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

Taking Up Sustainable Development, Second Committee Discusses Reports Including on Environmental Convention Implementation, Renewable Energy Access for All

As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up more than a dozen reports relating to sustainable development today, delegates spotlighted the importance of promoting renewable, sustainable and affordable sources of energy, also calling for more support for developing and least developed countries to sustain progress.

At the outset of the meeting, Dennis Francis (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the General Assembly, recalling that world leaders adopted a strong political declaration at the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, said that Member States have the plans and tools required for success.  Emphasizing that it is possible to strengthen the multilateral system and build capacity for sustainability, he stressed:  “Keep those who are furthest behind at the heart of all we do to ensure a brighter, more resilient future for all.”

As the meeting unfolded, a number of high-level officials presented 13 reports of the Secretary-General relating to sustainable development.

One of the reports, introduced by Lotta Tahtinen, Officer-in-Charge of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, titled “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (document A/78/201), provided an update on UN‑Energy efforts towards strengthening coherence and coordination in support of SDG 7.

In a similar vein, Daniele Violetti, Senior Director of Programmes Coordination of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, introducing via videoconference section I of the report “Implementation of United Nations environmental conventions” (document A/78/209), underscored the need for providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable to accelerate transition to clean power generation and energy efficiency measures.

In the ensuing debate, many delegates spotlighted the importance of increasing investment, including in renewable energy, to achieve sustainable development, while some presented their national achievements in promoting clean energy and fostering the use of alternative and affordable sources to that end.

“Energy guarantees an effective response to economic and health crises,” Iraq’s delegate emphasized, recalling that as an energy-supplier, his country has participated in the global economy’s recovery since the beginning of the twentieth century.  Underscoring the need for guaranteeing access to renewable energy for all, he stressed sovereign right of States over their energy resources.

In this vein, the representative of Nepal, speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that investments in infrastructure, renewable energy and water, among others, have suffered a significant blow in the wake of the COVID‑19 pandemic.  Noting that these countries’ external debt burdens are diminishing the fiscal space needed to invest in the SDGs, she urged all countries and financial institutions to increase sustainable development funding to at least $500 billion per year.

Tunisia’s delegate, speaking for the African Group, pointed out that $3 trillion will be needed by 2030 for mitigation and adaptation measures in Africa.  Calling for a new vision and appropriate operational models and instruments to that end, he also spotlighted the importance of renewable energy for Africa’s long-term development.

The representative of Samoa, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States, meanwhile, called for a drastic shift away from fossil fuels, enabled through just transitions towards renewable energy.  “We must realize that there is an interrelationship between how we treat our environment and our natural resources, and its direct impact on our countries and societies,” he stated.

Reports were also presented by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (via videoconference); Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (pre-recorded video); Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) New York Office; Assistant Administrator and Director for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States; Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (pre-recorded video); Executive Director of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (via videoconference); Director of the Land and Water Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Chief of the SDG Monitoring Section of the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; and the UNDP Regional Adviser for the Levant Region.

The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 October, for a joint meeting with the Economic and Social Council.

Introduction of Reports

LOTTA TAHTINEN, Officer-in-Charge of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced five reports of the Secretary-General, prepared by her Division.

The first report, “Agricultural technology for sustainable development” (document A/78/228), recognizes that science and technology have the potential to accelerate transformative change in agricultural practices in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she said.  “Examples are given of how biotechnologies, digital technologies, renewable energy, mechanization and data advancement can help accelerate SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] implementation and manage trade-offs by boosting production, improving efficiency, minimizing waste and reducing drudgery in agrifood systems,” she stressed.

The second report, “Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of environmental effects related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea” (document A/78/276), explores the possibility of establishing a database as well as identifying appropriate intergovernmental bodies, she noted.

The third report, “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/78/208), provides an update on strengthening the science and policy interface, financing sustainable development and partnerships for sustainable development.  “The report notes that addressing many of the challenges faced by the world today requires a total transformation in the way we produce, consume and do business,” she said, adding that the document highlights a few significant recent policy developments, such as the approval of a Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production to support the achievement of global sustainability ambitions and a just transition by 2030.

The fourth report, “Follow-up to and implementation of the SIDS [small island developing States] 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/78/222), responds directly to the requests of the General Assembly contained in its resolution 77/245 for an update on the data platform for small island developing States by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), she noted.  “The report also highlights potential priorities for further enhanced action and implementation after the SIDS 4 Conference, scheduled to be held in Antigua and Barbuda from 27 to 30 May 2024,” she said.

The fifth report, “Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” (document A/78/201), highlights a global stocktaking to further accelerate the implementation of SDG 7, to be held in 2024 as mandated by General Assembly resolution 77/170, she informed, adding that the document provides an update on UN-Energy efforts towards strengthening coherence and coordination within the United Nations system in support of SDG 7.

ANDREA MEZA, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, speaking via video-teleconference, introduced the Secretary-General’s report “Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” (document A/78/209 Part II). Recalling that in 2020, in Riyad, the Group of 20 (G20) declared their ambition to reduce 50 per cent of the world’s degraded land by 2040 and launched the G20 Global Land Initiative, she said that 130 countries are involved in the process for setting land degradation neutrality targets.  In addition, the International Drought Resilience Alliance was established to accelerate action, she reported, announcing that the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification will be held in December 2024 in Saudi Arabia as a “moonshot moment for the land and drought resilience agenda”.

DENNIS FRANCIS (Trinidad and Tobago), President of the General Assembly, expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the Middle East, calling for an immediate cessation of violence.  Stressing that the critical issues under the Second Committee’s purview “are at the very core” of the 2030 Agenda, he noted that the Committee’s responsibility has grown over the years.  The impacts of COVID‑19 continue to play out across economies and societies, the world is rife with inequalities, the climate crisis is worsening and hunger, food insecurity and debt crises continue to rise in many countries. Further, all of this occurs while the Ukraine war and other global conflicts grind on — as evident from the worryingly escalating situation in the Middle East.

