United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Republic of Korea

Statement by Ms. Oh Youngju
Director-General for Development Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea
Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations
(Sustainable development goals and targets)
25 March 2015, New York
Thank you, Mr. Co-Facilitator, for giving me the floor.
At the outset, I would like to express my admiration for what we
have been able to pull off during this week’s discussions. Thanks
to the Co-Facilitators’ outstanding leadership, we have enjoyed a
great opportunity to gain insight into the work on indicators and
share our initial views. I look forward to fruitful discussions on the
sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets as well.
Mr. Co-Facilitator,
The Republic of Korea would like to welcome the technical review
by the UN System and takes this opportunity to show appreciation
for the circulated document.
During the first two days of our discussions, many delegations
pointed out the deficiencies regarding the proposed indicators.
Some pointed to the insufficient time to solicit inputs from experts
as a potential reason for this. However, as I expressed in my
previous intervention, good indicators can only come from good
targets. Indeed, there is no way we can come up with indicators
that are feasible, suitable, and relevant if the targets themselves
are intrinsically lacking clarity.
Everybody here today would agree that we need goals and
targets that are transformative and ambitious, yet also
implementable. No one in this room, I hope, would like to see our
critical vision to either alter or falter because the goals and targets
are selected a la carte due to the problem of unimplementability.
To achieve this objective, it is important that we should not shy
away from opportunities to further clarify and improve targets
when necessary. The Republic of Korea does not think that a
technical review, by any means, will undermine or reopen the
work of the OWG, which is the basis of our negotiations. Instead,
we believe that the technical review exercise adds further clarity
and precision to the OWG proposal. The Republic of Korea again
supports the review work by the UN System and wishes to
suggest that discussions on the technical aspects of the targets
should continue so that we are fully convinced and reassured
about what we present to our leaders in September.
On the same note, (as others suggested), we would also
appreciate it if the entirety of the Membership was fully informed
about how the UN taskforce team carried out the technical review
and the rationale behind the suggested changes.
Regarding the proposed revision of the 19 targets, we are simply
not in a position to provide specific suggestions at this stage, as
our national statistical offices and relevant ministries need more
time for review. As such, the Republic of Korea wishes to request
that we revisit this issue in due course.
Now, let me draw your attention to how we should communicate a
new set of global and sustainable development goals. The current
SDGs have about twice as many goals and eight times as many
targets as the MDGs. Apart from the unimplementability issue, we
must address the communication challenge of the new agenda.
In this regard, the Republic of Korea is of the view that the six
Essential Elements put forward by the Secretary-General in his
Synthesis Report can help to bring clarity to the post-2015
agenda for the public. We firmly believe that the six elements are
instrumental in amplifying our vision and communicating our
essential messages around the globe.
Mr. Co-Facilitator,
Taking this opportunity, I would like to briefly share my country’s
priority goals and targets with other colleagues here. Drawing
lessons from our own development experiences, the Republic of
Korea particularly values education, gender equality, good
governance, human rights, and the rule of law as enablers of
Other areas of focus include inclusive economic growth, decent
work, monitoring and accountability, climate change responses,
energy, culture, and social protection for vulnerable groups
including women, children, and persons with disabilities.
In particular, addressing environmental challenges—such as
universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation, biodiversity
conservation, ecosystem restoration, and climate change
responses—are essential for poverty eradication and sustainable
Finally, I would like to reiterate the importance of global
citizenship education (GCED) that focuses on the cultivation of
tolerance, mutual respect, and understanding. In particular,
GCED will contribute to building a peaceful society which is a
precondition for achieving the sustainable future we want. In May,
Korea will host the World Education Forum, whose key themes
include the GCED. We are looking forward to incorporating the
outcomes of this valuable forum into the post-2015 development
agenda in September.
I thank you. /END/