As Economic and Social Council Opens High-Level Segment, Speakers Pin Hopes on Post-2015 Development Agenda as Means to Address Obstacles to Progress

7 July 2014

As Economic and Social Council Opens High-Level Segment, Speakers Pin Hopes on Post-2015 Development Agenda as Means to Address Obstacles to Progress

7 July 2014
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

2014 Substantive Session

31st & 32nd Meetings (AM, PM & Night)

As Economic and Social Council Opens High-Level Segment, Speakers Pin Hopes


on Post-2015 Development Agenda as Means to Address Obstacles to Progress


The post-2015 development agenda must address the urgent challenges of poverty and inequality and build on the successes and shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals, with measurable targets and scaled-up investments in areas such as education, health, gender equality and youth employment, the Economic and Social Council heard today during high-level parallel events.

To ensure the success of development beyond 2015, the message must not be one of “gloom and doom”, but rather of “yes we can”, said Martin Sadjik ( Austria), President of the Council, as he addressed the opening of the high-level segment of the 2014 session and of the ministerial segment of its high-level political forum.

He said the new agenda — about which expectations were high — must be people-centred and build upon the unfinished business of the Millennium Goals, as well as address consumption and production patterns.  The business sector had a vital role to play through corporate social responsibility, beyond the scope of the Global Compact initiative.  The political will of Governments would also be critical, as would “conversations” between the scientific community and policymakers to ensure evidence-based decision-making, and the participation of civil society, academia, philanthropy, youth and children.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released the Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, describing it as “the most-to-date global scorecard”.  Many key targets had been met or were within reach, but achievements had been uneven, among and within regions and countries, and between population groups.  He would produce a “synthesis” report in September 2015 to support Member States in their negotiations.  Eradicating extreme poverty was a defining challenge and even more clearly an imperative to building stable societies and tackling growing inequality, in rich and poor countries alike.

Also addressing the opening segment, John Ashe ( Antigua and Barbuda), President of the sixty-eighth General Assembly session, called on the international community to work collectively to create “a life of dignity for all and a life of poverty for none”.  The high-level political forum must be nimble to respond to emerging challenges, and it must have strong relationships with other United Nations bodies to effectively implement sustainable development aims.

Esther Agbarakwe, Co-founder of the Youth Climate Coalition of Nigeria, said that young people experienced the brunt of the negative externalities of unsustainable development, but had not been given sufficient support and attention from the international community.  It was disappointing that youth were only mentioned twice in the latest draft of the Open Working Group of Sustainable Development Goals.  She urged all leaders to recognize that the decision to engage or exclude young people would determine whether societies prospered or failed.

Following opening remarks, the Council held a high-level policy dialogue, titled “Macroeconomic policies in support of a post-2015 sustainable development agenda”, which addressed three dimensions of sustainable development in terms of macroeconomic policy.

In the afternoon, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General titled “Addressing ongoing and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future” (document E/2014/61).  Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Vice-President, Committee on Development Policy, introduced the Committee’s report on its sixteenth session (24-28 March 2014) (document E/2014/33).

Following that, some 50 delegations participated in the general debate, including Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana, who, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the new agenda should contain ambitious action to combat climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and help to shift the world economy to a low-carbon trajectory.  Norway’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Borge Brende, called for a separate goal on climate change, as well as on sustainable energy, which he called the “missing MDG”.

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, urged the inclusion of desertification, drought and land degradation in the new agenda.  It was doable and achievable to restore land to its original state, as seen in his country, which had the largest desert in Europe.  Asserting the need for every country to have land-management policies, he asked:  “How can we not mention land and soil when discussing ending hunger?”

The representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed the need for synergy and coherence in the post-2015 development agenda, meaning States should work towards a single framework and set of universal goals applicable to all countries, which accounted for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Also today, the Council’s high-level political forum began its three-day ministerial segment, holding two ministerial dialogues.  The first, titled “A universal integrated policy agenda to implement Rio+20 and realize the future we want” considered the meaning of the post-2015 development agenda for countries at varying stages of development and for those in special situations.  The second, titled “Weaving regional realities and regional priorities into the post-2015 development agenda”, considered ways to address various regional priorities in the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development framework.

Speaking at the ministerial level today were representatives of Costa Rica, (on behalf of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC)),  Serbia, San Marino, France, Thailand, South Africa, Finland, Togo, Romania, Zambia, United Republic of Tanzania, Sudan, Japan, Croatia, Hungary, Viet Nam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Russian Federation, Belarus, Kenya and United Kingdom.

Also speaking today were representatives of Ireland, Brazil, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, India, Egypt, Armenia, Cabo Verde, Denmark, Malaysia, Libya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka.

The European Commissioner for Environment spoke on behalf of the European Union Delegation.

Also participating were representatives of the International Association of the Economic and Social Council and Similar Institutions, the All-Russian Public Organization of Disabled People with Multiple Sclerosis, the World Jewellery Confederation, and the Legion of Good Will.

The Economic and Social Council will continue its high-level segment at 10 a.m. Tuesday, 8 July.

Opening Remarks

MARTIN SAJDIK ( Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council, said there was a clear sense of opportunity as the international community reached the final stages in crafting the post-2015 development agenda.  The new agenda must be people-centred and build upon the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals.  It should address today’s urgent challenges, including poverty and inequality.  Consumption and production patterns must also be addressed in the sustainable development goals.  Renewing the global partnership for implementing the post-2015 agenda would be crucial for its success.  The business sector had a vital role to play through corporate social responsibility.  However, more efforts needed to be taken to engage the business sector beyond the Global Compact.

Governments continued to play an indispensible role and the political will to implement the agenda would be critical, he said.  Conversations between the scientific communities and policymakers must take place to ensure evidence-based decision-making.  Expectations for the post-2015 agenda were high, especially among the multi-stakeholders.  Intensive dialogue between civil society, academia, philanthropy, youth and children had taken place and their participation would be crucial.  To ensure the success of the post-2015 agenda the message must not be one of “gloom and doom”, but rather “yes we can”.

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, noting that it was the most-to-date global scorecard.  Many key targets had been met or were within reach.  But achievements had been uneven between goals, among and within regions and countries, and between population groups.  For the most marginalized and vulnerable in society, social exclusion and discrimination were among the greatest obstacles to progress.  At the same time, a strong successor framework was needed to attend to unfinished business and address areas not covered by the eight Millennium Development Goals.  Development, peace, security and the rule of law were more deeply connected than ever before.  “Eradicating extreme poverty is even more clearly an imperative to building stable societies,” he said, noting that tackling growing inequality, in rich and poor countries alike, had become “a defining challenge of our times”.

“Our post-2015 objectives must be to leave no one behind,” he said, adding that he would produce a synthesis report to support Member States in their negotiations leading up to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda at the Summit in September 2015.  At the intergovernmental level, the new high-level political forum on sustainable development built around the General Assembly, and a strengthened Economic and Social Council, was in place.  That architecture was designed to promote an integrated implementation of the new development agenda and the sustainable development goals.  The forum could give impetus to agenda-setting throughout the United Nations system.

JOHN ASHE ( Antigua and Barbuda), President of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, stressed the importance of poverty eradication and sustainable development as the world sought to shape the post-2015 development agenda.  The international community must work collectively to create a world ensuring “a life of dignity for all and a life of poverty for none”.  The forum must be nimble to respond to emerging challenges, such as a financial crisis that had global impacts.  To effectively implement sustainable development objectives, the forum must have strong relationships with other United Nations bodies.

The current session took stock of how the macroeconomic environment and other universal agendas could be implemented in different regions and countries, he said.  The General Assembly held many high-level and thematic events that would contribute to the work of the forum and the compilation of the Secretary-General’s synthesis report.  Global challenges required an unprecedented level of resource mobilization, action and political commitment, and he hoped the 2015 Summit would become “a defining moment in history and a turning point”.

