|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
29th & 30th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly President Calls Financial Resources ‘Lifeblood’
of Race to Meet Development Targets
Second Committee Concludes Two-Day Debate on Sustainable Development
Financial resources remained the “lifeblood” to meeting development goals, the General Assembly President told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it concluded its general debate on sustainable development.
John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), in his first address to the Committee, said its deliberations had the potential to strengthen both the economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development and contribute to forging the post-2015 agenda. The Committee could also play an important role in areas of macroeconomic policy, debt, technology and the international financial system.
Fulfilment of official development assistance (ODA) remained critical, he said. Financing needs far outpaced public sector resources in many countries, especially those in special situations in Africa, those landlocked and least developed, as well as small island developing States. New and innovative sources of financing were required to supplement traditional ODA.
South-South cooperation should complement North-South and triangular cooperation, he continued. Essential to sustainable development was upholding a fair and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system. The particular vulnerability of small island developing States must be addressed and their engagement and recognition in the international policy forums ensured.
Following his address, several speakers emphasized the need for international solidarity among nations, with Tonga’s representative saying his country, as a small island State, was losing the battle to provide its next generation with viable options. That was largely due to factors beyond its control. The world had to address its mass production and consumption patterns, he stressed, adding that harmony with nature entailed also living in harmony with oceans.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Iceland’s delegate said that efforts toward development would not be taken seriously if the international community forgot the 1 billion people in developing countries who depended on fish for their primary protein and the 350 million who had jobs linked to oceans. He called for the sustainable management of fisheries and stronger ocean pollution control.
Many delegates said that due consideration must be given to energy issues while preparing the post-2015 development initiative. Qatar’s delegate pointed out that sustainable energy could reduce poverty, improve quality of living and save lives. An approach based on common but differentiated responsibilities was essential. The representative of the Maldives highlighted his country’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2020 and urged for aggressive mitigation action by major historic emitters.
Several delegates emphasized the potential of the “green economy” in achieving sustainable development with the representative of Myanmar saying that it provided options for policymakers with a certain degree of flexibility. The green economy, while maintaining healthy functions of Earth’s ecosystems, should contribute to eradicating poverty, as well as to sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment. Taking a different stance, the representative of Bolivia said the green economy commercialized natural resources and opened biodiversity to private investment. Such economic measures led to the oversizing of the private sector and changing modalities of international cooperation.
Also speaking were the representatives of Jamaica, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Ireland, Senegal, United States, Monaco, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Iran, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Maldives, Tajikistan, Solomon Islands, Morocco, Swaziland, Mozambique, Germany, Serbia, Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Eritrea, France, Kazakhstan, Togo, Samoa, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ukraine, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia and Turkey.
Observers for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) also spoke.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 6 November, to hold an interactive dialogue on finding solutions for sustainable development and to begin its introduction of draft resolutions.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its two-day general debate on sustainable development. [For background information see press release GA/EF/3382]
JOHN ASHE ( Trinidad and Tobago), President of the General Assembly, in his first address to the Committee, said that the post-2015 agenda would be built on two core goals — sustainable development and poverty eradication. The Committee’s deliberations under the thematic cluster of sustainable development would provide an opportunity to take stock of how far “we have come in translating the vision articulated at Rio+20 into reality”. The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development could serve as a champion and watchdog for the global sustainable development agenda and to ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In that regard, close collaboration between the President of Economic and Social Council and the Bureaus of relevant General Assembly committees was essential.
The Second Committee’s deliberations had the potential to strengthen both the economic and environmental dimensions of the post-2015 development agenda, he said. After a slow start, the implementation of the Rio+20 outcome document was proceeding apace. He recalled that he had consulted with the co-chairs of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Committee of Sustainable Development Financing. While both acknowledged their challenges, they remained optimistic that their processes would achieve ambitious outcomes by September 2014. In that regard, the Committee could also play an important role in areas of macroeconomic policy, debt, technology and the international financial system. Financial resources remained the “lifeblood” to implementing development goals. While the fulfilment of all official development assistance (ODA) commitments remained critical, it was clear that financing needs far outpaced public sector resources in many countries, especially those in special situations in Africa, the landlocked developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing States.
New and innovative sources of financing were needed to supplement traditional ODA, he stressed. South-South cooperation must be further enhanced as a complement to North-South and Triangular Cooperation. To advance prosperity for all and long-term sustainable growth, robust and fair international trade was indispensible. It was essential to uphold a universal, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, he said, stressing the need to conclude the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also emphasized the particular vulnerability of small island developing States. With the spotlight on those States in 2014, it was imperative for the preparations for their upcoming Samoa conference to provide greater opportunities for their engagement and recognition in the international policy forums.
ABBDALLAZIZ MOHAMED AL-SADA ( Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it was important to include protecting the environment into the future development agenda. On a national level, Qatar had highlighted the importance of integrating the three pillars of sustainable development. It had surpassed the global parameter for biodiversity and last year hosted the Conference of Parties. Mobilizing efforts to implement all previous resolutions was critical, he said, calling on the international community to implement the Convention to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought. Qatar provided fresh water to all its citizens and many more now had access to improved sanitation. In that regard, relationships with public and private sectors, as well as civil society, were critical. Consideration must be given to energy issues while preparing the post-2015 development initiative. Sustainable energy could reduce poverty, improve quality of living and save lives. He also emphasized the importance of common but differentiated responsibility.
E. COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), associating himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States, and Caribbean Community (CARICOM), welcomed recent progress in establishing intergovernmental institutional structures towards fostering sustainable development and pledged his country’s continued support. The organic linkages between the sustainable development agenda of the small island d eveloping States and the broader post-2015 agenda must be recognized, he stressed. Disasters and climate change remained major challenges to countries like Jamaica, he said, and called for action on all aspects of the agenda. Jamaica viewed next year’s Climate Summit as having the potential to lay the groundwork for the successful conclusion of a comprehensive agreement by 2015. The world was at a key point in the evolution of the sustainable development agenda and had the opportunity to fulfil the decades-long promise of development that effectively integrated its social, economic and environmental dimensions.
DENIS PIMINOV ( Russian Federation) said an important priority in the short-term was the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in all countries. He emphasised the need to enhance partnerships between Governments, the private sector and civil society. Collective international efforts were instrumental to the full achievement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and establishment of a new international instrument that would replace the Kyoto Protocol. The new climate regime must include all greenhouse gas emitters. He noted the important role of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in strengthening coordination in international environmental activities. It must continue to carry out concrete environmental programmes to build capacity of countries. He welcomed the establishment of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, saying it would act as a key mechanism to move forward on the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference.
SHAVENDRA SILVA ( Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the world was not immune to natural catastrophes despite the overall development of transportation, infrastructure, science and technology. There was a need for a framework for disaster risk reduction that strengthened human and environmental resilience. Sri Lanka’s location, climate and shifting weather patterns intensified its vulnerability to natural disasters, he said, adding that those were exacerbated by growing population and urbanization. Highlighting his country’s achievements in such areas as risk management, public awareness campaigns, preparedness and early warning systems and mitigation and prevention, he called for global agreements on climate change and disaster risk reduction. It was imperative to reduce risks and build resilience, he stated, urging the United Nations system, Member States and other relevant stakeholders to engage in the process with their fullest commitment.
MAHA EL KOULAIB ( Kuwait), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, emphasized her country’s efforts to promote gender equality and the integration of youth into development policies. Investment in human capital was prominent in Kuwait and efforts were underway to upgrade development efforts. Despite being a developing country, Kuwait provided assistance overseas, she said, pointing to the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development which ran hundreds of development projects. She noted that her country would hold the third conference on African-Arab partnerships in development and investment. That summit sought to deepen cooperation and open new horizons. She underlined the need to address climate change, pointing in particular to the threat of disasters faced by small island developing States. A balance was needed between mitigating climate change and working to avoid the obstacles through building resilience.
TIM MAWE ( Ireland ) welcomed the establishment of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the changing of the designation of the Governing Council of UNEP to the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP. The universal nature of those forums demonstrated the shared responsibility ahead in addressing the challenges that faced current and future generations. They could also provide the evidence-base needed to guide decisions. The contribution of women, youth and civil society would help ensure the connection between the United Nations and the reality of people’s daily lives. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals should continue to review critical issues, including from food and nutrition security, sustainable consumption and production, energy, climate change, and biodiversity loss. He noted the unique vulnerabilities and sustainable development challenges of small island developing States, saying their upcoming conference must focus on innovative and lasting impacts.
IBRAHIM AL KHALIL SECK (Senegal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, called for more socially and environmentally conscious methods of production and stressed the need for closer coordination between initiatives, investments and the institutions charged with dealing with that question. Without balance between the three pillars of sustainable development, the latter would remain an illusion, he said, stressing the need to implement agreements made at Rio+20 and welcoming those already implemented. Despite the new development agenda, he would not be diverted from trying to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, and he called for integration of the sustainable development goals with the Millennium Development Goals. He listed some of Senegal’s environmental policies, including promotion of protected marine areas, creation of biosphere reserves, soil regeneration efforts and work to combat salination of land. He noted the effects of climate change on his country, which included annual flooding that affected thousands, describing mitigation efforts and underlining the importance of implementing the strategic goals outlined in the Hyogo Framework.
TERRI ROBL ( United States) said her Government wanted to reduce poverty, hunger and disease while protecting the planet. She called for reform of environmental United Nations organizations, saying that UNEP could improve coordination and convene discussions for the most pressing and important global issues. On climate change, she looked forward to the upcoming Conference of Parties. Investing in technology and education was also critical. On a bilateral level, a United States programme supported innovators in more than 50 countries to develop capacity and promote green technology. For least developed countries, the technology bank merited consideration. The Internet, social media, and new phone applications provided an opportunity to innovate approaches to sustainable development. However, innovation could be stifled if Governments did not promote the sharing of ideas. Disaster risk reduction, which must be included in the development agenda, must also integrate the voices of affected communities, the private sector and civil society. Over a third of the global population lived near oceans and over 1 billion people depended on them as a primary source of food, she pointed out, underlining the particular vulnerabilities of small island developing States.