Against that backdrop, he underlined the need for a new way to measure and tackle inequality, a new mechanism for restructuring debt and a more just international financial system.  He also recalled that world leaders adopted a strong political declaration at the 2023 SDG Summit, which the Committee “should keep in focus to guide its deliberations and negotiations”.  It offers a to‑do list for scaling up progress across the 17 SDGs, which includes intensifying climate action, financing for development and key transitions in sectors such as energy; extending social protections and improving education; doubling down on digital solutions; mobilizing finance and investment, especially for developing countries; reforming the international financial system; and moving beyond gross domestic product (GDP) towards a multidimensional vulnerability index as a unique measure of vulnerability.

“The good news is that we have the plans and tools required for success,” he said, spotlighting the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Samoa Pathway and Our Common Agenda.  However, what is urgently lacking — and therefore needed, now — is the political will to fulfil commitments.  “The Second Committee is perfectly placed to catalyse action,” he emphasized, urging it to examine the relevant open programmes and share conclusions with the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) as soon as possible “so that the latter can take your input into account”.  Adding that it is possible to strengthen the multilateral system and build capacity for sustainability, he underscored the need to “keep those who are furthest behind at the heart of all we do to ensure a brighter, more resilient future for all”.

MAMI MIZUTORI, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, introduced via videoconference the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (document A/78/267).  She noted that while management of disaster risk is “progressing at the global, national and local levels”, the current pace of implementation is inadequate. The number of countries with national disaster risk reduction strategies increased from 55 in 2015 to 126 in 2022; yet the number of persons affected by disasters per 100,000 has risen from 1,092 (2005 to 2014) to 2,034 (2013 to 2022).  She further noted that international cooperation for developing countries is limited, with only $304 million in official development assistance (ODA) in 2021.  “Disasters can instantly wipe out decades of development,” she stressed, and any agenda would be remiss in not incorporating disaster risk reduction and resilience building.

LIGIA NORONHA, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), introducing the report of the Secretary-General on “Strengthening cooperation for integrated coastal zone management for achieving sustainable development” (document A/78/293), said that the document provides a cross-cutting look at the variety of developments and actions taken by UN entities to support the efforts of Member States in promoting and implementing coastal zone management.  “Since the last report, new global agreements have been adopted, including the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction,” she noted, adding that the document highlights contributions from the UN system as well as global and regional multilateral environmental agreements.  “After nearly 20 years of discussion and six years of formal negotiations, consensus was finally reached on an international legally binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction, often referred to as the BBNJ Treaty,” she stressed.  Continuing, she highlighted other cross-cutting themes explored in the report, including area-based management approaches, climate resilience and disaster risk reduction and marine litter (plastics).

IVANA ŽIVKOVIĆ, Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth for Independent States of UNDP, presenting the Secretary-General’s report “International cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan” (document A/78/312), said it reflects the progress made in addressing social, economic and ecological challenges in the rehabilitation and development of that region between 2020 and 2022.  Recalling that 32 years have passed since the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site, she pointed out that the consequences persist today.  Since the closure, the Government of Kazakhstan has been improving the well-being and livelihoods of the people affected, including through Strategy 2050 and the subordinate plans, she added, observing that the reform is expected to increase investment, create new employment opportunities and contribute to infrastructure development.

DAVID COOPER, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, delivering a pre-recorded video statement, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the Convention’s work (document A/78/209).  He spotlighted the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes urgent actions to protect and restore ecosystems.  It calls for a substantial increase in financial resources — as well as enhanced capacity-building and scientific cooperation — and promotes a human-rights-based approach that acknowledges the role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as custodians of biodiversity.  He said that the General Assembly “may wish to consider” endorsing the Framework, also recalling the establishment of a multilateral mechanism to ensure the fair, equitable sharing of benefits from the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources.  “For success, we need leadership,” he stressed.

ZORITSA UROSEVIC, Executive Director of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), introduced via videoconference the Secretary-General’s report on sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America (document A/78/210).  She observed that Member States are making substantial strides towards recovery from the COVID19 pandemic through sustainable tourism, to generate benefits for economies and biodiversity conservation, reducing the sector’s significant climate and environmental footprint.  It is vital to promote community participation, particularly among women, girls and youth, and to foster a stronger and more resilient business environment.  Member States need support in their efforts to maximize the sector’s contribution to economic and social development and as part of rural strategies.  She called for strengthened development of tourism infrastructure, measures to support tourism businesses and the promotion of tourism diversification, including through public-private partnerships, supporting countries in their recovery process.

DANIELE VIOLETTI, Senior Director of Programmes Coordination of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, introducing via videoconference section I of the note by the Secretary-General pertaining to the report of the Executive Secretary of the Framework Convention on the work of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (document A/78/209), said that the progress report provides an overview of the twenty-seventh UN Climate Change Conference held in Sharm el‑Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022.  Referring to the Conference’s call to accelerate transition to clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, he highlighted the need to provide targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable. Recalling the six key negotiation areas, namely loss and damage, finance, just transition, adaptation, mitigation and agriculture, he said that the governing bodies decided to establish the loss and damage fund and took other relevant measures.

LIFENG LI, Director of Land and Water Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), speaking via video-teleconference, presented Secretary-General’s report “Combating sand and dust storms” (document A/78/237).  Noting that it draws on contributions of different international organizations and covers the period from mid-2022 to mid-2023, he observed that its developments and activities are organized in four areas:  cross-cutting developments, monitoring, prediction and early warning, impact mitigation, vulnerability and resilience, and source mitigation.  While the transboundary hazards posed by sand and dust storms present sustainable-development challenges, the UN Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, under FAO leadership as the current incumbent of the rotating Chair, continues its efforts to move from the planning to the implementation stage, he reported.

ELIOT MINCHENBERG, Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), introduced the report on education for sustainable development (document A/78/219).  Observing that education is a “vital catalyst” to mobilize collective action to address global issues, he spotlighted the UNESCO launch of its Greening Education Partnership to accelerate and improve the implementation of climate-change education.  He also pointed out that the report offers concrete recommendations, including: encouraging stronger cooperation to strengthen education for sustainable development; ensuring that teachers are empowered and trained to address sustainability; and strengthening meaningful youth engagement.  “Quality education is the single most important investment that any country can make for its future and its people,” he stressed.

