Developing countries are caught in a difficult situation as they must grapple with multidimensional crises including COVID-19 pandemic recovery, financing gaps, poverty and climate change, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it opened the general debate of its seventy-seventh session.
Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that Committee outcomes and decisions must address the “great finance divide” — as the world economic outlook had deteriorated markedly throughout 2022, with annual global output expected to rise between 2.5 and 2.8 per cent — sharply down from earlier projections. Many developing countries were still battling the pandemic, while high inflation, rising borrowing costs and economic slowdown were stunting their growth. Skyrocketing energy prices were compounding a cost-of-living crisis for hundreds of millions of people globally, requiring urgent measures to bridge financing gaps and address the rising costs of borrowing.
Noting as many as 95 million more people living in extreme poverty in 2022, he stressed that “we still need a global vaccination plan.” Developing countries “are caught between a rock and a hard place” — faced with multiple interrelated and mutually reinforcing crises, the need for investments in the Sustainable Development Goals is rising. While science, technology and innovation had enormous potential to advance human well-being, lack of inclusiveness in Internet access deprived many people of those benefits. “We must ‘flip the narrative’ towards a positive outcome for 2030, and we must start it now,” he stressed.
Michael Kremer, Professor at University of Chicago and co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, stressed that while innovation had the potential to help address current global challenges, fully realizing it would require the international community to create new social institutions to accelerate innovation and to shape it to meet human needs. Spotlighting that the global cost of the pandemic has been estimated at $36 trillion, he emphasized that this created an overwhelming investment case for devoting resources to innovations that can reduce the risk of future pandemics or mitigating their cost.
However, commercial incentives to invest in such innovations were tiny relative to their social value. He stressed that neither markets nor high-income countries were likely to invest in innovations to help farmers in lower-income countries deal with climate change. Innovations were also needed to address the ongoing challenge of economic and social development in low- and middle-income countries, such as traffic congestion and sanitation. He outlined that one approach was for Governments or international organizations to set up units to invest in evidence-based approaches.
In the ensuing debate, many speakers from developing and vulnerable States issued a clarion call to developed countries, citing unfulfilled commitments and the urgent need for aid.
The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that geopolitical tensions and the debilitating effects of climate change — including the recent unprecedented floods there — had heightened vulnerabilities of countries and people around the globe. Many Governments in developing countries have had to make hard choices between saving lives, repaying debt and cutting down on development budgets. With the 26 richest people owning half the world’s wealth, he called for immediately expanded concessional financing, reduced borrowing costs for developing countries and $500 billion in new special drawing rights.
Malawi’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, pointed out that growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in many least developed countries was projected to fall below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, recalling that more than half of the around 690 million people surviving on less than $1.90 a day live in those States. As development partners had failed to provide 0.15-0.20 per cent of their gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) in the past 50 years, she urged the international community to fulfil their commitments in development assistance and debt relief, reiterating her call to provide at least $100 billion of unused special drawing rights.
Also addressing that financing gap, the representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, noted human development declined for a second year in a row, back to 2016 levels, and the international community must reverse this and other similar alarming trends. He called for channelling investment where it was most needed, with the bloc set to invest €300 billion in development, and a further investment of €7 billion annually in biodiversity finance until 2027.
Antigua and Barbuda’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, stressed that the criterion applied by international financial and development institutions classified many States such as his in the same income category as developed countries, emphasizing that it denied many countries access to concessional financing. A better index was needed for the graduation of States from least developed countries status — one that supports the very essence of the purpose for which the grouping was established.
Echoing those concerns, Botswana’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, noted the pandemic has negatively impacted those States disproportionately. Whereas the average GDP per capita grew by 4.1 per cent in 2021, the vulnerability of the countries constrained their ability to fully recover from the pandemic. Furthermore, the number of deaths due to the pandemic in landlocked developing countries more than tripled between April 2021 and April 2022, while only 26 per cent of their population were fully vaccinated compared to 59 per cent worldwide.
Sounding the alarm on climate change, Nigeria’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, stressed that as the least contributor to climate change, his continent was devastated by its effects — emitting only 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, but receiving only 3 per cent of green funding in 2021. He called on the international community to address international finance to meet Paris Agreement on climate change commitments — further stressing that the continent’s annual food import bill of $43 billion would rise to $110 billion by 2025, with 346 million people facing severe food insecurity.
Similarly, the representative of the Bahamas, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), stressed the importance of climate financing and a loss and damage facility at the forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference. The region’s efforts to bolster economic stability had been stymied due to the cessation of correspondent banking relations, and he appealed to the United Nations to advance more inclusive norm-setting and foster tax cooperation and capacity-building. The Caribbean also requires new and recalibrated financing mechanisms to be more equitable, inclusive and responsive. Debt forgiveness would be a great start, he stressed.
Also speaking were the representatives of Colombia (on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries), Cambodia (on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Australia (also speaking for Canada and New Zealand), Ethiopia, Qatar, Nepal, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Namibia, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Honduras, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Iraq, Mongolia, Ghana, South Africa, Morocco, Singapore, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Eritrea, Egypt, Nigeria, Jordan, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Maldives and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The general debate was preceded by an interactive discussion featuring delegates of Botswana, Senegal, Mexico, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Syria, Peru, United Republic of Tanzania and Bangladesh questioning Mr. Kremer.
The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 4 October, to continue its general debate.
LACHEZARA STOEVA (Bulgaria), Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), spotlighted that the Sustainable Development Goals are “in danger” as the war in Ukraine, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, has driven up the cost of living, especially in developing countries. She highlighted that the general debate would focus on how the international community can collectively rebuild a sustainable future by accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She added that the Committee should also be guided by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and other agreements and conventions shaped by the United Nations.
She went on to stress that the Committee needs to review the status of the global economy and its impact on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The impact of the current crisis of poverty and food security also needs to be reviewed, she added. The Committee will further address the situation of groups of countries in special situations, notably least developed, small island developing and landlocked developing States. Finally, she stressed the importance of relating the Committee’s work to the ongoing processes that are taking place elsewhere, particularly the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties.
LI JUNHUA, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that Committee outcomes and decisions must drive forward a more stable and inclusive global economy and address the “great finance divide” — guiding the international community back towards rapid poverty eradication, supporting least developed States and other countries in special situations, and giving urgent attention to climate change and its impacts. The world economic outlook has deteriorated markedly throughout 2022, with annual global output expected to rise between 2.5 and 2.8 per cent — sharply down from earlier projections. Many developing countries are still battling the pandemic, while high inflation, rising borrowing costs and the slowdown in major economies are stunting their growth prospects. Skyrocketing energy prices are compounding a cost-of-living crisis for hundreds of millions of people globally, while basic needs for food, health care and education are going unmet.
