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Summary report, 17–20 February 2015

2nd Session of the Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations

The second session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda convened from 17-20 February 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York. The session, co-facilitated by David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, and Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, focused on the declaration component of the outcome that will be adopted at the Summit of Heads of State and Government on the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015.

The discussion began with Member States’ responses to an Elements Paper circulated by the Co-Facilitators on 5 February 2015. After a round of statements on that document, the Co-Facilitators circulated a “discussion document for the declaration” on the morning of Thursday, 19 February. Governments then offered interventions on this text.

The session also included an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders and a briefing with the Director of the UN Statistics Division.

Throughout the week, government delegates and other participants expressed awareness of the other processes unfolding in parallel to the post-2015 development negotiations, including those on climate change and financing for development. A summary of the discussion will be produced by the Secretariat for reference. Kamau said the discussion document, meanwhile, remains “a document without status,” but will assist in creating the zero draft of the Summit outcome.


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

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

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

•  the importance of remaining firmly committed to the full and timely achievement of the MDGs and of respecting all Rio principles, taking into account different national circumstances, capacities and priorities;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A number of UN General Assembly resolutions have established and set parameters for the post-2015 development agenda negotiations and related processes. On 3 July 2014, the UNGA adopted resolution 68/279, titled “Modalities for the third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3),” by which it decided to hold FfD3 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 13-16 July 2015, and, inter alia, emphasizes the need for effective coordination with the preparations for the summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda.

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

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

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

•  the proposal of the OWG on SDGs will be the main basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda, while other inputs will also be taken into consideration;

•  “every effort shall be made” to ensure effective coordination between the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda and the preparatory process for FfD3, and other relevant UN intergovernmental processes;

•  the outcome document for adoption at the summit “may include” as main components: a declaration; the SDGs and targets; means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development; and follow-up and review; and

•  the initial draft of the outcome document shall be prepared by the co-facilitators “on the basis of views provided by Member States,” as well as “taking into account substantive discussions in the process of intergovernmental negotiations,” and issued by May 2015.

FIRST SESSION OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: The first session in the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda convened from 19-21 January 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York, to conduct a “stocktaking” of governments’ views on the agenda. This was the first of eight scheduled sessions to prepare the outcome of the UN summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, in September 2015. On the basis of this session the Co-Facilitators prepared an Elements Paper for discussion at the next session.


On Tuesday morning, 17 February, Co-Facilitator David Donoghue opened the second session in the process of intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, focusing on the declaration. He said the process is collective and will be in Member States’ hands “at all stages.” Co-Facilitator Macharia Kamau recalled numerous violent events around the world in recent days and weeks, and called on delegates to discuss how they wish to “break with the past” to create a declaration that speaks to the future.

Kamau drew attention to the “dissonance” between discussions in New York and comprehension in capitals, and charged delegations with building understanding on the direction, pace and character of the process, in order to get solidarity and support from their capitals. Kamau also cited the “second track” of the post-2015 development agenda—financing for development. He added that the SDG on climate change is critical, and its details will be fleshed out in Paris.


Donoghue encouraged participants to exchange views on the content, tone, and ambition of the declaration, with the Co-Facilitators’ Elements Paper as a guide.

STATEMENTS: Mozambique, for the African States, said poverty eradication should be highlighted as the main challenge. He also noted the importance of: technology transfer on a concessional basis; reinforced global partnership; trade; finance; common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR); peace and security; addressing the specific needs of several groups of countries; and creating a follow-up and review mechanism that is state-led, voluntary, and focused on sharing lessons learned.

South Africa, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), called for the declaration to be guided by the Rio principles, in particular CBDR, and said it should: address inequalities between and within countries; recognize the full realization of people living under foreign occupation; reaffirm that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge; underscore the challenges of the most vulnerable countries, middle income countries (MICs) and countries in conflict and post-conflict development; highlight the risks posed by climate change; and stress the rights of indigenous people, migrants, and Afro-descendants.

The European Union (EU) said the declaration should highlight the paradigm shift towards a renewed partnership that mobilizes all sources and involves all partners, as national ownership implies that all will implement the agenda. He said CBDR does not capture the dynamic differentiation between levels of development, and is limited to environmental degradation. He further stressed that the declaration should note the need for a follow-up and review mechanism that ensures mutual accountability review at local, regional, and global levels.

Belize, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said a transformative agenda is only possible through a “people-centered, planet-sensitive” approach to sustainable development, and by aligning goals with the means to achieve them. She called for the declaration to unequivocally state that the climate and post-2015 development agendas are mutually reinforcing.

Maldives, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said the declaration should express commitment to achieving the SDGs within 15 years; welcomed the recognition of needs of countries in special situations; said “our mission will fail” if we do not address the threat of climate change and call for ambitious, urgent and concrete actions; suggested that the principles for a global partnership should also apply to the UN system; and proposed a stronger call for follow-up and review, with a role for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Tonga, for the Pacific Small Island Developing States, said the contents of the declaration will depend on agreements reached on the other elements of the agenda. He said the declaration should: highlight the importance of the OWG framework; fully integrate small island developing states’ (SIDS) priorities as expressed in the SAMOA Pathway; and integrate gender perspectives.

Benin, for the least developed countries (LDCs), said that the declaration should emphasize poverty eradication; challenges posed by climate change; widening inequalities; resilience building; CBDR; directing an increased share of official development assistance (ODA) to LDCs; and increased participation of LDCs in international economic governance.

Jordan, for the Arab States, said the declaration should focus on the international commitments needed to achieve the SDGs. He said the agenda should respect “all the ethical, societal and religious” principles. He added that poverty eradication should be highlighted as the greatest challenge, and the text should also stress the need for: a technology transfer mechanism; reform of the multilateral trading system; and developed countries to honor their commitments, as well as increase ODA to 1% of gross national income (GNI) and increase the share to LDCs. It should also highlight the relationship between peace and sustainable development, and condemn all sources of terrorism.

Zambia, on behalf of the land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), cited an “unequivocal need” for a section on the needs of the LLDCs and countries in special situations. She called for reaffirmation of the Vienna Programme of Action. 

Peru, on behalf of the Friends of Culture and Development, emphasized culture as an enabler and driver of sustainable development. 

Ecuador, for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called for articulating universal and transformative development objectives that reflect different levels of development. He said the declaration should draw on agreed UN outcomes, be short and inspirational, and encompass commonly agreed concepts and objectives.

Ethiopia, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (ISID), proposed that the declaration refer to ISID as a fundamental building block of eradicating poverty and ending hunger. He cautioned against clustering the current set of 17 SDGs, and supported all targets under Goal 9.

Cuba said the declaration should: reaffirm the UN General Assembly as the most democratic, transparent and inclusive body for addressing development issues; prioritize Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration and CBDR, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), and Rio+20; reflect the commitment to eradicating poverty by 2030; incorporate the MDGs not yet achieved; express political will for the SDGs’ implementation; and recognize the diversity of development paradigms.

Egypt said the declaration should reflect universality, respect for human rights including development, and gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. He said poverty eradication is the overarching objective and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

Uruguay suggested that the declaration include a focus on: social inclusion; environmental sustainability; human rights; equity; gender equality; technology transfer; capacity building; and sustainable consumption and production (SCP). She also asked for clarification of the terms “institutional failure” and “economic, environmental and social shocks” from the Elements Paper.

Brazil said the statement of principles and values should come first. He suggested capturing the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in “four Ps”: people, prosperity, planet and partnerships. He also called for avoiding “taking liberties” with non-agreed language. He suggested building on existing review mechanisms: National Voluntary Presentations under ECOSOC’s Annual Ministerial Review, the regional commissions, and the HLPF.

Japan cautioned against duplicating language and the process of the declaration and other elements of the post-2015 agenda. He said the declaration should use concise and easily understood terms, not be a compilation of agreed language, and replace the chapeau of the OWG text.

The Netherlands stressed that it is possible to explain these complex issues in language that can be understood in classrooms around the world. He suggested that young people be involved in drafting the declaration, which should contain inspiring language about the “why” of the agenda. 

