Threatening Climate Patterns Must be Addressed to Limit Disaster Risks, Deliver on 2030 Agenda, Delegates Say, as Second Committee Debates Sustainable Development

Report
from UN General Assembly
Published on 09 Oct 2017 View Original

General Assembly Second Committee

Seventy-second Session, 8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)

GA/EF/3475

9 October 2017

Most large-scale disasters were climate-related, with devastating floods, droughts and storms doubling over the last four decades, a United Nations official told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) as it took up sustainable development today.

Some 1.35 million lives and $2.5 trillion in property had been lost to disasters over the past two decades alone, said Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015‑2030 (document A/72/259).

Disasters plunged an additional 26 million people into poverty each year, with annual average loss in less developed countries more than 20 per cent of social expenditure, he said. Disaster-related costs were rising rapidly, mainly due to climate change, but also from failure to include risk in economic investments.

“In light of this disturbing picture, it is apparent that delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development] will only be possible if we cut greenhouse gases as rapidly as possible in line with the Paris Agreement, and reduce climate and disaster risk in accordance with the ambitious global targets agreed by Member States in the Sendai Framework,” he said.

Barbados’ representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said countries in his region were at a “critical junction”, needing prompt support following extensive damage during recent hurricanes. Adding that threatening climate patterns undermined poverty eradication and sustainable development, he said the expensive link between disasters and development could no longer be ignored. He emphasized the need to identify small island developing States as particularly vulnerable to climate change and “special cases” for sustainable development. The international community must tackle issues of debt relief and non-communicable diseases in those States as ways of improving adaptation to climate change.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, the Solomon Islands’ representative similarly noted the escalating impact of climate change and vulnerabilities of his group.
Mitigation efforts must focus on capacity-building at national and institutional levels to ensure durable gains towards achieving sustainable development. Adding that recent extreme weather events had resulted in “indescribable levels of devastation”, he underscored the importance of resilience to disasters. Noting that access to financing for development remained a challenge to small island developing States, he called for funding criteria that reflected emerging vulnerabilities.

Calling for urgent efforts to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change, the representative of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed that development partners must put into play the Green Climate Fund. Noting that desertification, land degradation and drought had continued to hamper sustainable development in least developed countries, he said billions of hectares of land had been affected by desertification in Africa alone, leading to about $9 billion in losses every year.

Speakers also highlighted infrastructure challenges and the need for enhanced development assistance in least developed countries as well as the importance of knowledge and technology transfer for middle-income nations. They called for international financial institutions, the private sector and philanthropic organizations to assist in securing needed resources and capacity-building in meeting development goals.

Also introduced were Secretary-General’s reports on the following: mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system (document A/72/75-E/2017/56); implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (document A/72/228); 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 (document A/72/214); agricultural technology for sustainable development (document A/72/216); Harmony with Nature (document A/72/175); ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (document A/72/160); United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (document A/72/156); international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan (document A/72/343); Oil Slick on Lebanese Shores (document A/72/353); Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America (document A/72/174); and action plan for integrating sustainable development practices into Secretariat-wide operations and facilities management (document A/72/82).

In addition, a report was introduced by the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on implementation of education for sustainable development (document A/72/130).

Further reports were introduced by the secretariats of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/72/152 – Chapter 2), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/72/152 – Chapter 3).

Also speaking were the representatives of Ecuador (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Philippines (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)), Samoa (for the Pacific Islands Forum), India, Malaysia, Nicaragua, China, Singapore, Iran, Belarus, Russian Federation, Cuba, Syria, Monaco, Indonesia, Turkmenistan, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Qatar, Dominican Republic, Viet Nam, Iraq, Tonga, Ukraine, Norway, Maldives, Timor-Leste, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Zambia, Ethiopia, Togo, Malawi, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Venezuela, Nepal and Morocco.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 10 October, to conclude its debate on sustainable development.

Statement by General Assembly President

MIROSLAV LAJČÁK (Slovakia), President of the General Assembly, said the organ’s current session would ensure that due attention was paid to each subject area in achieving maximum progress and leaving no group behind. Noting that climate change remained one of the biggest global challenges, he said the Paris Agreement must be reinforced and strengthened. Financing for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was also critically important in ensuring that improvements were brought to people’s lives. The General Assembly session would also actively contribute to the International Decade for Action, "Water for Sustainable Development", 2018‑2028.

The Second Committee could positively affect life on the planet with its resolutions, decisions and discussions, which was critical at a time when multilateralism was being challenged, he continued. The United Nations was embarking on many processes to reform the development system, which must become more strategic, accountable and efficient to better meet people’s needs. He planned to work closely with Committee Chairs and the Economic and Social Council to ensure that work among the various bodies was closely aligned.

Introduction of Reports

LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced seven reports of the Secretary-General’s under agenda item 19. He said the pace of progress was insufficient to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and advancements were uneven across regions, ages and genders. The key message was to keep the momentum strong and on track, as more inclusive projects would be needed to meet the 2030 Agenda. He introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the mainstreaming of the three dimensions of sustainable development throughout the United Nations system (document A/72/75-E/2017/56), which provided an update on the work of United Nations organizations to integrate the 2030 Agenda into their programmes.

He also introduced the Secretary-General’s reports on the following: implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (document A/72/228); 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 (document A/72/214); agricultural technology for sustainable development (document A/72/216); Harmony with Nature (document A/72/175); ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (document A/72/160); and United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (document A/72/156).

ROBERT GLASSER, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015‑2030 (document A/72/259), saying that over the past two decades, 1.35 million lives and $2.5 trillion had been lost to disasters. Every year, such events plunged an additional 26 million people into poverty, with the annual average loss from disasters in less developed countries equating to more than 20 per cent of their average annual social expenditure. Those costs were escalating rapidly due to a failure to incorporate risk in economic investments and, most fundamentally, because of climate change, he said.

