STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO, G-77 COORDINATOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UN, AT THE JOINT DEBATE IN THE PLENARY OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON "2001-2010: DECADE TO ROLL BACK MALARIA IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; PARTICULARLY IN AFRICA" AND "NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT: PROGRESS IN IMPLEMENTATION AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT" (New York, 28 July 2021)
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 express our appreciation for the valuable analysis, information and policy recommendations contained in the Secretary General's reports, which contribute to the debate on critical issues for Africa's sustainable development.
3. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, African countries are making extreme efforts to contain and overcome the repercussions of the global health crisis, which has presented unprecedented challenges for the Continent.
4. Despite progress registered in recent years, the COVID-19 crisis has directly affected Africa's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Ranging from food insecurity, extreme poverty unemployment, and vulnerabilities to climate change, the African continent is facing new and emerging challenges that ultimately impede advancements in achieving sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions.
5. With reference to the items being discussed today, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has emerged as a serious additional challenge to malaria responses and to the delivery of essential health services worldwide. Since the early days of the pandemic, we have raised concerns that lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions could lead to major disruptions to essential services for the prevention, detection and treatment of malaria. WHO has been leading a cross-partner effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in malaria-affected countries.
6. Despite the success in reducing malaria incidence rates, much work remains to be done as many African countries continue to experience challenges in rolling back malaria, consequently falling short of national and international targets.
7. The 2030 Agenda highlights the international community's commitment to eliminate malaria, which constitutes a major challenge for sustainable development. In this context, the Group reiterates the need for the UN system to assist in upgrading health systems and ensuring equitable access to health services, as the health and well-being of population lie at the heart of inclusive and sustainable development.
8. We recognize that there is an urgent need to make more effective use of the tools currently available for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria, particularly in high burden settings. Gaps in the coverage of proven interventions should be found and filled. There is also a critical need to strengthen malaria surveillance and data quality in all malaria-endemic regions. Reliable health information is essential for developing sound strategic plans, ensuring that resources are targeted efficiently and equitably, and measuring the impact of interventions.
9. In order to achieve better impact and ensure that successes are sustained, the Group is of the view that it is important to increasingly adopt a holistic approach, anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals. A multisectoral approach to malaria control that builds on synergies with other development priorities will be needed in order to optimize malaria interventions, tackle inequities and address the broader determinants of disease.
10. Although the lack of adequate resources, African countries have strengthened their commitments and actions in the socio-economic developmental framework and continue to take the necessary actions and efforts for achieving a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, it is very important to highlight the crucial role of African countries' roles and initiatives in transforming the development agenda through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
11. The Group believes that, in the current juncture, Africa requires further support in its development path; including through UN-AU partnerships for Africa as a key Development tool for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the 2063 Agenda and enhancing their complementarities and synergies.
12. The Group also reemphasizes the critical role of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI) which remain major sources of financing for development in Africa. The Group, therefore, would like to reiterate that the fulfilment of all ODA commitments remains crucial, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries. We urge those who have not fulfilled their commitments to step up efforts towards the ODA targets.
13. While we recognize the tremendous efforts that made in mobilizing funds towards the ACT-accelerator and COVAX by all contributors, the existing funding gaps remain a matter of great concern. The Group would like to call upon all its partners to support vaccine production in Africa and to support equitable, fair and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In this current crisis, what we need is increased commitment, further actions and earnest solidarity for an inclusive and resilient recovery for all.
Finally, Mr. President,
14. The Group recalls that African countries have taken numerous and significant steps to address peace and security challenges at national and regional levels. Despite the progress in the areas of security, the international community and partners must continue to support activities and initiatives in order to strengthen African efforts in addressing the continent's peace and security. To prevent and resolve conflict at the earliest stage, the Group stresses on the need for the UN system to support the efforts of African countries to achieve sustainable and durable peace in Africa.
I thank you.