Norway stressed that the declaration should be short, inspiring and motivate people to action, rather than reformulate what will be covered in other parts of the agenda. She called for reiterating commitments to human dignity, sustainable development, environmental stewardship, and good governance. ​

Montenegro said the post-2015 development agenda should be built on realizing the MDGs. The agenda must be universal, adaptable to the conditions of each country, and reflect the issues of biodiversity loss and deforestation, unsustainable use of marine resources, and waste management.

India cited the agenda’s central objectives of ending poverty within a generation, giving a life of dignity to all, putting the world on a path to sustainable development, and restoring the health of the planet. He cautioned against renegotiating international consensus contained in the outcomes of Rio+20 and the OWG. He said the agenda must be “universal in relevance, but differentiated in action,” per national circumstances.

Canada said the greatest global challenge to which the declaration responds is eradicating poverty. He proposed crowd-sourcing a new title for the agenda. He said the declaration should: call for completing the MDGs, highlight the importance of sustainable economic growth, and avoid political issues.

Belgium said the first chapter of the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report could provide inspiration for the declaration. She called for avoiding specific thematic proposals.

Mexico said the declaration should: start by reaffirming principles of past outcome documents; provide a “futuristic” vision; recapitulate what has been achieved through the MDGs; and take a multi-dimensional approach to poverty.

Austria, for the Group of Friends of Rule of Law, stressed the relationship between rule of law and sustainable development. He said the declaration should include an overarching paragraph on promotion of human rights, using language that has been included in previous agreements.

China noted that the declaration should have poverty eradication at its core and be based on the outcome of Rio+20 and the chapeau of the OWG outcome. China added that the text should emphasize the importance of: CBDR; regional economic integration; and an enhanced global partnership with North-South cooperation as its main channel.

Nigeria suggested structuring the declaration around four sections—people, planet, prosperity and partnership—and focus on, inter alia: human rights; SCP; technology transfer on concessional terms; regional cooperation; and CBDR. She highlighted the need for appropriate indicators and called for integrating the outcome of the FfD3 conference in the declaration to ensure that commitments are met.

Morocco said that the declaration should call for: fighting inequality through economic growth and job creation; respecting national priorities; accountability, monitoring and review of non-state actors; and strengthening the UN system. He added that the development of indicators should not challenge the balance between goals and targets.

The Republic of Korea said the declaration should motivate the public and the private sectors. He said the declaration should refer to both completing the MDGs and additional work needed to achieve sustainable development. He said the declaration should have “people” and “planet” as core elements, and give a strong impetus to COP-21.

Jamaica said the transformative effect of the agenda can be achieved through: significant progress toward eradicating poverty; reducing inequality; supporting health; the quality and accessibility of education; and by removing structural and systemic impediments.

Solomon Islands said development, FfD, and climate change are all part of the sustainable development nexus. He said the credibility of the post-2015 agenda rests on the strength of the outcome of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, in order to guarantee that no one is left behind.

Armenia proposed text for the “collective vision” section on improving standards of living and improving resilience. She called for attention to mobility and transportation. Sri Lanka said the declaration should: emphasize that the post-2015 agenda is guided by CBDR; highlight the nature of the agenda as transforming lives of billions of people around the world; and address challenges faced by countries in special situations. 

Timor-Leste said the declaration must present a “bold and mesmerizing” vision, respond to existing and emerging challenges, and take an ambitious and transformative tone. He said reaffirmations of past commitments should come at the end, so as not to “front-load the visionary statement with all that has come before us.”

Bangladesh said the values, principles, and elements of the declaration should attract people. He called for the declaration to include: intensifying regional integration; the right to development; building capacity; and ending inequality within and among states.

France said the declaration should encourage action, reflect the importance of fighting climate change, and refer to governance, peace and security. He expressed support for adapting the UN system to the institutional demands resulting from the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs.

Paraguay said that the declaration should focus on: eradicating poverty; promoting sustainable development; respect for human rights; the needs of vulnerable countries; and principles like freedom, equality, cooperation, democracy, and respect for national sovereignty.

Germany stressed the importance of: using innovative language for the overarching key political messages; building a three-tier review mechanism—local, regional and global—that is anchored at the national level; and a paradigm shift to a global partnership that moves beyond North-South cooperation to include all stakeholders. He said CBDR applies only to environmental issues.

The US highlighted five principles that should be reflected in the declaration: “Leave no one behind” by focusing on ending extreme poverty and meeting the targets for the bottom quintile, gender equality, and finishing the MDGs; shared prosperity; sustainability, including through coherence with the climate change process; strong, accountable institutions and peaceful societies; and global partnership. 

Poland said that the declaration should be appealing, innovative and inspiring, and emphasize the importance of: enabling domestic environments; rule of law; good governance; accountability; sound institutions; equality for all; and inclusiveness. He stressed the need to create an agenda that goes beyond aid to involve all stakeholders.

Panama said the declaration should highlight the “cost of not doing anything.” He added that the six essential elements proposed by the Secretary-General, along with the MDGs, could comprise “what we must do to get there.”

Finland proposed that the declaration should: highlight gender equality; recognize that human rights are necessary for development, peace, and security; and reflect a decision on the mechanism for monitoring and accountability. She added that universality and transformation should apply to the UN system.

Rwanda noted the declaration should emphasize vulnerable countries, while reaffirming commitments to eradicate poverty and hunger, respect human rights and justice, and ensure full and decent employment for women and men. She noted the importance of differentiated solutions that safeguard sovereignty, and of both domestic resources and other sources of financing to implement the agenda.

Pakistan stated the declaration should present the post-2015 development agenda and SDGs as a “consensus global response” to achieving sustainable development, and that it should embody a firm commitment to deliver on this, while finishing the MDGs and recognizing differing capacities and priorities of countries. He suggested reaffirming the mandate of the HLPF as a voluntary and state-led mechanism for follow-up and review at the global level.

Switzerland said setting the planet on a path of sustainable development will entail: decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation; leaving no one behind, especially women, girls and other vulnerable groups; and emphasizing universality, in which every country contributes to achieving global goals according to its circumstances. He added that the declaration should include a commitment to monitor, report, evaluate, and review progress at relevant intervals.

The Democratic Republic of Congo said the declaration should: include the principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and CBDR; emphasize the rights to decent living, justice, and equality; reflect the link between peace and development; highlight the importance of financing, technology transfer, and the global partnership; include the outcome of FfD3; and provide a follow-up and review calendar.

Costa Rica noted that the text should focus on: the fight against discrimination; gender equality; rule of law and good governance; the challenges posed by climate change; SCP; the right to development; and the rights of vulnerable groups.

Indonesia stressed that the declaration: should build on the chapeau of the OWG outcome document; incorporate CBDR and SCP with developed countries taking the lead; highlight the importance of financing, technology transfer, and capacity building; and integrate the outcome of FfD3. He further underlined that each new goal and target should be supported by new and additional sources of financing.

UK said “something like” the Secretary-General’s six essential elements would be helpful to transcend detail and find a clear vision, while also preserving the OWG’s balance. The declaration must express ambition to finish the MDGs, eradicate extreme poverty within a generation, and put the world on a pathway to sustainable and climate-resilient development. She said no target should be considered achieved unless met for all relevant groups.

The Russian Federation cautioned against “politicizing” the declaration by including language on which consensus has not been reached. She said the declaration should set out the voluntary character of reporting and the leading role of countries, and highlighted the role of the HLPF in review, assessment, political leadership, and guidance on integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Denmark said the declaration should: call for eradicating poverty by leaving no one behind; address all three dimensions of sustainable development; and reflect a rights-based approach. He said the mandate for monitoring and review should be based on mutual accountability.

Peru, for the Group of Friends of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), called for including DRR and resilience in the post-2015 development agenda. Sustainable development cannot be achieved if development investments do not consider disaster risk, he said. He called for the post-2015 outcomes on development and DRR to support each other to ensure that development is resilient and sustainable.

