Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Addis Ababa Action Plan and the Paris Agreement were the “moral imperatives of our time”, said General Assembly President Peter Thomson (Fiji) as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up the topic of sustainable development.
The agreements had provided humanity with a universal master plan that would eliminate extreme poverty, empower women and girls, build an inclusive society and combat climate change, he said. However, serious challenges must be overcome for successful implementation. That included addressing slow and uncertain economic growth, volatility in commodity prices, extreme poverty, underemployment and unemployment, human rights violations and denial of the rights of women and girls.
The representative of Bhutan stressed that sustainable development was as much about economic development and lifting people up from poverty as it was about environmental protection. Other countries stressed the importance of development assistance in overcoming a range of challenges, including the El Niño phenomenon, desertification, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. Many delegates noted that natural hazards were now being exacerbated by climate change.
The representative of Thailand, speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that the international community and United Nations system should continue to consider the vulnerabilities of small island developing States, supporting their efforts to develop through genuine and durable partnership.
The representative of Myanmar, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), expressed concern over increasing health challenges that transcended national borders, welcoming the General Assembly’s recent adoption of the Political Declaration to combat antimicrobial resistance. The Association was further concerned about frequent and more intensive outbreaks of natural hazards and the impacts triggered by global warming and climate change.
The representative of India said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was about integrating all three pillars — economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection — as well as balance among them. It was first and foremost about eradication of poverty and hunger. However, effective implementation of nationally owned and country-led sustainable development required the support of global partnerships and contribution of all relevant stakeholders.
Also speaking were the representatives of Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and in his national capacity), Barbados (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), the Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Bangladesh (on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries), Australia (also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Nicaragua (on behalf of the Central American Integration System), Nauru (on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States), Philippines, Israel, Guatemala, Syrian Arab Republic, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Tajikistan, Qatar, Venezuela, Norway, Peru, Turkmenistan, Iran, Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Kyrgyzstan, Singapore, Mexico, Mongolia, Monaco, Morocco, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Nepal, Iraq, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, Libya, New Zealand and Armenia. A representative of the European Union also spoke.
Introducing reports were Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction; Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity; Sophie de Caen, Deputy Regional Director, United Nations Development Programme Regional Bureau of Arab States; Jamil Ahmad, Deputy Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Melchiade Bukuru, Chief of the New York Liaison Office, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; and Yu Ping Chan, Special Policy Adviser, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOF).
Introduction of Reports
THOMAS GASS, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced eleven reports of the Secretary-General to the Second Committee (Economic and Financial). Among them were reports related to the Implementation of Agenda 21; the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21; the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (A/71/212, A/71/260 and A/71/320); and the Follow-up to and implementation of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (A/71/265, A/71/267 and A/71/267/Add.1, A/71/324 and A/71/324/Corr.1 and A/71/324/Add.1).
Speaking on climate change, he said that the Paris Agreement would enter into force on 4 November, and its rapid entry into force was nothing short of remarkable, a powerful manifestation of the determination of Governments to achieve climate-resilient development. The unity of purpose and the integrated vision for the future reflected in the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would now need to set in motion economic, societal and environmental transformation. The United Nations system had an important role to play and needed to refocus and reorient its partnership with Governments, which could not achieve all the ambitious aims of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals alone.
ROBERT GLASSER, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, introduced the Report on the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. The report served as a stark reminder of the heavy toll that disasters had on economic development. Those costs had increased rapidly because the world had failed to take disaster risk into account in investments. There was a disproportionately large impact on less developed countries, and Hurricane Matthew was a recent example of that, with hundreds of lives lost in Haiti. Reducing disaster losses was critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Member States and other actors had started revising their plans and strategies to align them with the Sendai Framework, and the report outlined eight recommendations for States.
BRAULIO FERREIRA DE SOUZA DIAS, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, introduced the report of the Secretary-General to the seventy-first session of the General Assembly on the work of the Convention. He noted that the first meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation had been held in Montreal in May. The Body had been created to replace the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review Implementation of the Convention and had four major functions: review progress in implementation; identify strategic actions to enhance implementation; strengthen support for implementation; and improve the efficiency of structures and processes in the operations of the Convention and its Protocols. The meetings prepared a range of recommendations which would be forward to the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties for consideration. The Nagoya Protocol had received 78 instruments of ratification, accession, or approval of acceptance as of 16 June 2016, he said. He also highlighted the importance the Convention attached to effective follow up to the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development.
SOPHIE DE CAEN, Deputy Regional Director, United Nations Development Programme Regional Bureau of Arab States, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on the oil slick on Lebanese shores, as contained in document A/71/217, established to assess the 15 July 2006 Israeli strike in Lebanon which caused an oil slick which covered two-thirds of the Lebanese coastline and extended beyond. The report concluded that the new information did not warrant a change in the initial assessment on the damage to the physical environment. The report concluded that Israel had not provided compensation for the incident. The European Union, in its grant to the Government of Lebanon, awarded a contract for the treatment and disposal of the remaining solid wastes from the oil spill. The Secretary-General commended the Government of Lebanon for its efforts to restore its coastline. However, the report noted with concern the lack of implementation of compensation by the Government of Israel to the Government and people of Lebanon.
