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Third session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
1 Jun 2013 - The intergovernmental Open Working Group (OWG) on sustainable development goals (SDGs) held its third session from 22-24 May 2013 at UN Headquarters in New York. The session focused on food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, desertification, land degradation, drought and water and sanitation.

The co-chairs of the OWG, the Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Hungary, stressed that “we need a common vision going forward.” They outlined this vision as “transformative change for sustainable poverty eradication and universal human development, respecting human dignity and protecting our planet, mother Earth, living in harmony with nature for the well-being and happiness of present and future generations.”

Elaborating on the key aspects of this vision, the co-chairs highlighted that it requires transformative change in which the SDGs build on but also deepen and go beyond the MDGs, surpassing business-as-usual and achieving poverty eradication that is sustainable. They underlined that this vision is human-centred, and also emphasised that in order to make poverty eradication and human development irreversible, the three dimensions of sustainable development need to be addressed in a balanced manner.

The third session of the OWG featured a combination of keynote addresses, panel discussions and interactive debates. The first hour of each of the three days was dedicated to meetings between the co-chairs and representatives of Major Groups and other stakeholders. The co-chairs described these conversations as very constructive and said that many of the concerns and proposals raised at these meetings were reiterated by Member States. A small number of side events were also held. The concluding remarks by the co-chairs that outline the main points made during the session can be found on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Statements, presentations and recordings from the session are also available on the platform.