|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
27th & 28th Meetings (AM & PM)
Countries Must Break Unsustainable Consumption Patterns, Say Speakers
as Second Committee Begins Sustainable Development Debate
The post-2015 development agenda must be built on a solid foundation guaranteeing the intrinsic right to sustainable development for all countries, several delegates told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it began its two-day debate on the matter.
With more than a dozen reports before the Committee ranging from drought, biodiversity, disaster reduction, and the fate of future generations, speakers overwhelming called for continued momentum along the path towards creating a sustainable world. That included reigning in the unsustainable production and consumption patterns of developed countries, some delegates noted. On that note, India’s representative emphasized that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol were legally binding instruments.
Developing countries, least developed countries and small island States agreed that the international community, particularly developed countries, also had a critical role to play in the provision of adequate financial resources, technology transfer and capacity-building. On behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, Nauru’s representative said there were several opportunities over the next two years for the international community to make the necessary bold steps, including the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Leaders Summit and the development of the international climate change agreement to be signed in 2015. Key progress on that agreement was necessary over the next several weeks, she said.
Many speakers also emphasized the importance of the Rio+20 outcome document, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the implementation of the Mauritius and Barbados programmes of action in shaping the road map for the future.
Echoing a common view, Fiji’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said big stumbling blocks that hampered many countries’ efforts towards achieving sustainable development included their vulnerability to natural disasters, climate change, biodiversity and drought and their limited capacity to mitigate such risks and impacts. The number of people living in poverty was also increasing in some of its member countries. With that in mind, developed countries must fulfil their commitments of new, adequate and reliable sources of aid, he said.
Elaborating on that sentiment, Egypt’s representative said that developing countries also confronted an unfavourable international economic environment in addition to a decrease in official development assistance (ODA). Expressing another view, Ethiopia’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the African Group, stressed that land degradation, drought and desertification should be priorities when dealing with global policy challenges. “We cannot adapt to climate change or mitigate its effects without resorting to sustainable land management,” he said, insisting on the importance of promoting the implementation of recommendations of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
A representative of the European Union delegation summed up a common thread, saying that “We all need to play our part to support countries most lagging behind.” Indeed, with all economies together in the fight against climate change, the common challenge remained to put all economies on the path to low-emission and climate resilient development.
Also speaking were representatives of Barbados (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Indonesia (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Benin (on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries), Panama (on behalf of the Central American Integration System), Libya, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Israel, Bangladesh, Syria, Norway, Belarus, Mongolia, Pakistan, Mexico, Malta, Canada, Iraq, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, China, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Republic of Korea, Botswana, Tuvalu, Singapore, Jordan and South Africa.
The representatives of Israel and Syria spoke, exercising their right of reply.
Presenting reports for the Committee’s consideration were the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification; Executive Secretary on the Convention on Biological Diversity; Director of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); and, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 5 November to conclude its debate on sustainable development.
For its general discussion on sustainable development this afternoon, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) had before it a number of reports of the Secretary General and United Nations bodies. On sustainable development, the Committee had before it several reports (documents A/68/79–E/2013/69, A/68/258, A/68/278, A/68/308, A/68/309, A/68/383, A/68/544, A/C.2/68/3 and A/C.2/68/5).
The Committee also had before it other reports including on the “Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” (documents A/68/310, A/68/321 and A/68/322); Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (documents A/68/316); the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/68/320); Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind (A/68/260); Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/68/260); Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/68/260 and A/C.2/68/2); Report of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum of the United Nations Environment Programme on its first universal session (document A/68/25); Harmony with Nature (A/68/325 and A/68/325/Corr.1); Sustainable mountain development (A/68/307); and, the Role of the international community in the prevention of the radiation threat in Central Asia (document A/68/143/Rev.1).
Introduction of reports
MARGARETA WAHLSTRÖM, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. It provided an overview of progress made on the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. Bolder action was needed to address the further accumulation of risk if resilience and sustainability of communities, cities and countries were to be achieved. The report also made several recommendations including that Member States continue to implement the Hyogo Framework for Action and in particular, that they collect data on losses and damages, strengthen the resilience of schools and hospitals and ensure that any new critical infrastructure was disaster resilient. The report also recommended that Member States and other relevant stakeholders devote efforts to identify and address the causes of risk accumulation, particularly in the context of new investments. Member States must also address disaster risk reduction in the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals.