Statement by General Assembly President
PETER THOMSON (Fiji), President of the General Assembly, said implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Addis Ababa Action Plan and Paris Agreement were moral imperatives of the time. The agreements had provided humanity with a universal master plan that would eliminate extreme poverty, empower women and girls, build an inclusive society and combat climate change. However, serious challenges must be overcome for successful implementation, including slow and uncertain economic growth, volatility in commodity prices, extreme poverty, underemployment and unemployment, human rights violations and denial of the rights of women and girls. Stressing the urgent need for action, he said the General Assembly was pushing for implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and his office was finalizing an implementation strategy.
The Assembly would be supporting efforts within and outside the United Nations to drive implementation of the Goals through key events around the globe, he said. There would be signature events until 2030 to raise awareness, foster sustainable peace, acquire better financing for implementation and empower women and girls. Consideration of United Nations operational activities through the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was perhaps the most critical action ahead, as it would shape and define how effectively the United Nations system delivered on the ground and would have vital implications on implementation of the Goals. Another critical issue would be the means of implementation, especially in developing and middle-income countries. The international community would work to broaden the base from which financing was drawn as well as increase capacity-building and transfer of technology.
Continuation of Introduction of Reports
JAMIL AHMAD, Deputy Director of the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), introduced the report “Global assessment of sand and dust storms” and “United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme”.
The first report underlined how unsustainable land and water management exacerbated the effects of such storms and suggested mitigations. The Environment Assembly had also adopted a resolution on sand and dust storms which outlined relevant measures to combat that phenomenon. The second document highlighted the outcomes of the Environment Assembly, which adopted various resolutions, such as environment implications for sustainable development, support of the Paris Agreement, sound management of chemicals and waste, sustainable coral reef management, ocean and seas, sand and dust storms, protection of the environment in areas affected by conflict, and more. The dialogues held by the world environment ministers and the Environment Assembly resolutions stressed the intrinsic linkages between a healthy environment, human well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals.
MELCHIADE BUKURU, Chief of the New York Liaison Office, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, introduced the report of the Convention. He said that today, nearly 1 billion people lived in misery with empty bellies, candidates for forced migration at the risk of their lives. Those populations were also targets for violent ideological movements. Environmental degradation was a major cause of those forced migrations. Nearly all migrants that the world saw daily in transit were coming from the arid regions of Africa, Asia, and, less visibly, from Central America, from zones affected by desertification and droughts. Today, about 100 countries had endorsed the programme to define voluntary targets, and he thanked United Nations partners in that effort. Sub-Saharan Africa was particularly vulnerable to droughts given its dependence on rainfall-based agriculture. Droughts could not be dealt with reactively, and he commended Namibia for hosting the African Conference on Drought. Proactive management of drought risks could save lives and improve the livelihoods of millions.
YU PING CHAN, Special Policy Adviser, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOF), introduced the report on the implementation of World Wildlife Day (A/71/376). There had been several key achievements made over the past few years, she said. In just three years, World Wildlife Day had become the most important day for wildlife conservation. Numerous events held worldwide demonstrated that the General Assembly’s decision to commemorate the Day was both timely and welcome. It was also invaluable to promoting public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation. Wildlife crime was a serious problem, and the General Assembly had passed resolution 69/314, the first adopted text to deal with illicit wildlife crime. The Assembly had also adopted a new resolution on tackling illicit wildlife trafficking in September.
Questions and Answers
The United Republic of Tanzania’s representative asked Mr. Bukuru to shed light on how land degradation could be seen as an accelerator to Agenda 2030 implementation. He also asked how his organization would be a dependable instrument in addressing drought.
Mr. BUKURU noted that many people who had been left behind were living in dry lands, where there was a high concentration of hunger and poverty. If the international community assisted the billion people who lived on degraded lands, they would increase security, eradicate poverty and empower women, as most lands in those areas were managed by women. It would also contribute to improved health for children. If the international community empowered those communities, it would be improving the living conditions of those affected populations and ecosystems and would greatly accelerate achievement of the 2030 Agenda.
On drought, he said the international community’s traditional approach in responding to that problem was no longer viable. It had been proven to be ineffective far too often. He proposed that the approach be proactive, that the international community invest in early warning and vulnerability assessment. The emphasis should be more on protection than recovery. Much work should be done to ensure that regions, populations and institutions were prepared to address drought before it struck.
THANAVON PAMARANON (Thailand), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed the Group’s commitment to work for full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Poverty eradication remained indispensable for sustainable development and achievement of the 2030 Agenda. The universality of the Agenda should not allow the international community to lose sight of challenges and needs faced by developing countries, as well as specific challenges that many middle-income countries faced, conflict and post-conflict countries and countries and peoples living under foreign occupation. Implementing the 2030 Agenda required a revitalized global partnership, with North-South cooperation as the main channel for development.
Enhancing support to developing countries in achieving the Agenda would be vital, including through provision of development financing and transfer of technology on favourable terms, she continued. Technology would be key to implementation and a vital lever of change. Relevant stakeholders had to provide enhanced and coordinated support to developing countries to address the digital divide through effective and sustainable technical assistance and capacity-building. The international community and United Nations system should continue to consider the vulnerabilities of small island developing States, supporting their efforts to develop through genuine and durable partnership. The Group felt that climate change, the El Niño phenomenon, desertification, land degradation and loss of biodiversity were interrelated and had the potential to pose a serious challenge to sustainable development. The international community had to address those challenges together through existing mechanisms.
