United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Canada, Israel and United States of America

Remarks by Ambassador Michael Grant of Canada, for the Canada/Israel/US Team, 10th Session of the SDG Open Working Group, on Sustainable Agriculture, Food security and Nutrition; Water and Sanitation
Michael Grant
Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
New York, NY
April 1, 2014


Thank you Mr. Co-Chair,

In the interest of brevity, and heeding your request to focus on goals and targets, we present the following:

Sustainable agriculture, food security, and nutrition

• Our troika supports a stand-alone goal on food security and nutrition that is compelling, galvanizes high-level visibility on hunger and malnutrition, is easy to understand, and is paired with targets that are achievable by 2030.

• One-eighth of the world’s population, 870 million people, is chronically hungry today, and one in four of the world’s children, 165 million, suffer from stunting, a key marker of undernutrition.

• Food security and nutrition are fundamental to ensuring healthy lives (including prevention of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases), managing natural resources sustainably, securing sustainable energy, and creating jobs and inclusive growth. Therefore the multidimensional nature of this focus area must be reflected in associated targets that will advance other critical goals.

• We see particular potential for agreement in several target areas, including:
o ending hunger and promoting access to sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food;
o reducing child malnutrition, stunting and anaemia – which we are pleased to see referenced in the Focus Areas document, and which are vital to children’s ability to learn, grow, and thrive; and
o sustainable increases in agricultural productivity to ensure that the world continues to produce enough food in a way that stewards our natural resource base for future generations.

• Our nutrition-related targets need to be balanced and reinforce global intergovernmental targets agreed at the World Health Assembly in 2012 on such issues as breastfeeding rates, anaemia and birth weight. Our strategies should reflect the well-established scientific basis on the best ways to reach these nutrition targets.

• On agricultural productivity, we should consider how best to reflect:
o the importance of climate smart agriculture practices,
o increased efficiency of water use,
o enhanced biodiversity,
o increased investment and support for agricultural research and technology development, and
o improved land management practices.

• Finally, let me flag sustainable fisheries as an item our troika will address later this week in the context of a goal on Oceans and Seas.

Water and sanitation

• We have heard the statistics in our previous sessions: nearly 780 million people lack access to an improved drinking water source, two to three times as many lack access to water considered safe to drink, and more than 2.5 billion people lack access to appropriate sanitation facilities.

• We therefore would support a dedicated goal on water and sanitation, and see the potential for consolidated targets such as:
o access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene;
o improved water productivity, recycling and water-use efficiency;
o protected water resources;
o improved water governance; and
o reduced disaster risk.

• Water is critical to progress in numerous priority areas, such as:
o health,
o food security and nutrition,
o energy,
o industry and economic development,
o the wellbeing of ecosystems,
o the mitigation of natural disasters, and
o sustainable economic growth.

• Mr. Co-Chair, we also recognize the multiple uses of water and the need for integrated water resources management for human consumption and good health, for agriculture and energy, for industry and economic development. Targets therefore need to capture the fundamental role water and sanitation plays in achieving progress in many of the other focus areas.

Thank you Mr. Co-Chair.