News

2030 Agenda’s Integrated Nature Represents Opportunity to Increase Efficiency, Scale of Future Development, Speakers Tell High-Level Political Forum

The interlinking nature of the Sustainable Development Goals represented an important opportunity to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and scale of future development efforts, speakers said today, as the Economic and Social Council wrapped up the first segment of its High-Level Political Forum.

The balance and details of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were contained in its targets, which were the “social contract” that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders, said Charles Arden‑Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Achieving some 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals depended on a shift to sustainable consumption, said Mr. Arden‑Clarke, speaking in a panel discussion aimed at exploring opportunities for leveraging interlinkages for the implementation of the Goals.  A range of targets across the 2030 Agenda highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination among Government departments.

From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed, said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).  For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent, he told the Forum.  Such experiences pointed to the fact that leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, although it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics.

Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so, said Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of Southern Voice and a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue.  All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level — which was the global level — and did not look deeper into national experiences, he continued.

Highlighting that as an intergovernmental organization which promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies.  For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security; yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.

Pointing to a “fantastic amount of data” emerging from a variety of different producers, Roberto Olino, Chief Statistician of Brazil, underlined the need to harmonize those sources in a way that would create more coherence.  Speaking in a second panel discussion focused on data and statistics, Mr. Olino said the national challenge of leaving no one behind implied a need for data disaggregation in order to identify “the no-ones”, adding that this spotlighted the need to gather data in order to better understand trends and movements.  Noting that talking about data had recently become “trendy”, he said there was nevertheless a real need to consider it more seriously and coherently.

Underscoring the importance of avoiding getting “stuck in the weeds” in discussions on data, Judith Randel, Co-founder and Executive Director of Development Initiatives, said one major challenge was to develop a more sophisticated understanding about how people’s identities made it harder or easier to take advantage of opportunities.  “We have to make it really easy” for politicians to understand the 2030 Agenda, she stressed.

Also today, the Forum held a panel discussion on the science-policy interface and other emerging issues.

In closing remarks, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the Economic and Social Council, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, gave a broad overview of the sessions throughout the week.

The Forum will meet again at 9 a.m. on Monday, 17 July, to begin its ministerial segment.

Panel I

The first panel on the day titled “leveraging interlinkages for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”, was moderated by Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director for Global Policy, United Nations Foundation.  The panellists included Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and Charles Arden‑Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat, Economy Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  The lead discussants were Michael Gerber, Special Envoy for Sustainable Development, Switzerland; and Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization.

Mr. BHATTACHARYA said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development not only linked the three pillars of sustainable development, its own goals and indicators were also interconnected.  Those connections should also be looked at as means of implementation.  Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so.  All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level — which was the global level — and did not look deeper into national experiences.  Most countries had finished their policy planning and mapping for the future development agenda and the lead institutions for implementation had also been identified, while resource assessments had been completed.  The integration approach was too abstract and unmanageable at the national level and actually worked best at the ministerial level.  Sequencing and prioritizing were also needed for the implementation phase.

Mr. SIDIBÉ said leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, as it dealt with efficiency, effectiveness and scale.  However, it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics; better leverage political leadership was needed.  Given the recent seismic political shifts, it was imperative that people were not left behind.  From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed.  For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent.  What was learned was that HIV and AIDS could not be dealt with in isolation, and in that context, a new fabric within the United Nations system was established, based on new partnerships.  The price of medicines was reduced from about $15,000 per year to about $80 at present, which would not have happened without civil society activism.  HIV was taken out of isolation and investments were made across different areas of the system that ultimately benefitted the fight against HIV.

Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE said the balance and details of the 2030 Agenda were contained in its targets, which were the “social contract” that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders.  For example, he noted that 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals were dependent on a shift to sustainable consumption, which highlighted the interlinked nature of the Goals.  He noted that target 8.4 on sustainable economic growth aimed at increasing resource efficiency and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation.  The positioning of that Goal had broad implications for development and was clearly liked to target 1.5 in Goal 1 on ending poverty as the more efficiency use of resources would result in greater resilience for all, particularly the poor.  A range of targets across the Goals highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination and among Government departments.  Achieving the world’s future development efforts would not be achieved by policymaking alone, but would require the collective definition of the linkages and the policies and actions and investments that put them to most effective use.

Mr. GERBER recalled that it had often been said that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were interlinked and indivisible, which was a fundamental concept for the implementation of the whole of the 2030 Agenda.  The international community must pay attention to the interlinkages by maximizing synergies and alleviating trade-offs.  The key methods for addressing development challenges were the mechanisms and processes determining the interactions between the targets that produced synergies and trade-offs, which, in turn, pointed the way to success or failure.  There needed to be more intersectoral research and approaches, greater efforts on leverage points between goals and targets and more multi‑stakeholder cooperation to foster synergies and produce concrete results and, in turn, coherence.  There were many different levels of coherence, all of which were important, including international and domestic collaboration and actions.

Ms. KHAN said that as an intergovernmental organization that promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, she had a slightly different perspective on the discussion.  She agreed that the real strength of the development agenda was contained within the targets, and in that context, it was important to dig deeper than the individual Goals.  In her view, it was important to view Goal 16 not as a standalone Goal, but as a framework and enabling environment for other Goals through the concepts of laws and processes.  She noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies.  For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security.  Women’s work in agriculture not only ensured their own foods security, but that of their families, and also contributed to economic growth.  Yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Sri Lanka stressed that measuring prosperity would require far greater non-quantitative indicators and dynamic influences, which had tangible outcomes rather than mere “mechanical” results.  Highlighting the importance of actions on the regional level, the representative of Romania noted that regional strategies, initiatives and actions were useful instruments for advancing global decisions at the national and subnational levels.

The representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that his organization had a team specifically dedicated to policy coherence that had identified a framework that could help policy makers navigate and identify synergies and trade-offs.  The framework involved a checklist and self-assessment tool that would be helpful for countries as they moved forward in their policy planning.  The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stressed that to reinforce joint action across all sectors and achieve coherence among wide-ranging polices, identifying interlinkages across the 17 Goals would require broad knowledge and collaboration.

The representative of the Philippines said that her country’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda was led by clusters of different Government agencies that had been organized around specific themes.  The clusters were chaired by cabinet secretaries, who reported directly to the country’s President.

Mr. BHATTACHARYA said it was important that, during the discussion, there was a common understanding of the terms that were used.  In that regard, he called for the United Nations to take the initiative to help bring about more clarity and understanding to promote a consistent use of language and concepts.

Emphasizing the need for impact, Mr. SIDIBÉ said that the fact that the 2030 Agenda laid out a clear vision would be extremely helpful for countries as they sought to devise comprehensive approaches.  The key issue would be the need to maximize policy coherence and to bring the data revolution into the debate to ensure that there would be proper, strategic information available. 

Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE reiterated the importance of interministerial coordination, and highlighted the need to provide a sense of authority to the coordination and policy integration process, which was best achieved by making it a function within the Head of State’s office.

In a second round of comments from the floor, the representative of Kenya described her country’s establishment of an interministerial coordinating committee — aimed at improving coherence, efficiency and breaking down silos within the Government — which provided a voice for coordination “from the top”.

The representative of Malaysia, striking a similar tone, described his country’s Sustainable Development Goal Council, as well as a related steering committee.  Those structures brought together civil society, academia and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure coherence, he said, drawing attention to the successful example of Malaysia’s “Blue Ocean Strategy”, which worked to streamline Government action on oceans with a focus on rapid implementation and low cost.

The representative of the Netherlands, noting that he had been appointed as his country’s Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, called on Member States to take an inclusive approach to mobilizing “power, people and pennies”, rather than employing traditional negotiation methods such as threats, “bargaining down” or withholding information.

The representative of the business and industry major group, agreeing with other speakers on the need for a “systemic vision” to guide the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, urged Governments to coordinate systemic thinking as a signal to all actors — including private sector investors.

The representative of the group Together 2030 — an initiative of over 500 civil society organizations working across all the 17 Goals — underscored the group’s commitment to preserving the interlinked nature of the 2030 Agenda.  In that regard, she said, countries should commit to review all the Sustainable Development Goals annually, focus on the means of implementation and respect the links between the 2030 Agenda and other agenda critical global frameworks.

