Global Economic Imbalances Threaten Sustainable Development for All, Second Committee Hears as General Debate Begins

The world was facing an unprecedented array of global risks and negative trends from the refugee crisis and climate change to drug-resistant antibiotics and political upheaval, a renowned economist told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, as it began its general debate.

Speaking on the topic “One World, One Vision: Tackling Global Imbalances to Achieve the 2030 Agenda”, Dambisa Moyo said the international community could achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, but it would be a difficult task. “We have never seen this amount of geopolitical risk in one year”.

Adding that the world resided in a low-growth environment, she said recent reports had suggested it would remain that way for years. “This significantly hampers our ability to create economic growth and improve living standards”. Many of those concerns had now spewed into geopolitical risks, and there was a real risk that as much as 80 per cent of the world’s population might be living in fragile States in the coming decades.

She identified several global headwinds complicating the picture, including: technology, which was possibly creating a jobless underclass; demographics, with a global population approaching 8 billion that would grow to 11 billion by 2100; and income inequality, which had worsened within countries even as there had been convergence between countries.

“I’m worried about the public policy response,” she said. Many countries in Africa, South America and Asia were finally agreeing that democracy and market capitalism were the fastest ways to create economic growth. But many developed countries were now turning their backs on trade, cross-border capital flows to emerging markets and free movement of people. The world today was showing it would no longer be possible to create growth with the same monetary and fiscal policies as before.

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, similarly noted that global economic growth had remained slow, with low investment and a drop in commodity prices. Managed globalization could contribute to a more stable and prosperous future, but isolationism and protectionism were threatening the world’s partnership for development.

Nations must now focus on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said, stressing the vital role the United Nations system and relevant bodies would play. He emphasized the importance of coherent and integrated policies, calling on Member States to provide clear guidance for the United Nations development system.

Noting that global economic imbalances threatened sustainable development for all, Committee Chair Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) stressed the need to overcome obstacles on the economic, social and environmental fronts.

“Globalization is neither a force for good or bad, but rather a set of trends and processes that entail opportunities as well as risk,” he said. Adding that collaboration was necessary, he said the Committee must build recognition of interdependence through a consensus-based, integrated approach.

In the ensuing debate, delegates focused on the need for financial and economic reforms, climate change, effects of natural hazards, banking possibilities for developing countries and open, non-discriminatory trade regimes.

Egypt’s representative noted that the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement on climate change had been adopted against a backdrop of economic challenges, especially in developing countries. They included limited access to sufficient resources for implementation and continued structural challenges in the international economic system.

The international trading system faced a crisis and the international financial system could soon be confronted with new difficulties, he said. There had been a steady decline in African exports as a proportion of total world exports from 3.5 per cent in 2012 to 2.4 per cent in 2015. Likewise, the share of the manufacturing sector in Africa’s gross domestic product decreased from 33.1 per cent in 2012 to 31.6 per cent in 2015.

Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Antigua and Barbuda’s representative stressed the need for reforms to the global financial and economic architecture. Still one of the most indebted regions, CARICOM was also severely burdened by the effects of natural hazards.

The region had recently faced a new challenge when global banks withdrew correspondent banking relations, making cross-border trade more difficult and weakening the regional economy, he said. More resources were now needed for full implementation of 2030 Agenda and to combat climate change, including protection of the Caribbean Sea.

The representative of Bangladesh, speaking for the Group of Least Developed Countries, said narrow production and export bases, stagnant trade and investment flows, diminishing productivity growth and widespread poverty continued to obstruct the growth of that group’s States. Emerging challenges included climate change, conflicts, decreased commodity prices and increased capital outflows.

Looking ahead to the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement, he said development partners had to fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund, which called for $100 billion per year by 2020. Concerned that the share of least developed countries in global trade was decreasing, he said those States must have duty- and quota-free market access on a lasting basis for all their products.

Also speaking were the representatives of Thailand (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Philippines (also speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Maldives (also speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States), Bangladesh (for the Group of Least Developed Countries), Antigua and Barbuba (for the Caribbean Community), Nauru (for the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States), India, Egypt, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Qatar, Iran, Haiti, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Jamaica, Cuba, Viet Nam, Colombia, Syria, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, United States, Norway, Nigeria, Canada, Ethiopia, Belarus, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Uganda and Guyana, as well as a representative of the European Union.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 4 October, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), said the Sustainable Development Goals were a welcome adjustment to past development models that no longer passed muster. The 2030 Agenda embodied key principles, notably universality, indivisibility and inclusiveness. It was important that the Agenda would leave no one behind, and that its results would be broad-based, equitable and sustainable across generations.

