10.09.2014 | International Institute for Sustainable Development

OWG Report to be “Main Basis” for SDGs in Post-2015 Agenda

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has decided that the proposal of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda.” This decision was taken through a resolution adopted in a plenary meeting on 10 September 2014 (A/68/L.61, as orally revised, and issued officially as A/RES/68/309).

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

By the resolution, as orally revised and adopted by consensus on 10 September, the UNGA: acknowledges the conclusion of the work of the OWG; welcomes its report; and decides that the proposal of the OWG contained in its report shall be the main basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs will also be considered, in the intergovernmental negotiating process at the UNGA's 69th session.

In statements following the consensus decision, the Group of 77 and China (G77/China) and the African Group said the OWG report should not be reopened or renegotiated. The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) called for taking reservations into account without challenging the coherence of the document or the substance of the agreements as basis of consensus.

Meanwhile, the US called the decision an “important way station on the road to 2015” and “important point of departure” for the work ahead. Australia stressed that the resolution's reference to “the main basis” meant the OWG report will be a “starting point” for intergovernmental negotiations.

Brazil, also for Nicaragua, said the resolution establishes the "primacy" of the OWG outcome, and asked “those who believe this is only a half-way station toward adoption of the post-2015 development agenda” to refrain from actions that could unravel the delicate balance. He added that continued consultations on a technology facilitation mechanism will provide an additional element for the negotiations.

India noted the successful closure of the OWG journey, said the final outcome is testament to the power and indispensability of multilateralism, and stressed that the OWG is the only intergovernmental process with a mandate to negotiate and develop a set of SDGs. He added that the mandate of the Secretary-General's synthesis report is not to propose a new or alternate set of goals, nor a "counter-narrative" to the OWG outcome, but to synthesize inputs and present a coherent vision to help Member States embark on negotiating a post-2015 development agenda.

Japan, the EU and Australia highlighted the report of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF) as another input to the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, with Japan calling for the synthesis report to include all inputs in a balanced manner. The US looked forward to the inputs “from all corners” that will be included.

Nigeria called for the Secretary-General to reflect the priorities of the Common African Position (CAP), while the LDCs hoped the synthesis will reflect their views and “grouses” not included in the OWG report.

The Arab Group said the links among development, peace and security should be discussed in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda, and the discussion must address foreign occupation, while the issue of unilateral economic sanctions should be reflected in the OWG report. A number of delegations expressed other concerns with aspects of the proposed SDGs, while others cautioned against raising political issues in the current setting.

Numerous delegations recognized and expressed appreciation for the efforts and leadership of the OWG Co-Chairs, Csaba Korosi of Hungary and Macharia Kamau of Kenya, thanked the Secretariat, and said the process had been open, transparent and different from traditional negotiations. [UN Meeting Summary]