STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO FROM THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE VIRTUAL INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE ECOSOC/HLPF REVIEW PROCESS (New York, 19 February 2021)
1 Thank you for convening today's meeting to continue our discussions on the review process of the ECOSOC and HLPF. Let me first reassure you and our Partners of the Group of 77 and China's continued support and commitment to your leadership and these important negotiations.
2. We appreciate the zero draft provided, and would like to use today's meeting as an opportunity to respond to some relevant issues, which we hope the co-facilitators would take into account when preparing the revised draft.
3. Before doing so, and as a general point, the Group would like to underscore that the two reviews of ECOSOC and HLPF should not be merged but should be treated as separate processes, with due attention to their interconnectedness and coherence. They are derived from different mandates and each should have its own full treatment and outcome. The Group therefore believes that there should be two resolutions dealing with the ECOSOC review and the HLPF review respectively. We would also appreciate it if the co-facilitators could provide the sources for the paras in the zero draft. The Group is coordinating on the text and will provide feedback on a para by para basis at the next informal consultations.
4. As an overarching point, the Group would like to reiterate that the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts, especially on developing countries should be considered and reflected in these processes, to find the solutions in meeting those challenges.
5. I would like in this regard, to express the Group's position, while providing elements to the relevant issues that you have shared with us:
A - With regards to the general comments on the annexes
6. The Group reiterates that the participation level of stakeholders should be reflected as in previous resolutions. NGO participation should be on a non-objection basis, with only the participation of NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status. The Group would also like to stress the principle of inclusivity in this text, and we should leave no country and no one behind. The middle-income countries and people living under foreign occupation should be included in the paragraphs on countries in special situations, namely OP5 of Annex 1 and OPs 3 and 16 in Annex 2. The Group reaffirms the need to respect the territorial integrity and political sovereignty of States. In this regard, the Group would like to ask the co-facilitators why the listings in these stated paragraphs were different.
7. The Group would also like to stress that the issues of disaster risk reduction and building resilience should be included in the text, as appropriate. More elaboration is also needed, such as in the review cycle.
8. The Group expresses its strong position not to re-write existing mandates, and to maintain the balance of social, economic and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda. We note that many new aspects and terms such as gender perspective are emerging. We should reaffirm, not renegotiate, the original mandates. The review should neither change these mandates, nor its scope.
B - With regards to the general comments on Annex 1
9. The ECOSOC Review should not be merged with HLPF. ECOSOC's work goes beyond the 2030 Agenda and should play a bigger role in assisting developing countries to achieve sustainable development. The Group is of the view that this process is not meant to rewrite the ECOSOC mandate and it should be identical with the clauses contained in the UN Charter. The coordination between the GA and ECOSOC goes beyond the HLPF and the Group wishes to see a broad reference to this relation. Therefore, the Group would like to see a separate paragraph on the role of ECOSOC.
10. The review of ECOSOC should adhere to resolution 72/305. The Group believes that the current arrangement of ECOSOC segments works well and should be maintained.
C - With regards to the General comments on Annex 2
11. The Group agrees that HLPF Review should build on lessons learned during previous cycles and should highlight the different challenges facing developing countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The thematic review and the SDGs should be balanced in the three dimensions: social, economic and environmental.
12. Additionally, the Group would like to seek clarification on the SDGs to be reviewed during these years. Regarding the participation of stakeholders, it should be based on the current practices of the GA and ECOSOC. There are some repetitions throughout the text, and the language should be streamlined. The Group would also like to reiterate that for the years in which the GA and ECOSOC HLPFs coincide, one outcome document would suffice.
13. The Group reiterates the voluntary and country-led nature of the VNRs. In this regard, we are concerned that the text is setting prescriptive and detailed standards on how VNRs should look like. We would like to seek more clarity on the source and rationale of these proposals and firmly believe that any language should not place undue burden or create unmanageable expectations on developing countries. In this regard, we do not believe that certain elements in paragraphs 26, 29 and 30, among others, are necessary.
14. The Group has outlined some of our positions and proposals in response to the relevant issues. The Group is still coordinating on the zero draft, and intends to present our detailed amendments at the next informal consultation. We hope the co-facilitators will take the Group's submissions into account when preparing the revised draft.
I thank you.