The majority of large-scale disasters were climate-related, he said, with floods, droughts and storms doubling over the last four decades. By 2050, the urban population exposed to hurricanes was estimated to increase from 310 million today to 680 million, he said, adding that urban assets vulnerable to sea level rise and flooding could reach $35 trillion by 2070. “In light of this disturbing picture, it is apparent that delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will only be possible if we cut greenhouse gases as rapidly as possible in line with the Paris Agreement and reduce climate and disaster risk in accordance with the ambitious global targets agreed by Member States in the Sendai Framework,” he said.

Summarizing the highlights of the report, he said the Sendai Framework Monitor would be launched online in early 2018, providing countries with an evidence-based management tool that would help them develop disaster risk reduction strategies while enabling the private and public sectors to make risk-informed investment decisions. He said the Secretary-General was encouraging countries, supported by the United Nations system, to invest in the development of disaster loss databases and risk profiles. Drawing on information from the Monitor and global and regional platforms, the high-level political forum on sustainable development should take disaster risk reduction and the Sendai Framework into consideration. Countries were also encouraged to reflect disaster risk reduction in their voluntary national reviews, he said, emphasizing also the importance of partnerships and inclusive approaches in implementing the Sendai Framework.

CIHAN SULTANOĞLU, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan (document A/72/343). She said the document outlined the actions taken by that Government in addressing the social, economic and ecological challenges in the Semipalatinsk region from 2014 to 2017. Noting the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site in 1991, she said that about 486 nuclear tests were conducted on the site between 1948 and 1989. Recognizing the need for increased awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions, Kazakhstan undertook numerous initiatives to highlight the consequences of such explosions. Because of their work, the General Assembly declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests, and in 2015 approved the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World.

“While history cannot be reversed, this suffering should never be forgotten,” she continued. The Government of Kazakhstan with support from the international community, increased efforts to improve the well-being and livelihoods of people affected by the Semipalatinsk tragedy. The recovery of the region remained a key priority for national programmes and strategies, with a shift from humanitarian assistance to sustainable development. As a result of national efforts, the region witnessed steady growth in production and industry practices, as well as ecological improvements to bolster economic growth. Several national programmes offered local, community-based solutions in social services, maternal health, local economic development and civic participation, among others. Mechanisms for local self-governance became models for other regions in the country. She said long-term, sustainable growth and development would require continued efforts from Kazakhstan and the international community to reduce poverty and income inequality, improve the quality of education, guarantee gender equality, and strengthen health care and social protection systems.

MONIQUE BARBUT, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, delivering remarks via video, introduced the report on Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/72/152 – Chapter 2). She noted that the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification had been held in September 2017 in China, resulting in the adoption of a new framework to replace the 10‑year strategy to end in 2018. Desertification, land degradation and drought were global issues, contributing to social and environmental problems like poverty, decreasing biodiversity, climate change and water scarcity and had continued to compromise sustainable development in concerned countries. The international community must work at all levels to end all forms of land degradation by 2030. It was also important to implement a comprehensive, rapid-alert monitoring system in regions vulnerable to drought. The Convention Secretariat had assumed a leading role in the area of land degradation and would play a catalytic role in attracting financing for sustainable development and climate actions. She stressed that better land management would assist in facing many challenges facing humanity today.

CRISTIANA PAŞCA PALMER, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/72/152 – Chapter 3). The report covered the outcomes of the thirteenth session of the Conference of Parties, held in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2016. The Conference adopted a declaration which provided guidance on integrating biodiversity in key economic sectors, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, to achieve global biodiversity targets. The report also included considerable information on progress made in implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011‑2020. Significant progress towards achievement of some elements of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets had been made, but would be insufficient to ensure their accomplishment by 2020. Parties were urged to intensify efforts to achieve their national targets and also to consider increasing the ambition and/or scope of the national or regional targets.

SOPHIE DE CAEN, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director for Arab States of UNDP, introduced the report on Oil Slick on Lebanese Shores (document A/72/353). She said it was an update on implementation of General Assembly resolutions concerning the environmental disaster caused by the Israeli Air Force on 15 July 2006 on oil storage tanks in the direct vicinity of the Jiyeh electric power plant in Lebanon, which caused an oil slick covering two thirds of the Lebanese coastline and extended beyond to that of Syria. The report noted that the Government of Israel had failed to assume responsibility for adequate compensation to the Government of Lebanon for the aforementioned damage and to other countries directly affected by the oil slick. It also stated that the European Union had awarded a contract in 2016 for the treatment and disposal of the remaining solid wastes from the 2006 oil spill, which was ongoing. The report noted that no voluntary contributions had been made to the Eastern Mediterranean Oil Spill Restoration Trust Fund for recovery and rehabilitation activities on the Lebanese coast. It expressed grave concern at the lack of implementation of the relevant provisions of the General Assembly resolutions on the oil spill, especially compensation by the Government of Israel to Lebanon, which amounted to $856.4 million in 2014.

KAZI A. RAHMAN, Deputy Special Representative to the United Nations, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), introduced the Secretary-General’s report titled “Sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America” (document A/72/174). Noting that it was the first report on the topic since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, he said Central American countries received almost 11 million international tourists in 2016, generating $11.4 billion in revenues. That was up from 4.3 million visitors and $3 billion in revenues in 2000. It was highly encouraging that most Central American countries had established strategies, policies and programmes for sustainable tourism which took the Goals into account, while legislation and policy frameworks had been modified to support sustainable tourism development, covering such aspects as biodiversity, indigenous development and climate change. It was noteworthy, too, that Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama had reported that they had prepared national emergency plans to respond to natural and man-made disasters.

