Geopolitical Tensions, Food and Energy Insecurity Putting Sustainable Development Goals at Risk for Most Vulnerable States, Delegates in Second Committee Stress
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) tackled the issue of sustainable development today, with Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly, setting the tone by calling for reversing the trend of increasing inequalities and citing a massive financing gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Noting that $4.3 trillion is needed per year to meet the Goals, he encouraged discussions by the Committee on developing strategies that will assist economies to recover sustainably. Pointing to the need to develop methodology of measuring sustainability transformation, he said that the work under way by the high-level panel on the multidimensional vulnerability index is a step in the right direction to achieving the “Beyond GDP [gross domestic product]” initiative.
Turning to specific points, he stated that COVID‑19 was “a postcard from the future”, reminding the international community of the need to be prepared for future pandemics by recognizing that vaccines are the only reliable defence. The organ must strengthen its commitment to curtailing climate change through renewable and sustainable efforts, he continued, recalling the importance of looking at the linkages between climate change and water. Stating that innovation through “partnering high-tech with traditional knowledge” is crucial, he pressed the Committee to work to close the digital divide, which has become a new face of inequality.
Juwang Zhu, Officer-in-Charge of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented seven reports of the Secretary-General relating to sustainable development.
The report titled “Towards the achievement of sustainable development: implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through sustainable consumption and production, building on Agenda 21” (document A/77/210) presents an update on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, taking into account the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic and the recovery. It offers examples of the United Nations development system’s support for the establishment of sustainable production and consumption patterns.
The report titled “Midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018–2028” (document A/77/249) provides an overview of progress registered to achieve Goal 6 to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all.
The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, underlined the difficulties in implementing most of the Sustainable Development Goals due to the severe economic shocks caused by the pandemic, market instability and energy and food insecurity. He estimated the shortfall in financing for development at $5 trillion, with developing countries suffering the most in this regard, even though they are disproportionately hit by the deleterious effects of climate change.
Echoing those sentiments, the representative of Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, called for building resilience and leveraging it to create employment. Citing the African Continental Free Trade Area, he noted it will serve to reduce dependence on the other countries. He called for “insurance systems” to protect against future shocks, also addressing the issue of climate change, the effects of which will hamper poverty reduction efforts if nothing is done.
The representative of the Dominican Republic, speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System, pointed to the hurricanes hitting Central America and reiterated his solidarity for the well-being of all peoples in the face of multiple and interrelated crises, including climate change, the pandemic and geopolitical tensions. The twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties will mark a new stage for the world’s efforts in addressing climate change, particularly the $100 billion climate finance commitment and the “loss and damage” funding mechanism.
The representative of Botswana, speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, expressed deep concern that the proportion of the population living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day had reached about 25 per cent for the period 2015-2020, and that it has undoubtedly increased with the pandemic. In addition, food insecurity is worsening, especially since many of those States are net food importers and are also among the countries most severely affected by climate change.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Philippines, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed that the bloc’s Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda complement each other with shared principles. “Efforts to recover from the COVID‑19 pandemic should not be at the expense of the environment,” he added. He shared that ASEAN is committed to enhancing cooperation with the United Nations in five key areas — eradicating poverty, improving infrastructure and enhancing connectivity, promoting sustainable consumption and production, strengthening suitable management of natural resources, and building resilience.
Reports were also presented or discussed by the Head of the Investment Research Branch and Officer-in-Charge of the Enterprise Branch of the Investment and Enterprise Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Regional Adviser for Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Principal Director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity; Director of the New York Office, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and the Director of the Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Also speaking were the representatives of Antigua and Barbuda (also for the Alliance of Small Island States), Malawi (also for the Group of Least Developed Countries, Venezuela (also for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter), Bahamas (also for the Caribbean Community), Qatar, Tajikistan, Mexico, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Armenia, Eritrea, El Salvador, Namibia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Peru, China, Lebanon, Ecuador, Belarus, Viet Nam, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Brunei Darussalam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Republic of Moldova, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Egypt, Mozambique, Honduras, Senegal, Colombia, Zambia and Timor-Leste.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 12 October.
Csaba Kőrösi, President of the General Assembly, stressing that the solutions provided by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) should be concrete and transformative in nature, also urged it to do it in a way that is easily understandable to the broader public. Highlighting that such answers should be based on the best information scientists can provide, he pointed out that they must also be based on solidarity.
Turning to specific points, he stated that COVID-19 was “a postcard from the future”, reminding the international community of the need to be prepared for future pandemics by recognizing that vaccines are the only reliable defence. The body must strengthen its commitment to curtailing climate change through renewable and sustainable efforts, he continued, recalling the importance of looking at the linkages between climate change and water. He added that the global water information system that has been proposed by the Water and Climate Leaders in March will save lives, make investment more efficient and orient better the world’s development decisions.
Stating that innovation through “partnering high-tech with traditional knowledge” is crucial, he pressed the Committee to work to close the digital divide, which has become a new face of inequality. Noting that $4.3 trillion is needed per year to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, he encouraged discussions by the Committee on developing strategies that will assist economies to recover sustainably. Finally, pointing to the need to develop methodology of measuring sustainability transformation, he said that the work under way by the high-level panel on the multidimensional vulnerability index is a step in the right direction to achieving the “Beyond GDP [gross domestic product]” initiative.
Introduction of Reports
JUWANG ZHU, Officer-in-Charge of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, presented seven reports of the Secretary-General relating to sustainable development.
The report titled “Towards the achievement of sustainable development: implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through sustainable consumption and production, building on Agenda 21” (document A/77/210) presents an update on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, taking into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery. It offers examples of the United Nations development system’s support for the establishment of sustainable production and consumption patterns.
The report indicates that solving the triple environmental crisis will require a major structural transformation of the ways of life, work, production and consumption. Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production requires reducing raw material consumption and food waste globally, as well as streamlining inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that will make it possible to progress in the mitigation of climate change and the adaptation to this phenomenon.
The report titled “Midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018–2028” (document A/77/249) provides an overview of progress registered to achieve Goal 6 to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all.
The report titled “Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States” (document A/77/218) analyses for the first time progress in implementation under the monitoring and evaluation of the Samoa Pathway.
The report on “Sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations” (document A/77/146) highlights the range of activities implemented at national and regional levels, and in particular the measures taken for the diversification of economies.
The report on “Harmony with Nature” (document A/77/244) recognizes the advances made in Earth jurisprudence, including through the rights of nature and ecological economics, and the joint efforts of Member States to create a new narrative for a regenerative world in which human rights go hand in hand with the rights of nature.
