United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


5 May 2014

Swedish statement at OWG 11 on general principles; poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality; sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition.

Mr. Co-chair,

I associate myself with the statement made by the European Union this morning.

Once again thank you for your excellent leadership in managing the process and for providing us with a revised draft that is a good basis for moving us forward. We continue to have full confidence in your leadership.

Our impression is that the OWG has progressed well so far and we particularly appreciate the open, inclusive, transparent way that you have led the process which has enabled constructive discussions and a voice for everyone. We believe that we should continue with the same working methods going forward. In our view, inter-sessional meetings should be avoided. The OWG is a process that has a strong capital base and where capitals have invested in participating and contributing to the process. We would like to continue in the same way and not lose out on that engagement from capitals.

We note that you plan to share a "chapeau" text with the OWG before the end of the week. This chapeau in our view should be a short paper, preferably one page, drawing on all relevant reference documents: the Rio outcome document, the Millennium declaration and the Outcome Document from the High Level Special Event on the MDGs from last September.

As a reaction to what has been said during the day and to respond to your questions, Mr. Co-chair, let me raise four principle issues:

1) The principle of universality is fundamental to the SDGs. The goals and targets that we have suggested are universally applicable and relevant. At the same time as we are advocating for universal goals and targets we clearly recognize the need for differentiation based on capacities, capabilities and general levels of development. This differentiated approach should be expressed at the level of indicators, reflecting different paces of implementation.

2) The principle of human rights and a rights based approach needs to permeate all SDGs. We need to ensure full compliance with international law, including human rights, when crafting goals and targets. I am pleased to note that we have experts in the room from different parts of the UN system to guide us in this respect.

3) Likewise, gender equality and women's rights still are not truly reflected across the whole goal framework. We need to do a better job of integrating gender equality and women's empowerment in targets throughout all the SDGs.

4) Means of implementation, including strengthened partnerships are key to implementing the SDGs and the post 2015 framework. We will revert to this issue later in the week, but let me just underline that this is our toolkit, answering the question on "how" to implement the SDGs. We need strong language on commitments and principles guiding MOI and this should be treated separately, we would suggest last, in the next version of the document. We should not mix the "how" with the 15 focus areas addressing the question of "what" should be included in the SDGs.

5) On your question on whether we need numerical global goals and targets, we would answer a strong yes. We need this for focus, for addressing global challenges, for our shared global commitments and for holding us to account at the global level. Without measurable goals and targets reflecting global commitments this cannot be done. The pace of implementation at national level will differ and that of course also needs to be reflected. For most cases we would assume that numerical targets should be decided at the global level. But we should not reinvent the wheel, where there are already international agreements, conventions or commitments these should be respected and used. And we should listen to experts. At today's SDSN lunch seminar we heard some valuable suggestions on global targets for instance.

We also agree with you, Mr. Co-chair, that there is further room for some consolidation of goals and targets. But we must at the same time be mindful not to lose out on substance through mergers. We want to focus on targets that are transformative and contribute to the fulfillment of several goals, but we might not need to repeat them under different goals. One suggestion to streamline targets would be to only mention each target once, and refer to the other goals that a target contributes to through cross-referencing.

Concerning Focus Area 1 on poverty eradication, shared prosperity and promoting equality we are in general pleased with the goal formulation and the targets. This Focus Area is extremely important for the whole post 2015 development agenda and by focusing on inequalities and leaving nobody behind; we have the possibility of ending extreme poverty. We believe the goal area captures most of what is relevant.

I would just like to add on target f) that we need to insert secure rights to own and inherit land. Also to respond to your call for capturing inequalities through a target, we would suggest adding the following target:

g) Ensuring the income growth of the bottom 40 % of the population is greater than the average income growth. A similar target is already featuring under FA 8 and here it would be helpful to make the type of cross reference I just mentioned.

We are basically satisfied about Focus Area 2 on sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition. However, we suggest a re-phrasing of target c) to make it more stringent as follows:

c) By 2030 ensure sustainably increased agriculture productivity and sustainable food production systems, including through reducing the use of water by x %, toxic chemicals by y % and energy by at least z %.

Also we want to reiterate our strong support for target g) as climate change will have serious effects on ecosystems, food production, health and access to water. Land use in agriculture and forestry must be climate resilient to be sustainable.

Finally, in preparation for tomorrow's session on health I would like co-chairs to correct a mistake in the end notes. Sweden has not suggested a target on eliminating narcotic drug and substance abuse. We have posted all our statements on the OWG SDG website and nowhere can this suggestion be found. Since one delegation already referred to this erroneous end note, it is important that the mistake is corrected at the beginning of the session, to avoid further confusion and misrepresentation.

Thank you, Mr. Co-chair.