STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR NEIL PIERRE, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE CO-OPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE, SEVENTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 5 October 2020)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, I would like to warmly congratulate you, Ambassador Rai, on your election to the Chairmanship of the Second Committee. May I also take this opportunity to extend our congratulations to the members of the Bureau. We look forward to working with you and your team, and we are confident that through your leadership and guidance, the Committee will come to a successful conclusion in these unprecedented times. Please be assured of our full support and cooperation.
3. The Group also thanks the Secretary-General for the reports under the various agenda items which provide valuable information that will enrich our deliberations. We take note of their recommendations.
4. We have had many firsts this year. It is the first time in living memory that the world came to a stand-still on account of the COVID 19 pandemic. It is the first time that the High-level Week of the General Assembly was held entirely through virtual means, without the physical presence of Heads of State and Government. Consequently, it will be the first time that this Committee will discuss important agenda items under such extraordinary circumstances. Our Group wishes to underscore that the approaches we take for the seventy-fifth session do not set a precedent for any future sessions of the Second Committee.
5. The seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly signals the start of the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development. . The recent Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Moment convened by the Secretary General served to generate momentum, urgency and ambition around SDG implementation as we advance through a crucial decade of action Unfortunately, our already daunting development challenges have been exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and decades of developmental gains have been undermined. Our actions in the coming years will be critical to accelerating our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. In this instance, we reiterate the importance of our work during this main session, focused on the overarching objective of eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, as well as pursuing sustainable development in its three dimensions, in a balanced, coordinated and integrated manner.
6. As we address the cascading impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the societies across the global, we must not let up in the fight against climate change. This is still one of the greatest challenges of our time which continues to impede our efforts to achieve sustainable development. It remains an existential threat to many of our countries. The brief reduction in emissions due to the global lockdown was only a temporary but remain a longstanding problem. In this regard, the Group calls for mobilizing further action and support, in line with the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, for climate change adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage, and Sea-level rise taking into account the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries, especially those particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of Climate Change and Sea-level rise.
7. During the High-level Week of the General Assembly, the Group delivered a statement at the United Nations Biodiversity Summit. We welcomed the convening of this Summit to highlight the importance of the relationship between people and nature, and the need for a harmonious balance between human activity and nature. The COVID-19 pandemic hinders efforts to halt global biodiversity loss and consequently undermine our implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, for the benefit of present and future generations. We stand ready to work towards a successful fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, under the theme "Ecological civilization: building a shared future for all life on Earth."
8. Furthermore, the Group notes with appreciation the initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General and the Governments of Jamaica and Canada, for convening a series of timely and fitting meetings on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 and beyond. Its culmination in a meeting of Heads of State on 29 September, underscores the criticality of this issue as we consider policy options to tackle the current global crisis and put us on the right path to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
9. The world is confronting a major health crisis and we have yet to see the full scale of its economic, social and environmental impacts. What we know for sure is that developing countries are being disproportionately affected owing to their development bottlenecks. Frail health systems, insufficient financing and high debt levels, inadequate market access for goods and services, the expanding digital divide, restricted access to needed pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and reductions in revenue from tourism and exports, are only some of the structural difficulties we face. The solution lies in a strengthened multilateral system underpinned by the principles of unity and solidarity. This must be demonstrated through collective actions at all levels and with all stakeholders.
10. Consistent with the priorities of the Group, we reiterate that international trade is an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty eradication. Unfortunately, global economic contraction of about 5 per cent in 2020 in connection with the COVID-19 lockdown has slowed this engine. International cooperation is the key to the revival of the global economy, including in strengthening the international financial safety net; maintaining stability of the global supply chain, enhancing financial sector policies and regulation for sustainable development; improving cross-border payment services; and continuing to promote institutional policy coherence and governance reform. In this regard, we reaffirm the significance of a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization.
11. The Group further reaffirms that official development assistance (ODA) is critical in supporting developing countries' efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. During these unprecedented times, we urge the donor countries to honor their ODA commitments and align ODA with the specific national priorities and strategies of developing countries to better meet their development needs.
12. Moreover, we reiterate that South-South cooperation is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation. Additionally, North-South cooperation remains the main channel for development cooperation, and stresses that South-South Cooperation and its agenda must be set by countries of the South and should continue to be guided by the principles of respect for national sovereignty, national ownership and independence, equality, non-conditionality, non-interference in domestic affairs and mutual benefit.
13. Moreover, our Group is firm in its rejection of the imposition of all forms of coercive economic measures, including unilateral sanctions, against developing countries. Such actions undermine the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law and impede development. The Group calls upon the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries.
14. The Group reaffirms the importance of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) resolution that will be negotiated during this session. Since the adoption of the 2016 QCPR and the further mandates pertaining to the repositioned UN Development System, it is fundamental that we now focus our attention on providing policy directives and operational guidance for enhanced support by the UN system to our countries. The Group stands ready to work with our partners to achieve a consensual outcome that will guide the work of the system for the next four years.
15.Looking ahead, the Group will engage constructively in the process leading to the United Nations Food Systems Summit in 2021, which will present a unique opportunity to contribute to the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs, as it aims to explore bold new actions, innovative solutions and strategies, and particularly the means of implementation to transform our food systems, with the support of FAO, WFP and IFAD, with the support of FAO, WFP and IFAD, and leverage these shifts to deliver progress across all SDGs.
16.Just as important. We look forward to the High-level Dialogue on Energy in 2021 to promote the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Dialogue should raise ambition and accelerate action towards the achievement of SDG 7, in support of the Decade of Action. . We also look forward to the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference to discuss the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
17. To conclude, the Second Committee will be faced with varying degrees of challenges during this session, as we navigate our work under these extraordinary circumstances. It is up to us, as we engage on fundamental issues of development, to ensure that we leave no one behind and push forward with the objective to transform our world and build a common future. We stand ready to play our part towards that end. I thank you.