UN General Assembly
Inter-Governmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Goals and Targets
New Zealand statement
Delivered by Angela Hassan-Sharp,
26 March 2015
Check against delivery
There are only three points New Zealand wishes to make on the issue of targets and indicators.
The first, and most important, is that we are keeping our eyes firmly on the prize, which in this case is developing and agreeing a global framework for sustainable development in all its dimensions that will see the eradication of extreme poverty in a generation, while leaving no one behind. To that end, New Zealand believes that the report of the Open Working Group is a sound basis for that discussion and we do not support the revisiting, reviewing or reduction of any of the 17 goals that we agreed last summer. As we progress through these negotiations and towards the Summit in September, we believe that the OWG report must be both our baseline and our touchstone as we move ahead.
Secondly, New Zealand does not propose reducing the number of targets proposed in the OWG report. Many were hard fought and hard won and as many other delegations have said, they represent a delicate political balance that we cannot afford to see unravelled.
Our own domestic experience implementing, measuring and reporting on measures that deliver sustainable development for New Zealanders has shown us that good targets make for good indicators, and poor targets for poor indicators.
And our experience has shown that the quality of the targets and indicators we have developed for our own domestic purposes affect outcomes. Good begets good. Poor begets poor.
Which leads me to my third point. Like everyone in this room, we want this framework to work. To be understood by everyone, to be adequately financed and to be implementable. For that to happen, we believe that we need to take a practical and common sense approach to the development of the framework.
As I shared with you on Tuesday, our assessment is that while New Zealand can track many dimensions of the proposed SDG targets, we would struggle with others.
At the request of the UN Statistical Commission, national statistical offices have undertaken an initial assessment of provisional indicators proposed by experts from the United Nations system. Only one hundred and seventeen provisional indicators are considered relevant to measure their respective targets. Of these, fifty are judged to be feasible and a further sixty-seven considered feasible if strong effort is exerted. Eighty-nine provisional indicators were considered to be suitable to measure their respective targets with a further twenty-eight requiring further discussion.
This tells us that there is work to do if we want to achieve the targets that we agreed in the OWG.
We need to work together to reach consensus on any targets and indicators that can be made better, more workable, and therefore more likely to succeed.
Where consensus cannot be reached, we can revert, as I already noted, to the targets agreed in the OWG report. On that note I’d like to add that New Zealand welcomes the report by the TST with their suggestions for making 19 targets better. My delegation still needs time to digest the report but we support the principle behind it, that is, looking at how to develop the best possible targets for the best possible outcomes.
What we stand to gain from a good framework makes the challenging, but not insurmountable, task of reviewing the targets worthwhile. We can agree on criteria, we can seek expert advice, we can consult relevant stakeholders, and we can deliberate and discuss amongst ourselves as member states. And again, let me reiterate, where we cannot reach consensus, we can revert to the OWG report.
We owe it, co-chairs and fellow delegates, to the millions of people living in unacceptable poverty to make this agenda and this framework the very best one that we can.