Technology Gap, Climate Change among Obstacles to Eradicating Poverty, Speakers Say in Second Committee

GA/EF/3455
17 October 2016
Seventy-first Session, 13th & 14th Meetings (AM & PM)

Technology Gap, Climate Change among Obstacles to Eradicating Poverty, Speakers Say in Second Committee

Progress had been made to eradicate poverty, but hindrances like climate change, the technology gap, non-inclusive financial policies and geography continued to stifle development, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it took up that topic.

Belize’s representative, speaking for the Caribbean Community, said her region was frequently reminded of obstacles it faced due to geography, size, open and trade-dependent economies as well as climate change.  “We [small, low-lying islands], like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, suffer disproportionately from the consequences of a rapidly changing climate.”

Noting that others’ industries were responsible for the climate burden her region bore, she said it also suffered from economic and financial policies imposed by others.  Further work was needed to foster coherence at the national and international levels in tax cooperation, financial inclusion, debt sustainability and climate change policy.

Similarly, Bangladesh’s delegate, speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided a clear message that inclusive growth and development were vital in eradicating poverty.  He stressed the need to enhance production as well as boost trade, foreign direct investment and official development assistance (ODA) in developing countries.

The Dominican Republic’s representative, speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said a big challenge in fighting inequalities among countries was the technology gap.  The international community must establish concrete guidance in making the 2030 Agenda a reality.  That should include transferring new and environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms.

Fulfilling the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty would also be impossible without including vulnerable groups, he continued.  Those included indigenous and other tribal populations, Afro-descendants, women, elderly people, persons with disabilities, migrants, children and adolescents.  Equity, social and financial inclusion and access to fair credit were central to ensuring justice and citizen participation.

On the positive side, Malaysia’s representative said her country had reduced poverty to 0.6 per cent in 2014.  By 2020, her Government aimed to double the average income of the bottom 40 per cent of households to elevate them into the middle-class, working in parallel to raise women’s participation in the workforce.

Cambodia’s delegate, speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said his group had been successfully working to reduce poverty by kick-starting programmes to increase access to microfinance/credit, entrepreneurship skills, women’s empowerment and local agricultural and fisheries products as well as farming techniques.

However, he said partnerships among countries at the regional and international level were also crucial in helping developing countries eliminate poverty.  He urged developed countries to fulfil their commitment to the internationally agreed ODA targets of 0.7 per cent of gross national income to developing countries, and 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent of gross national income to least developed countries.

Speakers also stressed the importance of looking further than per capita income in assisting middle-income countries, which continued to suffer deficient education, territorial inequalities and the effects of climate change.  In addition, they focused on the needs of poor landlocked countries, which needed enhanced, predictable and sustained financial aid as well as technical assistance.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Thailand (speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Philippines, India, Viet Nam, Maldives, Honduras, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Iran, Mali, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Guatemala, Zambia, Nepal, Mexico, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Namibia, China, Cambodia, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Niger, South Africa, El Salvador, Colombia, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Timor-Leste, Tanzania, Morocco, Nigeria, Venezuela, Holy See and the Sovereign Order of Malta.  A representative of the International Labour Organization (ILO) also spoke.

Presenting the report “Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)” (document A/71/181) was the Chief of the Social Perspective on Development Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  Introducing the report “industrial development cooperation” (document A/71/264) was the Deputy United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) representative to the United Nations and international organizations.  Presenting the report on “promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” (document A/71/173) was the Deputy Special Representative for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 18 October, to begin its debate on globalization and interdependence.

Introduction of Reports

WENYAN YANG, Chief of the Social Perspective on Development Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report “Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017)” (document A/71/181).

The report, she said, noted that with one year left in the Second Decade, the incidence of poverty continued to decline.  Extreme poverty and hunger had decreased in all regions, but the challenge of poverty remained daunting in Africa and the least developed countries.  Relative poverty had also increased in developed countries, especially in Europe.

The weak growth and continued slowdown in the global economy would affect the world of work in the years ahead, and the number of unemployed was a particular concern, she continued.  Young people, in particular young women, continued to disproportionately bear the unemployment and underemployment burdens.  The report identified a number of policy priorities for poverty eradication and employment creation, and provided a review of the United Nations system’s implementation of the Second Decade.

PATRICK J. GILABERT, Deputy United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) representative to the United Nations and international organizations, introduced the specialized agency’s report “industrial development cooperation” (document A/71/264).  He noted that key aspects of the international community’s sustainable development programme were shared prosperity and the fight against poverty, climate change and damage to the environment.  However, he stressed that industrial development was also important.  Emerging and developing economies had seen an increase of 6.4 per cent in export production and high technology products since 2005.  They had also experienced an increase in manufacturing jobs as more developed countries relocated their industries to emerging and developing nations to benefit from lower production costs.  The result had been a circle of investment and poverty reduction.

