Statement by the Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of the Small Island States (AOSIS)

Informal meeting for an exchange of views on the advanced unedited version of the report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

5 February 2016

Mr. Chairman, Excellencies and Colleagues,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). We align ourselves with the statement made by the distinguished representative from the Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

We thank you for this opportunity to discuss the advanced unedited report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We appreciate the work that went into compiling the inputs from member states and stakeholders and welcome the array of views on display. As the HLPF is intended as a forum for all countries to be able to participate and learn, we welcome the wide degree of engagement and would like raise specific issues that touch on how the HLPF can best support the SAMOA Pathway.

The review architecture of which the HLPF represents the apex is a composite of multiple layers – national, regional and global.  For SIDS and as set forth in the 2030 Agenda, the SAMOA Pathway is an integral part of the overarching agenda and therefore each layer of the review should treat with the SAMOA Pathway.  At the global level, we have advocated for a more integrated treatment of the SAMOA Pathway rather than as an add on to the HLPF.  A pre session would effectively neutralize the mandate of the HLPF which is to serve as the monitoring body for the SAMOA Pathway.  Second, separating the session from the HLPF proper would reduce its visibility and curtail participation.  We consider that further elaboration will be necessary to ensure that we better capture the specific circumstances of SIDS in the context of the wider implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Therefore it remains critical for HLPF to have a dedicated space for SIDS, with the format and subject matter decided in close consultation with SIDS.

The second issue of potential concern is the treatment of themes and the impact this could have on the relationship between the ECOSOC and the HLPF.   Several issues that will have to be borne in mind include the cycle of themes, the relationship between an ECOSOC theme and its annual cycle, the potential relationship between an HLPF theme and the broader development agenda, and institutional coordination, amongst others.  As the HLPF is intended for all states members of the United Nations and states members of specialized Agencies, it is important that discussions and decisions about the HLPF be made in forums that allow for full participation.

The report effectively outlines a description of the decisions up to this point. We need also to determine how the UN system will engage or help facilitate activities associated with the follow up and review. For instance, the report mentions the HLPF thematic reviews will be supported by functional commissions of ECOSOC, but this point needs further clarification because it is unclear, which bodies and commissions will assist and how this will happen.

We also note that the report is not entirely consistent with the agreements reached in the 2030 Agenda and would like to stress that we should not be reopening these agreements in operationalizing the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. For instance, the report highlights the need for "peer review." However, when developing the 2030 Agenda's outcome document specifically this was a sensitive issue and the delicate balance reached in the document was for the potential for voluntary "peer learning". Therefore we request further clarification on this issue.

Lastly, we would like reiterate the value, particularly for SIDS, of building capacity in order to enable our collection and analysis of high-quality, timely and reliable data for the reviews. Many countries will have to be assisted by the UN system in ensuring data collection and we need to begin seeing how the HLPF and the UN system will be responsible for mobilizing this need. This "how" is not outlined in the report and needs to be part of the conversation as it is the first step for implementation in order to develop baseline data.

Thank you