The process is now getting underway to organize the work on Sustainable Development Goals among the member states of the UN. An Open Working Group has been established after months of debate about how it would operate. Originally to be formed in September of 2012, it has taken a further six months to even agree the composition of the group. It is an unwieldy 70 countries sharing just 30 seats. The complications in agreeing the composition underpin the challenges of the coming negotiations, but the fact that so many countries wanted a seat is an indicator of the interest in the topic.
Ultimately, the Sustainable Development Goals process will need to marry with the Post 2015 process by next year. The fact that the Post 2015 process is so much more advanced may mean it takes the lead in describing the UN’s goals. However, it is clear the environmental agenda which was weighted more heavily in the SDG and Rio processes is crossing over to the people-focused development agenda to influence Post 2015 discussions.
The list of member states is below. For we Canadians, it is interesting that we are grouped not only with the USA in a North America regional group, but also Israel – possible outcome of our nation’s vote on Palestine in December. Of course, Iran, Japan, and Nepal is an even more interesting grouping.
Membership of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Nauru/Palau/Papua New Guinea
- Bhutan/Thailand/Viet Nam
- India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka
- Cyprus/Singapore/United Arab Emirates
- Bangladesh/Republic of Korea/Saudi Arabia
- Iran (Islamic Republic of)/Japan/Nepal
- Guyana/Haiti/Trinidad and Tobago
- Argentina/Bolivia (Plurinational State of)/Ecuador
- Australia/Netherlands/United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
- Canada/Israel/United States of America