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Reflection on the OWG and SDGs

As I reflect in the middle of the 11th meeting of the SDG OWG on what should be the direction from here I find myself thinking it might be better to be slower rather than faster. As we expect the zero draft out for Friday.

Let me explain my thinking a little bit more.

Focus Areas

First: We arrived at this OWG meeting with the Focus areas reduced from 19 to 16 with the combination of a number i mentioned in my previous blog.

"New Focus area 8: Economic growth, employment and infrastructure – is a combination of old Focus area 8 – Economic growth, old Focus area 10 on Infrastructure and old Focus are 11 on Employment and decent work for all. The New Focus area 9: Industrialization and promoting equality among nations – is a combination of old Focus area 9 Industrialization and old Focus area 12 on promoting equality."

What became clear is that some leading countries were not yet ready to combine areas and felt that the combination created an imbalance between the social, economic and environmental areas of the goals.....on reflection I think they may be right. What has been great about the SDG OWG so far is that we and i mean most governments and also stakeholders have journeyed along the same path.


This week will have seen the number of targets under each focus area increase and the question is what should the OWG do once it has its zero draft for the next two meetings. Should the OWG slim down the targets or work on improving them before slimming them down next year? I ask this question because we are entering a very critical time and it may be better to give governments and stakeholders the autumn to reflect on what has been suggested before the targets slim down. This would enable a consultation process, a reflection on whether the targets being suggested actual are the best and that they deliver the goal that is being suggested.  

I think that the approach of these next two meetings should be to indicate where there is more support for particular goals and targets and where more work defiantly needs to be done. This way all the members of the SDG OWG  and stakeholders could move forward together

Means of Implementation and an  Enabling Environment 

An area that hasn't had the work done on it that needs extra time is the Means of Implementation under each goal this would be worth exploring and might need informal meetings to move it forward. What would be really interesting is to put relevant MOI sections under each goal.
These could include;

  • Capacity Building
  • Technology sharing
  • Knowledge Banks
  • Education
  • Training Governance
  • Financial resources
  • Information  for Decision Making

Informals and Stakeholders

This does not need to mean that stakeholders will be excluded from the meeting. In 1997 the President of the UNGA Ambassador Razali of Malaysia championed that stakeholders should be in the informal informal meetings of the GA preparatory process for Rio+5 UNGASS. As stakeholders had already participated in the CSD the GA for these informal sessions and main sessions operated under CSD rules. Some NGos were invited to speak at the request of the chairs of the in

In the 1999 GA  established an open-ended informal consultative process in order to facilitate the annual review by the General Assembly, in an effective and constructive manner, of developments in ocean affairs. It agreed for the involvement of stakeholders. "In accordance with the rules of procedure and practices of the General Assembly, the format of this informal consultative process should ensure the opportunity to receive input from representatives of the major groups as identified in Agenda 21, in particular through the organization of discussion panels;" So again it is not unusual to engage stakeholders in GA informal process. 

We understand that the EU will have a statement ready on the 28th of May. ....a little late....and  a good idea?


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