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Advance unedited
4 December 2014
10:00 a.m.

United Nations

The Road to Dignity by 2030:
Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet

Synthesis Report of the Secretary-General
On the Post-2015 Agenda

New York
December 2014

Table of Contents

“We recognize that people are at the centre of sustainable development and, in this regard, we strive for a world that is just, equitable and inclusive, and we commit to work together to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection and thereby to benefit all.”

Rio+20 Outcome Document, The Future We Want

1. A Universal Call to Action to Transform our World beyond 2015

1. The year 2015 offers a unique opportunity for global leaders and people to end poverty, transform the world to better meet human needs and the necessities of economic transformation, while protecting our environment, ensuring peace and realizing human rights.

2. We are at a historic crossroads, and the directions we take will determine whether we will succeed or fail on our promises. With our globalized economy and sophisticated technology, we can decide to end the age-old ills of extreme poverty and hunger. Or we can continue to degrade our planet and allow intolerable inequalities to sow bitterness and despair. Our ambition is to achieve sustainable development for all.

3. Young people will be the torch bearers of the next sustainable development agenda through 2030. We must ensure that this transition, while protecting the planet, leaves no one behind. We have a shared responsibility to embark on a path to inclusive and shared prosperity in a peaceful and resilient world where human rights and the rule of law are upheld.

4. Transformation is our watchword. At this moment in time, we are called to lead and act with courage. We are called to embrace change. Change in our societies. Change in the management of our economies. Change in our relationship with our one and only planet.

5. In doing so, we can more fully respond to the needs of our time and deliver on the timeless promise made at the birth of the United Nations.

6. Seventy years ago, in adopting the Organization’s founding Charter, the nations of the world made a solemn commitment: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, to establish conditions under which justice and respect for international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.i

7. Building on this core promise, the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) called for an approach that would guarantee the meaningful participation of all in development, and the fair distribution of its benefits.

8. Humankind has achieved impressive progress in the past seven decades. We have reduced violence and established global institutions, a code of agreed universal principles, and a rich tapestry of international law. We have witnessed stunning technological progress, millions upon millions lifted from poverty, millions more empowered, diseases defeated, life expectancies on the rise, colonialism dismantled, new nations born, apartheid conquered, democratic practices take deeper roots, and vibrant, economies built in all regions.

9. Since the 1992 “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro, we have identified a new pathway to human wellbeing . the path of sustainable development. The Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals articulated in the year 2000 placed people at the center, generating unprecedented improvements in the lives of many around the world. The global mobilization behind the MDGs showed that multilateral action can make a tangible difference.

10. Yet conditions in today’s world are a far cry from the vision of the Charter. Amid great plenty for some, we witness pervasive poverty, gross inequalities, joblessness, disease and deprivation for billions. Displacement is at its highest level since the Second World War. Armed conflict, crime, terrorism, persecution, corruption, impunity and the erosion of the rule of law are daily realities. The impacts of the global economic, food and energy crises are still being felt. The consequences of climate change have only just begun. These failings and shortcomings have done as much to define the modern era as has our progress in science, technology and the mobilization of global social movements.

11. Our globalized world is marked by extraordinary progress alongside unacceptable . and unsustainable . levels of want, fear, discrimination, exploitation, injustice and environmental folly at all levels.

12. However, we also know that these problems are not accidents of nature or the results of phenomena beyond our control. They result from actions and omissions of people . public institutions, the private sector, and others charged with protecting human rights and upholding human dignity.

13. We have the know-how and the means to address these challenges. But we need urgent leadership and joint action now.

14. These are universal challenges. They demand new heights of multilateral action based on evidence and built on shared values, principles, and priorities for a common destiny.

15. Our global commitments under the Charter should compel us to act. Our sense of empathy and enlightened self-interest should compel us to act. Our responsibilities as stewards of the planet should equally compel us to act. None of today’s threats respect boundaries drawn by human beings . whether those boundaries are national borders, or boundaries of class, ability, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, or religion.

16. In an irreversibly interconnected world, the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us . sometimes gradually but often suddenly. However, facing these vexed challenges is not only a burden; it is far more an opportunity to forge new partnerships and alliances that can work together to advance the human condition.

17. The MDG experience provides compelling evidence that the international community can be mobilized to confront such complex challenges. Governments, civil society and a wide range of international actors coalesced behind the MDGs in a multifront battle against poverty and disease. They generated innovative approaches, vital new data, new resources, and new tools and technology for this struggle. Transparency was enhanced, multilateral approaches were strengthened, and a results-based approach to public policy was fostered. Sound public policies inspired by the MDGs, enhanced by collective action and international cooperation, lead to remarkable successes. In two decades since 1990, the world has halved extreme poverty, lifting 700 million out of extreme poverty. Between 2000 and 2010, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted, and 22 million lives were saved from fighting tuberculosis. Access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995. At the same time, gender parity in primary school enrolment, access to child and maternal health care, and in women’s political participation improved steadily.ii

18. We must invest in the unfinished work of the MDGs, and use them as a springboard into the future we want . a future free from poverty and built on human rights, equality and sustainability. This is our duty and it must be the legacy we strive to leave for our children.

19. In our quest to shape a global sustainable development agenda for the years beyond 2015, the international community has embarked upon an unprecedented process. Never before has so broad and inclusive a consultation been undertaken on so many matters of global concern. In two short years since the Rio + 20 Conference laid the cornerstone for the Post-2015 process, all Member States, the entire UN system, experts, and a cross-section of civil society, business and.most importantly-- millions of people from all corners of the globe, have travelled this crucially important journey. This, in itself, is reason for great hope. The creativity and shared sense of purpose that has emerged from across the human family is proof that we can come together to innovate and collaborate in search of solutions and the common good.

20. Having now opened the tent wide to a broad constituency, we must recognize that the legitimacy of this process will rest in significant measure on the degree to which the core messages that we have heard are reflected in the final outcome. This is no time to succumb to political expediency, or to tolerate the lowest common denominators. The new threats that face us, and the new opportunities that present themselves, demand a high level of ambition and a truly participatory, responsive and transformational course of action.

21. This includes tackling climate change. As underscored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change exacerbates threats. It makes delivering on the sustainable development agenda more difficult because of reversing positive trends, new uncertainties, or mounting costs of resilience.

22. This enterprise can therefore not be business as usual.

23. People across the world are looking to the United Nations to rise to the challenge with a truly transformative agenda that is both universal and adaptable to the conditions of each country, and that places people and planet at the center. Their voices have underscored the need for democracy, rule of law, civic space and more effective governance and capable institutions; for new and innovative partnerships, including with responsible business and effective local authorities; and for a data revolution, rigorous accountability mechanisms, and renewed global partnerships. People are also stressing that the credibility of new agenda rests on the means that are available to implement it.

24. Three high-level international meetings in the year ahead give us the opportunity to chart a new era of sustainable development. The first will be the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July, where a compact for a global partnership can be realized. The second will be the Special Summit on Sustainable Development at the United Nations in September, where the world will embrace the new agenda and a set of Sustainable Development Goals, which we hope will mark a paradigm shift for people and planet. The third will be the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December, where Member States have pledged to adopt a new agreement to tackle a threat that could make more difficult to deliver on the new development agenda.

25. The stars are aligned for the world to take historic action to transform lives and protect the planet. I urge Governments and people everywhere to fulfil their political and moral responsibilities. This is my call to dignity, and we must respond with all our vision and strength.

2. A Synthesis

“All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.” Albert Einstein

2.1 What we have learned from two decades of development experience

26. There is much that is new, and, indeed, transformational in the global conversation on a Post-2015 Agenda. But the roots of this conversation are deep, and extend to the experience of the development community in the last twenty years, and the visionary outcomes of the global conferences of the 1990s, the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Millennium Summit and the MDGs of 2000, the 2005 World Summit, the 2010 MDG Summit, and the lead up to the Rio+20 Conference in 2012.

