New York

04 December 2014

Secretary-General remarks to the General Assembly on the Synthesis Report on the Post-2015 Agenda

Thank you for this opportunity to brief the General Assembly about the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development.

My Synthesis Report is now completed. Entitled “The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”, it will be formally issued in the six official languages of the United Nations on December 31st.

An advanced unedited version is being posted on the UN website to support the discussions of Member States. I am here to brief you in that same spirit of support. 

We have come a long way in shaping a development agenda for the period beyond 2015 since the outcome of the Rio+20 conference in 2012 set the process in motion.

Never before has so broad and inclusive consultations been undertaken on development.  In two short years, Member States, the UN system, experts, a cross-section of civil society, business and millions of people from all corners of the globe have come together with creativity and a shared sense of purpose.

My synthesis report takes stock of this process, which produced a rich and inspiring set of inputs. 

It reviews the lessons of the remarkable global mobilization behind the Millennium Development Goals, and underscores the need to finish the job -- above all to help people today but also as the best possible launching pad for the new agenda.

Most of all, my synthesis report looks ahead, and discusses the contours of a universal and transformative agenda that places people and planet at the centre, is underpinned by human rights, and is supported by a global partnership.

We are now poised to take a major step towards ushering in a new era of sustainable development for all -- an era of transformation.
I welcome the outcome produced by the Open Working Group. Your discussions have been inclusive and productive.  I congratulate the leadership and all who participated in the group’s work.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and associated 169 targets put forward by the Group as a clear expression of the vision of the Member States and their wish to have an agenda that can end poverty, achieve shared prosperity and peace, protect the planet and leave no one behind. 
In the coming months, you will negotiate the final parameters of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. 
The new agenda should include a compelling and principled narrative, based on human rights and human dignity.
It will require serious commitments for financing and other means of implementation.
And it should include strong, inclusive public mechanisms at all levels for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and ensuring shared responsibility.
Member States have agreed in resolution A/68/309 that “the proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals contained in the report shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda”.

We now have the opportunity to frame the goals and targets in a way that reflects the ambition of a universal and transformative agenda.  I note, in particular, the possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level. 

Indeed, it will be crucial to communicate the ambition and vision expressed by Member States to the global public, and to all our implementing partners, including governments, local authorities, NGOs, civil society and the corporate sector, on every continent and in every country.

Let us recall that the Rio+20 outcome declared that the "SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities". 

With that in mind, my Synthesis Report presents an integrated set of ‘Essential Elements’.  These are not intended to cluster or replace the SDGs.  Rather, they are meant to offer some conceptual guidance for the work ahead. 

The first element is dignity: an essential element for human development, encompassing the fight against poverty and inequality.

Second is people: Millions of people, especially women and children, remain excluded from full participation in society. We must finish the work of the Millennium Development Goals. 

Third, prosperity: We must develop a strong, inclusive and transformative global economy.

Fourth, our planet: We have an urgent duty to address climate changes and protect our ecosystems, for ourselves and our children.

Fifth, justice: to build safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions.

And finally, partnership: because this agenda will be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity. 
These elements draw strength from each other. Each is an integral part of the whole, and none should be considered in isolation from the others. My hope is that they will contribute to your further discussions and help produce the agenda we want.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Implementation will be the litmus test of this agenda. It must be placed on a sound financial footing. I welcome the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and encourage countries to scale up their efforts.
We will need to tap into all funds, public and private, national and international. National governments have a key role to play in raising domestic revenue for core economic and social functions. Public funds should first benefit the poorest and most vulnerable.
Official Development Assistance and international public funds will continue to play a central and catalytic role, particularly in vulnerable countries. I urge Member States to honour their commitments in a full and timely manner. 
In addition, we need to take urgent action to unlock the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources. Investment in specific projects will be the key, both to transitioning to a low-carbon economy, and to improving access to water, renewable energy, agriculture, industry, infrastructure and transport.
The Financing for Development Conference in Addis will focus on these issues and we have high expectations for concrete proposals and agreements to underpin the post-2015 development agenda and set the stage for a universal climate agreement.
Other crucial factors for successful implementation include bridging the technology gap, so that poor and developing countries have equal access to the latest solutions; creating a new framework for shared accountability; and providing reliable data, which is the lifeblood of sound decision-making.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Next year, 2015, will herald an unprecedented opportunity to take far-reaching, long-overdue global action to secure our future well-being.
In Addis Ababa in July, we must forge a new compact for global partnership. Here in New York, in September, we must agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals that will transform lives and inspire people to action. And at climate change negotiations in Paris in December next year, we must agree a way forward to protect this planet, our only home. 
The United Nations will continue to lead and support the sustainable development agenda to 2030.
We must look to ourselves and do our utmost to be fit for purpose to deliver on this transformative agenda for action.
As we begin the next phase, we will have to be innovative, inclusive, agile, determined and coordinated.
We must always be guided by universal human rights and international norms, while being responsive to different needs and contexts in different countries.
Most of all, we must embrace the possibilities and opportunities of the task at hand. 
I call on you to continue to lead this process with a vision, passion and ambition.
For my part, I am committed to supporting your work and ensuring the best outcome from the post-2015 process, for people, for our planet and for our common future.

Thank you.