STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR RUDOLPH MICHAEL TEN-POW, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIFTY-EIGHTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (New York, 10 February 2020)

Mr. Chair,

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. Allow me to extend our warmest congratulations to you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. The Group commits our full support and cooperation for the success of your work.

3. I would also like to express the Group's appreciation to the Secretary-General for the comprehensive reports which will contribute to our deliberations in the days ahead and to the Under Secretary General of DESA, Mr. Liu, for the hard work done by his Department in preparation for this 58th session of the Commission.

Mr. Chair,

4. The importance of this year cannot be overstated, as it marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations and of the Commission on Social Development. It is also the twenty-fifth anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development, which augured an historic consensus on the need to put people at the center of development. Twenty-five years later, the Summit outcomes continue to serve as a touchstone for social development.

5. The Group reaffirms its commitment to fulfilling the goals outlined in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in 1995, particularly poverty eradication, promotion of full and productive employment, and the fostering of social inclusion.

 Mr. Chair,

6. This Commission, likewise, has served the interests of all countries and particularly the members of the Group of 77. It is the place where we can give effect to our universal commitment to leave no one behind. We reiterate our steadfast support for its work and for the fundamental principles that the Commission serves. We also welcome the Commission's consideration of the theme of "Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness." We recognize its inherent connection with the achievement of the SDGs and the goals outlined in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action.

7. Among other goals, Agenda 2030 aims to ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and to basic services, as well as to upgrade slums. Regrettably, and notwithstanding the significant inroads made in addressing homelessness, statistics reveal that the levels of homelessness have progressively risen during the past decade. The data also confirm that homelessness is one of the most glaring symptoms of lack of access to education, health and productive employment, poverty, inequality and social exclusion.

8. In our search for solutions, it is necessary to consider the multiple causes and consequences of homelessness, the challenges faced by homeless persons, and its effects on individuals and societies. The Secretary-General's report amply underscores this point, noting that homelessness affects people of all ages, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds. Therefore, building on the recommendations of the previous session of this Commission, which addressed inequalities and challenges to social inclusion, lies at the heart of efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This must be underpinned by continued international and domestic efforts to eradicate poverty.

9. Poverty eradication remains our highest priority and one of our greatest challenges. This is particularly true as the effects of climate change, food insecurity, armed conflict, slowing global economic growth, humanitarian emergencies and global health threats all serve to undermine and impede efforts in this direction. The Group of 77 and China recognize that effective social protection systems, improved infrastructure, participatory governance and sustained economic growth are vital to poverty eradication.

Mr. Chair,

10. The attainment of this Target requires international cooperation at every level. It is on this basis that the Group reiterates the role of cooperation and genuine partnerships between all stakeholders, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, to support national efforts to fight inequality and eradicate poverty and to realize the commitments made twenty-five years ago in Copenhagen, as well as those contained in the 2030 Agenda. We emphasize the importance of scaling up the mobilization of resources for sustainable development, including through Official Development Assistance, innovative financing, support for capacity-building, technology transfers and trade, among others.

11. In addition, the Group strongly supports the African Union's Social Agenda of the New Partnership for Africa's Development and its Agenda 2063.

Mr. Chair,

12. The Group expresses its full support to the comprehensive efforts made by the Government of China to contain the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, and recognizes China's efforts in extending cooperation with the international community.

13. The Group emphasizes that the international community should work together in a spirit of responsibility, transparency, solidarity and cooperation and avoid the spread of discrimination, stigma and disinformation to bring this outbreak under control as fast as possible.

14. The Group emphasizes the important role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in global public health preparedness and response and calls for respect for the professional guidance of the WHO regarding containment of the outbreak.

Mr. Chairman,

15. In closing, the Group of 77 and China wishes to reaffirm the vital work of the Commission on Social Development in continuously assessing the implementation of the Copenhagen outcomes, providing guidance for SDG implementation and follow-up on the 2030 Agenda, particularly in view of the widening challenges facing the global community. We trust that the discussions and recommendations of the 58th session of the Commission will greatly contribute to the achievement of our shared aspirations.

I thank you