Efforts to reduce income inequality within and among countries under the sustainable development goals would require theoretical and technical advances, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) heard today as delegates met for the general debate of the sixty-ninth session.
Janet C. Gornick, Director of the Luxembourg Income Study Cross-National Data Center, said more and better quality data were needed, particularly disaggregated data, if efforts to improve income growth among the bottom 40 per cent of the world’s population were to be meaningful. To study inequality trends in real time, greater standardization of data was necessary, as was timely processing, while legal restrictions needed to be removed and new, better-resourced strategies developed.
Ms. Gornick, who is also a Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York, described the work of the Luxembourg Income Study’s data archive in contextualizing inequality. She painted a portrait of global inequality levels, noting that inequality had grown worldwide over the past 30 years, harming equity and justice, as well as social cohesion and democratic processes.
Among the causes of inequality, she pointed to globalization, which contributed to a reduction in the number of jobs available in high and upper middle-income countries, as well as the increased “financialization” of the global economy, as capital markets and institutions grew in importance. Simultaneous erosion of limits on executive compensation, changes to household structures, and the end of Governments’ redistributive policies also boosted inequality.
Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, also drew attention to the structural imbalances that remained in many countries. Delivering an opening statement on behalf of the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, he stressed the need to continue stimulating global demand and output growth, but added that attention should be paid to the high rates of unemployment in developed and developing countries, and to the environmental impacts of growth. States needed to invest adequate resources in eradicating poverty, and to focus on job creation and health care.
Turning to the upcoming session, the Committee Chair, Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), stressed the importance of a holistic vision of human prosperity that integrated economic, social, and environmental development and saw the interrelated, intergenerational, and global nature of development challenges. With the session coming on the cusp of “a new era for development”, the policy choices it recommended would impact long-term sustainability, and the Committee could contribute to and enrich debate on attaining sustainable development.
Among the major themes discussed was the post-2015 development agenda and the representative of Bolivia, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, was one of many delegates to tackle that issue, stressing the importance of poverty eradication in all future development activities. Poverty was multidimensional and had to be central to the agenda, while a strengthened, scaled-up global partnership was vital and should be quantified, with time-bound targets consistent with Millennium Development Goal 8.
Several other representatives focused on additional aspects of the Rio+20 outcome document and its centrality to negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda. Indonesia’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that the document acknowledged the importance of technology as a key means for implementing sustainable development, and he looked forward to discussing arrangements for a facilitation mechanism.
Echoing the importance of building means of implementation, the representative of Costa Rica, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, recognized that an effective strategy would require mobilization of new and additional financial resources. Like many delegates, he looked ahead to the third international conference on financing for development and stressed that official development assistance (ODA) would remain central.
The representative of Benin, who spoke on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, called for cancellation of the outstanding multilateral and bilateral debt held by such countries, while the representative of Nicaragua called for an end to the system of “exploitation of the majority by the minority”, welcoming the recent adoption of a resolution on sovereign debt restructuring, and anticipating follow-up on the draft legal framework.
Many delegations, including the European Union, looked forward to the upcoming Lima and Paris Conferences of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). To that end, he called for a single, global and comprehensive legally-binding agreement, stressing the centrality of tackling climate change to sustainable development, and noting its potential impact on poverty eradication efforts.
Meanwhile, for States like Nauru, whose representative spoke on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, future agreements had to build on previous work, notably the recent Conference on Small Island Developing States. She said she would be vigilant to ensure that the commitments made in Samoa remained prominent in the Committee’s work.
Also speaking today were representatives of Belize (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Malawi (on behalf of the African Group), Belarus, Switzerland, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Iran, Algeria, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia, Israel, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Norway, Georgia, Morocco, Haiti, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Libya, Syria, Mexico, Malaysia, and Japan.
Committee Chair Sebastiano Cardi (Italy) notified delegates of adjustments to the Committee’s programme of work as contained in document A/C.2/69/L.1. They were the postponement of a side event, cancellation of a joint meeting between the Second Committee and the Economic and Social Council, and the rescheduling of the meeting on “Eradication of poverty and other development issues”.
The Second Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on 8 October to continue its general debate.
SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy) Chair, Second Committee (Economic and Financial), listed the many formidable challenges the world faced, stressing that the Ebola outbreak put at risk gains made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. To deal with that and other challenges, multilateral action was essential. The Committee was positioned to make a final push to achieve the Millennium Goals and to contribute to formulation of the new agenda. Its broad agenda covered most key issues central to development of societies, so it was well placed to do so. It was necessary to build on achievements made in areas like the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and it was vital to establish adequate means of implementation and to forge a strengthened global partnership for development.
