to: move this to the inequality goal to address root causes of violence; move to Goal 1 since poverty and inequality are drivers of civil conflict; or make this target an indicator.

16.2: by 2030 end abuse, exploitation and violence against children. Some requested mentioning violence against women, eliminating trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, and child soldiers. Some supported merging this target with 16.1 or 16.7 or moving this to Goal 5.

16.3: by 2030 reduce illicit financial flows by x% and reduce money laundering and all forms of organized crime including human trafficking and illicit trade in arms, drugs and wildlife. Some delegations thought there were too many issues in this target and it should be split in two, one on money laundering and one on trafficking. Some delegates suggested merging it with target 16.4. Others noted that wildlife poaching and trafficking is already referenced in target 15.8, the trafficking issues could be moved to goal 8, and similar issues are addressed in 17.46 under MOI. Other issues mentioned were: adding reference to waste, tax evasion, capacity building, stolen asset recovery, and maritime piracy.

16.4: by 2030 increase inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels, taking into consideration the interests of present and future generations. Several delegations called for merging this with target 16.3, 16.5, 16.6 or 16.11, or moving it under Goal 4. There were also concerns about how to measure this target.

16.5: by 2020 build necessary capacities of sub-national and local governments for fostering peaceful and inclusive societies. There was support for this in principle, but some felt it belongs under MOI in Goal 17, and others supported merging it with target 16.4, 16.6 or 16.10, or moving it to Goal 11 on cities. Several delegations called for its deletion since it is up to individual governments to provide specific targets in this area.

16.6: forge unity in diversity through democratic practices and mechanisms at the local, national and international levels. Several delegates were concerned that this target was neither clear nor measurable and that there is no single conception of democracy. There were calls to merge it with either target 16.4, 16.5 or 16.7.

16.7: by 2020 provide information and education on a culture of non-violence. A number of delegates thought this target belongs in Goal 4 on education or under Goal 17 on MOI.

16.8: strengthen mechanisms for formal and non-formal dispute resolution at all levels. There were calls to add international, regional, sub-regional and trans-border mechanisms, “accessible and inclusive” mechanisms, reference to human rights so the target does not have unwanted effects, and community-based dispute resolution. One noted that the common wording is “peaceful resolution of disputes.” While some suggested this could be merged with 16.10, 16.11 or 16.12, some did not agree and wanted it to remain a stand-alone target, while others called for its deletion.

16.9: reduce the number of internally displaced persons and refugees. Some called for its deletion since this target is not part of the sustainable development agenda. Others wanted to add in a reduction percentage, reference to post-conflict reconstruction programmes, and human rights. Some thought it belongs as an indicator. 

16.10: enhance the capacity, professionalism and accountability of the security forces, police and judiciary. Some delegates supported this, others suggested merging it with target 16.12, and others called for its deletion. One delegation proposed a reformulation: “ensure capable, professional and accountable security forces, police and judiciary.” Another said this target could be addressed through a goal on strengthening of institutions at the national and international level.

Rule of law, effective and capable institutions. In this section, several delegates called for moving targets 16.11-16.17 to the proposed goal on inequalities or to Goal 17 on MOI. Another commented that the rule of law targets do not reflect the full international dimension of concept. Two delegations proposed adding “and good governance” to the title.

16.11: develop effective, accountable and transparent public institutions at all levels. Many delegates stressed the importance of this target, but some noted it needs indication of a timeframe, replacing “develop” with “strengthen,” and extending this to private institutions.

16.12: by 2030 provide equal access for all to independent, effective, and responsive justice systems that respect due-process rights, and equal access to legal aid. Some delegations did not want to merge this with 16.14 and 16.15. There were calls to add reference to police, women, lawful agencies and a fair justice system. Some wanted to delete reference to “legal aid,” since it is covered under access to justice.

16.13: by 2020 provide legal identity for all, including birth registrations. Many delegates supported this target. Some wanted to add “free” before “legal.”

16.14: by 2020 improve public access to information and government data, including on public finance management, public procurement and on the implementation of national development plans. Some delegations called for merging this target with either 16.15 or 16.17. One delegation called for deleting “public” before “access.” One suggested replacing “by 2020 improve public access” with “by 2020 people from all social groups have access”

16.15: by 2030 ensure that all laws are publicized and accessible by all. Many delegations supported this and some urged that the target should be achieved earlier than 2030. Some delegations proposed merging this target with 16.14.