FANNY GARROS ( Monaco) said her Government was pursuing a human centric development agenda. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must come to an agreement before 2015 and encompass all countries’ concerns. For its part, Monaco aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage consumption. By 2020, Monaco aimed to have 20 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources. In addition, the national policy had made as a priority the management of its natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity. Providing women the same access to information and communications technology would significantly secure development of the global agricultural sector. She noted the particular vulnerabilities of least developed countries, small island developing States, and landlocked developing countries, particularly in Africa. Strengthening cooperation and partnerships were key when addressing climate change. She also emphasized the need to protect oceans and address rising sea levels.
PENDAPALA A. NAANDA ( Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed the need for coordinating macroeconomic policy decisions with other areas of global governance. A strengthened United Nations framework for enhancing coordination should be at the centre of efforts to bridge the gap and build consensus on sustainable development. Namibia enshrined the protection of the environment and the prudent utilization of natural resources in its Constitution, he said, adding that sustainable utilization of the living natural resources for the benefit of all was a national priority. Welcoming the establishment of the High Level Political Forum, he urged the body to complement the functions and roles of United Nations bodies. Africa was the most vulnerable region to the impacts of climate change and attached great importance to multilateral forums deliberating on solutions. Highlighting the challenges posed by land degradation and the Government’s response, he called for stronger partnership and coordination to scale up international interventions as an important complement of the development agenda. The recently launched Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought sought to maintain the momentum generated by the Rio+20 Conference.
ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States at the United Nations and associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, reiterated the importance of ensuring that not only the United Nations, but also Member States and all other stakeholders had a stake in ensuring partnership for a sustainable and secure future. The increasing emphasis on poverty eradication as a key enabler and overarching pillar for sustainable development, while welcome, must not undervalue other equally significant social, economic and environmental considerations. The Millennium Development Goals had galvanized development efforts, facilitated constructive dialogue, built partnerships and made development strategies more results oriented. However, the millions that remained in poverty must not be forgotten under the unfinished business of the Millennium Goals. mSmall island developing States stood at the crossroads of sustainable development, he said, pointing out the opportunity for delivering the aspirations that had evaded those countries. “We recognize the enormity of the challenges but we are equally unfazed,” he added. The United Nations and the wider international community must join small island developing States in forging and reinvigorating partnerships that were genuine, durable and action oriented. Crucial areas for action included: ensuring healthy, productive and resilient oceans and seas; addressing the serious threats posed by climate change; reducing and replacing the dependency on fossil fuel with renewal energy sources; increasing investment in health and education; combating the rise in non-communicable diseases; capacity building and institutional strengthening; gender empowerment; and, reviewing the criteria for the graduation of least developed countries.
SUCHAYA TANCHAROENPOL (Thailand), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), strongly believed that sustainable development should be the paradigm for the future development agenda. Furthermore, it should be integrated “seamlessly” into that agenda. She stressed the need for Member States and all relevant stakeholders to work together to implement a comprehensive and transformative agenda for the benefit of all. The Government welcomed the establishment of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and hoped that body would serve as a universal platform that generated a political will of Member States for the deliberation and implementation of sustainable development. As a member of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Thailand also hoped to contribute constructively to the consideration and the delineation of those Goals.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEGHANI ( Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, addressed the follow-up processes to Rio+20 and the inputs they would give to establishing the post-2015 development agenda. The environmental, social and economic elements of the new agenda had to be approached in an integrated manner and could not be considered in silos. He said the conclusions of the special event on the Millennium Development Goals had reaffirmed the primacy of addressing poverty eradication, which was also prominent in the Rio+20 outcome document. Welcoming efforts to implement other aspects of that outcome document, he went on to outline Iran’s own particular concerns, such as desertification and land degradation. International cooperation was needed to address those issues, along with water contamination, air pollution and soil erosion, which depleted arable land and groundwater, led to deforestation and impacted the livelihoods of the rural and urban poor. As the sixth most disaster-prone country in the world, Iran had developed an internationally recognized disaster preparedness and response capacity; however, extensive longer-term international cooperation was needed.
JÓN ERLINGUR JÓNASSON ( Iceland) said that the loss of soil and decline in ecosystem services was a silent crisis. The global community would not be able to achieve its important goals of food and water security, eradicating poverty and meeting its greenhouse gas targets without a major improvement in the conservation and restricted use of the world’s soil resources. He also highlighted the need to protect oceans. “We will not be taken seriously if we forget the 1 billion people in developing countries who depend on fish for their primary protein and the 350 million who have jobs linked to the oceans,” he said. It was essential to commit to sustainable fisheries management, capacity building and stronger pollution control to keep oceans healthy. Iceland had benefitted enormously from the progressive nature of the Law of the Sea Convention. He underlined the need for gender equality and the empowerment of women, saying that it would not be possible to address climate change and food security without women.