ESTHER AGBARAKWE, Co-founder of the Youth Climate Coalition of Nigeria, said that today, the world was home to the largest generation of young people in history.  However, despite some progress, that group had continuously been left behind and denied those opportunities necessary to reaching their full potential.  Young people experienced the brunt of the negative externalities of unsustainable development, but had not been given sufficient support from the international community.  It was unfortunate that many still failed to recognize that dire situation and the implications it would have on current and future generations.

That generation, she said, was always among the first to pay the price in any conflict.  They were the ones manipulated and exploited in wars around the world, yet they were rarely consulted when it came to peacebuilding efforts.  It was disappointing that youth were only mentioned twice in the latest draft of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.  All leaders should recognize that the decision to engage or exclude young people would determine whether societies prospered or failed.  Young people could provide answers, ideas and innovations that could drive sustainable development and produce solutions to today’s greatest challenges.  That would require the meaningful participation of young people in governance and decision-making processes across all levels.

High-Level Policy Dialogue

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, moderated a high-level policy dialogue, titled “Macroeconomic policies in support of a post-2015 sustainable development agenda”.  Panellists were Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Guy Rider, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO); Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF); Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO); and Mahmoud Mohieldin, Corporate Secretary and Special Envoy on Millennium Development Goals, the post-2015 process and financial development, World Bank.

Mr. SAJDIK, opening the panel discussion, urged enhanced international policy coordination to ensure that resources were available to developing countries.  The world must finish the job started by the Millennium Development Goals and respond to new challenges.

Mr. WU took the floor next, noting that the world economy was expected to strengthen in 2014-2015, while global output was expected to remain significantly below what was needed to get the world economy back on track.  The post-2015 agenda would require broader, more coherent and more integrated sustainable development policies that took into account economic and social development, as well as environmental sustainability.  Robust and inclusive growth underpinned achievement of all development goals.  International and national policies that promoted growth through the creation of decent and productive jobs, particularly for youth, were paramount.  Global trade had long been considered an engine for economic growth, although it could also have adverse environmental effects.  It was important to strengthen financial regulatory reforms to mitigate the risk of a recurrent financial crisis, he said, adding that the challenge was to promote a global financial system that motivated long-term, sustainable investment.

Mr. KITUYI stressed the importance of macroeconomic and international financial policies in sustainable development.  As Lehman Brothers’ collapse and the subsequent global financial crisis suggested, financial globalization did not answer the question of inequality.  There must be a renewed focus on real economy fuelled by domestic demand, he said, adding that inclusive growth was critical as youth unemployment threatened sustainable development.  Macroeconomic policy must support job creation and must aim to maintain almost full employment.  Also attention should be paid to domestic demand rather than exports, and the quality of investment must also be boosted.  To that end, he urged inclusive dialogue on market regulations, adding that once agreements were reached, Governments must take collective and coherent action.  In that, they faced three critical challenges:  setting clear and attainable targets in all the three dimensions of sustainable development; demonstrating internal coherence, with all ministries acting in an integrated manner; and leading in establishing partnerships.

Mr. STEINER said the current conversation was one of evolution and maturity, particularly with the inclusion of environmental aspects in the dialogue regarding the future of sustainable development.  The conversation was no longer solely about environmental impacts and pollution, but how managing the world’s environmental assets would increasingly define national development choices and opportunities.  The conversation was being driven by what was happening to the world’s resources and the impacts of pollution; the facts were incontestable.  Inequality was tearing at the very heart of societies, and was inextricably linked to environmental issues, including land use, resource availability, and energy access.  Natural capital was a critical part of life for the “poorest of the poor”, many of whom relied on natural ecosystem resources for basic survival.  For them, the degradation of natural resources was particularly devastating, he said, noting that in many small island developing States, the transition to renewable energy was a question of survival in an otherwise untenable situation.

Mr. RIDER said the new development agenda must address sustainability in the economic, social and environmental dimensions.  Macroeconomic policy must support decent work as the world faced income inequality, a high proportion of informal-sector jobs, youth unemployment and other issues.  If wages were not growing, consumption would be weak, which would in turn depress growth, he said, adding that working families spent what they earned.  Looking ahead to 2030, there was a need for a macroeconomic policy that struck the right balance between and within countries.  Jobs connected people to society, and not just to economy, and social protection, particularly youth employment, was vital.  For the ILO, the environmental dimension of sustainability was a practical reality.  “We must think ahead how to generate greener new jobs,” he said, adding there was no single magic answer.  Inclusive growth could be possible with a package of policies that, among other things, removed barriers to formal employment and fostered entrepreneurship and green growth as well as worker and wage protection.    

Mr. MIN noted that global growth continued, but at a moderate rate.  Initial strong growth had started to slow, particularly in emerging markets and low-income countries.  That slowdown was due to weak demand from trading partners, the unwinding of fiscal stimulus and other idiosyncratic factors, including monetary policies and exchange rates.  It was an opportune time for emerging markets and low-income countries to adjust to the new environment, he said, adding that there was growth, but the key issue was catching up with developed economies.  With developed economies growing at a very high rate, the “catch-up” rate was miniscule.  It was vital that emerging markets and low-income countries adjusted their macro-policies to the changing international environment, he said, adding that a policy framework must include strengthening resilience, as well as investment and debt management strategies, and supporting inclusive growth.

Mr. AGAH said that the post-2015 development agenda must pay due attention to the role of trade.  If economic development, including trade, took a back seat, sustainable development was not possible.  During the last 16 years, many States had experienced sustained economic growth.  Those countries often were rich in natural resources, as compared to the often-scarce resources of big countries like China with 1 billion people and small ones like Botswana with 2 million people.  Trade could improve productive capacity through access to global markets, as well as foster technological innovations and make goods cheaper and widely available.  Those fronts could contribute to sustainable development.  He went on to say that World Wars showed the dangers of protectionism.  Simply paying lip service to the importance of multilateral trade did not help, as trade was a most powerful tool for development, including human development, and for poverty eradication.  With that in mind, agreement in the multilateral negotiations was urgent.      

Mr. MOHIELDIN, noting an emphasis on the importance of data, said the ability to measure progress on the Millennium Development Goals was hampered by the absence or lack of quality information.  Even when considering the goal on extreme poverty, key data was missing.  Macro-economic policies, whether at the national or global level, should be put into the context of the big picture.  There were still more than 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty, which was a great challenge that the world must address.  Investment opportunities, improved human capital and inclusive policies were needed to make gradual, yet sustainable improvements in the quality of life for the bottom 30 per cent.  At the global level, macro-policies must be successfully managed to avoid global shocks, in areas such as food, fuel, and finance.  Another challenge was avoiding the unintended or negative consequences that often accompanied economic recovery. 

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Egypt questioned why the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities was not featured more prominently in the dialogue on the post-2015 development agenda.

The representative of Sudan asked panellists whether they believed the financial sector would be an “enabler” or “disabler” for the post-2015 agenda.

Mr. KITUYI responded, saying that in order to ensure that finance was an enabler, rather than a disabler, major economies must internalize any adverse consequences of their policies.  That was important given the profound potential negative impact of financial disruptions on developing economies.

Mr. STEINER said future conversations must focus on North-South financing and green-climate funds, as well as how well private financing and capital could be part of the solution for developing economies.

Mr. RIDER said it was clear that the private financial sector was finding it difficult to play its proper role in job creation.  The real economy, he added, was simply not investing as it should.

Mr. MIN said advanced economies must take account of spillover effects in their monetary policy development and communicate that information, while emerging markets and low-income countries must prepare for potential negative consequences.

Mr. AGAH believed that creating a conversation structure around the post-2015 agenda that focused on overarching thematic headings would give a greater opportunity to address the concerns of all.

