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Summary report, 19–21 January 2015

1st Session of the Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations

The first intergovernmental negotiation on the post-2015 development agenda convened from 19-21 January 2015 at UN Headquarters in New York to conduct a “stocktaking” of the preparations for a new global sustainable development agenda, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. This was the first of eight scheduled sessions, co-facilitated by Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya, and David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, to prepare the outcome that will be adopted at the UN Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in September 2015.

The new global development agenda is anticipated to comprise four elements: a declaration; a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets, and indicators; their means of implementation (MOI) and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation. Speakers at the stocktaking session, from the opening statements by the UN Secretary-General, President of the General Assembly and President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to government delegates and representatives of Major Groups and other stakeholders, addressed each of these four elements and recalled the commitments that had brought the intergovernmental decision-making process to this point. Delegates emphasized the opportunity that this process provides to establish a robust, effective development agenda based on global partnership and shared responsibility. The discussions revealed a great deal of support for the proposal of SDGs that the Open Working Group (OWG) developed in 2014, as well as anticipation for the Third Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3). On other issues, the discussions revealed that a range of options will need to be taken into account as delegates reconvene in the coming months, with an eye towards agreement on the post-2015 development agenda at the 25-27 September 2015 Summit.


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, and agreed to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs. The Rio+20 outcome called for establishing an 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 (UNGA) 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 of the event calls 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 of 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.

HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM (HLPF) ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The outcome document from Rio+20 also called for the establishment of the HLPF to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development and follow-up on the implementation of sustainable development. The HLPF meets under the auspices of ECOSOC every year, and once every four years under the auspices of the UNGA. The first two sessions of the HLPF addressed the following themes: “Building the future we want from Rio+20 to the post-2015 development agenda” and “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

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,” 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.

Meeting 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 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.


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. He reminded 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, should be designed to be “holistic, universal, and applicable to all countries, taking into account national circumstances and levels of development.” Kutesa called for an agenda that puts people at the center, responds to and meets people’s needs and expectations, and protects our planet for current and future generations He said the UN Statistical Commission has been requested to coordinate work on developing indicators.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed that never before have such broad efforts to include the global public in development been conducted. Saying that Member States have the opportunity and responsibility to craft a vision for 2030, he expressed hope that his Synthesis Report could help frame the process. He highlighted three meetings in 2015 that will “usher in a new era of sustainable development”: the FfD3 conference in July; the post-2015 summit in September; and the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. Ban stressed the need for global citizenship, foresight, moral courage and political leadership in the year ahead. “Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations,” he said, “we must answer the call of shared prosperity and a sustainable future for all.”

ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik said the follow-up and review arrangements for the post-2015 development agenda should emphasize the national level, with links to global and regional frameworks, building on the experience gained from the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) other mechanisms. He said partnerships should be driven by national leadership and be inclusive of all stakeholders, and that South-South cooperation will be a cornerstone of realizing the new agenda. Calling ECOSOC “the partner for the partners,” he said it can foster partnerships that are well-designed, well-funded, and receive broad political support. Sajdik added that communication of the new development agenda should be a central topic of the HLPF.


Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya and Co-Facilitator, said the post-2015 negotiations culminate several years of work. Among the results to date, he highlighted the Open Working Group’s proposal on SDGs and targets, reports on sustainable development financing and technology facilitation, the “transformative shifts” called for by the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, an expert report on the data revolution, citizens’ priorities identified by the MYWorld initiative, and the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report. Kamau called on Member States to indicate both broad outlines and detailed priorities for what should be included in the post-2015 development agenda. He also asked for views on how to make any “course corrections” that may be needed over the next 15 years.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Nancy Birdsall, Center for Global Development, suggested that Member States should add a 170th target to the SDGs, using each country’s median income as a measure for economic growth and equality. She said this measurement would be simple, accessible, and durable and would be sensitive to growth without equitable benefits within a country.

STATEMENTS: During the discussion on Monday, delegations offered their comments on the overall post-2015 development agenda process.

South Africa, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), said the process should be guided by a vision of transformation, and stressed his Group’s commitment to ensure the right to development for everyone. He said future post-2015 meetings should: be intergovernmental and transparent; respect the UN General Assembly and ECOSOC rules; and be based on an initial draft outcome document. He said guiding principles for the discussion should include the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, international law, and full respect for all Rio principles, especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). He added that the post-2015 outcome documents should be prefaced with a declaration that sets the tone for the new agenda.

Morocco, on behalf of the African Group, said the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report could serve as an inspiration, but should not constitute the basis for the intergovernmental negotiations. He stressed the African Group’s belief that the goals and targets proposed by the OWG should be accompanied by a political declaration, and that the basis of the post-2015 agenda should be broader than the MDGs. Stressing the importance of a new phase of international cooperation based on CBDR, he also said implementation of the agenda depends on a strong outcome of FfD3. The African Group also stressed that the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda must be instrumental in the negotiations.

The European Union (EU) stressed that the post-2015 agenda should address the major issues facing the world today in a transformative manner. He said the private sector and civil society have key roles to play in the implementation of the agenda, and new and emerging actors should “contribute their fair share.” He called for the preparations for post-2015 and FfD3 to be compatible and to create a policy framework conducive to success for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Belize, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), called for: linking the global development agenda to regional agendas; deepening regional integration efforts; a concise, visionary declaration that speaks to the importance of all aspects of the post-2015 development agenda; and preserving the integrity of the OWG proposal on SDGs. On means of implementation, she suggested an emphasis on development, providing the resources to enable implementation of the agenda, and supporting national statistical offices to participate in monitoring, evaluation and review.

Benin, for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), said the new agenda should seek to end poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and address climate change. He called for preserving the OWG proposal’s references to the eight priority areas from the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA), and said there are no goals or targets that can be discarded. He also urged FfD3 to articulate strengthened global partnerships for development, and secure the sustainable achievement of goals and targets.

Yemen, for the Arab States, emphasized the interdependence of peace, security and development, noting the continued regional impacts of foreign occupation and terrorism. He expressed concern about reduced official development assistance (ODA), and called for an increase in the percentage of gross national income (GNI) for ODA from 0.7% to 1.0%. He also said the group endorses an international mechanism to facilitate transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

Maldives, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), stressed the need for, inter alia, a robust global follow-up system that incorporates a role for the HLPF and specific attention to the unique needs of small island developing States (SIDS).

Tonga, for the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), said the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway should be incorporated as an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda, and the high-level political statement will set the tone for the post-2015 agenda and should recognize national and regional circumstances.

Egypt suggested increasing the targeted percentage of GNI for ODA to one percent, said the causes and roots of terrorism must be addressed in order to achieve peace, and requested a “zero draft” document, which he said should evolve with the negotiations.

Turkey said the SDGs should go beyond the MDGs to address global challenges that require urgent action. He offered to host a technology bank and science-technology-innovation mechanisms for LDCs in Turkey. He stressed that development issues, the role of the private sector, and a dialogue with the UN on global economic matters will feature on the G20 agenda during Turkey’s presidency in 2015.