Jobs in Africa had moved from agriculture to services, he continued, and technology was playing a major role on the continent.  He stressed the positive effect of industry on all sectors, noting that it also created job opportunities and increased revenues.  Inclusive and sustainable industrial development had a clear and direct implication on all Sustainable Development Goals, he added, stating that the report insisted on it.  It also focused on creating shared prosperity by developing agro-industry empowerment for women and young people, promoting economic competition, promoting investment and technology and protecting the environment by promoting clean, renewable energy.  Each of those areas was organized through four functions of his organization — technical cooperation, analysis, research and counselling on industrial policy.

KAZI A. RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on “promotion of sustainable tourism, including ecotourism, for poverty eradication and environment protection” (document A/71/173).  Tourism’s growth across the globe and in all regions had been consistent, and in 2015 a record 1.186 billion people travelled the world.  UNWTO’s long term forecasts showed that by the year 2030, international tourists would reach 1.8 billion, making it one of the leading sectors of the global economy.  Tourism accounted for 10 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), 7 per cent of total exports and for one in every 11 jobs.

Tourism was a transformative force that contributed to the three strands of sustainable development:  social, economic and environmental.  It created employment opportunities and helped in the eradication of poverty.  Tourism was an essential instrument for both developed and developing nations including least developed countries and small island developing States in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 8, 12 and 14 as well as supporting the other 14 Goals.

In an ensuing discussion, Morocco’s representative said that Mr. Rahman had demonstrated the role of tourism in achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty.  Sustainable tourism had been widely reflected in the 2030 Agenda, he said, and it was an important instrument to empower women, especially in rural areas.  His delegation would be introducing for the first time a draft resolution on the same topic of the report on the subject of sustainable tourism and ecotourism to fight against poverty and protect the environment.  The resolution would be broad in scope and would try to capture the different facets of tourism.  He requested Mr. Rahman to comment on how South-South cooperation could play a role in promoting sustainable tourism and ecotourism, as well as on the issue of measurement and data.

Mr. RAHMAN, responding to the representative, highlighted that tourism covered three Sustainable Development Goals and had cross-cutting benefits.  He concurred that South-South cooperation had a role for sustainable tourism and ecotourism.  That had acted as a catalyst for many developing countries.  UNWTO had been in discussion with the South-South cooperation bureau of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to promote South-South cooperation.  On the topic of measurements, UNWTO had provided support to the Member States to collect and analyse data and statistics in a way that could lead to the better formulation of policies and also facilitate an impact measurement of how sustainable tourism had been working for the countries.  The UNWTO website offered more information on that work.

PILANYA NIYOMTHAI (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that tackling poverty was a matter of political priority at the national and international level.  She stressed the need to enable Governments of developing countries to effectively formulate their own development strategies.  It was important to build upon important lessons learned from the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) and the Millennium Development Goals.  That included the improvement of data and monitoring systems, harnessing partnerships, fostering the global exchange of ideas and home-grown approaches to eradicate poverty and create decent jobs.  Adequate and predictable resources remained among the main challenges for developing countries, especially those in special situations.

She also stressed that an enabling international environment could be achieved through the provision of additional financing resources, technology transfer, capacity building, pro-development trade policies, and equitable and effective participation of developing countries in global economic governance.  Inclusive and sustainable industrial development played an essential role as part of a comprehensive strategy of structural economic growth.  It was integral to realize the connection of the Sustainable Development Goals to job creation, sustainable livelihoods, innovation, technology and skills development, food security and equitable growth.

LOIS MICHELE YOUNG (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said her region faced a distinct challenge among developing countries since traditional and multidimensional poverty existed alongside persistent low growth and the erosion of human development gains.  Governments were responding at the State, household and individual levels, while the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015-2019 aimed to build the region’s economic, social, environmental and technological resilience.  The group’s member States were nevertheless frequently reminded of their limitations given their geography, size, capacity constraints and open and trade-dependent economies.  “We, like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, suffer disproportionately from the consequences of a rapidly changing climate” as Caribbean States were small, low-lying islands, she said.  Like the inordinate climate burden they bore for the industrial actions of others, the region’s peoples and economies also bore the deleterious consequences of economic and financial policies to which they had not contributed or even consented.

Welcoming the 2030 Agenda’s multidimensional, universal and coordinated approach to those challenges, she emphasized that its implementation would require adequate funding and the alignment of national plans to ensure that all actions were in lock-step with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  In that regard, she called for further work to foster coherence at the national and international levels, namely in the areas of tax cooperation, financial inclusion, debt sustainability and climate change policy and finance.  Among other things, the United Nations and other partners should support CARICOM member States against the de-risking trend in the international banking sector and to revise the metrics used to assess development.