Mr. MOHIELDIN expressed optimism with the recent reforms that had taken place within the international financial institutions, which allowed developing countries to have a greater voice.

Also speaking today were representatives of South Africa and Cuba.

A representative of the non-governmental organization Children and Youth also spoke.

Introduction of Reports

Mr. WU, introduced the report of the Secretary-General titled “Addressing ongoing and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future” (document E/2014/61).  Despite substantial progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it had been unequal in and among countries.  A new development agenda must take into account that the international environment had changed dramatically since 2000 and contain a broader vision integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development.  The report addressed challenges to meeting the goals and sustaining development gains in the future.  It recommended sound national development strategies, strong public institutions and support environments, and suggested action for achieving development gains.  It noted that in-depth periodic reviews, conducted on the basis of sound data, monitoring and reporting, would be critical for success, including through mechanisms that promoted accountability and transparency.

SAKIKO FUKUDA-PARR, Vice-President, Committee on Development Policy, introducing the report of the Committee for Development Policy on its sixteenth session (24-28 March 2014) (document E/2014/33), said that the existing proposals for reforms did not seem “comprehensive or bold enough” to promote global governance.  Although international cooperation was at the heart of the global partnership for development, that cooperation should be understood as States acting jointly to resolve problems that could not be addressed by Governments acting alone.  However, the current global system was inadequate for managing the growing integration and interdependence of countries.

She then outlined five core principles that could guide reforms, including common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities, which recognized common problems, as well as the discrepancies in financial and technical capacities.  Another principle of subsidiarity implied that some problems could be handled efficiently at the local, national, and regional levels, thereby reducing the number of issues that needed to be tackled at the global level.   The Economic and Social Council should take a leadership role in instituting reforms based on those principles, placing itself at the centre of the development debate and strengthening the United Nations’ ability to foster global governance.

General Debate

SACHA LLORENTTY SOLIZ (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, looked forward to a “strong, feasible high-level political forum” that would fulfil its mandate with regard to sustainable development.  He stressed the need for synergy and coherence in the post-2015 development agenda, meaning States should work towards a single framework and set of universal goals applicable to all countries, which accounted for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  The forum had significantly strengthened the institutional structure for sustainable development.

He reiterated his resolve to strengthen the science-policy interface, underlining the importance of capacity-building for developing countries.  He welcomed the prototype of the Global Sustainable Development Report.  He noted the regional dimension of sustainable development and the role of United Nations regional commissions.  An open, rules-based, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system was also essential, as was greater coordination between the United Nations and international financial and economic institutions.  Resource allocation should reflect the needs of countries in special situations and the rights of peoples suffering under foreign occupation should be realized.

OLGA MARTA SANCHEZ OVIEDO, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean States (CELAC), said the first forum session should aim to ensure implementation of the Rio+20 mandates and General Assembly resolutions 68/1 and 67/290.  That would reaffirm the Council’s role in achieving a balanced integration of sustainable development’s three dimensions and the forum’s role in enhancing that integration through political leadership, guidance and recommendations.  The forum should be a dynamic platform for regular dialogue with a focused, action-oriented agenda, and it should cooperate with relevant United Nations entities in order to achieve “a truly balanced, holistic and cross-sectoral integration” of follow-up and implementation of the new set of sustainable development goals.  An enabling environment would ensure the goals’ integration in national policies, she said, voicing support for the recommendations of the Committee for Development Policy on global governance and global rules for the post-2015 era.

She also expressed support for the international monitoring of progress in connection with cooperation on tax matters, for which the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters was vital.  Financing for development would be central to implementation of the new agenda and goals, as would “a truly global development partnership”.  She sought the establishment of a regular institutional debt work-out mechanism to minimize moral hazard and promote fair burden-sharing, adding that it should mimic the mechanisms managing bankruptcies in national economies.  She would continue participating in the sustainable development working group to build a transformative post-2015 agenda, while the forum should devote sufficient time to discussing the sustainable development challenges faced by countries in special situations.  She also was committed to establishing a facilitation mechanism for transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

CAROLYN RODRIGUES-BIRKETT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guyana, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that its countries had made determined efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  CARICOM countries were on course to achieve most of them, particularly regarding education, health, gender, and hunger and poverty eradication.  The post-2015 development agenda required ambitious action to combat climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and to shift the world economy to a low-carbon trajectory.  The situation of youth required attention and had been made a priority by CARICOM Heads of States.  Greater use of regional data by the United Nations and other development partners was needed, as were better measures of development than gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, which gave a somewhat distorted picture of development in small countries by failing to take due account of their specific vulnerabilities.  The forum must bring new vitality to the United Nations system’s institutional infrastructure for sustainable development by promoting synergies across intergovernmental bodies and processes, including effective follow-up to the Barbados Programme of Action and to the outcome of the upcoming Third International Conference on small island developing States.

IVICA DACIC, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, said that the principle of universality must be respected in the sustainable development goals, which her country had been active in formulating.  The priorities had become clear, with poverty eradication still crucial and goals related to climate change at the core of the development agenda.  Affirming the primary responsibility of countries for their own economic development through reforms in taxes, governance and control of illegal capital flows, she reported significant reforms on the part of her Government for that purpose.  In noting other important progress in her country, she stressed that the global financial crisis and inflows of displaced persons from the region had been obstacles, and unemployment rates continued to rise.  The disasters caused by flooding in her region showed the importance of disaster risk reduction and tackling climate change.  She expressed appreciation for the holding of a donors’ conference on the flooding, on 16 July in Brussels, and called for maximum participation.

PASQUALE VALENTINI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino, said despite significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, without greater national, regional and global cooperation, many countries would not achieve them.  Progress in and among States had been uneven.  The economic crisis had contributed to that imbalance and sometimes had encouraged selfishness and protection policies, which ran contrary to the goals.  Too many people in several countries still lived in extreme poverty.  The Secretary-General’s report was useful in understanding the necessary factors to achieve the goals.  Globalization must be governed properly.  There must be a dialogue among different cultures and religions.  Peace and respect for human rights must be at the forefront of the post-2015 development goals.  Global problems required collective interventions.  San Marino would cooperate with all countries to achieve the Millennium targets and ensure the post-2015 agenda was universal and transparent and could be implemented effectively.

ANNICK GARARDIN, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, France, said that the forum should become the cornerstone of the post-2015 agenda, as sustainable development was imperative in stopping malnutrition, particularly in Africa, which was being impacted by climate change.  Development and sustainable development could not be on parallel tracks, but needed to be integrated from the start.  Furthermore, global financing should seek to stop funding energy products that negatively impacted climate change.  On a national platform, France had just adopted legislation that would place sustainable development in all development efforts.  The high-level political forum must be proactive and able to provide recommendations for addressing sustainable development, but the focus must be on action.  The forum must also be an open platform and engage all stakeholders.  There was scant reference to cultural challenges in the recommendation of the open working group, she said, adding, however, that addressing them was fundamental to human development.  Sustainable development had been theorized, but it needed to be viable to future generations.  The forum must meet the challenges and sustainable development goals must be far-reaching and attainable.

SIHASAK PHUANGKETKEOW, Permanent Secretary, Acting for the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, said that his country had hosted two regional consultations on sustainable development.  Those events focused on common themes emerging from the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, including poverty eradication, narrowing inequality, and inclusive growth.  In the lead-up to next year’s Summit, leaders must adopt a people-centred, rights-based approach to development so that issues had direct impact on the ground and vulnerable groups were not left behind.  Universal health coverage should be included in the post-2015 agenda.  There must be a focus on regional and global partnerships, particularly in science, technology and innovation, financial resources and capacity-building, and leeway for individual countries’ national efforts.  Monitoring should be based on measurable indicators as well as aggregated and disaggregated data.  Disaster-risk reduction must be integrated into the goals.  Thailand remained committed to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.  Recent events in Thailand could not be seen in isolation.  The country now had a road map to promote national reconciliation, political reform and the holding of general elections.