With intraregional tourism in Central America growing strongly, Governments in the region were enhancing cooperation and recognizing the importance of data quality to formulate effective policies and strategies, he said. At the request of the Sistema de Integración Turística Centroamericana, UNWTO in 2016 helped organize a regional workshop on tourism statistics in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, followed by a proposal for additional workshops. He went on to say that, according to UNWTO’s projections, the number of international tourist arrivals in Central America was expected to increase to 22 million by 2030. That underscored the region’s potential for continued development opportunities in the tourism sector while highlighting its growing significance as an instrument of social and economic inclusion, thus contributing to an improved quality of life within a framework of sustainability. Concluding, he urged the Committee to seriously consider the report’s analyses and recommendations.

LILY GRAY, Liaison Officer of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), introduced the Director-General’s report on the implementation of education for sustainable development (document A/72/130). She said the report provided a comprehensive overview of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, and education for sustainable development and the global action programme. The report showed that if current efforts were not immediately increased, the international community would fail to meet its education goals. Key challenges included a lack of data and information, a necessity to build capacities and a need for increased and equitable domestic funding for education. The document noted that global funding for education had decreased and would lead to a major funding gap. To that end, she called for strong multi-stakeholder partnerships and strategic alliances.

She said the main responsibility for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was with Governments, with the support of UNESCO. Good progress was achieved, including through many partnerships and coordination mechanisms at the global, regional and national levels. The report also reviewed the implementation of education for sustainable development, as recognized in target 4.7, General Assembly resolutions 69/211 and 70/209, and the official follow up to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. In that regard, solid progress was made in all five priority areas of the global action programme through policy advancement, transformation of learning environments, capacity-building of educators, youth empowerment and sustainable solutions at the local level. Similarly, she called for improved measurements of the impact of actions and drew attention to the recent UNESCO report titled “Education for Sustainable Development Goals — Learning Objectives”.

PATRICK CAREY, Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Office of Central Support Services in the Department of Management, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the action plan for integrating sustainable development practices into Secretariat-wide operations and facilities management (document A/72/82). The document outlined the foundation for a Secretariat-wide framework for creating a United Nations that had no negative environmental effect through its operations. It was critical that the Secretariat showed leadership in reducing any detrimental effects. The Secretariat had created a senior-level group, working with other steering groups around the world to collect local environmental data. The action plan aimed to move the Organization from its current ad hoc approach to environmental sustainability to a more targeted one, allowing each geographic location to address its most relevant environmental aspects.

Questions and Answers

The representative of Iran asked how the international community might achieve the sustainable goals and targets by 2030. In response, Mr. ZHENMIN called on States to dedicate and mobilize resources to finance sustainable development, and invest in the targets. Since 2015, such financing and investment had not been forthcoming.

Mr. GLASSER said that although additional funding was needed, it would also be imperative for Governments to seek the help of the United Nations in understanding their risk profiles. By attaining better information and knowledge, States could make more informed decisions.

MELCHIADE BUKURU, Chief of the Liaison Office of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said that States must invest wisely, as efforts on one goal would impact others. Investment in land degradation and desertification, for example, would help eradicate poverty and hunger, while supporting the empowerment of women.

Statements

DIEGO MOREJON PAZMIÑO (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, shared the views reflected in the report of the high-level political forum at its 2017 session. All efforts should be made to implement the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, he said, underscoring the challenges faced by developing countries in that context. Reiterating the importance of the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, he also called for a more people-centred preventive approach to disaster risk by promoting inclusive multi-hazard and multisectoral practices.

He said the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction reaffirmed that developing countries — especially least developed, small island, landlocked and African countries, as well as middle-income States — faced specific challenges, and thus, required special attention. He stressed the need for international cooperation in addressing climate change, desertification, drought and other challenges through existing mechanisms, while also calling for inclusive and quality education at all levels. The Secretary-General’s report on the oil slick on Lebanese shores reflected the concern over the lack of implementation of Assembly resolutions, he said, reiterating the Group’s recognition that Mother Earth was a common expression in several regions and that some countries recognized the rights of nature.

TEODORO L. LOCSIN, JR. (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said disaster risk management remained a key priority, particularly through the group’s Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management. Southeast Asia occupied only 3 per cent of the world’s total land area, however it was home to 18 per cent of known plants and animals, 35 per cent of mangrove forests and 30 per cent of coral reefs. Noting that importance, ASEAN reaffirmed its commitment to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 to 2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

To further raise awareness, he said the Association would inaugurate in 2017 the biodiversity heroes award and enhance implementation of the Heritage Parks Programme. Noting concern about the impacts of climate change on the region, as outlined in the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he called for the full and effective implementation of all nationally determined contributions. He also encouraged developed countries to enhance support for efforts to promote low-carbon and climate resilient cities in Southeast Asia.

KEITH MARSHALL (Barbados), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Alliance of Small Island States and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said countries in the region had found themselves at a “critical junction”. CARICOM required prompt and significant action to support recovery efforts following the extensive damage of the recent hurricane season. Persistent threats posed by adverse climate patterns undermined poverty eradication and achievement of sustainable development, he said, stressing that the expensive link between natural disasters and development could not be ignored.

Referencing upcoming high-level climate meetings, he emphasized the relevance of identifying small island developing States as particularly vulnerable to climate change and as “special cases” for sustainable development. He urged the international community to tackle issues of debt relief and non-communicable diseases as ways to improve adaptation to climate change. CARICOM remained fully committed to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction, he said, calling it an integrated approach to strengthening national and regional risk reduction programmes. He closed by reaffirming the region’s commitment to conserve its rich biodiversity and promote its sustainable use and fair exploitation.

SHAMEEN AHSAN (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the 47 least developed countries and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the gross domestic product (GDP) for least developed countries grew at an average 3.8 per cent in 2015, well below the 7 per cent target set by the Istanbul Programme of Action. International development cooperation was needed to help them overcome structural challenges and the United Nations must strengthen its normative and operational support. Least developed countries were committed to integrating the 2030 Agenda into national policies, he said, stressing the need for strong synergy between the 2030 Agenda and the Istanbul Programme of Action.

