STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE STATE OF PALESTINE AT THE CONSIDERATION OF ITEM 19: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 14 October 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. The Group thanks the various Secretariat representatives for the reports presented before us under this agenda item.
3. The Group reiterates its steadfast commitment to fully implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a balanced and integrated manner to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, building on the achievements of the MDGs and seeking to address their unfinished business.
4. 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.
5. The Group believes that the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations in 2020 and also the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda is a great opportunity for the international community to reaffirm collective commitment to multilateralism and to the United Nations, and reaffirms the urgent need to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, in particular the eradication of poverty. In this regard, the Group reiterates the significance and necessity of putting development first in the work of the UN.
6. Mr. Chair, allow me, to highlight the views of the Group on the various issues under this important agenda item:
7. The Group emphasizes that 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.
8. The recently concluded Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway revealed that although small island developing States have made progress in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, there still remains much work to be done. The new challenges emerging from climate change and economic shocks makes the situation more tenuous in many of these States. It is therefore imperative that we look towards this year's second committee negotiations with a renewed sense of vigor to move the implementation agenda forward for SIDS. The closing window of opportunity necessitates urgent action to ensure SIDS with a meaningful opportunity at their development.
9. Climate change is one of the world's main challenges. Reports indicate that with the current trajectory, our nations will be facing disastrous impacts. Over and above, it is happening now not in the future. During the past year, droughts and floods hit in regions which never used to deal with such problems, particularly developing countries of Africa and the Carabine. 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 UNFCCC and Paris Agreement. We urge the developed countries to honor their commitment of providing 100 billion USD climate finance annually by 2020 to developing countries.
10. Disasters can wipe out hard fought development gains. The Summits during the high-level week have highlighted the importance and urgency to manage disaster risk and to have it central in the implementation, follow-up and review of the SDGs over the next decade. The poorest countries and the most marginalized people continue to bear the brunt. In fact, poverty and marginalization are one of the most powerful drivers of disaster risk. Disaster risk reduction is therefore one of the most effective tools at hand to empower people and to ensure inclusion and equality. It is concerning that the rising tide of disaster economic losses is leaving many countries far from achieving their targets. No country can manage disaster risk alone. It is necessary to enhance international cooperation, global partnerships and the provision of means of implementation to support LDCs, LLDCs, SIDS, middle-income countries, and countries in development in transition, that have recently exceeded the median income threshold, but still have structural gaps and vulnerabilities, and to ensure that bilateral and multilateral development assistance is risk-informed.
11. The Group reiterates that ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy remains critical for the advancement of new economic opportunities, creating sustainable and inclusive communities, and building resilience against environmental challenges. Collective and collaborative efforts towards achieving this goal is especially important, as it is closely linked with achieving other SDGs. We welcome the initiatives and commitments on the deployment of sustainable energy presented at the Climate Action Summit in September, as well as the high-level dialogue of the midpoint review of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All which took place in May this year.
12. The Group reiterates that urgent and swift actions are needed to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. We recall the commitments made by Member States at COP14 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2018, and look forward to COP15 to be held in China in 2020 under the theme "Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth," which will formulate the post-2020 global biodiversity framework that contributes to the 2030 Agenda and places the global community on a path towards realizing the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity.
13. The Group firmly believes that investing in achieving land degradation neutrality will act as an accelerator and integrator of other SDGs. Today, 122 countries, mostly G77 members, have subscribed to the Voluntary Target Setting to achieve land degradation neutrality and are now in the process of preparing large scale and transformative programmes and projects in this respect. We call on its partners to support the efforts of these countries. The Group wishes also to thank India, for having successfully hosted UNCCD COP14 in New Delhi, India.
14. Sand and dust storms remain a serious challenge to the achievement of the SDGs and associated targets. Addressing such pressing issues requires, inter alia, further cooperation among different UN entities. In this context, we welcome the creation of the UN Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, taking into consideration that one of the most critical functions of the Coalition will be to coordinate the response, on a local, regional and global scale, to promote coherent action. The Group also appreciates the efforts to developing a global base map of sand and dust storm sources, which is designed to provide baseline information on sand and dust storm source areas, including hotspots, and can be used in planning and implementing sand and dust storm policy, including source management, risk and impact assessment and early warning. ?
15. On education for sustainable development, we reiterate our call for the international community to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels -early childhood, primary, secondary, and tertiary, including technical and vocational training. We also stress the need to strengthen education as a crucial component in all agendas, programmes and activities that promote sustainable development, so that all people may have access to lifelong learning opportunities that help them to acquire the knowledge, skills and values needed to participate fully in society. This will enable people to fully exploit opportunities, be well equipped to face challenges, thus, empower them to contribute to sustainable development.
16. The Group underscores, as was highlighted in the 4th UNEA, the need to innovate new ways, strategies and actions towards combating environmental challenges. The Group looks forward to the convening of the 5th session of UNEA in February 2021 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
17. Furthermore, the UNEA 4 ministerial declaration decided by consensus to ambitiously scale up efforts to overcome current environmental challenges by, among others; undertaking transformative action to protect marine and coastal ecosystems. We must therefore continue to work towards strengthening the work, functions and mandate of UNEP, which is the only UN Headquarters in the global South.
18. 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 ecosystem 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 and continues to impact human health, environment, biodiversity, marine life and economic growth and the efforts to achieve sustainable development in Lebanon.
19. Finally, climate change and natural disasters are just some of the symptoms of the crisis and emergency we are facing, in this sense, we recognize the call to action in the Climate Action Summit. Since the current model of destructive development is equally damaging for Nature and human dignity alike, 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, a living community of interrelated and interdependent beings.
20. The Group intends to engage constructively with our partners to ensure that we pursue our common aim of achieving sustainable development for all, and we would like to affirm the importance of adopting all resolutions under this agenda item by consensus.
I thank you.