BOMO EDNA MOLEWA, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, associating herself with the “Group of 77” and China, underscored that the Millennium Development Goals adopted 14 years ago were monumental because the international community coalesced around common quests.  Despite that, however, sustainable development had not been in that landscape.  “We all have our national challenges,” she said, but poverty and unemployment, among others, were core issues for Africa, whose growth had been constrained by the global financial and economic crises.  She called for the early conclusion of the Doha Round of talks towards a fair and equitable global trading system.  The post-2015 agenda should galvanize efforts towards inclusive sustainable development, while formulating it should not sidetrack global commitments towards the Millennium Development Goals.  The new agenda should be a road map and should draw on lessons learned.  She urged the international community to explore their common interests and challenges, so as to unify efforts on how to approach them collectively.

JANEZ POTOČNIK, European Commissioner for Environment, speaking for the European Union Delegation, stressed that the global community was entering a critical time and that momentum needed to be kept up in order for the transformative post-2015 agenda to be ensured.  However, current discussions could not take place in isolation from the broader picture, he said, pointing to several reports that would all provide input, including the report of the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 development agenda.

He said that for that agenda to be effective, “truly transformative” and peopled-centred, a strong monitoring and accountability framework needed to be established that incorporated lessons learned and best practices from the existing mechanisms.  Furthermore, the enhanced coherence and effectiveness of the Organization’s system was part of the “broader strategic coherence” that should be sought.  The European Union was committed to real transformation.

GUNNAR BRAGI SVEINSSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland, drew attention to desertification, drought and land degradation, urging inclusion of those issues in the post-2015 development agenda.  It was critical that land be rehabilitated to its original state and that criteria be established towards that end.  It was doable and achievable, as seen in his country, which had the largest desert in Europe.  Because of national efforts, the land today had been restored to “land-neutrality”.  He stated that every country must have policies for land management, which must be a target in the Millennium Development Goals.  “How can we not mention land and soil when discussing ending hunger?” he asked.

PEKKA HAAVISTO, Minister for International Development of Finland, said a new kind of global partnership was needed to tackle old and new challenges to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Aid dependency should be reduced and domestic resources strengthened.  Peaceful societies was a specific focus for Finland in preparing the post-2015 agenda, and it was included in the current mandate of the 2011-2015 International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding.  All development must be inclusive.  There must be a human rights-based approach to development.  Non-discrimination and equality must be reflected throughout the post-2015 agenda, and sexual and reproductive health and rights should figure prominently.  Access to water and sanitation was a basic human right.  Some 2.5 billion people still lacked proper sanitation.  Greater efforts to reach sustainable, affordable solutions were needed to address that.  He called for efforts to improve the effectiveness of development cooperation and promote an enabling environment for development.  A strong accountability and monitoring framework was needed.

MAWUSSI DJOSSOU SEMONDJI, Minister for Planning, Development and Lands, Togo, said climate change’s devastating effects weighed on the collective conscience.  The sustainable development goals could help greatly towards effectively addressing climate change.  African economies had enjoyed rapid economic growth for several years, but a stronger rebound in developed economies would reduce that impact.  Changes in behaviour required a fairer distribution of responsibilities.  Togo still faced high poverty, 6.5 per cent unemployment and underemployment, particularly among young people.  In 2013, Togo had adopted a strategy for accelerated growth.  In 2012, it had adopted a national plan for sustainable consumption and production modes.  Togo had been chosen by the United Nations to adopt a pilot programme for capacity-building that would feed into the post-2015 development agenda.  He supported the Africa position on the sustainable development goals, adding that the settlement of peace and security issues was a prerequisite for achieving them.  In closing, he noted Togo’s offer to host a regional conference on maritime security.

ATTILA KORODI, Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Romania, said that the Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 agenda needed to advance, “leaving no one behind”.  Although efforts towards those Goals were being made, action on the ground was critical in order to finalize them.  Climate change was one of the most serious challenges of the time.  Romania was currently building up a green growth national action plan.  Among its components was building resilience against disasters and addressing sustainable consumption and production.  Businesses were obligated to incorporate green public procurement in order to comply with green standards.  National efforts on managing natural resources were also being made on a regional platform, especially in regard to water resources.  “We cannot speak of the development agenda and not talk about sustainability, responsibility and managing life supporting ecosystems,” he said.

BEENWELL MWANSA KAPEYA, Minister for Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Zambia, said the Millennium Development Goals provided an opportunity to further the development agenda.  Zambia had made progress; it had achieved the second and sixth Goals, and had made progress on the fourth and fifth, but it was not likely to reach the targets by next year.  With many countries lagging behind, the international community must work with countries in special situations.  The means of implementation should apply equally to the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development.  Calling for development aid effectiveness and efficiency, he said timely, predictable and reliable official development assistance (ODA) must be equally spread across countries.  The post-2015 agenda should focus on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.  Jobs were a high priority worldwide, he said, urging that attainment of full, productive employment and decent work for all be integrated into the economic and social pillars of development, while striking a balance with environmental control and climate change mitigation, also critical parts of the sustainable development framework.  The agenda should be transformative, inclusive and people-centred and rooted in the internationally agreed principles of sustainable development.

OMAR YUSSUF MZEE, Minister for Finance of the Government of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania, described his country’s mixed results in Millennium Development Goals implementation, noting that they reflected a global pattern.  The political forum should emphasize the importance of resources, as well as the sharing of experiences and best practices, to mainstream sustainable development.  The United Republic of Tanzania had benefited from joint assistance strategies, he said, describing how they had helped with mainstreaming sustainable development through donors’ general budget support frameworks.  Such frameworks underpinned national development cooperation and technical assistance programmes.  Further, they had enhanced aid effectiveness and better supported national priorities, while also simplifying accountability.  He regretted a waning of “political momentum” behind international development cooperation” since the 2008 crisis and stressed that macroeconomic policies supporting the post-2015 agenda should not prescribe only to developing countries — a truly international partnership demanded a “collective and concerted effort to ending poverty and hunger”.

MASHAIR AHMED ELAMIN, Minister of Welfare and Social Security, Sudan, said the peace accords in 2005 and 2011 had provided governmental structures, including those that absorbed military groups.  Reforms also adopted by the State had yielded positive results; there had been increasing economic growth indicators, the mastering of inflation and fluctuation in the exchange rate, as well as progress in political areas.  However, difficulties within and outside Sudan were hindering progress.  Internally, there were conflicts and population migration.  Externally, economic sanctions had weakened potential and production and service sectors.  External debts had also constrained growth, she said, pointing out that Sudan qualified for receiving preferences under the Bretton Woods agreements for poor countries suffering from debt burden.  Sudan was looking into the debt issue, particularly after losing oil resources following the South’s secession.  The international community should help alleviate the country’s debt and sanctions should be lifted, as that impeded development.  On a regional level, Sudan was receiving migrants and refugees, and she voiced hope that the post-2015 agenda would also focus on regional cooperation for countries affected by refugees.

NORIO MITSUYA, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said it was a priority to achieve the remaining Millennium Development Goals.  He looked forward to the outcomes of the Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Secretary-General’s report on the matter.  Human security should be a guiding principle in the post-2015 development agenda.  Inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience were required for development.  The three pillars of sustainable development must be integrated; societies must be built to be resilient to natural disasters.  The United Nations Centre for Regional Development in Nagoya and UNDP had hosted a conference on sustainable urban development.  Sustainable development required regional and national efforts.  He called on Member States to provide financing for the Centre.  Japan would host a side event on 10 July on disaster risk reduction and in March 2015 the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, the city affected by the great Japanese earthquake three years ago.  Division between North and South must end, in favour of a true global partnership.

