He Urges Greater Recognition of Multiple Links between Poverty, Vulnerability, as States Present Voluntary National Reviews
Full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would require reaching those lagging furthest behind as an urgent priority, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, as the Economic and Social Council continued the ministerial segment of its High-Level Political Forum.
Reaching the poor and vulnerable would require targeted policies, active outreach and disaggregated information to inform decision-making, Secretary-General Ban told the Forum, as Heads of State and Government, Ministers and other high-level Government representatives joined experts and non-governmental organizations in a presentation of voluntary national reviews concerning implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.
There must be greater recognition and understanding of the multiple dimensions of poverty and vulnerability and how they were interconnected, he emphasized. “We must all learn, in national Governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society — and also at the United Nations — to think differently,” he said, stressing the need for efforts to transform policies and strategies in order to address the challenges of sustainability.
More than a dozen countries presented voluntary national reviews highlighting efforts by their countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, while also elaborating on the challenges they were facing in reaching their development aspirations. Countries providing national assessments were Mexico, Morocco, Switzerland, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Norway, Madagascar, Georgia, Turkey, Finland, Samoa, Uganda and Germany.
Francisco Guzmán Ortiz, Chief of Staff in the Office of the President of Mexico, told the Forum that, with more than 120 million inhabitants, his country represented the world’s eleventh largest population and fifteenth largest economy. It had unique obligations in terms of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Mexico had already advanced the establishment of institutional mechanisms to ensure the monitoring and implementation of the global Goals, demonstrating its firm commitment to transparency, he said. Furthermore, the Government would actively engage local governments, civil society, academia and the private sector, all of which had a role to play in strengthening accountability.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway described climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources as priority areas for her country, saying her Government had already ratified the Paris Agreement and was committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by a minimum of 40 per cent by 2030. In the spirit of inclusiveness, Norway’s indigenous people’s assembly, the Samediggi, would be involved in consultations with ministries on the new development framework’s implementation.
David Zalkaliani, Georgia’s First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs said his country had already launched the process for incorporating of the Sustainable Development Goals into its national objectives. The country sought to provide inclusive education for all, while balancing workforce demands and improving accessibility. Regarding infrastructure development, he said that improving logistics, in partnership with international donors, was a key priority, as was reforming governance with a view to ensuring greater transparency and efficiency on the part of State institutions.
Vandi Chidi Minah, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations, said that, although the Ebola epidemic had substantially reversed much of his country’s progress, the Government had wasted no time in integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into local strategies. However, leaving no one behind would require special attention to the marginalized, the stigmatized and those with disabilities, he said, adding that the people of Sierra Leone were also grappling with food insecurity and extreme poverty.
Also today, the Forum held a general debate on the theme “ensuring that no one is left behind”.
Participating in the general debate were Ministers and senior Government officials of the United States, Czech Republic, China, Finland, Sweden, Paraguay, Afghanistan, Egypt, Liberia, Mauritius, Congo, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Japan, India, Iran, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Zambia, Serbia, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Iraq, France, Belgium, Seychelles, Israel and Palau.
Also delivering statements were speakers representing the major groups for persons with disabilities and children and youth.
Also speaking was a representative of the International Telecommunications Union and a representative of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and similar institutions.
The High-Level Forum will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 20 July, to conclude its session.
Voluntary National Reviews I
Moderating the first set of national voluntary reviews was Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Presenting national reviews were: Francisco Guzmán Ortiz, Chief of Staff, Office of the President, Mexico; Mohamed el Ouafa, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of General Affairs and Governance, Morocco; Manuel Sager, State Secretary and Head of Swiss Development Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland; Sabine Döbeli, CEO, Swiss Sustainable Finance; Milorad Šćepanović, Director-General, General Directorate of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro; Jelena Kneževič, Head of Department for Sustainable Development and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro; and Vandi Chidi Minah, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations.
Participating as the expert was Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, while the lead discussant was Sandra Adovska, Adviser for Sustainable Development and National Focal Point for Sustainable Development, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Mr. ORTIZ said that, with its more than 120 million inhabitants, the world’s eleventh largest population, and the fifteenth largest economy, his country had unique obligations in terms of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Recalling that Mexico had accelerated its implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, achieving 47 of the 51 indicators, he said that was much higher than the national average. The country had already advanced the establishment of institutional mechanisms to ensure the monitoring and implementation of the global Goals, demonstrating in that regard its firm commitment to transparency. Mexico had also taken steps to build a public system for monitoring implementation of the 2030 Agenda, in the form of an open-source platform that would offer all stakeholders access to data on the progress made. The Government of Mexico knew that the Goals were not exclusively the responsibility of federal authorities and would actively engage local governments, civil society, academia and the private sector, all of which had a role to play in strengthening accountability, he said.
Mr. EL OUAFA said his country sought to balance its development model while also seeking to bolster sustainable economic growth. Morocco had a national plan in place to speed up industrial development, which would ensure that it would become an export and industrial hub. The country had moved forward with a green plan to promote the environment, including a renewable energy programme, and had also promoted a green tourism strategy. Emphasizing that the Government attached great importance to its efforts to combat poverty, marginalization and exclusion through various national human development initiatives, he said Morocco had also positioned itself as a climate leader and Marrakesh would host the twenty-second Conference of Parties in December. Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals would guarantee the dignity and prosperity of the poorest people, but would also require efforts and commitments from all stakeholders, he stressed. Morocco wished to harmonize its national policies, including by bolstering human resources, improving governance and ensuring the necessary financing.