Liechtenstein noted the inherent connection between sustainable development and the rule of law. She said sustainable development can be achieved by ensuring accountability of governments and institutions to their people, along with robust, transparent and efficient monitoring, follow-up and review at the international level.

Israel said the declaration is like the cover of a book: it must be compelling for people to read it. He supported the suggestion to crowd-source a name for the post-2015 development agenda, said no target should be considered met unless met for all, highlighted empowerment of women and girls, and called for avoiding redundancies with the OWG report’s chapeau.

Italy said calls for economic growth should be qualified as “sustained, inclusive and sustainable.” While nobody disputes poverty eradication as the overarching objective, he said, it must always be “declined with sustainable development.”

On Wednesday morning, Guatemala said the declaration should be clear, concise, and communicable but comprehensive in scope. She suggested including: human rights; peace and security; national leadership; strengthening national institutions; the needs of the most vulnerable groups; partnerships; resilience and climate change.

Croatia noted that the declaration should be founded on a rights-based approach and underline: eradication of extreme poverty and discrimination; gender equality; rule of law; and good governance. He added that the text should recognize the link between security and development and emphasize multi-stakeholder partnerships based on shared responsibility and mutual accountability.

Papua New Guinea called for avoiding “a shopping list” in the declaration and to focus on overarching principles. He said the text should recognize the links between peace and security, development and climate change, adding the importance of gender equality, recognition of children and youth, and time-bound means of implementation (MOI) commitments.

Australia encouraged embracing an “updated model” of sustainable development in the declaration. She suggested stronger reflection of women as agents of change, references to country ownership and mutual accountability, and a commitment to leave no one behind.

Venezuela said the declaration should reflect the ethic of conserving life for future generations. She highlighted cooperation among states, genuinely inclusive development, and co-responsibility for development.

Bhutan said the agenda should speak to people, planet and prosperity, supported by partnerships. Speaking as an LDC and LLDC, she said leaving no one behind must be an underlying principle, and called for enabling differentiated implementation. She said the tracks currently unfurling toward Sendai, Addis Ababa, New York and Paris are equally integral components of the post-2015 development agenda.

Malaysia said the declaration should be guided by: the Rio principles, Agenda 21, the JPOI, and the Millennium Declaration; poverty eradication and sustainable development as its highest priorities; and national capacities and levels of development. She said it should be concise, ambitious, and simple, and not include a “wish list” of everything previously agreed.

Lebanon said the declaration should be a tool through which leaders communicate the post-2015 agenda, and their commitments to its goals and targets. He cited calls for a brief, concise declaration, but said it should also reflect the comprehensiveness and inclusiveness of the agenda, and called for addressing displacement of people due to conflict.

Iceland called on Member States to “have the courage to go beyond agreed language” when setting out a common vision. She said that management of natural resources must be considered, as well as the drivers of unsustainable development, including fossil fuels. She called for a “conceptual link” in the declaration to UNFCCC COP 21.

Colombia called for retaining the “concise and balanced language” as achieved in the previous stages of the post-2015 process, including the OWG. She agreed with the need to mention challenges the world is facing, but cautioned Member States to avoid a list of subjects that have not been agreed on.

Turkey said the declaration should reflect: a common understanding on the visions, objectives, and expected results of the agenda; commitments to take action on the SDGs and to eradicate poverty; and the ambition towards mobilizing MOI and strengthening partnerships. He also said the declaration should contain a message that implementation will be effectively monitored with science-based review mechanisms at all levels.

Belarus, for the Group of Friends of the Family, stressed the role of the family in attaining the SDGs and called for family-oriented policies at the national and international levels.

Saudi Arabia called for featuring poverty eradication prominently in the declaration, stressed the need for taking into account national circumstances and respecting national sovereignty, and said that additional sources of financing should be complementary to traditional ones.

Ethiopia suggested the declaration have a dedicated section on each group of countries in special situations and include the outcome of FfD3. He stressed the importance of highlighting poverty eradication as the main challenge; national ownership and respect for national policy space; and new and additional sources of financing as complementary to the old ones.

Nepal proposed that the text: be concise, easy and simple to communicate; include CBDR, universality, differentiation, and the needs of people living in mountain regions and in post-conflict situation; and reaffirm the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) and the SAMOA Pathway.

Viet Nam said the declaration is not the full post-2015 agenda, nor is it the other three components of the agenda: SDGs, MOI, or the framework for follow-up and review. The declaration, he said, should simply declare political will and commitment to implementation and review.

Nicaragua said the declaration must be people-centered and call for ending extreme poverty. It should take differentiation into account, avoid selectively listing goals, and emphasize the global partnership, based on MDG 8, while taking account of its failures.

Slovakia hoped the declaration would highlight the transformative and universal nature of the agenda, while reflecting universal values of human rights, democratic governance, peace, equality, and respect for the environment. She said everyone must have a role in the agenda and all significant actors and resources should be mobilized.

Sudan said the declaration should stress state sovereignty, the right to development, justice, and CBDR. She said the agenda should be complementary to regional efforts, and should work through the FfD3 conference to mobilize resources, strengthen infrastructure, and boost investment.

Chile said the declaration should focus on the eradication of poverty, and the integration and balance of the three dimensions of sustainable development. He called for including CBDR, and taking into account different visions, approaches, and tools to achieve sustainable development.

Suriname delivered a statement on behalf of 42 other governments: Albania, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Zambia. He stressed the importance of placing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at the center of the declaration. He added that it must address the discrimination, inequalities, and violence that women and girls face as the development agenda will only be achieved with the “collective courage” to promote gender equality.

El Salvador noted the declaration should highlight: CBDR; the elimination of hunger and poverty; SCP; the needs of vulnerable countries; and the rights of migrants. He called for adding at least one reference to indicators, noting the need to adapt the measurement processes to the new development paradigm. He stressed that even as the post-2015 negotiations and the FfD3 processes complement each other, they are each independent.

Referring to the need to make the declaration ambitious, communicable and simple, Georgia noted that “Well done is better than well said,” and recommended the text include: reference to the centrality of human rights and the unfinished business of the MDGs; the link between rule of law and sustainable development; and respect for territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

Ghana emphasized that the declaration should clarify “What is new?” and “What will change?” from the past agenda. She further stressed the need for: a strong science-based monitoring system with measurable indicators; multi-stakeholder engagement; partnerships to address MOI, technology transfer, trade, and capacity building; and gender empowerment.

Peru said the declaration must emphasize human dignity and a vision of humanity where no person is left behind. He highlighted the rights of vulnerable people, such as older people and persons with disabilities, and noted that transnational factors such as climate change increase their vulnerability.

Sweden observed emerging consensus around: highlighting universality as a central aspect of the post-2015 development agenda; emphasizing leaving no one behind; communicating the agenda’s transformational character, and the interdependence of poverty eradication and sustainable development; and the importance of including climate change and gender equality in the declaration. She added that the post-2015 development agenda is for and by all countries and stakeholders, and so the rewards and contributions should be shared by all.

Uganda said the declaration should: commit to finishing the MDGs; guide leaders in making time-bound commitments; commit to adopting a periodic review mechanism; and commit leaders to integrating the SDGs into national plans and priorities. He also suggested defining the scope of stakeholder partnerships.

Monaco, also for Tunisia, called for the concept of sport for peace to be included in the declaration, as it encompasses a wide range of development issues.

Afghanistan said the declaration should build on the prose of internationally-agreed outcome documents, and focus on poverty eradication as an overarching goal. He also said it should: reiterate that success depends on robust MOI; recognize countries in special situations; and stress the importance of a renewed global partnership.

Ecuador stressed the promotion of human rights in the “common vision” section of the declaration. For the agenda to be truly transformative, he said, it must transform systems and correct structural deficiencies. The Secretary-General’s proposed six elements do not reflect the “balance of the main needs of development” and instead divert attention away from poverty eradication, he stressed.