CHRISTINA FIGUERES, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, introducing via video link the report on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha in 2012, said that in Doha two negotiations tracks had been finally closed including on the Kyoto Protocol. Countries had agreed to review their greenhouse gas emission levels and standards. Additionally, the other negotiating track began in Bali and aimed to implement the Convention through corporate efforts. At the Doha Conference, parties worked on the design of the new agreement to be adopted by 2015. Parties also addressed how they could increase their commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year for adaptation and mitigation, she said. Significant progress had also been included in the report, she said, emphasizing that parties in Doha adopted a decision to promote the participation of women. Moving on to the Conference of Parties summit to be held in Warsaw, she said it would focus on securing a new agreement, financing, as well as loss and damage.
MONIQUE BARBUT, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa, introduced via video link her report under the sub-item contained in document A/68/260. The above issues must be considered in the post-2015 development agenda. Desertification, land degradation and drought were global issues which continued to pose serious challenges for all countries. If the international community did not take concrete action it would not be able to keep the commitments made to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, she continued. It would also not be able to address poverty, achieve food security and address water shortages. That required the sustainable management of soil and land. A few years were needed, however, to see how those policies would affect the situation on the ground. She also introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the matter, saying it included information of the meetings held on the Convention. It also took into account the elements of the Rio+20 Conference on land degradation, desertification, and drought. The report proposed certain actions the General Assembly could adopt, and recommended that the Assembly favour the best tools to launch the rehabilitation of soil. The Secretary-General wanted to focus on incorporating desertification, land degradation, and drought into the post 2015 development.
BRAULIO F DE SOUZA DIAS, Executive Secretary on the Convention on Biological Diversity, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Convention on Biodiversity, said it covered the outcomes of the eleventh session of the Conference of Parties. Public opinion surveys showed an increase in awareness and understanding of biodiversity in those few countries where repeated assessments had been made. A major challenge was to expand opinion polls to a wider range of countries. Some progress had also been reported in addressing subsidies harmful to biodiversity and in realigning incentives. The report also found the overall rates of deforestation were declining. However, the decline in rates of deforestation was not yet sufficient to achieve the target of halving the rate of loss by 2020. He also summarized other areas where progress had been made including in regards to preventing the extinction of species. Challenges remained, particularly in developing countries, in regards to implementing the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which was essential to ensure that countries stayed on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
NIKHIL SETH, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced nine reports of the Secretary-General and one report on sustainable mountain development (document A/68/307), all of which paint part of a broader picture alongside the post-2015 development agenda. Taking stock of all the follow-up processes to Rio+20, the report on implementing efforts (document A/68/321) examined coherence and coordination among processes, including Agenda 21 and other United Nations conferences, and provided recommendations on how to strengthen the High-level Political Forum. Reports on transferring clean technology (document A/68/310), agricultural technology (document A/68/308) and the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (document A/68/309) contained proposals for advances in those respective areas in a coordinated manner including all relevant actors and stakeholders. Mainstreaming the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system was the focus of another report (document A/68/79) and models to institutionalize concern were examined in a report on the needs of future generations (document A/68/322). Follow up to and the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for small island developing States was summarized in a report on the topic (document A/68/316). A report on assessing the raising awareness of the environmental effects of chemical munitions dumping at sea (document A/68/258), offered a summary of Member States’ views and possible modalities for international cooperation. A report on harmony with nature (document A/68/325) examines, among other things, different economic approaches in the context of sustainable development. “The Secretary-General’s reports provide various pieces that contribute to discussions on the post-2015 development agenda,” he said. “It will be important to keep the big picture in mind as you embark on the Committee’s work on sustainable development.”
ELLIOTT HARRIS, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), introduced two reports, including one on UNEP (document A/68/25) on its first universal session. Providing an overview of the session, he said a total of 146 States had participated. Ministers had, among other things, focused on strengthening the role of UNEP. They also recognized the importance of the post-2015 development agenda and adopted 14 decisions, ranging from administrative matters to Rio+20 outcomes. He then introduced the Secretary-General’s report the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/68/544), which contained updates on the situation.
KAZI RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, introduced a report on sustainable tourism and development in Central America (document A/68/278). He highlighted parts of the report, including promoting small businesses in the supply chain and rural based community tourism.
LUKE DAUNIVALU(Fiji), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said that although the world had undergone significant changes, Group countries were facing significant challenges in achieving sustainable development. The number of people living in poverty had increased in many of those countries, he said, emphasizing that the right to development must remain the foundation of current and future development efforts. The international community had a critical role in the provision of adequate resources, technology transfer and capacity-building. High-level Political Forum must follow-up on the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference and bring enhance the integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. A technology facilitation mechanism was essential to equip and enable developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In relation to small island developing States, the Group recalled that the international community had recognized their unique vulnerabilities. Still, climate change posed an existential threat to them and more could be done to address their vulnerability. In that regard, the international community must implement the Barbados’ and Mauritius’ programmes of action.
