STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. MR. ADNAN ABU AL-HAIJA, AMBASSADOR OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO INDIA, AT THE CLOSING PLENARY OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (New Delhi, India, 13 September 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Allow me first to express the Group's gratitude and congratulations to the government and people of India for having successfully hosted this conference of the parties, and for their warm and generous hospitality.
3. 2019 is an important year for the international community to highlight and underscore the impact and magnitude of desertification as it relates to sustainable development.
4. Desertification has created numerous challenges in recent years, making it a global threat as it undermines sustainable development through land degradation, lethal droughts, extreme poverty, and more, costing approximately 10 per cent of the annual global gross product through loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. IPBES has already identified land-use change as one of the five direct drivers to impact biodiversity.
5. As desertification-related challenges continue to intensify, more attention and action are urgently required to address the overarching goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
6. While participating in this important conference, we have held effective discussions in addressing and examining ways to act on existing and emerging challenges stemming from desertification, which poses a major challenge to sustainable development and has affected the lives of millions of people in the fight against poverty.
7. We also recall that desertification and land degradation affect all the regions of the world and continue to pose a serious threat to sustainable development at national, regional and global levels. We would like to emphasize, also, that these issues have repercussions in the functioning of the ecosystem and the Earth System as a whole.
8. The Group welcomes existing and new partnerships in the areas of desertification, land degradation and droughts as they closely correlate with the international community's efforts in achieving goals set out in the 2030 Agenda, and encourages the creation of additional partnerships and synergies in order to address these serious challenges.
9. The Group acknowledges the work undertaken by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD as a valuable platform to foster investments on programs and projects within the scope of this Convention.
10. The Group welcomes the adoption of the new Strategic Framework which timeframe coincides with that of the 2030 Agenda; we are pleased with its objective to deal specifically with drought; and we look forward to strengthening linkages between the indicators used for the strategic framework of the Convention and those used in the LDN initiative.
11. As we meet here in New Delhi, we must continue to capture, share, and scale up experiences and knowledge in order to build on the progress made in the areas of desertification.
12. Although progress has been made in certain areas, the Group recognizes that political will and enhanced engagement are essential to combat desertification by reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss.
13. In this connection, the Group believes future HLPFs will generate opportunities to share advantageous experiences and inspire others regarding advances related with the implementation of the UNCCD.
14. Moreover, the Group believes that the outcomes of this COP should be taken for consideration of the work undertaken by the United Nations General Assembly, which will open its general debate on September 24th. We, as the Group of 77 and China, will also take on board issues related to desertification, land degradation and drought at our upcoming Ministerial Meeting to be held in New York on September 27th.
15. The Group recognizes the importance of the high-level meeting held in this COP 14, which demonstrates the interest and commitment at the highest level of the authorities of the countries parties in seeking joint solutions to the problem of desertification and drought for the benefit of our peoples.
16. The Group welcomes the Delhi Declaration, which recognizes that desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) undermines health, development and prosperity in all regions, and its effects are felt most keenly by vulnerable people, recognizing also that the participation of all is crucial to achieving the objectives of the UNCCD.
17. The Group remains committed to the implementation of the decisions adopted at this 14th Session of the COP, and we are hopeful that the Ministerial Declaration will further enhance international commitment and cooperation.
18. The Group looks forward to the continuation of all efforts in the spirit of win-win cooperation during the inter-sessional period in order to take clear, concrete and effective actions to tackle the global challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought, with the aim of ensuring and preserving the wellbeing of our peoples and ecosystems, and building a community of shed future for humankind.
I thank you.