United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Switzerland

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Intergovernmental Negotiations Post-2015
Third Session / Goals, Targets, Indicators
Session on Targets
STATEMENT BY SWITZERLAND
New York, Thursday, March 26, 2015
Thank you Co-Facilitators,
Switzerland considers the OWG proposal of goals and targets the best possible outcome,
balancing the interests of all member states. The goals and targets set our collective ambition
and we therefore also consider that the reservations made last year do not constitute an
intrinsic part of the OWG proposal.
We also share the position that the current negotiations on the Post-2015 Agenda should
focus on the political declaration, the means of implementation – in conjunction with the FFD
process – and a monitoring and accountability framework.
We have taken note of the proposal submitted to us early this week.
In our view, any proposed change must not touch the substantial content of the OWG proposal
as doing so would endanger the political balance of the SDG-proposal. It is a significant
challenge to distinguish the “political” from the “technical” aspects of the targets. In
many cases, it may not be possible at all.
Any proposed changes should therefore exclusively focus on increasing coherence and
clarity of the SDGs for more effective implementation of the goal framework, with a clear
and limited mandate.
Changes proposed may not lower the level of ambition of the OWG targets, based on
“technical” arguments of clarity or feasibility.
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With this in mind, we would support possible changes to the OWG proposal, similarly to
what was outlined by the co-facilitators yesterday, but only under the following conditions:
We would need to agree collectively on a clear mandate and scope.
The scope of the exercise should be limited to the two instances below:
a) Where targets contain an “x” or “y” value, we welcome proposals to quantify
these, based on the existing levels of ambition and agreements or commitments or
the expert advice of the UN system. While we welcome close consultation with statisticians,
we question whether they are really those best placed to determine what
is achievable and set the level of our collective political ambition. The advice of
thematic experts will be important here.
b) Identifying targets which contradict or fall below existing international agreements
or commitments (i.e. concerning ambition, scope, degree of participation…)
and suggesting an amended wording only in order to raise the level of ambition. As
was stressed by Mexico and others, the proposed changes to the targets in goal 15
appear to lower the ambition of agreed Aichi targets. We would therefore oppose
the suggested change of the target date from 2020 to 2030.
Once the proposals have been made, Member States will then need to agree or disagree on
the proposed modifications. Where they cannot agree, the fallback option would be the
Open Working Group proposal. The changes proposed would therefore be a matter of
“take-it-or-leave-it” and not re-open the substance for discussion.
In conclusion, Co-Facilitators, I would like to emphasize our full support for your ongoing
guidance and leadership.
Thank you!
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