STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MINISTER DR. RIYAD MANSOUR (STATE OF PALESTINE), CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, AT THE 2019 HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 16 July 2019)
Madame President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Allow me at the outset to express the Group's appreciation to you, Madame President, for organizing and convening this session under the very important theme, "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality", which sends a strong message to all States and relevant stakeholders that empowering people and inequality are placed at the center of our collective efforts towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3. Five years ago, we stated that we were the first generation that can end poverty and the last that can save the planet. We translated this vision into an Agenda for people, planet and prosperity. It is our shared responsibility to ensure our collective commitments are implemented. The fate of humanity and of all life, the earth is home to, lies in our hands.
4. 2019 is a very important year, as we are rounding up the first four-year cycle of the HLPF after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. This is an important opportunity to set the stage for a decade for implementation of the Agenda, especially that despite significant effort, the current pace of progress toward achieving the SDGs is clearly insufficient. There is a need to accelerate efforts and to mobilize the necessary resources to ensure implementation of the Agenda 2030, including of Goals 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17 that are under review for this year.
5. The Group reaffirms that poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, remains the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. The Group is deeply concerned that extreme poverty rate is expected to be 6 percent in 2030, and that hunger continues to be on the rise for the third consecutive year. Eradicating poverty, ending hunger and achieving food security are fundamental for sustainable development.
6. The Group calls for an urgent global action to address the adverse impacts of climate change by taking ambitious actions in line with the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement, and shifting financial flows towards pathways consistent with limiting warming to below 1.5 degrees.
7. The Group is deeply concerned that up to 1 million species currently face the threat of extinction, more than any other time in human history, as revealed in the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; In this regard, we are looking forward to the convening of the summit on biodiversity at the level of Heads of State and Government before the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention, in 2020, in order to highlight the urgency of action at the highest levels in support of a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that contributes to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and places the global community on a path towards realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
8. Inequalities remain prevalent and are at risk of growing further due to climate change, climate and environmental disasters, the digital divide, technological disruption, obstacles to access to quality education and health.
9. The Group strongly believes that the call contained in the 2030 Agenda to reduce inequality within and among countries, as well as promoting inclusive, just and equitable societies is critical to empower people, in particular the most vulnerable. It is consistent with the objective of leaving no country and no one behind.
10. The Group reaffirms the need to address the diverse needs and the challenges faced by developing countries, especially countries in special situations, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as specific challenges faced by many middle-income countries, and conflict and post-conflict countries and countries and peoples living under foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development and their ability to achieve and implement the 2030 Agenda.
11. These inequalities continue to risk the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable, especially the LDCs. The Group looks forward to greater attention to the poorest and most vulnerable in the HLPF, in fulfilment of our commitment to reach the furthest behind first.
12. The Group also acknowledges that full and productive employment and decent work for all are important elements of sustainable development for all countries and it is therefore an important objective of international cooperation.
13. The Group welcomes efforts at the regional level on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including by the UN Regional Economic Commissions, and Regional Fora on Sustainable Development, other regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as contributions of major groups and other relevant stakeholders.
14. The Group recognizes the critical role of local communities in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including through leveraging their local wisdom, knowledge and expertise to address challenges of local contexts. In this regard, we emphasize the need to further empower and support local communities in pursuing the SDGs.
15. The Group stresses that the scale and level of ambition of the 2030 Agenda requires strengthening the means of implementation, particularly for the developing countries, as well as creating the enabling global environment for development. Sustainable financing options, global partnerships, and long-term investments are needed for achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
16. Full respect for the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter and international law inspires a full commitment to multilateralism, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. We stress, in accordance with the Agenda 2030, international law and the Charter of the United Nations, the need to uphold the right to self-determination of peoples, including those living under colonial and foreign occupation, and to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of States.
17. The Group affirms that States have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage to ecosystems of other States or of areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. We reaffirm the importance of the protection of planet Earth and its ecosystems as our common home and that "Mother Earth" is a common expression in a number of countries and regions.
18. The Group reaffirms that the right of peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over natural wealth and resources must be exercised in the interest of their national development and of the well-being of the people of the State concerned.
19. The Group also reaffirms the firm rejection of the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures including unilateral sanctions, against developing countries and reiterates the urgent need to eliminate them immediately. Such actions not only undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law but also severely threaten the freedom of trade and investment. The Group calls upon the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries.
20. To conclude, the Group stresses the primary responsibility of the high level political forum for follow-up and review of the implementation of the Agenda. We reiterate that this review should be through an inter-governmentally agreed outcome. We regret this will not be possible for the SDGs under review this year and highlight the need to address this problem in the upcoming cycle to ensure that all SDGs are subject to a review reflected in an outcome adopted at the Ministerial level.
21. The Group looks forward to the upcoming SDG summit to oversee the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you.