Quality of Teachers in Developing World Critical to Students’ Long-Term Success, Says Keynote Speaker as Second Committee Begins General Debate

9 October 2013
GA/EF/3367

Quality of Teachers in Developing World Critical to Students’ Long-Term Success, Says Keynote Speaker as Second Committee Begins General Debate

9 October 2013
General Assembly
GA/EF/3367
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Second Committee

2nd & 3rd Meetings* (AM & PM)

Quality of Teachers in Developing World Critical to Students’ Long-Term Success,

Says Keynote Speaker as Second Committee Begins General Debate

 

Under-Secretary-General Urges Shift in Focus to New, Emerging Issues

Quality teachers did not just improve test scores, they had long-term positive effects on the socioeconomic status of children 20 and 30 years down the line, delegates in the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) heard today as they opened their first general debate of the sixty-eighth session.

Students with effective teachers were less likely to become pregnant, more likely to gain admission to college and get higher-paying jobs, said Raj Chetty, Bloomberg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, in a keynote address to the Committee.

He recalled a study that looked at 2.5 million children and their 18 million test scores, comparing the scores of students in a specific class in the beginning of a semester with their scores at the end.  If their marks increased, that meant the teacher was of high-value, he said, adding that a good teacher could increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  Teacher quality mattered in developing countries, he said, emphasizing the need to attract top talent there and noting that paying teachers based on performance significantly raised test scores.

The collection of “big data” including school records, tax statistics, and health registries was sparking a paradigm shift from the traditional, theory-driven study of macro questions to the data-driven analysis of micro questions.  He said that on an economic and social policy level, improving micro-level policy decisions could have a great macro-level impact.  Harnessing big data could provide scientific evidence for designing policies.

Opening the Committee’s general debate, Shamshad Akhtar, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, speaking on behalf of the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, emphasized the need for the Committee to shift its attention to new and emerging issues.  The post-2015 consensus must be “ambitious and bold, yet practical and achievable”, she stated.  The Committee had shaped the United Nations development system in the past and continued to embody the international commitment to sustainability.

Although the global economy was projected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2014, progress on poverty and employment would be limited, she said.  Moreover, the bright prospects could be undermined by poor policy and have an unintended spillover effect within and across countries.  Growth recovery and job creation should be the world’s priority, as should the acceleration of progress on the Millennium Development Goals and development cooperation.  The post-2015 development agenda should be three-pronged, focusing on Millennium Goals most off-track; countries facing special development challenges; and, the rights of those most vulnerable.

Reflecting that sentiment, Chair Abdou Salam Diallo ( Senegal) said the Second Committee must “break new ground” and forge the connection between globalization and sustainable development.  He also called for a particular focus on countries in special situations, notably those least developed, in conflict situations, and experiencing the effects of climate change.  He recalled how two weeks ago the General Debate highlighted that poverty and sustainable development remained key challenges for all Member States.

The United Nations was an inclusive intergovernmental forum with the ability to address sustainable development, he said.  In that regard, increasing policy cooperation, monitoring progress and ensuring follow-up were more important than ever before.  The Second Committee must show leadership in carrying forward dialogue on those and other relevant issues, he said, emphasizing the need to ensure that globalization benefitted everyone.  Facilitating a multilateral global system was needed to address a broad development framework in a rapidly changing international landscape.

Throughout the day, delegates took stock of the year’s progress made towards accelerating achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  The representative of Fiji, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, welcomed the establishment of the High-level Political Forum.  He said the Forum must address the significant gaps and shortcomings in coordination, cohesion, and implementation in the field of sustainable development.  It could also launch a mechanism that promoted the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries.

The representative of Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, pointing out that official development assistance had shrunk in the previous two years, said that many African countries were struggling with new and emerging challenges.  International partners needed to fulfil commitments on agricultural development, which had the potential to lift 50 million people out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by 2022.

The representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), reiterated his call for the international community and international financial institutions to adopt a more systematic approach in dealing with the needs of developing countries.  Such an approach must incorporate debt relief, grants and concessionary loans.  Calling for a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, he reiterated the need to conclude the Doha Development Round of negotiations.

Agreeing with his counterpart, the representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said those countries continued to face constraints in reaching global markets, significant financing gaps and the need to improve trade facilitation and integration into the world economy.  Regardless of their development level, landlocked countries would always remain landlocked, he said, emphasizing the need for enhanced development assistance.

