STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR AHMED TIDIANE SAKHO FROM THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE FIFTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (New York, 9 February 2021)
1. It is with great honour that I deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. I would first of all, like to express our sincere congratulations to you and members of the Bureau for your election. The Group assures you of its availability to closely cooperate with you in the fulfillment of work entrusted to you.
3. Allow me to extend our deep appreciation to the Secretary General for good work done to facilitate our proceedings and to the Under Secretary General of DESA whose department made commendable efforts in preparation for the meeting that is gathering us today and for days to come.
4. The year 2021 will witness several important and challenging events. The preparations for the Fifth LDC conference and the success of UNCTAD 15, the UN Ocean Conference as well as the COP 26 Climate Change conference and the COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Third South Summit, would require a clear demonstration of solidarity and purpose by the Group.
5. Our session takes place at a crucial moment in the Group's existence. The pandemic of COVID 19 continues to wreak havoc despite the manufacture of vaccines that gives us hope but whose availability remains inaccessible to a significant number of countries. In that regard, we stress the importance of ensuring global and equitable access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines at affordable prices, and recognize that they should be made global public goods to help overcome the pandemic worldwide and recover the momentum for sustainable development. I will come back to this in the Declaration.
Moreover, international cooperation which has been severely tested in recent years, shows important signs of revitalization that consolidate the Group's position.
6. The Group reaffirms once again, its commitment to fulfilling the goals and objectives as stated in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, especially poverty eradication, promotion of full and productive employment, and the fostering of social inclusion.
7. This Commission, will continue serving the interests of all countries and particularly the members of the Group of 77. It is the place where we can give effect to our universal commitment to leave no one behind. This is why the support to the Commission for its work and the fundamental principles that it serves, will never be overemphasized.
8. Agenda 2030 aims to ensuring among others, access to good housing and to basic services, as well as to upgrade slums. It is unfortunate to note that despite the significant efforts made to that end, homelessness, according to statistics has progressively risen during the past years. "The data also confirm that homelessness is one of the most glaring symptoms of lack of access to education, health and productive employment, poverty, inequality and social exclusion".
9. In this vein, it clearly appears the need to address the multiple causes and consequences of homelessness, the challenges faced by homeless persons, and its effects on individuals and societies. Therefore, we should commend and encourage continued international and domestic efforts to eradicate poverty.
10. It is on this basis that the Group reiterates the role of cooperation and genuine partnerships between all stakeholders, including North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, to support national efforts to fight inequality and eradicate poverty and to realize the commitments made in Copenhagen, as well as those contained in the 2030 Agenda.
11. In addition, the Group strongly supports the African Union's Social Agenda of the New Partnership for Africa's Development and its Agenda 2063.
12. Despite the significant progress made in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the negative consequences of the pandemic require us to make additional collective efforts for a better and sooner recovery and for the common future of present and coming generations.
Consequently, we have an urgent obligation to renew our commitment to multilateralism cooperation and to the strengthening of cooperation between our States, the only guarantees to ensure sustainable, harmonious and inclusive development of all social strata.
13. This unprecedented health crisis of Covid-19, which continues to plague humanity, has profoundly changed our lifestyles and profoundly affected the world economy, especially that of developing countries.
The numerous disruptions to world trade and the containment measures taken by most governments to curb the spread of the disease are having deep socio-economic effects whose magnitude is still difficult to assess.
14. Drawing the first lessons from this pandemic, we can easily say that it has demonstrated that our destinies are linked and highlighted the need, in the era of new communication technologies, to reinvent ourselves and to reinvent our working methods to effectively address the challenges facing our humanity.
15. While a ray of hope looms on the horizon with the development of vaccines and the launch of vaccination campaigns, many challenges remain to fully stem the pandemic and revive the global economy. In this regard, we encourage the international community to put the people at the center of its response to COVID 19, and to pay particular attention to developing countries in post-Covid-19 recovery efforts, especially by promoting equitable access to vaccines. These vaccines should be safe with suitable quality and affordable for developing countries. Also, investments in public health and medical infrastructure, increase in fiscal space (by canceling or reducing debt), or investments in narrowing the digital divide between countries. We also encourage that, countries with the capacities to do so, take action to actively support COVAX and the WHO, including sharing excess doses with the COVAX to promote the fair distribution of vaccines.
16. In 2021, the Group will strive to further promote, among others:
(i) the strengthening of international solidarity, through active advocacy for an increase of official development assistance;
(ii) the strengthening of multilateralism cooperation;
(iii) the fight against poverty and inequalities;
(iv) the development and enhancement of human capital;
(v) the empowerment of women and girls;
(vi) the promotion of youth employment;
(vii) the promotion and protection of the rights of elderly (old persons)
(viii) the fight against climate change;
(ix) accelerating the implementation of the 2030 agenda.
17. The Group emphasizes the important role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in global public health preparedness and response and calls for respect for the professional guidance of the WHO regarding containment of the outbreak. It also welcomes the return of the USA to its midst and encourages the full participation and contribution to the WHO from all member States.
18. In closing, I would like to express our deepest hope that the discussions and recommendations of the 59th session of the Commission will greatly contribute to the achievement of our common aspirations.
I thank you.