STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY COUNSELLOR ALEJANDRO GONZALEZ BEHMARAS OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, DURING THE GENERAL DISCUSSION ON AGENDA ITEM 24: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, AT THE THIRD COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (New York, 28 September 2023)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me to extend our congratulations to you and the Bureau on your election. The Group assures its full support and cooperation.
3. The Group thanks the Secretary-General for the submission of the reports under this agenda item, which will contribute to the Committee's work.
4. Achieving social development, as part of efforts towards sustainable development, is a priority for the Group of 77 and China. The Group reiterates that the commitments and objectives of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development remain as valid.
5. In that regard, the Group notes the proposal to convene a world social summit in 2025, which should be discussed and agreed upon by Member States, including on its modalities, title, objectives, scope and possible outcomes, that should have, fundamentally, a social development approach.
6. In an increasingly unequal world, the Group believes that the focus of multilateral efforts should be on how to address different forms of inequalities, within and among countries, to eradicate poverty and leave no one behind, as promised by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
7. During the last session of this Committee, a report was requested to the Secretary General on the "Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly", with a particular focus on the rise of extreme poverty rates, food insecurity, lack of access to quality education and to energy, and unemployment around the world.
8. The Group takes note of the assessment and recommendations contained in the report, including the overview of the discussions held by the Commission for Social Development during its sixty-first session.
9. The Group is convinced that, for social development to be achieved, multilateralism, international cooperation and solidarity should prevail. Structural inequalities of the current international economic order and financial system continue to have a heavy toll in the capacities of developing countries to further advance in this area. A thorough reform of the international financial architecture and institutions is urgent and long overdue, if there is a true commitment to advance social and economic development efforts worldwide.
10. The Group believes that international development cooperation, especially North-South cooperation, remains a catalyst to fulfilling social development objectives. Developing countries need more financial support. Delivering on ODA commitments must be ensured. The international community and development partners have a pivotal role to play in collaborating with and supporting developing countries in implementing their social development agenda, including in efforts towards inclusive and sustained growth, eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, reducing inequalities and enhancing the well-being of all.
11. The Group also reiterates that South-South cooperation is a complement to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation. Many good examples exist on South-South cooperation, including in social development, and these experiences should be strengthened. However, that does not exempt developed countries from their historical responsibilities, rooted in centuries of inequalities, colonialism and unfair trade.
12. On a similar note, the Group underscores that many developing countries will not be able to advance in social development efforts, while they face unilateral coercive measures, which have a direct and negative impact on the wellbeing of their populations. The Group reaffirms that the imposition of coercive economic measures against developing countries does not contribute to economic and social development, and reiterates the urgent need to eliminate them immediately.
13. The Group recalls that strengthening of national institutions to formulate, implement and monitor family policies and respond to problems affecting families was one of the main objectives of the International Year of the Family, 1994. The Group looks forward to the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2024.
14. The Group highlights the importance of family-oriented policies and programmes as tools for, inter alia, fighting poverty, social exclusion and inequality, promoting work-family balance and the empowerment of women and girls and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity, to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
15. The Group recognizes the essential contribution of older persons to our societies, and towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Group reiterates that the international community, and particularly developing countries, must prepare to respond better to the challenges emerging from ageing populations, and to include the changing age structure of populations in efforts to eradicate poverty.
16. To that end, the Group calls for addressing protection gaps, and ensuring the dignity and full realization of all human rights for all older persons, through mainstreaming of ageing into sustainable development strategies.
17. The Group also reiterates that disability should be a priority issue in international cooperation for inclusive development, in the context of the 2030 Agenda. The Group welcomes progress achieved in recent years in mainstreaming disability in the implementation of national development efforts.
18. The Group of 77 and China stands ready to continue playing an active role in the Committee's deliberations on social development. As in previous sessions, the Group will submit under this agenda item three draft resolutions, on the World Summit for Social Development, the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, and the International Year of the Family. The Group looks forward to valuable contributions and support of all Member States to these important initiatives.
I thank you.