27. The cornerstone for the current global process of renewal was established in Rio de Janeiro in June of 2012, with the adoption of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “The Future We Want.” The document described the lessons learned from two decades of development experience, and provided an extensive assessment of the progress and gaps in the implementation of the sustainable development agenda.

28. While insufficient and uneven, progress has been remarkable. Only two short decades ago, close to 40 per cent of the developing world lived in extreme poverty, and the notion of poverty eradication seemed inconceivable. Following profound and consistent gains, we now know that extreme poverty can be eradicated within one more generation. The MDGs have greatly contributed to this progress, and have taught us how governments, business, and civil society can work together to achieve transformational breakthroughs.

29. We have witnessed significant progress in several Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the past two decades. In the same period, middle-income countries have become new engines of global growth, lifting many of their own citizens out of poverty and creating a sizeable middle class. Some countries have shown real progress in reducing inequalities. Others have attained universal health coverage. Still others have evolved into some of the world’s most advanced and digitally connected societies. Wages have increased, social protection has been expanded, green technologies have taken root, and education standards have advanced. Several countries have emerged from conflict and made steady gains on the road to reconstruction, peace and development. These wideranging experiences demonstrate that vulnerability and exclusion can be overcome, and what is possible in the years ahead.

30. New demographic trends are changing our world. We are already a global family of seven billion people and are likely to reach nine billion by 2050. We are an ageing world, as people live longer and healthier lives. We are increasingly an urban world, with more than half the world’s population living in towns and cities. And we are a mobile world, with more than 232 million international migrants . and almost one billion when internal migrants are counted. These trends will have direct impacts on our goals and present both challenges and opportunities.

31. We see how new technologies can open up more sustainable approaches and more efficient practices. We know that the public sector can raise significantly more revenues by reforming tax systems, fighting tax evasion, correcting inequities, and combatting corruption. We know that there is an enormous amount of untapped and wasted resources that can be directed to sustainable development. We know that forwardlooking companies are taking the lead by transforming their business models for sustainable development, and that we have only scratched the surface of the potential for ethics-driven investment by the private sector. With the right incentives, policies, regulations and monitoring, great opportunities could abound. We know that a data revolution is unfolding, allowing us to see more clearly than ever where we are and where we need to go, and to ensure that everyone is counted. We know that creative initiatives across the world are pioneering new models of sustainable production and consumption that can be replicated. We know that governance at both the national and international levels can be reformed to more efficiently serve 21st century realities. And we know that our world today is host to the first truly globalized, interconnected, and highly mobilized civil society, ready and able to serve as a participant, joint steward, and powerful engine of change and transformation.

32. We have already begun to correct our course towards transformation.

33. The discussion on the Post-2015 Agenda has stressed the importance of the specific conditions of each country, an advance in perspective from the MDG framework. Special attention was required for the most vulnerable, in particular African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and the small island developing States. Particular attention should also be given to the challenges faced by the middle-income countries and countries in situations of fragility and conflict.

34. Member States have emphasized that sustainable development must be inclusive and people-centred. They underscored the importance of ecosystems to people’s livelihoods, their economic, social, physical and mental well-being, as well as their cultural heritage . “Mother Earth” as it is known in many traditions.

35. Member States have also underscored the need to improve measures of progress, such as gross domestic product, in order to better inform policy decisions. While acknowledging the natural and cultural diversity of the world, they have also recognized that all cultures and civilizations can contribute to sustainable development. Finally, they have called for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development that will guide humanity to live in harmony with the planet’s fragile ecosystems.

2.2 What we have learned from the post-2015 process

36. The international community has come a long way in its deliberation on the new development agenda. In July 2013, further to a request by the General Assembly, I submitted to the membership my report A Life of Dignity for All. In it, I recommended the development of a universal, integrated and human rights-based agenda for sustainable development, addressing economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship and highlighting the link between peace, development and human rights . an agenda that leaves no one behind. I called as well for rigorous review and monitoring, better and more disaggregated data, and goals and targets that are measurable and adaptable. I outlined a number of transformative actions that would apply to all countries iii.

37. Many voices have informed this debate, and there have been valuable inputs from a wide range of stakeholders.

(a) People around the world aired their views through the unprecedented consultations and outreach efforts of organized civil society groups as well as the global conversation led by the United Nations Development Group on A Million Voices: The World We Want, Delivering on the Post-2015 Agenda: Opportunities at the National and Local Level, and MY World Survey. Millions of people especially young persons, took part in these processes, through national, thematic, and on-line consultations and surveys, as mirrored in the Global Youth Call and the outcome of the 65th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference. The direct and active engagement of parliamentarians, business and civil society has also been critical.

(b) The leaders of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for five “transformative shifts” that leave no one behind by 1) ending extreme poverty, 2) placing sustainable development at the core, 3) transforming economies for decent jobs and inclusive growth, 4) building peaceful societies as well as open, transparent, accountable governance, and 5) forging a new global partnership for sustainable development.

(c) The academics and scientists convened through the Sustainable Development Solutions Network recommended the adoption of a science-based and actionoriented agenda, integrating four interdependent dimensions of sustainable development (economic, social, environmental, and governance).

(d) The key role of business in the post-2015 agenda was distilled in the report of the UN Global Compact. Companies are ready to change how they do business and contribute by transforming markets from within and making production, consumption and the allocation of capital more inclusive and sustainable.

(e) The report of the Regional Commissions highlighted the importance of regional efforts in adapting globally agreed goals and policy priorities to nationally specific realities.

(f) The experiences and expertise of the UN system were put forward in the report of the UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 Agenda and the work of the Technical Support Team (TST).

(g) At the Principal level, leadership and guidance was received through the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination.

(h) The members of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability recommended a sustainable path to enhance human well-being, further global justice, strengthen gender equity and preserve the Earth’s life-support systems for future generations.

38. Throughout 2014, Member States exchanged views and consolidated their ideas through the work of existing UN development entities. ECOSOC and its functional and regional commissions, committees and expert bodies have identified the potential elements of the post-2015 review and monitoring framework, and explored how to adapt the UN development system and its operational activities to respond to changes in the development landscape. The Development Cooperation Forum provided useful policy space for stakeholders to discuss the implications of a unified and universal agenda, the global partnership, modalities for more effective review and monitoring, and concrete actions by Southern development cooperation partners on common challenges. The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) has, from its inaugural session in 2013, turned its attention to the post-2015 agenda, with leaders calling for a coherent approach and noting the important role the Forum can play in reviewing and monitoring.

39. Now, at the end of 2014, we positively note the completion of the intergovernmental processes established by the Rio + 20 Conference.

40. In a series of structured dialogues on technology in the General Assembly iv, possible arrangements were considered for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

41. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing delivered its report on options for an effective sustainable development financing strategy in August 2014. v The Committee proposed a basket of more than 100 options for policy makers, together with recommendations for a global partnership that encompasses key aspects of aid, trade, debt, taxation, and financial market stability. It recommended individual, country-owned financing strategies, rooted in enabling national policy environments, and complemented by a reformed international enabling environment. It recognized that all sources of financing would need to be employed, public and private, national and international.

42. Throughout 2014, the President of General Assembly convened a series of valuable gatherings. These included three high-level events on the contributions of women, youth, and civil society, on human rights and the rule of law, and on the contributions of North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for development. Three thematic debates were held on the role of partnerships, on ensuring stable and peaceful societies, and on water, sanitation and sustainable energy. These were followed by a Dialogue on Accountability in the General Assembly and in each region under the auspices of the respective UN Regional Commission. In September of 2014, the President convened a High-Level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. vi

43. Importantly, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals delivered the results of its historic deliberations in July 2014, providing a narrative grounded in the Rio+20 outcome document and emphasizing poverty eradication, environmental sustainability, inclusive growth, equality and a people-centred agenda for sustainable development.

