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United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Statements

Deputy Secretary-General: Statements

New York, 5 February 2016 - Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at informal meeting of the General Assembly on the Coherent, Efficient and Inclusive Follow-up of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [as prepared for delivery]


Let me first of all thank you, Mr. President Lykketoft, for this initiative and this important opportunity.  I very much welcome the chance to exchange views on the report of the Secretary-General on the “coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at the global level”.

I will first make some general and framing remarks and then hand over to USG Wu, who will present the highlights and process related to the report.

Late last year, the UN and its Member States took two critical steps forward on the path to sustainable development, benefitting all, and to preserving life on this planet for generations to come.

As we all know, in September, world leaders adopted the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in New York. And in December, in Paris, they reached an equally historic agreement on climate change.

With the 2030 Agenda, the Member States, their leaders and their negotiators broke new ground in a number of critical areas, crucial for future development policies.

First, the Agenda is universal.

It applies to all Member States of the United Nations. They have all committed to achieve the goals. And the Agenda’s global principles are to be translated to national realities, national planning and national capacities.

This collective commitment to a universal agenda bears powerful testimony to our belief in a multilateralism, where the global framework is closely connected to the nation’s pursuit of well-being for their people - and vice versa.

The 2030 Agenda reflects a shared desire of humanity for a better, more just and equitable world – for now and for generations to come.

Second, the Agenda is broad and ambitious.

Its Goals and Targets cover a broad range of areas, inter-related and re-enforcing each other. 

Development for the future is very much about such integration across the goals and targets, across sectors and actors. It is about making full use of synergies and about establishing enabling environments. It is about realising that progress is a comprehensive process, mobilizing all drivers for development, both at the national, regional and international levels. 

Third, the 2030 Agenda sets out how all concerned are to make the agenda a reality. 

Implementation will be fundamental. This requires clear monitoring and follow-up mechanisms at the international and regional level and at home in the Member States.  We know that this agenda is to be implemented, first and foremost, by nations and communities themselves.

But nations will also see, I am sure, the benefits of expanding regional and international cooperation. They will need and want, to share experiences, exchange expertise and build on comparative advantages across borders.

As a recognition of interdependence and long-term responsibility, many Member States plan to weave together their work on climate change with the elements of the 2030 Agenda.  This is a wise, responsible and truly forward looking approach.

Let us at this moment ask ourselves: What will determine the success of the 2030 Agenda?

Let me highlight four points, four qualities .

First - Leadership. 

The SDGs will succeed only if governments and other development actors are fully committed to create the conditions – including transparent and effective institutions which are to make the goals living realities.

We need determined leaders in this undertaking. And we need successful examples of best practices, leading to progress on the ground.

Second - Ownership.

The broad ownership that already exists for this Agenda must translate into action which is inclusive, cuts across silos and leaves no one behind. The Goals should be embraced on all levels in our societies. 

Third - Partnership.

We should promote effective public, public-private as well as private sector and civil society partnerships. We can do this by sharing knowledge and expertise. And we can do it by meeting capacity-building needs of developing countries for North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation.

Let me also underline the role of the important relationship to the international financial institutions, the Bretton Woods System as part of the wider UN System.

Fourth - Collaboration,

In order to succeed, we all need to participate and cooperate. The United Nations System stands ready to serve Member States from the very start of the implementation of the SDGs.

We will do so, both at Headquarters level, through our Agencies, Funds and Programmes, and on the regional level through the Regional Economic Commissions and, of course, on the national level through our country teams. The cross-cutting character of the SDGs serves to bring the UN System ever closer together.

These overriding basic ideas, which I have presented, are well captured and detailed in the report before you.

It was prepared in response to paragraph 90 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in consultations with Member States.

The report explores how to ensure a coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review system at the global level within the mandates of the 2030 Agenda.

It aims to clarify the respective roles of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and other platforms.  It examines in greater depth important role of the High-Level Political Forum for sustainable development progress.

And it underlines that we must work on every level to integrate the SDGs and to systematically reflect the principles laid down in the 2030 Agenda.

Let me make a closing observation.

By consistently maintaining the high ambition for the SDGs Agenda, You, Member States have challenged the world, the UN System, and indeed, yourselves to now shift course, to now choose a new transformative road forward for development leading to a life in dignity for all.

This impressive and commendable level of ambition has also, rightly, created expectations from millions and millions of people around the world who wait for improvements in their lives and for responses to their hopes, dreams and aspirations.

We must not fail them.

Thank you.


Statements on 5 February 2016