16.16: by 2030 establish and implement effective regimes to decrease and provide accountability for corruption and bribery in all its forms and at all levels. Many delegates supported this target, with one saying it is the key to the SDGs. Some wanted it to be simplified to reduce corruption and bribery and ensure officials can be held accountable. Some wanted the target to be more ambitious, calling for eliminating corruption, and to strengthen financial governance and reduce illicit flows to make them available for development needs.

16.17: promote freedom of media, association and speech. A few delegations did not think this was a target and should be deleted. Others wanted to “ensure” rather than “promote” freedom.

A number of new targets were proposed under this goal, including:

•  increase and enable citizen participation in policy making processes at all levels, with particular attention to women’s full and equal participation and decision-making processes at all levels and the most marginalized, including persons with disabilities;

•  ensure accountability for violations of human rights;

•  ensure the promotion and protection of civil society space including for human rights defenders;

•  eliminate sexual and gender based violence in conflict, post- conflict, disaster and post-disaster situations.

•  ensure women’s full and effective participation and leadership in conflict prevention, resolution and mediation efforts, peace processes and peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction at all levels; and

•  by 2020 ensure transparent, accountable and reformed institutions of global governance that are reflective of contemporary realities.

Proposed Goal 17: Strengthen and enhance the means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development. OWG-12 heard recommendations on this proposed goal and its 46 targets—organized according to the other 16 goals—all day on Friday. Comments addressed the process for discussing this issue, how to organize these targets, specific recommendations on the various targets, and principles for the global partnership for sustainable development.

With regard to process, a number of delegations stated they could not agree on the substance of the SDGs first and address MOI only later. They highlighted that the difference of capabilities between developed and developing countries needs to be recognized and addressed through a sound financial approach, saying that reaching agreement on MOI is integral to this process. Delegations debated whether the “what” (substantive goals) should be kept distinct and treated separately from the “how” (MOI to realize them). One said the “what” and the “how” should be integrated into composite goals, as means are what make the goals and targets meaningful.

Several delegations emphasized that a new global partnership and MOI—including official development assistance (ODA)—will be a crucial part of the post-2015 development agenda, but that the OWG itself is not in a position to fully consider this. They said the financial elements of MOI belong to the mandate of the ICESDF, also noting the role of the forthcoming third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD)—which one said should be the backbone for financing and policy coherence in the post-2015 agenda—as well as the follow-up process to the Busan Conference on Aid Effectiveness, the UNFCCC negotiations, trade processes, and the synthesis report of the UN Secretary-General. Delegates noted that the OWG could affirm existing commitments, but should not address the issues being discussed in the ICESDF, nor prejudge the outcome of other processes.

Others stated there is enough information already to craft an ambitious goal on MOI, including by building on the Monterrey Consensus. They argued against waiting for the conclusion of other processes, suggesting that the OWG represents governments’ opportunity to create synergies across processes. One said the ICESDF and FfD processes are broader than the OWG and do not specifically consider MOI for the SDGs; moreover, “we cannot freeze the substance of the SDGs now and address MOI later.”

With regard to the placement of these targets, delegates discussed three broad options: keeping MOI under Goal 17; including MOI under each relevant goal; or addressing general MOI under Goal 17 and goal-specific MOI under each goal.

The delegations that supported the idea of keeping MOI under Goal 17 argued that MOI under each goal would lead to unnecessary duplication as the most relevant MOI have an overarching character that cannot be captured if they are divided under each goal. 

The delegations that called for including MOI under each goal said the MDG experience showed that having a stand-alone goal on MOI and the global partnership (MDG 8) does not work. Another said MOI under each goal is a sine qua non condition in order to have SDGs.

The delegations that proposed addressing the general MOI under Goal 17 and goal-specific MOI under each goal said each SDG could include effective MOI and include a stand-alone goal on strengthened global partnership for sustainable development.

As a possible “middle ground,” another set of delegations called for identifying particular SDGs in need of MOI. They argued that there are some enablers that need to be reflected in specific goals, without which the sectors cannot be transformed. For example, technology transfer is vital in SCP, energy, economic growth. The health goal requires addressing patents and low-cost medicines. On agriculture, the framework must address subsidies. In addition, several key issues do not attract foreign investment, such as education, sanitation and infrastructure.