The report “Ensuring access to reliable, sustainable and modern energy services for all at affordable cost” (document A/77/211) provides an overview of the progress made towards achieving Goal 7 on clean energy at an affordable cost. It also presents an update of the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024).
Finally, the report on “Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions” (document A/77/217) points out that mountain ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climate change, extreme weather events, deforestation, soil degradation, pollution and natural hazards, and that recovery is slow when crises occur. The report calls for urgent action for inclusive, resilient and sustainable development of mountain regions.
RICHARD BOLWIJN, Head of the Investment Research Branch and Officer-in-Charge of the Enterprise Branch of the Investment and Enterprise Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), presented the Report of the Secretary-General on Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Development (document A/77/254). While noting that micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of many economies and provide opportunities towards delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he stated that entrepreneurs and micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises have faced a myriad of challenges such as climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, food, fuel and finance. He added that those enterprises are less resilient, have fewer reserves and less access to finance, and Government support programmes are often not specifically targeted at them.
Due to the crises, he pointed out, there are now more “entrepreneurs by necessity”, as opposed to “opportunity entrepreneurs” who pursue innovative business opportunities. In this regard he stressed the need to differentiate support policies between them. In noting that there have been positive changes to entrepreneurship due to the pandemic, he shared that an enormous amount of companies have shifted to the use of digital tools or run their businesses online. Governments and international organizations, including the United Nations system, have also provided support programmes towards such entrepreneurs, he added.
Turning to the report’s recommendations, he highlighted that while there are multiple strategies to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, support policies need to be coherent and “focus on the 90 per cent”. “We need to realize that not all entrepreneurs are the innovative, R&D [research and development] driven, high-tech and digital entrepreneurs,” he emphasized. Stressing the need to support digitalization efforts by those enterprises, he highlighted the importance of digitalizing Government services for businesses and innovators. Finally, he pointed to the importance of designing entrepreneurship development programmes for the vulnerable, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
MOISES VENANCIO, Regional Adviser for Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), spoke on the report on General Assembly resolution 76/199, regarding the 15 July 2006 environmental disaster where 15,000 tons of fuel oil contaminated 150 kilometres of coastline in Lebanon and Syria. In paragraph four, the General Assembly in 2014 assessed the damage to Lebanon at $866.4 million. In the absence of new findings, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that it was not able to conduct further studies. In paragraph five, the General Assembly reiterated its request for Israel to take responsibly for damage compensation for affected countries. However, there remained grave concern regarding implementation vis-à-vis reparation and compensation, and Israel has not resumed its responsibly. In paragraph six, the Assembly also reiterated its appreciation for Lebanon and all partners in the initial clean-up and urged to financial and technical support, noting that no further support has been provided since the completion in 2017 of the European Union’s support contract.
In paragraphs seven and eight, the Assembly welcomed the agreement of the Lebanon Recovery Fund to host a restoration trust fund. Despite the Secretary-General’s request, no contributions have been made. In addition, a February 2021 oil spill also endangered marine live, biodiversity and the livelihood of thousands. The report commended the Lebanese Government’s efforts and raised concern regarding the Israeli Government’s lack of implementation. Furthermore, the reports also noted countries’ contributions to the Trust Fund, and the Secretary-General urged parties to intensify their support, given the critical socioeconomic situation in the country.
IBRAHIM THIAW, Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, presented the report on its implementation in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa (document A/77/215). While emphasizing that 40 per cent of the planet’s land is degraded, directly affecting half of humanity and threatening nearly half of the global GDP, he shared that the world has begun to tackle this issue. At the last Conference of the Parties, held in May in Côte d’Ivoire, Heads of State committed to giving heightened priority to the issues of drought and land loss. The Group of 20 (G20) global land restoration initiative aims at reducing land degradation by 50 per cent by 2040, he added.
He stressed that transformative policy frameworks, market signals and initiatives still need to be implemented, building on the increased awareness that land restoration is “an energy and food solution, a climate solution, a nature solution, a solution to boost livelihoods, jobs and welfare”. Also underscoring that women have unequal and limited access to land in the vast majority of countries, he noted that such inequalities are a hinderance to any economic development and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
On the report’s recommendations, he pointed out the need for appropriate legal frameworks for women’s land rights. Sharing that building the world’s resilience to droughts is highlighted as an urgent issue in the report, he also stated that addressing forced migration and displacement driven by desertification and land degradation is essential to protect young people from illicit activities.
MAMI MIZUTORI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, presented the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (document A/77/293). She stated that while progress is being made in the implementation of the Sendai Framework, no country is on track to achieve the Framework’s seven global targets by 2030.
Pointing to each target, she noted that for targets A to D, the number of mortality, persons affected by, economic losses due to, and the amount of critical infrastructure destroyed or damaged by disasters, remain high. For Target E, 125 countries reported on the development of disaster risk reduction strategies, an increase from 55 in 2015. Reports on the implementation of Target F show that development cooperation for disaster risk reduction remains woefully inadequate, she continued. For Target G, early warning systems have increased, with 95 countries reporting their existence.
Turning to the report’s recommendations, she highlighted that that approaches to risk assessment and modelling should include all hazards and risks outlined in the Sendai Framework. For strengthening of mechanisms for multisectoral and interinstitutional coordination, she added, concerted efforts are also needed to integrate disaster risk reduction into legislation and regulations across sectors. Stressing that investment in disaster risk reduction must accelerate considerably to meet the scale of financing needed, she shared that the report called on all countries to strengthen public financing. Pointing out the importance of planning for risk-informed recovery and rehabilitation pre-disaster, she noted that the report also gives guidance to ensure everybody on Earth is covered by early warning systems within the next five years.
DANIELE VIOLETTI, Principal Director of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, presented a note by the Secretary-General titled “Implementation of United Nations environmental conventions” (document A/77/215) presenting the results of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Glasgow, in October and November 2021. The intergovernmental process on the subject having been delayed by a year by the pandemic in 2021, including the Conference in Glasgow, the sense of urgency to act was amplified, particularly with regard to maintaining the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target. The urgency of scaling up action on both mitigation and adaptation has become clear and unequivocal, underpinned by the findings of recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and UNEP. The main outcomes are as follows: the Glasgow Climate Pact, a key decision of the Conference, responds strongly to this sense of urgency by calling for increased ambition in climate action and highlighting the most urgent actions to be taken on key climate-related issues.
