Input to Questionnaire related to the development of Sustainable Development Goals
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.
(Not in order of priority)
1) Equal opportunities in education and employment;
2) Sustainable use of water;
3) Food security, and its link to access to energy and water;
4) Sustainable energy for all;
5) Protecting the biosphere;
6) Preventing desertification and soil degradation;
7) Sustainable economic growth;
8) Family planning and women's empowerment;
9) Poverty reduction;
10) Access to basic health services;
11) Urban sustainability.
2. How might the SDGs strive to balance the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development?
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
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)?
e. Helping to balance economic, social and environmental pillars in policy making
f. Guiding development 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 appropriate.)
Two options are possible:
1) By dividing countries into groups according to their development levels (using accepted measures, and measuring different sectors and goals separately, given the great diversity among countries) and measuring the degree to which goals were reached in each group.
2) By setting baseline goals for sustainable development to which each country is committed together with a parallel set of voluntary commitments that countries can take upon themselves.
In no case should countries be obligated to reach specific goals. Moreover, countries must be allowed to decide independently in which way to reach such goals.
5. The SDGs are supposed to be “global in nature”. Should targets associated with those goals be:
c. common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of development? If c., please explain how.
The targets must be country-specific – in the same way that aid should be tailored to meet the specific needs on the ground. While generalized targets for certain issues on a global level can be helpful, they will not hold the same relevance for each country. Consequently, once the global targets have been set, both donor countries and developing countries should make an assessment and set their own, more specific targets within the larger framework of the SDGs.
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 development goals?
It is important to preserve the MDGs by adapting them and integrating them into the SDGs. They must be adapted based on countries' needs and their level of development. A number of the MDGs can even be left as they are among the SDGs (such as education, health, poverty reduction etc.)
7. What specific steps can be taken to ensure that the SDGs are coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015?
8. How should assessments of progress toward the achievement of the SDGs be carried out at the global level?
By empowering the UN to create a fixed format for reporting, giving countries the responsibility to report progress in attaining goals, and preventing overlap with other reports to the UN on these topics.
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?
There are several possibilities: making the documents from UN discussions on this topic available to the public, embarking in public engagement processes (such as open web consultations), as well as including observers from civil society, the private sector and the academia in the discussions. It is also important to ask the different actors to present position papers, as these will contribute to the process. All major groups must be taken into consideration. Another possibility is to ask these bodies to contribute to the process by presenting reports on implementation.
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);
11. How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around the SDGs?
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?
It is important to make sure that the process is open, transparent and allows all countries to participate in it.