HAU DO SUAN (Myanmar), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associating himself with the Group of 77, said a holistic approach was needed to successfully implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets. Strengthened partnerships at the regional and global level with the inclusive participation of civil society, multi-stakeholders, academia and the business sector would add value to individual efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda. He noted that ASEAN had made progress in the energy and education sectors. It had begun implementing the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation 2016-2025. Also recognizing the significance of education in building a prosperous community, he said it was sad that a large number of children and youth remained out of school in many parts of his region.
He also expressed concern over increasing health challenges that transcended national borders, welcoming the recent adoption of the Declaration to Combat Antimicrobial resistance by the General Assembly. The Association was further concerned about frequent and more intensive outbreaks of natural hazards and the impacts triggered by global warming and climate change. ASEAN was committed to addressing climate change-related issues through its substantive actions in terms of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response and its Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management set up in 2011 in Bali. In addition the Association’s Centre for Biodiversity in the Philippines facilitated cooperation to implement the ASEAN and global biodiversity agreements.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives), speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the international community could not address sustainable development without considering climate change. Rising sea levels, increasing extreme weather events and ocean acidification threatened not only the development of small islands, but their very survival. The Paris Agreement would be insufficient unless it was accompanied by actions on mitigation and adaptation. To combat the interconnected vulnerabilities of small island developing States and many other developing countries, it was important to immediately address the need for increased human resource and technical capacity, especially for data collection and analysis.
Small islands also needed effective disaster risk reduction, as they were negatively impacted by natural hazards, particularly as they increased in intensity and frequency, he continued. The past year’s disasters from cyclones in the Pacific, hurricanes in the Caribbean and flooding, as well as drought in the African and Indian oceans, proved that the global community must continue expanding investment in resilience, monitoring and prevention, increased preparedness and response efforts. The recent Hurricane Matthew had caused the deaths of as many as 900 individuals in Haiti as well as significant damage to infrastructure and basic services. It had also caused destruction and havoc to other island States of the Caribbean. Those events would only continue to hinder as well as reverse development without coordinated intervention.
KEITH HAMILTON LLEWELLYN MARSHALL (Barbados) spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associated himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The Second Committee, he said, was at a critical moment as the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement had been adopted one year ago. Last week, the latter had crossed the threshold for implementation and its entry-into-force would be the fastest of any agreement. CARICOM continued to call for resource mobilization and action on the pledges made to the Green Climate Fund as well as the completion of simplified procedures to help small island developing States tap into funding. The Community looked forward to a successful twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties.
Natural hazards, such as Hurricanes Matthew and Nicole, reminded Barbados of the perpetual threat it and other small island and low-lying coastal development States, faced with the adverse impacts of climate change, he continued. That threat undermined their efforts to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. CARICOM urged the Committee to ensure full and systematic support to implement the Samoa Pathway. It was fully committed to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 as it gave the international community an outline to promote coherent and integrated work to strengthen national and regional disaster risk reduction programmes. As custodians of a rich biodiversity, the Community remained fully committed to the three goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity: conservation, sustainable use, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of biodiversity.
FRANCISCO ANTONIO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of CELAC, said the world continued to face difficulties from the global economic and financial crisis. Poverty, inequality and increasing economic, social and environmental challenges needed to be addressed to help developing countries achieve sustainable development. The implementation and follow up of the 2030 Agenda required the unequivocal commitment of the international community as a whole, in particular through official development assistance (ODA).
He noted that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda had made a call to ensure that middle-income countries were appropriately considered in a tailored, individual fashion. The regional dimension of sustainable development was important as well to contribute to delivering relevant and coherent outcomes from regional follow-up mechanisms. Capacity-building needed to be country-driven, and he called for enhanced coherence across the United Nations development system to support national policies.
MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, said national ownership and leadership was vital in implementing the new development agenda. However, increased international development cooperation was essential for least developed States to ensure that no one was left behind. Adding that his group of countries were not responsible for climate change but the worst affected. Adequate resources and access to technology were vital for them to address climate change. The Green Climate Fund, with the goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020, should make available necessary resources to least developed countries. The allocation of adaptation and mitigation funds should be in addition to ODA and should be fair, equitable and proportionate to the impact of climate change.
Desertification, land degradation and drought had continued to hamper the sustainable development efforts of least developed countries, he continued. The continuous loss of fertile land, which in most cases was the only asset of the poor, had deepened poverty and food insecurity levels. A billion hectares were affected by desertification in least developed countries in Africa alone, leading to estimated losses of approximately $9 billion a year. Land degradation and desertification also carried a high human cost. Millions had already been uprooted from their traditional lands due to desertification and land degradation. Desertification had also played a role in sparking off several of the armed conflicts currently in progress. In many instances, it contributed to political instability, starvation and social breakdown.
LISA SINGH (Australia), also speaking for Canada and New Zealand, highlighted the important milestones of 2015, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Agreement, the latter of which was to come into force now that the 55-55 threshold had been reached. The forthcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Ecuador to adopt the New Urban Agenda was a recognition “that our quest for a sustainable future will increasingly be won or lost in our cities”, she said. Sustainable development would not be achieved if women and girls could not be meaningful stakeholders, living free from fear of discrimination, coercion and violence, with agency over their bodies and lives. The Second Committee had an important role to play, and needed to avoid any action that moved backward, reopened old debates or renegotiated already agreed texts. The Committee was at a crossroads to either catalyse action for the implementation of universally-agreed frameworks or risk declining into ineffectiveness and irrelevance.