The Glasgow Pact calls on parties to accelerate the development, deployment and diffusion of technologies, as well as the adoption of policies to achieve a transition to low-emission energy systems. In particular, it recommends rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean energy generation and energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts to phase out coal-fired power and phase out inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels. It recalls that these actions must be done while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable according to national circumstances and recognizing the need to support a just transition.
On financing, he cited the need to mobilize climate finance, in excess of $100 billion per year, to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. On adaptation, the report recognized the urgency of scaling up action and support: a Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh Biennial Work Programme on global adaptation goals was established. Regarding loss and damage, a “Glasgow Dialogue” has been set up to address and discuss relevant support over a three-year period. He noted the need to quickly, deeply and sustainably reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
DAVID COOPER, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, sharing the report on the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/77/215), stated that the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will resume in December. Recalling that its main task will be to finalize and adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, he pointed out that the framework must be sufficiently strong to reverse the current loss of biodiversity and put it on a path to recovery by 2030 at the latest. It must be accompanied by financial resources needed to ensure its implementation, he added, and with appropriate mechanisms to keep progress under review. He further shared that while the draft Framework has made progress through a number of meetings, it still needs to find an agreement on the scale of action, resource mobilization, capacity-building and technical scientific cooperation as well as review mechanisms.
JAMIL AHMAD, Director of the New York Office, UNEP, introduced the reports of its United Nations Environment Assembly (documents A/77/25 and A/77/25/Add.1). He stated that in light of the restrictions related to the pandemic, Member States decided that the fifth session of the Assembly would take place in a two-step approach. The first was held online in February 2021 and the resumed session was held in person in Nairobi from February to March 2022. The resumed meeting adopted a ministerial declaration and 14 resolutions to strengthen actions for nature and curb pollution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Building on the report, he called on Member States to welcome the decision of the Environment Assembly to convene an intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution with the ambition of completing its work by the end of 2024. While proposing to welcome the decision of the Assembly that a science-policy panel should be established to manage chemicals, waste and prevent pollution, he also called on Member States to reaffirm the need to ensure the sustainability, predictability and stability of UNEP’s funding.
LIFENG LI, Director, Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), introduced the report, “Combating sand and dust storms” (document A/77/216). That report presents the activities and initiatives carried out by United Nations entities, Member States and various stakeholders and highlights the achievements made, during the period under review, in the following four main areas: cross-cutting activities; monitoring, forecasting and early warning; impact mitigation, vulnerability and resilience; and mitigation of causes. The report identifies the risks to human society from sand and dust storms and the need for cooperation that goes beyond national measures. The United Nations Sand and Dust Storms Coalition is therefore coordinating concerted action and plans to implement its overall strategy and plan of action, but mobilizing the resources necessary to carry out these activities will be a decisive next step, he said.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Sand and Dust Storm Warning and Assessment System has been given two new regional hubs, one for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the other for West Asia. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has been instrumental in establishing an innovative bilateral cross-border collaboration between Kuwait and Iraq. FAO’s interregional project focusing on agriculture and sand and dust storms is coming to an end and has laid the foundations for an extensive monitoring program aimed at enabling the countries concerned to improve their resilience to these storms, he noted. Several member organizations of the Coalition on Sand and Dust Storms collaborated to draft a preliminary scoping note on a programme that will combine mitigating the causes of sand and dust storms resulting from agriculture and voluntary national land degradation neutrality targets.
The representative of Côte d'Ivoire recalled that the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity was held in Abidjan, while also highlighting the Abidjan Legacy Programme, which was presented then with an aim of restoring degraded land.
Iraq’s representative, stressing that drought, desertification and land degradation all pose large environmental challenges, asked how the international community can tackle the problem of drought at the global level.
Mr. THIAW responded that through the Conference he was able to witness how engaged Côte d'Ivoire is towards the issue of biodiversity. Turning to the Iraqi delegate’s question, he stressed that since no country is immune from droughts, Governments must utilize early warning mechanisms to prepare for and address upcoming droughts. “Droughts will be there. We need to make sure that populations are prepared to handle it,” he added.
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, underlined the difficulties in implementing most of the Sustainable Development Goals due to the severe economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, market instability and energy and food insecurity. He estimated the shortfall in financing for development at $5 trillion, with developing countries suffering the most in this regard, even though they are disproportionately hit by the deleterious effects of climate change. Since these countries do not have the means to emplace systems for mitigating and adapting to climate change, it is necessary to take emergency measures — particularly for countries in distress — and to promote structural change for developing countries and those suffering from global warming.
He stressed that the international financial architecture must be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, urging that developing countries have access to loans at favourable rates as well as predictable and sustainable financing to support their resilience. This should also allow them to be compensated without delay in the event of natural hazards which overburden them. He further called for providing access for developing countries to technologies enabling them to green their economies, and for lifting restrictions that penalize them in terms of research and development, noting that this is a cross-cutting issue across the 17 Goals.
JOSÉ A. BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System and aligning himself with the Group of 77, pointed to the hurricanes hitting Central America and reiterated his solidarity for the well-being of all peoples in the face of multiple and interrelated crises, including climate change, the pandemic and geopolitical tensions. Now more than ever, the global community should strengthen multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation to create a true global alliance. In that regard, the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties will mark a new stage for the world’s efforts in addressing climate change, particularly the $100 billion climate finance commitment and the “loss and damage” funding mechanism.
In the face of increased climate change, meteorological phenomena and geological threats in his region — “one of the most climate vulnerable regions in the world” — implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is important. Moreover, greater ambition is needed to mitigate global warming, he said, pointing to common but differentiated responsibilities under various climate change agreements and the need for climate justice and the policy of reparations. Besides that, he encouraged the continued promotion of renewable energy and clean technologies and raised concern regarding food and nutrition insecurity. Gender equality, social inclusion, education and eradication of poverty are key components to advancing on a sustainable development path and to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda, he concluded.
TUMASIE BLAIR (Antigua and Barbuda), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, noted that the recognition of his group of countries as a special case for sustainable development is being eroded by development goals that do not correspond to the principles of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. At that summit, the international community accepted those States constitute one of the most vulnerable groups of countries and that they deserve appropriate solutions. In addition, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement also recognize the need for tailored solutions. Observing that these solutions are still not materializing and that the challenges are increasing every day, he asked whether the international community — including the United Nations development system — is serious in its desire to ensure that they achieve sustainable development. Threats to the stability of these countries and calls to deal with their difficult situation are not heard, he continued, noting their concerns are not a priority.
