Preventing Climate Change, Acknowledging Needs of Specific States Focus, as Second Committee Concludes General Debate
Preventing climate change, enhancing international cooperation, and acknowledging the needs of specific groups and categories of States were necessary to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Member States said today as the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) concluded its general debate.
“Climate change is a serious threat to development,” said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania. “Early entry into force of the Paris Agreement is vital.” Many States noted the risks climate change posed to their development plans, be it through natural hazards, desertification, or negative effects on glaciers.
The African continent’s development was already being threatened by climate change, said the representative of Niger, speaking on behalf of the African Group. Land degradation was also advancing, and African countries were among the worst hit, along with mountainous regions and headwaters nations that were at risk of glacial melt due to climate change. The representative of Kyrgyzstan noted that climate change had already led to increased natural hazards, increased glacial melts, devastation of mountain ecosystems and resultant effects on societies. By 2025, the total area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan could be reduced by 30 to 40 per cent, with a resultant decline in water flows, she said. It was urgent to protect glaciers in headwater countries.
Several States highlighted the status of middle-income countries. Those countries continued to face special challenges. The representative of Mexico underscored the role of middle-income countries, which had much of the world’s population living in extreme poverty, and it was necessary to rethink the criteria for graduation of those countries as official development assistance recipients. The representative of Chile said the majority of the United Nations membership were or would become middle-income countries in the near term, and it was necessary to strengthen United Nations support to those countries. Nor could per capita income be the only tool by which to measure countries.
Many speakers said that it was necessary to strengthen international cooperation and partnerships to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The representative of Rwanda highlighted the need for solidarity with vulnerable countries that could easily face economic downturns with the change of a few commodity prices. Financing for development was a key factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as was international trade.
A number of States highlighted the importance of adopting the quadrennial comprehensive policy review. The review, said the representative of Paraguay, “will be crucial for forging correct strategies in the coming years. This must be in line with the 2030 Agenda and take into account countries in special situations, notably landlocked developing countries.” The representative of Australia stressed that the review “helps set direction for the UN system to implement the 2030 Agenda.”
While the work of the Second Committee was important, it needed to change the way it operated to ensure its relevance, stressed the representative of Australia. The Committee needed to adhere to deadlines to achieve outcomes, and countries required sufficient time for consultations and debate on resolutions in order to achieve consensus.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Japan, Tajikistan, Panama, Botswana, Republic of Korea, Mauritania, Iraq, Georgia, Peru, Kazakhstan, Sudan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Venezuela, Turkey, China, Morocco, Myanmar, Costa Rica, Fiji, Kenya, Algeria, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Kuwait, South Africa, Bhutan, Zambia, Nepal, Guinea, Serbia, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Jordan, Argentina and Liberia.
Representatives from the State of Palestine, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also spoke.
NOBORU SEKIGUCHI (Japan), recalling with regret that collective efforts towards the Second Committee’s revitalization had failed, stressed that “we must not reopen what we agreed to in 2015.” The completion of the Committee’s work within the mutually-agreed deadlines should be strictly kept, while any programme budget implications that were not urgent, necessary or based on clear mandates should be kept off the negotiating table. Describing Japan’s priorities for the upcoming session, he said the setting of the Committee’s deliberations on aspects of sustainable development should be well aligned with the 2015 international agreements, especially the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Expressing his readiness to adopt the historic New Urban Agenda — which would draw a whole picture of sustainable urbanization over the next 20 years — he also underscored the importance of implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and pledged to support the sustainable development of countries in special situations. Discussions on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review were also critical, he said, underlining the need to devise a reform plan that included a broader perspective.
MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) highlighted the important milestones reached in 2015, including the third International Conference on Financing for Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. There was a need to mobilize additional financial resources, notably official development assistance (ODA), the main component for financing development. Countries that began their efforts to achieve a sustainable development agenda under less favourable conditions needed support. Tajikistan was a host to a high-level conference on water and sanitation in August, and would put forth a draft resolution in the Second Committee on International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028”, and encouraged all Member States to support it.
ISBETH LISBETH QUIEL MURCIA (Panama) noted that it had been a year since the 2030 Agenda had been adopted, stressing that the Second Committee was especially relevant in achieving its goals. In stepping up its collective efforts, the Committee’s main work should be to strengthen the operational guide or road map towards those goals. Adding that the Paris Agreement was vital for sustainable development, she said many Latin American and Caribbean nations had reaffirmed their commitments to combat climate change. Panama had set up an international centre to ensure implementation of the 2030 Agenda and inclusive development. It was also seeking to become a carbon hub for the region by managing sustainable forests and combating deforestation.
SALVADOR DE LARA RANGEL (Mexico) said that, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda framing development as a vital cornerstone of the United Nations agenda, it was now up to the Organization and its development system to align itself to that agenda and to modify its approach. The quadrennial comprehensive policy review extended to sustainable development and provided an opportunity to make the changes needed. His country had been an active promoter of financing for development. A cross‑cutting, multidimensional approach for financing was needed to push sustainable development forward. He also underscored the role of middle-income countries, which had much of the world’s population living in extreme poverty. It was necessary to rethink the criteria for graduation of those countries as ODA recipients.
