STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR RIYAD MANSOUR (STATE OF PALESTINE), CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, AT THE SECOND INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE 2019 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL FORUM ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT FOLLOW-UP (New York, 8 March 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, we express our deep and sincere appreciation to the Permanent Representatives of Italy and Zambia for the continued efforts and preparations in co-facilitating this important and positive process.
3. While we recognize the constraints you face in planning the schedule of informal consultations, we call for due consideration be given to the need of member states to consult their capitals and for adequate time for internal coordination of the Group, taking into consideration the limited time between the release of zero draft (scheduled Friday, 22 of March) and the presentation of zero draft and first reading of the text (scheduled Monday, 25 March and Wednesday 27 March, respectively).
4. Given that the IATF was released recently, the Group cannot address at this stage the report's content and substance, however, we appreciate the contribution of the IATF team to this process. In this connection, the Group emphasizes that while 2019 IATF's Report is an important reference in advising this intergovernmental process, the deliberations of this process should not only be limited to IATF's findings.
5. 2019 is a very important year. We will conclude the first four-year cycle of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. For the first time we will hold the ECOSOC Forum on Financing For Development and the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, under the auspices of the General Assembly. We must build on that momentum to reaffirm our commitments and action to the fulfillment of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
6. The Group wishes a successful Forum and reiterates the commitment to engage constructively throughout the upcoming process towards a consensus-based outcome document encompassing all action areas of the AAAA. In this context, our collective endeavors should focus on identifying the means to accelerate the pace of progress toward achieving 2030 agenda. We call in this regard for an action oriented document, with concrete, meaningful policy recommendations and direct actions to contribute to bridge the gap in the seven action areas of the AAAA and accelerate the pace of implementation needed to fulfil our commitments in the Agenda 2030.
7. The Group looks forward for a substantively oriented outcome towards unlocking the resources needed to finance development, in order to achieve inclusive economic growth as well as poverty eradication. We reiterate that the FfD should concentrate on channeling resources to poverty eradication, which is the overarching goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this regard, the Group calls for a collective approach on the implementation of AAAA in order to demonstrate and optimize our continued dedication to internationally agreed commitments and outcomes.
8. The international community faces many ongoing, new, and emerging challenges that could hinder achievement of the 2030 Agenda, therefore multilateral action is required to continue address these global risks, which are closely linked to the areas of extreme poverty, underdevelopment, climate change, economic inequality, and many more.
9. Moreover, any resources to finance development must be aligned with national priorities and development strategies and policies of the countries taking into consideration different realities and contexts.
10. As the Official Development Assistance (ODA) continues to play a key role in channeling international cooperation through multilateral efforts, it also plays an equal role in mobilizing resources to support the 2030 Agenda. In this context, the group stresses that ODA should be aligned with national priorities and development strategies of the recipient countries.
11. We are concerned that the ODA in 2017 declined 0.1 per cent in real terms over 2016 and DAC donors fell short of the 0.7% target again, providing 0.31 per cent of GNI on average, where in-donor spending on refugees was the major source of the overall increase since 2014. We hope the ODA providers should continue to strengthen efforts to meet their commitments to ensure that ODA, as a critical source of development finance, can deliver on the transformational ambition of the 2030 Agenda. We also underscore the importance of country ownership and mechanisms for dialogue between the developing countries and donor countries, to ensure the ODA will support national development priorities and strategies of developing countries. In this regard, the Group calls upon developed countries to fulfill their commitments they have made as to ODA and to increase ODA allocations to the most vulnerable countries, in line with the AAAA and the 2030 Agenda while respecting the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of those countries.
12. While we emphasize that IFFs continue to reduce the availability of resources for financing sustainable development and impact the economic, social and political stability and development of societies, especially in developing countries, the Group appreciates the indication in the IATF report of improvement in the global effort to combat the scourge of illicit financial flows. In this regard, we would like to see properly highlighted in the outcome document, renewed commitment by all Member States to intensify effort to combat illicit financial flows and straighten bilateral and multilateral cooperation on asset return to foster sustainable development.
13. The Group reaffirms that South-South cooperation is a common endeavor of peoples and countries of the South, born out of shared experiences and sympathies, based on their common objectives and solidarity, and guided by the principles of South-South cooperation. In this regards, we reaffirm that South-South cooperation is a complement rather than a substitute for North-South cooperation. South-South cooperation cannot be equated to North-South official development assistance.
