U.S. Special Coordinator for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Bureau of International Organization Affairs
New York City
July 23, 2015
Thank you, Mr. Co-Facilitator. We join others in offering our condolences for the passing of the distinguished Ambassador and permanent representative from Djibouti.
Mr. Co-Facilitator, we are pleased to have the opportunity to address this essential topic today – and thus to take head on the critical nexus between our text and the successful outcome of the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last week. As we have said many times before, we strongly agree with others that this agenda will stand or fall on the strength of our efforts on implementation.
At the risk of repetition, we want to thank both of you once again, as well as Ambassadors Talbot and Pederson, for your close and regular coordination on our two processes. It is an enormously important contribution to our process here, and indeed to the trajectory of development, to have reached a strong and ambitious consensus outcome document in Addis.
Collectively we compromised on issues of importance to each of us individually, and we deeply appreciate the collaborative spirit that made it possible. In particular we note and are grateful for the constructive and productive manner in which member states worked together to come to a collective vision on a technology facilitation mechanism, and support a reference to its launch in this chapter.
We strongly support the integration of the overall Addis outcome into our post-2015 development agenda, and believe it is important to avoid the reopening and renegotiation of issues concluded there.
In the context of a changing economy and landscape, we have an extraordinary opportunity before us. Addis moved us a long way toward realizing these opportunities. To get there, we should have a clear and precise message about how to execute our vision. Part of that is to ensure consistency between our two documents, so we have been closely examining how our Means of Implementation (MOI) targets correspond with FFD language.
From our own initial attempts at comparing the two texts, we note that nearly every MOI target appears within the FFD text in some form. In many cases, these references use exactly the same language. In several others, there has been considerable movement from our MOI starting point to our Addis ending point, as our colleagues from the Netherlands just referenced. The experts in the FFD process fleshed out and elaborated upon original concepts. As we move to operationalize our agenda, we see value in exploring how we resolve these issues; it matters not just now for our negotiations, but seems crucial for the actual implementation and success of our agenda in the years to come.
In approaching this issue, we took into account the following considerations:
One, implementation will determine our success in meeting the SDGs, and it is important to ensure sufficient collective ambition in our means of implementation to maximize the opportunity we have to achieve the ambitions and aspirations contained in our agenda.
Two, we will benefit from having coherence and clarity of action so that we can focus our energy and resources to maximize their impact on accelerating progress towards our ambitious goals. To do so, we believe it is important to avoid duplication wherever possible.
Three, it will be important to have efficiency and clarity for our follow up and review, so that we have a clear idea of what data we are collecting and how we are measuring our progress.
With these considerations in mind, and taking into account that there are cases where MOI and FFD text differ, we are working through the different options that member states have so helpfully suggested and exploring how these options reconcile differences and provide the basis for effective operationalization of our agenda.
We began by reflecting on the sequence of steps that we have collectively taken. Last July, with the proposal developed by the Open Working Group, we defined Goal 17 and its associated targets, as well as a set of targets of means of implementation associated with the other goals. All these means of implementation became seeds that were planted and integrated into the discussions and process for the Financing for Development conference, where they were realized in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which we challenged ourselves and went further together than we have gone before.
From our perspective, the Addis Action Agenda provides the most comprehensive, rich, and ambitious palette of financial and non-financial means of implementation to enable successful achievement of the sustainable development goals. It provides countries the best tools and resources we have to accelerate their progress on the sustainable development agenda.
Thus we could see and support a scenario where the Addis outcome comes into Chapter 3 in lieu of the Goal 17 and means of implementation targets, as it provides the clarity, coherence, and level of ambition on means of implementation that countries will need to succeed. While we recognize that it does not seem to be the predominant view at this time, it would be helpful to give this scenario full consideration as we open up this conversation and explore the pros and cons of all the different options.
We have heard many delegations suggest that we integrate the Addis outcome as an annex to our agenda, with the MOI targets and Goal 17 remaining in chapter 2 or chapter 3 (or both). We see where such an arrangement provides a full and comprehensive picture of our journey, since it contains both the targets from the OWG and the full picture of the Addis outcome. It would be helpful to learn more and hear how, in this scenario, we avoid confusion during implementation and follow-up and review, and achieve the clarity we think necessary to focus our efforts and measure our progress on this crucial agenda. We have repeatedly heard concerns from member states about minimizing the reporting burden of this agenda, and building the statistical and other capacity for collecting and analyzing data, and we want to be sensitive to those issues.
A third option that we’ve heard suggested is to endorse the Addis outcome without formally attaching the document to our outcome. We see how this clarifies the provenance of the Addis process. As the Action Agenda seems integral to successful implementation of our post-2015 sustainable development agenda, it would be useful to hear how such a scenario creates a strong enough connection during our implementation to provide the ambition and guidance countries need.
We recognize that this is just the beginning of our conversation on the topic, and are pleased to be underway. We see these operational and practical challenges as serious and important for our success on this agenda, and look forward to a rich discourse in order to uphold our shared commitment to a clear and actionable agenda that we can all agree by consensus. Thank you.