TLHALEFO BASTILE MADISA (Botswana) said landlocked developing countries were faced with various challenges, including high transport costs, dependence on a single or limited number of commodities for export earnings, remoteness and isolation from world markets and a cumbersome transit procedure. Countries’ efforts to overcome such difficulties on their own were insufficient, and there was a need for greater international support from all stakeholders, including transit partners. Stressing that trade for landlocked countries was also key in achieving development goals, he said the World Trade Organization (WTO) remained vital in integrating those nations into global trade. Climate change was another issue needing serious attention, as it continued to impact all economic sectors, manifested by constrained agricultural production, increased food insecurity, prolonged drought and water stress.
OH YOUNGJU (Republic of Korea) said that, while the international community had been focused on galvanizing political will for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, it must now create concrete actions for sustainable development. To that end, the discussion on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was vital in providing strategic guidance on the implementation of the sustainable development goals. Furthermore, the reform of the United Nations development system should be based on gaps and lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals. With regards to the Paris accord, her country would “exert its best efforts” to ratify the instrument by the end of this year. Parallel to that, her Government would also establish a national plan on climate change to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, in addition to expanding its support to developing countries through the Green Climate Fund.
CARLOS OLGUÍN CIGARROA (Chile) said that the majority of United Nations membership were or would become middle-income countries in the near term. It was necessary to strengthen the Organization’s support to those countries, as they faced special challenges in developing policies. He believed it was important that per capita income could not be the only tool by which to measure countries. On climate change, it was important to consider both mitigation and adaption, or else developing countries would be the most vulnerable. Chile welcomed the flexibility shown by all nations on a new urban agenda in preparation for the Habitat III conference.
TUVAKO NATHANIEL MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group and the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that review of sustainable development progress would help build ownership of the 2030 Agenda and create a virtuous cycle of implementation. Studies had shown that land degradation was advancing and that African countries were among the worst hit. Combating land degradation could contribute to easing forced migration flows influenced by a number of factors, including economic, social, security and environmental concerns. That could in turn reduce current and potential fighting over resources. He also called on all Member States to recognize the need to intensify efforts to enhance coherence and consistency of the international financial system and to tackle challenges confronting the global economy. Welcoming the establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries, he warned that an abrupt cut of assistance towards new graduates could lead into falling back to their previous status.
EL HACEN ELEYATT (Mauritania) said the world was confronting several challenges, including terrorism and poverty, as well as underdevelopment in certain regions. It was necessary to improve people’s welfare through the principles of mutual cooperation. Noting that the 2030 Agenda was vital in transforming the world and achieving prosperity, he said Mauritania had set up a national programme to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. His country had managed to alleviate poverty and its manifestations by improving income and increasing employment for youth. The Government had adopted policies to empower women, who were now present in all sectors of society. It had also established a social security programme that combated poverty and assisted vulnerable groups through health benefits and income producing projects. In addition, it had worked to improve governance through transparency and by combatting corruption.
Mr. AL HAYANI (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the market economy was still the global model for development, notably through trade, wealth‑generation and technological innovation. An unregulated market economy, however, would exhaust natural resources and cause economic crises. As such, global economic growth needed to take into account the sustainable use of natural resources. The goal of the WTO was to ensure the necessary conditions so that everyone had an equal chance, including developing countries that had not benefited from globalization. He reaffirmed the importance of having more flexible membership criteria for States that were currently WTO observers, such as his country. Sustainable development and economic development in Iraq faced major challenges due to terrorism, which had attacked peaceful cities, affecting economic prosperity and discouraging foreign investment.
JUAN MANUEL PEÑA (Paraguay), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eradicating poverty was the greatest challenge facing the world. The 2030 Agenda must be implemented, along with other international programmes and plans, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. It was vital to improve the global infrastructure and optimize mechanisms for international cooperation. Stressing that developing countries were especially vulnerable to natural hazards, he said landlocked countries deserved special focus, as they were at greater risk to hazards like droughts and floods. The United Nations should strengthen support for landlocked countries through the work of the Second Committee. ODA was vital in implementing the 2030 Agenda, as were increased investments, capacity-building and a more inclusive international trading regime.
NINO SHEKRILADZE (Georgia) said that Georgia had participated in the first round of national voluntary reviews on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, underscoring that “we all learn by doing, but we also learn better together”. It was important that the United Nations system, with its technical expertise, supported Member States in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The upcoming quadrennial comprehensive policy review would be central to ensure that the United Nations development system would perform its function effectively. There was a financing gap for the implementation of the Goals, and innovative financing could play a significant role in addressing that, alongside domestic financial flows, foreign direct investment and ODA. In that regard, Georgia, through the establishment of its Solidarity Fund, had become an active member of the global partnership on innovative financing.
MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan), expressing her full supported for the 2030 Agenda, said that her country had actively begun its implementation. Developing, mountainous, landlocked countries such as Kyrgyzstan faced unique circumstances and the inclusion of those issues in the Agenda was welcome. Market access would help such landlocked developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Trade barriers and unilateral border closures were unhelpful. Climate change had already led to increased natural disasters, increased glacial melts, devastation of mountain ecosystems and resultant negative effects on societies. By 2025, the total area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan could be reduced by 30 to 40 per cent, with a resultant decline in water flows. It was urgent to protect glaciers in headwater countries.
JULIAN SIMPSON (Australia) said the Committee had a central role to play in ensuring that the General Assembly was focused on the 2030 Agenda and responsive to issues central to its implementation. “We must change the way this Committee operates to ensure it remains relevant and valued,” he said, stressing that “business as usual won’t do”. Indeed, the Committee must be a platform for constructive debate where Member States could work cooperatively. It was important that all Member States allow time to consult, discuss and debate resolutions by ensuring that texts were submitted within set deadlines. Calling for early warning of resolutions with possible budgetary implications, he said the Committee should avoid re-prosecuting recent leader-level agreements. In addition, it should work efficiently to provide space to negotiate the resolution on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, which would help set the direction for the United Nations system in implementing the 2030 Agenda.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), aligning his delegation with the Group of 77, said countries had a shared responsibility to implement the 2030 Agenda in ensuring sustained economic growth and preserving the planet for future generations. The sustainable development partnership called for a stronger global framework and assured financing for development. It was urgent to honour commitments and develop mechanisms to make resources available in achieving the Agenda. Stressing that human beings must be at the heart of global efforts, he said development meant inclusion and the safeguarding of cultural diversity. It was also necessary to focus on disaster risk reduction and the impacts of climate change. His Government promoted the sustainable development of mountain areas, where people were subject to increased vulnerability and poverty, a challenge for middle-income countries like Peru. In addition, it supported innovative initiatives for collective action to increase access to water and sanitation.
RUSLAN BULTRIKOV (Kazakhstan) stressed the importance of empowering women and girls, as well as youth. It was important that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals be achieved, he said. Kazakhstan was planning a green economy with reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, and was committed to ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2016. It was important to identify marginalized populations that the 2030 Agenda had not touched. Conflict prevention and resolution were also important. Kazakhstan had managed to restore part of the Aral Sea and was rehabilitating the land around the Semipalatinsk nuclear-testing site with the help of the United Nations. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the efforts of landlocked developing countries would be needed to be matched by support from the international community.
ABU OBEIDA (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the current session of the General Assembly was the first step towards implementing the 2030 Agenda. His Government was focused on eradicating poverty, given its disastrous effects on people in his country. All nations must progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, but developing countries faced challenges, including the slowdown of global economic growth, as well as the need for capacity-building, technology transfer and tighter cooperation, especially South-South. It was also essential that a balance be reached in the international financial system to address unexpected shocks. Countries, such as Sudan, also suffered from an external debt burden, which negated ODA benefits and other sources of funding. In addition, they needed access to international trade markets, which would help drive development and growth.
JO TONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the independent right to development of all Member States should be respected for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. It was necessary to transcend differences in ideologies and social systems. Coercive measures, such as sanctions, blockades and pressure imposed by a few countries against others, damaged development efforts. The monopolistic control by a few countries of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and WTO could not be tolerated any further. His Government would make every effort, despite the constant nuclear war threats, economic blockades and sanctions against it, to replace the old international order with a new one and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, outlined his nation’s development plan in the area of reducing income inequality, ensuring quality education and achieving ecological balance. Mongolia was also working on bringing about more efficiency and transparency in governance. Challenges facing landlocked countries did not only affect economic growth, but also had major implications for social and environmental aspects of development. Mongolia was certainly affected by climate change, but it also faced several “special human activities” that led to its serious desertification. For example, poor crop cultivation practices were causing oil erosion. Mongolia’s urban population had increased sharply in recent years with 68 per cent of people living in urban areas. The capital’s population had doubled in just the last two decades. Such rapid urbanization had caused myriad challenges including unemployment, congested traffic and pollution.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said the premise of the Bolivarian revolution was to ensure the greatest happiness for the country’s people. Venezuela had a “Poverty Zero” plan for 2019, and would continue to reduce exclusion and seek greater equity to transform the lives of its people. The capitalist system was unjust and generated poverty, and a fair international trade system was needed. Venezuela advocated for reform of the international financial architecture, which was unjust towards the poorest countries. Its decision-making processes needed to be democratized. The sovereign management of natural resources should be considered as an alternative to control of these resources by transnational corporations. War and conflict hindered development in many countries in the Middle East and Africa, and it was necessary to put an end to foreign interference in domestic matters.