The representative of the group Partners in Population in Development, an intergovernmental organization consisting of 26 Governments, pointed to the wide existence of confusion about the various terminologies being used today, including “coordination” and “interlinkages”.  Regardless of which term one chose to use, he said the issue “should not be taken as something new”.  Such discussions had existed for a long time, and now a greater emphasis should be placed on outcomes.

The representative of the indigenous peoples major group, noting that the vast majority of the 2030 Agenda’s targets were related to human rights, underscored the importance of integrating the work of human-rights-monitoring bodies into the agenda’s review and follow-up processes.  Noting that indigenous communities had long advocated for a wide array of rights — including the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determined development, to their land and the conservation of the environment — she also made several concrete recommendations including the inclusion of a Sustainable Development Goal indicator on indigenous people’s right to secure, collective land tenure.

The representative of the stakeholder group for women echoed the need to connect solutions to the world’s ecological, economic and social crises.  Recalling a number of important discussions over the course of the week — including wide support for the equitable sharing of benefits, efforts to improve the planet’s environmental sustainability and calls for ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls — she underscored the particular importance of the latter, stressing:  “We will not accept women’s rights to be traded away”.

Also speaking were the representatives of Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand.

Representatives of the children and youth major group and the persons with disabilities stakeholder group also participated.

Panel II

The day’s second panel discussion, which focused on data and statistics, was moderated by Mr. Bhattacharya.  It featured three panellists:  Roberto Olino, Chief Statistician, Brazil; Judith Randel, Co-founder and Executive Director, Development Initiatives; and Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada, Statistics Canada.

Mr. BHATTACHARYA, noting that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda had brought with it the new term “data revolution” and that countries around the world were paying increased attention to better quality, more granular and disaggregated data, as well as “big data”.  There was also a more recent backlash led by people who felt there was an overfocus on, and fetishizing of, data, he said.

Mr. OLINO, pointing to a “fantastic amount of data” emerging from a variety of different producers, underlined the need to harmonize those sources in a way that would create more coherence.  The national challenge of leaving no one behind implied a need for data disaggregation in order to identify “the no-ones”, he stressed, also spotlighting the need to gather data in order to better understand trends and movements.  Among the most important tools in that regard were household surveys and the improved use of modern data sources.  Noting that talking about data had recently become “trendy”, he said there was nevertheless a real need to consider it more seriously and coherently.

Ms. RANDEL, underscoring the importance of avoiding getting “stuck in the weeds” in discussing data, said one major challenge was to develop a more sophisticated understanding about how people’s identities made it harder or easier to take advantage of opportunities.  “We have to make it really easy” for politicians to understand the 2030 Agenda, she said, citing the work of the Development Initiatives’ P20 Initiative — aimed at tracking the progress of the poorest 20 per cent of the global population — in that regard.  Urging stakeholders to consider three simple questions — namely whether people were better off, better nourished and known by their Governments — she called for both political and technical progress in those regards, and said national statistical offices should engage much more with the “wider ecosystems of data”.

Mr. ARORA, describing Canada’s deep engagement in exploring the interlinkages between the various Sustainable Development Goals and indicators, said data on those issues were growing rapidly.  However, stronger statistical rigour was needed, because more and more data did not always lead to successful outcomes and could even be used to justify the desires of narrow interests.  In order to broaden the world’s understanding of data — especially among policymakers — national statistical offices needed to “sharpen their elbows” in such areas as accessibility, statistical literacy and communication, he said.

In the ensuing discussion, a number of delegates representing their countries’ statistical offices shared national experiences, best practices and challenges in the collection and use of quality data.

The representative of Belarus was among several speakers who described disaggregation as one of today’s most complicated data issues.  Noting that Belarus was improving its efforts in that area by designing new studies on people with disabilities, women and children and other areas in conjunction with United Nations agencies, she also pointed to a broader need for increased accountability, and cooperation and the enhanced sharing of best practices on data collection.

The representative of Ghana, also voicing concern about the challenge posed by disaggregation, warned that many countries around the world were still struggling with basic data collection.

Other speakers addressed the issue of statistics through a more systemic lens, with the representative of Chile emphasizing that decentralized national statistical systems — such as the one in her country — would be critical to the neutral, impartial monitoring of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation in light of the fact that administrations would change over the course of its implementation.  Statistics were one tool Chile was using to better identify, and continuously improve its response to, the needs of its citizens, she said.

The representative of Iran underscored the importance of identifying what could be done to implement the Sustainable Development Goals within the framework of a Government’s various ministries and sectors.  Capacity-building — including at the regional level — would be essential in that regard, he said.

The representative of the Russian Federation echoed the panellists’ calls for more harmonized data collection, also drawing distinctions between the 2030 Agenda’s three tiers of indicators.  “Tier 3” indicators would require detailed methodological standards, he said, adding that they would require strong monitoring at the national level.

Several speakers, including the representative of the stakeholder group on ageing, drew attention to particular populations in the context of data disaggregation.  Noting that, by 2030, almost one fifth of the world’s population would be over the age of 60, she stressed that data must be used to help Governments better understand and pay more attention to the needs of older adults.

As the panellists responded briefly to those comments, Mr. ARORA agreed that, despite the recent explosion of demand for disaggregated data, many countries were still struggling with the basics.  Efforts to leave no one behind must also ensure that no national statistical office was left behind, he said in that regard.

Ms. RANDEL called for a standards-based “minimum set” of disaggregation criteria, adding that civil registration and census data would be critical tools in that regard.

Mr. OLINO described the 2030 Agenda as a “huge” endeavour that would require significant data, time, reflection and coherence.

Also speaking were the representatives of Madagascar, Switzerland, Senegal and Kenya.

Panel III

A panel on “science-policy interface and emerging issues” was moderated by Bill Colglazier, Editor-in-Chief, Science & Diplomacy and Senior Scholar, Center for Science Diplomacy, American Academy for the Advancement of Science and former science adviser to the Secretary of State, United States.  The panel featured Endah Murniningtyas, former Deputy Minister for National Resources and Environment, Ministry of National Development Planning/National Development Planning Agency, Indonesia; Peter Messerli, Director, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern; and Wang Ruijun, Director-General, National Center for Science and Technology Evaluation, Ministry of Science and Technology, China and Chair, United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development.  Tolu Oni, Associate-Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Stuart Taberner, Director of International and Interdisciplinary Research, Research Councils of the United Kingdom were lead discussants.

Ms. MURNININGTYAS said an inclusive process was being created with a view to reaching the goal of poverty eradication.  Working groups were focusing on, among other things, examining how research could be used for policymaking in that regard.  Turning to the issue of the science-policy interface, she said a set of evaluation guidelines existed to bring science advances into the policymaking arena.

Mr. MESSERLI reflected on implications on the science-policy interface and other issues of concern.  When analysing land use change, functions were often reshuffled to create winners and losers.  Sustainable development was not about harmony between stakeholders, but instead was a challenge of how to maximize progress.  Interlinkages must be understood, he said, emphasizing that real evidence existed that more foreign direct investment led to poverty eradication.  Working within and with the system, a new realm of development pathways could be identified.  However, knowledge gaps were a challenge and no single scientific assessment could provide solutions.  To face the huge task ahead, science, policy and the interface between them must be changed.  Available knowledge must be used, he said, emphasizing that the uneven distribution of knowledge and science was a great concern.

Mr. RUIJUN said it was necessary to identify science, technology and innovation gaps in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Issues to be addressed included inadequate and mismatched research and development funding.  New, innovative approaches must address current and future challenges.  Providing examples, he said innovations in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia were helping communities.  Offering several recommendations, he said awareness of scientists should be continuously raised so they could devote themselves to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals.  The science-policy synergy should be strengthened and building the capacity of science, technology and innovation should be mainstreamed into official development assistance (ODA) initiatives.