The Republic of Korea welcomed the six elements proposed in the Synthesis Report. He said both people and planet must be at the heart of the agenda, while resonating throughout the goals and declaration. He called for ensuring the sustained participation of all stakeholders in the negotiations.

China said the post-2015 agenda should be based on the OWG report, following the principle of CBDR, and focus on the theme of development to avoid getting sidetracked by too many issues. He called for a strong implementation mechanism and means of implementation with developed countries honoring ODA commitments. He said the post-2015 agenda should strengthen implementation and oversight on means of implementation, rather than establishing country-specific monitoring agendas or indicators.

Niger, for the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), said the post-2015 development agenda should provide a blueprint to promote the right to sustainable, inclusive growth and poverty eradication. He underscored the need to integrate the Vienna Programme of Action (VPOA) for Landlocked Developing Countries in the agenda, and the importance of a renewed and strengthened partnership for development.

Pakistan announced that over 30 Member States have formed a Group of Friends for Children to advocate for children’s rights in upcoming negotiations. Investing in children is not just smart economics, but also smart politics and a moral obligation; it should be a strategic basis both for the post-2015 development agenda and FfD3, he said.

Sudan emphasized ODA as a primary source of financing and called for reforming the international financial system. The declaration, he said, should focus on economic development issues and the SDGs, as well as how to create an international environment suitable to achieve objectives.

Nigeria said the post-2015 development agenda must account for the aspirations and dreams of the least privileged members of society, and it must also account for all Rio principles, especially CBDR. He added that the agenda must provide sufficient space to realize different national priorities, and be ambitious in allocating resources for implementation.

Mongolia said poverty eradication must be the overarching objective of sustainable development, and growth alone does not necessarily enable everyone to participate or benefit. He supported the HLPF serving as the main platform for reviewing and monitoring the SDGs, ensuring coordination and coherence, and advancing poverty eradication and sustainable development. He added that the post-2015 agenda should clearly reflect the special development needs of LDCs.

The Russian Federation noted an “indivisible link” between goals and targets. She said a technical review should not lead to losing any targets or categorizing them as indicators; rather, it should ensure alignment with existing and internationally agreed commitments, standards and agreements. She said the declaration should reflect continuity between the MDGs and SDGs.

Hungary said the SDGs represent a carefully crafted package that was the outcome of a meaningful political deal, and indicators need to be identified and defined.

Paraguay called attention to linkages with the VPOA on LLDCs, which was adopted in November 2014, and suggested adopting a common but differentiated approach to trade.

New Zealand said the essential elements proposed by the Secretary-General provide a useful way of framing the SDGs. She said the challenge now is to select targets for each goal, adding that they must be measurable and accompanied by indicators.

Sri Lanka said the unfinished business of the MDGs, and the lives of millions on Earth, cannot be ignored and poverty alleviation must remain at the center of the agenda. He called for the post-2015 declaration to be based on the outcome documents from Rio+20 and the OWG, and reiterated calls for the participation of experts in the negotiations.

Bhutan called the OWG proposal an “ambitious and comprehensive set of SDGs” that, if implemented fully, can help realize a transformative agenda. He stressed the need for a renewed and strengthened global partnership utilizing the full range of partnerships available, but keeping the focus on developing countries. He specifically emphasized the need for predictability in the availability of resources.

Botswana said the pursuit of social and economic development should strike a balance with the need to preserve biodiversity, by prioritizing key areas that can uplift many citizens of the world. He emphasized the need for the international community to increase support to LLDCs. 

Indonesia described the post-2015 development agenda as the continuation of the MDGs, but “new and improved,” on areas such as production and economic development. He called for further discussion on technology facilitation, and said the work on indicators should go through the intergovernmental process, and not create further burdens for developing countries.

India said the “primary touchstone” for the agenda will be growth and development. He opposed renegotiating the OWG outcome, “either directly or indirectly,” and said the only question now is how the SDGs will be integrated into the agenda. He noted the historically high ambition of the agenda, and asked whether it will be matched with the conditions to achieve it. He said the agenda should be built around universality of issues and differentiation of actions.

Mexico said the new agenda is one of economic and social inclusion, and understanding of the multidimensional nature of poverty. He said it seeks not just sustainable development but also development that can be maintained over time. Mexico also paid tribute to civil society’s role in the process.

The US called for an agenda that is practical, drives action, and can be understood by citizens around the world. He outlined priorities of ending extreme poverty, reducing inequality, tackling environmental sustainability, empowering women and girls, and mobilizing the talents and resources of a multitude of actors. On process, he stressed: using evidence as a guide; avoiding duplication with other processes; and flexibility.

Croatia called for the maintenance of peace and security, human rights, and rule of law for development. He supported the transformative and universal nature of the future SDGs.

Canada said the Secretary-General’s six elements offer a good basis for framing the declaration, and reminded delegates of the mandate from Rio+20 to form goals and targets that are easy to communicate and limited in number. He said a technical review, hearing from experts, and engaging stakeholders will be key for their deliberations.

Japan called for engaging stakeholders on the ground, avoiding duplication with other processes, and ensuring evidence-based negotiations by inviting input from experts on technical issues. He called for further discussion on the declaration, monitoring and review, and global partnership before beginning negotiation on these issues, and called for technical work on indicators to be shared with Member States in a transparent manner. The goals and targets, he said, should be reviewed in light of the progress made since the end of the OWG.

Referring to lessons learned from the MDG process, Nicaragua cautioned against agreeing to an agenda without ensuring means for implementing all of its goals and targets. He also welcomed increased participation of the private sector “as a socially responsible partner” to deliver economic sustainability.

Bangladesh supported leaving the OWG proposal as is, while it could be revisited for fine-turning later, if time permits. He said the post-2015 development agenda should be development-centered, with poverty eradication at its core. Noting the six essential elements identified in the Synthesis Report, he said “the form should not compromise the substance.”

Qatar underlined poverty eradication, quality education, and empowering all classes of society as important in the post-2015 development agenda. She called for overcoming challenges of climate change, desertification, and land degradation, to create an environment conducive to sustainable development.

Slovenia supported coordination between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes, said joint sessions would be a good way to accomplish this, and emphasized the need for a robust monitoring mechanism for the agenda.

Switzerland welcomed the intention to use inclusive and flexible working methods, and said the Co-Facilitators should be the “pen holders.” He said: the OWG’s proposed goals and targets should not be the subject of new negotiations; the indicators need to be drafted by experts and not negotiated, although they should be based on an agreed, conceptual framework; and there should be a coherent approach between the post-2015, FfD3 and HLPF meetings.

Panama called for the process to be inclusive and championed by the people in order to lead to transformative change, and for a people-centered agenda that focuses on the most vulnerable groups.

Lebanon reflected on the impact of the crisis in Syria on its development, and called on the international community to provide full support to the host countries of refugees.

Australia stressed poverty eradication and sustained economic growth as the priorities of the development agenda. She called for: the declaration to be succinct and inspiring; the targets to be quantitative, measurable, and consistent with existing commitments; and a technical review of targets guided by clear criteria.