BARIŞ CEYHUN ERCIYES (Turkey) said that his country was not only a reliable donor both in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance but was also hosting the largest refugee population in the world, totalling 3 million people. Migration could contribute to sustainable development through proper management, common strategies and proactive dialogue. “Any strategy can be successful if it is carried out collectively,” he said, adding that individual efforts simply could not produce lasting solutions. Greater international cooperation, burden- and responsibility-sharing were needed to assist host countries and communities. Turkey welcomed the recent consensus reached for refugees and migrants and expected the international community to meet its commitments to better respond to the global phenomenon. On climate change, Turkey believed that water and sanitation were vital elements of the 2030 Agenda. In regards to Member States’ support to build a new global water architecture, he stressed that such steps be taken cautiously and conducted in transparent manner.
WU HAITAO (China), associating himself with the Group of 77 , said it was important to stick to the path of win-win cooperation and honour ODA, especially in helping developing countries enhance capacity. It was also vital to improve global economic governance and create an enabling international environment for development. Efforts should be directed towards building an open-world economy. The United Nations must continue to play a central role in coordinating such development efforts. Countries would do better by strengthening communication and coordination in macro-economic policy in order to avoid negative spillover. As the second largest economy in the world, his Government had taken measures to adapt to the “new normal” of its economic development, including upgrading its economic structure and adding new drivers for economic and social development. China had engaged in an “all-out” endeavour to achieve sustainable development.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country had integrated the 2030 Agenda directly into its Government’s policies and plans. It had set implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as a socioeconomic reference point, including women and youth in the process. The Government had dedicated more than 54 per cent of its budget to financing the social sector to improve living conditions and eliminate social inequalities. In promoting sustainable and renewable methods of consumption, Morocco had reached ninth place in the world in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Implementing the 2030 Agenda was an opportunity for the Government to adopt a development model that had sustainability at its centre, was mindful of equality and human dignity, focused on public and private institutional effectiveness, and targeted those who needed assistance.
EI EI KHIN AYE (Myanmar) said her country’s national economic and development policy was designed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Food security, poverty alleviation and the promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises were some of Myanmar’s top priorities. In addition, building nationwide peace and security was paramount, and her Government was committed to the ongoing initiatives of the Panglong Peace Conference that intended to bring sustainable peace to the country. Combating HIV/AIDS was another highly prioritized goal, she said, adding that the country’s national strategy plan focused specifically on prevention, treatment and care for priority populations. Emphasizing the importance of close cooperation between developed and developing countries, she highlighted that ODA would continue to be important to developing countries as they pursued the 2030 Agenda. Her delegation also underscored the importance of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review that would help developing countries achieve the 2030 Agenda and “narrow the development divide among the Member States”, she concluded.
JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA-GARCÍA (Costa Rica) said the Second Committee’s biggest challenge during the session would be the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Public and private resources must be mobilized towards that end. Implementation should be accomplished through the solidarity and transparency of all Member States. It must consider the needs of the most vulnerable and include middle-income countries, which represented the largest number of Member States in the United Nations. He also stressed the importance of the Paris Agreement and announced that his country planned to ratify the accord in the coming days.
LUKE DAUNIVALU (Fiji), associating himself with the Group of 77, Association of Small Island States and the Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, stressed that implementation of the 2030 Agenda would not be realized without adequate financing. It was necessary that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda be further strengthened and nations formed a global partnership. As his country had had too many experiences with the adverse impacts of climate change, he urged countries that had not done so to ratify the Paris Agreement. Extreme weather events would be more frequently experienced if the international community failed to fulfil its commitments. Discussions at this year’s Second Committee session should maintain the focus on combatting climate change and contribute to finding durable solutions that tackle its multidimensional threat. For Fiji, as a large ocean State, the Pacific was a lifeline and its declining health must be reversed.
ARTHUR AMAYA ANDAMBI (Kenya), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that at the time of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, his country was already implementing its Vision 2030 through five-year medium term plans which embraced the three dimensions of sustainable development. It was important to focus on the means of implementation defined under all Goals and number 17 in particular. It was critical to mobilize sufficient resources to meet the financial demands of implementation. For Kenya, now a middle-income country, it was necessary to seek increased foreign direct investment (FDI) and to mobilize domestic resources. Kenya continued to build effective and capable institutions at the national level to coordinate both within and across ministries.
MOURAD MEBARKI (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, described the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda as global achievements. The 2030 Agenda would ensure eradication of poverty if needed resources could be mobilized. Algeria had succeeded in implementing the Millennium Development Goals and was working on the Sustainable Development Goals by putting in place national mechanisms drawing in all stakeholders. He noted, however, challenges in funding the Goals, especially considering the negative forecast of international finance. The World Bank had suggested increasing ODA and tightening South-South cooperation to combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows. The international community must pay special heed to the funding needs of Africa and assist it in becoming more competitive in international trade. It was difficult to put in place global partnership mechanisms without solidarity among nations. The South-South partnership was the best proof of solidarity, but South-North cooperation and technology transfer must also be enhanced.
