Setting Stage for Upcoming Session, General Assembly Transmits Text on Ambitious Post-2015 Development Agenda

1 September 2015
Sixty-ninth General Assembly, 101st Meeting (AM)

Setting Stage for Upcoming Session, General Assembly Transmits Text on Ambitious Post-2015 Development Agenda

In a historic move today, the General Assembly adopted a resolution transmitting to its seventieth session a sweeping post-2015 development agenda aimed at eliminating poverty and hunger, protecting the planet and fostering peace, to be acted on during a high-level summit later this month.

Known as “Transforming our world:  the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” — annexed in draft resolution A/69/L.85, which was adopted as orally revised — most notably lays out a set of 17 sustainable development goals with concrete targets ranging from the achievement of gender equality to taking urgent action to combat climate change.

“Agenda 2030 aims high,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, proclaiming it “the start of a new era” as he addressed the Assembly prior to the consensus adoption.  The new plan marked a “paradigm shift” as it sought to foster peace and prosperity on a healthy planet and eliminate inequality.

The agenda broke new ground in the way it linked peace and security to sustainable development, rule of law, and access to justice, he said.  It presented new options to deal with the root causes of present crises, from migration to gender inequality and beyond.

Looking forward, he said that, at the upcoming summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda — to be held from 25 to 27 September — more than 150 world leaders, as well as Pope Francis, would come together to begin the new era for sustainable development.  “We must act with utmost ambition and show unwavering political will,” he stressed in that regard.

General Assembly President Sam Kutesa (Uganda) said the spirit with which the agenda was formulated was a triumph for multilateralism.  “We have proven that the global community can work together to address pressing issues facing humanity while making the necessary commitments for the benefit of all,” he said.

The 17 sustainable development goals were comprehensive and addressed the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way, he said.  While they would be universally applicable, there was also recognition of national circumstances, different levels of development and the needs of countries in special situations.

Many of the more than 30 speakers taking the floor welcomed the spirit of consensus that had led to the agreement on the new agenda.  Others hailed the “unprecedented” transparency of the negotiation process, with the representative of Colombia praising the involvement of thousands of civil society stakeholders who had been consulted prior to the finalization of the text.

Another resounding theme was the importance of respecting unique national circumstances and the priorities of States.  The representative of Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Group, endorsed the new agenda but warned that the follow-up to the goals and targets should not undermine the right of States to create their own national policies.  Indeed, the agenda should not seek to “universalize” the values of the world’s people.

Similarly, a number of delegations, including those of Egypt, China and Brazil, lauded the inclusion of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility — which recognized the wide differences in levels of economic development between States — in the new agenda.

While a number of States listed reservations to the text, including references to sexual and reproductive rights, sexual orientation and the definition of the word “family”, broad consensus emerged on the need to move forward with the new agenda’s implementation.

In that connection, some speakers expressed high expectations that the newly established High-Level Political Forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council would be up to the task of monitoring and following up on the implementation process.  Future generations must be able to look back and celebrate what had been achieved by the 2030 agenda, said the representative of Argentina, adding:  “Now begins the difficult task of making this a reality.”

Also speaking today were the representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Tonga (on behalf of the 12 Pacific small island developing States), Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Paraguay (on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Qatar (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council ), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Indonesia (speaking on behalf of 12 countries), Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Hungary, Sudan, Iceland, Chad, Russian Federation, Turkey, United States, Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Norway and Panama.

In addition, the representative of the European Union Delegation and the observer for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See took part.

Opening Remarks

SAM KUTESA (Uganda), President of the General Assembly, said the spirit with which the outcome document was formulated and agreed by consensus was a triumph for multilateralism.  “We have proven that the global community can work together to address pressing issues facing humanity while making the necessary commitments for the benefit of all.”  By putting eradication of poverty, improving livelihoods for all, transforming economics and protecting our planet among its core objectives, the new agenda was ambitious, inclusive and transformative.

The 17 goals were comprehensive and addressed the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way, he said.  While the goals would be universally applicable, there was also recognition of national circumstances, different levels of development and the needs of countries in special situations.  Integrating the new agenda into national development plans, mobilizing adequate financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, and ensuring effective follow-up and review would be critical.

It was important to ensure that the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals was carried forward, Mr. Kutesa said, stressing the need for greater attention and investments in key areas.  By adopting the draft resolution today and transmitting the outcome document to the summit for adoption, the international community would have taken an important step towards putting the world on a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable path.  “As we embark on this collective journey, we have to uphold the pledge that no one will be left behind.”