The Second Committee, he continued, could not address global sustainable development challenges on its own, and instead would need to work coherently within the broader, international institutional framework. Global economic imbalances threatened the achievement of sustainable development for all, and it was necessary to overcome serious obstacles across the economic, social and environmental dimensions. “Globalization is neither a force for good or bad, but rather a set of trends and processes that entail opportunities as well as risks,” he said. Collaboration was necessary, and the Committee needed to build on the recognition of interdependence through a consensus-based, integrated approach.

WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, commended Member States on the achievements of last year, including the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. He noted that other events, such as the upcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) conference, would help in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Describing the world economic situation, he stated that economic growth remained slow with low levels of investment and a decline in commodity prices. He pointed out that managed globalization could contribute to a more stable and prosperous future. He added that the commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development was encouraging. He noted that isolationism and protectionism were a threat to the global partnership for development.

Delegations now had to focus on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said, pointing out the important role the United Nations system and relevant bodies had to play. He highlighted the integral role of the Addis Ababa Action Plan in the implementation. The first Economic and Social Council forum on financing for development follow-up was held in April. The Committee also had before it the review of the implementation of the second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty which would be essential in achieving the social dimension of sustainable development. He stressed the importance of coherent and integrated policies and strategies and called upon Member States to provide clear guidance for the United Nations development system through a strategic and results-oriented resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. In addition, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs stood ready to support capacity development needs of Member States, and it developed modelling tools for the assessment of strategic policy scenarios.

Keynote Address

DAMBISA MOYO, global economist and author, spoke on the topic “One World, One Vision: Tackling Global Imbalances to Achieve the 2030 Agenda”. “I really do believe that we are able to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, but we need a dose of reality in terms of what will be required to do it,” she said. The world was facing an unprecedented array of global risks and negative trends, from the refugee crisis to climate change to drug-resistant antibiotics to political upheaval. “We have never seen this amount of geopolitical risks in one year,” she said.

The world resided in a low-growth environment, and recent reports by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and McKinsey & Company suggested it would remain that way for years to come, she said. To double per capita incomes in one generation it would be necessary to grow at 7 per cent per year, but the world’s largest emerging market economies were growing far below that number, and some were even in recession. “This significantly hampers our ability to create economic growth and improve living standards,” she said. Many of those concerns had now spewed into geopolitical risks, and there was a real risk that as much as 80 per cent of the world’s population might be living in fragile States in the coming decades.

She identified six global headwinds that were making the picture more complicated: technology, which had enhanced our ability to communicate but was possibly creating a jobless underclass; demographics, with a global population approaching 8 billion that would grow to 11 billion by 2100, particularly concentrated in many developing countries where two thirds of the population were under the age of 25; natural resources, notably the imbalances between the demand side pressures from rising populations and wealth increases and the supply side constraints of scarce, finite and depleting resources that left States in a heightened risk of scarcity or outright conflict; income inequality, which had worsened within countries even as there had been convergence between countries; debt, with possibly as much as $240 trillion in global debt against annual global gross domestic product (GDP) of $60 trillion; and, productivity, one of the three key drivers of economic growth (along with capital and labour), which was declining in many countries for reasons that needed to be further studied.

“I’m worried about the public policy response,” she said. Many countries in Africa, South America and Asia were finally subscribing to the view that democracy and market capitalism were the fastest way to create economic growth, but precisely at that moment many developed countries were turning away from the so-called Washington consensus: trade, cross-border capital flows to emerging markets, free movement of people and smaller Government with larger private sectors. “If we are to tackle the 2030 Goals, we need to upend the models we’ve been using for the past century, both in economic and political thinking. This won’t be easy,” she said. The pursuit of economic growth in and of itself was insufficient, as it had also delivered increased income inequality. Societies had to decide what its goals were, and the world today was showing that it would no longer be possible to create growth with the same monetary and fiscal policies as before.

When the floor opened for discussion, the representative of Ethiopia said that Ms. Moyo had painted a depressing picture of the global economy, stressing that the world was living in a difficult and challenging time. However, a couple of years ago, economists were talking about rising incomes in poor, African countries, which had resulted in some poverty eradication. Such progress should not be forgotten, as it was encouraging to other less fortunate countries.

He questioned why the world was in the difficult situation that Ms. Moyo had described. For the last three decades, it had been following policies focusing on the financial aspect of the global economy rather than people. He questioned why the world following such policies which had led to that difficult situation. The world should shift to a development model that placed people at its centre, rather than finance.

The representative of Antigua and Barbuda said developing countries had accepted globalization but recognized its stumbling blocks, particularly those that affected small States. The Caribbean countries were experiencing de-risk with banking, which was stymying their economies. Restricting them from the banking sector had major effects on trade. Many countries had worked significantly to meet financial standards set by international institutions. He also asked Ms. Moyo whether she had any views on philanthropy and its effects on an economy.

