STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. DALIA TORRES SEARA, THIRD SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE THEME FOR THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL (ECOSOC) AND THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM (HLPF) AND THE SET OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS TO BE REVIEWED BY THE HLPF 2024 (New York, 23 January 2023)
I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, the Group would like to congratulate you on your appointment as Facilitator to lead the informal consultations with Member States related to the identification of the theme for the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and the set of Sustainable Development Goals to be reviewed by the HLPF 2024. We also wish to thank you for convening today's informal meeting.
We appreciate having received a background note that has allowed us to have a picture of what we have discussed in the previous years.
The world we are living in today is even harder for developing countries than it was five years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed in a harsh manner huge systemic imbalances. Consequently, today the rich are richer and the poor are poorer. Since 2020, the richest 1% have captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth - nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99% of the world's population.
By 2000, the world leaders committed through the Millennium Development Goals to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Then, in 2015, we approved the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs to eradicate completely the scourge of extreme poverty by 2030. Now, at the half of this period, forecasts estimate that at least 75 million more people than expected prior to the pandemic will be living in extreme poverty.
This is simply outrageous. In this context, we ask how long will the elimination of poverty be a pending issue on the international agenda. For how much longer will be as a global community keep up the pretense that poverty is not a deprivation of the most basic human rights and needs in developing countries.
This scenario requires that we urgently refocus our attention on the eradication of poverty, including extreme poverty, in all its forms and dimensions at the center of our discussions, which is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. We must have this topic at the center of the ECOSOC and the High Level Political Forum for 2024, with the aim to renew political will to fulfil international commitments towards the eradication of poverty.
Regarding the set of SDGs to be reviewed, the Group proposes to split the 17 SDGs in groups of 4 each year, in addition to SDG 17, which is reviewed annually. This means that we would be assessing 5 SDGs yearly. This would allow us to assess a reasonable set of SDGs in depth and address them in an equitable manner, without overloading our agenda. It would also contribute to a concise outcome document and enable us to focus our efforts more efficiently.
In line with our proposal for a theme, the Group proposes to start the next cycle with SDG 1-No Poverty. People living in extreme poverty are also more affected by hunger. It is estimated that between 702 and 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021- almost a tenth of the global population, which illustrates the urgency to address SDG 2-Zero Hunger, as well.
The current growing inequalities also contribute to the persistence of poverty, which is unacceptable. For this reason, we wish also to consider SDG 10.
Climate change is already affecting billions of people around the world and causing potentially irreversible changes to global ecosystems, which contribute to growing inequalities and threaten not only food systems but our own existence. Thus SDG 13-Climate Action should be considered at the beginning of the next cycle, as well.
As a final note, the Group reiterates the importance of respecting the balance among the three dimensions of sustainable development, which should guide our work in the selection of the SDGs to be reviewed. The Group reaffirms its commitment to work constructively and in a committed manner during this consultation process.
I thank you.