STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF EGYPT AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE SEVENTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEM 20 ON "SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" (New York, 15 October 2018)
1- I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2- The Group of 77 and China restate its unwavering commitment to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced and integrated manner through a people-centered approach to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, and building on the achievements of the MDGs and seeking to address their unfinished business.
3- We reaffirm all the principles of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 1992, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and further reaffirm that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda should be guided by the principles in accordance with paragraph 74 of the 2030 Agenda.
4- Three years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and we are not yet fully on track to implement it. The Group affirms that poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.
Allow me to highlight particular views by the Group on issues under agenda item 20.
5- The implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and "the future we want" are essential to the full realization of sustainable development. Though the 2030 Agenda should be our primary focus, ongoing efforts to implement existing and ongoing sustainable development commitments should be adequately supported and, recognized, in the context of their contribution to the overall achievement of sustainable development.
6- As we approach the mid-term mark since the adoption of the SAMOA Pathway four years ago, we are pleased to note the continued level of support from the international community to implement the pledges made. Although we welcome the recognition of SIDS as countries with special circumstances for development, and as countries facing extreme economic and ecological vulnerabilities, we need to ensure that this recognition is matched with resources required to help achieve the goals as set forth by the SAMOA Pathway.
7- We recall the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, reaffirming that disaster-prone developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing countries and African countries, as well as middle-income countries facing specific challenges, need particular attention in view of their higher vulnerability and risk levels.
8- The Group of 77 and China recalls that the El Niño phenomenon has a recurring character and poses a serious challenge to the hard-fought development gains of developing countries. We stress that the 2015/16 El Niño was one of the strongest on record, and that during neutral El Nin?o years, it is critical to prepare for, build resilience to and reduce the risks of the next event. We reaffirm the importance of developing multi-hazard strategies by 2020 in line with Sendai Framework.
9- Given the importance of the marine environment to the social, economic and political development of many of our Member States, the Group recognises that the protection and preservation of the Caribbean Sea remains a major priority. The Group urges for international support for the initiative undertaken by the Member States of the Association of Caribbean States to recognize the Caribbean Sea as a special area within the context of sustainable development
10- It may not be an exaggeration to state that amongst the long list of challenges our world faces climate change is the one with the most far-reaching impact and is the most pressing requiring immediate action. With this in mind, we must all work together to raise awareness, and mobilize support to come to innovative solutions required to achieve the objective of the Convention and its Paris Agreement.
11- During the latest rounds of negotiations aimed at operationalizing the Paris Agreement the Group held firm on reaching a fair and balanced outcome that is consistent with, and preserves the balance reflected by the Paris Agreement between actions required and support provided.
12- The Group is deeply concerned about the continuous trend of land degradation. These trends will undermine the efforts of the international community to achieve food security. In this regard, the G77 and China welcomes the establishment of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund aimed at addressing land degradation. We call upon other stakeholders to support the Fund. In the same vein, the Group of G77 and China wishes to stress that the land degradation funds must be easily accessible and the allocation must be guided by the principles of transparency and accountability.
13- The Group of 77 and China is keen to address the challenges facing the loss of biodiversity. We welcome the convening of the upcoming CoP14 on Biodiversity to be held in Egypt, in November in 2018, which is considered to be a critical step to assess the current level of implementation of Aichi targets 2020 and to address the impediments that led to non or insufficient implementation.
14- We welcome the convening of UNEA upcoming session from 11-15 March 2019 which will focus on 'Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production (SCP)'. This indeed is a very topical subject that fits in our quest to achieve the sustainable development goals and Agenda 2030. We urge that strengthening of Nairobi as the Environmental headquarters of the United Nations in line with paragraph 88 of the Rio + 20 document "The Future We Want".
15- The Group stresses the necessity of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and renewable energy for all according to national plans and policies. The international cooperation should be strengthened to assist developing countries achieving this target as well as expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology for supplying renewable and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries.
16- The Group urges the financial institutions, and relevant stakeholders to continue their support for Lebanon, technically and financially, to help achieve the clean-up and rehabilitation operations, with the aim of preserving the eco system of Lebanon and the East Mediterranean Basin. The resulting oil slick in the Lebanese shores, has led to prolonged adverse effects that still exist today continues to impact human health, economic growth and the efforts to achieve sustainable development in Lebanon.
17- Climate change and natural disasters are just some of the symptoms of the crisis and, emergency we are facing, that is why, we promote a change in the human perception on relation with the Earth and its ecosystems, promoting a holistic approach to achieve sustainable development in harmony with nature, that respects its integrity as a whole.
18- A recent report by the Secretary General concludes that sand and dust storms present a serious challenge to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Addressing such pressing issues requires, inter alia, further cooperation among different UN entities. In this context, we welcome the convening of the high-level interactive dialogue and its outcome, took place in July, this year, to discuss ways to tackle challenges related to sand and dust storms.
19- Finally, The Group reiterates that this item deals with a wide range of sustainable development core issues. As such, we intend to engage constructively with our partners to ensure that we pursue our common aim of achieving sustainable development for all. We would like to affirm the importance of adopting all resolutions under this agenda item by consensus.