Holy See Statement to the U.N. Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Here below is the Vatican-provided statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations to the U.N. Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (New York, 24 March 2015):

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Mr. Co-facilitators,

Thank you for convening this session. My delegation is supportive of this transparent and inclusive IGN process, and we commend both of you on your leadership throughout the process. My delegation would also like to thank the Chair of the UN Statistical Commission for his presentation on the preliminary indicators. Regarding the topic of this session, my delegation would like to make a few initial comments.

First, my delegation appreciates the ambitious and compelling nature of the SDGs. At the same time, we are convinced of the need of having a transformative and action-oriented post-2015 agenda. Moreover, the SDGs must integrate in a balanced manner the three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental development – with an overarching focus on the eradication of poverty and the achievement of a life of dignity for all. It is imperative that the SDGs focus more on the needs of the most vulnerable countries, notably the LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDS, with particular attention to the sectors of their populations where poverty is most pervasive, to those regions where armed conflicts continue to block even the realization of the MDGs – and, indeed, cause further regression towards underdevelopment – and to those areas most affected by natural disasters.

Second, my delegation is fully aware that the SDGs are a carefully and purposefully crafted package to respond to the desires of the stakeholders. For this reason, my delegation does not support the technical proofing of the goals and targets, as it may lead to the re-opening and re-negotiating of what is already a politically balanced agreement acceptable to the great majority of the stakeholders.

Third, we expect to see significant results and progress if the SDGs are implemented. Such results and progress would have to be assessed and verified against indicators agreed by the stakeholders themselves. Therefore, my delegation takes note of the work of the UN Statistical Commission in providing a preliminary list of indicators for the SDGs and targets.

We further emphasize that the development of evidence-based indicators should continue to be carried out in an open and transparent manner and guided by Member States. These indicators should not upset the political balance of the SDGs, nor should it serve to impose ideas or ideologies that do not find consensus under the outcome of the OWGs.

In this regard, my delegation would like to point out that certain goals and targets are understood differently in different cultural and religious contexts and will translate differently into their national policies and legislation. We believe the indicators must take these differences into consideration and be drafted in a way that allows countries to assess their results in a way that both reflect and respect their national values, as well as is consistent with their national policies and legislation.

Lastly, my delegation strongly believes that the indicators should be global, while taking into consideration the national and regional specificities, especially different capacities. Indicators cannot be unrealistic figures that only, or not even, developed countries can achieve.

Thank you.

[Original text: English]
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