STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR NEIL PIERRE, PERMANENT MISSION OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE INFORMAL DIALOGUE ON THE REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 7 May 2020)
Mr. Chairman, Distinguished colleagues,
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. At the outset, I would like to thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the Bureau of the Second Committee, for convening this informal dialogue to continue discussions on the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee.
2. Permit me also to express our appreciation for the synopsis paper of the contributions received from Member States. The Group of 77 and China welcomes this opportunity to reiterate our position and share our views on the document.
3. The Group of 77 and China underscores the importance of this undertaking and reiterates that revitalization should strengthen rather than weaken the work of the Second Committee. We are especially pleased to see that in the synopsis document the number of areas where convergence exists exceeded the instances of divergence. In this vein, the Group commits to engaging fully and constructively in ensuring that the work of the Second Committee is conducted efficiently and effectively, with greater impact and relevance to its intended purpose. This Committee must continue to play a critical role in supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and SDG achievement.
4. The Group emphasizes that development remains at the core of the work of the Second Committee. As we embark on the Decade of Action and Delivery of the 2030 Agenda, it is important that the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee be examined through comprehensive and holistic lens. We acknowledge that the defining features of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - its universal and interconnected nature - render this effort intricately linked to other ongoing processes such as the ECOSOC and HLPF reviews and the alignment of the agendas of the General Assembly and ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. Undoubtedly, the 2030 Agenda is relevant to the intergovernmental work of the UN far beyond that of the Second Committee.
5. With reference to the working methods of the Committee, the Group wishes to highlight some of its specific views not reflected in the synopsis paper. First, the Group calls for a regular and predictable schedule of informal consultations, and for sufficient time between informal consultations to allow Groups and delegations to consult on the new proposals. This will help to achieve high quality and consensual outcomes. It is also important that Silence Procedures should be set in a manner that permits flexibility beyond 24 hours, when necessary, in order to enable all States to have adequate time to consult their capitals, particularly given the time zone differences.
6. Second, on the issue of ensuring maximal and prudent use of time and with a view to achieving optimal benefits from engagements of the Committee, the Group of 77 and China believes that the ECOSOC – Second Committee joint meetings and the engagement with the United Nations regional commissions can be scheduled outside of its main deliberations, when the Committee’s work is not concentrated on the preparation and consideration of resolutions. To this end, the regional commissions’ inputs can be accommodated during the opening of the Second Committee session, or immediately before the commencement of its substantive deliberations.
7. Furthermore, the Group sees the need for a continuous format for substantive deliberations on issues of interest, that is, to move from one agenda item to the next without interruption, subject to the availability of time.
8. Third, the Group of 77 and China notes the invaluable contribution of the Secretary-General’s reports to the work of the Committee. In view of this, the Group proposes that the Committee should request the Secretary-General to submit all reports to the Committee, as early as possible, and no later than mid-September, to allow for their timely use in preparing the Committee’s work.
9. Additionally, the Group holds the view that the introduction of reports by the Secretariat should be linked with the debate on each corresponding agenda item. This will enable the reports to feed directly into the deliberations on the items under consideration. In this regard, the debates could serve not only to reflect positions as per the practice, but also to raise questions and engage the Secretariat in an interactive dialogue.
10. With respect to the proposal for co-authorship of resolutions, the G77 and China comprises a highly diversified group of countries with different developmental needs. The Group is fully cognizant of the technicalities and complexities such an approach will incur for a group like ours. The Group of 77 and China is, therefore, not in a position to endorse this proposal, as it will still require initial Group discussion and negotiations, and thereafter negotiations with the co-author(s) in order to produce the zero draft, followed by the official negotiation process with the entire membership of the Committee.
11. On the issue of gaps, overlaps and duplication in the Committee’s agenda, and the periodicity of agenda items, the Group underscores that the relevance of agenda items and resolutions, as well as their periodicity, should be carefully taken into consideration, on a case by case basis, with clear reasoning and accurate argument, and always based on the consent of interested delegations. The Group acknowledges and respects the right of all delegations to table new proposals to the Committee for introduction of agenda items or new draft resolutions under existing items.
12. For this reason, the Group of 77 and China is opposed to the proposal for draft resolutions to be tabled, as a rule, on a biennial basis. Neither does the group support the proposal to make an effort to reduce the number of annual draft resolutions, thus, it should not be reflected as a convergent position in the synopsis paper. We also do not support the proposal to desist from tabling draft resolutions of a regional nature. We believe that consolidating such resolutions to cover global concerns of a similar nature, must be considered following consultations and with the consent of the proponents of such texts.
13. It is the view of the Group of 77 and China that conducting an objective assessment of the Second Committee resolutions must be done using a test of purpose and relevance. The Group intends to submit a full account of our positions on the resolutions in the coming days. This notwithstanding, the Group believes that all resolutions should be streamlined and made more concise, focused and action-oriented, including requests for reports and recommendations that are contained therein.
14. Additionally, it is the considered view of the Group that all resolutions marking International Days and International Years should be shifted from the Second Committee to the GA Plenary. Furthermore, the Group recommends that consideration be given to staggering more evenly the biennial resolutions from year to year, in order to balance the total number of resolutions considered in any given year.
15. The Group of 77 and China reaffirms the great value in the exchange of views that are frank and constructive and aimed at enhancing the work of the Second Committee in support of the 2030 Agenda. We commend you for this effort and reiterate our full support.
16. Finally, please allow me to introduce Ms. Marguerite St. John-Sebastian of the Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations, who is our coordinator for this agenda item. Ms. St. John-Sebastian will be making interventions for the Group.
I thank you.