Climate Has Moved to Place Where No One Knows What Will Happen, Expert Warns, at Joint Meeting of Second Committee, Economic and Social Council
Delegates Conclude Sustainable Development Debate in Afternoon Meeting
Climate change has altered the fundamental structure of poverty, an environmental expert told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) and the Economic and Social Council today as they held a joint meeting on poverty eradication.
Adil Najam, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, pointed out that climate impacts and adaptation have already become a reality for at least 2.5. billion people in the world, referring to recent floods in Pakistan, fires in Australia and heatwaves in Europe. “Climate has moved to a place where we do not know what will happen,” he underscored.
Citing a recent calculation that the recovery from the floods in Pakistan will cost $42 billion, he added that the poorest people will have to pay the cost of climate change, because it is “unlikely” that the developed countries’ pledges to commit $100 billion will turn into action. As a proposal to the Committee, he stressed the need to move away from the notion of “climate incrementalism”, where each stakeholder does what it can and hopes that all efforts add up in total, and move towards the idea of climate justice.
From a broader perspective, Robert Walker, Professor of the China Academy of Social Management, School of Sociology, at Beijing Normal University and Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford, pointed out that while the cost of eradicating poverty is low in absolute value for low-income countries, that of financing for social protection systems including access to health and education is high. In this regard, he proposed that a carbon tax, a tax on the profits of multinationals or a tax on financial transactions would be able to cover such costs.
Maryann Broxton, Co-director of the Multidimensional Aspects of Poverty Research Project at ATD Fourth World, stressing that those who need help tend to be hidden or ignored because of the way the world currently measures poverty, underscored that those who can determine policies and set standards do not listen to or seek out the input of people directly impacted. She emphasized that people directly impacted by poverty should be at the centre of related policies and practices.
During the ensuing discussion, speakers called on the international community to show greater solidarity in the fight against poverty, with many delegates urging developed countries to fulfil their existing commitments. Recalling that 36 individuals own half the world’s wealth, the representative of Pakistan affirmed that the current level of official development assistance (ODA) is insufficient considering rising interest rates as well as the risk of overindebtedness and recession.
Building on his point, Malawi’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, shared that the prevalence of undernourishment has increased from 21 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2020 among her bloc. The international community should support least developed countries through an increased share of ODA, duty-free and quota-free market access, full debt cancellation and investment support measures, as well as technology transfer and capacity-building, she went on.
Meanwhile, the representative of Haiti underscored that on top of the resource precarity that has existed in his country, the current political instability and recurring social issues are paralysing its economy. Due to a significant decrease in remittances from the diaspora and a drop in textile exports, as well as a decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI), he added, the economic situation has further deteriorated and has heavily affected its balance of payments.
Croatia’s delegate, focusing on the role of the Economic and Social Council, proposed that it should hold a special meeting on the “responsibility to protect”, particularly to fulfil the responsibility of the international community to assist States in protecting their populations. To counter the current interlinked crises, she stressed, the international community must quadruple its efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Also addressing the meeting were Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council and Chair of the Second Committee; Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Rabab Fatima, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, member of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy and Professor of International Affairs at the New School in New York.
The representatives of Botswana (on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Italy, Poland, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, China, Zimbabwe, United States, Russian Federation and the United Republic of Tanzania also addressed the panel during the interactive discussion. An observer for the European Union also made a statement.
In the afternoon meeting, the Committee concluded its discussion of sustainable development, with speakers including Thailand, Bhutan, Montenegro, Guyana, Cameroon, Bolivia, Andorra, Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Iran, Nicaragua, Japan, Libya, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Angola, Federated States of Micronesia and Burundi. An observer for the Holy See, as well as representatives of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, also spoke.
The Committee will meet again on Wednesday, 12 October, at 10 a.m. to take up eradication of poverty as well as agriculture, food security and nutrition.
LACHEZARA STOEVA, President of the Economic and Social Council, Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), noted the joint meeting of the Council and the Committee illustrated the determination of the two bodies to work together to overcome key challenges to poverty eradication and sustainable development. Many developing countries are on the brink of debt distress, and the devastating impact of climate change is being felt on every continent. An essential element of recovery must be new ways to address the challenge of poverty eradication. The Committee has been committed to addressing rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development every year for some time, as well as the Third United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. However, with circumstances evolving, the Committee and the Council must promote integrated action towards poverty eradication.
