Unprecedented Impacts of Climate Change Disproportionately Burdening Developing Countries, Delegate Stresses, as Second Committee Concludes General Debate
Describing climate change as one of the greatest threats facing humanity in their time, delegates urged the international community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve forests, monitor water sources and honour pledges made in the Paris Agreement, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) concluded its general debate today.
Botswana’s delegate noted that the adverse effects of climate change are severely hampering many developing nations’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. His country itself is currently suffering from climate change‑related drought, which will lead to a consequent drop in agricultural production and rise in food insecurity.
Addressing these challenges, Botswana’s Government is developing a climate policy and strategy and reducing greenhouse emissions 15 per cent by 2030, he said. But the country will fail to succeed in its climate efforts without partnership assistance, capacity‑building, technology transfer and financial support.
Similarly, the representative of Tajikistan noted that unprecedented climate impacts are disproportionately burdening developing countries. Moreover, the phenomenon’s negative effect on quantity and quality of fresh water resources in these nations is becoming ever more apparent.
Over the past few decades, Tajikistan has seen a significant decrease in the area of its glaciers, which are of vital importance to all Central Asia, he added. Stressing the need to strengthen cooperation among countries in addressing these challenges, he underscored the need to monitor glaciers as well as other water sources and protect them for the future.
Greece’s delegate lamented that climate change is not only affecting present and future generations, but is detrimentally affecting the past, history and heritage of nations. Extreme weather events and adverse climate conditions can significantly damage cultural and natural heritage sites as well as disrupt centuries‑old ways of life.
Several nations focused on measures to combat climate change, with the representative of Malaysia noting that his country is improving palm oil production to ensure it is certified sustainable by 2020. The certification clearly addresses global concerns on sustainable production of the oil, including biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions and destruction of wildlife habitats.
Urging Member States to seriously address climate change, he said all nations must fulfil their pledges to reduce carbon emissions, plant more trees and conserve forests as well as reuse and recycle.
Recognizing its responsibility as the country with the world’s second largest forest and 47 per cent of Africa’s forest cover, the representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo said his country is reducing CO2 emissions to mitigate climate change. In addition, it is dedicated to stabilizing the forest at 63 per cent of national territory and reducing emissions by 17 per cent between 2020 and 2030.
Ethiopia’s delegate said his Government has kickstarted a “40 Trees Per Head for New Ethiopia” project, which has resulted in 4 billion trees being planted within 18 months, including over 350 million in a single day. The representative of Senegal said his country aims to reduce emissions 45 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, adding that its energy sector uses 30 per cent renewable sources.
Pointing to indiscriminate and unpredictable nature of climate change, the representative of Sri Lanka called for urgent and meaningful action to combat the scourge as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Bangladesh, Liberia, Yemen, Guatemala, Maldives, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, Mexico, Ghana, Albania, Turkey, Bolivia, Georgia, Romania, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Armenia, Egypt, Kuwait, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cabo Verde, Guinea, Libya, Iraq, Peru, Chile, Togo, Ecuador, Bahrain, Ireland, Nepal, Haiti, Myanmar, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Serbia, India, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Timor Leste, Cameroon and El Salvador. The Holy See, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and United Nations Environment Programme also spoke.
The Committee with meet again on Thursday, 10 October, at 10 a.m. to take up macroeconomic policy questions and financing for development.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), aligning himself with the “Group of 77” and China and the least developed countries, said his Government recognizes that “development for all” must be the motto to create a prosperous country. Exports tripled from 2005‑2006 to reach $37 billion in 2017‑2018, with per capita income increasing by 3.5 times. He noted this means Bangladesh has achieved one of the fastest poverty reduction rates in the world with a rate of 21.4 per cent, and 11.3 per cent extreme poverty. Significant progress has been made in establishing a social safety net, gender parity and a network of 18,000 community clinics. He said Bangladesh is now the world’s second‑largest user of solar home systems and is building its first nuclear power plant. Having graduated from the least developed countries category, his Government aims to be a middle‑income one by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. He called for the Rohingya crisis to be resolved, as Bangladesh currently hosts 1.1 million displaced persons.
DEE-MAXWELL SAAH KEMAYAH (Liberia) stressed that poverty remains a global challenge that negatively impacts marginalized groups, including women. The international community must also address the disastrous effects of climate change as well as ensure equitable education and learning opportunities for all. He noted that the Sustainable Development Goals summit and the High‑level Dialogue on Financing for Development took concrete steps towards financing global development goals. It is necessary to gather support for developing countries, especially those in delicate situations, in meeting agreed development targets. Achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will depend on an enabling international environment, which facilitates means of implementation and mobilizes resources.
TALAL ALJAMALI (Yemen), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and least developed countries, said the international community is not on the right track to implement the 2030 Agenda and must accelerate the pace so no one is left behind. He noted uneven progress among nations, and that some countries are losing gains and under‑developing due to wars and conflict. His country is in a difficult situation due to the coup by the Houthi minority against the legitimate Government. He said this has led to a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) and mass unemployment, which is exploited by militias to recruit youth. The Government is supervising financial transactions to fight money‑laundering and terror financing. He once again called upon the international community to support the Government and enhance its recovery.
KSHENUKA SENEWIRATNE (Sri Lanka), associating herself with the Group of 77, noted that challenges remain in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, which have been impeded by inequality, irregular migration and slow economic growth. The looming threat of climate change has become an existential threat to several countries, including Sri Lanka, with its indiscriminate and unpredictable nature. She called for urgent and meaningful action to combat the scourge in line with the terms of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Noting that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)has been a strong partner in Sri Lanka’s efforts to meet agreed development goals, she said this has included assistance in developing national data collection. Stressing that the success of the 2030 Agenda lies in the ability to mobilize resources, she added that official development assistance (ODA) plays an important role, urging Member States to abide by their commitments.
LUIS LAM (Guatemala), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Like‑minded Group of Supporters of Middle‑Income Countries, said herculean efforts must be deployed to mobilize the four pillars of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Many challenges transcend national boundaries, including climate change, trade and migration. He said the United Nations development system must be restructured to better support developing countries, and country team functioning and resident coordinators must also be enhanced. He said the concept of sustaining peace will act as a propellant in achieving results.
ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED (Maldives) said that access to financing for development remains a significant concern for his country in achieving development goals. Four years on from the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which was designed to finance the transformative 2030 Agenda, small island developing States continue to struggle to finance basic infrastructure needs without paying excessive interest rates on some of those borrowings. In the Maldives, managing the debt of over 70 per cent of its GDP is extremely challenging, although promising in the face of economic and social progress. Effective management of fiscal and public debt is a priority, given the tightening global financial arena. The Government is committed to undertaking significant tax reforms and fighting corruption to minimize public debt.
TOSHIYA HOSHINO (Japan) said his Government’s first priority is health. Having organized the Group of Friends of Universal Coverage, his country believes all people should have access to essential health services. He also stated hazard risk reduction is an overarching means for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as disasters impede progress. As climate change has manifested more rapidly than expected, his country stands on the front lines of global decarbonization through measures including innovation and accelerating a virtuous cycle of environment and growth. He said financing for development and innovation are indispensable to reaching the Goals, and also stressed the importance of science, technology and innovation in the sustainable development agenda.
PHILIP GOUGH (Brazil) stressed that ODA remains the main channel of development cooperation, urging Member States to meet their commitments in full. He also stressed the importance of private partners in helping implement and finance development, noting that the Second Committee will consider for the first time a resolution on investment needed to finance the Sustainable Development Goals, which Brazil will facilitate. His country will also support Committee efforts to combat illicit financial flows, which must be confronted through cooperation between source, transit and destination countries. He added that enhanced productive capacity in developing countries is also essential for meeting development goals. Massive agricultural subsidies in developed countries must be curbed, which not only jeopardize the environment and cause land degradation, but also block the development of robust agricultural sectors in the developing world.
XOLISA M. MABHONGO (South Africa) noted significant shortfalls despite gains in achieving the Goals. “We are running out of time in meeting this deadline”, he said. He noted the need for unprecedented funding of $2.5 trillion in developing countries to realize the 2030 Agenda. However, he noted all development is threatened if the planet is irreversibly compromised by climate change. He said multilateralism and a rules‑based system represent the best path to an equitable world order. He also stressed the importance of rules‑based international trade under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO), prioritizing Africa’s interests in particular, and the central roles of South‑South, triangular and North‑South cooperation.
MARIA THEOFILI (Greece) said the urgent need to address human‑induced climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the time, affecting the present and future as well as the past, history and heritage. Extreme weather events and adverse climate conditions have the potential to significantly damage cultural and natural heritage sites as well as to disrupt century‑old ways of life and intangible cultural heritage. Turning to social areas, she said poverty eradication, addressing inequalities and providing decent work conditions are central but can only be achieved by a shift towards a more inclusive model of development. The international community must promote inclusive and equitable growth, which creates jobs, reduces inequalities and gender‑based discrimination and supports inclusion for immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable groups without harming the environment.
GEBEYEHU GANGA (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, said with the clock ticking, the international community must urgently accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Developed States should redouble their commitment to providing financial, technology and capacity‑building for developing countries. He noted Ethiopia is expected to be among the world’s fastest growing countries in 2019 but still faces challenges. His Government has made job creation for youth the epicentre of its reform programme and is increasing the manufacturing sector to attract increased domestic and foreign direct investment (FDI). Ethiopia is also allocating over 60 per cent of the national budget to pro‑poor sectors, as poverty reduction is one of its top priorities. On climate change, his Government implemented “40 Trees Per Head for New Ethiopia”, which resulted in 4 billion trees being planted within 18 months, including over 350 million in a single day.
SYED M. HASRIN TENGKU (Malaysia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN), said his country has taken comprehensive measures to ensure its economic development comes with no undue sacrifice of its natural resources. By implementing programmes for poverty eradication, forest management and protection of the country’s rich biodiversity, it has worked to ensure that economic development and environmental conservation go hand in hand. Unfortunately, despite Malaysia’ efforts as one of the world’s most biodiverse nations, it is being unfairly accused off putting the need for development before that of its forests. Noting that Malaysia’s palm oil industry has been developed sustainably and responsibly, he said the country has taken steps to improve production methods in ensuring that its production is certified sustainable by 2020. This certification wholly and clearly addresses global concerns on the sustainable production of palm oil, including that of biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions and destruction of wildlife habitats. Urging all Member States to seriously address climate change, he said all nations must fulfil their pledges to reduce carbon emission, plant more trees and conserve forests, reuse and recycle.
LAZARUS O. AMAYO (Kenya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted climate change is an existential threat to future generations and sustainable development. He said it costs Kenya approximately 3 per cent of GDP annually, has impoverished millions and is quickly reversing gains against hunger. He stated the vast majority of developing country populations continue to be left behind. He noted domestic resource mobilization remains Kenya’s main source of income to finance the Goals, representing 70 per cent of its resource base. As an agriculture‑based economy, he said his Government is concerned with the continued rise in world hunger. Agriculture accounts for 26 per cent of Kenya’s GDP. He noted that harnessing science, technology and innovation are crucial to national development agendas and bridging the digital divide through technology transfer. In that regard, information and communications technology (ICT) remain integral to Kenya’s development strategy.
ALEJANDRA GONZALEZ (Mexico) said the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda must guide and shape the Second Committee’s work. Many people still live in poverty or are suffering from inequity and exclusion. The international community must develop a multidimensional focus on its attempts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Development activities must be planned appropriately and resources for those in most need of them optimized. Mexico is working with several regional Governments on a comprehensive development plan to tackle the root causes of migration. Adding that collective endeavours mentioned in the Paris Agreement are insufficient, she said the fight against climate change needs new momentum.
PAUL EMPOLE (Democratic Republic of the Congo), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and least developed countries, said despite commitments at the highest level, almost 1 billion go hungry worldwide and 118 million live in extreme poverty. With 120 million hectares of arable land, and also 53 per cent of Africa’s freshwater reserves, his country can play a key role as a vector for the continent’s development, unleashing its agricultural potential. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a vast emergency community development programme, multisectoral and integrated, to combat inequality and provide the population with services especially through rural hydroelectric power. However, his Government is also addressing the inefficiencies in its archaic agricultural sector. He stated that his country is reducing CO2 emissions and working to mitigate climate change, recognizing its responsibility as the country with the world’s second largest forest, at least 10 per cent of the world’s forest cover and 47 per cent of that in Africa. His Government is dedicated to stabilizing it at 63 per cent of its national territory and reducing emissions by 17 per cent between 2020 and 2030.
MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan), describing climate change as one of the greatest challenges of the times, said its unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden developing countries. Its negative impact on quantity and quality of fresh water resources becomes ever more apparent. Over the past decades, Tajikistan registered a significant decrease in the area of glaciers, which are of vital importance for all of Central Asia. He stressed the need to strengthen cooperation among countries in addressing the consequences of natural hazards through development of preventive measures and establishment of relevant funds for rendering assistance to countries in need. It is also essential to enhance the monitoring of glaciers, snow and other water sources and take measures to protect them for future generations.
MARTHA A. POBEE (Ghana), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said developing countries strive to raise their populations out of poverty amid continued challenges and multiple impactful mega‑trends including climate change, affecting food security and water availability. Collective efforts and innovative partnerships between Governments, business and the financial sector must work together to meet the investment requirement of $5 to $7 trillion for achieving the Goals. As a corollary, she stressed the importance of fighting illicit financial flows from developing countries. She said a rules‑based multilateral trading system to help developing countries broaden their export base and build their economies, and technology transfer must be enhanced as well. She noted financial inclusion is the key to poverty reduction and sustainable development in the most deprived communities and sectors of society.