It is no longer acceptable for the international community and those who cause destruction to the planet to remain frozen in contemplation while other countries face untold destruction, a growing and unsustainable debt burden and the social fallout, he stressed. He argued that small island developing States have always advocated for a reactive and proactive system capable of meeting their needs and considering their inherent inability to cope with global shocks. They are not asking for charity, he stressed, but for justice and fairness. Disaster risk reduction is not an option, but an obligation.
ANTONIO MANUEL REVILLA LAGDAMEO (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed that the bloc’s Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda complement each other with shared principles. Recognizing the importance of raising awareness on environmental issues and climate change through education, he also stressed the need to utilize technologies for environmental protection and conservation. “Efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic should not be at the expense of the environment,” he added. He shared that ASEAN is committed to enhancing cooperation with the United Nations in five key areas — eradicating poverty, improving infrastructure and enhancing connectivity, promoting sustainable consumption and production, strengthening suitable management of natural resources and building resilience.
Highlighting that its vulnerability to climate change remains a major concern, with 6 out of the 20 most vulnerable countries in the world belonging to the region, he reiterated its commitment towards the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Underscoring that natural gas and renewable energy can play a key role in a transition towards an energy system with lower emissions, he expressed support for the inclusion of natural gas in sustainable finance taxonomies developed by Governments and transnational bodies.
GEORGE EHIDIAMEN EDOKPA (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, called for building resilience and leveraging it to create employment. Citing the African Continental Free Trade Area, he noted it will serve to reduce dependence on the other countries. He called for “insurance systems” to protect against future shocks, also addressing the issue of climate change, the effects of which will hamper poverty reduction efforts if nothing is done. The entry into force of the Paris Agreement is a milestone, he acknowledged, while stating that we must go further: the parties must in particular make progress in terms of their national contributions. Everyone must get involved as a new decade of preserving ecosystems looms, he urged.
In particular, he called for financial flows to be more efficient, and for practices to be simplified and accelerated to provide developing countries with access to climate finance. African States reiterate that they are priorities and that rapid funding is needed. He further called for the financial sector to be better aware of climate risks so that funding is more directed to needs based on current and future climate disasters.
LORATO MOTSUMI (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, expressed deep concern that the proportion of the population living below the international poverty line of $1.90 a day had reached about 25 per cent for the period 2015-2020, and that it has undoubtedly increased with the pandemic. In addition, food insecurity is worsening, especially since many of those States are net food importers and are also among the countries most severely affected by climate change. In such a context, they need targeted and coordinated support from the international community, with the aim of restoring momentum to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
She highlighted four priorities for this support: the development of more sustainable and resilient transport infrastructure networks; increased international support for climate change mitigation and adaptation; strengthening structural transformation and diversification of economies; and debt restructuring and suspension of debt service.
AGNES MARY CHIMBIRI MOLANDE (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and aligning herself with the Group of 77, stressed that climate change continues to affect the least developed States negatively. While many who live in those countries depend on agriculture, she continued, heatwaves, droughts, floods and cyclones damage crops, livestock and infrastructure. Stressing that such countries are forced to divert resources away from attaining the Sustainable Development Goals, she pointed out that additional financial support is needed for mitigation and adaptation, in line with international commitments.
She further expressed hope that the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties would bring about tangible solutions for real change, noting that climate financing, adaptation and mitigation resilience, as well as loss and damage, should be at the top of its agenda. In this regard she called on Member States to fully implement the Doha Programme of Action along with existing commitments such as the mobilization of $100 billion in climate finance per year.
JOAQUIN PEREZ AYESTARAN (Venezuela), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, expressed deep concern at the potential impact of current geopolitical tensions on sustainable development. Such tensions are not only exacerbating already difficult socioeconomic conditions but also fuelling greater uncertainty and impacting food and energy prices. This reality must be a wake-up call for redoubling efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, including through more official development assistance (ODA) and enhanced South-South, North-South and triangular cooperation. Moreover, developed countries must fulfil their commitments to combat climate change, while international financial institutions should make it easier for developing countries to get the resources they need for mitigation and adaptation efforts, he said.
Unilateral coercive measures are flagrant violations of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, he continued, emphasizing that they now are being illegally applied against the peoples of more than 30 countries. Given their wide scope, extraterritorial implications and systemic nature, they are exacerbating the multifaceted crisis that humanity is facing today. A complete and immediate end to such measures will allow all nations to pursue their productive potential to the fullest and to contribute to overcoming current challenges, he said.
STAN SMITH (Bahamas), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, said that a plethora of global frameworks emerging from the 2015 era all recognize the special circumstances of small island developing States. A maelstrom of socioeconomic challenges brought on by the pandemic, climate change and the conflict in Ukraine have exacerbated the existing vulnerabilities of CARICOM States. Unsustainable fossil fuel practices in other parts of the world are unjustly imposed environmental burdens especially to the development of his bloc of countries. He advocated for a greater focus on disaster risk reduction and for enhanced international cooperation, pointing to the Sendai Framework.
Keeping global temperatures below 1.5°C is not an option, but a condition for survival, he said, urging States to confront the reality that climate change for small island developing States represents a “code red for humanity”. At the fifteenth United Nations Biodiversity Conference, CARICOM will advocate for an ambitious plan to implement action to transform society’s relationship with biodiversity to ensure that by 2050 the shared vision of living in harmony is fulfilled. In that vein, CARICOM will also be actively engaged regarding the resolution “Towards the development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations”. Moreover, he also pledged CARICOM’s continued constructive engagement with the implementation of the Samoa Pathway, the fourth International Small Island Developing States Conference in 2024 and the multidimensional vulnerability index. The Committee can be assured of CARICOM’s continued support for the issues on this agenda, he concluded.
WASMIAH ALDHIDAH (Qatar) assured that development is among her country’s priorities and that it is taking ambitious steps towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Ensuring inclusive quality education is very important for Qatar, which is committed to pursuing its work in this area with multilateral organizations. The Qatar Fund for Development has contributed $551 million to development and humanitarian aid projects, including to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable. She also pointed out that Qatar is one of the founding members of the UNDP laboratory network, which has had positive effects on many populations. The international community must act together to achieve the Doha Programme of Action, which will ensure sustainable development for least developed countries. She noted the next football world cup, in Qatar, will be the first environmentally friendly version.