Ms. MOYO, responding to Ethiopia’s representative, said he had made an important point. The world had indeed seen progress over the last 10-15 years across the emerging world. Much of that was due to globalization and participation in the broader global economy. Smaller, poorer countries had benefited from their engagement with larger economies. Now, however, some countries were turning inward, erecting tariffs and quotas, public policy stances on currencies, protecting labour markets and drawing away from globalization. Economic success against that backdrop became more difficult.

To his second question, she said part of the problem was failing to implement the neo-liberal trade agenda. Some said trade was liberal and open but many countries handed out subsidies, including the United States and European Union. Many countries had not benefited from the full slate of globalization.

Responding to Antigua and Barbuda’s question on banking, she said financing was an ongoing challenge for many small States and they had always had difficulties competing in global trade. There was a fear that certain political agendas would lean more towards multilateral trade agreements, placing more risk on smaller countries. The world should aspire for deeper integration to see improvements in economic growth.

On philanthropy, she said many non-State actors had emerged. They had a role, but it was important to recognize the second order effects. There was a democratic contract between taxpayers and Governments. It was a simple agreement to deliver goods or be voted out of office. Philanthropy could sever that connection, endangering Government accountability.

The representative of the European Union said that it was not on the path to more protectionism, as alluded to. In fact, the Union was the biggest trading partner for many of the least developed and developing countries and would continue to pursue that agenda. The Union believed that trade had been its best friend in the past decade in fighting against an economic crisis that was not yet behind it.

Ms. MOYO, responding to that comment, expressed hope that that sentiment proved to be true, and noted that “Brexit” would be a test of that commitment. She highlighted that its member States had subsidized their farmers at the expense of farmers they traded with in developing countries, though there were understandable political reasons why countries did that. The Union faced a range of political, monetary and immigration issues and it would be imperative for it to show global leadership and resist protectionist tendencies.

Statements

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the Second Committee’s work during the current session was vital in laying down a robust framework and building effective tools through its norm-setting function for successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Its work must aim at targeting the overarching objective of poverty eradication in all its forms and pursuing sustainable development in a balanced, coordinated and integrated manner.

Successfully implementing the 2030 Agenda lay in national implementation, he said. Many nations had already mainstreamed the Sustainable Development Goals into their national development plans and strategies, but “home-grown approaches” could also contribute to that ambitious agenda. It was also important to address the diverse needs and challenges faced by States in special situations, especially African countries, the specific challenges faced by middle-income countries, countries in conflict as well as post-conflict situations and countries and peoples under foreign occupation. He stressed that official development assistance (ODA) would continue to be an important input in delivering the 2030 Agenda. It was also essential to assist developing countries in attaining long-term debt sustainability and financial inclusion.

LOURDES YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the group had in September adopted the ASEAN-United Nations Plan of Action for 2016-2020. The Plan aimed to implement the 2030 Agenda and realize the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, which envisioned a peaceful, stable and resilient community with enhanced capacity to respond to challenges. The Plan would strengthen coordination and implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and 2030 Agenda in the group. That would be done so through joint activities and other actions undertaken by ASEAN and the United Nations as well as other relevant mechanisms, including the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.

The Plan of Action also aimed to promote the exchange of best practices, technical cooperation and capacity-building in monitoring and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals and explore new partnerships to harness the private sector’s financial and non-financial resources as well as science, technology and innovation needed to implement the 2030 Agenda, she said. It also intended to enhance cooperation to strengthen the ASEAN statistical system to support regional progress and accountability in implementing the 2030 Agenda and support implementation of the group’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Masterplan 2020, which would contribute to easing exchange of knowledge and best practices, technical cooperation and capacity-building programmes for sustainable development.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, said multiple structural challenges such as narrow production and export bases, stagnant trade and investment flows, diminishing productivity growth and widespread poverty continued to obstruct the growth of that group’s States. Emerging challenges included climate change, conflicts, decreased commodity prices and increased capital outflows. Significant progress had been made towards achieving the goals and targets of the Istanbul Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. There must be serious efforts to revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development in least developed countries, focused on poverty eradication, promotion of inclusive growth and implementation of social protection systems.

Looking ahead to the speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement, he said development partners had to fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund, which called for $100 billion per year by 2020. Concerned that the share of least developed countries in global trade was decreasing, he said those States must have duty- and quota-free marked access on a lasting basis for all their products. He welcomed the provisions of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda that encouraged development partners to allocate at least 50 per cent of their ODA to least developed countries and called on them to fulfil those targets. He urged partner countries to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people and asked for increased investment in the infrastructure, energy, agriculture and ICT of least developed nations. He also called for the timely establishment of a crisis mitigation and resilience-building mechanism for those States.