He noted that the current session came as the world was about to embark on “a new era for development”. The Committee could contribute to and enrich debate on attaining sustainable development, but it should be wary of duplicating work and should remain effective, efficient and impactful. Improvements to working methods would help with that, and some had already been made. Development challenges and their attendant risks were interrelated, intergenerational, and universal, and policy choices would impact long-term sustainability. A holistic vision of human prosperity, recognizing the integration and global nature of economic, social, and environmental development, should guide the Committee to policy cooperation and coherence. The Committee could evolve new tools and instruments for effective macroeconomic policies, and could focus on development financing, operational activities for development, and defining a new global partnership for development.
THOMAS GASS, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs of the Department of Economic and Social Council, speaking on behalf of the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Council, said the global economy continued to expand at a moderate pace, but structural imbalances and social and political tensions bedevilled many countries. Stimulating global demand and output growth should remain a priority, but attention should be paid to the environmental impacts of such growth. The rate of unemployment remained high in both developed and developing countries, he said, calling on States to invest adequate resources in eradicating poverty, and to focus on job creation and health care, among other areas.
On the post-2015 development agenda, he said the Samoa Pathway document left no doubt that the issues of small island developing States were global issues. The sustainable development goals went further than the Millennium Development Goals, and included targets on issues such as sustainable energy for all, climate change, sustainable patterns of consumption and production, and the protection of oceans, seas and forests. A comprehensive financing framework for the post-2015 agenda was a major challenge, and he also highlighted the strengthening of statistics, data, and monitoring as priorities. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs had taken steps to provide coherent assistance to countries pursuing sustainable development, and supported them in strengthening their national statistical systems.
JANET C. GORNICK, Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the City University of New York, and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study Cross-National Data Center, focused her remarks on “High and rising inequality: Causes and consequences”. She described the study and its work on data collection, noting that most data came from high and upper-middle income countries. Income was not an effective measure of well-being in poorer countries, so data was sparse and consumption was the preferred method for measuring inequality. Findings on middle and high-income countries were still relevant to lower income countries, however.
Income inequality was higher in middle-income countries, she said, noting that Nordic countries were the least unequal, and the highest ranked high-income countries were both English-speaking. That suggested that institutions mattered. In the past 30 years, income inequality had risen in two-thirds of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. That was a “substantial and significant” increase showing that wealthy households benefited more from growth than middle and lower income households. Inequality declined between 2007 and 2010 because of the recession, and she looked forward to studying the effects of the recovery on equality. There was a consensus that inequality — though still high — had declined in many Latin American countries, with more equal wages and more progressive and robust Government transfers providing lessons for policymakers. Several countries had seen “hollowing out of the middle”, and problematic consequences were expected in the future.
She outlined the causes of growing inequality, including globalization and “financialization”. The latter related to the increased importance of capital markets and institutions. Changing pay norms, including the erosion of limits on executive compensation, contributed to inequality, as did changes to household structures, such as the rise of one-adult households, and the end of Governments’ redistributive policies. Women’s engagement in paid work had risen in the previous three decades, with their contribution to household income helping to pull the bottom up.
Increased inequality could harm equity and justice, she said, noting that such consequences would be particularly powerful if correlated with reduced living standards for those at the bottom. Intergenerational mobility could also be curtailed, along with overall economic growth. Economist Joseph Stiglitz had asserted that the rich could only consume so much and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had agreed, stressing that economic growth and inequality had been two sides of the same coin, and drawing a link between inability to sustain growth and inequality. Social cohesion and the democratic process could also be impacted.
She said the new proposed sustainable development goals included an effort to reduce inequality within and among countries, aiming particularly to raise growth among the bottom 40 per cent. Theoretical and technical advances were needed to properly conduct such a study. More and higher quality data were needed, particularly disaggregated data, with more standardization and timely processing in order to learn about inequality and monitor it in real time. Restrictions needed to be removed, while new strategies were vital and more resources mobilized. Resources were required for national statistics offices, for projects such as the Luxembourg Income Study, and for opportunities for volunteers to join in the data revolution.