TAHMINA HASANOVA (Tajikistan) reaffirmed her delegation’s full commitment to the 2030 Agenda. On climate change, she lamented the massive damage inflicted on the economy and the thousands of lives lost. Aware that water is increasingly important, she stressed the need to manage that resource more efficiently. Tajikistan launched the Dushanbe Water Process and in 2022 held the second water conference, which resulted in commitments under the Water Decade. Her Government supports an integrated approach for water and climate and will submit a draft resolution on an International Year of Glaciers to the Committee.
ANDRESSIA RAMIREZ (Mexico), highlighting some of her country’s priorities, stated that there is a need to create synergies between the three Rio conventions to face the triple planetary crisis. Pointing out that climate funding plays a key role in tackling climate change, she called upon developed countries to meet their commitments as well as collectively design additional measures for loss and damage. Describing the achievement of Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals as an existential matter for life and the planet, she invited Member States to join her country in encouraging the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy for water.
JESWUNI ABUDU-BIRRESBORN (Ghana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, considered insufficient efforts to combat climate change and food, economic and social inequalities. Addressing the Goals, he said it is a question of fighting in a robust way, exactly as was done against the pandemic. He expressed regret that the Goals are blocked in most African countries, calling for international solidarity to change course — in particular to strengthen access to finance and achieve the Paris Agreement. Loss and damage and accelerated adaptation plans must be urgently implemented, he stressed, calling on developed countries to fund them more.
TAPIWA ROY RUPENDE (Zimbabwe), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the African Group, expressed hope that “those responsible for the crisis we now all face” will set an example and speed up the $100 billion in financing. Pointing out that the transition to alternative energy will intensify the growth of the green economy and boost energy sustainability, he called on its developed country partners to facilitate access to and transfer of appropriate technology to support the efforts of developing countries. Underscoring that sanctions have an insidious ripple effect on its economy, he stressed that sanctions should be lifted unconditionally and immediately “to give us the fighting chance at fulfilling our development plans, including the chance to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030”.
MD FARUK HOSSAIN (Bangladesh), aligning himself with the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of 77, stressed the need for a more just and inclusive global financial system that recognizes the vulnerabilities of especially least developed countries and provides them with adequate and affordable financing. On climate change, he pointed out that the annual $100 billion commitment needs to be delivered to ensure that climate finance flows to developing countries. Expressing that equitable access to sustainable technology will be a great enabler for sustainable development, he underscored the need to close the digital divide, which has become a “new face of inequality”.
ARAKSYA BABIKYAN (Armenia) stated that as a mountainous country with fragile ecosystems, her country has placed importance on climate change and disaster risk reduction. In 2021, she emphasized, her country submitted its updated national climate pledge under the Paris Agreement, setting the target of a 40 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. To increase its forest coverage and combat soil erosion and desertification, she noted that her country has initiated a project titled “10 million trees in Armenia” through which over a million trees have been planted in its various regions.
NADJA MICAEL (Eritrea), associating herself with the Group of 77, the African Group, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said her country’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is 0.01 per cent, yet it is among the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. Located in the Sahelian region of Africa, Eritrea is one of the countries most affected by desertification, land degradation and drought. Eritrea gives priority to climate change adaptation, undertaking rigorous soil conservation, afforestation and reforestation, establishment of protected areas, construction of rainwater harvesting structures, development of rangeland and animal husbandry. The Government is striving to reduce its CO2 emissions from fossil fuels unconditionally by 12 per cent and conditionally by 38.5 per cent by 2030. It also enacted a national ban on plastic bags in early 2005.
ANDREA ALEJANDRA BARAHONA FIGUEROA (El Salvador), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Central American Integration System, reiterated the importance of adhering to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as well as the pledge to dedicate $100 billion to developing countries for climate change. She also called for the establishment of a mechanism for financing for losses and damages. She shared that her Government has prioritized climate action by establishing a new environmental policy criteria for sustainable development, along with a national biodiversity strategy.
ELTON KHOETAGE HOESEB (Namibia) highlighted the problems caused by climate change, which represents humankind’s greatest challenge and manifests itself in increasingly frequent hazards. He called for supporting Pakistan in the recovery after the severe floods it has just suffered, and invited the Committee to focus its work on the international commitments that have been made, in particular on the annual funding of $100 billion for developing countries. For its part, Namibia is subject to a wide variety of climates, which complicates the path towards achieving the 2030 Agenda, he explained. The international community will not be able to move forward on the issues of the fight against poverty and food insecurity if it does not tackle the problem of land degradation, he stated. Finally, he called for strengthening cooperation for the restructuring of economies towards carbon neutrality.
JO TONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said the political, economic and military blockade imposed by the United States and its vassal forces is causing great obstacles to his country’s socioeconomic development. The United Nations and international community should duly reject those unjust practices and strive to ensure implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Developing countries should raise their concerted voice to safeguard their right to development and foster closer cooperation in all fields of socioeconomic development, including trade, science, technology, education and public health. He said that, under the leadership of “Comrade Kim Jong-un, President of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, the Government is steadily pushing forward a people-centred policy to protect people’s life and safety even amidst unfavourable conditions due to the global health crisis and natural hazards. Pyongyang will increase its active cooperation with Member States for implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
WISSAM AL NAHHAS (Syria), aligning himself with the Group of 77, stated that exceptional circumstances in his country had not prevented it from submitting its voluntary national review of its progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda. While calling for further means to be allocated to efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals without politicization, he also stressed that United Nations agencies should provide more assistance to his country, keeping in line with the humanitarian principles. Noting that some States have abused and violated the Charter of the United Nations, he called for an end to such violations as well as the lifting of unilateral coercive measures.
BOKOUM MAHAMADOU (Burkina Faso) said that his country faces a thorny security challenge. He nevertheless assured that despite unprecedented terrorist attacks, since 2015, the country has been doing its best to progress on the path of sustainable development and the preservation of biodiversity. However, he acknowledged that the security situation has forced more than 1 million people to flee their homes. Burkina Faso has called for help from the international community to fight terrorism and be able to succeed in its shift towards sustainable development.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating herself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that ongoing crises are rolling back her country’s hard-earned development gains at a time when it is preparing to graduate from the “least developed country” category by 2026. Nepal, a mountainous country highly vulnerable to climate risk, is firmly committed to implementing the Paris Agreement and achieving net-zero emissions by 2045, she said, calling on its development partners, the international community, and the United Nations to provide scaled-up support in finance and technology. Urgent actions are needed to mobilize emergency humanitarian and economic support to those countries facing extreme climate events and in economic distress. More than ever, development partners must live up to their financing commitments of 0.7 per cent of gross national income for ODA and more than $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries. Allocating half of climate finance to climate adaptation and establishing a financing facility to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage” from climate impacts is critical to meet their net zero targets, she said.
