23 May 2019
Governments Provide Preliminary Feedback on SDG Summit Outcome
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During the consultations on 22 May, governments expressed general support for the co-facilitators’ draft, but views differed on reflecting means of implementation in the text, among other areas.

A set of informal informal consultations will begin on 7 June.

22 May 2019: UN Member States provided preliminary feedback on the first draft of the SDG Summit outcome, generally welcoming a text that some described as concise and easy to understand by different constituencies. At a consultation convened by the co-facilitators for the political declaration, delegations expressed differing views with regard to means of implementation, with some recommending restraint on issues that do not enjoy agreement, and suggested areas for stronger emphasis in the text.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) will convene a meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the level of Heads of State and Government – also known as the SDG Summit – from 24-25 September 2019. C0-facilitators Sheila Carey, Permanent Representative of Bahamas, and Olof Skoog, Permanent Representative of Sweden, held an initial exchange of views among Member States on 15 May 2019, before releasing the zero draft on 17 May. Member States provided preliminary feedback on the zero draft on 22 May in New York, US.

The zero draft of the political declaration contains sections on ‘Our Commitment,’ ‘Our World Today, and ‘A Call to Accelerated Action.’ The proposed text would welcome the expected summary of the July 2019 meeting of the HLPF, which will be prepared by the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It would also welcome the 2019 editions of the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) and the Secretary-General’s Progress Report on the SDGs.

During consultations on 22 May, governments expressed general support for the zero draft. One delegation praised the four-page document’s structure, lack of jargon and streamlined text. However, others said it should be no longer than two pages and more readable.

Highlighting other areas for improvement, some speakers suggested that the text be better grounded in the GSDR, and that it use the concepts of “levers” and “entry points.” Governments also drew attention to specific issues and SDG areas for strengthening in the declaration, including universal health coverage, education, sustainable consumption and production, climate change including the temperature limit as stipulated in the Paris Agreement, data disaggregation, policy coherence, and the need to address trade-offs between SDGs and their targets. Others suggested making reference to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, the importance of parliamentarians, and the contributions of migrants to development.

On inequalities, some speakers said the declaration should be rooted in human rights, and others called for strengthening the language on gender inequality. One suggested a better reflection of the multidimensionality of inequality, others called for adding references to youth, and one said the draft is missing a statement on the importance of diversity and inclusion.

On biodiversity, one speaker said the text should call for urgent, high-level action for an ambitious post-2020 biodiversity framework. Another observed that the text does not mention the targets set to expire in 2020 and 2025.

One delegation called for the text to reflect the Samoa Pathway on the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS), the Istanbul Programme of Action for the least developed countries (LDCs), the Vienna Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), and the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063. A few suggested including the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

On means of implementation, it was stressed that references should cover all areas of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development, including international trade, while another Member State observed an overemphasis on means of implementation, and said the text duplicates the UNGA’s work on financing for development. This government said the draft “reinforces the misconception that international cooperation is the panacea for sustainable development.” He called for strengthening language on the “critical” role of the private sector.

Going forward, “informal-informal” consultations are scheduled for 7 and 12 June. [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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