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UNGA President Urges Agreement, Accelerated Progress on SDG Working Group

13 November: President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Vuk Jeremić, has called for Member States to reach consensus on the membership of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a speech to the UNGA Second Committee. He also stressed coordination and complementarity between the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda.

Jeremić urged States to reach consensus and begin work on the Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs.  He called attention to the failure of the five regional groups to agree on the regional distribution of seats on the OEWG and stressed the need for compromise. He reminded the Committee of the UNGA's mandate on the SDGs and cautioned that States only had a limited time left to agree on the process and begin developing a set of goals for consideration and adoption. He noted that the post-2015 development agenda was progressing on schedule and that continued delay on the OEWG was not acceptable. He further warned that if States did not reach agreement soon it would represent a serious setback and failure in the eyes of the world.

Jeremić also emphasized the need to avoid duplication on work on the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, stressing coordination and coherence between the processes. He called for all Parties to remain “on the same page” throughout the processes to address global challenges.

During his address, Jeremić identified sustainable agricultural development as a key area in which the Committee could make an impact. He highlighted several challenges that impact agriculture, including climate change, land degradation, low productivity, reduced investment and water scarcity. He said there is a strong link between development and international peace and security and called for cooperation between the Second and Third Committees on these issues. [UN Press Release]