Input to Questionnaire related to the development of Sustainable Development Goals
The Rio outcome document states that the SDGs should be limited in number, and at the same time
focus on priority areas for the achievement of sustainable development.
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
1. Sustained and inclusive economic growth and job creation with a focus on youth
2. Disaster risk reduction and preparedness
3. Universal health coverage
4. Rule of law and good governance
5. Nexus between food security, water and energy
6. Education for all and quality education
7. Climate change adaptation facilitation
The SDGs “ should address and incorporate in a balanced way all three dimensions of sustainable
development and their interlinkages. They should be coherent with and integrated into the United
Nations development agenda beyond 2015, thus contributing to the achievement of sustainable
development and serving as a driver for implementation and mainstreaming of sustainable
development in the United Nations system as a whole. The development of these goals should not
divert focus or effort from the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals” (The Future We
Want, paragraph 246).
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)
The SDGs must be “ 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” (The Future We Want, paragraph 247).
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)
Please explain your choices if you would like:
The SDGs should play a reinforcing and supplementary role to national priorities,
serving as a reference for policymakers. They should help to create additional impetus
and awareness on sustainable development priorities that can further galvanize the
public to action, promoting increased connectivity to global movements and enhancing
global citizenship. They should also play an important role in encouraging support for
government efforts by promoting, for example, public-private cooperation.
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
The SDGs should be designed taking into account how different levels of development
might affect countries’ ability to achieve the SDGs. In particular, targets and goals
should be clear and specific enough to allow countries across a broad developmental
spectrum to implement steps towards their achievement, and countries that have
already achieved the SDGs to assist and contribute to such efforts.
5. The SDGs are supposed to be “global in nature”. Should targets associated with those
a. common to all countries?
b. defined by each country? or
c. common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of
development? If c., please explain how.
The SDGs must be based on Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, fully respect
all the Rio Principles, build upon commitments already made, and contribute to the implementation of
the outcomes of all major summits in the economic, social and environmental fields (The Future We
Want, paragraph 246).
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
Given that MDGs and targets as a whole are still to be achieved, they should be
incorporated in the SDGs by taking into account the extent to which each goal has been
achieved. Poverty eradication should continue to be placed high in the formulation of
the SDGs. The SDGs should also be more ambitious. For example, universal health
coverage may be clearly linked the right to the highest attainable standard of physical
and mental healthcare and access to affordable medicine.
The SDGs “should be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda
beyond 2015”. (The Future We Want, paragraph 246)
7. What specific steps can be taken to ensure that the SDGs are coherent with and
integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015?
The 3 processes -- the MDGs review of 2013, the post-2015 development agenda, and the
formulation of the SDGs -- must be implemented in a convergent manner. It may
therefore be desirable to appoint a ‘special representative’ or focal point (perhaps from
UNDP) to coordinate these three processes.
“We recognize that progress towards the achievement of the goals needs to be assessed and
accompanied by targets and indicators, while taking into account different national circumstances,
capacities and levels of development.” (The Future We Want, paragraph 250).
8. How should assessments of progress toward the achievement of the SDGs be carried out
at the global level?
In terms of practicality, UNCT can assist Member States in the assessment process,
which may take place at regular intervals. The results may then be tallied across the
globe, based on common definitions and methodologies.
“The Future We Want” states that at the outset the Open Working Group will decide on its methods
of work, “ including developing modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders
and expertise from civil society, the scientific community and the United Nations system … .” (para
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
The process to formulate the SDGs must be carried out by consulting all relevant and
appropriate stakeholders so that the SDGs receive the broadest possible support,
commitment and ownership by individual countries and the international community.
Women should continue to be empowered to take greater part in the development
agenda. Moreover, the SDGs should remain focused on what has not been achieved and
be responsive to increasingly prominent global challenges. A website on the SDGs
should be established (in the same way as that of the MDGs) so that the relevant data
can be updated and accessed easily. Furthermore, ‘civil society’ hearings could also be
organized, both in New York and perhaps more importantly by regional commissions to
elicit and promote inclusive discussions on the topic.
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) ensuring sustainability);
The most important principle that should underpin the development of SDGs is fairness.
We should avoid at all cost the temptation to politicize the process and outcome. The
process and outcome should ensure sustainability, build resilience and reduce
11. How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around
For effectiveness, each SDG can specify a role for a new Global Partnership for
Development to play on that particular SDG. By so doing, each country can voice
specific needs it deems important and necessary while the partners that comprise the
Global Partnership will know their specific roles.
12. Do you have any other observations, ideas or inputs you would like to offer to inform
the initial work of the open working group on sustainable development goals?