FRANCISCO ANTONIO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said one of the biggest challenges in reducing inequalities between and among countries was technological gaps.  The international community must promote and establish concrete guidance on how to make the 2030 Agenda a reality, including through the dissemination and transfer of innovation and new technologies to developing countries on favourable terms.  They should be environmentally sound technologies on concessional and preferential terms to close the technology gap that still existed among countries.  He also stressed that national development efforts should be supported by an enabling international economic environment, including coherent and mutually supporting world trade, monetary and financial systems and strengthened and enhanced global economic governance.

Sustainable development could not be attained without the inclusion of groups in situations of vulnerability, such as indigenous and other tribal populations, Afro-descendants, women, elderly people, persons with disabilities, migrants, children and adolescents, he said.  Equity, social and financial inclusion and access to fair credit were central to ensure overall access to justice, citizen participation, well-being and a dignified life for all.  He noted that high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data was an essential input for smart and transparent decision-making and could improve policymaking at all levels.  He stressed the central role of follow-up and review as well as the strengthening of national and regional data systems.  The disaggregation of data by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other relevant characteristics according to national contexts was an adequate tool for making visible social and regional disparities, addressing inequalities with comprehensive policies.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, said that poverty was an affront to human dignity and human rights, and that economic growth was not enough to ensure prosperity for all.  The 2030 Agenda provided a clear message that inclusive growth and development were key for poverty eradication.  Many least developed countries had failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Income inequality remained high, and the impacts of climate change, natural hazards, diseases, conflict and other shocks had had a negative effect.

Continuing, he highlighted several issues to strengthen global efforts against poverty, including the need to overcome structural challenges and enhance productive capacity; the importance of trade, foreign direct investment (FDI), and official development assistance (ODA); the availability of technology; the risks of climate change impacts and natural hazards; and the role of migration as an enabler for development.

RY TUY (Cambodia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the group’s commitment to eradicating poverty in the region could be seen in the establishment of integrated, cross-sectoral approaches that addressed the development gap, rural development, community empowerment, engagement of stakeholders and partnerships for development.  As poverty eradication and rural development were intricately linked, the Association had adopted and successfully carried out the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (2004-2010 and 2011-2015).  The Association was now carrying out the ASEAN Framework Action Plan on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication (2016-2020) which focused on strengthening cross-sectoral collaboration to develop initiatives which would help develop rural areas and eradicate poverty at the local, national and regional levels.

Advancing community empowerment was essential for the sustainable livelihoods of people and helped eradicate poverty, he continued.  ASEAN member States had carried out multisectoral strategies and programmes targeted at the individual, family and community levels.  Those had included greater access to microfinance/credit, promotion of entrepreneurship skills, women’s empowerment, promotion of local agricultural and fisheries products and farming techniques, and vocational skills development.  Engaging all stakeholders such as Government agencies, civil society and the private sector was also important for community empowerment programmes.  Partnerships, among countries at the regional and international level, particularly with continued support from developed countries, were also important to helping developing countries eliminate poverty.  ASEAN urged developed countries to fulfil their commitment to the internationally agreed ODA targets of 0.7 per cent of gross national income to developing countries, and 0.15 per cent to 0.20 per cent of gross national income to least developed States.

IRENE SUSAN BARREIRO NATIVIDAD, (Philippines), associating herself with the Group of 77, said incidences of poverty had continued to decline over the past decade, but middle-income countries still accounted for 73 per cent of the world’s poor.  The international community should move beyond traditional economic and financial indicators in classifying countries and in determining poverty incidence.  Her State supported a review of the classification of middle-income countries, which was now solely based on income.  Classification should move to a multidimensional approach that would adequately define the development status of a country for more tailored and relevant responses.  In eradicating poverty, the main strategy of the Philippines was to rebalance growth and development opportunities across regions, sectors and socioeconomic groups.  Her country recognized that addressing spatial and socioeconomic inequality required linking lagging regions and rural areas with leading ones through connective infrastructure such as transportation, information and communications technology (ICT).