Also speaking today were representatives of Cuba (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Indonesia (on behalf of Association of South-East Asian Nations), Benin, Nauru (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Malaysia, Belarus and Libya.  A member of the European Union delegation also spoke.

In other matters, the Second Committee met this morning to fill remaining vacant positions on its Bureau for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly.

By acclamation, it elected as Vice-Chairs, Waruna Sri Dhanapala (Sri Lanka) from the Group of Asia-Pacific States; Oana Maria Rebedea (Romania) from the Eastern European States Group; and, Farrah Brown (Jamaica) from the Latin American and Caribbean States Group.  Juliet Hay ( New Zealand) from the Western European and other States Group was elected Rapporteur.

The Committee also adopted, as orally amended, its “Organization of work of the Second Committee” (document A/C.2/68/L.1).

Committee Chair Diallo (Senegal) discussed the body’s working methods and proposed six side events on the following topics: equality of opportunity and education policy; inequality, growth and the global economic outlook; biodiversity; vulnerability resilience of Small Island Developing States within the context of sustainable development; sustainable development challenges and accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; and the future of employment.

When the floor was opened for discussion, several delegations proposed improvements to the Committee’s working methods.  The representative of Canada stressed the importance of observing deadlines, a judicious use of procedural resolutions and a more efficient QuickPlace system.  A reduced number of resolutions would allow more effective distribution of workload.

The representative of Switzerland proposed addressing resolutions and reports on a biannual and triennial basis, which would reduce their number and shift focus on the implementation of recommendations.  Discussions on resolutions could begin as soon as possible in October, she added.

A representative of the European Union delegation called for a better division of labour and coherence of debates between the Committee and the Economic and Social Council to ensure efficiency.

The representative of the Russian Federation stressed the need for all delegations to have sufficient time to study and analyse corrections and amendments to official documents.

Also participating in this morning’s discussion were representatives of Venezuela, Egypt, Norway, Cuba, Cameroon and Australia.

The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on 10 October to continue its general debate.

Background

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) began its annual general debate this afternoon.

Opening Remarks

ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal), Committee Chair, said that progress was accelerating towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Two weeks ago, the world once again saw the value of the Organization, as the General Debate highlighted that poverty and sustainable development remained key challenges of all Member States.  Hence, the post-2015 development agenda must build on the progress achieved with the Millennium Development Goals.  The United Nations served as an inclusive intergovernmental forum of sustainable development with the ability to address the three dimensions of sustainable development including social, economic, and environmental.  In that regard, increasing policy cooperation and coherence were critical.  While monitoring progress and ensuring follow-up were more important than ever before, he stressed.  The General Assembly, Second Committee, Economic Social Council, and High-level political forum must work together to address sustainable development challenges.

The Second Committee must show leadership in carrying forward dialogue on those and other relevant issues, he said, emphasizing the need to ensure that globalization benefitted everyone.  Facilitating a multilateral global system was needed to address a broad development framework in a rapidly changing international landscape.  The Second Committee must “break new ground” and forge the connection between globalization and sustainable development to alleviate global poverty.  Particular attention must be focused on countries in special situations, particularly least developed countries, countries in conflict situations, and those experiencing the effects of climate change.  During the session, innovative ideas and approaches were needed, he said, emphasizing that fresh thinking must be the cornerstone of dialogue.  Member States must share their experiences in what had worked and what had not, in the effort to reach sustainable development.

SHAMSHAD AKHTAR, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, speaking on behalf of the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the Committee must turn its attention to new and emerging issues.  The world economy was in a state of flux, uncertainty and risk.  Five years into the economic crisis, the world was on a sluggish path characterized by, among other things, heightening volatility of capital flows.  Although the global economy was projected to grow by 2.3 per cent in 2014, progress on poverty and employment would be limited.  Moreover, the bright prospects could be undermined by poor policy and have an unintended spillover effect within and across countries.

Growth recovery and job creation should be the world’s priority, as should the acceleration of progress on the Millennium Development Goals and development cooperation, she said.  The post-2015 development agenda should be three-pronged, focusing on those Millennium  Development Goals most off-track such as maternal mortality and water and sanitation; special needs of countries facing special development challenges such as small island developing States; and, meeting the needs and rights of most excluded groups such as the disabled.

