Madam Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

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

Allow me to extend our warmest congratulations to you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We assure you of our full support and cooperation.

The Group also takes note of the Secretary-General's reports under the various agenda items and of their recommendations.

Madam Chair,

We are in unprecedented times in our history. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on our world with far reaching social and economic consequences. It has compounded existing challenges to development, exacerbated inequalities and vulnerabilities and negatively impacted the abilities of Governments to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals as we enter the decade of action.

Indeed, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on social development have gone much beyond the impact on health. Already marginalized and vulnerable populations stand to face disproportionately worse conditions, there is increased risk of domestic violence and decades of progress in social development are likely to be reversed. In that regard, the recognition of COVID-19 vaccines as global public goods will help to overcome the pandemic worldwide and recover the momentum for sustainable development.

As such, our Group believes that this year's discussions on Social Development should focus on the impacts of COVID-19 as well as on action-oriented strategies to address different forms of inequality with the aim of implementing the objectives of the World Summit for Social Development and 2030 Agenda and to leave no country and no one behind.

We wish to remind that strengthening multilateralism and international development cooperation, especially North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, is fundamental to sustainable development and to promoting the Programme of Action of the Copenhagen Summit. The international community and development partners have a pivotal role to play in collaborating with, and supporting, developing countries in implementing their social development agenda. South-South cooperation should complement rather than be seen as a substitute for North-South cooperation.

Madam Chair,

Among the main objectives of the International Year of the Family, 1994, was the strengthening of national institutions to formulate, implement and monitor family policies and respond to problems affecting families. The Group notes with appreciation that the SG's Report, issued pursuant to GA resolution 73/144, records efforts by Member States to support families in vulnerable situations, improve work-life balance for families with children and strengthen national institutions charged with the implementation of family policies. We urge Member States to further invest in family-oriented policies and programmes as important tools for fighting poverty, inequality and social exclusion.

We also wish to emphasize that older persons participate actively in the economic and social life of their societies. We are deeply concerned about the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on the lives of older persons and the disproportionate threat it presents to their health, lives, rights and wellbeing. The international community must work to eliminate structural and institutional prejudices, discrimination and stigmatization to assure older persons of the full enjoyment of their human rights, dignity and well-being. Sustainable and inclusive social and economic policies for older persons can be achieved through our combined efforts.

The Group welcomes the progress achieved by governments and other stakeholders in mainstreaming disability in the implementation of their national development efforts. We, however, recognize that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the inequalities and exclusion experienced by persons with disabilities and urge that the well-being and perspectives of persons with disabilities be considered in COVID-19 response efforts.

Madam Chair,

As in previous sessions, the Group of 77 and China will submit four draft resolutions during the 75th Session.

Taking account of the Bureau's request that sponsors of resolutions consider measures to have a more manageable work schedule given the limited in-person engagements and the difficulties related to virtual negotiations, technical updates will be made to two of our four resolutions - the resolution on the the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing and the resolution on the International Year of the Family. We emphasize that this should not be regarded as setting a precedent for future negotiations on these very important resolutions.

As we were not able to include the recommendations from the current SG reports on family issues and the ageing population in the current resolutions, we will do so in the 76th General Assembly resolution where both the current reports' recommendations and the next year's recommendations shall be included. We also remind Member States of the approaching 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2024. The preparations for the anniversary are now under way and we encourage your active participation.

The Group will present substantive changes to the resolution on the World Summit for Social Development and resolution on a global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. We look forward to the valuable contributions and support of all Member States during the negotiations.
We are deeply concerned that despite efforts to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, historical and new forms of injustices persist and continue to afflict our communities and societies. We must strengthen our actions to dismantle the many obstacles encountered by millions of people throughout the world.

As we approach its 20th anniversary, the international community must summon the political will to make the Durban Programme of Action a living document through its full and effective implementation.

Madam Chair

25 years after its adoption, the Group of 77 and China would like to reaffirm our support for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. We welcome the measures taken by Member States to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and remain fully committed to mainstreaming gender perspectives into policies and programs related to their advancement and well-being.

We emphasize the need for measures to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. States must use all appropriate legislative, political and economic means to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and protect their fundamental freedoms.

As we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and engage under unique and limiting conditions, let us recommit to working together to achieve our common goals and a better world for all, in this decade of action for sustainable development.

I Thank you.