2015 is an important year on the international development agenda. With the UN Millennium Development Goals set to expire this year, intergovernmental negotiations are currently on-going to decide on the post-2015 development agenda through a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum), alongside the Permanent Missions of Hungary and Viet Nam to the United Nations, supported this SDGs’ development process by organising a briefing to discuss “How can Countries Implement and Monitor Sustainable Development Goals?” This briefing was held on 20 July 2015 as an official side-event for the intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda in the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

It provided a platform to share national perspectives on plausible follow-up and review frameworks based on individual country experiences. Mr DO Hung (Viet Nam) and Dr Andrzej KASSENBERG (Poland) presented two research initiatives on national readiness for SDGs’ implementation at this soft launch.

Speakers for this event included Ambassador WU Hongbo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who highlighted during his keynote remarks, “When [national governments] talk about economic growth, that’s economic growth - other government departments or ministries should not interfere. This old mind set would be the chief stumbling block in our way in the future”.

Other eminent participants included Dr Lisa Grace BERSALES, Co-chair of the Inter-agency Expert Group on SDG Indicators, and Mr Stefan SCHWEINFEST, Director of the United Nations Statistics Division. Their discussions on monitoring SDGs elucidated the importance of constructive dialogue between development specialists and statisticians in the post-2015 development agenda.