44. Following more than a year of inclusive and intensive consultative deliberations, the Open Working Group proposed 17 specific goals with 169 associated targets vii, which it described as “action-oriented, global in nature, and universally applicable”, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development. It sought to combine aspirational global targets with country-specific targets to be set nationally.

45. In addition to reinforcing the commitment to the unfinished MDGs, the SDGs break new ground with goals on inequalities, economic growth, decent jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace, justice and institutions. The environmental dimension of the agenda is articulated across the whole agenda. The SDGs are underpinned with a goal on global partnerships for the means of implementation.

46. Mechanisms to review the implementation of goals will be needed, and the availability of and access to data would need to be improved, including the disaggregation of information by gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location, and other characteristics relevant to national contexts.

47. Finally, the recent report of my Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development called for the closing of key data gaps, between developed and developing countries, between information-rich and informationpoor people, and between the private and public sectors. It underscored the importance of increasing access to quality data, remedying inequalities in the areas of access to information, data literacy, promoting civic space and enhancing the sharing of data and information. It also called for the strengthening of national institutions to provide capacities for statistics and the interface with new technologies.

2.3 Shared ambitions for a shared future

48. Across all of these contributions and milestones, a common understanding has emerged that there must be a universal agenda. Humankind faces the same global challenges; today’s problems transcend borders; even in the richest countries, there can be destitution and exclusion. Universality implies that all countries will need to change, each with its own approach, but each with a sense of the global common good. Universality is the core attribute of human rights and intergenerational justice. It compels us to think in terms of shared responsibilities for a shared future. It demands policy coherence. Universality embodies a new global partnership for sustainable development in the spirit of the UN Charter.

49. All voices have called for a people-centred and planet-sensitive agenda to ensure human dignity, equality, environmental stewardship, healthy economies, freedom from want and fear, and a renewed global partnership for sustainable development. Tackling climate change and fostering sustainable development agendas are two mutually reinforcing sides of the same coin. To achieve these ends, all have called for a transformational and universal post-2015 agenda, buttressed by science and evidence, and built on the principles of human rights and the rule of law, equality and sustainability.

50. All contributions underlined that we should continue the march of the MDGs. But they have also stressed that Member States will need to fill key sustainable development gaps left by the MDGs, such as the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty, decent work for young people, social protection and labour rights for all. They have asked for inclusive, sustainable cities, infrastructure and industrialization. They have called for strengthening effective, accountable, participatory and inclusive governance; for free expression, information, and association; for fair justice systems; and for peaceful societies and personal security for all.

51. All voices have demanded that we leave no one behind, ensuring equality, nondiscrimination, equity and inclusion at all levels. We must pay special attention to the people, groups and countries most in need. This is the century of women: we will not realize our full potential if half of humanity continues to be held back. We also need to include the poor, children, adolescents, youth, and the aged, as well as the unemployed, rural populations, slum dwellers, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees and displaced persons, vulnerable groups and minorities. These also include those affected by climate change, those living in LDCs, landlocked countries, smallisland developing states, middle-income countries, conflict countries or in areas under occupation, in places struck by complex medical and humanitarian emergencies or in situations affected by terrorism. And they have called for an end to all forms of gender inequality, gender-based discrimination, and violence against women, children and young boys and girls.

52. The public discourse has underscored the call for the urgent need to recognize and address the trust deficit between governments, institutions and the people. Providing an enabling environment to build inclusive and peaceful societies, ensure social cohesion and respect for the rule of law will require rebuilding institutions at the country level to ensure that the gains from peace are not reversed.

53. All want action to address climate change, to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and to keep the rise in global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius on the basis of equity for present and future generations and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. All also want to preserve our oceans, marine resources, terrestrial ecosystems and forests.

54. All call for meaningful transformations of our economies. They call for making our patterns of growth more inclusive, sustained and sustainable. People want decent jobs, social protection, robust agricultural systems and rural prosperity, sustainable cities, inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and resilient infrastructure and sustainable energy for all. These transformations will also help tackle climate change. We have also heard strong calls to reform international trade, ensure effective regulation of markets and financial actors, and to take vigorous action to fight corruption, curb illicit financial flows, combat money laundering and tax evasion, and recover stolen and hidden assets.

55. All inputs have underscored the need to integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions across the new agenda. To make this happen, they want norm-based policy coherence at all levels, corresponding reform of global governance mechanisms, and a renewed effective global partnership for sustainable development. These, they tell us, should be based on solidarity, cooperation, mutual accountability, and the participation of governments and all stakeholders.

56. All have asked for a rigorous and participatory review and monitoring framework to hold governments, businesses, and international organizations accountable to the people for results, and to ensure that no harm is done to the planet. And they have called for a data revolution to make information and data more available, more accessible, and more broadly disaggregated, as well as for measurable goals and targets, and a participatory mechanism to review implementation at the national, regional, and global levels.

3. Framing the New Agenda

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that generation. Let your greatness bloom.” Nelson Mandela

3.1 Setting the stage

57. At this moment, a truly universal and transformational course is being set. From the 2010 Summit on the MDGs, to Rio+20, and the outcome of the Open Working Group, viii a remarkably consistent vision has emerged.

58. Because human dignity and planetary sustainability cannot be reduced to a simple formula, because their constituent elements are so interdependent, and because sustainable development is a complex phenomenon, the proposal by the Open Working Group of such a far-reaching set of goals and targets is to be welcomed as a remarkable step forward in the international community’s quest for effective solutions to an increasingly complex global agenda.

59. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I therefore welcome the outcome produced by the Open Working Group (Table 1). I congratulate the leadership and all who participated in its ground-breaking work. I take positive note of the decision of the General Assembly that the proposal of the Group be the main basis for the post-2015 intergovernmental process.

60. In the coming months, the Member States of the United Nations will negotiate the final parameters of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. That Agenda should include a compelling and principled narrative, building on the outcomes of the major global conferences , including the Millennium Summit, the 2005 Summit Outcome, the 2010 Summit on the MDGs, the outcome of Rio+20, and the voices of the people as conveyed in the post-2015 process. The Agenda should also call for full consistency with current political commitments and existing obligations under international law. It should include concrete goals together with measurable and achievable targets. This should demonstrate the important interrelationship between the goals and targets. Importantly, it must respond to the capacity challenges of countries with varying capabilities and weaker institutions. Countries must not be overly burdened by an agenda that creates additional challenges rather than alleviate burdens. The Agenda will require serious commitments for financing and other means of implementation, including those to be agreed in Addis Ababa in July 2015 and Paris in December 2015. And it should include strong, inclusive public mechanisms at all levels for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and ensuring mutual accountability.

Table 1. Sustainable development goals

Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

Source: Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals (A/68/970).

61. Success will equally depend on the power of the new agenda to inspire and mobilize essential actors, new partnerships, key constituencies, and the broader global citizenry. For this, we will need an agenda that resonates with the experiences and needs of people, that can be understood, and embraced. The agenda and goals should also be received at the country level in a way that would ensure a transition of the MDGs to the broader and more transformative sustainable development agenda and effectively become an integral part of national and regional visions and plans.

62. In this regard, we must recall and take note of the mandate given to the General Assembly by the member states at the Rio+20 Conference, where they declared that the "SDGs should be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, limited in number, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities" (Paragraph 247).

63. Member States have agreed that the agenda laid out by the Open Working Group is the main basis for the Post-2015 intergovernmental process. We now have the opportunity to frame the goals and targets in a way that reflects the ambition of a universal and transformative agenda. I note, in particular, the possibility to maintain the 17 goals and rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level.