ANTONIO PARENTI, speaking for the European Union, noted that almost 190 countries had made commitments under the Paris Agreement. That not only included plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions but also for many countries represented the first comprehensive strategy to shift towards a more sustainable future. The Agreement defined climate change as an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet, which was especially true for countries most vulnerable to the negative impact of climate change, such as small island States. Through the Agreement, the international community had committed itself to binding obligations in transitioning towards a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient economy.
The collective task now was to turn commitments into action on the ground, he said. The Union was on its way to adopting new legislation to reduce emission in its States by at least 40 per cent by 2030. Urging other countries to join the effort, he said the Union would support projects allowing swift implementation, for example, of renewable energies. He noted that Europe was the largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries and the largest aid donor. It remained committed to contributing its share towards the developed countries’ goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020, extended up to 2025 in the Paris Agreement. The funding would come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral. Some 20 per cent of the Union’s 2014-2020 budget would be spent on climate action. It would also provide about €200 million for disaster risk reduction projects between 2014 and 2020.
PATRICIA BAJAÑA (Nicaragua), speaking on behalf of the Central American Integration System, said that her region was involved in a dynamic integration process. The 2030 Agenda was universal and it was necessary to match words with deeds. The group faced common challenges and were taking common actions to eradicate poverty, fight climate change, tackle epidemics and combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The region was heavily affected by natural disasters, both in number and frequency. In disaster prevention, the States had been working together to undertake and follow up on actions aimed at managing natural disaster risk and to prevent the effects of climate change. The Central American States had agreed on a mandate to promote programmes to reduce disaster risk.
She said that in spite of national and regional efforts, the States were also exposed to other threats, including the vulnerability of infrastructure and the impacts of climate change and El Niño. Governments of the Central American States had indicated a need for global cooperation and resources in managing risks and other areas needed for sustainable development. She called for United Nations cooperation with middle-income countries to be more strategic to help them implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
MARGO REMINISSE DEIYE (Nauru) spoke on behalf of the Small Island Developing States, and associated herself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77. She said the special case for sustainable development of States such as hers was laid out in the Samoa Pathway, which had to be linked to the 2030 Agenda as it was implemented. The initial findings of the Joint Inspection Unit had to be considered as the United Nations development system worked to support small island developing States. Capacity-building efforts played an important role as the agendas were implemented, including focus on nationally led efforts for sustainable development.
As external shocks could impede the sustainable development of small island developing States, the international community needed to build resilience in line with the Sendai Framework, she continued. The ocean was the lifeblood of the group’s economies, livelihoods, health, resilience and productivity. Tuna fisheries, for example, were a key source of revenue for its members and Nauru recognized their contribution to sustainable development through the observation of the International Day of Tuna. Yet greater negative impacts, driven by human activities, threatened the oceans and it was very important to fully implement Sustainable Development Goal 14. Nauru looked forward to the high-level United Nations conference, being held in New York in June 2017, to support the Goal’s implementation.
IRENE SUSAN BARREIRO NATIVIDAD (Philippines) said natural hazards came in sudden bursts of fury, but could also be reoccurring and long-lasting phenomena. From late 2015 until May 2016, the Philippines had weathered one of the worst El Niño events in its history. Despite an action plan on food and energy security, health, and the safety of the people, drought had affected almost 8 million Filipinos, greatly impacting its economy and environment. Damage to agriculture reached more than $400 million in production losses. Noting that the frequency and intensity of such hazards had been exacerbated by climate change, she called for climate justice and the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in implementing obligations under the Paris Agreement. She added that protection of mountain ecosystems and communities that were highly vulnerable to climate change, extreme weather events and land degradation were important for biodiversity conservation.
KUNZANG C. NAMGYEL (Bhutan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that the principle of leaving no one behind was essential. Bhutan was a country of highly biodiverse mountain ecosystems, and sustainable mountain development would help in the fight against climate change. Increased levels of investment and funding for sustainable development in mountain regions at the global, regional, national and community levels were extremely important not only to mountain countries but for the global community at large. Sustainable development was as much about economic development and lifting people up from poverty as it was about environmental protection, and Bhutan, having achieved an excellent record on the latter, planned to do more on the former. Energy was essential to allow countries to power their economies and create jobs and opportunities for young people.
ASHISH KUMAR SINHA (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the 2030 Agenda would hopefully lead to a world where the poor did not have to pay the bill for the excesses of the rich and a world where the international system redistributed wealth, not poverty. The Agenda was about integrating all three pillars — economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection — as well as balance among them. It was first and foremost about the eradication of poverty and hunger, without which no development could be sustainable. However, the effective implementation of nationally owned and country-led sustainable development required the support of global partnerships and contribution of all relevant stakeholders. The international community must use the opportunity of the quadrennial comprehensive review process to chart the course for the United Nations development system, with the prime aim of achieving the 2030 Agenda. The funds must start flowing fast as the timeframe of 15 years was now 14 and shrinking further while the developing world awaited the transfer of massive resource needs for realization of commitments.
