STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO FROM THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE VIRTUAL INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE ECOSOC/HLPF REVIEW PROCESS (New York, 25 January 2021)
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. At the outset, allow me to express the Group's appreciation to you for co-facilitating the intergovernmental consultations for the review process of ECOSOC and the HLPF and for convening today's informal meeting to hear the views and ideas of Member States on issues relevant to the reviews.
2 First, the G77 and China believes that the current review of ECOSOC and the HLPF should ensure that the current intergovernmental structures can most effectively fulfil their roles in accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and achieve our common development aspirations. Therefore, the reviews should not be used to renegotiate substantive agreements on the SDGs, but rather to strengthen the basis for their implementation.
3 Second, the G77 and China believes that the two reviews should not be merged but should be treated as separate processes. The reviews are derived from different mandates and each should have its own full treatment. We strongly believe that any effort to conflate the two processes should be avoided as this may compromise what must be achieved based on their respective mandates. The G77 and China urge that this be taken into account in determining the work ahead. The G77 and China would also like to see more time and effort invested, in both ECOSOC and the HLPF, in addressing the regional dimensions of development, particularly through the work of the United Nations Regional Commissions and the various regional forums for sustainable development.
4 Third, regarding the ECOSOC review, the G77 and China would like to underscore the mandate that the Council as a Charter-organ for deliberations, dialogue on development. Its role in policy guidance, oversight and coordination must be reaffirmed and strengthened. The progress achieved in previous efforts for strengthening ECOSOC should be preserved and built upon, allowing full scope for the Council to address the three dimensions of sustainable development. In particular, we believe that the current segment structure should be maintained as we see no need for further changes in the format of its work. In doing so, the Council should remain substantial and action-oriented in its focus. We should bear in mind that according to United Nations, ECOSOC can discharge its mandate through recommendations to the General Assembly in coordinating the activities of the specialized agencies.
5 Fourth, regarding the HLPF review, the G77 and China is of the view that the HLPF should remain a platform for dialogue, experience-sharing and exchange of best practices in SDG implementation. Therefore, it is critical that the HLPF allows for a thorough discussions of the relevant issues pertaining to the SDGs of focus to encourage greater knowledge and experience sharing including by addressing challenges and gaps of achieving the SDGs during the VNR presentations. In addition, the synergies and interlinkages among the SDGs should be strengthened during the deliberations of the HLPF and the review should allow room for more complementarity between HLPF and the rest of ECOSOC forums. Specifically, the thematic reviews could discuss the synergies among the SDGs in implementation. Ultimately, we should aim to have a review of all of the SDGs across all the three dimensions so that we have a full picture of the status of implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The view of the programmed countries in terms of gaps and deficiencies on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda should be reflected, and more financial and technical assistance should be mobilized to support their development. We look forward to continuing our discussions for the remainder of this cycle, including during the specific in-depth review at the 2022 ECOSOC HLPF, and considering the two HLPFs to be convened under ECOSOC and the General Assembly in 2023.
6 Fifth, regarding the Voluntary National Reviews, our Group takes note of the strong interest by Member States to participate in the review exercise. However, we are disappointed at the rushed nature of national presentations due to the limited time allocated. We recognize the dilemma of accommodating all countries that volunteer each year, but we believe that a desirable formula should be found to allow for more meaningful presentations and discussions, so as to enhance the sharing of experience, best practices and lessons learned. Fundamentally, we wish to reiterate that the voluntary nature of the VNRs must be preserved and we would oppose any attempt at standardization. Each Member State should be given the scope to frame its report in the manner it deems best, focusing on areas that it has chosen to prioritise. The G77 and China would also like to suggest that the provision of technical support and feedback to VNR presenting countries, upon their request, can be considered as a follow-up to the VNRs, in order to help them address their challenges and implement the 2030 Agenda, taking into account ongoing work by UN-DESA.
7 Finally, our Group welcomes the engagement of civil society organizations and other stakeholders in the meetings of ECOSOC and the HLPF on a non-objection basis. This system has worked well throughout our deliberations. We should continue with the current mandate and arrangements, and explore ways to enhance the wider participation of developing countries in our deliberations.
8 Please be assured of our Group's commitment to work constructively with the co-facilitators and our Partners towards a successful outcome. We urge the co-facilitators to take into account the continued challenges of virtual negotiations, as you plan for our work in the upcoming months.
9 Thank you.