ASHISH KUMAR SINHA (India) said poverty remained “the greatest challenge for humanity” despite substantial progress.  In a globalized world, the consequences of poverty were no longer limited to some regions but had much wider impacts through unrest, conflict and migration.  India represented a sixth of humanity and had used ICT to ensure financial inclusion for its citizens.  Ambitious efforts were also underway to improve access to proper sanitation and clean drinking water.  The debate around financing for development and the democratic reforms of the Bretton Woods institutions represented the continuing struggle for a fairer global system.  He highlighted the importance of ODA as essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

PHAM THI KIM ANH (Viet Nam), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and the ASEAN, said that eradicating poverty had always been at the heart of her country’s development efforts; it had been reduced by half during the term of the Millennium Goals.  The country’s experience showed that decent employment opportunities with basic social protection for women and men was crucial to inclusive economic growth as it increased consumption and saving, which in turn stimulated investment and generated more resources to meet society’s needs.  For that purpose, structural transformation was needed to foster the growth of the high-value-added and productive sectors.  Social development and means of implementation were critical factors if no one was to be left behind.  National efforts were important, but did not erase the importance of international cooperation in the form of a fair trading system and delivery of donor commitments.

AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said the success his country had achieved in implementing the Millennium Development Goals was a reflection of the Government’s targeted policies in health, education and economic growth.  Maldives was a young society, with 48 per cent of the population below the age of 25.  That unprecedented youth bulge was both an opportunity and challenge for policymakers, he said, highlighting that the Government had launched several initiatives to create jobs and improve capacity and training.  Fishing and tourism had helped the Maldives grow its economy, but those were “extremely volatile” industries, and a diversification of the economy and investments in human development had therefore been necessary.  While GDP had risen and extreme poverty had been reduced, he said, inequality had increased within the capital and the wealth gap widened nationwide.

FADUA ORTEZ (Honduras), associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the world faced a reality of more than 1.2 billion people living in poverty.  The Latin American region had committed to inclusive development, generating opportunities for employment as well as ensuring food security and access to health and education.  She highlighted a series of policies undertaken by the Government to encourage development.  Honduras called on the world to work together to face the challenges and work together to put an end to poverty.

EKATERINA M. NOSKOVA (Russian Federation) said eradicating poverty was an integral part of sustainable development, noting that the 2030 Agenda had it as a central goal.  However, it was important to realize that poverty was multidimensional and that it was no longer sufficient to define poverty as income per capita.  Middle-income countries, which accounted for over 50 per cent of people below the poverty level, best demonstrated the inefficiency of existing criteria.  The Russian Federation had carried out projects with UNDP in Central Asia and was convinced that poverty eradication could be furthered through development of industrial production, which would create new jobs and ensure employment.  She also stressed the importance of creating partnerships with States and the private sector in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda.

PURNOMO AHMAD CHANDRA (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the ASEAN, said that it was important to harness and join-up all financial resources flowing to developing countries and aim them at reducing poverty.  That included all forms of private and public sector flows.  It also included improving access to finance, microfinance and credit, removing barriers to opportunity and enhancing productive capacity.  Indonesia said it was critical to promote local, regional and interregional cooperation and focus on building stronger foundations to withstand shocks and volatilities like economic downturns, health risks or natural hazards.  Diverse and specific development needs must be appropriately considered and addressed in a tailored fashion to promote a coherent approach towards individual countries.  For its part, Indonesia was currently in the third phase of implementing its national development plan.  Some aid programmes had focused on providing Government-financed health coverage while local banks distributed microloans to businesses.

JAVAD MOMENI (Iran) said his country had committed itself to reducing poverty through a broad range of economic, environmental and social policies.  The level of poverty in absolute terms had fallen, while relative poverty levels and non-inclusive growth remained challenges to eradicating poverty.  In the Middle East and North Africa, around 10 per cent of the total population lived in extreme poverty, amounting to around 100 million people, he said, adding that it was “our task to help populations still living at the edge of survival to achieve economic growth and escape from poverty”.  The topic of poverty in the Middle East had not been mentioned in a detailed manner in the Secretary-General’s report, he said, requesting a more thorough analysis of the challenges and opportunities that faced the region.

ISSA KONFOUROU (Mali), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said attaining the Sustainable Development Goals was a priority of the Government.  His country’s strategic framework had five pillars:  strengthening peace and security; reinforcing macroeconomic stability; promoting accelerated growth of sustainable pro-poor policies leading to the creation of jobs; development and access to basic social services; and institutional development and good governance.  The Government was committed to implementing the peace and reconciliation agreement, which in addition to its security aspects was devoted to development.  A fund for the promotion of development in the north of the country would initially have €457 million.  Gender equality was also highlighted, and the Government had fought against female genital mutilation and initiated targeted programmes to ensure equal access to economic resources.

MADINA KARABAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said reducing poverty was a central goal in the 2030 Agenda as well as in creating a fair and equitable world.  In 2014, the World Bank had increased the status of her country from lower- to middle-income, but poverty was still a significant social problem.  Worldwide, the process of reducing poverty was still slow, which was explained by market volatility, climate change, lack of stability and geographic factors.  As Kyrgyzstan was mountainous and landlocked, climactic factors created limitations for reducing poverty.  Her Government was working towards the social protection of populations, targeting assistance to the most vulnerable.  Reducing poverty was a constant area of focus for her Government.  Over the past couple of years, it had increased benefits for low-income families and had begun reforming the health-care system to ensure services for all regardless of social status or gender.  It was also addressing the specific needs of the elderly through higher pensions.