JOSKO KLISOVIC, Deputy Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Croatia, said the post-2015 development agenda should draw on lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, building on their achievements and shortcomings.  The new goals had to balance realism and ambition to deliver innovative strategies and practical actions, both globally and nationally.  As well as the three dimensions of sustainable development, a fourth dimension, revolving around peace, justice, rule of law, human rights and good governance, should be incorporated, as those were vital preconditions for any society pursuing sustainable development.  For Croatia, the fragile maritime environment was a major priority, and tourism could also be a central contributor to economic and social growth if managed sustainably.  Croatia and Italy had hosted a side event, during the Council’s integration segment, on the preservation of ancient Adriatic cities and had hosted an expert group meeting on the science-policy interface.

ISTVÁN MIKOLA, State Secretary for Security Policy and International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, ( Hungary) noted the many achievements made in the Millennium Development Goals, but pointed out that, based on geography and regions, such success were “patchy”.  There were 100 million people who still needed to be fed.  The nature of the challenges required active interventions with long–running chronic problems, such as providing health care for mothers and children.  Needed was a value-based systemic approach, focused on building partnerships and networks that resulted into a connected society.  It was a must to learn in order to achieve the sustainable goals and targets.

BORGE BRENDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Norway, said the forum could have a central role in following up the sustainable development goals, for which it needed a strong review and monitoring mechanism.  He called for a post-2015 sustainable development framework that built on the success of the Millennium targets and set measurable goals that were easy to communicate.  Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger must be the primary goal.  That required scaled-up investments in education, health and gender equity, as well as in sustainable energy — “the missing MDG”.  Goals and targets must promote inclusive economic growth and reduce inequality based on the “leave-no-one-behind” principle.  There should be a separate goal on climate change, which could support, and not prejudice, the deliberations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Goals on good governance, peace, human rights and justice should be included; the first two should be among the headline goals in the new sustainable development framework.

NGUYEN THE PHUONG, Vice-Minister for Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, affirmed that the Millennium Goals were the most successful poverty eradication in history.  Viet Nam had been among the most successful countries in reaching those Goals due to support from the international community and comprehensive reforms that combined economic development with social development.  It was vital that the post-2015 agenda be universal, comprehensive and people-centred.  That agenda must focus on reaching previous goals that had not yet been met, as well as on promoting equality, coordinating international cooperation, addressing climate change, ensuring sustainable use of resources, emphasizing peace as a prerequisite for sustainable development and creating an enabling international economic, trade and investment environment.  He reiterated his country’s commitment to engage actively and constructively in that process.

SOMCHITH INTHAMITH, Vice-Minister of Planning and Investment, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, associating with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said 2015 was not a final destination but the beginning of a new sustainable development agenda.  The Lao People’s Democratic Republic Government had streamlined the Millennium Development Goals into its national plans aimed at improving overall socio-economic conditions, with a particular focus on poverty reduction.  The Government faced numerous challenges in addressing the off-track targets related to child malnutrition, maternal mortality, high dropout rate among primary school children and the continued impact of unexploded ordnance, among others.  The country also shared a burden of slow recovery from the global financial and economic crises, as well as negative impacts of climate change.

SIMON MUSANHU, Deputy Minister for Environment, Water and Climate of Zimbabwe, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the international development agenda needed to focus on transformative change in economies to achieve inclusive growth, decent jobs, industrialization, infrastructure development and access to affordable and clean energy.  The Millennium Development Goals experience taught many lessons which should guide the future goals and agenda.  For example, adequate means of implementation and strengthened global partnerships for development were important going forward.  Finance, technology and capacity-building were essential for countries to achieve domestic and internationally agreed development goals.  The post-2015 agenda needed to prioritize poverty eradication and sustainable development and the forum had the power to achieve that.  It could also promote implementation of the vision and objectives of Rio+20 by generating stronger global and political leadership at the highest level on sustainable development.

RAYKO RAYTCHEV, Director-General for Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, said that much had been achieved in the past 15 years; now the goals should be upgraded to reflect today’s challenges and reinforce the commitment to sustainable development, and prioritize results.  There must be an effort to effect a major change in consumption and production patterns and the integration of all cross-cutting issues.  He called for a recognition of culture, human rights, rule of law and democracy as enablers of sustainable development.  Gender equality and inclusion of all marginalized groups should be seen as a priority.  Transparency and accountability in the implementation of all commitments were also essential.  He expressed confidence that the negotiations would come to a successful end and contribute to the world’s prosperity and sustainability.

IVAN JUKL, Director-General for Economic Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said since Rio+20 the international focus had moved towards sustainability.  That long-awaited change should be encouraged.  It was vital to strengthen the system of monitoring in the post-2015 development agenda, make use of existing mechanisms, and improve the Economic and Social Council’s ability to form partnerships.  Civil society and business must be viewed as partners.  Competitive businesses pushed the economy forward, created much-needed job opportunities and used environment protection to spur economic growth.  To protect the environment, competition must be embraced and innovation should be supported.  The Council should enhance dialogue with the various stakeholders, notably businesses and civil society.  His Government was seeking membership in the Council from 2016.

GENNADY M. GATILOV, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Russian Federation, said that expanded international cooperation in combating non-communicable diseases and promoting road safety should be included in the post-2015 development agenda.  He also advocated efforts against illegal drugs to improve human health and combat crime.  He strongly opposed “artificial politicization of the post-2015 agenda by including items that do not belong”.  Peacebuilding, rule of law and human rights, for example, had their own well-established governmental process and did not have universally agreed interpretations or clear evaluation criteria, and integrating them with sustainable development would lead to duplication of work by more appropriate forums and cause political controversies.  He noted his country’s strengthened position as an aid donor, saying its ODA had surpassed $600 million in 2013, after an overhaul of the national ODA strategy and relevant institutions.

OLEG YERMOLOVICH, Deputy Director-General for Multilateral Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, affirmed the global success of the Millennium Development Goals around the world and in his country.  Achieving development for all peoples required support on all levels and a renewed effort to ensuring peace and other prerequisites.  In regard to the post-2015 agenda he stressed the importance of recognizing that the family makes a critical contribution to reducing poverty and creating sustainable development.  In addition, a systematic and consistent approach was needed to engage middle-income countries in the context of global development.  In all areas, well-coordinated actions and accountability for commitments was needed, particularly as related to obligations to finance development, including for middle-income countries.  A comprehensive approach to technical assistance was particularly needed.  In conclusion, he stressed that the role of the Economic and Social Council in global economic governance, and financing for development should be enhanced.

The representative of Kenya said that progress had been made in her country in achieving universal primary education and HIV/AIDS reduction.  However, poverty eradication, health-related goals and gender equality, to name a few, still lagged behind.  To achieve sustainable development, the Government had held consultations at both national and subnational levels with women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups and had mainstreamed the results into a five-year medium-term plan.  In order to translate those commitments into sustainable development outcomes, adequate means were needed, particularly in the areas of accountability and monitoring, as well as in human and institutional capacities.  She called for a shift in how goods and services were produced and consumed, with developed countries taking the lead and developing countries benefitting from their know-how and experiences.  An emphasis on renewable energy feed-in tariffs was also needed.

