United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Intervention by Mr. Md. Mustafizur Rahman at the 11th Session of the OWG on SDGs, on 6 May 2014 ,
on Focus Area 3: Health and population dynamics and Focus Area 4: Education and life-long learning
Mr Co-Chair,
Both the Focus Areas under consideration are potential SDGs and they have critical transformative characters in them. These were important MDGs, we need to finish the unfinished job and build further on them.
On both these areas, we would support the approach suggested by many: inclusivity- that no one should be left behind and affordability. Let me now briefly comment on the action points that have been proposed.
First of all, we would suggest the title of Focus Area 3 to read as: ‘Healthy life for all at all ages’
One of the first targets should be an omnibus one, to be read as:
‘Allow unhindered universal access to adequate, affordable, accessible and quality healthcare, including mental healthcare, for all, including the vulnerable segments, and eliminate all discriminatory practices and barriers.’
We support sub-para ‘a’. Our only question would be if these targets are to be broken down further both globally and nationally.
As for ‘b’, we would suggest this to be formulated as: ‘Ensure prevention, universal access to and comprehensive treatment of the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases’.
We are fine with action point ‘c’. On sub-para ‘d’ we would propose to add ‘including universal immunization coverage after ‘achieve universal health coverage (UHC)’
We also suggest addition of two elements at sub-para ‘e’. It should be read as: ‘by 2030 ensure universal access to affordable essential medicines, vaccines and medical technologies for all and ensure their affordable transfer to the developing countries’.
We propose deletion of the word ‘comprehensive in sub-para ‘f’ and add ‘in accordance with the agreed provisions of ICPD at the end.
In our view, action point ‘g’ is too specific and does not merit placement here. This may be captured in Focus Area on cities. As regards ‘h’, we think this lacks specificity. At best, we can go along with what Nicaragua suggested.
In general, apart from a generic focus on health, this Focus Area is also to look at ‘population dynamics’ which includes migrants. G 77 statement underlined this very eloquently, asking for inclusion of migrants and mobility appropriately in this focus area. This came out prominently at a global experts meeting in Bangladesh only last week when we duly reflected this working paper along with targets. Their needs are unique among various vulnerable groups of people in context of meeting their health requirements.
In respect of specific means of implementation, we generally share what has been said already by many delegations. However, we would suggest for inclusion of a sub-para to be read as:
‘Establishment of trans-boundary cooperation mechanisms – regionally and globally to provide early-warning, reduce risks, allow for sharing of knowledge and know-how.
On Focus Area 4, Education and life-long learning, we support the title as: ‘Provide quality education and life-long learning opportunities for all’.
In general, we recognize the need for a balanced approach on both ‘input’ and ‘outcome’.
On specific action areas, we support ‘a’ and ‘b’. The scope of Action point ‘b’ may be broaden to include other vulnerable segments of society.
Action point ‘c’ needs to be contextualized given regional and national variations. With regard to sub-para ‘d’, we propose to strengthen it by adding a few words after universal youth and adult literacy through recognized and measurable learning outcomes and essential life skills, with particular attention to women and the marginalized.
Sub-para ‘e’ should be slightly reformulated to read as, ‘by 2030 increase by x% the number of young and adult women and men with vocational training, technical, engineering and scientific skills’. Action area ‘f’ should start with integrate relevant knowledge and skills.
Given the need to focus on the marginalized groups and vulnerable segments, we would propose for a separate target, which would read as : ‘Ensure that education policies integrate special requirements of vulnerable groups, including migrants, and facilitate their social and economic integration inter alia through recognition of qualifications and skills’.
Additionally, we would support suitable inclusion of elements like, quality teachers and education professionals, tertiary education, alignment of education and skills with job markets. In all these, the special needs of LDCs would require to be looked at duly as has been said by many delegates before me.
Thank you.