4 April 2014

Interventions by the Delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran

On 19 Focus Areas as clustered by the Co-chairs

At the 10th Session of the OWG

31 March to 4 April 2014 , New York

 بسم الله

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful


General Comments on Methodology:

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        I would like to express my appreciation to the co-chairs for explaining their purposes on clustering the 19 focused area and stressing that this should not prejudge the final setting of goals and targets;

–        Also, needless to say that the guiding principles over the work of this OWG and the designation  of goals and targets would be the Outcome Document of Rio+20;

–        Unfortunately, the same unwanted problem of Silo approach which was one of the major deficiencies of the MDGs is repeating itself, though in a different format; it seems that this problem is now going to be transferred from the Goals to the Targets; we should be cautious and devise goals in a package or basket like approach, so that the organic inter- linkages among them would hinder them to be evaluated separately, and the three pillars of SD are also addressed in a balanced manner;

–        We should do our best to work on concrete and internationally agreed terminologies, and not engage in a lengthy consultation process over the most suitable agreed terminologies. I would like to say that it is not the intention of the OWG to develop a new glossary, so we are better of to stick to the agreed languages;

–        Additionally, we are not here to micro-manage the goals and targets, therefor the respect for national sovereign rights and cultural diversities of countries is of utmost importance;

–        My last point is that we shouldn’t suffice to having a focus area on MOIs numbered 18, and do not elaborate the MOIs under each and every focus areas;

Cluster One : Poverty Eradication; and Promote Equality

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        On Focus Area One: Poverty Eradication

  • We think that the wordings of “absolute” or “relative” poverty in Targets a and b are not internationally defined and we should avoid such terminologies;
  • There is no qualitative nature in a and b, when they address to poverty eradication and my delegation believes that the problem of purely numeric approach is present here, and it is upon us to develop different perspectives as the one mentioned by Romania about “welfare” or others, so that different elements would be captured in defining “poverty”;
  • Although there is a broad  agreement on the necessity of having a nationally defined “social protection”, however, there is no internationally agreed “social protection floors”; therefore proper reference in this regard should be used in Target c and the rest of this document;
  • In Target d, there is vague reference to “associated rights” where it is referring to productive assets; my delegation maintains that we are not in the stock-taking phase and should avoid general and non-measurable references  throughout the text;
  • The issue of data collection is also an issue that we should deal with in almost all focus areas, however we need to develop an internationally agreed method for such data collection, and it is not just for evaluation or monitoring, but also to know from where it is supposed to begin;

 –        On Focus Area 12: Promote Equality

In the cluster 1, we can see that just Targets a and b, are purely taking about the poverty eradication and the rest are somehow social aspect of it and related to equality; this is also true for most of other focus areas as well; so, my delegation believes that if the targets related to equality, as cross-cutting issues, are to be streamlined throughout the text, and there might not be a need for having it as a standalone goal.

Cluster TWO : Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Education; Employment and Decent Work for all; Health and Population.

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        We are so glad that under this cluster not only the unfinished business of MDGs but also enhancing them;

–        At the beginning of the process there were a very strong resistance on the part of many countries and groups to the issue of Human Rights based approach. To my understanding when this approach is embodied in actions mentioned under different focus areas of this cluster, it is better understandable as “Development Rights approach” which might be less controversial. On the same vein, my delegation proposed to add the phrase of “right to development” in the focus areas related to economic issues and “right to having a decent life” in the focus area related to poverty eradication.

–        During the discussions from the beginning of this session, the way that proposals are presented, infer the notion that there might be a re-classification of the text as if that the co-chairs have presented Goals and Sub-goals, and the interventions are about the Targets. I’m not sure it is the intention of co-chairs, however we are ready to constructively engage in any formulation deemed to be appropriate.

–        Mr. Co-chair, I do not want to repeat the point I have raised in my earlier interventions about the necessity of elaborating MOIs under each and every focus areas.

–        To be more specific, on the focus area 5:

  • We believe that consistent with the targets c , d and e, target f should also be talking about “equal participation opportunities” , since we are not going to embark on quota-setting.
  • On target g, we believe that there is a strong support for ending child and forced marriage, however since the word “early” is not clearly defined internationally, my delegation’s suggestion would be to delete this word, unless as I have said earlier, we want to create a glossary for this text that would be acceptable, which I don’t think so;
  • On target i, we also believe that the proper terminology is to have this “sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights” subject to “in accordance with the ICPD”;
  • With regard to target j and the issue of disaggregated data, my delegation once more stresses on the need for the development of a unified method with clear elements for data collection.