Ms. ONI said engaging with policy-making could be considered to be a trade‑off for scientists.  To overcome such trade-offs, efforts should be supported to equip mid-career scientists with the relevant skills to help bridge existing gaps and identify solutions.  Providing examples from Africa and Asia, she said efforts had been made to engage scientists with communities.  In addition, education programmes should target science, technology, engineering and mathematics programmes to bolster knowledge among younger generations.  Turning to the issue of rapid urbanization, she said urban health research was an area to examine.  Good health did not “accidentally happen”; it should be directly addressed, bringing uneasy bedfellows together.  For instance, health scientists must work with non-health policy makers.  Voluntary national reviews could be harnessed as a tool to ensure that evidence generated from various studies supported those linkages.

Mr. TABERNER said bringing together a diverse group of experts to solve problems was important.  Challenges of research and policy forced stakeholders to think about identifying or creating pathways to make significant impacts.  Fundamental research and outcomes must be considered more closely.  For instance, he said, the challenge of different cultures and expectations among stakeholders existed and solutions must be found.  Another challenge was that research had a long timescale, whereas policy required answers immediately.  Such challenges must recognize the need for equal partnerships and broader dialogue.  In addition, efforts must focus on capacity-building and partnerships.

In the ensuing dialogue, participants provided examples of how they were making inroads, with GABRIEL LIVIU ISPAS, Secretary of State of the Ministry of National Education of Romania, saying that the role of education was critical in empowering people to take action and play an active part in their communities.  Romania provided appropriate teacher training and believed educational research was essential for progress and should be intensified.  Cooperation must be bolstered between scientists and policy makers to find suitable solutions to development issues.

Participants also raised pressing issues and shared challenges in science‑policy interfacing.  The representative of Japan said domestic science and technology policies must be directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals while the representative of Uganda stressed the importance of investments in research and development.

Some representatives of major groups raised their concerns.  The representative of the women’s major group said a holistic approach must ensure that equality was achieved in a range of fields, including by providing youth with universal access to education to allow them to build their futures.  People‑centred and gender-responsive initiatives were also essential, she said.  The representative of the scientific and technological community major group called for an inclusive definition of science that could be rationally applied and interfaced with traditional knowledge systems.  In addition, she underlined the importance of engaging young scientists in the science-policy interface practice.

Also participating was the representative of Finland.  The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme spoke, as did the representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Also speaking were representatives of the persons with disabilities stakeholder group, indigenous peoples major group, non-governmental organizations major group and the children and youth major group.

Closing Remarks

During a wrap-up session of the first week of meetings of the high-level political forum, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava (Zimbabwe), President of Economic and Social Council, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, provided observations and an overview of panels that had been held.

Mr. SHAVA, noting an unprecedented level of engagement by all stakeholders, said the indivisible, integrated and interlinked nature of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals had been clearly recognized by discussions that had taken place over the past week.  There were positive signs of progress in efforts to leave no one behind and many participants had made commitments to forge new partnerships and increase cooperation.

Empowering vulnerable groups must become a priority to end poverty and promote prosperity, he said, stressing the need to focus efforts on making real progress on the ground.  Several recurring themes had included a lack of statistics and data, which remained a great challenge, and the importance of taking a “whole society” approach.

Mr. HONGBO, calling the Forum the right platform on the right track with regard to the 2030 Agenda, said progress had already been made during the current session.  A total of 44 national reviews would be presented, partnerships had been forged, 147 side events had been confirmed and special events had focused on business and learning.  A measure of success should be how much value the Forum had added to the follow-up review by, among other things, identifying gaps.  Its mission had indeed been accomplished.

The Forum, he continued, provided space for various communities that sought to go beyond sectoral boundaries.  Linkages and transformative actions had been discussed.  While growth bolstered poverty alleviation, it alone was not enough and the various dimensions of poverty must also be addressed.  A clearer focus on what was needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals had also been discussed in areas such as science and technology.  In addition, the importance of data had been recognized as a tool to implement the Goals.

News

ECOSOC: High-Level Political Forum

Note:  A complete summary of today’s Economic and Social Council meeting will be available after its conclusion.

Panel I

The first panel on the day titled “leveraging interlinkages for effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”, was moderated by Minh-Thu Pham, Executive Director for Global Policy, United Nations Foundation.  The panellists included Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voices and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); and Charles Arden‑Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat, Economy Division, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  The lead discussants were Michael Gerber, Special Envoy for Sustainable Development, Switzerland; and Irene Khan, Director-General, International Development Law Organization.

Mr. BHATTACHARYA said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development not only linked the three pillars of sustainable development, its own goals and indicators were also interconnected.  Those connections should also be looked at as means of implementation.  Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so.  All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level — which was the global level — and did not look deeper into national experiences.  Most countries had finished their policy planning and mapping for the future development agenda and the lead institutions for implementation had also been identified, while resource assessments had been completed.  The integration approach was too abstract and unmanageable at the national level and actually worked best at the ministerial level.  Sequencing and prioritizing were also needed for the implementation phase.

Mr. SIDIBÉ said leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, as it dealt with efficiency, effectiveness and scale.  However, it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics; better leverage political leadership was needed.  Given the recent seismic political shifts, it was imperative that people were not left behind.  From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed.  For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent.  What was learned was that HIV and AIDS could not be dealt with in isolation, and in that context, a new fabric within the United Nations system was established, based on new partnerships.  The price of medicines was reduced from about $15,000 per year to about $80 at present, which would not have happened without civil society activism.  HIV was taken out of isolation and investments were made across different areas of the system that ultimately benefitted the fight against HIV.

Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE said the balance and details of the 2030 Agenda were contained in its targets, which were the “social contract” that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders.  For example, he noted that 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals were dependent on a shift to sustainable consumption, which highlighted the interlinked nature of the Goals.  He noted that target 8.4 on sustainable economic growth aimed at increasing resource efficiency and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation.  The positioning of that Goal had broad implications for development and was clearly liked to target 1.5 in Goal 1 on ending poverty as the more efficiency use of resources would result in greater resilience for all, particularly the poor.  A range of targets across the Goals highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination and among Government departments.  Achieving the world’s future development efforts would not be achieved by policymaking alone, but would require the collective definition of the linkages and the policies and actions and investments that put them to most effective use.

Mr. GERBER recalled that it had often been said that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were interlinked and indivisible, which was a fundamental concept for the implementation of the whole of the 2030 Agenda.  The international community must pay attention to the interlinkages by maximizing synergies and alleviating trade-offs.  The key methods for addressing development challenges were the mechanisms and processes determining the interactions between the targets that produced synergies and trade-offs, which, in turn, pointed the way to success or failure.  There needed to be more intersectoral research and approaches, greater efforts on leverage points between goals and targets and more multi‑stakeholder cooperation to foster synergies and produce concrete results and, in turn, coherence.  There were many different levels of coherence, all of which were important, including international and domestic collaboration and actions.

Ms. KHAN said that as an intergovernmental organization that promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, she had a slightly different perspective on the discussion.  She agreed that the real strength of the development agenda was contained within the targets, and in that context, it was important to dig deeper than the individual Goals.  In her view, it was important to view Goal 16 not as a standalone Goal, but as a framework and enabling environment for other Goals through the concepts of laws and processes.  She noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies.  For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security.  Women’s work in agriculture not only ensured their own foods security, but that of their families, and also contributed to economic growth.  Yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.

In the ensuing discussion, the representative of Sri Lanka stressed that measuring prosperity would require far greater non-quantitative indicators and dynamic influences, which had tangible outcomes rather than mere “mechanical” results.  Highlighting the importance of actions on the regional level, the representative of Romania noted that regional strategies, initiatives and actions were useful instruments for advancing global decisions at the national and subnational levels.

The representative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that his organization had a team specifically dedicated to policy coherence that had identified a framework that could help policy makers navigate and identify synergies and trade-offs.  The framework involved a checklist and self-assessment tool that would be helpful for countries as they moved forward in their policy planning.  The representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stressed that to reinforce joint action across all sectors and achieve coherence among wide-ranging polices, identifying interlinkages across the 17 Goals would require broad knowledge and collaboration.

The representative of the Philippines said that her country’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda was led by clusters of different Government agencies that had been organized around specific themes.  The clusters were chaired by cabinet secretaries, who reported directly to the country’s President.