SAUL WEISLEDER ( Costa Rica), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, pointed to the loss of ecological balance which needed to be recovered. Stressing the importance of a wide-range of international agreements that he said were fundamental to future sustainable development, he pointed to the many threats posed by climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was a priority, he said, calling for international ambition and the provision of effective means for implementation and capacity building. He underlined his commitment to fighting the causes and effects of climate change, calling on those responsible for most emissions to take the lead, particularly given the disproportionate effects of climate change on developing countries. Central America was extremely vulnerable to disasters and every disaster put up a new barrier to development, holding up investment in other areas because of the overriding need to rebuild. Looking ahead to the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, he welcomed the chance to assess progress in implementation of the Hyogo Framework. He also described measures Costa Rica had adopted aimed at conserving tropical forests and resources. Those efforts were possible thanks to access to funds and financing and had resulted in reforestation to levels higher than in the 1960s when large-scale deforestation had begun.
JULIO ESCALONA (Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the United Nations had recorded an increase in loss of biodiversity and in the occurrence of floods, sea levels, and tsunamis, leading to an increase in the number of climate change refugees. He endorsed the Mauritius Strategy and the Barbados and Istanbul plans of action. Essential to sustainable development was the integration of its three pillars. Redistribution of wealth was unequal, he noted, saying that it was directly affected by the income of the wealthy. Their new patterns of consumption were unequal and unfair. While some countries suffered from fiscal deficits, others used funds to increase speculation and increase the profits of millionaires. That affected the price of raw material and food and had an adverse affect on eradicating poverty. In developed countries, an extensive accumulation of capital was linked to the destruction of the environment. He proposed a tax on speculative trade. Developed countries had attempted to concert their duties into opportunities to gain more wealth, he added. The same was true in the area of technology transfer. The financing of sustainable development must be addressed. The High Level Political Forum would guarantee the conduct of heads of States in attaining development goals.
HASSAN HUSSAIN SHIHAB (Maldives), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that for nations like his, natural disasters had the potential to undo the development achievements of years, even decades, within seconds. For its part, the Maldives had designed a national plan to promote collaboration among policymakers, experts and practitioners for the development of a comprehensive risk management approach that built resilience and raised public awareness. Highlighting his country’s pledge to become carbon neutral by 2020, he urged for aggressive mitigation action by major historic emitters. Small countries with small economies, like the Maldives, often lagged behind due to additional challenges such as high debt burdens, weak institutions, and a lack of capacity. In that regard, he called on all nations to fulfil their ODA commitments. Salt water intrusion and ocean life preservation were critical challenges as well. With more than 80 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) dependent on tourism and fisheries sectors, the Maldives had prioritized tourism development policies and safeguards to minimize the environmental impacts of tourism.
SIRODJIDIN ASLOV (Tajikistan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the importance of considering universal access to safe drinking water as well as integrated management and development of the resource while designing the post-2015 agenda. Furthermore, he said, it would be impossible to achieve sustainable development without ensuring reliable and universal access to energy and increased efficiency in its use. With its abundant hydropower potential, Tajikistan endeavoured to promote that resource as an instrument of sustainability and efficiency. Climate change undermined global efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he stressed, and called for a timely and coordinated global response. In mobilizing resources for developing countries, international efforts should strengthen preventive measures, increase preparedness, and improve monitoring and assessment of impact.
HELEN BECK (Solomon Islands), aligning herself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States, the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said she supported the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation and the Barbados Plan of Action. She said that small island developing States were a special case in sustainable development and looked ahead to the 2014 conference on small island developing States. It came at the right time because the world had changed significantly since adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action. Natural disasters had increased in frequency, sea levels were rising, oceans were acidifying and people’s livelihoods were under threat. Some States did not embrace multilateralism and needed to join in efforts to find a global solution to climate change. The United Nations needed to focus more on poverty eradication to match the efforts of bilateral partners, such as the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, New Zealand and Australia. She looked forward to the establishment of a technology bank for least developed countries, noting that six small island developing States were also least developed countries, including the Solomon Islands. She underlined the importance of oceans, sustainable energy and climate change in relation to the Barbados Programme of Action.
T. SUKA MANGISI (Tonga), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, said that his country had developed an energy road map for this decade which aimed to set the path towards a sustainable and low-carbon sector. Tonga sustained 6.6 per cent of average annualized losses from natural disasters, he said, emphasizing that it was expected to further exacerbate by the high volatility in disaster severity. Investing in disaster resilience had a double pay-off as it protected people and their livelihoods, as well as future investments tailored for other development goals. He highlighted the need for intergenerational solidarity, which was a clear challenge to small island developing States where a real concern was “our children’s ability to have a home” due to climate change. Tonga was losing the fight for providing the next generation with options largely because of factors beyond its control. Emphasizing the need to address the world’s mass production and consumption patterns, he stressed that harmony with nature must also entail living in harmony with oceans and seas.
