– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

15 January 2020

H.E. Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, First Vice-President and Prime Minister of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana,

H.E. Mr. Riad Al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine, and former Chairman of the G77,

Secretary-General,

Mr. Mourad Ahmia, Executive Secretary of the G77,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

I congratulate the Co-operative Republic of Guyana for its election as Chair of the Group of 77. I look forward to continue engaging with the newly-elected Chair and the members of the Group throughout the resumed session.

I commend Palestine for its excellent stewardship of the group. Its leadership has proved invaluable navigating through difficult negotiations.  I wish to extend my personal gratitude to Ambassador Riad Mansour and his team for his wisdom and support.

The Group of 77 is the largest and most diverse group here at the United Nations. It is an indispensable partner to the General Assembly. It has succeeded in maintaining its unity and is continually making substantive contributions to multilateralism.

The Group’s approach to facilitating multilateral negotiations ensures continued internal coordination so that it speaks with once voice during negotiations. This coordination helps to move processes forward.

I commend the Group’s engagement to advance the interests of poor and marginalised people of the world through their engagement across all pillars of our work.      

Excellencies,

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and our pledge to leave no one behind, raises the bar for the United Nations’ support to countries in their development efforts.

To achieve our goals, there is a need to engage in global partnerships, innovative and smart solutions involving governments, donors, international organisations and agencies, private sector and philanthropic organisations to foster greater commitments and identify appropriate resources to end poverty in all its forms.

In 2019, the G77 and China made tremendous contributions to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, under the able leadership of Palestine.

For the first time the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly during High Level Week. This offered a unique opportunity to assess the level of progress achieved and mobilize political support at the highest level.  The Summit adopted the political declaration which has summoned us all to gear up for the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the sustainable development goals.

There have already been expressions of interest from members to present their Voluntary National Reviews for the 2020 HLPF under the ECOSOC and I commend members of the Group who presented during the first cycle of follow-up and review (2016/2019).

Furthermore, I am encouraged by the leadership of Palestine during a busy period for the Sustainable Development Agenda and notable events such as the South-South Cooperation Conference in Buenos Aires, the Climate Action Summit, the Mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway, the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, and the High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

Excellencies,

2020 marks the beginning of the Decade of Action and Delivery for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This year, we must focus on the remaining challenges and disparities faced by many, and the impending dangers posed by the climate crisis.

We begin the decade by focusing this year on nature. SDG13: Climate Action, SDG 14: Life below Water and SDG 15: Life on Land, will be at the core of our deliberations.

The General Assembly is offering many opportunities to address points related to Oceans, Climate, Biodiversity and Desertification and land degradation.

These moments will mobilize all stakeholders: from politicians to scientists, private sector, philanthropists, civil society and youth, in favour of nature-based solutions and actions.

COP 25 in Madrid was a decisive moment to demonstrate our clear and unequivocal commitment to increase ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance.

It was however disheartening that negotiations failed to reach consensus on many key areas of the “rulebook” of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Group of 77 is the largest and most diverse group here at the United Nations. It is an indispensable partner to the General Assembly. It has succeeded in maintaining its unity and is continually making substantive contributions to multilateralism.

Tijjani Muhammad Bande

President of the UN General Assembly

Excellencies,

Currently, we require $2.5 trillion per year to bridge the financing gap to achieve the SDGs in developing countries alone.

We must change our approach to financing for development and build upon the discussions of the recent high level dialogue on Financing for Development to unlock both private and public resources.  

If we fail to fund our efforts, we will fall short of our goals. We must take urgent action now, to prevent backsliding, and to advance much needed gains to reach the targets of Agenda 2030.

Moreover, we must take actions and pathways to transformative change to achieve the SDGs within the agreed timeframe. The resumed session of the General Assembly offers multiple opportunities to scale up commitments and actions to achieve this necessary progress.

Guyana’s leadership will be critical to preserving and advancing the interest of the G77 and China and progressing all elements of the development agenda.

In ten days’ time, on the occasion of the International Day of Education we will focus on SDG 4 in order to bring specific focus to this key priority of the 74th session of the General Assembly.

 

Excellencies,

G77 is a crucial platform of south-south cooperation. I encourage the Group to continue with this ingenuity to support one another along the path to 2030.

The South Summit taking place in Uganda in April will offer an important platform for members of the Group to further their solidarity and unity, but also to gear up their efforts to meet the Goals.

This Group is a key player in many negotiation processes related to the development agenda, including the Alignment of the agendas of the General Assembly, the ECOSOC, and their subsidiary bodies to the 2030 Agenda as well as the review of the High-Level Political Forum and ECOSOC.

In this context I will call on it to offer its valuable support to the facilitators of all these and other processes.

 

Excellencies,

It is quite fitting that the Decade of Action and Delivery begins as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. As we embark upon this new era for our Organisation, we need to focus attention to addressing our most important and urgent challenges.

I have appointed co-facilitators to engage with Member States on the commemorative Political Declaration to be adopted by Heads of State and Government, under the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism.”

 Furthermore, in accordance with the priority of inclusion, and in collaboration with the President of ECOSOC, we will convene a Youth Plenary on the margin of the Youth Dialogue.

We cannot underestimate the role of young people, and in particular young women and girls, when it comes to tackling contemporary challenges.

We must also heed the voices of those at risk of being left behind including older persons, persons with disabilities, and indigenous peoples. We must remember, throughout our work that we all have something to teach and much to learn from others. Furthermore, the protection and promotion of human rights of all are essential to secure peace, security and development for all.

Excellencies,

Three-quarters of a century into this Organisation’s existence, we must reaffirm our commitment to it as the world’s preeminent multilateral body. We must focus on people and dedicate our efforts to ensuring a stronger United Nations, this is the only way to counter the most pressing issues of our time.

The 75th anniversary presents us with an opportunity to galvanise multilateral action and commitment to ensure that we eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, tackle climate change, address conflicts and uphold human rights among others.

We must carry forward the vision of the founders of our Organisation, and increase our efficacy, inclusivity and transparency so that we are fit for purpose now and into the future. I look to you, Excellencies for your full support in this endeavour.

Please, count me as your partner throughout the resumed session. My office stands ready to serve all Member States, including the members of the Group of 77, to deliver on our mandates and processes, in order to create a better world for all.

I thank you.