United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Intervention delivered by H.E. Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Permanent Representative, Canada

Session on Goals and Targets – March 26, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the targets in the context of the Post-2015 negotiations. The goals and targets will be the basis of our work going forward, and it is therefore critical that we take the time required to discuss these issues. This would allow us to ensure that we are working with a common understanding and towards a common purpose.
While we appreciate that we must approach our work with a sense of urgency, we do not think that this should come at the expense of sacrificing the quality and integrity of the targets that will guide us for the next 15 years.
Every country represented in this room wants a set of goals and targets that are compelling and measurable, and, most importantly, that will drive action and results. The fundamental question is how we get there. We firmly believe that a robust, transparent assessment of the targets needs to be part of the answer.
We recognize that many member states are reluctant to proceed with an assessment of targets for fear of undermining the delicate political balance achieved through the Open Working Group process. But ultimately, we think that the bigger risk is to present to our Heads of State in September a set of targets that has not undergone a comprehensive quality assessment. And from our perspective, this assessment does not have to constitute a reopening of the OWG document. What it should entail however, is that we strengthen existing targets, ensuring more precision in the language used, while retaining their original substance.
While there may not be consensus on technical proofing, there is also no consensus that we should forgo technical proofing, or that we should limit ourselves to the two criteria proposed yesterday.
And in this regard, allow me to address the proposed technical adjustments to the 19 targets circulated by the Co-Facilitators earlier this week. Canada believes that this document represents a good starting point, but not only is there scope to go further, we have a responsibility to go further.
We also believe it is important to fully understand the process that led to the 19 targets being chosen, and support Japan's view that the explanatory rationale contained in the TST document lacks sufficient detail. We also thank Japan for raising the importance of aligning the relevant targets with what was agreed in Sendai. This directly points to the need to engage in such an exercise and underlines that we need to consider how we will be incorporating the outcomes of important events like Sendai and the upcoming Addis conference.
We agree that we need to address the outstanding issue of filling in the x’s in the document, but this should be done in a manner that is technically sound and not just expedient. In this regard, we appreciate the fact that the co-facilitators will further examine the document, but strongly encourage that we adopt a more comprehensive approach than what was proposed yesterday. Australia offered a sound and pragmatic alternative, that in our view merits consideration.
Mr. Co-chair,
We heard many colleagues in the room call for indicators that are clear, concise, understandable, robust, and conducive to effective tracking. High-quality indicators are clearly of great importance to all of us. But like the Republic of Korea, we question how feasible it will be for the statistical experts to develop indicators that meet these criteria, if they are based on targets that do not meet these same standards. If we want high-quality indicators, we need high-quality targets. Why should our process to finalize the targets be less rigorous than the process to develop indicators?
We look forward to furthering the discussion on the targets, as we continue in our efforts to build a solid foundation for our work over the next 15 years.
As a final point, in response to comments made yesterday, allow me to reiterate Canada's position on the need to avoid fundamentally political issues that do not belong in the post-2015 process, and that are comprehensively being handled through other UN processes. This process is about cooperation and common purpose, and we regret any attempt to politicize the discussion in a way that runs counter to this spirit. We look to the co-facilitators for their strong leadership to guide us to ensure that we all remain focused.