Mr. SAGER said there was commitment to the 2030 Agenda at the highest levels of the Government of Switzerland, with the concrete decisions on pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals having been taken by the full Cabinet in 2015. Partnerships would be important, including close cooperation between Government and non-Government actors. A coherent strategy would be essential if the international community wished to honour the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, he said, noting that the Swiss federal Government had pursued a multi-year Sustainable Development Strategy since 1997. Reliable data would be crucial, and in that regard, Switzerland’s comprehensive sustainable development monitoring system gauged energy dependence, remittances by migrants and greenhouse-gas emissions, among other activities. Emphasizing that future generations would be measured by actions, not strategies, he said that his country would increase its support for the establishment of fair tax systems and efficient financial administrations in developing countries, as well as coordinated international efforts to eliminate the causes of illicit financial flows. Moving forward, Switzerland would also expand its system of sustainable development indicators, determine the modalities for stakeholder participation in consultations and implementation partnerships, and align reporting with United Nations guidelines in order to enhance comparability.
Ms. DÖBELI noted that the Swiss action plan did not focus a great deal on opportunities relating to the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing that the private sector had quite a lot to offer the public sector in terms of faster and more effective implementation of the Goals. The Swiss monitoring system, initially set up to measure activities within the country, should be modified to cover global effects. She stressed the pivotal role that the financial sector could and should play in catalysing the necessary change, noting that partnerships with business would be the key to reaching the global Goals. There were already many encouraging examples of Governments cooperating with companies to make solutions more investable.
Mr. ŠĆEPANOVIĆ said that his country’s new National Strategy for Sustainable Development had been recently adopted and finalized through an open consultative process and with the participation of all stakeholders. Its backbone involved maximizing human, natural and economic capital; the integration of social capital and values; and the creation of good governance and sustainable financing. The 241 indicators for the global monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals would form the main basis for planning the future monitoring and evaluating of the Strategy’s implementation, he said.
Ms. KNEŽEVIČ said that developing the National Strategy had required deep, participatory consultations that had allowed all stakeholder groups to have a voice. There had been an assessment of national resources, including human, social, natural and economic resources. Strategic goals and measures included improving the status of human resources and strengthening social cohesion, and the concept of a new green economy had also been introduced. Montenegro had explored ways to create mechanisms that would provide sustainable financing, while strengthening and reforming the governance system for sustainable development was also a key aspect of the Strategy.
Mr. MINAH said that, as a post-conflict State, his country was fully aware of the need for the Government to provide for its citizens. Although Sierra Leone had made some progress in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, there were some worrying trends in the country, including some relating to the maternal mortality, as well as the infant and child mortality rates. The Ebola epidemic had substantially reversed much of the country’s progress. However, Sierra Leone had wasted no time in integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into local strategies, including by providing a simplified version of the Goals to local authorities, he emphasized. Leaving no one behind would require special attention to the marginalized, the stigmatized and those with disabilities, he said, adding that populations also grappled with food insecurity and extreme poverty. National resource management and rural development were of great importance.
Mr. GLASSER said the national reviews provided thus far had highlighted the fact that countries were focused on modifying existing national economic and development plans. There was a clear need to engage a wide range of Government departments and to elicit broad technical expertise. For many countries, there were challenges in mapping national plans to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and in collecting data on many of the indicators, while many countries had expressed an interest in engaging civil society as an ongoing effort throughout the monitoring and evaluating processes.
Ms. KYTE said that, if the Sustainable Development Goals were to be meaningful for all peoples, it would be critical to integrate existing planning processes. The international community must help countries in attaining what they wished to pursue. Total Government approaches stretching across all sectors could be a real value-add, and the capacities of existing institutions would be of great importance for the success in implementing the ambitious development framework. The international community’s support for institutions and Governments across electoral cycles and multiple years would be a key to success. There must be local monitoring and evaluation to ensure inclusivity, she said, pointing out that the Goals were intergenerational and that future generations would have a role to play in their success.
Ms. ADOVSKA said the national reviews had highlighted a number of climate change, terrorism, refugee and public-health challenges. Financing, monitoring and capacity-building were also issues that must be addressed. Integrating the private sector into development plans remained a key challenge, as was the ability to address the needs of those who were marginalized.
Mr. ORTIZ, speaking during the ensuing discussion, noted the importance of high-level involvement in planning and inter-agency coordination. He added that institutions, accountability and citizen participation would all be hallmarks of the 2030 Agenda’s successful implementation.
Mr. EL OUAFA emphasized that the Bretton Woods institutions must be directly involved in achieving the Goals, adding that young people must be engaged from the very beginning.
Mr. SAGER stressed that leadership would be vital for instilling the values underpinning the 2030 Agenda. At the same time, the development framework required engagement at the grass-roots level.
Mr. ŠĆEPANOVIĆ underlined that a human-rights-based approach formed the basis of his country’s sustainable development efforts.
Mr. MINAH said the time had come to involve and embed young people in the development process rather than simply paying lip service to them.
The representative of Austria questioned the extent to which countries had ideas or plans on how to interact with parliamentarians.
A representative of the peoples with disabilities major group asked how all segments of society, particularly those facing the greatest discrimination, would be meaningfully engaged in implementing the new development agenda.
Mr. ORTIZ responded to the question about the role of parliamentarians by saying those in Mexico had an important role to play in implementing the 2030 Agenda, particularly in terms of formulating budgets.
Mr. EL OUAFA, responding to the question about equitable participation, noted that some 7,000 participants were actively involved in the development of Morocco’s national sustainable development strategy.
Voluntary National Reviews II
Moderating the second set of national voluntary reviews was Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Special Envoy on Gender of the African Development Bank.