Following Ms. Gornick’s address, the floor was opened to discussion, with the representative of Guyana asking a question about inequality between countries, to which she responded that she was not an expert in cross-country inequality. Instead, she pointed to the work of Economist Branko Milanović on global income distribution, which had turned up the paradoxical finding that rising inequality within countries was met with shrinking inequality internationally. China and India had achieved a great economic expansion and that was one reason for the results. She also addressed his question about anti-inequality policies, noting the impact of minimum wages, and the importance of implementing collective agreements.
Responding to questions from the representatives of Guatemala and Senegal about alternative measures of inequality, she said she supported multi-dimensional, integrated approaches and was working to increase the number of measures brought in play.
The representative of Ireland asked a question about data quality, to which she responded that efforts were being made to integrate domestic labour into income surveys, and she responded to a question from the representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo about whether inequality should be tackled after growth had been achieved, by saying that growth was not necessary to tackle inequality.
The representatives of Iran, Mongolia and Liberia also asked questions during the discussion, but she said they went outside her area of expertise.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, looked forward to negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, preparations for and follow-up to several conferences, and strengthening the institutional framework for sustainable development. Poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development’s three dimensions were vital to forming a coherent approach to the post-2015 development agenda. That agenda should adhere to the Rio Principles, particularly that of common but differentiated responsibilities, and the report of the Open Working Group on the sustainable development goals should not be re-negotiated. Poverty was multidimensional and should be central to the agenda, while a strengthened and scaled-up global partnership for development was an essential element. The partnership needed quantified, time-bound targets consistent with Millennium Development Goal 8. North-South cooperation could be complemented by South-South and triangular cooperation.
Technology was a driver of sustainable development, he said, calling for agreement on a technology facilitation mechanism. Sovereign debt management was crucial, especially for developing countries, and resolution A/RES/68/304 was a step towards establishing a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring. Climate change impacted particularly powerfully on developing countries, and the twentieth conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was of vital importance in preparing a road map for Paris. A global implementation mechanism was needed to achieve the goals of the Samoa Pathway document, and the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries should conclude a holistic programme of action. Aid to Africa had to double, while the Istanbul Programme of Action should continue and help graduation to middle-income status. The Ebola outbreak underscored the need to tackle the cycle of disease and to assist affected countries. He addressed the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and rejected unilateral sanctions on Cuba, Sudan, Iran and Syria.
LOIS MICHELE YOUNG (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that over the past year some of its member States had seen recovery in tourism and agriculture, with positive spin-off effects on other sectors. However, despite those gains, the region witnessed high levels of unemployment and increased indebtedness. Those challenges, coupled with the sensitivity of the Caribbean economies to extra regional source markets, were further compounded by the region’s vulnerability to natural hazards and climate change impacts, and its dependence on imports for food and fuel.
She said that the small island developing States’ agenda would be a critical component in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, with the Samoa Pathway document providing a foundational input towards shaping the agenda in a manner that addressed the challenges faced by those countries. In the context of financing for development, she emphasized the question of external debt sustainability. Having attained middle-income status on account of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, many of CARICOM member States had lost access to concessionary financing, and had undertaken significant debt to finance their resilience. In that regard, the international community should reconsider the metrics for determining access to financing, including consideration of a vulnerability index.
WILLIAM JOSÉ CALVO CALVO (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said that efforts to address the pending agenda of the Millennium Development Goals and build on that experience must be accelerated. The Open Working Group report must be the basis for integrating the sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda, and it should not be reopened or renegotiated. On financing for sustainable development, he recognized that an effective strategy would require the mobilization and use of new and additional financial resources, public and private, domestic and international, but that official development assistance (ODA) should play a central role in achieving internationally agreed development goals.
He highlighted the importance of establishing a strengthened global partnership for development with effective means of implementation, including a mix of financial resources, technology development and transfer, as well as capacity-building. Technology cooperation was the linchpin for promoting sustainable development in the post-2015 context, and the international community must start working on a mechanism to improve the flow of knowledge, capacities, and resources to where they would make a difference. While he recognized the contribution and complementarity of the private sector in financing for sustainable development, he did not think that such engagement and partnerships should replace the historical commitments of developed countries in providing ODA.
DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, looked forward to the achievement of important milestones. Those included an agreement on the post-2015 development agenda; the Third Financing for Development Conference; and the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference, particularly the technology facilitation mechanism and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The Committee should focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Like many regions, ASEAN countries lagged on achievement of some goals. He described where ASEAN would focus, as outlined in the “Joint Declaration on the Attainment of the MDGs in ASEAN” and the “ASEAN Roadmap for the Attainment of the MDGs”. The post-2015 development agenda had to focus on poverty eradication, with a transformative approach to the world’s challenges, including global systemic reforms.