MAYTHONG THAMMAVONGSA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself the Group of 77, said it was incumbent on countries, United Nations agencies and other organizations to mobilize resources to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Sustainable Development Goals had been mainstreamed into his Government’s national development plans. The country continued to remove unexploded ordnance that continued to impair the livelihoods of its citizens. Enhanced partnerships would be important to mobilize resources to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Over the past years, the international community had provided support and assistance to his country, which had contributed to its efforts to eradicate poverty. Climate change was a global challenge, if it was not addressed adequately, and no one country would be able to cope with or address it alone. His nation was among the first group of countries to ratify the Paris Agreement and that accord would be implemented in an effective manner.
Ms. ABDULLAH (Malaysia) expressed concern about the global economic crisis, which was having a negative impact on smaller economies. She called on the international community to strengthen global financial regulation. Repercussions of the financial crisis in developing countries were always costly and disruptive, especially in mobilizing resources for development. She stressed the importance of South-South cooperation, which complemented efforts of developing countries to achieve sustainable development, but said it should not replace North-South cooperation. The 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement were important milestones in paving the way for sustainable development, but the lack of financial resources in developing countries should be addressed. It was also important to acknowledge that every country had its own challenges in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.
ABDALLAH WAFY (Niger), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the continent’s plans for sustainable development were informed by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as well as the 2030 Agenda. Noting that the Second Committee worked to concretize the international outcomes of 2015 — including the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and others — he said the importance of ensuring the adequate means of implementation could not be overemphasized. In that regard, ODA commitments must be fulfilled and illicit flows of finance and resources out of Africa must be curbed. While information and communication technologies (ICTs) were essential enablers for development, access to them remained a challenge for developing countries. Restrictive trade measures created hurdles and made for an unfair international trade system. Despite Africa’s insignificant contribution to the causes of climate change, it was also suffering from drought, flooding, climate-induced displacement and other climate-related challenges. The international community should accelerate efforts to curb those negative effects, including at the upcoming Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Morocco.
RUBÉN ZAMORA (El Salvador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said it was important to speed up and implement recently signed agreements. Those included the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda. A fundamental task for the United Nations was to deal with the structure of the global financial and trade system, currently arranged to help the developed countries and punish those that were not developed. Financing for development was critical to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals. The definition of middle-income countries needed to be revised because those States featured structural imbalances which were not reflected in the per capita income numbers, but were systematically covered up by averaging out gross domestic product (GDP). It was necessary to understand the changing and evolving needs of societies that were evolving at different levels. El Salvador confirmed its support for reforming the world economic governance structure to ensure more effective and coordinated handling of important global issues.
HORACIO SEVILLA BORJA (Ecuador), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the need for structural change in the international financial system limited the ability of developing countries to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. To promote international peace and stability, the international community must have a dialogue to increase transparency and good governance in that financial system. Its excesses had widened inequalities in the world. She noted that taxes were tools to increase wealth within and between societies, but stressed the need to eliminate tax evasion, illicit monetary flows and tax havens. Equador’s tax havens currently held $30 billion, an amount which would contribute substantially to sustainable development. She suggested creating a world government body that discussed tax issues in tackling the problem of such havens.
APPOLINAIRE DINGHA (Congo) said the Second Committee’s work was taking place at a time of slow economic growth and geopolitical concerns. He expressed hope that the upcoming Habitat III conference would be a strong policy effort to open up development opportunities for the world’s cities and eradicate poverty. The first session of the high-level political forum on sustainable development drew a picture of the development programme through the 2030 Agenda, and the Committee needed to take that work to heart as it proceeded. It was necessary to have better capacity-building in operational terms for the United Nations system for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda touched on all aspects of development, but nonetheless, to ensure its effective implementation and to eradicate poverty, it was necessary to strengthen partnerships. Congo had a national plan and through it the country had committed to taking ownership of the 2030 Agenda.
PAUL LOSOKO EFAMBE EMPOLE (Democratic Republic of the Congo) was committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, incorporating them into its national strategic plan. The country sought to become a middle-income country by 2021, an emerging market by 2030 and a developed State by 2050. The country continued its development and sought to reduce poverty, and had managed to have the appropriate economic and social infrastructure to improve the welfare of its population. Climate change was an unprecedented global challenge and jeopardized the very future of humanity. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was moving to finalize the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016. There remained a gap between developing and developed States, particularly among the least developed countries. It was necessary to win the war against poverty so humanity would not suffer a failure of development.
