Madam Chair, Excellencies Distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. At the outset, please allow me to extend our Group's warmest congratulations to you as the Chair of the 48th session of the Commission for Population and Development and to the members of your Bureau. The Group of 77 and China wishes to assure you of its full support and cooperation during your tenure.

The G77 and China continues to support the principles, goals and objectives set out in the Programme of Action of the International conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994. The continued implementation of the ICPD programme of action remains crucial for the eradication of poverty as well as the achievement of the Millennium Development goals.

It is thus imperative that population issues continue to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, as an integral part of the economic and social and cultural development as highlighted in the ICPD Programme of Action. As people are at the center of development, population matters will have to be integrated into sustainable development, including the post 2015 development agenda as the current theme of the 48th session illuminates.

Madam Chair,

We recognize that significant progress has been achieved in the implementation of the ICPD programme of action, however, major gaps are still prevalent due to a myriad of reasons. The provision of access for women to health care remains a cause of concern. Greater access will significantly contribute to the reduction of maternal as well as child mortality rates, which are still very high in developing countries.

Furthermore, non-communicable diseases and communicable disease remains a challenge, as such it is important that particular attention be given to the strengthening of health systems in order to adequately respond to effectively. As it can undermine the achievement of internationally agreed goals and possibly lead to growing inequalities between countries and populations.

We need to redouble our efforts in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, Ebola and other infectious diseases, as they undermine the development of a significant number of the population.

Social exclusion continues to be a challenge in many parts of the world, by virtue of growing inequalities, youth, older persons, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and migrants amongst others will be significantly affected. It is crucial that national governments strengthen their efforts in creating policies to promote and protect the needs of those in vulnerable situations.

Additionally, the need for greater access to education for young girls in developing countries is crucial for ensuring sustainable development, as it positively contribute to the decline of teenage pregnancies. Furthermore, the youth challenges such as unemployment, access to affordable quality education need to urgently addressed in order to effectively harness the demographic dividend.

Madam Chair,

Poverty eradication continues to be the biggest global fight, not only for developing countries. We are of the firm view that for economic growth to positively contribute to poverty reduction, it is essential that macro economic and social policies focus on job creation, as this will reduce inequalities and aide in providing social protection. Furthermore, as a catalyst to economic growth there is a need to invest much more in infrastructure, basic services such health care insurance, education whilst also ensuring that all the segments of society, including youth, elderly and persons with disabilities have access to resources and opportunities.

It is equally important that global cooperation is strengthened and scaled up for the eradication of poverty, based on the recognition of national leadership and ownership of development strategies. This cooperation should include the fulfillment of internationally agreed official development assistance, debt relief market access, capacity building and technical support including technology transfer.

Further, resource gaps are very high in poor countries, and the least developed countries depend largely on official Development Assistance. Unless new, additional sustained resources a re provided to developing countries, it is unlikely that most of the goals and targets of the programme of action will be met.

Consequently the Group of 77 and China reiterates the need for the fulfillment of ODA commitments made by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for official development assistance to developing countries.

Madam Chair in closing,

The Group of 77 and China stresses the need to further mainstream sustainable development at all levels, integrating economic, social and environmental aspects and recognizing their interlinkages, so as to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions.

The Group of 77 and China continues to stress the importance of removing obstacles to the realization of the right of peoples to self-determination in all cases where it is applicable, with full respect to national sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in particular of peoples living under foreign occupation, which adversely affect their social and economic development.

I thank you