3.2 A transformational approach

64. I wish to propose an integrated set of six essential elements, that taken together, will aim to facilitate the deliberations of Member States ahead of the Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015, and enable them to arrive at the concise and aspirational agenda mandated by the Rio + 20 Conference.

65. The essential elements underscore the urgency of a universal call to commit to a set of principles that, applied together, can bring about a truly universal transformation of sustainable development. Thus, as we implement the new agenda, we must:

  • commit to a universal approach, and with solutions that address all countries and all groups;
  • integrate sustainability in all activities, mindful of economic, environmental and social impacts;
  • address inequalities in all areas, agreeing that no goal or target be considered met unless met for all social and economic groups;
  • ensure that all actions respect and advance human rights, in full coherence with international standards;
  • address the drivers of climate change and its consequences;
  • base our analysis in credible data and evidence, enhancing data capacity, availability, disaggregation, literacy and sharing;
  • expand our global partnership for means of implementation to maximum effect, and full participation, including multi-stakeholder, issue-based coalitions; and
  • anchor the new compact in a renewed commitment to international solidarity, commensurate with the ability of each country to contribute.

3.3. Six essential elements for delivering on the SDGs

66. The following six essential elements would help frame and reinforce the universal, integrated and transformative nature of a sustainable development agenda and ensure that the ambition expressed by Member States in the outcome of the Open Working Group translates, communicates and is delivered at the country level (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Six essential elements for delivering the SDGs

Figure1 Six essential elements for delivering the SDGs

Dignity: to end poverty and fight inequalities

67. Eradicating poverty by 2030 is the overarching objective of the sustainable development agenda. We live in a world of plenty, and in a moment of enormous scientific promise. And yet, for hundreds and hundreds of millions across the globe, this is also an age of gnawing deprivation. The defining challenge of our time is to close the gap between our determination to ensure a life of dignity for all on the one hand, and the reality of persisting poverty and deepening inequality on the other.

68. While we have made important progress in recent years, addressing gender inequality and realizing women’s rights remains a key challenge in all regions of the world. It should by now be recognized that no society can reach its full potential if whole segments of that society, especially young people, are excluded from participating in, contributing to, and benefiting from development. Other dimensions of inequality continue to persist, and in some cases have worsened. Income inequality specifically is one of the most visible aspects of a broader and more complex issue, one that entails inequality of opportunity. This is a universal challenge that the whole world must address. The agenda must accommodate the voices of women, youth and minorities, seek the prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, remove obstacles to full participation by persons with disabilities, older persons, adolescents and youth, and empower the poor. It must not exclude migrants, refugees, displaced persons, or persons affected by conflict and occupation.

People: to ensure healthy lives, knowledge, and the inclusion of women and children

69. Millions of people, especially women and children, have been left behind in the unfinished work of the MDGs. We must ensure women, youth and children have access to the full range of health services. We must ensure zero tolerance of violence against or exploitation of women and girls. Women and girls must have equal access to financial services, and the right to own land and other assets. All children and adolescents have a right to education and must have a safe environment in which to learn. Human development is also the respect of human rights.

70. The agenda must address universal health-care coverage, access and affordability; end preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths and malnutrition; ensure the availability of essential medicines; realize women’s reproductive health and rights; ensure immunization coverage; eradicate malaria and realize the vision of a future free of AIDS and tuberculosis; reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases, including mental illness, nervous system injuries and road accidents; and promote healthy behaviours, including those related to water, sanitation and hygiene.

71. Today, more than ever, the realities of 1.8 billion youth and adolescents represent a dynamic, informed, and globally connected engine for change. Integrating their needs, rights to choice and their voices in the new agenda, will be a key factor for success. It is essential that young people receive relevant skills and high-quality education and life-long learning, from early childhood development to post-primary schooling, including life skills and vocational education and training, as well as science, sports and culture. Teachers must be given the means to deliver learning and knowledge in response to a safe global workplace, driven by technology.

Prosperity: to grow a strong, inclusive, and transformative economy

72. Economic growth should lead to shared prosperity. As such, the strength of an economy must be measured by the degree to which it meets the needs of people, and on how sustainably and equitably it does so. We need inclusive growth, built on decent jobs, livelihoods and rising real incomes for all and measured in ways that go beyond GDP and account for human well-being, sustainability and equity. Ensuring that all people, including women, persons with disabilities, youth, aged, and migrants have decent employment, social protection, and access to financial services, will be a hallmark of our economic success.

73. Innovation and investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, settlement, industrialization, small and medium enterprises, energy and technology can both generate employment, and remedy negative environmental trends. An enabled, properly regulated, responsible and profitable private sector is critical for employment, living wages, growth, and revenues for public programmes. Transforming business models for creating shared value is vital for growing inclusive and sustainable economies.

74. The world’s richness of natural resources also provides a formidable economic opportunity, if it is translated not only into GDP growth but into shared prosperity. Sustainable approaches to landscaping management (including agriculture and forests), industrialization (including manufacturing and productive capacities), access to energy and water and sanitation, are key drivers of sustainable production and consumption, job creation, as well as sustainable and equitable growth. They drive sustainable management of natural resources and tackle climate change.

Planet: to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children

75. To respect our planetary boundaries we need to equitably address climate change, halt biodiversity loss, and address desertification and unsustainable land use. We must protect wildlife, safeguard forests and mountains, and reduce disaster risk and build resiliencies. We must protect our oceans, seas, rivers and atmosphere as our global heritage, and achieve climate justice. We must promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries and food systems; foster sustainable management of water resources, and of waste and chemicals; foster renewable and more efficient energy; decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, sustainable industrialisation and resilient infrastructure; ensure sustainable consumption and production; and achieve sustainable management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and land use.

76. Sustainable development is at risk as evidence proves that warming of the climate system is now undeniable and human activities are its primary cause. We must limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to human-induced climate change. Fossil fuels usage and deforestation are its two main sources. Increasing warming will make severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts more likely. The longer we wait to take action towards sustainable production and consumption, the more it will cost to solve the problem and the greater the technological challenges will be. Adaptation can reduce some risks and impact of climate change. Most urgently, we must adopt a meaningful, universal climate agreement by the end of 2015.

Justice: to promote safe and peaceful societies, and strong institutions

77. Effective governance for sustainable development demands that public institutions in all countries and at all levels be inclusive, participatory, and accountable to the people. Laws and institutions must protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. All must be free from fear and violence, without discrimination. We also know that participatory democracy, free, safe, and peaceful societies are both enablers and outcomes of development.

78. Access to fair justice systems, accountable institutions of democratic governance, measures to combat corruption and curb illicit financial flows, and safeguards to protect personal security are integral to sustainable development. An enabling environment under the rule of law must be secured for the free, active and meaningful engagement of civil society and advocates reflecting the voices of women, minorities, LGBT groups, indigenous peoples, youth, adolescents and older persons. Press freedom and access to information, freedom of expression, assembly and association are enablers of sustainable development. The practice of child, early and forced marriage must be ended everywhere. The rule of law must be strengthened at the national and international level, to secure justice for all.

79. We need to rebuild and reintegrate societies better after crises and conflicts. We must address state fragility, support internally displaced persons and contribute to resilience of people and communities. Reconciliation, peacebuilding and state-building are critical for countries to overcome fragility and develop cohesive societies, and strong institutions. These investments are essential to retaining the gains of development and avoiding reversals in the future.

Partnership: to catalyse global solidarity for sustainable development

80. A revitalized global partnership for sustainable development must be built on the foundations agreed in the Millennium Declaration and in Monterrey and Johannesburg. It must be effective in mobilizing the means and in creating the environment to implement our agenda. Mobilizing the support to implement the ambitious new agenda will require political will and action on all fronts: domestic and international, public and private, through aid and trade, regulation, taxation and investment.