Most subsidiary bodies of the Council have addressed poverty eradication and its interlinkages with other aspects of sustainable development, she noted. For example, the Commission for Social Development has held ministerial and other high-level discussions on policies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all, including social protection and, in the previous session, their links to food security and sustainable systems. Further interlinkages between poverty and major global demographic trends are considered at the Commission on Population and Development, while the United Nations Forum on Forests has debated the contribution of forests to poverty eradication.
The Committee for Development Policy provides analysis of these and other key dynamics impacting poverty and sustainable development, and every three years, the Committee reviews the least developed countries category and makes recommendations to the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly concerning graduation. Additionally, the deliberations of the Commission on the Status of Women have shed an important light on interlinkages between poverty and gender inequality, and the Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been instrumental in bringing attention to factors including those influencing poverty incidence. The Committee of Experts on Public Administration has developed a set of principles of effective governance for sustainable development, intended to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. “We must include innovative policies in our work,” she stressed.
LI JUNHUA, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stated that to lift people out of poverty, Government policies that not only mitigate the impacts of shocks but also account for the long-term losses that might arise from short-term setbacks are needed. Such policies include providing public assistance in health care, education and social protection, as well as intervening in the labour market, he added. Pointing out that people in extreme poverty are increasingly concentrated in specific regions, social groups and communities, he stressed the importance of implementing policies and programmes that target them.
Further highlighting that 80 per cent of the world’s extremely poor live in rural areas, he emphasized the need for greater investment in rural infrastructure development. “Governments need to prioritize investments in targeted actions towards chronically disadvantaged groups to achieve fairer social outcomes,” he underscored. On climate change, he noted that the international community needs to raise the level of global ambition in the commitments to be made at the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties. Expressing that there is also a collective global responsibility for maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment that is favourable to inclusive and sustainable growth, he stressed that premature monetary tightening poses increasing risks, especially for countries suffering from crippling debt burden.
RABAB FATIMA, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said progress made over recent decades is in serious jeopardy, with the first Sustainable Development Goal on the eradication of poverty seriously threatened. She stressed that this trend must be reversed, insisting that in 2 years, the world has lost 8 to 10 years of progress. The war in Ukraine makes things even more difficult and the situation is completely unprecedented, with the worsening of inequalities. More than 70 million people were pushed into extreme poverty in 2021. In this regard, protection systems are fundamental, as well as human resources and human capital, which must be strengthened. The countries concerned must increase access to universal social protection by 2030, accelerate inclusive economic growth and make massive investments to increase production capacities. It will also be necessary to train young people by focusing on education and health, bridge the digital divide and conduct an inclusive employment policy including the informal sector. She called for developed countries to respect commitments in terms of investment, financing, technology transfer and official development assistance (ODA), suggesting that international financial institutions solve the debt crisis of developing countries. This generation must not be remembered by history as the one that did nothing about poverty.
The joint meeting then held a panel moderated by Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, member of the United Nations Committee for Development Policy and Professor of International Affairs at the New School in New York, and featuring: Adil Najam, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University; Professor Robert Walker, of the China Academy of Social Management, School of Sociology, at Beijing Normal University and Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford; Maryann Broxton, Co-director of the Multidimensional Aspects of Poverty Research Project at ATD Fourth World; and Under-Secretary-General Fatima.
Ms. FUKUDA-PARR noted the COVID‑19 pandemic has widened inequalities and poverty in all countries, and exposed their causes. “It is the poor who are most vulnerable,” she stressed. Factors, policies and growth patterns are not only leaving but pushing people behind.
Mr. NAJAM said that climate impacts and adaptation have already become a reality for at least 2.5 billion people in the world. Referring to the recent floods in Pakistan, fires in Australia and heatwaves in Europe, he pointed out that “climate has moved to a place where we don’t know what will happen”. Climate change, he continued, has altered the fundamental structure of poverty, which in turn has necessitated a focus on the idea of climate inequity.
Referring to a recent calculation by the World Bank that recovery from the floods in Pakistan will cost $42 billion, he said that the poorest people will pay the cost because it is “unlikely” that the developed countries’ pledges to commit $100 billion will be provided. On specific impacts of climate change, he pointed out that most of them will be concerning water, such as sea level rise, melting glaciers and drought.
Outlining several proposals to the Committee, he stated that there is a need to move from thinking about climate as mostly about energy and emissions to considering it in terms of development. He also stressed the need to move from climate incrementalism, where each stakeholder does what it can and hopes that they add up in total, to an idea of climate justice. While noting that adaptation provides an opportunity for better sustainable development, he also emphasized the importance of moving from “disaster and relief” to “development and resilience”.