ABDELLAH BENMELLOUR (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted progress in several areas related to Rio+20 which he said would strengthen global efforts to achieve sustainable development. United Nations operational activities for development needed to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development, he said, looking forward to the upcoming Warsaw Climate Change Conference, which he hoped would lead to an agreement to help address what was a serious global challenge. Stating that countries of the South suffered most from climate change, he said it was important to build on progress made in climate change negotiations. The Conference was an opportunity to establish new momentum on risk reduction and to adopt a new platform for action. The role of the United Nations in managing disaster risk needed to increase in line with growing need. Expecting more and more extreme weather events in the future, Morocco had pursued strategies aimed at mitigating risks and was cooperating with countries, particularly in the Sahel region.
ZWELETHU MNISI ( Swaziland) said the commitments made at the Rio+20 Conference were meant to ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the planet and free humanity from poverty and hunger. Though it may seem that time was running out for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the world must do the best it could. While setting the new development agenda, the Millennium Goals that remained to be met should be taken into account. With a goal of reducing poverty by more than 50 per cent by 2015, Swaziland hoped to be classified in the top 10 per cent of middle-income developing countries by 2022. The post-2015 agenda should address the root causes of poverty and remain cognizant of the special needs of developing countries, especially those in Africa. It also needed to lay emphasis on the urgency for developed partners to honour their ODA commitments. Stressing the importance of promoting sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition, he urged the post-2015 agenda to incorporate deforestation, desertification, drought, climate change and biodiversity loss. Since energy was the cornerstone of sustainable development efforts, the United Nations should consider establishing a Department of Energy.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE (Mozambique), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, welcomed the upcoming World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, signalling it of particular importance in assessing the United Nations ongoing actions and adopting the framework for addressing natural disasters across the globe. Preparations for it needed the input of the most vulnerable countries. As one of those countries, Mozambique had frequently faced tropical cyclones, floods and drought that had caused detriment to the economy and sustainable development programmes. The result had placed significant obstacles against the country’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. To help prevent and mitigate such disasters, Mozambique had restructured its National Institute for Disaster Management, including the implementation of an emergency operating centre, and involving the United Nations and its agencies. For the short term, the Institute had focused on the mapping and prepositioning of human and material resources, the activation of an early warning system and the approval of Government funds in tackling the effects of a natural disaster. However, Mozambique faced challenges in carrying out its programmes, including in capacity building, timely access to financial resources and collaborating with the private sector to take advantage of advanced communications technology. To help Mozambique and other countries with a collective strategy, the United Nations needed to adhere to Rio+20 and help strengthen regional partnerships.
JAN KANTORCZYK (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, called for a global political commitment, true cooperation and the participation of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable development. National thematic consultations on the post-2015 development agenda had taken place across the world and the High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network had presented reports. He expected that meetings of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development would help ensure that sustainable development was embedded in policies in countries of the North and South. He said he believed that a chance existed to agree to a new, legally-binding global climate agreement, while he also looked forward to the third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States. Turning finally to a “recent dramatic increase” in poaching and illicit wildlife trafficking, he noted the threat that posed to sustainable development, biodiversity, peace and security.
LIDIJA BUBANJA (Serbia), associating herself with the European Union, said the future development agenda must remain global in nature and universally applicable to all countries while taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. She highlighted Serbia’s participation in the intergovernmental Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Open Working Group on Financing for Development. It was also important to address issues such as food security and nutrition, decent employment and gender equality. One of the ultimate goals was to change current unsustainable production and consumption patterns and promote sustainable management of natural resources over their life cycle. She highlighted the role of UNEP in promoting the environmental dimension of sustainable development. Modern energy services stood at the centre of global efforts to induce a paradigm shift towards green economies, poverty eradication and, ultimately, sustainable development.
Karel Jan Gustaaf Van Oosterom( Netherlands), associating himself with the European Union, said he hoped to be a partner in sharing expertise and experiences in the areas of peace, justice and development to accelerate action on sustainable development. There was “unfinished business” associated with the Millennium Development Goals, which should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda. He called on States to aim for low-emission economies and climate-resilient development, welcoming the idea of a “leaders’ summit” in 2014 to accelerate progress to carbon free economies. He described his country’s constant “struggle against water” and also referred to the struggle faced by the Caribbean part of the Netherlands where hurricanes and flooding were common. He prioritized adaptation, especially in vulnerable countries and supported initiatives designed to improve resilience. He also supported the CARICOM Framework on Climate Change and the Majuro Declaration and planned a conference in preparation for the upcoming United Nations Small Island Developing States Conference.
RODNEY CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island Developing States and CARICOM, highlighted his country’s efforts in addressing the challenge of climate change. As a country highly vulnerable to climate change and witnessing its increasing negative impact, Trinidad and Tobago underscored that the response must be urgent, global, ambitious and mindful of the plight of those most affected. The upcoming climate change summit provided an opportunity for world leaders to intensify mitigation action up to 2020 and provided clear indications of the actions they would be prepared to take thereafter. That must be done with a full appreciation of the broader context of the post-2015 agenda and would require careful management of the linkages and synergies between the two issues. There was an opportunity to fast-track implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and catalyze the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. At the same time, the risks that accompanied the opportunities must be managed.