The post-2015 consensus should be “ambitious and bold, yet practical and achievable”, she stated.  The development agenda will need to reinforce poverty eradication and sustainable development.  The consensus emerging from deliberations so far suggested that the future agenda should integrate sustainability throughout.  This would require a new partnership and a new global enabling environment that included long-term development financing.  The Committee had shaped the United Nations development system in the past and continued to embody the international commitment to sustainability.  The Department of Economic and Social Affairs would continue to provide strategic support during the transition from the Millennium Goals to the post-2015 development agenda.

Keynote Address

RAJ CHETTY, Bloomberg Professor of Economics at Harvard University, said that the analysis of economic and social policy was being transformed by new data and methods.  While the traditional approach was a theory-driven study of macro questions, the current frontier was leaning toward a data-driven analysis of micro questions.  That paradigm shift was being sparked by “big data” with information of school records, tax statistics, and health registries.  Although the new approach was led by Denmark and Sweden, it was rapidly expanding elsewhere illustrating how to use data to obtain scientific evidence on policy questions.

Children who performed well in kindergarten were more likely to go to college and earn more, he said.  Correlations suggested that improving a child’s school performance could have lasting benefits.  But simply spending more on schools had little effect on outcome.  He conducted a study that used information of 2.5 million children and their 18 million test scores.  It studied and compared the test scores of students in a specific class in the beginning of a semester with the end of the semester.  If those scores had increased, that meant the teacher was of high value.

Having high value, quality teachers did not just improve test scores, but had a long lasting impact on children, 20 and 30 years down the line.  Students with effective teachers were less likely to become pregnant, and more likely to go to college and get higher-paying jobs.  A good teacher could increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.  Teacher quality mattered, he said, emphasizing the need to attract top talent.  In that regard, standardized testing could provide valuable input into identifying good teachers and schools.  Teaching quality matters in all grades, not just at early ages.  He cited a study that found that paying teachers based on performance significantly raised test scores in India.

In regards to economic and social policy, he said improving micro-level policy decisions could have a great macro-level impact.  Harnessing big data could also provide a scientific evidence base for designing policies.  Even stepping back from making policy changes, simply collecting and disseminating data could spark social change.  Statistics showed that even within America, there were vast differences in equality of opportunity.  The chances of low income children to succeed varied greatly from state to state, noting the Southeast was the toughest place for children born into low income families to move up the economic ladder.

Discussion

When the floor was opened for discussion, the representative of Venezuela expressed doubt that the data presented could be applied in poor countries.  Quality of nutrition, health care, housing and a family environment became much more important factors than the quality of teachers.  Agreeing with his counterpart, the representative of Democratic Republic of the Congo said that the information presented was valid for developed countries, but other factors were more important to developing countries.  Teachers might be good but parental support was crucial.

The representative of Togo said that in his country, students who had received good teachers in kindergarten also made it to university, but were the same people who migrated to developed countries for work.  Echoing that sentiment, the representative of Benin said that the presentation led him to believe that those who had more luck in the beginning of their life would succeed later in life.  That kind of policy perpetuated poverty, he said, emphasizing the need to re-examine the so called “glass-ceiling”.  How does one ensure quality teachers when they leave to teach at the big universities abroad, he asked.

Addressing delegates, Mr. CHETTY said that by no means was education the only factor of intervention, emphasizing that nutrition, family and socioeconomic factors were also very important.  It was harder, however, to change a child’s parents than to change a child’s teacher.  Improving quality of teachers in developing countries was critical.  It was a mistake to say that education did not matter there.  Quality teachers not only generated improvements in income but also positively impacted social issues, such as teenage pregnancy and family stability.  On the issue of brain drain, he said reaping the benefits of education in all countries required that investment in infrastructure be geared towards providing quality jobs.

Also participating in the discussion were the representatives of Cuba and Mauritius.

Statements

PETER THOMSON (Fiji), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the agenda items under consideration of the Committee were critical and affected particularly developing countries.  The Group would submit a number of resolutions and looked forward to constructive engagement with developed partners.  He welcomed the outcome document of the Special Event on Millennium Development Goals and the establishment of the High-level Political Forum that replaced the Commission for Sustainable Development.  The Forum must address the significant gaps and shortcomings in coordination, cohesion, and implementation in the field of sustainable development and work towards making it a stronger platform with increased political visibility.  The Forum could launch a mechanism involving the creation and/or scaling up of several initiatives that promoted the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies to developing countries.  Science, technology innovation and the potential of culture could significantly impact each of the three pillars of sustainable development.  The creation of a technology facilitation mechanism would provide developing countries the opportunity to “leapfrog” intermediate development stages.

