UNGA Issues Member States’ Reservations on OWG Report
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The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has issued an addendum to the report of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), compiling Member States' explanations of positions and reservations on the OWG outcome.

Member States and observer States were invited to submit such statements on 10 September 2014, when the 68th UNGA adopted a resolution (A/RES/68/309) acknowledging the conclusion of the OWG's work and welcoming its report (A/68/970).

OWG27 October 2014: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has issued an addendum to the report of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), compiling Member States’ explanations of positions and reservations on the OWG outcome. Member States and observer States were invited to submit such statements on 10 September 2014, when the 68th UNGA adopted a resolution (A/RES/68/309) acknowledging the conclusion of the OWG’s work and welcoming its report (A/68/970).

The resolution contains a footnote noting reservations already recorded by Member States. Presenting the draft resolution for action on 10 September, UNGA 68 President John Ashe said: a corrigendum to the OWG’s report would be issued, to incorporate the names of any additional Member States providing statements in explanation of position to the report; the footnote to Paragraph 13 of the report will be revised to note that such statements are contained in an addendum; and an addendum including the text of the reservations will be issued as an official UNGA document (A/68/970/Add.1).

The addendum serves to detail Member States’s reservations about the OWG’s proposed goals and targets, and issue areas they wish to be either strengthened or removed.

A joint statement on behalf of 58 Member States reaffirms their commitment to developing a post-2015 development agenda and SDGs that place people at the center of development, leave no one behind, and are rooted in human rights. It proposes addressing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all and sexuality education under various targets.

Multiple submissions on behalf of the Arab States call for any discussion of peace and security to take place in the context of the post-2015 development agenda, not the SDGs, and for including targets on foreign occupation and fighting terrorism.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) states its interpretation of target 13.b under the goal on climate change as including capacity-building support in all countries vulnerable to climate change, including small island developing States (SIDS).

Many Member States say the OWG proposal should be “the basis of integrating the SDGs into the post-2015 development agenda” for intergovernmental negotiations. A few call for reflecting on the number of targets and goals proposed.

Other submissions of individual states detail reservations on specific targets, often in regard to their alignment with national laws and constitutions. Member States also express reservations about: the targets relating to Means of Implementation; a stand-alone goal on climate change; sexual orientation; monitoring of national energy systems; language relating to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); interpretations of reproductive health rights that include abortion; references to foreign occupation; the interpretation of universal health coverage; the inclusion of targets relating to inheritance policies for women; the use of the word “gender” rather than “sex”; and targets on sexual education.

Member States also call for stronger targets on the issues of: ending forced and child marriage; newborn and maternal health; the rule of law; gender; and sustainable mountain development. [Publication: Report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals: Addendum: Explanations of positions and reservations on the report (A/68/970/Add.1)] [IISD RS Story on Adoption of A/RES/68/309]

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