Input to Questionnaire related to the development of Sustainable Development Goals
Cyprus is part of the submission made by the European Union and its Member States.
1. Please list a limited number, preferably between five and ten, of the important priority areas
that must be addressed through the SDGs to contribute to the achievement of sustainable
Cyprus considers that the SDGs should address and incorporate the social, economic and
environmental dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced, holistic, coherent and
synergistic way, while capturing inter-linkages and cross-cutting issues. SDGs should be focused on
priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development, being guided by the Rio+20 outcome
In this respect, SDGs should capture key global challenges in the years to come while at the same
time bring together the three dimensions of sustainable development. Furthermore, the SDGs
should be global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, limited in number, actionoriented,
easy to communicate and linked to concrete targets and indicators. In this context, the
SDGs could also encompass the multidimensional nature of well-being, looking beyond GDP
measures and taking into account the broader concept of measuring the quality of life.
It is also very important, when considering themes for the SDGs, to take into account the progress in
achieving the MDGs and, therefore, to also reflect the least achieved ones, in 2015. The work on the
SDGs in combination with the review of the MDGs will provide the opportunity to ensure coherence
within an overarching, comprehensive and ambitious post-2015 agenda that will be the reference
framework for developing common, interlinked and mutually reinforcing policies on sustainable
development, development cooperation and peace and security.
2. How might the SDGs strive to balance the economic, social and environmental pillars of
a. Reflect social, economic and environmental dimensions within each SDG,
possibly through the associated targets
b. Integrate the MDGs, suitably modified/updated for post-2015, into a larger
sustainable development framework
c. Expand MDG7 (‘environmental sustainability’) into a number of goals with a
natural/environmental resource dimension (water, food, energy, etc.)
d. Other (please describe)
(a) Reflect social, economic and environmental dimensions within each SDG, possibly through the
It is very important for each SDGs to have a holistic approach to the three pillars of sustainable
development, as appropriate (possibly at target level), since in practice there might be a tendency to
have separate goals on environment, social and economic aspects. In this respect, it is critical to
make use of the expertise of stakeholders and experts from all related backgrounds (e.g.
development, environment, social policy and employment, economy).
At the same time, the contents of SDGs should also give high consideration to the content of MDGs,
taking into account the outcome of the 2013 MDG Special Event. In this respect, the relation
between SDGs and the current MDG7 should be looked into in order to consider how aspects of the
MDG7 which will still be relevant after 2015, can be reflected in future SDGs. Furthermore, aspects
relating to other MDGs and the links between them might also need to be reflected among the
future SDGs, taking, however, into account that each SDG should in principle seek to encompass all
three dimensions of sustainable development.
3. Based on your experience with MDGs or other existing goals, what would be the key use of
SDGs for your country (select at most two)?
a. Defining national policies
b. Influencing national budget allocations
c. Reviewing the impact of national policies
d. Addressing key pressure leading to unsustainability
e. Helping to balance economic, social and environmental pillars in policy making
f. Guiding development cooperation
g. Other (please describe)
All above mentioned intents could be complementary to each other rather than alternative.
However, from a national perspective SDGs are expected to be mainly used for (e) Helping to
balance economic, social and environmental pillars in policy making and (d) Addressing key pressure
leading to unsustainability.
4. How can “universally applicable” SDGs be made practically relevant for countries at different
levels of development? (Please refer to your country’s situation as appropriate.)
In order to ensure that SDGs are universally applicable, their thematic areas should be broad and
relevant to all countries. They should cover priority areas that correspond to the key global
challenges in the years to come, in the face of which all countries need to further enhance their
resilience and which need to be addressed since they can threaten social cohesion and welfare,
economic development and environmental sustainability and constitute a prerequisite of social and
economic development. Thus, the underlying concerns captured by the SDGs should be common to
However, different goals could have different implications for different countries, depending on
their, capacities, circumstances and characteristics, such as the level of development. In this respect,
particular attention should be paid to the poorest and most fragile countries. Thus, SDGs should be
guided by the principles of mutual accountability, respect for national ownership and shared
responsibilities. In addition to considering differences between countries, SDGs should also be
flexible and adaptable to consider diversity within countries, e.g. important variations within
societies, risks of growing inequality or exclusion to be tackled within countries, etc.
5. The SDGs are supposed to be “global in nature”. Should targets associated with those goals be:
a. common to all countries?
b. defined by each country? or
c. common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of
(c) common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of development
As mentioned under question 4, the approach to be followed should aim, on one hand, to ensure
overall coherence and progress towards sustainable development for the world as a whole, and on
the other hand, to ensure ownership, commitment and accountability to goals and targets at
In order to ensure the latter, even through SDGs should clearly be common for all countries, their
associated targets and indicators should be flexible in order to capture national circumstances,
particularities, needs and priorities set by the countries themselves, so that they can be measureable
and useful at national level.