ALAIN WILFRIED BIYA ( Cameroon) expressed concern in regards to the delay with implementing the technology transfer as outlined in the outcome document of Rio+20. Desertification, land degradation and drought were challenges that aggravated poverty. Rising temperatures, decrease in rainfall and decreasing quality of soil had affected the economy of Cameroon. Its domestic plans aimed to increase conservation of certain land and preservation of biological diversity. In addition, the sustainable management of flora and forestry resources was of utmost importance as Cameroon was home to one of the largest forests in Africa. Taking into account vast international programmes of biodiversity, Cameroon had its own internal responsibilities. There was a need for increased support by the international community for the fair conservation of forests. He said that the illicit trafficking of fauna and poaching was the world’s third most lucrative illegal market. More than a year after a massacre of elephants, Cameroon had intensified efforts to combat poaching, he said.
NURBEK KASYMOV ( Kyrgyzstan) said the National Sustainable Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2013-2017 aimed to feed in to international efforts to achieve sustainable development. He noted Kyrgyzstan’s susceptibility to natural disasters as a developing, landlocked and mountainous country, pointing to rapid melting of glaciers, which had shrunk by 30 per cent, and which would disappear altogether by 2100. Developed countries needed to do more to cut emissions and to assist developing countries in mitigation and adaptation. For its part, he pointed to Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to reducing its own emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. Water was a strategic natural resource for Kyrgyzstan and the use of water resources within its region was complex. Use should be determined by a system of measures aimed at developing all the economies of Central Asia based on rational and mutually beneficial use of water resources. Hydropower and regional cooperation were priorities and could be effective means of ensuring clean development and environmental security. He supported further promotion of development goals for mountainous regions in the context of the specific vulnerabilities they faced, and he addressed remediation and security of radioactive waste and toxic materials.
Milorad Šćepanović( Montenegro), associating himself with the European Union, said sustainable development remained an issue of strategic orientation and preoccupation for his country and represented a key policy driver. Montenegro actively participated in all ongoing processes whose convergence would lead to a single universal framework and set of goals defined in a balanced, meaningful and forward-looking manner. In accordance with the recommendations of the Rio+20 Outcome Document, the country began revising its national strategy for sustainable development and would take vital inputs from recent national consultations on the post-2015 agenda. Stressing the importance of establishing synergy between national priorities and the post-2015 agenda, he said future work had to be based on universal values and a vision that allowed for national flexibility in implementation. The sustainable development goals must represent a central part of the agenda and clearly reflect political commitment promoting economic development, social inclusion, sustainable use of natural resources and environmental protection, peace and security, rule of law and human rights. In collaboration with the United Nations system, Montenegro would open a Centre for Sustainable Development Centre early next year.
ARAYA DESTA (Eritrea), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said that desertification directly affected billions of people around the world. In Africa, the situation was relevant because two thirds of the continent consisted of drylands and deserts. Eritrea, which was particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, had acceded to several relevant international instruments and prepared necessary management and action plans. Combating land degradation was an important component of Eritrea’s strategy for reducing poverty and improving food security, he said, stressing that action in that direction should be country driven with strong community participation and ownership. As desertification, land degradation and drought were interlinked problems, closer cooperation was needed at the global, regional and national levels, he said.
Adriana PACHECO ( Bolivia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said guiding the world towards development required a vision where clear objectives were set in a holistic manner. Looking at the post-2015 development agenda, she warned against States imposing a single development model on the world. She did not share the vision of the green economy which commercialized natural resources and opened biodiversity to private investment. Such economic measures led to the oversizing of the private sector and changing modalities of international cooperation. Capitalism had created a system that was wasteful and opulent. Bolivia promoted a vision of harmony with nature. It was essential to restore the sovereignty of States while respecting human rights, socioeconomic rights and the full rights of indigenous populations. Achieving a balance between nature and the human being required fundamental changes in the way societies produced and consumed. Climate change was directly related to the polluted production of a few countries that were extracting renewable and unrenewable resources.
FRANCOIS GAVE (France) said that human activity was responsible for climatic deterioration. There was a need to act without any further delay. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change enabled the international community to come up with the necessary means to forge a future agreement on climate change. That plan must be inclusive, bold, and legally-binding, with a scope to review arrangements. At the Conference of the Parties, sound solutions must be found to address climate change. The Conference must also promote a reduction of greenhouse gases. The need for solidarity was quite clear. The Board of the Green Climate Fund had opened the path to a first set of action to be implemented in 2014 with the pledge of an additional $100 billion a year to fight climate change. France had set up a tax for international financial transactions used to fund climate change initiatives. The year 2014 must be one of action, he said, calling for greater effort to mobilize against desertification, land degradation and drought.
Aliya BAISABAYEVA ( Kazakhstan) said the Conference’s outcome document, “The Future We Want”, demonstrated the triumph of multilateral diplomacy in urging countries to “implement the concept of a green economy to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication”. For its part, Kazakhstan had begun a programme to transition to a green economy and adopted voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, as a country affected by desertification and drought, it had begun implementing the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and was taking steps at the regional and international levels to enact the global monitoring of land degradation and the restoration of degraded lands. As the United Nations had designated 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation, Kazakhstan would continue intensifying a regional partnership to improve co‑management in the sustainable use of transboundary water resources and infrastructure. However, in the overall effort of the Governing Council of UNEP to develop key principles in water oversight, it was important to develop flexible indicators of well-being, taking into account environmental considerations and not relying on the size of GDP as an indicator of prosperity. Finally, as the Millennium Development Goals had not reached their targets, their inclusion in the post-2015 agenda must coincide with the objectives of sustainable development.
