U.S. Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
New York City
July 28, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Co-facilitator. We’ll be brief in our remarks.
We have said repeatedly that we support technical modifications to targets to make them stronger, clearer, and more easily implemented. We heard a significant amount of support in the room for the technical revisions you proposed throughout the earlier drafts. Several of your proposed changes add the clarity and specificity needed to drive action at the scale necessary to achieve the aspirations we are setting out in the SDGs. These include target 3.2 on child mortality, 3.6 on road safety, 12.4 on chemical and waste management, and 15.5 on biodiversity.
As we near the end of negotiations, we think it is important to present to our heads of state, and ask them to commit to, an agenda with targets that are as clear, compelling, and technically sound as possible, and thus we are uncomfortable with a list of suggested edits attached as an annex to one of the chapters, implying the agenda has not been fully reviewed and rationalized. We think the proposals that you have made improve the quality of the agenda without reopening or changing the careful political balance represented by the proposal developed by the OWG, and we thank you for the opportunity – and see it as important for us as an assembly – to engage on the substance of those proposals.
To walk through the proposed changes in the current Annex 1:
We support the revisions to the targets in the first section to fill in the x’s and y’s. While we don’t find the addition in Target 1.5 on “assistance to those in complex humanitarian emergencies” to be entirely necessary, we can be flexible and support it.
For consistency with international agreements: on goal 6.6 the correct timeline from the Aichi target on water-related ecosystems is 2020, as Brazil has repeatedly cited. If we are to incorporate this revision, the timeline should be corrected. We note the addition in Goal 15 of language to say “and take further action as needed by 2030” and could support this addition as well.
Since many of these international agreements end in 2020 or 2025, as in the 8.7 target on child labor, the question remains about what happens to progress on the target after that date. As we mentioned previously on this target, we could support language on “all forms of modern slavery” but would suggest deleting references to “forced labor” and “human trafficking” as redundant.
On goal 14c, we appreciate the efforts delegations have made to reach an alternate proposal, which we can support.
With respect to the proposal to add LLDCs to a number of targets, as Benin mentioned yesterday, we would be concerned about diluting the focus on the most needy countries by expanding this wide range of targets to include other groups. We would be concerned that these proposals could be a recipe for losing focus and leading to some people indeed being left behind.
As we have mentioned before, in targets 2.5 and 15.6, we still have significant concerns that, as drafted, these targets ignore the important role of private stakeholders and will not be implementable. Our concerns can be addressed with a one-word change to each target, so we hope and expect these can be aligned in the next version of the text.
We have never heard an explanation for how the proposed revisions on target 17.2 – which we find quite substantive – are intended to align that target with international agreements. The proposed addition of “at least” is framed as being “in line with the Istanbul Programme of Action” but the language does not appear in the Istanbul Programme of Action. To the extent that the proposed revisions are intended to align this target with internationally agreed text, the most recent and relevant on this issue is the FFD outcome document, where the issue of ODA was thoroughly and seriously discussed. From our perspective, if we are going to align this target with the most relevant international instrument, it makes best sense to look to FFD. We would be happy to consider language with others that would reflect the agreed language on ODA in paragraph 51 of FFD. In one potential alternative, drawing directly from that document, the target could read “ODA providers reaffirm their respective ODA commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI and 0/15 to 0/20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least development countries.”
Regarding the chapeau of the OWG, we continue to find it unacceptable for Annex 2 to be a part of our final document, as we believe our political declaration covers, extends, and enhances the substance contained in the chapeau. We are willing to work with member states to identify and integrate if there are substantive items in the chapeau that they see missing from the preamble and political declaration.
Thank you, Mr. Co-facilitator. We hope we are able to find consensus quickly and close this section of the text.