I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
This mid-term review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is taking place at a time of extremely critical juncture, in which developing countries face multiple challenges and an unjust economic order that perpetuates inequalities and poverty.
The reports prepared by the Secretary General contain undisputable figures that portray a rather somber reality. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic the word was already off track to meet the SDGs.
We will reach 2030 with 575 million people living in extreme poverty. By then, barely one third of countries will succeed in halving national poverty levels. We will not end hunger as agreed. On the contrary, today 735 million people face chronic hunger, more than in 2015. At the current pace, none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be met and more than half of the agreed targets will be missed.
Being conscious of this state of affairs, the G-77 and China, has accorded the highest priority to this event, aiming at placing again sustainable development at the center of the international agenda and at giving the necessary political impetus to ramp up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
It is in that spirit that the Group embarked in the process of negotiation of a political declaration, seeking to scale up and accelerate concrete, innovative, transformative and ambitious actions and measures to achieve the SDGs.
It is in this context, that the Group pioneered the global call for an urgent reform of the international financial architecture, shared by so many leaders and personalities of the whole world. This was largely advocated by the Secretary-General, who called on this Summit to “right the historic injustices at the core of the international financial system to give the most vulnerable countries and people a fair chance at a better future.” We must continue to uphold the role of the General Assembly in dealing with these issues if we want to make sure that the voice of every nation is properly heard and taken into account in such important matters pertaining global governance.
This call also implies an improved global sovereign debt architecture with the participation of the South, allowing for fair, balanced and development-oriented treatment.
The high cost of borrowing prevents the capacity of developing countries to invest in the SDGs. Today, 25 nations of the South are spending over 20 per cent of their government revenues solely on servicing debt.
At the same time, an early and sizeable recapitalization of the Multilateral Development Banks is urgently needed to radically improve their lending conditions and meet the financial needs of the South.
In this regard, we call upon the international community to follow up and support the UN Secretary-General’s proposal for an “SDG Stimulus” for developing countries, which aims at massively scaling up affordable long-term financing for development and aligning financing flows with the SDGs.
We also call on developed countries to finally fulfill their unmet ODA commitments.
The climate change agenda must be fully implemented in accordance with the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement and upholding the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
It is critical to increase ambition on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation, and materialize the provision and mobilization of resources by developed countries to tackle climate change and address our development challenges at the same time. We strongly call on developed countries to fulfill their pledges in this area.
Developing countries’ efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda must also be backed up by concrete actions on technology transfer and capacity building as well as North-South cooperation to foster industrialization and investment in quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.
The international trading system should be further reformed, and sustainable supply chains should be built to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through the promotion of export-led growth in developing countries. To this end, special and differential treatment for developing countries should be strengthened as a multilateral principle. Unilateralism and protectionism including unilateral trade protection and restrictions, incompatible with the WTO Agreements, should be speedily eliminated.
That is also the case for those countries suffering the imposition of unilateral coercive measures that constitute a serious violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Those measures gravely hinder the efforts of the affected countries towards the achievement of the SDGs and sustainable development in general. The international community, including the United Nations system, should continue to firmly reject the imposition of those measures and to work for their unconditional lifting.
The claims just mentioned have been enunciated in several occasions by the leaders of the South. The lack of progress must not be attributed to a lack of solutions. Actions are there. What it is urgently required is political will to really “leave no one behind” and overcome one of the most complex crises humanity has seen in the modern history. That would be our best contribution to the common future we need to build together.
I thank you.