YONGYI MIN, Chief of the SDG Monitoring Section of the Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals:  towards a rescue plan for people and planet (document A/78/80), stressing that “the SDGs are in deep trouble”.  Despite some early favourable trends including poverty reduction, a decrease in child mortality and expanded access to electricity, “too much of this progress was fragile” and undermined by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.  Assessment of 140 targets shows only 15 per cent are on track for 2030 and close to half “are moderately or severely off-track” while others have regressed.  Under current trends, 575 million people will be living in extreme poverty in 2030, while “it would take 286 years to close gender gaps”, she stressed.  The report called for measures including overhauling the global economic and financial system.

AHMAD AL‑HAMMAL, UNDP Regional Adviser for the Levant Region, introducing the report of the Secretary-General titled “Oil slick on Lebanese shores” (document A/78/280), reminded that the environmental disaster took place on 15 July 2006, after the destruction of oil storage tanks in Lebanon by the Israeli Air Force.  Approximately 15,000 tons of fuel oil contaminated about 150 km of coastline in Lebanon and Syria, causing damage to Lebanon estimated at $856.4 million according to 2014 studies, he said, adding that 17 years after the disaster, the new report said no further study is viable.  “The report commends the ongoing efforts of the Government of Lebanon to address the impacts of the oil spill,” he stressed, highlighting the lack of implementation of the relevant provisions on compensation by the Government of Israel to the Government and people of Lebanon and other countries affected by the oil spill, including Syria.


FRANK TÉLLEZ ALONSO (Cuba), speaking for the Group of 77 and China, said that the world will reach 2030 with 575 million people living in extreme poverty, while only one third of the countries will succeed in halving national poverty levels.  “We will not end hunger as agreed; on the contrary, today 735 million people face chronic hunger — more than in 2015,” he stressed, underscoring the importance of international financial architecture reform.  In this context, he called on States to support the SDG stimulus for developing countries, which aims at scaling up affordable loans and finance for development while urging the developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments.  Recognizing historical advancements in the environmental field, he welcomed the establishment of the loss and damage fund, while calling on the developed countries to mobilize $20 billion per year by 2025 and $30 billion by 2030.

He further said he looked forward to the fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in Antigua and Barbuda in 2024, pointing out that it will set the scenario for discussions on how to better support those countries.  Emphasizing that developing countries’ efforts to implement the SDGs must be backed up by the knowledge transfer, capacity-building and North-South cooperation to foster industrialization and investment, he said that unilateralism and protectionism, incompatible with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, should be eliminated.  He underscored that unilateral coercive measures hinder the ability of developing countries in achieving SDGs and their development, calling for their lifting.

PRAMITA ADHIKARI (Nepal), speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, noted that 12 of the 17 SDGs and 24 of the 169 SDG targets refer explicitly to such States, which demonstrates the importance of addressing the development challenges these nations face.  However, least developed countries are far from achieving what was deemed realistic in 2015.  Global inequality has widened, and more financial and technical support is needed to sustain progress; however, both ODA and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to least developed countries are declining.  Further, investments in infrastructure, renewable energy, water, sanitation, food security, health and education have suffered a significant blow in the wake of COVID‑19.

She went on to note that least developed countries are faced with increasing external debt burdens, diminishing the fiscal space needed to invest in the SDGs.  She therefore urged all countries and financial institutions to take the actions necessary to increase financing for the SDGs to at least $500 billion per year, with a special allocation to least developed countries. She also urged developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments and stressed that existing inequality in special drawing rights (SDR) — where least developed countries receive less than 3 per cent out of a total of $650 billion — must be corrected. Adding that least developed countries are committed to the 2030 Agenda, she emphasized that national efforts must be complemented by adequate international support.

BRIAN WALLACE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and with the statement to be delivered by the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, stressed that for small island and low-lying coastal developing States, “access to affordable, reliable and adequate financing is the sine qua non for a sustainable recovery”.  He called for adoption of the multidimensional vulnerability index as a metric beyond GDP to improve access to grant and concessional financing.  Further, he looked forward to the fourth International Conference on Small International Developing States, which should ultimately lead to the elaboration of the successor plan to the Samoa Pathway.

He called for the new Programme of Action to address access to climate financing, digital transformation and data, and food systems and food security — as well as disaster risk reduction, ocean governance and the “blue economy”.  For the Caribbean, he stressed, “keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C is not an option but a matter of survival”.  Looking ahead to the operationalization of the loss and damage fund by the twenty-eighth UN Climate Change Conference, he further called for bold action and commitments needed to accelerate the agenda for net-zero deadlines towards the energy transition.  It is also critical for pledges of $100 billion per year in climate financing to be upheld for those “custodians of rich biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine”.

LEILA CASTILLON LORA‑SANTOS (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism and international cooperation.  “ASEAN stands as one of the regions most prone to natural disasters worldwide, leading to a significant number of fatalities and substantial economic loss,” she stressed, adding that the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response serves as a common platform and the regional policy backbone for disaster management.

“The vulnerability to and impact of climate change is a major concern to ASEAN, being one of the most at-risk regions in the world to the impacts of climate change,” she said, reaffirming ASEAN commitment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement.  “We reiterate our call for developed countries to fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement and to scale up their contributions to climate finance,” she emphasized, highlighting the urgent need to strike a balance between economic growth and sustainable use of natural resources and protection of the environment.

JOAQUÍN ALBERTO PÉREZ AYESTARÁN (Venezuela), speaking for the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, expressed concern that the policies and practices carried out by former colonial Powers exacerbate geopolitical tensions.  Noting that achieving sustainable development requires strengthening, deepening and expansion of international cooperation, he pointed to the importance of changing the current system of consumption and production towards sustainable patterns.  He observed that recent disasters around the globe have left catastrophic consequences behind, including biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, among others, calling on international financial institutions to facilitate the provision of the resources for developing countries in a non-politicized and non-discriminatory manner.

