STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR AHMED TIDIANE SAKHO OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA, AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE SEVENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS (New York, 30 September 2021)
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, allow me to extend our warm congratulations to you and to the other members of the Bureau on your election.
I would like to assure you of the full support of the G-77 and its availability to closely work with you in the fulfillment of your duties during the deliberations at this session.
I would also like to extend our deep appreciation to the Secretary General for his leadership that enabled the Secretariat to provide us with reports on various and important agenda items including among others: the social development and all related issues, the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the follow up of the Durban Declaration, as well as advancement of women.
The pandemic of COVID 19 continues to wreak havoc in the world despite the manufacture of vaccines that gives us hope but whose availability remains inaccessible to a significant number of countries. It has compounded existing challenges to development, exacerbated inequalities and negatively impacted the abilities of Governments to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals as we entered the decade of action. In this regard, the recognition of COVID-19 vaccines as global public goods will help to overcome the pandemic worldwide and recover the momentum for sustainable development.
It is indisputable that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the hardships faced by all developing countries, and that unilateral coercive measures have further compounded these challenges, and severely constrains the ability of countries to combat and recover from the pandemic. Countries that are bearing the weight of these measures need the international community's solidarity and support.
In this context, the Group of 77 and China welcomes the 76th UN General Assembly's theme: "Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations."
In the same vein, our Group believes that this year's discussions on Social Development should continue to focus on the impacts of COVID-19 as well as on action-oriented strategies to address different forms of inequality with the aim of implementing the objectives of the World Summit for Social Development and 2030 Agenda and to leave no country and no one behind. In this context, the Group of 77 and China reiterates the importance of ensuring global and equitable access to safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines at affordable prices.
To ensure that everyone is vaccinated this year, the Group calls for the rapid scaling up and expansion of vaccine production globally, including in developing countries, through appropriate dissemination of technology and know-how, using the WTO TRIPS agreement, as well as the 2001 WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health, which recognizes that the TRIPS agreement should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of the right of Member States to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.
The Group also reaffirms the rejection of the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact and all other forms of coercive economic measures including unilateral sanctions, against developing countries and reiterates the urgent need to eliminate them immediately.
The G-77 and China welcomes the convening, on 22nd September 2021, of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, on the theme "Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent", as well as the adoption of the Political Declaration entitled "United against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance" by consensus.
The theme of the celebration emphasizes the need to acknowledge the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of people as a result of slavery, the slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, noting that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed and the importance of calling upon those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims.
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the Group's unwavering support for the Durban Declaration and its Programme of Action as a milestone document to prevent, combat and eliminate all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerances. Twenty years after its adoption, the Durban Declaration still provides a comprehensive and holistic road map to address and put an end to racism and racial discrimination throughout the world.
The members of the G-77 and China stand in unity behind the values, the principles and the actions provided in the Durban Declaration and invite all delegations to consider the 20th anniversary of Durban Declaration as an opportunity to rise in solidarity against racism and racial discrimination, the consequences of which have been even more dramatic in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We wish to remind that strengthening multilateralism and international development cooperation, especially North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, is fundamental to sustainable development and to promoting the Programme of Action of the Copenhagen Summit bearing in mind that South-South cooperation should complement rather than be seen as a substitute for North-South cooperation.
Among the main objectives of the proclamation of the International Year of the Family in 1994 was the strengthening of national institutions to formulate, implement and monitor family policies and respond to problems affecting families. The Group notes with appreciation that the Secretary-General's Report, records efforts by Member States to support families in vulnerable situations, improve work-family balance for families with children and strengthen national institutions charged with the implementation of family policies. We urge Member States to further invest in family-oriented policies and programmes as important tools for fighting poverty, inequality and social exclusion.
Besides, we are deeply concerned about the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on the lives of older persons and the disproportionate threat it presents to their health, lives, rights and wellbeing. The international community must work to eliminate structural and institutional prejudices, discrimination and stigmatization to assure older persons of the full enjoyment of their human rights and well-being.
We also recognize that the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the inequalities and exclusion experienced by persons with disabilities and urge that the well-being and perspectives of persons with disabilities be considered in COVID-19 response efforts.
As in previous sessions, the Group of 77 and China will submit four draft resolutions during the 76th Session. The Group looks forward to valuable contributions and support of all Member States, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of our mutual goals in the field of social development.
As we were not able to include the recommendations from the Secretary-General's reports on family issues and the ageing population in the resolutions of the 75th General Assembly, we will endeavour to do so in the current session. We also remind Member States of the approaching 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2024. The preparations for the anniversary are now under way and we encourage your active participation.
On its 26th anniversary, G77 and China reaffirms its support for the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
We emphasize the need for measures to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls. States must use all appropriate legislative, political and economic means to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and protect their fundamental freedoms.
The Group of 77 and China stands ready to recommit to working together to achieve our common goals and a better world for all, in this decade of action for sustainable development under unique and limiting conditions.
I thank you.