WALTON ALFONSO WEBSON (Antigua and Barbuda) spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associated himself with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77. Despite recent agreements and achievements, there was a need for the fundamental reform of the global financial and economic architecture. CARICOM remained among one of the most indebted regions and it was also extremely burdened by the effects of natural hazards. A new challenge the region faced was the withdrawal of correspondent banking relations by global financial institutions which made cross-border trade more difficult and weakened the regional economy.

The Financing for Development outcome was fundamental for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, he continued, expressing hope that its follow-up would take place at the highest level and that more resources would be made available for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In that context, external debt sustainability had to be addressed. Furthermore, he attached great importance to macroeconomic issues and operational activities for development. He also noted that deliberations in those areas should feed into this year’s discussions on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. He urged the Committee to take the necessary steps for the full implementation of the Samoa Pathway. He stressed the need to address climate change comprehensively and called on Member States to work towards an early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Adequate, easily accessible and new resources had to be made available to combat climate change, he added. He stressed that the protection of the Caribbean Sea remained a priority of CARICOM.

MARLENE MOSES (Nauru), speaking on behalf of the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, and associating herself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, said that the seventy-first session would be an important one to making tangible progress towards the 2030 Agenda. Small island developing States faced unique vulnerabilities which the 2030 Agenda recognized. The Committee’s work would be key, including her group’s annual resolution “Follow-Up on the Implementation of the SAMOA Pathway”. Sustainable development needed to always be nationally led, but the United Nations had a role in strengthening national institutions.

She said the ever-worsening impacts of climate change loomed over all the work of the Committee. She welcomed global action but continued to call for elevated ambition and response to that grave threat to sustainable development. As large ocean States, the Group viewed the Pacific as the lifeblood of their economies and peoples, and was aware of the rising negative effects on the oceans from human activity. She highlighted Sustainable Development Goal 14 and looked forward to the June 2017 high-level conference on the matter.

ANTONIO PARENTI of the European Union stressed that recent international agreements on sustainable development should guide both national policies and the work of the Second Committee. He regretted that the terms of a recently adopted resolution on monitoring, accountability and review of the Sendai Framework had not been incorporated into the agenda of the Committee. Despite its disappointment with the slow pace of reforms to the Committee, the Union remained engaged and committed to making the Committee fit for purpose. The quadrennial comprehensive policy review offered a critical opportunity to make the Organization more fit for purpose.

He welcomed the Antalya mid-term review of the Istanbul Programme of Action, which provided a strong road map for least developed countries. The empowerment and promotion of the rights of women and girls were also a priority, as they constituted an essential component of poverty eradication, sustainable development and post-conflict reconciliation. He also welcomed new commitments from the Environment Assembly to the 2030 Agenda. The Union was committed to tackling climate change and planned to ratify the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016. Partnerships would be crucial to the success of the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations should act as a partner in supporting those efforts. Finally, he reiterated the Union’s commitment to safe, legal, voluntary and well-managed migration. The Sustainable Development Goals, if implemented in their entirety, would help to address the root causes of mass migration.

MANISH CHAUHAN (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, announced that his country had integrated the Sustainable Development Goals into its national development strategies and that its Parliament would dedicate one day of each session to a review of the progress made towards achieving them. Emphasizing that financing for other priorities should not come at the expense of development programmes, he welcomed the New Urban Agenda for sustainable urban development to be adopted at the upcoming Habitat III conference. India was doing its part to mitigate the effects of climate change. Its Parliament was in the process of ratifying the Paris Agreement and planned to reduce the country’s emissions by 35 per cent, increase its use of non-fossil fuels and create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 billion tonnes through afforestation. The country had also earmarked 10 per cent of its development funds for innovation, disaster mitigation and restoration under its 25-year plan. In November, India, in collaboration with the Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, would host the biennial Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Finally, he stressed the need for a humane approach to international migration based on responsibility sharing.

LOURDES ORTIZ YPARRAGUIRRE (Philippines) noted that 2016 was mainly about moving forward with the full and effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda. She elaborated that the Philippines worked diligently to ensure that all citizens could benefit from development. She was honoured to be among the 22 pioneer countries that volunteered for the high-level political forum to share initiatives of the first year of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. She pointed out that disaster risk reduction remained a priority for the Philippines as it was among the most vulnerable States. She called for climate justice and the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said many countries had finalized national implementation plans for the 2030 Agenda and the international community had recently adopted the Paris Agreement. Those actions and agreements came against a backdrop of economic challenges facing the world, especially developing countries, including limited access to sufficient means of implementation and continued structural challenges facing the international economic system. The number of people languishing in poverty worldwide was on the rise, especially in Africa. The international trading system continued to face a crisis and the international financial system could be exposed to new crises in the coming period. These were all challenges facing the international economic system and its ability to effectively support developing countries to achieve their aspirations. There had been a steady decline in African exports as a proportion of total world exports, dropping from 3.5 per cent in 2012 to 2.4 per cent in 2015. Likewise, the share of the manufacturing sector in Africa’s GDP decreased from 33.1 per cent in 2012 to 31.6 per cent in 2015. He questioned what a decade and a half of negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda at the World Trade Organization (WTO) had achieved.