“Today is the start of a new era,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  “We have travelled a long way together to reach this point.”  At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, the international community had set in motion a process that would become the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  The agenda-setting process had set a new standard for the inclusion of all stakeholders and had overcome differences for the common good.  Earlier this month, Member States had reached agreement.  “Today”, he said, “we are ready to hand over this agenda to world leaders for endorsement at the Summit.”

“Agenda 2030 aims high,” he went on, as it sought to foster peace and prosperity on a healthy planet, eliminate inequality, and call for action from everyone everywhere.  “This agenda marks a paradigm shift” in tackling emerging challenges.  It broke new ground in the way it linked peace and security to sustainable development, the rule of law, and access to justice.  It presented new options to deal with the root causes of present crises, from migration to gender inequality and beyond.

“This is an agreement of which you can be proud,” he said.  Its implementation would require all stakeholders to continue to champion the cause.  Indeed, 2015 was a watershed year for putting the world on a sustainable pathway.  The agreement reached in Addis Ababa in July and efforts to forge a new pathway on climate change in December were critical steps to implement the 2030 agenda.  More critical meetings would follow next year.  He urged the world to show the same vision going forward.  At the summit later this month, more than 150 world leaders, as well as Pope Francis, would come together to begin the new era for sustainable development.  “We must act with utmost ambition and show unwavering political will,” he said.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly next adopted the draft resolution, as orally revised, entitled “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit” (document A/69/L.85).

Explanation of Vote

Speaking in explanation of vote after adoption, the representative of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stated that “this was not a perfect document but represented a political balance” that gave the international community a meaningful and ambitious post-2015 agenda.  Eradicating poverty in all its dimensions was recognized as the greatest global challenge.  Expressing gratitude to the co-facilitators for guiding the process openly and transparently, he welcomed the adoption of the resolution transmitting the outcome document.

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning with both the Group of 77 and China, and the Alliance of Small Island States, said: “We have before us a new development agenda which is truly unprecedented in its scope”.  Indeed, it offered developed and developing countries alike a people-centred sustainable development blueprint.  Its provisions ensured “whole-of-society” engagement, with the contribution of all stakeholders in a manner consistent with their respective roles, capacities and existing obligations.  Together with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the future climate change accord, it represented a “pivotal” step forward.  The Caribbean Community would contribute to a robust, systematic and effective follow-up process.  She recommended the document’s adoption at the summit later this month.

The representative of Paraguay, speaking on behalf of the 32 member States of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said lack of access to sea remained a major contributor to the high incidence of extreme poverty and a source of structural constraints.  Landlocked developing countries were vulnerable to external shocks, systemic weaknesses in global trade, financial and economic architecture and volatility and contractions in key global indicators.  They fully endorsed the ambitious and transformational vision set out in the new agenda.  Expressing appreciation for the acknowledgement of the special attention the most vulnerable countries deserved, the speaker underscored the complementarity between the goals and targets contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the six priority areas of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries, 2014-2024.  The successful and timely implementation of both blueprints would be indispensable to the local, national, regional and global efforts to spur social and economic progress in that group.  Effective partnerships would be crucial in mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technology and the financial resources needed to implement those goals and targets.

The representative of Tonga, speaking on behalf of the 12 Pacific small island developing States and associating with the statements delivered on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States as well as the Group of 77 developing countries and China, stated that the new agenda had the potential to meet the specific needs and vulnerabilities of the countries in his group.  The dual promise of an accord that was both universal and transformative had set a very high bar, but the international community had responded admirably.  A changing climate threatened not only prospects for sustainable development but also the very survival of small island States.  The international community must continue to maintain that high ambition in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiation process.  Securing a legally binding climate agreement for adoption in Paris was part of the global effort to heal the health of the planet and eradicate poverty by 2030.

The representative of Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said the negotiations had shown the importance of dialogue and concessions made to bring points of view together.  However, the group had a number of reservations to the text.  In regard to the paragraph on women, there were reservations on the term “early marriage”, or the marriage of children.  In addition, the group reserved the right to implement all decisions related to migrant workers.  It also had reservations to all points in the document on reproductive health, which might run contrary to sharia law.  The Gulf Cooperation Council was undertaking to protect women’s rights with regard to inheritance and was committed to internationally recognized human rights.  With regard to the use of the word “gender”, the group found that “gender” designated a man or a woman.  Similarly, a “family” meant a husband, a wife and children.  She regretted the absence of any mention of the role of families in implementing and achieving sustainable development.