81. Implementation is not just about quantity. It is also about doing things together, uniting around the problem. Inclusive partnerships must be a key feature of implementation, at all levels: global, regional, national and local. We know the extent to which this may be transformative. The sustainable development goals provide a platform for aligning private action and public policies. Transformative partnerships are built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals: placing people and planet at the center. They include the participation of all relevant stakeholders. Mutual accountability is at the center. This means principled and responsible public-private-people partnerships.

3.4. Integrating the six essential elements

82. Sustainable development must be an integrated agenda for economic, environmental, and social solutions. Its strength lies in the interweaving of its dimensions. This integration provides the basis for economic models that benefit people and the environment; for environmental solutions that contribute to progress; for social approaches that add to economic dynamism and allow for the preservation and sustainable use of the environmental common; and for reinforcing human rights, equality, and sustainability. Responding to all goals as a cohesive and integrated whole will be critical to ensuring the transformations needed at scale.

83. The agenda itself mirrors the broader international human rights framework, including elements of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights, as well as the right to development. Specific targets are set for disadvantaged groups. Indicators will need to be broadly disaggregated across all goals and targets.

84. The essential elements are further integrated by the application of the principle of universality. In addressing them to all countries and all people we take account of environmental, economic, and social interdependence, while also recognizing the realities of differentiated national needs and capacities.

85. Finally, the new framework provides a much-needed opportunity to integrate the broader United Nations agenda, with its inextricably linked and mutually interdependent peace and security, development, and human rights objectives.

86. All of this will have important implications for the way that all partners pursue sustainable development, requiring transformations in approaches to leadership, policy coherence, strategy, and collaboration. It will also have a beneficial unifying effect on the organization of work within the UN system at the global, regional and country levels.

4. Mobilizing the Means to Implement Our Agenda

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” Mahatma Gandhi

4.1 Financing our future

87. Sustainable development is a complex challenge, with urgent requirements which have resulted in enormous financing needs. The means to finance the goals agreed will not be found in one solution, nor borne by one set of actors. All financing streams need to be optimized towards sustainable development, and coordinated for the greatest impact. An integrated development agenda demands an equally synergistic financial framework. Governments should work to better align the financing frameworks that developed out of two major strands of development debate . the Monterrey and the Rio processes. In addition, Government should also be mindful of the need for coherence and alignment with climate finance (Figure 1).

88. The global conversation on sustainable development finance is progressing. The Open Working Group has proposed a number of targets on means of implementation. The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing presented policy options, organized around different financing streams: domestic public, domestic private, international public, international private and blended finance. These streams address the public, private, national and international facets of the financing challenge to raise new and additional resources, reallocate existing ones and create a supportive enabling environment. The establishment of new institutions of South-South Cooperation, such as the BRICS Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, present new opportunities to finance sustainable development investments. ix

89. I welcome the policy options presented by the Committee and encourage countries to scale up ambition and enhance specificity to meet the demands of the new agenda. To these ends, as Member States prepare for Addis Ababa, it will fall to them to set an agreed and ambitious course for sustainable development financing beyond 2015.

Figure 1. Flows of funds from international and national financing sources to sustainable development

Figure 1. Flows of funds from international and national financing sources to sustainable development

*The size of boxes does not represent financing volumes/importance.

**There can be cases where international public finance also directly supports the implementation of international objectives.

***Sovereign wealth funds handle public money, but are managed like private investors.

Source: Report of the International Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (A/69/315).

90. All public funds must positively impact the poorest and most vulnerable in all societies. Official Development Assistance (ODA) and other international public funds will continue to play a central and catalytic role, particularly in vulnerable countries, as will a strategic approach and systematic progress in utilization. Member States of the United Nations should honour their commitments in full and in a timely manner. ODA must both respond to the unfinished business of the MDGs and address the transition to the new sustainable development agenda. In the current debate on reclassifying aid, it is necessary to underscore the importance of more effective and better targeted ODA funding that leverages other resources. This must include more focus on Least Developed Countries, Land-locked Developing Countries, Small Islands Developing States, and countries in vulnerable situations.

91. Responsibility for raising the domestic public revenues necessary for the core economic and social functions . for example to ensure a social protection floor and to remedy exclusion . rests primarily with each national government. National laws and policies are to dedicate adequate and timely resources to these purposes, while public institutions are to act in the public interest. This includes environmentally and socially sound policies, promotion of human rights, strong institutions and the rule of law. However, domestic efforts need to be complemented by a supportive international environment.

92. Urgent action is needed to mobilize, redirect, and unlock the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources to deliver on sustainable development objectives. Long-term investments, including foreign direct investment (FDI), are needed in critical sectors, especially in developing countries. These include sustainable energy, infrastructure and transport, as well as information and communications technologies. The public sector will need to set a clear direction. Review and monitoring frameworks, regulations and incentive structures that enable such investments must be retooled to attract investments and reinforce sustainable development. National oversight mechanisms such as supreme audit institutions and oversight functions by legislature should be strengthened.

93. Efforts to increase the effectiveness of development cooperation need to be enhanced based on basic principles of country ownership, results focus, inclusive partnerships, transparency and accountability.

94. Long-term decarbonization of our economies and the access to energy, water, agriculture, industry, infrastructure or transport will ultimately be achieved through the same investments at the project level. In addition, it will be important to consider that many of the investments to achieve the SDGs will take place at the sub-national level and led by local authorities.

95. In addition, we must move, seriously and expeditiously, to correct the inequities that have long plagued the international system, to the disadvantage of developing countries. We need a more equitable multilateral trading system, a conclusion of the Doha round, and better access to technology, to medicines, and to long-term investments for developing countries. We need a more fair representation of emerging and developing countries in international financial and economic decision-making, better regulation and more stability in the international financial and monetary systems, and sustainable debt solutions. We must continue to remedy the policy incoherence between current modes of international governance in matters of trade, finance, and investment on the one hand, and our norms and standards for labour, the environment, human rights, equality, and sustainability on the other.

96. As preparations for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa get underway, there are high expectations for concrete outcomes that would finance sustainable development and set the stage for a successful outcome of the COP21 in Paris.

97. I urge Member States to consider and agree in particular to the following:

98. All developed countries should meet the 0.7% target and agree to concrete timetables to meet ODA commitments, including the Istanbul commitments to LDCs of 0.15% of GNI by 2015. It is important to ensure that the proportion of ODA going to LDCs does not decline but continues to increase, be better targeted, more efficient, more transparent, and that leverages additional resources. Smooth transition of countries graduating from least developed country status is vital to ensure that these countries are eased onto a sustainable development path without any disruption to their development plans, programmes and projects. Provision should be made to increase funding to facilitate capacities to implement tax reforms, thus improving domestic resource mobilization. All other international commitments also need to be met.

99. Any effort to modernize ODA and measures of development finance should be considered in an open and transparent forum with the widest possible participation of donor and recipient countries and other relevant stakeholders.

100. Levels of concessionality should take into account different development stages, circumstances and multiple dimensions of poverty, and the particular type of investment made.

101. All countries are encouraged to adopt their own national sustainable development financing strategies that take account of all financing flows, based on continuing dialogue among relevant government entities and other stakeholders. Such strategies should review and strengthen the domestic policy, the legal and institutional environment and the policy coherence for sustainable development. All financing flows, including climate finance, should build stronger country ownership and lead to greater use of country strategies and systems. In order to be effective, the component parts of sustainable development financing strategies must have associated investible pipelines. National visions and plans and annual budgets and medium-term expenditure frameworks should be aligned with national sustainable development strategies.