Urgent measures are needed to bridge financing gaps and address the rising costs of borrowing and heightened debt risks, he stressed. The Secretary-General has called for a stimulus plan to massively boost sustainable development for developing countries, with the Group of 20 (G20) taking the lead — with measures on development bank lending, debt relief, liquidity provision and donor financing. The Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference in November is a key event as the parties work to ratchet up the level of ambition on climate action. Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 will require accelerating the global energy transition. He also said that gains in eradicating extreme poverty have been set back by the economic impact of the pandemic. It is estimated that 75 to 95 million more people are living in extreme poverty in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic projections. Fiscal consolidation and debt pressures risk triggering further cutbacks in spending on social protection, health care, education, infrastructure and other important areas of relevance to poverty eradication and overall progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We still need a global vaccination plan, even though the parameters have evolved,” he said, stressing that developing countries “are caught between a rock and a hard place” — faced with multiple interrelated and mutually reinforcing crises, the need for investments in the Goals is rising. At the same time, their policy space and the resources available for investment are shrinking. Least developed countries have experienced some of the worst outcomes from global crises, to which they have contributed minimally, if at all. He noted science, technology and innovation have enormous potential to advance human well-being. Lack of inclusiveness in Internet access also deprives many people of the benefits of science, technology and innovation.
Next year’s high-level political forum will meet as normal in July to review progress on several Goals and hear 42 or more voluntary national reviews. It will also meet at the level of Heads of State and Government during the General Assembly, as it does every four years. That “SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Summit” will be held in September 2023 and serve as the midpoint review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Goals. He noted the Summit can also serve as a rallying call for action by the broadest possible range of stakeholders. The Summit of the Future, to be convened in 2024, will be an important complement. “We must ‘flip the narrative’ towards a positive outcome for 2030, and we must start it now,” he stressed.
MICHAEL KREMER, Professor at University of Chicago and co-recipient of the 2019 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, stressed that while innovation has the potential to help address current global challenges, fully realizing it will require the international community to create new social institutions to accelerate innovation and to shape it to meet human needs. Spotlighting that the global cost of the pandemic has been estimated at $36 trillion, he emphasized that this creates an overwhelming investment case for devoting resources to innovations that can reduce the risk of future pandemics or mitigating their cost.
However, he continued, commercial incentives to invest in such innovations are tiny relative to their social value. For example, he stressed, neither markets nor high-income countries are likely to invest in innovations to help farmers in lower-income countries deal with climate change. Innovations are also needed to address the ongoing challenge of economic and social development in low- and middle-income countries, such as traffic congestion and sanitation. In this regard, he shared that he is working to launch a high-level commission on innovation for climate change, food security and agriculture, which will make recommendations on how to structure institutions to promote this kind of innovation.
Addressing how the international community could institutionalize support for innovations in a way that realizes the potential of innovations, he outlined that one approach is for Governments or international organizations to set up units to invest in evidence-based approaches to innovation. Another is through advanced market commitments, which pay for innovations only if they meet pre-specified technical criteria and garner market demand. Governments and multilateral institutions such as the United Nations can use similar approaches to accelerate innovation to address current global challenges, he concluded.
When the floor opened for questions, the representative of Botswana asked about the risk of “wasting a crisis”, and what constitutes a real recovery, specifying the importance of official development assistance (ODA).
The representative of Senegal asked what kind of innovation can prevent future crises in the next 50 or 100 years, and about the future relations of money and debt.
The representative of Mexico asked what the term “global public good”, which the Organization has constantly used when referring to equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, means in economic terms. She also asked to elaborate on the example of the successful initiative in Mexico.
Malawi’s representative asked to shed some light on how least developed countries, particularly in Africa, could take advantage of a demographic dividend of young people who belong to the “digital generation” and could be a resource for innovation.
The representative of Sierra Leone asked about benefits of food security amid climate change, and how developing countries can engage with innovative mechanisms.
The representative of Syria asked about out-manoeuvring unilateral coercive measures.
Mr. KREMER, responding to Botswana’s representative, said that he fears the international community is wasting the pandemic crisis and noted that many vaccines did not reach people. Billions of dollars may be needed for manufacturing, and billions is less than trillions of dollars in responding to emergency. The estimated chance of a new pandemic is an enormous 2 per cent per year. Recovery must be inclusive and domestic, he stressed, while investments are not going where they should.
Responding to Senegal’s delegate, he hesitated to predict what innovations would arrive, but cited communications technology and biological sciences, as well as Government delivery. There must be greater international finance flows. He noted that the microfinance movement is generating a new wave of research yielding high rates of return and also cited farmers’ access to loans and technology that reduces the burdens on women.
Speaking to the representative of Mexico’s question, he stated that global public goods benefited many countries, citing investment in fighting pandemics to reduce international transmission, innovation diffusion around the world, as with mobile phones, and Mexican innovative programmes that benefited the world.
Turning to the representative of Malawi, he said youthful populations generate an economic dividend, noting that Sierra Leone has been a pioneer in vaccine uptake. He told the representative of Syria that, as an academic, he will stay out of the political arena.
The representative of Peru asked how the international community could bring together solutions for present and future crises while modernizing and transforming its technical cooperation, using innovation to make sure that all such solutions are economically viable and serve to solve not only current problems but also the big problems ahead.
Tanzania’s representative, noting that there is a need to reduce the big gap in innovation capacities between developed and developing countries, asked what should be done in this regard.
Mr. KREMER agreed with the representative of Peru that climate change will be an even costlier crisis than COVID-19, as only 2°C of warming would be twice as costly as the pandemic — but 4°C would be 20 times higher. The world is very vulnerable to food insecurity and supply, requiring adaptation measures including digital agriculture. He noted every dollar spent on digital phone messages yields $9 in benefits.
Responding to the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, he stated that reducing the gap will also require innovation as well as the existence of financing and development.
The representative of Bangladesh asked how the international community could ensure that financial frameworks, the private sector and other donors can relegate the traditional cost-benefit analysis and come up with new dispensations for addressing challenges. Turning to the issue of poverty, he questioned how the international community could turn the present adversities into advantages and adopt multipronged efforts to eliminate the root causes of poverty.