He advocated an inclusive approach to disaster risk management, especially for women, girls, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples, calling also for concerted efforts to implement the Paris Agreement and to operationalize the Green Climate Fund in a timely manner. Desertification, land degradation and drought hampered development in least developed countries, with billions of hectares of land affected by desertification in Africa alone, which had led to $9 billion in annual losses. Land degradation and desertification also fostered political instability, starvation and social breakdown. While affordable energy access remained the most fundamental challenge, he said progress had been made with 38.3 per cent of the population in least developed countries having access to electricity in 2014, up from 32.3 per cent in 2010. Yet, only 26.5 per cent of rural populations had such access, due in part to slow expansion of energy supply, high user fees and a lack of investment.

MARIYAM MIDHFA NAEEM (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating herself with the Group of 77, said economic growth would not be possible if limited resources were directed to rebuilding efforts, which were only “stop-gaps” before future extreme weather events. Shifting towards a greener, more sustainable development path, and improving resilience across all sectors was a necessity. She welcomed the work of Fiji and Sweden in co-hosting the Ocean Conference and reiterated the call to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources. To that end, she called for increased partnerships, funding, capacity building and technology transfer.

“It is time to take real steps to improve the fiscal space available for small and vulnerable economies, to build resilience to external shocks and effects of climate change,” she continued. Small island developing States had a particular interest in the outcome of the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, and efforts to identify both solutions and areas for collaboration on sustainable development. She recalled the important work of the high-level political forum on sustainable development in 2017, the Small Island Developing States Partnership Framework, and the Joint Inspection Unit that had reviewed the United Nations support to small island developing States. She called on all States to support improved coordination and mainstreaming of sustainability and resilience measures, as well as a high-level midterm review of the SAMOA Pathway in 2019.

ROBERT SISILO (Solomon Islands), speaking on behalf of the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States and associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77 and China, said that conditions leading to the designation of small island developing States as “special cases” for sustainable development were more relevant than ever. The escalating impact of climate change had highlighted the vulnerabilities of those States. Mitigation efforts must focus on capacity-building at the national and institutional level to ensure durable gains towards achieving sustainable development.

Extreme weather events in recent months had resulted in “indescribable levels of devastation”, he said, with the destruction witnessed in several regions underscoring the importance of resilience. The increasing likelihood of climate shocks called for resilience-building in line with the Sendai Framework, he said, noting that access to financing for development remained a challenge for small island developing States. He called for a rethinking of criteria for access to financing to reflect emerging vulnerabilities.

PABLO JOSÉ SORIANO MENA (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of CELAC, said his delegation was committed to achieving sustainable development but added that every country faced specific challenges in reaching that goal. Implementing the 2030 Agenda required international cooperation and also an understanding of countries’ different realities, capacities and development levels. As the high-level political forum was essential for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, it was crucial to strengthen its links with the United Nations regional commissions and other regional entities. Also, official development assistance (ODS) was important in helping developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Expressing the Group’s commitment to promoting education, human resource training and technological transfer, he said the Latin American and Caribbean regions were vulnerable to climate change and natural and man-made disasters. There was a need to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Community would continue to promote regional measures to encourage the protection of ecosystems, reduce deforestation and degradation, and conserve biodiversity. It rejected unilateral economic financial or commercial measures, which hindered development finance and the full achievement of economic and social development in developing countries.

ALI’IOAIGA FETURI ELISAIA (Samoa), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said the implementation of the Pathway was a priority concern, and that the Second Committee played a critical role on ensuring that implementation. The proposed midterm review of the SAMOA Pathway would allow the international community to assess progress made and gaps that still needed to be addressed, he said. The high-level political forum was a useful platform for consideration of remaining challenges in that regard. Climate change and extreme weather events such as the recent hurricanes were stronger on small island developing States because of their lack of resources and reduced resilience, he observed.

Reiterating the Forum’s call for the 2030 Agenda to be mainstreamed into the United Nations work, he welcomed the development of performance monitoring systems in that regard. As for his own region, he said the 2030 Pacific road map for sustainable development provided guidance towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. Small island developing States needed technology, knowledge and expertise to implement the 2030 Agenda, and to that end needed adequate and predictable funding. The Green Climate Fund’s approval of a pilot scheme offering a simplified approval process was something the Forum had advocated for years. Member States of his group would work to ensure their region’s priorities were met as part of the implementation of major international initiatives including the Our ocean, our future: call for action.

ASHISH SINHA (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country’s tracking of progress on sustainable development required accessible and reliable data at all levels. In India, the draft indicators for tracking had been developed and placed in the public domain by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. India continued to expand its development partnerships over a wide range of sectors for capacity-building with fellow developing countries across continents. Underscoring that climate change remained a critical component of sustainable development, he highlighted ways his country’s climate action plan reflected its commitment. “We are substantially reducing emission intensity of gross domestic product, tapping non-fossil fuel energy sources and creating additional carbon sink,” he said.

MUHAMMAD SHARUL IKRAM YAAKOB (Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that as a middle-income nation, his country was vulnerable to being caught in the so-called “middle-income trap”. He called for enhanced development assistance to middle-income countries, particularly in the transfer of knowledge and technology. Malaysia was committed to assisting other developing countries to achieve the 2030 Agenda, he said, noting that 32,000 participants from 143 developing countries had benefitted from courses offered by the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme. Inclusive communities were essential to strengthen the economy, create jobs, protect the environment and promote public health. He also reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to the New Urban Agenda.

KARLA ALEJANDRA BAJANA TINOCO (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the international community must take concerted action to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. In achieving that end, it must eradicate poverty, hunger, malnutrition, new diseases and the negative impacts of climate change. Her country was focused on living in harmony with Mother Earth, but would be unable to deliver on 2030 Agenda as long as it lacked the political ambition and will. It would also greatly benefit from the elimination of coercive economic measures exerted against it. The international community must work together to maximize sustainable development. It must preserve the principles of the United Nations to successfully tackle present and future challenges.