Presenting national reviews were: Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; Martin Ulvestad Østerdal, Secretary-General, Norwegian Children and Youth Council; Herilanto Raveloharison, Minister for Economy and Strategic Planning, Madagascar; David Zalkaliani, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Georgia; and Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations.
Participating as the expert was Mohan Munasinghe, Chairman of the MIND Institute, while the lead discussants were Niko Peleshi, Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, and Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister for Environment and Energy of Maldives.
Ms. SOLBERG said the review process had been very useful, having helped to strengthen Norway’s early national follow-up and shaped its plans for the years ahead. Regarding the actions taken along the way, she said each ministry had analysed all the Goals and targets within the area of its responsibility. Norway ranked high in terms of global implementation and had already achieved a number of goals and targets, but some targets relating to economic, social and environmental dimensions would be challenging, she said. Among other things, the Government encouraged democratic participation to ensure a sense of national ownership, which was necessary for effective and transparent follow-up, she said, adding that Norway’s indigenous people’s assembly, the Samediggi, would be involved in consultations with ministries. Describing the sustainable management of natural resources and climate change as priority areas, she said the Government had already ratified the Paris Agreement and was committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030.
Mr. ØSTERDAL said the Goals could be a reality if every segment of society was given the means to contribute. That would require allocating more resources and adopting new approaches, he said, while emphasizing that Member States must consult with all stakeholders, including youth activists and human rights defenders.
Mr. RAVELOHARISON said that after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, Madagascar had created a five-year national development plan and sector-based strategies. The Ministry of Economy and Strategic Planning was managing the process at the technical level, in consultation with public institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector and research centres. In order to ensure national ownership, the Government had organized two workshops on the Sustainable Development Goals, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). More than 100 people had participated, and 47 priority areas had been highlighted. Along similar lines, Madagascar had developed a social development policy in order to address the needs of the most vulnerable.
Mr. ZALKALIANI said Georgia had launched the process of incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into national objectives. The nationalization process was guided by considerations of the challenges and opportunities involved. The Government had a four-point reform plan. Regarding the economy, he emphasized that Georgia was one of the world’s best business environments, but the Government intended to move forward with an improved tax system and better market integration. In that regard, open and non-discriminatory trade was the key to creating opportunities for all. On education, he said the Government was striving to provide inclusive education for all, while balancing workforce demands and improving accessibility. Turning to infrastructure development, he noted that the Government was improving logistics in partnership with international donors. Among others, governance reform was a priority for Georgia and its efforts in that regard were focused on ensuring a higher level of transparency and efficiency on the part of State institutions.
Mr. ÇEVIK said that, over the last 15 years, Turkey had made significant progress towards attaining the globally agreed targets. Comprehensive policies and efforts had created a holistic development perspective among policymakers and practitioners. Turkey was among the top 10 performers, as measured by average annual rates of relative progress, particularly in eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. The country intended to develop an agenda that would be in conformity with the United Nations framework, he said, adding that national review reports were expected to be prepared on a periodic basis, in accordance with the High-Level Political Forum’s agenda. Regarding official development assistance (ODA), he said Turkey was determined to share the benefits of its economic growth with other countries in need. As an emerging donor, it had increased its assistance rapidly, providing $3.9 billion in 2015. Despite the progress made, however, prevailing regional disparities and gender inequality remained major challenges for Turkey, he said, emphasizing that working together in an integrated manner on specific goals and advancing the use of administrative data would pose critical challenges. To overcome them, Turkey would continue to cooperate with regional and international organizations.
Ms. FRASER-MOLEKETI, speaking during the ensuing discussion, said the success of the 2030 Agenda lay in its implementation. A transformative agenda was not possible without the inclusion of all. National development plans were critical for success, she said, emphasizing the need for full domestication and integration of the Goals.
Mr. IBRAHIM acknowledged the challenges and limitations affecting both developed and small island developing States, saying in-depth analysis was critical to moving forward. Emphasizing the need to prioritize the Goals on the basis of country-specific needs, he said that, while doing so, the international community must work together and eliminate “silo approaches”, adding that partnerships would play a valuable and critical role.
Ms. SOLBERG emphasized that the feeling of being included was not objective, but subjective. Both developed and developing countries had areas in which to improve and new targets to meet.
Mr. RAVELOHARISON said countries must be supported at the institutional level and emphasized that non-inclusive growth was not a positive sign.
Mr. ZALKALIANI emphasized the importance of coordination within and among countries, underscoring that United Nations country offices also had a key role to play in that regard. For its own part, the Government of Georgia held regular meetings with donor countries to ensure coordination.
Mr. ÇEVIK stressed the need to increase international cooperation and for efficiency in delivering results. “There should be no competition between humanitarian and development assistance,” he added.
The representative of the children and youth major group said that Governments must partner with all stakeholders to deliver results. Advising Member States to undertake at least three voluntary reviews over 15 years, he called upon all to use United Nations mechanisms and human rights instruments for the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union said the organization was the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, and worked for peace and cooperation among all peoples. Working with concerned parliaments, it fostered contacts, coordination and the exchange of experiences.
Also speaking today in that discussion was the representative of Argentina.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the first report on the Sustainable Development Goals had provided an accurate evaluation of where the world stood, using data to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges. The latest data demonstrated that about 1 in 8 people still lived in extreme poverty, with nearly 800 million people worldwide suffering from hunger. Some 1.1 billion people were living without electricity, while water scarcity affected more than 2 billion. The data also underscored the imperative of targeted action supporting those furthest behind. For the 2030 Agenda to be fully implemented, those who were the furthest behind needed to be reached first.
