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

Briefing by the G20 Saudi Presidency to the General Assembly

Your Excellency Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Almubarak, Minister of State and G20 Sherpa of
Saudi Arabia,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to join the President of the General Assembly in welcoming Dr. Fahad bin Abdullah Almubarak to the United Nations.

As the UN G20 Sherpa, I have had the honour to work closely with Dr. Fahad Almubarak and his team in supporting the development of the priorities of the G20.

I am glad to see that the three priorities under the G20 presidency of Saudi Arabia – empowering people, safeguarding the planet and shaping new frontiers – are closely aligned with the vision of the 2030 Agenda, to achieve a better future for all.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the start of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

At this point, no country is on track to achieve all the SDGs. Progress of the past two decades in alleviating extreme poverty and improving well-being, is in danger of reversal. The worsening social inequalities, and potentially irreversible declines in the natural environment, are a major cause for concern.

The slowdown of the world economy, policy uncertainties and geopolitical complexities are creating new headwinds. Indeed, global collective action is more imperative than ever.

In his engagements with G20 leaders, Secretary-General Guterres has repeatedly called for the G20’s attention to global development challenges. And, to the needs of the most vulnerable countries and populations.

G20’s push towards early and concrete outcomes – in support of sustainable development globally – will demonstrate the Group’s leadership in addressing global challenges.

In this regard, I commend Saudi Arabia for its resolve to develop a multi-year action plan on financing for development. And, to prepare an action-oriented Riyadh update on the G20 Action plan for the 2030 Agenda.
Dear colleagues,

Under the Saudi Arabia G20 Presidency, the United Nations will continue to advocate for aligning the work of the G20 with the 2030 Agenda. I will highlight three areas where we will further our engagements with the G20.

First, Climate change

Last month in Madrid, Secretary-General Guterres underlined loud and clear that we have reached a point of no return for both people and planet. We have to act now, and collectively, to stem the rising tide of the climate crisis. Science tells us it is not too late. But it will require fundamental transformations in all aspects of society.

Coherent and ambitious government policies can speed up the transition. Transitional policies will need to consider the loss of jobs in the energy sector and the acceptance-factor of newer technologies.

G20 members have a special responsibility for spearheading action and demonstrating concrete leadership.

Second, financing for sustainable development

Financing is a binding and determining factor for achieving the SDGs.

Building “SDG economies” requires the right mix of resources available – in the right places at the right time – to solve specific real-world problems.

At the front and centre of this effort are policies and actions to:

  • achieve debt sustainability,
  • increase domestic resource mobilization,
  • combat illicit financial flows, and
  • unlock SDG investment.

Addressing the structural obstacles in these areas should be at the core of the G20 multi-year action plan on financing for development.
I encourage the G20 to share its progress in this regard with the UN membership at the UN Forum on Financing for Development, this coming April.

Third, enhancing opportunities for all, leaving no one behind

In the G20 context, we will continue to promote structural and macroeconomic policies that enhance access to opportunities for all, with focus on women and youth.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action on Women. It also marks the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action on Social Development. The UN will advocate for inclusive, sustainable growth that empowers communities, puts people at the centre of development, and provides employment opportunities and decent work conditions for women.

One in five youth around the world are now not in employment, education or training. The UN will encourage G20 countries to increase their efforts in a targeted and wide-scale manner to respond to the needs and priorities of youth, in particular those in vulnerable situations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me end by acknowledging once again the strong and proactive engagement of Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency with the UN.

I must also acknowledge the support of the members of the UN G20 Working Group. It brings together over 20 UN entities to support our contribution to the work of the G20.

I am confident that UN-G20 engagement will yield positive and concrete outcomes on the path to the Riyadh Summit.

Dr. Almubarak,

I look forward to working closely with you in the months ahead towards a successful G20 Summit in November.

Thank you!

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