DOEVI Abbekoe Dodzi ( Togo) associated himself with the Group of 77, the African Group, and the Group of Least Developed Countries. By 2050, there would be 9 billion people on the planet, and providing peace and decent lives for them needed consideration now. He backed current initiatives pursuing sustainable development and was pleased to have participated in defining a new agenda for development. There was ground for hope, especially if the United Nations regional bodies were empowered to lead action. Africa’s population of 1 billion was growing, he continued. The task at hand was to ensure that economic and social development was harmonious with nature and culture and underpinned by social solidarity, human rights and democracy. His vision was based on reducing poverty, creating decent jobs for young people and managing resources sustainably. Togo was particularly prone to floods, which caused huge damage, sucking away resources that should be used to fuel development. He again called for the involvement of regional institutions in tackling such issues, helping to build States’ institutions’ capacities to manage natural disasters.
Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia(Samoa), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States, Pacific Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, said strengthening and increasing the resilience of small island developing nations was critical for their long-term survival. As the High-level Political Forum provided an opportunity to look at how things could be done better, he said, it should not represent a mere change in name, structure, format, governance and processes. The designation of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States and the global conference would provide a strategic platform for the United Nations community to focus on concrete commitments towards those States’ special needs and legitimate aspirations. He thanked all delegations for their contribution to the different phases of next year’s conference, adding that there was unfinished but critical business that required continued goodwill, understanding and support of the international community.
MAMADOU COULIBALY (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, focused on the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, which was the legal instrument for worldwide concerted action on drought and its corollaries. Drought and desertification were plagues and threats to the capacities of developing countries, he said, stressing the reliance of rural populations on their local natural resources and noting the “easily understandable” link between desertification and negative impacts on their quality of life. Drought impacted 40 per cent of the earth and affected 2 billion people, meaning strategies to eradicate poverty and hunger needed to take into account preservation of energy and food security. Geographically, Burkina Faso was a State of the Sahel, experiencing the ongoing degradation of its environment, with several factors intensifying that vulnerability. The Government was taking efforts to raise awareness of and encourage participation in efforts against drought and desertification. Regional and international dimensions to those efforts were needed, particularly where the consequences transcended borders and required collective action, integrated strategies and international action.
Marianne Odette Bibalou( Gabon) said the fight against poverty must remain at the heart of international concern. Concrete results would only be achieved if there was adequate financing and the transfer of clean technologies. The work of various United Nations sustainable development bodies and working groups must lead to common but differentiated responsibilities. Donors must grant particular attention to Africa and take into account its specific issues such as energy, access to water and climate change. States of the South, especially small island developing States and landlocked developing States, must be given priority in the area of financial assistance and technology transfer. She called on the international community to tackle the illicit trafficking of protected species. The movement towards sustainable energy was one of the greatest economic opportunities of the twenty-first century. Unfortunately, constraints in infrastructure and funding made that difficult for developing countries. She added that Gabon aimed to achieve clean energy for all its citizens by 2016.
Dmytro Kushneruk( Ukraine) welcomed the establishment of the High-level Political Forum as an important step forward in implementing the outcomes of major United Nations summits and conferences on sustainable development. Ukraine had been actively engaged in formulating the post-2015 agenda and sustainable development goals, particularly through national consultations. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification should play a key role in implementing the Rio+20 commitments on sustainable land management. In addition, it should address all types of land degradation and desertification in all parts of the world. Improving social and economic conditions and ecological health in mountain areas played a crucial role in achieving sustainable development and further efforts should be made to increase awareness of the importance of mountain ecosystems and communities. Ukraine made consistent efforts towards mainstreaming the environmental dimension of sustainable development into national plans and policies.
Ryan Neelam ( Australia) hoped the momentum of progress following Rio+20 would be maintained, pointing to the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals and the international realization that sustained economic growth, trade and effective governance were crucial to development and poverty eradication. Support should be given to help promote the rule of law, develop effective civil and political institutions, foster strong private sectors and drive efforts to tackle poverty. He supported trade liberalization and multilateral and bilateral agreements and called for investment and help in building infrastructure. Aid for Trade was growing in importance, while agricultural subsidies needed to be removed to encourage participation of developing countries in agricultural trade. He assured Australia’s neighbours that he would support them, particularly small island developing States, and he looked forward to the Conference on Small Island Developing States. He also highlighted the importance of disaster risk reduction and stated his hope that women’s leadership and economic empowerment would be central to a post-2015 agenda that met the needs of those with disabilities.