Brazil called for continuing an open, transparent and inclusive process, involving all stakeholders, and called on the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) to support the inclusion of voicesfrom the Global South; and for finance, technology and capacity building “commensurate with the level of ambition” of the agenda. Brazil said the essential elements in the Secretary-General’s synthesis report do not add clarity, but pose “an extra layer of concepts” whose link to the SDGs or sustainable development itself is not clear. He called for adopting the SDGs right away and focusing on how to integrate them into the agenda. Brazil said the “technical proofing” of SDG targets must be based on criteria agreed by Member States, and avoid lowering ambition. Finally, he said Member States must examine the work of the UN Statistical Commission, which he pointed out has only 24 members, and provide guidance on its proposals and recommendations.

Viet Nam called for a more robust global partnership for sustainable development, with emphasis on creating an enabling environment for trade, investment financing and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. She also asked the Co-Facilitators to provide a clear roadmap of the process between now and the May 2015 presentation of a zero draft of the agenda.

Norway called for an outcome with, inter alia: a visionary political declaration that is based on fundamental principles of human dignity and is human-centered and planet-sensitive; a renewed global partnership and range of MOI that draws on all resources and is coordinated with the FfD3 process; and robust, well-designed mechanisms for follow-up and review.

The UK said: the proposal from the OWG is the main basis for the SDGs and its careful balance must be preserved; countries should not pick and choose among the SDGs, but should implement them all; targets should be robust, simple, measurable, and empower citizens to hold their governments to account; and his country is committed to the 0.7% ODA target.

France said the OWG’s recommendations represent a complex balance. He expressed reservations about a technical review of targets, and stressed full transparency. He called for preserving the spirit of the OWG with participation of all stakeholders.

Cameroon said the chapeau of the OWG’s report, along with the outcome of Rio+20, is a good starting point for the declaration, and the SDGs must not be reopened or renegotiated. He called for CBDR to remain a central concern in FfD3, and the issues of means of implementation should not be deferred to the FfD3 negotiations. 

Colombia said the OWG report should serve as the foundation for the targets and indicators of the post-2015 agenda. She said her country is already adjusting national planning to respond to the outcome of the post-2015 process, and stressed the urgency of addressing inequality and environmental sustainability.

Liechtenstein called for an agenda that is ambitious and transformative at every level, for coherence with other relevant processes, and for an effective review mechanism. 

Nepal said the new agenda must integrate the IPOA, VPOA, and the SAMOA Pathway. He said the OWG proposal should form the main basis of discussions in the intergovernmental negotiations, and the FfD process must provide important inputs. He said developing indicators is highly technical and must be carried out in close consultation with Member States. He also said graduation for LDCs, including SIDS, must be “realistic.”

Ethiopia called for a “paradigm change” in international cooperation, inter alia, to reverse the recent downward trend in ODA. Echoing the Secretary-General’s comment in the opening session on the need for concrete, ambitious MOI, he said the needed paradigm change is why the success of the post-2015 development agenda is contingent on the outcome of FfD3.

Rwanda noted its desire for a human-centered agenda that leaves nobody behind. She said countries in special situations need additional funding, and supported the use of a variety of sources to complement mobilization of domestic funds.

Lesotho said the special development needs of LLDCs should be recognized, a one-size-fits-all approach is not practical, and the post-2015 agenda will not achieve its desired impact without ambition.

Tanzania emphasized the need for institutional reform and for political decisions to change institutional structures, and suggested that the FfD3 meeting should help establish a new intergovernmental body on international tax matters.

Saudi Arabia said the post-2015 outcome should be voluntary in nature, and not mandatory, so as to encourage countries to participate. He said the agenda should be built on the preamble agreed on the report of the OWG, especially the principle of CBDR.

Sweden wished to safeguard the substance in the OWG report, and to strengthen the agenda while making it more implementable. To ensure success, she said ambitious MOI commitments and the gender equality and climate aspects are central. 

Belarus, for the Group of Friends of the Family, stressed that, as the fundamental unit of society, the family should be afforded necessary protections and should be mainstreamed across the post-2015 agenda.

Guatemala said: growing inequality is a universal problem; the agenda should be based on justice and respect for all human beings; the development and strengthening of public institutions is necessary; mechanisms for follow-up and review will rely on robust institutions; follow-up needs to take place at the global and regional levels; and partnerships are also important.

Italy recognized peace and rule of law as an essential pillar of sustainable development. He said work on defining indicators could be a technical process, and build on the work of the Friends of the Chair of the UN Statistical Commission and the Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. 

Costa Rica: said all vulnerable groups must be empowered; stressed that the agenda should address inequality within and between countries; noted a need to negotiate multilateral relationships in the sphere of international trade; called for recognition of the needs of middle income countries (MICs); suggested strengthening the HLPF review mechanism; and cautioned that the final selection of indicators is a political one.

Chile said the backdrop to the agenda includes commitments made in other development processes, including FfD3. She stressed the importance of agreeing on MOI, including transfer of resources and creating the right international financing environment.

Kiribati said the post-2015 development agenda should be built on the MDGs, take national circumstances into account, and allow for strengthening the link to regional agendas. He added that challenges caused by climate change are destroying his country’s path to development.

Denmark said the new agenda’s transformative capacity will be determined by two elements: its universality in scope and approach; and multi-stakeholder partnerships. He called for maintaining the balanced, integrated approach of the OWG proposal, and saw merit in a “technical proofing” of the proposed targets, based on clearly defined criteria.

Uruguay said the international community had, at Rio+20, exchanged its traditional vision of development for a broader vision based on sustainable development. He opposed reopening discussion on the OWG outcome and, since “time is not on our side,” said the current process should focus on ensuring the goals become viable. It should also concentrate on a coherent transition between the MDGs and new goals, assessing MOI needed to meet the goals, and establishing follow-up mechanisms, where the HLPF has a key role to play.


KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: Andrew Scott, Overseas Development Institute, gave a presentation on Monday afternoon in which he asked delegates to take a step back from the process and ask, “What is the real purpose of the SDGs?” He encouraged them to think about the need to realize past commitments on sustainable development, particularly on the environmental front, and called for a true integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development across the goals. Scott spoke of the relationship between international and national goals and targets, and the need for a shared global agenda. Finally, he stressed that the SDGs must inspire institutional and procedural changes within a wide group of governmental and non-governmental actors.

On Tuesday morning, 20 January 2015, Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of the Southern Voice on Post-MDGs and Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue, suggested that the focus of the declaration could be the agenda’s “universal, transformative, inclusive and integrated” nature. He said the declaration should also include a credible work plan, guiding principles motivating the action, modalities for realizing the objectives, and methods to assess the actions’ effectiveness. He also noted that the declaration should be more ambitious than the goals and targets, which are constrained by practicality. He added that global partnership will be “the major measure of credibility” of the new agenda, and that the declaration must provide strong instructions on ensuring efficiency gains through the relationship between the post-2015 development agenda and other processes.

STATEMENTS: UN Member States offered their comments on this agenda item on Tuesday. South Africa, for the G-77/China, said the OWG outcome is a direct response to the Rio+20 mandate and the Group does not support a technical review, which would only serve to reopen negotiations. In addition, the comprehensive and integrated goal set should not be compromised for the sake of communication: “form must always follow substance.” On the Declaration, the Group said it should focus on development issues. He cautioned against setting national-level indicators, and suggested that follow-up and review should focus on fulfilment of MOI at the international level.