ANTHONY SMITH, International Relations Director, Department for International Development, United Kingdom, associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said the world was at a critical juncture of sustainable development.  Evidence showed that the post-2015 agenda would be more complex than the Millennium Development Goals.  Clearly there must be more progress on water, health, and sanitation, but the international community needed to support transparent societies, inclusive access to markets, human rights, rule of law and good governance as well.  The United Kingdom had reached the 0.7 per cent ODA target in 2013.  But ODA alone was not enough.  There must be effective institutions to generate other sources of finance.  The world needed more than goals and targets.  Efficient and effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms that supported national efforts would be crucial.  It was imperative to learn the lessons from the Millennium Goals and the sustainable development sphere and existing mechanisms.  All voices should be represented in the political forum; the poor and marginalized must be listened to.  Only then, could the root causes of poverty be targeted.  There was a need for a data revolution to track progress and help the neediest.  Disaggregated data was essential to ensure no one was left behind.

DAVID DONOGHUE ( Ireland), associating himself with the European Union, said that immense work required for a new development agenda, but that was worth the effort if it made progress possible in critical areas.  The agenda needed to go beyond the Millennium Goals in addressing governance, civil and political rights, gender equality, and the environment and deliver in a way that benefited all those who lived in poverty.  There had been an explosion of inequality, he said, stressing that the need for the right balance on resource allocation for the priorities.  The new forum for sustainable development could play a key role in monitoring progress on commitments and ensuring balance and greater coordination and coherence.  He described Ireland’s already-published sustainable development policy, and affirmed its commitment to an ambitious agenda.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA ( Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Caribbean and Latin American States, shared the Secretary-General’s views on successes and gaps in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  He expressed surprise, however, at the lack of references in his report to the Rio+20 outcome, which contained a critical and transformative vision for sustainable development.  Enumerating many of its features, he voiced strong support for the Group’s proposal last week, which called for coherence between all international agreements.  He welcomed planning in that context for further work on financing for development, stressing that private-sector commitments in that regard did not replace ODA, which should be expanded and regularized.  He said the Rio+20 outcome must be the overall road map for a future development agenda.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that with 1 billion people living in hunger and poverty, the Millennium Development Goals could not thrive.  As those Goals were being finalized, there was now an opportunity to address existing challenges.  Sustainable development must be at the core of the post-2015 agenda.  Furthermore, the post-2015 agenda should aim at enforcing the Millennium Development Goals of ending poverty.  Towards that end a goal on employment and social protection providing income and economic equity should be set.  Hope was being pinned on collaboration and cooperation, with enhanced financing, technological transfer and equitable trade as components.  A more robust development agenda should be established with partnerships at the centre.  Developed countries should take the lead and developing countries should implement action plans.  Strong institutions were critical to the success of good governance and thus sustainable development.

MIRSADA COLAKOVIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina), reporting significant progress in her country on most of the Millennium Goals, said that Goals 7 and 1, however, had seen limited progress, owing to the global economic crisis and the possibility that they were set too high.  That, along with other critical lessons learned, should be kept in mind when formulating the post-2015 development agenda.  Noting that her country benchmarked its progress against European standards as a potential candidate for the Union, she said that the new goals must be universal and their implementation must take into account a country’s specific challenges.  Pointing to recent catastrophic floods in her country, she stressed the importance of reducing disaster risk and tackling climate change.  She also expressed extreme concern over the increase of refugees and other humanitarian crises, emphasizing that the principles of humanity, neutrality and independence must be respected in provision of assistance.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and CELAC, said that his country valued the impact of the Millennium Development Goals as a tool for public awareness and for forging partnerships.  Inequalities must be addressed in a way that suited the political environment in each country, which would require social cohesion on the resulting policy and ideological implications.  For the post-2015 agenda, assessment capabilities must be improved, particularly considering the broader scope of the envisioned goals.  There was an opportunity to reassess development models, in favour of inclusivity and sustainability in the interest of future generations.  International cooperation must address the fact that most poor people live in middle-income countries.

ASOKE K. MUKERJI ( India) said that the new agenda must be suitable for a changed future, but also for a recognition that many of the problems addressed by the Millennium Development Goals persist, including hunger, access to water, education and unemployment.  Those items required urgent attention by the international community.  Inequalities in levels of poverty and resource consumption between developed and developing countries remained alarming, as was the related deficit in global governance.  Because of that deficit, developing countries, therefore, had limited influence to shape international agendas, deepening the inequalities.  A universal agenda must be a differentiated one that took account of such inequalities.  Multilateralism must be strengthened through a new international cooperation compact to seriously address all problems.

MOOTAZ KHALIL ( Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that a progressive agenda was being devised, for which the September conference would be a global turning point.  The sustainable development goals represented a global shift, placing people at the centre.  However, noting the donor-centre development modality, he stressed that far more needed to be done, including a focus on access to trade rather than foreign aid.  He called for review of the global trade system as the setting of a framework in support of development.  Furthermore, an environment should be enabled in which Governments set their own priorities.  Efforts were also needed to reform the financial systems, and public-private partnerships should be revised.  International action should be formulated as explicit commitments with appropriate time frames.   The forum must continue to attract high-level participation and fulfil its mandate, carrying on best traditions with the broad involvement of participants.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia), stating that the report of the Committee on Development Policy should be considered a “wake-up call”, said that his country had been part of the initial 50 countries groups to conduct national consultations on the post-2015 development agenda.  Partnering with the United Nations country team, a post-2015 task force was established.  Through “town hall meetings”, that task force engaged representatives of different societal sectors, including civil society and business groups, on issues focusing around such major themes as youth, women, health, labour and food security.  The results, with input from the National Council on Sustainable Development, led to identifying national priorities, including growth and employment, enhanced partnerships, peace and security, and combating corruption and inequality.  The consultations attracted a wide range of international and regional partners, as well as Government and non-governmental organizations.  Because of the differences between regions, as well as developed and developing countries, he urged that priority be focused on regional exchanges.  To that end, his country would be hosting a regional workshop on “Developing Governance and Government Capacities for Sustainable Development in Countries with Economies in Transition, including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries.”

FERNANDO JORGE WAHNON FERREIRA (Cabo Verde), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, advocated the building of equitable and just societies through optimal social policies.  Cabo Verde had been able to achieve almost all of the Millennium Development Goals, which was a considerable triumph for such a small country.  That progress was threatened, however, because the country was moving up in development categories to a medium-income classification and, thus, was losing much of its international support.  That situation must be addressed in the new agenda, he said, voicing hope for good results in that regard and for support for environmental resilience at the upcoming Conference of Small Island Developing States.  Such States required international solidarity to ensure their survival in the context of climate change.

IB PETERSEN ( Denmark), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said that although the “remarkable impact” of the Millennium Development Goals could not be underestimated, progress had been uneven.  His country had provided more than 0.7 per cent of its gross national income for development assistance and its current development assistance was at 0.83 per cent and had been engaged in the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.  The political forum, one of the most innovative results from the Rio+20 Conference, should provide engagement and accountability to the transformative agenda and must prove it could deliver on its mandate and provide leadership to live up to the many expectations.  Therefore, it was critical that when creating a review mechanism, accountability should be ensured, as well as a forum provided for sharing best practices and lessons learned.  It was also crucial to ensure that mechanism would be functioning by 2016.

HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, outlined his views on how the forum could build an ambitious development agenda.  He said it should provide political leadership and help accelerate global decision-making, while enabling more scientific input in international policy to ensure that the latest scientific findings were reflected in policy discussions.  It should catalyse a strengthened global partnership for sustainable development and be a key platform for holistic examination of global challenges.  Additionally, it should coordinate and contribute to better integration of sustainable development’s three dimensions; it must be more than a “talking shop” and make decisions.  In that regard, the forum should decide on the scope and methodology of the Global Sustainable Development Report at its closing session.  It should also oversee progress on the sustainable development goals and make recommendations for more effective implementation, he said, adding that key development issues, such as implementation, should be prominent as it sought to build on the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

IBRAHIM O.A. DABBASHI ( Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said all stakeholders must ensure that the forum be able to remedy any gaps in the post-2015 agenda and to have a clear policy vision.  Eradicating poverty was still one of the substantial challenges remaining.  Even with the renewed call to end it, many countries still faced difficulties in that area for a myriad of reasons, including a lack of resources, support, aid, and fallout from the global financial crisis.  Therefore, those goals must be included in the post-2015 agenda.  For the post-2015 agenda to be successful, technological transfer must also be included.  In addition, developing countries were suffering more from climate change, which threatened sustainable development.  “We must step up negotiations dealing with climate change,” he said.  Desertification affected vast amounts of territories, covering 40 per cent of land surface in some countries and was home to 1 billion people.  It was estimated that $16 billion of production was lost due to desertification.  It was critical to focus on that issue, land degradation and on drought.

