Designing sustainable development goals

The intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on sustainable development goals (SDG) held its second session on 17-19 April and will meet again on 22-24 May

Designing sustainable development goals (UN Photo/Oddbjorn Monsen)

The working group, called for in the Rio+20 Outcome Document convened its second meeting at UN Headquarters, bringing together members of the OWG, other Member States, representatives from the UN system and Major Groups.

Chaired by the Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Hungary, Macharia Kamau and Csaba Körösi, the session focused on conceptualizing the SDGs, the SDG process and on poverty eradication. The Co-Chairs defined the task of the OWG as “gradually crafting the backbone of the transformative agenda.”

One of the many points made during the discussion on the conceptual aspects of SDGs was that any unfinished business regarding the MDGs must be concluded. They should be learned from, built on, and serve as point of departure, said Co-Chair Kamau. And while the SDGs would have to do justice to the complexity of sustainable development and integrate its three dimensions, thereby addressing a significant gap of the MDGs, they should also maintain a key MDG success factor, namely simplicity. The SDGs should be “tweetable”, as one Delegate put it. 

The discussion on poverty eradication was equally rich. Many countries saw this as core of the SDGs. There were varying opinions on whether the poverty goal should be a stand-alone goal, a cross cutting goal or both. But there was agreement on the multidimensionality of poverty and that this needs to be reflected in the SDGs. 

The next session of the OWG is scheduled for 22-24 May 2013, and is tentatively set to cover food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, drought, desertification, land degradation and water and sanitation.

Webcasts of all six meetings of the second session, a summary of the concluding remarks of the co-chairs, statements and presentations as well as other information can be found on the sustainable development knowledge platform.

For more information:
Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform