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Seventy-third Session,
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)

World ‘Nearing Critical Point of No Return’ on Climate Change, Delegate Warns, as Second Committee Debates Sustainable Development

Lowering greenhouse gas emissions and switching to renewable energy sources are key to a sustainable future threatened by climate change, delegates told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) as it took up sustainable development today.

The representative of Mongolia noted his country is especially vulnerable due to its geographic location and fragile ecosystem, committing to reduce 14 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and increase use of renewable energy in electricity generation from 7.6 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent by 2030.  Similarly, Bangladesh’s delegate stressed that his country faces an existential threat to its 16 million people, although it hardly contributed to environmental deterioration.  His Government plans to move to “carbon budgeting” and resilient industrialization.

Mexico’s delegate accented the importance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius, adding the world must strengthen multilateralism to change habits harmful to the environment.  The representative of Maldives, along with those of Malawi and several other countries, echoed that figure, adding that rising sea levels driven by climate change undermine progress towards sustainable development.  “We cannot waste any more time as 2030 is rapidly approaching,” she said, while the delegate of Nauru cited access to modern energy for all as a pillar in development.

With 20 per cent of the world’s forest coverage, the Russian Federation’s delegate pointed to improving management of that sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2020 to return to pre‑1990 levels.  Calling on nations to assist small island developing States, he noted his Government’s efforts in Vanuatu and the Caribbean States, having sent rescue workers to 80 countries over the past 25 years.  Costa Rica’s delegate stated national priorities, including forest conservation and renewable energy in a programme for the “profound decarbonization” of his country.  Eliminating poverty must become part and parcel of the daily language of all.

The representative of Ethiopia stated the urgency of mitigating climate change is underlined by disasters in 2018, and the Secretary‑General has stressed integrating disaster risk response into long‑term development programmes.  Bolivia’s delegate, saying, “We are nearing a critical point of no return” on climate change as demonstrated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, warned that “the Paris Agreement is not enough”.  In that context, she proposed the adoption of various new paradigms, including viewing the Earth as an entity with rights and establishing an international environmental tribunal.  The representative of Indonesia cited the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his country, stating, “We are all in the same boat”, and failure to mitigate climate change and achieve sustainable development will force future generations to pay dearly.

Juwang Zhu, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced several reports his office prepared on sustainable development.

Secretary‑General’s reports were presented by Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Disaster Risk Reduction, on  implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015‑2030 (document A/73/268); Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, on Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/73/255); and Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity, on implementation of the Convention and its contribution to sustainable development (document A/73/255).

Jamil Ahmad, Director ad interim of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), presented the United Nations Environment Programme’s report on its third session (document A/73/306) and the Secretary‑General’s report on combating sandstorms and dust storms (document A/73/306).

Secretary‑General’s reports were also presented by Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief of the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), on entrepreneurship for sustainable development (document A/73/258); Moises Venancio, Adviser at the Regional Bureau for Arab States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/73/302); and Kazi Afzalur Rahman, Deputy Special Representative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 (document A/73/283).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Egypt (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Thailand (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Barbados (for the Caribbean Community), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), India, Cuba, Syria, Singapore, Qatar, Algeria, Afghanistan, Jamaica, Nigeria, Nepal, Venezuela, Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Ukraine, Honduras, China, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Pakistan, Mozambique, Ghana, Brazil, Peru, Mauritius, Bahrain, Namibia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Sierra Leone and Iran.  A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization also spoke.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 16 October to continue its debate on sustainable development.

Opening Remarks

MARÍA FERNANDA ESPINOSA GARCÉS, President of the General Assembly, addressing the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on sustainable development, noted that 783 million worldwide live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.93 per day.  Making progress and achieving the 21 specific goals to mitigate climate change, preserve eco‑chains and husband resources will depend on strengthening funding for development.  She stated that promoting decent work is key to eradicating poverty and addressing inequality, given structural gaps in labour hinder implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Encouraging delegates to include gender perspective in a cross‑cutting way, she also pointed to the special needs of least developed countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing nations and middle‑income countries.  Deliberations should be held in a spirit of openness, “to see one another as allies traveling down the same road” to ensure prosperity, build consensus and generate innovative and creative solutions to create a world where extreme poverty is a thing of the past.

JUWANG ZHU, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced several reports prepared on sustainable development by his office.  The first related to mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development within the United Nations system.  It contained a survey the Department carried out on 40 United Nations entities, giving updates on their efforts to implement and mainstream sustainable development into their work.  The report notes that the United Nations system is responding to the vision of the 2030 Agenda by aligning its work programmes with the Sustainable Development Goals, initiating changes and linking results‑based management to the Goals.

A further report on Agenda 21:  Programme of Action for Sustainable Development states that progress towards this Agenda is mixed and uneven, he continued.  Encouraging headway has been made in several areas, while there are continuing challenges in others.  The report contains an analysis suggesting a likely perpetuation of disparities within and between nations in implementing Agenda 21, and a continuing deterioration of ecosystems.

Three further reports on small island developing States provide needs assessment focused on the evolving mandates of Secretariat programmes for small islands, he said.  It notes that these mandates have increased in scope and complexity, but their resources have not.  Resource gaps exist in the areas of research and technical capacity for small islands to carry out monitoring of implementation of the Samoa Pathway into national development plans.  Resource gaps persist with mainstreaming of the Samoa Pathway into the work of the United Nations system and enhancing coherence of small island issues at the national, regional and global levels as well as activities related to partnerships.

A report on follow‑up to the Samoa Pathway outlines strategies and frameworks for development programmes related to implementation of the action plan, he said.  The report highlights activities at the national and regional levels to advance the Pathway in Caribbean Sea countries.  Further reports focus on harmony with nature and affordable and reliable energy for all.  The latter provides an overview of progress in ensuing access to modern, sustainable energy as well as efforts to accelerate progress in achieving such energy.