Tackling climate change was essential for sustainable development, he emphasized. The actions needed to reduce emissions and build climate resilience were the very same that were needed to lay the foundation for prosperity and security for all, while setting the world on a sustainable path for generations to come. “We must all learn, in national Governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” he said, adding that there must be efforts to transform policies and strategies to address the challenges of sustainability. To reach the poor and vulnerable, targeted policies, active outreach and disaggregated information to inform decision making would be essential. There needed to be more recognition and understanding of the multiple dimensions of poverty and vulnerability and how they interconnected. Silos also needed to be broken down between the economic, social and environmental aspects of development, between Government institutions and different levels of government and between public and private sectors.
Voluntary National Reviews III
Moderating the third set of voluntary national reviews was Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Presenting national reviews were: Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister for Agriculture and the Environment of Finland; Sili Epa Tuioti, Minister for Finance of Samoa; Matia Kasaija, Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development of Uganda; Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany; and Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany.
Participating as the expert was Marianne Beisheim, Senior Associate of Global Issues at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, while the lead discussants were Ana María Baiardi, Minister for Women of Paraguay, and Morten Jespersen, Under-Secretary of State for Global Development and Cooperation of Denmark.
Mr. TIILIKAINEN said human rights and gender equality were at the core of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. A coordination mechanism had been created in Finland in early 2016 whereby all ministries were engaged, with two multistakeholder committees playing a key role. All ministries had since reported on their existing policies and measures to implement the 2030 Agenda. That mapping exercise had served as a good basis for national efforts. The Government had commissioned an independent gap analysis providing an overview of the baseline, challenges and opportunities associated with implementation. The results of that analysis gave guidance to the Government regarding which issues should be focused on during implementation. Further, Finland had reviewed its development policy, which was guided by the 2030 Agenda and explicitly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. TUIOTI said the Government had undertaken a midterm review of the Strategy for the Development of Samoa in 2014, during which time a preliminary integrated assessment had been matched against the Sustainable Development Goals. Following the launch of the Goals, the Samoa Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Finance had conducted stakeholder consultations to evaluate and assess the initial list of global indicators. Since then, the Goals had been aligned and mainstreamed into Samoa’s national strategy for sustainable development. Contextualization and the use of existing institutions and systems were of great importance, while statistics would be central to monitor and evaluate progress.
Mr. KASAIJA said that his country’s second national development plan was based on the understanding that the majority of Ugandans suffered from inadequate skills, were rural-based and dependent on the agricultural sector. Uganda’s development plan would seek to exploit three areas — namely agriculture, tourism and minerals, including oil and gas. Wider educational opportunities for youth, empowering the elderly and promoting women’s entrepreneurship programmes all constituted major objectives. Achieving the Goals would require the efficient use of existing resources and the mobilization of new sources of finance. Climate change presented a challenge in Uganda, and in that context, the Government had elevated those issues to ensure they were integrated into all sectors of the economy. Uganda had also sought to accelerate industrialization with the aim of promoting inclusive growth.
Mr. SILBERHORN noted that Germany had first put in place a strategy for sustainable development in 2002 and was currently further elaborating that initiative to meet the requirements of the 2030 Agenda. As that activity was undertaken, two areas were of key importance, including giving due consideration to the social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development and also how to view the impact of development actions beyond national borders. The Government was working to promote sustainable consumption practices and had sought to set up about 100 measures covering areas related to the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Ms. SCHWARZELÜHR-SUTTER said Germany saw the simultaneous implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change as a historic opportunity. Sustainable growth had to be economically, environmentally and socially sound in order to serve as a solid base for prosperity. Germany believed the world needed to move towards lifestyles and production methods that respected planetary boundaries, while globalization needed to become more socially sustainable.
Mr. OSOTIMEHIN noted that 2016 was the first year of national voluntary reviews, which were primarily focused on country transitions towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. He hoped the reviews would provide an opportunity to share experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.
Ms. BEISHEIM recalled Finland’s examples of institutional mechanisms for implementation as a strong best practice, but questioned how the country intended to make its future economic development truly sustainable. She pointed out Samoa’s use of regional frameworks as a positive development, but noted the challenges the country was facing with regard to the protection of the oceans and the climate. She commended Uganda’s efforts to integrate the 2030 Agenda into its second national development plan, but called for more integration of the environmental dimensions of sustainable development into that plan and highlighted the need for more open participatory processes. With regard to Germany’s presentation, she commended the plan to submit another voluntary review in 2021, but questioned how the country intended to move forward with a “whole of Government” approach.
Ms. BAIARDI noted that national commitments had been emphasized throughout the Forum’s proceedings. In that context, she asked presenters how they had succeeded in producing effective mechanisms for implementation that involved not only national authorities, but also other international agencies and bodies. The active participation of women and girls was such that without them, there could be no peace or development. In that context, she questioned how the gender perspective had been integrated into all 17 Goals.
Mr. JESPERSEN said that it was important to emphasize the concepts of ownership across the whole of Governments, yet he questioned how to sustain those ideas all the way through until 2030. A wide range of actors would need to engage in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, but it was important not to create burdensome reporting and evaluating requirements. He questioned how to respect the integrity of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, while also focusing on specific, individual Goals.
The representative of Qatar, speaking during the ensuing discussion, said his country was committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including through its national strategy and vision, which had been adopted in 2008. His country was also focused on the advancement of human resources and would seek to make progress within its existing institutions to achieve sustainable development.
Also speaking was the representative of the Maldives. A representative of the major group for children and youth also spoke.