Mr. BHATTACHARYA said it was important that, during the discussion, there was a common understanding of the terms that were used.  In that regard, he called for the United Nations to take the initiative to help bring about more clarity and understanding to promote a consistent use of language and concepts.

Emphasizing the need for impact, Mr. SIDIBÉ said that the fact that the 2030 Agenda laid out a clear vision would be extremely helpful for countries as they sought to devise comprehensive approaches.  The key issue would be the need to maximize policy coherence and to bring the data revolution into the debate to ensure that there would be proper, strategic information available. 

Mr. ARDEN-CLARKE reiterated the importance of interministerial coordination, and highlighted the need to provide a sense of authority to the coordination and policy integration process, which was best achieved by making it a function within the Head of State’s office.

In a second round of comments from the floor, the representative of Kenya described her country’s establishment of an interministerial coordinating committee — aimed at improving coherence, efficiency and breaking down silos within the Government — which provided a voice for coordination “from the top”.

The representative of Malaysia, striking a similar tone, described his country’s Sustainable Development Goal Council, as well as a related steering committee.  Those structures brought together civil society, academia and a wide range of other stakeholders to ensure coherence, he said, drawing attention to the successful example of Malaysia’s “Blue Ocean Strategy”, which worked to streamline Government action on oceans with a focus on rapid implementation and low cost.

The representative of the Netherlands, noting that he had been appointed as his country’s Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, called on Member States to take an inclusive approach to mobilizing “power, people and pennies”, rather than employing traditional negotiation methods such as threats, “bargaining down” or withholding information.

The representative of the business and industry major group, agreeing with other speakers on the need for a “systemic vision” to guide the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, urged Governments to coordinate systemic thinking as a signal to all actors — including private sector investors.

The representative of the group Together 2030 — an initiative of over 500 civil society organizations working across all the 17 Goals — underscored the group’s commitment to preserving the interlinked nature of the 2030 Agenda.  In that regard, she said, countries should commit to review all the Sustainable Development Goals annually, focus on the means of implementation and respect the links between the 2030 Agenda and other agenda critical global frameworks.

The representative of the group Partners in Population in Development, an intergovernmental organization consisting of 26 Governments, pointed to the wide existence of confusion about the various terminologies being used today, including “coordination” and “interlinkages”.  Regardless of which term one chose to use, he said the issue “should not be taken as something new”.  Such discussions had existed for a long time, and now a greater emphasis should be placed on outcomes.

The representative of the indigenous peoples major group, noting that the vast majority of the 2030 Agenda’s targets were related to human rights, underscored the importance of integrating the work of human-rights-monitoring bodies into the agenda’s review and follow-up processes.  Noting that indigenous communities had long advocated for a wide array of rights — including the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determined development, to their land and the conservation of the environment — she also made several concrete recommendations including the inclusion of a Sustainable Development Goal indicator on indigenous people’s right to secure, collective land tenure.

The representative of the stakeholder group for women echoed the need to connect solutions to the world’s ecological, economic and social crises.  Recalling a number of important discussions over the course of the week — including wide support for the equitable sharing of benefits, efforts to improve the planet’s environmental sustainability and calls for ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls — she underscored the particular importance of the latter, stressing:  “We will not accept women’s rights to be traded away”.

Also speaking were the representatives of Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana and Thailand.

Representatives of the children and youth major group and the persons with disabilities stakeholder group also participated.

News

Indigenous Speakers in Permanent Forum Decry Governmental Abuse of Traditional Lands, Natural Resources, Urge Respect for Self-Governing Systems

Calls demanding respect for traditional lands, resources, knowledge and cultures rang through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today, with participants from the North Pole to New Zealand pressing Governments to move beyond “paper promises” and uphold their rights.

As the sixteenth session continued, speakers underlined the critical importance of protecting natural resources, with one from the Indigenous Environmental Network stressing that the United States military action at Standing Rock contravened the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Indigenous peoples’ human rights had been violated, she stressed.

In similar vein, others said traditional knowledge should be tapped — not side-lined — in tackling climate change, one of several issues addressed during a discussion on “implementation of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”.  The mandated areas include economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

Many stressed that indigenous peoples’ rights over natural resources on traditional lands were being trampled, and that more must be done to ensure that States fulfilled their commitments.  A speaker from Altepetl Nahua de la Montana de Guerrero pointed to lagging implementation of the Declaration at a time when their lands were being exploited and countries, including Mexico, had not submitted required progress reports.  While Governments had pledged commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, extractive industries were moving ahead with full force, said a speaker from Indigenous Climate Action.

Several speakers described violations on ancestral lands and waterways, with participants from the Sami Parliament of Finland and from the Arctic Caucus both expressing strong opposition to a recent agreement between Finland and Norway that harmed traditional fishing practices, and violated Sami culture, land rights and self-determination.

A speaker from Two Feathers International declared:  “They are not welcome in our waters,” referring to the Amazon Warrior seismic vessel conducting oil exploration off the New Zealand coast, and mining corporations, which were attempting again to win Government approval to extract seabed materials.  She urged New Zealand to make climate-smart decisions on those activities.

Amid rapid global environmental change, speakers said, traditional knowledge could improve decisions on sustainable development, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation.  But, to do so, said some, indigenous peoples must be allowed to independently shape their self-governing systems, rather than have State prescriptions imposed on them.  The representative of the Government of Greenland (Denmark) urged States to ensure the recognition and vitality of indigenous knowledge, to protect it from misappropriation and accept its links with both biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

Environmental stewardship, medicine and farming were just some of the areas in which indigenous peoples were ready to share their knowledge, speakers said.  Announcing the launch of a report on indigenous peoples and climate change, the speaker from the International Labour Organization (ILO) cited their critical role at the forefront of climate action.  However, indigenous peoples must be empowered as agents of change and their access to decent work ensured.

For their part, Government representatives described national efforts, with some presenting progress reports on the Declaration’s implementation.  Panama had passed a law in 2008 giving indigenous communities deeds over five land areas, that country’s delegate said.  Botswana’s representative pointed to programmes that empowered indigenous peoples’ use of land and natural resources for economic and cultural purposes.

Many speakers agreed that special attention must be given to ensuring that indigenous peoples participated in — and benefitted from — the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  With that in mind, the speaker from the International Indigenous HIV and AIDS Community urged the Permanent Forum to address AIDS as a humanitarian issue and acknowledge HIV as a threat.  He pressed indigenous leaders to make access to treatment a priority.

Looking to the next generations, the representative of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North advocated greater involvement of indigenous youth in decisions that affected their future.

Also speaking today were speakers from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Save Our Unique Landscape, Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network, American Indian Movement of Colorado, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Nation of Hawai’i, Congrès Mondial Amazigh, El Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu, Red de Jóvenes Indígenas de Amėrica Latina y el Caribe, Crimean Tartar People, Fundacion Egdolina Thomas Para la Defensa de los Derechos de los Habitantes de la Costa Caribe de Nicaragua, New South Wales Aboriginal Council and Consejo Regional Indigena del Medio Amazones.

Representatives of Namibia, Guyana, Russian Federation, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Chile, Philippines, Paraguay, Australia, Denmark, Guatemala, Brazil, New Zealand and Costa Rica also spoke.

Forum members from Australia, Peru, Denmark and the Russian Federation made interventions, as did representatives of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 April, to continue its sixteenth session.

Statements

PERNILLE BENGTSEN, Government of Greenland (Denmark), said that in the midst of rapid environmental change, indigenous knowledge could help to improve decision-making on sustainable development and on climate change mitigation and adaptation.  Drawing attention to Greenland’s initiatives in that regard, she urged States to ensure the recognition and vitality of indigenous knowledge, protect it from misappropriation, and accept its links with the conservation of biodiversity conservation and management of natural resources.

DEIDRE MCGRENRA, Chief, America Liaison Office, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said the Fund’s partnership with indigenous peoples had grown to comprise 123 projects, as well as $1.6 million in loans and $40 million in grants to indigenous peoples.  IFAD also supported the development of innovative solutions in the area of securing land tenure, among others.

NINA VEYSALOVA, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, said her organization had conducted a number of major events to encourage the involvement of indigenous youth.  She also emphasized the need to develop the competencies of indigenous peoples, saying that would help them determine their future.

