STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR NEIL PIERRE, PERMANENT MISSION OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE BRIEFING FOR THE SDG MOMENT (New York, 6 August 2020)
Deputy Secretary General,
1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. We join with all Member States in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the Government and people of Lebanon on the very tragic events of this week.
2. At the outset, the Group would like to thank you for convening this second virtual briefing on the SDG Moment, following a productive conversation last month on this topic. We welcome the interactive nature of our discussions, leading us to this second briefing to further analyze the revised background note that was circulated on 4th August 2020.
3. As expressed in our statement at the first briefing, we welcome and support this initiative, as we are not going to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the current pace in its implementation and also in the face of a global crisis that is upending our lives, livelihood and societies. The SDG Moment can be used as the platform to exchange experience and best practices in implementing the 2030 Agenda and to provide constant and strong impetus for its implementation.
4. Our Group welcomes the changes introduced to the revised background note, which take into account some of the comments and questions conveyed at the first briefing. The Group reaffirms that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the overarching Goal of the 2030 Agenda and thus appreciates the emphasis placed on poverty eradication. We also stress that improving health systems, bridging the digital divide and strengthening the means of implementation for developing countries is vital to the realization of all 17 SDGs. We take note of the following:
5. First, the revised selection criteria for the 20 Member States to contribute with statements is duly noted, in particular, States represented at the Head of State and Government level that have presented at least one VNR at the HLPF since 2015. This allows for the expansion of the number of States that may indicate interest from each region and should be the guiding criteria for selecting speakers in the event, since they are fair and transparent and will avoid missed opportunities by interested delegations. However, the selection process should be simplified by requesting the Chair of each regional group to convey directly to you, Deputy Secretary General, the expressions of interest, by applying the selection criteria outlined and without requiring an additional regional selection process. In this regard, we look forward to receiving updated information on the selection process as stated in the background note, as well as more details of the virtual nature of the event, mainly if it refers to statements being submitted through prerecorded messages.
6. Secondly, with respect to speaking opportunities, we welcome the indication that all interested Member States will be provided at least one opportunity to address the meeting between now and 2030. It is important that Member States lead and own this process. Therefore, the Group stands ready to support you, Madam Deputy Secretary General, to ensure a transparent process that preserves the geographical balance and representation in the participation of Member States throughout.
7. Thirdly, the Group supports the inclusion of the complementary nature of the SDG Moment with the other High-Level Meetings scheduled to take place in the 75th Session of the General Assembly. This avoids duplication of our efforts and allows us to be succinct and focused. As the proposal is to have the SDG Moment on Friday, 18 September 2020, we would like to inquire about the rationale for the meeting time of 8am to 11am, before the usual UN working hours. We note that currently there is no other mandated High-Level meeting during that day.
8. As we steer through the fifth year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, we are confronted by a global health, economic and social crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations. This must be given special attention in the substantive scope of the SDG Moment. It relates to the first objective of setting out a vision for delivering the SDGs over the course of the Decade of Action and to safeguard a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
9. On a procedural note, the Group would like to underscore the importance of this process to its Members. Therefore, we urge the Secretariat to provide ample time for internal discussions and for Member States to receive views from Capital on any updated and revised documents to allow more fruitful and meaningful interactions. We understand the current circumstance might prohibit us the luxury of time, but we hope to find common ground on this matter in order to move us forward in the right direction.
10. Finally, the Group would like to highlight the following issues:
a) We would appreciate receiving further details on the arrangements for the complementary events, namely, the major media broadcast, SDG Action Zone and dialogues at regional and national levels.
b) What are the dedicated arrangements for stakeholder engagement? The group reiterates that the established practices and relevant GA resolutions concerning multi-stakeholder participation must be strictly observed, including the principle of non-objection basis.
11. To conclude, the Group would like to reiterate its full support to you, Deputy Secretary General and your team in this mandated process. We stand ready to work with you towards a successful SDG Moment meeting.
I thank you.