The representative of Maldives, speaking in explanation of vote on behalf of the member States of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating with the statement of the Group of 77 and China, stated that the Alliance had worked diligently on the new agenda because it desired the creation of a world where poverty and hunger no longer existed.  Maldives was encouraged by the flexibility and commitment exercised by the international community.  The High-Level Political Forum, together with the support of the United Nations system and relevant regional commissions, could play an integral part in accomplishing the agenda.  For small island developing States and others in special situations, there should be increased support for strengthening data collection and capacity-building.  Calling on developed countries to assist with technology and financing, the speaker stressed that such assistance was an investment in the world community’s future.

The representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of 12 countries, said the draft outcome document had been crafted through a long, inclusive process.  The document before the Assembly today comprehensively captured the necessary elements to eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions and achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions in a balanced and integrated manner.  However, the amendments on targets 2.5 and 15.6 related to access to genetic resources, introduced at the last phase of the negotiations, should have been addressed without making substantive changes to such targets, taking into consideration that they had been extensively discussed and agreed by consensus at the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and endorsed by the Assembly in resolution A/RES/68/309.  Targets 2.5 and 15.6 should be interpreted and applied in accordance with the objectives of the Nagoya Protocol as agreed by the international community, such as the fair sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.  Fulfilling those targets was crucial to achieving food security and nutrition, health and sustainable management of biodiversity.

The representatives of Venezuela, associating with the Group of 77 and China, stated that her country wished to express some reservations.  The preamble of the outcome document reflected a vision of sustainable development that was aligned with the views of the Western world.  Since the preamble was the beginning of such an important document, it should also cover other models of development.  Reiterating her country’s reservations with regard to specific goals and targets, such as the one relating to modern energy, she added that there was a lack of clarity in the concept of modern energy and it was necessary to assess energy use in the national context.  The reference to elimination of fuel subsidies interfered with the public policy of the State, and, therefore, Venezuela would not accept any monitoring or reporting of national energy measures.

The representative of Kazakhstan stated that the outcome document was the result of unprecedented open and inclusive intergovernmental negotiations among all stakeholders.  His country hoped that the success in the first two key decision points, the Third Financing for Development Conference and the post-2015 summit in September, would encourage a positive outcome for the third key event: the climate change negotiations.  A new global agreement on climate change would provide a strong foundation for action at the national, regional and global levels for poverty eradication and economic, social and environmental sustainability.  “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” he stressed, urging a political commitment.  Kazakhstan stood ready to offer its best to the joint international effort.

The representative of Japan joined other speakers in welcoming the new agenda, in whose development his country had been actively engaged.  The text of the outcome document was not perfect, as it still contained the points Japan had mentioned at the end of the Open Working Group in 2014.  However, he was pleased to see a strong focus on “people centredness”, disaster preparedness and other crucial areas, and he was pleased to see its consistency with the outcome of the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.  His delegation would make every effort to implement all the goals and targets in order to eradicate poverty and transform the world into a sustainable planet in which no one was left behind.

The representative of Colombia said “this is a historic event”, in particular as the text had been crafted with the participation of thousands of civil society members.  The agenda was the result of three years of negotiations since June 2012, when Colombia had made a proposal at Rio+20 that a set of goals and targets could put the Earth and its resources on the path of sustainability.  Today, the document had the potential to eradicate poverty and hunger, protect the environment and transition the world to sustainable patterns of production and consumption.  It was an inclusive document, addressing older people, young people, migrants, those with disabilities and others.  “Our efforts should now be focused on the implementation of the agenda,” which would not be an easy task, he noted.  Public policies were needed to achieve the goals of the agenda, as were strong follow-up mechanisms.  Finally, he expressed concern about the way the United Nations development system would support the implementation of the agenda.

The representative of the Republic of Korea stated that with the upcoming adoption of this historic agenda, the international community must contemplate on ways to successfully implement it.  His country was confident that Member States could further the mutual understanding built during the negotiation process.  As President of the Economic and Social Council, the Republic of Korea was fully committed to building a robust mechanism for implementing the agenda, including through the modality of the High-Level Political Forum.  The Republic of Korea would also make use of its unique development experience in using national motivation to transform a society from hopelessness to hope and poverty to prosperity.  The international community had a long journey ahead in the next 15 years and it would not be an easy one.  But his country was certain that success in accomplishing this ambitious agenda was within reach.