With regard to the structure of Goal 17, some delegations explored clustering MOI in three baskets: general, goal-specific, and already existing agreements. Others recommended organizing them along thematic lines, inter alia: trade and trade liberalization; technology transfer; finance; capacity building; multi-stakeholder partnerships; data collection and dissemination; and human resources development. Some called for identifying MOI that address several goals and targets, such as ODA, data, and mobilizing domestic resources

Another delegation proposed two compromise options. One option would be to address MOI in a toolbox that avoids prescriptive language and Member States could choose which they want, in cooperation with others. There would need to be measurable targets, recalling existing international commitments. A second option would be to include MOI or partnership targets under each goal area and focus them on measurable outcomes.

With regard to specific recommendations, many developing countries called for incorporation of numerous targets from the “G-77 and China’s Common Position on Means of Implementation for the SDGs.” Several delegations noted that the MOI targets should be “clear, coherent, concrete and comprehensive.” A myriad of amendments, deletions and additions were proposed during the course of the day. One proposal was for a strong statement in the chapeau that urges all Member States to implement relevant international instruments that address specific issues discussed in the OWG and then adding a table or annex that has the most relevant instruments applicable to the goals. Several delegations called for using the text on Means of implementation/Global partnership for sustainable development from the Working Document for the 5-9 May OWG session. One troika wished for each MOI goal area to include wording to the effect of: Increase by x% the ODA allocations to finance triangular cooperation initiatives in order to ensure additional support to exchange of knowledge, best practices, experiences and relevant public policies. Initiatives shall be defined among partners on an equal basis without impositions.

With regard to the principles for the global partnership for sustainable development, a few delegations noted that three core aspects should be taken into consideration: ensuring that the partnership is led at the international level in a way that reflects national priorities; promoting coordination and cooperation among multi-stakeholders; and creating a shared accountability framework based on transparency. Other comments included:

•  global partnerships should speak to the roles and responsibilities of all countries while promoting cooperation and multi-stakeholder engagement, framed around universality and the three dimensions of sustainable development;

•  fair global partnerships should be encouraged;

•  international factors should be linked to the enhanced and expanded global partnership for development;

•  effective MOI plays a critical role, together with actions to be taken at national level, and fulfillment of goals at national level won’t be attainable without addressing structural factors;

•  all relevant actors in the post-2015 agenda should be engaged, including civil society, private sector, philanthropy, innovative partnerships, local actors and authorities, UN agencies, financial institutions, research communities, media and others;

•  development effectiveness should be enhanced based on agreed principles;

•  global partnership needs to emphasize that each country is primarily responsible for its own development;

•  developing countries have responsibilities; 

•  the SDG framework must call for the effective use of existing resources, and that MOI is not only about means, but also monitoring and accountability “on the ground;”

•  differentiated responsibilities should be at the indicator level; and

•  ODA is important for countries most in need, such as LDCs and fragile states.


On Monday evening, the Co-Chairs distributed an unofficial list of 15 SDGs, which they said reflected the discussions held during informal-informal consultations prior to OWG-12.  Delegations offered their preliminary comments. A few agreed with the need for fewer goals, but others said such efforts may “do us a disservice,” with one suggesting a set of 20 very clear goals with clear targets for national implementation may be preferable, and others saying the number of goals was not as important as addressing concrete issues.

1. End poverty and reduce inequality in all their dimensions everywhere. Several delegations expressed support for the newly formulated Goal 1, which merged poverty eradication and reducing inequality, suggesting that the inequality reference strengthens the focus on poverty eradication, and noting their intrinsic linkages, with one calling it “very powerful.” Several others preferred to revert to a stand-alone goal on poverty eradication, as a signal of the agenda’s overarching goal, ensure than no one is left behind, and avoid losing the  “broadest meaning” of fighting poverty. Some called for inequality to be included elsewhere in the SDGs. Other delegations said inequality must have its own stand-alone goal. Another stressed that inequality should be embedded in the entire agenda, without limiting it to one goal.

