Switzerland presents initial steps towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Bern, 19.07.2016 - New York, 19 July 2016: at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the United Nations in New York, Manuel Sager, the director-general of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), presented Switzerland's initial steps towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This is the first time since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 that the HLPF, tasked with reviewing the implementation of the global Sustainable Development Goals, is convening at the UN in New York. Switzerland is one of the first countries to present the initial steps taken at national level. From 11 to 20 July 2016, the participants will discuss a total of 22 national reviews and the first global progress report.
The Swiss delegation is being led by Manuel Sager, the director-general of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), whom the Federal Council also named as a state secretary for this conference. In addition to members of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs/SDC, the Swiss delegation includes representatives of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), of the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), and of civil society (Alliance Sud), the private sector (Swiss Sustainable Finance) and the Federal Parliament (National Councillor Claude Beglé, Vaud).
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development comprises 17 specific objectives (the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs), ranging from ending hunger and poverty to achieving gender equality, ensuring the availability of water and access to healthcare and promoting peaceful societies. The international community is to achieve these SDGs by 2030. The 2030 Agenda was adopted at the special United Nations summit of heads of state and government held in New York in September 2015 and is a lynchpin for fostering economic development, promoting human well-being and protecting the environment at the global, national and local levels. In addition, it incorporates aspects such as peace, the rule of law and good governance, which are fundamentally important to sustainable development.
The Agenda's global goals can only be effectively implemented in practice if they are accompanied by an effective review mechanism. This is why Switzerland has strongly backed the HLPF. The successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda hinges on contributions by non-government actors from civil society and the business and scientific communities. For this reason, the Swiss delegation led by SDC director-general Manuel Sager includes representatives of civil society, the scientific community and the private sector as well as representatives of various departments of the Federal Administration.
The value added of the HLPF is that it provides a joint platform for government and non-government actors, enables them to exchange their experiences and interconnects the global, national and local levels.
With a view to the implementation of the SDGs in Switzerland, on 18 December 2015 the Federal Council assigned the SDC and the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) – as the federal department responsible for implementing sustainable development at national level – to launch the implementation and further investigate the situation during a transition phase from 2016 to 2017. In addition, institutional responsibilities and processes will need to be clarified, current progress with implementation will need to be checked and any gaps identified, and an appropriate system for monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda will have to be created.
By presenting its initial steps towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Switzerland can help to shape the international debate and intergovernmental coordination. Early in the preparations for the 2030 Agenda, Switzerland was quick to launch a dialogue about its implementation and review and therefore also assumed an active role in the parallel negotiations on development finance. Switzerland actively contributed to the section on monitoring and reviewing implementation requirements, coordinating for this purpose a supraregional group of seven countries that managed to convince the other countries of the need to establish a watertight review mechanism.
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