OWG Co-Chairs Compile 19 ‘Focus Areas’

owg21 February 2014: The Co-Chairs of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have assembled a list of 19 'Focus Areas' for consideration by Member States as they seek to identify SDGs and accompanying targets. In a letter accompanying the Focus Areas, released on 21 February 2014, Macharia Kamau (Kenya) and Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary) write that further action in these areas is necessary to build "prosperous, peaceful and resilient societies that also protect the planet."

The document includes 19 focus areas summarizing views expressed on each issue during the first eight sessions of the OWG, which took place between March 2012 and February 2013.

The focus areas are: poverty eradication; food security and nutrition; health and population dynamics; education; gender equality and women's empowerment; water and sanitation; energy; economic growth; industrialization; infrastructure; employment and decent work for all; promoting equality; sustainable cities and human settlements; sustainable consumption and production; climate; marine resources, oceans and seas; ecosystems and biodiversity; means of implementation; and peaceful and non-violent societies, capable institutions. The focus areas included in the document are not exhaustive and do not preclude inclusion of other issues, note the Co-Chairs.

In their letter, the Co-Chairs recall that in the course of the discussions to date, the Group has emphasized that "eradication of poverty, inequitable development within and among states as well as protection of the environment are amongst the most pressing sustainable development challenges facing humankind in this century. The Group also reflected on the challenges that most states are facing due to inadequate means of implementation needed to achieve sustainable development."

This document is provided in order to “start the process of building consensus," and does not constitute a “zero draft” of the report that the OWG will submit to the UNGA at its 68th Session (by September 2014), according to the Co-Chairs. Kamau and Kőrösi also note that they will “at an appropriate time, and in light of discussions in the Group, provide a more concise document.”

Finally, the Co-Chairs state that the methods of work used in the OWG to date shall continue to guide the process. The OWG will next convene on 3-5 March 2014, in New York, US (OWG 9). [Focus Areas Document] [Letter of Co-Chairs] [IISD RS Coverage of OWG]