EMMANUEL OLUWADARE OGUNTUYI ( Nigeria) said that one of the most important functions of the post-2015 agenda should be promotion of inclusive and equitable economic growth, as well as intergenerational equity and best use of resources in those contexts.  Nigeria’s national framework was based on those principles.  In addition to the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals, the new agenda must address access to sustainable energy, adequate financing and other social and environmental dimensions.  For discussing such issues, a presidential summit would soon be held in his country’s capital, Abuja.  To meet the huge costs associated with mitigating and adapting to climate change and other challenges, concrete funding mechanisms must be developed, and domestic resource mobilization must be complemented by international cooperation.  In addition, disaggregated economic information and sustainable development indicators were needed to better chart progress.  In conclusion, he stressed the need for special measures to take into consideration the situations of the most vulnerable countries.

SHEKU MESALI (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted that some of the Millennium Development Goals had been created without taking note of the specific needs of countries in the developing world.  Climate change was among the most serious global challenge and developing countries were being impacted the most by that.  Drought, land degradation and desertification required international action.  Further, development planning needed to include youth.  His country’s 2013 plan prioritized youth and job creation, as well as mainstreaming gender equality.  Moving forward, the post-2015 goals should be precise, measurable and easy to comprehend, reflecting the needs of the people and with a view to assisting developing countries and be prudent with national capacities and priorities, as sustainable development was not a one-size-fits-all approach.

SHAVENDRA SILVA ( Sri Lanka), associating with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the importance of integrating youth participation and mainstreaming youth concerns in the new agenda.  The Colombo Declaration, which had emerged from the World Conference on Youth 2014, had recognized that fact and acknowledged the aspirations and concerns of global youth, which needed mainstreaming in the post-2015 framework.  The Declaration also called for accelerated global efforts in developing skills and vocational training for the younger generation.  Youth employment was essential for the next stage of international development, and the right to employment should be recognized as a key social and economic right.  Sri Lanka’s development strategy contained dedicated youth and gender focuses, he said, describing the country’s economic journey from low-income to middle-income country status, despite a protracted conflict, as well as the devastation caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

IOSIF DISKIN, Rapporteur-General of the International Association of the Economic and Social Council and Similar Institutions, said that the new programme being considered by the international community seemed valuable — as long as it was based on inclusion and sustainability.  He warned, however, that the increase in goals endangered completion of the most important priorities.  The development agenda should, therefore, be based on an enhanced role for civil society and ensuring the most appropriate solutions for each country based on its own realities.  Responsible governance and participatory democracy were of particular importance, as were reliable performance indicators and exchange of experiences and best practices.

Ms. BALASHOVA, All-Russian Public Organization of Disabled People with Multiple Sclerosis, noted that 70 per cent of all sufferers were women and an increasing number were children.  She was pleased that world leaders had agreed on a focus on non-communicable diseases.  Noting that 40 per cent of Russians were happy with their health service, she said that recommendations had been put forward to the Government towards achieving the development goals in that area, resulting in an increase in funding and a six-fold increase in the number of health service centres.  Stressing the value of the international community’s input, she proposed a platform for non-governmental organizations to exchange information and ideas.

Mr. CAVALIERI of the World Jewellery Confederation said that his organization had integrated the Millennium Development Goals into its activities and educational activities and had been a strong supporter of the Kimberley Initiative against the trade in diamonds that help fuel conflicts.  A training centre for development concerns, for those involved in the supply chain of jewellery, had been established.  He pledged the continued commitment of his organization’s members to the goals of sustainable development.

Mr. PARMEGIANI Legion of Good Will said that civil society was critical for change from the ground up.  The Brazil-based non-governmental organization was currently in seven countries, providing 12 million acts of service through schools and social assistance.  It focused on a model of education that brought “heart and brain” to leadership.  His organization, working mainly in Latin America, recommended that the emphasis in post-2015 should be on education in the culture of peace.

Ministerial Dialogue I

Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), moderated the ministerial dialogue “A universal integrated policy agenda to implement Rio+20 and realize the future we want”.  Panellists were Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana; Yoon Seong-kyu, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea; Silvia Velo, Under-Secretary for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy; and Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.  Lead discussants were Palouki Massina, Minister, Secretary General of Government, Togo; Federico Ramos de Armas, Vice-Minister for Environment, Spain; Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations; and Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Ms. CLARK said that the post-2015 development agenda, guided by the outcome at the Rio+20 meeting, must be a single universal framework.  Universality was key to addressing such global challenges as poverty and climate change.  Climate change could wipe out years of development gains in a matter of hours.  The post-2015 agenda must also differentiate the needs of States.

Mr. POTOČNIK stressed that one key ingredient of the post-2015 development agenda should be to maintain a good balance of the three dimensions of sustainable development, including management of natural resources, a rights-based approach, and quality governance and the rule of law.  Another ingredient was to maintain the transformative capacity of the agenda.  It was possible to create a society without waste through legally binding agreements on recycling, food waste, and marine litter, among others.  A third ingredient was shared responsibility.  Addressing global challenges required action from all stakeholders.  A fourth was global partnership.  States had the primary responsibility for sustainable development, which required coherence, full mobilization of resources, including private finance, and a strong accountability.  A “circular” economy could create 2 million additional jobs in Europe while protecting the environment.

Ms. LITHUR said one key ingredient to future development would be effective and efficient coordination mechanisms, from the global level right on down to the local level.  In Ghana, it was imperative to address social, gender and political inequalities.  There must be more investment in the social development agenda, and that must be grounded in human rights, gender equality and poverty reduction.  Safety nets through social protection must also be developed.  Transparency and accountability were critical, as was national leadership and commitment.  Youth must be central to the agenda and civil society groups must be part of the planning, monitoring and evaluation processes.

Mr. YOON said the international community had endeavoured to incorporate the three pillars of sustainable development into the global development agenda for more than two decades.  It was “easier said than done”, but the world must maintain its commitment to those efforts.  Some of the primary focal areas included:  eradicating poverty, ensuring the provision of public services, providing universal access to education and health care and improving gender equality.  Around 2.5 billion people were living below the poverty line globally, which resulted in economic challenges and environmental stress.  The environmental aspect of development was critical, as it impacted human health.  The principles of good governance should not only be applied on the national level, but also reflected in the global partnership of the future.

Ms. VELO said that the challenges facing the world were increasingly interconnected, requiring a universal and integrated response that took into account the three dimensions of sustainable development.  A structured dialogue involving various stakeholders was vital.  Safeguarding natural resources, protecting human rights and empowering women should be given consideration when making decisions.  A differentiated approach was also necessary to address the needs of countries at different stages of development.  The traditional North-South cooperation had become obsolete and a new model was necessary.  It was also vital to recognize natural capital.  Italy created a national commission on natural capital tasked with incorporating the value of nature in policymaking.  The Government was also exploring a new taxation system to reduce pollution.

