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The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol was held in the sunny city of Durban, South Africa.

 

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Statements and Speeches

Statement on Behalf of the Group of 77 and China by a Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, on the Occasion of the Seventh Session of the Post-2015 Development Agenda - Follow-Up and Review

New York, 23 July 2015

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Before addressing specific text-based issues arising from the "Final-Draft" relating to follow-up and review, allow me to set out the principle positions upon which the Group bases it approach to the subject and to the specific textual proposals that have been made.

The Group is of the view that:

(i) Follow-up and review should focus on international efforts to promote sustainable development, as well as the national assessment of progress, gaps, achievements and challenges in the implementation of the post- 2015 development agenda.

(ii) The follow-up and review should be universal in scope and should be owned by each country in accordance with its national circumstances, needs and priorities.

(iii) The follow-up and review must be government-led and voluntary, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants.

(iv) The follow-up and review should also review the activities of the UN system and stakeholders with regards to the SDGs and their means of implementation. With regard to the United Nations Development System, the follow-up and review needs to include a system-wide reporting by the UN and its Agencies on the role that they have undertaken in effectively supporting States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.

(v) The follow-up and review should encompass all the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in a balanced and integrated manner, including Goal 17 and MoI-specific targets at the international level. The balance and integration of the framework of goals should be preserved, while acknowledging the priority for the implementation of Goal 17 and MoI-specific targets under other goals, given their cross-cutting nature and importance for the implementation of the entire framework of Goals. The Group would like to stress that this should be without prejudice to the agreement that has been reached in the FfD for its own follow-up and review.

(vi) The Group reiterates its support for the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) for the implementation of the SDGs. The Group also believes that the follow-up and review should assess the results of such a mechanism in promoting the transfer of technology to developing countries.

In this context, we would again highlight that the follow-up and review for the TFM should be undertaken in the framework of the understandings that were reached in the preparatory process for the FfD and as reflected in paragraph 123 of the FfD Addis Outcome.

(vii) Follow-up and review should also include the contribution of the relevant UN entities, including the regional level, at the request of states, in line with their national programmes.

(viii) The follow-up and review should be conducted in a constructive spirit in order to foster positive mutual learning and cooperation to assist governments in their achievement of sustainable development. This means that it should be based on long term orientation and incentives such as sharing lessons learned experiences, necessary means of implementation, taking into account capacity-building and financing needs, facilitating access to technology and other support to be provided by a wide range of actors in a complementary manner to the support provided by developed countries.

(ix) The follow-up and review process should strengthen the follow-up and review of the commitments at the international level with an emphasis on ODA commitments, technology transfer, and capacity building. Its approach should be differentiated, which means that it will focus, in particular, on the MOI provided to achieve the SDGs, applicable to all countries, while being consistent with the principle of CBDR and taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

(x) Follow-up and review should ensure coherence between the national, regional and global level.

(xi) The basis for the follow-up and review of qualitative national information on sustainable development policies at all levels is robust data drawn from national progress reports. Data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used where possible, recognizing the urgent need for transfer of financial resources, technologies and capacity building for developing countries in accordance with national priorities and strategies and in regards to improved data collection.

(xii) At national level, follow-up and reviewing of the implementation of the SDGs should be determined by national governments in accordance with national circumstances and level of development including the participation of all relevant stakeholders such as civil society, social actors and the UN development system, in accordance with national legislations.

Co-Facilitators,

It is against the backdrop of these principle positions that the Group makes the following textual proposals:

- To remain consistent with agreed language, the Group proposes that the disaggregated data referred to in paragraph 43 should be "reliable and timely".

We also propose the inclusion of an additional sentence to read: "Data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used where possible."

In line with the Groups previous proposals, it is proposed to also include a reference to "African countries" in the last sentence of paragraph 43.

The paragraph would now read: "Indicators are being developed to assist this work. Quality disaggregated, reliable and timely data will be needed to help with the measurement of progress beyond GDP and to ensure that no one is left behind. Data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used where possible. We agree to intensify our efforts to strengthen statistical capacities in developing countries, particularly African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states and other countries in special situations".

- With regard to paragraph 57(a) text should be introduced that underlines 'the need to provide the adequate policy space' and the need to base the global review on national sources of date.

In accordance with this proposal, paragraph 57(a) will now read, "They will be voluntary and country-owned, will take into account different national realities, capacities, the need to provide the adequate policy space, and levels of development and will respect national policies and priorities. As national ownership is key to achieving sustainable development, outcomes from national-level processes will be the foundation for reviews at regional and global levels, noting that the global review will be based on national sources of data."

- With regard to paragraph 57(d), the Group of 77 and China believes that the language should be consistent with the agreed language from A/RES/67/290 by replacing "all people and all stakeholders" with "major groups and other relevant stakeholders".

The language should therefore read as follows: "They will be open, inclusive and transparent, and support the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders". ?

- In the first sentence of paragraph 62, the Group proposes replacing "as appropriate" with "where appropriate and avoiding duplication". We also propose deletion of the phrase "cooperation on trans-boundary issues".