He said that natural disasters continued to increase in severity and that most Governments had yet to find a way to mitigate those risks and impacts. Adopting an international risk reduction plan would help avoid those catastrophic effects. On climate change, he said it was one of the most serious challenges the Group faced. It was important to proceed with a sense of urgency, he stressed. Although progress was made at eighteenth session of the Conference of Parties, the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol lacked ambition. Developed countries must fulfil their commitments of new, adequate and reliable assistance. He also highlighted the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought, saying they must be incorporated in the development agenda. On biodiversity, he said more remained to be done to find a coherent international approach that would protect developing countries, as they remained at risk to lose the most.
ROSALIND GAIL RILEY( Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said human beings’ actions had caused climate change, which was unprecedented in history. Unless action was taken, the consequences for the world would be catastrophic. “The painful irony is that those of us who have contributed least to the climate change problem are facing its most severe impacts,” she said. CARICOM called on Parties to the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Warsaw to undertake the work necessary to ensure that the world was on track to meeting the below 2 degrees global goal of temperature increase by 2020, including the establishment of an international mechanism to address loss and damage from climate change impacts. While the 2014 Climate Change Summit would not be part of the broader negotiating process, it would play a vital role in catalyzing action ahead of the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference.
Encouraged by the special event on the Millennium Development Goals outcome document, she also welcomed the role that the intergovernmental High-level Political Forum would play in providing a platform to follow-up. It was essential that the Rio+20 follow-up process framework build on the successes and lessons learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The Rio+20 outcome recognized the limitations of gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of progress. Turning to related concerns, she called on the international community to support the 2014 International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which would present a pivotal moment to the integration of those countries’ sustainable development aspirations into the wider global development agenda. She also welcomed the designation of 2014 as International Year of Small Island Developing States as a means of mobilizing support for the Conference.
AMAN HASSEN BAME( Ethiopia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Rio+20 outcome document was a major historical turning point in international development cooperation. The Open Working Group, the High-level Political Forum and the International Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing further provided an opportunity to create a universally applicable post-2015 agenda that catered to the interest of present and future generations. That agenda should build on the foundation laid by the Millennium Development Goals, and efforts and progress made on those goals underscored the need for international partners to further support Africa by fulfilling all commitments. The starting point for shaping the work on the High-level Political Forum should build on strengths of the Commission on Sustainable Development and addressing its shortcomings. Climate change continued to pose a serious threat to the continent and to other developing countries that had neither the means nor capacity to adapt and mitigate effects. Developed countries should fulfil commitments to mobilize $100 billion annually for the Green Climate Fund by 2020.
Technology transfer was important to promote industrialization and an integral part of the Rio+20 outcome, he said, welcoming the outcomes of the General Assembly workshops. It was essential to take forward in the session recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report on options for facilitating the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies. The Group also welcomed decisions taken at Rio+20 to strengthen the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide global leadership. Land degradation, drought and desertification should be a priority when dealing with global policy challenges. “We cannot adapt to climate change or mitigate its effects without resorting to sustainable land management,” he said, insisting that it was critical to promote the implementation of recommendations of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
MUHAMMAD BASRI SIDEHABI (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligning himself with Fiji, outlined some of their important concerns regarding sustainable development in those countries. He emphasized the importance of follow-up by the United Nations on the mandate brought forth in the Rio+20 Conference, namely the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Committee on Finance for Sustainable Development. He then urged action on the inaugural meeting on the High-level Political Forum to ensure it maintained sustainable development on the agenda in a holistic, transparent and focused manner.
Furthermore, he requested a directive to ensure the timely implementation of the outcome document of the special event on achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Concrete measures and enhanced commitments were needed to also address the challenges posed by sustainable development, such as desertification, drought, land degradation and biodiversity loss. As one of the most natural disaster-prone regions, the Association considered the building of resilience to those weather events of utmost importance. He welcomed the successful outcome of the Warsaw Climate Change Conference and reiterated the importance of a comprehensive, balanced, Member States’ driven outcome guided by the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
AMERICO BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI, of the European Uniondelegation, said there was the need for a coherent approach that integrated the three dimensions of sustainable development working towards a single universal framework and set of goals. The world had changed over the last decades, which the post-2015 development agenda should recognize. The Union was committed to addressing the concerns of the most vulnerable countries. “We all need to play our part to support countries most lagging behind,” he said.
He welcomed advances since Rio+20, including the High-level Political Forum’s first meeting and the establishment of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which positioned UNEP to act as the global voice for the environment within the United Nations system. “All economies are together in the fight against climate change,” he said. “Our common challenge is to put our economies on the path to low-emission and climate resilient development, and to use climate action as a catalyst for sustainable development.” Among the Union’s supportive activities, its member States were tabling a tri-annual draft resolution titled Cooperative measures to assess and increase awareness of the environmental efforts related to waste originating from chemical munitions dumped at sea, which was a follow-up on the General Assembly resolution (document 65/149) on the same themes.
