United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations
Mr. Ib Petersen on behalf of Denmark
Intergovernmental negotiations on the
post-2015 development agenda
23-27 March 2015
Statement delivered on 26 March 2015
New York
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Check against delivery
E-mail: nycmis@um.dk
Mr. Co-facilitators,
We align this statement with the statement made yesterday by the EU on behalf of the EU and its Member States.
First, let me thank you and the UN Task Support Team for your examination of the targets and the suggestions made in the paper circulated on 23 March and the space provided for this interaction. We understand that your suggestions are intended to help member states address the unfinished business of the proposed targets of the Open Working Group. Drawing on the discussion from yesterday, we would like to state that we have no intention of repetition nor perfection. We believe we should finalise what we set out to do in the Open Working Group building on the discussions we then had and we look forward to see your new "crack" at the paper, as you said yesterday.
As noted on Tuesday, Denmark is ready to consider the results of the technical assessment while we remain strongly committed to preserving the substance, balance and ambition of the Open Working Group, including maintaining the balance among the three dimensions and the related inter-linkages across all goals and targets. We would like to stress that the proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda.
We understand that amendments proposed are based on broadly speaking two different criteria. First, ensuring that targets are specific and measurable by filling in the X’s. And second, ensuring that we as a minimum are consistent with, and not less ambitious than, existing UN standards and agreements. We appreciate such clear criteria. It is important to ensure that work by the UN system in assessing relevant targets is evidence-based, draw on scientific expertise and is carried out in a transparent manner.
We believe that it is necessary to address all the existing "Xs". This is unfinished business from the OWG that needs to be finalised as soon as possible. We consider it important to enhance the specificity and measurability of targets. In this regard, we would like to better understand the reasoning behind the suggestions made and how you envision we move forward.
We are ready to further reflect on some of the other suggestions for amendments based on the criteria that targets must as a minimum be consistent with, and not fall below, UN standards and agreements, and international legal frameworks, including in terms of honouring existing timeframes of commitments. In several instances we are not convinced of the explanations offered for the suggested changes. This applies in particular to changes related to consistency with international standards, namely 3.b and 17.2, and the changes related to target dates. It is important to be consistent, when applying these criteria in order to instill confidence and full transparency in the process, and to obtain the strongest possible framework of targets. This means that there might be some other targets that could usefully be improved on the basis of the criteria that you suggested.
We can not ask our Heads of State and Governments to sign up for a number of "x's", "y's or z's" and we can not ask them to agree to a number of targets which do not live up to already agreed standards and objectives. This is an issue of credibility not only to our Heads of State and Government, but to the whole international community to which we are going to present this agenda. Finding a common understanding for those figures and not doing it separately at the national level would enhance the universality of our agenda. Universality is one of the key aspects of the future agenda for us.
With these comments in mind, and on the basis of the criteria you have set out, we will engage actively in further deliberations in the intergovernmental process under your able leadership. We look forward to seeing your updated paper for this purpose.