MARA�A RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) noted that economic threats to her country were the same as in the past but were more complex than ever. Its main challenge regarding the Sustainable Development Goals was implementation, as words must translate into action to transform people’s lives. The Second Committee should work together to overcome challenges and achieve its primary goal, which was the eradication of poverty. As successful implementation would require access to financial and technical resources, the international community should respond to the needs, priorities and specific characteristics of each country. Nicaragua had made economic progress over the past few years. It had put national development policies in place and had been recognized as a safe country capable of managing foreign direct investment. With such investment, it had been possible to improve public finances, develop infrastructure and establish social programmes.

TATJANA VON STEIGER WEBER (Switzerland) outlined her expectations for the Second Committee: normative guidance on the global challenges of sustainable development, guidance on the United Nations operational system and follow-up to international conferences that do not have their own follow-up processes. Switzerland would be paying particular attention to the negotiations on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review of operational activities for development. Ongoing improvements were needed in terms of synergies which were all the more important in light of increasingly limited financial resources. Emphasizing that water was among the main risk factors in the coming years, she noted that global water governance was highly fragmented and the current structure did not reflect the integrated vision of the 2030 Agenda. Disaster risk reduction was an integral part of sustainable development and therefore required the implementation of the Sendai Framework in a timely manner. On migration, she said that the Sustainable Development Goals addressing the issue were still far from being met and must play a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.

AHMED SAREER (Maldives), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said the goal was to make his country a resilient and high-income economy. However, access to finance for large-scale infrastructure projects remained a challenge due to its small size and dispersed nature. Every storm surge, beach erosion incident and extreme weather pattern felt in the Maldives reminded its people that development gains were at risk. Investment in climate change adaptation was already high, placing additional burdens on already-stretched budgets. The Maldives was entirely dependent on imported fossil fuel in meeting its energy needs, causing a huge fiscal and economic burden. Through a renewable energy investment programme, it would be able to install up to 30 per cent of day time peak load of electricity in all inhabited islands by 2018. In addition, it was working to create an enabling environment for private sector participation through various initiatives.

The representative of Qatar, supporting the statement of the Group of 77, said that the world had learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals that to transform the sustainable development agenda into a reality, it would need to mobilize resources and enhance international cooperation. In doing so, that would need to take into account the different capacity countries have and their level of development, as well as the need to respect national policies. Qatar was active in promoting South-South cooperation. Conflict and humanitarian crises had resulted in unprecedented numbers of refugees and migrants, and it was necessary to address the root cause of those crises, including through the peaceful settlement of disputes. Environmental protection was also a key priority, and Qatar had undertaken an initiative to form a Global Alliance for Drylands to fight desertification and preserve the environment.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, attached great importance to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. Iran had adopted two sets of policy guidelines for strengthening the resilience of the national economy and for protecting the environment. The world was more complex than it had been. Extreme poverty, global warming, terrorism and extremist violence, humanitarian crises and many other issues called for a more effective United Nations. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda needed to be facilitated by even more ambitious, fully inclusive and non-discriminatory measures. He highlighted the importance of capacity-building, technology transfer, trade facilitation and access to financial resources as well as the importance of refraining from any form of unilateral or coercive economic, financial or trade measures.

ASTRIDE NAZAIRE (Haiti) associating herself with the Group of 77, least developed countries, CARICOM, and small island developing States, said the current geopolitical context for implementation of the 2030 Agenda did not give cause for optimism. Reforms were below expectations, global economic growth was flagging, inequality rising and terrorism had exacerbated waves of migration that had led to protectionist, ethnocentric and belligerent discourse. Cooperation at all levels must be strengthened and Haiti, despite all odds, would continue to set priorities for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

SERGEY KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation), noting that the Second Committee’s central theme was implementation of the 2030 Agenda, stressed that it would share that responsibility equally with the General Assembly and other committees. It was necessary to strictly comply with the Committee’s mandate to focus on trade and economics, enhance nations’ capacities to address environmental degradation and improve development assistance mechanisms. Negative trends in the global economy could hinder successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in countries with special situations. It was necessary to create a transparent and non-discriminatory international trade system, tackle closed regional economic associations and improve the financial transfer regime.