The Rio+20 outcome document had acknowledged the importance of technology as a key means of implementation for sustainable development, he said, noting that the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals had reiterated that. Recommendations on arrangements for a facilitation mechanism had been adopted, and further discussion in the Committee should find a conclusion. The Conference on Financing for Development was vital to the new development agenda, and the Monterrey Consensus a valid reference point. A vital principle in pursuit of a new climate change agreement was that of common but differentiated responsibilities. Developed countries should lead on reducing emissions and building climate resilience, with the developing world doing its utmost to contribute. The ASEAN Community would be established in 2015, when the ASEAN Economic Community became a reality. ASEAN would continue to look outward, remaining an inclusive and market-driven economy, sustaining its economic and trade performance.
CHARLES P. MSOSA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that with a billion people still trapped in extreme poverty, its eradication must remain the overarching goal of any future transformative development agenda. He highlighted ending hunger, ensuring food security and nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture as priorities for the region. The recent African Union Summit had seen its leaders commit to allocating 10 per cent of public expenditure to agriculture, as well as to at least double current agricultural productivity levels and to sustain agricultural GDP growth of at least 6 per cent. Moreover, they had undertaken to triple, by 2025, intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services, and to fast track the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area and transition to a continental Common External Tariff scheme. If implemented successfully, Africa would have enough food for its entire population, and would not have to spend $35 billion a year on food imports.
On climate change, he said that Africa was most vulnerable to its adverse impacts due to its low adaptive capacity. The land was vital for agriculture and food production; however, nearly three fourths of it was estimated to be degraded to varying degrees. Moreover, the region, where many people depended on natural resources for their livelihoods, was affected by frequent and severe droughts. Stressing the potentially profound positive impacts of increasing sustainable land management and building resilience to drought in Africa, he called on Member States to support and strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the 10-year strategic plan and framework to enhance the timely financial resources.
MARLENE MOSES (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and CARICOM, said the session would set the stage for endorsement of the post-2015 development agenda. Other intergovernmental processes, on disaster risk reduction, financing for development and climate change, would impact the agenda, but follow-up to the Conference on Small Island Developing States was vital and commitments made there had to remain prominent in the Committee’s work. Promising to remain vigilant, she outlined some views and ambitions expressed by small island State leaders, including the need to agree to a post-2015 agenda that built on the Samoa Pathway. Sustainable development goals should acknowledge the special vulnerabilities such States faced, with specific support given and efforts to build a global enabling environment. That included robust follow-up to the Barbados Programme of Action, Mauritius Strategy of Implementation and the Samoa Pathway.
The new agenda needed to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development, she said, underlining the need to recognize links between economic, social and environmental aspects. There was a need for a global compact reflecting the collective political will of small island developing States to support sustainable development, focused on improving resilience, competitiveness and development financing. Those island States were custodians of vast expanses of oceans, so they needed ownership of strategies on fisheries, tourism, seabed resources, and sources of renewable energy. Gaps in implementation of previous agreements related to those States needed addressing and cooperation, and partnership had to be built from national to international levels. The High-Level Political Forum would review and follow-up on implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives. Small island developing States needed special resourcing and technology transfers, as well as assistance in improving national institutions. Traditional and indigenous knowledge could drive sustainable development and greater levels of assistance should be provided, including favourable trade and economic agreements.
IOANNIS VRAILAS (European Union) referred to drama over his delegation’s position in the speaker’s list, noting that it was the fourth occasion since adoption of resolution 65/276, and that the issue should have disappeared. The Union was always constructive in negotiations and it was the substance of its statements that were important, not its position in the list. The body was the most important on development and humanitarian aid, and was at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change. It showed respect to other groups, and hoped for reciprocation of such respect. Intergovernmental processes associated with the 2015 Climate Summit would include inputs from many stakeholders. The Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing was crucial to discussions on the global partnership, acknowledging that the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration provided the conceptual framework for the post-2015 agenda, for resource mobilization from many sources and for the effective use of financing. The Secretary-General’s report would synthesize the inputs to help move discussions forward.
Climate change would remain a central challenge to sustainable development, he said, noting its potential impact on poverty eradication efforts. Economies had to get on a path to low-emission, climate resilient development, with climate action a catalyst for sustainable development. The Lima Conference should build on previous work towards a single, global and comprehensive legally-binding agreement. Noting the importance of countries in special situations, he underlined the importance of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment to sustained, inclusive economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development. The implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and its Programme of Action were essential to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of women’s rights. He looked forward to strengthening the Committee’s working methods, and ensuring it remained relevant, effective and efficient.
