Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: Statement by State Minister Maria Böhmer on behalf of France, Germany and Switzerland

Mar 4, 2014

(as delivered:)

"Mr. Co-Chair, Excellencies,

It is a pleasure for me to address you on behalf of the constituency France, Switzerland and Germany.

After eight successful sessions of stock taking, we now have to face the challenging task of identifying concrete Sustainable Development Goals and targets to fulfill the trustful mandate given to this group at the Rio Summit. In this regard we warmly welcome the document provided by the Co-Chairs as a very helpful and substantive basis for discussions. We fully support the adopted methods of work and are confident that you will succeed in your mission.

The future agenda should still aim at ending extreme poverty, while going further to tackle it in a more multidimensional understanding and to overcome social inequalities. Ending hunger and malnutrition are key issues on the task of finishing the job and leaving no one behind. Prerequisites of social development are food and nutrition security, health issues and education including lifelong learning for all. 

We have to improve the living conditions for all people worldwide and to protect the natural resource base and the earth's systems which provide the basis of our living also for future generations.

It is therefore obvious that ‘business-as-usual’ is no longer an option. The agenda should accelerate the transformation to more sustainable societies to guarantee a life in dignity in ALL countries, in developed and developing countries as well as in emerging economies. Enhancing global sustainable development is critical for present and future generations. To this end, tackling inequalities, building resilience, adopting sustainable production and consumption, circular economy, resources efficiency and sustainable energy, corporate social and environmental responsibility, the protection and sustainable use of natural resources such as water, oceans, soil, forests, biodiversity and ecosystems are of utmost importance.

We see climate change as one of the most threatening issues for sustainable development. Engaging urgently in low-carbon development pathways that are resilient to climate change is key. It is a priority to act as fast as possible in order to limit global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and for that purpose climate change should be integrated as a crosscutting issue throughout different goals and targets, to address both mitigation and adaptation challenges (e.g. sustainable energy, SCP, sustainable and resilient cities, infrastructures and transports, biodiversity and ecosystem services, food security and nutrition, water etc.).

The framing of the Agenda should be clearly based on human rights principles, in particular equality and non-discrimination, transparency, participation, effectiveness, accountability and inclusion.

For the effective implementation of the agenda we need a new global partnership. Implementation should be monitored at the international level, be based on mutual accountability and, given their important role, also include civil society and the private sector.

In general, we would like to stress the importance that all focus areas and possible dedicated goals integrate all dimensions of sustainable development.

Furthermore we welcome that the sectoral interlinkages and interconnectedness of issues have been taken into consideration. This must continue to be the case when including goals and targets in their next proposal, and may require targets that are shared across goals.

Mr. Co-Chair,

We support most of the focal and action areas mentioned in the proposal.

Without going into too much detail we would like to share with you a preliminary view of this constituency on our priorities areas of goals and targets based on the Co-Chairs’ document. We will remain flexible and look forward to further exchange with all actors involved in the process.

In this understanding, we would like to suggest the following goals:

-   “Leaving no one behind - end extreme poverty” as outlined in focus area 1 of the co-chairs document addressing also social protection floors as well as incorporate elements to strengthen resilience to risks and vulnerabilities.

-   “End hunger and ensure food security and good nutrition”. The reduction of post-harvest loss and food waste as well as evidence of tenure rights and sustainable agriculture are three important means we would like to emphasize to achieve sustainable agricultural production and halt the degradation of land and soil as the foundation of global nutrition.

-   “Maximizing health for all through achieving universal health coverage”. Coverage from financial risk of being pushed into poverty as well as universal sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular for youth, gain special importance in this regard.

-    “Education and lifelong learning” as a prerequisite for poverty eradication and sustainable development. Thus the Post 2015-Agenda should aim at ensuring quality education, that goes beyond primary education, and significantly increase adult literacy. Sustainable development should also be integrated in education curricula.

-   “Achieving gender equality, empower women and enforce women’s rights”. Gender issues should be as well mainstreamed throughout the agenda. The crucial role of women and girls for sustainable development is undisputed. Ensuring gender equality and promoting women’s full enjoyment of human rights, including ending child marriage, strengthening women's voice, leadership and participation in decision-making processes as well as in public and private institutions, ensuring women’s equal access to assets and productive resources, as well as equal wages, and eliminating all violence against women are indispensable.

-    “Water and sanitation”. We would also like to note that this focus area reflects in an exemplary manner the integration of all three dimensions of sustainable development which is therefore a good illustration of how goals should be crafted. We are very much in favor of following a holistic approach, including issues as access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, water efficiency, quality and integrated management of water as well as the resilience of societies on water-related disasters.

-    “Securing sustainable energy” based on the Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for all-Initiative, including for example reducing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

-   “Sustainable and inclusive growth” is key for sustainable development including poverty eradication and inequalities reduction. Speed up the decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation and resource use, the internalization of environmental external costs and the adoption of sustainable consumption patterns play a crucial role. We also highlight the importance of decent jobs including fair wages for women and men alike with a special focus on corporate social and environmental responsibility, the employment of women, youth, ethnic minorities and disabled people and the reconciliation of work and family life.

-    “Sustainable management of natural resources”. Action in this area should accelerate the implementation of the Aichi targets, including by achieving zero net deforestation and ensuring that marine ecosystems are clean, healthy, productive and resilient.

-  Sustainable and inclusive cities and territories” imply universal access to a secure, resilient and affordable built environment as well as resilient, modern and sustainable urban services, infrastructures and transport. Sustainable and integrated urban development plans based on participatory inclusive processes also including local and regional authorities are an important means to achieve this.

-   Furthermore we suggest two additional goals: One on “peaceful and non-violent societies” and one on “governance, transparency and accountable, inclusive and effective institutions”, including improvement of domestic resource mobilization through sound and just fiscal systems and elimination of corruption and illicit financial flows.

These are the goals we would like to suggest for discussion at this moment in time.

The inclusion of migration in different focus areas of the Co-Chairs’ document is a step in the right direction. It rightly mentions the protection and empowerment of migrants as well as the role of remittances contributing to development. We look forward to contributing to concrete targets on these issues also.

We recognize that Means of Implementation will be key to the success of the agenda. Therefore, it will be important for us to structure and time the discussions on these issues in the right way going forward. The joint meeting taking place on Wednesday is a step in the right direction.

Mr. Co-Chair,

Your document provides us with a very rich and substantive basis for discussions on consensus building in this room. We would like to use the opportunity to reiterate our thanks and express our continued support for the guidance of the Co-Chairs to this group.

Thank you."

© GermanyUN