He spotlighted that the unilateral coercive measures are “illegally” applied against 30 nations around the world, noting that they constitute “the single major impediment” for these nations’ economic and social development.  While these measures undermine national efforts towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, they also exacerbate the ongoing multifaceted crisis and negatively impact the global economy as a whole.  To this end, he called for their termination to enable the countries concerned to pursue their productive potential and overcome the current challenges.

LORATO MOTSUMI (Botswana), speaking for the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, reported that her group of States has made “very limited” development progress due to challenging global economic conditions.  The dramatic impact of COVID‑19, climate change, geopolitical tensions and surging prices for energy and food continue to disproportionately impact landlocked developing countries.  Spotlighting “the cost of landlocked-ness”, she cited recent estimates that exports and human development in such States would increase by 18 and 19 per cent, respectively, if they were not landlocked.  She also noted that, while poverty levels in such countries have declined, they are still higher than the world average.

She went on to stress the importance of trade as a driver of economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. However, to realize its benefits, landlocked developing countries must overcome barriers preventing their seamless integration in regional and global value chains and investment networks. One such obstacle is high transport costs, which can make goods uncompetitive in global markets. Landlocked developing countries also face price fluctuations for primary commodities, which can lead to unpredictable export earnings.  Adding that climate change also affects sustainable development in such States — as many are highly reliant on natural resources and agriculture — she underlined the need to increase resilience in landlocked developing countries to “future-proof” development efforts.

ISAIA LAUTASI (Samoa), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted that his bloc remains in a more precarious situation due to the inaction of the international community. The multiple global crises and external shocks of the past few years have decimated the foundations of those economies and societies and threaten the livelihoods of their peoples.  “The wrath of climate change is now being felt by all, even though its overall impacts on our individual countries may differ,” he stressed — which “should be enough for us all to take urgent actions to avoid overshooting [the] 1.5ºC goal”.  The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference must deliver concrete outcomes to “shift us away from business as usual”.

Such progress should include the full operationalization of the loss and damage fund and funding arrangements in a manner that supports the plight of those particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  He also called for a drastic shift away from fossil fuels, enabled through just transitions towards renewable energy.  The global stocktake on SDG 7 in 2024 will present “a useful opportunity to assess where we are and set the course forward”, he said.  The effects of climate change have also exemplified the need to urgently address the gaps in hazard risk reduction.  “We must realize that there is an interrelationship between how we treat our environment and our natural resources, and its direct impact on our countries and societies,” he stated.

JULISSA MACCHIAVELLO (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Group of Friends for Disaster Risk Reduction — Australia, Indonesia, Norway and her own country — said that mainstreaming hazard risk reduction across sustainable development, climate action and humanitarian efforts and across all sectors and associated public and private investments through a gender-responsive, disability-inclusive and human rights-based lens, is crucial.  She also expressed serious concern over developing El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years, setting the stage for a likely surge in global temperatures and disruptive weather.

“Rising sea surface temperatures, prolonged droughts, erratic rainfall patterns and landslides, and more frequent and intense storms are some of the events to be expected,” she said, adding that they disrupt agriculture, exacerbate water scarcity, displace communities and threaten food security.  “We also recognize the need to cooperate across local, regional and global levels and to enhance the understanding of risks posed by rapidly transforming social, technological and ecological systems, including advancements in artificial intelligence,” she noted, calling for a risk-informed approach to sustainable development to be embedded across the work of the Committee.

TAREK LADEB (Tunisia), speaking for the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted with concern his continent’s obstacles in pursuing the SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  To address the challenges related to food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture, the African Union adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme to advance agriculture and agriculture-led development to address poverty.  While insufficient investment in agriculture continues to be a “bottleneck” to increasing food availability, Africa needs socially responsible and environmentally sustainable investment in agriculture that will benefit local small-holder farmers, he said.

Spotlighting that $3 trillion will be needed by 2030 for mitigation and adaptation measures in Africa, he urged multilateral development banks to define a new vision and appropriate operational models and instruments to that end.  Renewable energy is important for Africa’s long-term development, he said, observing that the Union’s Action Plan for Accelerated Industrial Development in Africa serves as a flagship strategy for its Agenda 2063.  Underscoring the need for potable water access points in urban and rural communities, improved sanitation facilities and appropriate waste management, he pointed to the need for increasing Africa’s share in global trade from 3 per cent to 6 per cent within a decade.

AHMED MAGDY MOHAMED RASHAD ABDELAAL (Egypt), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, detailed national development efforts, including the “Decent Life” initiative that aims to promote rural sustainable development as a prerequisite for eradicating poverty.  Also noting that the Committee will discuss several issues relating to environmental protection, he recalled his country’s presidency of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference, where a series of important outcomes — such as the loss and damage fund — were adopted.  It is important to build on such outcomes and meet the “actual needs” of developing countries, he stressed, which includes providing concessional financing and supporting a just energy transition.

Mr. AL‑KUWARI (Qatar), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, called the SDG Summit “a landmark” underlining efforts to accelerate the achievement of the Goals, citing his Government’s Vision 2030, environmental protection and countering the effects of climate change.  He noted that Qatar prioritizes safeguarding the right to education, including internationally, citing his delegation’s efforts at ensuring adoption of Assembly resolution 74/275 declaring 9 September as an International Day to Protect Education from Attack.  He pointed to the opening of UN House in Doha as an example of collaboration and partnership with the Organization, alongside Qatar’s investment of $30 million in the UNDP Accelerator Labs.

MANUELA RÍOS SERNA (Colombia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the climate crisis is felt in every corner of the planet and the window for action is increasingly narrower, but there are possible solutions.  “First of all, we must create the conditions for the radical transformation of our economic model,” she stressed, calling for the reform of the international financial system.  “Second, we need leadership and commitment, because not only are we are lacking resources, we are lacking political will,” she emphasized, adding that millions of people demand change.  She said that Colombia will prioritize the urgency of climate action in all its components:  mitigation, adaptation, means of implementation, and loss and damage.  “We need more resilient and better prepared societies,” she said, urging all countries to adopt decisions allowing for better preparation for future shocks.

