STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY THE DELEGATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA AT THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON AGENDA ITEM 20 (A); (B): GROUPS OF COUNTRIES IN SPECIAL SITUATIONS (New York, 4 October 2023)
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We are at the crossroads of important milestones for developing countries.
At this time of meetings and adoption of new development commitments and targets for LDCs and LLDCs, the international community and the United Nations system must take stock of the process of implementing previous targets. This is an opportunity to see how effective the policies adopted have been and how unfulfilled the commitments made remain.
At the halfway point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the results are far from the desired ones, and in the case of LDCs and LLDCs, the scenario is even more discouraging.
It is inconceivable that, although LDCs account for less than 4% of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions, they are the most adversely affected from the climate crisis. In the last 50 years, 69% of global deaths from climate-related disasters occurred in LDCs. This situation cannot continue. We are facing an inequality crisis in which 46 countries comprising 14% of the world's population risk being left behind, while in the last 10 years, the richest 1% of humanity has cornered more than half of all new global wealth. This is simply unacceptable.
The implementation of the Doha Programme of Action is an important step in the right direction. However, its timing coincides with the final years of action to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, which will require a renewed global partnership, real solidarity and means of implementation to meet the LDCs' requirements.
As a first step, access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments cannot continue to be a challenge for LDCs. We must adequately and timely provide safe, quality, effective and affordable vaccines for this group of countries.
Secondly, we must confront the unsustainable debt burden in many LDCs and take urgent and necessary measures to reduce the debt situation if they are to return to normalcy. Immediate actions such as substantial debt relief and restructuring, reallocation of unutilized Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and a new allocation of SDRs are necessary.
Thirdly, it is imperative that developed countries meet their ODA commitments. These countries must fulfill their historic commitment to allocate between 0.15% and 0.20% of their GDP to ODA for the least developed countries.
The LDCs' process of graduation to a higher stage must be re-evaluated to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved in each case. It is unreasonable for LDCs, once graduated, to stop receiving specific treatment when their vulnerability is still evident. This is in line with the urgent need to measure sustainable development beyond GDP. Graduated LDCs would not face this reality if developed countries were to fulfill their commitment to contribute 0.7% of their GDP to Official Development Assistance, which is still a mere pipe dream today.
For LLDC the situation is similar, the last half of the implementation period of the Vienna Programme of Action was marked by the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which stalled or reversed socioeconomic development gains that had been achieved by landlocked developing countries. The fragile recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has been further disturbed by the challenging global macroeconomic conditions, resulting in the exacerbation of their structural and geographical vulnerabilities.
The pandemic disrupted global supply chains, leading to shipment delays and high shipping costs from mid-2020 to the end of 2022. In 2021, global freight rates experienced a steep increase, reaching a record price of nearly $10,400 per forty-foot container in September 2021.2 In June 2023, the global freight rate was $1,500, which is close to pre-pandemic levels.
The group emphasize that building the productive capacities of landlocked developing countries, promoting value addition and export diversification and moving up global value chains are vital to increasing their trade potential. Landlocked developing countries' efforts need to be supported by enabling multilateral trading and financial systems.
Landlocked developing countries, in cooperation with transit developing countries, need to continue to develop and implement trade facilitation measures to simplify border crossing operations, implement joint border management systems and harmonize customs and other border crossing rules, procedures and documentation with a view to ensuring faster and cheaper cross-border trade. It will also be necessary to automate border processes and adapt to emerging technologies for seamless, contactless and paperless border crossings.
It is necessary to promote the integration of LLDCs in global trade by, inter alia, enhance support for capacity-building and technology transfer to develop digital infrastructure and policies to support e-commerce and the digital economy.
It is necessary to promote enhanced structural transformation, including through intensified industrialization, and a greater utilization of science, innovation and technology.
The Group upholds the importance of fostering strong synergy and coherence in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Vienna Programme of Action and encouraged coordination and coherence in the follow-up of their implementation.
The Third Conference of the LLDCs will be an opportunity to renew our commitments to this group of countries with the adoption of a ten-year action programme that responds to the concrete needs of the LLDCs.
The G77 and China reaffirm its solidarity with the LDCs and landlocked developing countries and its willingness to firmly support the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action and the Vienna Programme of Action within the framework of South-South cooperation and in complement to the cooperation to be undertaken by our developed country partners.