NIZAR AMER (Israel) said the meaning and breadth of sustainable development had changed significantly since the United Nations first set up to redefine the future it wanted. The scope of issues in the 2030 Agenda were wide and diverse, and the approach was multidimensional and all-encompassing. Israel had been working diligently to prepare the ground for implementation of the Agenda. It had partnered with the private sector, civil society, academia and other stakeholders to build momentum and create synergies that would help move the Agenda forward. His country believed that the key to a sustainable and prosperous future lay in the talent and creativity of society members. By harnessing their skills and know-how and investing in education, science and technology, it could overcome the toughest challenges and seize the most rewarding opportunities.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives), speaking in his national capacity and associating himself with the Group of 77, pointed to the high-level political forum held earlier in 2016 to track progress on the 2030 Agenda. A clear timeline and overarching framework had been established by the Agenda. The Maldives appreciated the Second Committee as the most important venue for implementing the Samoa Pathway. There was a lack of data around many indicators, which constrained capacity to create baselines for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. “Shifting baselines” were therefore one of the major limiting factors. Climate change was the biggest threat to the Maldives’ development. Entry into force of the Paris Agreement was only the first step, and his State was making significant steps for implementation, including taking a leadership role in the initiative to create low-carbon emission energy sources for low-income countries.
OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said the international community was in phase one of implementing the 2030 Agenda. Lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals were central in implementing it. His country was setting out a long-term development plan and working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Achieving the Goals required the commitment of all in society. He noted that nine out of every ten natural hazards were closely related to climate change. His country had the most number of people affected by natural hazards and a high number of deaths. Central American countries had experienced devastating effects due to El Niño and climate change. It had invested in emergency measures but needed a more long-term solution. It would also like to continue to tackle deforestation.
ROUA SHURBAJI (Syria), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that while we were about to celebrate the first year of the 2030 Agenda, the economic and geopolitical challenges, as well as the illegal flows of immigration, made it difficult to achieve development. The present situation in different countries in the world was an example of the relationship between peace and security on the one hand and the achievement of sustainable development on the other. Foreign interventions plagued the Syrian Arab Republic. Countries had to work seriously towards combatting the financing of terrorism and terrorist organizations. Terrorism and extremism threatened the capability of the State to achieve sustainable development, affecting food security, energy and infrastructure while exploiting natural resources. ISIL/Da’esh, Nusra Front and other terrorist groups were currently doing precisely that. It was necessary for the international community to reject unilateral economic measures, as those hampered sustainable development. Her country needed support in fighting terrorism, receiving relief without politicization and recovering the national economy so Syrians did not feel a need to flee their country.
SERGEY B KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said his country supported sustainable energy for all and was prepared to actively contribute to that goal of the 2030 Agenda. He stressed the need to balance development of global energy with the needs of users in all countries. Welcoming progress made in achieving an outcome document – the Samoa Pathway -- at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, he emphasized that implementation must take place on the basis of a clear plan with effective, practical measures. He welcomed the creation of a standardized accountability system to monitor partnership implementation. Pointing to the work of the inter-governmental experts to address disaster risk reduction, he said decisive measures were needed to increase capacity-building, train personnel and provide technology transfer. The Russian Federation was already offering that assistance to least developed countries.
ABDULLAH MOHAMMED A ALGHUNAIM (Saudi Arabia), aligning his statement with that of the Group of 77, said the Kingdom placed particular emphasis on sustainable development. His Government had adopted several strategies, policies, plans and laws to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including the launch of Vision 2030 that created an Islamic and Arab-focused diversification of the economy. The Kingdom was a donor country and a main partner in international development, providing ODA to 95 developing countries, participating in funds to combat poverty in the Islamic world and assisting with debt forgiveness. The Paris Agreement did not mean a bias against certain types of energy, and Saudi Arabia had invested in carbon technologies to improve the environment and reduce emissions. The Kingdom was working with all international organizations to ensure the well-being of humanity.
AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that man’s unsustainable actions spurred by greed had resulted in climate change. While Sri Lanka’s per capita carbon emission was less than one metric ton per year, it had still been severely affected by extreme weather patterns including devastating floods, landslides and severe drought. Those weather events not only affected the agricultural sector and the food security of the country, but also hampered efforts for sustainable development. Though the effects of climate change were felt by everyone, the impact was particularly harsh on developing countries. That was why it was important for the developed world to honour its commitments to developing countries in terms of financial assistance, technology transfer and capacity-building. For its part, Sri Lanka had developed a comprehensive national strategy focused on the energy, transport and industry sectors.
INA HAGNININGTYAS KRISNAMURTHI (Indonesia) said there was an urgent need to create economic opportunities for the poor. More innovative efforts should be encouraged to ensure inclusion in countries. Investment should be geared towards sustainable practices, and incentives given to countries that had successfully contributed to sustainable development. Entrepreneurship, in particular the micro, small and medium enterprises that promoted social and environmental responsibility, offered an avenue for the poor to become both self-reliant and sustainable development actors. Enhancing the quality and relevance of education and training with the sustainable development agenda was vital given the current skill shortages. Integrating knowledge, skills and a comprehensive understanding of sustainable development could be key to ensuring current challenges were overcome.
MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan), associating himself with the Group of 77, said climate change was a serious and complex challenge that undermined efforts to achieve sustainable development. In Tajikistan during the last 40 years, over 1,000 massive glaciers out of 13,000 had melted. The melting of glaciers had caused significant financial and economic losses, and had even caused human casualties. Tajikistan underscored the need to strengthen cooperation in order to reduce risk and mitigate the consequences of natural disasters. It was possible to achieve water-related targets through political leadership, coordinated efforts and strengthened cooperation. Countries must coordinate efforts and adopt both urgent and long-term measures. That was particularly true for the sustainable management of water resources among different sectors.
