The United Nations announced earlier this week the full list of countries that will form the Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. In June 2012, at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the world’s governments agreed to produce a set of universal sustainable development goals (SDGs), possibly accompanied by targets. It was decided that the UN General Assembly would set up a Working Group with the responsibility to develop these goals.
The original intent, as stated in the Rio + 20 outcome document, was for the Working Group to comprise 30 representatives nominated by Member States from the five UN regional groups. Finally, after six months of negotiations, the membership of the Group has been unveiled. The final list comprises 69 countries, grouped as 30 representatives. This was a surprise element, in that in most cases between two to four countries share a membership set.
- United Republic of Tanzania
- Nauru/Palau/Papa 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
More than 100 other UN member states will not be part of the Working Group. However, those countries will still have the right to participate actively. For example, some countries known as champions of sustainable development, such as Finland and Sweden, did not become members.
Under the agreement reached by the UN General Assembly, the regional representation is as follows:
- Africa: 7 members
- Asia/Pacific: 7 members
- LA/Caribbean: 6 members
- Eastern Europe: 5 members
- Western Europe: 5 members
The next step will be the election of the co-chairs and vice-chairs of the Open Working Group in the coming weeks. A first constitutional meeting is scheduled to take place before the end of January.
ICSU and the International Social Science Council have been invited by the UN to act as partners in ensuring input by science communities into the work of the Open Working Group.