December 2022 - You are accessing an archived version of our website. This website is no longer maintained or updated. The Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform has been migrated here:

Printable version
New Zealand
Input to Questionnaire related to the development of Sustainable Development Goals

    Download original submission
    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.

    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).

    New Zealand comment

    New Zealand proposes the following areas be addressed:

    In the economic development sphere:-

    • Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security
    • Sustainable Fisheries (the “Blue Economy”) (also linked to the environmental sphere)
    • Sustainable Energy encompassing access to modern energy services, and
    Renewable Energy (addressing also the need for Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform)
    • Disaster risk reduction (including disaster preparedness)
    In the environmental sphere (closely related with the economic areas listed above):
    • Oceans
    • Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience (focusing in particular on the
    link with disaster risk reduction)
    • Biodiversity
    In the social development sphere:
    • Education
    • Health
    • Democratic Governance, and the Rule of Law (including building safe and secure
    • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

    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
    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).

    New Zealand comment

    New Zealand proposes that the SDGs should comprise goals that holistically address the
    three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental,
    recognising the linkages between them. They should focus on the key priority areas for
    global action to achieve sustainable development over the coming decades. Our initial
    thinking is that a similar simple format should be used as for the Millennium Development
    Goals (MDGs), supplemented by practical and measurable targets and indicators (see
    further below).

    The SDGs need to be integrated into the post-2015 UN development agenda.
    New Zealand’s present view is that there will need to be successor goals to the MDGs -
    aimed at further reductions in poverty. Key elements from the SDGs relating to sustainable
    development may be able to be integrated into the MDG successor goals. However, the
    overall objective should be a coherent and complementary set of goals regardless of what
    they are called, and all with practical and measurable targets and indicators.

    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:

    New Zealand comment

    Points relevant to New Zealand

    e. Helping to balance economic, social and environmental pillars in policy making
    f. Guiding development cooperation

    The MDGs have been instrumental in rallying, focussing and better measuring efforts to
    reduce poverty, largely because they are simple and enjoy universal support. They have
    also been a powerful communication tool and a successful global brand. They have
    influenced the framing of development cooperation programmes by donors and national
    development strategies by developing countries.

    SDGs have the potential to do the same and, as they will be applicable to all countries
    whether developing or developed, we envisage that they would both shape our approach to
    policy making, ensuring the economic, social and environmental factors are considered, and
    extend beyond our own national planning to the nature of our support for national planning in
    partner countries.

    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.)

    New Zealand comment

    As noted in response to question 3 above, New Zealand would contextualise the SDGs in
    relation to challenges of sustainable development that we face as a nation. Our developing
    country partners would do likewise, determining their priorities and the targets which they
    wish to strive for in the short to medium term in much the same way that countries such as
    Viet Nam did following the articulation of the MDGs when they developed their own national
    Vietnam Development Goals (VDGs).

    5 The SDGs are supposed to be “global in nature”. Should targets associated with those
    goals be:

    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).

    New Zealand comment

    New Zealand considers that the targets associated with the goals should depend on country
    characteristics including, but not limited to, the level of development. All countries can do
    more to ensure sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. For
    example, it is clear that the focus of effort on energy in New Zealand where we enjoy
    substantial access to renewable sources of hydro energy will be different to that of small
    islands developing states that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for energy.

    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?

    The SDGs “should be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda
    beyond 2015”. (The Future We Want, paragraph 246)

    New Zealand comment

    Where there are existing goals and targets that have not been achieved and remain relevant
    for the global community, these should be considered in devising SDGs, and their targets
    and indicators. Remaining goals and issues such as the challenges facing our oceans,
    diversity of marine resources, fish stocks and the like should be considered for incorporation.
    There may also be new challenges that need to be addressed in particular contexts. As
    noted above, New Zealand considers that the SDGs themselves should use a broadly similar
    format to the MDGs, simple and focused enough to become a global rallying point, and
    supplemented by practical measurable targets and indicators that ensure effective
    measurement of progress.