The Group placed great importance on the follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration as financing for development was linked with the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, and called for a follow-up international conference on financial development before the end of 2015.  He also called for the establishment of a Financing for Development Commission as a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council to bridge the gap between policy making and implementation of commitments. Enhanced, predictable and sustainable flow of official development assistance was essential in meeting the regular and new development challenges, he said, expressing concern that ODA fell behind for two consecutive years and that developed countries, with a few exceptions, were still far from fulfilling their commitments.

The Group reaffirmed the United Nations Framework convention on Climate Change as the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change and called on the international community and States to operationalize the Green Climate Fund by early 2014.  The ninth ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization in December would provide an opportunity to advance the Doha Round but the outcome should not serve the interest of some Member countries and leave others behind, he stressed.  The Group reiterated the urgent need for an international financial architecture that reflected the realties of the twenty-first century.

DELANO BART (Saint Kitts and Nevis), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community CARICOM, said that the region’s economies had been adversely affected by the global economic and financial crisis with some running fiscal deficits and increasing borrowing.  He reiterated his call for the international community and international financial institutions to adopt a more systematic approach to dealing with the development needs of developing countries which were categorized as high and middle income countries.  Such an approach must incorporate the provision of debt relief and the disbursement of grants and loans on concessionary terms.  He highlighted that climate change and sea level rise remained a major threat to small island developing States and threatened their very survival.  CARICOM called for a renewed effort to assist small island developing States in implementing the Barbados Plan of Action and the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation.

International trade played a fundamental role in advancing the development prospects of developing countries and enhancing capacity to mobilize domestic financial resources for development, he said.  Pointing out that his region was negatively affected by supply-side constraints and technical barriers of trade, he called for a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system.  He also reiterated the need to conclude the Doha Development Round of negotiations.  Moreover, there was an urgent need for an informed discussion of international cooperation in tax matters within the context of financing for development.  In that regard, CARICOM continued to call for the conversion of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters into an intergovernmental body of the Economic.

SALEUMXAY KOMMASITH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, described the special needs and challenges of landlocked developing countries.  Considerable progress had been made over the past decade in contributing to the socio-economic development and well-being of their populations.  However, those countries continued to face constraints in reaching global markets, significant financing gaps and the need to improve trade facilitation and integration into the world economy.  Their economies remained vulnerable to external shocks due to limited export diversification, limited productive capacities, lack of competitiveness and high transport and trade transaction costs.

Such challenges were becoming worse as a result of the impacts of climate change, desertification, land degradation and drought.  Regardless of their development level, landlocked countries would always remain landlocked, he said.  In that regard, needed were genuine cooperation and partnership between the landlocked, transit developing countries and development partners, the United Nations, and relevant international, regional and sub-regional organizations, and the private sector.  The international community must enhance development assistance to help landlocked developing countries overcome vulnerabilities and build resilience, he said.  The 10-year Review Conference on the Implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action would serve as a great opportunity to develop priorities for a new plan for the next decade.

TEKEDA ALEMJU (Ethiopia), on behalf of the African Group and aligning with the Group of 77 and China, pointed to recent progress on previously neglected development issues such as disability and international migration.  The recent Sixth High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development had emphasized the importance of the global partnership set out in the Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration.  Still, the international community was lacking on fulfilment of many commitments, including official development assistance (ODA), which had shrunk in the previous two years.  Such commitments needed urgent fulfilment if the next development agenda was to succeed.  He called on the Committee to build momentum on the route to 2015, stressing the bearing that the outcome of its negotiations would have on formulating the new agenda.

For Africa, he said, poverty and food security were key issues.  Though some countries had seen remarkable progress, many others were “struggling with new and emerging challenges threatening to reverse their hard-fought development gains”.  International partners needed to fulfil commitments to provide technical assistance and capacity building in the agricultural sector, which had the potential to lift 50 million people out of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa by 2022.  As many of Africa’s countries were in the least developed category, they were particularly vulnerable to external shocks and they needed help rebuilding their fiscal buffers and expanding their productive capacities.  Those countries also needed assistance with institution-building to ensure collection of public revenues and for adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.  “ Africa, which virtually contributes nothing to climate change, continues to be affected the most,” he said, stressing the need for a legally binding agreement by 2015.  $100 billion was needed in order to mobilize the Green Climate Fund by 2020, because without it African countries could not implement national adaptation programmes sustainably.  He also stressed the need for infrastructure development to strengthen regional integration and said renewable energy could address the continent’s growing demands for energy.