JEAN-FRANCIS RÉGIS. ZINSOU (Benin), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the Ebola crisis demonstrated the vulnerability of the least developed States in the face of new and emerging challenges. However, despite their high vulnerabilities and low capabilities, the particular needs of those countries were overlooked in the global search of policy solutions and responses to climate change. The post-2015 agreement should include legally binding commitments on serving their adaptation needs. The adaptation financing should supplement the historical commitment of 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent of ODA to those countries.
He said that there had been a moderate pick-up in economic activity in many least developed countries, with the Group’s GDP having accelerated from 4.3 per cent in 2012 to 5.6 per cent in 2013. However, poverty had continued to be pervasive, with half of people in those countries living on less than $1.25 a day. He urged development partners to fulfil their existing ODA commitments and review them with a view to allocating at least 50 per cent of their ODA to the least developed countries. Moreover, he called for all outstanding debt, both multilateral and bilateral, of all least developed countries to be written off, and future development assistance to be grant-based to avert the recurrence of debt unsustainability.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that although some Millennium Development Goals had been marginally achieved, the progress had been unequal in various parts of the world. More than one billion people still lived in extreme poverty, most of them in middle-income countries. In the context of the post-2015 development agenda, new sustainable development goals had been proposed, but it remained unresolved whether they had the resources and mechanisms needed to achieve them. Moreover, he called energy the “fuel for sustainable development” and a key area for human livelihood, asking for energy-related issues to be addressed at a more systemic and consistent level, through a United Nations energy agenda.
PAUL SEGER (Switzerland) reiterated his support for a single post-2015 agenda to address poverty eradication and sustainable development, containing a single set of objectives, along with an integrated financing mechanism, and a monitoring and accountability framework. With 11 months left to be creative and ambitious in order to realize a shared vision, the preparatory process towards the Post-2015 Summit should be well-structured, with focused and inclusive sessions. For a successful implementation of the post-2015 agenda on the ground, the political level of the United Nations must be linked to the Organization’s development system.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, said the international community must seek to realize the Millennium Development Goals before 2015, and benefit from the accumulated lessons and experience in its efforts to eradicate poverty. The post-2015 development agenda should build on the Rio+20 outcome document, and sustainable development could only be achieved through a global partnership recognizing differences between countries. He emphasized the need to close the technological gap to realize sustainable industrialization and development, and to address the issue of food security.
YASAR HALIT CEVIK (Turkey) said that, in the context of both developing and developed countries still experiencing adverse effects of the global economic and financial crisis, the international community should find a way to create an environment for increased production, trade and investment, and jobs. The burden of global economic challenges was most felt by the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, which benefited least from globalization, but suffered the most from its adverse effects on growth, employment and social welfare. His country had pledged a voluntary financial contribution of $200,000 to assist the establishment of the Technology Bank and science, technology and innovation (STI) supporting mechanism in Turkey to address technological needs of the least developed countries.
YUONUS HUSSEIN (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, underlined that debt prevented development, particularly fulfilment of international development goals. Finding a solution to the problem was important and would help States to absorb shocks locally. The adoption of a resolution on restructuring of sovereign debts was a step in the right direction. He supported the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring, noting that Iraq had suffered from “dirty and ugly debts”. Nationally, resources should be distributed in a judicial manner, focused on weaker groups, like women and children. There was a link between development and human security, and the report of the Open Working Group should have made greater mention about combating terrorism, because it was a problem affecting the entire world.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) pointed out a steady stream of successful reforms, while noting that worldwide recovery required efficient, global policymaking. The Astana Economic Forums developed a draft concept Anti-Crisis Plan for the United Nations, and he hoped the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council would consider it. Kazakhstan was preparing for the Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, but the situation of small island developing States was also concerning. Kazakhstan joined the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in backing a biogas project for nine small island States in the region. He was reviewing the national level significance of the report of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Panel of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing. In transition to a “green economy”, Kazakhstan was committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while the Astana Expo 2017 would focus on “Future Energy”. Recalling Kazakhstan’s environmentally hazardous areas, including the Aral Sea and the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, he said a draft resolution on Semipalatinsk would be submitted to the Committee.