ENIAN LAMCE (Albania) emphasized his Government’s focus on education, which is of paramount importance for future generations. Some 25 public and private universities and faculties in Albania signed an agreement committing to the Sustainable Development Goals and the country’s Civil Society Organizations Council approved a public statement on implementing and monitoring of the Goals. Regarding women’s empowerment and gender equality, Albania has marked significant progress, ensuring women’s full and effective participation in leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
RAZIYE KOCYIGIT GRBA (Turkey) said the United Nations has taken a bold and decisive step towards poverty eradication by introducing a major reform of its development system. Affirming Turkey’s support for those efforts, including the new resident coordinator system, she said the concept of sustainable development has been enshrined in her country’s policies since 1996. Turkey — with a young population — has made progress in all three dimensions of sustainable development and taken steps towards eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and protecting vulnerable groups. Among other things, it achieved progress in providing better quality, broader and more accessible public services, particularly education and health care. Policies are also in place to reduce interregional infrastructure disparities and promote inclusive access to technology across the country. Noting that Turkey is one of the countries most affected by climate change to date, she said her delegation along with Kenya is co‑leading efforts to recognize and strengthen the role of cities in global adaptation and mitigation efforts. The Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries — aimed at helping countries achieve the 2030 Agenda — also opened in Turkey in June.
LILIANA OROPEZA (Bolivia) said her country has tripled its GDP in little more than a decade. In so doing, it has been able to reduce extreme poverty by 23 per cent, which has significantly decreased inequality as well. The higher GDP has also allowed Bolivia to raise the national minimum wage, increase access to drinking water, reduce infant mortality and increase life expectancy. Adding that climate change is one of most significant crises in today’s world, she emphasized that the world must take action to combat it now through serious, tangible and ambitious goals.
SALOME SUPATASHVILI (Georgia) recalled that her country has witnessed significant progress putting its economy on a sustainable development path in recent years. Implementing structural reforms supporting economic liberalization, trade facilitation, access to finance and an attractive business climate have resulted in tangible improvements for Georgia’s competitiveness. As such, Georgia strives to align its national policies with the Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with a national council coordinating efforts across sectors. Voluntary national reviews have proved valuable in creating systems needed for Goals implementation. In terms of climate change, Georgia is committed to reducing its adverse effects and is taking concrete actions. Currently, the Government is updating its nationally determined contribution in parallel with elaborating the Climate Action Plan 2021‑2030. “Georgia is committed to a holistic approach to climate governance and to integrating climate awareness in all public sectors,” she emphasized.
ION I. JINGA (Romania) said it is crucial that developed and developing countries take concrete action to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The overall traditional funding continues to be lower than some years ago due to the global economic and trade slowdown. Moreover, natural hazards have had a heavy impact on small, vulnerable and highly indebted economies. Romania is focused on fighting poverty by mobilizing both private and public funds. It remains committed to the Paris Agreement and to curbing climate change and pollution. “Our objective is to reach, by 2050, a society in which economic, social and environmental policies are interconnected and designed to ensure sustainable development, high living standards and quality of environment,” he said. Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society requires a continuous adaptation of policies, resources and taking care of all individuals and communities, starting with the most vulnerable — women, children, elderly, young people and persons with disabilities. Romania is also focused on improving access to education and health care and remains dedicated to partnering with the private sector, local communities and the transport, agriculture and commerce sectors.
ABDOULAYE BARRO (Senegal), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the least developed countries, said his Government continues to implement the 2030 Agenda in connection with its own five‑year plan covering manifold sectors. He noted the public policy of social inclusion covering such initiatives as providing equipment for universal health coverage for rural women. He stressed the importance of ensuring tangible results in combating climate change, with Senegal aiming to reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. That policy is represented in Senegal’s energy sector which uses 30 per cent renewable sources. He noted Senegal will host the next water summit in 2021.
ARMAN ISSETOV (Kazakhstan) said it fully recognizes that all countries in special situations, such as least developed, landlocked developing and small island developing States, face many common obstacles, which make reaching sustainable development targets a greater uphill task. Such challenges as climate change, commodity dependency and lack of economic diversification, data limitations, debt sustainability and ICT serve to unite the three groups of countries for mutual support and solidarity. These issues are further related to the adverse effects of a global economic crisis, thereby preventing equal participation in the global economy and resulting in small scales of economy with high trade costs.