The EU suggested maintaining and strengthening synergies among the SDGs and targets, and pointed to a need for further work on developing well-defined indicators. He said the UN Task Team and scientific community should be involved in identifying indicators, and their suggestions should only be maintained if they receive support. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s “innovative approach” of identifying six essential elements and looked forward to further discussing this option. He said the Declaration must show renewed determination to end extreme poverty in one generation, and he supported disaggregation of data to ensure targets are met by all relevant groups and no one is left behind. He said the Declaration also should highlight mutual accountability, and UN “fit for purpose.”

Niger, on behalf of LLDCs, said the political declaration should contain a section that speaks to special needs of LLDCs and the importance of differential and preferential treatment.

The Maldives, on behalf of AOSIS, said “any agenda that purports to be universal must recognize the unique vulnerabilities of SIDS.” He said it would not be productive to reopen, reorganize, or renegotiate the OWG text. 

Belize, on behalf of CARICOM, said experts should be asked to developed indicators for Member States to consider, and to provide input on developing MOI and follow-up mechanisms, but not be involved in goal-setting, which has already been completed.

Tonga, for the Pacific SIDS, said there should be no change in the number or content of the agreed SDGs. He viewed with interest the conceptualization in the Secretary-General’s report, assuming this does not result in the reopening of the OWG proposal. 

Brazil said no “artificial thematic limits” should be imposed on the agenda. He proposed that the political declaration focus on principles, suggesting: equality; sustainability; universality; differentiation and CBDR; and democratic and representative governance through enhanced multilateral cooperation.

Ethiopia stressed that commitments made should be respected, and that the post-2015 agenda can only have meaning if it is accompanied by an effective MOI framework.

The Republic of Korea called for considering a rearrangement of the SDGs, such as by incorporating some targets that have a “strong declarative nature” into the political declaration. He said the agenda should center on people and planet, with the vision of protecting human dignity and quality of life.

Norway expressed the need for delegates to make sure the SDGs are in line and more ambitious than existing agreements through a technical proofing, and for a set of carefully-designed, knowledge-based indicators.

Guatemala, also for Colombia, France, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru and Switzerland, stressed the legitimacy of the OWG outcome and said the process now should focus on follow-up and review, MOI and the declaration. He said the large number of goals and targets is a result of having reconciled, for the first time, the universal challenges of sustainable development.

The US noted “room for improvement” on the implementability of the OWG’s proposal. He called for raising existing targets to a common technical standard and common degree of achievability. On the declaration, the US suggested using a set of organizing elements, such as the Secretary-General’s six essential elements, or the six pillars in the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda.

Benin, for the LDCs, said domestic resource mobilization has very limited potential in LDCs, and the post-2015 development agenda should be guided by differential and preferential treatment for LDCs, with a comprehensive approach to MOI, including ODA and other aid, trade, private capital flows, and debt relief.

China said the declaration should draw on the introduction to the SDGs and focus on the theme of development. Saying that the OWG’s proposal had been adopted by consensus, she stressed that it should not be reopened for negotiation. She also cautioned against clustering goals and targets, as that would “jeopardize the subtle balance of the SDGs.”

Uganda said the post-2015 development agenda should be an opportunity to agree on issues that have been pending, such as migration, market access, climate change, and technology transfer.

Armenia said the declaration should reflect commitment to promoting inclusive societies and the importance of inclusive and participatory review. At the national level, she noted that policies of exclusion and discrimination undermine development; “the mere generation of wealth without its equitable distribution is a primary source of exclusion, injustice and inequalities.”

Cuba said the declaration should: refer to the Rio principles including CBDR; formulate the principle of universality so we understand its meaning and how it applies in the post-2015 context; and not include issues that go beyond sustainable development.

Pakistan said the OWG proposal and its adoption by the UN General Assembly represented a major breakthrough in the post-2015 process, and he hoped it would not be reopened. He said the declaration should include references to the overarching right to development and the right to self-determination, and said justice demands that we address the structural causes of inequality.

Germany said, inter alia, the declaration should be a compelling narrative, the new global partnership should change how we work together, and every country shall set its own national targets.

The UK said the OWG’s proposal represents a delicate balance. He said “technical proofing” of the targets is critical to ensure the agenda is measurable, actionable and implementable, but added that the advice would need to come back to Member States for final approval. He also encouraged addressing the “communications challenge,” and supported making space to consider how to build on the Secretary-General’s suggested six elements.

Cyprus said: the OWG’s report represents a fair, delicate deal that should be preserved as an integrated whole; a task team doing “technical proofing” should base its work on specific criteria, and should not lower ambition; and work by the UN Statistical Commission should be reinforced by the Task Team and the scientific community.

Latvia said the political declaration should be concise, easy to communicate and easy to understand, and the new development agenda should be communicated in an integrated and balanced manner.

Finland said a “technical proofing” of the targets would be useful and the Task Team is best placed to do this. She added that indicators can reinforce the transformative nature of the agenda, and each one could address more than one target. Croatia stressed the need for capable and accountable institutions.

Mexico highlighted the needs of MICs, and stressed the need for inclusive, sustainable development, universality and inclusion.

Romania said, if the proposals by the Task Team do not meet general approval, the OWG’s proposal should be agreed as presented. She said the element of novelty in the Secretary-General’s synthesis report is the identification of six essential elements as a communication tool.

Hungary said the political balance of the OWG’s proposal must be preserved, and said a proofing of the targets could be considered if, inter alia, it is done under the supervision of the Co-Facilitators, and deals only with targets that have an inherent flaw. 

Israel said delegates must keep in mind the final objective: forming ambitious, inspirational, measurable, and achievable targets. She said it is imperative that experts are present in the negotiations. 

Bulgaria said a technical proofing of the targets should be done to make sure that they are consistent with other existing frameworks. She also called for a short, concise political declaration.

Greece said it is essential to maintain and strengthen synergies and interlinkages throughout the goals and targets, and to form a set of well-defined indicators. 

Chad said the indicators need to be simple, measurable, and accessible for all. He stressed that the post-2015 agenda should strengthen the ownership of development strategies by Member States, and deal with emerging implementation challenges.

Japan said the chapeau to the OWG report does not have the political caliber to compare to the Millennium Declaration. He said the declaration should have contents commensurate with a document to be adopted by Heads of State and Government during the 70th anniversary of the UN.

India expressed concerns over technical proofing, and said there is no mandate for this to be carried out. On indicators, he said they should be formed through a technical process, and not serve to insert ideas that are not found in the OWG’s proposal. 

Georgia said human rights should be central to the agenda, which should seek not only to reduce violence, but to protect victims of violence.

Ecuador said the process should be transparent, the initial draft of the declaration should be prepared by the Co-Facilitators, and the Co-Facilitators should distribute a draft declaration before presenting drafts of the other elements of the agenda.

