STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. CELIA KAFUREKA NABETA, MINISTER COUNSELLOR, PERMANENT MISSION OF UGANDA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE FIRST READING OF THE PACT FOR THE FUTURE (New York, 6 February 2024)
Distinguished co-facilitators of the Summit of the Future Excellences,
I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Our Group wishes to thank the co-facilitators for presenting the zero draft, a foundation for us to collectively build upon. We fully recognize the immense complexities involved in reconciling thousands of pages of inputs with diverse and divergent views. We wish to salute the efforts of the Permanent Mission of Namibia, for championing the priorities of the south.
Your Excellency Amb. Gertze, the Group through you extends its sincere condolences to the government and people of Namibia upon the passing of His Excellency Doctor Hage Gottfried Geingob.
Our Group intends to engage constructively and positively in the process to conclude a Pact for the Future that will lead to concrete actions to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs, to achieve humanity's overarching goal of eradicating poverty in all its dimensions and reducing inequality between developing countries and developed countries.
We believe that the timelines set need an extension, particularly the deadline for written comments, to allow for ample time for delegations to consult with their capitals and coordinate positions.
Whereas the draft pact attempted to address as many issues as possible, we notice that several issues need to be further emphasized and strengthened.
The Eradication of Poverty in all its forms and dimensions should be the key aspect of the Pact for the Future. Poverty, including extreme poverty, continues to be the greatest global challenge and its eradication is indispensable for sustainable development. We therefore would like the Pact for the Future to place more emphasis on addressing poverty eradication.
The G77 and China believe the pact should include a reaffirmation of all the principals of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, including inter Alia, the Principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities as set out in Principle 7 of our submission on December 1st, 2023, on Chapter 1.
In addition, the Group has consistently reaffirmed that achieving equity in the present is the only possible path towards ensuring intergenerational equity. Therefore, we insist that the document includes language on the necessity to safeguard the interests of present and future generations in an equitable manner.
We also emphasize that water and sanitation are critical for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and hunger, that water, energy, food security and nutrition are linked, and that water and sanitation are indispensable for human development, health, and well-being.
Financing for development is also important for developing countries. Developed countries should shoulder their historic responsibilities and fulfill their commitments to provide financing support to developing countries, especially through ODA. At the same time, the distinction between ODA and climate finance should not be blurred as the former should be based on the needs of developing countries instead of just targeting climate change issues.
We appreciate the work that has been made in chapter 3 on Science, Technology, Innovation and Digital Cooperation, however, we notice that this aspect hasn't been given sufficient emphasis particularly harnessing science and technology for sustainable development, or on enhancing developing countries' ability to benefit from technological advances. We therefore call for the further advancement of digital inclusion and the development dimension of digital transformation, for concrete actions and proposals for bridging the North-South STI divide, and strengthening the full, equal, and meaningful access and participation of all in scientific, educational and technological processes.
We also call for the further recognition of the existing disparities between developed and developing countries in terms of conditions, possibilities and capacities to produce new scientific and technological knowledge and to generate innovation.
The Pact should therefore call upon the international community, particularly the developed countries, the United Nations System, and the International Financial Institutions to support the efforts of the countries of the South to develop and strengthen their national science, technology, and innovation systems and their digital transformation.
Central to the Pact should be the reform of the International Financial architecture. It's positive that the zero draft recognizes the need to increase the voice and representation of developing countries, but more concrete actions should be taken, especially regarding the governance and reform of the IMF and World Bank, the two major international financial institutions.
We appreciate that the Pact contains some of the elements highlighted by the Group in our inputs. However, we stress that these do not correspond to the level of ambition or action we expect from the Pact. We also note that the pact is unable to reference the Bretton Woods Institutions by name. Accordingly, the Group will be proposing language to ensure that the Pact truly leads to a reform of the international architecture to make it equitable and responsive to the needs of developing countries as well as to strengthening the role of the UN in global economic governance.
The Group considers that promoting inclusive and effective international tax cooperation remains a critical prerequisite to the achievement of the SDGs, since it can contribute to an enabling environment that empowers developing countries to effectively mobilize their domestic resources. Current international tax governance structures need considerable improvements, an aspect that the Pact falls short of.
Additionally, the material and monetary losses caused by the negative consequences of climate change are particularly acute after a catastrophe, as it can lead to worsening debt sustainability. Both the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have recognized that climate disasters can cause a significant deterioration in debt sustainability in affected countries. The Pact for the Future ought to provide for a mechanism through which International Financial Institutions avoid exacerbating the debt burdens of countries that are negatively affected by Climate change but rather enable them to recover. Additionally, we need to scale up lending capacity of Multilateral Development Banks and to place the SDGs at the heart of their operation.
In the path towards a more just world for the future, it is necessary to change the current unjust and exclusionary international order. In this regard, we welcome the current text of the Pact for the Future for a call to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations and to maintain it within the text since they affect dramatically the rights and dignity of the people living under those illegal measures and impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
Lastly, the pact needs to articulate more actions that substantively make a positive difference for all countries in particular the developing countries rather than reiterate past commitments.
Excellencies in this regard,
The Pact for the Future needs to give serious consideration to a follow-up mechanism that allows for concrete review of implementation efforts reflected in the pact and avoids duplicity.
Once again, the G77 and China is grateful to the co-facilitators for their efforts and will participate constructively in the Summit of the Future and its deliberations.