XU ZHONGSHENG (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the international community should promote partnerships and honour official development assistance (ODA) commitments. Similarly, the United Nations should do more to provide policy guidance and advice on coordination mechanisms. In terms of disaster reduction, States should share responsibility and provide greater assistance to affected countries, he continued. China provided 50 million yuan to Mexico, 3.8 million yuan to the Dominican Republic and 2.5 million yuan to Antigua and Barbuda. He said States should effectively implement the Paris Agreement and that developed countries should do more to reduce their emissions and aid in the capacity-building of developing countries. China actively participated in financing for climate initiatives, led efforts to combat desertification and promoted ecological diversity. Similarly, he encouraged States to share knowledge on open, shared sustainable development concepts. His country included the 2030 Agenda in its domestic programmes, including through the establishment of “renovation and demonstration” zones.

MARTIN YII (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, said policies which incentivize people to live sustainably must be put in place. In Singapore, smart meters allowed consumers to find out how much energy they consumed while a national plan had included efforts to bring the public and private sectors together to create a sustainable environment. He stressed that public and private sector partnerships were crucial in achieving sustainable development and added that those collaborations were used to launch projects in water treatment and waste disposal in Singapore. Urging Member States “to start small now, in finding fresh solutions to challenges old and new”, he said large projects grab headlines but small pilot experiments paved the way for scaling up and implementation of new solutions.

JAVAD MOMENI (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the United Nations should enhance cooperation and partnership at the regional and international levels, while considering the different needs and priorities of developing countries. Iran was supportive of the innovative ideas among the regional commissions, and would seek to consider ways and means to enhance regional and subregional cooperation. To that end, his country sought to overcome obstacles through its regional plan for 2025, and its sixth national development plan. Enhancing public health remained a key priority, and as such, Iran sought to develop universal health coverage by 2025. His nation also undertook steps to address climate change by elaborating on plans to establish itself with a low carbon economy. Similarly, Iran hosted in 2017 an international meeting to combat sand and dust storms and he urged States to support the recommendations from that meeting. The Middle East, he emphasized, continued to face numerous obstacles which would require greater multilateral action.

TAMARA KHARASHUN (Belarus) said her country appointed a national sustainable development coordinator, as part of a national council and regional body that sought to harmonize sustainable development planning. Similarly, Belarus established a mechanism of Parliamentary hearings and consultative meetings, which furthered the important work of regional and national agencies in addressing sustainable development. She urged States to work together through such coordinators and mechanisms, and advance multilateral initiatives to address the global challenges. In 2018, Belarus would hold a regional forum for national sustainable development coordinators, and she urged the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to assist in the establishment of a development database to ensure effective cooperation between States. The continued attention and interest of middle income countries, she continued, must be considered in such efforts. She encouraged the establishment of a mechanism for technological cooperation, which would be democratic and open to all interested countries. Additionally, she highlighted the importance of regions affected by Chernobyl and urged States to place greater focus on this issue in the international agenda.

SERGEY KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) stressed the usefulness of publishing information about partnerships working to implement the SAMOA Pathway, especially in developing countries. As natural hazards were serious challenges to sustainable development, it was vital to develop and implement measures to tackle their underlying causes. His country, continuing to increase assistance to small island nations, was implementing a project on disaster resilience in those States. The main role in disaster management must be played by national crisis and disaster risk reduction centres, but the Russian Federation would continue to support such efforts. In combating climate change, he emphasized the significance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. His country was preparing a legislative base for ratification of the Paris Agreement. To ensure common access to energy by 2030, it must increase the effectiveness of traditional fuels and a rational increase in renewable energy.

ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and CELAC, said 17 years after the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals and two years after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, progress remained insufficient and unequal. Unacceptable levels of poverty, discrimination and social inequality persisted, even within industrialized nations, and the gap between the global North and South as well as the polarization of wealth were on the rise. Urging the Committee to focus its discussions on the root causes of those systemic issues, the prevailing world order, the means of implementation of sustainable development and the fulfilment of related commitments, he also called for efforts to build the political will of developed countries to deliver on their historic commitments and responsibilities. Sustainable development also urgently required more inclusive and coherent policies and a reinvigorated global partnership, he said, adding that the United Nations should attach priority to the eradication of poverty.

ROUA SHURBAJI (Syria), associating herself with the Group of 77, said her nation continued to suffer from significant external challenges, including terrorist activities and unilateral measures imposed upon it, as well as crimes perpetrated by international alliances against the country’s people and infrastructure. With the aid of its armed forces and allies, Syria continued to confront and combat terrorists. She urged the international community to adhere to Security Council resolutions, as Syria had abided by the United Nations activities and development programmes. The Government undertook a people-centred approach to promoting sustainable development nationally; however, she urged States to avoid political agendas, politicization, “double standards” and selectivity of support to the country. The oil slick off Lebanon, she continued, was evidence of Israeli aggressions. She urged the international community to hold the Israeli “occupation” responsible for continued violations of relevant United Nations resolutions.

ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco) said her country was concerned about the lack of capacity and resources in several countries to implement the 2030 Agenda. Monaco had implemented projects to assist small island developing States in achieving the Agenda. For example, it had a special partnership with Samoa to protect mangos there. Monaco had an early warning system for major risks, including technological and seismic risks. It had great faith in the potential of young people, and hoped that sustainable development might become a lifestyle for them. Monaco was a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and contributed to the Climate Green Fund. Its new goal was to reduce by half greenhouse gas emissions, which would require quadrupling progress made to date. Dialogue and improved information should allow a more forward-looking vision, which would allow all sectors of society to participate in combating climate change.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that failure to make progress in sustainable development was not an option. Revitalized global partnership was needed, including the sharing of innovation, science and technology. Effective technical assistance and capacity-building was also required though South-South and triangular cooperation. The United Nations and its agencies must be maximized as the locomotive for sustainable development, with the high-level political forum and General Assembly serving as venues for cross-learning and problem solving. In the domain of all international commitments, concrete action was needed on the ground. For that, strong leadership was essential. Indonesia was doing its part, including an energy-mix policy and a moratorium on new forest concessions. He invited Member States to participate in the 2018 Archipelagic and Island States Forum.

AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan) said her country established a national implementation mechanism for the Sustainable Development Goals, an education centre, and enhanced international transport and transit corridors. In 2016, Turkmenistan held a global conference on sustainable transport, the outcomes of which would be submitted to the Second Committee under agenda item 19. The proposed draft resolution would strengthen development efforts and advocate for reliable safe transport corridors. She encouraged all States to support and co-sponsor the document. Turkmenistan would continue to participate in processes to promote the diversification of energy resources and energy delivery routes, including through a parliamentary agreement and assistance to international efforts that support environmental protection.

VICTOR MORARU (Republic of Moldova) said that despite impressive global commitment to implement the 2030 Agenda, the 2017 Secretary-General’s progress report clearly showed that advancement was uneven across regions and peoples. The complexity of the 2030 Agenda would require greater use of innovation and information technology. In that regard, the United Nations should facilitate cooperation between Governments and the technological sector, and help replicate best practices in use of innovation at the national level. He also called for greater involvement of international financial institutions, the private sector and philanthropic organizations to secure necessary resources and capacity. He supported the Secretary-General’s reform efforts and looked forward to the Secretary-General’s final report to be presented at the end of the year. He also called for an increased focus on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. By the end of 2017, the Republic of Moldova would launch its national development strategy and would further efforts to contribute to the global climate change response through its nationally determined contribution.

ENKHTSETSEG OCHIR (Mongolia) said her country had a vision to eliminate poverty and become an upper-middle-income country, promoting green development. Those goals, to be accomplished by 2030, had been mainstreamed into the Government’s work. Meanwhile, Mongolia’s Parliament, as a follow-up to the Sendai Framework, had approved several policy documents on disaster-risk reduction and recently adopted national plans for community engagement and participation. Mongolia was expanding its cooperation on disaster-risk reduction at all levels including with civil society. The high-level political forum had provided an important platform for peers to share experiences and learn from each other. It could also be helpful in drawing up a summary of best practices and lessons learned regarding implementation of individual goals and ensuring policy synergies.

Mr. VIZCARRA (Mexico) associating himself with CELAC, said his country had made significant progress in its efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda. In 2017, Mexico established a national council, which included numerous federal and state actors, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. His country had presented its national voluntary review report in 2016 and would present a second review in 2018 to demonstrate significant progress in advancing the Goals. He urged States to invest more in the environment and efforts to combat climate change, which would require greater time and commitment from all actors. He said the international community must enhance disaster risk reduction, and to that end, he encouraged the development of a follow-up mechanism for the Sendai framework indicators. He stated that greater priority should also be given to promote biodiversity. Similarly, he welcomed efforts by France to develop a global pact for the environment.

ABDULLAH ALGHUNAIM (Saudi Arabia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, stressed the value of education, which should be fair and inclusive. Without access to lifelong training, sustainable development would not be possible. Saudi Arabia was striving to achieve a goal of educating every child in the country by 2030. As the Saudi Arabian people and Government believed in the importance of the 2030 Agenda, the country was instituting a new teaching programme on competencies for the environment and sustainable development, which was now being included in all curricula. The Ministry of Education was also offering several elements pertaining to sustainable development developed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNESCO.

NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, noted that developing countries faced increasingly frequent and destructive drought, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes caused by climate change. He called for the highest political commitment to the Paris Agreement and urged those who had not yet done so to deposit their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval and accession as soon as possible. Namibia was recovering from its worst drought and floods in four years, he said, stressing the need to address drought mitigation as well as to continue promoting sustainable land management and restore degraded land to combat desertification and land degradation. He also called for a binding Protocol on drought management under the auspices of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

Mr. AL-MARRI (Qatar) said the international community must consider the special needs of least developed countries while strengthening international cooperation for sustainable development. Recognizing that high-quality, equitable education was vital, Qatar undertook capacity-building efforts, developed competencies and promoted peace regionally and internationally. The country promoted education services which allowed millions of children around the world to receive education and training. He highlighted the importance of establishing a global coalition to follow up on progress, particularly sustainable energy and climate change. The “2030 Vision” national development plan included several socioeconomic objectives. The plan was integrated into the 2017‑2022 national development strategy. He reiterated that all States must enable their citizens to receive quality education.

JOAN M. CEDANO (Dominican Republic) associated herself with the Group of 77, CELAC, and the Alliance of Small Island States. She said the world lagged in achieving the ambitious targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda. Due to the excessive actions of man in industrialized countries, climate change continued to threaten the Caribbean region and Central America. The consequences of climate change resulted in rising sea levels and the disappearance of coral reefs, and directly led to displacement and migration. Such developments threatened to exacerbate tensions over resources, and would lead to more unstable nations and regions, particularly small island States like hers. The international community must act urgently and incorporate disaster-risk reduction into programmes and policies. States should also consider the growth of urbanization and the challenges that it would entail. She reiterated the commitment of her country to adopt preventative measures, and called upon the Second Committee to take into special consideration the needs of small island developing States in implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

NGO GIA THUAN (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, and with ASEAN, underscored the horrific human and property losses that resulted from hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Responding to natural disaster risk in the context of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement required a coherent approach and the collective actions of the international community, he stressed. Among the countries severely affected by climate change, Viet Nam had been proactively committed to implementing measures to respond to climate change and disaster risk reduction. Reducing disaster risk required collaboration in related areas, including science, technology and innovative advancement, gender equality and women’s empowerment. Resilient investment must be enhanced for low-middle-income countries vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. He called on the United Nations to continue to support developing countries, and underscored the need for disaster risk reduction responsibilities to be shared by stakeholders.

