REMARKS ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. NONTAWAT CHANDRTRI, CHARGé D'AFFAIRES AND MINISTER COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE KINGDOM OF THAILAND TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE 47TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS STATISTICAL COMMISSION (New York, 8 March 2016)
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The Group would like to commend the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) for working tirelessly to develop the global indicator framework within the time frame mandated by Paragraph 75 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
At the outset, the Group would like to reaffirm that the 2030 Agenda outlines some important principles including "common but differentiated responsibilities" and "the follow-up and review process should be voluntary and country-led, will take into account different national realities, levels of development and will respect policy space and priorities".We would also like to express appreciation to the Statistical Commission for holding several briefings for Member States and the civil society on the progress of work on the global indicator framework and encourage much needed dialogues between the statistical and political communities.
Global indicators are being developed to facilitate the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level. Thus, the global indicator framework is of considerable importance. The annual progress report on the SDGs to be prepared by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the United Nations system will be based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems as well as regional reviews if appropriate. Quality disaggregated, reliable and timely data will be needed to help with the measurement of progress beyond GDP and to ensure that no one is left behind.
We wish to highlight the following points regarding data and indicators for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda:
First, we reiterate that while the development of the global indicators is a technical process which should continue to be led by the national Statistical Offices, it has political implications. Indicators should be selected based on their level of methodological development and overall data availability. It is important at the same time to preserve the political balance and ambition of the 2030 Agenda. The global indicator framework should encompass all of the 17 SDGs and 169 targets in a balanced and integrated manner, including Goal 17 and Means of Implementation (MOI) specific targets at the global level. The indicators should be faithful and relevant to the 2030 Agenda and should not reinterpret the scope or intent of the targets. No targets should of course be left behind.
Second, the work of the IAEG-SDGs must be accompanied by capacity-building efforts to strengthen statistical capacities at national and sub-national levels. The Group recalls and reaffirms resolution 2006/6 adopted by the ECOSOC and the General Assembly on strengthening statistical capacity. Data gaps and related priorities for capacity-building in data development in relation to SDGs indicators must be discussed. We are pleased that the High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for the Post-2015 Monitoring is tasked to promote national ownership of the post-2015 monitoring system and foster statistical capacity-building, partnership and coordination. In this regard, the Group would like to seek clarity on the capacity-building efforts in developing countries, particularly African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, Small Island Developing states and other countries in special situations. We see the necessity to a coordinated effort in the United Nations System to enhance and sustain statistical capacity in developing countries.
Third, we believe that the work of the IAEG-SDGs is a work in progress and that we need to avoid undue haste in prematurely closing its work. The anticipated adoption of the Report of the IAEG-SDGs by the Statistical Commission at the end of this week is not and will not be the end of the work on the global indicators. Based on the various briefings conducted by the Statistical Division and in the Report of the IAEG-SDGs, it is our understanding that further methodological work will be required with a view to continuously improving the indicators and the availability of data to address these shortcomings.
We observe that in some instances, there are tendencies to generalize the corresponding indicators. The first 16 goals contain specific targets on the MOI reflecting a balanced responsibility of the national government and the international community. However, the proposed indicators capture the responsibilities of the national government and omit the responsibility of the development partners. In our view, it is important to ensure that there is consistency.
The outcome of the IAEG-SDGs is therefore initial and provisional in nature. This key understanding needs to be captured in the conclusion of the Statistical Commission so as to ensure clarity in the political processes at the level of ECOSOC and General Assembly.
The Group will follow the work ahead of the IAEG-SDGs on the global indicator framework with great interest. We look forward to learning the results of the discussion concerning 1) the establishment of a tier system for the list of indicators which will be discussed during the third meeting of the IAEG-SDGs in Mexico City between 30 March-1 April 2016 and 2) the establishment of procedures for the methodological review of indicators, including approval mechanisms of needed revisions or replacements, and the development of a global reporting mechanism. Any such reporting mechanism must be fully consistent with the 2030 Agenda's provisions on follow-up and review.
Fourth, last but not least, national ownership is key and should be the guiding principle of the global indicator framework. It is important to emphasize that the proposed indicators are for reviews at the global level and may not necessarily be applicable to all national contexts. National ownership for Member States' own national process is absolutely critical. As noted in the 2030 Agenda, targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each Government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition, but taking into account national circumstances. We must remember that the 2030 Agenda states that each government will decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies, and strategies.
Global indicators will be complemented by indicators at the regional and national levels to be developed by Member States, in line with the principles defined in the 2030 Agenda. The Group would like to reiterate that the indicator frameworks will be voluntary and country led, will take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and will respect policy space and priorities. As national ownership is key to achieving sustainable development, the outcome from national-level processes will be the foundation for reviews at the regional and global levels, given that the global review will be primarily based on national official data sources.
These are our views on the development of the global indicator framework undertaken by the IAEG-SDGs. The Group of 77 and China would like to wish the Statistical Commission a productive and fruitful session this week. Please rest assured that we will support the work of the Statistical Commission and the challenging, yet inspiring, work plan for the implementation of the global indicator framework.
I thank you.