6. Which existing goals and targets (e.g., MDGs, goals/targets in Agenda 21, JPOI) do you
think should be incorporated – perhaps in updated form – in a proposal for sustainable
The formulation of SDGs should be coherent with existing intentionally agreed goals and targets,
such as biodiversity, climate change, social inclusion and social protection floors and others. At the
same time, the SDG process should not be used to renegotiate existing goals and targets, which
should maintain their relevance and integrity, but rather support their implementation and
achievement. Regarding the MDGs, and since the Millennium Declaration will continue to be
relevant after 2015, the Special Event on the MDGs’ Review in September 2013 will be important to
indicate if and which MDGs should be reflected, in some way, in the future SDGs.
7. What specific steps can be taken to ensure that the SDGs are coherent with and integrated into
the UN development agenda beyond 2015?
With regard to the post-2015 development agenda, it is important to pursue the three dimensions of
sustainable development in a balanced and synergistic manner and to promote policy coherence for
development so as to avoid having two different agendas: one on development cooperation and one
on sustainable development.
In parallel, as agreed in the Rio+20 outcome, the SDGs can contribute to the achievement of
sustainable development and serve as a driver for implementation and mainstreaming of sustainable
development in the UN system as a whole.
Therefore, the Millennium Declaration, the Busan Declaration, the Rio+20 outcome document to
which the SDGs are linked and other related UN agreements can all together and in coherence
provide an overarching, comprehensive and ambitious foundation for the post-2015 development
agenda, where poverty eradication, together with well-being and securing the means of livelihood
for future generations, should be a central objective.
Finally, in order to achieve coherence and integration between the SDGs and the post-2015
development agenda, it is also important to ensure opportunities for the timely interaction of the
two processes. To this end, it will be critical for the OWG on SDGs to present a first report as early as
possible and in time to be considered both by the first High Level Political Forum-HLPF (that should
be the body to follow-up on SDGs) and by the Special Event on the Review of MDGs, which will both
take place in September 2013.
8. How should assessments of progress toward the achievement of the SDGs be carried out
at the global level?
It is necessary to ensure that progress towards the achievement of the SDGs be assessed and
accompanied by appropriate measurable targets and indicators, while taking into account different
national circumstances, capacities and levels of development, and without adding unnecessary
reporting burdens. To this end, a sound monitoring system, at country- and at HLPF-levels, is
essential to ensure effective implementation. It is also important to secure common standards for
methodology that will be used for monitoring progress so as to ensure accountability, meaningful
assessments, fruitful interactions between countries and commitment to progress.
Therefore, there is a need to urgently proceed with the preparation of a relevant set of indicators in
conjunction with the new GDP indicators in order to assign the targets and monitor the progress
achieved during the implementation period. Particular attention has to be devoted on indicators
related to economic and social inequalities as a basic prerequisite for achieving a real sustainable
and balanced progress.
9. What measures should be taken to make the process of developing a proposal for SDGs
inclusive and participatory? How should civil society and other relevant stakeholders be engaged?
In order to ensure a process which is inclusive and participatory, all interested countries should be
able to actively take part in the works of the OWG and be able to contribute with proposals, ideas
and recommendations. The process should, thus, be as transparent as possible. It is also very
important to establish a process open to all stakeholders; the work of developing the SDGs
throughout its different stages, should be informed by research-based evidence and expert analysis
and inputs from the broadest possible range of stakeholders. Finally, the input and support to be
provided by the UN system and ensured by the UNSG should also be an essential contribution to the
10. What principles should underpin the development of the SDGs? (the UN TT report, for
example, recommended adding (i) reducing inequalities and (ii) promoting human rights (iii)
SDGs should address and incorporate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of
sustainable developments in a balanced, holistic, coherent and synergistic way.
From a practical point of view it is very important to focus on reducing with the aim to eliminating
social and economic inequalities in order to ensure sustainability. Human rights, together with good
governance and rule of law, should be viewed as pre-condition and at the same time as end-goals for
all aspects of sustainable development. Finally, peace and security is another important precondition
which can link and reinforce the three dimensions of sustainable development.
11. How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around the
The architecture of the post-2015 development agenda will have to pay due attention to the fact
that a future Global Partnership for Development should aim to promote sustainable development
encompassing all three dimensions, with peace and security fully taken into account, and must
reflect new global and national realities, while accommodating for the continuing special needs
particularly of poor and fragile countries, i.e. LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.