STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MR. MOHAMED EDREES, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIFTY-FIRST SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (New York, 9 April 2018)
Mr. Chair, honorable Ministers, Vice Ministers, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The Group would like to congratulate you, Mr. Chair, on your election as Chair of the Commission on Population and Development. We wish you and your Bureau a successful session and we assure you of our full support and cooperation.
2. The Group of 77 and China thank the Secretary General for his reports which will contribute in informing our deliberations and discussions.
3. Since its adoption in Cairo in 1994, the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is considered by the Group of 77 and China as the major outcome document representing a comprehensive framework on population and development matters. The Group continue to support the principles, goals and objectives of the Program of Action of ICPD.
4. The Group welcomes the Special Theme of the fifty first Session on "Sustainable cities, human mobility and international migration".
5. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development acknowledged the interlinkages between making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and achieving sustainable development.
6. The Group of 77 and China believes that urban and rural development and management must be people-centred, and age-and gender-responsive. All human rights and fundamental freedoms must be realized, living together must be facilitated, all forms of discrimination and violence must be eliminated, and all individuals and communities must be empowered while enabling their full and meaningful participation.
7. We reaffirm our commitment to promoting equitable and affordable access to sustainable basic physical and social infrastructure and services, without discrimination, including affordable serviced land, housing, modern and renewable energy, safe drinking water and sanitation, safe, nutritious and adequate food, waste disposal, sustainable mobility, health care and family planning, education, culture, and information and communications technologies; and to ensuring that these services are responsive to the rights and needs of women, children and youth, older persons and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples and local communities, as appropriate, and to those of others in vulnerable situations.
8. The Group of 77 and China recognize the high proportion of young people in urban areas. Adolescents and youth in all countries are a major resource for development and key agents for social change, economic development and technological innovation. Further progress for development requires their full and effective participation at the international, regional, national and local levels.
9. The Group recognizes further that although the movement of large populations into towns and cities poses a variety of challenges, it can also bring significant social, economic, and cultural contributions to urban life. In this regard, we acknowledge that culture and cultural diversity are sources of enrichment for humankind and provide an important contribution to the sustainable development of cities, human settlements and citizens.
10. We believe that challenges and opportunities of urban growth and human mobility, faced by all countries, must be addressed, in particular in developing countries, including African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing States, countries under foreign occupation, and as well as the specific challenges facing middle-income countries. This can happen by taking prompt, forward-looking and sustained action to ensure that those phenomena have a positive impact on economic growth, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability.
11. In this regard, international organizations, regional organizations and civil society should work in partnership to promote capacity building and technical cooperation, including North-South and triangular cooperation and South-South cooperation that is a complement to, not a substitute for North-South cooperation, to develop programmes and methodologies, and to provide technical assistance, in order to improve the collection, dissemination and analysis of data on sustainable cities, and human mobility at the national, regional and local levels.
12. The Group calls upon all States to fulfill their commitments in ensuring the full respect for human rights and humane treatment of refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrants regardless of their migration status, and support their host cities in the spirit of international cooperation, taking into account national circumstances.
13. Finally, Mr. Chair, in the current environment of a persistent economic slowdown, financial instability, food and water insecurity, and the adverse impacts caused by climate change, with anti-microbial resistance and new and emerging diseases on the rise, the Group of 77 and China are keen to step up our concerted efforts in the spirit of globalization, interdependence and multilateralism, in addressing population and development matters in an integrated and comprehensive manner.