– Statement could not be delivered during the meeting for lack of time –
On behalf of the European Union and its Member States, let me first thank you for your work and express our support for your efforts to design a programme of work for the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We believe that the draft programme of work presented to us provides a good basis to engage collectively, with the understanding, as you have yourselves noted, that this programme can be adjusted as needed along the way. We trust this programme can be endorsed today on this basis.
We are happy to see that remarks made last week during our consultations, notably by the group of Least Developed Countries, have been reflected and let me stress again that we believe that SDGs should be coherent with, and integrated in, the UN development agenda beyond 2015, with a view to designing an overarching framework for post-2015 period, without diverting our efforts from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. We are also convinced that the specific needs of the most vulnerable countries or those in fragile situations are important and should be taken into account.
While we recognise the importance of the issues you set out in the proposed work programme, we would also encourage approaching the work ahead in a structured manner, ensuring that it addresses all issues of relevance for the design of an overarching framework for post 2015 period.
As SDGs are meant to incorporate all three dimensions of sustainable development and their interlinkages in a balanced and coherent way we think it is important to avoid silo approaches. We therefore see as useful to reflect on conceptual issues and the methodology, including on how to reflect the three dimensions within the SDGs and how to cluster topics to keep the goals limited in number while capturing the broad scope of challenges.
In this regard, we appreciate the focus in the draft work programme on issues such as food, water and sanitation, health, education, employment and social services. These are key examples of basic living standards, which should be one of the priority elements for the framework.
Another priority element should be addressing the drivers for inclusive and sustainable growth. This could encompass some of the themes proposed in the draft work programme, including sustainable energy, sustainable consumption and production, as well as related elements, such as disaster risk reduction, chemicals and waste and tackling climate change.
We also recognise the importance of issues such as oceans, biodiversity, forests and mountains. They could be approached as a third priority element: the sustainable management of natural resources.
A further priority element for the framework must be ensuring equality, equity and justice. This includes for instance gender equality and women empowerment, which is highlighted in your proposed work programme. However, this should also imply addressing a number of key horizontal elements, including governance at different levels, human rights and rights-based approaches.
Finally, the framework should also address peace and security, as progress is not possible when there is physical insecurity.
We would also like to recall that our work in the Group needs to be informed by research-based evidence, expert analysis and inputs from the broadest possible range of stakeholders. On our side we intend to engage with civil society, the scientific community and think tanks in an interactive manner and we trust that the documentation prepared for the meetings of OWG will be available in a timely fashion so that the necessary internal deliberations can be carried out.
We would also like to stress our appreciation of the work on the post-2015 development agenda currently underway. In this regard, we trust that the report of the High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, the report of the Secretary General expected for later in the summer, as well as the outcome of the various UN national and thematic consultations will serve as key working documents for the Open Working Group.
Once more, the EU and its Member States are fully committed to work together with partners in the Open Working Group to contribute to the timely preparation of the report of the Group to the General Assembly at its 68th session.