REMARKS ON BEHALF OF GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF EGYPT AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE MINISTERIAL DECLARATION FOR THE 2018 HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 14 June 2018)
I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Allow me at the outset to thank the co-facilitators for issuing the zero draft of the Ministerial Declaration for the 2018 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Since the zero draft was only circulated yesterday, we will limit our remarks to general and preliminary points on behalf of 134 countries members of G77& China.
It is important to recall that during the first informal consultations, we had presented, in a transparent manner, comprehensive, concrete and substantive proposals for inclusion in the zero draft of the ministerial declaration. We also submitted our position paper that includes those proposals to the co-facilitators. It is unfortunate that the zero draft does not include most of the elements included in that position paper.
We reaffirm that this process should be member-driven and the text must reflect the views of the member states. It is a matter of concern also that the zero draft misses many elements agreed upon both in the 2030 agenda as well as in last year's ministerial declaration of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
Our general and preliminary remarks are as follows:
- Regarding the structure of the document: it does not reflect the same structure of last year's ministerial declaration despite the fact that most delegations expressed their agreement on such structure during the first informal meeting.
- Regarding the content of the document: it is not action-oriented, lacks the commitments needed to achieve the required progress and to overcome the challenges, it highlights only the challenges not the solutions. It does not address the three pillars of sustainable development in a balanced manner. It puts too much focus on the social pillar while ignoring the economic pillar of sustainable development. Language needs to be strengthened in some parts of the SDGs under review, particularly SDG6 & SDG7 as well as the language on poverty eradication, ending hunger and achieving food security. Significantly, reference to the means of implementation is too streamlined and needs to be unpacked according to the agreed structure of the last year's ministerial declaration and line with the structure of the 2030 agenda itself.
- We would like to reiterate as well our general principles, which are presented in detail in our position paper, and as follows: the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (paragraph 12 of 2030 agenda, respect for territorial integrity and political independence of member states, sovereignty as presented in paragraphs 9, 10, 11 of our position paper, refraining from promulgating any unilateral economic, financial, or trade measures (paragraph 30 of the 2030 agenda), language on win-win cooperation (para 18 of the 2030 agenda). We are concerned that important principles that were included in the zero draft of the 2017 ministerial declaration are missing from this year's draft.
Moreover, it is a matter of extreme concern that two of our fundamental principles do not feature in the zero draft. Firstly, reference to peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation in accordance with paragraph 35 of the 2030 agenda and paragraph 4 of last year's ministerial declaration. The zero draft, in paragraph 12, lists the categories of countries that deserve special attention excluding peoples living under foreign occupation without any rationale. Secondly, the zero draft, in paragraph 10, includes a reference to human rights excluding reference to the right to development, which is an agreed upon concept included in paragraph 10 of the 2030 agenda as well as in paragraph 4 of the last year's ministerial declaration. Finally, we request reference of sources on the new language and statistical data presented in the draft.
Despite serious concerns with the zero draft, we will continue our constructive engagement throughout the upcoming process through more specific comments and proposals during the first reading of the zero draft.