STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY HIS EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO FROM THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS AT THE FIRST INFORMAL DIALOGUE ON THE REVITALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE (New York, 16 February 2021)
Mr. Chair, Distinguished delegates,
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the Group of 77 and China.
2. At the outset, allow me to extend to you, Mr. Chairman, and the Bureau of the Second Committee, our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for your exemplary leadership and stewardship of the work of the Committee during these very difficult and unprecedented times.
3. We also applaud you and the Bureau for the very successful conclusion of the Committee's work during the main segment. However, in so doing, we remain cognizant that the measures adopted to adjust the Committee's work program at that time was in response to the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such these measures are not to set a precedent for future sessions.
4. Even though we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, these still remain uncertain times. We are hopeful that soon we will be able to return to some form of normalcy and continue with our work in full to meet our commitments under the 2030 Agenda.
5. In this regard, the Group of 77 and China appreciates this initiative to try to advance the revitalization process, and we acknowledge the efforts extended by the Second Committee Bureau, as well as the progress made in advancing this agenda item. However, even though the Group accords a high level of importance to the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee, it believes moving beyond the agreed changes adopted in the 74th session would be premature and counterproductive as we are yet to properly assess and evaluate the implementation of those changes, some of which are still to be implemented during the 76th session.
6. The Group also notes the interlinkages that exist between this process and other ongoing processes, such as the review of ECOSOC and HLPF, and the alignment of the agendas of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. In this vein, the Group continues to advocate for a comprehensive and holistic approach to same, as these processes complement each other while responding to different mandates with different objectives.
7. Albeit the Group of 77 and China will continue to constructively engage as it has done in the previous dialogues under this agenda item and commits to continuing to do so in the future, with a view to ensuring that the work of the Second Committee is conducted in a manner that gives greater impact and relevance to its intended purpose
8. The Group is of the firm conviction that the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee is intended to strengthen the work of the Committee, enhance international development, and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is the firm belief of the Group that development must remain at the core of the work of the Second Committee.
9. We emphasize that the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda is of the utmost importance for our work in the Committee, with a primary focus on the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, as the overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda.
10. Moreover, with a view to further improving the work of the Committee, the Group believes that solidarity and a multilateral approach centered on the United Nations, is critical to our collective efforts.
11. In this vein, we note with grave concern that the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought severe disruptions to societies and economies, with devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods. With the potential of reversing development gains achieved over decades, it has presented increased and unforeseen challenges for all developing countries, including the most vulnerable countries and those facing specific challenges.
12. As we engage today on this agenda item, the full impact of the pandemic is not yet clear, but one thing is, its socio-economic fallout will directly influence the work of the Committee, against the backdrop of the years remaining in the Decade of Action and delivering of services.
13. Permit me, therefore, to reiterate some crucial positions of the Group on the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee as responses to some of your proposed items for further discussions, especially noting that the majority of the proposals are based on previously discussed and rejected ideas.
14. Firstly, as a general rule, the Group wishes to maintain for the immediate future, UN medical protocol permitting, business continuity modalities of the Committee which existed prior to the pandemic, unless changed in the decision of the 74th session.
15. Under the proposals for the General Debate and Discussions, the Group wishes to reiterate the importance of delegations being able to make statements in the general debate and also under general discussions of individual agenda items, as we believe the focus of these interventions are different and complimentary and are of great importance for developing countries.
16. Under the proposals for Informal Consultations, this would entail reports being disseminated at a very early stage, which the Secretariat has already indicated is not possible. In addition, to facilitate this we are looking to engage pre or during high level week and the GA general debate, which will be tremendously difficult and unrealistic for Missions with small delegations.
17. Under the proposals for Draft Resolutions, the Group wishes to reiterate the following:
- Firstly, the reaffirmation of the inalienable right of all delegations to table new proposals for introduction of additional agenda items, or new draft resolutions under existing items. While this issue was not included in the draft decision, the Group holds the view that it is a fundamental and crucial element in the discussion of Revitalization of the work of the Second Committee.
- Secondly, The Group is deeply concerned by the attempt to have "…draft resolutions reflect the link of the resolutions with the 2030 Agenda in the title of the resolutions…." The Group of 77 and China wishes to reaffirm that the work of the Second Committee and of the UN, extend beyond the 2030 Agenda and is relevant to issues not adequately addressed by Second Committee in the 2030 Agenda. Any attempt to concentrate the work of the Second Committee only around the 2030 Agenda represents a vaguely narrow perspective and a grave misconstruction of the intended purposes of the Second Committee.
- Thirdly, the Group underscores that the relevance of agenda items and resolutions, as well as their periodicity, should be carefully taken into consideration, on a case-by-case basis, with clear reasoning and accurate argument, and always based on the consent of the proponents of the draft resolutions.
- Fourthly, the Group opposes any proposal to have draft resolutions be tabled, as a rule, on a biennial basis. We also do not support the proposal to desist from tabling draft resolutions of a regional nature. We believe that consolidating such resolutions to cover global concerns of a similar nature, must be considered following consultations and with the consent of the proponents of such texts.
- fifthly, with respect to the proposal for co-drafting of resolutions, the G77 and China comprises a highly diversified group of countries with different developmental needs. For its part, the Group already shares the transformative ideals of co-authorship. Notwithstanding this, the Group is fully cognizant of the technicalities and complexities such an approach will incur for a group like ours. The Group of 77 and China is, therefore, not in a position to support such a proposal but will endeavor to continue consultations within the Group with a view to engaging on this matter in the future.
- Lastly, Chair, the Group continues to reject the changes proposed to the specific resolutions mentioned under this section in keeping with our points raised in previous dialogues on this matter.
18. Under the proposals for reporting, the Group continues to be concerned with the proposals to have joint reporting, merging and eliminating reports, as these reports are extremely important to the continuity of the work of the Committee and serve to form the basis upon which we are able to assess progress and address gaps and challenges in the various topic areas of the Committee. In addition, due to the already limited word capacity allocated for the reports it would be extremely unproductive to crowd reports even on subitems under the same cluster.
19. In concluding, the Group of 77 and China reiterates its commitment to engaging constructively and in good faith with all partners, to enhance the work of the Committee, while ensuring that through our work we are able to effectively and efficiently contribute to the realization of the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as an integral part of the General Assembly.
20. I thank you.