Responding, Mr. KRAMER said that there are many investments that are completely justified from the cost-benefit approach, but there may still be a problem with their financing. While it is not possible to predict what is going to be successful and what is not, he stated, it is important to set up innovation systems that are as open as possible. On poverty, he raised the example of BRAC, a non-governmental organization which has helped families in Bangladesh escape from the poverty trap by providing financial assistance. Being open to ideas that come from anywhere and rigorously evaluating and spreading the results can lead to innovation and social programmes that can serve some of the poorest people in the world, he emphasized.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, noted that geopolitical tensions and debilitating effects of climate change — which are being felt strongly by his country in the wake of the recent unprecedented floods — have heightened vulnerabilities of countries and people around the globe. Regrettably, these cascading crises have compelled many Governments in developing countries to make hard choices between investing in people, saving their lives, and repaying their debt and cutting down on development budgets. Global wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few — the 26 richest people owning half the world’s wealth. He called for immediately expanded concessional financing, reduced borrowing costs for developing countries and $500 billion in new special drawing rights. He further welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to consider measures beyond gross domestic product (GDP) for access to concessional finance, calling for at least $1 trillion annually for investment in sustainable infrastructure for developing countries.
Public and private resources must be mobilized especially by “derisking” investments through blended finance, guarantees and green bonds. He called on developed States to fulfil the pledge of $100 billion annually towards climate finance and to at least double climate finance towards adaptation, and for preferential trade access for developing countries. They should be offered policy space for industrialization, while unilateral and inconsistent World Trade Organization (WTO) trade restrictions — detrimental to developing countries — including in agricultural trade, should be preferably eliminated. A fair tax regime is essential, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quota system, based on contributions, should consider the development needs of the developing countries. He urged that developing countries should be given preferential access to modern and digital technologies and participate in all decision-making.
MANUELA RÍOS SERNA (Colombia), speaking on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, stressed the need to advance systemic reforms within and outside the Organization to shift towards a more effective and fair development cooperation paradigm. She emphasized that this transformation will also require immediate measures to overcome the challenges faced by middle-income countries to accessing concessional and non-concessional financing, increasing their fiscal space and ensuring debt sustainability, particularly in the context of the energy, food and financing crises unleashed by geopolitical tensions. On the use of information and communications technology (ICT), she underscored the need to effectively close the digital divide, including through achieving universal, meaningful and affordable connectivity, and to strengthen digital inclusion policies and digital literacy, as well as the capacities of individuals and micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises.
On macroeconomic policies, it is paramount to consider new measures to ensure debt sustainability and effective debt treatment, she added. She went on to stress that a follow-up intergovernmental process is needed to apply measures beyond GDP for concessional finance and technical cooperation. Underscoring that eradication of poverty will require a renovated commitment, she pointed out that aligning national policies to support the Global Accelerator for Jobs and Social Protection is necessary. On agriculture, food security and nutrition, a compromise should be reached to ensure the full implementation of the Roadmap for Global Food Security. While calling on the Committee to take ambitious action to advance the empowerment of all women and girls, she also stated that the conceptual framework to measure South-South cooperation, recently adopted by the United Nations Statistical Commission, needs to be scaled up.
Speaking in her national capacity, aligning herself to the Group of 77, she stressed the need for a shift in the economic paradigm and in development cooperation using indicators which appropriately reflect the vulnerabilities of all countries. Recalling that her country is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, she emphasized that decisions regarding the issue must be underpinned by the greatest possible ambition and scientific evidence, including a call to adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. She also pointed out that the international community needs to yield convincing and robust results in terms of mitigation and adaptation at the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties while also negotiating for a new binding instrument to end plastic pollution.
SILVIO GONZATO, representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, said the bloc’s top priority is to strengthen resilience against future shocks and ensure an effective recovery. Human development declined for a second year in a row, back to 2016 levels, and the international community must reverse this and other similar alarming trends, turning crisis into momentum for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. He shared the sense of urgency with what the United Nations calls the greatest cost-of-living crisis in a generation. Noting that the Russian Federation’s illegal aggression — supported too by Belarus — on Ukraine is exacerbating food insecurity, he affirmed that the Union’s global response includes solidarity, support to sustainable production, keeping trade flowing and fighting speculation. Expressing support for education at all levels, he cited a new initiative on digital education promoting access worldwide.
With financing development also at the top of agenda, he called for channeling investment where it is most needed, with the European Union set to invest €300 billion in development. The Addis Tax Initiative requires special attention, he stressed, welcoming the option for a Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development. Citing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss as an existential threat for people and the planet, he called for implementing the Glasgow initiatives, reaffirming ambition to keep the 1.5°C goal within reach and moving to net zero emissions by mid-decade. Energy security is vital but cannot be achieved at detriment to climate action, and it is urgent to protect at least 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030. The Union will invest €7 billion annually in biodiversity finance until 2027. The United Nations water conference must bring concrete changes, and the international community must implement the road map of the Second Oceans Conference declaration.
TUMASIE BLAIR (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, pointed out that while the Committee and other entities have highlighted the vulnerabilities of States such as his for over 30 years, international accords, resolutions and declarations have yet to fully address their vulnerabilities and offer lasting solutions for sustainable development. “The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare all at once, many underlying flaws of the United Nations development system and the need for enhanced and effective partnerships in ensuring that the needs of SIDS [small island developing States] are met,” he continued.
Referring to the criterion applied by international financial and development institutions to classify many small island developing States in the same income category as developed countries, he emphasized that many countries are being denied access to concessional financing because of this single criterion. In this regard he expressed support for the work by the High-Level Expert Panel that is working on the development of a multidimensional vulnerability index. He further called for a better criterion for the graduation of countries from least developed countries status — one that supports the very essence of the purpose for which this grouping was established. Rejecting the imposition of unilateral coercive economic measures against developing countries, he called upon the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of such measures “as it does no good but create undue hardship on populations”.
GEORGE EHIDIAMEN EDOKPA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, noted the pandemic has overstretched health systems, especially on his continent, and the roll-out of new treatments remains limited or non-existent in Africa. As the least contributor to climate change, yet devastated by its effects, especially in the Sahel region, the continent, he noted, is also battling drought and floods. However, while Africa emits only 3 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, it received only 3 per cent of green funding in 2021. He called on the international community to address international finance to meet Paris Agreement commitments, and he looked forward to the Sharm el-Sheikh United Nations Climate Change Conference — “the African COP [Conference of the Parties]” — to be transformative, addressing the special needs of the continent, especially concessional financing.
