United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Intervention by Mr. Md. Mustafizur Rahman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the 11th Session of the Open Working Group of the SDGs under the Focus Area 1: Poverty eradication and Focus Area 2: agriculture, food security
5 May 2014
First of all, let me join others in appreciating you Co-chairs for presenting the revised working paper to carry forward our deliberation. We are not however, happy to see weakening of the economic pillar jeopardizing critical balance that we would like to see among these pillars of sustainable development. We would like to stress that the work of this group has entered into a critical phase. We have to be prudent and judicious in identifying and adopting targets that are universal and genuinely transformational. In doing so, we have to be always mindful of the Rio Principles, important among these are common but differential responsibilities and equity, consideration of national realities, capacities and respective levels of development. We would reiterate our suggestion for inclusion of appropriate means of implementation without which we will not be able to achieve ambitious goals and targets we hope to adopt for the global community.
Having said this, we would make a few specific remarks on the two focus areas under discussion. On the focus area 1, the action plans a, b, c are fine with us. In this connection, we appreciate and support what the African group proposed this morning. On ‘d’, we are okay with the proposal. However, its placement needs to be reviewed. Although this action point or sub-para can be related to focus area 2 and 6, it fits best under focus area 8. Likewise, 1(e), 8 (b) and 5(d) are closely related; such overlaps should be looked into and streamlined in the next version of the document. What we ought to look for is, attainment of productive employment for all, especially for marginalized and vulnerable segments of the society. As marginalized and vulnerable groups, we understand to include migrants and members of their families. Actions point (f) should read as “ensure equality of economic opportunity for all women and men including by securing access for productive assets and productive resources”. On this focus area, we would support Indonesia, Brazil, India and others, who emphasized on the fulfillment of ODA targets in order to achieve ambitious targets on the elimination of poverty.
As for focus area 2, this is a crucial area where we have to be bold if we want a true transformation agenda for us. Action point ‘a’ is fine, ‘b’ could be looked as an indicator, ‘c’ can be redrafted a ‘develop sustainable food production systems with higher yields’, the rest can be captured as indicators. ‘d’ can be read as ‘ensure access for adequate agro-inputs, knowledge, productive resources, finance (not financial services) and markets in developing countries, especially for small and marginalized farmers and rural communities’.
Sub-para ‘e’ may be redrafted as ‘reduce loss in production and wastage in post-production along the food supply chain. We are fine with ‘f’, but it actually has to be looked as sustainability of agriculture, not just land-use policies. Secondly, the timeline of 2020 seems to be unrealistic. As for ‘g’ like others, we are not sure what is meant by the concept, ‘Climate-smart agriculture’ and its applicability. What we should try to capture here is, agriculture in all its dimension i.e. cropping, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry and make it adaptive in the
context of complex climate change challenges and natural disasters. As for ‘h’ we should strive for the protection of agro-biodiversity including through enhanced use and application of indigenous and traditional knowledge. Finally, in attaining all these targets, commitments of support, in terms of technical and technological knowledge, institution building, long term public investment in agricultural research, particularly in developing countries, is critically important.
Mr. Co-chairs,
To respond to two questions that you have put forward to us, we think the mention of certain percentages in the target form is not necessarily wrong or inappropriate, but we should generally use this formulation in drafting indicators. We would wait for the expert opinion from the Statistical Division as you have informed. About the timeline, it would be better to fix a global deadline, for example 2030, and leave the national authorities to adjust times according to their respective capacities and requirements.
I thank you.