14. Another important and relevant challenge that needs to be collectively addressed is the intensification of debt vulnerabilities across developing countries since 2017, risking a renewed cycle of debt crises and economic disruption, which pose severe challenges to the achievement of the SDGs.
15. Debt-related challenges and vulnerabilities have restricted many developing countries in generating and initiating the necessary resources needed for implementation of 2030 Agenda due to heavy debt burdens. As a result, the Group stresses the need to explore the means and instruments required to achieve debt sustainability as well as the necessary measures to reduce the indebtedness of the developing countries.
16. The Group recognizes that international trade, at all levels, plays a vital and dynamic role in enhancing cooperation and is an important source to finance development as international trade enables the fuller utilization of necessary resources through promoting mutual cooperation among different countries and regions, resulting in the stimulation of national, regional, and global economic growth.
17. Furthermore, the Group also recognizes that international trade strengthens the multilateral trading system, which relies on a universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable system that can stimulate development worldwide. In this context, the group reaffirms the significance of the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries in harnessing the developmental benefit of international trade. The issues of particular concern to developing countries should be addressed, with a view to enhance their capacities to finance development and to diversify their economies.
18. The Group remains very concerned with the protectionist measures and rhetoric that not only undermine the multilateral trading system, but also lead to negative impact on access of the developing countries' exports to the global markets. In this regard, we encourage WTO to strengthen the developmental component within its architecture.
19. The Group acknowledges that the troubling global investment picture underscores the importance of a conducive global investment environment, characterized by open, transparent and nondiscriminatory investment policies. We further note the vital role that the private sector plays in development, including through engaging in various partnership models and by generating decent employment and investment, giving access to and developing new technologies, offering technical vocational training activities and stimulating sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth. While we appreciate the potential positive impact of private sector involvement in financing the 2030 Agenda, we emphasize the need to ensure that their activities conform fully with national development priorities. In this regard, we will appreciate the inclusion of the role of investment as a source of financing for sustainable development in the outcome document.
20. The direct involvement of the private sector, which was given a significant role in the 2030 Agenda, must be highlighted and included in ongoing and future discussions, in order to focus on challenges and opportunities for business in playing its role as a key developmental actor in all areas of development. However, markets may provide insufficient financing for sustainable development across countries and sectors. This is the case when the risk-adjusted returns are not competitive with other opportunities, for example due to high risks. Investing in the SDGs should not mean a choice between profitability and sustainability. This demonstrates that that contribution of private business to finance development should not be overestimated.
21. The participation of the private sector, among other relevant stakeholders, is critical to strengthening the economies in developing countries, therefore it must continue to contribute in mobilizing resources needed to finance sustainable development. Foreign direct investment must be increased and become more long-term oriented and aligned with national development priorities to support developing countries in implementing the SDGs.
22. In respect to domestic and international private business and finance, aligning financial markets with sustainable development creates the appropriate environment and conditions for private resources to be adequately channeled towards long-term SDGs.
23. The review of global economic governance and the reform of the international financial system and the relevant institutions is needed to avoid recurrence of crises that could have severe negative impacts on the economies of the developing countries. Moreover, there is a need to make the international financial system and the relevant institutions more responsive to the needs and concerns of developing countries including broadening and strengthening the participation in the global economic governance and the international economic decision-making.
24. On Science, technology, innovation and capacity-building: addressing the constraints on technology transfer along with enhancing capacity building in science, technology and innovation is essential for the progress of the developing countries in implementing a wide range of SDGs. The Group wishes to emphasize that capacity building and the transfer of technology are fundamental in facilitating developing countries in having ownership of their own development. In this regard, the outcome document must highlight the need for allocation of financing for the fulfilment of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism's (TFM) mandate.
25. The Group of 77 and China also looks forward for additional engagement of UNCTAD in the FfD process as the focal point within the United Nations system for the integrated treatment of trade and development and interrelated issues in in the areas of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development taking in accordance with para 88 of AAAA. Moreover, the group seeks involvement of organizations such as UNIDO and South Centre in FfD process taking into consideration their focus on various development issues relevant to the developing countries.
26. In conclusion, the Group looks forward for constructive engagement with our partners throughout this forum with a view to reaching solutions to address the challenges we face while working towards a consensus-based outcome document encompassing all action areas of the AAAA.
I thank you