UNGA Debate Speakers Urge Post-2015 Cohesiveness, Rio+20 Implementation

1 October 2012: Closing the 67th UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-level Debate on 1 October 2012, Vuk Jeremić, UNGA President, noted a congruence of views supporting integrated approaches for conflict prevention, peace and security, along with sustainable development. He highlighted emerging consensus on intensifying efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and noted States' emphasis on swift implementation of the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

Several leaders called for integrating the MDGs and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including S. M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs of India, and Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka. Phandu T. C. Skelemani, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Botswana, said the SDG process should be synchronized with the 2013 MDG Review. Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, said the urgency of achieving the MDGs should not be lost in the focus on articulating the post-2015 development agenda.

Carsten Staur, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, called for UNGA efforts on defining the SDGs as part of the overall post-2015 framework, establishing the high-level political forum, and upgrading the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). He supported new and ambitious SDGs that recognized human rights as a means to development and underscored the role of women. Enrique Castillo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, said defining the SDGs is an opportunity to advance globally, including on good governance and the rule of law. Peiris supported elevating SDG benchmarks and emphasizing emerging global development challenges.

On the post-2015 agenda, Wilfred Elrington, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belize, urgently recommended an agenda that reflects equal stakes in a common future, addresses the concerns of the wealthy and the strong, and meets the needs of the poor and the vulnerable. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mauritius, called for a globally coordinated transformative agenda, prioritizing reform of the international financial architecture and global economic governance, and revisiting development objectives. Krishna prioritized employment and economic growth, energy, environmental sustainability, food, health, poverty and unsustainable lifestyles. Pham Quang Vinh, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, called for strengthened global development partnerships, and urged developed countries to fulfill their commitments on capacity building and financing.

Several leaders welcomed the Rio+20 outcome document, including Yousef Bin Al-Alawi Bin Abdulla, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Oman; José Filipe Moraes Cabral, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN; and Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the UN. Joseph Bandabla Dauda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, welcomed the references to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and conflict-affected countries and expressed hope for similar solidarity in developing SDGs that consider the needs of the most vulnerable States. Staur welcomed recognition of the green economy, and called for close partnerships between civil society and the private sector to transform the global economy.

Boolell and Vince Henderson, Permanent Representative of Dominica to the UN, welcomed the reaffirmation of international commitment to support SIDS, with Boolell urging concrete actions to address their vulnerabilities. Henderson and Peiris said the outcome document fell short of expectations, while recognizing it as a platform for continued discussions on sustainable development. Winston Lackin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Suriname, expressed concern that Rio+20 did not agree on a clear commitment on sustainable development financing, especially considering climate change threats and impacts. Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, said sustained commitment was needed to realize the Rio+20 commitments.

Gaspar Martins, Permanent Representative of Angola to the UN, recommended translating Rio+20 commitments into action, particularly on climate change, drought and desertification, natural disasters and urbanization. Pak Kil Yon, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, called for implementation, emphasizing: the transfer of environmentally clean technologies to developing countries; the establishment of fair, international economic and trade relations; and fulfilment of Official Development Assistance (ODA) financial commitments, among others. [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 1 October]