It is further crucial to unleash the potential of technologically enhanced agricultural and water management and to invest in human capital. Africa faces an unprecedented food and security crisis, he stressed, and according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), its annual import bill of $43 billion will rise to $110 billion by 2025, with 346 million people facing severe food insecurity. Noting the expanding digital divide and illicit financial flows as just some of Africa’s structural difficulties, he called for a United Nations tax convention. It is important to provide countries with effective financing, he said, reiterating the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed that, despite setbacks, the region has made significant economic recovery, which expanded by 3 per cent in 2021, compared to a 3.2 per cent contraction in 2020. The entering into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in 2022, the largest free trade area in the world, will boost trade and investment in the region and beyond, he added. Recalling that the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework has served as a consolidated strategy for the Association to emerge stronger from the pandemic, he reported that by mid-August the vaccination rate in the region had reached 69 per cent, with 30.5 per cent of the population receiving booster shots. Noting that digital technologies have played an important role in keeping ASEAN as a vibrant economic community during the pandemic and beyond, he shared that the region had adopted the Consolidated Strategy on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Turning to sustainable development, he highlighted the launch of the ASEAN Framework for Circular Economy, which aims to close the loop on wasting resources while enhancing economic growth and reducing pressure on the environment. Reaffirming his commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, considering different national circumstances, he also welcomed the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact at the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties. On environment conservation, he reaffirmed the importance of the implementation of the Disaster Management and Emergency Response Work Programme 2021-2025 and the region’s collective efforts to realize ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management.
COLLEN V. KELAPILE (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, noted the pandemic has negatively impacted those States disproportionately, during a time also characterized by complex geopolitical tensions and economic outlook. Whereas the average GDP per capita grew by 4.1 per cent in 2021, the vulnerability of the countries constrain their ability to fully recover from the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic. He noted those States have been hit hardest by restrictions on cross-border movements imposed to contain the spread of the virus, resulting in reduced trade and flow of essential goods. Furthermore, the number of deaths due to the pandemic in landlocked developing countries more than tripled between April 2021 and April 2022, while only 26 per cent of their population were fully vaccinated compared to 59 per cent worldwide.
According to World Bank data, external debt levels increased from an average of 58.1 per cent of GDP in 2019 to 64 per cent in 2020 in those States — nine of which are classified as being at high risk of debt distress and one as debt-distressed. They therefore need long-term support to improve debt sustainability and to create financing space for investing in a sustainable recovery. Entering the last years of implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action and the second half of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he noted only through unity and partnerships will we be able to transform political commitments into actions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The Group will prepare for a renewed framework which will address the special needs of landlocked developing countries, requiring strengthened partnerships with transit countries, development partners and international organizations.
MITCHELL FIFIELD (Australia), also speaking on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, expressing alarm that the human development index has declined for two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, noted that the impact of this decline has been most severe on women and girls, with nearly half a billion of them living in extreme poverty. Recalling that the Committee has a duty to protect and ensure the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, he stressed that to redirect or roll back these agreements will undermine the purpose and the spirit of this Committee. Highlighting that the Committee must be aware of the special and differentiated needs of countries in special situations, particularly small island developing and least developed States, he welcomed the work under way to establish a multidimensional vulnerability index to enable the United Nations system to respond better to their needs. Stressing that gender-responsive recovery from the pandemic is critical in regaining lost ground, he underscored the need to ensure that such an approach is reflected across the Committee’s work. Recalling his recent call on members to restructure the agenda of the Committee based on one criterion — relevance to the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda — he emphasized that these should remain the principal frameworks which guide the focus of its work.
STAN SMITH (Bahamas), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, stressed that every year, the bloc sounds the alarm on the consequences of climate change. The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway is the critical development framework, with support from the wider international community. He welcomed the offer by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to host the Fourth Small Island Developing States Conference, emphasizing the importance of climate financing and the establishment of a loss and damage facility at the Climate Change Conference. The region’s efforts to bolster economic stability have been stymied due to the cessation of correspondent banking relations, and he appealed to the United Nations to advance more inclusive and transparent norm-setting, foster tax cooperation and capacity-building for developing countries and institute greater and appropriate oversight. Reforms must include the provision of long-term affordable financing, strengthening the global financial safety net, more representative governance and closing the equity gaps in the debt architecture.
The Caribbean also requires new and recalibrated financing mechanisms to be more equitable, inclusive and responsive — providing economic support where most needed to reclaim the progress that has been eroded and to address the high levels of debt. Debt forgiveness would be a great start, as CARICOM Member States overwhelmingly suffered economic hardship because of the unforeseen pandemic. For more than three decades, he stressed, CARICOM and small island developing States across the globe have advocated for applying measures beyond income-based criteria to determine access to resources on concessional terms. Suitability based solely on per capita income does not match the reality on the ground and the specific vulnerabilities that need appropriate action to fulfil the goals of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda. He welcomed the release of the interim report by the high-level expert panel on the multidimensional vulnerability index, “which brings us one step closer to the finalization and eventual implementation”. It will also allow small island developing States financing, investments and capacity-building to strengthen resilience against future global shocks.
AGNES MARY CHIMBIRI MOLANDE (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating herself with the Group of 77, pointing out that growth in GDP in many least developed countries is projected to fall below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, stressed that urgent global actions are needed to overcome these challenges and drive the group’s countries back on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Welcoming the adoption of the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, she called upon Member States, the World Bank, IMF, the United Nations system and other financial entities to lay out comprehensive and timebound plans to fully implement its goals and targets.
Recalling that more than half of the around 690 million people surviving on less than $1.90 a day live in the least developed countries, she underscored that significant international support is needed to launch social protection systems. Expressing concern over the situation that historical commitment made by the Group’s development partners to provide 0.15-0.20 per cent of their gross national income to ODA has not been met in the past 50 years, she urged the international community to fulfil their commitments in development assistance and debt relief. On climate change, she called upon parties to reach an agreement on a new and ambitious goal and targets for climate finance to support developing countries, particularly those least developed. Stressing that the international financial architecture has proven to be insufficient in fulfilling its responsibility during a global crisis, she reiterated her call to provide at least $100 billion of unused special drawing rights to least developed countries to meet their urgent liquidity needs. She further underlined that the international community needs to continue their support to graduating countries to ensure that no State graduating from that category should have its development progress disrupted or reversed.
AYELE LIRE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries, the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the African Group, said inadequate development finance leaves developing States unable to respond timely and effectively to crises and invest in their national development plans. In the same vein, a commitment to limiting global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C is under threat causing climate emergencies in every part of the world including the Horn of Africa. The pledge by developed countries to mobilize $100 billion in support of developing counties should be fulfilled. Over the past three years, Ethiopia’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals encountered serious setbacks. Despite these challenges, the Government has worked tirelessly to implement a comprehensive 10-year development plan, and, as a result, the economy has registered 6.3 per cent GDP growth. It has also introduced market-friendly reforms to stabilize the economy and expand the role of the private sector, opening the financial sector to foreign investors — reaffirming a commitment to fully integrate the Ethiopian economy into the global economy. In addition to implementing a Green Resilience Strategy, through the Green Legacy Initiative, Ethiopia has planted more than 25 billion tree seedlings over the last four years. He called on our development partners to continue providing the necessary financial and technical assistance.
