United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Republic of Korea

Statement by Ambassador Hahn Choong-hee
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United States
The Open Working Group of Sustainable Development Goals
5 May 2014
New York

〈Check against Delivery〉

Thank you, Mr. Co-Chair.
1. The ROK is of the view, at this stage that there should be stand-alone goals on the following focus areas:
- Poverty eradication
- Sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition
- Health
- Education
- Gender equality and women's empowerment
- Water and sanitation
- Energy
- Economic growth (employment and infrastructure)
- Conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and biodiversity including natural resources
- Means of implementation / Global partnership for sustainable development
- Governance (Rule of Law and effective institutions).
2. Among others, the ROK believes that climate change is a cross-cutting issue, which may be more appropriately reflected at the target level of many stand-alone goals.
3. We believe that around ten to twelve goals would be most appropriate. The reason why the MDGs have been much more powerful and successful than many anticipated, One is because of the limited number of goals, which are simple, clear, visionary and aspirational. We need to learn from this.
4. While we readily agree that goals should be universally applicable at the global level, we have still not accorded sufficient time to collectively deliberate on how such universality would be translated at the country-level given the different circumstances and priorities of each country.

5. For the focus area 1 on "poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality," the proposed target 1a (eradication of absolute poverty, 1b (reducing the proportion of people living below the national poverty line), and 1c (social protection with focus on marginalized groups) are the absolute minimum requirements of the poverty goal. While we find the target 1e to be valuable, we believe it should be consolidated with the target 8b on “economic growth, employment and infrastructure”.
6. In order to highlights the role of culture in eradicating poverty, Korea would like to propose to add one target, which reads as follows; “Contribute to poverty eradication by fostering cultural industries based on indigenous cultures and traditions and also encouraging ownership of culture among indigenous population and respect for cultural diversity”.
7. As you may know, a high-level special thematic debate on the linkage between culture and sustainable development is concurrently being held at the United Nations Trusteeship Council Chamber. We believe that the role of culture in the process of development should be revisited and re-emphasized as one of the important enablers and drivers for the sustainable development.
8. As expressed yesterday, the Republic of Korea supports focus area 3 and 4 as stand-alone goals. With regards to the focus area 3 on “Health and population dynamics”, Korea would like to inquire additional information on the decision to set a target on maternal mortality in absolute terms (reduce the maternal mortality ratio to less than 40 per 100,000 live births) while the target on child and maternal morbidity is in relative terms.
Furthermore, we believe it would be better for 3c to be split into two targets, one on maternal mortality ratio and another on child death, as many delegates have already suggested.
With respects to 3d, the ROK would like to stress once again the ultimate importance of providing universal health coverage (UHC) with particular attention to the often marginalized including persons with disabilities for ensuring healthy life at all ages for all.
9. Regarding focus area 4, the ROK would like to suggest adding “for at least 10 years” at the end of the current text, so that it is in line with UNESCO’s proposal in its “Position Paper on Post-2015 Education Agenda.” The ROK would also like to make an amendment to “by 2030, increase by x% the number of young and adult women and men with knowledge and skills required at work and in spheres of life such as vocational training as well as technical, scientific, social and communicative skills.” The ROK believes that indeed, there is no particular reason to limit the virtues for youth and adults only to the areas of vocational training, technical, engineering and scientific skills. Rather, the ROK would like to suggest adding education on global citizenship on the proposed target, so that the new target will read as “integrate relevant knowledge and skills in education curricula, including ICT skills, global citizenship education, education for sustainable development and awareness raising on culture’s contribution to sustainable development.”
10. Mr. Co-Chair, my delegation will continue to engage constructively in this important task, and reassure you of our full support for your continued leadership.
Thank you.