KHALID AL SHEEB (Qatar), aligning his statement with that of the Group of 77, said the issue of sustainable development concerned all States. The elimination of poverty and the challenges that needed to be overcome depended on global partnerships, as international cooperation played an important role in addressing social, environmental and economic issues. ODA was important to ensure no one was left behind. Cultural diversity, national context and local issues needed to be taken into account. His Government had agreed to improve the level of education so all citizens would gain quality education, due to the State’s conviction in the importance of human resources, particularly among the youth. Conflicts in many areas of the world called into question how development could be achieved without peace and security. It was necessary to assume common responsibilities to create a proper climate to overcome extreme violence and preserve good governance and the rule of law to create a peaceful society. Drought and desertification threatened development, and Qatar had initiated a Global Arid Land Alliance to protect the environment and help countries who faced such difficulties.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said wealth had continued to be concentrated in the hands of the few. Six million children under the age of five had died in 2015 from preventable diseases and 65 million people had been displaced as a result of war or conflicts. By adopting the 2030 Agenda, world leaders had committed to forging a development model that was different, but there must be political will to make it inclusive. The international community must have strategies to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, but there must also be national ownership of implementation. Venezuela had made progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. In addition to its implementation plan, it had policies that continued to contemplate strategies for economic development based on social development. Venezuela had reiterated its commitment to maintain levels of investment for the benefit of its people. His country welcomed the Paris Agreement, as it was affected by prolonged drought, which threatened its food security.
MARIANNE LOE (Norway) said sustainable development had three dimensions - economic, social and environmental – yet it was being addressed in the Second Committee as if it had only one dimension. The Committee should take a fresh look at how it approached the issue if it was to deliver relevant political guidance on implementing the 2030 Agenda. Climate change was paramount for achieving the Goals and the fact that the Paris Agreement would enter into force this year was good news. Peace was fundamental as well, she said. Achieving sustainable energy would not only contribute to combating climate change, but also advance the agenda on poverty eradication, food security, clean water and sanitation, health, education and empowerment of youth and women. To reach that goal, it would be crucial to mobilize private and commercial investment.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said his country was highly vulnerable to climate change affecting small-scale farmers and local fishing communities. Climate change put food security at risk and affected sources of water and biodiversity, causing droughts and floods. Glaciers, an important resource in Peru, were highly threatened. Peru had put in place a national strategy to protect forests and combat climate change, and had implemented a long-term policy to reduce deforestation. Peru was also investing in its population to make it less vulnerable. Owing to its geographical location, Peru was at risk of natural disasters, including El Nino. To that end, it had adopted a plan of action to safeguard lives and infrastructure. Peru was also concerned of the vulnerability of its mountain people who were particularly susceptible to poverty and climate change, he said, emphasizing the need for international cooperation to protect those populations.
AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan) said the first United Nations Global Conference on Sustainable Transport, dedicated to the role of transport corridors in ensuring international cooperation, stability and sustainable development, would be hosted by Turkmenistan on 26 and 27 November. It would contribute to advancing the 2030 Agenda. Although sustainable transport was not represented in an individual Goal, it was directly linked to those dealing with health, energy, resilient infrastructure, sustainable cities and sustainable consumption and production. She encouraged all Member States and others to participate in a briefing on the Conference that would be held on 20 October.
JAVAD MOMENI (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country had a transitional plan to achieve a very robust, low-carbon and green economy. Actions at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels must complement national efforts. West Asia was facing numerous challenges including poverty, land degradation, water scarcity, hotter climate conditions and drought, as well as terrorism and extremist violence. Those challenges continued to be exacerbated by poverty and environmental destruction, causing regional governments to spend limited national resources on fighting insecurity rather than implementing the 2030 Agenda. Hence, the implementation of sustainable development must be facilitated and required more effective international support particularly through technology transfer, trade facilitation and access to financial resources. It was also important to refrain from any form of unilateral or coercive economic, financial or trade measures. That would allow all countries to contribute to the implementation of sustainable development.
WILLIAM JOSÉ CALVO CALVO (Costa Rica), associating himself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Central American Integration System, said that his Government had ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change just seven days ago and stood ready to take action on it as soon as possible. He hoped the work of the Second Committee would decisively address the processes, complexities and transformative nature of such international agreements, including the 2030 Agenda. Sustainable development would be the basis on which the international community would build its future. It would also define international cooperation for years to come, he said, urging stronger collaboration among nations. “We must channel our efforts to where there are poor people,” he underscored, stressing the need to consider the challenges faced by all members of the Organization, particularly middle-income countries. It was important to “doggedly” increase ambitions, guide economies towards deep decarbonisation and make the close link between climate change and human rights. Costa Rica had learned long ago that sustainable development was the only viable path toward the future, already having transitioned to renewable energy.
YEMDAOGO ERIC TIARE (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Least Developed Countries, stressed that water was at the heart of sustainable development, as were other vital needs, such as sanitation, health services and access to education. When experts spoke of peace, they insisted that sustainable development was not possible without peace and vice versa. As catastrophes and hazards were also detrimental to development, the international community should focus on reducing hazard risks. Burkina Faso had adopted last July a national plan for economic and social development for 2016-2020. The strategic goals of the plan integrated those of the Sustainable Development Goals, including 86 of its 169 targets. It aimed to increase the growth rate and demographics of the country. However, to implement it, the country would need the effective support of development partners and other international actors.