EGRISELDA ARACELY GONZÁLEZ LÓPEZ (El Salvador), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, called for better access to funding, taking into account characteristics and vulnerabilities of developing countries. Recalling that, since 2001, her country has experienced disaster losses equivalent to 60 per cent of its annual public expenditure due to its geographic location, which makes it more vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, she expressed concern about uneven and insufficient progress on the Sendai Framework implementation. Developed nations must meet their climate funding commitment of $100 billion per annum, she emphasized, reporting that El Salvador has launched a Bureau of Climate Funding to facilitate resource mobilization.  More so, the country is promoting renewable energy, which accounts to 83 per cent of its energy matrix, while also fostering the use of alternative energy sources.

MARILYN DEL CARMEN THOMPSON RAMIREZ (Panama), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that her country has had a national climate action plan and a plan on national gender and climate change since June 2022, being one of seven carbon-negative countries in the world.  “In Panama, 80 per cent of the electricity generated is renewable, and we are moving to 90 per cent in the coming years, guided by our Energy Transition Agenda for 2030,” she noted, highlighting a road map to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 24 per cent by 2050.  She also noted that Panama on 6 July 2023 became the first country in Latin America to join the Water Convention.  “As representatives of a region rich in biodiversity and highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, we will promote addressing the specific risks that the climate crisis poses for peace and security,” she said, calling for greater access to resources and financing to continue advancing with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

JASSER JIMÉNEZ (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, stressed that concrete results are urgently needed to preserve and defend the right to life on Earth.  “This includes fulfilling the commitments made in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement,” he said, highlighting the exemplary Global Development Initiative, promoted by the Government of China.  He blamed the illegal and terrorist unilateral coercive measures imposed by imperialist and neocolonialist States, impacting over 30 countries.  “We reiterate our rejection and condemnation of these illegal measures and demand their immediate elimination so that people can speed up the 2030 Agenda and achieve sustainable development in the world,” he concluded.

WISSAM AL NAHHAS (Syria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, noted that achieving the 2030 Agenda necessitates abandoning any political agendas running counter to the principles of the Charter.  He called for supporting development needs without politicization, double standards or attempts by some States to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations — and to impose restrictions on UN agencies in Syria, in contravention of the guidelines of humanitarian assistance.  He stressed that the imposition of unilateral coercive measures not only flagrantly violates the Charter and international law, but also constitutes “economic and political terrorism that undermines the capacity of the targeted State to achieve the SDGs”.  Such measures have exacerbated the suffering of Syria’s people in the wake of the 6 February earthquake, denying them access to early warning systems and other rescue and recovery efforts.

TAHERAH JALILI (Iran), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that her country offers universal access to basic care and has achieved progress in combating infectious illnesses.  While it managed to decrease maternity and infant death rates, it has also terminated illiteracy and provided free public education through the secondary level to all.  For decades, the country has hosted millions of refugees and displaced persons, while dealing with the “harshest” unilateral sanctions, she noted.  Spotlighting Iran’s geographical location and proneness to natural hazards, she reported that — in cooperation with the United Nations — the country hosted the International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms in Tehran in September.

ELENA CURZIO VILA (Mexico) called for accelerating and promoting climate action, with ambitious and sustainable solutions based on science and respectful for nature.  “As a very diverse country, Mexico is committed to the full implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework,” she said, highlighting the need to protect and preserve the richness of the ocean and calling for the creation of a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution in the seas.  “We must give greater priority to our discussions on resilience to drought, and we reiterate the importance of sustainable water management and use,” she stressed, adding that Mexico, as President of the United Nations Habitat Assembly, continues to promote the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and promote smart, sustainable and inclusive cities, as well as orderly urban planning.  “Mexico believes that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a requirement to advance in meeting all the Sustainable Development Goals,” she concluded.

NELLY BANAKEN ELEL (Cameroon), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, called for intensified strategies that are as action-oriented as her country’s national efforts.  Cameroon plays a key role in climate action with carbon captures; however, she recommended that the mechanism for financing biodiversity through payment for ecosystem and environment services be fully based on criteria that consider environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency and equity, acknowledging the countries of the Congo Basin subregion.  She called for the mobilization of financial resources and strengthening of technological cooperation, acknowledging the real needs of developing countries.  She further cited the need for $1.5 billion in financing and ambitious replenishing of the Green Climate Fund and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin.

Mr. JASIM (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that climate change and water scarcity in his country will cause deterioration and desertification of vegetation coverage and biodiversity.  Reiterating the importance of the sustainable use of biodiversity elements, he underscored the need for guaranteeing access to renewable energy for all.  Further, he stressed the sovereign right of States over their energy resources, adding:  “Energy guarantees an effective response to economic and health crises.” As an energy-supplying country, Iraq has participated in the recovery of the global economy and its development since the beginning of the twentieth century, he recalled.  Spotlighting that it is the worst exposed country to climate change, he pointed to the damage caused by sand and dust storms to the human respiratory system, among other issues.

KANOK PHUAKNUEM (Thailand), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, as well as ASEAN, urged to accelerate actions to protect the planet and called on developed countries to fulfil their financial commitments.  “Thailand also stresses that provision of adaptation finance must be significantly increased, with the aim of achieving a balance between mitigation and adaption,” he said, emphasizing the importance of building disaster resilience and stressing the need for early warning systems, which are a cost-effective tool to save lives.  “Collaborative partnerships between all countries and all stakeholders at all levels are crucial to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” he stressed, recognizing that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to achieve the SDGs.

MATEUS PEDRO LUEMBA (Angola), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, recalled that his country is among the most affected by climate change and extreme weather events in sub-Saharan Africa, with significant floods and droughts.  He pointed to Angola’s National Development Plan 2023‑2027 and disaster prevention projects being implemented in schools and communities, within the framework of the African Union’s efforts at hazard risk reduction.  This project, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has developed teaching materials on issues related to drought, floods, malaria, natural hazards and other cross-cutting themes, which will be included in Angola’s school curriculum.  He cited the Caiave early warning system stations, installed on the Catumbela River, and the Carivo station, installed on the Coporolo River, which allow for remote monitoring of the water level measurement points so authorities can make prompt decisions.