SAMUEL ISA CHALA (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Countries, stated that his Government has implemented sustainable measures to increase its agricultural output. Sharing that his country is among the few in the world that generate most of all its electric needs from renewables, he also highlighted that its Green Legacy Initiative has focused on sustainable development. Recalling that recent droughts in his country have resulted in increased humanitarian need, he called for joint efforts to attain the Sustainable Development Goals.
ALAN EBUN GEORGE (Sierra Leone) said a global structure and policies which can end inequity and inequality within and among nations are needed so that developing countries can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement. There must also be increased focus on utilizing local potential, strengthening economic diversification, and enhancing public financial management, among other areas of focus. Highlighting the leading role of people and local communities, he said his Government increased the integration of its “people planning process model” in its national development plan, and established development coordination structures to increase the centralization of service delivery. Turning to climate action, he said that at the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties the international community must secure the fulfilment of developed countries’ pledge to provide $100 billion plus annually in climate finance, allocate half of that to climate adaptation and establish a financing facility.
DIEGO BELEVÁN (Peru) pointed out that countries of median income are facing greater disparities with developed countries. “Globalization has led to global consumers and producers, but not global citizens,” he added. In responding to crises such as the pandemic, he stressed the need for short term policies combined with long-term structural solutions to tackle problems such as destruction of the environment. He further highlighted that one part of such efforts should be to strengthen national statistics offices so they can accurately measure their progress on attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and evaluate their performance.
LIU LIQUN (China) said that the international community should strengthen solidarity and cooperation to face common challenges and achieve more balanced development. Coordinated actions are necessary to face the double food and energy crisis, with a fair and just system of governance respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. He recommended that developed countries mobilize to meet their commitments and provide developing countries with greater financial and technological support. China actively practices the principle of ecological civilization and honours its commitments under the Paris Agreement, gradually restructuring its energy system, he stated.
NIZAR KADDOUH (Lebanon), associating himself with the Group of 77, said food prices in his country have risen by 2,000 per cent, exacerbating socioeconomic challenges. Global hunger, climate change, limited access to finance and the energy crisis are all systemic challenges requiring systemic solutions, highlighting the importance of international solidarity and cooperation among countries. Today more than ever, commitments must be translated into political action and political will to prevent and contain crises. His country has, during the last few years, introduced a number of declarations and resolutions on vaccine equity and food security that have fed into the work of the Committee and several intergovernmental outcome documents, he said, highlighting the bridging role that small States can play during a crisis. His country has been facing a financial crisis, exacerbated by a high dependency on Ukrainian and Russian wheat and fertilizer and the humanitarian implications of the Syrian refugee crisis. Lebanon hosts the largest number of refugees per capita according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and can no longer bear the brunt of displacement, he said, stressing the need to elevate the impact of forced displacement on sustainable development based on the principles of burden sharing and shared responsibility.
IRINA ALEXANDRA BARBA BUSTOS (Ecuador), aligning herself with the Group of 77, called on developed countries to meet the goal of financing $100 billion annually towards developing countries for climate action, as well as to increase technology transfers to increase their capacities. Stressing that biodiversity is her country’s priority, she invited all parties to support the 10‑point plan on financing for biodiversity, which is an initiative of her country, Gabon, Maldives and the United Kingdom. She further recalled that her country has worked as a member of the intergovernmental negotiating committee working to implement a legally binding agreement to stop plastic pollution by 2024.
VADIM PISAREVICH (Belarus) highlighted Goals 12 and 13 (respectively, sustainable production and consumption and climate change), noting that the global food crisis is not linked to the shortage and lack of production capacity but to multiple causes, in particular the conflicts and the unilateral sanctions suffered by the Russian Federation and his country. He considered it inadmissible to hinder technical assistance to Belarus for political reasons.
THOA THI MINH LE (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that to address climate and environmental challenges, the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities must be upheld. New and additional public climate finance must be balanced between mitigation and adaptation. Double counting in the provision of development assistance and climate finance must be avoided. To turn commitments into concrete actions, States could develop a comprehensive climate and environment action agenda at the national level, aligning measures and solutions in their legal frameworks and policies, as well as strengthening climate adaptation and mitigation capacities, conservation of biodiversity and means of implementation. It is also important to adopt science, technology and innovation strategies as integral elements of national sustainable development strategies to help promote innovation-driven development and strengthen knowledge-sharing and collaboration in science and technology. Her country has announced its climate ambition, including net-zero emissions by 2050, and continues to amend and adopt legislation to complete its domestic framework on environmental protection.
REEM FAHAD O. ALOMAIR (Saudi Arabia) said the international community must double its efforts to put an end to hunger and poverty, stressing the need for more effective international action to achieve sustainable development, particularly in least developed and developing countries. Her country has prepared a strategy in accordance with its “Vision 2030”. Its many achievements, including reducing levels of unemployment, have sustained a better quality of life in the country. Saudi Arabia has committed to zero emissions by 2060, focused efforts on limiting current emissions and adopted many recycling policies, also with a view to building a strong environment-friendly economy. Adequate financing is needed to reduce emissions and achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Her country’s national programme for renewable energy aims to achieve a balance in its energy uses to raise the share of renewable sources to 50 per cent. By 2030, her country will be able to produce 4 million tons of clean hydrogen as a source of clean energy.
REEM MOHAMED SALEH YESLAM ALAMERI (United Arab Emirates) said her country will host the twenty-eighth United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2023 and hoped to solidify its role as a proactive mediator and strategic partner for climate action. It is taking all necessary steps, including launching its first independent authority for climate change, which will be an independent and neutral entity for climate action, bringing together the private and public sectors. Her country hosted Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in 2022, which had 30,000 participants from 150 countries and more than 600 high-level speakers from across the globe. Almost 300 companies presented the newest and most innovative technology in the field of renewable and green energy. Her country will invest 600 billion Dirhams by 2050 to ensure that demand for energy is met and to support sustainable development of the national economy.
MERIEM EL HILALI (Morocco) stated that the Initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture, launched by her country, has addressed the crucial nexus of the climate change and its impact on livelihoods, especially in Africa. Expressing hope that the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties will yield tangible results, especially for African countries, in terms of financing, she further stressed that it is important that climate finance remain holistic in various sectors of the economy to create fair and new economic alternatives for developing countries. She noted that her country has gone through a structural reform since 2019, especially through the establishment of a monitoring mechanism which tracks and evaluates its efforts as well as prepares reports on the Sustainable Development Goals.