Australia noted the eventual influence of the targets on policies and budgets, and said all countries will need to translate the targets according to their national circumstances. She supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to conduct a technical review of the OWG targets, and suggested that this review could focus first on targets for goals for which there is a high level of consensus, and that this should be made available at the February meeting. She said the review should be based on simple and clear criteria, such as whether the target is consistent with the latest evidence. She also suggested inviting speakers who could explain how different countries would translate the goals according to their national situation.

Canada said the Declaration should focus on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, and the Secretary-General’s six essential elements offer a good basis to frame it. He supported a technical review of targets by UN experts, based on clear criteria so as to not be politically charged. He said some of the 169 targets may serve better as indicators.

Peru said the Declaration could be informed by the OWG introduction, the Millennium Declaration, and the Rio+20 outcome. He highlighted a vision of economic growth through social and economic inclusion, which would help achieve sustainable development. Other important areas, he said, include addressing climate change under the UNFCCC framework, empowering women, promoting rule of law and access to justice, and fighting corruption. He said the Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report’s six essential elements could direct the narrative.

Indonesia said the summit must transmit a message about leaving no one behind, poverty eradication, and equity within and among countries. The introduction to the OWG’s report outlines the substantial elements needed for the declaration. The draft declaration should be part of the zero draft, she said, to avoid fragmentation in negotiations. She also supported the need for further work on indicators, but said the stage for technical proofing of goals and targets has been concluded.

El Salvador suggested redefining the concept of MICs to account for structural gaps and look at inequality, savings, environmental vulnerability, and institutional strength.

Saudi Arabia cautioned against any attempt to reevaluate the SDGs, and said there should not be a mandatory accountability mechanism since the post-2015 agenda should be voluntary.

Nigeria said the scale of resources needed is daunting especially for resource-poor countries, and noted that options for sustainable development financing are vital, domestic resource mobilization will play a critical role, governments must endeavor to improve tax systems, and ODA should continue to play a role in implementation of the new agenda.

Malaysia said the OWG’s report should be the basis for integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 agenda, and the goals and targets should not place additional restrictions or burdens on developing countries and should reflect the different realities, capacities and priorities of all UN Member States.

Nepal highlighted the consensus that the agenda should be transformative.


KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS: On Tuesday afternoon, three speakers discussed means of implementation and the global partnership for sustainable development. Homi Kharas, Brookings Institute, gave an overview of the interconnected aspects of the means of implementation, including aspects of the Monterrey Consensus that he said are even more pertinent today. He stressed the need to reallocate more ODA for LDCs, and to expand domestic resource mobilization, especially for lower MICs. On infrastructure investment and financial flows, Kharas stressed the need to better orient resources towards sustainable development. Finally, Kharas emphasized the need for a time-bound set of commitments and a demonstration of the efforts being made in many areas to give credibility to the MOI discussions.

George Talbot, Permanent Representative of Guyana and FfD3 Co-Facilitator, said the reasons for FfD3 convening before the post-2015 summit are to: ensure FfD3’s positive contribution to the post-2015 agenda; give confidence in Member States’ commitment to the agenda; and begin to show the way toward its implementation. He said FfD3’s challenge is to identify gaps to be addressed in terms of MOI, and the partnerships and enabling conditions needed to fully implement the agenda, in order to address poverty while keeping our planet in “good shape” for future generations. Updating Member States on the FfD3 preparatory process, Talbot said a preliminary “elements paper” is being prepared, which will allow governments to ensure the FfD3 process is contributing to the post-2015 development agenda as it should.

Geir Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway and FfD3 Co-Facilitator, recalled the agreement to promote coherence and minimize duplication of effort between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes. Pedersen noted that the Monterrey agenda did not include climate change, and said economic growth does not deliver sustainable development by itself. Among key challenges, Pedersen highlighted the situation for SIDS, countries in conflict, extractive resource transparency, data, and sustainable consumption and production.

On Wednesday morning, three speakers discussed follow-up and review. Ambassador Fatuma Ndangiza, Chairperson, African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), said the APRM was developed in 2003 to promote good governance. She said it is a mutually agreed instrument that is voluntarily acceded to, and seeks to share experiences and assess capacity-building needs. She said, inter alia: national ownership and leadership are essential; peer review at the highest level sustains commitment; global goal setting is important but implementation should be national and regional; monitoring progress is critical; and an effective institutional framework is critical. She said it is important that reviews are voluntary, but they should be accompanied by incentives.

Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, reviewed reasons why follow-up is important, including because review procedures can contribute to accountability to citizens, and reviews seek to identify best practices. She said a review process should give Member States “sovereign control” over their commitments, and support to conduct the review process could be an incentive to participate. She said reviews should start at the national level with national progress reports and national consultations, then extend to regional peer reviews, and finally to the global level.

Pali Lehohla, Statistician-General for South Africa, emphasized the need to combine statistics, geography and informatics. He suggested transforming the UN Statistical Commission by creating a UN commission that integrates geography with statistics. He stressed the importance of location and the need to integrate statistics with geography, citing an example from South Africa in which a review of population density was enhanced when overlapped with a review of the location of infrastructure.

STATEMENTS: UN Member States offered their comments on MOI and the global partnership and follow-up and review on Wednesday. The European Union said coherence must be ensured between the post-2015 and FfD3 discussions, and that both must consist of appropriate and ambitious commitments by all. He said CBDR cannot apply as an overarching principle to the entire post-2015 agenda, and highlighted the need for: a comprehensive approach to MOI and financing; all stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of the agenda; and ensuring that data are disaggregated, collected in a coordinated manner, and developed in developing countries.

Niger, for LLDCs, called for investing substantial resources in the six priority areas of the VPOA. He said ODA and Aid for Trade should play catalytic roles in helping LLDCs mobilize resources for development, and the quality of aid is as important as the quantity.

Tonga, for PSIDS: highlighted the need for genuine and durable partnerships; looked forward to the establishment of a global technology facilitation mechanism; and called for improving the quality of aid.

Palau, for the Pacific Islands Forum, highlighted the Forum Compact as a regional tool for monitoring, reporting and accountability. He said the process contextualizes the MDGs for the region, uses peer reviews, and emphasizes infrastructure development. He called on partners to engage in open data sharing and transparent, accountable partnerships.

Egypt, also on behalf of Switzerland, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Peru, called for a review mechanism that is, inter alia: voluntary; focused on assessment and achievement of both developed and developing countries; provides access to best practices and a platform for partnerships; is conducted in a constructive spirit; uses a differentiated approach; and takes into account lessons learned.

Belarus said the new agenda must be based on common aspirations, actions and responsibilities among countries. She drew attention to the importance of the family as a factor in sustainable development, and said MICs require effective instruments for their development.

The Maldives, for AOSIS, said the HLPF must conduct a review of the commitments made to SIDS and the SAMOA Pathway in its review of the post-2015 development agenda. 

Belize, for CARICOM, called technical proofing a “Pandora’s box,” that should not be used to address delegations’ reservations to the SDGs. She said the ambition of the SDGs is greater than the MDGs, so the MOI likewise must be greater.

