– As delivered –

– Translated from Spanish –

Statement by H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

15 October 2018

Address to Second Committee

Address to Second Committee

His Excellency, Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klée Arenales, Permanent Representative of Guatemala and Chairman of the Second Committee,

Excellencies, delegates,

It is an honor for me to address the Second Committee.

I take this opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Skinner-Klée and all the members on your election.

I count on your leadership and dedication to advance the important issues that are dealt with in this Committee.

Dear delegates,

More than three years have passed since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the most ambitious platform of action agreed by Member States to eradicate poverty, in all its forms and dimensions, and to reduce inequality.

The new agreements that this Committee reaches should therefore be consistent with this great milestone of multilateralism, and should be aimed at accelerating the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

783 million people around the world live in extreme poverty, that is, with less than one dollar and ninety cents a day. This alarming figure should awaken our consciences and lead us to redouble our efforts to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

By 2020 we must achieve 21 specific goals. And more than half of them depend on our collective action to mitigate climate change, preserve ecosystems and make the consumption and use of natural resources more sustainable.

The work of the Second Committee will be decisive in reaching this first implementation stage.

I would like to emphasize that the next High-Level Political Forum, the first one to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly, will allow us to identify how much progress has been made since the Sustainable Development Summit, and what measures are still needed to meet the objectives set.


The success of our agendas, in particular the 2030 Agenda, depends on the strengthening of Financing for Development.

I urge you to constructively discuss how we can achieve greater mobilization of financial and non-financial resources, that are adequate, predictable and stable, thus complying with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

Moreover, I am confident that your deliberations will reflect strong political commitment towards strengthening the structure of the international financial system, and that they will address the systemic imbalances that undermine the functioning of the world economy. Thus, seeking to create an enabling environment for sustainable development, in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity.


During my presidency I will focus on seven priorities; Several of them are directly related to this Committee, such as the promotion of decent work, and environmental action, which is why I look forward to the results of your deliberations.

Decent work is key to eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities.

The structural gaps in labor matters, which are part of the reality of every country, are one of the obstacles to achieve, in a comprehensive manner, the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

I propose that you incorporate into your discussions an innovative approach to the future of work, one which provides opportunities for young people, and for people with disabilities, to access decent work.

On the occasion of the centenary of the International Labor Organization, during April next year, I will convene a High-Level Meeting on Decent Work, and I hope to count with your support.

Likewise, I encourage you to include in your work, a gender perspective as a strategic approach.

I am confident that this Committee will continue to pay attention to the specific challenges faced by countries in special situations, such as the Least Developed Countries, the Small Island Developing States, the Landlocked Developing Countries, as well as the Middle-Income Countries.

Dear delegates,

The 73rd session will be extremely prolific in terms of processes and events, whose mandates arise from this Committee, and which will address different issues such as Financing for Development; the fight against illicit financial flows; revisions of programmes for SIDS and LLDCs; deficiencies and difficulties faced by the Middle-Income Countries; commodity markets; as well as the contribution of culture to sustainable development.

In addition, we will face the challenge of carrying out the preparatory process of the High-Level Conference on South-South Cooperation, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in March 2019, and which will be key to promoting and strengthening this modality of cooperation.

I will also convene a High-Level Meeting on World Climate protection for present and future generations, in the context of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda, and which will be focused on promoting means of implementation, such as low carbon technologies, capacity development and climate financing. This event is aligned with one of my priorities, action in favor of the environment.

I hope to count with your valuable collaboration for the successful completion of each of these events.

I invite you to engage your deliberations and negotiations in a framework of respect, openness and empathy; seeing the other as an ally, and as a companion on the same path. A path that will lead us to achieve the sustainability of development in all countries and regions, sharing prosperity and ensuring a decent life for each person.

María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

President of the UN General Assembly

Distinguished delegates,

I invite you to engage your deliberations and negotiations in a framework of respect, openness and empathy; seeing the other as an ally, and as a companion on the same path. A path that will lead us to achieve the sustainability of development in all countries and regions, sharing prosperity and ensuring a decent life for each person.

I call on you to work for consensus, to build it; to look for alternatives, and innovative and creative solutions.

I know that this task is not easy, but it is very important to strengthen our multilateral action and to send a clear and forceful message to our people: we are together, developed and developing countries, in the search for a better world. A world in which we all have a place, and in which extreme poverty is nothing more than a hindrance of the past.

If we achieve this, be assured, dear delegates, that we will have made a significant contribution to realizing the goal of making the United Nations more relevant to all people.

Thank you.