United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

[Check Against Delivery]
Statement by
The Republic of Maldives
on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)
at the Session on SDGs and Targets for the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015
Development Agenda
23 March 2015
Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations | 800 Second Avenue, Suite 400E, New York, NY 10017, USA
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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We align ourselves with the
statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of South Africa on behalf of G77 and China.
At the outset, allow me to join others in commending you for your continued remarkable leadership in this
ambitious and inspiring intergovernmental process. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank the
Statistical Commission and all national statistical offices around the world for their efforts in working on a set of
indicative indicators for us to discuss this week.
As we have repeatedly indicated, we believe that the Report of the OWG on the Sustainable Development Goals,
as highlighted in GA Resolution 68/309, serves as the basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the
post-2015 development agenda. It sets out an ambitious agenda for sustainable development over the coming
decades and reflects the common consensus of Member States.
We therefore do not support reopening, reorganizing, and renegotiating this text and ask all parties to respect the
party-driven process that has gotten us this far and took a year and a half to be completed. We need to focus on
the way forward.
AOSIS cautions against the rearrangement of goals and targets. While we agree that it is important to cultivate
ownership of the agenda by all stakeholders, rearranging the current 17 SDGs into themes can alter the visibility
and importance of certain goals and their targets. Poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development are
what we are setting out to do; and all of these 17 goals and their targets will make sure to lead us there.
We also stress that the means of implementation identified under each and every SDG and in SDG 17 are an
essential component of the SDGs and without prejudice to the integrity of the Monterrey and Doha frameworks
for FfD.
Our discussions this week should focus on indicators. For AOSIS, our intergovernmental discussions should focus
on a set of global indicators that reflect and respect the equilibrium of the OWG report. National governments will
be responsible for determining their sets of national indicators; and where applicable, regional indicators may be
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elaborated by relevant regional organizations.
We have before us a proposal by the Statistical Commission, which was “rated” by 70 countries and compounded
by a methodology set by the Commission. We understand and have noted the Statistical Commission’s warning
against the quality of the proposed indicators due to the limited time available to elaborate indicators and consult
effectively with NSOs. From their report, the assessment is clear: there is a lot that needs to be done to elaborate an
adequate set of indicators that does not undermine what was achieved in the Open Working Group last year.
Allow me to express AOSIS members’ views on indicators.
First many of these indicative indicators proposed by the Statistical Commission cannot be currently measured by
our national or regional statisticians and are likely to increase the burden on our statistical offices. SIDS require a
set of indicators that better reflect our vulnerability which can be based on SIDS’ national statistics and
development indicators, where available. Indicators should not constitute an additional burden to statistical
offices in developing countries, in particular SIDS.
In addition, given our special circumstances and structural vulnerabilities, we need to develop alternative
measures for assessing progress. We should take this opportunity to re-define a new way of thinking about
development: one that takes into account particular vulnerabilities and resilience of all countries more holistically.
Bearing in mind small NSOs and their limited capacity, our preference would be for a smaller number of
indicators. To limit the number of indicators and show the inter-linkages between goals and targets, one option
would be to provide indicators that can measure progress on several targets.
We are also very concerned by the relative imbalance in the choices of indicators as well as the rating method
applied. Again, the time constraints may have explained the relatively small number of respondents, but the
methodology to compound these views may skew the results.
Again, let me reiterate that we are aware of the severe time constraints under which we are to adopt a decent and
adequate set of global indicators. We sympathize with the concerns of the Statistical Commission in particular
since we, as SIDS, experience them in many areas and on a daily basis. Our own statisticians have raised deep
concern over the tight timeline that was set.
We note the proposal by the Statistical Commission to finalize a set of indicators at their next meeting, a year from
now. We have heard their rationale and understand it. At the same time, we cannot foresee our leaders adopting
an incomplete agenda. The follow-up process should be based on strong indicators that open room for
reinterpretation of the SDG political equilibrium. Indicators are crucial in maintaining that balance reached in the
OWG report on SDGs throughout the implementation of the agenda. They need to be an integral part of it.
Adopting them after the Summit may be prejudicial and may undermine our agreed outcome. Therefore any
decision we take on the timeline must follow a thorough consideration from all angles.
The issues that statisticians have faced, and many from SIDS, remind us that there is a persisting data gap, and
filling it is crucial for the process we are defining now. A data revolution in SIDS is required to enable effective
follow-up of implementation of our agenda. Partnerships and support will be critical to bring about this necessary
data revolution. We look forward to continued discussions on this matter in this process and leading to Addis
Ababa, as well as in the follow-up of the implementation of the SAMOA pathway.
Thank you.