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 Sustainable development (SD).
Response: We believe that poverty eradication, good environmental governance and
establishment of sustainable production and consumption system should be the overarching goal
of the SD. The specific goals are given below:
1. Poverty Reduction
2. Food and Energy Security
3. Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
4. Peace Building
5. Resilience Building to Hazards, Risks and Disasters
6. Social and Gender Equity
7. Sustainable Forest and Natural Resources Management with focused to Biodiversity
Conservation through Ecological Security
8. Gainful Employment to Youth
9. Universal primary and Vocational Education
10. Universal Primary Health Care
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 sustainsbility') into a number of goals with a
natural/environmental resource dimension (water, food, energy, etc.)
d. Other (please describe) Peace Building
Response: We have chosen (b) since we feel that there is no sense of having two set of goals
which will create duplications, spreading the limited resources of the member countries too thin,
and above all creating confusion in achieving and reporting both sets of goals. We do see
problems and challenges in integrating since MDGs are for developing countries and SDGs are
required to be of global in nature. Being a developing country, Nepal wishes to have a one set of
global goals – be it SDGs or MDGs at global level. In this respect perhaps MDGs after their
expiry in 2015 should be graduated into SDGs or millennium sustainable development goals
(MSDGs) since the MDGs are lacking the environmental sustainability aspect particularly the
goals to combat climate change. SDGs can be made much broader in scope and divided into
sub-goals to suit different countries according to their varying level of capacity, technologies,
and resource availability and ground reality. Developed countries can have the SDGs out of
which they may report having already achieved and provide lessons to developing countries. The
SDGs can be made all encompassing by including new changes and challenges that have sprung
up in recent years such as climate change, disaster, hunger, food and energy crisis, pandemics,
unsustainable growth and a suitable operational framework proposed. Most importantly, the
above mentioned three overarching goals should guide the revision of MDGs so that they truly
becomes MSDGs. Expanding the MDGs by incorporating environmental and resource scarcity
aspects alone will not make MDGs achieve the intent of the SDGs and ensure the environmental,
social and economic sustainability of the world. The word `sustainability’ in all its intent and
purpose must be incorporated in any MDGs or SDGs or better in MSDGs. In others, we prefer to
peace building preventing potential causes of conflict through amicable means.
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:
Response: We have chosen (c) and (e) since we feel that the problem in our country is not due to
lack of polices but the lack of their full and purposeful implementation. Therefore having SDGs
would be useful to use them as filters for measuring the impacts as well as to strike a better
balance among the three pillars of sustainable development. The goals along with the SD
indicators will help us to make sure that the intended target beneficiaries of a particular policy
are reached and that the development becomes sustainable.
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
Response: Our understanding is that SDGs will be of strategic nature and as such they will lay
down an aspiration and targets which suits the specific situations of each country according to
the capacity and resources availability. Although the SDGs are of global nature but each country
can set the target at the level it believes it can meet the achievement. For example, my country
being a least developed one as well as largely a mountainous in nature has to set the aspiration
level at lower band compared to a typical developed country’s aspiration. For Nepal, the main
goal will be to achieve the basic needs requirement of her people such as ensuring minimum
supply of food, clothing, energy, housing, health, drinking water, sanitation, primary education
to all keeping the environment sustainable and ensuring social and gender equity as per the
internally accepted level.
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.
Response: It is definitely (c). The common but differentiated approach was agreed in the Rio’92
summit itself. The subsequent MEAs, especially COP16 and COP17 agreements under the
UNFCCC and most recently the Rio+20 conferences have reinforced and further solidified this
notion. The methodology to be followed should be that SDGs will be set at strategic level and
each country’s development policy and strategy will set SDGs as targets to be achieved by
certain timeline meeting common global indicators. So for example, in case of my country, given
the resource constraint, capacity deficit, and lack of technology, the timeline will be of longer
duration compared to some fast growing economies and development and environment
parameter wider in space. However, the country will have full commitment to SDGs along with
the resolve to keep a balance among the three pillars of SD. I think the spirit of the SDGs will be
more to achieve the balance, coherence, and coordination among the three pillars and in setting
different goal aspiration level and achieving them in a balanced manner.