JEAN-LAURENT IMBERT (Monaco) addressed climate change, welcoming the work of the nature‑based solutions coalition and citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which recently presented a report calling for resolute action and exposing the risks of tardiness. Monaco aims to reduce emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and plans to replenish the Green Climate Fund by €3 million by 2022. Stating that the Second Committee must set the standard in achieving the 2030 Agenda, he noted a growing call for votes on resolutions. With young people assembling worldwide clamouring for results, it is Member States’ duty to overcome their divisions.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) stressed the importance of human capital in the area of development, which should ensure the participation of women and youth. He also emphasized that the needs of people in conflict areas should be addressed in their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. He added that his country is committed to its partnership with the United Nations development system, as it has embarked on the next stage of cooperation with a new generation of country teams. Armenia is working to ensure the compatibility and coherence of its national priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on the strong impact of innovation in advancing the country’s “smart” development.
SHEYAM EL-GARF (Egypt), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said her Government is facing the challenges of climate change and demographic growth. Noting the Sahel and Egypt face water issues, which determines the very existence of humankind, she said access to water is a human right. She called on the international community to protect transboundary water courses and the rights of all States sharing the same basin. Otherwise, there will be ramifications for international peace and security. She noted her Government works to promote economic integration objectives and foster inter‑African trade. She stated reaching the sustainable development agenda requires genuine effort, and the Committee provides great leverage therein. She expressed hope that all Member States will engage in constructive negotiations with an open mind, with high ambitions for solutions to common challenges. Development is not just a human right but a sine qua non in promoting progress.
ABDULLAH AL-SHARRAH (Kuwait), aligning himself with the Group of 77, noted the need for a new resident coordinator system. He cited the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda according to the national priorities of every country. Citing the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, he said all States must remain acutely aware of the importance of working shoulder to shoulder for mutually beneficial results. Although it is a high‑income State, Kuwait understands the importance of forging partnerships in both the South and North. To that end, his Government has provided assistance to 107 countries to help them achieve 2030 Agenda and calls for developed countries to fulfil their commitments to provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income in ODA.
COLLEN V. KELAPILE (Botswana) said his country believes that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the world today. For many countries, its adverse impacts severely undermine the ability to achieve sustainable development. Like several other countries in its region, Botswana has declared 2019 as a drought year. Such climate change‑related impacts manifest themselves through a significant decline in agricultural production and associated increased food insecurity due to acute water shortages. As part of its response, the Government has taken steps to address the challenges by recently developing a climate policy and strategy and further committed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 15 per cent by 2030. However, the country cannot succeed without the assistance of partnerships and needed capacity‑building. Both facilitation of transfer of technology, including through South‑South and triangular cooperation, as well as support with climate finance are key to Botswana’s success.
MATIAS PAOLINO (Uruguay), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said his Government believes environmental degradation threatens the world’s very survival, and it is therefore crucial to make further progress under the Paris Agreement. In addition, he said the United Nations must work under the principle of universality, so development is shared by all States. The international community must analyse the financial situation of States excluded from ODA due to biased categorization, as has affected Uruguay, which has been categorized among middle‑income countries. He said his country’s economy is in transition and will continue to evaluate its financing requirements beyond per capita measurements.
PEDRO B. ANGELERI (Venezuela), stressing the importance of multilateralism, said nations must work hand in hand if the international community wishes to remain on target for the 2030 Agenda and ensure economic growth. In Venezuela, the Sustainable Development Goals are strongly linked to national policies, programmes and projects. He said his country rejects the enactment of unilateral coercive measures, especially in multilateral trading spheres, as they breach the Charter of the United Nations and international law, while also stymying full achievement of economic development. Furthermore, they hinder normal political, economic and social development, which denies Venezuelan nationals from enjoying their human rights, having the same effects as a war against men, women and children. Concluding, he stressed the need to usher in a fair, multilateral trading system, with undifferentiated treatment among nations.
JOSÉ LUIS FIALHO ROCHA (Cabo Verde), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Alliance of Small Island States, said the financing issue is how to fill the gap of $2.5 trillion required for full implementation of the Goals. As a middle‑income country, he said his State and others in that category are deprived of concessional financing and deserve full recognition and inclusion under the United Nations system, with access to ODA and other innovative financing. He urged partners to explore innovative forms of debt relief. He said the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action Pathway (Samoa Pathway) is falling short of its goals, and there must be action to help small island developing States access more financing and be more resilient to external shocks and overcome the constraints upon them. He said he remains confident in ability of the Committee to leverage the Samoa Pathway while helping countries like his reach their full development.
ALLASANE CONTE (Guinea), noting that all recently released studies on implementation of the 2030 Agenda show that it is taking place at a slow pace, stressed that “time is ticking”. There is an urgent need to act quickly on the elimination of poverty and hunger and to combat climate change. He noted that since 1950, climate change has been a consequence of man‑made activity. To reverse this trend, the international community must step up implementation of the 2030 Agenda, ensuring that no one is left behind. The Government of Guinea has a 2016‑2020 development plan to facilitate sustained growth and generate both wealth and employment, which reflects regional plans.