Presentation of Reports
WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report of the Secretary-General, titled “implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results” (document E/2016/64). He noted that the report had focused on designing and implementing national sustainable development strategies and policies. The 2030 Agenda represented a paradigm shift in development and international cooperation, requiring policies based on the principles of universality, policy integration and leaving no one behind. The report emphasized that delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals would require policy integration and maximizing synergies across the economic, social and environmental dimensions.
Continuing, he said the report highlighted the scope and implications of the new development framework, the need to move from commitments to results at the national level, the benefits of a revitalized global partnership and the need for support from the United Nations system, including the Economic and Social Council. The implementation of the development agenda would be country-based and complemented by regional and international support. A revitalized global partnership would be essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda, including a broad range of multistakeholder partnerships to meet the needs of people and the planet. The current global environment would likely impact the early phases of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, requiring global leaders to address economic growth prospects in the context of sustainable development.
JOSÉ ANTONIO OCAMPO, Chairperson of the Committee for Development Policy, said the international community had increasingly emphasized expanding productive capacity as a key element in achieving development progress. The success of the 2030 Agenda depended on the effective implementation of the commitments made by Member States. In meeting the targets on education, health and nutrition, institutions and energy might contribute to increasing productive capacity. At the same time, building productive capacity would affect a number of the Sustainable Development Goals. An integrated approach to development was needed at national and international levels.
International support was necessary for all, he said, particularly the least developed countries. Despite their increased economic growth and participation in global trade since the turn of the millennium, they had made limited and uneven progress in transforming and diversifying their economies. New policies should aim at overcoming their resource and capacity constraints and industrial, agricultural, social and economic policies were needed to support dynamic structural transformation. To implement policies, the least developed countries must build development governance capabilities, including strong institutions to guarantee the implementation of sound macroeconomic and financial frameworks and actively ensuring food security through investment in sustainable agriculture. In that regard, the Committee called upon the Governments of such countries to design and implement strategies that aimed at accelerating economic growth and promoting dynamic transformation. In addition, it requested that the international community strengthen support measures in favour of the least developed countries.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States) said President Barack Obama had committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and since September, the United States had made progress towards that end. Citing a number of examples, she said, moving forward, it would be necessary to make data tracking more transparent and accessible. The United States was committed to having a public platform to track progress. Challenges persisted, she said, noting that more than 60 million citizens qualified for free legal assistance, but more than half were turned away due to a lack of resources. While steps were being taken to fill those and other gaps, there was a long way to go and national reviews were a good way to evaluate efforts. In implementing the Goals, efforts should include civil society, faith-based institutions, academia and individual citizens. Yet, many Member States viewed civil society as adversaries, she said, noting that a group of Member States had blocked more than 20 non-governmental organizations from United Nations affiliation because of their work in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. It was necessary to guard space for civil society in order to achieve the Goals.
LUBOMIR ZAORÁLEK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, said his Government would present its review possibly in 2017. The Prime Minister had tasked himself with implementing the 2030 Agenda and the process was well on track, including a new strategic framework for sustainable development to be completed by the end of 2016, with the participation of ministries, State and non-State institutions, civil society, academia and business. Greater focus had been placed on the social dimensions of foreign policy with human dignity at its core. The new Czech Development Cooperation Strategy, to take effect in 2018, included a strong focus on the least developed countries and covered most of the Sustainable Development Goals.
LI BAODONG, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said without peace and stability, there would be little chance for development or prosperity. In that regard, States must follow the desire of their people, seek peaceful coexistence and create a stable and harmonious environment at regional and international levels. In addition, it was essential to adopt a people-centred approach and to facilitate the participation of all individuals for economic, social and environmental progress. Stressing that national Governments must shoulder the primary responsibility for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said they needed to also deepen their global partnerships.
Mr. TIILIKAINEN, Minister for Agriculture and Environment of Finland, said Member States were struggling with different challenges, but in the end it was all about taking care of human beings. As it was the first high-level political forum after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the international community was not in a position to review progress, he said. For its part, the Government had designed various policies on sustainable consumption and production. However, to measure progress, timely and robust data was needed, he stressed.
ARDALAN SHEKARABI, Minister for Public Administration of Sweden, said bold leadership was needed to ensure that no one was left behind. Expressing support to the Forum as it was a central platform to exchange experiences, he stressed that the successful implementation required inclusivity. Sharing national experiences, he said the Government had designated the National Multistakeholder Committee to observe and measure progress. In closing, he asked all ministers to provide information on their related policies and programmes.
ANA MARIA BAIARDI QUESNEL, Minister for Women of Paraguay, said the 2015-2030 national development plan focused on reducing poverty, social development, inclusive economic growth, equal opportunities and environmental sustainability. Thanks to concerted efforts, total poverty and extreme poverty in Paraguay had fallen, since 1997, to 22.24 per cent and 9.97 per cent, respectively. Economic growth was forecasted to be 3 per cent in 2016 and Paraguay was committed to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. It was essential to increase support for developing countries, particularly countries in special situations, such as landlocked developing States, in order to achieve equitable progress.
ABDUL SATTAR MURAD, Minister for Economy of Afghanistan, said the Government attached critical importance to the concept of “leaving no one behind”. He called for special attention to be paid to countries in special situations, including least developed States and those in conflict. Being committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda, Afghanistan had taken significant steps forward, he said, adding that the Government had developed a national road map. In line with that aim, it had established several working groups with various stakeholders, including Parliament, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector. Similarly, many national consultations had been conducted to nationalize the Goals.