Mr. MASSSINA said in spite of the different development programmes in existence, poverty and populations continued to grow, while natural resources dwindled.  For the post-2015 agenda to be effective, it must have an integrated vision that guaranteed all people a decent way-of-life.  The goal should be to not only reduce poverty, but to eradicate it in all forms.  That objective could only be achieved if there was a more responsible global partnership that was equitable and humanistic.  The post-2015 agenda must allow for qualitative sustainable development of the global economy, which went beyond basic social services.  That new partnership should reform governance and international cooperation in terms of transparency and inclusion.

Mr. RAMOS DE ARMAS said solving the new challenges facing the international community required a global approach.  The objective of universality must be modulated with differentiated national goals.  The new agenda must be accepted and endorsed by the countries that must apply it, respecting different national realities.  No one can be left behind.  Development should respect the limits of the planet to build a just and united society.  The future development agenda must look at the relationship between poverty and sustainability.  The main objective of the agenda should be the eradication of poverty and have a clear focus on people.

Mr. LIU described Rio+20 as a success in setting the direction for sustainable development.  A priority was to turn political commitment into action with differentiated responsibility.  Developing countries faced inadequate financial resources and technologies, areas that needed international support.  Coordinating macroeconomic policy between States was vital to create an enabling external environment.  The high-level political forum should follow up on Rio+20, strengthen the monitoring of implementation, seek policy integration, share best practices and improve communications.  The post-2015 development agenda should place poverty eradication at its core while aiming for common goals with differentiated responsibility.  It should preserve diverse development models, but processes must be led by Member States based on consensus.

Mr. CHUNGONG stressed that “universality” meant reunion with nature.  Decoupling economic growth with the environment had to be in absolute terms.  There was a need to rethink the economic growth model.  Growth needed to enhance the well-being of people.  All people had to share the benefits of development.  What was needed was a social contract that led to inclusive development.  The new development agenda must have goals related to democratic governance as poor governance was a major reason for exclusion.  Institutions, including parliaments, must be reformed to better deliver their mandates.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Austria said that democratic governance and rule of law should be the backbone of the development agenda and the international community must not forget about the inclusion of a wide range of important stakeholders, including parliamentarians.

The representative of South Africa said the international community must follow through on promises and financial commitments that were made in the past.

Mr. POTOČNIK said the international community must go back to the fundamentals of decision-making.  The world was engaged in a positive process, including efforts to eradicate poverty and to move towards a more sustainable future.  Trust must be built.

Ms. LITHUR said the goals must be relevant to the people.  Democratic governance must be more representative, inclusive, accountable and transparent.

Mr. YOON said the principle of “leaving no one behind” meant that extra efforts were needed in order to reach those on the margins of society.

Ms. VELO said the post-2015 agenda had different significance for different countries, largely dependent on their development progress.

Ministerial Dialogue II

Juan Somavía, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Interregional Policy Cooperation, moderated the ministerial dialogue titled “Weaving regional realities and regional priorities into the post-2015 development agenda”.  Panellists were Olga Marta Sánchez Oviedo, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica; Marcin Korolec, Special Envoy for Climate Change, Poland; Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union Commission; and Shamshad Akhtar, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.  Lead discussants were Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh; Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Thailand; Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations; and Gigi Francisco, Global Coordinator of the Development Alternatives for Women in the New Era (DAWN), Chair, International Studies Department, Miriam College, Philippines, representing the major group of women.

Mr. SOMAVÍA asked panellists to explore how the commonalities and differences between the priorities of the various regions could be addressed in the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda and how those goals and the agenda would impact on policies and trends in the respective regions.

Ms. OVIEDO said a number of measures were being undertaken in Costa Rica to establish structural conditions to reduce poverty and inequality, fight corruption and promote economic growth.  In her country, extreme poverty had undermined human rights.  Energy and transportation largely depended on fossil fuels, leading to greenhouse gas emissions.  Social and human development was vital as the country sought to improve the quality of life, including education and health.  The high-level political forum was an important space for middle-income countries like Costa Rica to better communicate their needs.

Ms. AKHTAR said the United Nations Regional Commission’s consultations on sustainable development had been productive.  The regions had put forward their own specific priorities, forging a fair degree of consensus on the agenda.  The regions identified the need for structural transformations to address inequalities, natural resource management, challenges posed by population dynamics and urbanization and the need to deepen regional connectivity.  There was a good alignment of priorities between regions; however, they also emphasized their own unique challenges during the discussions.  The regions underscored the importance of overarching targets, but also emphasized that their specific regional characteristics must be kept in perspective.  A long-term view was important when talking about sustainable development, while coordination between policymaking bodies and implementing agencies was also crucial.

Mr. KOROLEC said the post-2015 world would be organized around the sustainable development goals, which would require a careful balance between the three pillars of development.  Some regions would focus on economic areas and some would focus on social goals, while others would focus on environmental issues.  What was important was that common global challenges were tackled in an integrated fashion.  It was obvious that different regions would implement the sustainable development goals in different ways.  However, it was important that lessons learned and best practices were shared across the regions.

Mr. MARUPING said that the Common African Position was ”one African voice” instead of that of 54 States in the region.  It was a people’s document, adopted by the highest body of the African Union.  Africa’s priorities for the post-2015 agenda were presented under six pillars:  environmental sustainability, natural resources management and risk management of natural disasters; finance and partnership; human-centred development; peace and security; science, technology and innovation; and structural economic transformation and inclusive growth.  There were more commonalities than differences between the African priorities and those of the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development framework.  Unlike programmes of action, a framework left ample space for flexibility.  The African Union had also put in place a strategy for the next 50 years, known as Agenda 2063.

Mr. PHUANGKETKEOW said that countries would need help with capacity-building to successfully implement the post-2015 agenda.  Migration was a major challenge that brought about questions as to how countries could reap the benefits of economic growth, while ensuring full respect for human rights.  Many countries in the Asia-Pacific region would have to think about migration policies, while also addressing the challenges of an ageing population.  The region was the most disaster-prone area, so disaster risk reduction issues must be incorporated into the sustainable development goals for that region.  Small island developing States in the region also faced unique challenges with regard to climate change and natural disasters.

Mr. HAQUE said that during the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, regional cooperation had played a significant role.  That same dynamic should also play a role in the implementation of future sustainable development goals.  He proposed the creation of a hybrid regional organization that would be inclusive and mutually beneficial for addressing both the “hard and soft” issues of development.  There must be agreement on the deep connectivity within regions, which could serve as a means for bringing people together, as well as promoting peace and security.

Mr. AL-NASSER said the international community must come to grips with the serious issues the world faced if the post-2015 agenda was to have real meaning.  “We are not starting from scratch,” he said, noting that there had already been significant efforts to address development challenges.  That input could be critical going forward.  Existing regional strategies had created a political tool to facilitate good governance and effective policies around cultural diversity and human rights for all citizens.

Ms. FRANCISCO said the sustainable development goals must address global systemic issues, such as imbalances in trade agreements, the need for better regulation and monitoring of the global financial system, and ensuring developing countries could negotiate agreements on unsustainable debt.  Gender equality and women’s empowerment were prerequisites for sustainable development.  Ensuring the protection of the human rights of women in rural areas was of particular concern.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of the Russian Federation said it was important to establish interregional institutions so the new development goals could be completed in an integrated and efficient fashion.

In closing, Mr. KOROLEC said the climate convention was focused on reducing emissions.  Future climate negotiations must focus on how to reduce emissions.

Ms. OVIEDO said that the discussion had highlighted the true asymmetrical nature of development in various countries.

Mr. MARUPING said that economies must grow to support the gains that had been made with the Millennium Development Goals and ensure further progress with the sustainable development goals.

Ms. AKHTAR said it was critical to better integrate the regional commissions in the dialogue taking place on the sustainable development goals, particularly as each region had its own unique characteristics.

Also speaking were the representatives of Chile and Zambia.

A representative of the non-governmental organization Children and Youth also spoke.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.