Mr. Thomas Gass Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

the Coordination and Management Meeting of the Economic and Social Council

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In accordance with the mandate given by the SAMOA Pathway adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 69/15, I have the pleasure to report on the progress achieved in implementing the priorities, commitments, partnerships and other activities of small island developing States. A longer version of my statement is being distributed and will be provided on the SIDS page of the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Let me begin by providing a brief report on the International Year of Small Island Developing States, which successfully concluded in February 2015, with a ceremony held under the auspices of the General Assembly.

The International Year of Small Island Developing States aimed to raise global awareness of the sustainable development challenges faced by SIDS. It also celebrated their rich cultural and natural heritage.

The world community focused on SIDS issues in the International Days of Biodiversity, Oceans and in the World Environment Days. Above all, the International Year of SIDS contributed in building momentum for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States.

Implementation of the SAMOA Pathway has become an important element in the strategic plans, work programmes and investment of the organizations of the UN system, and of regional and global IGOs. This is helping to align their activities to the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and various partnerships launched at the Samoa Conference.

The Implementation Matrix, available on the DESA SIDS Action Platform, reflects the commitment of the agencies within the UN system and the sharing of tasks among them. Many international and regional IGOs have held follow-up consultations at national, regional and global levels, to determine how best to follow up on the priorities expressed in the SAMOA Pathway.

The Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA Plus) has been tasked to monitor the implementation within the UN system while also ensuring integrated follow-up to the Samoa Conference, and the Sendai Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Linkages are also being made with the preparations for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa this July, as well as the post-2015 Development Agenda negotiations.

The Inter-Agency Consultative Group on SIDS (IACG), composed of both UN and non-UN system agencies active on SIDS issues, has also been revitalized to play a role in monitoring and fostering partnerships where members are involved. It brainstorms on issues of common interest, in addition to mobilizing inputs and exchanging information. A full list of what agencies are doing is provided in the version for distribution.

Excellencies,

Paragraph 101 of the SAMOA Pathway requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to present recommendations for a Partnership Framework to monitor and ensure the full implementation of pledges and commitments through partnerships for SIDS. The General Assembly reaffirmed this mandate.

As part of this process, DESA sought the views of member States through a survey that was sent to the permanent missions. Views from 40 member States were received, including from the three SIDS regions and EU as a whole. As a result of these consultations, an informal draft Note by the Secretariat for a SIDS Partnership Framework was prepared and posted publicly on the SIDS Action Platform – DESA’s website on the follow-up to the SAMOA Pathway. We are looking forward to your views on this note, orally or in writing.

The SIDS Action Platform on our website also hosts the dynamic SIDS Partnership Platform that provides updates of 300+ partnerships announced in Samoa, while encouraging new ones, as well as the Implementation Matrix to help monitor the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

The SAMOA Pathway mandated a review of the UN system support to SIDS which was further elaborated in the GA resolutions 69/217 and 69/288. The initial findings of the Joint Inspection Unit concerning the comprehensive review of UN system support to SIDS will be provided in the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the MSI and SAMOA Pathway to the 70th session of the General Assembly, while the full findings will be issued as an addendum to this report in the latter part of the 70th session of the General Assembly.

As indicated, this Report does not address the range of actions taken to respond to all recommendations for action of the SAMOA Pathway or GA Resolution A/RES/69/217. The more comprehensive Report due to the 70th Session of the General Assembly will address areas related to the role of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the priorities of SIDS in the post 2015 development agenda, and the activities of the broader international community in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.

Before this, there will be an important opportunity to discuss how to keep the momentum for implementing the SAMOA Pathway at the HLPF on 1 July.

Excellencies,

I now have the pleasure to introduce the report of the Secretary-General on mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system (A/70/75–E/2015/55).

The Rio+20 Conference called for accelerating the implementation of sustainable development as a means for achieving the eradication of global poverty. It called for further mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the work of the United Nations system. It invited the Secretary-General to continue reporting to the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council, on progress made, including for the consideration of the high-level political forum on sustainable development.

The report before you responds to that request. It builds on the findings contained in the 2013 and 2014 reports, which have a number of useful findings, including the need for commitment to mainstream sustainable development in the UN system at the highest level of organizations. It is made clear that this should be backed by coherent intergovernmental guidance; bolstered by stronger coordination and policy coherence; underpinned by an effective system of follow-up and review, noting the importance of benchmarks and indicators of progress, and evidence-based evaluations.

There has been a number of important developments since last year’s report. They include:
o The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum – the first held under the auspices of ECOSOC
o Adoption of the proposal of the open working group on SDGs
o Adoption of the SAMOA Pathway
o Issuance of the SG’s Synthesis Report on the post-2015 development agenda
o Launching of the intergovernmental negotiations on post-2015 development agenda

Those developments have given added urgency to the need to mainstream sustainable development approaches throughout the UN system.

This report differs from last year’s report in several ways
o It recognizes the tremendous impetus that the future SDGs are giving to the UN system efforts to adapt itself to the new agenda and adopt sustainable development approaches. With the SDGs, the UN system has accelerated efforts to get ready for post-2015, with the overarching objective of helping countries implement the SDGs at home.
o The report thus highlights that interagency efforts to ramp up integration and mainstreaming are gaining momentum. The UN system has been reflecting on the kind of strategies that can ensure environmental & social sustainability. There has been a strong analytical collaboration to support the SDGs.
o The report also analyzes how the SDGs are interrelated through targets. The SDGs, by their very nature, can drive integration and mainstreaming throughout the UN system.
o The report places a stronger focus on strategic plans as a core instrument for mainstreaming integrated approaches. It also contains new analysis of country-level support.
o And, it looks at existing mechanisms for UN system accountability, the role of the QCPR, and how we can learn from MDG follow-up processes.

The report concludes with a few recommendations. Those include:

• The Secretary-General could map United Nations system support across the SDGs and support a reflection, including within the Economic and Social Council, on how to ensure integrated and coordinated support that adequately reflects interrelations between the goals;

• the United Nations system and its governing bodies could assess the asymmetry between economic, social and environmental issues in their work;

• the United Nations system could make further efforts to align strategic plans with the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda;

• the United Nations system pilot the implementation of the Environment Management Group framework for advancing environmental and social sustainability in the United Nations system;

• the Secretary-General could report on operational aspects related to mainstreaming sustainable development in the UN system in the context of the next QCPR;

• the United Nations system could reflect on innovative arrangements to support the work of the high-level political forum on sustainable development and other intergovernmental platforms, building on the experience and approach of the technical support team.

We look forward to the deliberations of the Council, the General Assembly and the HLPF on these issues as you continue to guide us and engage in this mainstreaming work.

Thank you.

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