MADINA KARABAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said pursuing the principles of a green economy, including resource conservation and low-carbon development, helped balance economic development and environmental protection. Investing in green economy projects increased the country’s agricultural potential and ensured food security. The country’s energy security had vastly improved in the last five years. Hydropower development was necessary for sustainable development, the reduction of greenhouse gases and the prevention of global warming and Kyrgyzstan already used hydropower to generate clean and inexpensive electricity, at a price of 1.1 cents per 1 kilowatt hour. The biodiversity of mountain ecosystems were vulnerable to climate change. The amount of ice in Kyrgyzstan was estimated to decline by 30 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025 while the availability of water in the region was expected to drop by one-third. Water was a humanitarian and economic issue and Kyrgyzstan supported the cost-efficient use of water resources throughout all of Central Asia. With the rare species of snow leopard threatened by climate change, Kyrgyzstan created an initiative to preserve their population and hosted the first high-level meeting of countries in which snow leopards lived. The initiative would be presented to Member States on 21 October. A secretariat for the global snow leopard was set up in the country and Kyrgyzstan planned to convene the second world summit on the snow leopard in 2017.
JUSTIN WU (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, called for decisive action and discipline in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. There was no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges faced by each country, he said, stressing that all nations would have to adapt solutions to their own national priorities and unique circumstances. For example, while Singapore had done its part to lower emissions, it had done so by taking a different approach – namely, switching from fuel oil to natural gas for power generation. Constant innovation was critical to overcoming constraints, he said, recalling that Singapore had used breakthroughs in desalination and water recycling to achieve water sustainability. In addition, technical assistance and loans from the World Bank had been critical to the country’s journey, he said, emphasizing that collaborative partnerships were crucial for advancing sustainable development.
SALVADOR DE LARA RANGEL (Mexico), associating himself with CELAC, stressed the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Noting that biodiversity fell under the environmental dimension of sustainable development, he emphasized the need to take effective action against its loss. The 2030 Agenda had placed development at the heart of the Organization’s work and also focused on achieving peace and risk reduction. One of the international community’s main concerns was the devastating economic impact of natural hazards. Challenges that resulted from climate change – rapid urbanization and water management – could be tackled if communities had greater participation in decision-making. It was important to support the United Nations Convention against Desertification in appropriately addressing the problem. The historic 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement were focused on small island developing States, which were particularly threatened by climate change. Finding resources for sustainable development meant international cooperation, which must be effective to optimize results.
SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that current climate change intensity in his country was almost three times higher than the global average because of its geographical location. Greenhouse gas emission mitigation and other potentially ambitious commitments were contingent upon gaining access to new technologies and financial aid. Water was crucial not only for daily consumption but also for Mongolia’s industrial development. Apart from its scarcity, water quality was also a significant concern, posing threats to public health. Mongolia was a low forest country and due to climate change was seriously concerned with desertification. The unplanned growth of its cities had also resulted in various challenges, including unemployment, traffic congestion, and increased air, water and soil pollution. Mongolia stood ready to engage in all United Nations initiatives on sustainable development, he said, underscoring his country’s great potential of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
ISABELLE F PICCO (Monaco) said since June the sale and distribution of plastic bags had been strongly prohibited. This new initiative aimed to curb massive plastic waste pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. Sustainable mobility was a central focus of Monaco as well, including through the promotion of green transportation and tariff incentives. Monaco also invested in educating its youth on matters of sustainable development by organizing seminars in schools to make students learn about the effects of mass consumption on climate change. Monaco had welcomed the development and promotion of scientific entities to study various environmental topics from coral ecosystems to the socioeconomic effects of ocean acidification.
ABDELLAH BEN MELLOUK (Morocco) said the international community must adopt multilateral solutions and harmoniously incorporate the Sustainable Development Goals into national policies. He noted that sustainable development was the mainstay of Morocco’s social and economic policies. The country had adopted a national strategy for the period 2015-2030, which included a commitment to reduce by 32 per cent its greenhouse gas emissions. Last June, Morocco had volunteered to review national efforts made to reach development goals, which reflected a growing awareness of the strategic importance of them. Implementing those goals could only be possible if climate change was at the heart of efforts to reach them. Stressing the importance of mobilizing resources for implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said African countries in particular had limited financing for development projects and must be provided with assistance.
CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, highlighted the establishment and operationalization of the technology facilitation mechanism to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The 2030 Agenda acknowledged that sustainable development hadn’t been achieved by any country and was thus a universal undertaking. The 2030 Agenda, unlike the Millennium Development Goals, was not directed at just developing countries, but to all. National actions needed to encompass all goals and targets of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Brazil was proud to be a part of the Paris Agreement, having ratified it in September, but a long path remained for the implementation of both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Pacific small island developing States, said the 2030 Agenda was consistent with his country’s sustainable development agenda. Among the values enshrined in Papua New Guinea’s Constitution were integral human development, equality and participation, national sovereignty and self-reliance, conservation and the sustainable use of national resources and the environment, he said, stressing that the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals must be guided by national ownership, leadership and development priorities and plans. Ensuring that no one was left behind meant working together to address the adverse impacts of climate change. As an island nation, Papua New Guinea was particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, biodiversity loss, droughts and severe and frequent storms. In that regard, he called on countries that had not yet done so to ratify or accede to the Paris Agreement and on all parties – particularly high carbon emitters – to continue to work towards the fulfilment of their relevant commitments.