MARLENE MOSES(Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, said climate change could not be overemphasized for those island nations and finding solutions to their challenges, poverty, ecological degradation and sustainable development, have been made even more complicated by the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. There were several opportunities over the next two years for the international community to make the necessary bold steps. Those included the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa, the United Nations Secretary General’s Leaders Summit, and the development of the international climate change agreement, to be signed in 2015. Key progress on that agreement was necessary over the next several weeks.
Oceans and seas were another key area for those States, which were custodians of vast expanses of oceans and seas, she said. By emphasizing the economic power of the ocean economy, which included fisheries, coastal tourism, the possible exploitation of seabed resources and potential sources of renewable energy, those countries could seize their competitive advantage and carve a niche in the global economy. But to do so, the sustainable management of marine resources was needed and healthy oceans and seas were essential to deliver on the three pillars of sustainable development. They should be prominently reflected in the sustainable development goals and the post- 2015 development agenda. Achieving sustainable energy also was critical to advancing the development of those islands and there were significant opportunities for the countries to collectively develop their vast renewable energy resources to meet present and future needs and export energy to other economies.
ERIC JEAN-MARIE ZINSOU( Benin), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said despite progress on implementing the Istanbul Programme of Action, States continued to suffer impacts of the numerous crises, with results including higher youth unemployment, an energy crisis, food insecurity and a slowing growth rate, which had fallen to 6.6 per cent over the last decade. The international community must enhance efforts to help least developed countries buttress the economic shocks. With official development assistance (ODA) being the principal source of external financing, he was concerned that support had dropped recently.
Climate change had also negatively affected least developed countries, he said. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s reports and their recommendations, he agreed on the need to prioritize goals when shaping the post-2015 development agenda. The agenda must be based on the Millennium Development Goals and offer a framework for implementing strategies that promoted sustainable development.
CARLOS AMADO RUIZ HERNÁNDEZ(Panama), speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System, said that sustainable development remained a priority at the national and regional level. Agriculture, ecology and tourism were the basis of resources of the region, which had been negatively affected by climate change. After Rio+20, his group believed strong cooperation and collaboration was essential to promote the transfer of knowledge and skills.
As a result of integrated strategies, his group had embraced policies on transportation, biodiversity and pollution control. Sustainable tourism was also supported, with visible results. In 2011, his group assigned to the Committee drafted a resolution on sustainable tourism, and would again this session with a view to eradicating poverty at the regional levels.
NAGAT ALFORGANI ( Libya) said after Rio+20, the High-level Political Forum was a step in the right direction to work on all dimensions of sustainable development and to close the gaps in the development agenda. That and other efforts had seen progress. However, challenges remained, including advancing women’s rights, bolstering education and eradicating poverty. Climate change was among the greatest challenges, as its negative impact had affected developing and developed countries. The international community must work together. Unsustainable practices undermined development, she said. Progress was needed to better prepare for environmental disasters, to address desertification and the need for, among other things, low-emission technologies.
MOHAMED ELKARAKSY(Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the session was pivotal as it would develop sustainable development goals and review, strengthen and upgrade the international development agenda. Poverty eradication remained the greatest global challenge and a requirement for sustainable development. Despite having achieved progress in important spheres, developing countries confronted an unfavourable international economic environment and a decrease in ODA. The right to development and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should remain the foundation of global development efforts. The High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development should play a leadership role, the delegate said, adding that progress towards elaborating the goals and the post-2015 agenda would depend on the availability of finance and technology from developed countries. Any international response to climate change must enhance the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Developed countries must take robust and ambitious mitigation commitments required by science and mandated by the Convention. Consideration must be given to enhancing water resources management, while moves were needed towards shaping a comprehensive United Nations energy agenda.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) said there was a need for synergy, coherence and mutual support among the ongoing processes relevant for the post-2015 development agenda. He called on the Secretary-General to work with the United Nations system to develop a roadmap for accelerating the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development into the work of the Organization. His country was poised to graduate to a high-income category by 2020 and had amended its policies to suit the changing realities, including regulating pollution from agricultural based and manufacturing industries. The Government had also, among other activities, established a national eco-labelling programme and planned to establish a model “cleaner production” plant nationwide for the food and beverage industries.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO(Nicaragua), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Sistema de Integracion Centroamericana, said today more than ever it was important to guarantee unity within different groups to successfully respond to the challenges the world faced. Developing countries faced a number of crises including in the area of food, energy, job creation and climate change. The commitments of developed countries must be fulfilled, specifically pledged ODA. Eradicating poverty was the world’s greatest challenge, but ensuring women’s participation in those efforts was equality important. Developed countries must address their unsustainable production and consumption efforts. Her country had implemented a development model enabling it to make rapid progress with goals not respected by neoliberal Governments. Only through a common conviction that united, could humanity make progress towards establishing a better vision for a more sustainable world.