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, JFOI) do you
think should be incorporated - perhaps in updated form - in a proposal for sustainable
development goals? The SDGs "should be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations
development agenda beyond2015", (TheFuture We Want, paragraph246)
Response: MDG # 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 must be included in any global SDGs although some elements
remaining goals also may have to be considered. Similarly form the Agenda 21 and JPoI
dimensions such as low carbon or green economic approaches, social equity, and environmental
sustainability and good governance must be included. There are numbers of cross cutting issues
that must be also included prominent among them being sustainable extraction and use of
biodiversity and natural resources; sustainable development practices at national level that
complements regional and global sustainability. Health and energy for all, good institutional
framework for participatory and decentralized development, and gender equity and equality are
other cross cutting issues. The priority or key areas for intervention to achieve impacts at scale
are: food, water, energy, and ecological security, sanitation, and sustainable use of ocean, seas,
mountains, forests, dry land, health, education, and shelter.
7. What specific steps can be taken to ensure that the SDGs are coherent with and
integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015?
"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).
Response: The key is to have a coherent, committed and convincing policy at various levels to
work toward achieve sustainable development goals. The specific steps are first to agree on
taking overarching steps such as: global commitment to sustainable production and consumption,
good environmental governance, poverty reduction, population management, and regional cooperation.
Incentive based mechanisms such payment for ecosystem services, REDD+, global
funding to build natural and environmental commons will be the economic instruments.
`Polluters Pay’ principles should be implemented and enforced from global, national to local
levels. Resources must be made available to least developed and land locked country to organize
the capacity building, technology transfer, and means to implementation of the SDGs. Measures
have to plan to surmount the challenges such as creating green jobs and pro-poor growth, social
inclusion or inclusive development, building resilient communities and ecosystems, more
applicable science and technological solutions, south, triangular and private-public-civil society
partnerships and affordable financing mechanisms, and strengthening existing institutions and
organizations for accelerating sustainable development agenda.
8. How should assessments of progress toward the achievement of the SDGs be carried out
at the global level?
"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 248)
Response: As mentioned under (7) above, participatory, multi-stakeholder, public-private-civil
society partnership building and networking will be the key to design, implement, monitor and
assess the progress on SDGs. `One size fit all’ approach will not work and considering each
country and region’s peculiar conditions and local realities a menu of options must be develop do
implement interventions and assess progress. As they say `assessment is as good as planning of
the interventions’ and therefore each member country should develop involvement and
ownership of all the stakeholders by involving them from the A to Z step of a project. Just
involving g in assessment will only yield criticism and accusation.
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
Response: Proposal development should be preceded with idea generation and achieving
stakeholders’ agreement. The commonly developed idea will then can be developed into a
proposal by the professional as the proposal development is a technical and professional work.
But once the proposal is developed, it must be shared and suitably communicated to all the
concerned stakeholders. The SD agenda must be developed through a bottom-up process in that
the national SD agenda must be a collection and synthesis of the SD agenda and plans at subdistrict,
district, province and country levels. Civil society should be involved but the criteria
should be based on the relevance of the topic, Expertise and capacity of the civil society
organizations to contribute and track records of the civil society in their performance. But all
relevant stakeholders and potential contributors must be involved in proposal development
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);
Response: Nepal believes that the principles guiding the process of developing SDGs should be
based on: a. holistic and participatory development of the goals, sub goals and indicators; b.
inclusive in process by involving all gender, all social classes, and all stakeholders concerned; c.
equitable in its coverage and aim in that those people and regions that are poor, marginalized,
disadvantaged, and vulnerable should get the highest priority in terms of attention and
interventions; d. universally applicable but based on the sub-principle of common but
differentiated approach; and e. action, oriented, time-bound and with full financial, technical and
institutional backing for their implementation with areas needing urgent and immediate attention
should be given top priority.
11. How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around
Response: Not only global but also regional and sub-regional (including south-south; northsouth;
triangular; public-private; public-private-civil society partnership should be formed based
on the principles of a) lesson learning; b) sharing of best practices; d) enabling the least
developed member countries to `leap-frog’ in their development efforts and e) based on the
commitment to the overarching sustainable development goals of: a) poverty eradication;
environmental sustainability, and sustainable consumption and production, and equitable
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?
Response: The MDGs beyond 2015 should only continue if they enshrine sustainable
development at its heart or core; it should encompass and build on lesson learned not from the
experiences gathered by the member countries in implementing MDGs but also the lessons
gained and good practices involved in implementing some of the sustainable development
projects and programmes, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures such as NAPAs,
NAMAs, and other resilience building initiatives. It should first and foremost set goals to
maintain the global temperature below 1.5 degree (Country Stand in COP 15) Celsius by the end
of this century and transform the unsustainable brown or fossil fuel-based economy into green