United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union and its Member States

Meeting of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
United Nations - New York – 5 May 2014

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States
delivered by
Americo Beviglia Zampetti
Counsellor
Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States. The statement will be made available on the website.
First of all we would to thank the co-chair and the Secretariat for their tireless work and for producing a revised document which tries to condense and consolidate the many issues covered by the Open Working Group into a manageable number of elements.
We continue to support the Co-Chairs' plan to condense the discussions in the Open Working Group progressively leading towards a limited number of universal and transformative goals, supported by 'SMART' targets, including qualitative aspects. We welcome the fact that several possible actions already include proposals for clear timeframes and basis for monitoring and measuring progress.

We appreciate that some focus areas in the previous focus areas document have been combined to reduce the overall number. We believe that the focus areas as set out by the co-chairs constitute a useful basis towards the future formulation of goals. It is crucial to strike a proper balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development, both in the focus areas and in the targets.

We support continued efforts for selection and concision, grouping topics as appropriate. This can be facilitated by the Open Working Group engaging further on the issue of how best to take into account cross-cutting issues and to reflect inter-linkages at target level, as a complement to the proposed key issues per theme. At the same time, it is important that the document remains comprehensive enough.

We believe the post-2015 process should reinforce the international community’s commitment to poverty eradication and sustainable development and set out a single comprehensive and coherent framework for effective delivery and results at all levels.

We underline the need to work towards sustainable development to eradicate poverty in all its dimensions, including ending extreme poverty in a single generation, and to ensure sustainable prosperity and well-being of all people within planetary boundaries. We emphasize the need to ensure that inequality and access to services for the most vulnerable and marginalized is addressed across all focus areas. We equally recall the need to fully integrate sustainable development within the agenda in view of having a comprehensive set of goals and targets and in order to ensure long-term development. We highlight the importance of universal health coverage for all women and men alike and food and nutrition security. Particular attention should be given to vulnerable and marginalized groups, women, children and persons with disabilities.

A rights based approach encompassing all human rights is fundamental to this. Addressing justice, equality and equity, good governance, democracy and the rule of law, with a strong focus on the empowerment and rights of women and girls and gender equality are essential preconditions for equitable and inclusive sustainable development. Gender inequality is the most pervasive form of inequality around the world, and we welcome the inclusion of a strong gender focus area. We also highlight the importance of gender mainstreaming and gender analysis of data and of sex-disaggregated target data across all focus areas.

We welcome continued efforts to integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. We believe that inter-linkages between areas are of great importance and should be identified, taken into account and further developed, as appropriate. Inclusive and sustainable economic growth, including sustainable consumption and production is a key element in sustainable development and poverty eradication. The decoupling of economic growth from resources use, as well as the need for the use of natural resources to be sustainable should be clearly expressed. We welcome the reference to a life-cycle approach which is a key driver for sustainable development and would welcome a reference to a circular economy. The sound management of chemicals and wastes and the development of non-chemical alternatives need to become prominent. Ensuring the quantity, quality and efficient use of key resources, including water, and curbing pollution, will be vital to ensure food and nutrition security, provide sustainable energy and maintain the ecosystem services necessary for the human health and the environment.

Climate change should be visibly integrated in any post-2015 framework.

A new framework should recognize that peace and security, as well as good governance and rule of law, are fundamental development outcomes and are crucial to ensuring that no one is left behind. People all over the world want transparent and accountable government, access to justice, and a voice in decisions that affect their lives. They also want to live in stable and peaceful societies and to enjoy personal safety and freedom from violence. It is essential to deliver on these critical issues through the post-2015 framework. As transparent and accountable government and rule of law, on the one hand, and peaceful and inclusive societies that are free from violence, on the other hand, are two distinct issues, we stress the importance of having them as two distinct focus areas.

We note the continuing evolution of the Global Partnership/ Means of Implementation section of the document. We recognize that Means of Implementation will be critical to the achievement of the framework. Progression on this issue must also take full account of, and not overlap with, the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Financing for Sustainable Development. Work on Means of Implementation needs to build on the primacy of national responsibility for sustainable development and accurately reflect the wide spectrum of respective capacities and responsibilities across countries, including the private sector, philanthropic organizations and civil society. We would welcome specific references to these actors in this section of the document. We strongly support the idea of a new global partnership that includes all actors, and harnesses the skills of all actors in development, to underpin this new framework. We also underline the important role of science, technology and innovation, as well as of research and development, as important tools to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development.

In relation to financing, the EU recognizes that there is a need for a common and comprehensive approach to financing for development beyond 2015. It will be important to address, in a coherent and comprehensive manner, relevant international processes relating to finance, the role of ODA, innovative sources of financing, financial regulation and illicit financial flows, innovation and technology diffusion, capacity building, trade, domestic revenue mobilization, as well as those processes undertaken in the context of climate change, biodiversity and desertification. In this regard, the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Financing for Sustainable Development will be critical, and we look forward to their report and recommendations to enable our further consideration of this issue.

Co-chairs,

In conclusion we continue to value and support your leadership and guidance in the work of the OWG. We believe that keeping the current working methods will help us to achieve the best results and successfully conclude the mandate of the Open Working Group.