ELDAD GOLAN ( Israel) said that currently more than 100 solar companies operated in his country and 90 per cent of Israeli homes were fitted with solar water heaters. Israel was located in one of the most arid areas on Earth. More than 90 per cent of its wastewater was recycled, the highest in the world. Advanced water technology was central to Israel’s sustainable agriculture policies. Farmers constantly researched and introduced new botanical species that required less water and land, and better resisted heat and pests. Women must also be given opportunities to contribute to achieving sustainable development. He stressed the need to include in the post-2015 development agenda a goal that encompassed a range of crucial targets related to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health was critical to sustainability.
NADIMUL HAQUE ( India), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said he came from a region that was home to the largest mangrove forests in the world. It was a reservoir of biodiversity and conserving those forests was a priority for his Government. Global cooperation on sustainable development was at an important crossroad. Adherence to the mandate of Rio+20 was crucial. The wider need, especially for developing countries, was to ensure that their development itself could be sustained in all its dimensions. An ambitious agenda for the post-2015 period could not be merely about policy prescriptions for developing countries. It must be about a genuine international compact between developed and developing countries to bring about change, while addressing unsustainable consumption patterns. Even the most advanced economies had not been able to truly curb their carbon emissions, he noted. Technology was the “golden key” that unlocked the lock between poverty eradication and sustainable development, he added.
MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN ( Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said many countries continued to lag behind their Millennium Development Goal targets. Global efforts must be intensified to finish the job, while continuing to work with the new set of development goals. From Agenda 21 through Rio+20 and the ongoing discussions within the United Nations, the world’s understanding had substantially advanced. For Bangladesh, he said, sustainable development was an existential imperative. The new High-level Political Forum, building on the achievements of the Commission on Sustainable Development, should provide political leadership and guidance for strengthened efforts. Lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals should contribute to the crafting of the sustainable development goals. The post-2015 agenda must have poverty reduction as its highest priority and sustainability should be at its core. Genuine global partnership must be founded on strong political will and on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. The means of implementation connoted finance, trade and technology, he said, and emphasized that the resources for climate adaptation were new and additional.
RABEE JAWHARA( Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the suffering of the people in developing countries was getting worse. That was compounded by a lack of political will in the Organization to implement its outcome documents. Achieving sustainable development meant overcoming and eliminating obstacles. The United Nations and its Member States must make every effort to eliminate the scourge of foreign occupation and stop all commercial and economic unilateral measures taken against certain countries. Moreover, developed countries must respect their historic obligations on the basis of shared but differentiated principles including through the transfer of technology. He called on Israel to respect its obligations and provide adequate compensation to the Governments of Lebanon and Syria who had been hit by an oil slick. Syria had tried to clean its shore without any assistance from the international community, he said, stressing that Israel must provide adequate compensation caused by its aggression. He also called on the international community to pressure Israel to comply with various United Nations resolutions.
GEIR O. PEDERSEN ( Norway) pointed to several important milestones reached since the Rio+20 Conference. The High-level Political Forum on sustainable development had begun its work, as had the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Panel of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. A roadmap for the post-2015 development agenda had also been drawn and that could help ensure coherence and integration between different work streams. Challenges remained, however, with acceleration of progress towards the Millennium Development Goals needed in the run-up to 2015, and lessons learned from pursuit of the Goals’ applied to the future. It was also important to establish a common understanding of the meanings and practicalities of pursuing universal, concrete, measureable and balanced goals. Follow-up and accountability mechanisms were needed to promote implementation and one instructive model was the African Peer Review Mechanism.
OKSANA MELNIKOVICH( Belarus) called for intensifying international cooperation which must include all categories of groups of States including middle-income countries. Those countries could act as bridges between poor and rich countries in creating a future sustainable world. Addressing the issue of accessible energy and increasing energy efficiency was important. The quest for long-term solutions could be facilitated in establishing an integrated energy initiative within the United Nations. For its part, Belarus had established policy to limit its greenhouse gas emissions. In view of its desire to participate in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, she said the meetings failed to meet standards. Belarus was also engaged in constructive dialogue based on common but differentiated responsibility. The upcoming Warsaw Conference should see any contradictions removed and should also promote the process of combating climate change and developing a development roadmap for the post-2015 period.