ABDULRAHMAN ABDULAZIZ F. A. AL-THANI (Qatar), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that aside from providing $140 million to health-care institutions, his country has contributed $551 million in development projects and humanitarian assistance. Recalling that Qatar was a founding investor of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Accelerator Lab, he shared that his country’s total support has reached $30 million. Highlighting that the second part of the fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries will be held in Qatar in March 2023, he stated that the event will be a great opportunity to build on the momentum and the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries. He also noted that his country has recently donated an additional $50 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, bringing its total donation to $110 million. On climate change, he expressed hope that the upcoming Conference of the Parties will adopt ambitious measures that will alleviate the consequences of global warming.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said it is obvious that those groups and the small island developing States are the ones falling behind in development, and those hardest hit by the pandemic and various climate hazards and disasters. What is needed is precisely the transformation of political commitments and policies into actions to chart a course for sustainable recovery and to build a sustainable future, which remains the theme of this debate. He called on the international community to fulfil their official ODA commitments and provide comprehensive debt relief packages to debt-distressed developing countries. Sharing of scientific knowledge and technologies is further essential. The disruptions in supply chains, decline in remittances and export trades in least developed countries should be offset through adequate aid, trade facilitation, capacity-building and other support measures. Achieving the 2030 Agenda, fighting the climate crisis and protecting the environment is a top priority of Nepal — committed to achieving net zero emission by 2045. His Government has adopted a green, resilient and inclusive development model for pandemic recovery and for achieving the Goals.
RICCARDA CHRISTIANA CHANDA (Switzerland), noting challenges such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, stressed that it is vital to reiterate the international community’s commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Sharing that her country recently submitted its second voluntary national review, she highlighted that this allowed it to ensure strong coordination and inclusion of all national stakeholders in the process. During the Committee meeting, she underscored that Switzerland will be promoting ambitious language within the framework of the fight against climate change, building on the outcomes of the Conference of the Parties. Her country will do its utmost to ensure that the United Nations Water Conference, scheduled for March 2023, will contribute to the implementation of Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals and all other water-linked targets. Transformation of food systems to make them more sustainable, disaster risk reduction in the lead-up to the Sendai Framework midterm review, as well as digital cooperation in the run-up to the Global Digital Pact, which will get under way in 2023, will be among her country’s priorities, she added.
JOAN M. CEDANO (Dominican Republic), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of Like-Minded Countries Supporters of Middle-Income countries, noted that the Dominican Republic, as a small island developing State, recently suffered the ravages of Hurricane Fiona, which affected one of the most important tourist areas in the country. These increasingly frequent phenomena threaten sustainable development and force Governments to redirect resources that are already stretched thin. The international community needs a fairer and more cooperative system that promotes the sustainable, economic and productive recovery of the most affected countries and that contributes to closing all the inequality gaps in the world. It is important to achieve recognition of the multidimensional vulnerability index, which complements current mechanisms for assessing financing for sustainable recovery and adaptation to climate change. It is time for political commitments to turn into concrete solutions, she stressed. It is imperative to promote the economic growth of her country’s people, social equity and environmental sustainability and to promote at the international level the creation of new sources of financing for countries that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Although it is true that the current crises have slowed down the progress of several Goals, and some, as is the case of Goal 1, have regressed, the 2030 Agenda continues to be the best guide for collective action.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), aligning himself with the Group of African States, the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, stressing that the recent interlocking challenges have weakened the international community’s institutions and economies, pointed out that “the global economic system does not favour the global South”. He pointed out the need for stronger partnership towards development finance and acquisition of priority skills, as well as investments for creating employment, to advance its society and economy. Noting that the international community remains under continued pressure to provide cleaner, greener and more sustainable energy solutions, he shared that his country plans to announce major developments in its ambitions to de-carbonize through the production of green hydrogen and its associated derivatives. Highlighting Namibia’s commitment to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, he emphasized that further external support is needed in terms of capacity development for resource mobilization. To this end, he added, “incorporating multidimensional vulnerability indices will go a long way to enrich the development agendas of developing countries”.
DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation) stated that some driving causes of international crises are hushed up, while other difficulties are made to seem key, due to purely political motives and the desire to gloss over one’s own miscalculations and shift responsibility onto others, especially if they are perceived as competitors. His delegation sees right through Western delegations’ attempts to attribute all global problems to the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, including stalling the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the lack of food security in the world, systemic shortcomings in the energy sector, the crisis in the cost of living and monetary failures. For some reason, it is also customary to stubbornly keep silent about monetary policy with global consequences, non-competitive practices in international affairs that do away with the very principle of free trade. The voices of those who rightly try to point out the burden of armed conflicts other than the Ukrainian one are drowned out. He further noted that not enough attention is paid to the costs of an ill-conceived “green transition”, as the “green” energy sector is not ready to provide the huge volumes of energy resources needed to maintain economic growth after the pandemic. He also recalled the infusion of trillions of unsecured dollars into the economy, raising inflation with corrosive consequences for overburdened developing countries. Instead of honestly and comprehensively understanding the causes of problems, it is much easier to explain all failures by the situation in Ukraine — and to blame everything on the Russian Federation. He stressed that the Second Committee is not needed for politicized propaganda campaigns.
SHARON BERNADETH JUÁREZ ARGUETA (Guatemala), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, stressed that the international community has very little time left before 2030 and must redouble its efforts to follow through with commitments. As raising food security and nutrition is one of her country’s key priorities, she shared that it established a “great national crusade for nutrition”, which addresses numerous factors related to this issue. Expressing support for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, she underscored that the international community must guarantee the human rights of migrants throughout their migratory journey and avoid criminalizing migration. On climate change, she called for more ambitious action to increase financing for adaptation and resilience and to invest in projects which will allow for sustainable economic recovery and generate innovation, employment and new opportunities. She also called for the reduction of the cost of remittance transactions to 3 per cent, which would be an important step for all those who send remittances to their countries of origin. She added that the international community must continue to strengthen the United Nations development architecture, including the resident coordinator system.