JAIRO RODRIGUEZ HERNANDEZ ( Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the Committee should address the structural challenges of the international economy and reform the financial system.  It should take into account the concerns of developing countries based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  ODA had unstable and unpredictable behaviour and decreased in real terms, endangering the prospects of achieving the goals adopted at major international forums in the past decade.  Full implementation of the commitments by developed countries would substantially boost resources to advance the development agenda and respond to the financial crisis in line with their national strategies.

Innovative financing mechanisms could assist developing countries to mobilize additional resources that should be disbursed in accordance with their priorities without negatively affecting the level of transitional sources of development financing, he said.  CELAC advocated a post-2015 development agenda that emphasized eliminating gaps at the international and regional level, as well as within societies.  While pursuing these priorities, sustainability must be at the core.  The new framework should be global in nature, universally applicable and relevant to all countries while taking into account national realties, capacities and level of development, and special situations.  It must be innovative, so that middle-income countries benefited from international development cooperation.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating with the statement by the Group of 77 and China, said the ongoing work on sustainable development was part of the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.  Welcoming the Outcome Document of the Special Event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, adopted in the morning, he said it underscored the importance of accelerated commitments and actions to ensure timely implementation of all Goals.  The task of setting the stage for what came after the Goals belonged to the United Nations in the spirit of multilateralism, mutual understanding and cooperation.

The post-2015 development agenda, he said, should bring transformative change, but this would be dependent on the progress that had been made on achieving the Millennium Goals.  The next two years would be critical for Member States and all stakeholders to devote their efforts on development issues.  He said there was a tremendous task in accelerating global efforts for the timely achievement of “off-track” Goals.  ASEAN Member States had made significant progress towards the full achievement of the Goals, but significant challenges remained, including narrowing development gaps within the region by addressing poverty issues.  The ASEAN roadmap for the attainment of the Millennium Goals focused on achievable goals, possible scenarios and priorities beyond 2015.

This was the right time to prepare a vision of development beyond 2015, he said, adding that the agenda should reflect the best practices and lessons learned from the Goals; aim to end poverty in all its forms and renew the global partnership for sustainable development; and, be mindful of the importance of a transparent and inclusive approach.  ASEAN reiterated the importance of honouring the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities in pursuit of a new climate regime.  The establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015 would be pivotal in sharing lessons learned and providing mutual encouragement and support in the promotion of democracy, rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

IOANNIS VRAILAS, of the European Union Delegation, expected efforts to achieve a successful post-2015 development framework to dominate discussions in the Committee.  The Outcome Document of the Special Event on fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals was a major step forward, balancing differing views and capturing all key messages.  He had been active in establishing the High level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and he would continue to support its important work.  He was pleased that the Forum would fall under the aegis of the Economic and Social Council, as well as the General Assembly, believing the reform of the Council helped put sustainable development at the centre of a well coordinated United Nations system.  Consistency and coordination were vital, particularly in relation to follow-up on Rio+20 and the post-2015 development agenda.

He was committed to addressing the world’s evolving dynamics, particularly those faced by the most vulnerable countries, and stressed that the new development agenda should recognize those changes.  The Monterrey Consensus and Doha Declaration provided a broad policy framework on which future financing for development discussions could be based but the framework needed to adapt to changes in global wealth distribution and the emergence of new donors.  International financing processes and instruments had multiplied and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing should propose options on an effective financing strategy.  He was committed to innovative financing and stressed the centrality of climate change to poverty eradication and sustainable development efforts.  Low-emission, climate resilient development was needed and the upcoming conference in Warsaw should build on previous agreements, paving the way towards a legally binding agreement by 2015.

JEAN-FRANCOIS ZINSOU ( Benin), speaking on behalf the least developed countries and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said least developed countries had aligned their policies and resources with efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  They were working to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action, which aimed to see half of them graduate to middle income country status.  The Programme had been integrated into the development strategies of many countries in the Group and international support was vital if the Millennium Goals were to be met.  Any Goals that are not obtained, he said, should be integrated into the post-2015 development agenda.

