On Monday morning, 19 January 2015, Sam Kutesa, President of the UN General Assembly, opened the Stocktaking Session for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, reminding delegates of their responsibility to finalize the agenda on a strict timeline so that Heads of State and Government can adopt it in September 2015. He said the SDGs, a key component of the agenda, are designed to be “holistic, universal, and applicable to all countries, taking into account national circumstances and levels of development.” Given the technical nature of developing indicators, he noted that the UN Statistical Commission has been requested to coordinate work on developing them, which it will then present to Member States.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that, while Member States have the opportunity and responsibility to craft a vision for 2030, he hoped that his Synthesis Report, which was released in December 2014, could help frame and bring clarity to the process. He highlighted three meetings in 2015 that will “usher in a new era of sustainable development”: the third Financing for Development (FfD 3) meeting in July; the post-2015 Summit in September; and the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. He closed noting that, “Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations, we must answer the call of shared prosperity and a sustainable future for all.”
The stocktaking session also heard statements by ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik and Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya and Co-Facilitator of post-2015 negotiations. In a keynote speech during the morning session, Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development, suggested that Member States should add a 170th target, using each country’s median income as a measure for economic growth and equality. Andrew Scott, Overseas Development Institute, offered remarks on goals and targets in the afternoon, and approximately 50 delegates made statements on their preferred directions for the SDGs, political declaration, means of implementation and follow-up and review systems, the four expected components of the post-2015 development agenda.