NOEMÍ RUTH ESPINOZA MADRID (Honduras), associating herself with the Group of 77 and Group of Like-Minded Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said the pandemic, 13 years of dictatorship and two electoral frauds overseen by the international community have harmed her country, which has also been affected by the closure of production sources, unemployment and migration, as well as public debt increasing six times. The world exists under financial dictatorship and exponentially increasing inequality, with countries under the threats and aggressions of the current economic model and at the mercy of macroeconomic speculation. However, Honduras remains committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda. Stressing the structural challenges faced by developing States, she noted that middle-income countries currently face climate change, growing inequality gaps and rapid urbanization as well as rising hunger and poverty. The international community’s duty is to transform to more resilient models. Expressing concern over reduced access to concessional financing, she called for multidimensional indicators to measure development realities. Developing countries are suffering under climate change caused by developed nations, and multilateralism is needed to help work towards fair globalization.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon), aligning herself with the Group of 77, stressed that today, more than ever, it is necessary to translate commitments into political action to contain and prevent crises. Her country hosts the largest number of refugees per capita according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), she added, and can no longer bear the brunt of displacement which is increasing its social, economic and political vulnerabilities. In this regard, she stressed the need to alleviate the impact of forced displacement on sustainable development based on the principles of burden sharing and shared responsibility. On the economy, she raised the importance of developing a comprehensive approach to assessing multidimensional vulnerabilities, which complements GDP and ensures fairer access to concessional finance. On the environment, she highlighted that her country would continue to rely on the international community to request that Israel assume responsibility for the oil spill on the Lebanese coast and provide compensation. Meanwhile, she pointed out that this year’s new challenges should not overshadow other priorities such as eradicating poverty, expanding social protection systems, and empowering all women and girls.
MOHAN PIERIS (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77, said Governments faced with the challenge of debt servicing find themselves defaulting on payments, as they do not have adequate access to capital. This has resulted in people facing extreme poverty, unemployment and hunger. Therefore, economic recovery should be the priority on the agenda. He noted that economies such as Sri Lanka’s need immediate rapid financing and have been calling on creditors for debt restructuring, greater access to finances and enhanced ODA. Despite the progress in some bilateral engagements relating to debt restructuring, there is still a need for more efficient engagement and a robust role to be played by international financial institutions. The largest emitters of greenhouse gases must fulfil their commitments and assist other nations to adapt and mitigate climate risks. He stressed that Sri Lanka, as an island nation, always places high importance on the protection of oceans and hailed the proclamation of 1 March as World Seagrass Day by the General Assembly in 2022. Being historically an agricultural nation, Sri Lanka supports the sustainable transformation of agriculture to a modernized sector, encouraging enhanced food production for self-sufficiency, working to ensure that its people do not suffer for the want of food and that its children are safe from malnutrition — and it also appreciates the selfless assistance extended by United Nations agencies and friendly countries during this hour of need.
DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and CARICOM, underscored that the 2030 Agenda remains the global road map out of an “unprecedented maelstrom of crises”. While welcoming that ODA reached a new high in 2021, he pointed out that developed countries fell well short of their commitment of allocating 0.7 per cent of GDP. Greater efforts at scaling up development financing, as well as investment flows to developing countries, would also make a difference in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, he highlighted. Noting that the current energy crisis is driving countries back to dirty fuels such as coal, he urged the international community to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement through concrete action, which will have a transformational effect in stabilizing the global climate. Highlighting that many small island developing States continue to be denied access to critical recovery support and concessional financing, he stressed the importance of identifying concrete actions that address their unique challenges through tailored measures and solutions. In this regard, he underscored that his country is prepared to engage constructively in advancing the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway as well as the ongoing work to establish a multidimensional vulnerability index.
DAI BING (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, called on the international community to practice true multilateralism and strengthen the United Nations and its central coordinating role to advance economic growth, social development and climate protection. He called on all States to prioritize development and revitalize it as a central key of the international agenda, along with promoting North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. Developed States must fulfil their ODA commitments, with the international community seizing the opportunities of technological innovation. He further cited the importance of greater macroeconomic policy coordination, maintenance of industrial supply chains, and developing and adopting responsible monetary policies. The multilateral trade system must be further strengthened, avoiding protectionist acts like decoupling and disrupting supply chains. As the world’s largest developing country, China has contributed to more than 30 per cent of global economic growth in recent years and provided 2.2 billion vaccine doses to 120 countries and emergency food aid to developing States. His Government is committed to a low-carbon development model.
HASAN BADRI MHALHAL AL-KHALIDI (Iraq), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stressed that his country’s efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals have faced challenges as it tries to recover from the pandemic, fighting terrorism and the fluctuation of oil prices at the same time. While supporting the progress gained in improving the work of resident coordinators, he noted that there are more efforts to be taken in this regard such as ensuring the geographic representation among the coordinators. United Nations development agencies as well as the offices of resident coordinators need to hire nationals of the host countries since they have great knowledge about the opportunities and obstacles to development in their own countries. The question of dust and sandstorms is still a major concern to his Government, since they have had a negative impact on the quality of air, navigation and the peoples’ health, leading to severe cases during the pandemic. Furthermore, he added, agricultural development, food security and nutrition are very important for his country in its national recovery plan. He stressed the need to strengthen agricultural and food systems in a way that would empower rural individuals and small food producers, farmers, herders and fishermen.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said UNCTAD estimated that $4.3 trillion per year is now needed in developing States to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. The entire world needs to put in more investment and more time to build back better. He noted the Government of Mongolia has taken all possible measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and, as of midyear, 66.9 per cent of the target population had been fully vaccinated. Thanks to Government programmes, the economy, which shrank by 5.3 percent in 2020, is expected to grow by 2.3 to 2.5 per cent in 2022 and 5.6 per cent in 2023. Mongolia is one of the front-runners of the 86 countries currently developing the Integrated National Financing Framework tailored to the country context to drive finance towards sustainable development. This strategy includes many important measures including the introduction of a results-oriented, gender-responsive methodology, debt sustainability, innovative and green financial instruments, and the introduction of environmental and social governance reporting standards. As Mongolia is one of the countries most affected by climate change, desertification and dust storms, and to increase forestation and water resources, the President launched a national movement to plant, grow and protect 1 billion trees.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of African States, said that the current crises reflect how the global community is failing the global South, along with broken assumptions on cooperation and the lack of credibility of the structures that support international development. He stressed that there is a huge deficit in political will on the part of the empowered world and institutions to transform their commitments to concrete actions. “It is time for the developed world to stop paying lip service and act swiftly on their commitments to developing countries on climate change,” he added, particularly to reduce emissions and to provide $100 million a year to developing countries. Developed countries should fulfill their unmet ODA commitments to developing countries and help stop the illicit financial flows particularly from Africa. He further stressed that they should honour their commitments to accelerate the transfer of technology to developing countries on favourable terms. In addition, it is also time for developed countries to honour their commitments to promote and uphold a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under WTO. He noted that while developing nations are conscious of and are committed to their own development, as reflected in the adoption of Agenda 2063, a fulfilment of the commitments which align with the common interest is what is required by the peoples of the world who desire to live in prosperity, peace and dignity.