India questions composition of UN panel to draft SDG report

RSTV Bureau
India has raised questions on the composition of UN panel to draft sustainable development goals as no major emerging economy like Russia, China or India is represented in the panel.

India has raised questions on the composition of UN panel to draft sustainable development goals as no major emerging economy like Russia, China or India is represented in the panel.

India has questioned whether an independent group of experts appointed to draft the global sustainable development report is “equitable”, citing inadequate representation from developing nations on the key UN panel.

Before leaving office, former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed 15 eminent scientists and experts to draft the Global Sustainable Development Report.

The experts are from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Jordan, South Korea, Switzerland and US but no representation from key emerging countries such as India, China or Russia.

“Equitable? 10 of the 15 members of UN panel on Sustainable Development are from 35-member OECD,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted, referring to the high-income economy organisation.

Endah Murniningtyas (Indonesia) and Peter Messerli (Switzerland) will serve as co-chairs of the group, which will draft the report that is a key component of the mechanism to follow up and review progress on the recently agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It aims to strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.

The next Global Sustainable Development Report will be published in 2019 and will be the first of a quadrennial series that will inform the high-level global reviews of the 2030 Agenda at the UN in those years.

When asked at the daily press briefing about whether the composition of the panel is equitable, Secretary General’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said the decision was taken by the Secretary-General in line with the mandates that were given in terms of reporting on this particular topic.

“So, he was following up essentially on the request of member states. Regarding the specific membership, the effort was made to reach out to people across a variety of regions. I wouldn’t have anything further to say about how the different members were chosen,” he said.

The UN said in a press statement announcing the panel that member states requested the formation of this independent group to draft the report in 2016, and the 15 individuals were appointed after an “extensive consultation process” with member states and relevant UN organisations.

“The group is diverse, seeking to balance a wide range of relevant scientific disciplines, expertise and regional perspectives,” the release said.