Canada said the necessary investments will exceed ODA flows, highlighted the need for new funding models, and reported that Canada will be discussing blended models at the World Economic Forum. He said a structured mapping of existing monitoring mechanisms would help Member States take advantage of them while devising the post-2015 mechanism. He also said the nomenclature of “post-2015” should be addressed, as it will not make sense in 2020.

Benin, for LDCs, called for strong support to build national statistical capacity. He called for an annual report prepared by the UN System regarding the global partnership for development, and said the report could identify best practices, constraints and recommendations for the way forward, and could be reviewed by an intergovernmental forum such as the HLPF.

Montenegro supported national ownership, but noted a need for coherent action by all. On MOI, he highlighted the needs of MICs. He also said ODA remains an important part of development financing while full realization of the SDGs will require multiple sources.

Ethiopia said resources need to be used efficiently and governance needs to be sorted out and accountable to citizens. He said norms and rules at the global level are often detrimental to development, and a renewed global partnership needs to address this situation. He cautioned that domestic resource mobilization should be viewed in terms of the capacity of different countries, including developing robust international cooperation on tax evasion and avoidance. He said ODA is not only a transfer of resources, but also represents a commitment to global partnership.

Peru called for a significantly higher level of resources than was available for the MDGs. He said review and follow-up should work on a periodic basis to identify challenges to meeting the goals and assess whether countries are achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development. He said participation in the HLPF should be motivated by the opportunity to exchange experiences and gather best practices.

The Netherlands said the political declaration should speak to both political leaders and populations, and be built around the six elements suggested in the Synthesis Report, with universality and ending poverty as the key principles. Supported by the UK, he said the outcome of FfD3 should constitute the MOI pillar of the post-2015 development agenda. On goals and targets, the Netherlands is open to technical proofing assistance from the technical support team. He said monitoring and accountability should rely on existing mechanisms as much as possible, with the HLPF playing a role at the global level.

On follow-up and review, the UK said: the principle point of accountability lies at the national level and must be country-led; regional review, such as through the UN regional economic commissions, would be useful; a global review mechanism should identify areas needed enhanced effort; and a data revolution must be at the heart of the agenda.

Bhutan said the review must include a preparatory phase to establish consensus on national policy and design of programmes and projects to achieve each SDG. She suggested the use of a joint framework agreement between each country and its development partners on the needed MOI. She also supported developing alternative measures to reflect the multi-dimensional nature of poverty and wellbeing, and highlighted the role of data.

Norway noted the need for: a country-led national component as the most significant part of the universal review; a global sustainable development report based on scientific evidence and interagency cooperation; and a UN system fit for purpose to support implementation. She said the current structure of intergovernmental bodies should be able to accommodate the review process.

Japan said governments should mobilize domestic resources and work to improve their domestic investment environment. He noted the need for cutting-edge technology to cope with sustainability challenges, but said a new mechanism will not lead to its dissemination. He said that the UN should start by making full use of existing initiatives to address the technology gap. On follow-up and review, Japan said the global review under the HLPF will naturally include MOI, but should also include the state of implementation on overall goals and targets. He called to make use of existing mechanisms such as the APRM, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.

Nigeria said the review mechanism should entail a voluntary report on progress made and challenges encountered, and be based on quality, accurate, and timely data.

Mexico said the UN must move toward a system that is “renewed, coherent and vital for implementation and follow-up.” A review mechanism should target cooperation, and should not be punitive or coercive in nature.

Cuba called for mechanisms that are efficient, and said all stakeholders should contribute to achieving the goals and targets. He called for technical and financial cooperation for review, so that those who need support can request and get it. The Gambia urged the negotiating process to continue to be open, transparent, and inclusive, with sustained participation of stakeholders to enhance their ownership of the agenda.  

Brazil said the HLPF is the institutional platform for the governance of the post-2015 agenda, and accountability and monitoring should take place at the national level. On means of implementation, he stressed that the private sector must engage with the agenda in a transparent and accountable manner.

The US said MOI should be addressed principally in the FfD3 process to avoid duplication of work, and proposed inserting the FfD3 agreement as a section of the post-2015 outcome document. On follow-up and review, he requested a range of proposals on data and the institutional architecture, and the time for delegations to consider them.

Turkey said MOI are the most critical elements of the agenda, and a new agreement on funding must be established at FfD3. He emphasized the need for different forms of partnerships to leverage resources, and added that evidence-based indicators are important.

Sweden said commitments to ODA must be accompanied by agreements to promote sound economic environments and efforts to counter illicit financial flows, among other actions. She stressed the importance of: follow-up, monitoring and accountability, including through an effective mechanism at the global level; equipping the HLPF to play this role; developing indicators using the technical expertise of the UN system; and strengthening national capacities in this regard.

Croatia said the HLPF is a universal platform with the prerequisites to host a comprehensive review mechanism. She also emphasized the need for high-quality statistics.

Switzerland stressed the need for a coherent approach between the FfD3, post-2015 and HLPF processes on the MOI and follow-up and review issues. She called for early identification of the nature of the MOI part of the post-2015 agenda, especially in relation to the FfD process, and added that the preparatory process for FfD3 is the main place to discuss MOI. On follow-up and review, she said the national level is the basis for the overall framework, with additional roles for the regional and global levels, and called for aligning the global review with the UN’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.

Kazakhstan called for a strong monitoring and review framework, with input from all levels.

The Republic of Korea said ODA should remain an essential component of MOI, especially for the most vulnerable countries. He noted that his country will host the Development Cooperation Forum High-level Symposium in April, and said the review framework should be grounded in the data revolution.

Slovakia said the review process should involve relevant stakeholders, establish partnerships, be based on effective and meaningful participation, and have the strong support of the UN system through its work.

Germany supported the technical proofing of targets based on clearly defined criteria, in order to improve their coherence and level of ambition. He said a review mechanism will only be effective if it is acceptable for all states and goes beyond simply monitoring progress. 

Romania called for ownership of the agenda by all countries, transparency, and effective monitoring and review of progress. She said the data revolution will play a crucial role in monitoring, and that new metrics must be developed in the areas covered by the SDGs.

Bolivia said a technical review was performed at every stage of the OWG process. He said CBDR must be respected, and spoke to the importance of indigenous peoples in the promotion of sustainable development. 

Australia called for careful sequencing of the post-2015 and FfD3 preparatory processes to minimize duplication, through an iterative approach that provides flexibility to revisit topics over time. She also stressed that an accountability framework is not an end in itself, and must generate information to target, prioritize and coordinate efforts.

Nepal called for enhanced and predictable MOI to address the unique challenges of LDCs and LLDCs. He said reform of the Bretton Woods Institutions is a sine qua non to provide a level playing field for developing countries, especially LDCs. He noted that the issues contained under MOI “may not look new, but they demand a new look.”

Bangladesh called for establishing a technology bank for LDCs. The people of the LDCs are “the poorest of the poor,” she said, and need special attention. She called for follow-up and review to take place under the HLPF, and to include MOI and global partnership.

Argentina said monitoring and follow-up should be national, voluntary and periodic, noting that national reports worked well for the MDGs. The process will not benefit from a “naming and shaming approach,” she added, nor from rewarding governments that follow one model of development while punishing others.