JORGE SKINNER-KLA�E (Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the 2030 Agenda was a transformative agenda but there were questions over how to implement it. The Second Committee must focus on the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. As one of the so-called middle-income countries – a controversial term – Guatemala believed it was important to give due attention to the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, which would help assess countries’ activities. Central America was prone to extreme climate, including in the El NiAo cycle, which gave urgency to efforts to fight climate change. It was necessary to build a culture of resilience to break the cycle of hunger.

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), associating himself with the Group of 77, CARICOM, CELAC, and the Alliance of Small Island States, supported the 2030 Agenda, which had set a new standard for carrying out global efforts towards eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. He reiterated his Government’s call for the creation of a “highly indebted middle-income country” category for nations with undiversifiable structural vulnerabilities and a track record of economic, fiscal and social reform.

RODRIGUEZ APASCAL (Cuba), endorsing the statements of the Group of 77, CELAC and AOSIS, looked forward to a constructive debate respecting the different realities, capacities, development levels and policies of States, rather than imposing proposals that represented the sole interest of developed countries. The international community had rejected unilateral financial and trade measures that contravened international law and the United Nations Charter, such as the long-standing blockade of Cuba by the United States. Today, 795 million people were chronically hungry, yet annual military spending stood at $1.7 trillion. Those realities must be reversed, he said, stressing that poverty eradication was essential for sustainable development. While the Paris Agreement on climate change was a welcome development, it must be implemented according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and industrialized nations needed to take responsibility for their environmental debt.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, called for an integrated and balanced approach to the three dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals: poverty eradication, support for developing countries and climate change mitigation. More resources were needed for development, including financial assistance, trade facilitation, technology and capacity-building support tailored to the specific needs of developing countries. Developed counties must make good on their commitments to dedicate 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to ODA. Remedying the inequities in the global trading system would require structural changes so that developing countries could boost their domestic resources for sustainable development. Developed countries also needed to do more to provide climate financing and technological assistance to developing countries. He welcomed the Paris Agreement as a heartening step forward and informed the Committee that Viet Nam had taken steps towards ratification. Finally, he reminded the Committee that middle-income countries were home to 70 per cent of the world’s poor, and urged greater support for their financial and capacity needs.

RODRA�GUEZ ABASCAL (Colombia) said the importance of this year’s Second Committee session was to translate a new and international vision of development – as set forth in the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Plan and the Paris Agreement. The international community must make national and international commitments enabling global progress in closing the world’s development gaps. He noted that eliminating technological disparity was vital in making sustainable development progress, stressing the importance of specific commitments for technology transfer to developing countries. Another challenge to sustainable development was failing to make the most of the positive potential of migration. The success of the 2030 Agenda called for a positive international environment that pushed forward national action plans.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate action, the road map for the socioeconomic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, addressed essential problems. Nonetheless, countries needed to renounce violence and extremism while respecting the sovereignty and cultural uniqueness of States. It would be difficult for the Committee to address the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals without taking into account the increase of terrorism and instability arising from conflict and occupation as well as unilateral economic measures. Terrorism and extremism went beyond insecurity to transform into an economic, social and environmental threat. All countries needed to commit to combat financing for terrorism and terrorist organizations in order to isolate and paralyze terrorists and prevent them from accessing income that financed their activities.

AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77, outlined several ways his country was working to attain sustainable development, including through a new act currently in the process of tabling in Parliament. The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife of Sri Lanka was also commencing under the theme of inclusivity. While Sri Lanka had made progress to end poverty, there were presently serious challenges at the national level where poverty remained the “greatest hindrance”. Sustainable development also could not be achieved without peace. The political transition in Sri Lanka brought about crucial peacebuilding opportunities and was vital to preventing a recurrence of conflict. Owing to very early investments, Sri Lanka had almost achieved its universal primary education target and had made progress in promoting gender equality. He also noted Sri Lanka’s strides in reducing child and maternal mortality rates, combating HIV/AIDS and providing more people with safe drinking water.

INN KRISHNAMURTI (Indonesia), endorsing the statements of the Group of 77 and ASEAN, noted that emerging markets and developing countries faced stronger headwinds, including weaker growth among advanced economies and low commodity prices. Meanwhile, climate effects had been occurring, affecting island countries like Indonesia. However, overcoming the odds was not an impossible task with collective action, and the Second Committee played a key role in formulating consensus. Indonesia emphasized three points: to leave no one behind; to seize opportunities for partnerships and collaboration that were waiting to be tapped into; and to depart from business as usual in order to make the needed transformation.

MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea) underscored that the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals would help in the successful delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda had “no doubt galvanized us to a paradigm shift in how we are addressing our national development”, he said about his country’s efforts, adding that they had established a national strategy for responsible sustainable development. In achieving those development goals, South-South cooperation should continue to be a complement, and not a substitute for North-South cooperation. Development cooperation remained a key component in furthering the 2030 Agenda, and in Papua New Guinea, strengthening the National Statistics Office with the help of external partners had been of paramount importance. Expressing concern for the adverse impacts of climate change to small island developing States, he said that was a challenge that the international community could no longer take for granted. He reiterated the call for the Paris Agreement to enter into force rapidly, urging countries that had yet to ratify the accord to do so.

CARLOS SERGIO SOBRAL DUARTE (Brazil) said that, following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the establishment of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the signing of the Paris Agreement, it was now time to focus on implementation. The scale and ambition of that new framework required a revitalized global partnership, he said, adding that stepping up to that challenge must be prioritized in order to give a more concrete meaning to the principle of “leaving no one behind”. Brazil was doing its part to ensure the international community could live up to such high expectations and was integrating the Sustainable Development Goals in its short, medium and long-term strategies. However, a successful outcome at the global level could only be achieved if resources matched ambition.

SARAH MENDELSON (United States) noted that 2016 had seen plenty of momentum, including the signing of the Paris Agreement and consensus on the outcome document for the Habitat III conference. That momentum needed to be continued, especially on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, which the United States viewed as the most significant resolution to be negotiated in 2016. The review offered member States an unparalleled opportunity to retool and reform the development system to ensure that the agencies that gave assistance did so in the most timely, effective and efficient way possible. However, the Second Committee had to be willing to revitalize itself, avoid logistical challenges, stick to deadlines and not squander limited resources on narrow and repetitive arguments, or the United States would regard it as a less and less relevant body and spend less and less time on it.

GEIR O PEDERSEN (Norway) said that poverty was avoidable and that it was “simply unacceptable” that 700 million people worldwide still lived in extreme poverty. The United Nations must do its part, he added. However, the universal nature of the 2030 Agenda did not mean that the United Nations should do everything everywhere. It should focus its efforts where the needs were the greatest and where it could make the most difference. Core resources remained crucial, especially for normative functions and policy advice. To be more efficient, the United Nations needed to be better at delivering as one at the country level. The Sustainable Development Goals were universal which meant that there was a need for ownership, leadership and partnerships at all levels. Business as usual was no longer good enough. Norway stood ready to engage with other delegations during the Second Committee session to find constructive ways to strengthen the work to ensure impact and added value.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said the Committee had a crucial role to play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Among its primary focuses, in that regard, should be to identify practical challenges and solutions with the objective of supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the national and regional levels. Noting that the world had begun that process in the midst of a turbulent time, he said the 2030 Agenda could address multiple global challenges if it was implemented in a comprehensive and balanced manner. In that regard, he called for concrete action to rid the world of poverty – including through the full implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. It was crucial to mobilize adequate finance and align them with the Sustainable Development Goals, and foreign direct investment (FDI) should be encouraged and aligned with national development priorities. Underscoring the “historic opportunity” presented by the Paris Agreement – to which his country was fully committed – he described national efforts to eradicate poverty through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and called for enhanced international support in that regard.

MARC-ANDRA� BLANCHARD (Canada) said that, among the major responsibilities of the Committee was the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. He asked if the international community was doing what was necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including the promotion of economic growth and investments for all countries. He expressed his commitment to the full implementation of the recently adopted outcome documents as milestones for inclusive societies. Canada had refocused its international assistance to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly in fragile States. Collective action was needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. On climate change, he recalled that his Prime Minister stated at the signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement: “developing countries shouldn’t be punished for a problem they didn’t create, nor should they be deprived of opportunities for clean growth that developed countries are pursuing”.

BANKOLE ADEOYE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the work of the Second Committee was crucial in laying down the framework and setting up the implementing mechanisms for achieving the goals of Agenda 2030. As a developing country, Nigeria recognized the need for the 2030 Agenda, but in so doing it was also necessary to curb illicit financial flows, which hindered many developing States from implementing development agendas. Nigeria also joined other developing countries in condemning restrictive trade measures, favouring a more open, non-discriminatory regime.

VADIM PISARVICH (Belarus) noted that the world economic situation was alarming. Changing commodity prices, lower trade volumes and sluggish investments were buffeting the global economy, negatively impacting the prospects of reducing poverty and inequality, which were at the basis of the 2030 Agenda. He focused on several economic issues. The United Nations did not play a major role in economic decision-making, and could benefit from cooperation with the G20, he said. The Organization also needed to be more mindful of the importance of regional blocs and the needs of middle-income countries. The United Nations could also benefit from embracing new ideas, such as taking a holistic approach to the important issue of energy and the reform of its working methods.

