National Voluntary Reveiws
Review of Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Norway and Turkey
Statement by His Excellency Thoriq Ibrahim
Minister of Environment and Energy
New York, 18 July 2016
It is my great honour to be a discussant at this inaugural session on voluntary national reviews at the high-level political forum (HLPF), and from the onset I wish to commend the 22 countries that have chosen to participate in this year’s review process.
We look forward to hearing from each one of them with the hope that we can learn from their experiences thus far and where possible assist them through the sharing of our experiences.
I congratulate the Governments of Georgia, Madagascar, Norway and Turkey on being bold and ambitious in their presentations, presenting their challenges and initial successes alike for us to learn from them.
Coming from a small developing island state, I am quite aware of the challenges and limitations small island states will encounter as we strive to achieve the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. However, noting from these presentations today, the journey is also difficult for our more developed partners.
One thing the mandate of the 2030 Agenda of “leaving no one behind” has highlighted is that we all, whether developed or developing, have work to do, and that that work has to be done both nationally and internationally, as this Agenda speaks to a collective outcome and not an individual accomplishment as with the MDGs. For at the end of our journey in 2030 if anyone is left behind we have all failed.
Noting that developed countries are perhaps at a better starting point with regard to implementing the 2030 Agenda, it was heartening to hear that they too struggle with some of the basic challenges faced by us, which I think will facilitate a more in-depth analysis, ultimately resulting in more sustained resolutions. And I believe hearing your experiences on initial challenges and how they have been approached would be helpful.
We note the similarities in the approach taken by the countries presenting here today. There have been a move to localise the SDGs into existing national development plans, or to form national sustainable development plans. There is also a clear focus on prioritisation, as they relate to national priorities and challenges. I agree that, this not undermine the universality and indivisibility of the Agenda in itself, but that for different country contexts different issues will become priorities over others. We also note the establishment of institutional mechanisms as coordinating bodies or overseeing bodies for the implementation and monitoring of progress. These are all good practises that other countries, and certainly Maldives, will be learning from.
We also note that there has been recognition of the challenge of coordination at the national level. The Agenda, while broad in scope and encompassing a wide range of issues, above all, mandates a new mind set, a new way of approaching issues. We need to work to eliminate the silos within the international community in approaching issues, and most certainly this silo- approach needs to be eliminated at the national level as well. Our government agencies need to learn to work together, recognising the inter-linkages between our mandates. And this will be an on-going challenge.
Partnerships will play an invaluable and critical role in the facilitation of the implementation of Agenda 2030 for my country Maldives, and for SIDS. However, these partnerships must not be at the sacrifice of meeting ODA obligations or replacing it altogether. I was happy to hear our developed partners outline as part of their strategies - meeting their ODA obligations, along with continuing to support developing countries.
On the latter, it is important that this assistance and support is closely coordinated and in-line with the recipient country to ensue, in this country-led Agenda, that the recipient’s priorities are being advanced. Therefore, we believe it will be more beneficial if donors do not set rigid narrow scopes for the partnerships, so as to be better able to show flexibility to the recipient country’s priorities, while keeping its obligations and faith to its own tax paying citizenry.
Some of the upfront challenges of Maldives and other SIDS, stem from the lack of capacity, especial on baseline data, data collection, analysis and disaggregation, and also ensuring all stakeholder ownership of the Agenda. The latter is especially challenging for SIDS due to our remoteness and highly dispersed populace, with limited to no grassroot entities, such as civil societies, to facilitate the process of reaching the most vulnerable among us. Investing in data and data capacity will be important moving forward, in all countries as the SDG Progress Report that will inform our discussions at the HLPF would be formed by the data presented under the indicators.
In closing, developed countries should assist the vulnerable states by reinforcing in the various fora, they are privy to, the importance of aligning policies, whether in trade, financing, etc, to that of the UN, so as to ensure across the board coherence and consistencies with the more holistic approach to sustainable development and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you.