MAMI MIZUTORI, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Disaster Risk Reduction, noted a wide range of environmental disasters worldwide, including Hurricanes Florence and Michael, and the increasing human and economic toll of disasters and climate change.  While mortality has trended downward, the economic cost has risen over the past 12 months, with annual natural hazard losses in 2017 exceeding $334 billion.  Likewise, in 2017, 18.8 million people were newly internally displaced by disasters, compared to 11.8 million by conflict.  A report issued by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction to mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13 October revealed a dramatic rise of 151 per cent in economic loss due to climate change disasters, with 1.3 million people killed and 4.4 million injured, displaced or needing emergency aid, and earthquakes and tsunamis causing 56 per cent of deaths.

Pointing therefore to the need for financing, she said progress is not fast enough, often lagging one pace behind the events, with the poorest and most vulnerable continuing to bear the brunt of exposure, especially women and youth.  Relevant parties must invest in preparedness, but more importantly, build back better and enhance resilience as per the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015‑2030.  In the meantime, growing disaster risk is outpacing the ability to respond, demanding a paradigm shift from managing disasters to managing disaster risk needs.

She stated sustainable development policies must be based on disaster‑loss data and disaster risk assessment.  Otherwise, more people and a greater share of the world’s economies will be exposed.  Inclusivity of women and youth, whose participation is lagging behind, is fundamental.  Ministries of finance are urged to include disaster risk reduction in budgets, and any infrastructure financing that does not do so is not bankable or investable.  While there has been some progress in mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction, the time for short‑term investment at the expense of resilience must end.  With climate scientists stating things will get worse before they get better even if emission targets in the Paris Agreement are met, she said the Sendai Framework is even more crucial.

MONIQUE BARBUT, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, presented the Secretary‑General’s report on Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/73/255).  She noted that people living under conditions of degraded land are at the bottom of the scale of sustainable development, particularly women and children.  She also observed that more than 120 countries have established national targets to achieve land degradation neutrality.  The report summarizes major activities in this regard as well as preparations for the 2018 political high‑level forum for sustainable development.  Information is provided on progress towards achieving defining targets for land degradation neutrality and establishing a fund to achieve this end.  It summarizes activities to commemorate World Day to End Land Degradation, which was held in Quito, Ecuador.  The report emphasizes that realization of land degradation neutrality is a way of accelerating other progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

CRISTIANA PAȘCA PALMER, Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity, said the mainstreaming of biodiversity requires interconnected measures and solutions.  Describing a “pivotal moment for nature and humanity”, she noted that 196 parties have ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity.  Preparations for the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity recommend the need to ramp up action to achieve biodiversity targets by 2020, but also the need to look beyond that deadline.  With the goal of building a future of life in harmony with nature, there is the possibility of a “deep dive” into possible sustainability transition pathways for systemic change, focusing on the question “How do we empower the agents of change and front‑runners to build new pathways and accelerate transition to sustainability?”

Turning to the mainstreaming of biodiversity, she pointed to five additional sectors of incorporation, namely energy, mining, infrastructure, manufacturing and health.  As new scientific information emerges, it may be necessary to modify ecologically or biologically significant marine areas.  Recommendations also include a global action plan for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators, calling for the engagement of businesses, indigenous peoples and local communities involved in production landscapes.  The role and contribution of indigenous peoples must be assessed.  Mentioning the need to leverage new scientific research including the work of the Intergovernmental Science‑Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, she also raised the question of synthetic biology and the uncertainty of the impact of organisms with engineered gene drives.

JAMIL AHMAD, Director ad interim of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), noted the global campaign to beat plastic pollution is progressing, with actions undertaken in every country.  Ministerial declarations worldwide call for efforts towards a pollution‑free planet, protecting air, land and soil, fresh water and oceans, including the promotion of science‑based decision‑making in public and private sectors and prioritizing sustainable lifestyles.  Citing the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle, recover and remake, he further pointed to the need for sound management of chemicals and waste, marine litter and microplastics, exposure to lead paint, and mainstreaming of biodiversity.

Turning to activities to combat sandstorms and dust storms, he cited the importance of monitoring and early warning, impact and source mitigation, given that gaps remain in understanding them and collecting data.  The global community must develop scenarios based on alternative land uses and scale up mitigation measures.  Additionally, regional strategies and agreements are required to reduce the harmful effects on people in vulnerable areas.

CHANTAL LINE CARPENTIER, Chief of the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the Secretary‑General’s report titled “Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development” (document A/73/258).  She noted that entrepreneurships are instrumental in creating jobs and driving economic innovation in the context of the 2030 Agenda.

The report includes a section on good practices in formulating national entrepreneurship policies and promoting microeconomic enterprises, she said.  There has been a significant trend over the last two years for microeconomic enterprises to connect with global entrepreneurship.  For example, the International Council of Small Businesses organized a day in honour of small businesses enterprises on 27 June.  The report also focuses on enhancing education and skills development as well as improving access to finance for entrepreneurs.  Many Governments have engaged in initiatives on new ways of financing entrepreneurship, including tax incentives.  The social economy has become a priority of authorities in several countries and an increasing amount of resources are being channelled to social economic enterprises.  Noting that measuring the impact of entrepreneurship policy on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is challenging, she said further efforts are needed to collect quality disaggregated data related to entrepreneurships.

MOISES VENANCIO, Adviser at the Regional Bureau for Arab States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), addressed implementation of General Assembly resolutions on the environmental disaster of 15 July 2006 caused by the Israeli Air Force, generating an oil slick that covered two thirds of Lebanon’s coastline, extending to Syria.  He noted that the Government of Israel has not assumed responsibility for the relevant compensation to the Governments of Lebanon and Syria.  Welcoming General Assembly agreement on the Eastern Mediterranean Oil Spill Restoration Trust Fund, he commended Lebanon for efforts to address the impacts of the spill, while expressing “grave concern” that the relevant resolutions on compensation have not been implemented, indicating the value of the damage was assessed at $856.4 million in 2014.

KAZI AFZALUR RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), introduced the Secretary‑General’s report titled “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017” (document A/73/283).  He said the Year included 14 official meetings and events around the world to discuss issues like the role of tourism in promoting inclusive growth and employment, tourism measurement, tourism and culture, and urban tourism.  Governments held 850 activities and initiatives, which were among over 1,800 events held, including 660 that were uploaded on a collaborative platform for all stakeholders on the Year’s website.  A conference on sustainable tourism in small island developing States and on sustainable tourism statistics were held, respectively, in November in Seychelles and in June in Manila.  A third conference on tourism and future energy was hosted by Kazakhstan in June and Zambia hosted, in November, a conference on promoting sustainable tourism in Africa.


SHEYAM HAMED ABDELHAMIED ELGARF (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stated that the eradication of poverty is the greatest global challenge and indispensable to sustainable development.  Noting the continual level of support for the Samoa Pathway, she affirmed that least developed countries, small island developing States, middle‑income countries and African nations face specific challenges and require greater attention given their vulnerability and exposure.  The El Niño phenomenon calls for critical preparedness and developing multi‑hazard strategies by 2020.  Citing the far‑reaching impact of climate change, she said the international community must therefore raise awareness and operationalize the Paris Agreement.  With land degradation a serious concern, all parties should support the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.  Turning to the oil slick on Lebanese shores, she called for a change in the human perspective on harmony with nature.

VITAVAS SRIVIHOK (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with the Group of 77, said ASEAN Community Vision 2025 aims to achieve a truly people‑centred and rules‑based Association that is politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible.  Under this programme, ASEAN member States also are committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and understand the many factors that could roll back progress towards sustainable development and community‑building progress.

ASEAN countries are highly exposed to natural hazards, the bane of development progress, he continued.  Its members want greater cooperation to reduce disaster risk and losses and strengthen their capacity to manage and respond to disasters through the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response.  Climate change is another pressing challenge for ASEAN and it looks forward to finalizing the Paris Agreement work programme at the twenty‑fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at year’s end, he said.  ASEAN reaffirms its commitment to further implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011‑2020.  It will work in other environmental areas, including mitigating human‑caused disasters and pollution to the seas and ocean, reducing deforestation through partnerships and cooperation within ASEAN as well as with the United Nations and its dialogue partners.  Achieving the 2030 Agenda requires partnership at all levels, particularly mobilizing the means of implementation, including cooperation in science and technology, as well as capacity‑building.

PERKS MASTER CLEMENCY LIGOYA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the world is experiencing widespread disasters, including withering heat, drought, floods and others.  Floods, droughts and cyclones are particularly devastating in African and Asian developing countries, showing only too clearly how disasters can reverse gains made towards development.  Least developed countries need strong global partnerships and cooperation in combating the effects of natural hazards.  They also need first‑rate access to available funds for disaster reduction.

The impacts of climate change have been making people homeless and even taken lives, he said, emphasizing that limiting global warming to 1°C is necessary, achievable and urgent.  It is necessary to reduce emissions to 0 by 2050, rapidly reduce the use of fossil fuels and implement other climate solutions.  The most vulnerable countries are the worst affected by the devastating impacts of climate change.  He also noted that energy in least developed countries remains a challenge, with only 44.78 per cent of people with access to electricity.  The United Nations system should pay special heed to least developed countries in achieving the sustainable development target of electricity for all.

ELIZABETH THOMPSON (Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and Alliance of Small Island States, said CARICOM member States find themselves at a critical moment.  Several weeks ago, a tropical storm struck some of the region’s island nations, leaving severe flooding in its wake.  Two weeks ago, there was an earthquake off the coasts of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominica.  And last week, Haiti experienced yet another devastating earthquake.  Small island developing States including those in the CARICOM region have contributed the least to climate change, but they remain most at risk from its negative effects and the least equipped to withstand and adapt to it, she stressed, calling for a change in the global status quo concerning rising temperatures.

Emphasizing that the midterm review of the Samoa Pathway should result in a concise, action‑oriented, intergovernmentally agreed political declaration leading to tangible outcomes, she expressed concern that the resources allocated to the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Small Island Developing States Unit – and much of the United Nations system – remains unchanged.  That Unit, as well as the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, must receive predictable, reliable and adequate funding to achieve real results.  Describing the protection and preservation of the Caribbean Sea as another priority for the region, she expressed hope that the Committee’s biannual resolution on the sea’s sustainable development – to be considered during the present session – will be adopted by consensus.

FARZANA ZAHIR (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, urged Member States to show their solidarity with small island developing States by participating in the upcoming interregional meeting to review the Samoa Pathway later in October.  Emphasizing the need for donor countries to the United Nations to provide adequate support to help small island developing States implement the Pathway and the 2030 Agenda, she spotlighted critical resource gaps and noted that those nations face major development challenges attributable to their small populations, spatial dispersion and remoteness.  Small island developing States also face increasingly devastating natural hazards, rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change that contribute to their vulnerability and undermine sustainable development progress.  Expressing support for the Secretary‑General’s recommendation that international cooperation be extended as a means to help small island developing States implement the Sendai Framework, she also called for new solutions and strategies to incentivize predictable and sustainable financing tools.

RUBÉN ARMANDO ESCALANTE HASBÚN (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of CELAC, underlined the need to mobilize adequate financial and non‑financial resources to help States realize the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets.  Resolutions to be negotiated in the Committee must provide political guidance and address sustainable development from the perspective of the challenges faced by developing countries, he stressed, voicing concern that the High‑Level Political Forum convened annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council does not in its current format reflect the 17 Goals’ integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature.  As demonstrated by regional forums in Latin America and the Caribbean, follow‑up and review processes at the regional and subregional levels can provide useful opportunities for peer learning, sharing best practices and discussions on shared targets; however, such forums also need to strengthen their links with the High‑Level Political Forum.

“The implementation and follow‑up of the 2030 Agenda […] requires the unequivocal commitment of the international community as a whole,” he said.  Underscoring the critical role of official development assistance (ODA), he said developed countries can contribute by honouring their long‑standing commitments in that arena and establishing binding timelines for delivery.  South‑South and triangular cooperation has a role to play but should be viewed as complementary to – and not a substitute for – North‑South cooperation.  Pledging to joint efforts to promote education, human resource training and technology transfer on favourable terms - including concessional and preferential terms - he drew attention to the region’s vulnerability to climate change and environmental degradation and rejected the unilateral application of any economic, financial or commercial measures incompatible with international law that might hinder development financing.

SMT. KANIMOZHI (India), aligning herself with the Group of 77, affirmed that India’s national efforts for inclusive and sustainable development are in close sync with the 2030 Agenda and had garnered strong political commitment.  Progress in health, education and water management will be monitored at the local level, with another index ranking provinces competitively, using 75 indicators to capture progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.  Fully supporting the Secretary‑General’s reform proposals for the development system, she called for stepped‑up funding by traditional donors to put in place the proposed new resident coordinator scheme, and she welcomed the strengthening of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  Also welcoming renewed focus on climate action, she described India’s goals to produce a significant portion of its energy through renewables by 2022, noting that the country has joined the International Solar Alliance to promote worldwide progress in that area.  Promoting South‑South cooperation through a United Nations‑India partnership fund, she said the country also continues its contribution to the Organization’s Tax Trust Fund and other funds to benefit the poorest countries.  She pledged his country’s continued strong commitment to build sustainable development domestically and globally.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and Group of Least Developed Countries, said implementation of the 2030 Agenda will largely depend on the international community’s success in halting global climate change and reducing disaster risks.  Bangladesh is one of the 10 most climate vulnerable countries in the world.  Climate change poses an existential threat to its 16 million people, although the country has hardly contributed to environmental deterioration.  Bangladesh’s commitment to low‑carbon, climate‑resilient development is firm and it plans to move to “carbon budgeting” and resilient industrialization.  At the national level, the country has mainstreamed climate actions and disaster management into a planning and sustainable development strategy.  To ensure food security, Bangladesh has been investing in transforming its agriculture and making it more resilient to the impacts of climate change and disasters.

IAN S. NAUMKIN (Russian Federation) said countering climate change must be comprehensive and consistent in its measures and noted the important role played by the forestry sector.  With 20 per cent of the world’s forest coverage, his country is improving management of that sector to help adapt forests to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent by 2020 in order to return to pre-1990 levels.  Calling on nations to assist small island developing States, he noted his country’s efforts in Vanuatu and Caribbean States like Cuba and Antigua and Barbuda to provide foodstuffs and financial resources.  The Russian Federation is working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help 14 small island developing States to forecast and mitigate the consequences of natural disasters.  Over the past 25 years, the Russian Federation has sent rescue workers to 80 countries; a ship recently carried 23 tonnes of humanitarian supplies to Indonesia.  Going forward, the Sendai Framework is a good road map to overcome environmental cataclysms, he stressed.

Mr. MARTINEZ (Mexico) said the international community had undergone a paradigm shift when it adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015.  Mexico believes climate change is one of most pressing issues facing humanity.  Stressing the importance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, he said the world must continue strengthening multilateralism to change habits harmful to the environment.  It must find a balanced, working programme applicable to all that adheres to the Paris Agreement.  Adding that strengthening the resilience of countries affected by natural disasters is essential, he encouraged implementation of the Sendai Framework.  Incorporating biodiversity is critical in fisheries, forestry and other sectors.  The 2030 Agenda must be approached indivisibly with all other global agreements and take into account the role of civil society.  Youth can greatly influence social patterns and act as agents of change.

BIANA LEYVA REGUEIRA (Cuba), associating herself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and CELAC, said sustainable development continues to call for concrete actions, based on a just and equitable world order, inclusive and coherent policies, a revitalized global partnership, and effective mobilization of financial resources.  The economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government against Cuba for nearly six decades is the most unjust, severe and prolonged system of unilateral sanctions that has ever been applied against any country.  It constitutes a massive, flagrant and systematic violation of the human rights of the Cuban people and qualifies as an act of genocide.  It violates the United Nations Charter and international law, constituting an obstacle to international cooperation.  This hostile policy is the main hindrance to the development of Cuba, blocking implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that his country is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its geographic location and fragile ecosystem.  As party to the Paris Agreement, Mongolia launched the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce 14 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.  Since 2016, the National Action Plan on Green Development Policy has prioritized 225 activities to address climate change, aiming to increase the use of renewable energy in electricity generation from 7.6 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent by 2030.  Green development issues are a top priority, with the country recently launching the Northeast Asian Super Grid Project, providing benefits including energy security, job creation and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.  With his continent ranking as one of the world’s most disaster‑prone regions, his Government has advanced the Northeast Asia Disaster Risk Reduction Platform for regional cooperation in enhancing disaster resilience, reducing risk and increasing prevention.