SAHAR NASR, Minister for International Cooperation of Egypt, described eliminating poverty by 2030 as a challenging national task. For the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, it was critical to transform global trade and to help developing countries to access the global market. The world was facing a number of economic and security challenges, particularly the spread of terrorism. In order to ensure sustainable prosperity for all, the international community must tackle that phenomenon, she said, adding that it could be overcome through a global partnership. In that regard, she called upon Member States to fulfil their commitments and mobilize financial support.
BOIMA S. KAMARA, Minister for Finance and Development Planning of Liberia, associated himself with the African Group. As a fragile and conflict-affected country, Liberia faced unique challenges in implementing the Goals. It was currently undertaking a structural transformation of its economy, driven by enhanced agricultural productivity, to reduce its overreliance on natural resources while ensuring inclusive growth. To coordinate and monitor implementation, the Government had set up an institutional framework comprising all stakeholders, he said. The experience of implementing the Millennium Development Goals had taught Liberia to guard against super-ambitious targets that looked good on paper, but were unrealistic to achieve. He called for country-level indicators that would require stronger data and statistical institutions that would inform interventions and guide progress.
ALAIN WONG, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Disaster and Beach Management of Mauritius, said his Government was fully committed to the 2030 Agenda as it was committed to Millennium Development Goals, which it had almost fully achieved. Strong economic growth was based on strong institutions and macroeconomic policies, with the prudent use of ODA. Determined to take Mauritius to middle-income country status by 2030, the Prime Minister had outlined a road map to do so. Mauritius needed access to means of implementation of the Goals to address such challenges as stagnating growth, rising unemployment among youth, increasing debt and non-communicable diseases. Yet, it remained vulnerable to climate change, he said, pointing to the devastating cyclone that hit earlier in 2016. Steps the Government had undertaken included major public revenue reforms to ensure the entire population paid its fair share of taxes and adopting the Vision 2030 plan, which focused on developing the ocean economy.
ROSALIE MATONDO, Minister for Forest Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment of Congo, said the 2017-2021 national development plan fit well with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Government had made great efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases and was working to improve the education system and national infrastructure, including a north-south energy pathway. Poverty had dropped to 36 per cent from 50 per cent in 2000, more than 4 million hectares of forest — 13 per cent of national territory — were protected and the Government was carrying out an environmental impact study for large-scale development projects. Still, it was grappling with inadequate job creation for young people and inadequate sanitation, electricity and drinking water services. A national sustainable development strategy aimed at addressing issues, including deforestation and greenhouse gases.
EDGAR GUTIERREZ ESPELETA, Minister for the Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said his Government had created a governance structure for implementing the Goals. It was also working to define a short-term implementation strategy and was establishing a class of Goals to have a clear idea of indicators. Addressing the Council as President of the second session of United Nations Environmental Assembly, created at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, he described that body as “the other General Assembly”, with a network of environment ministers from around the world. It had adopted 25 resolutions laying out a renewed mandate for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the environmental pillar of sustainable development. It was working to increase recognition of relevant scientific bodies and had a mandate to promote a report on global environmental perspectives.
GEORGES WEMBI LOAMBO, Minister for Planning of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said a national commitment to implementing the Goals and integrate them into development planning had advanced. The national 2050 development plan aimed at making it a middle-income country by 2021 through agricultural reform and a developed country with a knowledge society by 2050. The Government took into account the issue of climate change and had raised awareness of the new Goals among ministries, development partners, civil society and the private sector in order to ensure all stakeholders were involved. It had also prepared a monitoring and evaluation guide at policy and technical levels and had set up an observatory to evaluate progress in meeting the 17 Goals.
JONG-MOON CHOI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, said rising inequalities among and within countries were major obstacles to sustainable development. The Republic of Korea would participate in two meetings that would foster solidarity: the General Assembly’s high-level plenary meeting on addressing large movements of refugees and migrants, in September, and the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, hosted by the United States. To tackle inequalities, the Republic of Korea would increase support for fragile and conflict-affected States. On each airline ticket for a departing flight, the Government collected $1 and contributed those funds to the Global Poverty Eradication Fund. It also provided humanitarian aid to refugees and aimed at supporting girls’ education, health and professional development in disadvantaged settings.
NGUYEN THE PHUONG, Vice-Minister for Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, said the Goals were comprehensive and part of national development strategies. Viet Nam had successfully implemented the Millennium Development Goals, and in the next 15 years, greater efforts were needed to implement the 2030 Agenda. Having reviewed existing development strategies, plans and indicators to ensure they were in line with the new Goals, Viet Nam had developed an implementation action plan. For a lower middle-income country, Viet Nam had made it was a top priority to ensure development gains were maintained. The United Nations should soon adopt the resolution on Sustainable Development Goal indicators.
JESÚS MANUEL GRACIA ALDAZ, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Spain, pointed to steps to implement the 2030 Agenda at the national level. They included disseminating information to the ministries and representatives in line with the Paris Agreement and working with the National Statistics Institute on follow-up. National mapping and policies were identifying the best ways to implement the Goals, he said, noting that more than half of indicators identified by the United Nations Statistical Commission were covered by the National Statistics Institute. The Government’s priority was to ensure the well-being of society and Spain was committed to a more equitable world in which no one was left behind.
MOHAMMAD AL TUWAIJRI, Vice-Minister for the Economy and Planning of Saudi Arabia, associating with the Group of 77 and China, said national efforts were contributing to the implementation of the new Agenda. The Government had launched the national 2030 Vision and a 2020 national transitional programme, both of which included policies, programmes and initiatives to ensure the implementation of the new Goals. A royal decree had been issued to identify a body that would ensure follow up on the Goals. The Government also was developing indicators to follow up on national performance and a mechanism for the collection and dissemination of data. In such efforts, he welcomed the various efforts of United Nations agencies, especially the Council.