Denmark said top-down efforts for an enabling environment must be matched with bottom-up delivery of solutions, and this is where the global partnership comes into play. She said the monitoring, review and accountability element of the agenda must: include peer review; enable a call to action when progress is off-track; take place at the national level; and use existing mechanisms and processes wherever possible. The HLPF has a key oversight role for global progress, she added.

Malaysia emphasized the need for a significant mobilization of resources.

Tunisia said the post-2015 agenda should be implemented through international cooperation based on CBDR, and called for: increasing the percentage of GNI for ODA; the establishment of a technology transfer facilitation mechanism; solutions to the debt problem; and promotion of a fair and open global trading system.

Chad said: ODA should finance delivery of the SDGs; additional funds are needed for reforms such as fiscal reforms that can mobilize more domestic finances; the issue of debt should be addressed; and support for LLDCs should be stepped up.

The Russian Federation said reporting should be voluntary, adjusting national policies to implement the post-2015 agenda is the responsibility of governments, and increasing the number of reporting requirements could mean the reporting component might exceed the “direct development” component. She said the HLPF is a suitable reporting platform.

China said coordination should be enhanced between the post-2015 agenda process and the FfD3 preparatory process. She said partnership is based on CBDR, and developed countries should scale up their assistance to African countries and LDCs. She supported the HLPF as the review body for implementation of the post-2015 agenda, with no mandatory national mechanisms, and said follow-up and review should be on ODA, technology transfer and capacity-building commitments.

Ecuador called for considering the adequacy of global structures, including for finance, trade and technology transfer. He noted efforts by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on indicators.

The Philippines emphasized that, with 17 goals and 169 targets proposed, there is likely to be a large number of indicators. He said national statistical agencies must have strengthened capacity to deal with new burdens.


On Wednesday afternoon, Major Groups and other stakeholders presented a summary of the Stakeholder Preparatory Forum held on 16 January 2015, interacted with Member States on their proposals, and highlighted concerns regarding:

•  how targets will be met by the most marginalized and vulnerable groups in society;

•  property rights as a means of implementation;

•  the invisibility of indigenous peoples in the current SDG proposals;

•  the need to recognize a human right to water;

•  the commitment of the private sector to the implementation of the post-2015 agenda;

•  reaching the lowest quintile in society;

•  the importance of knowledge and engagement from the scientific community; and

•  the position of human rights in the agenda.​

They advocated that the agenda should:

•  be grounded in the international human rights framework;

•  emphasize inclusion of girls and women of all ages;

•  address the asymmetrical international economic order;

•  signal what fair and just sustainable development looks like;

•  include a wider reference to the agricultural sector;

•  leave no one behind, including persons with disabilities;

•  continually assess whether partnerships are truly delivering sustainable development;

•  base monitoring on country-led accountability;

•  advance the decent work agenda; and

•  integrate the SAMOA Pathway into the post-2015 agenda.


On Wednesday afternoon, Co-Facilitator David Donoghue, Permanent Representative of Ireland, presented the Co-Facilitators’ review of the stocktaking session, emphasizing that there is clearly a high level of interest in the process. Among the key points highlighted from Member States’ discussions, he stressed the recognition that the OWG proposal for SDGs is a far-reaching and ambitious agenda that rests on a carefully-crafted, political balance. On the proposal to “technically proof” the targets, he acknowledged there is some concern that it could hurt the balance of the OWG proposal, while others supported it, and some suggested criteria or parameters for this effort. Donoghue said the UN Statistical Commission will present a draft set of indicative indicators before the March meeting, although he cautioned that it may not be possible to complete work on the indicators between now and September. He said Member States could, at the March session, respond to the Commission, consider its input, and decide what to do with it.

Donoghue said the Co-Facilitators would, in advance of the February meeting, circulate a draft of items to include in the declaration. He highlighted that Member States thought the declaration should identify the integrative nature of the agenda, highlight core principles, and reflect the universality as well as the differentiation among countries. In addition, it should be comprehensive but concise, inspirational, and visionary.

On MOI and the global partnership, Donoghue noted Member States’ message that it will be impossible to deliver on the ambition of the SDGs without MOI and partnerships, and their recognition of interconnections between the FfD3 and post-2015 processes.

On follow-up and review, Donoghue noted it was the first time in this process for Member States to share their thoughts on this subject. He said many reiterated the importance of an open, transparent and inclusive process, and some said that no target should be considered met unless it is met by all.

Co-Facilitator Kamau asked delegates to remain “highly flexible” regarding the programme of work, stating it is hard to predict how negotiations will evolve. Regarding expert input, he said it can be brought in as needs arise, and Member States should signal what they want to hear about, and from whom. He noted the group’s “unfinished business” of the six themes for the summit roundtables. Finally, he said the new format for interaction with stakeholders seems to be “the way forward,” and stressed that civil society is crucial to the process, as the SDGs and their importance are not yet well understood outside the UN basement.

Donoghue gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:30 pm.


The stocktaking session of the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda marked the first time, for some participants, that the previously abstract, long anticipated, year of 2015 finally seemed “real.” The meeting followed an extensive history of previous agreements, events, consultation processes, and negotiated inputs. This three-day review allowed governments and other stakeholders to reflect on the past and consider and signal how they might channel that history into concrete results over the next few months.

It was clear that participants recognized the importance of these discussions. Noting that this is an “electrifying time to work on these issues,” delegates called attention to the opportunities to end poverty, reduce inequality, halt climate change, and prevent future conflicts through the agreements and partnerships to be developed this year. But while delegates voiced lofty ideals and visions for the future over the course of the three-day session, their discussions also revealed some of the difficult issues they will need to resolve if they are to reach an agreement equal to its promise in time for adoption by the UN’s post-2015 summit in September 2015.

The stocktaking session was organized according to the expected elements of the outcome of the post-2015 summit: a declaration; the sustainable development goals and targets; means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development; and follow-up and review. This brief analysis reviews some of the challenges under each of these elements, as revealed during the first meeting in this last stage of the post-2015 preparatory process.


Delegates viewed the proposed declaration as an opportunity to provide a short, crisp and powerful statement of a common vision for the UN’s development agenda and what it will seek to accomplish. As they began to compare ideas for what such a vision should contain, many governments highly ranked the promotion of development and equality on their lists. In this regard, a number of speakers noted the significance that the meeting opened on the day that the United States celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for a more just world.

However, the definitions of justice voiced during the meeting revealed differences on how to achieve a more equal society. According to many developing countries, greater justice would be delivered by meeting past commitments and revising voting rights in international institutions, among other demands. Others emphasized good governance at the national level, with policies and institutions that ensure a peaceful and stable society, rule of law, and access to justice. Proposals related to these ambitions included calls to reference past agreements such as the Rio+20 and Open Working Group outcomes, and an emphasis on CBDR for countries in implementing the agenda. Others reiterated their view that CBDR does not apply to the SDG context and said the agenda must rest on principles of universality and shared responsibility.