ROUA SHURBAJI (Syria) said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is a daunting challenge for many States, including those in unique circumstances like Syria, which is dealing with a terrorist war that has caused loss of life, property and infrastructure.  To address national priorities, including relief, response, recovery and sustainable development, the Government is drafting a strategy for crisis management at various levels, including through inclusive development.  It is working to improve the country’s institutional capacity and social justice and to create an enabling environment for internally displaced persons and refugees to achieve social and economic development.  She called for development support for her country without politicization and double standards.  It will be impossible for Syria to transition from only being able to provide basic needs to full-fledged development if unilateral economic measures against the country continue, she said, as they are obstacles to early recovery, especially education and health.

RENNIER STANISLAUS GADABU (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States and associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, noted his group of isle nations represent a special case as regards to the effects of climate change.  As a result, progress towards sustainable development has been mixed.  Given gaps in resources, he requested that the Secretary‑General provide for more resources commensurate with their expanded mandate regarding the Samoa Pathway.  The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognized his region as at high risk of global warming.  Climate change has already taken an enormous toll on the region in crises and disease.  Access to modern energy for all is another pillar in development, and Pacific States are “leading the way” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CHAN GUOLONG (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States, and ASEAN, said the international community is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  As one of the most water‑stressed countries in the world, Singapore knows that States must adapt and think creatively to address the challenges they face.  Sustainable development is a “whole of society endeavour”, he stressed, noting that Singapore is implementing development strategies that bring together diverse stakeholders to “change the way people live, work and play”.  He urged increased commitment to achieve sustainable development through international partnerships and added that capacity‑building and knowledge transfer will help Singapore share its experiences in areas of leadership, governance and sustainability.

RODRIGO ALBERTO CARAZO ZELEDÓN (Costa Rica) called for a holistic approach to poverty, accenting the role of family farmers.  He emphasized Costa Rica’s role in advancing the resolution to name 7 June as World Food Safety Day, promoting sustainable food practices as it links various Sustainable Development Goals including eradication of hunger and promoting sustainable trade.  Turning to the environment, he noted national priorities including forest conservation and renewable energy in a programme for the “profound decarbonization” of his country, demanding deep structural efforts in the society.  Eliminating poverty must become part and parcel of the daily language of all.

Ms. AL-BAKER (Qatar), associating herself with the Group of 77, noted that States have national ambitions to achieve their particular development agendas by 2030, and that the international community should add to these efforts through global partnerships.  It is vital to boost coordination among nations to ensure cooperation can take place.  All nations aspire to create peaceful societies with no one left by the wayside as part of sustainable development.  Highlighting the importance of education, she said it plays a crucial role in the betterment of future generations.  Adding that her country is convinced that education is a key driver of development, she said it is making significant investments in it and undertaking education programmes with international partners.

ZOUBIR BENARBIA (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country is conducting a policy involving various sectors, including ministries in charge of housing, transport, agriculture and forest for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and is moving towards the transition to a green economy.  At the regional level, Algeria has played an important role in mobilizing the efforts of Africa to preserve and protect the environment.  It hosted, in February 2014, in Oran, the African Ministerial Conference on Green Economy that culminated in the adoption of the “Oran Declaration”, which encompasses joint commitments of African countries towards the protection of the environment and has outlined the continent’s approach on the green economy.

ZIAUDDIN AMIN (Afghanistan), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, affirmed that achievement of the 2030 Agenda requires adequate commitment and cooperation from all Member States.  He said his country has been incorporating the 2030 Agenda into all national development planning tools.  Thanking all of the country’s international partners for their support in that regard, he stressed that technical and financial assistance, particularly in the area of reliable and sustainable energy, is particularly important for least developed countries.  Those emerging from conflict have unique challenges in that and other areas, he added, encouraging the Committee to make strengthening the nexus between peace and security and development a priority of its work.  In that context, a targeted approach to programme investment is needed, he commented.

E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica) said small island developing States such as his are particularly susceptible to exogenous shocks.  They have to cope with the increased frequency of natural hazards, which have caused loss of lives and livelihoods and damage to the environment.  The financial burden imposed by such events exacerbates an already precarious fiscal situation, which itself is adversely affected by their designation as middle‑income countries and the policy prescriptions flowing from that designation.  Small islands consider ambitious action indispensable in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.  While disaster mortality continued on a downward trend over the past 12 months, disaster economic losses have continued to rise.  Estimates of annual economic losses attributed to natural hazards in 2017 are some of the highest on record, exceeding $334 billion.  It is recognized that to turn strategies into action and to create fiscal space for a risk‑informed approach to sustainable development, tailored disaster risk reduction financing instruments and greater risk‑informed investments by the public and private sectors will be needed.

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, pointed to the slow progress of Sustainable Development Goals in sub‑Saharan Africa, and the centrality of food- and hunger‑related issues to achieving sustainable development.  His Government has developed a multilevel and multi‑cluster institutional framework to coordinate mainstreaming of the Goals.  To fully harness Nigeria’s rich human and material resources, a Private Sector Advisory Group recognizes the role of small- and medium‑scale enterprise and the positive impact of sustainable agricultural and entrepreneurial policies.  Also, a National Youth Service Scheme has been mobilized to help Nigerian graduates contribute to sustainable development at the local level.  While the country can do more, Nigeria emphasizes the need for shared support in combating desertification, drought and other climatic hazards, posing as they do a fundamental threat to the existence of humanity.

NIRMAL RAJ KAFLE (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the issue of time lag needs to be addressed by redoubling collective efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  He called for urgent action to reduce carbon emissions, make life more sustainable, and preserve biological diversity and ecosystems.  It is critical to promote best practices and initiatives to support entrepreneurship in sustainable development at all levels.  As a landlocked country, Nepal recognizes that problems in the Himalayas ranging from avalanches to floods can affect millions of people’s livelihood.  Enhanced partnership is required for disaster risk reduction and building resilience.  He underscored the importance of clean and renewable energy and said that his country’s priority is focused on economic transformation and development.