Mr. WALKER, speaking via videoconference from Beijing, presented a survey that the French non-governmental organization ATD Quart-Monde conducted among hundreds of poor people. From this survey emerges the concept of “institutional mistreatment”, or the fact that a poor person is made to feel more like a file number than an individual before administrations, and that of unrecognized contributions, the fact that the contributions of the poor to society — as helpers, for example — are not recognized. He then showed the results of another survey, conducted in China, illustrating the different dimensions that make up an index called the Multidimensional Poverty Index.
In low-income countries, the cost of eradicating poverty is ultimately low in absolute value. But that of financing of social protection systems (access to health, education), crucial in the long term, is high. However, a carbon tax, a tax on the profits of multinationals or a tax on financial transactions can finance these regimes. He noted the current system favours the rich countries and penalizes the poorest, but the population of the developed countries is ultimately unaware of these realities. He stated that the United Nations is proof of the need for optimism because it is the parliament of the world, calling for fewer “calls for”, fewer recommendations from the Organization and more obligations imposed. He cited the need for a new global governance that is more powerful and binding.
Ms. BROXTON, stressing that those who need help tend to be hidden or ignored because of the way the world currently measures poverty, emphasized that the problem is that the people who can determine policies and set standards do not listen to or seek out the input of people directly impacted. Referring to her experience where female participants at a forum were cut off because they had gone overtime, she added that “they were being silenced by a more dominant political group on what they thought would be needed to improve their social and economic standards”.
Of the various dimensions of poverty, she pointed out that subjugation is the most dominant or the lead dimension, because it sets the conditions for all the dimensions that follow. She explained that subjugation determines factors including if one lives in a disadvantaged area, access to resources, work and employment hardships, and health and well-being, as well as causing people who live in poverty to face shame or stigma. This in turn increases the risk of isolation from society and even from family members, she said. In this regard, she emphasized that people directly impacted by poverty should be at the centre of policies, practices and poverty eradication. “If we are going to eradicate poverty, more people like myself need to have access to this space,” she concluded.
Ms. FUKUDA-PARR said it is important to think of poverty as an issue of justice, and cited structural boundaries to gender equality, social hierarchies and the “othering” and humiliation of people.
Dialogue with Member States
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) cited the nine dimensions of poverty and the need for new solutions. Thirty-six individuals own half the world’s wealth, he stressed. Noting rising interest rates, the risk of over-indebtedness and recession, he affirmed that ODA is not sufficient, and that the banks and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have a lot of money. Restructuring the financial system and the debt architecture are essential in the fight against poverty.
COLLEN VIXEN KELAPILE (Botswana), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, expressed concern that the multidimensional impacts of the pandemic on his bloc of States has been further exacerbated by climate change and the worsening global economic outlook. To achieve a sustainable recovery, he added, landlocked developing countries need to adopt an approach that is holistic, transformative and undertaken in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, including the transit countries and regional and international partners. In this regard, he shared that the bloc is in the process of reviving the Group of Friends of Landlocked Developing Countries.
He went on to say that the United Nations system should continue to support the Group with evidence-based policy advice based on analytical research. Noting that the Group also requires resources to meet the pressing demands of a resilient recovery from the pandemic and to better prepare for future crises, he urged the international community to continue focusing on the development agenda in a manner that ensures a careful balance of funding needs.
AXEL DE LA MAISONNEUVE, representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, shared that his bloc places special emphasis on human development through a holistic and gender-responsive approach in the areas of health, human rights, food security and nutrition, education, digitalization, access to social protection and the creation of decent jobs. Despite the unprecedented worldwide expansion of social protection interventions during the ongoing pandemic, he added, more than 4 billion people around the world remain unprotected.
In this regard, he shared that the European Union continues to support partner countries in developing comprehensive, sustainable and shock-responsive social protection systems. He also highlighted that the bloc has reaffirmed its commitment to collectively meeting the target of financing 0.2 per cent of gross national income as ODA to the least developed countries by 2030.
AGNES MARY CHIMBIRI MOLANDE (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, shared that in the least developed States, the prevalence of undernourishment has increased from 21 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2020. The human development index has dropped in the least developed countries by 0.004 per cent from 2020 to 2021, she added. In this regard, she stressed the need to build or strengthen social protection systems that provide adequate social protection for all. Also highlighting the need for schools to offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at secondary and tertiary levels, she proposed establishing an online university for the least developed countries.