102. Fiscal and macro-economic policies must include low carbon solutions for sustainable development and the need to invest in adaptation and resilience. Carbon pricing, through different approaches, should be a key consideration. Harmful fossil fuel subsidies, both direct and indirect, should be phased out. Agricultural export subsidies should be removed.

103. The regulatory frameworks, incentives and risk-return profiles that enable private investments and business models, as well as public procurement policies, must be aligned with the SDGs.

104. All countries should consider adopting policies to encourage responsible and accountable investment of private finance in sustainable development, and requiring companies to undertake mandatory Economic Environment Social and Governance (EESG) reporting, accompanied with regulatory changes that ensure that investor incentives are aligned with sustainable development goals. Transition periods and technical support would be needed to this effect, especially for small and medium enterprises.

105. We should work to ensure an investment policies that is in line with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, core labour standards of the ILO, and United Nations environmental standards. It should also adequately balance investor preferences with the needs of the people in countries in which they operate.

106. Policies are needed to stimulate and support entrepreneurship and to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises, including through the use of development banks and other financial intermediaries.

107. Countries should strive to provide universal access to financial services, emphasizing inclusive access across income, gender, geography, age, and other groups. Specific barriers to women’s access to finance should be eliminated. They should expand financial literacy and establish strong consumer protection agencies.

108. Blended financing platforms could have a great potential, particularly where there is a benefit to the public sector. Where they are considered, however, it is important to ensure that these arrangements are subject to safeguards to verify that they contribute to sustainable development. They must not replace or compromise state responsibilities for delivering on social needs. Such policies also need to ensure fair returns to the public, while incorporating social, environmental, labour, human rights, and gender equality considerations. In addition, risk should be managed through diversification and the use of multiple simultaneous projects, allowing for gains in some projects to offset losses in others.

109. Member States may wish to call on the International Financial Institutions to consider establishing a process to examine the role, scale and functioning of multilateral and regional development finance institutions to make them more responsive to the sustainable development agenda.

110. While the additional commitments which have been made for climate finance should be honoured, the use of these and other financing flows should not lead to fragmentation but rather to coherence and strengthened cross-linkages within the pillars of sustainable development. An expert technical group should be tasked with developing and presenting to Member States a coherent framework that accounts for climate finance and ODA.

111. South-South cooperation and the significant efforts of solidarity by emerging economies is encouraging. More countries will need to commit to increasing their contribution to international public financing and set targets and timelines to do so. In turn, South-South technical assistance and the sharing of experiences through regional fora should be promoted.

112. I also strongly encourage countries to consider using innovative ways to raise additional resources to fund sustainable development at scale, drawing from a number of options, including, inter alia, various tax (e.g., financial transaction taxes, carbon tax, airline ticket levies) and non-tax (e.g., emission allowances) mechanisms.

113. We must strengthen international coordination of macroeconomic policies of major economies and the management of global liquidity, and consider more systematic issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) for continued assistance, and countercyclical macroeconomic management.

114. We must vigorously implement comprehensive and adequate financial regulations in all countries, as the risk of another global financial crisis has not been sufficiently reduced. However, the design of regulations needs to take into account their impact on financial inclusion and incentives for investment in sustainable development.

115. Effectively addressing illicit flows is urgent. We need more vigorous implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, as well as measures to overcome impediments to the return of stolen assets. Member States should consider measures to ensure information exchange, judicial cooperation and the establishment of an intergovernmental committee on tax cooperation, under the auspices of the United Nations.

116. Let us also enhance international efforts to strengthen arrangements for transparent, orderly and participatory sovereign debt restructuring. As an immediate step, let us bring together relevant authorities and other stakeholders to develop an informal forum on sovereign debt, while continuing ongoing discussions.

117. Efforts should be intensified to reduce costs on the transfer of remittances, in a manner fully respecting the rights of migrants. I welcome the commitment of G20 countries to reduce the global average cost of transferring remittances to five per cent.

4.2 Technology, Science and Innovation for a Sustainable Future

118. We live in a period of unprecedented technological innovation and change. New technologies are unlocking possibilities for sustainable development. The solutions that they can generate, and the levels of access that they can enable, will be crucial to our vision for the world beyond 2015.

119. However, access to vital and environmentally sound technologies is today unevenly spread, both within and between countries, with the poor and many developing countries essentially locked out. Large amounts of public resources are allocated to military budgets, while comparatively less is spent on research and development for public goods. Public funding often subsidizes private sector research, at times leading to the public being priced out of the benefits through disadvantageous licensing and patent. This also leads to frequent subsidies of innovations that are not aligned with promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns. Furthermore, we have a long way to go to reach the necessary level of participation of women and girls in science, technology (including ICTs), engineering, and mathematics for the world in the 21st century.

120. A sustainable future will require that we act now to phase out unsustainable technologies, to invest in innovation and the development of clean and sound technologies for sustainable development. We must ensure that they are fairly priced, and broadly disseminated and fairly absorbed, including to and by developing countries.

121. Developing countries, and LDCs in particular, will need the support that will allow them to benefit from enhanced access to these technologies, and, ultimately, to expand domestic innovation and the development of their own technological solutions.

122. Historically, significant technological advances have often resulted from multistakeholder, solution-driven initiatives. Achieving our sustainable development goals will similarly require solution-driven technology partnerships among a variety of actors.

123. We must establish effective modalities for multi-stakeholder cooperation and sharing the costs for the Research, Development, Demonstration, and Diffusion (RDD&D) for new technologies across all stakeholders: public, private, civil society, philanthropic, and other sectors, and inclusive of indigenous knowledge. We must move to prepare concrete initiatives, including those leveraging technology, ready to launch at the commencement of the new agenda and set bold technological goals and resource mobilization targets. And we must facilitate access to the benefits of technology for all, including the poorest, while ensuring that intellectual property regime creates the right incentives for the technological innovation needed for sustainable development. The urgency is particularly great in the case of low-carbon technologies as part of our efforts to mitigate human-induced climate change.

124. There are a number of ongoing international initiatives aimed at accelerating the development, diffusion and transfer of appropriate, especially environmentally sound, technologies. Thus far, however, ambition has not matched the challenges at hand.

125. Having taken into account the recommendations of the structured dialogues of the General Assembly, I propose to establish an online, global platform building on and complementing existing initiatives, and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, in order to: (a) map existing technology facilitation initiatives, needs and gaps, including in areas vital for sustainable development, including agriculture, cities and health; (b) enhance international cooperation and coordination in this field, addressing fragmentation and facilitating synergies, including within the UN system; and (c) promote networking, information sharing, knowledge transfer, and technical assistance, to advance the scaling up of clean technology initiatives.

126. At the same time, I call upon all Member States to (a) urgently finalize arrangements for the establishment of the proposed Technology Bank and the Science, Technology, and Innovation Capacity Building Mechanism for LDCs, (b) significantly scale up cooperation for the sharing of technologies, strengthening knowledge and capacity building for usage, innovation capacities, including ICTs, (c) make the adjustments necessary in the national and international policy frameworks to facilitate these actions, (d) substantially progress in the development, transfer, and dissemination of such technologies and knowledge to developing countries on favorable, concessional, and preferential terms; (e) ensure that our global intellectual property regimes and the application of TRIPS flexibilities are fully consistent with and contribute to the goals of sustainable development; (f) make specific commitments to shifting public resources out of harmful technologies, and into our sustainable development goals; and (g) promote the accelearation of the innovation-to-market-to-public good cycle of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

4.3 Investing in capacities for sustainable development

127. To achieve our goals, countries need to integrate them in national planning, policy, budgets, law, and institutions. They will require integrated institutions that are effective and human resources equipped with the skills and capacities to deliver sustainable development. Governments, in consultation with all stakeholders, will need to review national strategies and policies to support progress towards the goals, consistent with national priorities.