CRISTIANE ENGELBRECHT SCHADTLER (Venezuela), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said economic challenges only underscored the need to mobilize resources and balance cooperation for the needs of people of the South in attaining sustainable development.  The social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development are mutually reinforcing.  Her country puts human beings at the centre of development, which should be based on solidarity, justice, human rights and citizen’s participation.  The living conditions of the poorest are based on a unnatural socioeconomic model.  Sustainable development requires the political will, particularly from developed countries, to design and help implement strategies to achieve it.

VICTOR MORARU (Republic of Moldova) said that despite positive trends, there is still a long way to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that poverty and inequality affect the most vulnerable segments of society.  Climate‑related extreme weather events are a particular concern, he said, calling for stepped up action to mitigate and prevent related vulnerabilities.  It is “imperative to guarantee the implementation of the Paris Agreement”, he stressed.  The Republic of Moldova recently elaborated a long‑term, people‑centred sustainable development strategy with the aim to stop environmental degradation, develop robust human and social capital, and build effective institutions.  The scale of resources needed to achieve sustainable development calls for increased international cooperation, he said, adding that States must use the unique convening power of the United Nations to foster partnerships.

RIO BUDI RAHMANTO (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said “We must ‘walk the talk’ in implementing multilateral commitments”, including enhancing international partnership and cooperation.  He mentioned sustainable marine protection and promotion of the blue economy, pointing to Indonesia’s upcoming fifth Our Ocean Conference and the Archipelagic and Island States Forum.  Governments must also scale up financing, capacity‑building and technology needed for sustainable development.  In technology, Indonesia’s creative economy contributes 7.44 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).  The international community must also develop resilient societies and human settlement to resist shocks, climate change and disasters to avoid reversion of developmental gains.  Citing the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his country, he said, “We are all in the same boat”, and failure to achieve sustainable development will force the most vulnerable and future generations to pay dearly.

SOFYA SIMONYAN (Armenia), welcoming efforts to align the United Nations development system with the 2030 Agenda, said that the rapid nationalization of the Goals in her country is being complemented by ambitious reforms and an innovative partnership with the Organization’s country team.  Regional and international partnerships remain critical to Armenia as a middle‑income, landlocked developing country.  In that context, unimpeded transit corridors are necessary, while unilateral coercive measures and imposition of blockades and closed borders are inadmissible as they compound the existing infrastructure deficit.  Climate change and disaster risk reduction also must be prioritized by the country.  She described international platforms in which Armenia is participating for information‑sharing towards sustainable and resilient societies.  In its efforts to keep adjusting its national approach to achieving the 2030 Agenda, Armenia has enlisted all sectors of society and is determined to continue to mainstream the Goals into all areas of governance and to work hand in hand with all partners, she added.

VITALIY BILAN (Ukraine) said his country is tailoring the Sustainable Development Goals to meet national needs and that a 2017 report contains targets and indicators for implementation that will mainstream the Goals into national development frameworks.  Ukraine is working to fulfil its commitments on Goals related to improving the quality of education, promoting gender equality and ensuring environmental sustainability.  Furthermore, it has improved its maternal health system.  The country will soon mark Holodomor Remembrance Day to honour the victims of organized mass starvation, he said, adding that States must not ignore the millions of people starving worldwide.  Ukraine remains fully committed to the Paris Agreement.  States cannot achieve sustainable development by themselves, he noted, adding that armed conflict is a major challenge for his country.  Multi‑stakeholder dialogue will facilitate cooperation on the consideration of the Sustainable Development Goals, he concluded.

FADUA ORTEZ (Honduras), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said implementation of and follow up to the 2030 Agenda requires unwavering commitment from the international community.  An effective strategy addressing financing for development is urgently needed, providing new and additional resources to ensure that no one is left behind.  Progress has not been sufficient in developing countries to fulfil all the Sustainable Development Goals.  Moreover, such nations contribute less to global warming but experience major negative effects of climate change, as they are simultaneously striving to overcome poverty and achieve economic growth.  Central America has historically been hit by cyclical droughts, leading to land degradation.  With no adaptation and mitigation, living standards will be severely affected by such deterioration and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals will be jeopardized.

XU ZHONGSHENG (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, called for an enhanced sense of urgency in addressing hunger and the development gap between countries, thereby unleashing global potential for economic progress.  The international community must strengthen cooperation, with the United Nations at its core, with developed countries earnestly fulfilling their ODA commitments so developing countries can enhance their own position.  Domestically, China is advancing a five‑element strategy for implementing the 2030 Agenda, aiming to lift all rural populations out of poverty by 2020.  Internationally, the Belt and Road Initiative will lead the people of China to a better life and a shared destiny of prosperity for all.

Ms. ALHOSANI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country has established a council for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aligns itself with the private sector and other relevant stakeholders.  Water and sanitation as well as affordable energy are among current projects contributing to implementation of the Goals.  To draw in the private sector, the council is composed of 15 stakeholders of various nationalities reflecting the country’s diverse economy, which includes renewable energy, tourism and services.  Her country has made significant progress in national and regional benchmarks on energy, with its strategies aimed at preparing it for post‑oil life.

BERGDÍS ELLERTSDÓTTIR (Iceland) said her country focuses on boosting cooperation in areas such as human rights, gender equality, peacebuilding and the sustainable management of natural resources.  Climate change is fast becoming the single most serious challenge to global peace, security and development, she added.  Her country has recently embarked on an ambitious new climate strategy to meet the Paris Agreement targets by 2030 and make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040.  Already, all electricity and heating in Iceland is produced from renewable resources.  Iceland plans to phase out fossil fuels in transport and increase afforestation and restoration of wetlands.  She noted various ways her country is cooperating with other countries as they strive towards universal access to modern energy resources.  The sustainable use of marine resources, through successful science‑based management, remains one of the backbones of the Icelandic economy and a focus of its foreign policy.