GANKHUURAI BATTUNGALAG(Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Least Developed Countries, referred to Mongolia’s “robust and coherent” Green Development Policy. Under the initiative, a Ministry for Environment and Green Development had been created and national parks established to curb desertification and generate green jobs. He said he was leading efforts to found an “Asian network for green development” aimed at mining renewable energy, and he noted that Mongolia’s first wind farm had recently opened. People were now more aware of the potential impacts of climate change, he said, while stating that temperatures were already close to rising by an “unimaginable” 2 degrees. He therefore looked forward to the Climate Change Summit planned for 2014. Of particular concern was the shrinking of many rivers, streams and lakes and he said that a United Nations body on water could provide an integrated approach to water resource management. He added that he was pleased to be at the forefront of the international transition to a green economy, as shown in Mongolia’s hosting of United Nations World Environment Day in 2013.
RAJA ALI EJAZ, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, said there were reasons to be optimistic despite the work ahead in devising a new development paradigm, citing progress by the open working group on sustainable development goals in shaping the contents of those objectives. The new framework must avoid excessive focus on any one of the three sustainable development pillars and clearly promote economic growth. It also must ensure that poverty eradication remained the overarching objective. Pakistan looked forward to the nineteenth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, stressing the need for time-bound mitigation commitments by all parties and reconfiguration of market mechanisms to facilitate the transition to a green economy. Noting that the Hyogo Framework for Action had catalyzed serious national policy developments, he urged intensified efforts ahead of the Third World Conference on Disasters Risk Reduction in 2015.
FELIPE GARCÍA LANDA( Mexico) said the integrated agenda agreed at Rio+20 needed to be reflected in the institutions of the United Nations, through coordination with the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Sustainable development was much more mainstreamed into United Nations activities but duplication and “silo” vision remained. Agreements reached at Rio+20 launched several initiatives, with progress on re-structuring the leadership of UNEP and on the constitution of the United Nations Environment Assembly. She noted the contribution of the open working group on sustainable development goals to the post-2015 development agenda and pointed to Mexico’s participation in the 10-Year Framework on Sustainable Consumption and Production. She hoped the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development would be defined by its “high level” and “political” elements and recognized efforts to strengthen the Economic and Social Council. She described Mexico’s specific efforts on environmental sustainability and reaffirmed the need for concrete, financially viable and measurable commitments on climate change.
CHRISTOPHER GRIMA ( Malta) urged a “forward-looking” approach to sustainable development, underscoring that lifting people from poverty went hand-in-hand with growth. As a country which placed climate change on the United Nations agenda in 1988, Malta strongly supported efforts to mitigate the effects of that phenomenon on small and vulnerable island States. He urged progress towards a globally applicable agreement that contained legally binding commitments, including for emissions-reduction targets that were in line with scientific requirements. The agreement must ensure that States addressed the gap between voluntary pledges and actual reductions required to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. It also must focus on adaptation and ensure that milestones achieved in Durban and Doha were not unravelled.
BRIANNA PETERSON ( Canada) said global momentum was building in support of a coherent, ambitious and realistic successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015. There was an opportunity to ensure that sustainability and inclusivity remained at the core, supported by economic, environmental and social dimensions of development and bolstered by gender equality and women’s empowerment. A vibrant and growing private sector was critical to sustainable economic growth and poverty eradication, she said, adding that pockets of extreme poverty could persist despite expanding wealth. Promotion of human rights, strengthening of opportunities for health, education, food security, decent work, rule of law and good governance provided the foundation for sustainable achievements. Environmental sustainability was an important consideration in the elaboration of the post-2015 agenda, she said. In order to achieve equitable and sustainable progress, the status of women must be improved, their rights must be respected, and their contributions must be recognized. Gender equality was not only a right in itself but a prerequisite for poverty reduction, peace and sustainable development.
SUZAN ABDULKODER ( Iraq) said desertification had caused the loss of fertile land in her country and breathing problems among its people, especially those living in major cities. The lowering level of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers had further exacerbated those problems. For its part, the Government had taken measures to expand arable land, limit urban expansion and stabilize sand dunes, covering 4 million hectares. Projects included establishing agriculture stations to stop the deterioration of arable lands, including irrigation. The Government also aimed at increasing food security throughout the country, she said.
