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, IN EXPLANATION OF POSITION, BEFORE THE ADOPTION OF THE POLITICAL DECLARATION OF THE SECOND HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE FIGHT AGAINST TUBERCULOSIS (New York, 5 October 2023)
I have honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as an explanation of position on the adoption of the Political Declaration of the Second High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Fight Against Tuberculosis, contained in document L.4.
Throughout the negotiation process of this draft political declaration, the Group engaged with a constructive spirit and demonstrated great flexibility and willingness to compromise. Regrettably, and despite having been clear in its legitimate priorities and concerns, the Group was put in the unfortunate situation of having to break silence twice.
In this regard, the Group recalls its letter dated 1 September 2023, addressed to the President of the General Assembly.
The Group notes that most of the issues on which it broke the second silence procedure remain unsolved. Particularly on the most substantive of the Group's concerns, there was not even an attempt to find a compromise solution and those objected elements were pushed forward when the lack of overall consensus was crystal clear.
The Group of 77 and China comprises more than a two third majority of the United Nations, 69% of it, to be precise. The aspirations, priorities and legitimate concerns of developing countries should not be blatantly neglected, which is what happened when the same text that our Group broke silence on was put forward as the outcome of a negotiation process that unfortunately had its shortcomings. This "take-it-or-leave-it" does not reflect the spirit of multilateralism and cooperation that should prevail in the United Nations, if it is that we truly want to leave no one behind.
It is also unacceptable, and discriminatory, that the co-facilitators decided to weaken agreed language of the previous political declaration on tuberculosis, in an effort to accommodate one single delegation; when at the same time they took the deliberate decision to ignore the concerns and proposals of the largest Group of the United Nations, most of them based on agreed language.
This way of proceeding is simply not acceptable, and should not create any precedent or practice into future processes.
In this regard, the Group would like to put on record its dissatisfaction with the shortcomings of the negotiation process and outcome of the 2023 Political Declaration on the Fight Against Tuberculosis. This process was not conducted in a balanced and fair manner, and delegations from developing countries were not taken into account in the same footing as others.
On substance, the Group would like to mention the following shortcomings of the Political Declaration to be adopted:
- First, there is no reference to Unilateral Coercive Measures and the need to refrain from applying them against developing countries, despite it being agreed language of the 2030 Agenda.
- Second, there is no reference to the need for developing countries to have unhindered access to necessary resources and means to address tuberculosis.
- Third, the language on sufficient financial support for developing countries is rather weak or heavily caveated, and there is no debt dimension to the text.
- Fourth, the language on TRIPS is weaker than the one contained in the previous political declaration on tuberculosis.
- Fifth, the language on technology transfer is insufficient and excessively caveated.
The Group came to this process in good faith, believing that our partners were interested in an outcome document that reflected the interests and aspirations of all. Their actions during the negotiation process, trying even to delete references to the special situation of developing countries, the disproportionate impact of tuberculosis that many in our Group face, and their uneven capacity to respond to this disease, have demonstrated that, for some, "leaving no one behind" is just a slogan. Regardless, our Group reiterates its commitment to the fight against tuberculosis, as part of overall efforts towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and achieving sustainable development.
The Group requests that this statement is properly reflected in the records of this meeting.