UNGA President Briefs G-77/China on SDG Progress
UN Photo/Cia Pak
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UNGA Peter Thomson gave a briefing to the Group of the 77 and China on his aim to drive meaningful implementation of all 17 SDGs.

Thomson also outlined his plans for the rest of UNGA 71, highlighting preparations for the UN Ocean Conference and a series of high-level 'Action Events'.

28 February 2017: UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Peter Thomson provided an update on efforts to achieve “meaningful progress” in implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), his priority for the 71st session. Thomson also outlined his plans for the rest of UNGA 71, highlighting preparations for the UN Ocean Conference and a series of high-level ‘Action Events’ on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Thomson aims to ensure that efforts to reform the UN system are inclusive, and undertaken in close collaboration with the UN membership.

Thomson addressed the Group of the 77 and China (G-77/China) on 28 February 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. He said the work of his office “is generating strong interest and outcomes for driving SDG implementation.” He noted his office’s willingness to work closely with UN Secretary-General António Guterres to ensure that efforts to reform the UN system are inclusive, and undertaken in close collaboration with the UN membership. He highlighted the swearing in, on 28 February, of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, whom Thomson said has been tasked with driving SDG implementation by the UN system.

On the high-level UN Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (Ocean Conference), Thomson said it is set to be “the historic milestone in building global momentum” for implementing SDG 14. He observed a high level of commitment from a “very broad range of stakeholders” towards meaningful participation in the Conference both during the Preparatory Meeting in New York, from 15-16 February, and at The Economist’s World Ocean Summit in Bali, from 22-24 February. Thomson noted that a zero draft of the Ocean Conference ‘Call for Action’ will soon be circulated by the co-facilitators, and he stressed the importance of the online registry for voluntary commitments.

On the series of high-level SDG action events, Thomson said these aim to address the SDGs’ means of implementation, and drive cross-cutting action. Among the upcoming events, he highlighted: a High Level Meeting on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda, on 23 March; an ‘SDG Financing Lab’, on 18 April, which will include workshops to showcase strategies for leveraging private and public financing for the SDGs; a High-Level Event on Innovation and Connectivity, on 17 May, to discuss ways to harness the power of technology to solve critical challenges in support of SDG implementation; and a High-Level Event on Education, on 28 June, to underscore the importance of inclusive and equitable quality education as a pre-requisite and driver of opportunity for all. Thomson also plans to convene a working-level dialogue on the UN’s work on water-related goals and targets, on 22 March; and a High-Level Meeting on UN-Habitat, in August.

The UNGA President also said his office is closely engaged in a number of ongoing intergovernmental processes. Among these, he said the UNGA agenda alignment process, co-facilitated by the permanent representatives of Argentina and Australia, aims to ensure that the UNGA, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and their committees and subsidiary bodies are positioned to enhance synergies and coherence in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

He drew attention to the preparatory process for the global compact on migration, for which his Office will organize a series of informal thematic sessions and multi-stakeholder hearings as mandated in the modalities resolution. He said the modalities resolution is set to be adopted by the UNGA at the conclusion of the Fifth Committee’s (Administrative and Budgetary) consideration, and he urged G-77/China delegates to “support the swift consideration of the budgetary implications” of the resolution, so the process can move forward.

Finally, he highlighted the topic of international cooperation on tax matters, which he noted is the priority theme for Ecuador’s presidency of the G-77/China. ECOSOC’s Special Meeting on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, to be held in April, will be an opportunity to advance discussions on this issue, he said. [UNGA President Remarks] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Ocean Conference Preparations] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Agenda Alignment Process] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Migration Compact] [Fifth Committee Programe of Work]

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