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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 by H.E. Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations and Chairman of the Group of 77, on the Occasion of the Stock-Taking Session on the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

20 January 2015

Co-facilitators,

I once again have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Given that we have limited time I will address myself to the three issues in the programme as the Group may not have time again to speak in this session.

  1. Integrating sustainable development goals and targets into the post-2015 development agenda.

The Group thanks the Co-facilitators for making this issue a standalone item in the programme to give it the prominence it deserves.

The formulation of the SDGs over a period spanning almost two years, was a daunting task indeed, in which all member states had an opportunity to participate and put forward our views. This process was characterised by the agreed multilateral principles of transparency, openness and inclusiveness and was carried out in accordance with the agreed rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

This was also a unique process which enabled the effective participation of all the relevant stakeholders which greatly enriched the debate on SDGs. The integrity and outcome of this unique intergovernmental process which also enabled meaningful engagement of all stakeholders should therefore be preserved and not allowed to be diluted in favor of selective expert inputs no matter how important or useful.

The SDGs Report is a direct response to the Rio + 20 mandate in which our leaders launched a transparent intergovernmental process to develop sustainable development goals that should be action oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. Paragraph 246 of the Future We Want also called for the sustainable development goals to “be coherent with and integrated in the United Nations Development Agenda beyond 2015”. 

Fulfilling the mandate of Rio + 20 Conference, the OWG proposal is integrated, transformative, politically legitimate and technically consistent. The document was assessed by several national and international agencies and reflects the aspirational vision of The Future We Want. For the first time in the history of the UN Development System, goals and targets also poses challenges for developed countries which committed to take the lead toward sustainable patterns of consumption and production. The SDGs also reaffirmed and expanded previous commitments for means of implementation for each and every Goal.

The Group of 77 would like to categorically state that, in light of this mandate from Rio+20 and the fact that as member states we have invested substantial time, resources and effort into the SDG process, the Report of the OWG-SDGs, inclusive of the reservations made by Member states, should be the basis for the integration of the SDGs into the Post-2015 Development Agenda and should not be re-opened for negotiations.

Furthermore, SDGs constitute a collective effort and political compromise that could not be revised behind closed doors, by a handful of selected specialists. The 17 goals and 169 targets were crafted in a transparent fashion, based on technical inputs from the UN System, national agencies and civil society organizations. At this point, so-called “technical reasons” for redrafting targets would only serve to reopen discussions, threatening a delicate political compromise. The Groups does not support such attempt.

It is also important to recognize that while communicability of the agenda is important, form must always follow substance. In this case, the comprehensive and integrated agenda for sustainable development contained in the proposal of the OWG must not be compromised in the name of re-packaging.

Co-facilitators,

The G77 and China underscores that for the SDGs to be achievable, the international community needs deepened development cooperation that will see enhanced global partnership for development, including the fulfilment of the commitments related to ODA, debt relief, technology transfer and capacity-building.

The Group of 77 and China maintains that the retention of the means of implementation for each and every sustainable development goal, as contained in the Report of the SDG Working Group, as well as the strengthening of the global partnership for development, are essential requirements. Without them, the entire SDGs agenda would be hollow with no possibilities for its implementation.

The Group also reaffirms that technology is a crucial means for achieving sustainable development goals and a mechanism for facilitating clean and environmentally sound technologies is an essential outcome for this intergovernmental negotiations.

Co-facilitators,

The Group of 77 and China renews its commitment to constructively engage during the intergovernmental process to ensure that a truly transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda is duly adopted by our leaders in September this year.

Co-facilitators,

  1. Declaration.

As the Group stated in this hall yesterday it is important to have a declaration that seeks to set an ambitious tone for a transformative agenda that also seeks to reinvigorate the political will to ensure that the agenda itself is action-oriented. The Group maintains that a declaration should be short and focused on development issues. Our view is that the declaration should draw from agreed outcomes from previous Summits and processes such as the Millennium Declaration, the World Summit Outcome, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, The Future We Want and the Report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and should be presented to Member States as part of the zero draft to avoid fragmentation in the process of negotiations. In this regard the Group wishes to propose that the release of the zero draft should be brought forward to allow more time for negotiations among member states.  

  1.  Follow up on review.

The Group maintains that the debate on the ‘follow up and review’ should embody indicators to measure the implementation of the agenda. In this context the Group wishes to reiterate what it said this morning that “the development of global ‘indicative’ indicators by the United Nations Division should be done in an open and transparent manner with the UN Statistical Commission which is a member states body. Such an undertaking should seek to recognise that there are national and regional specificities, peculiarities and different capacities and therefore the outcome should not impose unworkable and unrealistic figures on developing countries.” Accordingly there should be no indicators at national level. National governments should implement the Post-2015 Development Agenda according to their national circumstances, capability and development stages, on voluntary basis. Our view is that indicators should be extensively discussed in the ‘Follow-up and Review context where Member States will get a clearer indication of where to place the indicators in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The notion of a framework for monitoring and accountability could prove difficult to agree and implement. Governments cannot account to each other. Accountability is undertaken at national level. Many governments have developed national plans and set national priorities and concomitant accountability and monitoring mechanisms to measure implementation and to account to their populations.

Co-facilitators,

The Group wishes to remind that the High Level Political Forum will “conduct regular reviews, starting in 2016, on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives, including those related to the means of implementation, within the context of the post-2015 development agenda”, as stated in paragraph 8 of resolution 67/290. In this regard, the follow up and review of implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda will be conducted within the High Level Political Forum, on an annual basis, under the auspices of ECOSOC. In addition follow-up and review should focus on strengthening the monitoring of means of implementation on international level, such as reviewing of the implementation of the commitment of ODA, technology transfer and capacity building and develop indicators of Means of Implementation. Accordingly, for follow up and review of the implementation, UN Agencies should report to the High Level Political Forum on the progress made toward the achievement of SDGs as well as on the commitments on means of implementation.

I thank you.