STATEMENT BY MS. JANIL GREENAWAY, MINISTER COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TO THE UN, ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA, DURING THE THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON INTER-LINKAGES AND CROSSCUTTING ISSUES, INCLUDING THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AT THE UN COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 9 May 2008)
1. Mr. Chairman, I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The themes for CSD-16 are defined by their interlinked and cross-cutting nature. The discussions we have had this week have reinforced this. For the current cluster of issues, Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Drought, Desertification and Africa, an integrated approach is vital. No single issue can be addressed without addressing the other, thus requiring a truly integrated approach, bringing together several aspects of sustainable development, multiple stakeholders (governments, civil society, the private sector) and involving an array of development planners, practitioners, policy makers. Response measures to remove constraints and barriers to implementation should therefore be multi-disciplinary, multisectoral and mutually reinforcing.
2. This integrated approach also underscores the fundamental position of the Group, i.e. that discussions on all sustainable development issues should reinforce the three pillars of sustainable development - economic development, social development and environmental protection - and the need to promote all three in an integrated, coordinated and balanced manner.
3. Inherent in this integrated approach, also, is the need to address social exclusion and inequality within and among countries, and the need for an aggressive international agenda to address the social dimension of globalization. This includes employment generation, particularly in Africa and in rural areas across the developing world, focusing on vulnerable regions, countries and communities.
4. Further, policy options and practical measures to address the gaps in implementation should include employment generation strategies that go beyond the agriculture sector. For agriculture and non-agriculture sectors, moving up the production and supply chain to higher value-added points and increasing competitiveness is crucial to realizing trade-led growth and development.
5. Mr. Chairman, pursuing sustainable patterns of consumption and production, in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and while recognizing that economic and social development is the primary objective of developing countries, is another important cross-cutting issue.
6. The barriers and constraints to achieving the Millennium Development Goals are also common to those impairing implementation of Agenda 21, and JPOI. Unleashing the potential of agriculture for development, poverty eradication and improve standards of living in rural areas; sustainable use and management of land; drought prevention and combating desertification all require efforts that go well beyond achieving the MDGs. Indeed the MDGs are among the important cross-cutting issues, however to truly register progress in the three pillars of sustainable development in a balanced manner requires the full implementation of the outcomes all major UN Conferences and Summits, in particular WSSD, and the Monterrey Consensus.
7. Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development is another cross-cutting issue with a great potential to advance progress on achieving sustainable development, in particular through the implementation of the Rio Conventions - CBD, UNFCCC and UNCCD. Synergies among the Conventions should be promoted, while respecting the individual mandates of each as separate legal entities.
8. Increasing globalization and interdependence means that sustainable development is not possible without a conducive international environment. Globalization and interdependence magnifies the impact of external factors on national sustainable development planning and implementation efforts. A number of external mitigating factors have persisted in the global economy, now compounded by new challenges, which make it even more difficult to achieve the objectives of Agenda 21 today than a decade or so ago.
9. Additionally, Mr. Chairman, trends in ODA and capital flows, including FDI, are on a downward path, and systemic imbalances in the international financial system, including the institutional architecture, persists. This trend should be reversed, since ODA and other innovative forms of financing are required to support implementation of national sustainable development strategies and programmes.
10. Climate change is a sustainable development challenge in itself, while at the same time adding to the resource limitations faced by many developing countries to achieve national development objectives. It brings a sense of urgency to the need to recommit to the Rio Principles. The CSD should ensure that discussions on climate change is placed within the proper context of sustainable development so that it does not undermine the overall discourse on economic and social development. The CSD should also serve as a forum for governments and stakeholders to renew their commitments to the Rio Principles that are central to discussions on climate change and all sustainable development challenges, old and new.
11. The role of women should also be highlighted. Capacity building strategies should target women farmers, women-headed households in rural areas and the CSD should encourage efforts in this regard.
12. In addition to the points raised in the opening statement of the Group of 77 and China on the means of implementation, the Group would like to emphasize the following:
a) The CSD should underscore the importance of the on-going process in the GA in preparation for the review of the Monterrery Consensus on Financing for Development, in recognition that Agenda 21 and JPOI will require significant increase in the flow of financial resources, including new and additional resources.
b) Technology transfer to support sustainable development, including adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; transfer of environmentally sound and clean technologies. Technologies to support sustainable agriculture, sustainable farming and rural development, to combat drought and desertification and to effect a green revolution in Africa are vital prerequisites to implementing JPOI.
c) The Group notes with concern that at no point has technology transfer been commensurate with the minimum level called for in Agenda 21. The shortfall of technology transfer and dissemination should become the focus of the international community and the UN Development System, including at the highest political level. This should include the full implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building, but should also go well beyond this.
d) Lack of progress in implementing JPOI Agreements on technology transfer is a serious priority issue. In this regard, it is imperative that the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other intellectual property laws be reviewed and revised to enhance their contribution to achieving Agenda 21 and JPOI targets. This is an issue that should be vigorously pursued in the WTO and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
e) The CSD should also identify ways for the UN development system to increase capacity building support for national sustainable development plans and strategies.
f) We urge the UN Development System and international institutions, in particular UNCTAD and the WTO, to scale-up efforts to integrate trade and development, and to put sustainable development prominently at the centre of trade policies and programmes.
g) The Group considers it important to make private sector development compatible with sustainable development, emphasizing corporate social responsibility, involving both home countries and host countries for trans-national and multinational corporations, and in this regard assessing the role of public private partnerships in achieving JPOI goals and targets.
13. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, our discussions on the six individual themes for CSD-16 have also touched on the interlinkages and cross-cutting issues, during which we have sought to emphasize the means of implementation. Developing countries cannot achieve sustainable development without the means to do so. We urge the CSD, in the coming policy year, to place greater emphasis on increasing the flow of financial resources; improving trade opportunities; increasing access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies; and increasing capacity building and development support.