MWABA PATRICIA KASESE-BOTA (Zambia), aligning with statements made on behalf of the Group of 77, the African Group and the Least Developed Countries, said that an environment conducive to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals required global interventions that were holistic, equitable and forward-looking. The 2030 Agenda would be integrated into his country’s national planning framework for 2017-2021, which was now being finalized. It was important that implementation move, at the same time, to the regional and local levels, where links between different cross-cutting priorities were much clearer. Implementation of the Paris Agreement was also crucial, as climate change was decreasing crop production in Zambia, which required cooperating partners to help the country fulfil its obligations under the Agreement. The country had already taken measures to combat desertification and drought and had made progress on disaster risk management, and was looking forward to the upcoming meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun.
LOK BAHADUR POUDEL CHHETRI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and Least Developed Countries, said it was vital for all nations to mainstream the three pillars of the 2030 Agenda – social, economic and environmental - into their policies and plans at all levels. The timely, full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda could not be overemphasized. Implementation plans should focus first on poverty eradication, especially for countries in special situations. The Agenda also placed considerable emphasis on the worst impacts of climate change, including in small island developing States. Mountainous countries also faced daunting challenges, including avalanches, glacial outbursts and landslides. Lifestyles were critically affected by those hazards, he said, stressing the need to address their impact and also to save mountains. The disaster risk reduction framework must be effectively implemented, and capacity-building provided, especially for countries in the South.
SAAD AL-HAYANI (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77, said Iraq had participated positively in the Twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP21, and international efforts on climate change, despite attacks from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and economic stagnation. These were considerable challenges that made the achievement of sustainable development very difficult. Nonetheless, Iraq had established an ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 to 2035, though many of its initiatives had been prevented due to ISIL/Da’esh attacks. Even though Iraq accounted for a negligible percentage of global emissions, it believed that all States should work to fight climate change according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
SESSELJA SIGURDARDOTTIR (Iceland) said the Goals would be well placed in her country’s new policy on international development cooperation for the period 2017-2021. Iceland emphasized the development of social infrastructure, the sustainable use of natural resources and efforts towards peace where humanitarian assistance played a key role. Four priority areas for Iceland were land restoration, oceans, renewable energy and gender equality. Over the last century, since adopting legislation to halt soil erosion, Iceland had halted degradation in many areas. It was transferring that knowledge to developing countries through the Land Restoration Training Programme of the United Nations University. Iceland stressed the importance of reaching Sustainable Development Goal 15.3 on achieving a land degradation-neutral world by 2030. The sustainable use of marine resources, through successful science-based management, remained a backbone of Iceland’s economy and a clear focus of the country’s foreign policy. Her country had shared that experience and expertise for nearly 20 years through the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme. Iceland also believed it was important to mainstream gender equality and women’s human rights into all discussion and action on sustainable development.
OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his Government had supported sustainable development, including sustainable financing. It would host the fourteenth session of the Global Roundtable for sustainable financing to be held in Dubai later in the month. The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week would be held in January 2017 and would consider a global platform with many participants, including leaders from the private sector, to discuss challenges facing the renewable energy sector and sustainable development. It was necessary to engage the younger generation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially with high youth unemployment, the rise of extremism and terrorism and the increasing effects of climate change. Investment in infrastructure was also essential for economic development, and made the United Arab Emirates an attractive place for investment.
OMAR ANNAKOU (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77, stressed the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda, which could save the world from hunger, extreme poverty, deadly diseases, conflict and terrorism, while helping people living under occupation, helping to ensure literacy in Africa in particular and giving young people the capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Effective mechanisms for implementation were necessary to translate words into deeds. There was continued need for ODA as well as technology transfer and public-private partnerships. As security and development were connected, it was necessary to unite against terrorism and address its root causes, not just its manifestations. Libya requested help to achieve stability through a democratic process and help from neighbouring countries to protect common borders and combat illicit trafficking in persons. Libya also requested assistance from countries who had served as tax havens to recover stolen funds.
PHILLIP TAULA (New Zealand) noted that many priorities of small island developing States had been recognized within international agreements. The Addis Ababa Action Plan, adopted in July 2015, highlighted financing challenges for those countries, including lack of economies of scale and, especially for Pacific nations, distance from markets. In addition, the Sustainable Development Goals incorporated climate change, oceans and energy, reflecting strong Pacific concerns. In June, New Zealand and the European Union co-hosted the Pacific Energy Conference, which was attended by leaders and representatives from across the Pacific and beyond. At the conclusion, donors had committed over $69 million for sustainable energy projects in the Pacific. He expressed pleasure that the voices of small island countries were being recognized in global agreements. New Zealand was keen to ensure those agreements delivered tangible outcomes and that implementation could be tracked effectively without adding layers of bureaucracy that could otherwise overwhelm small island systems.
SOFYA SIMONYAN (Armenia) said that the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals required revisiting conventional approaches. The younger generation in Armenia had been enhancing partnerships with stakeholders, including the diaspora. Financing for development was another key factor, taking into account the complexities of the global finance landscape. The new forms of blended finance of both Government and donor-raised money were being increasingly explored. International cooperation among national statistical agencies was essential to generate data and indicators to measure progress. Armenia was concerned by the global refugee crisis, with more than 20,000 displaced persons having sought protection in Armenia in recent years, and facilitated integration and settlement programmes continued to be implemented. Diversity and inclusive development were a source of strength, but policies of exclusion and discrimination undermined the sustainability of economic and social development.