Address to the General Assembly on the Adoption of Resolutions
“The United Nations in Global Economic Governance” and
“Format and Organizational Aspects of the High-Level Political Forum
on Sustainable Development”
New York, 9 July 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor to preside over this meeting of the General Assembly, in which Member States will consider two resolutions that help advance the cause of sustainable development.
The Rio+20 concluding document mandated this body to oversee the three most important workstreams of the post-2015 agenda.
During the resumed part of the 67th Session, progress has been made with regard to each of them.
Last January, the Open Working Group to define the SDGs was constituted, after some delay, and has since held four clusters of productive meetings.
Last month, Member States established the 30-person Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. I will shortly announce the precise date of its first meeting, which will most likely take place at the end of August.
And in a few moments, the General Assembly will adopt a resolution that establishes the institutional foundation for a workable High-level Political Forum to Follow-up on the Implementation of Sustainable Development.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to Ambassador Cesare Rapaglini, Permanent Representative of Italy, and Ambassador Luis Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Permanent Representative of Brazil—as well as his predecessor Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti—for their tireless efforts over several months of intensive consultations.
The agreed text indicates that the Forum will conduct regular reviews on the follow-up and implementation of the SDGs. It will also serve, according to the resolution, “as a dynamic platform for regular dialogue, stocktaking, and agenda-setting to advance sustainable development.”
Beginning with the 68th Session, the Forum will convene quadrennially in the General Assembly at the level of Heads of State and Government, and be chaired by the PGA.
Its annual meetings—comprising a ministerial segment, as well—will be held under the auspices of ECOSOC, and chaired by the Council’s President.
Allow me to use this opportunity to remind you that we still need to reach an agreement on the concluding text of the Special Event to Follow-up on Efforts towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which will be held on September 25th, during the High-level Segment of the General Debate of the 68th Session.
Its outcome document should provide a clear roadmap for how to effectuate a smooth transition from the MDGs to the SDGs. In my view, the MDGs need to fold into the emerging SDGs framework. By 2015, we should have a single, integrated development agenda, not two parallel tracks.
I am confident that these and other deliberations to come will be enriched by the expected passage of the other resolution on today’s schedule, which lays the foundation upon which coordination on global economic, financial, and trade issues can be built up in the time ahead.
Before proceeding any further, allow me to thank Ambassador Octavio Errazuriz, the Permanent Representative of Chile, together his hardworking staff, for the leading role they played in achieving consensus on the text in front of us.
For several years, the 3G group of countries, chaired by Singapore, have been helping to generate momentum for just this sort of breakthrough first step. I am indebted to them for the support they gave to the idea of regularizing interaction with the G20—especially during the thematic debate I organized on April 15th, on the UN in Global Economic Governance.
For the first time, a legislative act by this Organization grants that “intergovernmental groupings” such as the G20 “take policy decisions with global implications,” and recognizes the “importance and benefit of [continuing] flexible and regular interaction” between it and the United Nations.
The resolution establishes a link between the two without infringing on any established prerogatives.
The General Assembly is now understood to be the preeminent venue in which G20 and non-G20 UN Member States communicate with each other, as sovereign equals. Henceforth, it will serve as an inclusive, consultative platform for countries to reflect on common concerns, share information, and present their respective views on global economic, financial, and trade issues.
The resolution includes provisions that welcome “informal engagement” between the UN and the G20 through a set of briefings organized by the PGA. He or she is invited to continue the practice of enabling representatives of the G20 presidency to take part in an “interactive dialogue with the General Assembly membership, with a view to promote transparency and coherence, as well as strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation in global economic governance matters.”
It also calls on the PGA to keep convening “informal meetings” of the plenary at which the Secretary-General would consult with Member States before attending G20 Summits, and brief them afterwards.
Moreover, a clause in the text invites the PGA to convoke thematic debates, together with the President of ECOSOC, encompassing G20 and non-G20 priorities.
Finally, the resolution requests that the Secretary-General submit a report to the General Assembly assessing whether the resolution’s provisions have been implemented, while taking into account inter alia the post-2015 agenda.
In my view, this last provision is of strategic importance. It goes beyond regularization, by assigning a role to the G20 in the achievement of sustainable development. This reinforces the terms of the Rio+20 concluding document, which indicates that the SDGs should be “global in nature, and universally applicable to all countries.”
As we begin looking ahead to the many steps that still need to be taken, we should try to remember that this Organization was founded not simply to prevent a slide backwards into unconscionable warfare, but also to strengthen the bonds of trust between states and peoples.
So let us take a step back for a moment, and realize this is the overall context in which we should conduct our work. That is why I remain hopeful that the boldness and vision needed to take the post-2015 agenda to the next stage can be brought to the surface in the period ahead. This would further reinforce the General Assembly’s status as what the Charter terms a “center for harmonizing the actions of nations,” and thus advance the efforts of generations to entrench sustainable peace, security and prosperity across the globe.
Thank you very much for your attention.
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