United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


10th Session of the Open Working Group on SDGs
March 31- April 4, 2014

Intervention by Amit Narang, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of India during discussions on Cluster 5 – Sustainable Cities and human settlements, promoting sustainable consumption and production, and climate

Thank you, Mr.Co-Chair for giving me the floor to share some reflections on the discussions this morning.
Mr. Co-Chair,
At the outset, we do not necessarily subscribe to the combination of these issues under one cluster. We feel that the issue of cities and urbanization cannot necessarily only be linked with climate change and sustainable consumption and production. Climate change itself, perhaps, does not need to be addressed as a standalone goal. Sustainable consumption and production on the other hand, perhaps, does need to be addressed as a standalone goal. So the three in one cluster are an odd mix and therefore this cluster is not very justified.
Mr. Co-Chair,
As with some other delegates in the room, we are also not completely wedded to the idea of a separate urban goal. Nevertheless we have been listening very carefully to those delegations who do feel the need for a separate urban goal and we will continue to follow this conversation carefully. At the same time, we feel that our approach to an urban issue under the SDGs needs to follow a comprehensive, at the same time a differentiated approach. Many issues which are central to the urban challenge in developing countries pertain to the issues like providing functional cities and the provision of basic infrastructure and services, slum improvement, job opportunities etc. On the other hand, targets which will pertain more to developed countries would be in the realm of reducing use of private automobiles, energy efficiency, renovation and retrofitting of infrastructure, increased resource efficiency and so on.
On the issue of sustainable consumption and production, Mr. Co-Chair, we agree with the delegation of Canada when they said that the SCP is at the heart of this agenda. As we have said earlier it is the veritable S of the SDGs. In this sense, it will be a grave mistake to only leave it mainstreamed and not have it included as a separate goal. We do therefore support a standalone goal on sustainable consumption and lifestyles with relevant targets in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Among the various targets which could form a part of this goal we have proposed earlier include a reduction in per capita energy consumption in developed countries and a reduction in per capita food waste at consumer level also in the developed countries. As we have emphasized before, consumer level wastage of food alone in the developed countries according to FAO amounts over 220 million tons and this issue calls for a standalone target to give it better visibility.
On climate change, Mr. Co-Chair, we agree with others that this is a central issue but we also agree with other delegates including AOSIS who have called for an appropriate mainstreaming of climate change and not as a standalone goal. We are also not convinced that we need a standalone goal on climate change. We feel that a better approach to climate change would be appropriate mainstreaming under relevant goals. I would emphasize the word ‘appropriate’ and ‘relevant’ here. We feel that climate change is better addressed by addressing the drivers of climate change. So, when we address those drivers of climate change within SDGs, we will be addressing climate change without necessary calling it so. Therefore, when you have an ambitious and forward looking goal on energy, you are actually addressing climate change. When you are addressing public infrastructure; when you are addressing a goal on sustainable consumption, a goal on food security and on health, they are directly relevant to climate change. At the same time Mr. Co-Chair, development is the best form of adaptation. So when we address issues like poverty eradication, when we promote economic growth, when we promote rural productivity, when we create better infrastructure and affordable housing for the poor, we directly assist them in coping with and adapting to the adverse effects of climate change.
I need hardly emphasize, Mr. Co-chair, that as other delegations have said, we need to be very careful not to complicate the ongoing negotiation process under the FCCC. In addition to the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform which is currently underway, the 2 degree goal itself along with commitments under the convention is under review. We therefore need to be very cautious and must avoid an approach which might interfere with that process.
Lastly, Mr. Co-Chair, any deliverable on climate change whether as a standalone goal or mainstreamed as part of other SDGs will have to fully comply with Convention principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.
Thank you Mr. Co-chair.