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 UNITED NATIONS, AT THE BRIEFING BY THE BUREAU OF THE 76TH SESSION OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 15 September 2021)
Distinguished chair, members of the Bureau, colleagues,
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. Firstly, I wish to thank you, Madam Chair, and your Bureau for your hard work and for your correspondence highlighting possible proposals for the upcoming session method of work for the Committee.
3. Madam Chair, as the proponents of the majority of the resolutions of the Committee, and the special relevance of the Second Committee for developing countries, we assured you of our full commitment to working constructively on the overall work of the Committee. We also agree that the modalities for the upcoming session will be exceptional and will not create a precedent for future sessions.
4. We note that the circumstances around the continued unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic will not afford us the comfort of returning to normal conditions and practices. However, we believe that this has been known for some time, and therefore we are saddened that on the verge of beginning the main session of the Committee we are now trying to establish from the start the working methods for the Committee. It would have been desirable to have received the preliminary shared proposals with sufficient time, so that all delegations and groups could have been able to deliberate more extensively on them.
5. In this vein, the G77 and China sees the modalities adopted at the 75th session as a basis for our deliberations. We note however, that unlike the 75th session where exceptions were made to accommodate two extremely critical resolutions, there is no such scenario during the 76th session. Therefore, the Group strongly believes that all resolutions during this upcoming session should be treated equally, and that there should be no prioritizing of any resolution over another. The G-77 would not support an approach that prioritizes or creates unequal or preferential conditions of a few selected resolutions over others.
6. We believe any selection of resolutions would have to have strong arguments and criteria, which additionally at this stage we do not see the possibility of gaining consensus on this, and this will only work to the detriment of the development agenda as a whole.
7. We also strongly believe that each report of the Secretary-General is relevant to its specific area of focus and therefore here again the Group will not support the selection of a few reports to give priority. We must find an equal and appropriate manner to consider all of the reports to the Committee, in a manner that would allow us to be most effective and efficient in doing so.
8. On the matter of in-person sessions, we believe that, like in the 75th UNGA, it must be applied to formal sessions, in particular on all of those where decisions are to be taken, such as the opening and closing session of the Committee, action on resolutions and decisions, etc, as this is consistent with the existing rules and procedures of the UNGA and the Commissions.
9. In the case of informal consultations of resolutions, the Group does not support a hybrid format, where a small number of resolutions are to be negotiated in person and in full, while the rest are negotiated virtually, and with primarily technical updates. This would create a differentiation and prioritization between the different resolutions that we do not support. In the case of small missions, as is the case of most of developing countries, this would create logistical complexities, preventing them to adequately follow up all the negotiations. However, the Group can show flexibility where facilitators and negotiators deem it necessary to convene an in-person meeting or a small group session, most possibly at the end of their deliberations or at a critical juncture, in order to garner consensus to close off resolutions.
10. Moreover, the Group strongly considers that the same number of consultations should be allocated to all resolutions on an equal basis. We believe that the practice of assigning an equal number of consultations to all resolutions as in the 75 UNGA should be maintained. In the case of the 75th UNGA, there was agreement to allocate each resolution 3 consultations on an equal basis. The Group, however, would be flexible and would support an increased number of consultations for all resolutions, in order to allow for further deliberations.
11. Furthermore, we understand that the overall updates of the resolutions cannot be purely factual, technical or editorial. At the 75th UNGA there was an agreement that all resolutions should incorporate at least one preambular paragraph and one operative paragraph on an equal footing, to be negotiated in depth. We believe that this basis is the minimum we can adopt for the 76th UNGA. It should be up to main proponents of resolutions to decide the substantive updates to be proposed, in the understanding that in light of the current circumstances there will be an overall restrain by all. Otherwise, it could be considered, if we want to go a step further, to agree to incorporate in each resolution, on equal manner, more than one operative and one preambular paragraph to be fully negotiated, possibly up to three paragraphs.
12. Madam Chair, as the date fast approaches for the beginning of our main segment of the Committee, we wish to impress upon you the importance for us to quickly as possible work out our mode of operation for this segment, and we call for this to be done as transparently and inclusively as possible, so that we can find a consensual way to move forward during this unprecedented year.
13. Madam Chair, once again, the Group remains fully vested to support you and the bureau so that we would have a successful session. Please be assured of the Group's full and constructive engagement.
I thank you.