THEMBELA NGCULU (South Africa) said that leading up to the September 2015 Summit on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, a truly transformative outcome “must address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality faced by many developing countries”. He urged Member States to retain a “strictly developmental” focus and theme. He pointed to the responsibility of developed States in assisting developing countries with concrete actions, and called for the establishment of an accountability framework under the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to monitor the delivery of those commitments. He stressed however that because systemic fragilities and imbalances in the international financial system have had negative consequences on the flow and mobilization of finance, the cure is good economic governance and the reform of international financial institutions to become more “representative and responsive to the needs of developing countries”.
GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, described important developments taking place in the realm of sustainable development over the coming months. Processes should not distract and substance needed to be given due weight. Each country had the right to choose its own route to development and its own strategies. The financial and economic crisis had hampered the abilities of developing countries to meet their development needs, and the international financial and monetary systems needed urgent reform so that they were better equipped to respond to the needs of developing countries. Despite brutal unilateral, coercive economic measures, Iran had met the Millennium Development Goals at the national level.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, said that sustainable development required more work from States, and the aim should be the establishment of a more balanced and just economic world order. Adoption of the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals was the building block for the future development agenda, and the nature of negotiations on that matter should be emulated going forward. The Lima Conference could pave the way towards a legally binding climate regime. The Conference on Financing for Development would identify obstacles and constraints affecting implementation of the Monterrey Consensus. The aim was to ease the situation for African States. Sovereign debt restructuring was a major area that should be dealt with through international intergovernmental processes.
GUILHERME DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said it was important to stick to the core of the Rio+20 agreement, which was eradicating poverty and reducing inequality. Neoliberal economic policies had caused wage and wealth disparities to skyrocket, and income inequality was greater among countries than within them. That situation had serious social, humanitarian and economic consequences. Growth was stifled as deteriorating incomes reduced demand and weakened the basis for recovery from the 2008 crisis. Brazil was active with social policies like the “Bolsa Familia” that helped to reduce both poverty and inequality, providing demand-led growth and invigorating the domestic market. More than 40 million Brazilians had been lifted from poverty and into the middle class. Doing the same at the international level was complex but not impossible, and the 2010 IMF Governance and Quota Reform should be implemented. Looking to the Committee’s session, he called for a focus on inequality and sustainable development, and outlined his ambitions for its work.
PAUL LOSOKO EFAMBE (Democratic Republic of the Congo), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, said the post-2015 development agenda must be both ambitious and conclusive, and must not side-line any country due to its lack of capacity. He welcomed the proposal to make poverty eradication the first sustainable development goal, as well as the inclusion of a specific goal on peace and development. The current situation in the world, particularly the threat of terrorism and the Ebola crisis, posed enormous challenges to the achievement of the goals. Concerning the Ebola outbreak, his country had been providing assistance to those affected, and would establish training centres for healthcare personnel. Climate change was a threat, particularly to the most vulnerable, such as the landlocked developing countries in Africa. “The time for talk has gone, now it is time for action,” he concluded.
MARIA EMMA MEJÍA VELÉZ (Colombia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the Latin American region had made uncontested steps forward in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Noting the fundamental role of human settlements in sustainable development, she called for a new people-focused urban agenda. The post-2015 agenda must respond to the special needs of the least developed countries, small island developing States, and landlocked developing countries, as well as middle-income countries, especially in terms of the latter’s continued access to finance. The agenda must also include sufficient means and a periodic review framework. Moreover, a real global alliance must ensure the technology transfer on preferential terms for developing countries.
HADAS MEITZAD (Israel) said they had learned valuable lessons from their experience with the Millennium Development Goals. Since problems were not one size fits all, neither should be their solutions. The world was a very different place from 14 years ago; new technologies were completely changing people’s lives, and the private sector, philanthropic foundations and civil society were increasingly woven into global affairs. The new complexities represented both challenges and opportunities to achieve a new development agenda. Empowering women to control their own reproductive decisions was essential to reducing maternal and child mortality, and enabled them to participate fully in their families, professions and communities. Entrepreneurship was a primary pathway to break the cycle of poverty, empower women and youth, and achieve economic growth and sustainable development.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) welcomed the outcome of the small island developing States conference, and looked forward to tackling the issues it had raised. He also welcomed the report of the Open Working Group. All States had a responsibility to conclude an ambitious, inclusive and transformative set of sustainable development goals. Inclusive global partnerships were vital as was development finance mobilization. The Committee’s engagement on the post-2015 development agenda should remain procedural and technical in order to avoid pre-empting the work done in other processes. Durable solutions to global debt problems were needed, and sovereign debt restructuring and a consensus-building approach was needed to develop a coordinated policy. The United Nations was one place for such discussions but others needed to be involved, too.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China and with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, stressed his concern that the effects of the economic crisis were still being felt worldwide. There was no international agreement on responses, and the system of “exploitation of the majority by the minority” continued and called for a restructuring of the international financial architecture. The resolution on sovereign debt restructuring reflected developing countries’ concerns and States should work in a united, cohesive manner to draft the legal framework for follow-up. The Conference on Financing for Development was a chance to shape world economic policies and to define a new international financial structure. Extensive work on drafting the sustainable development goals included agreement on the need for poverty eradication. To fulfil the proposed goals, resources were needed, along with a stronger global alliance. The basis for negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda had to be the report of the Open Working Group and the Rio+20 outcome document. The new agenda must be negotiated through an inclusive, transparent process aimed at achieving a fairer world order based on solidarity, sustainability, inclusion and human dignity.
