STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR MAHLATSE MMINELE, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SOUTH AFRICA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FOLLOW-UP AND REVIEW SESSION OF THE POST-2015 DEVELOPEMNT AGENDA (New York, 18 May 2015)
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
I would like to thank the Co-facilitators for the paper on 'follow up and review' released in the past week, aimed at informing our discussions in this session.
The Group recalls that in the year 2013 the General Assembly adopted Resolution 67/290 in accordance with the Rio plus 20 outcomes. The said resolution seeks to accentuate the need for an improved and more effective institutional framework for sustainable development, which should be guided by the specific functions required in the mandates involved. In addition the aim of the said Resolution was to address the shortcomings of the current system; take into account all relevant implications; promote synergies and coherence; seek to avoid duplication and eliminate unnecessary overlaps within the United Nations system and reduce administrative burdens and build on existing arrangements. This recognition led to the birth of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The Group of 77 and China believes that there is a need for an efficient, robust, inclusive and transparent 'follow up and review' instrument which will be a fundamental cornerstone for a successful post-2015 development agenda.
In undertaking follow up and review of the outcomes of previous Summits, the Group would like to reaffirm the role and authority of the General Assembly on global matters of concern to the international community, as set out in the Charter of the United Nations, and its central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Furthermore, the Group would like to stress the need for the General Assembly to further integrate sustainable development as a key element of the overarching framework for United Nations activities.
In the same vein we must reaffirm the commitment to strengthen the Economic and Social Council, within its mandate under the Charter, as a principal organ in the integrated and coordinated follow-up of the outcomes of all major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social, environmental and related fields, and recognizing the key role of the Council in achieving a balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.
Accordingly the Group re-affirms that the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the key forum for the envisioned follow up and review of progress. In this line of thinking, it is critically important for the United Nations to consider and enhance the coordination between ECOSOC and the GA and other relevant entities in the inter-governmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. In this connection, the Group wishes to highlight the criticality and the need for a coherent support from the Secretariat of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) for the meetings of the HLPF under the GA and the ECOSOC, in order to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness and to enable the forum to deliver on its functions as stipulated in Resolution 67/290.
The Group takes the view that the HLPF on Sustainable Development should aim at advancing the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner and foster coherence and progress in implementation. Taking into account other parallel inter-governmental processes the Group believes that other mechanisms created to follow up on outcomes of UN conferences and conventions related to sustainable development must ensure in their structure coherence with and reporting to the HLPF in order to eschew unnecessary duplication.
The Group maintains that the following guidelines must be taken into account in the 'follow up and review' section of the post-2015 development agenda:
- The follow up and review should be universal in scope and should be owned by each country in accordance with its national circumstances, needs and priorities.
- It must be government-led and voluntary, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants.
- The review should also aim to review the activities of the UN system and stakeholders with regards to the SDGs and their Means of Implementation.
- The follow up and review should encompass all the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in a balanced and integrated manner, including Goal 17 and MoI-specific targets at the international level. The balance and integration of the framework of goals should be preserved, while recognizing the priority for the implementation of Goal 17 and MoI-specific targets under other goals, given their cross-cutting nature and importance for the implementation of the entire framework of Goals. The Group would like to stress that this vision should in no way seek to prejudge the 'review and follow-up' on progress to be determined for the Financing for Development track.
- The Group reiterates its support to the technology facilitation mechanism for the implementation of the SDGs. The Group also believes that follow up and review endeavours should assess the results of such mechanism in catalyzing efforts to promote and transfer of technology to developing countries.
- The 'follow up and review' process should focus on international efforts to promote sustainable development, as well as the national assessment of progress, gaps, achievements and challenges in the implementation of the post 2015 development agenda.
- This process should also include the contribution of the relevant UN entities, including the regional level, at the request of states, in line with their national programmes.
- The 'follow-up and review' should be conducted in a constructive spirit in order to foster positive mutual learning and cooperation to assist governments in their achievement of sustainable development. This means that it should be based on long-term orientation and incentives such as sharing lessons learned and experiences, necessary Means of Implementation, take into account capacity-building and financing needs, facilitate access to technology and other support to be provided by a wide range of actors in a complementary manner to the support provided by developed countries.
- The 'follow-up and review' process should strengthen the follow up and review of the commitments at the international level. In this regard differentiated approach should underpin this undertaking to ensure focus, in particular, on the MOI provided for the attainment of the SDGs. In this regard we stress that the universality of SDGs should enhance consistency with the principle of CBDR, with a view to recognizing different national realities, capacities and levels of development while also emphasizing the importance of national policy space.
- We reiterate our view that, follow-up and review of the implementation of the SDGs framework at national level should be determined by national governments in accordance with national circumstances and level of development, including the participation of all relevant stakeholders such as civil society, social actors and the UN development system, in accordance with national legislations.
- The envisioned undertaking should ensure coherence between the national, regional and global levels.
- The basis for the follow-up and review of qualitative national information on sustainable development policies at all levels should be robust data drawn from national progress reports. Data and information from existing reporting mechanisms should be used where possible, recognizing the urgent need for transfer of financial resources, technologies and capacity building for developing countries in accordance with national priorities and strategies.
In conclusion Co-facilitators, we reiterate that follow up and review of progress should be central in the implementation of all the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and environmental fields, as well as their respective Means of Implementation. This commitment will help deepen cooperation and coordination within the United Nations system on sustainable development programmes and policies, promote the sharing of lessons learnt among nations in the pursuit of sustainable development.
It is only through 'follow-up and review' that the United Nations will be in a position to assess progress in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda to ensure that its overall objective of poverty eradication is duly attained.
I thank you.