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
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).
a) Poverty reduction and food Security
b) Sustainable social and economic infrastructure
c) Health Equity
d) Universal primary and secondary education
e) Adaptation, Financial Mechanism, Capacity Building, Technological Development and
Transfer and mitigation to Climate Change
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).
Reflect social, economic and environmental dimensions within each SDG, possibly through
the associated targets
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)
a. Defining national policies
b. Influencing national budget allocations
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.)
Every nation faces differing challenges and thus the need to adhere to the principle of Common
But Differentiated Responsibilities. To be relevant universally, the goals could benefit from a
stepped approach where by at the top level the framework identifies a number of universal
principles that all countries policies should adhere to. At a second level ,the framework should
allow for targets to be country specific
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).
Common but differentiated depending on country characteristics and level of development
The targets of the SDGs can be differentiated depending on country situation by setting a single
goal which is branched into different categories that pertains to coutries at different development
stage for example, For most developing countries, basic access to essential natural resources
(such as clean water) is the priority. For middle-income countries, however, efficient resource use
is the main challenge. Developed countries, in turn, must change their lifestyles if the global trend
of environmental degradation is to be reversed.
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
The SDGs “should be coherent with and integrated into the United Nations development agenda
beyond 2015”. (The Future We Want, paragraph 246)
Agenda 21 and JPOI provides a framework for the identification of priority areas. As such goals
should be based on these outcomes.
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).
The SDGs should not be made to fit into the Secretary General’s concept note or UN development
Agenda, but should be driven by priorities as articulated by Member States. SDGs must be defined
first before the Secretary General comes up with a UN development agenda. SDGs should
harness thepositives of the MDG experience and reintroduce an approach to development that
recognises the inter-linkages and interdependency of economic ,social and environmenal
development as well as a recognition that the problems we face today are universal in nature and
therefore requires a universal approach . Bottom Up approach to identifying priority areas of SDGs
to address the shortcomings of MDGs is important.
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)
The SDGs progress assessment should be done using targets and indicators tailor-made to suit
different coutry’s context, the indicators should be qualitative and quantitaive,clear,time bound and
transparent. In this regard, the role of the Secretary general is to consolidate reports from member
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 RIO+20 outcome document emphasises an inegrated and participatory approach. Civil society
and other stakeholders should be engaged through consultations and enabling their active
participation through their representatives. It is also imperative that the process whould include the
communities ie the groups that are conventionally marginalised. Each nation should undertake an
inclusive participatory process.
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)
As highlighted earlier on, the SDG should be guided by the principles defined in the RIO+20
11. How should a new Global Partnership for Development be constructed within or around the
Any new Global Partnership for Development should be underpinned by already agreed principles
as enshrined in the 1992 Rio Declaration, JPOI, and RIO+20 Outcome document.
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?
The SDGs should adhere to the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR),
which would take into account the current capacities of individual nations along with historic
contributions to environmental degradation and under development, particularly when determining
obligations and targets at the national level.
Furthermore, long-term social and economic improvement will need closer attention to be paid to
the environment. Lastly, whereas MDGs focused on developing countries, SDGs need buy-in from