Thailand said the collective vision for 2030 should be: promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations. He prioritized empowering women, girls, the elderly and disabled, and combatting climate change and building resilience to natural disasters. He said better access to disaggregated data is fundamental for inclusive development.

Mexico, also for Argentina, Chad, Iran, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Syria, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, stressed the need for more comprehensive public policies for poverty eradication, and called for a measurement of poverty that goes beyond national averages to include well-being, equality, sustainability and social protection. He further stressed the need for disaggregated data and investment in countries’ statistical capacity.

Tanzania said the declaration should: reiterate the centrality of MOI for the realization of the SDGs; stress the need for developed countries to fulfill their commitments; clarify that South-South cooperation cannot replace North-South cooperation; stress the importance of action on climate change; and highlight the close correlation between this process and FfD3.

Chad suggested the declaration highlight: CBDR; respect for national policy space; industrialization as a driver of development; the environmental dimension, clearly linked to the UNFCCC; the link between peace and development; and the fulfillment of public aid commitments. He called for a separate paragraph for each group of countries in special situations

Spain said the declaration should be built upon: recognition of the achievements of the MDGs and lessons learned; values and principles; the universal and transformative character of the agenda; environmental sustainability and climate change; dignity, planet, people, prosperity, partnership and justice; multi-stakeholder engagement; accountability and responsibility; and global governance.

Syria called for all countries to be able to enjoy sustainable development, and opposed politicizing development issues. He said the declaration must reiterate support for the rights of people under foreign occupation.

Argentina suggested using the OWG chapeau as a fundamental element of the declaration, noting the importance of the OWG’s outcome. He also said follow-up should use national reports, and that countries should not be punished for pursuing different models of development. It will be up to each country to use the most effective indicators for the agreed goals and targets.

Yemen said poverty and hunger can only be eradicated in a framework of comprehensive growth and an end to unemployment. She also highlighted the importance of political stability for sustainable development, saying internal power struggles mean unfair distribution among the population.

Zambia called for a reference to nurturing children into socially and environmentally responsible and productive adults. She added that poverty eradication and equality cannot be divorced from social and economic freedom, saying the declaration should include all relevant issues.

New Zealand said the declaration should be enduring―relevant today and for generations into the future. She said it is not a resolution to be negotiated, should not be constrained by agreed language, and should not reflect the lowest common denominator of agreement. She added that the seminal theme of the post-2015 agenda should be “ending poverty in all its forms everywhere while leaving no one behind.”

Iran called for a message of constructive cooperation and win-win development in the declaration. The concepts of leaving no one behind, CBDR, and respect for cultures and religions should also be included, he said.

Japan said the declaration should reflect the resolve to transform the UN system, not other institutions over which the UN has no mandate. He emphasized that the agenda must put people at the center, and did not support the idea that MOI only refers to finance and technology.

Zimbabwe said the declaration should: draw its basis from agreed outcomes; articulate a vision of “genuine” global partnership; be guided by the principle of CBDR; state the underlying importance of MOI in the realization of the agenda; and give specific attention to countries in special situations.​

The Co-Facilitators announced they would circulate a “draft discussion document” to inform the rest of the week’s conversation on the declaration.


On Wednesday afternoon, the session began with a briefing from Stefan Schweinfest, Director, UN Statistics Division, on the development of indicators for the post-2015 development agenda. The Statistics Division is the Secretariat for the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC), the UN’s designated intergovernmental focal point on the development of all indicators.

PRESENTATION: On the number of indicators, Schweinfest shared recommendations from the Group of Friends of the UNSC Chair (FOC) that the “core list” should be limited to 100-120 indicators for global monitoring, to avoid serious capacity challenges for national statistics communities around the world. This core list would be supported by a “much larger indicators architecture,” including indicators for national, regional and sectoral monitoring.

On timing, Schweinfest said the Commission had expected the indicators to be developed after governments had concluded their policy dialogue and formulated the goals and targets. But since the post-2015 Co-Facilitators had called for inputs ahead of the March negotiating meeting, he said, the Commission has offered to provide a preliminary proposal ahead of that meeting, and a final proposal toward the end of 2015.

On rating potential indicators, he reported that the Division has produced a preliminary list of proposed indicators—approximately two per OWG target, for a total of over 300—to be assigned a “crude preliminary rating” by statistical agencies.

Following the Statistical Commission’s 46th session, it will circulate a technical working document to Member States, on or about 18 March 2015.

INTERACTIVE EXCHANGE: Member States raised questions and remarks on the statistics process, including on: whether it also includes a “technical proofing” of targets; the selection of FOC members; the need to limit suggested indicators to global indicators, respect for national policy space; providing indicators for the MOI targets; and whether indicators will be part of the negotiation process. One cautioned that the indicator framework should not be used to introduce contentious ideas, but remain a technical exercise, speaking to the agreed goals and targets.


Turning to the relationship between negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda and preparations for FfD3, the Co-Facilitators proposed that the post-2015 session on 20-24 April take up financial issues in the context of the SDGs, following “seamlessly” from the 13-17 April session on FfD3.

Nikhil Seth, Division for Sustainable Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), briefed participants on non-governmental stakeholders’ engagement in the process. He said the “high bar” set during the Rio+20 and OWG processes has continued, citing recent stakeholder participation in the form of: written input on the declaration summarized by a Steering Committee; side events during negotiating sessions; and stand-alone dialogue sessions with Member States.

Seth also called for contributions to the DESA Trust Fund for travel for representatives from developing countries, which otherwise could run out of funds before the July session.


On Thursday morning, Member States engaged in an interactive dialogue with Major Groups and other stakeholders. Co-Facilitator Donoghue welcomed participants’ contributions to what he said had already been a rich and illuminating exchange about the principles, themes and content of the declaration.

Co-Facilitator Kamau added that Major Groups and other stakeholders had already witnessed their own impact on the OWG process, and said if it had not been for their strong voices, “we may not have had that outcome.” He also asked for civil society representatives to “change gears,” noting that while some groups continued to campaign for items in the SDG framework, this phase is now done. “Help us figure out the ‘how,’” he urged.

A COLLECTIVE VISION OF THE ROAD TO 2030: In the discussion on “A collective vision of the road to 2030,” a representative of the Major Group of Children and Youth and Beyond 2015 called for a vision in which poverty is eradicated, the common good takes precedence over “the interests of a few,” human rights are realized, and the environment is safeguarded.

A representative of Save the Children China read a statement endorsed by 3,200 organizations that said action for the poorest and most marginalized should be prioritized. She called for national targets to reduce gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged groups. 

Japan said a people-centered approach and the concept of “leave no one behind” is needed. He also emphasized that sustainability is crucial for future generations.

The Maldives said the declaration’s vision should be people-centered, eradicate poverty, and achieve resilience.

A representative of the Farmers Major Group said the declaration should focus on gender equality and small-holder farmers. She highlighted the need to bridge the gap between policy and implementation.

A representative of the International Federation on Aging called for reliable, disaggregated data for people up to 100 years old. She underlined that the declaration must have human rights for all at its core, and use words people understand and to which they can relate.

WHAT WE MUST DO TO GET THERE: In the discussion on “What we must do to get there,” a representative of the International Migrants Alliance said the declaration should acknowledge that the current economic system depends on and produces injustice, and commit to remediating it.

A representative of The Hunger Project called for empowering women and people in poverty as key agents of change.

The UK said this agenda is “about a better life for people, not for governments,” and encouraged a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable. The concept of “no one left behind” should be underpinned by data, gender equality, financing for development, and universality, he added.

Brazil said the formulation of “leave no one behind” tells only half the story, asking, “What about those who are detrimentally ahead?” He preferred to focus on inequality and combatting poverty. He added that the UN needs tools to scale up and mediate the relationship with the private sector to ensure they “behave better in the world.”

India called for mobilizing all sectors of society, since the agenda is one of international cooperation and not merely national action.

A representative of the Wudanyi Disabled Persons Organization stressed persons with disabilities must be referenced explicitly in the declaration, and that no target should be considered met unless met for all persons. 