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted the pandemic-related economic downturn pushed between 119 and 124 million more people in the world into extreme poverty in 2020. This year can be the year to build preparedness and resilience, to support health system recovery and readiness. He noted that significant work is required in the provisioning and mobilizing of sufficient, adequate and predictable financial resources for the implementation of the Goals, as part of the commitments made in the context of the global partnership for development. Public—private partnerships have an important role to play in mobilizing the necessary financial resources for sustainable development and to address issues of poverty eradication. The means of implementation is also of critical importance, and developing countries are reiterating their call on developed countries to honour existing commitments in this regard, including through ODA. African and most developing countries require international assistance in the form of technology transfer and capacity-building support to enable them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Africa, least responsible for the climate crisis, also finds itself at the epicentre of the worst impacts, experiencing droughts, floods and cyclones, and these have already caused enormous damage to infrastructure and livelihoods. Access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy is fundamental to reducing poverty and promoting inclusive economic growth.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco) stated that despite the efforts made by the international community to reinvigorate the path towards sustainable development, most developing countries, particularly those in Africa, continue to confront numerous challenges including climate change, growing inequality, food insecurity, poverty and high levels of debt. He shared that his country continues to implement a development model underpinned by the following pillars — supporting entrepreneurship; building human capital; reducing social inequality and combating all forms of discrimination against women and girls; strengthening its sustainability policy by taking dynamic climate action and recognizing the value of its natural resources, biodiversity and forest ecosystems; and strengthening its cooperation programmes through South-South and triangular cooperation. On climate change, he emphasized that Morocco has worked to adapt African agriculture to climate change by fostering South-South cooperation with the continent’s States, which is where half the world’s unused arable land is located. He also noted that his country plans to introduce to the Committee a resolution on the promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for eradicating poverty and protecting the environment. Recalling that systemic security crises have a direct effect on migration flows around the world, he shared that his country has committed itself to implementing the 23 objectives of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
MATTHEW CHAN (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, called for strengthening the rules-based multilateral system, with the United Nations at its centre, representing the best chance at mobilizing collective resources to build a better and sustainable future. It is also critical to restore disrupted global supply chains and stabilize global food and energy supplies and prices. The unimpeded cross-border flow of essential goods and commodities is critical to many States, especially small ones such as Singapore, which depend heavily on imports. As a global trans-shipment hub, Singapore will continue to do its part to keep essential supplies flowing to where they are needed most. He further expressed support for the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance established by the Secretary-General. As the world emerges from the pandemic, it must not lose sight of other global challenges such as climate change, investing in mitigating physical risks while transitioning economies to a low-carbon future. Singapore is also accelerating long-term climate change plans and raising ambitions to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century. Two years ago, his Government launched the Singapore Green Plan — a whole-of-nation movement to integrate and implement its plans for sustainable development and nurture the country’s next generation to be stewards in environmental sustainability.
PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities in many countries. That has been worsened by the persistence of an unjust international order, old patterns of production and consumption, the socioeconomic impact stemming from the pandemic and the proliferation of protectionism. He underscored that unilateral coercive measures, inequalities and the weakening of international agreements have made it difficult for developing countries to pursue the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. “We have a virus of inequality,” he emphasized. He pointed out that without an international financial system that is more inclusive, where not just a few make the decisions impacting most of the planet, the international community will not succeed. The international system cannot be an instrument which imposes and legitimizes unilateral measures of the most powerful over the weakest, he stated. While most developing countries have systematically worked towards achieving their development goals, he added, developed States have not provided ODA while increasing military spending. It is also time for developed countries to show united leadership and solidarity in providing measures for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. For more than 70 years, Cuba’s people have resisted the impact of unilateral coercive measures and the unjust economic embargo imposed by the United States on Havana, he concluded.
ALAN E. GEORGE (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, called for enhanced multilateralism and solidarity that will advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Abba Action Agenda. Amidst the deepening global challenges, Sierra Leone remains steadfast in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda through its Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023, which is aligned with other global development agendas, like the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Goals — focusing on human capital development, with an emphasis on education, health and food security as flagships. His Government is also committed to taking forward and deepening the priority areas already agreed upon, in full alignment with the global development frameworks. National budget allocation to the education sector has expanded to 22 per cent during the pandemic, and it is envisaged to increase in due course, he noted. The objective to provide an inclusive and free quality education is still a top priority in the Government’s Human Capital Development flagship programme. Given the growing realities around the problems donors have faced in providing requisite financial assistance to developing countries, Sierra Leone has heavily focused on strengthening effectiveness and efficiency in public service delivery systems and domestic revenue mobilization, with digital applications remaining high on the agenda as instruments.
JONIBEK ISMOIL HIKMAT (Tajikistan), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stated that despite substantial progress made by his country towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, significant risks such as climate-related hazards and disasters could slow or reverse its path towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda and threaten its agricultural productivity and food security. In this regard he reiterated the importance of an increase in ODA to support the sustainable development needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed, landlocked developing and small island developing States. Noting that massive damage has been done to the economy, and thousands of human lives have been lost by water-related natural phenomena, he expressed hope that the United Nations Water Conference in 2023 will be a good opportunity to review and evaluate the progress made and the gaps and obstacles encountered in realizing the goals of the Water Decade. Stressing that the impact of climate change on water resources is another topic that requires immediate attention, he shared that his country’s President proposed to declare 2025 as an international year of Glaciers Preservation, which will be submitted as a draft resolution to this Committee.
NADJA MICAEL (Eritrea), aligning herself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, underscored the Committee’s importance to the global South on development, capacity and financing. With little progress on some of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and only eight years until 2030, the world continues to leave millions behind. Spotlighting her country’s sustainable economic and social development, she detailed Eritrea’s efforts to build human capital, revamp infrastructure, develop key productive and service sectors and increase investment. Eritrea would ensure that all citizens enjoy decent livelihoods and adequate basic services of water, health, education and transport. Turning to the environmental dimension, she noted her country’s vulnerability to drought, desertification and the effects of climate change. Countries that contribute the least to greenhouse gas emissions bear the brunt of the consequences caused by 20 per cent of the world population, she emphasized. As billions in climate finance have yet to be allocated, she looked forward to the upcoming “African” Conference of Parties in Egypt in November. She then called for the immediate and unconditional lifting of universal coercive measures to advance the development agenda in an inclusive and sustained manner. Universal coercive measures not only demonstrate outrageous disregard for the right to development and needless suffering of populations in developing countries but also violate key principles of international law. Discussions cannot be about enforcing certain beliefs nor telling countries in the global South that they do not have the right to development, she stressed.
