Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals & Our Issues

The 13th and last session of the Open Working Group (OWG–the group formed after Rio +20 to write the Sustainable Development Goals–SDGs) came to an end on July 20, after intense discussion and adroit diplomacy on the part of the talented Co-Chairs, Kenyan Ambassador Kamau (right) and Hungarian Ambassador Körösi (left). While most delegations and observers were not cochairscompletely satisfied with the final proposal containing 17 goals and 169 “targets” under the goals, it was generally acknowledged that the proposal represented the best outcome that could be hoped for, based on the Group’s 16 months of work. But even as exhausted delegates and stakeholders left UN Headquarters on Saturday afternoon, many were already looking ahead to the next steps in the process. The OWG’s proposal on SDGs will now be submitted to the UN General Assembly for consideration as part of the broader post-2015 development agenda that is to be adopted in late 2015. There is still another year’s worth of negotiations before the proposed SDGs are adopted by the General Assembly, along with the rest of the development agenda that will supplant the Millennium Development Goals.



UNANIMA has been very actively lobbying for language on water and trafficking in the SDGs.

Water: After an intense, up-to-the-last-minute effort by the Mining Working Group (the NGO group which has been working on getting language about Water as a Human Right) the words “right to water” were finally inserted into paragraph 7 of the introduction.There is a goal on water and sanitation (#6), and we were hoping to get the language into the goal itself. We feel that the goal as it stands fails to establish a hierarchy of water use that prioritizes human and ecosystem well-being, and lacks guarantees for participation, non-discrimination, and accountability. But getting the language in at all is due to the tireless efforts of governments that championed this language: Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Italy, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Spain, and Uruguay, and is a victory for all of us who advocated for the inclusion of human right to water and sanitation in the SDGs text.

Trafficking: In some of the most recent editions, trafficking was mentioned under “peaceful societies” in the context of “organized crime”—as part of a long list of crimes that included the use of endangered species of animals! We felt that trafficking is not just a function of organized crime, and suggested several other places where we thought it might better be mentioned. Now it is under “gender”—specifically under “eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls” (#5.2). That’s better but not perfect–of course we would like it to reference all children. We’ll keep working on it.

Here are links describing the process and providing the entire outcome document …