Statement of Iceland at Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to transmit the post-2015 development agenda to Summit

Statement of Iceland at Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to transmit the post-2015 development agenda to Summit

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Nikulás Hannigan, Deputy Permanent Representative, Mission of Iceland


Honourable President.

At the outset allow me to thank Ambassadors Kamau and Donahue of Kenya and Ireland, as well as the delegation of Hungary, for the sound management of the processes that have resulted in this historic outcome document. Under their excellent leadership we have managed to finalize our work well ahead of the Summit. Iceland is also grateful for the invaluable contributions of the Major Groups, as well as individuals such as Ms. Amina J. Mohammed.


Mr. President.

Iceland has, even since the preparatory stages of the Rio+20 documents, focused on contributing to the substance areas of gender equality and the sustainable management of natural resources.

In the Outcome document, we have some good language on natural resource management and the importance of sustainable fisheries for food security. Science based management of marine resources is fundamental to food security and economic and social development. The management of natural resources has become even more important given the seriousness of land and soil degradation.  


The Rio+20 outcome document is one of the key parent documents to the one we have transmitted to the Summit. It has fuller text and will need to be taken into consideration when interpreting the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets. The goals and targets were written with the aim of being concise and easily understandable to the public. This is positive, but has resulted in text that in some places is a mix of previously agreed language and new text. Therefore, regarding the connection of this document to other processes, Iceland sees paragraph 58 of the outcome document as crucial, as well as paragraph 55.


Mr. President, regarding gender equality and human rights, Iceland is pleased with the many positive aspects of this document. However, regarding target 5.a Iceland has consistently pointed out that conditioning certain women´s rights to national law is inconsistent with our commitments from the Beijing platform for Action and the overall spirit of the post 2015 agenda. We also believe it falls well below other existing international agreements and commitments with regard to women´s economic empowerment. Furthermore, this target is inconsistent with target 1.4, according to which everyone – including both men and women - is to enjoy these rights. It is therefore our understanding that target 1.4 prevails.


Similarly, we are disappointed with the phrase in target 5.4 of “as nationally appropriate” as we believe that recognizing and valuing unpaid care and domestic work is a universal challenge and addressing it will underpin the achievement of the goal of achieving gender equality.


Finally, Mr. President, Iceland regrets that the proposed date for reaching target 3.6 on road traffic accidents was not amended to become 2030 as in other targets. We have explained our worries that this potentially unrealistic target year could result in lack of enthusiasm if not reached in time. Whatever happens, we urge the international community to keep on working towards this target until we reach it.


Mr. President, I thank you.

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