A representative of the Commonwealth Medical Trust called for the declaration to include “well-being” and health, particularly for women and girls.

HOW WE WILL DO THIS: In the discussion segment on “How we will do this,” a representative of Beyond 2015 called for Member States to create an enabling environment for civil society to increase people’s ability to contribute and hold governments accountable.

A representative of Voluntary Service Overseas said the declaration must recognize the role of volunteerism in promoting sustainable development.

Amina Mohammed, UN Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, stressed that, as the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, “we all have to reflect how we will become fit for the purpose of the agenda and carry over the unfinished business of the MDGs.”

The Russian Federation underlined that he does not see businesses as fully-fledged members of the post-2015 development agenda, nor equal to Member States.

The Netherlands said businesses cannot be put at the same level with states, but all should feel responsible for the agenda and be touched by the declaration, starting from the grassroots level to corporations.

A representative of the Tebtebba Foundation said the universal application of goals and targets should take into account national contexts and cultural diversity, and called for data disaggregation to show who is at risk of being left behind.

FOLLOW UP AND REVIEW: In the discussion segment on “Follow up and review,” a representative of the Workers and Trade Unions Major Group said the declaration should enshrine principles of mutual accountability, partnership, and the participation of both state and non-state actors.

A representative of the NGOs Major Group said success is linked to financing and depends on strong, open, accessible, and participatory review mechanisms. She stressed that children and young people need to be engaged in accountability mechanisms.

Switzerland spoke of the importance of monitoring and review, including creating incentives to participate and promote knowledge-sharing. He said the HLPF must be a key forum for a strong, qualitative review of progress on the SDGs.

Peru said because this will not be a legally-binding document, follow-up and review are very important.​

A representative of the Local Authorities Major Group called for the declaration to clearly define “good governance” by emphasizing the inclusive and participatory dimensions it should include.

A representative of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) stressed the need for civil society’s full participation at all levels, from the decision process to implementation, emphasizing the participation of women.

OUR COMMITMENT: In the discussion on “Our commitment,” a representative of the International Road Transport Union highlighted a global partnership for sustainable transport, to enhance sustainability of global supply chains.

Canada said the declaration should inspire action whether in “a village, city, classroom, boardroom, or legislature.” He said a framework of elements is necessary and should be made explicit in the declaration.

A representative of Red de Accion Mujeres por la Tierra y el Clima called for empowering women, who can guide local governments toward solutions to climate change.

A representative of the University of Cape Town said the declaration noted the role of science in identifying new technologies. She suggested that without “massive, broad-based expansion” of scientific and technological capacity, “the entire SDG framework will be in jeopardy.”

Closing the interactive dialogue, Donoghue said the Secretariat will provide a summary of the exchanges. Kamau observed that there had been a “healthy” divergence of views, and that interactive discussions allow for understanding the issues in new ways. He told Member States that their engagement in the dialogue had been “the best we’ve had so far.”


On Thursday afternoon, after reflecting on the “amazing conversation” during the interactive dialogue, Kamau introduced the “document without status” on the declaration that had been circulated to Member States on Thursday morning. Kamau encouraged a “free exchange of ideas” and diversity of voices.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, said they would need more time to coordinate among the Group’s members.

Guatemala stressed the importance of reducing inequality, and requested that references to economic growth stress “sustainable and shared prosperity.” He said the declaration must include strengthening institutions and the central role of the state, and supported including the six elements from the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report.

The Republic of Korea welcomed the inclusion of: governance; institutions; the rule of law; the Secretary-General’s six elements; and the inclusion of stakeholders. He said it should specifically mention the rights of persons with disabilities and the concept of “global citizenship.”

Nigeria called for the deletion of “all” in front of the mention of human rights, saying it makes the concept vague and subject to interpretation. He also said the principle of national policy space was missing.

Belize, for CARICOM, said the idea of a people-centered agenda must be ensured by emphasizing human potential. She said the declaration should not be a mere “PR campaign,” but called for the creation of a separate communications strategy.

Mexico said that a people-centered framework would give the agenda an innovative character, stressing the need to also speak about inequality when speaking about poverty. He underlined that MICs should warrant different treatment from countries in vulnerable situations, and noted the need to integrate migration in the declaration.

The EU observed that Secretary-General’s six elements could be “very useful” for framing the declaration and commended the references to: peaceful societies, rule of law and good governance; solidarity and shared responsibility; and leaving no one behind, including the poorest and most vulnerable groups. He noted that the text should emphasize policy coherence, enabling frameworks and the FfD3 outcome (as the basis for MOI), adding that CBDR applies only to environmental degradation and not to the entire global agenda.

Peru stressed the need for “as much predictability as possible” going forward in terms of the process. He identified as elements missing from the paper: respect for national policy space; culture as a catalyst for sustainable development; resilience; the multidimensionality of poverty; and migration.

Germany expressed his support for the Secretary-General’s six elements to frame the declaration, and expressed his preference for a more ambitious title. He said that the draft should capture the “new spirit” of the global partnership, which should be based on the principle of universality, shared responsibility, and mutual accountability.

Timor-Leste said the new document gave him confidence that the declaration can be short and still be inspiring. He called for adding the social dimension of sustainable development in the beginning, to reflect all three dimensions, and said all six elements are preferable to a few.

Paraguay suggested stating the UN Charter principles more clearly, and said the declaration should not be so short that it misses out on substance.

Switzerland called for strengthening the declaration’s references to the environmental dimension. He said the Secretary-General’s six elements could be phrased as actions: “put people at the center; leave no one behind; protect the planet.” He urged that the element on justice be retained.

Benin called for adding “sustainable, inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity,” noting that prosperity exists, but it is not shared. He also said the declaration should reflect the importance of agriculture, and that references to rule of law and good governance must include both the national and international levels.

The UK supported the use of footnotes, but said the declaration should be braver and more up front in framing the real changes the world hopes to achieve. He called for the document to more strongly convey the challenges that climate change presents for poverty eradication.

France said the declaration should speak to all stakeholders, actors, and everyone involved. Climate change should be placed at a high level in the document, he said, since this is key for many vulnerable countries.

Kazakhstan supported the inclusion of peaceful societies, gender, and climate change, and supported references to LLDCs and sustainable industrial development. 

The US called for building on the MDG experience, and elevating the main vision of poverty eradication. He said the declaration should mobilize political leaders and the global community, but should not attempt to elaborate everything.

Maldives stressed the need to address the concept of resilience to the draft.

Armenia identified a few elements as missing from the draft: addressing resilience; the link between international migration and development; the commitment to international cooperation; and the role of regional cooperation.

The Russian Federation stressed the need to make the title more concrete and specific. She expressed her support for the four elements proposed by Brazil to frame the declaration rather than Secretary-General’s six elements.

On Friday morning, the session began at 11:00 am to give governments more time to consider the document the Co-Facilitators had released on Thursday.

South Africa, for the G-77/China, cautioned against making pronouncements on the length of the declaration and said it must reflect the balance of the proposed SDGs and of sustainable development. He favored mentioning sovereignty, self-determination, SCP, and equality, and avoiding concepts that have not been universally negotiated. Stressing that accountability should be state-led and voluntary, he said the term “mutual accountability” is not applicable. MOI remains key for the Group, he said, and includes financial assistance, capacity building, technology transfer, and other systemic issues. 

Mozambique, for the African Group, said the text was overly tilted towards human rights, and it should instead state that poverty eradication is the greatest challenge facing the world. He called for an emphasis on industrialization, infrastructure, agriculture, and national policy space. FfD is “an independent process, and should be treated as such,” he stressed. He added that the unique opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the UN should be used to ensure peace and security and conflict prevention.

Norway commended the Secretary-General’s six elements as helpful for framing the declaration and suggested rephrasing them in a more action-oriented manner, while engaging the “broader public” in establishing the title. She called for a strong message on climate change and for a reference to making the UN fit for purpose.

