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, THE FIRST INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON ZERO DRAFT OF THE OUTCOME DOCUMENT OF THE 2023 ECOSOC FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT FORUM FOLLOW-UP (FFD FORUM) (New York, 23 March 2023)
1) I have the honor to deliver these remarks on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2) At the outset, let me thank the co-facilitators for their hard work in the preparation of the zero draft.
3) The Group believes that the zero draft presents a good basis for further discussions and took on board some of the suggestions that we have shared earlier.
4) Our today's comments, therefore, will try to strengthen existing elements in the zero draft but will also reiterate the elements that we consider are relevant and need to be incorporated in the text.
5) Keeping in view the time limits, I will only highlight certain aspects of our inputs as the rest has been submitted to you.
6) In the preambular paragraphs, we support the inclusion, in paragraph 4, of the reference to the Secretary-General's proposal for an SDG Stimulus which is of the upmost importance for developing countries and the implementation of the SDGs. In this paragraph, we also propose to include the need to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination in order to provide a conducive international enabling environment for sustainable development.
7) In the cross-cutting issues chapter, the Group would like to include a reference to the recognition of the vaccines as a global public goods to help overcome the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide as well as the fact that their production should be expanded in different locations particularly in the developing countries.
8) For the Group is key to include in this section the importance of the provision of new and additional climate finance by developed countries to developing countries, that is different from Official Development Assistance (ODA), especially to those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Group has re-submitted language in this respect.
9) In addition, the Group would like to see in paragraph 6 a reference to the urgent and immediate need for new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources to assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. As we look forward to the consideration and adoption of recommendations by the transition committee at COP28 / CMA5 with a view to operationalizing the funding arrangements, we would like to include also this reference.
10) The Group appreciates the inclusion of paragraph 7, considering the need to mobilize resources, especially from developed countries, to support the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, while advancing the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Fund.
11) On Paragraph 12, we would like to strengthen the language relating to infrastructure investment. Hence, we would like to include language relating to platform approaches to coordinate, scale up and channel public and private finance and technical assistance for infrastructure development, as well as supporting discussions on the establishment of an Infrastructure Policy Board under UN auspices.
12) We would like also to include in this section the recognition of the principle of ¨no country or person is left behind¨, which have been included in previous outcome documents of the Forum.
13) In the domestic public resource chapter, we note that while you took on board some of our proposals, the Group believes some important elements in some paragraphs are still missing. We, therefore, intend to reintroduce them.
14) On paragraph 16, we believe that the intergovernmental discussions in New York at United Nations Headquarters on ways to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation must be in line with resolution A/RES/77/244. It must also include language from the resolution with references to the possibility of developing an international tax cooperation framework or instrument through a United Nations intergovernmental process taking into full consideration existing international and multilateral arrangements.
15) On paragraph 17, the Group believes the concepts of "implicit gender bias in tax policies and systems" are new and not thoroughly understood yet. We acknowledge the relevance of continuing discussions on strengthening gender responsive budgeting, including by developing methodologies and guidelines, building capacity, collecting and applying disaggregated data. The Group has submitted one proposal in that regard.
16) On paragraph 18, the Group underscores the importance of international tax and financial transparency instruments and mechanisms that enable developing countries to benefit from international tax cooperation. We believe that adoption of tools that can assist all countries to prevent and combat illicit financial flows should not be restricted to only beneficial ownership registries.
17) We believe there is the need to strengthen paragraph 19, by introducing language which stresses the need to eliminate safe havens that create incentives for the transfer abroad of stolen assets and illicit financial flows. We also believe it is important to reiterate our commitment to implement our obligations to prevent and combat corruption and money laundering enshrined in existing international architecture.
18) In the chapter on domestic and international private business and finance, the Group believes that it is important to ensure balance between international commitments to improve access of developing countries to private finance and FDI flows with the national imperative to ensure a dynamic domestic business environment.
19) Long term and affordable private finance, can contribute both toward the achievement of the SDGs and the COVID 19 recovery; the Group therefore believes it is important to take account of the role of multistakeholder partnerships, the UN development system, and other multilateral and financial institutions and development partners to address capacity and funding gaps in key areas and to provide technical assistance to developing countries to support more effective uptake of financing.
20) Under the same chapter, some elements such as key areas of support for MSMEs, the impact of the global macroeconomic conditions affecting investment, areas for investment which are of vital importance for the Group including infrastructure financing, are still missing. So, the Group would like to reiterate our call to include additional paragraphs as submitted in our written inputs.
21) In the chapter on International Development Cooperation, regarding the paragraph 27 on ODA, we wish to stress the importance of ODA as the main channel for international cooperation and reiterate the fact that ODA is the commitment by developed countries. We also want to emphasize the importance to include the specific listing of LLDCs and SIDS, and acknowledge ODA and other concessional finance are still important for a number of middle-income countries.
22) We would like to reiterate that international development cooperation, especially North-South cooperation, remains a fundamental catalyst to sustainable development. So, the Group would like to reiterate our call to include an additional paragraph in this regard as was submitted in our written inputs.
23) We also wish to reaffirm our call to engage in intergovernmental discussions in consultation with relevant stakeholders, emphasizing the urgent need to develop measurements of progress on sustainable development that go beyond GDP. We see that the language on beyond GDP has been included in paragraph 58; however, we are of the view that the discussion on this issue should also be reflected in this section, as it was done in the 2022 Outcome Document. The Beyond GDP discussion is critical to revamp development cooperation, while paragraph 58 should provide indications on how to move forward with the discussions. They are not mutually exclusive.