    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).

    New Zealand comment

    The processes relating to the SDGs and the broader post-2015 UN development agenda,
    including the Secretary General’s High Level Panel, will need to be brought together, with
    some sort of intergovernmental process being required. In our view the 2013 high level
    review of progress with the MDGs would provide a useful opportunity to map out the way
    ahead. By then the High Level Panel will have reported and the SDG working group should
    be well underway, also hopefully taking relevant recommendations of the Panel into account.
    In addition, decisions on establishment of the High Level Forum on Sustainable Development
    agreed at Rio will be made in the first part of 2013, including whether the Forum should be
    part of the Economic and Social Council, with the Forum’s first meeting also due to be held in
    September 2013. While decisions on the post-2015 UN development agenda need to be
    taken by the General Assembly, longer term we would see the Forum having an oversight
    role. At the operational level, bodies of the UN system will need to integrate relevant SDGs
    (and other aspects of the post 2015 development agenda) into their work programmes as

    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

    New Zealand comment

    While global monitoring and reporting is essential, this should be aggregated from
    information available from country and/or region levels as and when it becomes available
    through normal statistical processes. The approach envisaged for the monitoring of Busan
    commitments by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation has
    considerable merit. Analysis of progress should draw on perspectives from each of the
    communities mentioned in Rio paragraph 248.

    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

    New Zealand comment

    It is important that the SDG working group process is inclusive in order for its
    recommendations to gain broad support. Like the states that are not represented on the
    SDG working group, the nine major groups which participated in Rio need to have an
    opportunity to contribute to the process. This could be done by allowing them to make
    written submissions (including perhaps preparing responses to a focused questionnaire such
    as this). The working group should hold some meetings that are open to all where it gives an
    update on progress and where states and major groups have an opportunity to make
    comments or suggestions.

    Lessons could be learnt from the establishment of the Global Partnership for Effective
    Development Cooperation arising from the 2011 Busan Conference. Although focused
    particularly on development cooperation, it is unites a wide range of state and non-state
    actors including developed and developing countries, international and regional institutions,
    parliamentarians, local government, civil society and the private sector in a partnership that is
    broader and more inclusive that ever before.

    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);

    New Zealand comment

    As already noted the SDGs need to be focused and limited in number allowing a global
    rallying point, with practical measurable targets and indicators.

    The UN Task Team’s report said that the post-2015 development agenda should build on the
    values outlined in the Millennium Declaration and around three fundamental principles: respect
    for human rights, equality and sustainability. New Zealand agrees that these are all important
    values. However, further consideration is needed as to how these values should be integrated
    into both the SDGs and the post-2015 agenda. We expect the High Level Panel will address
    being addressing this cross-cutting issue.

    10 How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around
    the SDGs?

    New Zealand comment

    New Zealand acknowledges that the goals and targets of the current MDG 8 (“develop a
    global partnership for development”) were too imprecise to ensure strong accountability from
    the whole international community. Lessons should be learnt from this experience in framing
    future global partnerships for development. Assessing the need for a new global partnership
    would require careful consideration of a range of issues such as the governance and
    institutional arrangements around the SDGs as these are relevant to implementation.
    Enhanced policy coherence at different levels would be an essential element of any future
    partnership or other governance arrangements.

    This is not, however, just an issue for the SDGs but one which has relevance for the post-
    2015 development agenda generally. Since the MDGs were formulated there have been
    many changes to the international development architecture, and many new actors have
    appeared. For example it will be important to learn lessons from the Busan Global
    Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation as an innovative, though as yet untested,
    alliance of different actors.

    It will also be important for the second working group to come out of Rio to be established
    soon so that its work can proceed in tandem with the SDG working group. The mandate of
    the second group is “to propose options on an effective sustainable development financing
    strategy to mobilise resources” which will be key to implementation.

    11 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?

    No further comment.
United Nations