Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Remarks
Introduction of reports under the sustainable development agenda item (19)
Second Committee of the General Assembly

Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Committee is addressing item 19 on sustainable development today. It is my honour and pleasure to introduce seven reports by the Secretary-General that fall under the purview of DESA, for this important agenda item.

All these reports are closely related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.

They provide snapshots of progress made and challenges ahead, as well as policy recommendations for consideration by Member States.

Mr. Chairman,

I am pleased to report that two years after the adoption of the historic 2030 Agenda, the momentum for implementation remains strong.

In many countries, we have been witnessing continued leadership by the Head of State or Head of Government for implementation of the SDGs.

In line with the interlinkages of the 2030 Agenda, many Governments are according priority attention to policy integration and coherence.

More and more countries are integrating SDGs into national development plans and strategies, with several countries introducing SDGs into national legislation.

Stakeholder participation is on the rise. Business, civil society and the scientific community remain engaged on the frontline of implementation.
Significantly, we are also beginning to see a shift in paradigm, in mentality and in action, with closer attention to leaving no one behind and more efforts to seek collaborative solutions.

Within the United Nations, the Secretary-General recently shared his broad and holistic vision on sustainable development, placing the focus on helping countries build resilient societies, averting crises where applicable, sustaining peace, and strengthening the linkages between peace and security, humanitarian relief and implementation of the SDGs.

Distinguished delegates,

While encouraging progress is under way in many areas, the pace of progress is still insufficient to fully meet the Sustainable Development Goals and targets by 2030.

Further, progress has not always been equitable.

Advancements have been uneven across regions, between the genders, and among people of different ages, wealth and locales, including urban and rural dwellers.

The key message is that we must keep the momentum strong, to stay on track, and faster and more inclusive progress is needed to accomplish the bold vision articulated in the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. Chairman,

This challenge is tackled more comprehensively in the Secretary-General’s report on the mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development through the United Nations system which is contained in Doc. A/72/75-E/2017/56.

The report highlights that organizations within the UN system recognize the importance of the integrated and holistic nature of the SDGs and are shaping their priorities, strategic plans and programmes accordingly.

The report provides an update on work that organizations within the UN system are undertaking to integrate the 2030 Agenda into their programmes, including:

• through the strategic planning process,
• the creation of updated guidelines and toolkits for use by UN country teams,
• support to Member States’ voluntary reporting on the progress in implementing the SDGs, and
• regional and global forums and analytical reports, among others.

The report also addresses the ways that the UN system is working to make its own facilities and management operations more sustainable.

Mr. Chairman,

The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of Agenda 21, which is contained in Doc. A/72/228, provides additional analysis of the unfinished business of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

In that context, the report addresses the work of the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the implementation of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, including through the multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation; the strengthening of the science-policy interface; the preparations for the Global Sustainable Development Report to be published in 2019; and the regional dimension of sustainable development.

A key feature of the 2030 Agenda is its emphasis on countries in special situation, including small island developing States. In this regard, the Secretary-General’s report on the SAMOA Pathway which is contained in Doc. A/72/214 presents an in-depth analysis of the priorities of the small island developing States, as identified in the Samoa Pathway, and highlighted in General Assembly resolutions.

The report includes an account of activities by Member States, UN funds and programmes, specialized agencies and regional commissions, as well as national, regional and sub-regional organizations.

Mr. Chairman,

This Committee has been addressing the state of agricultural technologies and their contribution to promoting sustainable agriculture, as called for in the 2030 Agenda.

The Secretary-General’s report on agricultural technologies for sustainable development which is contained in Doc. A/72/216 reviews key challenges, including the increasing vulnerability of food systems to climate change, the need to adapt to changing farm demographics, while increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing the resource base.

The report analyses recent trends in several major areas, including in:

i. rapid evolution in science and technology innovations;
ii. biological innovations;
iii. holistic agricultural development;
iv. urban food production;
v. water-saving and irrigation technologies;
vi. post-harvest and food systems; and
vii. institutional support for innovations in information and communications technology.
The report outlines policy solutions that go beyond agricultural production to encompass climate change, food losses and waste, and rural-urban linkages. Impactful, localized research and development, enabling frameworks at the national, subnational and global levels, and a redirection of investments are all recommended as crucial for achieving progress in sustainable agriculture and achieving the SDGs.

Mr. Chairman,

The Secretary-General’s report on Harmony with Nature which is contained in Doc. A/72/175 draws on contributions to the seventh interactive dialogue on Harmony with Nature, held on 21 April 2017, and addresses the following issues:

• Earth jurisprudence and the 2030 Agenda,
• trends in the implementation of Earth-centred law and a range of initiatives and
• achievements in law, policy, education and public engagement relating to Earth jurisprudence during the period 2016-2017.

The report also provides key recommendations on addressing the need to restore our relationship with Nature.

Distinguished Delegates,

For many years, this Committee has addressed the issue of energy and has made far-reaching contributions to advance the global sustainable energy agenda.

There are two reports by the Secretary-General’s on energy before the Committee.

The report on SDG7 which is contained in Doc. A/72/160 provides an overview of the progress toward ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and highlights activities undertaken by a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate implementation of SDG7, including by Member States and by the UN system and other international organizations.

The report also presents possible ways to strengthen intergovernmental and inter-agency coordination, and institutional support on energy issues in the context of the 2030 Agenda and in support of the first global review of SDG 7 leading up to the HLPF in 2018.

The second report, on the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) which is contained in Doc. A/72/156, presents activities by stakeholders to advance progress towards the objectives of sustainable energy for all, while contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Chairman,

Finally, I am also honoured to present the Report on the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Marrakech of Morocco in 2016, submitted by the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This report was prepared by the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It identifies the main outcomes of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties, the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol and the 1st session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, which took place in Marrakech, Morocco from 7 to 18 November 2016.

During the Conference, Governments made progress in the work programme of the Paris Agreement. Among other decisions, Governments pledged more than $81 million to the Adaptation Fund, decided on operationalizing the Paris Committee on Capacity Building, agreed an extended gender work programme that includes civil society, businesses and others, and initiated work toward operationalizing the local communities and indigenous people’s platform established at COP 21.

Mr. Chairman,

This concludes my presentation of seven reports by the Secretary-General’s that fall under the purview of DESA.

We stand ready to support you in your work and endeavour to achieve the sustainable development goals for all.

Together, we have embarked on a historic mission – to achieve a world free of poverty, hunger and disease for everyone.

This vision inspires us, giving us hope, direction, and energy.

Let us work together to turn that vision into reality on the ground.

Thank you.

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