ALI ALNUAIMI (United Arab Emirates), aligning himself with the statement made by the Group of 77, said that the most important cross-cutting issue was the alignment between the Committee’s resolutions and the Sustainable Development Goals. He did not expect a resolution for each Goal, or one United Nations entity responsible for each Goal, but rather called for sufficient attention to all the Goals. Living under foreign occupation was a serious barrier to development and must not be forgotten. He also stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of poverty and of providing citizens with the basic tools that enabled them to live in dignity. To achieve that, he called for resolutions on universal access to drinking water, healthcare and education. Access to energy and information and communication technologies was essential. He described the United Arab Emirates’ initiatives in renewable energy, economic development and gender equality, and the integration of the Goals into the national development plan.

MALEEDHA LODHI (Pakistan) said adoption of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement had renewed faith in multilateralism and development cooperation, with high-level summits showing a shared international vision. However, accomplishing the new development paradigm posed key leadership and development challenges. There was sufficient empirical data to suggest that some major challenges must be addressed with a comprehensive, inclusive strategy and that an enabling environment was vital for mobilizing resources. Also, the new Agenda must be effectively followed up and periodically reviewed. The most significant aspect of work for the Committee this year was to ensure monitoring and follow-up. The range of issues included in the 2030 Agenda required recalibration of the entire United Nations development system. The Committee must build on gains and seek to address and tackle challenges in the system. Trade was critical for development and there were glaring and inequitable aspects of the international trade regime.

MAHMOUD SAIKAL (Afghanistan) said that countries in conflict or post-conflict faced unique challenges in achieving sustainable development, as conflict not only impeded but reversed decades of development gains. Afghanistan considered the connection between peace and security and development a priority for the Committee. Financing for Development played a crucial role in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, he said, reiterating that ODA was paramount to help least developing and land-locked developing countries reach sustainable economic growth. With regards to the Paris Agreement, he said that Afghanistan would ratify it, adding that his country was highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change “although not being responsible for it in the first place”. He also reiterated the importance of the timely implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Furthermore, his delegation called for the new quadrennial comprehensive policy review to take into consideration the challenges and needs of countries in special situation.

RICHARD NDUHUURA (Uganda), aligning his statement with that of the Group of 77, highlighted forced migration, violent conflicts, terrorism, youth unemployment and more as critical issues. Uganda was now the eighth-largest refugee hosting country in the world due to regional migration flows, he said, and refugee protection was now integrated into the country’s sustainable development plan. Uganda had created development plans and enacted new laws to encourage public-private partnerships and mobilize public and private-sector involvement. Uganda had ratified the Paris Agreement. The World Trade Organization should conclude the Doha round of negotiations. It was necessary to avoid picking and choosing from the Sustainable Development Goals, as the goals were interlinked.

HASSAN ABBAS (Lebanon) said the Committee should give particular attention to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and adequate means of implementation. Lebanon had drafted a National Sustainable Development Plan in line with the 2030 Agenda. He described the effects of the protracted humanitarian crisis and the massive influx of refugees on Lebanon and called for humanitarian assistance as well as longer-term development financing for developing countries hosting refugees. A more coherent and integrated United Nations Development Assistance Framework, a revitalized and strengthened Resident Coordinator System, predictable, sustainable and flexible funding for development operations and improved coordination and coherence between development and humanitarian activities was needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda. He pointed to the ongoing effects of the 2006 oil spill in Lebanon caused by an Israeli attack and asked delegations to support the Committee’s related resolution.

ELMAHDI S ELMAJERBI (Libya) said it was important to respond effectively to current challenges. Notably, Libya welcomed the results of the high-level meeting on migration. Illegal migration was not a unilateral or bilateral challenge and it required regional and international action. Nor could migration be thought of through a security lens alone. Development programmes and economic reform were necessary to help developing countries break from the vicious cycle of crises that caused large-scale migratory flows. There was a correlation between security, stability and development, and the return of security was essential for sustainable development to occur in Libya.

MICHAEL R. TEN-POW (Guyana), aligning himself with the Group of 77, CARICOM, CELAC and the Alliance of Small Island States, emphasized the importance of supporting small island developing nations, which faced crippling difficulties in their pursuit of development despite their great contributions in addressing global challenges. Those countries were particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, natural hazards and external economic shocks. He therefore called for the creation of an international framework for addressing climate change, trade, debt, international tax cooperation, food security and natural hazards to enable those countries to make the necessary investments, develop resilience and incentivize sustainable development. Guyana was working to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, with particular emphasis on education, food security, energy and infrastructure. He reminded the Committee that Guyana had ratified the Paris Agreement and looked forward to its early entry into force.

Source: United Nations