Finland stressed that the novelty of the SDGs comes from eradicating poverty while promoting sustainable development and from reflecting universality. She stressed the challenge of communicating such a broad agenda and identified the Secretary-General’s six elements as a useful tool. Gender equality should be recognized both as a goal as well as a means to sustainable development, she added.

The Netherlands said the draft is a useful “terms of reference” for a speech writer who could come up with “really understandable and visionary” language. He proposed using footnotes to limit the declaration to 2-3 pages and using the Secretary-General’s six elements as an overarching way of communicating the agenda. He further called for including youth and children.

Japan called to avoid a “Christmas tree of agreed language” in the declaration. He emphasized the importance of people-centered perspectives, and supported adoption of the six elements. He added that differentiated capacities do not have the same meaning as CBDR.

Pakistan stressed the need for the declaration to include: sustained and inclusive economic growth and decent employment, people’s right to self-determination, and a strong role for the HLPF, with accountability extending to the MOI for the SDGs.

Germany said ownership of the agenda by national stakeholders is key. He urged specificity about the transformative nature of the agenda, and to use the phrase “transformation to sustainable development.” He also preferred the term “inclusive sustainable growth” instead of “sustained growth,” to reflect the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Denmark favored a reference to the importance of youth and children. He said the new aspects of the agenda—universality, transformative action and partnership—should be emphasized at the beginning of the declaration. He also called for acknowledging environmental degradation as a major challenge to poverty eradication and sustainable development.

Iceland called for stronger language on human rights, gender equality and the rule of law.

Latvia said the declaration should be short, concise, and transmit a clear and powerful message, while capturing the interlinkages between poverty eradication and sustainable development in its three dimensions. She also stressed that the role of local authorities and all stakeholders should be mentioned. 

Turkey said the motto of “no one left behind” should be the main message of the declaration, and that the Secretary-General’s six elements could be used as a communications tool. National ownership of the SDGs is critical, he said, and referencing MICs’ needs should not distract from the needs of other countries in special situations. Spain said the introduction should include a sentence on inequalities, eradication of extreme poverty, and ensuring sustainable development. As today’s challenges know no borders, he said, responsibility for them should also be shared.

Romania supported the Secretary-General’s six elements as a communication tool and proposed better articulating: the interlinkages between poverty eradication and sustainable development; universality; gender equality; policy coherence; more emphasis on environmental sustainability; and full respect for the principles of international law.

Iraq highlighted the importance of: reaffirming the link between peace, security and development; noting climate change and its adverse impacts; and providing basic services and infrastructure to the people.

Italy stressed the need to highlight the link between poverty eradication and sustainable development and to build a global partnership based on universality and shared responsibility.

Egypt said the FfD3 process is separate from the post-2015 development agenda and does not deal with its MOI. He called for replacing “common fundamental values” with the principles of the UN Charter. Egypt also cited an “over-emphasis” on Goal 16, called to address the trading system and other systemic issues, and supported using the “four Ps.”

Tunisia called for a reference to sustained, resilient economic growth, and stressed the links between sustainable development and peace and security.

Croatia said the agenda’s transformational character should be reflected as “securing a sustainable planet in all its biodiversity.” He added that gender equality, human rights, democratic governance and the rule of law should be more prominent in the declaration.

Costa Rica said human rights, eradicating inequalities, the cross-cutting issue of gender, vulnerable groups, and poverty should be included in the declaration.

Brazil said ICTs for development should be emphasized, along with creating conditions for inclusion and equality. The idea that targets will only be met if they are met by all would set an extremely high standard for developing countries, he said. He added that the idea of “leave no one behind” is silent on those who are “detrimentally ahead.”

Chile called for: highlighting the link between inequality and poverty and adding its multidimensional aspect; leaving the references to previous summits in the footnote; and adding resilience.

Luxembourg stressed the need to “focus on the unifying themes and not on topics that lead to divergence of opinions, such as CBDR.” She noted that gender must be a cross-cutting issue, adding that young people and children should be reflected in the documents.

Australia called for frontloading poverty in the declaration; strengthening the reference to inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity; and avoiding the replication of other aspects of the framework, such as the goals and targets or MOI.

Fiji observed convergence that the declaration must be “high-minded and aspirational,” and emphasized universality and the right to development. He also called for using the declaration as “leverage” to ensure a meaningful outcome from the climate change negotiations, saying the success of the post-2015 development agenda hinges on a strong climate agreement. He added that the post-2015 development agenda is about more than finances; it is also about transforming human behavior, which requires political will.

Benin called for qualifying “shared prosperity” with “through sustainable and inclusive industrialization.” He said “shared responsibility” could be acceptable if it refers to the differential and preferential treatment of LDCs. He also called for a reference to reclaiming degraded land and achieving a land-degradation neutral world.

Maldives, for AOSIS, emphasized the need to mainstream sustainable development at all levels, in a way that integrates its three dimensions. He suggested including resilience in the declaration, as well as recognition of the SAMOA Pathway and other inputs.

Austria favored the term “shared responsibility,” supported referring to youth employment and sustainable industrialization, and highlighted the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences” of nuclear weapons and the impacts on achieving sustainable development.

Ethiopia called for a stronger link between poverty eradication and industrialization, and said the concept of “shared responsibility” falsely suggests that all countries have an equal responsibility for “where the world is today.” He stressed that peace and security, rule of law, and governance should be given adequate treatment in the declaration.​

Bulgaria expressed support for the Secretary-General’s six elements to facilitate the communication of an “innovative and transformative” agenda, suggested finding better language to underline the connection between poverty eradication and sustainable development, and called for including the transformative role of culture.

Indonesia called for: highlighting the challenges posed by inequalities within and between countries; including policy space; adding CBDR to the fundamental values; and streamlining the paragraph on the rule of law and peaceful societies.

India said the declaration shouldn’t be simplified to the extent that is understandable only to a 13-year-old, as communicability should come at the cost of substance. He favored the four “Ps” proposed by Brazil, which contain three for the three dimensions of sustainable development and one for MOI. He explained that “universality” means that developed countries will be held accountable for the first time for their actions, and therefore is not inconsistent with CBDR.

Canada underscored the need to focus on: the poorest and most vulnerable; women as innovators and leaders; sustainable economic growth as a key driver or poverty eradication; and women’s and children’s health. He suggested holding a dedicated informal discussion on how to incorporate the six elements from the Synthesis Report.

China said the declaration should call for an international enabling environment, and not conditions, for sustainable economic growth. She preferred to highlight poverty eradication as the greatest global challenge, and to avoid listing other challenges. She also cautioned against a general discussion of UN reform, but supported strengthening the HLPF.

São Tome and Principe said the declaration should define health as “physical and mental health and well-being.”

Saudi Arabia said that the concept of “shared responsibility” must not be mentioned. He called for the inclusion of material only from past intergovernmental processes.

Greece called for the promotion of rule of law, good governance, and building peaceful and inclusive societies. Climate action must be given more emphasis, he said, and the global partnership must mobilize resources at all levels. 

Bangladesh said a cogent, brief narrative is needed in the declaration to connect with ordinary people. He said elements of population dynamics, mobility, connectivity, information and communication technologies for development, and regional cooperation should be included, along with a wider reference to resilience.

Argentina called for: integrating CBDR in the paragraph that highlights the guiding values of the declaration; reforming the UN system; and adding reference to increased representation of developing countries in the international governance structures. He also expressed concern about mutual accountability at all levels and about using the Secretary-General’s six elements to frame the declaration.

Rwanda noted that enhancing technology transfer is crucial for developing countries in leapfrogging some stages of development and that supporting states’ budgets for setting national priorities is necessary so as not to leave anyone behind. She further called for highlighting national ownership, women’s empowerment, and infrastructure development.

Cyprus stressed the need for more emphasis on universality and sustainability, both in the title and in the declaration, as “these are the innovative aspects of the agenda.” She highlighted that economic growth should not be only “sustained” but “inclusive” and “sustainable,” called for “full respect” of international law, and expressed her support for the Secretary-General’s six elements to communicate the agenda.