128. These strategies will also have to be reviewed, and implemented at the local level, with the full engagement of local authorities. In many instances, subnational and local authorities, including mayors, are already leading the charge for sustainable development. Institutional and human capacities will, in many cases, need to be strengthened for effective implementation and monitoring. This includes bolstering capacities to assess needs, collect data and formulate responses across sectors and institutions.

129. Executive institutions, parliaments and the judiciary will need the capacity to perform their functions in this endeavour. Also institutions of civil society must have the capacity to perform their critical, independent role.

130. Developing countries will need support for capacity building. LDCs and postconflict countries will have particularly urgent needs. For this, the United Nations is working to revitalize and improve its role in capacity development. x Here too, ambition will need to be scaled up, especially in the immediate term, not only by the United Nations, but by all partners in the process.

131. As we seek to build capacities and to help the new agenda to take root, volunteerism can be another powerful and cross-cutting means of implementation. Volunteerism can help to expand and mobilize constituencies, and to engage people in national planning and implementation for sustainable development goals. And volunteer groups can help to localize the new agenda by providing new spaces of interaction between governments and people for concrete and scalable actions.

132. Finally, we must also mobilize the power of culture in the transformative change we seek. Our world is a remarkable mosaic of diverse cultures, informing our evolving understanding of sustainable development. We still have much to learn from cultures as we build the world we want. If we are to succeed, the new agenda cannot remain the exclusive domain of institutions and governments. It must be embraced by people. Culture, in different aspects, will thus be an important force in supporting the new agenda.

5. Delivering Our Agenda: a Shared Responsibility

“Development requires the removal of major sources of unfreedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities as well as systematic social deprivation, neglect of public facilities as well as intolerance and overactivity of repressive states.” Amartya Sen

5.1 Measuring the new dynamics

133. Progress in sustainable development will depend on vibrant economies and inclusive growth to keep pace with growing populations and longer life expectancies, and to generate employment, wages, and revenues for social programmes. But for making our economies inclusive and sustainable, our understanding of economic performance, and our metrics for gauging it, must be broader, deeper and more precise.

134. We need to reconsider how to account for sustainable production and consumption patterns in national accounting. Measures that do not distinguish between socially and environmentally harmful activities on the one hand, and social goods on the other, that do not account for equity and the distribution of costs and benefits, and do not include impacts on future generations, will not help us to navigate to a sustainable future.

135. Member States have recognized the importance of building on existing initiatives to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that go beyond gross domestic product. Thus, work on developing alternative measures or progress, beyond GDP, must receive the dedicated attention of the United Nations, international financial institutions, the scientific community, and public institutions. These metrics must be squarely focused on measuring social progress, human wellbeing, justice, security, equality, and sustainability. Poverty measures should reflect the multi-dimensional nature of poverty. New measures of subjective wellbeing are potentially important new tools for policy-making.

136. To realize the sustainable development agenda, we also need measurable targets and technically rigorous indicators. Here too, Member States have advanced the process significantly, by proposing an array of targets, which bring a strong integrating effect, and go a long way in defining the substance of what we need to achieve. However while many remain robust and responsive to the goals, others serve better the ongoing work of developing indicators for the agenda. A few of the targets are less ambitious than already agreed and some better placed where commitments to policy change can be ensured.

137. What is needed now is a technical review to ensure that each is framed in language that is specific, measurable, achievable, and consistent with existing United Nations standards and agreements, while preserving the important political balance that they represent. To these ends, the technical experts of the United Nations System are available to review the targets, including on the means of implementation, and to compare and align the level of ambition represented by each to that of existing international targets, commitments, standards, and agreements thus strengthening the overall framework of the goals. This will also contribute to coherence in the discussion on financing for development.

138. In addition, where a proposed target is stated in measurable terms, but no quantitative target has been specified, Member States may wish to seek the input of the United Nations System, in consultation with its partners in academia and the scientific community, on evidence for attaching specific global target levels.

139. A set of applicable indicators will also need to be identified to allow us to collect, compare, and analyse reliable data, to do so at the adequate level of disaggregation, as of 2016. For this purpose, Member States may decide to task the United Nations System, in consultation with other relevant experts and through a multi-stakeholder dialogue, to develop a draft set of indicators.

5.2. Lighting the way: the role of data in the new agenda

140. We seek an evidence-based course for realizing sustainable development. For this, we must face the complex challenges this presents, and as a response to the varying country realities and capabilities.

141. As indicated by my Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the world must acquire a new ‘data literacy’ in order to be equipped with the tools, methodologies, capacities, and information necessary to shine a light on the challenges of responding to the new agenda. Enhanced national and international statistical capacities, rigorous indicators, reliable and timely data sets, new and non-traditional data sources, and broader and systematic disaggregation to reveal inequities will all be fundamental to implementing it.

142. In all of this, we must maximize our commitment to public transparency, information sharing, participatory monitoring and open data, while never compromising on the obligation to protect the right to privacy. And we must significantly scale up support to countries and national statistical offices with critical needs for capacities to produce, collect, disaggregate, analyse, and share data crucial to the new agenda.

143. To these ends, I recommend that, under the auspices of the UN Statistical Commission, a comprehensive programme of action on data be established. This includes the building of a global consensus, applicable principles and standards for data, a web of data innovation networks to advance innovation and analysis, a new innovative financing stream to support national data capacities, and a global data partnership to promote leadership and governance.

144. Specifically, we will carry out in close cooperation with country experts an indepth analysis of the existing data and information gaps and, thus, determine the scale of the investments needed to establish a modern SDG monitoring system. We will catalyze a multi-stakeholder Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, to mobilize and coordinate the actions required to make the data revolution serve sustainable development, promoting initiatives such as the holding of inclusive ‘World Fora on Sustainable Development Data’.

5.3. Gauging our progress: Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

145. If we are to succeed, the new agenda must become part of the contract between people, including civil society and responsible business, and their governments.national and local. Parliaments must be strengthened to deepen democracy and carry out their constitutional mandates of oversight. All companies must pay their taxes, respect labour standards, human rights, and the environment. Empowered civil society actors, through action and advocacy, must rally to the cause, and contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future.

146. We must now embrace a culture of shared responsibility, one based on agreed universal norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action, and benchmarking for progress. The new paradigm of accountability that we seek is not one of conditionality or North to South, nor South to North, but rather one of all actors . governments, international institutions, private sector actors, and organizations of civil societies, and in all countries, to the people themselves. This is the real test of peoplecentred, planet-sensitive development.

147. Such a model can only be built on national ownership, broad participation, and full transparency. To be effective, it must be aligned with the post-2015 agenda and its new goals. To be efficient, it must be streamlined and employ existing mechanisms and processes. To be evidence-based, it must be grounded in the data revolution, and the indicators and data that emerge therefrom. To be truly universal, it must apply to all actors.in both the public and the private sectorsxi, at both the national and international levels. It must include opportunities for mutual review, and mutual support at the regional and global levels.