YOSHIYUKI MIKAMI( Japan) said much work remained to be done and the post-2015 development agenda should embrace sustainability. Climate change was among the most imminent threats facing humankind and no country could escape from its impact. Determined and steady steps forward were needed towards the adoption of a framework in the UNFCCC Conference of Parties meetings, alongside a core new legal agreement. Turning to climate extremes, he said lessons learned and disaster reduction technology should be shared. In addition, the world must reach out to the most vulnerable countries, notably the small island developing States, to help them tackle climate change challenges. For its part, Japan would, along with other initiatives, provide more than $2 billion to assist countries in tackling climate change.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand) said the work of the session was clearly framed in view of the approaching deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The process of crafting the post-2015 agenda must not lose sight of the overarching objective of integrating and mainstreaming the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Welcoming the upcoming international conferences on small island developing States and on disaster risk reduction, he stressed the importance of sustainable management and conservation of land and oceans. Through its own exposure to natural disasters, New Zealand recognized the importance of investment in preparedness and building resilience and was keen to share its capabilities. The country also recognized that the promotion of renewable energy could unlock significant environmental, fiscal and social benefits and was proceeding to encourage concrete action. While taking responsibility for its emissions, New Zealand faced the task of adapting to a changing climate. The many challenges the world faced required global solutions and the Committee’s discussions must seize the opportunities presented by the Rio+20 Conference.
USMAN SARKI (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed the need for developed countries not to renege on their commitments to developing countries in the areas of finance, trade, development assistance, and transfer of environment-friendly technology. For its part, Nigeria adopted a comprehensive development strategy that was people-centred and geared towards achieving the goals of sustainable development. He outlined vulnerabilities of small island developing States, particularly natural hazards and called for the adoption of natural disaster mitigation. The international community must strengthen exchanges in disaster relief technology and information, as well as establish mechanisms of regional cooperation for monitoring, early warning and assessment of major natural disasters. The threat of climate change was real, particularly for vulnerable economies in Africa. For many countries on the continent, fighting land degradation and desertification and mitigating the effects of drought were prerequisites for economic growth and social progress.
LU MEI ( China) said the success of Rio+20 pointed to a clear direction of sustainable development in the future with common but differentiated responsibilities. She hoped Member States would be able to timely fulfil commitments. China hoped the High-level Political Forum could provide guidance on the transfer of technology to ensure progress went hand in hand with fulfilling the mandate of Rio+20. International cooperation was essential. The focus of the upcoming Washington conference should include urging countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol to respond to the needs of developing countries. For its part, China had worked to adopt political measures related to climate change, she said.
FARIS OSHAYAN HORAIPISH AL OTAIBI( Saudi Arabia) said the outcome of Rio+20 emphasized the roadmap to achieve the sustainable development goals. Those results had led to working groups on the goals and on financing for development, which his country was participating in. The three dimensions of sustainable development must be incorporated in all efforts and in all areas, he said. Resolutions adopted in those areas needed to be implemented. Saudi Arabia had worked towards diversifying energy sources, including solar and wind. His country had also participated in all climate change conferences. He said there was work to be done to implement the outcomes of those meetings in order to advance sustainable development.
SHATRUDHWAN PRASAD SHARMA POKHAREL( Nepal) said poverty remained the world’s biggest challenge that must be met head-on to achieve sustainable development. Poverty eradication should be the overarching goal of the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals framework. Sustainable agriculture systems were key to ensuring food security, nutrition and poverty reduction in the developing world. Climate change affected the socio-economic development process and added a burden to the poorest and most vulnerable countries. Regarding biodiversity protection, he called on all parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to implement the strategic plan and meet the targets. On other issues, he said coordination on disaster risk reduction and on the sustainable management and safe disposal of chemical waste was essential. Challenges his and other mountain countries face must be included in sustainable development discussions, especially since mountains covered about one quarter of the world’s land surface and were home to 12 per cent of its population.
KUM HANSEUNG ( Republic of Korea) said the reviewing process in implementation was critical. In that regard, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development could play an integral role. Climate change posed the single greatest threat to sustainable development, he said, emphasizing that the Conference of Parties provided the potential to establish a clear roadmap of a post-2015 agreement. He supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to convene a climate summit in the summer of 2014.
TLHALEFO BATSILE MADISA (Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that poverty eradication had been declared a key objective of his country’s national development planning process. Yet actions taken at the national level alone could not be sustained without a supportive global environment, which incorporated an appreciation of the critical role played by trade, finance, investment, technology and ODA. His country expected the issues of desertification, land degradation and drought would be factored into the creation of the post-2015 development agenda. Botswana was committed to protecting its natural environment, he said, noting that 17 per cent of its territory had been set aside as national parks, wildlife management areas, and game and forest reserves. His country looked forward to a successful outcome for the Conference of the Parties in Warsaw and hoped its deliberations would provide the basis for reaching a legally binding agreement by 2015.