VASSILY NEBENZIA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said interaction in the Forum included exchanges of best practices, which was an element of an effective global partnership. The Forum’s work must be carried out in line with the indivisible nature of the new Goals and targets. He encouraged implementation at all levels, in line with national priorities, stressing the importance of promoting development, which the Russian Federation regarded as an investment in global stability and in a just, resilient international system. Monitoring progress with indicators developed by the United Nations Statistical Commission was important. In the Russian Federation, the Council of the Federal Assembly had held parliamentary hearings and adopted recommendations for implementing the 2030 Agenda. He urged continued use of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility, stressing the important role of regional bodies, which should develop a single space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.
MASAKAZU HAMACHI, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, expressed firm determination to contribute to the success of the 2030 Agenda. Japan had launched a sustainable development headquarters in its Cabinet in May, headed by the Prime Minister, to coordinate efforts. In August, Japan and African countries would convene a summit in Africa to give shape to the 2030 Agenda on the continent, in economic diversification and industrialization, resilient health systems and societal stability. Building on efforts to date, the headquarters would further explore how to create enhanced partnerships with other stakeholders. It had committed $200 billion in next five years for infrastructure projects and it was working on disaster risk reduction and stabilization in the Middle East, among other areas.
ARVIND PANAGARIYA, Vice-Chairperson of NITI Aayog Government of India, said key policy programmes were directly reflected in the Goals. The Government’s highest priority was to provide a house, sanitation and clean water and good health care for all. India had taken initial steps to create an institutional framework to implement the Goals and was organizing a series of workshops nationally and at the state level towards that end. It was committed to provide a platform for all stakeholders to achieve greater convergence and efficiency in the follow up process. When India presented its first review in 2017, it would be well on its way to implementing the targets. Developed countries must rapidly reduce carbon emissions and help poor countries disproportionately impacted by natural disasters.
MAJID BIZMARK, Director-General for International Environmental Affairs and Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, associating with the Group of 77, said developing countries required more effective international support. In implementing the Agenda, the principles of national ownership and common but differentiated responsibilities should be the cornerstone of the common venture. Despite various constraints, including unfair sanctions, Iran had taken steps to implement the Agenda. National priorities had been set for poverty eradication, sustainable water and sanitation management, renewable energy, housing, combating desertification, energy efficiency and disaster risk reduction and management. An act on a resilient economy dealt with shocks that could threaten development, while another act promoted a green economy and low-carbon industry. Together, they were the cornerstone of efforts to implement the new Agenda.
HAMISH COOPER, Principle Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would require a cross-Government effort. For its part, New Zealand had set up an interagency mechanism to support decisions on where national efforts could have the greatest impact. A combination of domestic action, international leadership on global policy issues and supporting countries through the New Zealand Aid Programme would contribute to the achievement of the globally agreed goals. At the global level, New Zealand would continue its leadership on issues and actions, such as the elimination of inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies and the promotion of open and rule-based trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
ATO AHMED SHIDE, State Minister for Finance and Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia, said the Government had been actively engaged in the Sustainable Development Goals negotiations and was committed to the 2030 Agenda’s implementation. In the next five years, Ethiopia planned to keep its economy growing at an average 10 per cent rate and reduce poverty to 16 per cent by 2020. One important measure taken in 2016 had been to localize and mainstream Ethiopia’s first social protection policy in all regions. It aimed to attain a carbon-neutral, middle-income industrial economy by 2025, ensuring a shift for 80 per cent of its labour force from low-productivity, rain-fed subsistence agriculture to commercial productive agriculture. It was also working to ensure a monitoring framework for the new Goals.
BERNARD KAPGHASA, Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office of Zambia, associating with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that as countries were at different development stages, it was important for policymakers to make appropriate choices when implementing the Agenda. Zambia’s structural composition, characterized by regional differences in resource endowment, had fostered inequalities. Its 2017-2021 national development plan had set the basis for the implementing the new Agenda. Most of its natural resources were raw materials, inhibiting economic diversification and the creation of decent jobs. Zambia must regulate natural resource use and carry out climate change mitigation in order to reduce poverty. While it also was promoting young entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises, Zambia needed technology transfer, trade facilitation, fulfilment of ODA pledges, capacities for data collection and analysis, and strengthened monitoring and evaluation systems.
DRAGAN ŽUPANJEVAC (Serbia) said failure was not an option. “We owe it to forthcoming generations to fulfil what was promised,” he said, adding that Serbia took the Goals seriously. Last December, the Government had set up an interministerial working group to monitor and coordinate implementation, with the participation of civil society, academia and the private sector. With the United Nations country team, it had concluded a development partnership framework for 2016-2020 that had been aligned with both the Goals and Serbia’s accession talks with the European Union. After years of low growth and high unemployment, Serbia was set on a course to fiscal stability and dynamic growth that, in 2017, could be among the highest in Europe, he said, adding that such development must be sustainable, with a particular focus on environmental protection, improved gender parity and combating violence against women and girls. Serbia was a serious and dependable partner who was committed to regional peace, stability and reconciliation and it put particular emphasis on realizing Goal 16 regarding peaceful inclusive societies.
ADEJOKE ORELOPE-ADEFULIRE, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals of Nigeria, aligning herself with Group of 77 and the African Group, said financial and non-financial and private and public actions would be needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Nigeria was focusing on advances in science, technology, innovation, accountability and coherence to accelerate attainment of the Goals. Multistakeholder partnerships were essential, she said, calling for increased South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation in order to ensure that no one was left behind. She stressed the importance of policies that ensured fair trade and protected natural resources and intellectual property. More funding was needed to strengthen development gains, she said, emphasizing that Nigeria was focused on economic diversification to generate new revenues.