OSAMA MAHMOUD ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the world faces a shortfall of $3 billion in annual financing for the Sustainable Development Goals, and his country is a food importer on a net basis of $10 billion monthly. Partners must work for a stable macroeconomic environment. Effective measures are needed to stabilize international financial markets and supply chains. Technical assistance is required in addition to assistance with financial needs, as the international community has not addressed debt levels appropriately. He called on development partners to lighten the burden and swap debt for investment in sustainable development. Egypt will host the Sharm-el-Sheikh United Nations Climate Change Conference in November, which is taking place at a delicate time, requiring that the international community meet the needs of developing countries by providing the promised annual $100 billion. He also called for increased financing for climate adaptation and hoped that the conference will be a step to the return of trust between all parties. He stressed that a lack of water is an existential threat for Egypt, calling water a human right and for States to share border rivers. Developing States cannot pursue the Sustainable Development Goals and need financing and a plan of action.
NASIR ISA KWARRA (Nigeria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of African States, emphasized that the work of the Committee is central to ending poverty and hunger, combating inequalities within and among countries, building peace, and ensuring the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. He stressed that its work should foster global efforts towards mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda, with an emphasis on inclusive and sustained economic growth and the need for more substantive emergency relief as well as effective responses to unsustainable external debt burdens. Combating illicit financial flows at all levels must remain a shared global priority, he added, as well as the need for a United Nations tax convention which addresses tax havens and other illicit financial flows. He pointed out that the Committee should address as a matter of urgency the challenges and needs of developing and least developed countries, including support for the South—South and triangular cooperation as well the digital divide.
MAHMOUD DAIFALLAH HMOUD (Jordan) called for cooperation on urgent matters including food security, water, energy, health, education, youth empowerment, digital transformation, integration and communication. Addressing unprecedented challenges and investing in the opportunities that accompany them allow for a transformation for the future, he said. With the principles of justice, equality and human rights as its guideposts, Jordan has embarked on legislative, political and economic transformations in a return to its pioneering role within the region. The crisis in Syria, the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine affected budgets, public services, economic activity, pandemic recovery and development gains, he noted. In response, Jordan launched national action plans which consider the environment along with social and economic development, consolidate the rule of law and combat corruption. The programmes, he continued, also enhance work by leaving no one behind through dedicated projects for women, youth, disadvantaged communities, rural communities, persons with disabilities and refugees. He then spotlighted his country’s document on addressing climate change and its strategy on ensuring food security by 2030. Turning to the vital role of international cooperation and solidarity, he noted that South—South cooperation and triangular cooperation should be complementary to North—South cooperation. On the Palestinian people, he reiterated their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent, sovereign and viable State based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
ALBERT R CHIMBINDI (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said it is critical that the global community urgently consider a full range of both financial and non-financial sources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals agenda and address the financing challenges of different partners. The most vulnerable — namely, African countries — least developed, landlocked developing and small island developing States require enhanced support for them to build on their policy and financing mix. His delegation remains gravely concerned by the triple planetary crisis, climate change, the loss of biodiversity and pollution. Climate change, in particular, continues to constitute one of the greatest and most pressing challenges in the global effort to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty and inequality. He noted the Paris Agreement remains the cornerstone of efforts to tackle climate change, achieve Goal 13 and implement the 2030 Agenda as a whole. At Glasgow, in November 2021, the international community came together and demonstrated the need to aim for a green and inclusive economy to continuously improve the living standards and well-being of all people in a way that is sustainable. He looked forward to the convening of the Conference of the Parties in Egypt in November and urged all stakeholders to avoid the business-as-usual approach — generating the requisite political will and commitment and taking concrete actions to address the enormous challenge the world faces. Zimbabwe is firmly committed to reaching an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and looks forward to the biodiversity summit in Montreal in December.
CRISTIAN ESPINOSA CAÑIZARES (Ecuador), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, stressed that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for developing States depends more than ever on the provision of financial means, development capacities and the transfer of technology. He pointed out that developing countries face many challenges due to growing fiscal restrictions and the debt burden as they implement their socioeconomic recovery plans. In this regard he reiterated the need for developed countries to meet their commitments, particularly for ODA. “We must stop pigeonholing middle-income countries solely by using the gross domestic product indicators,” he stated. To combat climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution, he added, the international community needs global action based on shared and differentiated responsibilities. Despite Ecuador being responsible for only 0.18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, he said, it has become the first country in Latin America and the fourth in the world to adopt a cross-cutting policy to transition to a circular, resilient and low-emission economy.
IBRAHIM ZUHUREE (Maldives), aligning himself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, urged the Committee to continue its role in tackling economic inequality, mitigating the effects of climate change and building a fairer and more resilient world. Member States must redouble their efforts to implement development frameworks including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the SAMOA Pathway and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, among others. They must also urgently address the fundamental threat and impacts of climate change as the failure to act can “seal the Maldives’ fate”, he emphasized while calling for adequate and accessible climate financing. He then spotlighted his country’s efforts as a large ocean State to ensure the sustainable use of resources through a marine spatial plan, live bait fisheries management plan, protected areas and the documentation of Maldivian ocean life, among others. As overfishing leads to the collapse of fisheries around the world, he called upon the international community to advance their efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14.6 at both the United Nations and WTO. In expressing disappointment over the unwarranted removal of tariff concessions on the Maldives’ tuna exports, he underscored the economic challenges his country faced. Existing ODA eligibility requirements, he continued, are unfit for purpose and do not account for the systemic vulnerabilities that developing countries and small island developing States face. Funds to assist small island developing States must be adequate, predictable and accessible, he stressed.
KIM SONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said peace and development are legitimate rights of each United Nations Member State, which cannot be violated by any force in any circumstances. The international community should resolutely reject and oppose high-handedness, unilateralism and trade protectionism and reform the existing global economic order to establish new international economic relations based on impartiality, equality and mutual benefit. The current unfair and unjust international economic order is one of the main factors obstructing developing countries in the way of their independent development, with developed States plundering natural resources and manpower of developing countries. To overcome this wrongdoing, the international community should no longer allow a monopoly of a few privileged countries. Governments of all States should fulfil their responsibilities and roles in dealing with such global challenges as disastrous abnormal weather, public health crises and food and energy crises. His delegation condemned Japan for its impudent act of attempting to destroy the existence of humankind and the eco-environment of the sea by discharging a large quantity of nuclear polluted water despite the strong opposition of many countries. He cited the unprecedented crisis created in April by the spread of the malignant virus, the greatest upheaval for his State since its founding. However, the Government achieved a decisive victory in a very short period of 100 odd days by taking preventive measures based on the correct analysis of the accurate features of the virus. Thanks to its national development policy, popular measures and practical steps, the standard of living is steadily improving, and the overall national economy is now firmly on the track of stable development in the country.
Source: United Nations