Turning to climate change, she pointed out that the international community must foster global solidarity with the most climate-vulnerable communities and countries. Further, she underscored that it should support least developed countries in the form of an increased share of ODA, duty-free and quota-free market access, full debt cancellation and investment support measures, as well as technology transfer and capacity-building.
MAURIZIO MASSARI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, said that financial resources exist but must be mobilized. The country has pledged to allocate 20 per cent of its share of special drawing rights to countries that need them most.
JOANNA SYLWIA SKOCZEK (Poland) stated that considering the increasingly challenging context, her country advocates for the development of regional cooperation as a way to strengthen resilience globally and build effective multilaterals. In this regard, she called for strengthened cooperation, especially in energy transport and digital education through infrastructure. She further stressed that the international community should be guided by the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2022‑2031, and similar documents, in its global fight against poverty and the pandemic.
SYLVIA PAOLA MENDOZA ELGUEA (Mexico) noted that poverty had different faces depending on the country, rural or urban areas and ethnic origins, particularly African or indigenous. She called for the consideration of a multidimensional index of poverty that also takes into account gender issues.
CLAUDIA MARIA LARUE (Dominican Republic) stated that due to the pandemic and the disruptions in international supply chains, 23.85 per cent of her country’s people lived in poverty in 2021. To tackle this trend, she highlighted that her country has implemented a programme that aims to find solutions to the needs of vulnerable groups, thus increasing economic autonomy, especially that of women and girls. She further stressed the importance of data, adding that “if data is not reliable, we cannot locate the ones who are most vulnerable”.
KOUADJO MICHEL KOUAKOU (Côte d’Ivoire) noted that the human development index around the world, and particularly in the Sahel region, had deteriorated considerably over the past two years. He further stated that 80 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty in his region, on less than $2 per day.
LIU LIQUN (China), stating that his country has achieved the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating poverty 10 years ahead of schedule, said that each Government should take the lead in developing overall plans, including poverty alleviation. He added that his country has mobilized all sectors to form a poverty-reduction system with the participation of the entire society and promoting the flow of talents to poorer areas. In sharing the poverty-reduction strategy which his country has implemented by taking into consideration the actual situation of people living in different regions, he noted that the strategy covers issues such as industrial development, environmental remediation, education and social security.
PETRONELLAR NYAGURA (Zimbabwe) expressed concern about the widening gap between advanced economies and others, whether in terms of digital, access to vaccines, or debt financing. She stated that a critical part of the Committee’s work should focus on harnessing science and technology for development, to empower people and safeguard the environment.
WILLY LOUIS (Haiti), aligning himself with the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed that beyond the resource precarity that has existed in his country, it is also facing political instability and recurring social issues paralysing its economy. Moreover, he added, due to a significant decrease in remittances from the diaspora and a drop in textile exports, as well as a decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI), the economic situation has further deteriorated and has heavily affected its balance of payments. In this regard, he shared that to finance the sustainable development agenda by 2030, his Government has established a fund for that purpose.
EDWARD HEARTNEY (United States) noted the pandemic pushed more than 90 million people back into poverty. He cited the Russian Federation’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, which sent prices skyrocketing, then touted the benefits of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and his country’s role as the largest bilateral provider of ODA.
IRENA ZUBCEVIC (Croatia), aligning herself with the European Union, stressed that to counter the current interlinked crises, the international community must quadruple its efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, she proposed that the Economic and Social Council hold a special meeting on the responsibility to protect, particularly to fulfil the responsibility of the international community to assist States in protecting their populations. She went on to ask two questions to the panel: (1) How can we bring the development and environmental communities together at a table to discuss? And (2) How can we engage people living in poverty in the developing of policies toward them?
EVGENY Y. VARGANOV (Russian Federation) pointed to the fact that the economic problems started long before the situation in Ukraine. Price spikes, for example, started because of the pandemic, rash central bank policies, unilateral sanctions and energy policies that he equated with “green extremism”. It is important not to disturb markets and the transport of goods with new sanctions.
JOSEPH ARON MWASOTA (United Republic of Tanzania), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and pointing out that the pandemic brought about a “competition in the fight for funds”, stressed the need for a set of measures that will not only assist the recovery process, but also boost the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda. Sharing that his country published its first voluntary national review, he highlighted that the review had indicated that it was “doing well” in addressing eight of the 17 Goals. He added that his Government continues to invest in major infrastructure, including energy, water, railways and roads, thus creating a conducive environment for private-sector investment.