Cameroon recommended: caution when highlighting the fundamental values of the UN; sticking to the principles of the UN Charter; avoiding mention of human rights, as “the rights-based approach has not enjoyed consensus in this forum;”  highlighting the importance of national policy space; and using the four “Ps” proposed by Brazil to frame the declaration.

Iran said the declaration should encourage all countries to engage in the process, and foster a sense of cooperation. He suggested clearly defining the Global Partnership for Development and including its main elements in the declaration.

Papua New Guinea cautioned against devaluing any of the SDGs. He supported including children and youth as “the torchbearers of the SDGs.” He firmly supported the reference to peaceful and inclusive societies, governance and institutions and the rule of law.

Morocco said the declaration should stress that technology is a global opportunity, which he said was minimized in the draft.

Monaco emphasized the contribution of sports for peace and development.

Sudan called for a concise, visionary, and inspirational declaration that balances a “crucial” emphasis on the eradication of poverty and hunger. She called for a greater role of the UN in implementing the agenda.

The Philippines said the declaration should appeal to a broad range of stakeholders to inspire them towards action. He called for stronger language on issues of inequality, poverty, resilience, and environmental degradation.

New Zealand said the final declaration should not exceed two pages, and encouraged delegates to “let the poets within us come into this process.” She said it should also mention the need to ensure all groups are included.

Azerbaijan highlighted the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful means. She said the declaration could be shaped around the building blocks of security, respect for international law, and development.

Israel highlighted resilience, and expressed support for reframing the six essential elements as actions.

Paraguay asked to refer to specific measures for countries in special situations, and to move the reference to CBDR to earlier in the document.

Chad said the economic dimension of sustainable development must be recognized as including industrialization, job creation, poverty reduction, infrastructure and technology. He also highlighted the links between peace, security and development. He noted lack of agreement over using the six essential elements.

Panama stressed the need to speak to “each and every one of the 7 billion in the world.” He said the first paragraph represents the “what,” paragraphs 2 and 3 the “why,” and paragraphs 6-12 the “how.” He recommended footnoting the relevant documents, and suggested gender equality be treated as a cross-cutting issue.

Sierra Leone said the declaration is “the billboard of the SDGs” and recommended using the six pillars of the Common African Position, the IPOA principles, or the Secretary-General’s six elements to frame it. He further stressed the importance of peace and security, and of a robust mechanism for follow-up and review.

Ecuador expressed concern that the concepts of governance and rule of law were reflected in a biased way, and should account for the importance of international governance. He called for integrated SCP, culture, and the rights of indigenous people and migrants in the text.

El Salvador said the declaration: should be people-centered; combat poverty and inequality; reflect CBDR; integrate culture as a catalyst for sustainable development; and include resilience and the rights of migrants and indigenous peoples.

Peru said the declaration should convey the balance between the three pillars of sustainable development and have as many paragraphs as necessary. He expressed support for the Secretary-General’s six elements for framing it, recommended replacing “shared responsibility” with CBDR, and including culture, resilience, and the rights of migrants and indigenous people.

Colombia said SCP is key and should appear in the first paragraphs. On the criteria that “no target shall be considered met unless met for all relevant social and economic groups,” she suggested finding a formulation that is less stringent, and more functional for statistics institutes.

Uruguay supported a reference to “all human rights.” She said the declaration must address gender and women’s empowerment, ideally in a stand-alone paragraph. Uruguay callr a paragraph on MICs.

Palestine said foreign occupation is a well-known barrier to sustainable development, and should be covered in clear, explicit and unambiguous terms in the declaration.

Zambia, for the LLDCs, said the declaration must recognize the needs and challenges of countries in special situations. She added that the title proposed in the Co-Facilitators’ document, “Transforming Our World – A Global Call to Action,” should end with “for development.”

Venezuela said the declaration should include social development and well-being, should strengthen the matter of combating inequality, and should include a stronger reference to CBDR.

Algeria agreed that the document needs to be concise, but should not run the risk of not covering all of the important issues at hand. The unfinished business of the MDGs, as well as the lessons learned from them, should also be covered.


Co-Facilitator Kamau took the floor to explain the status of the discussion document, which, he stressed, would have no status going forward. He said a complete zero draft of all of the post-2015 elements would be available in April 2015.

Co-Facilitator Donoghue added that the discussion document had drawn delegations into a clearer and sharper debate on what might be in the declaration. He said the discussion had indicated both where convergence seemed possible, and where it is less likely.

Regarding the next steps, the Co-Facilitators said the March session of the intergovernmental negotiations—focusing on the SDGs, targets, and indicators—will discuss input received following the 46th Session of the UN Statistical Commission. It will include a presentation on indicators, debate and discussion, a dialogue with stakeholders, and a discussion about the April session, which will take up Means of Implementation and Global Partnership.

The Co-Facilitators agreed to produce a “stocktaking summary” of the week’s discussions and adjourned the meeting at 6:02 pm.


The second session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda opened on a somber note, after recent attacks on citizens of Denmark and Egypt. Co-Facilitator Macharia Kamau shared condolences, and reflected on the links between terrorism and the challenges of sustainable development, urging delegates to reach an understanding of “how we wish to break with the past.… We need a declaration that is visionary about a different future for us, where what has happened in Libya to Egyptian Christians, in Paris, Copenhagen, Northern Kenya, and Nigeria becomes a thing of the past.”

Throughout the week’s discussions, numerous delegations expressed their shared grieving for the violence. Where sentiments diverged, however, was in how to move away from the past, and how a transformed world should look.

This brief analysis examines the week’s discussions in terms of the purpose of the declaration, the use of language, and the vision for the future, as it will be embodied in the post-2015 development agenda.


As delegates said on multiple occasions, they hoped the post-2015 development agenda would be able to reach out and inspire the world. Some, seeing the declaration as the last chance to make a large and unwieldy agenda concise and understandable, called for creative new approaches to its formulation. Sierra Leone set a high bar, noting that the declaration could be “the billboard of the SDGs.” The Netherlands hoped that his 13-year-old daughter would be able to relate to more simple language in the declaration, and suggested that a group of young people be involved in “proofing” it for their generation. Delegates supported calls to crowd-source the title of the declaration in order to reach out to the wider public, and many called for strict page limits and the use of footnotes as a check on length.

However, not everyone agreed with this interpretation of the declaration’s intent. The Maldives, for one, cautioned that the use of the word “simple” might detract from the complex, multi-dimensional issues present in the agenda, and others commented that the declaration must not only be understandable to 13-year old readers. “This should not be a mere PR campaign,” stressed Belize. CARICOM suggested a solution to this problem in the creation of a separate, robust communications strategy for the post-2015 agenda tailored to different forms of media.

Although many governments stressed the value of a concise framework for communicating a complex agenda, some expressed concern that it could represent or lead to a shrinking of ambition from the full breadth of the 17 SDGs.

At times over the four days, the meeting room seemed to have given way to a brainstorming session between creative writers. “We must let the poets within all of us come into this room,” expounded the New Zealand delegate. This inspired atmosphere did not appeal to those delegates itching for political contests, however. “This is so boring,” said one delegate. “None of it really matters until we have a zero draft to fight over.”


Breaking with the past was also a theme in delegates’ exploration of language to be used in the declaration. Many seemed to embrace the idea of “fresh thinking” about language as a tool for innovation. The Netherlands suggested that a professional speechwriter could help craft visionary language, and Japan called for avoiding a “Christmas tree of agreed language” in the declaration. A suggestion that found favor was to use footnotes to reference agreed outcomes and commitments, in order to keep the text flowing, brief and accessible.

Others were determined to protect the ground gained through hard-fought, historical agreements over terminology. They stressed the need to preserve the formulation of the OWG and Rio+20 outcomes, cautioning against “taking liberties with carefully balanced language.” South Africa, for the G-77/China, specifically cautioned to avoid concepts that have not been universally negotiated, some of which were introduced into the elements paper and/or discussion document.

