REMARKS ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE PERMANENT MISSION OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FOURTH INFORMAL MEETING ON THE ECOSOC REVIEW PROCESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH RESOLUTION 68/1 ENTITLED "REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 61/16 ON STRENGTHENING OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL" (New York, 7 May 2018)
1- I have the honor to deliver the following remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2- The Group of 77 and China would like to express its appreciation for the co-facilitators' efforts in producing the two documents for guiding our discussions, namely the revised " food for thought" paper, and the Co-facilitators elements paper. The Group would like to state the following initial remarks and observations, as follows:
The ECOSOC review process should be focused on its strengthening and that of its mandate to help developing countries, including in their efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda.
The ECOSOC review exercise should fully adhere to the ECOSOC functions stipulated in article 62 of the UN Charter. Humanitarian assistance goes beyond the ECOSOC's mandated functions and power.
We reiterate our position that the discussions of the review of 68/1 should not interfere and avoid any overlap with existing processes or mandates, most notably the HLPF resolution. In this regard, we would like to note that HLPF has its own process, which will be reviewed in the 74th session of the General Assembly. Hence, the HLPF discussion in this process must be context and relevance based.
Annual main theme and substantive focus:
As stated above, the Group of 77 and China reiterates the importance to set boundaries between the ECOSC and HLPF discussions. The Group would like to express its concern on sub paragraph (b), as it fundamentally weakens and undermines the work of ECOSOC by shifting the focus from ECOSC to the HLPF. We also note that there is a contradiction between sub paragraph (a) and (b).
We would like to highlight that poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions is the overreaching goal of the 2030 Agenda. As such, poverty eradication should be the cross cutting subject of the work of ECOSOC.
Structure of the ECOSOC cycle:
The Group supports maintaining the current cycle of the ECOSOC to run from July to July. We would like to highlight the need to explore ways to better align the cycle of the membership of ECOSOC with the ECOSOC cycle.
In principle, the Group is open to consider the proposal for restructuring ECOSOC segment into two groups. In our view, this may contribute to enhance the level of participation of member states.
In this regard, we would like to seek clarifications on how the proposed two groupings are better connected? What are the expected outcomes? What is the rationale and feasibility of convening 7 forums or segments in the first group in two months? What is the logic of the sequence of these forums and segments? The Group would also be interested to learn more about the rationale behind linking operational activities segment (OAS) and the Humanitarian Assistance Segment (HAS)? It is worth mentioning that the Group will not be in a position to accept holding OAS and HAS back to back.
We are of the view that there is no need for creating an additional segment on redefined day on transition from relief to development.
The Group would request that the operational activities segment (OAS) be utilized as a platform to provide meaningful discussions and thorough consideration to issues concerning countries in special situations. Accordingly, discussions related to countries in special situation need to be added in the proposed set of the first group.
ECOSOC High-level Segment and HLPF:
In principle, the Group welcomes the proposal to convene one day for the High-level Segment following the HLPF. We support that HLPF outcomes remain a negotiated ministerial declaration. The Group could be open to explore the proposed president summary as an outcome for the HLS.
The Group expresses its concern on the limited time allocated for the VNRs and general debate. Being cognizant of the fact that HLPF will be reviewed through a separate process mandated by the GA in the 74 session. A recommendation could be made through this review process by the GA to the ECOSOC bureau to consider reviewing the framework of the VNRs, without prejudice to the HLPF's future reviewing process. And adequate time for general debate for each member state should be guaranteed during the HLS of ECOSOC, to promote member states' ownership and ensure their views and positions be fully delivered.
We would like to mention that G77 and China would provide concrete ideas and proposals on how best we can improve the HLPF and HLS with the view to make them more efficient.
The Group would like to highlight the critical importance of the integration segment to maintain its role to ensure the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. The G77 and China supports efforts and views aiming at further improving the integration segment by making it more valuable, through strengthen its content and substantive contribution. The integration segment should be on action-oriented bases, providing pragmatic outcomes and ideas to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, the Group does not support the proposed idea that the segment's outcomes be a President summary. The Group intends to put forward a concrete proposal in this regard in the upcoming informal meetings.
System -wide coherence and coordination: operational activities for development (OAS):
The Group of 77 and China reiterates its position to postpone the discussion on this item in light of the recent conclusion of the United Nation development system reform process (UNDS).
Coordination of Humanitarian assistance and sustainable development:
As requested earlier, we would like to seek more information on the rationale behind convening the transition event and the HAS back to back with the operational activities segment. The Group would be interested to learn more on the benefits of the proposed configuration between OAS and HAS?
We would like to point out that although peace-building activities could contribute to achieving development, it is not appropriate to discuss the joint meeting of ECOSOC with the Peacebuilding Commission under the coordination of humanitarian assistance and sustainable development. Humanitarian assistance is nor needed to maintain Peace building.
Emerging and Frontiers issues:
The Group welcomes the ECOSOC to engage on emerging and frontier issues. ECOSOC could play an important role in supporting developing countries through capacity-building, and enhancing the share of new technologies and addressing emerging challenges.
We would like to stress upon the importance and relevance of the STI forum, we suggest therefore to add the topic of emerging and frontier issues to the STI forum discussions. Options and ideas could be explored to bring the emerging and frontier issues discussion to the Integration segment work, as well as the possibility to dedicate an annual segment for deliberation on emerging and frontiers issues. The Group is of the view that emerging and frontiers issues be part and linked to the ongoing UN activities aiming at supporting developing countries' efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
The Group notes the modalities of participation of stakeholders as outlined in the 68/1 resolution. The Group stresses the importance to work under established parameters of civil society participation, notably the non-objection basis, and the need to respect their terms of reference for their participation.
We believe that the existing platform offered by ECOSOC for civil society engagement provides a sufficient, and adequate avenue for the participation of the multi- stakeholders. Therefore, the Group will not be in a position to accept the expansion for further engagement of additional actors of multi- stockholders in the ECOSOC work.
The Group suggests strengthening the Partnership Forum through the dissemination of information, and the outcomes of its work. We do not see the added value to hold the Forum in two days.
Coordination and management:
The Group reiterates the need to adhere to the mandate provided by resolution 68/1 on the function of Coordination and Management Meetings (CMM).
The Group needs more time for formulating our proposals on this section, as it is linked to the discussions in other sub sections.
ECOSOC subsidiary bodies and support:
The Group of 77 and China agrees on the need to strengthen the work and improve the functioning of subcommittees. We welcome the proposal in sub paragraph (b) for to the GA to invite the ECOSOC to ask its subsidiary bodies to further review its respective working method.
3- Finally, the Group of 77 and China reiterates its commitment to continue to engage constructively in the ECOSOC review process in accordance with resolution 68/1. The Group would request to create more space between the proposed meetings scheduled for the month of May; this will allow the Group to formulate its concrete proposals in the above-mentioned sections.