CHIKA CHOW (Singapore), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that although much progress had been made in fighting poverty, efforts to end it must be redoubled if the 2030 Agenda was to be realized.  Describing great progress in Singapore over its 50-year independence, she said that the Government continued to tackle poverty in a determined manner by prioritizing the inclusive provision of quality education, adequate housing and basic healthcare, ways that best suited the resources of such a small island State.  The country was only able to accomplish what it had with the assistance of the international community.  The role of the United Nations was vital.  Today, Singapore gave back by sharing experience and expertise with some 170 developing countries.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala) said middle-income countries faced continued gaps, including deficient education, territorial inequalities, gender gaps, and the effects of climate change.  The countries that exported basic products never received adequate compensation.  That was, in turn, exacerbated by agricultural subsidies given by industrialized countries, which perpetuated poverty in developing countries.  Guatemala had designed its national development plan to be compatible with the Sustainable Development Goals, with an ultimate purpose to reduce poverty.  Noting the importance of gender equality and the role of women, he said that better workspaces needed to be generated for them.  The lack of opportunity in his region was forcing citizens to emigrate to other countries.

NADHIRAH ZANDUIN (Malaysia) said her country had reduced its poverty incidence to 0.6 per cent in 2014 and expected further declines by 2020.  Poverty was therefore no longer a major pressing issue in Malaysia.  Nonetheless, her country would not “rest on its laurels”.  Malaysia had expanded the measurement of poverty beyond income to include education, health and quality of life by the introduction of its version of the Multidimensional Poverty Index.  By 2020, her Government aimed to double the average income of the bottom 40 per cent households in order to elevate them into the middle-class, working in parallel to raise the involvement of women in the workforce. 

CHRISTINE KALAMWINA (Zambia), associating herself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said that given that in least developed countries more than 50 per cent of the population lived on $1.25 a day and some 210 million lived with hunger, global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty must be prioritized.  Her country had supported 222,000 households under the Social Cash Transfer Programme, and was implementing the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme as a social safety net.  The country’s industrialization and job creations strategy had been instrumental in guiding industrialization.  Multi-facility economic zones and industrial parks had been established across the country.  She called on the international community to support developing countries in eradicating poverty and promoting empowerment of the poor.

NIRMAL RAJ KAFLE (Nepal), aligning with the Group of 77 and the least-developed countries, said that poverty reduction had been at the core of his country’s development agenda for decades with much progress achieved, although last year’s devastating earthquake had set back the goal of graduation from least-developed status.  Government priorities for poverty abatement focused on agriculture as the mainstay of the economy and education as the great equalizer.  National efforts, however, must be complemented with international support that acknowledged the specific needs of poor landlocked countries and provided enhanced, predictable and sustained financial and technical assistance.  Efforts to fight poverty must be multidimensional and holistic in nature, but specific in strategy, taking into account the individual challenges of each country, he stressed.

Ms. HERNANDEZ (Mexico) said it was necessary to look further than per capita income in defining poverty, as it was not simply a financial issue.  She expressed hope that the Decade on the Eradication of Poverty – to end in 2017 – would yield progress hand-in-hand with the Sustainable Development Goals.  She noted that middle-income countries had a large part of their populations living in poverty and continued to face major challenges for development.  Overcoming poverty must be accomplished through public policies that focused on job creation, school attendance by girls and minimum housing conditions.

CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil) said the achievement of the 2030 Agenda’s Goal 1 depended directly on the implementation of the other 16 Goals, in an integrated and indivisible manner.  As the second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008-2017) neared its completion, tremendous progress had been made.  The United Nations development system had to adapt itself to meet that challenge.  Referring to the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, he urged the Organization’s agencies, funds and programmes to help shape an enabling international environment that would lead to the full elimination of poverty and sustainable development at the local and global levels.  Economic expansion and market forces alone could not offer long-term solutions to eliminate poverty.  It was necessary to strengthen social protection networks with programmes of cash transfer that were fully integrated in the public education and health systems.  In Brazil, such programmes had created national ownership and empowered participants by improving the poorest and most marginalized peoples’ access to financial services in urban and rural areas.

FIDÈLE BAMA (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the least developed countries, said major efforts needed to be made to achieve the first Sustainable Development Goal, eliminating extreme poverty everywhere in the world by 2030.  More than 1 billion people lived in extreme poverty, and income inequality had increased both within and between countries.  In Burkina Faso, the fight against poverty was at the core of Government actions.  A national development plan had been adopted stressing the reform of institutions and the modernization of public administration, the development of human capital, and firing up the central sectors of the economy.