NECTON MHURA (Malawi), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country had undertaken several economic initiatives to address high inflation and the decline in GDP. Malawi had suffered from recent weather-related setbacks as well. Women were at the very core of any society’s success and with that in mind, Malawi had risen the age of marriage to 18 years and was focusing on programmes that boosted girls’ access to education. As a landlocked developing country, his nation would feel the positive impact of infrastructural development specifically in the area of increasing the number of Malawians that had access to electricity. He noted the inconclusiveness of the trade negotiations surrounding duty-free and quota-free market access to certain products and said that the stalemate had only exacerbated the challenges faced by landlocked countries. Malawi called on its global partners to continue supporting programmes that increased access to education for everyone but especially for girls.
JEANNE D’ARC BYAJE (Rwanda), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that global development was a shared responsibility. Solidarity needed to be encouraged to ensure that vulnerable countries could achieve sustainable development. An over-reliance on a few key commodities had helped plunge many countries into recession, for instance. Low or even shrinking growth would adversely impact the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, where growth of about 7 per cent annually was needed to eradicate poverty by 2030. Rwanda would continue to invest in its people, enhancing citizen empowerment and community capacity-building. It was imperative to respond to the aspirations of people; advance gender equality; tackle infrastructure and energy gaps; and realize that all actors needed adequate financing to implement the development agenda.
FREDERICK M. SHAVA (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the Group of 77, stressed the need for global partnership to achieve the 2030 Agenda, in the form of provision of financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity- building. A supportive international environment, including an equitable multilateral trading system, was also critical for poverty eradication, as was follow-up on the Financing for Development agenda and reform of the international financial institutions to respond better to the needs of developing countries. He expressed particular concern over the lack of commitment from some Member States in promoting cooperation on tax matters and addressing the problem of illicit financial flows. On climate change, he urged developed countries to fulfil their commitments to provide means of implementation for adaptation and mitigation, in line with the Paris outcome.
TALAL ALI RASHED ALJAMALI (Yemen), associating himself with the Group of 77 and Group of Least Developed Countries, said that one year was not enough to evaluate progress but the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals could be reviewed and its successes and setbacks evaluated. Those Goals would not have an impact on the poor unless they translated into action. Yemen had signed the Paris Agreement and joined international efforts to preserve the planet, he said, emphasizing the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility. Industrialized nations must accept their historic responsibilities. Yemen was in a “particular situation” and “chaos was prevailing”, he said, adding that the country was now “struggling to reach relief” instead of focus on the development gains it had made.
ABDULLAH A KH A KH ALSHARRAH (Kuwait), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the Paris conference was extremely important in terms of dealing with climate change in a fair way. The road map was done and now it was time to “shoulder responsibility” in the fight against extreme poverty. It was critical to ensure respect for the environment and take into account ongoing climate change. There were common but differentiated responsibilities for all to bear. Conflict interfered with development and therefore it was critical to address immediate humanitarian needs and put an end to conflict worldwide. Kuwait, as a high-income country, was doing its best to speed up new partnerships in various regions and was set on creating better living conditions for the people in its region. “Our efforts had been somewhat successful,” he said, emphasizing that his country’s humanitarian assistance was in accordance with its values.
LAWRENCE XOLANI MALAWANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Africa Group, said the success or failure in implementing the 2030 Agenda would depend on adequate means of implementation and meaningful follow-up and review architecture. Convinced that the financing for development and the 2030 Agenda processes remained on separate tracks, he urged development partners to honour their commitments on ODA. Addressing illicit financial flows was crucial. Upgrading the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters should be upgraded into a universal and intergovernmental body which would provide developing countries with tools to deal with a number of tax related issues, including illicit financial flows. To combat poverty, special attention should be given to agricultural development and food security.
KUNZANG C. NAMGYEL (Bhutan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that, as a landlocked least developed nation, it had faced immense development challenges. Stressing that the transformation in the 2030 Agenda period must take place within the least developed countries, he said Bhutan had begun integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into its national priorities in its development planning framework. The support of development partners was critical to those endeavours, and success would ultimately hinge on the quality of partnerships between Governments, the private sector and civil society at the national, regional and global levels. Likewise, the 2030 Agenda required a United Nations development system that was able to deliver integrated and coordinated policy support on the ground in response to national needs and priorities. Noting that Bhutan had been identified as eligible for graduation out of the least developed country category, he emphasized that graduation must be seen in the larger context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and must be handled carefully.
MWABA P. KASESE BOTA (Zambia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said poverty, through its many offshoots, remained an overarching and pressing challenge around the world. Promoting transformation and strengthening resilience of economies in Africa — especially countries in special situations — called for the active pursuit of industrialization. Zambia had been creating a five-year national development plan aimed at fostering growth by initially placing a special focus on the development of rural areas that had the highest prospects for reducing poverty levels. Other strategies included industrialization, appropriate infrastructure development and fostering rural development by focusing on agriculture and creating jobs. It was also working to create Value Chain Cluster Programmes, diversification of the agricultural sector, promotion of forestry and Multi-facility Economic Zones and to prioritize infrastructure, energy, water, transport, communication, education and health. Climate change also remained a national priority.
DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda had not yet begun in real terms. It was important to find and urgently remedy the delay so that 2030 commitments could be translated into meaningful results on the ground, including poverty eradication. Poverty was the worst enemy of humanity, serving as fertile breeding ground for most social ills, beginning with hunger and illiteracy and resulting in anger and even terrorism. National commitments, ownership, leadership, people-centric and accountable governance systems must be complemented by robust international partnership to win the arduous battle against poverty. He also stressed that the international community was obliged to help graduate least developed countries and ease structural deficiencies of landlocked developing countries, as agreed in programmes of action for those countries. It was also important to note the huge potential of South-South cooperation, which could be a game changer in ensuring implementation of new agendas.
ALASSANE CONTE (Guinea) said the international community had committed itself to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Guinea had suffered two years of the Ebola outbreak and was now paying strict heed to the Goals. In May, the new Prime Minister had promised to re-establish rule of law, kick-start the national economy and combat corruption. The Government was the first pillar around which sustainable development progress should be made. Economically, specialists had noted that Guinea could supply the world’s aluminium needs for a century. The country was currently focusing on mining, creating a framework favouring investment. Programmes had been signed for several billion dollars in investment, which could make Guinea the mining capital of West Africa. A large programme had also been put in place to improve agriculture, which could make his country the bread basket of the region.
IVA JEMUOVIC (Serbia) said that her country had begun the process of updating its national strategy for sustainable development and the financing to go along with that. Failure to achieve the “lofty” goals set was not an option. Each country had a responsibility to attain sustainable development but sub-regional, regional and global cooperation was indispensable to that. Moving on to climate change, she noted the massive and devastating floods that had hit Serbia two years ago and outlined myriad concrete actions taken by the Government including stemming greenhouse gas emissions. On migration, she said that over the past year and a half more than 700,000 refugees and migrants transited through Serbia. Currently, there were more than 7,000 migrants and asylum-seeking people in the country. As a nation that had experience protracted displacement for more than 20 years, Serbia simply did not have the capacity to be a long-term, mass shelter for migrants. A comprehensive European and global solution was vital to address that phenomenon.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said there was a growing international consciousness intent on reducing development gaps. He called on the international community to provide means to implement the 2030 Agenda, referring to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Stressing the importance of enhancing global partnerships, he pointed to the importance of abiding by agreed-upon development assistance for developing countries, especially in Africa, considering the harsh challenges they faced. Due attention should also be paid to transition countries to overcome social and economic difficulties by reinforcing resources and transferring technology. Efforts should also be made to eliminate tax evasion, illegal flows and financial corruption. Finally, there was a need to facilitate the access of developing countries to special funds to alleviate the effects of climate change.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said his country had taken into account domestic risks and vulnerabilities in its implementation of sustainable development. Its administration had invested in projects with hopes that Equatorial Guinea would become an emerging economy by 2020. Society was informed by the planned targets through various public campaigns. State stability fostered development and from that standpoint, the State was a clearly defined public entity that could represent many interests but its very existence was absolutely fundamental. “Speaking quite frankly, if there is no State, there could be no development,” he said, noting the various failed States worldwide whose development gains and hopes had been squandered. Equatorial Guinea and its Government were committed to applying the development agenda and had already budgeted for it until 2020. It was focused on diversifying its economy by being less dependent on resources.
NOUR MAMDOUH KASEB ALJAZI (Jordan), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that some development gains had been jeopardized by various factors including the recent flow of migration. The number of displaced people worldwide was beyond 60 million, she added, emphasizing the need for an international response. Partners, civil society and the private sector must join forces to address the phenomenon. The Syrian crisis had substantially increased “the burden on Jordan’s shoulders”, she said, adding that her country had taken in 1.3 million refugees. That caused problems with social infrastructure and availability of Government services but despite those immense challenges, Jordan remained committed to sustainable development. Financing represented a major challenge, she said, underscoring the importance of ODA for both developing and middle-income countries.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the 2030 Agenda recognized that the elimination of poverty was a serious challenge and crucial to sustainable development. The Agenda provided a new framework for sustainable development and was universal in nature, eliminating imbalances and inequalities within and between countries. It was a commitment that applied to all countries, considering the priorities and capacities of each. Argentina had begun strengthening its institutional regulations to implement each part of the Agenda. He stressed that climate change was the biggest challenge facing mankind today. Argentina had attempted to improve its governance, setting up a national network on climate change to monitor reductions in emissions and determine steps to take in future years. He also emphasized that operational activities for development must have a broader and greater role to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda. The international community must develop national capacity in developing countries and integrate South-South and triangular cooperation into the strategic plans of several United Nations agencies.