DMITRY I. MAKSIMYCHEV (Russian Federation) said his country’s position remained unchanged, and was opposed to an expansive interpretation of sustainable development and to attempts to politicize the post-2015 development agenda. With the upcoming Conference on Financing for Development, he looked forward to working out methods for achieving the sustainable development goals. Sustainable development was hampered by volatility in the global economic and financial situation. He supported an effective system that maintained the balance necessary to truly achieve it. Regional and inter-regional mechanisms were needed to forward development. He pointed to his country’s involvement in the Eurasian Economic Union and the New Development Bank. Recent events had highlighted the need for comprehensive regulation of sovereign debt markets, and he looked forward to discussions on the modalities. He would continue to oppose unilateral economic measures, and would play a strong role in discussions over operational activities for development.
GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway) urged that extra attention be paid to the rights and needs of the marginalized groups who suffered most in crisis and conflict conditions. Ahead of the target date for the Millennium Development Goals, States must be innovative. Partnerships with the private sector, civil society and others must be strengthened to secure access to innovative technology, while financing mechanisms, such as results-based financing, must be stimulated. The post-2015 development agenda must leave no doubt about the importance of peace and stability, good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. Ensuring review mechanisms for the sustainable development goals, including the High Level Political Forum, that drew on inclusive, evidence-based processes would be crucial. He urged States to consider repositioning the United Nations development system to build on its comparative advantages, and ensuring that expectations about the United Nations were matched by funding.
VAKHTANG MAKHAROBLISHVILI (Georgia) said his country’s third national report had found that most of the Millennium Development Goals had been achieved, citing a significant decline in extreme poverty, expansion of social protection schemes, and high primary school enrolment since 2000. In 2012, women’s representation in Parliament surpassed 10 per cent, up from a 5 per cent baseline in 2000, and since 2006, import duties had been abolished on almost 85 per cent of goods. Despite progress, poverty remained a concern. Tackling challenges required common efforts. International action was the most feasible way to reduce the potential threat of climate change. The region’s vast energy resources could open opportunities for cooperation among energy producers, transit and consumer countries. In that context, he said Georgia and its partners were involved in regional and international projects to modernize domestic transport infrastructure.
TARIK IZIRAREN (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and the African Group, welcomed the establishment of poverty eradication as the first sustainable development goal, as well as the integration of economic-related goals. Countries’ economic empowerment and industrialization were the best way to eradicate poverty and inequalities, and a clear multinational mechanism to restructure the debt of States must be established as the world moved towards the post-2015 agenda. The universality of the agenda should not ignore the specific needs of developing countries, he added, highlighting the importance of ODA and of technology transfer for the achievement of development goals. South-South cooperation had become increasingly relevant as the means of development based on the principles of equality, partnership and mutual interest.
ASTRIDE NAZAIRE (Haiti), associating herself with the Group of 77, CARICOM, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Alliance of Small Island Developing States, and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said it was essential that the Committee adopted clear, practical, action-oriented and people- and environment-centred decisions and resolutions. Having re-emerged from a terrible 2010 earthquake, Haiti was undergoing an intensive phase of reconstruction and recovery, and had, despite unfavourable circumstances, seen progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. With climate change directly threatening the very existence of small island developing States, her country fully endorsed the Samoa Pathway, which should be the basis for the Committee’s work.