In response to a question on exclusion, Ms. BROXTON said that it is women, especially black women of African descent, who inherit the most low-paying jobs in the United States. She urged them to react while calling on men to support them, including in household chores. Stressing that these women live in humiliation, she said that can be measured in its health consequences on the victims. When asked about the participation of the poor, she advised looking for them where they live and including them because they know how politics works.
Mr. NAJAM, responding to delegates’ comments and questions, stated that the pandemic has exposed the limits of ODA and humanitarian assistance. That is because when the international community faces a global crisis affecting all areas, countries will focus on resolving domestic issues first, he explained. On fighting climate change, he proposed that the international community should go back not to the Paris Agreement but to the Rio Conventions, especially to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. He emphasized that the principle should be pursued not as a way of responding to loss and damage contentions, but for major emitters to be responsible for bringing down emissions, while for developing countries the responsibility will be to focus on adaptation.
Mr. WALKER, addressing financial resources, suggested putting those already available in the right place, because we know they exist — such as taxation of profits of multinationals or international financial transactions, or ODA. He stressed the need to tackle discrimination, including of indigenous minorities, and to finance a global social protection fund.
Ms. FUKUDA-PARR, wrapping up the panel discussion, stated that while the international community had succeeded in reducing poverty in the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first, current climate and environmental challenges point to the need to think differently today about how to end poverty. It is important not just to look at poverty as a quantitative, data-driven issue but to think about it in a new way. “We now need to go a lot further beyond macroeconomic policies, looking at industrialization policies, climate policies, water policies and basic matters of justice,” she concluded.
Continuation of Statements on Sustainable Development
PORNRAWE POENATEETAI (Thailand), aligning herself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed that extreme climate events affecting Asia, Africa and North America are reminders that there is a cost to inaction and that all States are impacted. Noting efforts to build resilience against external shocks at the national and United Nations levels, she encouraged the international community to extend this risk-informed mindset in tackling other challenges such as climate change, water, sanitation and health. Looking forward to the midterm reviews of the Water Action Decade and the Sendai Framework, as well as the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties, she expressed her country’s goal to move towards sustainable plastic management by 2030 and welcomed the work of the intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution. Further, she stressed the importance of partnerships between countries, sectors and stakeholders.
DOMA TSHERING (Bhutan), aligning herself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, and stressing that larger emitters should contribute their fair share of climate responsibilities, emphasized that new and additional climate finance, including for loss and damage, must be urgently mobilized. Referring to the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, she highlighted the importance of ensuring that countries directly or indirectly contributing to global biodiversity loss should support developing countries in their conservation efforts. She noted that even under the more ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming, the Hindu Kush Himalayan region will likely experience a projected loss of one third of glacial volume by the end of the century.
DRAGANA ŠĆEPANOVIĆ (Montenegro), voicing concern over multiple crises, ranging from the war in Ukraine to the pandemic to food and energy insecurity, stressed the need to fight the climate crisis and preserve the environment for future generations. Montenegro is carrying out activities to promote post-pandemic recovery based on green policies and clean technologies, she underlined, adding that in 2018, the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent was achieved. Calling for decisive action to reduce the effects of climate change and to implement the Paris Agreement, she underscored the importance of partnerships with the private and civil sectors, as well as academia.
ROYSTON ALKINS (Guyana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, spotlighted the impact of global crises on small island developing States, and called for transformative solutions. The international community must give life to the specific commitments it has already made, support the multidimensional vulnerability index and pay greater attention to disaster risk reduction and resilience building, he urged. He then spotlighted his country’s efforts on ensuring sustainable development for all, addressing food insecurity, boosting agricultural investment, leading the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agri-food systems agenda and developing a low-carbon and energy-diverse strategy.
JOHN BILLY EKO (Cameroon) recommended mechanisms for financing biodiversity through payment for ecosystem or environmental services fully based on criteria considering environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and equity. He also called for the mobilization of financial resources and a new quantified objective for financing climate action considering the needs of developing countries. Cameroon calls for respecting financial commitments made at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and reaffirms its pledge for the replenishment of the green climate fund.
DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia), aligning himself with the Group of 77, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter, urged States to implement the outcomes of the 1992 Rio conference, especially the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. As the commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate financing until 2020 has not been fulfilled, “developed countries must compensate as early as possible for the resource gap to 2025 and Member States will have to agree on a new quantified collective goal for climate financing with a follow-up and assessment mechanism”, he affirmed.
GUILLEM KALLIS BALDRICH (Andorra) spotlighted his country’s unconditional commitment to countering climate change through legislation on energy transition and the circular economy, and the establishment of a green fund, amongst others. Andorra has aligned its national road maps and budget to the Sustainable Development Goals and presented its integration of principles into policies during the high-level political forum, he said. As a mountain country vulnerable to climate change, Andorra will be hosting a ministerial event at the upcoming Conference of the Parties, to share best practices and solutions, he noted. Turning to food security, he called for an urgent revitalization of food production and consumption systems.
KOFFI EVARISTE YOBOUET (Côte d’Ivoire), associating himself with the Group of 77 and African Group, called for reducing carbon emissions, protecting natural resources, transforming food systems, creating better jobs and transitioning to a greener, fairer economy. He urged developed countries to respect their commitments to allocate 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to ODA with new and additional resources, and for the easing of the debt burden of developing countries to free up the budgetary margins for investment in social protection and resilience to climate change.
BULELANI MANDLA (South Africa), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, called for investments to focus on poverty reduction and job creation. As ending poverty in all its forms is an indispensable requirement for achieving sustainable development, the international community must promote an inclusive, green-growth-led development, which is labour intensive, addresses youth employment and generates new skills. It must also provide and mobilize sufficient, adequate and predictable financial resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, while addressing short- and long-term debt sustainability frameworks, he said. Developed countries must recognize the critical urgency to deliver on the commitments they have made to developing countries, he emphasized.
NOOSHIN TEYMOURPOUR (Iran), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, observed that the report of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs identifies challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals but refrains from making even the slightest mention of unilateral coercive economic measures. Given its susceptibility to natural disasters, Iran has encountered flooding, land degradation, desertification, sand and dust storms, water scarcity and more unstable climate conditions. Moreover, Iran has grappled with the threat of illegal unilateral coercive measures as well as foreign-sponsored terrorism and extremist violence. Voicing concern that Iran’s efforts towards national development are not backed by adequate international support – especially in terms of the transfer of technology and provision of financial resources – she condemned the illegal unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States.
WOMAN (Nicaragua) called on developed countries to comply with their financing commitments for development and climate change. Unilateral coercive measures, she continued, are another obstacle to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in that they force countries to divert valuable resources. Western countries have foisted these weapons of mass destruction and crimes against humanity on countries that have exercised their sovereign right to develop their own models, she noted. There must be a new global trading and economic order with new financing architecture for the world to implement sustainable development, she emphasized. Developed countries must support vulnerable countries, live up to their international climate commitments and step up financing for adaptation, mitigation, losses, damage and risk reduction, she added.
SHU NAKAGAWA (Japan) emphasized his country’s commitment to the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The midterm review and high-level meeting in 2023 serve as important opportunities to promote disaster preparedness and build back better, he noted. He echoed the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction report, saying: “It is the last chance before 2030 to identify and begin implementing the innovative solutions, policies, and course corrections needed to prevent and prepare for the new and emerging risks that threaten current and future generations.”
WOMAN (Libya), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, stated that current challenges and growing uncertainties will continue so long as countries continue to interfere in other States’ affairs. While her country has been dependent on oil, she added, it is now trying to diversify its energy sources by focusing on clean and efficient energy use during the period 2020 to 2030. Noting that the desert takes up 79 per cent of her country’s territory, she stressed that desertification is one of the biggest dangers, especially for its agricultural regions.
ALARA İSTEMİL AYDİL (Türkiye), noting that her country will host the 2024 Convention on Biological Diversity, said that every year, over 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste are produced, one third of which is not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Due to rapid urbanization, cities globally are struggling to cope with the increasing waste problem, she added, stressing the need for sustainable waste management practices. Türkiye will present a resolution to the Committee on “Zero Waste”. This aims at establishing an advisory board to promote best practices, organizing a General Assembly high-level meeting on the topic in 2023 and declaring 2024 International Year of Zero Waste.
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.