2. End hunger, achieve food security and nutrition for all and promote sustainable agriculture. There were no comments.

3. Attain healthy lives for all at all ages. A few delegations called to add “well-being” to this goal heading to express a meaning of health and well-being beyond physical fitness.

4. Provide equitable and inclusive quality education for all. There were no comments.

5. Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere. One preferred the goal heading to read, “Attain gender equality, women’s empowerment, and realization of human rights of women and girls,” which she thought stronger.

6. Ensure water and sanitation for all for a sustainable world. One delegation preferred to begin this goal heading with the word “secure” rather than “ensure.” Another recalled the human right to water.

7. Ensure access to affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy services for all. Some governments suggested addressing climate change within the energy goal, noting energy’s role as a key driver of climate change. One said the energy goal should be broader than access and services, with the title reading, “Ensure sustainable energy for all.” Support was expressed for energy to remain as a stand-alone goal.

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, infrastructure development, full employment and decent work for all. Multiple delegations said this proposed goal was “overloaded,” while others proposed a further clustering of Goals 8 and 9, and adding inequalities to Goal 8. Other suggestions included: combining infrastructure with energy; moving the infrastructure component to Goal 9 on industrialization; and removing infrastructure references.

9. Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization. Some delegations called for adding “innovation” to this goal, with one suggesting that the heading read: “Build infrastructure and promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation.” Others suggested combining industrialization with other goals, including Goal 10 on cities and settlements.

10. Build inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and human settlements. One delegation said this goal should not only address “building” cities, but also cities that are already constructed.

11. Promote sustainable consumption and production and actions to address climate change. Several governments objected to merging SCP and climate change, noting their different frameworks, guiding principles, governance structures and provisions. Several favored a stand-alone goal on SCP, stressing its centrality as expressed at Rio+20, and did not want it to “lose space” through a merger with another issue. It was noted that industry drives production, which in turn drives consumption, so merging SCP with industrialization could be considered.

Some speakers suggested ways to merge climate change with other goal areas, such as energy, disaster resilience, marine conservation, and terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity loss.

Several also argued for a stand-alone goal on climate change. One said its links to ocean acidification, rising sea water, hurricanes, and loss of island culture and existence, inter alia, warrant a separate goal. Climate change will annihilate every effort to reach sustainable development, said another. It was also emphasized that, on climate change, strong targets are critical. Some governments said a discussion on a stand-alone goal on climate change could duplicate and/or jeopardize discussions taking place under the UNFCCC, and cautioned against the OWG “prejudging” the results of COPs 20 and 21.

12. Attain conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas. Many speakers welcomed this as a stand-alone goal, emphasizing its importance for all countries, not only for SIDS. One delegation said the MDG experience showed that when all environmental issues are combined, marine issues get very little attention, compared with terrestrial ecosystems. A few suggested merging 12 and 13. One said 12 and 13 should include climate change.

13. Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems and halt all biodiversity loss. Suggestions included: refer to desertification and land degradation; and add climate change to this goal, if climate change cannot have a stand-alone goal.

14. Achieve peaceful and inclusive societies, and strengthen the rule of law and effective and capable institutions. Several objected to the inclusion of this topic as a stand-alone goal. Along these lines, speakers: suggested addressing these issues within the post-2015 framework; wished to treat it as cross-cutting; and suggested including a paragraph in the chapeau. Several others supported the goal as formulated, with one calling it “a must.” One noted the diverging views over this goal and suggested the need for a “middle ground,” which could be expressed in a revised title: “Achieve an enabling environment for development and strengthen institutions at all levels.”

15. Strengthen and enhance the means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development. Delegations supported this formulation of the goal’s title.


On Tuesday evening, the Co-Chairs distributed a revised proposal for Goal 1, titled, End poverty and reduce inequality in all their dimensions everywhere, which was drafted following the previous week’s informal-informal consultations.

Many expressed concerns with regard to merging the current Goal 10 on inequalities with Goal 1 on poverty eradication. A few called for shortening the title to read “End poverty everywhere.” Some mentioned that they are flexible but cautioned that merging the goals should not lead to diluting the focus on poverty eradication. A few delegations welcomed the integration of MOI under each goal. Delegates made a number of suggestions to the revised list of targets.