These concepts included “just societies,” “institutional failures” and “environmental stewardship.” Another, “shared responsibility,” was also discussed during the meeting. “Shared responsibility” seemed to be an attempt to reflect the innovative character of the agenda, in Finland’s words, “by all for all.” While some explained this phrase as welcoming partnership with civil society and the private sector to help with implementation where it would not otherwise be possible, others expressed wariness about holding developing countries responsible for a global situation they did not cause. These delegations stressed the importance of differentiation and “timeless principles,” and called for replacing “shared” with “common but differentiated” responsibilities.


This meeting marked the first formal chance in this process for governments to paint their respective pictures of the world of 2030, and to find out whether their inspirations and ideas were shared by others. The calls for the agenda to be “transformative” were truly countless, and governments’ visions for the transformative world seemed inspiring to many. But there was still a lack of consensus on the ways the new agenda should diverge from the past.

The concept of “leaving no one behind” was central to the discussion on vision. In fact, at least two delegations suggested that phrase could serve as the title to the declaration. This concept seemed to appeal, at least in spirit, to almost everyone, as representing a clear break from the past. However, while there was support for the concept, there was less agreement on its operationalization.

For example, leaving no one behind would entail collecting much more disaggregated data to make sure that those most likely to be left behind could be identified, and policies could be designed to meet their needs. The statistical questions are one challenge facing the adoption of such a lofty goal, stressed some.

Another challenge is whether the objective is to leave behind no country, or no person, and how to avoid the pitfall of averages. Countries in special situations stressed that they are the ones who must not be left behind on the sustainable development path, while representatives of excluded social groups―migrants, the aging, farmers, indigenous people, women and girls, and people with disabilities―highlighted how the most vulnerable within a country are the most likely to be left behind. SIDS have pointed to rising sea levels as a concrete way in which they are about to be literally left behind.

A third way that “leaving no one behind” falls short as a vision for some is by not fully addressing inequality. MICs, for example, are concerned they would receive less ODA if the agenda shifts to a focus on the poorest. As Brazil suggested, what would be truly transformative about the agenda would be to address inequality between not just the poorest and those in the middle (average), but also between the richest and the rest of the world.

A second lens through which the agenda can be seen as potentially transformative is the relationship between poverty eradication and sustainable development. Are they interdependent, as Sweden and others asserted? If governments agree that they are, it will represent a marked change from the past, and pave the way for governments to reorganize themselves along an integrated agenda. But many governments preferred to speak of sustainable development as a strategy for achieving poverty eradication, making the latter the overarching objective of the new agenda. Delegates and observers wondered if these different visions could be reconciled into a single agenda, or if they are essentially divergent?


This week’s discussions took up the “why” of the post-2015 development agenda—what is it all for? The meeting in March will turn to the “what”—the goals and targets and, as indicated in the briefing with the Statistics Division on Wednesday afternoon, indicators, which will be a prominent part of the discussion. Delegations and stakeholders are also looking ahead to the April session on means of implementation and the global partnership – the “how” of implementing the post-2015 development agenda that is ultimately adopted.

As the negotiating process turns from the broadest, most ideal visions for the world of 2030, to the more specific details of how it will be realized, the new agenda will begin to face its true test. Can governments reach agreement on a post-2015 development agenda that leaves behind the international community’s record of partial gains amid escalating global challenges? The challenge remains for governments to agree both on the transformed world they want, decide how to express it, and inspire its realization.


High-level Thematic Debate on Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice and the Post-2015 Agenda: This debate will discuss the linkages between crime prevention, criminal justice and sustainable development within the context of the post-2015 agenda.  date: 25 February 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the UNGA  www:  

46th Session of the UN Statistical Commission: The 46th Session of the UN Statistical Commission (UNSC) will agree on modalities for the development of the indicator framework for the post-2015 development agenda, among other agenda items. The UNSC’s Friends of the Chair Group on broader measures of progress is expected to prepare and guide discussions on the development and implementation of the framework.  dates: 3-6 March 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UNSC  email: www:

Regional Dialogue on Sustainability Science Policy to Support the Post-2015 Development Agenda: This regional workshop will focus on how sustainability science can address economy-environment interactions and contribute to sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region. The workshop is expected to develop: a policy paper and strategy for the next ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology 2016-2020; and a regional framework and tools to implement sustainability science. dates: 4-6 March 2015  location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  contact: Rahmah Elfithri  email:  www:

UNGA High-Level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: This thematic debate will focus on measures to advance gender equality and women’s economic and political empowerment at all levels, including education. date: 6 March 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the UNGA  www:  

59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women: This meeting will focus on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The session will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.  dates: 9-20 March 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Women  phone: +1-646-781-4400  fax: +1-646-781-4444   www:

UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction: The third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be hosted by the Government of Japan and organized by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). Participants are expected to agree a post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. dates: 14-18 March 2015  location: Sendai, Japan  contact: Ms. Elena Dokhlik, UNISDR  phone: +41-22-91-78861  fax: +41-22-73-39531  email: www:  

Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, which will prepare for the UN Summit, will hold the following sessions:  23-27 March (SDGs and targets); 20-24 April (MOI and Global Partnership for Sustainable Development); 18-22 May (Follow up and review); and 22-25 June, 20-24 July, and 27-31 July (intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document). location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  phone: +1-212-963-8102  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

ECOSOC Integration Segment 2015: The 2015 Economic and Social Council Integration Segment will bring together Heads of State and Government, ministers, governors, mayors, the UN system, the tripartite constituents of the International Labour Organization, civil society, academia and the private sector. The segment will focus on “achieving sustainable development through employment creation and decent work for all.”  dates: 30 March - 1 April 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination  phone: +1-212-963-8415  fax: +1-212-963-1712  email:  www:  

DCF Republic of Korea High-level Symposium: The Symposium is the first high-level preparatory event for the 2016 Development Cooperation Forum and will be co-organized by the Republic of Korea and UN DESA. It will focus on how to bring together commitments on financing and other means of implementation from the Monterrey and Rio processes. dates: 8-10 April 2015  location: Incheon, Republic of Korea  contact: Ms. Caroline Lombardo, UN DESA  phone: +1-917-367-9212 www:

FfD Hearings with Civil Society and Business Sector: As part of the preparatory process for FfD3, hearings with civil society and the business sector will be hosted by the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly, with support from the Financing for Development Office and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS). dates: 8-9 April 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Susan Alzner, NGLS  phone: +1-212-963-3125  email:  www:

Second drafting session of the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The second drafting session of the outcome document for FfD3 will take place in April. dates: 13-17 April 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Financing for Development Office  phone: +1-212-963-4598  email: www: 

Third drafting session of the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The third drafting session of the outcome document for FfD3 will take place in June. dates: 15-19 June 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Financing for Development Office  phone: +1-212-963-4598  email: www: 

Third Meeting of the High-level Political Forum: The third meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 3), which will take place under the auspices of ECOSOC, will focus on the theme, “Strengthening integration, implementation and review - the HLPF after 2015.” The HLPF is mandated to meet every year under the auspices of ECOSOC and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. dates: 26 June - 8 July 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held at the highest possible political level, including Heads of State or Government, relevant ministers―ministers for finance, foreign affairs and development cooperation―and other special representatives. The conference will result both in an intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome and in summaries of the plenary meetings and other deliberations of the Conference, to be included in the report of the Conference.  dates: 13-16 July 2015  location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  contact: UN Financing for Development Office  phone: +1-212-963-4598  email: www:  

UN Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The summit is expected to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, including: a declaration; a set of Sustainable Development Goals, targets, and indicators; their means of implementation and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation.  dates: 25-27 September 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

For additional meetings, see

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <> is written and edited by Ana Maria Lebada, Faye Leone and Kate Offerdahl. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV and DG-CLIMATE), the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)), and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. General Support for the Bulletin during 2015 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Wallonia, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 320 E 46TH ST., APT 32A, NEW YORK, NY 10017-3037, USA.

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