Statement delivered by Hamish Cooper, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 21 July 2016.

Thank you, Mr President.

New Zealand welcomes this, the first High Level Political Forum since the adoption of Agenda 2030.

We see this as a useful opportunity for us all to take stock of where we are at, and to learn from each other.

Together, we have 14 years to achieve a very ambitious agenda – it is time now for action, and implementation.

We congratulate the 22 countries, including Samoa from our own region, which have set the ball rolling – and are providing preliminary reports on their approach.

New Zealand, like many, is going through its own process to work out how we can use the agenda to make a real difference.

We know that achieving the SDGs will require a whole of government effort - and have set up a cross-government mechanism to support decisions on how New Zealand’s efforts can have the greatest impact.

New Zealand recognises that the Sustainable Development Goals are indivisible. However, as stated more than once in the Secretary General’s report earlier this year, countries need to implement the Agenda according to their domestic circumstances and needs.

As a small state, we know that focus and prioritisation are of crucial importance.

The Sustainable Development Goals provide an important frame of reference for policy development. A combination of domestic action, international leadership on global issues, and supporting other countries through the New Zealand Aid Programme and other international cooperation instruments, will enable New Zealand to contribute to achievement of the SDGs.

At the high-level meeting on Implementation of Agenda 2030 here in New York on 21 April, New Zealand Minister for Climate Change Issues, Paula Bennett, identified issues that are of the greatest importance to New Zealanders, and where the New Zealand Government is focussing its attention.

At the global level, New Zealand will continue its leadership on issues and actions such as: o elimination of fisheries subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, along with practical support to improve returns from sustainable fishing practices, particularly in the Pacific; o eliminating inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies, along with improving access to renewable energy - in the Pacific, and beyond; o promoting an open, rules-based trading system under the World Trade Organisation, along with supporting regulatory reform and SME development in partner countries; o advocating for small island developing states, and delivering our commitments on implementation of the SAMOA Pathway for SIDS.

Through our increasing aid investments, the New Zealand Aid Programme is well-positioned to support our partners’ achievement of the SDGs through its focus on sustainable economic development, and complementary investments in education, health, governance and resilience.

We will work with partner countries to support priority targets being met in the areas where New Zealand engagement can be most effective.  We will also play our part as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum to ensure efficient contributions at the regional level from the Forum Secretariat and related agencies.

We know that we cannot achieve the agenda through government actions alone.

Already, NGOs and businesses in New Zealand are considering how their work contributes to achievement of the SDGs, and are engaging productively with government agencies.

Through a joined up approach, New Zealand will continue to prioritise efforts to meet the high level of ambition set out in Agenda 2030.

Thank you very much.