Some delegations welcomed the Co-Chairs’ idea to start discussing a new version of the draft, reflecting the recent discussions, during the evening sessions. Others, however, suggested using the evening sessions to finish the first reading of the zero draft. They stressed the need to have a complete picture of a new version of the draft, and enough time to consult both with experts in their capitals and within their troikas before expressing views on potential new rearrangements of targets and goals. Some of them added that they are not ready to agree on integrating MOI under each goal.

The Co-Chairs decided that the OWG would use the remaining evening sessions to go through the zero draft.


At 5:35 pm on Friday, Co-Chair Kamau opened the second formal session of OWG-12, in order to make decisions on the way forward. He said the Co-Chairs expected to make only “tweaks” to the document, with smaller changes than were made to the document in crafting the zero draft, and including fewer targets, as well as reflecting a “better balance of the voices in this room.” Despite the possibility to make changes in order to try to accommodate governments’ positions, he said, at some point, “We have to stand as a group of 193 nations to say this is the best we could have done.”

The Group agreed to meet for an informal-informal session on 9-11 July, following the release of the updated zero draft on 30 June. Co-Chair Kamau requested that delegates from capitals attend the informal-informals ahead of OWG-13, to ensure eight days of work with the needed representatives in the room.

Co-Chair Kamau added that, after 18 July, any fine-tuning to the report would be the Co-Chairs’ responsibility, based on the OWG members’ trust. He reiterated that the report would include an annex containing all the targets and/or goals that have been removed in successive iterations of the draft report, with a notation of why they were removed. He gaveled OWG-12 to a close at 5:50 pm.


“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance.”

Mufasa, The Lion King

As OWG-12 opened on Monday, 16 June, OWG Co-Chair Macharia Kamau highlighted a critical challenge for the Group as he presented the “zero draft.” He stressed the difficulty in achieving a balance among the issues and government positions while drafting the 17 goals and 212 targets in that document. Throughout the week, delegates’ discussions revealed the challenge that remains to achieve a balanced, consensus outcome. During OWG-12, many options were presented for each proposed goal and target, and delegates worked to weigh the tradeoffs, formulations and difficult decisions they must make to arrive at a final set of SDGs and targets at the close of OWG-13.

Underlying the SDGs themselves is an overarching goal to promote balanced, sustainable development. Inherent in the definition of sustainable development is the concern that meeting the needs of future generations and reducing poverty depends on how well humans balance social, economic, and environmental objectives—or needs—when making decisions today. It is also known that human activities in a number of sectors, including agriculture, industry, fisheries, urbanization and travel, have disturbed the balance of nature and have threatened species and ecosystems.    

During OWG-12, the discussions were framed around balance along different axes: conceptual (between universality and differentiation), temporal (between historical and present responsibilities), procedural (between comprehensiveness and duplication), substantive (among the three pillars of sustainable development), and presentational (between specificity and “crispiness”). This brief analysis assesses the state of the OWG’s deliberations amid the challenges of fulfilling its mandate, given in The Future We Want adopted two years ago, by ensuring the sustainable development goals achieve a delicate balance.


The SDGs are expected to be “global in nature and universally applicable to all countries,” according to Paragraph 247 of The Future We Want. At the same time, their effective implementation requires differentiation in accordance with specific national circumstances. Throughout the week, delegates struggled to find balance between universality and differentiation. This struggle was most apparent during discussions on proposed Goal 12: Promote sustainable consumption and production patterns. Despite the mandate of universality, some delegates said the targets for this goal should be differentiated between the efforts that developed and developing countries should undertake, with many insisting that developed countries have to take the lead. For example, target 12.6 says that “by 2030 at least halve per capita food waste at retail and consumer level, particularly in developed countries and countries with high per capita food waste.” While most recognized that such action would achieve a great deal, some also noted related efforts in developing countries. As some argued, this is in fact a universally relevant goal because there is also a lot of food waste on the production and distribution side in developing countries.