Mr. SAFAH (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said it was important in any society to build a strong educational system. The system required clear vision and strategies, as the younger generation would carry development plans forward. Achieving the ambitious 2030 Agenda needed an international focus on education, which meant embedding the principles of sustainable development in international curricula. Iraq reaffirmed its need for support and assistance in rebuilding educational facilities in areas damaged by war. It had signed the Paris Agreement and aimed to make effective efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, keeping in mind the exceptional situation in his country due to terrorism, which had impeded any form of sustainable development. Iraq could not achieve sustainable development without international assistance, but was working to reduce emissions and implementing strategies to introduce clean energy programmes.

TEVITA SUKA MANGISI (Tonga), associating himself with the Group of 77, Alliance of Small Island States, Pacific Island Forum, and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, said his country had committed to doubling marine protected areas by 2030. It had also made a commitment to increase reforestation efforts and reduce reliance on fossil fuel for power generation by 50 per cent by 2020 and 70 per cent by 2030. He also stressed that full and equal access to quality education at all levels was essential for achieving sustainable development. Tonga had allocated the largest share of its national recurrent budget towards education. To further strengthen international and regional cooperation, Tonga had established a renewable energy centre which provided support to Pacific Island countries and territories. He also urged the international community to continue to provide adequate support to small island developing States.

VITALII BILAN (Ukraine) said his country struggled to create domestic stability and security, due in part to external aggression. Ukraine had embarked on a process to localize the Sustainable Development Goals and tailor them to national contexts through sub-groups and an inter-ministerial working group. National consultations involving 500 participants had resulted in a 2017 national report that contained adapted targets and indicators to mainstream sustainable development into national development frameworks. His country continued to fight corruption, promote judicial reforms, implement decentralization and improve business opportunities. At the national level, reform projects targeted social development. Internationally, Ukraine had engaged in long-term cooperation for sustainable development. He urged all countries to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts, and promote a constructive multi-stakeholder dialogue to facilitate the widest possible cooperation.

MARIANNE LOE (Norway), urging all stakeholders to intensify their efforts and “do what we do better” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, said those efforts must stop addressing sustainable development as if it only had one dimension — environmental — without also including macroeconomic issues. The 2030 Agenda could not be achieved without addressing climate change, she said, adding that the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, extreme flooding in Asia and fatal droughts in Africa all served as cruel reminders of its effects. “If we do not act fast, climate change could undermine all other efforts for sustainable development,” she stressed, also calling for better prevention under the Sendai framework and enhanced efforts to take care of the world’s oceans. Underlining the importance of clean and renewable energy, she stressed that it would help eradicate poverty, improve food security, build economic growth and empower youth and women.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives), associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, noted that during the high-level political forum held in July, his delegation had presented its first voluntary national review, highlighting the progress it had achieved and future plans charted out towards a sustainable future for all. His Government had embarked on a number of projects to ensure its target of 30 per cent national energy consumption through renewable sources by 2018. Oceans constituted the backbone of Maldivian tourism and aquaculture industries and sustainable, small scale fisheries contributed to poverty eradication and employment, he noted. Like other small island developing States, the Maldives lacked sufficient capacity in data collection analysis and preparing baseline data for Goals indicators. As such, he encouraged coordinated efforts from the relevant United Nations agencies to strengthen that capacity.

JOAQUIM CHAVES (Timor‑Leste), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said his nation’s goal was to establish itself as a middle-income country, and as such, its national development policies focused on economic and strategic development. Timor‑Leste faced many challenges including environmental degradation, poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and climate change. His country remained largely dependent on oil revenues, as well as ODA which had dropped significantly. As a result, the country moved towards the cost-effective use of current revenues through diversification of economy, including by promoting tourism of oceans, development of manufacturing and centralization of budgetary power. Timor‑Leste undertook efforts to strengthen rule of law, eradicate poverty, promote women’s rights and support the rapid growth of its young population through education and employment opportunities. His country furthered its gender mainstreaming strategy and established laws to promote women’s participation in politics. It also redrafted its national development policy, which included a focus on tourism as a central pillar for economic diversification.

YEMDAOGO ERIC TIARE (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the Group of 77 and Group of Least Developed Countries, said that investment must be geared to education, health, renewable energy, climate change and biological diversity. Burkina Faso launched initiatives to empower women and further progress in socioeconomic and environmental matters. His country sought to improve its human capital, promote alternative sources of financing for development and streamline public-private partnership. Significant challenges remained in promoting sustained economic growth, achieving sustainable production and consumption patterns, and ensuring education and health for all citizens. Other challenges included addressing water and land resources. Burkina Faso would continue to implement its national economic and social development plan, which focused on modernizing its administration, developing human capital and revitalizing the economy. To that end, he called for greater technological and financial support from donors and related stakeholders to ensure inclusive and equitable development.

PHILIP FOX-DRUMMOND GOUGH (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said the 2030 Agenda was the first universal road map for implementation of sustainable development by all countries, noting that in just two years, 66 countries had showcased their domestic strategies in that regard. He urged for updating the list of subjects discussed in sustainable development cluster as Goal 12 — sustainable patterns of consumption and production — and Goal 6 — water and sanitation, were not currently part of the Second Committee’s annual resolutions. Possible overlaps could be analysed, provided space for substantial debate on all areas of the 2030 Agenda was warranted. Resolutions on the cluster must focus on action-oriented language, and one should refrain from repeating or reinterpreting previous agreements.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia) said that addressing persistent extreme poverty required holistic, equitable and far-sighted interventions at all levels, along with the seamless mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda into national policies. In July his country launched its latest national development plan to conform with those necessities. Noting the country’s vulnerability to a wide range of challenges, from drought to epidemics to hailstones, he said that it had therefore done much work in institutionalizing disaster risk reduction. On climate change, he hoped that the upcoming Bonn conference would establish mechanisms for implementing the Paris Agreement. Developing countries were relying on an adequately-resourced Green Climate Fund for enhancing key adaptive capacities. He called, in addition, for the transfer of adaptive technology. Adequate financing of the fund to stem land degradation was also important to Zambia. He finally described intensified efforts by his Government to ensure access to sustainable energy for all.