Defining this “universal” agenda, particularly in the face of differences and specific needs among the UN’s 193 Member States, will be a significant challenge in the coming months. This was illustrated as some repeatedly stressed the special needs of LDCs as a particular focus in the agenda, while others pointed out the fragile situation of lower-middle-income countries, SIDS, LLDCs, and other groups. Some countries suggested that further meetings should include panelists who could discuss how the emerging agenda would be applied in various national contexts, to provide delegates concrete information on the implications and challenges the agenda will address. Nancy Birdsall’s presentation on Monday gave delegates yet another layer to consider in this debate―how to ensure that targets and indicators are measuring improvements for society as a whole and not just for certain, possibly privileged, groups. 

As another function of the declaration, most delegations agreed that it must communicate the post-2015 agenda in a way that allows the global public to understand its goals and targets, so they can operationalize them in their communities. Some looked to the Secretary-General’s proposed six elements (dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnership) as a useful way to frame the broad agenda. Others insisted that “artificial thematic limits” would obscure the delicate balance of the three dimensions of sustainable development crafted through the OWG’s proposed goals. Delegates were pleased to hear, on the final afternoon, that the Co-Facilitators would present items to include in the declaration in advance of the February meeting, to guide delegates’ preparations as they shape this important element of the outcome package.


The OWG’s proposed SDGs and the “subtle balance” they had reached, in one delegate’s words, guided most speakers during the discussion of the goals, targets, and indicators. The Secretary-General’s suggestion, in his Synthesis Report, that “technical experts of the United Nations system are available to review the targets, including on the means of implementation, and to compare and align the level of ambition represented by each to that of existing international targets, commitments, standards and agreements” ignited extensive debate. Some speakers supported the so-called “technical proofing” of the targets to give governments a chance to see what experts might suggest. Others, citing the OWG’s hard-won political consensus, urged caution, saying there was no mandate for this exercise, and expressed suspicion that it could lead to the unwarranted deletion or insertion of targets and a renegotiation of the OWG’s proposal.

The discussion around the development of indicators similarly indicated areas of disagreement: some delegations highlighted the need for expert advice, while others asserted the intergovernmental nature of the process. In this regard, some looked to the roles that national governments, regional commissions and other actors could play in helping to finalize the indicators. Many delegations stressed that monitoring responsibilities should lie with national governments, who must develop their own set of indicators based on national situations and priorities. However, a number of speakers upheld the need for a common set of global indicators to allow for comparability between states and measurement of global progress.


The means of implementation addressed in the OWG proposal cover a range of resources, including traditional and new forms of finance, technology facilitation, and measures to improve the international policy environment for development. Several governments pushed for resolution of the deadlocked discussion on the transfer of clean technologies, such as by establishing a technology-facilitation mechanism. Others, however, indicated a preference to leave all discussion on means of implementation to the Financing for Development process, which will begin its first drafting session on 27 January 2015 in New York.

In fact, the linkages between the post-2015 and FfD processes were highlighted by most speakers, and it was clear that the outcomes of both will be interlinked and mutually dependent. The relationship between these two processes is yet to be defined, however. During the three-day session, delegations suggested various ways forward, including: inserting the final outcome of FfD3 as a full component of the post-2015 agenda; bringing the full set of financial and implementation issues associated with FfD3 into the post-2015 discussion; and ensuring the MOI discussion only takes place in the FfD3 context, so as to “minimize duplication.” The FfD3 Co-Chairs encouraged delegates to coordinate their positions between these two parallel processes.

Further layers of coordination will be needed with other parallel processes mentioned during the meeting, many of which are in the midst of their own debates over means of implementation, including the climate change negotiations leading up to Paris in December. Also mentioned were overlaps with the UN’s 70th anniversary and accompanying “fit for purpose” process, especially its discussions on broader institutional and global governance reforms.


This meeting was the first chance for many delegates to dedicate significant time to the discussion of follow-up and review in the post-2015 process. While many governments and civil society representatives had well-developed proposals for a future review mechanism, it was clear that much more time is needed for delegations to consider the full range of options.

In the weeks before the meeting, some privately recalled that the terminology for this element changed significantly. The previously used term “accountability,” as some delegates said, is not appropriate for an intergovernmental process, as sovereign governments are not “accountable” to each other, but rather to their own citizens. Instead, the language has shifted to “follow-up and review,” although some high-level representatives privately expressed concern that this change would “water down” the discussion.

Participants noted that there are a variety of levels and actors that should be considered in the process of review, including national governments, regional organizations, civil society groups, international institutions and even existing peer review mechanisms. One delegate requested mapping these existing options as a starting point for further discussion, and others suggested a multi-layered approach to reporting, which could incorporate all actors.

Delegates also presented divergent views on what issues should be reviewed, with some calling for strong mechanisms to review implementation and commitments, stressing that a robust review would be necessary to ensure continued progress on the agenda’s goals and targets. Others emphasized the voluntary nature of follow-up to the full set of goals and targets, so as to not “politicize” the review process with conditionalities. As one civil society representative voiced, “review should not be seen as a punishment device, but as an integral part of the agenda itself.”


As with the work of the OWG, the first meeting of the post-2015 agenda negotiations reinforced the sense that the UN is wading into uncharted waters. Outside the meeting room, some participants described the proceedings as “a mess” and “painful.” But even if delegates were not sure how to focus the discussion, it did not detract from the important ideas and debates that emerged. In fact, the meeting revealed a high level of governmental attention to the process and recognition―even excitement―about the potential that the post-2015 agenda represents. 

The stocktaking session demonstrated that there are many difficult issues to be worked through in the coming weeks and months, and that countries will have to aspire to a new level of cooperation to get there. With this challenge in mind, several speakers turned to the words of US President Barack Obama in his 2015 State of the Union address, which took place during the session, to inspire each other in the task ahead, and his emphasis on justice, equality and working together resonated throughout the room: “I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long.”


Preparatory Process for FfD3: The preparatory process for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development will include three drafting sessions on the outcome document: 27-29 January 2015, 13-17 April 2015 and 15-19 June 2015. location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Financing for Development Office  phone: +1-212-963-4598  email:  www: 

53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development: The 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development will convene under the priority theme for the 2015-2016 review and policy cycle, “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world.” dates: 4-13 February 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Social Policy and Development  email:  www:

UNGA High-Level Thematic Debate on Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda: This thematic debate will focus on how to mobilize resources to turn aspirations for the post-2015 development agenda into realities. It is expected to discuss financing, technology development and transfer, and capacity building.  dates: 9-10 February 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the UNGA  www: 

Intergovernmental Negotiations on 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: 17-20 February (Declaration); 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:

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: 24 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:

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: 4-5 March 2015  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Susan Alzner, NGLS  phone: +1-212-963-3125  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:  

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 UNDESA. 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, UNDESA  phone: +1-917-367-9212 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 (UNGA). 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 on 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: and

For additional meetings, see
























Alliance of Small Island States

African Peer Review Mechanism

Caribbean Community

Common but differentiated responsibilities

UN Economic and Social Council

Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Gross national income

UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Istanbul Programme of Action for LDCs

Least developed countries

Landlocked developing countries

Millennium Development Goals

Middle income countries

Means of implementation

Official development assistance

Open Working Group

Pacific small island developing states

Sustainable Development Goals

Small island developing states

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

United Nations General Assembly

Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs

Further information