HASAN BADRI MHALHAL AL-KHALIDI (Iraq) stressed the importance of international solidarity as economies attempt to recover from the pandemic. Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, he recalled. Through its national commission for development, it implements the provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to deal, in particular, with desertification and sandstorms. On energy issues, he raised key issues and recommended acting in the interest of present and future generations by trying to best articulate post-pandemic recovery efforts. He called on Iraq’s partners to consider its particular circumstances as a major player in energy production and its vulnerability to climate change.
VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine), recalling the missile attacks by the Russian Federation across his country on the same day, stressed that deliberate targeting of critical civilian infrastructure is a war crime. He further noted that the ongoing unprovoked and unjustified war has seriously undermined progress on almost all Sustainable Development Goals. In relation to Goal 15, he stated that the environmental damage since February has reached a colossal scale, with damage to oil, gas and ammonia pipelines leading to significant pollution of soil, air and the Black and Azov seas. Attacks and dangerous actions around his country’s nuclear power plants continue to create the risk of an environmental disaster, he added, along with damage to its forests caused by the Russian Federation’s attacks.
DINUSHI SONALI RUPATHUNGA HETTIWELIGE (Sri Lanka), associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country is ranked seventy‑third in the “High Human Development” category – the highest in the South Asian region. It is committed to providing free education and universal health care to all its citizens. As the country is enriched with high biodiversity, policies and initiatives for addressing climate change and protecting biodiversity are at the forefront of its transition to a blue-green economy. Sri Lanka is home to bountiful ecosystems that include mangrove forests, tidal marshes, seagrass beds and coral reefs, she said, highlighting that all mangroves in the country are legally protected from destruction and degradation. Her country also chairs the Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihood Action Group under the Commonwealth Blue Charter, she said, noting its other engagements in that regard. It has initiated a number of water resource management programmes to enhance the functionality of water resources infrastructure. A national disaster relief service centre was established, and a road map developed, to guide the country’s disaster preparedness, planning and implementation process.
HUSSAIN AZHAAN MOHAMED HUSSAIN (Maldives), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said his country has set a target of net‑zero emissions by 2030 – one of the most ambitious decarbonization efforts of any country. In 2022, it also launched the Glasgow‑Sharm El‑Sheikh Work Programme to support global action on adaptation. Noting the pledge to mobilize $100 billion, he urged partners to scale up efforts and fill the gap in climate financing. He also called on delegations to contribute productively at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November to ensure that an ambitious and effective loss and damage financing mechanism is achieved. Maldives continues to support the global initiative to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030. It adopted a series of measures to reduce plastic pollution, implemented a ban on the importation, production and sale of several types of single‑use plastics, and set a national target to fully phase out single‑use plastics by 2030. Noting its long‑standing tradition of banning harmful fishing methods, he highlighted that the Maldives is recognized as a sustainable fishery champion because of its continued promotion of the use of pole‑and‑line and handline fishing.
NIKITA V. ANDRIANOV (Russian Federation) said the international community must recognize more than ever the need to take decisive, comprehensive and balanced measures and to consider issues on its agenda in a holistic fashion. It is also important to continue efforts to combat climate change, reinvigorate adaptation and develop early warning systems. He called on all in the international community to productively participate in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference, stressing the overriding importance of climate issues for all of humanity and the need for constructive and depoliticized dialogue at the Sharm El‑Sheikh conference. His country is committed to the main temperature targets of the Paris Agreement. The key to success in climate action is consistent and coordinated work to meet obligations “instead of constantly ratcheting up our ambitions by populist slogans”. As safeguarding biological diversity and its sustainable use are integral parts of global environmental efforts, he hoped that the upcoming post‑2020 framework to be adopted at the upcoming Conference of Parties on the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will be both effective and balanced.
LETICIA MARÍA ZAMORA ZUMBADO (Costa Rica) stressed that the upcoming twenty‑seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be an opportunity for the “greatest emitters” to act bravely to fulfil their pledge of $100 billion in financing. On biodiversity, she expressed hope that the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will reach agreement on an ambitious framework for post‑2020. Noting that environmental challenges ultimately affect human rights, she welcomed the recent declaration by the General Assembly that everyone has a right to a healthy environment.
PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA (Cuba) said that the current crises are borne of production and consumption patterns inherited from Western countries. Denouncing the G20 countries that are the source of 90 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, he lamented that so many Africans do not have access to electricity. He demanded that developed countries honour the commitments made under the 2030 Agenda, calling for a redirection of resources towards financing for development and the fight against climate change. The international community must also put an end to the sanctions that affect a third of the world’s population, calling for the lifting of the United States blockade against Cuba and fighting against hegemonism and embargoes.
CYETH DENTON-WATTS (Jamaica), associating herself with the Group of 77, CARICOM and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that since the implementation of its national development plan, her country has made significant strides towards creating a cohesive and just society, a prosperous economy and a healthy natural environment where its citizens can achieve their full potential. She called on developed nations to meet climate change commitment and contribution targets and to include adaptation and a facility for loss and damage. Access to financing options remains a challenge for Jamaica, she said, pointing out that its classification as a middle-income country curtails access to critical ODA. In that regard, the development and implementation of a multidimensional vulnerability index will provide a more comprehensive and equitable metric to determine development finance needs and to make those resources accessible to middle-income countries and small island developing States in particular.
PEI WEI KHO (Brunei Darussalam), aligning herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, stressed that regardless of being a minimal contributor to the global greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 0.017 per cent of the total emissions, her country is no stranger to the impacts caused by climate change. In this regard, she shared that her country proposed the establishment of an ASEAN Centre for Climate Change, which aims to serves as a hub for climate research and climate change–related policymaking recommendations. Noting that her country has expressed its intention to move towards net‑zero by 2050, she underscored that it aims to achieve this primarily through energy transition and forest preservation.
THANOUPHET XAIYAVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), aligning himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, stressed that his State attaches great importance to the 2030 Agenda and has streamlined the Sustainable Development Goals into its national socioeconomic development plans. Highlighting that the involvement of all ministries and regional authorities is crucial in attaining the Goals, he underscored that building their capacities is important to ensuring their effective translation of the Government’s commitment into actions on localization, integration and reporting. He also noted that administrative data systems regarding many of the Sustainable Development Goals still need to be harmonized, streamlined and strengthened.
