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.
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.
Macroeconomic Stability and Climate Change. Macroeconomic Stability should feature prominently in SDGs given the recurring debt crisis the world over and a fundamental recipe for sustainable economic growth. Mitigation and adaptation issues for Climate Change need to be at the centre of the global developmental agenda.
How might the SDGs strive to balance the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development?
Reflect social, economic and environmental dimensions within each SDG, possibly through the associated targets
All countries have an overarching plan-many have long-term vision incl. of goals and guiding principles on strategic areas based on each country’s priorities. Secondly, there is a need to secure ownership of their current National Planning Process at the same time implementing strategies to improve the processes.
Integrate the MDGs, suitably modified/updated for post-2015, into a larger sustainable development framework.
There is a need to improve the monitoring & evaluation processes of SDGs in particular the setting of achievable targets and performance indicators that are realistic and time-bound.
Expand MDG7 (‘environmental sustainability’) into a number of goals with a natural/environmental resource dimension (water, food, energy, etc.)
As mentioned in (1), with the advent of Climate Change, these issues are to be re-looked holistically and not in isolation from the others.
Other (please describe)
Time-frames are crucial including the need to demonstrate effective vertical and horizontal linkages;
The need for in-country consultations at all levels; and
The need for donor harmonization and effect support from bilateral and multilateral partners.
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)?
Defining national policies
Influencing national budget allocations
Reviewing the impact of national policies
Addressing key pressure leading to unsustainability
Helping to balance economic, social and environmental pillars in policy making
Guiding development cooperation
Other (please describe)
Please explain your choices if you would like:
B & F.
In B, it is imperative that our national policies are benchmarked against the global developmental agenda taking into account practical targets that are achievable whilst being mindful of resource challenges.
In F, fulfilling B would mean prepositioning ourselves to engage development partners in a well co-ordinated, coherent framework to meet our developmental needs. This has to be sequenced with donor harmonisation and draw relevant synergies to avoid duplication and misalignment of priority settings.
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.)
There is no “One Size Fits All” since countries are at different levels of development. There is a need to integrate the unique vulnerabilities associated with sub-regional groupings within the UN system (i.e. PSIDS) in the SDG Framework since the country-level comparison is too diverse and fragmented. Small island countries in the Pacific can be submersed in the UN puddle.
The SDGs are supposed to be “global in nature”. Should targets associated with those goals be:
common to all countries?
defined by each country? or
common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of development? If c., please explain how.
C is the most practical option. The principle of common but differentiated responsibility should apply.
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 development goals?
We are of the view that all goals in MDG/Agenda 21 and JPOI should be retained since the development issues are still relevant in the current day & age. However, in the means of implementation, and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, there is a need to minimise bureaucracy and streamline processes for greater access to finance and technological/knowledge transfer. This will assist least developed and developing countries to achieve their respective MDG, Agenda 21 and JPOI targets. Political/financial commitment should be forthcoming from the developed nations.
What specific steps can be taken to ensure that the SDGs are coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015?
Consultation between key stakeholders is imperative to be undertaken at local, national, sub-regional, regional levels to ascertain the efficacy of SDGs. The consultation process and mode must be acceptable to the stakeholders at large to minimize risk and political influence. This will ensure ownership, effective and timely implementation of SDGs in post 2015.
How should assessments of progress toward the achievement of the SDGs be carried out at the global level?
Assessments to be carried out at national, sub-regional, regional levels for targeted intervention purposes and at the same time re-look at capacity issues and ability to effectively implement the SDGs. Having said this, the civil society and other interest groups can provide the monitoring oversight for full accountability and transparency.
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?
Civil society and other relevant stakeholders are to be involved at all levels of consultations in national, sub-regional and regional discussions on SDGs. The point of emphasis that needs to be inculcated is that these players are an integral part of the process and be part of the decision-making machinery of SDGs in any one country.
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);
Most of these universal principles are already embedded in the UN scheme of things. The MDG, Agenda 21 and JPOI principles combined should form the basis of SDG principles including that recommended under the UN TT report.
How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around the SDGs?
This should be constructed around SDG as opposed to that arrangement under MDG simply because a Framework is needed to entice all countries and multilateral development partners to have binding commitments on Means of Implementation issues with appropriate time/completion-bound targets. It has to be a stand-alone arrangement with appropriate oversight for full accountability and transparency.
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?
For Fiji, most of the priorities under the thematic areas covered in the Rio+20 outcome document are already adopted by Ministries/Departments, but are at different levels of implementation.
Despite these efforts, there are still mounting challenges that we need to overcome. These include human resource constraints and the access to the much needed technology and financial instruments to effectively implement our National Development Plan (incorporates the principles of National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS)).