The representative of India, aligning with Indonesia’s statement made on behalf of various like-minded countries, and the one delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the outcome document represented the culmination of two years of intense work.  For India and other developing countries, poverty eradication was the overarching development goal and, therefore, his country was gratified that the agenda reflected that.  Poverty could be eliminated within the span of a single generation. India’s experience had shown that inclusive economic growth, industrialization and innovation were essential for eradicating hunger and the country was pleased with the emphasis that had received.  At the same time, universalism had not been confused with uniformity.  India was also pleased that the “technology facilitating mechanism” had found mention in the document.  That would enable the international community to leverage the transformative power of technology for eradicating poverty.

The representative of Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Group of States and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, endorsed the contents of the new agenda and said the continent would spare no effort to fully implement it.  The 2030 agenda should be implemented in line with the priorities of States.  With regard to paragraph 19, he did not consider the term “other status” as relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons.  In addition, he said, parents had the right to choose which type of education to give their children.  The goals and targets should not lead to a situation in which young people had access to items or services without their parents’ knowledge.  Within the household, he considered that “family” referred to a man and a woman, which was natural to society.  On paragraph 5.6 on the right to sexual and reproductive health, nothing should be included that ran counter to domestic law, and the agenda must not lead to the right to abortion.  The follow-up to the goals and targets should not undermine the right of States to create their own national policies, and the agenda should not seek to “universalize” the values of the people of the world.  The African States would therefore implement the goals in line with the cultural and religious values of its countries.

The representative of Iran said the agenda was a historic and universal document with a commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide.  He highlighted the agreements on common but differentiated responsibility and the importance of national ownership.  He also spotlighted the important role of the High-Level Political Forum, which should guide the agenda on its implementation.  Reiterating reservations on the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development, he said there should only be a single reporting system led by national Governments.  Any reporting template or mechanism should be agreed and adopted through an intergovernmental process.  Moreover, nothing in the document should override national priorities.  That included national understandings on the terms “other status”, “other groups”, “sexual and reproductive health and rights” and “the family”.

The representative of Mexico stated that the upcoming adoption of the 2030 agenda after the long negotiation process would represent a total change of paradigm in the international community, with Member States agreeing to focus their combined efforts towards bringing about a more just world through social inclusion.  The sustainable development goals provided a plan of action that would enable everyone everywhere to live in a world where human rights were respected.  Mexico had long stressed that the protection of all migrants was crucial, and his country was pleased that the document promoted respect for the rights of all, regardless of migration status.  The correct approach to dealing with migration issues was from the perspective of the human rights of migrants and their families.  Concerning follow-up, Mexico stood fully committed to the agenda’s implementation and would guide national policies in accordance with it.

The representative of Brazil, associating with the Group of 77 and China, stated that the international community had come to the successful completion of a journey that built on the legacy of Rio+20, through the most transparent and inclusive negotiation process in the Organization’s history.  Thanking the co-facilitators, he was pleased that recognition of that conference was extensively reflected in the outcome document.  Brazil would have preferred more ambitious and progressive language with regard to human rights.  Nevertheless, the agenda was people-centred even if the text had not captured all aspects of the human rights edifice.  The text’s universality was ground-breaking and it recognized “common but differentiated” responsibilities.  Paragraphs 30 and 31 on climate change reflected a reasonable balance and encouraged commitment without prejudging the outcome of the Paris conference.  The revitalized global partnership should be democratic and participatory and must engage civil society and the business sector.  Resources in support of the High-Level Political Forum must match its ambitious workload.  Brazil was especially pleased with the progress achieved with respect to the technology facilitation mechanism.  “We have produced a document that is worthy of the consideration of our Heads of State in the upcoming summit,” he concluded.

The representative of Ecuador said that the time had come to work together to implement the goals laid out in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.  Her country had reservations on paragraph 12(c) as well as outstanding reservations to paragraph 225 of the outcome document of Rio+20, which ran counter to the national policies of Ecuador.  Among other things, the Constitution of Ecuador prohibited the dismissal of working women due to pregnancy, and recognized that life began at conception.

The representative of China said that the post-2015 development agenda reaffirmed the purposes and values of the United Nations and underscored the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.  It provided a comprehensive means of implementation and included a solid means of follow-up and review.  It also gave renewed impetus to international cooperation.  The post-2015 agenda was the most important achievement of the current session of the Assembly, and “shall be inscribed into history”.  China looked forward to the successful adoption of the agenda at the upcoming Summit, which would help the international community to be better focused on sustainable development and to improve cooperation for the development of developing countries.

