Speech by Minister Pekka Haavisto at ECOSOC, High Level Segment

General Debate, New York, 7 July, 2014

Mr. Chairman, excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,>

The world has changed significantly since the MDGs were agreed. To tackle the old and new challenges we need innovative thinking and new partnerships – commitment of all actors. The lives of 7 milliard people of this planet depend on these decisions. I hope this gives us courage to agree on things that may not always be easy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We cannot separate sustainable development from poverty eradication. Without sustainable development it is not possible to eradicate poverty and without ending poverty, sustainable development cannot be reached.

This means that all development needs to be inclusive and happen within planetary boundaries. As we know causes of poverty are multiple and many times interlinked – and require holistic solutions.

Issues like climate change, deforestation, pollution, peace and security, poor management of natural resources have direct links to poverty eradication.

As stated by the High-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 agenda, in the future no one should be left behind. We need to make sure that the needs of all groups of society - regardless of their e.g. sex, place of residence, ethnicity, religion and level of income - are addressed.

Reduction of inequalities is one of the central challenges of the post-2015 agenda. Leaving women, men, children, indigenous peoples, minorities or persons with disabilities outside development efforts isa denial of their human rights but it also reduces the contributions that these individuals can make to economic and social development.

We need to embrace a human rights based approach to development, which not only entails reviewing carefully what our objectives are, what we define as development, but also paying close attention to how we promote development.

A human rights based approach is about honouring the commitments that we, the Member States and the international community have undertaken.  

Therefore the principles of non-discrimination and equality have to be reflected throughout the post 2015 agenda. Targets should always be accompanied by complementary mechanisms for integrating equality concerns.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Peaceful societies are a specific focus for Finland when preparing the post 2015-agenda. This is also included in the current mandate of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (2011-2015) that Finland is co-chairing.

Also sexual and reproductive health and rights should figure prominently in the new development agenda. They affect directly individuals’ lives, especially those of women and girls, their wellbeing and, as a consequence, the development of the whole society.

Environmental dimension of MDG’s was not as strong as many would have wished for. Now we have an opportunity to correct this and ensure all three dimension of sustainable development are fully covered. In particular I consider ensuring access to water and sanitation as a basic human right that belongs to all.

Ladies and gentlemen,

While I strongly maintain that we in developed countries must keep our commitments on ODA, we need a renewed and more systematic attempt to put all financing sources to work in the service for sustainable development and poverty eradication.  

ODA will remain important, even if its share is decreasing in the overall development finance architecture. We must improve the effectiveness of development cooperation and promote a more enabling environment for development.

The Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing continues its work on time-table and in a constructive, practical and action-oriented atmosphere. The final report of the Committee is to be submitted to the Secretary-General by 15 August. I expect  it to make a significant contribution to the formulation of a holistic and integrated financing framework that helps to realize the sustainable development agenda beyond 2015.

The real value of the report will be only measured by its implementation. The political process should lead into mainstreaming sustainable development in national policies and priorities, and integrating the sustainable development financing in national economic policy and budgets. In this work, we need to put emphasis also on the coherence of policies.

Global problems require global solutions and common will, but the implementation can only take place at the national level, with national ownership and accountability based on country specific conditions.

Thank you!