New York

11 September 2014

Deputy Secretary-General's remarks at High-Level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda [as prepared for delivery]

The programme for this meeting is encouraging and extremely stimulating. Today’s stocktaking event concludes an important and very useful series of meetings setting the stage for the post-2015 development agenda. For this we are deeply grateful, Mr. President.

Today and tomorrow we are to discuss a wide array of work streams leading towards a transformative, coherent and ambitious post-2015 development agenda. I thank the co-chairs for their hard and systematic work.

Much valuable work has already been done, as we will hear from the co-chairs of the processes that recently came to a successful conclusion.

The political will of Member States to agree on the best possible outcome at next year’s Summit is clearly visible.

The breadth and depth of the set of goals proposed by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals is unprecedented.

They reflect an integrated, universal and transformative agenda.  This agenda builds on the lessons learned from the MDGs to address the many and interlinked challenges the world faces today. And it looks to the future in a dynamic way.

Similarly, the outcome of the work of the Intergovernmental Committee on Sustainable Development Financing goes further than the consensus reached in Monterrey to identify sources of financing beyond Official Development Assistance. It also expands on how such sources can be utilized.

This work provides a convergence of the Monterrey and the Rio processes. It is a strong foundation for the Conference in Addis Ababa in July 2015.

In addition, the Structured Dialogues on Technology Transfer Mechanisms are providing a platform to address one of the key issues in the means of implementation for the new development agenda.

But let me be clear, this does not mean that the coming months will be without problems and challenges.  We have a daunting and difficult, as well as inspiring and seminal task ahead of us.

Several months of negotiation lie ahead. If we approach them in a cooperative spirit, and with high ambitions and a sense of responsibility we can reach a successful and historically important end result a year from now.  In this pursuit we must not fail.

Openness, thoroughness and transparency have been the hallmark of the post-2015 process so far.

Extensive consultations -- including those for the High-level Panel, the report A Life of Dignity for All, and reports from the UN Development Group -- have established a number of themes. These are reflected in the Open Working Group’s list of Sustainable Development Goals and associated targets. 

Citizens around the world have made clear that the fundamental areas covered by the Millennium Development Goals – education, health, food security, water and sanitation, and gender equality – must feature at the centre of the new development agenda.

We also must go further than the MDGs, both in providing better quality services and widening the scope of our goals. 

We have to aim for transformative change.

We are expected to formulate a development agenda that will broaden the scope of our development efforts, an agenda which will provide access to justice for all, build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions and, not least, address rising inequalities around the globe.

People around the world are indignant at injustices they see and sense.

People around the world want to live in peaceful societies where they can trust their governments to work and stand up for their rights.

People around the world expect governments to serve their citizens, to provide healthcare, education, jobs and sustainable livelihoods.

People around the world want their children and grandchildren to benefit from a healthy environment and well-managed natural resources, free from fear of catastrophic climate change.

We must continue to listen to these voices. Our post-2015 development agenda must deliver these things – and not just for a privileged few. The process must remain open and transparent so that we hear the voices of all.

This is the level of ambition that is reflected in the report of the Open Working Group and in the other key processes. This is the level of ambition that needs to be respected and maintained as the post-2015 deliberations continue.

We know that this is not a legally binding process. We know that no Parliament is required to ratify post-2015 in its national laws. The power of the new agenda lays in its ability to inspire, guide and persuade. For this we must realize that good international solutions to global challenges are in the national interest. This is the formula to make the post-2015 agenda relevant, effective and inspiring.

In the coming months, our attention needs to be focused on the country level.  This is the litmus test of our efforts.  Only if we have a direct, profound and transformative impact in the lives of people at the country level will we have accomplished our mission.

For this reason, I look with great hope to the work on accountability. Promises made must be promises delivered. I commend the President of the General Assembly for initiating such discussions at his interactive dialogue last spring.  I thank the Regional Commissions for delivering on the request for consultations at short notice.  Regional voices are essential to the success of the new agenda. 

In keeping with the spirit of accountability and country-level impact, I look forward to the work of the Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. Reliable, disaggregated, timely and transparent data is needed to monitor and implement of the new agenda and keep all stakeholders accountable.

Preparations are now starting for the Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General, as mandated by Member States. This report will build on the foundation of the Open Working Group’s and other Member States’ efforts as a crucial part of the intergovernmental process. It will also aim to ensure that the ambition of the new agenda corresponds to the need for transformative change required by people in need and aspiring for a better future.

It is the Secretary-General’s firm intention to respect the work done by Member States and the balance found within the Open Working Group. At the same time he will live up to the expectations of and hopes for an ambitious agenda. 

As the process continues, it is useful to go back to the key principles that underpin and inspire the formulation of the new agenda as agreed in Rio.

Let us therefore remind ourselves that the post-2015 agenda finds its legitimacy in finishing the work started with the MDGs.

Let us remind ourselves that this is a universal agenda that applies to all countries, regardless of geography, national conditions or level of development.

Let us remind ourselves that sustainable development is the key to the new agenda and to making poverty eradication irreversible.

The future we want is a life of dignity for all.

We have a historical opportunity to correct our current unsustainable development path. We must show that we are sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the nations and peoples of the United Nations.

The world has the resources and the means to eradicate extreme poverty and substantially improve the well-being of all without degrading the environment.

Let us now agree and commit that next year’s Summit will deliver a result that our children and grandchildren will be proud of. Their eyes will be on us.

I wish you successful deliberations and conclusions on the road ahead.

Thank you.