STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. DR IBRAHIMA KALIL KABA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND GUINEANS LIVING ABROAD OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA AT THE HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES (New York, 2 July 2021)
Honorable Heads of States and Government,
Mr. President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly,
1. I have the honour to deliver this Statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China at the occasion of the High-Level Meeting on Middle-Income Countries with the theme "Finetuning the development system approach to address the needs of middle-income countries."
2. At the outset, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of General Assembly for all his efforts in bringing us together to the High-Level Meeting in accordance with General Assembly resolution 74/231 entitled "Development cooperation with middle-income countries''.
3. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that middle-income countries (MICs) face significant challenges to achieve sustainable development, as they are home to 70% of the global poor. As stated in the substantive documentation for this HLM, many MICs are confronted by specific challenges such as climate change, debt distress, fiscal deficits, increasing public and corporate debt, tax avoidance, trade protectionism, and heavy reliance on the tourism sector, shrinking foreign direct investments, large influx of refugees, fragmented social and economic structures, with a significant share of employment in informal or low-productivity sectors, increased vulnerability to future pandemics, and other global challenges.
4. In spite of these pressing specific challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, MICs are excluded from initiatives like the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) or the Common Frame-work for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI. Income-based criteria of development has excluded MICs from many forms of assistance in responding to the pandemic, and thus diverted crucial and limited resources otherwise meant for development needs, priorities and programs of our countries.
5. There is an urgent need to identify ways and means to ensure inclusive resilient and sustainable recovery from the pandemic and that achievements made to date are sustained, with efforts to address ongoing challenges strengthened through the exchange of experiences, improved coordination, and better and focused support of the United Nations development system, the international financial institutions, regional organizations and other stakeholders. We recall the request to stakeholders to ensure that the diverse and specific development needs of middle-income countries are appropriately considered and addressed, in a tailored fashion, in their relevant strategies and policies with a view to promoting a coherent and comprehensive approach towards individual countries. We also acknowledge that ODA and other concessional finance is still important for a number of these countries and has a role to play for targeted results, taking into account the specific needs of these countries.
6. We also recognize the need to devise methodologies to better account for the complex and diverse realities of middle-income countries. We note with concern that access to concessional finance is reduced as countries' incomes grow, and that countries may not be able to access sufficient affordable financing from other sources to meet their needs. We encourage shareholders in multilateral development banks to develop graduation policies that are sequenced, phased and gradual. We also encourage multilateral development banks to explore ways to ensure that their assistance best addresses the opportunities and challenges presented by the diverse circumstances of middle-income countries.
7. We echo the call of the Secretary General for the UNDS to evolve its support to middle-income countries (MICs) in all their diversity. As we enter the Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs, there is an urgent need to build a transformational, inclusive and forward-looking model of cooperation for global sustainable development.
8. We further reiterate our call for the United Nations Sustainable Development Group to develop a joint framework of collaboration with multilateral development banks to improve regional and country-level synergies, with specific attention paid to the multidimensional needs of middle-income countries, as set out in the Secretary General's Road Map for Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 2019-2021.
9. We invite the United Nations system, in consultation with the international financial institutions, to develop transparent measurements of progress on sustainable development that go beyond per capita income, building on existing initiatives as appropriate. These should recognize the multidimensional nature of poverty and the social, economic and environmental dimensions of domestic output and structural gaps at all levels. In this regard, we underscore the importance of achieving concrete progress in this issue.