STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY H.E. AMBASSADOR BOUBACAR DIALLO, G-77 COORDINATOR OF THE PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON THE ALIGNMENT OF THE AGENDA OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ECOSOC AND ITS SUBSIDIARY BODIES IN THE LIGHT OF THE ADOPTION OF THE 2030 AGENDA FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 19 March 2021)
1. I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and wish to thank you for your hard work and efforts and for convening today's informal consultations at the experts' level to continue the discussion of the alignment process.
2. The Group would like to reiterate our views and positions on the alignment process and propose possible way forward for this process. First, we welcome the Co-Facilitators' proposal to carry out a pilot analysis on SDG 2. We believe that the pilot analysis is a useful first step that will give us a better sense of the scale and challenges of the work ahead of us. It is also a concrete proposal that can deliver tangible outcomes in the short term. We therefore strongly urge all delegations to positively consider the Co-Facilitators' proposal of a pilot analysis on SDG 2.
3. Second, the alignment process should not exclusively revolve around the Sustainable Development Goals, since due regard and attention should be given to the 2030 Agenda as a whole, of which the SDGs are but a part of. This will ensure that relevant issues covered by the Agenda, which are not necessarily reflected in any of the SDGs or targets, would not be left out of the alignment process.
4. Third, the Group stresses that any decision to be taken on the alignment process must be done with consideration of the procedure. In this regard, we believe that any decision on the way forward should also be coherent with the decisions that will be taken on the wider process of the revitalization of the General Assembly as a package, to which the Alignment process is closely connected. Namely, the outcome of the alignment process should continue to be several paragraphs that will be fed into the resolution on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly.
5. Fourth, the Group reiterates that examining possible overlaps and duplication should be considered on a case-by-case basis and restates that it is still premature to discuss the criteria at this stage. The Group is convinced that the criteria must be evidence-based, and further elaborated until a consensus is reached among member states on a basis on which to take any decision in this regard. Therefore, we strongly believe that before we consider the criteria for possible overlaps and/or duplications, we need to have a detailed, thorough and comprehensive analysis of the interconnection between agenda items, resolutions and the SDGs.
6. Fifth, the Group believes that the alignment exercise would not be comprehensive unless we were to have a clear and accurate sense of how the agendas of the General Assembly and ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies measure up vis-á-vis the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. We stress the need for further elaboration and analysis of the SDGs, the agenda items and sub-items as well as relevant resolutions to ensure they are better aligned with the 2030 Agenda. Such analysis must go deeper than if the title of an item or resolution corresponds or not with certain SDGs. In this regard, the Group believes that to continue the mapping process and conduct such a comprehensive, substantive and content-based analysis should be the major tasks and way forward for the alignment process at this session of the General Assembly, and it would then feed into our work in identifying gaps, overlaps and duplication where they exist.
7. Sixth, regarding the proposal to set up a small working group, the Group would like to seek further clarification on its mandate and modalities. We have some concerns about whether such a group will add value to the process, as the current practice of convening informal consultations at both Ambassadorial and experts levels works well. Besides, such a small working group might undermine the transparency and inclusivity of the alignment process, and bring heavier work load and additional internal coordination efforts for groups like G77 and China, which will make our work less efficient.
8. While we recognize and support the need to advance the mandate regarding alignment with the 2030 Agenda, we understand that this process must advance on solid foundations, based on evidence, after a broad and in-depth analysis. The Group is not in favor of setting artificial deadlines for the conclusion of the process, which prejudges the real responsibility of effectively carrying out that mandate. Artificial limits can yield unbalanced and negative results for us, especially for developing countries.
9. The Group reiterates that the only practical way to address overlaps and duplications where they exist is to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, about all agenda items, sub-items, and resolutions. We call upon partners will engage in this process of analysis, so that we can achieve real results and move all of us forward for the alignment process.
10. Finally, the Group underscores the difficulties brought by the virtual consultations and would like to bring to the attention of the Co-facilitators that there are many parallel and ongoing meetings and processes, it is difficult to have timely coordination within our Group on this alignment process with the frequency of weekly informal consultations. We suggest having informal consultations with lower frequency in the future to allow all of us have more time to discuss on this process.
11. The alignment exercise is of merits but should not be conducted hastily because it will impact all the work of the UN and impede our ability to implement the 2030 Agenda in its entirety. We risk overlooking crucial aspects or superficially treating them. The Group takes note of your efforts, Co-Facilitators, and will continue to be constructive partners in the process.