Khaula AL-SHAMSI ( United Arab Emirates), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the importance of international partnerships and the need for developed countries not to renege on their commitments to developing countries. Energy was key to advancing sustainable development. There was a critical need to find solutions for the utilization of new and innovative sources of energy, which required international joint efforts. Her country had accorded great attention to energy with a number of policies on renewable sources. A large solar energy plant had been commissioned in Abu Dhabi and that would contribute to reducing carbon emission levels. She also highlighted several energy projects the United Arab Emirates funded in Mauritania and Afghanistan.
AUNG KYAW ZAN ( Myanmar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that technology was a skeleton for the implementation of sustainable development. Hence, it was imperative to bridge the technological divide and to promote sustainable urbanization. Developed countries should intensify their efforts to fulfil their commitments on the provision of adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources, enhancing technology development and transfer. The “green economy”, he continued, was important to achieving sustainable development as it provided options for policymakers with a certain degree of flexibility. Further, that economy, while maintaining healthy functions of Earth’s ecosystems, should contribute to eradicating poverty, as well as to sustained economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment. He also highlighted the important role of environmentally sound technology and research and development.
AMAN HASSEN BAME (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed that he saw equality between the three pillars of sustainable development, as shown in strategies such as the Climate-Resilient Green Economy which aimed to establish Ethiopia as a carbon-neutral middle-income country by 2025. Ethiopia had been seen as “almost synonymous with drought and famine”, he said as he discussed the effects of climate change and efforts at the national level to address them. Ethiopia led the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change in negotiations since Copenhagen and was implementing the Convention to Combat Desertification through a national action plan that motivated communities to sustainably manage their environment, rehabilitate eroded land, and enhance agricultural and biomass production. He stressed the importance of water and energy to Ethiopia’s sustained growth, outlining his country’s focus on generating energy from hydropower. He added a call for States to re-evaluate the notion of national interest and to pursue enlightened self-interest through the post-2015 development agenda.
HAKAN KARAÇAY ( Turkey) pointed to progress on implementing Rio+20 outcomes and noted that Turkey was contributing. The world’s growing population would put unprecedented pressure on the planet’s resources. The challenges faced by small island developing States needed to be addressed properly and promptly and he shared the concerns of the representative of Jamaica. He was delighted that 2014 would be the International Year of Small Island Developing States and he placed great emphasis on the success of the International Conference scheduled for September 2014 in Samoa. A pragmatic, constructive and forward-looking perspective was needed to achieve that and he would lead by example, in line with Turkey’s foreign policy agenda which saw addressing the needs of vulnerable States as a long-term and high-priority objective. Turkey was sharing its development experiences with least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, with its hosting of the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries in Istanbul in May 2011 part of that effort.
An observer for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies said the links between disaster risk reduction, climate change and resilience had been recognized in several successive resolutions of United Nations bodies, but missing from international efforts were “not words but actions”. Funding for disaster risk reduction remained woefully low, representing just 0.4 percent of ODA. The funding that did exist was short-term, fragmented, unpredictable and concentrated largely in a few middle-income countries. Furthermore, the international system had a tendency to support some types of disasters over others, for example by generously financing disasters for megastorms, yet leaving 100 million people suffering from drought without adequate support. He called on the Committee to build on disaster mortality to capture the wide range of ways disaster impacted people and to ensure disaster risk reduction measures specifically addressed inequality.
An observer for the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that the creation of green jobs meant the creation of decent jobs that contributed to reducing the environmental impact of economic activities, limited greenhouse gas emissions, minimized waste and pollution, and increased energy efficiency. The transformation to a greener economy could generation 15 million to 60 million additional jobs globally over the next two decades and lift tens of million of workers out of poverty. She called for a particular focus on youth as they were an important tool for expediting progress on sustainable development. She highlighted ILO’s green jobs plan as it recognized the importance of enterprises, worker training opportunities, and social protection schemes. ILO also strengthened its collaboration within the United Nations system, notably with UNEP, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
An observer for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources said that the high-level political forum on sustainable development should provide the political momentum needed for strengthening the institutional governance for sustainable development, integrating its three dimensions in a balanced manner. Their organization’s programme for the period 2013-2015 was driven by the idea, among others, that communities and Governments and private actors were not fully utilizing the power of nature and the solutions it could provide to challenges such as climate change and food security. The programme aimed to halt biodiversity loss, ensure equity in the use of nature’s benefits and deploy nature-based solutions for tackling global problems.
An observer for the International Organization for Migration said success in advancing efforts toward sustainable development required a proper account of global trends and challenges that could impact that development, one of which was migration. At the recent High-level Dialogue, migration’s large impact on development had been acknowledged. The dynamics of migration would significantly impact future development, creating challenges and opportunities for Governments. To ensure migration had a predominantly positive role, it should be incorporated into the post-2015 development agenda, not as a stand-alone goal necessarily but incorporated into other goals so that it had direct relevance. It could be a key part of the goal on international partnerships for example. He also took up the relationship between migration and disaster risk reduction, noting that migration was both a result of disasters and a driver of the impact of disasters. For example, rural-to-urban migration drove population growth, including in areas prone to earthquakes and floods, increasing disaster risk, while disasters also led to forced migration and dealing with the fallout of such relocation was important.
* *** *For information media • not an official record