Mr. Chair,
Distinguished Delegates,

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. At the outset, allow me to extend our warmest congratulations to you, Mr. Chair, and the other members of the Bureau on your election. The Group of 77 and China assure you of our full support and cooperation during your tenure in this session of the Third Committee.

3. The Group thanks the Secretary-General for the submission of the reports under this agenda item, which will certainly help to inform our deliberations and work and we took note of their recommendations.

Mr. Chair,

4. This year we are continuing our deliberations on the implementation of the outcome document of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, with the same focus on trends in inequality within and among countries. The Group of 77 and China believe that this year's discussions on the same topic should be action-oriented examining policies, strategies and innovative approaches to address the different forms of inequality to implement the objectives of the World Summit for Social Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We need to address the particular needs of Africa and least developed countries and highlights the situation and specific needs of young people, older persons, persons with disabilities, families and indigenous peoples.

5. We are deeply concerned about the uneven progress achieved in fulfilling all of the interrelated commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development and by the lack of satisfactory progress of social development. Conflicts, slowing global economic growth, volatile financial markets, high rates of youth unemployment, global health threats, humanitarian emergencies, corruption, the challenges posed by climate change and other related challenges, increase the difficulty to advance and impede progress in the fulfillment of social objectives. It is crucial to meet these challenges in order to achieve and sustain progress in social development.

6. The Group reaffirms that the Commission for Social Development serves as the main United Nations forum for intensified global dialogue on social development issues. We also reaffirm that the Commission will contribute to the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, within its existing mandate, by supporting the thematic reviews of the high-level political forum on sustainable development on progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues, which should reflect the integrated nature of the Goals as well as the interlinkages between them.

Mr. Chair,

7. Three years have passed since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and a significant effort is being exerted in its implementation; however, we acknowledge that the pace of implementation is still quite distant from achieving sustainable development for all, in particular for the poorest and most vulnerable. The Group reaffirms its commitment to work tirelessly for the full implementation of this agenda by 2030 in a balanced and integrated manner; to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions; to build on the achievements and lessons learned of the MDGs; and to seek to address their unfinished business.

8. At the same time, the Group of 77 and China reaffirm that international development cooperation, especially North-South cooperation, remains a fundamental catalyst to sustainable development, and most importantly, in promoting the Programme of Action of the Copenhagen Summit. The international community and development partners have a pivotal role to play in collaborating with and supporting developing countries in implementing their social development agenda. As North-South cooperation is the main channel of development financing, the international community must uphold the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" (CBDR) and push North-South cooperation to continue to play its key role. Developed countries should bear the primary responsibility in financing for development. We urge developed countries to fulfil their unmet ODA commitments.

9. We also reaffirm our position that South-South cooperation is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation and reaffirm that South-South cooperation is a collective endeavor of developing countries. We emphasize that South-South cooperation deserves its own separate and independent promotion, as reaffirmed in the Nairobi outcome document. In this context, we stress that South-South cooperation and its agenda must be driven by the countries of the South.

Mr. Chair,

10. The Group of 77 and China believe that Addressing inequality in all its dimensions is essential to eradicating poverty, advancing social progress and achieving sustainable development. While global income inequality has been declining, income inequality within countries has persisted and even risen in many countries, although there is divergence between and within regions. While the level of inequality remains high, many countries have successfully reduced both income and non-income inequalities. Member States and the international community must learn from the experience of those countries and adopt the right mix of policies that have proved to be effective elsewhere, taking into consideration their unique national contexts.

11. The strengthening of national institutions to formulate, implement and monitor family policies and respond to problems affecting families was one of the main objectives of the International Year of the Family, 1994. We are pleased to be informed by the SG's report that some Member States have made efforts to strengthen existing institutions charged with the implementation of family policies. The Group Invites Member States to invest in family-oriented policies and programmes, as important tools for, inter alia, fighting poverty, social exclusion and inequality, promoting work-family balance and gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity, to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Family-related research awareness-raising activities should be promoted also at national and regional levels.

12. We continue to believe that we must prepare ourselves to respond better to the new realities of ageing populations, and to include the changing age structure of populations in our efforts to eradicate poverty. We recognize the essential contribution that older persons make to the functioning of societies and towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development if adequate guarantees are in place. We recognize also, in this regard, the increasing demand for long term care and palliative care. The Group of 77 and China believes that sustainable and inclusive social and economic policies for older persons can be achieved through our shared efforts. The international community must work together to ensure the enjoyment of all their human rights, their dignity and well-being of older persons, while addressing issues related to their social integration, and fostering intergenerational partnerships and solidarity and avoiding any multiple and intersecting form of discrimination. A holistic approach is required that recognizes the growing need for affordable and high quality long term care, which must be met.

13. The Group is of the view that disability issues must be further mainstreamed as an integral part of policies and programmes for inclusive development, while we are implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Group welcomes progress achieved in recent years, by governments and other stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector, in mainstreaming disability in the implementation of their national development efforts. Disability should be a priority issue in international cooperation for inclusive development, in the context of the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, the Group looks forward to seeing the United Nations 2018 flagship report on disability and development: realization of the Sustainable Development Goals by, for and with persons with disabilities.

Mr. Chair,

14. As in previous sessions, the Group of 77 and China will submit under this agenda item three draft resolutions, the first on the World Summit for Social Development, the second on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, and the third on the International Year of the Family. The Group looks forward to valuable contributions and support of all Member States, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of our mutual goals in the field of social development.

Thank you.