REMARKS ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. ABDULLAH ABUSHAWESH, COUNSELLOR, AT THE MISSION OF THE STATE OF PALESTINE TO THE UN, AT THE FIRST INFORMAL DIALOGUE ON THE REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE (New York, 17 December 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me to thank the Chair of the Second Committee and the Bureau for all their tireless efforts and for convening today's meeting to continue the discussion on the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee, in accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
3. The Group is of the view that it is an opportune time to discuss this important issue in an organized, holistic and comprehensive manner. We look forward to engaging constructively in this exercise with the spirit to make the work of the Second Committee with greater impacts and more relevant, substantial, efficient and effective for deliberations of key issues related to sustainable development and international development cooperation. In this connection, we are open to discuss all proposals and options that will serve the purpose of enhancing the work of the Second Committee.
4. Development must remain at the core of the work of the Second Committee. We emphasize that the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda is of the utmost importance for the Group's work in the Committee, with a special focus on the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, which is the overarching objective of the Agenda. Only substantive and constructive engagement of all parties will be conducive to bearing fruits and outcomes of the Second Committee and improving its quality of work. At the same time, we should keep in mind that the scope of work of the Second Committee is broader than the 2030 Agenda, and is related to the whole Development Pillar of the UN, and that the 2030 Agenda is relevant to the work of the UN beyond the Second Committee.
5. The consensus-driven nature of the Second Committee is unique and pivotal and must be preserved. In this connection, the Group expresses its concern that this special circumstance of the Second Committee where consensual adoption of resolutions has been our tradition and has played a central and positive role in this Committee's practice has not been respected and is in decline. Breaking of silence procedure and calling for votes occurred in several occasions; some related mainly to the periodicity issue.
6. In this connection, we stress that the issue of revitalization must be based on evidence-based approach, scientific studies, specific analysis and informative discussion. The relevance of resolutions, and their periodicity should be taken in consideration carefully, on a case by case basis, with clear reasoning and accurate argument, and always based on the consent of interested delegations. Also, it should be made clear that this exercise cannot be conducted to the detriment of the right of all delegations to table new proposals to the Committee for introduction of additional agenda items or new draft resolutions under the current ones.
7. We are pleased that we were able to conclude the substantive work of the Committee during this session on time. In that context, we worked tirelessly and met the submission deadlines for all the resolutions presented by the Group. It must also be noted that while preparing the zero drafts, the Group made streamlining efforts to some of our resolutions. We also made significant improvements to the text of the Agenda 21 resolution to ensure that it was updated, more relevant, and action-oriented. We accommodated as best as we could, the concerns of various delegations throughout the process. However, the Group was deeply disappointed that consensus could not be achieved on this particular resolution regardless of the difficult concessions made in order to achieve consensus.
8. Furthermore, we have noticed, this session as well as in previous sessions, that our partners brought crosscutting language that were not of relevance to the resolutions, in this regard, we call on all our partners to refrain from bringing crosscutting language on issues that are not pertinent to the resolutions, as this will poison the discussion and will not be helpful in achieving a balanced and focused resolutions, which our Group believes it is in conformity with our common interests.
9. Reporting is one of the main aspects of the work of the Second Committee that strengthens informed decision making of and consensus building among the UN membership. We wish to underscore the importance of the timely release of reports to enable delegations to approach the work of the Committee and submit draft resolutions in a timely manner.
10. We also call for a regular and predictable schedule for informal consultations, and for sufficient time between informal consultations to allow Groups and delegations to consult and digest the new language proposals, as quality consultations will help achieve quality and consensual outcomes. It is also important that Silence Procedures must not be less than 24 hours in order to accommodate all delegations, in particular given the time zone difference.
11. To conclude, Mr. Chair, I wish to reaffirm that the Group sees merit of this interaction and value the exchange of views which are frank and constructive in terms of enhancing the work of the Second Committee. We believe that today's discussion is the first step in a more comprehensive discussion, and that this goal can only be achieved with a genuine collaboration with our partners.
12. On our part, the Group stands ready to constructively engage in future discussions. We stress on the importance of a very clear and transparent way forward for future discussions so as to really enhance the work of the Second Committee and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
I thank you.