NIGAR BAYRAMLI-HAMIDOVA (Azerbaijan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that from 2017 to 2022 her country launched more than 40 programmes, strategies and action plans focused on the SDGs.  It also participated in the voluntary national review three times and expressed interest in delivering its fourth review at the high-level political forum in 2024, she reported, spotlighting Azerbaijan’s readiness to host the twenty-ninth session of the UN Climate Change Conference.  Furthermore, her country’s voluntary pledges include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2050 and the establishment of a “net-zero emission” zone in the liberated territories.  To this end, the Government plans to increase renewable energy to 30 per cent by 2030, while also creating “smart cities” in the Karabakh region to make it a “green economic” and tourism hub.

VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine) said that before the full-scale military invasion of his country in February 2022, it was among the leaders in the region in terms of adaptation of the SDGs.  “Violations of the inviolability of the Chornobyl exclusion zone, seizure and threat to the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, hostilities at chemical enterprises in the Donbas, the blowing-up of the dam at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline have already caused irreparable damage to the environment,” he stressed, highlighting 2,500 cases of environmental damage caused by the Russian Federation.  “The aggression against Ukraine has already caused more than $57 billion in environmental damage; 495,000 hectares, including 10 national parks, eight reserves and two biosphere reserves, remain under foreign occupation,” he said, adding that one third of Ukraine’s territory remains potentially dangerous because of Russian mines.

JO TONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) stated that it is important to create a peaceful environment to achieve sustainable development.  However, some specific States are seeking confrontations among different camps and bloc-forming in pursuance of supremacy and self-profits.  “The grave situation prevailing on the Korean Peninsula caused by large-scale joint military exercises and dangerous provocative maneuvers for nuclear war by the United States and its followers is one of the biggest barriers that hinders sustainable development of the DPRK,” he stressed.  The 2030 Agenda is a common action programme for all; however, some developed countries obstruct developing States from gaining access to international financial services and trade markets.  He specified unilateral sanctions and coercive measures forced by specific Powers, stressing: “Developing countries should no longer tolerate high-handedness and arbitrariness that infringe upon their sovereignty and right to development and wage a joint struggle against them.”

NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), aligning himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, said his country has embraced sustainable development as its development approach, highlighting its decision since 2015 to domesticate implementation of the SDGs in other development frameworks like the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development plan of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Namibia prioritizes Goals 1, 8 and 10, which are closely linked to its triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, and underscores the need for developing country partners to navigate technological challenges and harness opportunities by fostering an environment conducive to technology transfer, adoption, skill development and collaboration.  He described the current wealth gap as a moral concern and threat to global stability, emphasizing Namibia’s belief in creating an inclusive environment where prosperity is shared and its continuously calling for gender equality, which is “not only a matter of fairness but an essential step towards unlocking innovation, diversity and social cohesion”. 

DIEGO PARY RODRÍGUEZ (Bolivia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, underscored the need to include the principle of equity in reports of the Organization.  There is a systemic crisis that has manifested by myriad social, economic and ecological consequences.  Evidence proves that mitigation and adaptation is not enough. Developed countries must focus on ceasing polluting emissions as soon as possible.  “We need fair and equitable transitions based on historical responsibilities, current needs and future potential,” he added.  Energy security must be within reach of every man and woman. Future work must be consistent, he stressed, urging developed countries to provide the necessary aid to developing countries.  The current systemic crisis needs real and ambitious responses with an integral, holistic approach to redesign the dimensions of sustainable development.

HALA HAMEED (Maldives), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Alliance of Small Island States, noted that halfway to 2030, the shared promise represented by the 2030 Agenda is in peril, with the Secretary-General’s report revealing that only 12 out of 140 tracked targets are on track.  “We must act decisively and immediately,” she said.  This year, Maldives presented its second Voluntary National Review, highlighting its progress and challenges, she said, underlining the need for improved access to finance to address structural vulnerabilities of small island developing States such as hers, as more than 40 per cent of them are heavily indebted.  On climate change, she called on financial institutions and development partners to ensure that small island developing States and developing countries have access to climate finance for mitigation, adaptation and addressing loss and damage.

EMMANUEL KINGI KENGA (Kenya), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, as well as the African Group, emphasized the disproportionate impact of climate change in Africa, where States are allocating about 10 per cent of their gross domestic product to adaptation efforts. Underscoring the link between climate stability, human well-being and sustainable development, he said that Kenya will promote sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystem and aims to increase tree coverage from the current 12.3 per cent to 30.0 per cent by 2032.  On disaster risk reduction, he said that countries must embrace bottom-up approaches to ensure inclusivity in line with the Sendai Framework.  He went on to say that Kenya will continue promoting renewable, sustainable and affordable sources of energy while also relying on technical assistance, capacity development and supportive policy frameworks.

VADIM PISAREVICH (Belarus) said that while there is enough food on the planet, people in several least-developed countries are experiencing hunger.  “One of the causes of the crisis is that Western governments had imposed illegal economic restrictions against Belarus and Russia, which led to a significant drop in the supply of fertilizers and food on international markets.”   Unless the root causes of this man-made crisis are eliminated, the problem of hunger in developing countries will not be solved.  Belarus is fully committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda, he added, noting the important role of international organizations in assisting States in transitioning to a circular economy.

ABDOUL KARIM DIPAMA (Burkina Faso), aligning himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries, the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the African Group, said that African countries in the sub-Saharan region, including Burkina Faso, are facing a multidimensional crisis.  Terrorism in Burkina Faso has led to the displacement of two million people and the closure of 6,000 schools and 1,800 health centres, he said, adding that the humanitarian response has taken the form of support for the recovery and socio-economic reintegration of internally displaced persons as well as strengthening the prevention and management of disasters and humanitarian crises.  “These results show the resilience of the Burkinabè people in the face of this multidimensional crisis,” he said, noting that the economy has grown at an average annual rate of 5.2 per cent from 2016 to 2022.

ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) said that his country is carrying out a national campaign to plant 1 billion trees by 2030 in order to reach its net-zero emission targets, reduce poverty and combat desertification, in addition to protecting the health of children and women who are the most vulnerable to climate change.  “Mongolia has decided to spend at least 1 per cent of its GDP annually to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and desertification,” he said, citing a Mongolian saying that “the source of life is water, and the source of water is a tree”.  More than half of the Earth’s land surface is classified as rangelands, he noted, adding that more than 60 Member States have co-sponsored the draft resolution titled “International year of rangelands and pastoralists 2026”.  He went on to call for innovation towards sustainability and overcoming poverty among pastoralists, alongside investment in pastoral systems and restoration of degraded rangelands.

GUO JINGNAN (China), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and her country, noted that 90 per cent of global targets are off-track, requiring Member States to “bring development issues back to the centre of the international agenda”.  The Global Development Initiative proposed by China is aimed at mobilizing resources and achieving complementarity among countries, she stated, calling on the international community to work together while upholding the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.  She recalled that China has announced its own targets of carbon peak and carbon neutrality, launched the world’s largest market and pursues extensive South-South cooperation.  The country is working to build a win-win global climate governance system, promoting a sense of respect and adaptation towards nature “so as to safeguard our home planet”.  In development terms, China achieved universal electricity coverage in 2015 and has an installed renewable energy capacity exceeding 1.3 billion kilowatts.

Mr. NGUYEN (Viet Nam), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, as well as ASEAN, said current statistics reveal that the world is lagging behind in achieving the SDGs and that developing countries face being the most left behind.  Echoing the Chair’s prior statement, he stated the need to focus on the six key sectors underlined in the SDG Summit political declaration:  food, energy, digitalization, education, social protection and jobs, and biodiversity.  To fulfil this, people must be placed at the core of the development process, while financing for development must be pursued through international as well as public and private sources for developing countries to have adequate access to concessional and climate finance.  He added that education must also be strengthened and called on Member States to invest in digital technologies and early childhood education.  On climate change, he highlighted that, with the support of international partners, Viet Nam has established the Just Energy Transition Partnership to leverage adequate resources towards green development.

Mr. HASSAN (United Arab Emirates) said that achieving the SDGs remains a pillar of his country’s development plan.  Efforts focus on four key pillars:  accelerating just and orderly energy transition; improving climate finance; focusing on people’s lives and livelihood; and engaging relevant multi-stakeholders.  Ensuring reliable and sustainable “modern energy” for all is also a major focus for the United Arab Emirates.  A just energy transition is linked to achieving ambitious results at the twenty-eighth UN Climate Change Conference.  Clean energy transition is a key sustainable development challenge that requires the cooperation of all stakeholders, including Governments, the private sector and civil society.  He noted various investment programmes that target increases in renewable energy projects and hydrogen production.  “The United Arab Emirates will pursue its effective cooperation with all to contribute to a more sustainable future,” he added.

Emerson Coraiola Yinde Kloss (Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, underlined that action to reduce inequalities within and between countries should be at the core of efforts to accelerate the 2030 Agenda.  On climate change, the upcoming Global Stocktake to take place during the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference will help identify advances and implementation gaps in the regime, particularly on climate finance, he said.  Brazil is proud to have hosted the meeting of the Global Environment Facility Council in June 2023 in Brasilia, where the decision of establishing the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund was adopted; however, more needs to be done to ensure the mobilization of resources to ensure its effective implementation. Highlighting his country’s reduction of deforestation in the Amazon by 50 per cent in eight months and its intent to progress to zero deforestation by 2030, he underlined the need to ensure decent living conditions for the more than 50 million people who live in the eight Amazonian countries, including Indigenous Peoples.

MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica) recalled the recent Ministerial Summit on Environmental Sustainability hosted by her country, which showcased examples of addressing global challenges through increased productivity, enhanced social inclusion and environmental sustainability.  Noting that her country is committed to investing in resilience due to its location in a highly vulnerable region, she highlighted its national gender action plan in climate change, which provides women with tools to address environmental issues.  Ahead of the twenty-eighth UN Climate Change Conference, she called on major emitters to demonstrate commitment and action to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, while emphasizing the need for the efficient operationalization of the loss and damage fund.  Furthermore, she stated that Costa Rica established new mechanisms to protect marine and terrestrial biodiversity as well as designing a new mangrove environmental services payment programme. 

HAJAH RAZAN DZAFIRAH BINTI HAJI ZAINI (Brunei Darussalam), associating herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77 and China, said that her country is fully committed to accelerate actions towards achieving the SDGs in line with the country’s national vision, Wawasan Brunei 2035.  Placing a strong emphasis on evidence-based action, she highlighted the need to further improve data capacity for a robust monitoring system through the National SDG Tracker.  She also emphasized youth as agents of change to drive the sustainable agenda.  “To foster the development and empowerment of future sustainability leaders, the first annual SDG Youth Dialogue was held in May 2023,” she said, also underscoring her country’s efforts to localize the SDGs.  “We pledge to ensuring inclusive and quality education, decent jobs and an enabling ecosystem so everyone can thrive and participate in the society,” she stated.

Ms. OUATIKI (Morocco) noted that her country prioritizes climate action with an ambitious national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 per cent by 2030 and increase investment in renewable energy, and it is on track to reach its goal of 52 per cent use by 2030.  In the same vein, Morocco builds on major initiatives focusing on agricultural adaptation and reinforcing the resilience of the African continent.  She reiterated support for the Secretary-General’s call for a new fair and sustainable global financial system, debt-for-climate swaps and raising ambition for financing for climate mitigation in developing countries.  Further, technology sharing “is now more than necessary” to help vulnerable countries, as her Government works with the African Development Bank and the entire United Nations system to enhance resilient agriculture, especially around the Congo Basin.