SLUMBER TSOGWANE, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development of Botswana, said that, since adopting an affirmative action framework for communities in remote areas, his country had established programmes to empower their use of land and natural resources for economic gain and cultural purposes.  He reaffirmed Botswana’s commitment to the Declaration.

MARTIN OELZ, International Labour Organization (ILO), announced today’s launch of a report on indigenous peoples and climate change.  Providing a snapshot of the situation, he said issues that had been addressed included forced displacement, gender inequality and a lack of recognition of indigenous rights.  Those and other conditions posed formidable challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Indigenous peoples had a critical role to play at the forefront of climate action, given their contributions to a green economy.  However, they must be empowered as agents of change and their access to decent work must be ensured.

ROYAL JOHAN KXAO /UI/O/OO (Namibia) said national efforts had seen results, stressing that education support had facilitated enrolment, investment in infrastructure had produced positive achievements and settlement programmes had been implemented.  Namibia had also provided support to communities in areas ranging from health to assistance for burials.

TRISHA RIEDY, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), said programmes had been tailored to enhance indigenous peoples’ abilities to engage in negotiations that would further the promotion and protection of their rights.  Land and resources were other pressing issues, he said, noting that UNITAR had provided training to help resolve conflict in a mutually beneficial manner.  It also had sought increased participation for women.

JERALD JOSEPH, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, said about 20 per cent of the complaints received by the Commission related to indigenous peoples, a sign of their awareness of their rights.  Many of their complaints dealt with encroachment on traditional lands for the purposes of logging, plantations and mining.  He urged Malaysia to call for a moratorium on the development of indigenous lands pending the implementation of recommendations by a task force on that issue.

VALERIE GARRIDO-LOWE, Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Guyana, said her country, in partnership with Canada, had launched a sun-dried tomato project in hinterland communities which illustrated how modern science could be wed to traditional indigenous agricultural knowledge.  She also described efforts to overcome logistical challenges that hinterland communities faced in accessing schools.

Mr. OMEDO, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, said informed and prior consent was not only a procedural matter, but also connected to the right to self-determination.  That was a flagship principle for the Union.  He said all Government, non-governmental and environmental actors should adopt a binding standard on the rights of indigenous peoples related to the environment.

TUOMAS ASLAK JUUSO, Sami Parliament of Finland, expressed his objection to a recent treaty between Finland and Norway that infringed on traditional Sami fishing rights.  The Parliament had not been consulted on the treaty, which had far-reaching implications for the Sami.  It violated Sami culture, land rights and the principle of self-determination.

ANNA OTKE, Russian Federation, said the Government was reviewing land use legislation that incorporated proposals from the Parliament of the Chukotka region.

SANDRA DEL PINO, Cultural Diversity Adviser, Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), said significant progress had been made by her organization on indigenous youth health in Latin America.  A recent forum on the issue had drawn attention to several issues, she said, including the need for culturally oriented health care, a lack of data on indigenous youth health and the underrecognized value of indigenous medicine.

PANIA NEWTON, Save Our Unique Landscape, said the New Zealand authorities were currently threatening her people’s land, including ancestral burial caves and precolonial sites.  Descendants of colonial land owners had used special housing legislation to drive forward urban development.  Recent actions included the sale of ancestral land to a housing corporation, which had contravened articles of the Declaration, she said, calling on the Permanent Forum to act and request New Zealand’s authorities to respect her people’s land and rights.

PEDRO SITTON, National Director of Indigenous Territories, Panama, gave an overview of his country’s progress on legislation protecting languages, among other issues.  A political decision had been taken to sign ILO Convention 169 (Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries) and other initiatives had provided public services and access to drinking water, health and education.  As for legal security and land rights, he said that a law passed in 2008 gave indigenous communities title deeds over five areas of land.

PRATIMA GURUNG, Indigenous Persons with Disabilities Global Network, said the Permanent Forum’s mandated areas were equally important to all groups, including women, youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities.  Exercising their rights meant that more attention must be paid to the multiple levels of discrimination they faced.  Gaps in access to rights must be addressed and narrowed, she said, calling for action in that regard.

DEVONNEY MCDAVIS (Nicaragua) said progress had been made on the rights of communal land ownership.  Efforts would continue to increase the productive capacity of food production systems using indigenous knowledge.  More communities had access to water and sanitation, she said, emphasizing that authorities had undertaken initiatives, including recognizing cultural identities.  Turning to health, she said indigenous knowledge was being applied.  On education, a legal framework had strengthened their rights.

MAROCS MATIAS ALONSO, Altepetl Nahua de la Montana de Guerrero, said progress was lagging on implementing the Declaration.  Countries, including Mexico, had not submitted required reports while poverty levels remained high alongside efforts to exploit their lands.  Indigenous peoples had a right to enjoy economic development, one of the many articles that were not being realized on the ground and Mexico’s national budgets had actually decreased.

NABA KUMAR KISHORE TRIPURA, Secretary, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, Bangladesh, said the authorities had taken an inclusive and comprehensive approach to the region, which was home to 1 million people.  District councils now handled tourism, education, health and other services.  The Government employed a zero-tolerance approach to any form of human rights violations and was currently focused on addressing development challenges in the region, he said.

PHYLLIS YOUNG, American Indian Movement of Colorado, said she had taken part in many historic events, including a 1974 gathering at Standing Rock in which 97 nations had produced the International Indian Treaty Council.  She said that she had also drafted that Council’s Declaration of Continuing Independence.

LES MALEZER, Permanent Forum member from Australia, emphasized the importance of assuring the future of all indigenous peoples.  Citing court cases in which rulings had been handed down in their favour, he said that some of those verdicts had not been implemented.  Such issues must be discussed, he said, underlining the importance of dialogue between States and indigenous peoples.

JUAN EDUARDO FAÚNDEZ (Chile) said his country had not hesitated from implementing the Declaration.  Tolerance and respect for diversity were essential for a democratic and peace-loving country.  Today, indigenous peoples held important positions in national political life, but more must be done in that regard, he said, adding that Herculean efforts had been made to create better policies.  It was possible to integrate indigenous concerns into health-care systems with excellent results.

GWENDOLYN PIMENTEL-GANA, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, said desecration of the environment was, for indigenous peoples, tantamount to violating the right to life.  In the Philippines, Government policies had yet to fully reflect and consider indigenous customs and practices to preserve the environment.  Some policies and regulations criminalized certain indigenous practices, she said, adding that indigenous peoples’ unique world view must be encouraged and reinforced.

TEODORO L. LOCSIN, Jr. (Philippines), emphasizing that his country had long guaranteed the rights of indigenous peoples, said the challenge was not to fight prejudice, but plain greed.  For the self-protection of its indigenous peoples, the Government was promoting indigenous basic education.  Culturally sensitive health programmes had also been adopted and political power had been given to indigenous peoples.  He called on Member States to renew their commitment to the Declaration, to stop making excuses and work harder towards its realization.

TARCILA RIVERA ZEA, Permanent Forum member from Peru, emphasized the theme of youth inclusion and invited participants to make related recommendations.

BRANDON MAKA’AWA’AWA, Nation of Hawai’i, said that, while waiting for Member States to fulfil their obligations, indigenous peoples must maintain their ancestral lands, preserve cultures, protect unique identities and seek solutions for themselves.  The Nation of Hawai’i used strategies that included working to win economic recognition.  Alongside 38 other indigenous nations, Hawai’I had declared its territory a food sovereignty zone in 2016 in order to restore and decolonize its traditional food sources.

JULIO CESAR ARRIOLA (Paraguay) said his country had taken a number of steps to ensure the full and effective enjoyment of indigenous peoples’ rights, especially in health and education.  The Government had extended an open invitation to all Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and established a monitoring mechanism to follow up on their recommendations, he added.

JAMIL AHMAD, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said a growing number of indigenous human rights defenders had lost their lives in the past decade. That was a matter of deep concern, he said, citing the case of Berta Cáceres, a “Champions of the Earth” laureate who had campaigned against illegal logging on behalf of the Lenca people in Honduras.  A planet free of pollution would be the theme of the United Nations Environment Assembly, to be held in Nairobi this year.