The failure of donors to respect their commitments had “annihilated” efforts of many States to eradicate poverty, he said, stressing his concern over the shrinking ODA in the last two years.  Intensified work was needed to complete the Doha trade negotiations, which needed to result in favourable market access arrangements for least developed countries, including the removal of duties.  He hailed efforts to implement outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference, including establishment of the Open Ended Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the operationalization of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.  In addition, the outcome of the Tenth High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development aligned with his own visions.

Accepting developing countries’ need to mobilize domestic resources for development, he pointed to efforts made while underlining major constraints, such as low per capita income, savings, and investment, as well as small tax bases, all of which reduced the effectiveness of efforts.  He appreciated the international community’s support to combat illicit capital funds and stressed the need to return recovered pillaged funds.  The “haemorrhaging” caused by those losses eclipsed the “transfusions” received in ODA, he said.

The representative ofNauru, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and aligning with the block of the Group of 77 and China, said it was “crystal clear” to Small Island Developing States that today’s world bound all people to one another by a shared humanity that cherished life, worked for equality and strived for sustainable development.  The severe pressure on natural resources and the challenge of climate change undermined the ability of countries, in particular vulnerable developing countries, to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals, threatening their very survival.  “What kind of world do we want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren?,”she said.

Despite progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, more than 1 billion people still lived in extreme poverty, while income equality continued to rise.  Unsustainable consumption and production patterns had resulted in huge economic and social costs that endangered life on the planet.  Achieving sustainable development required collective action in order to deliver aspirations for further economic and social progress.  Sustainable development must have an inclusive agenda and specifically address the needs of countries in special cases that were vulnerable and had unique challenges.  Small island developing States recognized that they would not overcome their challenges alone.

The world’s resolve was measured in how successfully it strengthened cooperation and collective action to address these challenges with a sense of urgency.  The post-2015 development agenda should be guided by a transformational strategy that linked the Rio+20 outcomes with the outcomes of the small island developing States Third International Conference to be held in 2014 and with a new financing strategy.  Such transformation would require developing national capacities and effectively implementing sustainable development strategies with the support of the international community.

HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia), citing the grim international social, economic and environmental scenario, said the current development agenda formulated more than a decade ago was not enough to tackle the emerging challenges.  The Committee should place greater emphasis on the challenges of the three dimensions of sustainable development.  In developing the sustainable development goals, the interests of developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, should be kept in mind.  Highlighting Malaysia’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and becoming a developed and high-income nation by 2020, he said the country was also aware of the remaining challenges that must be promptly and effectively addressed.  Calling for the strengthening of international financial regulations, monitoring and supervision, and the implementation of effective fiscal measures to meet the challenges posed by the global financial crisis, he reaffirmed the importance of South-South cooperation.  Such cooperation should not be viewed as a substitute for traditional assistance, but rather a complement to North-South cooperation, he said.

VITALY MACKAY ( Belarus) said much had already been achieved in establishing the post-2015 development agenda.  The High-Level Political Forum and the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals were already operational but more was needed.  It was important to delineate how global partnerships would effectively serve the sustainable development goals.  Partnerships were needed on poverty eradication, and they should account for the special needs of various types of States, including middle income countries.  He noted increased recent interest in middle income countries, with the Minsk Regional Conference, demonstrating the importance of integrating their needs into the development agenda.  He pointed to an informal event on development cooperation that the Belarus delegation would hold which would address areas for further work, and looked towards adoption of a substantive resolution.  He stressed the need to maintain assistance to all countries despite the current financial constraints, concerned about the reduction in resources devoted to middle income countries.  He also welcomed the recent reforms and strengthening of the Economic and Social Council.

IBRAHIM DABBASHI ( Libya) said that despite the progress many countries had made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, many others faced difficulties.  He emphasized the importance of concerted international efforts to help these countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to attain the post-2015 goals.  Since combating poverty remained a priority for many countries, it should be among the new sustainable development goals.  Other aspects such as climate change, food security and unemployment deserved urgent attention as well.  The commitments made in the Rio+20 outcome document should be fulfilled through intergovernmental processes in full cooperation with the United Nations system.  The momentum of sustainable development was no longer solely in the hands of Governments but also in those of nongovernmental bodies.  Achieving those Goals had thus become more complex but they could be achieved with sustained commitment from all.

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*     The 1st Meeting was covered in Press Release GA/11432 dated 1 October 2013.

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.