The sentence will thus read, "Follow-up and review at the regional and sub-regional levels can, where appropriate and avoiding duplication, provide useful opportunities for peer learning, sharing of best practices and discussion on shared targets". ?

- In paragraph 63, the Group of 77 and China proposes that the last sentence be deleted so as to give regions the room to discuss their own follow-up and review processes, which could in fact also build upon existing mechanisms.

- In paragraph 65, the Group proposes adding "and regional reviews" at the end of the first sentence.

The sentence would thus read: "Follow-up and review at the HLPF will be informed by an annual SDG Progress Report to be prepared by the Secretary General in cooperation with the UN System, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems and regional reviews". ?

- The Group of 77 and China proposes that paragraph 68 should be consistent with paragraph 132 of the Addis FfD outcome. Language from paragraph 132 of the Addis outcome should be reflected here.

The language in paragraph 68 would therefore read: "We welcome, as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the dedicated follow-up and review for the Financing for Development outcomes as well as all the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. The intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations of the FfD follow-up and review will be fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda in the high-level political forum (HLPF) on sustainable development".

- In paragraph 70, the Group of 77 and China is of the view that it is unnecessary to only highlight the role of the private sector. What about the important role that is played by non-governmental organisations and other relevant role-players? We would also argue that while stakeholders should participate in the follow-up and review process, the primary role would belong to countries. We therefore propose that the paragraph should be amended to follow the text in accordance with resolution 67/290:

"The HLPF will support participation by the major groups and other relevant stakeholders in line with Resolution 67/290. We encourage these actors to report on their contribution to the implementation of this Agenda."

- The Group of 77 and China strongly believes that the General Assembly should provide political guidance on the issues being addressed in paragraph 71. Language should be introduced into the paragraph that would call on the General Assembly to take action on the Longer Term Positioning of the UN Development System as a part of its forthcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR2016). The intention should be to ensure the alignment of the UN Development System with a post-2015 development agenda. In this context, provision should also be made to include a system-wide reporting by the UN and its Agencies on the role that they have undertaken in effectively supporting States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda.

Paragraph 71 should consequently be amended to read as follows: "We also welcome the on-going ECOSOC Dialogues on the Longer Term Positioning of the UN Development System and look forward to taking action on these issues in the forthcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review process, as the main vehicle to give guidance to the UN system's country level work. In this context the General Assembly should also make provision for a system-wide reporting by the UN and its Agencies on the role that they have undertaken in effectively supporting States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda".

- With regard to paragraph 72, the Group of 77 and China is of the view that reporting formats should be developed on the basis of a decision by the country itself. The first sentence of paragraph 72 should consequently be amended to make it clear that the Secretary-General would only make recommendations on possible reporting formats which could implemented by countries on a voluntary basis.

The first sentence of the paragraph could therefore read as follows: "We request the Secretary General to provide a proposal, for consideration by member states, on the organizational arrangements of state-led reviews at the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, including on recommendations on a possible voluntary common reporting format.

Co-facilitators,

The Group of 77 and China would now request your indulgence to also utilise this opportunity to address other important issues arising from our earlier discussions this week:

(a) On the debate that has been held with regard to the technical revisions to the targets, the Group has utilised the opportunity of its consultations during this week to undertake a detailed reflection of each of the proposals that have been made. The conclusion that we have reached is that most, if not all of the revisions that have been made have a substantive effect. The Group has again decided that the re-drafting that has taken place should not be supported, as they are substantive and not technical in their effect. The report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals would be substantively changed if these changes were to be considered, and this redrafting of the OWG-SDGs is not an acceptable option to the Group. As a consequence, co-facilitators, the Group relies on your assurance that if there were disagreement on any or all of the proposals, we would revert to the original text of the OWG-SDGs.

It would only be on the basis of such a preservation of the text of the OWG-SDGs, that the Group of 77 and China would be willing to consider replacing only the "x's" and "y's" with an appropriate word or phrase.

(b) In response to the question that we should consider the placement of the SDG "Means of Implementation", the Group believes that the MoI's would be best placed in Chapter 2 as they form an integral and essential part of the goals and targets. Separating the two Chapters would not only be a revision of the OWG-SDG report, but would unnecessarily divorce text that not only belongs together, but which should be read together. We would agree for it additionally to also be maintained in Chapter 3.

(c) The Group of 77 and China do not believe that there should be any annexes to the outcome document.

With regard to annex 1, this is an annex that will fall away once the issue under consideration in 14.c has been resolved.

On annex 2, we see no need to annex the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. The FfD outcome, stands in its own right and is already adequately referenced in our outcome document as supporting and complementary to the Global Partnership and the Means of Implementation for the post-2015 development agenda.

On annex 3, the Group has consistently held the position that the introduction of the Open Working Group Proposal for Sustainable development goals and targets should continue to be reflected as part of the OWG-SDGs in its entirety.

I thank you.