LEWIS G. BROWN (Liberia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that while everyone had been analysing challenges pertaining to sustainable growth it was equally important to note that the Millennium Development Goals deepened humanity’s understanding of global poverty, rising inequality and pervasive injustice. Liberia had embarked on the process of domesticating the Sustainable Development Goals through robust initiatives, working with the private sector, civil society and faith-based leaders. Efforts to enhance national ownership were also manifested in several areas, including the national budget. The focus was on a process of localization and decentralization. With 42 per cent of biodiversity in the West African region, Liberia understood the importance of protecting the environment from the trappings of global warming and the effects of climate change. It remained committed to the sustainable use of land and forests.
ABDULLAH ABU SHAWESH, observer for the State of Palestine, aligning his statement with that of the Group of 77, asked how the Second Committee could promote development when the people of Palestine faced acute challenges. Israel was the occupying Power and was destroying in a systematic manner all pillars of development. Forty eight years ago, Israel had occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and since then Palestinian development had gone backwards. Palestinian resources were being looted and depleted in full view of the international community, producing an imbalanced relationship where the Palestinians were being denied access to their natural resources while Israeli settlements were being enlarged. The 2030 Agenda stated that peace and development were inseparable. Israel continued to take hundreds of military actions depriving Palestinians of their right to development, notably through the policy of settlement expansion. “They are terrorist settlers armed to the teeth, armed with racial ideologies,” he said, and added that it was high time to end the Israeli occupation.
BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said the recent conclusion of many significant international commitments demonstrated a willingness among political leaders to come together to address global challenges. At the same time, however, there had been a continued breakdown of trust as inequalities among and within countries had widened and the number of violent conflicts had increased. A human-centred approach must form the centre of all efforts to address the interconnected challenges of environmental, economic and social development, he said, underscoring the need to avoid a reductionist approach that viewed the human person as an obstacle to development or, even worse, as the cause of his or her own underdevelopment and neediness. Among other things, he called for a renewed commitment to just and equitable mechanisms for global trade and multilateral financial assistance, and warned against “global indifference” to the needs of others. “The strength of international cooperation is based on the principle of one common humanity rooted in the equal dignity of all,” he said.
XOLISA MABHONGO, International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA), said that nuclear science and technology had myriad peaceful applications which could help countries reduce poverty and hunger, improve energy supplies, and diagnose and treat diseases. When it came to treating cancer, numerous countries lacked both the equipment and the trained medical personnel. In Africa alone, there were 28 countries which did not have a single radiotherapy machine. The Agency was working to provide both technology and training to health professionals. Two years ago, it had helped countries in West Africa deal with an outbreak of Ebola by providing diagnostic kits and laboratory supplies. It was now adopting a similar approach in Latin America and the Caribbean in the response to the Zika virus. It was also developing nuclear techniques to fight insect pests. While energy was the engine of development, over a billion people still lacked access to electricity. Nuclear power was one of the lowest-carbon technologies to generate electricity.
LAKSHMI PURI, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), urged Second Committee delegates to make gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda a central element. The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review should empower and reposition the United Nations development system to reflect the gender aspect of the Agenda and maximize its impact at the country level. The Review should leverage normative gains of 2015 to help accelerate gender equality achievements and ensure no one was left behind. It should also provide operational policy guidance on accelerating transformative results, as well as build and empower the next generation of gender equality champions across all United Nations entities.
CARLA MUCAVI, Director of the New York Liaison Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that 795 million people still suffered from chronic hunger, and over 70 per cent of the world’s poor and food insecure lived in rural areas of developing countries. When opportunities for a decent life were not present, rural people were often forced to leave their homes. Global action must be geared at overcoming constraints to accessing markets and resources. Action must focus on building resilience, promoting sustainable approaches and supporting efforts to adapt to climate change. It was also important to create jobs and opportunities that rural communities needed. Rural development and improved food systems were also important parts of the effort to promote sustainable production and consumption and reduce food loss and waste.
VINICIUS CARVALHO PINHEIRO, International Labour Organization (ILO), said a major sustainable development challenge for the coming years was creation of decent jobs for young people. Ongoing trends of low and jobless economic growth and dissemination of labour-saving technologies may impact the future of work could compromise Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda. ILO studies showed that, since the low-carbon economy was more job-intensive, work created by a transition to clean energy and more sustainable production patterns could more than offset the loss of jobs in emissions-intensive industries. If managed well, transitions to environmentally and socially sustainable economies could become a strong driver of job creation, job upgrading, social justice and poverty eradication.
CHANTAL LINE CARPENTIER, Chief of the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), expressed concern about the global economy as illustrated in UNCTAD’s recent Trade and Development Report and World Investment Reports. “If we don’t get trade, investment, finance and technology right, and right now […] we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said, stressing that the Goals must be used to turn the global economy around. Countries would need to pool their knowledge, tools and funds to support implementation, especially to the benefit of least developed, African, landlocked and small island States, as well as middle-income countries and others in special situations. That was the only way to stem protectionism and isolationism and re‑establish globalization as an engine of inclusive prosperity for all. UNCTAD was launching a multi-donor trust fund on trade and productive capacity and initiating deeper and more inclusive partnerships.