Mr. ALAMI (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country has integrated the principles of sustainable development into its national policies.  Among other things, Morocco’s 2011 Constitution enshrined in its principles the right to sustainable development — including the right of all citizens to a healthy environment and clean water — as well as democratic governance.  Outlining several specific policies, he said Morocco is improving household waste management and implemented a national policy aimed at linking all citizens to safe sanitation systems.  Additionally, efforts are under way to support the country’s industrial sector in curbing its emissions.  Noting that Morocco has signed agreements with other African nations in the context of increased South‑South cooperation, he said those cover the protection of coastal areas and other important issues.

VERÓNICA CORDOVA SORIA (Bolivia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said no sustainable development will be possible if the threats posed by climate change continue.  “We are nearing a critical point of no return” as demonstrated in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, she said, warning that “the Paris Agreement is not enough”, especially if the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters decide to leave the agreement.  In that context, she proposed the adoption of various new paradigms, including viewing the Earth as an entity with rights and establishing an international environmental tribunal.  For its part, Bolivia has made significant strides in protecting its environment and achieving sustainable development, but the only way forward will be for all people on the planet to adopt lifestyles that are more in harmony with nature, she said.

Mr. AMDE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the urgency of mitigating climate change is underlined by disasters that have occurred in 2018, claiming lives and destroying infrastructure.  The Secretary‑General has now stressed that disaster risk response should be integrated with long‑term development programmes.  This will address disasters more effectively and, more importantly, will help create resilience.  He also stressed that ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all has specific importance for meeting the economic, social and environmental objectives of the 2030 Agenda.  There have been signs of progress registered in some countries that have been lagging in energy sector development.  However, it is imperative to provide financing for the development of energy infrastructure in least developed countries, along with capacity‑building assistance.

Mr. BOKOUM (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said actions to implement the 2030 Agenda should now be focused on areas like health, education, renewable energy, climate and biological diversity.  His country has launched important initiatives, including plans of action on sustainable production and consumption, and the use of information and communications technology (ICT) as a catalyst for development.  It has also set up nexuses on energy in the region, and a sustainable development profile for Burkina Faso.  It has made significant inroads on various fronts, but cross‑cutting challenges remain.  Among them, Burkina Faso is seeking to guarantee decent jobs for all, introduce reliable energy services that are modern and affordable, and restore damaged ecosystems.

ROSE MAKENA MUCHIRI (Kenya), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that her country continues to lose land to desertification and the effects of climate change.  Kenya’s ban on plastics, introduced in August 2017, has been greatly successful as has the adoption of alternative packaging materials across the country.  As host of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat), Kenya will continue to offer the conducive environment for relevant United Nations agencies to fulfil their mandates.  Kenya’s large diversity of ecological zones and habitats contributes greatly to its economy specifically in agriculture, livestock production, energy production, fisheries and tourism.  She called for the implementation of the key decisions from the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity to help protect the country’s biodiversity.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan), associating herself with the Group of 77, said national presentations delivered at the high‑level political forum convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council show progress but also reveal that the world is still far from achieving the targets of the 2030 Agenda.  Among the major challenges are restraints on international financial resources and a waning of global political will, she said, calling for a renewed commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.  Pakistan’s new Government is addressing all three pillars of sustainable development, including by revitalizing its economy, providing housing and ensuring access to clean water and sanitation.  Noting that Pakistan’s climate footprint is minimal, she said it is nevertheless one of those countries most under threat from the impacts of climate change.  In that regard, she expressed hope for an early conclusion of the negotiations on the modalities of the Paris Agreement review conference.  “We can only do this together” with each nation playing its part, she stressed.

ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, focused his statement on the challenge of disaster risk reduction.  Welcoming efforts undertaken in line with the Sendai Framework, he nevertheless expressed concern that each year disasters force some 26 million people into poverty and result in billions of dollars of economic losses.  Noting that Mozambique is exposed to natural hazards, he said it suffers, on average, 1.7 disasters each year, with particular vulnerability to tropical cyclones and seismic activity.  Describing the country’s Disaster Risk Management strategy — a top national priority — he said the framework seeks to reduce the exposure of communities, economy and infrastructure to extreme events and natural hazards.  Moreover, it also created a Master Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction (2017‑2030) and integrated its principles into national development plans, he said.

MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana), associating herself with the Group of 77, reaffirmed the importance of Agenda 21 — adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — and the need to pursue global, multilateral approaches and solutions to cross‑border environmental, social and economic challenges.  Also underlining the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, she described the “unfinished business” of the Millennium Development Goals, noting that outstanding challenges remain in such areas as gender equality, ending hunger and ensuring access to quality health care.  Development gaps and inequality between rural and urban areas and between genders persist in many African countries.  In Ghana, she said, one of the key drivers of poverty is disaster vulnerability.  Many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities face reversals in development gains due to disasters which also exacerbate inequality and curtail the prospects of economic growth.  Expressing concern over the particular threats posed by land degradation and unsustainable levels of pollution including marine pollution, she called for urgent political action to tackle those issues as well as the pooling of resources for climate financing and accelerated action to achieve other related Sustainable Development Goals.