On proposed Goal 13 on climate change, the question of balance between universality and differentiation focused on historical and current responsibilities. Developing countries argued that, if a goal on climate change is to be included in the SDGs, it must be based on the principles under the UNFCCC, and therefore differentiate between the countries that are historically responsible for greenhouse gas emissions (developed countries) and those that are not (developing countries). The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) forms the basis of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, which only mandate that developed countries (Annex I countries) reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. However, as some developed countries note, there are non-Annex I countries whose current emissions are greater than some of the Annex I countries, and there can be no meaningful reduction of CO2 emissions without the participation of all major emitters. Since the SDGs will be in place for 15 years, some argue, a goal on climate change should recognize the scope for further changes in emission profiles and not lock in UNFCCC country groupings from the 1990s.

A third issue relates to the larger issue of CBDR and the legacy of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit “bargain,” according to which developing countries would pursue environmentally sustainable development in exchange for greater assistance from developed countries. This assistance was expected to come in the form of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity building—the so-called means of implementation. Given their disappointment with how this grand bargain played out in the twenty years following the Rio Earth Summit, the Group of 77 and China has been firm during the SDGs negotiations that each goal must have its own designated means of implementation. Some countries went so far as to indicate that absence of MOI could be a deal breaker on the SDGs. Yet, other countries argue that if the SDGs are supposed to be universal, how can the MOI targets focus on differentiated responsibilities among groups of countries, such as Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS? As the discussion on proposed Goal 17 (MOI) began on Friday, the statements mirrored those that were heard at the beginning of the OWG process, not to mention similar themes that have been heard for over twenty years about the responsibility of developed countries to provide MOI. There appeared to be some progress, however, as several governments across groupings called for an inclusive global partnership for development that involves the public, private and civil society sectors, and addresses the need for triangular cooperation and South-South cooperation.


The OWG has faced another recurring question of balance in fulfilling its mandate, this time from Paragraph 246 of The Future We Want: “The goals should address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and their interlinkages.” What would such a balance mean for each dimension, and how would the balance be embedded in the SDG framework?

For many developing countries, balance should be reflected in the number of goals dedicated to each dimension. One delegate shared his assessment that out of the proposed substantive goals, there are two on the economic dimension, five or six on the social dimension, and four or five on the environment. Developing countries, in particular, expressed concern that currently only two goals are “dedicated” to the economic dimension: proposed Goals 8 (sustainable economic growth) and 9 (industrialization). When some suggested merging these two goals, these countries rejected the notion as it would leave only one “economic goal.” Yet at the same time, one delegation said the three explicitly environmental goals should be consolidated into two, noting that three goals for one theme are too many.

On the other hand, some developed countries have expressed a different vision of balance among the three dimensions of sustainable development, calling for each goal to reflect a “three-dimensional” approach to sustainable development, through targets that address economic, social, and environmental aspects. Regarding the same Goals 8 and 9 that were welcomed by developing countries as ensuring an economic development dimension to the SDGs, developed country delegations critiqued the current drafting of these goals as lacking a vision of inclusive and environmentally friendly growth. Some delegations thought that integrated goals would do a better job at ensuring ministries and UN and other international organizations and agencies work together and get out of their traditional “silos.”


Throughout the week, the Co-Chairs urged delegates to achieve “crispiness,” using a term popularized by Co-Chair Kőrösi, amid the desire for an all-encompassing yet concrete set of goals. In other words, delegates face the challenge of crafting goals that are clear, coherent, concrete and comprehensive (the four C’s). The quest for this need for balance took on various forms.

First, there was a concern about the titles of the goals themselves in substantive as well as presentational terms. Using the MDGs as an example, observers noted that the wording, formatting and number of MDGs made the goals conducive to iconographic representation and visually compelling packaging that was used in effective advocacy and outreach campaigns. This helped to generate traction within and beyond the development arena. Both Co-Chairs consistently reminded delegates that these goals and targets have to make sense to people beyond the walls of the United Nations and, thus, need to be “crispy”, translatable and easy to understand

The OWG has also recognized that the number of goals to be adopted will be an important consideration. At previous OWG meetings, some, including Jeffrey Sachs and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, called for a set of ten goals—a sort of “ten commandments” for sustainable development. Similarly, others have previously called for twelve goals to allow an equal number of goals for each of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Overall, many speakers at many sessions conceded that the power of the goals will be in focusing international attention on a set of priorities, which would be lost if the list of priorities become too unwieldy. The Co-Chairs tried to reduce the number of proposed goals to 15 and distributed a new suggested list of goals on Monday night, but their effort did not immediately gain traction.

