Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

The UN General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) had 30 seats which were shared by a group of 70 Member State representatives. The creation of the OWG was mandated by the Rio+20 Outcome Document, tasked with preparing a report containing a proposal on a set of SDGs which address the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environmental, economic) in a balanced way. The OWG's final report was completed in July 2014.

The below diagram provides a timeline of OWG’s Programme of Work:

OWG timeline latest

OWG member states

The Open Working Group was formally established in January 2013 – four months later than the deadline set in the Rio+20 outcome document – by Resolution 67/555 of the UN General Assembly. The delay was due to the difficulties in reaching agreement on the 30 representatives that should comprise the Group. Member States eventually decided to institute a innovative, constituency-based system of representation comprised of 70 Member States who share 30 seats.  

Each of the 30 seats of the OWG were shared by 1 to 4 countries, usually with these countries coming from the same UN regional group.  It was the responsibility of each grouping to decide how they would be represented during each of the meetings. It was common practice for members of each grouping to rotate for each meeting.

It is worth noting that although the OWG had the official task of preparing the report on SDGs; representatives of other Member States – those with no seat in the OWG – could still participate and speak on behalf of their countries at the meetings of the OWG.

Member states were represented in different groups within the Open Working Group:

African Group

Asia-Pacific Group

1. Algeria/Egypt/Morocco/Tunisia

2. Ghana

3. Benin

4. Kenya

5. United Republic of Tanzania

6. Congo

7. Zambia/Zimbabwe

1. Nauru/Palau/Papua New Guinea

2. Bhutan/Thailand/Viet Nam

3. India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka

4. China/Indonesia/Kazakhstan

5. Cyprus/Singapore/United Arab Emirates

6. Bangladesh/Republic of Korea/Saudi Arabia

7. Islamic Republic of Iran/Japan/Nepal

Latin American and Carribbean Group    

Western European and Others Group

1. Colombia/Guatemala

2. Bahamas/Barbados

3. Guyana/Haiti/Trinidad and Tobago

4. Mexico/Peru

5. Brazil/Nicaragua

6. Argentinia/Plurinational State od Bolivia/Ecuador

1. Australia/Netherlands/United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

2. Canada/Israel/United States of America

3. Denmark/Ireland/Norway

4. France/Germany/Switzerland

5. Italy/Spain/Turkey

Eastern European Group

1. Hungary

2. Belarus/Serbia

3. Bulgaria/Croatia

4. Montenegro/Slovenia

5. Poland/Romania

Rob Wheeler on development within planetary boundaries
Philip J. Vergragt at the 5th OWG session on sustainable consumption and the role of the consumer
Pincos Chavez at the 5th OWG session on sustainable energy and the SDGs
Alanna Hartzok on inequality and financing sustainable development
Mary Gilbert on the alternative measurement indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals
Jessie Henshaw on environmental awareness for Sustainable Development Goals measurement
Norine Kennedy on the need for a human rights-based approach for the Sustainable Development Goals
Áine O'Connor on poverty eradication and sustainable development
Ambassador Jean-Francis R. Zinsou (Benin) at the 5th OWG session on poverty eradication & the SDGs
Jeffery Huffines on the High-Level Political Forum and the Sustainable Development Goals
Carmen J. Gimenez on the design of the Sustainable Development Goals
Celine Paramunda on social justice and equity and the Sustainable Development Goals
Jan van de Venis on Human Rights as the backbone for the Sustainable Development Goals
Dr Amalle Daou on maternal mortality as an indicator for inequality