NII MOI THOMPSON, Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission of Ghana, said the 2014-2017 medium-term development plan and a long-term national development plan framework aimed at moving Ghana from a middle-income to a high-income country. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 was being incorporated into the national development agenda. The Government was using the triple strategy of alignment, adaptation and adoption, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society while working with national development authorities to align strategies with the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. Already efforts were underway to establish relevant indicators to measure progress. The 20-year national development framework focused on housing and transport infrastructure development and reform, with Parliament already beginning to work on such efforts.
BELKACEM BELKAID, Deputy Director-General of International Economic and Financial Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, associating with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said his country had achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals earlier than expected. With a view to the 2030 Agenda, Algeria was consolidating what it had achieved by formulating national policies that focused on human and social development. It sought to develop infrastructure, reduce differences, make drinking water universally available and provide basic sanitation and health care. Its work to combat poverty focused on job creation and training and the use of its social protection system. Thanks to those efforts, it had almost eliminated extreme poverty. Women accounted for 31 per cent of parliamentarians, ranking it first in the Arab world in that regard. It also had held a national day to raise awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.
BUSHRA AL-NUSSAIRY (Iraq) welcomed the United Nations report on implementing the Goals. She attached great importance to economic and social reform, noting that Iraq had prioritized capacity-building. It had improved living standards and worked on institutional reform by improving administration and adopting both a national strategy for 2013-2017 and a programme that enabled a healthy budgetary process. On women’s empowerment, it had adopted a national strategy in line with Security Council resolutions. On the environment, Iraq sought to preserve certain areas of the country as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sites. Three cities had been identified as such earlier in 2016. Iraq was working to ensure that people could return to their homes in areas liberated from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). “We are defending our national territory and we need international support commensurate with our needs,” she said.
LAURENCE MONNOYER-SMITH, Commissioner General for Sustainable Development of France, said 2016 was full of potential and responsibility in relation to the Paris Agreement. It was important to preserve trust among countries and stakeholders and live up to commitments. France wished to be exemplary in that regard and would make available €4 billion for sustainable development. Everyone should sign and ratify the Paris Agreement, he said, expressing hope for countries to move away from worst-case scenarios on climate change and towards actually achieving the Paris goals.
BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium) said success in implementing the Goals would be determined by how much the lives of the most vulnerable had been improved. Belgium took a human-centred approach. Leaving no one behind meant helping fragile and least developed countries. To eliminate extreme poverty, 3.1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) must be provided for least developed countries. Belgium had agreed to provide 50 per cent of its ODA to least developed countries. None of the 17 Goals should be ignored, he said, emphasizing that economic growth, sustainable jobs, marine biodiversity conservation, peace and stability and the rule of law were needed. Belgium was involving all levels of Government in the process, had a coherent national sustainable development policy and was working on drafting a Charter towards that end.
MARIE-LOUISE POTTER (Seychelles) said the achievement of most of the Millennium Development Goals had set the basis for her Government’s approach to sustainable development. While Seychelles would face various challenges as a small island developing State, it would build on past successes while ensuring that vulnerable groups were included in national prosperity. Sustainable ocean development was intrinsic to citizens’ well-being. A multidimensional poverty indicator would be needed to assess poverty in middle-income countries. The “blue bonds” proposal and debt swap agreement were among the Seychelles’ contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 14. She urged incorporating a vulnerability index into work to realize sustainable development aspirations.
MORDEHAI AMIHAI-BIVAS (Israel) said the Forum marked the beginning of an exciting era. Leaving no one behind was not only about inclusion, but also about involving all members of society. Israel’s commitment to that goal had shaped its national policies, with gender equality being of particular importance. In 2015, the State budget had included a gender perspective for the first time. Each ministry was required to advance gender equality through access to decision-making roles and special employment programmes tailored for the specific needs of Arab and ultra-Orthodox women and single mothers, he said. Engaging youth ensured they had access to the tools and opportunities needed to create social and economic change. Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation had demonstrated the importance of effective partnerships and the implementation of bilateral and multilateral projects. Going forward, he said, “we should walk side by side on the path of a better tomorrow”.
CALEB OTTO (Palau) said his country was among the first States to voluntarily report on implementation of the 2030 Agenda, which required States with limited resources like his to be more strategic in their approach. Its chosen entry point for implementation was the creation of a national maritime sanctuary that covered 80 per cent of its exclusive economic zone. Such a large sanctuary would reap many benefits that would help to create protective barriers to hold back the ravages of climate change. It would also help the economy by restoring the productivity of fisheries. Tourism had, meanwhile, allowed Palau to approach full employment, raise the minimum wage and improve health care, social services and education. Going forward, the sanctuary would help to fund new initiatives for meeting the 2030 Agenda’s Goals and targets.
KADIATOU SALL-BEYE of the International Telecommunication Union said 3.5 billion people were still offline and 90 per cent of the populations in the world’s least developed countries were completely unconnected. “Without universal and affordable access to the Internet, we have no chance of achieving any of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, adding that the access and use of information and communications technology would be crucial in helping the international community address the issues raised in the Secretary-General’s progress report. “We need to do more to get the world connected,” he said.
DANIEL FANGBEDJI of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions said implementing the Goals hinged on a country’s rethinking of their visions, policies, strategies and mechanisms for implementing development efforts. Countries must develop a platform for the follow-up and evaluation of projects. Economic and social councils and similar institutions must play a primary role in combating corruption, promoting good governance, ensuring domestic means were employed and finding additional resources.