There is still uncertainty about retaining at least three of the proposed goals—10 (reduce inequality), 13 (climate change) and 16 (peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and effective and capable institutions)—while strong support was expressed for maintaining the separation among the current Goals 8 (sustainable economic growth and work for all) and 9 (sustainable industrialization), and among Goals 14 (conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas) and 15 (terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity). As a result, it is still not clear how many goals will constitute the final package of SDGs and how they will be balanced.

At the same time, delegates expressed concern about creating strong targets that are action-oriented and measurable. For the first time during the OWG, delegates at OWG-12 seemed to focus on whether proposed targets were achievable and how implementation could be monitored and reported. While some delegates continued to propose new targets, many more noted that certain targets were better placed as indicators, and others should be deleted because they were highly aspirational but not achievable. This has become yet another challenge for the OWG—how to achieve a balance between what they want to accomplish and what can realistically be accomplished by 2030.


With twelve sessions completed, the OWG has only eight days left to complete its work, including the three days of “informal-informal” consultations that will precede OWG-13. As the Co-Chairs noted, the time has come to reach agreement on the final package of SDGs to submit to the UN General Assembly to be taken into consideration as part of the deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda.

With so little time remaining before 18 July—the final day of OWG-13—delegates emerged from the ECOSOC Chamber on Friday evening exhausted from an intense week of work, yet curious about what will happen between now and 18 July. Some wondered how the Co-Chairs will manage the OWG’s final session and related consultations to enable delegates to produce a balanced set of SDGs that are universal, “crispy,” action-oriented, and reflective of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Others asked themselves if OWG members can bridge the North-South divide and create a new framework that truly operationalizes sustainable development and anchors a truly transformative agenda. Still others wondered if the 13 OWG sessions and the Co-Chairs’ careful management of the process will enable governments to arrive at a consensus outcome in an increasingly challenging political environment for multilateral negotiations. In the end, after 18 months, the OWG has just a few days left to show that it can create a package of SDGs that will exist together in a delicate balance.


UN Environmental Assembly of UNEP: The first meeting of the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP is expected to include ministerial plenaries on the SDGs and post-2015 development agenda and illegal trade in wildlife and timber. dates: 23-27 June 2014  location: Nairobi, Kenya  contact: Jiří Hlaváček, Secretary of Governing Bodies, UNEP  phone: +254-20-7623431  email:  www:

High Level Political Forum: The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development will take place in conjunction with the 2014 substantive session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), from 30 June - 3 July, with a three-day ministerial segment from 7-9 July. The theme for the forum will be “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals.” dates: 30 June - 9 July 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  phone: +1-212-963-8102  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www

OWG-13: The OWG will conclude its consideration of sustainable development goals, targets and indicators. Informal-informal consultations will be scheduled during the week before. dates: 14-18 July 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  phone: +1-212-963-8102  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

UNGA Dialogue 4 on Technology Transfer Mechanism: In General Assembly Resolution 68/210, UN Member States decided to hold a series of four, one-day structured dialogues to consider possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies. date: 23 July 2014   location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  email: www:

Fifth Session of Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing: The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing is scheduled in August 2014. dates: 4-8 August 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS): The Third UN Conference on SIDS will focus on the theme “Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.” dates: 1-4 September 2014  location: Apia, Samoa  www:

UNGA Stock-Taking Exercise on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), John Ashe, will convene this stock-taking exercise to pull together events on the post-2015 development agenda. dates: 8-9 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the UNGA  www:

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014 will be organized as a high-level plenary meeting of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly and supported by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. dates: 22-23 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Nilla Bernardi  phone: +1 212-963-8379  email: www

Special Session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the ICPD: An 8-hour Special Session to Follow Up on the Programme of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is being organized to coincide with the high-level segment of the general debate at the UN General Assembly. date: 22 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Mandy Kibel, UNFPA  phone: +1-212-297-5293  email: www:

UN Climate Summit: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene the Summit with the aim of mobilizing political will for a universal and legally-binding comprehensive climate agreement in 2015. date: 23 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York www:

Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held in 2015. dates: 13-16 July 2015  location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  contact : UN Financing for Development Office phone : +1 212-963-8379  email: fax: 212-963-0443  www:

For additional meetings, see

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