STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MR. MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN, COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE DRAFT ELEMENTS PAPER ON THE ‘DECLARATION FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS’ (New York, 7 September 2022)
1. I have the honour to deliver the statement on behalf of the G77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me to express Group's appreciation for your efforts in preparing this draft elements paper.
3. I would structure my intervention first to share some general comments and subsequently on the various sections of the draft elements paper.
4. First, the Group of 77 and China is concerned about the timing of the consultations. We are of the view that appropriate time should have been allowed for delegations to seek instructions from capital and to consider the draft paper carefully.
5. Moreover, since the Summit of the Future is now likely to take place in 2024, we do not see the need to rush the process of the Declaration on Future Generations during this current UNGA session.
6. Second, the Group had provided its written inputs to the draft elements paper. We are extremely disappointed to see that majority of them are not reflected. We are compelled to ask from the co-facilitators whose inputs are these that you have reflected in the paper?
7. The development pillar of the United Nations is clearly missing from the whole paper. There is no mention of eradicating poverty and ending hunger and addressing the needs of people and countries in vulnerable situations, promoting youth employment and decent work and investment opportunities, supporting national developmental plans and supporting developing countries in responding to global challenges, while ensuring national ownership.
8. There is also no affirmation to removing in accordance with international law the obstacles to the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment.
9. We also reaffirm, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the need to respect the territorial integrity and political independence of States.
10. Third, since this elements paper is not inter-governmentally negotiated, we want to put it on record that it cannot be considered as the basis for future negotiations on the Declaration on Future Generations. The process for drafting the Declaration must be intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed by consensus ahead of the Summit of the Future.
11. Fourth, there is a lack of clarity and transparency as to which inputs were taken on board and the criteria and rationale for that. Hence, we request that the co-facilitators circulate and submit the various inputs received by them in order to assess the various perspectives from all partners.
12. This will also allow the Group to understand position of various groups in the follow-up process.
13. In the introductory section, we would highlight that OCA report cannot be put on the same standing as the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda, which are both inter-governmentally negotiated documents. Referencing the OCA as an agreed framework is not appropriate as it contains a set of recommendations for the consideration of Members States.
14. Moreover, it is envisaged that the Declaration on Future Generations will be adopted by Heads of State or Government as part of the outcome of the proposed Summit of the Future. The outcome document and tracks of the Summit will be decided through an inter-governmental preparatory process which has not yet started. Hence, this reference is also not appropriate as it pre-judges the preparatory process.
15. On Section 1, the Group would highlight that Member States and stakeholders are placed on an equal footing, which is inaccurate, as Member States are accountable to their citizens. The elements paper lacks appropriate references to the responsibilities governments have to ensure the interests of their citizens, including future generations, are reflected in their decision-making. This element must be underscored as governments remain to be the accountable decision-making bodies before their people and since national ownership remains key to achieving sustainable development.
16. There is also a reference to Member States and Stakeholders 'agreeing' to some suggestions and proposals. This is not accurate as the elements paper is not inter-governmentally negotiated, hence nothing can be said to be 'agreed' in this elements paper.
17. Moreover, the group recommends that in addition to the principle of inter-generational equity and solidarity, there should also be a reference to the principles of multilateralism, equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.
18. The concept of intra-generational equity must also be applied to our problems of today.
19. On Section 2, the Group believes that this is not an exhaustive list of the threats being faced and that the three global existential threats outlined do not adequately reflect the inputs of the Group nor do they represent the sole challenges facing our world.
20. We are also concerned about the proliferation of new terminologies, such as planetary well-being, planetary sustainability, and global food systems, for which no inter-governmentally agreed meaning exists. We recommend that such terminologies should be avoided.
21. The Group also does not see the need for a specific reference to prevention of conflict in outer space. It would be more suitable to keep a general reference.
22. We would also highlight that there is no reference to upholding multilateralism and the purposes and principles of UN Charter as a pre-requisite for a safe and peaceful world.
23. Additionally, we would reiterate Groups inputs to have language on refraining from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
24. On Section 3, the Group would again highlight our concerns regarding the cherry picking of some elements and exclusion of others.
25. There is no reference here, nor in the entire text, of the overarching goal of the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty.
26. The Group would stress that poverty eradication is the Sina qua non of Sustainable Development, as stated in the preamble of the 2030 Agenda itself and not human rights. As the Group has previously stated, we should not attempt to renegotiate already existing consensus documents, but should focus on implementing existing commitments. Agenda 2030 is clear that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. The Agenda also recognizes the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights, including the right to development, on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions.
27. It is also concerning to note that there is no mention to ending hunger and disease throughout the text or recognizing that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, as per Agenda 2030.
28. There is also a lack of clarity to the reference to accountability mechanisms that need to be put in place to hold each other accountable for the shared effort to tackle global challenges. We believe these should be focused on long standing existing commitments, such as in the field of climate finance and ODA.
29. Other missing elements include strengthening the participation of developing countries in international economic decision- making, norm-setting and global economic governance.
30. As well as International trade consistent with principle of special and differentiated treatment for developing countries along with enhanced market access for developing countries to harness the developmental benefit of international trade
31. On Section 4, the various proposals and ideas outlined there, such as appointment of a UN Special Envoy for Future Generations, a regional Guardian for Future Generations, Ombudspersons for Future Generations, repurposing the UN Trusteeship Council, and the creation of a "Stewardship Council", Supreme Audit Institutions, development of an Intergenerational Sustainability Index, a Universal Periodic Review mechanism etc all require an inter-governmental mandate. Since this document is not inter-governmentally negotiated, we do not believe it is appropriate to outline these proposals at the moment especially since details on these proposals, or who presented them, have not been shared. The Group has also shared previously that it is not of the view that amending the UN Charter is an appropriate measure at this stage.
32. We request deletion of Section IV as a whole, as it prejudges the negotiations for the Summit of the Future.
33. In conclusion co facilitators, I would reiterate that this elements paper cannot serve as the basis of our future negotiations on the Declaration on Future Generations. The Declaration on Future Generation must be guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law and full respect for these as the only way of guaranteeing the well being of future generations.