ALASSANE CONTE (Guinea), associating with the Group of 77 and the least developed countries, voiced support for the proposal for a Third Decade for the Eradication of Poverty.  The fight against poverty today remained at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.  Appropriate financing needed to be mobilized to implement that ambitious Agenda.  Despite progress in recent years, additional efforts needed to be made.  Financing sources agreed upon in Addis Ababa allowed for a broad mobilization of means.  The implementation of the 2030 Agenda required an increase mobilization of internal and external resources, both in the public and private sector.  His Government had recently made the necessary provisions specifically by developing a five-year plan of socioeconomic development for 2016-2020.  The plan took into account all aspects of the harmonious development of the country and focused on the key pillars of combating poverty, improved governance, infrastructure development, and defence and security.

LINDA ANNE SCOTT (Namibia), aligning herself with the Group of 77 as well as the African Group, affirmed that her country was fully committed to fully implementing the 2030 Agenda and to overcoming its considerable development challenges, such as major droughts and floods, unemployment, inequality, inadequate housing and widespread poverty.  Government structures had accordingly been aligned with the three dimensions of sustainable development.  She urged the sharing of best practices and access to predictable funding for implementing the Agenda.  Welcoming programmes that envisioned women and youth as drivers of economic and social development, in particular, she also emphasized the need for a robust, rules-based international trade system as well as international support for capacity building.

CAO ZHIYONG (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that poverty eradication was the shared responsibility of all countries.  The 2030 Agenda had made poverty eradication its primary goal, demonstrating the importance of the issue.  Poverty remained a serious problem, and countries needed to seize the opportunity the 2030 Agenda provided.  It was necessary to implement inclusive economic policies and reduce poverty caused by disease or natural hazards.  China actively participated in and contributed to the global cause of ending poverty, and had reduced its number of people living in rural poverty from 166 million in 2010 to 55.75 million at the end of 2015.  In the coming five years, his country would have all people remaining in poverty in rural areas get out of poverty.  China additionally provided support to other developing nations, particularly the least developed countries.  China highlighted the importance of industrialization in developing States, particularly for those in Africa and the least developed countries, recognizing the specific circumstances of each country.

RY TUY (Cambodia), associating himself with the ASEAN, Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his State had attained middle-income status in 2015 by increasingly integrating within the region.  He stressed the importance of improving quality of life through investment in education, health and economic diversification.  His country planned to increased GDP share of the industrial sector to 30 per cent by 2025 and diversify exports to overcome a reliance on garments, tourism and agriculture, which were vulnerable to external shocks as well as climate change.  The Government had taken several actions to address poverty and rural development.  It had improved capabilities and governance, reduced vulnerability and promoted gender equity.  Furthermore, it had taken steps to implement land reforms, giving property to landless farmers and extending them credit as well as reforming food security.

NANZEGUELA KONE-FOFANA (Côte d’Ivoire) said that combating poverty was a major concern for her Government.  The Sustainable Development Goals were a part of the two main development programmes for the country.  The resumption of economic growth following a long period of stagnation was a result of the political stability and good working of institutions, allowing for a better future in terms of achieving the Goals.  The country’s efforts had led to tangible progress.  GDP growth had reached 8.4 per cent in 2015 and was expected to reach 8.5 per cent for 2016.  That would allow the country to resume its role as an economic engine for the West African region.  Industrialization was an essential tool for achieving development, and Côte d’Ivoire called for more cooperation in that area.  Financing remained the main tool for achieving development goals.

PTANGME PEKETI (Togo), associating himself with the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of 77, said women in his country made up 51 per cent of the population and 53.7 per cent of people active in the economy.  The Government had drawn up action plans — legal, economic and social — targeting vulnerable women in its society.  It had passed a law on the family and ratified international treaties empowering women.  He stressed the importance of microcredit in allowing the poor access to financial services in increasing their incomes.  Togo had developed its first national health plan for 2012-2015, which had made important progress.  Encouraged, the country’s second health plan for 2016-2022 was now being developed.

MAYTHONG THAMMAVONGSA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said achievements in socioeconomic development had helped the country produce an average annual economic growth rate of 7.9 per cent over the past several years.  The Government’s efforts in rural development and poverty eradication had helped reduce the poverty rate to 23.2 per cent in 2012-2013, down from 27.6 per cent in 2008.  That progress was a combination of national efforts and assistance from external partners, particularly development partners, United Nations agencies and international organizations.  The Sustainable Development Goals and their targets had been woven into the country’s eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020.  The eradication of poverty would help his nation move beyond the least developed country status and the Government had mobilized domestic and external resources to help it carry out the current national development plan.

