STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR MUNIR AKRAM, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PAKISTAN TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON AGENDA ITEM 18: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 10 October 2022)
I have the honour to deliver the statement on agenda item 18 on behalf of the G77 and China.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda provide both an anchor and a platform for policies, strategies, and plans to address key economic, governance, sustainability, and inclusion challenges confronting our world.
The 2030 Agenda has gained traction across the world. However, as was gleaned from the recent High Level Political Forum and noted in the Ministerial Declaration of 2022, despite best efforts and intent, developing nations are struggling to achieve notable progress on a wide range of goals and targets.
This shortfall owes itself to three principal factors.
One, there is a vast and growing financing gap for developing countries, which most estimates placed at upwards of $2.5 trillion annually before COVID-19 and has increased at least 50% after it. For climate resilience alone, the IMF estimates financing need to range from $3 trillion to 5 trillion annually till 2050. Emerging and developing markets account for two-thirds of the global population, but for only 20% of total energy investments, and even these have declined by 20% since 2016.
Two, the severe global economic shocks caused by COVID-19, geopolitical instability, market volatility, have raised the scepter of the food, finance, debt crisis, and created challenges to energy security, and reversed progress towards the SDGs.
Rising interest rates and currency depreciation in the developing countries have exacerbated debt distress and risk of sovereign default.
Three, the adverse effects of climate change continue to wreck havoc on planet, people, and livelihoods. Developing nations are as always disproportionately affected. The impact of a diminishing cryosphere-both realized and imminent; unabated warming of the oceans since 1970; and the accelerated loss in ice mass that led to flooding and other disasters, are the result of inadequate action to both mitigate Greenhouse Gases emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
In the same vein, and in line with SDG 14, the Group expresses solidarity with Lebanon, reaffirms the resolution 76/199 and reiterates the request of the General Assembly to provide prompt and adequate compensation to Lebanon, for the economic, social and environmental damage caused by the oil slick, which gravely affected biodiversity, marine environment and ecosystem.
To overcome these cascading crises, restore our economies and achieve the SDGs, we need to secure means of implementation through a series of emergency measures and simultaneously promote structural changes in the unequal and unjust international economic system.
First, mobilize urgent humanitarian, economic and financial support to the developing countries which are in economic distress.
Second, emergency actions to moderate food prices by enlarging food production and by supporting small farmers access to seeds, fertilizer and finance.
Three, ensure access to energy, for developing countries and explore mechanisms to reduce the financial burden of energy imports, including by increasing investments in energy sector.
Four, provide urgent and adequate assistance to countries suffering from the devastating impacts of climate change.
Beyond the emergency actions, we need to promote global structures and policies which can end inequity and inequality, among and within nations, and enable all developing countries to achieve the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement.
For this we need:
First, international financial architecture must be aligned with the SDGs. This implies sustainable management of sovereign debt, larger concessional finance from MDBs; issuance of additional SDRs; reducing borrowing costs for developing countries; and upscaling climate finance.
Second, if we are to ensure a timely transition to a sustainable and dynamic global economy, we need to mobilize at least $1 trillion annually as investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure in developing countries (energy, transport, housing, industry, agriculture).
Third, we must fully and faithfully implement the climate change agenda in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities, in light of national circumstances. By COP27, we must secure fulfillment of the pledge by the developed countries to provide $100 billion plus annually in climate finance; striving for a greater balance between mitigation and adaptation; and establish a financing facility to compensate developing countries for "loss and damage" from climate impacts. Meanwhile, the developed countries must lead the efforts of mitigation to reach net zero emissions well before 2050.
The G77 and China also supports efforts to achieve SDG Goal 15, welcomes the decision of the Parties to the CBD to increase biodiversity-related funding to implement actions, and welcomes further discussions on how biodiversity conservation measures by developing countries can be facilitated.
Fourth, Preferential access should be offered to developing countries to relevant advanced technologies and discriminatory restrictions should be removed. We should also focus global research and development on scientific breakthroughs relevant to the 17 SDGs.
Fifth, we should seek an equitable international information technology regime which bridges the digital divide and enables the developing countries to "leapfrog" into the global digital economy of the future.