KIM UN CHOL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), speaking on the work of the United Nations on sustainable development, said extreme poverty and environmental issues had been caused by “unfair and selfish economic activities”. He called for the end of “coercive political and military manoeuvres which threaten regional peace and stability”, such as the “unilateral sanctions by the United States and some other countries against specific individual countries in the fields of finance, trade and investment”. He called for a “new economic order” based on the growing financial importance of emerging economies, a reform of the dollar-based international monetary system and reform of world trade organizations such as the IMF and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, he said that individual countries should be allowed to establish their own sustainable development goals, and developed and donor countries should show their commitment through development assistance and the transfer of technologies. Citing the “wise guidance of the Great Leader Kim Jong Un” he said “improvement of people’s living standards is now being upheld as a top priority” in his country.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, said the current system was not sustainable. More progress could have been made on meeting the Millennium Development Goals if the resources had been channelled into development rather than military expenditure. Furthermore, the global economic and financial system was in crisis, and there was a need for a new, fairer, more inclusive and transparent world order. The new development agenda had to include ways of funding the Goals, particularly to solve the problem of external debt. He called for action to ensure that the international trade system promoted development, and that the current irrational patterns of consumption and production were changed. The situation required an urgent solution, and he hoped that solidarity would prevail over egotism.
IBRAHIM O. A. DABBASHI (Libya) aligned with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, noting that, for various reasons, it was unlikely that impoverished countries would fulfil the Millennium Development Goals in the time remaining. That unfinished business needed to be included in the new goals. Were it not for the acute political drama and chaotic security situation in Libya, he believed his country would have fulfilled the Millennium Goals, expressing hope for national reconciliation and consensus to rejuvenate the economy. Capital flight, together with cross-border smuggling of funds and laundering, hampered development efforts and achievement of those goals. Cooperation was needed on anti-corruption. He looked forward to assistance in recovering finances plundered from his State. Once recovered, they could be directed to development. He stressed the need to improve the United Nations role in economics and finance, and to learn lessons from the latest economic crisis.
RABEE JAWHARA (Syria) aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China, calling for political will to ensure fulfilment of unimplemented commitments. A renewal of global commitment to ending foreign occupation was needed because it was the major impediment to the development of people living under occupation. Renewed commitment was also needed to remove all unilateral economic sanctions because everyone agreed sanctions hampered efforts to build economies and sustainable development. They were also illegitimate because they were imposed unilaterally, not through the United Nations. He called for efforts to eradicate terrorism in all its forms, especially by targeting its funding. Commitment was needed on Rio+20 principles such as common but differentiated responsibilities and fulfilment of pledges to increase ODA. Trade barriers against developing countries needed to be removed, as did politicized objections to their full participation in the international trading system.
SARA LUNA CAMACHO (Mexico), associating herself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said her country wanted to strengthen efforts towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda was inclusive, transformative and transparent. The international community should focus on developing a clearer vision on the transformation required, which must contain elements for the implementation of the post-2015 development goals. Mexico would continue to promote socioeconomic inclusion of young people, women, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, and other vulnerable groups. The route towards the 2015 Summit must draw on other related processes, particularly on the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Lima, and the 2015 Conference on Financing for Development.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) said States faced the difficult task of ensuring the success of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in July 2015. In outlining the post-2015 development agenda, developing country interests must be kept in mind, while the design, structure and choice of the goals should be in line with what those countries aimed to achieve. Its formulation and implementation must be in accordance with the Rio Principles, taking into account different national circumstances and capacities. On climate change, he looked forward to a comprehensive outcome at the Paris Summit next year. Malaysia was on track to achieve or exceed almost all of the Millennium Goals by 2015, aiming to become a high-income nation by 2020, with an emphasis on inclusiveness and sustainability. Reaffirming the importance of South-South cooperation, he said it should not be viewed as a substitute for North-South cooperation, but, rather, as a complement to it.
HIROSHI MINAMI (Japan) said the most important aspect of the fight against poverty was cultivating a sense of ownership among those concerned and encouraging self-help efforts. Significant inputs on the post-2015 development agenda had been received by the Committee and Japan had participated actively. The synthesis report of the Secretary-General would be enriched by the various inputs and would help establish an agenda that stakeholders could implement together. Financing for development was separate but closely linked to the post-2015 agenda, and coherence and coordination were needed between both to minimize duplication of efforts. Looking ahead to the 2015 World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, he hoped its outcome would contribute to the post-2015 agenda. He said he would make every effort to ensure the Committee was effective, and suggested that reforms might be necessary in light of the likely adoption of a new comprehensive development agenda.