Sustainable Development Goals
Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals
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Sustainable development goals
One of the main outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference was the agreement by member States to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post 2015 development agenda (click here for information on different work streams). It was decided establish an "inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process open to all stakeholders, with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the General Assembly".

In the Rio+20 outcome document, member States agreed that sustainable development goals (SDGs) must:

  1. Be based on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
  2. Fully respect all the Rio Principles.
  3. Be consistent with international law.
  4. Build upon commitments already made.
  5. Contribute to the full implementation of the outcomes of all major summits in the economic, social and environmental fields.
  6. Focus on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development, being guided by the outcome document.
  7. Address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable development and their interlinkages.
  8. Be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.
  9. Not divert focus or effort from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
  10. Include active involvement of all relevant stakeholders, as appropriate, in the process.

It was further agreed that SDGs must be:

  • Action-oriented
  • Concise
  • Easy to communicate
  • Limited in number
  • Aspirational
  • Global in nature
  • Universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.

The outcome document further specifies that the development of SDGs should:

  • Be useful for pursuing focused and coherent action on sustainable development
  • Contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
  • Serve as a driver for implementation and mainstreaming of sustainable development in the UN system as a whole
  • Address and be focused on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development

The Rio+20 outcome document The Future We Want resolved to establish an inclusive and transparent intergovernmental process on SDGs that is open to all stakeholders with a view to developing global sustainable development goals to be agreed by the UNGA. The outcome document mandated the creation of an inter-governmental Open Working Group, that will submit a report to the 68th session of the General Assembly containing a proposal for sustainable development goals for consideration and appropriate action. The outcome document specifies that the process leading to the SDGs needs to be coordinated and coherent with the processes considering the post 2015 development agenda and that initial input to the work of the Open Working Group will be provided by the UNSG in consultation with national governments.
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