 –        On focus area 3, I have two more points:

  • On target a, we believe that since there is no internationally agreed framework for “universal health coverage” and it is mainly tailored based on national circumstances, policies and priorities, my delegation also believes that by bringing “achieving” at the beginning, it would be better reflected in the text.
  • Nowadays, the issue of health and spread of disease do not know any boundary, therefore my delegation proposes addition of one target which refers to “trans-boundary cooperation mechanism through exchange of early-warnings, risk reduction, knowledge and know-how sharing”.

 –        On focus area 4, I also have two comments:

  • There seems to me that targets a and d are substantively referring to the same thing. Anyway, we are flexible on this.
  • Additionally, it seems to me that all the targets are one way or other national based ones. So, on the same line as mentioned by Benin, on behalf of the LDCs, there is a need to craft a language on the transnational cooperation in education, vocational and skills as proposed by Benin.

 –        On focus area 11, I have just one general caution and that is:

  • If we look at, for example, targets a and b, we can see that it is referring to “promoting full employment” through macroeconomic policy. It a concern of my delegation that by bringing the second part of the phrase, we are too much getting engaged in mico-management, that is solely under the authority of national governments. Therefore my delegation believes that we should avoid sending such signals throughout the text, especial in targets a and b.

Mr. Co-Chair, I just want to reiterate that my delegation maintains that the target of MOIs under each and every focus area should be more tangibly elaborated.

Cluster THREE : Water and Sanitation; and Sustainable Agriculture, food security, and nutrition

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        I have just one points on Focus area 6, water and sanitation, and that is:

  • Target f is about enhancing effective water governance, which  as a part of  “management of natural resources” we think should be seen under the sovereign rights of countries.

Cluster FOUR : Economic Growth; Industrialization; Infrastructure; Energy

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        As general points:

  • We would like to reiterate that there is a need to have a reference to “the right to development” in all such economic focus areas.
  • There is no doubt that there are certain overlapping among some targets under these focus areas, which might be streamlined. However, we believe that having a standalone goal on each every focus area under this cluster, which are very important for the economic development of countries, is a necessity;

 –        On Focus Area 8: Economic Growth

  • In the previous version of the Focus Areas, there were a good introduction referring to the international systemic issues including the international financial and economic situation, which is not properly captured in the targeted point;
  • In this regard, we believe that the in Target a, we must add “at the international level” at the end of the line;
  • On the same vein, we must add “at the national and international levels” at the end of Target b;
  • On Data Collection, I would also like to reiterate the necessity of developing a unified method;

 –        On Focus Area 9: Industrialization

  • My delegation believes that the issue of “localization of production of tradable goods” should be added to the text and in this regard we propose to add a new target as “Localization of Industrial Productive Capacities for Tradable Goods”;

 –        On Focus Area 10: infrastructure

  • My delegation proposes to add a new target as “Provision of Infrastructure for the production, transit and consumption of means of energy;

 –        And on Focus Area 7: Energy

  • My delegation believes that in terms of technologies the attention should not be paid solely to the “consumption” part of the energy cycle, which encompasses production, transit and consumption (upstream and downstream), therefore we propose Target b to be read as “deployment of cleaner, including environmentally friendly energy technologies at all stages of production, transition and consumption of energy;
  • On the “phasing out the inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” my delegation believes that we should not be that specific and refer to just fossil fuel subsidies, but to have a general reference to “fuel subsidies” which is a rampant issue among the developed countries. Additionally, even such reference is not the honest reflection of what has been mentioned in para 225 of Rio+20; in the first part of that para is reaffirms the commitments that countries made in this regard, and in the second part of the para it invites the others “to consider rationalizing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”. Therefore, the point raised in the Rio is just an “invitation”, and just “rationalizing” not phasing out.

My last point is that the Targets from f to i would be sub-classified as under Target j (appropriate means of implementation”.

Cluster FIVE : Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements; Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production; and Climate

At the outset, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        On a very General Note:

  • Many of the Targets mentioned under the Focus Areas are very important and extremely great to be classified as Goal-able issues, however I am wondering how they might be measureable as well; and, we fully rely on your capable handsin addressing this controversy;

 –        On Focus Area 13: Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements, I have two comments, as following:

  • We believe that for the sake of having limited and focused targets, we can agree to having Targets a, d, e, f, g, and j;
  • on the same line, we believe that Targets b and I, as well as c are adequately addressed respectively under the focus areas related to infrastructure and SCP; and Target h would be merged to Target g;

 –        on Focus Area 14: Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production

  • My delegation also along with many other countries believe that this is a very important focus area which demands having a standalone goal;
  • Additionally my delegation believes that five Targets b, c, e, h and m are the ones that we have to capture them under this Focus Area; 
  • My delegation maintains that other Targetsare adequately addressed under other focus areas.

