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UN announces list of countries for Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations has announced the list of countries that will form the Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. A total of sixty-nine countries will share thirty seats on the body charged with developing a set of goals following last year’s Rio + 20 conference.

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.

  1. Algeria/Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia
  2. Ghana
  3. Benin
  4. Kenya
  5. United Republic of Tanzania
  6. Congo
  7. Zambia/Zimbabwe
  8. Nauru/Palau/Papa New Guinea
  9. Bhutan/Thailand/Viet Nam
  10. India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka
  11. China/Indonesia/Kazakhstan
  12. Cyprus/Singapore/United Arab Emirates
  13. Bangladesh/Republic of Korea/Saudi Arabia
  14. Iran (Islamic Republic of)/Japan/Nepal
  15. Colombia/Guatemala
  16. Bahamas/Barbados
  17. Guyana/Haiti/Trinidad and Tobago
  18. Mexico/Peru
  19. Brazil/Nicaragua
  20. Argentina/Bolivia (Plurinational State of)/Ecuador
  21. Australia/Netherlands/United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  22. Canada/Israel/United States of America
  23. Denmark/Ireland/Norway
  24. France/Germany/Switzerland
  25. Italy/Spain/Turkey
  26. Hungary
  27. Belarus/Serbia
  28. Bulgaria/Croatia
  29. Montenegro/Slovenia
  30. Poland/Romania

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.

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