United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Brazil and Nicaragua

11h Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
5-9 May, 2014
Statement by Nicaragua and Brazil
[General comments]
Thank you,
We appreciate the good efforts by the Co-Chairs in driving the process forward.
It is our assessment, however, that the latest version of the Focus Areas document
has moved us away from the middle ground, and that the text has become more
unbalanced.
CBDR has been short-changed. A general reference in the Chapeau may no longer
be sufficient to translate the critical CBDR commitment in concrete terms.
The environmental dimension has been enhanced and mainstreamed into several
focus areas in ways that are unrelated to internationally agreed frameworks.
Unknown and untested concepts such as "climate smart agriculture" have been
introduced, whereas well-known and thoroughly defined concepts, such as
"harmful agricultural subsidies" and the goal of their elimination have
disappeared.
Views supported by a clear majority of troikas such as the eradication of poverty
as an overarching and stand alone goal have been ignored (poverty is now
combined with shared prosperity and equality), whereas, on the basis of a
suggestion by a single member (actually not even a member of the troika OWG
system) a target to "eliminate narcotic drugs a substance abuse" was introduced.
For us, the global problem of drugs and substance abuse should be dealt with
through health and social inclusion public policies, not repression, so we would
not be in agreement with the formulation.
The very well known and understood "decent work" for all agenda was replaced
by an unrealistic and possibly unfeasible objective of "full employment for all" --
a most disturbing backward movement.
In short, compacting text cannot be achieved at the expense of one of the three
pillars that guide these negotiations, in particular the social dimension, nor to the
detriment of substance and balance. We should not prejudge the number of goals.
We need in fact to accommodate them to the challenges set by the Rio+20
outcome document, and the scope and ambition of our SDGs must be
commensurate with the means of implementation.
The current procedure of revising working texts through the hands of the cofacilitators
is clearly undergoing a phase of diminishing returns. We therefore fully
align ourselves with the statement made by Bolivia on behalf of the G77 and
China calling for interactive, informal and intergovernmental consultations,
including between sessions of the OWG, so that more time is allotted to our
complex and far reaching negotiations.
Mr. Co-Chair,
It was the intention of Brazil and Nicaragua to make initial general remarks on the
new text and on procedure. But as you have opened the floor for specific
interventions on areas 1 and 2, I will proceed with the following additional points.
[Focus 1: Poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality]
We must express our surprise with the splitting-up and dilution of the area on
equality, its two halves now appearing under other the focus areas on poverty
eradication and on industrialization.
We do not recall any plea from delegations to proceed in such a manner. In fact
we recall several delegations requesting inequality to be strengthened, not only
within but, most importantly, among countries.
The promotion of equality should not be limited to the title of focus area 1, as now
stands; but become an acknowledged priority and a structural dimension of the
Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Item b) should have a specific numerical target. For instance: "to halve the
proportion of people living below national poverty lines by 2030”, or to establish
that such numerical target must be defined nationally.
Item c) should reflect ILO’s recommendation 202, in particular on moving
towards universal access to basic social security, which has direct impact on
poverty alleviation. Brazil and Nicaragua suggest the following language: “by
2030 extend coverage of nationally appropriate social protection systems for all,
including social protection floors, with focus on the poor and most vulnerable”
Brazil and Nicaragua would propose an additional item on income inequality,
reading as follows: "ensure that the income growth of the bottom 25% of the
population is “x%” higher than the national average by 2030".
Item b) of focus area 16, on access to justice, would find better placement under
focus area 1, since it provides for ending legal discrimination against the poor and
most vulnerable.
Similarly, we propose a target on universal access to public services, which would
read as follow: “by 2030 to ensure universal and equal access to public services,
including measures to addressing the specific needs of those living in vulnerable
conditions”.
Deletion of items b), c) and g) of previous focus area 12 - promoting equality -
should be reversed. In order to promote equality, there is need to address the
vulnerabilities of groups such as women, indigenous, minorities, migrants,
refugees, persons with disabilities, older persons, children and youth, as well as
discrimination based on race, ethnicity or age. In this regard, I would suggest the
following target: “by 2030 to promote economic, social, political and
environmental inclusion of poor and vulnerable groups, including women,
indigenous, minorities, migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, older persons,
children and youth”.
For the section on means of implementation under the focus area 1, we propose:
- To ensure the fulfillment of commitments by developed countries to
provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) for official
development assistance (ODA) for developing countries, as well as a target
of 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of GNI for official development assistance to the
least developed countries by 2020, and 1 per cent by 2030
- To ensure predictable and adequate international financing for developing
countries requiring assistance to implement poverty reduction policies;
- To ensure that global trade and investment rules are designed and
implemented with the objective of addressing pro-actively the specific
constraints faced by developing countries, including the effective
operationalization of the principle of special and differential treatment for
developing countries;
- To ensure that adequate policy space is given to developing countries to
enable such countries to establish and implement their policies in favor of
poverty eradication and in the interest of the poor and most vulnerable.
[Focus area 2: Sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition]
Regarding focus area 2, item c), we must bear in mind that use of chemicals in
agriculture is not intrinsically bad, so long as international security standards are
respected, as those established in the Codex Alimentarius and in the Stockholm
and Rotterdam Conventions on chemical waste. It is inconsistent with these
standards and Conventions, therefore, to simply call for a flat reduction of
chemicals in agriculture without taking in consideration specific circumstances
and needs. Tropical agriculture, for instance, requires more chemicals then similar
activities in temperate climate zones. We proposed deleting reference to chemical
reduction in agriculture on item c).
The concept of "climate smart agriculture”, in item g), is not recognized by any
multilateral agreement, nor dos it have any consensual scientific or political
meaning. We insist on replacing it with the more familiar term "sustainable
agriculture", which refers to the economically viable, environmentally friendly and
socially inclusive practices of agriculture. We also suggest deleting the word
“including” in the same item, since it conveys the idea that “drought” and “climate
change” are extreme weather phenomena, which is conceptually inadequate. In our
view, the item should read as follows: “by 2030 achieve sustainable agriculture
that is adaptable to extreme weather, drought, climate change and natural
disasters”. As sustainable agriculture is already addressed in item c), we support
deletion of item g).
Item e) addresses two different issues and should be divided accordingly as
follows: e-1) “reduce the global rate of food loss along the food supply chain by
x% by 2030”; e-2) “reduce the global rate of food waste due to unsustainable
lifestyles in developed countries by x% by 2030”.
Finally, Brazil and Nicaragua would like to make concrete proposals for the
section on means of implementation under focus area 2:
- Immediately phase out export subsidies in developed countries, in line with
the WTO Hong Kong Declaration of 2005 (which agreed on an elimination
target for 2013);
- Substantially and effectively phase out trade distorting subsidies in
developed countries by x% by 2020;
- Increase the flow, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally
sound agricultural technologies to developing countries by 2020;
- Support developing countries, especially LDCs, in implementing capacity
building policies in support of their national plans for agriculture;
- Ensure adequate policy space for developing countries to support their
agricultural sector and farmers, including in conditions for loans and aid.
I thank you, Mr. Co-chair.