OMAR ANNAKOU (Libya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said a number of challenges including weak economic growth and youth unemployment prevent achievement of sustainable development. Countries emerging from or in the grip of conflict, such as his, must be prioritized. He called for the international community to help his Government to establish stability throughout the country and counter activities by some States that fuel the internal conflict, breaching Security Council resolutions. There can be no security without development and vice versa. He said Libya cannot secure its borders, leading to illicit migration and organized crime, especially given its status as a transit country. He called upon neighbouring States to secure their own borders and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to investigate financing of groups that exploit youth and engage in human trafficking. He stated $100 billion leaves Africa every year, and some Member States refuse to allow for transfer of those funds, calling for international mechanisms to counter money laundering.
FIRAS AL-HAMMADANY (Iraq), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said his country has ushered in structural reforms that go hand in hand with internationally agreed goals. He stressed that the international community must form partnerships with developing countries if those nations are to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Further, all countries must meet their commitments with respect to ODA, which is vitally needed for work on infrastructure that has been damaged by terrorism and conflict. Iraq is facing significant challenges due to terrorism, which impacts and erodes economic activity and has adverse effects on all facets of development. Terrorism greatly hinders implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as funds that could go to development are allocated to the effects of terrorism.
LUIS UGARELLI (Peru), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said his Government has incorporated the Goals into its national development plans. Peru is committed to a multilateral trade system based on rules and represented and embodied by the World Trade Organization (WTO). His Government prioritizes the need to ensure all are less vulnerable to climate change. As one of the 10 mega‑diverse countries of world, Peru has witnessed a disproportionate level of damage due to climate change, including in the Amazon region. His country is particularly vulnerable to that damage and he therefore called upon Member States to help strengthen the disaster risk reduction framework.
MILENKO ESTEBAN SKOKNIC TAPIA (Chile), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Like‑minded Group of Supporters of Middle‑Income Countries, said the international community must step up its efforts to achieve more ambitious results in ensuring sustainable development. Chile has been making various efforts to combat climate change, including cutting down its carbon emissions and boosting forestation. Success in this area will depend on the unity and cooperation of all, as climate action must be taken at the global level. He noted that the 2030 Agenda is transformative and cannot be realized without international cooperation. He also stressed the importance of an international rules‑based trading system, which would benefit all without preferential treatment.
ESSOHANAM PETCHEZI (Togo), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed that 780 million people live beneath the poverty threshold, including those living in extreme poverty, most without access to drinking water and decent work. He said national development gains remain tenuous and prospects are disheartening, affected by isolationism, trade wars and protectionism. He cited the $2.5 trillion necessary to achieve the Goals, some of which depends on innovative international partnerships. He also noted the risks of decreasing ODA and increasing debt in developing countries that shoulder the effects of climate change. It is likewise crucial to address and counter tax evasion, which undermines his continent’s development efforts.
ESTEBAN CADENA DUARTE (Ecuador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Like‑minded Group of Supporters of Middle‑Income Countries, pointed to numerous opportunities and challenges at the global level, stressing that multilateralism is crucial in tackling them. Adding that Earth is a common home, he said the international community must work together in dealing with environmental issues like biodiversity, plastic pollution and carbon emissions. It must make full use of the well of culture and human talent at the world’s disposal. In addition, the international community must resolve the problems of financing and creating enabling environments in reaching globally agreed goals. An attempt must also be made to broaden global economic governance and develop responsible economic and fiscal policies in an integration‑based approach.
MAY MUFEEZ (Bahrain) said her country takes pride in its rich sustainable development experience, in line with a Constitution that guarantees basic services to all citizens. Bahrain has signed a strategic partnership agreement with United Nations agencies and allocates 32 per cent of its budget for education and social security. Her Government has included 78 per cent of the Goals in its action plan. She noted Bahrain has completely eradicated illiteracy and bridged the gender gap. Prioritizing housing, her Government is building decent housing for more than 36,000 low‑income households and has partnered with UNDP to construct five sustainable cities under strict heating and insulation standards.
MICHAEL TIERNEY (Ireland) stressed the importance of achieving peace and prosperity without further destruction of the natural environment. The international community must step up its efforts, using the Second Committee to build momentum in reaching development goals. He noted the particular challenges of small island developing States, least developed countries and landlocked developing countries, adding that the Committee must work towards a successful least developed country summit in 2020. Emphasizing also that climate change is already destroying the ecosystem and threatening oceans, the water supply and food security, he said the work of the Committee is integral to achieving sustainable development. As such, it must ensure all voices are heard to produce the best global outcomes for all.