 –        On a very general comment on “Education”, we can witness that the issue of education is raised under many focus areas; one way to get out of repetition and streamlining the text would be to have a Target under the Focus Area related to Education, and refer to all fields of required attention therein, and avoid repetition.

 –        On Focus Area 15: Climate

  • My delegation reiterates a general point it has raised during the stock-taking sessions, which the OWG should not prejudge or preempt the other UN related existing processes, that is this time UNFCCC.
  • On the same vein, the Target a is something that is or has to be defined by UNFCCC;

And other Targets mentioned under this Focus Area is also sufficiently addressed under other Focus Areas, namely: Targets b and e under “Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements”; Targets c and d under “Energy”; and Target f, as I have said earlier should come under “Education”.

Cluster SEVEN : Means of Implementation/ Partnership for Sustainable Development

At the outset, as usual, I would like to associate myself with the statement made by Bolivia, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; I would also like to add a few points in my national capacity as following:

  • Much has been said about the extreme significance of this cluster as the actual means for the embodiment of the all the Goals and Targets;the fact is that we might not be ambitious enough if we are not transformative in practice; and from that perspective, the necessity for having this focus areaas a standalone goal and a cross-cutting target under each and every other focus areas, is more understandable;
  • In addition to the previous interventions and proposals, my delegation has four more proposals to be added under this cluster:
  1. Focusing on the importance of International enabling environment, my delegation believes that having a sound, transparent, open, and rules-based trading system is of very high importance, however we the “international financial system” should also get enough due attention. In this regard, and considering the point that it is not capture in any other clustering, we propose the addition of a separate goal entitled “enhancing comprehensive reform of the international financial system”.
  2. Additionally, recent history of international financial and economic crisis shows that in addition to the significant place of international financial and trading systems, the trans-boundary effect of certain financial and economic policies and practices is also of high importance; therefore, my delegation proposes addition of a specific target entitled “enhancing accountability of countries for the trans-boundary negative implications of their financial and economic policies and practices”
  3. My third point is related to the importance of economic institutional capacities of countries; this area can include a broad range of issues including Data Collection, Tax Collection, Efficiency and Accountability at all levels, even participation of private sector and civil society; therefore, the concrete proposal in this regard would be, to add a separate goal on “promoting a facilitation mechanism for the economic institutional capacities”
  4. And, finally, Mr. Co-Chair, My delegation believes that in order to address the technological gap and facilitating technological cooperation, and in order to avoid getting enmeshed in the old trap of MDGs in terms of lacking concreteness, there is a dire need to have a separate goal under this focus area entitled “establishing a facilitation mechanism for the transfer of clean and environmentally sound technologies”

Cluster EIGHT : Peaceful and Non-violent Societies, Rule of Law and Capable Societies

As usual, I would also like raise a few points in my national capacity as following:

–        There is no doubt about how important the issues of peaceful societies, rule of law and capable societies are for any kind of development, and my delegation’s intervention under this cluster does not mean that they are not important for us, but we believe that they should be dealt with in a proper and specified manner under other focus areas, or at the proper place and by proper bodies with sufficient mandates.

 –        At this stage, I would alsolike to remind that the Non-Aligned Movement made an Intervention in the meeting of February 7th, elements of which are not captured sufficiently in this focus area;

 –        If we take an overall look at the targets mentioned under this focus area, and if they are to be kept as general as they are now, one might get that they, in one way or another,not only encroach the mandates of different UN bodies, but also gobeyond the mandate of this group as to have a balance approach on the three pillars of sustainable development; to my delegation, in order to have each goal better defined under a developmental theme, it should become as cross-cutting concrete proposals under each other focus areas;

 –        Additionally, it is interesting that out of 25 targets mentioned under this cluster, only two or three namely “rule of law at all levels” and “reducing illicit arms transfer and trafficking” are referring to aspects beyond national level, and the rests are focusing on national level, which full adherence and respect to the purpose and principles of the UN Charter, as well as the Rio principles especially CBDR, should be strongly taken on board;

–        Another point is that a lot of work has been done at the multilateral and civil society levels on how to monitor and evaluate the implementation of issues under this cluster. However, there are certain substantive and procedural difficulties in how to capture them here in the UN, as a universal inter-governmental body, whatare internationally agreed methodologies and frameworks to begin, to measure, to monitor and to evaluate them with?

–        Finally, references to “public access to publicly owned information”, “inclusive and participatory decision-making”, “strengthening local governments” and “rule of law at all levels which we believe the proper reference would be“at national and international levels”” should be qualified in the sustainable development context under every focus areas, otherwise they are general and vague enough as to be construed as transgression to sovereign rights of countries, and to be rejected there and then.

 I Thank You Mr. Co-Chair.


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