STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MAHMOUD MOHAMED EL ASHMAWY, FIRST SECRETARY OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT TO THE UNITED NATIONS BEFORE THE ECOSOC SIXTH BIENNIAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION FORUM (New York, 21 May 2018)
Thank you Madam President,
On behalf of the Group of 77 and China, it is a privilege and pleasure to address the 6th biennial Development Cooperation Forum.
Madam President, honourable Ministers, Excellencies,
1. Our Group attaches great importance to the Development Cooperation Forum, as a principal venue for global dialogue and policy review on international development cooperation. The DCF is an integral element in fulfilling the ECOSOC responsibilities to initiate and coordinate action in order to address global development challenges and to promote coordination and coherence at the international level within and outside the United Nations system.
2. The current session addresses the vital topic of "The strategic role of development cooperation in achieving the 2030 Agenda: building sustainable and inclusive societies." The areas of focus are significant in this context, notably: the distinctive role of ODA; the role of national development cooperation policies; South-South and triangular cooperation; and bridging capacity gaps and facilitating technology development and transfer.
3. We believe it is of utmost importance to discuss these areas thoroughly and in a comprehensive and candid manner, with the goal of cooperating to better equip all countries with the means of implementation to achieve the Sustainable Development agenda and demonstrate the commitment of leaving no one behind.
4. Allow me, in this regard to recall that the 5th Forum highlighted the need to meet existing commitments to official development assistance (ODA). Yet, to date, according to the Secretary General's report on "Trends and progress in international development cooperation" (E/2018/55) only six countries met the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI). We commend these partners and call on all other partners to fulfill their commitments.
5. The Group of 77 considers that the mobilization of adequate resources to developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources, is critical for the implementation of actions and measures to achieve sustainable development. It is essential that the international community provides more permanent and stable, predictable, concessional, conditionality free financial resources for developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable and least developed among them.
6. We consider that it is imperative that the developed countries fulfill their commitments in order to support national efforts and strategies towards the achievements of the development goals.
7. In this vein, data showing the fall in country programmable aid is alarming. This is the part of ODA where developing nations have a significant say. Needless to say, such trends in North-South cooperation jeopardize the very principle of country ownership and the efforts to align international support with developing countries' priorities.
8. Let me be clear, progress to strengthen country ownership and leadership and align support with country priorities must be secured and advanced.
9. South-South cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity among peoples and countries of the South that contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance and the attainment of the internationally-agreed development goals.
10. South-South cooperation offers opportunities to strengthen international cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Nevertheless, let me be clear in reiterating that South-South Cooperation is not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North-South Cooperation.
11. Furthermore, South-South Cooperation and its agenda have to be set by countries of the South, and should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.
12. The Group of 77 appreciates the potential for technology to support our effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, we should be cognizant of the structural inequality on innovative capacity, connectivity and access to technology.
13. This situation is compounded by capacity constraints and the lack of adequate technology infrastructure in developing nations, notably LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. The Group cannot emphasize enough the importance of promoting the development and use of information and communications technology, infrastructure, as well as capacity building, notably through rapid universal and affordable access.
14. We would like to further highlight the need to encourage the development, dissemination, diffusion and transfer of technologies to all developing countries on favorable terms, including on concessional, and preferential terms.
15. The G77 strongly believes that the United Nations has a central and leading role to play to enhance international cooperation and to address international challenges of an economic and financial character.
16. In this spirit, we believe that the Development Cooperation Forum should not be diverted to specific agendas pursued outside the United Nations framework. The DCF should rather provide a platform to discuss ways to better coordinate and align the work of specialized agencies and international financial institutions with the international commitment of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Madam President, honourable participants,
Finally, allow me to express the Group of 77 and China's strong commitment to work constructively in the discussions ahead.
I thank you.