STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. SACHA LLORENTTY, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, AT THE 11TH SESSION OF THE OPEN WORKING GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS, ON "POVERTY ERADICATION, BUILDING SHARED PROSPERITY AND PROMOTING EQUALITY" (New York, 5 May 2014)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. We would like to thank you for your work, we acknowledge that the Open Working Group has reached a critical juncture in the process to finalize SDG goals and targets, which is expected to be completed by July.
3. Therefore, the Group would like to strongly emphasize the importance of better reflecting many of the important elements that the G77 and China has frequently reiterated, not only during previous OWG meetings but throughout the stocktaking sessions.
4. We would like to stress that the notion of differentiation is absent from the document. It is necessary to reflect the different capacities, development stages and circumstances of member states. It is also of crucial importance that developed countries take the lead in sustainable development and in particular sustainable consumption and production, while also supporting developing countries in achieving both economic growth and sustainable development.
5. We emphasize that a truly universal agenda requires tangible deliverables and commitments for developed countries as well.
6. In this context, we would like to highlight the fact that the Rio principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) does not appear in the third revision of the text, nor is it referenced in the section on climate change. We remind the Open Working Group and its two Co-Chairs that during the methodology statement of the last session, the G77 and China proposed to the Co-Chairs the inclusion of a chapeau to the SDG document in which all the Rio Principles are reaffirmed, in particular CBDR as a guiding principle of SDGs.
7. The Group is concerned that the focus area of inequality has been merged into the focus area of poverty eradication, through national-level inequality, and into industrialization, through inequality among nations. Again, nobody suggested for this to be done from the floor during the 10th OWG session. We call for a single Focus Area on reducing inequality.
8. We would also like to emphasize that even though the concept of international inequality has been included in the title of Focus Area 9 on industrialization and promoting equality among nations, there is in fact no target on this issue. Due to the strong and repeated call by our Group to focus on inequality among nations, a target on inequality among nations will need to be reinstated.
9. The Group of 77 and China believes that the SDG Open Working Group process has now come to a critical moment. Therefore, we would like to call for a more direct method of deliberation on the elements of the SDGs, in which all Member States, not only those of the OWG, can interact and discuss more thoroughly to improve the content of the draft report for SDGs. This would ensure a Member State driven process. We therefore propose to the Co-Chairs to commence and facilitate informal consultations among all Member States.
10. The Group of 77 and China would like to highlight the importance of Means of Implementation and Global Partnership, since these are crucial for the process.
Focus Area 1. Poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality
11. The Group is first and foremost concerned that within the first focus area of poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality there is no placeholder for Means of Implementation, as there is in all other focus areas.
12. The Group of 77 is of the view that policies and development efforts targeted at poverty eradication must be responsive to the challenges as well as opportunities of sustainable development at both international and national levels. In this regard, a supportive, fair and enabling economic and financial architecture as well as a genuine global partnership for sustainable development are crucial to complement the efforts of national governments. We call for concrete measures to create an international economic environment that enables and supports the sustainable development efforts of developing countries.
13. The Group also emphasizes that it is necessary to address inequalities, both within and between countries, in order to reduce poverty. Whilst robust and stable economic growth is necessary to reduce poverty, it is not sufficient in and of itself. Economic growth must be sustainable, inclusive, equitable, and create decent work and livelihood opportunities for all, especially the poor and vulnerable members of society. Most importantly, the benefits and opportunities of economic growth must be shared amongst and extended to include marginalized and minority groups in society.
Focus area 2. Sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition
14. As the G77 and China have previously reiterated, agriculture is the most important sector in many developing countries and is central to the survival of millions of people. The Group stresses that agricultural subsidies and other trade distortions by developed countries have severely harmed the agricultural sector in developing countries, limiting the ability of this key sector to contribute meaningfully to poverty eradication, rural development and sustainable, sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. Elimination of such subsidies is a fundamental part of the global effort to promote agriculture, rural development and eradicate poverty and hunger. Equally important is market access to developing country agricultural products. In this regard, we stress the necessity of a timely conclusion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which must fully respect its development mandate and take into account the needs and priorities of developing countries. This should be reflected in the international dimension of the Means of Implementation in this focus area on sustainable agriculture and food security.
Furthermore, Means of Implementation for sustainable agriculture should include public financing and transfer of appropriate technology by developed countries, which is needed not only for the adoption of sustainable agriculture practices but also to put in place the required infrastructure, communications and other enabling condition.
15. The Group recognizes that target c) calls for ensuring sustainable food production systems with high yields, along with reducing the intensity of the use of water, chemicals and energy by specific percentages. However, as the G77 and China group has previously stated during the OWG consultation on sustainable agriculture, as long as current conditions prevail, it is difficult for developing country agricultural producers to implement a paradigm shift towards sustainable agriculture. Many developing countries, particularly the Least Developing Countries that were once self-sufficient in food or were exporters of food, have become dependent on food imports as a result of significant distortions in developed countries' farming sector as well as international trading rules, which are skewed against the developing countries.
16. The challenges facing agriculture in the next few decades are complex. With increased global population growth, there will be increased demand for food, feed, fuel and fibre. While increasing food production is vital to meet these new demands, the Group of 77 and China holds the strong view that the current practice of wasting one-third of food produced -1.3 billion tons per year, is not sustainable and must change. We recognize that target e) calls for the reducing the global rate of loss and waste along the food supply chain by 50 percent by 2030. However, we call for differentiation between developed and developing countries in this responsibility, in order to reflect the varying levels of production and consumption between countries.
17. In Agenda 21, the outcome of the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, nations acknowledged the need for "major adjustments in agricultural, environmental and macroeconomic policy, at both national and international levels, in developed as well as developing countries, to create the conditions for sustainable agriculture and rural development". This statement is still relevant 21 years later and we cannot afford to postpone our collective efforts any further.
18. As stated previously, the G77 and China holds the view that the increasing involvement of non-commercial actors in the market of food and food-related commodities, or the so-called financialization of the sector, has played a role in the emergence of the problem of excessive food price volatility. Vulnerable populations in developing countries have had their economic and social right to food and nutrition threatened, reinforcing inequality and exacerbating poverty. It is imperative therefore, that the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including structural causes, must be addressed seriously. The Group believes that commodity markets should operate in a properly regulated manner that avoid excessive volatility and speculative activities and serve the real needs of both producers and consumers. This should be reflected in the Means of Implementation necessary to achieve sustainable agriculture and food security globally.
19. While target d) calls for achieving access by 2030 to adequate inputs, knowledge, productive resources, financial services and markets for small farmers and fishers, with a particular focus on women and indigenous peoples, the concrete Means of Implementation by which smallholders will be supported are still absent. To support the economic viability of smallholder agriculture and to reduce their vulnerability, the policy actions already stated require both dedicated financial resources and technological capacity and development.
20. Target b) calls for ending malnutrition in all its forms, with an emphasis on children under five years of age. However, eliminating hunger and food security is not mentioned in the focus area, which the Group feels is fundamental to the very title of this Focus Area which includes both sustainable agriculture and food security. Food security and elimination of hunger requires investment in agriculture, rural development, decent work, social protection and equality of opportunity. Other enablers include, among others, sustainable agriculture, infrastructure, education, water, health, the empowerment of women and gender equality.
I thank you.