BELKACEM LOUNÈS, Congrès Mondial Amazigh, said that, while Morocco had adopted the Declaration, its interpretation of that instrument “went against the grain” of the text.  Noting that recognition of the Amazigh language as an official language of Morocco had been frozen for six years, she said the Amazigh people had no sovereignty over their land and had been excluded from development projects.  They were poor and marginalized, and their demonstrations were violently put down.  The Amazigh people would only obtain the status they deserved in a sovereign State.

RACHEL O’CONNOR (Australia) emphasized the importance of economic development and the empowerment of indigenous women.  Indigenous people had demonstrated great talent, imagination and entrepreneurialism, she said, citing a Government programme to provide more business to indigenous suppliers.  She underscored the leadership role of indigenous women and their contribution to the economy, citing Australia’s strategies that made it easier for them to access loans.

JENS DAHL, Permanent Forum member from Denmark, replied to comments by one Government that it would recognize community land ownership if deeds were available, pointing out that indigenous peoples often did not have such deeds.  He urged compliance with Article 27 of the Declaration pertaining to indigenous peoples’ right to participate in processes concerning their lands and resources.

The representative of the Arctic Caucus called on the Permanent Forum and relevant international organizations to produce a report on indigenous protected areas.  Raising a number of concerns, she said a new agreement on salmon fishing in the Deanu River between authorities in Finland and Norway would negatively affect the Sami traditional way of fishing.  Free, prior and informed consent was a crucial part of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Arctic States were among the richest in the world, yet indigenous peoples in the region were entrenched in poverty.  Rather than focus on the symptoms of social, economic and health gaps, the Permanent Forum, Member States, international organizations and indigenous peoples should instead seek broad solutions that addressed root causes, including recognition of the right to education and to economic development.

ELIAS GONZALEZ PATAL (Guatemala) said progress had been achieved through amendments to the Constitution, including on the recognition of languages and rights.  A bipartite governmental body was working to take action on a range of issues.  A trust fund would also work to integrate indigenous peoples into Guatemala through economic development efforts and inclusion in schools, institutions and the political process.

KANDI MOSSET, Indigenous Environmental Network, said actions taken at Standing Rock in the United States contravened the Declaration and violated human rights.  Military action against people protecting the land was a violation of their rights.  Recommendations made during the Permanent Forum had repeatedly urged the United States to implement the Declaration and stop raping Mother Earth.  Echoing the call of others, she said the theme of the next Permanent Forum should focus on water, which must be protected.  “We should not be violated for protecting water,” she said.

MAMANI NAVARRO, El Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu, underscored the contribution of social organizations in his country.  Progress was being made step by step, and indigenous peoples were no longer marginalized, he said, noting that the Constitution recognized its 36 indigenous nations and acknowledged native languages.

Ms. FRANCA, Red de Jóvenes Indígenas de Amėrica Latina y el Caribe, said young people were deeply concerned by the absence of an intercultural perspective on reproductive rights.  That contributed to early pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, she said, noting also the close link between emotional health and the vulnerability of young people.  She expressed concern about a lack of data on young indigenous people with disabilities, as well as policies that would protect them.

ZAIRA ZAMBELLI TAVEIRA (Brazil) said the national indigenous health system was operating in 34 districts, serving more than 5,000 tribes and working in partnership with communities.  While there had been improvements in child health, youth suicide was rising.  Targeted projects addressed suicide-related issues, she said, emphasizing Brazil’s overall commitment to promoting and protecting indigenous peoples’ health.

JULIE TURNER, Two Feathers International, said that, despite the climate crisis, the Amazon Warrior seismic ship, along with other oil companies, were currently exploring new areas in New Zealand.  “They are not welcome in our waters,” she said.  On the west coast of New Zealand, a mining corporation was attempting again to obtain approvals for the extraction of dozens of tons of seabed material, with a view to tapping into oil or tar sands.  That new industry had little information on the effects of such activities, yet the potential for environmental disaster was real.  The coastline and oceans were integral to New Zealand and the Government must take appropriate, climate-smart action.

JACLYN WILLIAMS (New Zealand) said her country placed great importance on environmental discussions with indigenous peoples.  Citing a current dialogue on ancestral rivers, she said enactments had been drafted on a range of issues, including education and the environment.

ESKENDER BARIIEV, Crimean Tatar People, said his people’s rights had been violated since Crimea was invaded by the Russian Federation, which had ignored principles of the Declaration.  “I cannot live at home, in my own country,” he said.  Citing a personal example of being searched and detained, he said many Crimean Tatars faced kidnapping and torture, with no criminal investigations being launched.  He called for those in custody to be released, urging the Permanent Forum and its members to lend their support in that regard.

ROLANDO CASTRO CORDOBA (Costa Rica) said the Declaration had been a guide to drafting rules, legislation and constitutional reform.  Costa Rica had worked to promote equality and opportunity for all in all cultural groups.  A holistic, human rights-based approach must guide efforts addressing the situation of indigenous peoples, including for education and housing.  Turning to employment, she said a national employment programme had earmarked funds for projects tailored to indigenous peoples.

BROOKLYN RIVERA, Fundacion Egdolina Thomas Para la Defensa de los Derechos de los Habitantes de la Costa Caribe de Nicaragua, said her people’s rights were not being upheld and a tokenistic appreciation of languages and cultures was instead taking place.  Violent acts had been perpetrated against indigenous peoples, included kidnappings and forced displacement.  Nicaragua was imposing rules upon indigenous peoples, who were not allowed to enjoy regional autonomy.

ANDERS PRIMDAHL VISTISEN (Denmark) said that despite progress, persistent violations of indigenous peoples’ rights existed.  Citing an example in Chittagong Hill Tracts, which had seen conflicts over land, he urged Bangladesh to take positive action to remedy the situation and ensure that the population was not left behind.

DMITRII KHARAKKA-ZAITSEV, Permanent Forum member from the Russian Federation, emphasized the need to define the reasons why, in some countries, indigenous peoples and movements were seen as “aliens” and “obstacles”.

ANNE DENNIS, New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, recommended that the Council urge States to ratify without reservations and fully implement all human rights obligations under the treaties to which they were party.  It should also urge States to ensure that legislative systems were established to redress systemic indigenous disadvantage through indigenous control mechanisms for the delivery of social justice, she said.

MARAMA PALA, International Indigenous HIV and AIDS Community, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and INA HIV/AIDS Foundation, said many indigenous communities feared indigenous men, women and children living with HIV and discriminated against them.  It was unacceptable for such people to bear institutionalized stigma within their own communities.  Indigenous peoples must be accurately represented in all HIV/AIDS epidemiological data, with resources provided to enable them to design, develop and implement HIV-AIDS programmes.  The Permanent Forum should address AIDS as a humanitarian issue and acknowledge HIV as a threat to indigenous peoples, she said, pressing indigenous leaders to make access to treatment a priority.

HEATHER MILTON-LIGHTENING, Indigenous Climate Action, said the Permanent Forum must ensure a space for indigenous voices and provide support for rights-based climate strategies.  Even as Governments pledged commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change, extractive industries were moving forward in full force.  Indigenous peoples must not be forced to adopt State-led prescriptions of self-government.  Rather, they must be the ones to exercise their autonomy in addressing climate change.

NAZARETH CABRERA GUERRERO, Consejo Regional Indigena del Medio Amazones, said ancestral knowledge must be maintained, stressing that women’s knowledge in particular was important in farming, food production, cultural heritage and health.  Describing the range of roles women played in communities, she said special efforts must be made to protect their rights and acknowledge their domestic work in order to end violence and abuse.

News

Preventing Climate Change, Acknowledging Needs of Specific States Focus, as Second Committee Concludes General Debate

Preventing climate change, enhancing international cooperation, and acknowledging the needs of specific groups and categories of States were necessary to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Member States said today as the General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) concluded its general debate.

“Climate change is a serious threat to development,” said the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania.  “Early entry into force of the Paris Agreement is vital.”  Many States noted the risks climate change posed to their development plans, be it through natural hazards, desertification, or negative effects on glaciers.