The representative of Peru saluted the ambitious consensus achieved in the outcome document and applauded the emphasis placed on poverty eradication.  Poverty was resilient, and in many countries there were structural gaps that made it difficult to achieve sustainable development.  Peru was pleased, therefore, that social inclusion was recognized as a cross-cutting issue in the agenda.  It was necessary to acknowledge the many dimensions of poverty.  Peru also endorsed the statement made by Indonesia with regard to genetic resources.  His country was decisively committed to the implementation of the agenda.

The representative of Hungary said that the outcome document represented the best chance of building a people- and planet-centred future.  The formulation of goals and targets in the working group had helped the international community arrive at consensus, and Hungary was honoured to have guided that process, together with Kenya.  Development was a partnership and implementation should be on the basis of a true global partnership, involving all stakeholders, Governments, the private sector, academia, civil society, the North and the South.  Hungary called on the international community to translate the agenda’s complex goals into programmes to which people could relate by communicating effectively at all levels.

The representative of Egypt said that transforming lives and ensuring the sustainability of the planet could only be achieved through the collective effort that was embodied in the new agenda and which was based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.  On paragraph 18 of the text, he said the rights of every State to exercise full sovereignty over all of its resources must be respected.  Further, the content of the agenda must be implemented in line with national legislation and priorities, as well as with cultural and religious values.  Follow-up and evaluation should be carried out in line with those national peculiarities.  In particular, education should be chosen by parents, and references to sexual health and services did not imply any right for adolescents to access services not in line with national laws and values.  As the agenda called for leaving no one behind, it was regrettable that Goal 16 left out the issue of ending foreign occupation, such as the ongoing situation in the Israeli-occupied territories.  Finally, he spotlighted the voluntary nature of the follow-up and review process.

The representative of Sudan endorsed the statement of the African Group and the “Group of 77” and China and said his delegation was eager to implement the agenda by ensuring that all its national agencies were involved in the pursuit of dignified lives for all.  His country had a number of reservations, including on target 15.6, which it had laid out during the Open Working Group.  On paragraph 19, no ideas or concepts should be imposed upon States which ran counter to their cultural values.  Sudan would be putting those reservations in writing and sending them to the Secretariat.  Moreover, all countries agreed to internationally accepted standards that were universal in nature; moving away from those norms would run counter to international law in its broadest sense.

The representative of Iceland said that the Rio+20 document had been key to the negotiations for the new agenda and should be taken into consideration when interpreting the sustainable development goals and targets.  In the interest of making that text easily communicable to all citizens, its language was a mixture of various previous texts.  Regarding gender equality and human rights, Iceland was pleased with many positive aspects, but conditioning certain women’s rights on national laws was inconsistent with the commitments made in the Beijing Platform for Action and fell short of other international agreements.  Iceland was also disappointed with the phrase in target 54 “as nationally appropriate” because recognizing and valuing unpaid domestic work was vital to gender equality.

The representative of Chad, praising the facilitators and participants for achieving the historic outcome document, welcomed the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities.  Also welcoming the support shown for the 2063 agenda of the African Union and the New Partnership for Development, he stressed the importance of bearing in mind the priorities of the least developed countries.  The consideration of the linkages between peace, security and development would enable an inclusive and multidimensional approach to development in conflict and post-conflict countries.  Chad believed that some of the issues in the outcome document were not in line with universally recognized international laws.  The provisions of goal 5.6, for example, should not undermine the responsibility of parents in educating children, and the reference to sexual education should not necessarily lead to the right to abortion.  Further, marriage leading to a family was a sacred union between a man and woman.

The representative of the Russian Federation supported the upcoming adoption of the new agenda and said that it provided a sufficiently full picture of the challenges facing sustainable development.  Despite its complex nature, however, some important sustainable development topics had not been included.  For example, the issue of drugs had been presented in a one-sided way, leaving out the contemporary challenge of the illegal trade in those items.  The document also did not include alternative development as a way to resolve the global drug problem.  All participants should uphold the principle of national leadership and refrain from imposing inappropriate development strategies on others.  With regard to paragraph 4, which included the term “segments of society”, he trusted that such phrasing would not lead to additional dividing lines between peoples.  The Russian Federation only endorsed those agreements and processes to which it had given consent or to which it was a party; its endorsement of the agenda as a whole could not be interpreted as a change in any of its positions.

