Remarks by Ambassador Tomas Anker Christensen, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the General Assembly of the 70th session, at briefing for member states on the PGA’s High Level Thematic Debates
24 February 2016
Thank you Mr. President.
As the President just mentioned, the April event is about moving from the what to the how; and about engaging those key actors who can have greatest impact on SDG progress.
We want to maximize the opportunity for facilitated interactive discussion, among participants both during and around the meeting; so that participants can build networks and relationships which will help support implementation.
The debate itself will consist of a series of sessions dedicated to five focus areas.
There will be a cross-cutting focus on gender equality and capacity building – two matters that we feel are really crucial to progress on all SDGs.
Following the opening segment from 9-10am to which we have invited the Secretary-General together with a few other high-level invitees; a plenary debate will take place from 10-1pm and 3-6pm.
Two sessions will run in parallel to the plenary each for 3 hours. The PGA will host a lunch dedicated to partnerships. A reception will be held in the evening on climate action.
The first area of focus is Action at all levels, which will be the theme for the plenary session.
Member States have committed to drive national responses to implementation of the SDGs.
This session will enable governments and others to outline out how this can be done, and what steps they are taking to deliver sustainable development which leaves no-one behind.
A speakers list has been opened for inscription by member States, observers and principals of the UN-system in this plenary session with a three minute time limit per statement.
In addition, DESA and NGLS have been asked to oversee a nomination process for three civil society speakers to address the plenary.
The second segment is financing poverty eradication and sustainable development. Implementing the SDGs requires substantial financial resources as well as sound regulatory frameworks.
This session will examine potential strategies to urgently mobilize public and private finance, as well as domestic and international finance.
The this segment is partnerships for the implementation of SDGs.
This new Agenda will only be realized if the implementation process is partnership based, fully inclusive, transparent and accountable.
This segment is planned as a discussion over lunch to which Heads of State and Government and ministers will be invited, together with select civil society representatives, the private sector at executive level and relevant principals of UN organs.
The next segment will focus on technology and information for decision-making.
To achieve the SDGs, there is a need to improve access to technology, as well as capacity for technology development.
This segment will look at how to ensure that the best available tools and information sources are used across sectors such as clean energy, health and information.
It will also consider how to address the challenges and opportunities around the data revolution.
Finally, the reception will focus on climate action in the context of sustainable development, as a bridge to the High-level Signature Ceremony of the Paris Agreement the following day.
In terms of logistics, delegations are encouraged to inscribe on the list of speakers for the plenary segment at the earliest opportunity, providing relevant information to DGACM and the protocol office.
Beyond the plenary, however, a speakers list will not be in operation.
Instead, we are hoping to have facilitated and interactive discussion between high level speakers and participants.
We are however keenly aware of the need to ensure that adequate time is provided for member state participation.
I therefore urge those of you who expect to have Heads of State or Ministerial engagement to get in touch with the office of the PGA directly so that we can look at the possibilities and opportunities for them to contribute to the segments they are most interested in.
In terms of openness and stakeholder participation, the meetings will be broadcast live online.
A dedicated registration process has been set-up online for all stakeholders wishing to participate at the event: www.csonet.org.
Furthermore, a google page on the PGA’s website has been launched to collect virtual inputs from stakeholders across the globe.
Finally, an updated programme and other information on the Debate will be made available on the PGA’s website over the coming weeks.