148. In recent months, United Nations consultations have emphasized the need for a voluntary, state-led, participatory, evidence-based, and multi-tiered process to monitor progress. xii

149. Thus, a universal review process constructed on these principles could be initiated at the national level, and would inform the national, regional, and global level reviews. At all levels, review discussions should be public, participatory, broadly accessible, and based on facts, data, scientific findings, and evidence-based evaluations. The principal components might include:

i. A country-led, national component for accountability. In the overall review process, this national segment, as that closest to the people, should be the most significant. It would be built on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad, multi-stakeholder participation, including national and local government, parliaments, civil society, science, academia and business. It would establish benchmarks, review the national policy framework, chart progress, learn lessons, consider solutions, follow-up, and report thereon. For this, a government report, a national stakeholder report with contributions from national non-governmental actors, as well as a report compiling existing information and data from United Nations agencies and international financial institutions, all based upon globally-harmonized formats, would constitute the main written inputs on individual country progress.

ii. A regional component for peer reviewing, tailored to regional and sub-regional needs, and undertaken by existing mechanisms in a participatory, multi-stakeholder process, to consider national reports, identify regional trends, obstacles, commonalities, best practices and lessons learned, and to generate solutions and mutual support and solutions. Regional reviews would incorporate and build on the experiences and successes of mechanisms such as the Regional Economic Commissions, the Africa Peer Review Mechanism, the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, the ECE Environmental Performance Reviews, and the OECD/DAC Peer Reviews.

iii. A global component for knowledge sharing, as a forum for participatory, multi-stakeholder, and, importantly, universal review, starting at the launch of the new agenda. This would be convened annually under the auspices of the high level political forum (HLPF). It would provide a periodic occasion for individual countries to voluntarily present national reviews of progress, to discuss lessons learned in each country’s implementation of the agenda, and the opportunity to review both short-term outputs and long-term outcomes of the impact on attaining the goals. Member States should consider multi-annual reviews under HLPF in a five-year cycle.

iv. A thematic component, to chart global progress at regular intervals on the sustainable development framework, to help to identify challenges and bottlenecks, and to mobilize action to address them. While such thematic reviews could be carried out under the auspices of the HLPF, they would rely on relevant coordination and review “platforms.” These could include existing specialized or functional commissions, councils, or committees that convene United Nations and other multilateral entities, relevant treaty body reviews and outcomes, as well as Member States, partners from civil society, science, academia and the private sector, and would monitor and advance each respective thematic area. Existing partnerships could also be linked to such platforms, in order to ensure efficient and effective action and accountability. To support and complement the process, and to ensure continuous gauging of progress, the United Nations would provide annual global thematic reports aggregating available data, together with the Global sustainable Development Report, mandated by Rio+20.

v. A component to review the global partnership for sustainable development. The essential element of Partnership and its mobilization of the means necessary for implementation must also be kept under active review. As they prepare for the Third Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, Member States should seize the opportunity to consider how existing structures and processes can help review and strengthen the global partnership for sustainable development, including the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation. An important additional role for the review process under this component will be to address the respective conference tracks targeting the special conditions and needs of LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS.

150. The current structure of our intergovernmental bodies can accommodate the universal review process described above. The establishment of the HLPF, which meets under the auspices of ECOSOC and the General Assembly, as well as the United Nations Environment Assembly, were important institutional innovations emerging from Rio+20. And the reform of ECOSOC has been another important step forward.

5.4 Making the UN fit for transformation

151. This new, universal, sustainable development agenda requires an international community that is “fit for purpose” in order to support countries to implement a new generation of sustainable development goals. All who would be engaged in its implementation will need to embrace its new parameters and its transformative elements. The United Nations is no exception given its role in leading and shaping the sustainable development agenda to 2030

152. A UN system that is “fit for purpose” to deliver on the post-2015 agenda is one that is relevant, innovative, agile, inclusive, coordinated and results-oriented. It is guided by universal human rights and international norms, integrates the UN’s normative frameworks with its operational activities, and is responsive to the differentiated needs of countries. It provides specialized advice when requested, and is equally adept at ensuring an integrated approach, working across disciplines with relevant skill sets to better support Member States in addressing complex multisectoral challenges. It forges effective partnerships to leverage external partners’ expertise, capacities and resources. Such a system requires shared goals, visionary and committed leadership, and a global, highlyskilled and adaptable international civil service. And it must reach the highest standards of accountability, transparency and impact.

153. In doing so, the UN system is committed to working more collaboratively to leverage the expertise and capacities of all its organizations in support of sustainable development. At the country level, UN Country Teams will provide coherent support to national stakeholders to implement their new post-2015 development strategies while accelerating implementation of the standard operating procedures for “delivering as one” in order to achieve greater results for sustainable development. Emphasis will also be placed on using data and evidence more effectively and transparently and developing greater analytical capacity for addressing inequalities, risk and vulnerability. The UN system will continue to pursue the development of more innovative and integrated business models and the implementation of modern operational practices to gain efficiencies and enhanced impact.

154. Ongoing efforts will also be deepened to ensure that a high-performing, mobile and diverse workforce is in place to support the new post-2015 sustainable development agenda. It must be able to leverage the respective expertise and specializations of UN agencies to work across disciplines and functions to better address complex multi-sectoral challenges. An independent, highly skilled, engaged international civil service that can meet the ever-changing needs of the international community is our major comparative advantage. We will invest in attracting, retaining and deploying high-performing staff across locations, mandates and business models.

155. Critically, for the UN to be more “fit for purpose”, Member States must also be more coherent in their support, in particular as it relates to governance and funding of the UN system. Sustained development financing for longer-term support and that enables pooling of resources and brings together development and humanitarian financing will be critical as will more coherent UN funding mechanisms that unite rather than fragment the development policy framework.

156. In this context, Members States may wish to reinforce current actions being taken as well as take initiatives to ensure that the UN system is “fit for purpose” to support this new transformative agenda and achieve coordination and coherence of development actors at country level.

6. Conclusion: Together in a Universal Compact

157. Today’s world is a troubled world; one in turmoil and turbulence, with no shortage of painful political upheavals. Societies are under serious strain, stemming from the erosion of our common values, climate change and growing inequalities, to migration pressures and borderless pandemics. It is also a time in which the strength of national and international institutions is being seriously tested. The nature and scope of this daunting array of enormous challenges necessitate that both inaction and business-as-usual must be dismissed as options. If the global community does not exercise national and international leadership in the service of our peoples, we risk further fragmentation, impunity and strife, endangering both the planet itself as well as a future of peace, sustainable development and respect of human rights. Simply put, this generation is charged with a duty to transform our societies.

158. 2015 is hence the time for global action. During this single year we have the unequivocal opportunity and responsibility to adopt sustainable development, to restructure the global financial system in line with our needs, and to respond finally and urgently to the challenge of human-induced climate change. Never before has the world had to face such a complex agenda in a single year. And this unique opportunity will not come again in our generation.

159. We must take the first, determined steps toward a sustainable and dignified future. Transformation is our aim. We must transform our economies, our environment, and our societies. We must change old mindsets, behaviours, and destructive patterns. We must embrace the integrated essential elements of Dignity, People, Prosperity, Planet, Justice and Partnership. We must build cohesive societies, in pursuit of international peace and stability. And, we must prioritise good international solutions through the prism of being in the national interest of every Member State.

160. Such a future is possible if we collectively mobilise political will and the necessary resources to strengthen our nations and the multilateral system. We have the means and methods to meet these challenges if we decide to employ them and work together. If the Member States now mobilise the world around action for sustainable development - nationally and internationally - the United Nations will have proved its value as the primary universal body living up to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

161. Overall, our work now is a sobering and inspiring challenge. We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organization’s promise “to reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person” and to take the world forward to a sustainable future. With this extraordinary process and the unprecedented leadership that it has witnessed, we have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.


i United Nations Charter, Preamble.

ii Millennium Development Goals Report 2014

iii United Nations Secretary-General, A life of dignity for all : accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015, New York, 26 July 2013 (A/68/202).

iv Report of theGeneral Assembly Structured Dialogues on Possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies, United Nations, New York, August 2014.

v United Nations, Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, New York, 8 August 2014.

vi See United Nations, High-Level Stocktaking Event on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Contributions to the 2015 Secretary-General’s Synthesis Report, Informal Summary, New York, September 2014.

vii United Nations, Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, New York, 19 July 2014.

viii A/68/202

ix United Nations, Report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, New York, 8 August 2014.

x See Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of United Nations Operational Activities for Development.

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