PHILIP FOX‑DRUMMOND GOUGH (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, underscored the need to accelerate the adoption of measures related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda both domestically and at the international level.  In Brazil, the Agenda’s Goals and targets have been integrated into national policymaking processes.  Globally, Brazil views the 2030 Agenda as not only a milestone but also a road map towards economic development coupled with social justice and respect for the environment.  “Sustainable development for all is not possible without strong multilateral commitment and cooperation,” he stressed, pledging to continue to uphold the legacy of the important development summits hosted in his country.  Noting that climate change negotiations are presently at a critical juncture, he said the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming “sends an unequivocal message about the urgency of the challenge ahead of us”.  The international community must act accordingly, he stressed.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said the immediate consequences of climate change will be far worse than expected.  Peru is particularly vulnerable to this scourge, suffering from the retreat of the Andean tropical glacier and warming of the ocean, and has made the fight against climate change a national priority.  Peru recognizes that women, indigenous peoples and the private sector are key players in adapting to and mitigating climate change.  Underscoring the importance of international cooperation in mitigating climate change, he said the global community must reverse the increasing trend of losses due to natural hazards, which must be incorporated into work to achieve sustainable development.

VISHAL ANAND LUCHOOMUN (Mauritius), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Alliance of Small Island States, said his country is fully committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda as well as the Samoa Pathway.  The challenges faced by his country as a small island developing State are legion, however, including lack of resources, high population density, isolation from major markets and extreme vulnerability to climate change.  The graduation of the country, along with other small islands, to middle‑income status has led to new challenges including a rise in non‑communicable diseases, a debt problem, lack of access to concessional financing and lack of capacity to build resilience.  While the difficulties have increased, funding has declined.  He called for an increase in the funding of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in particular its small island unit, as well as other relevant organizations, in order to allow them to deliver on their mandate in assisting in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway.

Ms. AHMADI (Bahrain), associating herself with the Group of 77, outlined national commitments to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal targets.  Its voluntary national review to the high‑level political forum, delivered at this year’s session, revealed the strides made as well as challenges still to be overcome.  Among others, the threats posed by climate change and terrorism present major obstacles to development in the region.  Urging States to step up to address those challenges, she noted that Bahrain adopted a sustainable energy project as well as a strategy to provide all its citizens with electricity.  In addition, it adopted a national plan for renewable energy and opened its first solar panel factory in 2017.

NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said maps of land degradation mirror those on the planet who are the hungriest, unhealthiest and poorest.  Efforts to mitigate the effects of drought will be in vain if they do not tackle drought, sandstorm and dust storm challenges.  Emphasizing that drought should no longer be killing people or wildlife, he called on countries prone to drought to develop drought policies, which should be built around resilience, preparedness and early warning.  The international community must shift from drought relief to focus more on strengthening the capacities of affected populations to cope with it.  It is necessary to ensure that environmentally related technologies and systems take root in individual countries in a manner that is suitable to their social and economic situations.

MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said that without decisive steps to ensure environmental protection, it will be impossible to achieve full sustainable development in her country.  The Central Asian region is strewn with dumping sites for radioactive waste left over from uranium mining under the Soviet Union.  Following its collapse, the technical capacity to contain waste fell and accidents have increased.  Such lethal remains are creating large‑scale consequences for millions of people as well as obstacles to achieving sustainable development.  Her country has conducted an environmental impact assessment and created funding mechanisms.  However, only with targeted assistance from the international community will it be able to continue combating the radiation threat.  With heightened attention, Kyrgyzstan will succeed in avoiding environmental risks, as well as preventing radioactive waste from being used for terrorism or other vile acts.

NURZHAN RAKHMETOV (Kazakhstan) said the Sustainable Development Goals advance political, economic, social and ecological resilience and require close multilateral action.  Kazakhstan’s “2050 Strategy” stipulates a cross‑sectoral and universal approach to vital economic, social and environmental issues, he said, adding that implementation of the 2030 Agenda will transform the country into one of the world’s 30 most developed States by 2050.  Commitment to the 2030 Agenda is demonstrated through Kazakhstan’s establishment of regional and global hubs on sustainable development‑related issues, he said, urging States to enhance regional cooperation.  Efforts must prioritize the introduction of indicators that can better incorporate regional strategies into global development efforts and must also facilitate increased investment in developing countries.  To that end, United Nations reform efforts are vital to ensuring the sustainable development agenda is fully incorporated into national strategies, he concluded.

Mr. KAI-KAI (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that resource mobilization, capacity‑building and technology transfer are important to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  It is crucial for Member States to honour the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, he said.  The latter is particularly important to Sierra Leone as it is particularly vulnerable to climate change events.  Without access to energy, developing countries like his own will not be able to achieve the Goals by 2030.  To achieve Goal 7, urgent action is needed to fast track progress by providing the necessary financial resources and the enabling environment for investment in energy.

Ms. SARVESTANI (Iran), associating herself with the Group of 77, underlined the challenges faced by developing countries in fully implementing sustainable development plans including realizing the right to development.  Capacity‑building for developing countries should be given the highest priority, she stressed, adding that such support should be provided through the exchange of experiences and know‑how, technology transfer and the sharing of best practices without any discrimination or politicization.  Spotlighting the different needs and special circumstances of developing nations — as well as the accountability of major actors in the global economic and financial system — she warned against unilateralism and the imposition of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impacts imposed against developing countries.  Outlining Iran’s Vision 2025 and its Sixth National Development Plan, she drew particular attention to the country’s efforts to combat desertification, address the impacts of climate change, manage its water and sanitation sustainably, empower women and girls, and employ renewable energy sources.

LUCAS TAVARES, of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said sustainable agriculture has a critical role to play in achieving the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that about 75 per cent of the world’s poor reside in rural areas, he said they are particularly hard hit by disasters and extreme events, especially droughts.  The recorded number of natural hazards in developing countries has almost doubled compared to 40 years ago.  Their impacts on rural livelihoods and agriculture have been staggering.  Between 2005 and 2015, about $96 billion were lost due to declines in crop and livestock production following disasters and crises in developing countries.  Effective disaster risk reduction is essential, and evidence shows that it works.  A preliminary impact assessment of the response to drought in 2017 reveals that acting early helped save lives and livelihoods, reducing the costs of humanitarian response and dependency on food assistance.

For information media. Not an official record.