STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR NEIL PIERRE, PERMANENT MISSION OF GUYANA TO THE UN, AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON THE DRAFT STRUCTURE OF THE MINISTERIAL DECLARATION OF THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT UNDER THE AUSPICES OF ECOSOC (New York, 4 May 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me to thank you for your efforts in producing the draft structure of the 2020 ECOSOC-HLPF Ministerial Declaration and for the transparent and inclusive manner in which you are carrying out your important mandate.
3. The G77 and China has carefully reviewed the draft structure presented and is of the view that it is a good basis on which to begin our discussions on the 2020 Ministerial Declaration. We are pleased to see the inclusion of several issues which are priorities for our Group. We take this opportunity to offer our perspectives on the draft and to reiterate some elements that we believe should be taken into consideration as you begin preparation of the zero draft. I will treat with each section sequentially then conclude with a few general comments.
4. First, while the Introduction lists several important elements, the Group would like to highlight some key elements to be included. In order to ensure that no one is left behind, the Group reiterates its earlier position that the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda must include and address the severe difficulties faced by countries and peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation and strive to remove the obstacles to the full realization of their right to self-determination and the right to development, as well as our opposition to unilateralism and protectionism.
5. Additionally, the Group would appreciate if you could provide some clarity regarding the “principals” (sp) referred to in the third bullet point.
6. Second, in the section dedicated to assessing the situation regarding the 2030 Agenda, the Group has noted the proposal to focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Decade of Action and Delivery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is multidimensional in its current impact and will undoubtedly add to the existing challenges facing developing countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs. In this context, the Group is deeply concerned about the impact of high debt levels on the ability of developing countries to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 shock, and to invest in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
7. This notwithstanding, we are convinced that the Declaration should be broader in scope when assessing the 2030 Agenda. The challenges faced by countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda preceded the COVID-19 pandemic and have been deepened and compounded by this global pandemic. We should avoid creating the narrative, without available evidence, that the 2030 Agenda may not be adequately implemented owing to the pandemic. The zero draft should, therefore, be crafted to amply reflect the pre-existing challenges in implementing the 2030 Agenda and must underscore the need for accelerated efforts in the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development. This Declaration must generate enough political momentum toward this end.
8. Third, regarding the actions to be taken on the way forward, the Group wishes to emphasize the following:
i. The eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, should be the overarching consideration that drives our actions; this should be clearly reflected in the zero draft.
ii. Disaster risk reduction should not be limited to the environment but should be treated in a broad manner given its relevance to the three dimensions of sustainable development and to all the SDGs. Consequently, the zero draft should reflect on this topic in a standalone paragraph, capturing the importance of both prevention and resilience.
iii. The draft structure is noticeably devoid of any reference to climate change. Given the existential threat posed by climate change and the fact that it is a top concern for developing countries, it should be reflected in the zero draft in a manner that focuses on adaptation, mitigation and increased allocation of the means of implementation – financial resources, capacity building and technology transfer - for developing countries. The principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and the respective capabilities should also be reflected. Similarly, we believe that issues such as sustainable urban development, water and sanitation, land degradation, biodiversity loss and desertification deserve consideration.
iv. There should be a reference to data and statistics as these elements are crucial to the achievement of the SDGs, particularly for developing countries where there is often limited capacity in this area.
v. The role and contribution of volunteerism in the achievement of the SDGs should also be reflected in addressing partnerships.
vi. We would like to see a reference to home-grown approaches and pathways in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs as many lessons have been learned and shared among countries.
vii. We highlight that the reference to “circular economy” in the draft structure is not part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and should be replaced with a reference to sustainable consumption and production patterns as a priority issue in sustainable development.
9. As a general comment, the G77 and China underscores the need to allow adequate time for these negotiations so that, together, delegations can craft a Declaration that is action-oriented and which provides focused policy guidance for States in the Decade for Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development.
10. In conclusion, allow me to reiterate the Group’s confidence that the process leading to the adoption of the Declaration will continue to be underpinned by inclusivity and transparency despite the challenging circumstances in which we are undertaking to negotiate this important document.
11. In this same vein, we urge you to set out a clear roadmap to guide the process, allowing ample time for dialogue and consultations. The G77 and China commits to be a constructive partner throughout and assures you of its full support in the execution of your responsibilities.
I thank you.