PETAL GAHLOT (India), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the “2030 promise is in peril”; however, her country has made great progress in poverty reduction, clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy, among others.  Pointing out sustainable consumption and production patterns as a significant development in the SDGs roadmap recently, she said India’s lifestyles for the environment movement — Mission LiFE — and its multilateral engagement with G20 partners “show concrete action on the subject”.  She reaffirmed support to the Samoa Pathway and pledged continuous partnership with small island developing States.  She further highlighted disaster risk reduction as an area requiring urgent attention, citing India’s initiative of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure as an effort to support the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, adding the need to also respond to challenges in coastal zones.

YEO YUAN FANG (Singapore), affiliating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, underscoring the need to move faster on climate action, noted that the world remains far from limiting global warming to 1.5°C.  In this context, she highlighted Singapore’s 2030 Green Plan, which aims to integrate sustainable development across its environmental, economic, energy, transport and infrastructure sectors.  Singapore will raise its carbon tax beginning in 2024, with a clear timeline to reach between $36 and $58 per ton by 2030.  She highlighted her country’s innovative solutions to decarbonize, including the launch in 2021 of its first floating solar farm, which is the size of 45 soccer fields.  The transition to a low-carbon future will require substantial economic restructuring and financial investments in the short term, which will not be easy for developing countries, she said, pointing out that the cost of inaction will be infinitely higher than the cost of maintaining climate pledges.

GEORGE EHIDIAMEN EDOKPA (Nigeria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China as well as the African Group, detailed the Renewed Hope Initiative launched in response to the multifaceted challenges and aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Nigeria is focusing on diversification initiatives, including a new ministry for marine and blue economy and a taskforce for fiscal policy and tax reform, to boost economic growth and support the achievement of the SDGs through increased domestic resource mobilization.  He further welcomed the proposal by the Secretary-General for an SDG Stimulus and echoed the call for reform of the international financial architecture, including comprehensive debt relief measures, especially for African economies, while requesting the Committee to emphasize in its work pertinent issues like the eradication of poverty, access to clean water and sanitation, and energy for all.

TAPIWA ROY RUPENDE (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the African Group, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, said that the world is only on track to achieve 15 per cent of the SDG targets.  “By any means, this is a shame, yet, if we all act with urgency and redouble action and investments across the SDGs […] we can still achieve these ambitious goals,” he added. Post-pandemic recovery efforts must prioritize inclusivity.  In the same vein, he rejected the imposition of unilateral coercive measures on a number of countries, including Zimbabwe, which have unintended consequences on the pursuit of SDGs.  These should be lifted now and unconditionally.  Securing adequate financing remains pivotal.

IRINA BARBA (Ecuador), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said that she represents a country of high vulnerability to climate change, with projections of a 2°C increase in the average temperature until the end of the century and even higher increases in the Amazon and Galapagos.  “Although Ecuador generates marginal greenhouse gas emissions, our country is committed to the fight against climate change,” she stressed, urging developed countries to meet the goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually.  Her country has a National Strategy for Biodiversity and is moving towards achieving its 2050 vision of “living in harmony with nature”.  With the imminent arrival of the El Niño phenomenon, her country is implementing a contingency plan to deal with the climate pattern’s possible serious impacts.

Mr. ALKHURAIBET (Kuwait), noting that only 15 per cent of the SDGs are on track, cited his country’s development strategy under the theme “New Kuwait”, with seven pillars elaborated to turn it into a global financial, trade and cultural hub.  Given that challenges including climate change have made recovery difficult, he called for renewed commitment to the political declaration of the SDG Summit, building resilience and extending social protection to the most vulnerable. Stressing that sustainability and stability are closely linked, he voiced surprise that Iraq’s federal court had invalidated an agreement concluded in 2011 and deposited before the United Nations.  Affirming that the cancellation of that security protocol agreement will have negative repercussions on water management and navigation, he called on Iraq to take concrete actions to address the issue.

AMARA SHEIKH MOHAMMED SOWA (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said that his Government rolled out the Free Quality Education Programme, significantly increasing access to education.  Special attention has also been paid to legal aid and institutional reform including governance, judicial and peace mediation.  An SDG Acceleration Roadmap for Sierra Leone has highlighted priority areas of investment to pursue transformative and impactful goals and targets.  In the next five years, Sierra Leone’s actions will draw upon a strategic framework set out to consolidate gains and accelerate transformation.  “Despite our resolve to achieve the SDGs, developing countries, especially African LDCs [least developed countries] like Sierra Leone, continue to grapple with persistent challenges,” he said, reiterating the urgent need for enhanced support.

Ms. AL FADHEL (Bahrain) highlighted her country’s efforts at fostering strategic partnerships within the sustainable development framework at all levels, through programmes with UN agencies.  Bahrain presented its second voluntary national review at the high-level political forum on sustainable development in July 2023, in which it presented the broadest review possible, setting out steps taken to foster inclusive development. On climate change, she highlighted a pledge undertaken by her country at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference to achieve net zero and carbon neutrality by 2060.  As well, she highlighted other achievements, including the use of renewable energy by Bahrain’s National Initiative for Agricultural Development, and its having surpassed its national afforestation goals.  In this context, she spotlighted an afforestation project launched in March with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

HAFIZA HUMAIRA JAVAID (Pakistan), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said the 2030 Agenda provides the blueprint for international development and cooperation to address key economic, governance and sustainability challenges “confronting our world”.  She pointed out the challenges facing developing countries in achieving notable progress, including:  a vast and growing financing gap, now $4.2 trillion per annum; severe pandemic-occasioned shocks and geopolitical instability; and the adverse effects of climate change on planet, people and livelihoods, with developing nations “as always disproportionately affected”.  The Committee’s deliberations must, therefore, focus on ways and means to achieve the SDGs.  To this end, Pakistan suggests implementation of all commitments under the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the SDGs Summit, as well as a recapitalization of multilateral development banks, rechannelling SDRs and reforming international financial institutions.  There should also be full implementation of the climate change agenda and an annual mobilization of at least $1 trillion for investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure in developing countries.

For information media. Not an official record.