Second Committee Debate on Sustainable Development

Statement by Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at Second Committee Debate on Agenda Item 20: Sustainable Development

19 October 2015



Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it my pleasure to address the Second Committee here today for the first time in my Presidency.

Let me begin by congratulating His Excellency Mr. Andrej Logar, on his election to Chair of this Committee and to the Bureau members. Together with the secretariat, I am sure that you will ensure a smooth running of the Committee this session.

Friends and colleagues, at the end of last month, our leaders committed to  a new universal framework that will guide global sustainable development efforts for the next 15 years, with the SDGs as the backbone and supported by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The 2030 Agenda represents a truly transformative shift from business as usual. You, in this room, know better than most about the Agenda’s commitment to addressing the root causes of poverty, exclusion and inequalities; how it focuses on building inclusive, robust and resilient economies while seeking to reduce the dependency on finite fossil fuels; how it demands the empowerment women and girls and seeks to advance the protection of our natural world, of peace, justice and a renewed global partnership.

Now and over the next fifteen years, the entire international community must work relentlessly to move from commitments in New York to action on the ground.

Here at the UN, the focus on implementation and results, must run through everything we do, including in this Committee, whose Agenda straddles the core of the both the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Agenda and programmes supporting countries in special situations.

This Committee can for instance, ensure that some of the crucial features of the Agenda are respected by reflecting on how policies and actions respond to the new Agenda. What does it take for macroeconomic policies to ensure that “no one is left behind”? How do we ensure integrated approaches to implementation? How do we advance the synergies and manage possible trade-offs across the three dimensions of sustainable development and the various sectors? How do we to address the universality of this Agenda?

It can also help ensure that the concrete deliverables in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda are moved forward rapidly and meaningfully. A revitalized global partnership with strengthened multi-stakeholder engagement will be central to delivering financing from all sources, capacity building, as well as technology support and facilitation. And it will require actions to establish the global infrastructure forum and to give effect to the new technology facilitation mechanism.

There may also be a need – as part of the UN’s broader response to the 2030 and Addis Agendas – for this Committee to reflect on its own role and focus. This includes its role as part of a comprehensive and coherent framework for  follow-up and review; how it can best help the UN development system to adapt to the new Agenda. And given that the General Assembly broke new ground when it comes to stakeholder participation during the preparation of the Agenda, we must now ensure that the UN brings forward a similarly strong multi-stakeholder approach when it comes to implementation.

Overall what is needed, is coherence and complementarity across the work of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the High Level Political Forum under the auspices of both these organs, which will spur learning and implementation on the ground.

The 2030 Agenda, building on previous resolutions, is clear that the High Level Political Forum has a central role to play in overseeing a network of follow-up and review processes at the global level, though greater clarity is needed on how exactly that Forum will conduct its work. In addition, we have a new Financing for Development Forum as well as a new Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation. The 2030 Agenda also touches on issues that are often considered in other General Assembly committees or indeed in the plenary.

I therefore commend the Committee for taking forward a conversation on its working methods, within this broader context and that of the revitalization of the General Assembly. I look forward also to the Secretary General’s report on milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review at global level which will require your further consideration.

The next fifteen years, however, must be about action and not just deliberation.

In less than two months’ time, for example, at the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris, our leaders will be asked to take some crucial decisions that will directly impact the overall prospects for sustainable development. I therefore urge all States to continue working constructively to deliver on their commitment to adopt a universal and meaningful climate change agreement.

And on 11-12 of April, I will convene a high level thematic debate to support coherent implementation of SDG, Finance and Climate outcomes. That meeting will involve a range of stakeholders with a view to mobilizing urgent action to make some essential early progress.

Ladies and gentlemen, the second committee has much important work ahead of it. Rest assured that my team and I are here to support you in this endeavour on this crucial anniversary year.  I thank you.