United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 agenda
Goals and targets, 23-27 March 2015, New York
German Statement on
“Indicators and Goals and Targets”
Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear
Mr. Co-Facilitator,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.
The post 2015 Summit in September will mark a historic moment. It will be the first
time that all governments agree on a broad, universally applicable set of precise
goals and targets for sustainable development.
We all have to deliver to make this summit a success. This is of key importance not
only for the wellbeing of all of humanity, including that of our children and our
children’s children, but also to demonstrate a functioning multilateralism.
But we should not only focus on the success of the summit. What will count in the
long run is the implementation of its outcome. We, as an industrialized country,
stand ready to contribute our share to achieve the necessary transformation.
Sustainable consumption and production patterns and the efficient use of resources
are key in this regard.
In the context of a new global partnership the agenda has to generate momentum
for a huge push to
1. End poverty and hunger - fight inequality
2. Empower People, achieve gender equality and ensure a good and healthy life
for everyone
3. Promote shared prosperity and achieve sustainable lifestyles for all
4. Respect planetary boundaries: fight climate change, protect and sustainably
use natural resources
5. Protect human rights - ensure peace, good governance and access to justice
6. Establish a new global partnership
We must act now so that future generations still have the chance to live a decent
We are all aware that the Sustainable Development Goals will form the core of this
transformative post-2015 agenda. If we collectively manage to reach these goals and
targets, we can achieve the necessary transformation in the interest of our children
and of our children’s children.
The proposed set of goals and targets carries the potential to effectively address the
interlinked challenges the world is facing.
But we have to look ahead. The agreement on this transformative set of goals and
targets which Germany is wholeheartedly supporting was the first step. If we really
want to tap the transformative potential of the SDGs, we now have to focus on the
implementation side of the goals.
And indicators will play a key role in this regard. It is one of the most important
lessons learned from the MDG Agenda that we need to connect strongly goals with
targets and targets with sufficient indicators to guarantee an effective
I therefore would like to thank the Statistical Commission of the United Nations and
the Technical Support Team for their work done so far on indicators. But I am not a
visionary when I say: There is more work to be done!
Despite its importance, we consider the work on indicators to be first and foremost a
technical process.
It is not trivial work to elaborate a set of global indicators, which addresses the
transformative aspiration of the targets but stays manageable to serve as the core
set every country reports to. Therefore it is important to give time to our statistical
and technical experts to elaborate this innovative set with a limited number of
indicators which should build on existing international indicators to the extent
possible in order to avoid duplication and to make efficient use of resources.
In this regard I welcome the decision of the Statistical Commission to present a
proposal by the end of 2015. We will then have time to review the proposal before
its adoption in March 2016. Even beyond March 2016, the improvement of indicators
will be a continuous task of the Statistical Commission.
But there are still a few more things that need to be done on targets as well:
Firstly, targets must be consistent with, and not fall below UN standards and
agreements or contradict international legal frameworks. We should address cases
where proposed language does not meet this test.
Secondly, we also acknowledge that the SDG proposal includes some targets on
which political decisions will have to be taken. We would support the proposal that
the UN system identifies these “x” targets and indicates existing levels of ambition
and agreements or commitments in order to make a proposal for appropriate
replacements for the “x”.
This work should be guided by our common understanding that it is important to
preserve the political balance and breadth of the OWG's SDG proposal, including
preserving the inter-linkages across the three dimensions of sustainable
In this context I would like to reiterate that we should continue our exchange on
how to better communicate the agenda for sustainable development.
Part of the success of the MDGs was that they were easily understood - following this
success model the new agenda needs an effective communication tool. We welcome
the idea of the Secretary-General to reflect the new, holistic and transformative spirit
of the agenda in overarching key messages.
These messages should be inspiring, easily understandable and spur action
worldwide. As they should also reflect the richness of the agenda, in our view six key
messages will be needed, as proposed in this statement today."
Thank you!