GEBEYEHU GANGA GAYITO (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that having presented a voluntary national review, his country could attest to the review’s role in further enhancing the localization of sustainable development. The review had helped consolidate ownership and leadership to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Ethiopia, a climate vulnerable country, had been implementing integrated climate resilient and disaster risk reduction strategies. In September, it had launched a 15‑year plan focusing on the most vulnerable sectors such as agriculture, forestry, health, transport, power, industry and water. He underscored the need to mobilize domestic and external resources, and highlighted the critical role of international support.

KOKOU KPAYEDO (Togo), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said implementing the 2030 Agenda remained urgent. All stakeholders, particularly States, the private sector, civil society and the United Nations must reinvigorate efforts to achieve sustainable development. The Organization had a crucial role in helping eradicate poverty, fight climate change and establish inclusive societies. Togo had undertaken institutional reforms and other measures underscoring the need to eliminate poverty. On the national level, a strategy focused on accelerating growth and creating jobs. Those actions were focused on providing drinking water, hygiene, quality education and jobs. Financial services were being offered to young people and small-scale farmers.

NECTON D. MHURA (Malawi), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his State was developing national targets and indicators that would guide its reporting to the Sendai Framework. There was an urgent need for national and regional early warning systems and accurate and accessible data, as climate change had proven to divert resources from established development plans. The long-lasting effects of climate change and its consequent disasters called for accelerated implementation of the Sendai Framework, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

SHEYAM ELGARF (Egypt), associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country had made significant strides in implementing the 2030 Agenda, including through a population census in 2017. A topographic statistical database was developed as a result of that census and would be used to inform national plans. Egypt would present its voluntary national review in 2018. In terms of international efforts, Egypt would host a convention on biodiversity, which would further contribute to educating the international community on environmental protection. Similarly, she reiterated the importance of the Convention on Climate Change. Highlighting the results from the 2017 desertification conference consultations, she encouraged greater international attention on renewable energy, and the establishment of a global programme to enable technological transfer. Domestically, Egypt undertook efforts to reform its education system, and provided education to displaced persons, refugees and those escaping conflicts in the region. She urged the international community to redouble efforts to fight poverty and aid island States. International partnerships, she stated, must be strengthened to build capacity of developing States as well as provide financing for development.

ABDALLA ABUZED (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77, said international partnership was critical for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. To that end, his country promoted initiatives to eradicate poverty and aimed to provide basic services, including employment, health care and education services. Desertification and drought were manifestations of climate change effects, he continued, and posed great challenges to development. African countries lacked the resources and required support from the international community to mitigate the impact of natural hazards. As Libya was adversely affected by climate change and had scarce water resources, he urged the international community to provide greater support to combat desertification. Instability and armed conflict exacerbated migration and poverty. To address those trends, he called for joint efforts to achieve peace, security and stability. His country would require greater support to achieve stability, complete its democratic processes, protect its borders and end the illicit flow of stolen assets.

HUSSEIN ABDULLAHI (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that if the slow pace of implementation continued, it would be doubtful that Africa could meet the 2030 Agenda. Calling on the international community to mobilize resources aimed at implementing the Agenda, he said Nigeria had enacted its own national development plan. His continent still had the highest proportion of people with daily income of less than $1.50. Such setbacks were evident in primary and secondary education, gender inequality and in maternal mortality. He underscored the need for a new global strategy in combating illicit financial flows through the cooperation of national governments. It was essential to take into consideration the special needs of least developed countries and make technologies more accessible. It was essential to prosecute financial institutions which violated anti-corruption laws, he said, urging the international community to hold accountable facilitators and intermediaries of illicit financial flows. He also stressed the need to deal with desertification and drought.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said laying the foundation for inclusive and sustainable development required political will and determination. He also underscored the need to respect the sovereignty of States. Venezuela, an oil exporter, had made significant strides in justice and social equity in recent years, in part, by using oil to fund such social programmes. However, a drop in revenue had been problematic. The United States had imposed unilateral measures which had stifled the people of Venezuela and their pursuit of sustainable development. Nevertheless, his country was still working to implement the 2030 Agenda. He also noted how climate change was disproportionately impacting developing countries and attached great importance to the Paris Agreement. International agreements must be upheld, respected and implemented with great commitment. It was also important to tackle economic measures that negatively impact the global political economy.

SUVANGA PARAJULI (Nepal), associating himself with Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his State had presented its voluntary national review in 2017. Calling upon countries to deliver their ODA commitments, he said that least developed States faced specific challenges and were in dire need of reliable and predictable financial resources. Climate change aggravated existing problems and made development more costly. He emphasized the importance of disaster risk reduction and resilience-building, with respect to the special needs of vulnerable countries. He additionally called for the promotion of renewable and clean energy, especially in the South Asian region and encouraged the creation of a robust review mechanism and tracking matrices to harmonize development programmes.

Ms. EDDAOU (Morocco), associating herself with the Group of 77, said the least developed countries and small island developing States would benefit from advantages generated by equitable multilateral trading and international financial systems. Preservation of biodiversity and combating climate change remained significant challenges in the region, she said. Mindful of the importance of education, environmental protection and renewable energies, Morocco continued to be active in fighting climate change. Her country established an environmental charter in line with its national development strategy for 2030, with strengthened efforts to establish a green economy. To that end, it mobilized its private sector and launched a climate enterprise initiative to educate businesses about climate risks and capacity-building. The national strategy supported domestic socioeconomic reforms, which sought to promote renewable energy and electricity throughout the State. The Government also promoted sustainable tourism, as demonstrated in its national plan “Vision 2020”.