The representative of Argentina, associating himself with the “Group of 77” and China, welcomed the upcoming adoption of the new agenda and was convinced that it was a crucial opportunity to build a more just and peaceful world.  Agenda 2030 would be of universal application.  The international community had set out clear priorities and means for implementation, as well as a clear follow-up and review process.  Argentina felt that sustainable global development was only possible through a process that respected pathways that each country chose for itself.  Bearing in mind the role that the United Nations development system would be called upon to play, the system would need to be strengthened.  “Now begins the difficult task of making this a reality”, he said, expressing hope that future generations would be able to look back and celebrate what had been achieved in the 2030 agenda.

The representative of Turkey stated that 2015 was a significant year in achieving agreement on various key development issues, from the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to the forthcoming climate change conference in Paris.  Her country emphasized that the reference to the United Nations law of the sea should not be construed as changing Turkey’s established legal position.

The representative of the United States applauded all delegations for achieving consensus on the outcome document, calling that “a testament to the promise of multilateralism”.  The agenda was global and took into account different national realities.  Such a balanced approach strengthened the potential for success.  However, none of the agenda’s provisions would create new rights or international law obligations.  The permanent sovereignty of each State must be recognized, he said, making clear that the agenda’s provisions did not affect existing transboundary agreements or the rights of States to take trade measures.  The United States believed that the World Trade Organization was the appropriate forum for negotiating those issues and also reiterated long-standing concerns regarding the right to development. The term “equitable” was used in multiple contexts in the agenda, but it was vital to avoid any collective interpretation of “equitable” that might lead to discriminatory practices.

The representative of Israel said the new agenda would usher in a new era of sustainable development that was unprecedented in its scope and ambition.  The agenda, if implemented in full, had the power to once and for all free the world from hunger and poverty.  Nevertheless, Israel’s position on “politicized language” in paragraph 35 of the text remained unchanged; using the agenda to score political points diluted its power.  All outstanding issues between Israel and the Palestinians could only be resolved through direct negotiations.

The representative of Armenia said the inclusivity and openness of the process to develop the new agenda had been a source of inspiration to all.  The power of the agenda lay in its long-term impact.  Policies of exclusion and discrimination undermined the goals of the document and should be eliminated.  He welcomed references to the specific needs of landlocked developing countries.  As such a country, Armenia was committed to eliminating policies of blockade and other forms of unilateral coercion.  Finally, he regretted that last-minute changes to paragraph 38 failed to fully reflect the principles of the Charter.

The representative of Azerbaijan said that the agenda provided a clear road map for development, making it truly a “people’s agenda”.  Its targets must be pursued actively, especially as related to regional integration.  However, that process could not be achieved without resolving regional conflicts.  If one Member State occupied another, such integration was not possible.  Since a neighbouring country was illegally occupying the territory of Azerbaijan, her country’s actions would be based on its highest national interest.

The representative of Norway said her delegation was pleased to welcome the upcoming adoption of the historic agenda.  Never before had so many stakeholders come together, making the journey an unprecedented learning experience.  The ambitious set of goals and targets was just the beginning.  Norway was eager to start implementing it and called on all countries to continue the spirit of compromise they had shown during negotiations.

The representative of Panama, associating with the “Group of 77” and China, said the agenda to be adopted was a transformative and ambitious one “for a world in turmoil”.  Transformation would indeed be needed in the practices, habits and customs of communities and individuals around the world.  While the new agenda was a success story for multilateralism, the great challenge now would be the way forward.  The strong leadership of countries would be required.  “We must help to be the inspiration that the future generations deserve,” she said.

The representative of the European Union, thanking all those involved in the drafting of the new agenda, said that the international community had come together to transmit the document.  He expressed hope that the momentum would lead to its successful adoption later this month.

Also speaking after the adoption, the observer for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See stated that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a clear sign that the international community had come together to affirm its commitment to eradicating poverty.  The Agenda rightly put the centrality of the human person as the subject primarily responsible for development.  The Holy See was confident that the related pledge “no one will be left behind” would serve as the perspective through which the entire Agenda would be read, to protect the right to life of the person, from conception until natural death.  Regarding the terms “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights”, the Holy See considered those terms to apply to a holistic concept of health; it did not consider abortion as a dimension of those terms.  With reference to “gender”, the Holy See understood the term to be grounded in the biological sexual identity that was male or female.

For information media. Not an official record.