Distinguished colleagues,

The Group expresses appreciation to the co-facilitators, their Excellencies, Mr. Mitch Fifield, Permanent Representative of Australia and Mr. Arrmanatha Nasir, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia, for the preparations of the intergovernmental consultations on the political declaration of the Midterm Review for the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held on 18 and 19 May 2023.

The Group thanks the co-facilitators for the zero draft political declaration, and notes the incorporation of elements from consultations with States, who have decided in GA Resolution 77/164 that the political declaration is to "renew commitment and accelerate the implementation of the Sendai Framework". As the draft political declaration is important and very detailed, the Group will be presenting general comments during today's consultation, while we are analyzing the text in detail and will convey our detailed comments in due course.
On the structure of the zero draft, the Group observes that the format adopted by the co-facilitators resembles that of a resolution, rather than a declaration. The Group suggests that we maintain the format of a declaration, to focus on key political commitments and actions needed, and not diving too deep into technical details.

The Group proposes that the scope of the political declaration should be on implementation, and refrain from bringing new issues, or re-opening the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Indeed, the zero draft should be based on the Sendai Framework and start by reaffirming it in its entirety and should not lead to rewriting and reinterpreting of the Framework, and can be more concise. In this connection, the Group would like to stress on the importance of maintaining inclusivity throughout the political declaration, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

It would be a better approach to recap on the progress or lack of progress based on the seven global targets, which are there to support the assessment of global process in achieving the outcome and goal of the Framework. And it should be followed by proposals for urgent and concrete actions to accelerate the implementation of the Framework.

Regarding the substance of the zero draft political declaration, the Group would like to highlight the following issues:

1. It has relied heavily on resolution 77/164 on Disaster risk reduction and on the Main findings and recommendations of the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. While these two documents remain important, the Group feels that the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 - 2030 should also be a main source for the core of the zero draft.

2. The text of the zero draft isnĀ“t balanced between commitments and the means of implementation. The "commitments" under each priority makes up very long lists of actions that States are to undertake, but they are not adequately matched with the needed means of implementation and support for developing countries in order for us to fully implement such commitments, which has been a long-standing position of the Group.

3. The text does not sufficiently address the challenges faced by disaster-prone developing countries, in particular the LDCs, SIDS, LLDCs and African countries, as well as MICs facing specific challenges.

4. The zero draft does not contain the elements on the climate change agenda, which must be fully and faithfully implemented in accordance with the principle of Equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities, the full implementation of the decisions adopted during the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, including the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, and early operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund and its adequate resourcing.

The Group has observed that many of the paragraphs of the zero draft contain mixed ideas, sourced from different documents. The Group feels that to some extent, in some cases that can distort the message.

The zero draft should focus on addressing the challenges countries are facing in the implementation of the Sendai Framework.

The Group looks forward to a text-based negotiation, so that delegations can reflect and attempt to bridge different proposals based on compilation texts, rather than work on just revisions produced by the co-facilitators. Sufficient time should be given to delegations to consult with their capitals, and for Groups of countries to coordinate amongst members.

The Group would also appreciate clarity in the next steps in this process, especially on the deadline for each round of textual comments and the co-facilitators' plans to release the next compilation or revision texts, so that the Group can best plan and prepare accordingly.

The Group remains committed to this process, and will engage constructively throughout the process.

I thank you.