The African continent’s development was already being threatened by climate change, said the representative of Niger, speaking on behalf of the African Group.  Land degradation was also advancing, and African countries were among the worst hit, along with mountainous regions and headwaters nations that were at risk of glacial melt due to climate change.  The representative of Kyrgyzstan noted that climate change had already led to increased natural hazards, increased glacial melts, devastation of mountain ecosystems and resultant effects on societies.  By 2025, the total area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan could be reduced by 30 to 40 per cent, with a resultant decline in water flows, she said.  It was urgent to protect glaciers in headwater countries.

Several States highlighted the status of middle-income countries.  Those countries continued to face special challenges.  The representative of Mexico underscored the role of middle-income countries, which had much of the world’s population living in extreme poverty, and it was necessary to rethink the criteria for graduation of those countries as official development assistance recipients.  The representative of Chile said the majority of the United Nations membership were or would become middle-income countries in the near term, and it was necessary to strengthen United Nations support to those countries.  Nor could per capita income be the only tool by which to measure countries.

Many speakers said that it was necessary to strengthen international cooperation and partnerships to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  The representative of Rwanda highlighted the need for solidarity with vulnerable countries that could easily face economic downturns with the change of a few commodity prices.  Financing for development was a key factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as was international trade.

A number of States highlighted the importance of adopting the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.  The review, said the representative of Paraguay, “will be crucial for forging correct strategies in the coming years.  This must be in line with the 2030 Agenda and take into account countries in special situations, notably landlocked developing countries.”  The representative of Australia stressed that the review “helps set direction for the UN system to implement the 2030 Agenda.”

While the work of the Second Committee was important, it needed to change the way it operated to ensure its relevance, stressed the representative of Australia.  The Committee needed to adhere to deadlines to achieve outcomes, and countries required sufficient time for consultations and debate on resolutions in order to achieve consensus.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Japan, Tajikistan, Panama, Botswana, Republic of Korea, Mauritania, Iraq, Georgia, Peru, Kazakhstan, Sudan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Venezuela, Turkey, China, Morocco, Myanmar, Costa Rica, Fiji, Kenya, Algeria, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Kuwait, South Africa, Bhutan, Zambia, Nepal, Guinea, Serbia, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Jordan, Argentina and Liberia.

Representatives from the State of Palestine, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also spoke.

Statements

NOBORU SEKIGUCHI (Japan), recalling with regret that collective efforts towards the Second Committee’s revitalization had failed, stressed that “we must not reopen what we agreed to in 2015.”  The completion of the Committee’s work within the mutually-agreed deadlines should be strictly kept, while any programme budget implications that were not urgent, necessary or based on clear mandates should be kept off the negotiating table.  Describing Japan’s priorities for the upcoming session, he said the setting of the Committee’s deliberations on aspects of sustainable development should be well aligned with the 2015 international agreements, especially the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Expressing his readiness to adopt the historic New Urban Agenda — which would draw a whole picture of sustainable urbanization over the next 20 years — he also underscored the importance of implementing the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and pledged to support the sustainable development of countries in special situations.  Discussions on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review were also critical, he said, underlining the need to devise a reform plan that included a broader perspective.

MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) highlighted the important milestones reached in 2015, including the third International Conference on Financing for Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.  There was a need to mobilize additional financial resources, notably official development assistance (ODA), the main component for financing development.  Countries that began their efforts to achieve a sustainable development agenda under less favourable conditions needed support.  Tajikistan was a host to a high-level conference on water and sanitation in August, and would put forth a draft resolution in the Second Committee on International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028”, and encouraged all Member States to support it.

ISBETH LISBETH QUIEL MURCIA (Panama) noted that it had been a year since the 2030 Agenda had been adopted, stressing that the Second Committee was especially relevant in achieving its goals.  In stepping up its collective efforts, the Committee’s main work should be to strengthen the operational guide or road map towards those goals.  Adding that the Paris Agreement was vital for sustainable development, she said many Latin American and Caribbean nations had reaffirmed their commitments to combat climate change.  Panama had set up an international centre to ensure implementation of the 2030 Agenda and inclusive development.  It was also seeking to become a carbon hub for the region by managing sustainable forests and combating deforestation.

SALVADOR DE LARA RANGEL (Mexico) said that, with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda framing development as a vital cornerstone of the United Nations agenda, it was now up to the Organization and its development system to align itself to that agenda and to modify its approach.  The quadrennial comprehensive policy review extended to sustainable development and provided an opportunity to make the changes needed.  His country had been an active promoter of financing for development.  A cross‑cutting, multidimensional approach for financing was needed to push sustainable development forward.  He also underscored the role of middle-income countries, which had much of the world’s population living in extreme poverty.  It was necessary to rethink the criteria for graduation of those countries as ODA recipients.

TLHALEFO BASTILE MADISA (Botswana) said landlocked developing countries were faced with various challenges, including high transport costs, dependence on a single or limited number of commodities for export earnings, remoteness and isolation from world markets and a cumbersome transit procedure.  Countries’ efforts to overcome such difficulties on their own were insufficient, and there was a need for greater international support from all stakeholders, including transit partners.  Stressing that trade for landlocked countries was also key in achieving development goals, he said the World Trade Organization (WTO) remained vital in integrating those nations into global trade.  Climate change was another issue needing serious attention, as it continued to impact all economic sectors, manifested by constrained agricultural production, increased food insecurity, prolonged drought and water stress.

OH YOUNGJU (Republic of Korea) said that, while the international community had been focused on galvanizing political will for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, it must now create concrete actions for sustainable development.  To that end, the discussion on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review was vital in providing strategic guidance on the implementation of the sustainable development goals.  Furthermore, the reform of the United Nations development system should be based on gaps and lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals.  With regards to the Paris accord, her country would “exert its best efforts” to ratify the instrument by the end of this year.  Parallel to that, her Government would also establish a national plan on climate change to achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets, in addition to expanding its support to developing countries through the Green Climate Fund.

CARLOS OLGUÍN CIGARROA (Chile) said that the majority of United Nations membership were or would become middle-income countries in the near term.  It was necessary to strengthen the Organization’s support to those countries, as they faced special challenges in developing policies.  He believed it was important that per capita income could not be the only tool by which to measure countries.  On climate change, it was important to consider both mitigation and adaption, or else developing countries would be the most vulnerable.  Chile welcomed the flexibility shown by all nations on a new urban agenda in preparation for the Habitat III conference.

TUVAKO NATHANIEL MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group and the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that review of sustainable development progress would help build ownership of the 2030 Agenda and create a virtuous cycle of implementation.  Studies had shown that land degradation was advancing and that African countries were among the worst hit.  Combating land degradation could contribute to easing forced migration flows influenced by a number of factors, including economic, social, security and environmental concerns.  That could in turn reduce current and potential fighting over resources.  He also called on all Member States to recognize the need to intensify efforts to enhance coherence and consistency of the international financial system and to tackle challenges confronting the global economy.  Welcoming the establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries, he warned that an abrupt cut of assistance towards new graduates could lead into falling back to their previous status.

EL HACEN ELEYATT (Mauritania) said the world was confronting several challenges, including terrorism and poverty, as well as underdevelopment in certain regions.  It was necessary to improve people’s welfare through the principles of mutual cooperation.  Noting that the 2030 Agenda was vital in transforming the world and achieving prosperity, he said Mauritania had set up a national programme to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  His country had managed to alleviate poverty and its manifestations by improving income and increasing employment for youth.  The Government had adopted policies to empower women, who were now present in all sectors of society.  It had also established a social security programme that combated poverty and assisted vulnerable groups through health benefits and income producing projects.  In addition, it had worked to improve governance through transparency and by combatting corruption.

Mr. AL HAYANI (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the market economy was still the global model for development, notably through trade, wealth‑generation and technological innovation.  An unregulated market economy, however, would exhaust natural resources and cause economic crises.  As such, global economic growth needed to take into account the sustainable use of natural resources.  The goal of the WTO was to ensure the necessary conditions so that everyone had an equal chance, including developing countries that had not benefited from globalization.  He reaffirmed the importance of having more flexible membership criteria for States that were currently WTO observers, such as his country.  Sustainable development and economic development in Iraq faced major challenges due to terrorism, which had attacked peaceful cities, affecting economic prosperity and discouraging foreign investment.

