Consultations on Revised draft of Ministerial Declaration

The co-facilitators held consultations on the 2017 Ministerial Declaration of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) High-Level Segment and the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on 20-21 June 2017.

The revised draft stresses the need to build national capacities for follow-up and review. Unlike the zero draft, it does not refer to the establishment of an interagency task force to provide further policy guidance towards national efforts to enhance policy integration for achieving the SDGs. It encourages countries to implement fully the Paris Agreement on climate change and to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession as soon as possible, while stressing the importance of strengthening disaster risk reduction and early warning systems. There are also paragraphs on the thematic goals under review.

SDG 3 on good health and well-being: the revised draft stresses the need to step up efforts to combat communicable diseases, to strengthen preparedness to respond to epidemic outbreaks, and to promote investment in scientific research and innovation to meet health challenges.

SDG 5 on gender equality: notes the “mutually reinforcing links” between the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of all women and girls and the eradication of poverty, as well as the need to ensure an adequate standard of living for women and girls throughout the life cycle. It also calls for implementing all other SDGs in a manner that delivers results for women and girls.

The negotiations were carried out mainly in groups – with Egypt speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 (G77) and China, the European Union (EU) and CANZ (Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Other countries that participated actively included Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, USA, Armenia, Switzerland (sometimes with Liechtenstein) and Norway. 

The following comments were among those made on key paragraphs related to health and gender equality:

Paragraph 12 on SDG3

G77 and China referred to greater access to health care through increasing investment, as well as to significant remaining challenges such as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), hepatitis, and water borne diseases, as included in paragraph 26 of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The final sentence on biodiversity and ecosystems was also highlighted.

CANZ + Japan noted rights as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which has been highlighted by the UN General Assembly since the previous HLPF. It could be added without listing conferences


EU called for strengthen interlinkages between health and the environment and for inclusion of the human rights approach to health. Among emerging issues and challenges, they noted AMR; lack of access to services; health needs of older people; and access to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).

US was mostly pleased with the references to interlinkages and supported universal access to WASH.

Norway agreed that link between health and environment should be made, and that health is not only a product of the health sector but also air and water, referring to WASH and indoor pollution.

Israel  said that malnutrition should be included and at the end of the paragraph epidemic response should mention both animal and human epidemics.

Mexico asked that catastrophic diseases, eg HIV and cancer, should be highlighted.

Leichtenstein supported the inclusion of the  human rights based approach to health.

Russia said that targets 3.5. on substance use and alcohol and 3.6 on traffic and road safety were missing and should be added. They opposed the proposal to include ‘human rights based approach to health’.

Holy See did not wish to single out targets and support JCANZ to focus on issues rather than targets. They are also not in favour of human rights approach to health, and the 2030 Agenda approach should be used instead.

Mexico supported the efficient and effective investment in health.

Para 13 SDG5

G77 and China prefer an acknowledgment that violence against women (VAW) is a persistent challenge and reaffirmed taking action to prevent VAW through strengthening of legal, financial etc measures. They stressed the important contribution of financial inclusion and financial literacy for women. 

CANZ + Japan supported the G77’s suggestion on financial inclusion. VAW should be highlighted in paragraph 4 rather than in paragraph 13.


EU said that the Declaration should speak more about human rights and equality of woman and girls, while mentioning the persistence of gender stereotypes. They noted that “multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination” should apply to all women and girls and recognized the special challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities.


US also wished to refer to human rights rather than basic rights, and suggested small tweaks to the language on women and girls with disabilities.


Norway wished to see human rights instead of basic rights. The economic dimension, in the context of lack of equal economic rights and access to resources, should be strengthened (CSW61).


Israel agreed to the change basic rights to human rights, as well as with Japan and CANZ on gender and decision making and with G77 on financial inclusion and financial literacy.

Mexico highlighted discussing women in the economy

Leichtenstein said that the role of men and boys and harmful stereotypes should be mentioned(CSW61 language) and the disproportionate burden of unpaid care. They support human rights over basic rights and mentions of economic rights and moving VAW to paragraph 4.

Russia wish to keep basic rights from Agenda 2030. They support G77 on financial inclusion and financial literacy.

Holy See was happy to consider CSW61 language.

Comments from some Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS)

EU Disability Forum supported the increased references to disability in second draft and encouraged increased strengthening. Effects of poverty reverberate beyond disabled person to family and generations.

Women’s Major Group stressed the urgency for Member States to take concrete and measurable actions that respect, promote, and fulfill the human rights of all people in all their diversity, while paying particular attention to the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations, including all children, adolescents, youth, girls, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics, is critical.  

Addressing the gender and human rights dimensions of each goal and linkages between goals is central to realizing the promise of the SDGs. Without women’s and girls’ human rights including those of transgender and intersex women, and the empowerment of all women and girls at the center of our collective work to implement and monitor implementation of the SDGs, we will fail to take advantage of this moment before us. Women and girls cannot and simply should not have to wait any longer for the global community, including Member States, to address the multiple and intersecting forms of patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination and systemic barriers that exacerbate human rights violations, marginalisation and vulnerability of women and girls of all ages and diversities.

The Women’s Major Group believes that essential areas for action include:

Taking a democratization and human rights-based approach to SDGs implementation. We disagree that human rights should be confined to the purview of the 3rd Committee. The SDG framework is designed to be integrated horizontally across the UN. These negotiations today represent the issues of all 6 Committees of the General Assembly and not just the 2nd Committee. This intention mandates recognizing human rights, including the rights of free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and women and girls in all their diversity; ensuring safety of all women human rights defenders, including those who are particularly targeted such as environmental defenders and lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intesex human rights defenders; safeguarding bodily autonomy, including the rights of intersex children to be protected from non-consensual surgical interventions and women and girls to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality; ending violence against women and girls; and enhancing respect for girls and women of all ages, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights…”

Children and Youth said that the interlinkages should be expanded between the frameworks eg new urban agenda, disaster risk reduction. They also discussed the need to refer to partnerships that are sensitive to human rights the context of public/private partnerships and pointed out HLPF is larger than 2030 Agenda.

Together 2030 like the stronger language and inclusion of reference to three pillars of sustainable development, as well as the inclusion of putting the most behind first.

Stakeholder Group on Ageing emphasized addressing those that are left the furthest behind first. On SDG3 they suggested that the last sentence should read “inclusive health systems that apply a life course approach” and on SDG the adding of older women who face multiple and intersecting discrimination

The facilitators will share a new text on the morning of Tuesday, 27 June, with negotiations taking place on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 June. This text will be the final text.

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