MOUNKAILA YACOUBA (Niger), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that natural hazards such as locust attacks or a dramatic drought could happen at regular intervals.  Social and economic factors were behind such events.  That had to do with poor health, low income levels and low yields and production prices for farmers, and poor wages and profit margins for economic activity in urban areas, often in the informal sector.  Niger highlighted the importance of literacy and access to education, particularly for girls.  The Government was also taking steps to ensure greater access to safe drinking water, and had made strides in fighting corruption and related crimes.

MBULUNGENI SYDNEY MUENDA (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that poverty eradication remained the greatest challenge facing the world and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, particularly for developing countries.  He reaffirmed the importance of adequate means for financing development and reiterated that the fulfilment of all ODA commitments remained crucial.  In that regard, he urged development partners to fulfil their commitments.  It was also important to improve human resources development in education and skills expansion.  His Government was determined to continue to build an economy that created jobs including self-employment opportunities.  South Africa valued the need to invest in human capital by providing health care, education and training needed in order to be economically active.  He noted his Government’s safety nets for the most vulnerable and said it would continue to look into ways to improve the provision of basic services and other non-financial transfers in order to improve the standards of living.  Social inclusion was also critical in increasing economic opportunities for the poor.

RUBÉN IGNACIO ZAMORA RIVAS (El Salvador), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the international community must reduce social, political and economic inequalities between and among countries.  That was particularly relevant for middle-income countries, where inequalities were generated internally as well as by the international system.  He called on the global community to deal with the specific needs of middle-income countries, which meant combating poverty in all its forms.  It was also necessary to have adequate ODA as well as assistance in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  It was important to create employment, eliminate illiteracy and combat disease.  The United Nations must define clearly what its priorities would be so that nations could make the Agenda a reality.

CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that despite progress overall, inequalities within and between countries remained of great concern.  It was necessary to mobilize financial and non-financial resources to fight multidimensional poverty and reduce disparities.  Since 2012, Colombia had adopted an index of multidimensional poverty to understand the problems facing the poor and help establish public policies.  Economic growth was fundamental to poverty eradication, and it was necessary to strengthen cooperation to create capacities in developing countries.  Colombia also highlighted the necessity of an environment where people, independent of their material circumstances, had the same opportunities.

LEULSEGEDE TADESSE ABEBE (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that poverty remained one of the world’s primary universal challenges.  Income inequality and unemployment were rising and there were unprecedented levels of human suffering due to disasters, a weak global economy and volatile commodity prices.  To fully realize the Sustainable Development Goals and eradicate poverty while leaving no one behind, it was critical to pay attention to the particular situations in Africa and the least developed countries.  In Ethiopia, the implementation of policies and strategies aimed at fighting poverty in all its dimensions had led to several development gains, including halving the country’s level of absolute poverty.  Nevertheless, millions continued to live in poverty and unemployment remained high, particularly among young people.  The Government had been working to transform the country into a leading African hub of light manufacturing by expanding labour-intensive industries such as agro-processing, leather and textile use.  Ethiopia had also become one of the pilot countries for UNIDO’s sustainable development programme.

PEMA TOBGAY (Bhutan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the challenge of poverty remained most daunting in the least developed States.  At the national level, the eradication of poverty in all its dimensions continued to remain the overarching priority within Bhutan’s development framework based on gross national happiness.  Bhutan had made significant progress, cutting its national poverty rate from 23.2 per cent at the start of the decade to 12 per cent by 2014.  Poverty eradication required inclusive economic growth, development of infrastructure to enhance connectivity and a business-enabling environment.  Tourism was one such sector, which had greatly contributed to the country’s socioeconomic development under a “high value and low volume” principle.  Tourism was the second-highest revenue generator for Bhutan after hydropower.  Sustainable industrial development was also key to economic diversification and structural economic transformation.

SAMUEL SOARES (Timor-Leste), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that leaving no one behind was difficult and complex but not impossible.  Timor-Leste’s resilience in its struggle for independence had been transformed into a striving force for development.  Least developed countries and small island developing States faced numerous challenges requiring special attention and access to adequate and predictable resources.  He acknowledged the critical role of ODA and FDI and called on stakeholders to comply with the forward-looking steps of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  As a post-conflict country, Timor-Leste had adopted a motto of “no peace without development and no development without peace.”  The country had made significant progress towards social cohesiveness and would hold presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2017.