AUNESE MAKOI SIMATI (Tuvalu), associating himself with the Group of Landlocked Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States, said sustainable development was a universal aspiration to live fulfilled lives in conformity with the Rio Principles. It was a moral directive and shared responsibility to respect and live in harmonious coexistence with nature. The stresses of unsustainable development, unwarranted production and consumption patterns had manifested themselves in growing scarcities of life’s vital resources. There was more than enough evidence confirming the approaching of the tipping point. Despite an abundance of pertinent lessons, the ecological signposts continued to be ignored. The Millennium Development Goals necessitated greater sustainability in country-specific endeavours and produced plenty of success stories to reflect upon, but much more was needed to be done. The lessons of the global financial crisis must be mainstreamed into the sustainable development goals. As donor countries tried to meet their global commitments, recipient countries should promote good governance, strong leadership and fiscal prudence, and combat corruption and boost investments. For aid effectiveness to gain traction, the United Nations and donors should refrain from easily homogenizing strategic redresses and responses to recipients’ needs. Tuvalu was steadily being inundated by sea-level rise and could become the first endangered culture/race.
ANGELINE CHUI (Singapore), aligning herself with ASEAN, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, said that the international community was at a critical juncture of work in sustainable development. Complex challenges persisted in the social, environmental and economic pillars and they were spawning new difficulties quicker than the older ones could be addressed. A single, clear framework for the post-2015 agenda with sustainable development at its core was needed. Turning to the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, she added that though its discussions were still at an exploratory stage, that dialogue was an important trust-building exercise. Given Singapore’s development experience, her country strongly advocated sustainable development goals on cities and human settlements and oceans. The country also supported a sustainable development goal or a robust target for sanitation, given the resolution that Singapore had tabled in July to designate 19 November as World Toilet Day. However, as discussions in that working group proceeded, it was also important to remember the links between its work and that of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.
DIANA ALI NAHAR AL-HADID (Jordan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, said several major challenges remained in integrating the three dimensions of sustainability. A recommitment to new and additional financial resources as well as the transfer of environmentally sound technologies on favourable terms was critical in assisting developing countries to achieve sustainable development. The establishment of the high-level political forum on sustainable development and the recent outcome of the reform on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council were important processes, she said. It was essential to provide the Forum with sufficient resources and support from the international community. Since climate protection was strongly linked to other areas of development cooperation, access to clean and renewable energy was key for sustainable development. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol should remain the central multilateral frameworks for cooperation action. The response to the impact of climate change and disasters should include strengthening of the Hyogo Framework for Action, she stressed, and underlined the importance of energy issues for the elaboration of the post-2015 agenda.
LAWRENCE XOLANI MALAWANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, noted that progress had been made in strengthening institutions of the United Nations that focused on sustainable development. Most notably that included structural changes to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), establishing the high-level political forum on sustainable development and reforming the Economic and Social Council. The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals was working transparently and openly, he noted, underlining the need to further mainstream sustainable development at all levels. Climate change threatened recent development gains and major emitters needed to commit to reductions and to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. Agreements made at Durban required implementation and financial resources were essential, as underscored by the high-level debate on financing for development. Partnerships could help realize the development potential of the developing world, he said, adding that international trade could be a major development enabler if the rules governing it were fair.
Right of Reply
The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said the Syrian delegate’s attack was a desperate attempt to divert from the Committee’s consideration of sustainable development. The Syrian delegate represented a regime that did not care about sustainable development. Syria committed crimes against its own people. The international outcry against Assad’s killing machine would not be silenced. The Committee could spend all day talking about all the Syrian children gassed, women raped and thousands of protestors detained and harassed. The best contribution the Syrian Government could make to development was to stop massacring their own people.
The representative of Syria said that the Israeli delegate came from history’s worst occupation, which refused to recognize the facts as stipulated in different reports. Israeli occupying forces continued to ignore relevant resolutions. For the eighth year in a row, the Committee had discussed the oil slick off the Lebanese coast. Still, Israeli authorities refused to comply with the United Nations resolutions that demanded they bear the responsibility and clean up the oil in Lebanon and Syria. It was obvious that the representative of the occupation did not read the reports before the Committee or even the Rio+20 outcome document. It was ironic that the representative of Israel continued to make sustainable development proposals while it ignored the rights of the Arab people to achieve an adequate level of development.
The representative of Israel said he was glad that Syria was launching words and not the missiles and rockets they had been known to launch at civilians. As the Assad regime was responsible for 100,000 deaths of his own people, it would seem the Syrian regime was not only an expert in terrorism but in exporting lies.
The representative of Syria said the Syrian people of the Golan were denied their freedom and independence. Israel had used phosphorous bombs in Gaza in a manner telling of the terrorism practised by the State of Israel, which had deprived the rights of the Syrians of Golan for sixty years. The Committee should be cautious in allowing occupying States to infringe on the United Nations Charter. The Secretary-General’s report showed that the Israeli authorities were not making reparations for environment damage over the Lebanese oil slick, nor paying damages to citizens of Lebanon and Syria. Israel considered itself above the law, he said.
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