INTERVENTION BY THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE ALIGNMENT OF THE AGENDAS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ECOSOC AND ITS SUBSIDIARY BODIES IN THE LIGHT OF THE ADOPTION OF THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 28 May 2020)
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
1. Please accept our thanks for organizing today’s informal consultations, giving us another opportunity to deliberate further on this important issue. Our hope is that following today’s discussions, we would be in a position to make some realistic progress as we move towards the 75th session of the General Assembly, taking into account that many processes have been postponed to next session of the GA, or are undergoing procedural and streamlined review or discussion due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our work.
2. Allow me to also dwell briefly on the context in which our discussions are taking place. Excellencies, we are in the last decade of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and developing countries are especially keen to ensure that the organs of the United Nations are poised to be most effective in this Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development. Moreover, the challenges that developing countries have traditionally grappled with in pursuit of full implementation of the 2030 Agenda are now compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. We stress that more time and detailed analysis is needed for evaluating the impact of the pandemic on sustainable development, which is directly related to and should be reflected in the alignment process.
3. On this latter note, the Group would welcome advice on how you plan to take the process forward following today’s discussions, to enable our constructive participation.
4. The G77 and China would like to thank you also for your Note of 24 April 2020; we wish to emphasize the following:
I. The respective role and mandates of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies are important in supporting and guiding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs. We underscore, however, that the work of these organs remains State driven. Consequently, the rights of all States should be safeguarded during the alignment process and there should be no attempts to curtail the right of any State to pursue initiatives in these organs.
II. The alignment exercise would not be comprehensive unless we were to have a clear and accurate sense of how the agendas of the General Assembly and ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies measure up vis-á-vis the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. As stated in our non-paper, we should aim for an in-depth analysis of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, in relation to all agenda items and sub-items; this should be one of the preliminary exercises that we undertake. Such a comprehensive analysis would then feed into our work in identifying gaps, overlaps and duplication where they exist and would also feed into the mapping exercise.
III. As a follow-on to my previous point, we should continue to build on the mapping exercise carried out during the 73rd session. We cannot merely consider titles of resolutions, but we must go beyond this to consider their substance. A comprehensive analysis of the agendas of the GA and ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies will lend itself to substance-based mapping as opposed to title-based mapping. We reiterate our earlier recommendation for there to be synergy between this process and the ongoing Second Committee revitalization exercise.
IV. There has to be balance in the alignment exercise. The mandate for the alignment process dictates that we address “gaps, overlaps and duplications where they are found to exist.” However, it appears that our work is skewed in favour of overlaps and duplication. The Group emphasizes the need for greater focus on gaps so that there is equal attention to all aspects of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. Perhaps there is some hesitation in adding new agenda items, however, we stress that there should be no restrictions to adding new agenda items, where appropriate and necessary, to address those Goals and Targets that are not adequately covered. The indivisible nature of the 2030 Agenda makes it imperative and urgent to ensure equal attention to and consideration of all Goals and Targets, to support its full and effective implementation.
V. Regarding the criteria for possible overlaps and/or duplication, the Group reiterates that it is still premature to discuss the criteria at this stage. As we reiterated several times, we strongly believe that before we consider the criteria for possible overlaps and/or duplication, we need to have a detailed, thorough and comprehensive analysis of the SDGs and the agenda items.
VI. The Group believes that any proposal on the way forward on the alignment process during the current session must be done with consideration of the procedural and time constraints affecting the negotiation process and which have been imposed on us by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we believe that any decision on the way forward should also be coherent with the decisions that will be taken on the wider process of the revitalization of the General Assembly, to which the Alignment process is closely connected.
The alignment exercise is urgent but should not be conducted in a hurried manner, especially given the huge impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current context of virtual negotiations; we risk overlooking crucial aspects or treating them in a superficial manner. The G77 and China believes that we need to be more methodical with the time remaining for this session so that we can make some gains. The Group fully supports your efforts, Co-Facilitators, and will continue to be constructive partners in the process.
I thank you.