ROSE KEFFAS (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that even though the value of sustainability-themed investment products in global capital markets rose to $5.2 trillion in 2021, the vast majority of these funds are embedded in developed nations. This has slowed the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, least developed countries, small island developing States and middle-income countries. Many of these nations find themselves in a “debilitating chokehold” regarding their finances, she stressed, underscoring the need to address the burden of unsustainable external debt and extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. She called for the repatriation of proceeds of illicit financial flows and underscored the importance of making good on the $100 billion climate finance commitment to developing countries. A non-discriminatory and equitable international trading system is also vital in helping developing countries boost production, modernize infrastructure, reduce costs and increase efficiencies, she added.
JOÃO IAMBENO GIMOLIECA (Angola) noted that his Government was fighting extreme poverty and investing in the well-being of its population in education, housing and entrepreneurship. However, development indicators have not reached desired levels. He noted that Angola’s economy was critically damaged in 2014 due to the drop in oil prices. His Government also stressed the fight against corruption. Citing the dangers of rising water levels, acidification and the loss of species, he said Angola is investing in environmentally friendly energy production, expanding or building hydroelectric dams and solar power.
JEEM LIPPWE (Federated States of Micronesia), associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States as well as the Group of 77 and China, stressed that while the Pacific islands produce less than 0.03 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, they are in the frontlines of the fight against climate change. In this regard, he urged all countries to update their nationally determined contributions to align with the 1.5°C target as well as commit to achieving net zero by 2050. Noting that more than 99 per cent of his country is the ocean surrounding its many islands and therefore responsive to sea-level rise, he expressed support for the 30x30 initiative for protecting at least 30 per cent of the global ocean by 2030.
JOSELYNE KWISHAKA (Burundi), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, noted the urgency of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and pointed to national programme under way in her country — “Ewe Burundi Urambaye” (green Burundi and covered with trees in its totality) — as a potentially useful tool for the international community to stop deforestation. Recognizing that nature offers commercial opportunities to poor communities, from sustainable agriculture to ecotourism and subsistence fishing, she underscored the need to conserve biodiversity and its sustainable use. She noted that most indigenous peoples depend on healthy ecosystems that can provide the necessary economic and financial services to sustain their cultures and livelihoods.
GABRIELE CACCIA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said it is vital to scale up efforts to address the root causes of climate change. While phasing down coal power generation is a significant first step in this direction, States must redouble their efforts to ensure a complete phasing out in the long term. Far too often, climate change adaptation initiatives remain fragmented, sector-specific and designed to react to present impacts or near-term risks instead of accounting for long-term consequences, he said. It is crucial to both tackle the root causes of climate change and adjust to its effects while considering the different capabilities of countries to respond. After pledging to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050, the Holy See recently deposited the instruments of accession both to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. On 4 October, those instruments entered into force.
CAROLINE LAWTON, observer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, reported on progress in strengthening disaster risk governance and advancing technologies for early warning systems. The Federation is mandated to support Governments in reducing and managing disaster risk, including climate- and health-related risks, and responding to disasters when they happen, she said, pointing to the recently produced “Guidance on Law and Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response” that can be used by Governments to strengthen domestic legal frameworks for future pandemics. Noting that disasters do not affect everyone equally, and it is often the most vulnerable and marginalized that are hit the hardest, she emphasized that when communities are prepared, an extreme weather event or a health emergency does not have to become a disaster. To this end, she underscored the importance of laws for disaster risk management.
SOFJA GILJOVAN, International Renewable Energy Agency, noting that the share of renewable energy in global energy consumption has reached only 17.7 per cent, stressed that much faster renewable energy uptake is needed. Citing her agency’s estimate that global energy transformation would require at least a doubling of annual investments, she reported that her agency, together with the United Arab Emirates, launched the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform, a new global climate finance facility to accelerate the transition to renewable energy in developing countries. The platform targets the total deployment of 1.5 gigawatts of renewables by 2030, she added.
RALF BREDEL, speaking on behalf of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), noted that the organization coordinates several initiatives to stimulate demand for low carbon industrial materials, standardize carbon assessments, establish public and private sector procurement targets and design industry guidelines. Recognizing the growing importance of green hydrogen, UNIDO recently launched a global programme to foster its application. To advance resource efficiency in industry, UNIDO has been convening consultations to promote international cooperation and solidarity in moving from the current linear model of production and consumption to a meaningful economic transformation. Turning to the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway), he noted that these States promote renewable energy and energy efficient business models, particularly through the global network of regional sustainable energy centres in small island developing States, while also supporting the establishment of the Global Ocean Energy Alliance launched during the recent Ocean Conference in Lisbon.