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 global peace and prosperity will only be possible when millions of people come out of poverty. National ownership and leadership are essential for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, but a robust international partnership is critical for success, especially for countries in special situations on the bottom rung of the development ladder. “Globalization has worked for a few countries, but not for all,” he said, citing the absence of inclusion, equity and social justice. Warning that the benefits of technological breakthroughs risk being spread unevenly, he called for a multilateral dialogue to establish normative frameworks on digital cooperation. He went on to say that Nepal, a country of snow‑capped mountains, is a climate change hotspot, with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development forecasting that that one‑third of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region will melt away for the end of the century even if global warming is kept to 1.5°C. A robust response is required, he said, appealing for more accessible climate finance for the neediest countries.
WILLY LOUIS (Haiti), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Alliance of Small Island States, noted 55 per cent of the global population have no social protection and 736 million lived in extreme poverty worldwide in 2015. He further observed that 821 million suffered malnutrition in 2017, and two‑thirds of extremely poor workers are in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, 750 million people are still illiterate, two‑thirds of them women. He stressed that the international community must adopt a holistic approach to sustainable development, as the less‑developed countries shoulder the effects of climate change. He called upon the Second Committee to therefore play a crucial role in mobilizing sufficient resources to achieve the Goals and leave no one behind.
HMWAY HMWAY KHYNE (Myanmar), associating herself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the outlook for the global economy is far from being satisfactory and, given the current pace, hopes for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals remain elusive. Collaborative partnerships must be forced to address deep structural impediments to economic growth in least developed countries alongside the traditional challenges of underdevelopment and low levels of human development. She noted the absence of substantial increases in ODA and called on members of WTO to fully implement its least‑developed-country specific provisions. Peace and national reconciliation are the top priority for Myanmar, where the Government is undertaking reforms to remove economic distortions. Turning to climate change, she emphasized that Myanmar is among the world’s most disaster‑prone countries, with recent torrential rains triggering landslides and flash flooding in several parts of the country. She underscored its commitment to the Paris Agreement, adding that today’s climate problems require international cooperation within a solid framework.
KAOUTHAT CHELBI (Tunisia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said international cooperation must be bolstered, along with multilateralism and collective solidarity in achieving the Goals. Her Government is still battling poverty in landlocked regions and remote areas and has enacted a law on social equality to benefit the marginalized. She noted Tunisia was among the first States to sign and ratify Paris Agreement. Her Government treats human development as a priority, focusing on areas including education for both girls and boys and access to modern digital technology. She said development gains to date are well and good, but ODA must be stepped up to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Also, middle‑income countries must be given priority along with those in a transitional phase.
RODRIGO A. CARAZO (Costa Rica), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Like‑minded Group of Supporters of Middle‑Income Countries, said not all human beings enjoy the same opportunities and inclusive sustainable development. His Government believes climate action must go hand in hand with preserving ecosystems, and seeks to create a modern, green, emission‑free economy that can meet the opportunities of the digital age while making sustainable use of its natural resources. He said purely macroeconomic indicators are not sufficient to analyse or account for an array of challenges affecting less‑developed countries in their quest for sustainable development. The fourth industrial revolution and efforts to decarbonize the economy require rethinking how those systems function. He noted the unbridled arms race is an example of diversion of valuable resources.
IVA JEMUOVIC (Serbia) said her country has presented it first voluntary national review on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals during the 2019 High‑level Political Forum. This vision of a sustainable future, shared by children and youth, makes up the report’s central part, because that segment of today will be the decision makers in 2030. Local communities are also highlighted in the report as they will be the places where most decisions are made. Serbia needs to ensure that everyone is given equal opportunities to develop full personal and professional potential. To address climate change, Serbia has ratified the Paris Agreement and was among the first countries to submit its intended nationally determined contributions committing to a 9.8 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions until 2030, compared to 1990. Her country is also preparing a long‑term strategy and action plan to address climate change, in cooperation with the European Union. Serbia has begun a process of comprehensive economic reforms and is ready to join all partners, including organizations and agencies of the United Nations system, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, to develop the best solutions to deal with issues facing the region and the international community.