24) With regard to paragraph 35, we propose to separate it into two paragraphs to reflect different issues. First, we would like to include the language on Committee for Development Policy which is tasked to monitors the development progress of countries that are graduating or have graduated from the LDC list. Second, we see the merit of the timely inclusion of the Development Cooperation Forum which was held last week and was well-attended, as a separate paragraph.
25) In the chapter on International trade as an engine for development, yet the zero draft does not make the robust connection between trade and development. Key elements of importance to the Group are missing including the importance of stable and predictable international trade flows in supporting economic growth and the achievement of the SDGs, the functioning of open markets, the sustainability and resilience of global supply chains, and the role of trade in addressing multiple global crises. The Group has made concrete proposals to this effect.
26) Reform of the multilateral trading system, strengthening of the principle of Special and Differential Treatment and progress on the WTO negotiating agenda are all critical if developing countries are to harness the development benefits of trade. The Group has re-submitted language in this respect.
27) The Group is concerned about the continued use of unilateral and protectionist measures and proposes a call for such measures to be eliminated.
28) In the Debt and Debt Sustainability Chapter, the Group would like to start by a paragraph that refers to the various cascading crises facing developing countries, which have a direct impact on debt sustainability.
29) The Group noticed that both paragraphs 41 & 42 are mainly about Common Framework and would like to merge them into one comprehensive paragraph as submitted in our written inputs as 41&42alt, with the addition of a reference to the G20's intention to develop a Note on the Global Debt Landscape, and a call for having an improved global sovereign debt architecture.
30) On the first part of paragraph 43 and paragraph 44, the Group would like to reserve its position for now, since we are still discussing them among ourselves.
31) On the second part of paragraph 43, which refers to private creditor's participation in debt treatments, the Group would like to have this as a separate paragraph, and to emphasize the importance of having the international system develop concrete tools to ensure that.
32) On paragraph 45 on information-sharing and transparency, the group would like to underline that respecting national circumstances and commercially sensitive information is important in this regard. Besides, the 'solvency focused' debt sustainability assessments should be based on the perspective of asset.
33) On paragraph 47, the Group would like to add some proposals regarding how the use of debt for SDGs swaps could be scaled up, including by formulating a reference framework.
34) Regarding the reference to the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable in paragraph 48, the Group would like to avoid prejudging the conversations to be had in this roundtable by removing the listing of specific topics.
35) The Group would also like to add a new paragraph calling for the provision of technical and financial support related to debt to the developing countries, in addition to urging the IMF to consider the suspension of the interest rate surcharges policy.
36) In the addressing systemic issues chapter, we would like to stress the support for the voluntary rechanneling of unutilized Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to the developing countries and a new allocation of SDRs, as well as the exploration of viable options for countries to voluntarily channel SDRs through Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), while respecting national legal frameworks. The Group has re-submitted language in this respect as an alternative to paragraph 49.
37) The Group would like to see an explicit reference to the essential need to reform international financial architecture and the international financial institution and multilateral development bank governance, especially IMF and the World Bank, to broaden and strengthen the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making, norm-setting and global economic governance.
38) We look forward to fulfill the commitment of IMF to revisiting the adequacy of quotas and continuing the process of governance reform under the sixteenth general review of quotas, by 15 December 2023. For that reason, the Group have submitted language in this respect.
39) In the Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) section, the Group appreciates that some of our inputs have been taken onboard, but we would like to make a few proposals to strengthen this section.
40) On paragraph 53, the Group would like to add a reference that STI is critical to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We would also like to include agreed language from OP4 of the STI resolution on enabling regulatory and governance frameworks to nurture STI. We propose to remove the reference to inclusive structural change as it is unclear what this means.
41) On paragraph 54, the Group supports this paragraph on financial innovation and technology which we note is based on the Group's input. We would also like to propose a new paragraph on digital economy which is agreed language from OP22 of the ICT resolution.
42) On paragraph 55, we would like to include agreed language from the 2022 FFD Outcome Document on recognizing the contribution of digitalization to development while remaining concerned about substantial digital divides. We would also like to include a new paragraph on the need to ensure means of implementation, financial and technical assistance, capacity building and technology transfer.
43) On paragraph 56, we think it is important to include a reference on adequate financing for the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the LDC Tech Bank.
44) Lastly, in this section, we would like to include two new paragraphs. First, on the development of a global digital compact (GDC) based on language from the ICT resolution. Second, to consider the development of an international technology framework that includes the GDC.
45) In the Data, Monitoring and Follow up section, the Group can go along with paragraphs 57, 59, 60, 61, 63 and 66 as currently drafted.
46) After paragraph 57, we would like to include a paragraph on the need to scale up financial support and assistance to strengthen capacities of national statistical offices.
47) On paragraph 58, we would to add a reference on the need for timely and broad participation to move the beyond GDP agenda forward.
48) On paragraph 62, we would like to delete the reference to the preparatory ministerial meeting on the Summit of the Future, as the scope of this meeting is under discussion.
49) On paragraph 64, we would like to add that the development of the modalities of the fourth conference on financing for development should be "by the General Assembly". We would also like to seek clarification on the timeline for the negotiations on the modalities.
50) On paragraph 65, we would like to seek clarification that the report by the Secretary-General will be substantively different from the report that we are requesting from the IATF mentioned in para 60.
51) Finally, we would like to request the circulation of the written inputs shared by delegations, as has been done in previous years. Furthermore, we would like to request the sources of the languages proposed in the zero draft and look forward to receive them in the following versions of the document.
I thank you.