Mr. Chairman Amb. Manalo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to join the Chair to welcome you all to the 55th session of the Commission on Population and Development.
This year’s special theme, “Population and sustainable development, in particular sustained and inclusive economic growth”, provides an opportunity to explore key linkages between population trends and sustainable development.
The Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development emphasized the importance of achieving both sustained economic growth and sustainable development. The rise of income inequality in countries around the world has highlighted the need for inclusive economic growth that supports shared prosperity across the population.
Over the past three decades, there has been significant growth in both the world’s population and the global economy. There were approximately 5.3 billion people on the planet in 1990, and we are now fast approaching the 8 billion mark. During the same period, global GDP increased by a factor of about 2.5, and the world’s per capita GDP grew by two-thirds.
However, contrary to the aspirations of the international community, aggregate economic growth has been neither sustained over time nor inclusive across or within countries, regions or the global population.
The lack of inclusivity has been well documented, including in World Social Reports authorized by DESA with inputs of UN system partners, which show clear evidence of the growth of inequality in countries containing more than 70 per cent of the world’s population.
From 1990 on, the growth of global economic output was positive but quite variable, and it dipped into negative territory during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.
Per capita income rose quickly during the following decade but then fell sharply again in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global economy started to recover in 2021 but is being hit hard once again by the disruptions and instability caused by the armed conflict in Ukraine.
The GDP for Europe and Central Asia is now forecast to shrink by 4.1 percent this year, a reduction that is twice as large as the pandemic-induced contraction of 2020.
The war in Ukraine is contributing to increased food insecurity not only in Eastern Europe and neighbouring regions, but also in Africa and in developing countries throughout the world. As the Secretary-General noted earlier this month: “The war is supercharging a three-dimensional crisis — food, energy and finance — that is pummelling some of the world’s most vulnerable people, countries and economies.”
To confront this multi-pronged crisis, the Secretary-General established a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance in the UN Secretariat to coordinate the global response to the worldwide impacts of the crisis in Ukraine. In its first brief, released on 13th April, the Group highlighted the need for collective action, calling on all countries to keep engaging in multilateral fora to support the phased and coordinated approach needed.
Recommendations for action emphasised the need to help the most vulnerable populations around the world, including ensuring sufficient supplies of nutritious food for all people and access to humanitarian food assistance. Further proposals included making strategic petroleum reserves available in the short-term while doubling down on the transition to renewable energy in the medium term. The proposals also include making the necessary shifts across existing international financing mechanisms to provide developing countries with much needed debt relief and emergency financing to ensure that they can meet the needs of their populations. On financing, the annual ECOSOC FfD Forum opened this morning will address some of the emerging issues.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In these trying times, the need for multilateralism and international cooperation is more critical than ever to uphold the vision and achieve the objectives of the Cairo Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
I am confident that, working together, we will be able to resolve and recover from the latest crises and that we will continue our collective pursuit for peace and development.
I wish you very fruitful deliberations throughout this week.