SIDDHARTH MALIK (India) said that his country is on the right trajectory to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and implement the 2030 Agenda. His country volunteered a contribution to the special purpose trust fund for the new resident coordinator system. Under India’s National Mission on Financial Inclusion, more than 370 million bank accounts have been opened, a record number. In addition, the Clean India Mission has built more than 110 million toilets in just five years, he said. The country plans to become a leader in renewable energy and has introduced several new initiatives for clean, green energy. He added that it has increased the total area that would be restored from its land degradation status from the earlier target of 21 million hectares to 26 million hectares between now and 2030. It has the cheapest rates of data services in the world and is the world’s third largest start up nation. India also established the India UN Development Fund to work with fellow developing countries by providing support to projects that aim to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In approximately two years, the Fund has been able to develop 38 projects in 36 partnering countries.
EIMAN ALNAQBI (United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the human value of development must be strengthened. The United Arab Emirates, which will host Expo 2020, plays a strategic role as one of the main global donors for development, channelling $3.8 billion into projects in several countries in 2018. She added that her country also contributes to promoting digital technology as a tool for implementing the 2030 Agenda. With climate change becoming a major threat, the international community must roll up its sleeves and get to work to prepare for climate phenomena, she said.
BAKHTIYOR IBRAGIMOV (Uzbekistan) said that during the current session, Member States from Central Asia will table a draft resolution in the Committee aimed at facilitating the region’s unique tourism potential. Tourism has the potential to contribute to all the Goals, particularly Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth and Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production. Sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, is a cross‑cutting activity that can help reduce poverty, advance economic growth and empower women, who make up 70 per cent of the workforce in the tourism sector, he said.
SEBASTIANA BARROS (Timor-Leste), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States, said climate‑proofing investments and the promotion of climate adaptation are crucial for her country. The goal is for 50 per cent of domestically‑produced energy to come from solar power, natural gas and other sustainable sources by 2030. However, global action is needed to combat the impact of climate change of small island developing States, particularly to offset their rising debt burden. Debt sustainability should be a shared responsibility, she said, calling on the international community to work towards a consensus on responsible lending and borrowing and to consider such innovations as debt for climate swaps.
MEZANG AKAMBA (Cameroon), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, recalled the importance of revitalizing the global partnership, especially with those who are most vulnerable. He stated the need for strategic partnerships for development financing. His Government stresses the need to counter illicit financial flows and restore funds to the countries of origin. It is important to reinforce local Governments and institutions, especially involving women, youth and the marginalized. Aligning with the goals of Vision 2035, the 2030 Agenda and Africa 2062, he expressed the desire to live in a democratic and united country in all its diversity. His Government is addressing education and inequality, having established a programme of social networks for the marginalized and increased State employee salaries. He stated the major priority of countering Boko Haram and the ravages of the terror group. Pointing to the crises in north‑western and south‑western Cameroon, with separatist groups striving to destabilize the country, he said the Government has exercised restraint and aims for broad participation in by all strata of society in restabilizing the regions.
WILLIAM HERRERA (El Salvador), aligning himself with the Group of 77, noted that access to concessional financing decreases as countries’ incomes increase, while they are unable to access sufficient financing from other sources. He encouraged multilateral development banks to advance progressive policies. Calling for transparent indicators to measure development beyond per capita income, he said those new indicators must acknowledge poverty in all its forms, as well as structural shortcomings. He noted the importance of South‑South and triangular cooperation, which must be strengthened. The global trade system must be rules‑based and equitable, and ensure economies complement each other, with public‑private partnerships. As Central America is acutely vulnerable to natural and human‑caused disasters, it is important to strengthen measures to mitigate the effects of climate change under the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.
FREDERICK HANSEN, observer for the Holy See, said that his delegation welcomes the extensive scope of issues discussed in the Second Committee and the growing attention given to sustainable, equitable and integral development. He cited Pope Francis’s statement that a “reductive vision of the human person opens the way to the growth of injustice, social inequality and corruption”. He also said that to advance the work of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, each of the six Main Committees must remain focused on its respective discussions and draft resolutions. Duplicating topics in various Committees impedes progress. The specific considerations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the meaning of ‘rights’, are best left to the discussions in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues).
MARCO TOSCANO-RIVALTA, United Nations Office for Disaster Relief Reduction, said the first four years of implementation of the Sendai Framework demonstrated that investing in disaster risk reduction pays off. However, risk‑informed policies and investments remain the exception and not the rule. He stressed the need for policy and programme coherence between such areas as disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. Any trade‑offs between the Goals must be disaster‑risk informed, he said, adding that enhanced international cooperation and solidarity are not only critical, but also the only way forward.
JAMIL AHMAD, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the level and intensity of global environmental challenges remain daunting. The health of the planet is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate with serious consequences for the poorest people and regions. In such a context, a shift to nature‑based solutions will be crucial. “Time is short, but we have time to act,” he said, describing the 2030 Agenda as an effective framework that can be achieved through partnership. He went on to say that collaboration within the United Nations system on environmental questions can be improved.