GHEORGHE LEUCĂ (Republic of Moldova) said his country’s new economy-wide unconditional target is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent below its 1990 level by 2030. To achieve that ambitious conditional scenario, the country will require external financial support equivalent to $2.6 billion annually until 2030. His Government’s priorities include waste hierarchy and waste recovery through the circular economy to significantly reduce the volume of uncontrolled landfilled waste with maximum recovery and to reach the “zero landfills” objective. Another area of focus is good water quality through strategic actions and intervention, including, in collaboration with its neighbours, efficient management of wastewater and water resources of the Nistru and Prut transboundary rivers. Noting Moldova’s planned expansion of reforested areas by 100,000 hectares over the next 10 years, he said more than 500 million forest seedlings, especially of indigenous species well adapted to climate change, are envisaged to be planted around the country. As a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity and other multilateral environment agreements, his country aims to incorporate nature-based solutions into adaptation planning and policy development, with a focus on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service management and hazard risk reduction.
YANG AISHAH BINTI ADNAN (Malaysia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, shared that her Government had announced last week an allocation of $300 million for 2023 for projects involving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. On climate action, she reiterated its call for developed partners to fulfil their annual commitment of $100 billion in supporting adaptation and mitigation measures in developing countries. She further stressed the importance of ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and the need for increased levels of investment in energy transition.
WEE KEAT TEOH (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, ASEAN and the Alliance of Small Island States, stressed that current threats and crises are compounding each other in a vicious circle, leading to a “perfect storm” for all countries. As a small State heavily reliant on imports and disproportionately affected by disruptions in global supply chains, he expressed support for the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance established by the Secretary-General. In this regard, he shared that his country has a “30 by 30” goal to meet 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally and sustainably by 2030 through innovative technologies to overcome its resource constraints.
EMERSON CORAIOLA YINDE KLOSS (Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of 77, reiterated that adequate means of implementation are of paramount importance to put the achievement of the 2030 Agenda back on track. He expressed hope that the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties will result in concrete progress on climate finance as well as on adaptation and loss and damage. Recalling that Article 20 of the Convention on Biological Diversity lays out the obligation that developed countries have regarding financing, he expressed support for the idea of establishing a Global Biodiversity Fund to ensure adequate and predictable resource mobilization.
SHERINE MOHAMED EISSA AHMED ELSAEED (Egypt), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, expressed hope that the upcoming twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties will “move us forward from pledges to implementation on the ground”. She stressed that there should be tangible progress on all aspects, particularly on adaptation and mitigation as well as making up for loss and damage. Stating that efforts to tackle desertification and sandstorms should be conducted in an integrated manner in accordance with existing frameworks, she emphasized that such negotiations should “avoid parallel paths that may lead to loss of momentum”.
FARUQUE OMAR FAQUIRA (Mozambique), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, stated that his country’s geographic location makes it vulnerable to natural hazards and that it has been cyclically and intensively affected by depressions, tropical cyclones, rains and strong winds, floods and droughts. Against this backdrop, he added, his Government introduced a set of legal reforms and specific programmes aimed at reducing the risk of disaster and building the resilience of the communities and economy. In stressing the importance of international cooperation, he shared that his country, in coordination with the countries of the Southern region of Africa, established the Center for Humanitarian and Emergency Operations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2021.
RAMÓN EMILIO FLORES (Honduras) noted his country has, in the face of multiple crises, proposed joint and concerted action and an international system that respects the law. Sustainable development must put people at the centre. He spoke out against the commodification of nature and biodiversity, advocating for the regeneration of natural capital. Preserving nature is essential, he insisted, calling for a rethinking of the approach that puts people at the heart of development. It is also necessary to respect diversities, protect nature and promote the transfer of technology. He affirmed that his Government continues to respect international agreements on the environment and climate.
ASSANE DIOUM (Senegal), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said power is a major challenge for developing countries, especially in Africa, where over 600 million people do not have access to electricity. However, the question is not how to reduce its carbon footprint, as Africa’s overall contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is already low, but how the continent can make the most of its existing resources sustainably to meet the growing energy demand while meeting its global climate commitments, he said. To strike this balance and ensure sufficient energy products and services, it is important to build technical capacity and maintain infrastructure. There is also a need to build on science, technology and innovation to develop renewable energy technology, which would be a global public good, as well as a need to break down intellectual property rules that obstruct technology transfer. His country has always prioritized diversification of energy sources and modernization of the sector, he said, highlighting that Senegal was one of the first countries in West Africa to adopt a law on renewable energy in 1998 and is home to the first solar panel factory in the region, thus enabling the country to include 30 per cent of renewable energy in its energy mix.
MANUELA RÍOS SERNA (Columbia), aligning herself with the Group of 77, stated that 1 million species are facing imminent extinction, which calls for social and environmental justice. “We cannot afford to take no action,” she added. In this regard, she called on the greatest emitters in the G20 to reduce emissions and to commit to climate financing commensurate to the needs of developing countries. Noting that renewable energy can be more resistant to external shocks than traditional sources, she stressed the need for more efforts in capacity-building and technology transfer to secure developing countries’ transition to renewables.
BESSIE MALILWE CHELEMU (Zambia) expressed concern about the effects of climate change and the war in Ukraine on food security and water security, calling for the protection and management of natural resources and support from partners to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals according to the principle of leaving no one behind. The Government of Zambia is very concerned about the effects of climate change, pollution and waste, which could set the country back in development, she said. She recalled that the country faces droughts and floods, which is why it calls for sustainable
KARLITO NUNES (Timor-Leste), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States, said his country is home to a number of globally significant ecosystem and endemic species and has ratified the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. As it is highly vulnerable to natural hazards, Timor-Leste is in the process of building institutions to support the implementation of the Sendai Framework. He called on the international community to “keep the 1.5°C target alive” and to follow through on its commitment to provide adequate and balanced funding for adaptation and mitigation, including addressing the issue of loss and damage for small island developing States like his own. For its part, Timor-Leste is strengthening adaptation efforts and has identified several protected areas for ecosystem conversation and tree planting, including the application of tara bandu, a traditional customary practice. This practice has positively restored some of the local forest, mangrove and coral reef ecosystems, he added. The international community should assist small island developing, least developed and conflict-affected countries in addressing their unique circumstances by providing ODA, bridging the technological divide and supporting the finalization of the multidimensional vulnerability index.