SONGELAEL W. SHILLA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said that while his country had experienced rapid economic development in recent years, it had still faced poverty challenges.  It was now pursuing a multisectoral policy approach on poverty eradication in the sectors of agriculture, trade and labour.  However, plans and good intentions alone could not result in growth and reduction of poverty unless they were complemented by initiatives to address other interlinked challenges.  Finding solutions to challenges like mitigation and adaptation to climate change, improvement of agricultural technology and cognizance of opportunities associated with those developments continued to have a direct impact on growth and poverty reduction.  Achievements could have been much higher had the Tanzanian economy not been affected by daunting local and global challenges during the implementation of targets period.  There had also been severe drought, which adversely affected crop production, livestock and power generation to proportions never experienced in recent decades.  Hence, mobilization of resources and fulfilment of ODA commitments remained crucial.

TARIK IZARAREN (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that, while considerable progress had been made in reducing extreme poverty, the 2030 Agenda would be a catalyst to help developing countries continue to pursue that goal.  For its part, Morocco prioritized education, health care and housing and had put in place special programmes for poor people, in particular in rural areas, by supporting agriculture and rural infrastructure development.  The country took a participatory and inclusive approach to fighting poverty, he said, underscoring the importance of implementing regionalization processes to those ends.

ADEOYE BANKOLE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Africa Group, stressed that commitment and concerted efforts would be needed to achieve the historic ambition of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Citing global progress made towards the eradication of poverty, he said the task of lifting the bottom billion people out of poverty should now be the international community’s primary focus.  Particular attention should be paid to sub-Saharan Africa, which was home to the bulk of people still living in extreme poverty.  Noting that the adoption of measurable indicators to determine poverty levels and associated deprivations would be an important part of the 2030 Agenda, he said multidimensional and cross-cutting elements such as public health, nutrition, education and income level should also receive special attention.  Spotlighting the need for inclusive and sustainable investment in industrialization as well as social inclusion, he said his Government also worked to promote the empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration, full employment and decent work for all.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that poverty alleviation needed to be multidimensional.  A focus on lack of income was not enough.  Hundreds of millions did not have access to hygiene, or lived in slums.  It was as a sad reality that showed that hegemonic capitalism had failed as a system.  Colonialism, the pillaging of natural resources, wars and foreign interference had condemned millions to live in absolute poverty without any hope of progress, and the millions of refugees and those dying in the Mediterranean were a representation of that.  The world needed a fair trade system in which everyone’s needs were met and everyone provided in line with their capacities to provide.  Private sector hands controlled the system, as opposed to the State, which should be responsible for development.  Following the recovery of its sovereign control of its natural resources, Venezuela had worked to eliminate inequality in terms of the economy, health, housing, education, social services, and citizens’ rights.  Venezuela had been successful:  from 1998-2015, poverty, extreme poverty, and unemployment all decreased, and illiteracy was vanquished.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer for the Holy See, said much of the success made in reducing global poverty had come from reframing poverty as an issue of integral human development rather than one linked primarily to global growth.  The world had also learned the importance of addressing the issue of inequality and its relation to poverty, as well as the importance of the input and participation of the poor themselves.  “Structures and practices that exclude and leave behind members of the human family will always be barriers to full human development”, he said, pointing in particular to the exclusion of women from equal and active participation in the development of their communities.  Also critical was the recognition that social protection contributed to human development and economic progress, he said, stressing that social protection — which had been proven to promote economic prosperity — should extend beyond only rich countries.

RAÚL DE VIDAL Y SEPÚLVEDA, of the Sovereign Order of Malta, said that the work done by the Order had always been to help the most vulnerable.  Despite major advances in technological innovation, today’s world did not offer equal opportunity, and in fact inequality between and within States was among the greatest problems.  He hoped that trend would be reversed.  Providing basic services was a prerequisite, and the Sustainable Development Goals needed to be founded on enhancing social inclusion and dignity.  “We are only as strong as our weakest members,” he said.  The Order had assisted the displaced and homeless in Colombia and was helping the people of Haiti recover from Hurricane Matthew as well as mitigating the risk of earthquakes and other natural hazards.  The Order highlighted the importance of education as a means for poverty eradication, and called upon the international community to work together to provide education to all.  It had helped the poor and marginalized for 900 years and would continue to do so.

VINICIUS CARVALHO PINHEIRO, Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Office to the United Nations, said with the objective of “full employment and decent work for all” now incorporated into the 2030 Agenda, Member States could advance poverty eradication.  That could be done by providing social protection systems that included income floors; improving the quality of jobs by promoting formalization of work; and promoting decent work throughout global supply chains and support efforts to ensure that Governments, workers’ organizations and employers’ groups had the tools necessary to help shape a sustainable and inclusive future.  He described ILO initiatives in all those areas.  By investing in decent work, countries could promote more efficient and inclusive growth, which could lead to more equitable and sustainable development.

For information media. Not an official record.