United Nations Department 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 cities and human settlements and promotion of sustainable consumption and production,
Michael Grant
Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
New York, NY
April 3, 2014


Thank you, Mr. Co-chair.

In the interests of time, our team will speak now mainly on Climate Change and on Sustainable Consumption and Production. On Sustainable Cities, as we remarked during the stocktaking phase, we are interested in listening to the views of other delegations.

We see the attraction to a Sustainable Cities goal in this rapidly urbanizing century. Cities are among the most dynamic sources of innovation in combating poverty, delivering services, promoting sustainability, and generating jobs and sustained economic growth. We also see some downsides to a standalone goal on cities, particularly if it creates an artificial distinction between urban and rural environments, livelihoods, and issues. We appreciate the comments by colleagues this morning, particularly on the areas of reducing the environmental footprint of cities and ensuring access to sustainable urban transportation. We look forward to seeing how the co-chairs will integrate these and other important areas into their next draft.

Turning briefly to Sustainable Consumption and Production, we want to underscore first that all members of our team individually are strong supporters of the SCP initiatives that began at Rio over twenty years ago, were further advanced in Johannesburg, and that culminated in the 10-year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production agreed at Rio +20. We consider the 10-Year Framework to be a vital instrument in our ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development, and we encourage all stakeholders to continue to contribute to its success. We can’t emphasize this strongly enough.

In the context of our work here, our team therefore believes that promoting sustainable patterns of consumption and production are at the very heart of this agenda and, rightly, any conversation about sustainable development. In truth, this is largely why we are all here: to address issues of poverty eradication, inclusive growth, and equality, in a way that can be sustained over time and can strengthen the foundations of a more just and prosperous world for all.

For our purposes, it will be important to focus on specific sustainability opportunities rather than abstract principles, and the co-chairs have given us a promising compilation of possible target areas, some of which merit consideration, others of which could usefully be consolidated.
Some examples that we think worthy of further exploration: improving energy efficiency and building materials could be very consequential and we have argued for a target of this nature under a Sustainable Energy goal. We believe that reducing, recycling, and reusing waste also has potential under both a water and an energy goal, and have suggested this before. We also see potential for targets under a natural resources goal, including focus on sustainable supply chains, where there is considerable work and innovation in relation to deforestation, in particular.

We see some potential in target areas on sustainability information on products and services which could also be consolidated with formulation of a target on data and related capacities possibly under a Means of Implementation or Global Partnership goal.

These targets are all worthy of further exploration, in our view.

We would also reiterate that, as with climate change, we believe our commitment to SCP will be much more powerful if it is reflected in concrete targets under relevant goals, like those we have just mentioned, rather than as a standalone goal.

Thank you.