United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Italy, Spain and Turkey


New York, 5-9 May 2014

Statement delivered by Mr. García Margallo, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Check upon delivery

Cluster 1: Poverty eradication and sustainable agriculture
Monday 5th May – Morning session

Mr. Co-Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the team formed by Spain, Italy and Turkey in this open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Co-Chair,

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for the successful leadership of this Working Group. Over a year ago we wondered if we would be able to convene the first meeting of the Group; and today we begin the eleventh working session. Without a decisive leadership of both co-chairs it would not have been possible.

We encourage you to continue in the same direction. It is not easy for the 193 United Nations Member States to agree on the priorities of sustainable development, but it is possible, and above all, it is a challenge where we cannot afford to fail. Mr. Co-chair, you can count on the full support of our team.

Mr. Co-Chair,

With reference to the new version of your document we support the continued efforts for concision and selection. We welcome the focus on poverty eradication and support the inclusion of a strong gender focus area. We would like however to stress the importance of properly addressing inequality and access to services. We also believe that further efforts should be made for achieving a stronger cross-fertilization of the economic, social and environmental pillars and for better reflecting inter-linkages and cross cutting issues at the target level.


During this week we will comment on the focus areas proposed by the Co-Chairs trying to be as brief as possible. In this final session of the Group we want to underline our constructive spirit, our will to avoid artificial confrontations between Member States that can only lead us to a stalemate.

With regard to the issues in the agenda for this morning, we would like highlight our support for a global goal dedicated to the eradication of poverty in 2030, from a true multidimensional approach based on the principle of universality.

It is essential from our perspective not to limit the concept of poverty eradication to economic growth or to a measurement in terms of per capita income. We would like to call upon the international community to broaden its focus and consider not only the population living under the poverty line, but also those who are above this threshold but are highly vulnerable. To reduce this vulnerability, it is essential to encourage a focus on resilience and social protection.

On the other hand, when reducing inequalities, it is necessary to do it by promoting equity. We must take into account the reduction of inequalities between and within countries, besides vertical and horizontal inequalities. Among the excluded groups the starting point is much lower. Therefore, it is necessary to provide them with more benefits in order for them to have more opportunities and to reach an equal level of capabilities. In this sense, our troika will support a single standalone goal on reducing inequalities, although a special concern must be taken on the way inequalities and inequities are measured.

Our group supports the targets proposed by the Co-chairs even though there are some aspects we would like to highlight:

- Regarding the target on the implementation of systems of social protection, it would be necessary to emphasize the need to improve coverage, that is, access by the entire population, especially the most vulnerable.
- Stronger emphasis should be put on addressing inequalities and empowering the poor

- There should be a specific target on particular attention to those vulnerable groups who are most marginalized, experiencing the most severe forms of deprivation and being the most likely to be poor or to fall below the poverty line (vulnerable women, migrants, youth, people with disabilities, minority groups among others). A target on participatory decision making should also be added. To this end targets b) and c) now in area 16 could be moved under this focus area.

- Likewise, in the new post-2015 agenda, it would be necessary to explore the possibility of incorporating a multidimensional index on poverty as a measurement index, so as not to limit the perception of poverty. Therefore, we propose an additional target like: increase the usage of multidimensional poverty measurement methodology to carry out the concept of poverty beyond monetary terms

- With reference to target b) reduce the proportion of people living below national poverty lines by 2030, we should clarify whether we refer to absolute or relative national lines.

- With reference to target d) build resilience of the poor and reduce by x% deaths and economic losses related to disasters, we should refer not only to natural disasters but also to market and financial shocks.

Finally when we speak of poverty reduction and inequality (poverty in relative and absolute terms), although we place a strong focus on the most vulnerable groups and LDCs, we must also keep in mind the special needs of some countries, especially the Middle Income Countries. These countries must deal with inequality and must consolidate their progress in reaching a true social cohesion

On the other hand, our group equally supports a Goal on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture, addressed from the perspective of fulfilling the human right to food. However the Focus Area should better reflect the need to promote small farming agriculture as an alternative method to fight hunger and poverty and to ensure sustainability. A specific target on gender relations and women’s empowerment should also be introduced.

In relation to the proposal presented by the Co-chairs, in section c) we do not agree with the commitment to reduce water usage as such. What is important is to increase water efficiency use. If it is done holistically and sustainably, following solid policies for water governance, it could be a means that would allow increasing production sustainably.

On the other hand, it would be desirable to consider a target for investment in agrarian activities in small and medium-sized agriculture as well as the promotion of rural development policies as an effective method in the fight against rural poverty, which in turn facilitates food and nutrition security. Rural poverty is not discussed often, while agrarian activities are a driving force for the growth and development of rural regions. Target c) should therefore read: by 2030 ensure sustainable food production systems with high yields, more nutritious and safe and improve the efficient use of water, by putting in place better governance systems and promoting integrated water management plans, reduce the use of chemicals by at least y%, and energy by at least z% even through the promotion of small-scale, sustainable and inclusive agriculture and of traditional knowledge.

The importance of promoting local food traditions and culture should be stressed in targets a) and g)

The reference to the need to address price volatility was eliminated when it is a fundamental issue that affects food security and is caused by multiple factors.

Target f) should include the importance of participation. It should therefore read: f) all countries have in place sustainable land-use policies by 2020, and all drought-prone countries develop and implement drought preparedness policies by 2020 defined with the participation of relevant key actors, namely small farmers, rural women and indigenous communities

A specific target on equity and gender should be added j) Place a strong focus on empowerment of women (property and inheritance rights, investments in favor of women, access to finance, micro-credit, etc..), on the involvement of young people and more generally on issues of inclusion and equity. …% share of women and of men with legally recognized evidence of land tenure, access to credit, inheritance and…% level of ”gender” investment and programs by 2030

Lastly, we would like to highlight the need to strengthening global governance for food security using the already existing elements such as the Committee on Food Security.

Mr. Co-chair, Excellencies,

Thank you very much for your attention.