JUAN MANUEL PEÑA (Paraguay), associating himself with the Group of 77, said eradicating poverty was the greatest challenge facing the world.  The 2030 Agenda must be implemented, along with other international programmes and plans, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  It was vital to improve the global infrastructure and optimize mechanisms for international cooperation.  Stressing that developing countries were especially vulnerable to natural hazards, he said landlocked countries deserved special focus, as they were at greater risk to hazards like droughts and floods.  The United Nations should strengthen support for landlocked countries through the work of the Second Committee.  ODA was vital in implementing the 2030 Agenda, as were increased investments, capacity-building and a more inclusive international trading regime.

NINO SHEKRILADZE (Georgia) said that Georgia had participated in the first round of national voluntary reviews on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, underscoring that “we all learn by doing, but we also learn better together”.  It was important that the United Nations system, with its technical expertise, supported Member States in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  The upcoming quadrennial comprehensive policy review would be central to ensure that the United Nations development system would perform its function effectively.  There was a financing gap for the implementation of the Goals, and innovative financing could play a significant role in addressing that, alongside domestic financial flows, foreign direct investment and ODA.  In that regard, Georgia, through the establishment of its Solidarity Fund, had become an active member of the global partnership on innovative financing.

MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan), expressing her full supported for the 2030 Agenda, said that her country had actively begun its implementation.  Developing, mountainous, landlocked countries such as Kyrgyzstan faced unique circumstances and the inclusion of those issues in the Agenda was welcome.  Market access would help such landlocked developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Trade barriers and unilateral border closures were unhelpful.  Climate change had already led to increased natural disasters, increased glacial melts, devastation of mountain ecosystems and resultant negative effects on societies.  By 2025, the total area of glaciers in Kyrgyzstan could be reduced by 30 to 40 per cent, with a resultant decline in water flows.  It was urgent to protect glaciers in headwater countries.

JULIAN SIMPSON (Australia) said the Committee had a central role to play in ensuring that the General Assembly was focused on the 2030 Agenda and responsive to issues central to its implementation.  “We must change the way this Committee operates to ensure it remains relevant and valued,” he said, stressing that “business as usual won’t do”.  Indeed, the Committee must be a platform for constructive debate where Member States could work cooperatively.  It was important that all Member States allow time to consult, discuss and debate resolutions by ensuring that texts were submitted within set deadlines.  Calling for early warning of resolutions with possible budgetary implications, he said the Committee should avoid re-prosecuting recent leader-level agreements.  In addition, it should work efficiently to provide space to negotiate the resolution on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review, which would help set the direction for the United Nations system in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru), aligning his delegation with the Group of 77, said countries had a shared responsibility to implement the 2030 Agenda in ensuring sustained economic growth and preserving the planet for future generations.  The sustainable development partnership called for a stronger global framework and assured financing for development.  It was urgent to honour commitments and develop mechanisms to make resources available in achieving the Agenda.  Stressing that human beings must be at the heart of global efforts, he said development meant inclusion and the safeguarding of cultural diversity.  It was also necessary to focus on disaster risk reduction and the impacts of climate change.  His Government promoted the sustainable development of mountain areas, where people were subject to increased vulnerability and poverty, a challenge for middle-income countries like Peru.  In addition, it supported innovative initiatives for collective action to increase access to water and sanitation.

RUSLAN BULTRIKOV (Kazakhstan) stressed the importance of empowering women and girls, as well as youth.  It was important that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals be achieved, he said.  Kazakhstan was planning a green economy with reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, and was committed to ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2016.  It was important to identify marginalized populations that the 2030 Agenda had not touched.  Conflict prevention and resolution were also important.  Kazakhstan had managed to restore part of the Aral Sea and was rehabilitating the land around the Semipalatinsk nuclear-testing site with the help of the United Nations.  To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the efforts of landlocked developing countries would be needed to be matched by support from the international community.

ABU OBEIDA (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the current session of the General Assembly was the first step towards implementing the 2030 Agenda.  His Government was focused on eradicating poverty, given its disastrous effects on people in his country.  All nations must progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, but developing countries faced challenges, including the slowdown of global economic growth, as well as the need for capacity-building, technology transfer and tighter cooperation, especially South-South.  It was also essential that a balance be reached in the international financial system to address unexpected shocks.  Countries, such as Sudan, also suffered from an external debt burden, which negated ODA benefits and other sources of funding.  In addition, they needed access to international trade markets, which would help drive development and growth.

JO TONG HYON (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the independent right to development of all Member States should be respected for the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  It was necessary to transcend differences in ideologies and social systems.  Coercive measures, such as sanctions, blockades and pressure imposed by a few countries against others, damaged development efforts.  The monopolistic control by a few countries of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and WTO could not be tolerated any further.  His Government would make every effort, despite the constant nuclear war threats, economic blockades and sanctions against it, to replace the old international order with a new one and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

SUKHBOLD SUKHEE (Mongolia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, outlined his nation’s development plan in the area of reducing income inequality, ensuring quality education and achieving ecological balance.  Mongolia was also working on bringing about more efficiency and transparency in governance.  Challenges facing landlocked countries did not only affect economic growth, but also had major implications for social and environmental aspects of development.  Mongolia was certainly affected by climate change, but it also faced several “special human activities” that led to its serious desertification.  For example, poor crop cultivation practices were causing oil erosion.  Mongolia’s urban population had increased sharply in recent years with 68 per cent of people living in urban areas.  The capital’s population had doubled in just the last two decades.  Such rapid urbanization had caused myriad challenges including unemployment, congested traffic and pollution.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said the premise of the Bolivarian revolution was to ensure the greatest happiness for the country’s people.  Venezuela had a “Poverty Zero” plan for 2019, and would continue to reduce exclusion and seek greater equity to transform the lives of its people.  The capitalist system was unjust and generated poverty, and a fair international trade system was needed.  Venezuela advocated for reform of the international financial architecture, which was unjust towards the poorest countries.  Its decision-making processes needed to be democratized.  The sovereign management of natural resources should be considered as an alternative to control of these resources by transnational corporations.  War and conflict hindered development in many countries in the Middle East and Africa, and it was necessary to put an end to foreign interference in domestic matters.

BARIŞ CEYHUN ERCIYES (Turkey) said that his country was not only a reliable donor both in development cooperation and humanitarian assistance but was also hosting the largest refugee population in the world, totalling 3 million people.  Migration could contribute to sustainable development through proper management, common strategies and proactive dialogue.  “Any strategy can be successful if it is carried out collectively,” he said, adding that individual efforts simply could not produce lasting solutions.  Greater international cooperation, burden- and responsibility-sharing were needed to assist host countries and communities.  Turkey welcomed the recent consensus reached for refugees and migrants and expected the international community to meet its commitments to better respond to the global phenomenon.  On climate change, Turkey believed that water and sanitation were vital elements of the 2030 Agenda.  In regards to Member States’ support to build a new global water architecture, he stressed that such steps be taken cautiously and conducted in transparent manner.

WU HAITAO (China), associating himself with the Group of 77 , said it was important to stick to the path of win-win cooperation and honour ODA, especially in helping developing countries enhance capacity.  It was also vital to improve global economic governance and create an enabling international environment for development.  Efforts should be directed towards building an open-world economy.  The United Nations must continue to play a central role in coordinating such development efforts.  Countries would do better by strengthening communication and coordination in macro-economic policy in order to avoid negative spillover.  As the second largest economy in the world, his Government had taken measures to adapt to the “new normal” of its economic development, including upgrading its economic structure and adding new drivers for economic and social development.  China had engaged in an “all-out” endeavour to achieve sustainable development.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country had integrated the 2030 Agenda directly into its Government’s policies and plans.  It had set implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as a socioeconomic reference point, including women and youth in the process.  The Government had dedicated more than 54 per cent of its budget to financing the social sector to improve living conditions and eliminate social inequalities.  In promoting sustainable and renewable methods of consumption, Morocco had reached ninth place in the world in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.  Implementing the 2030 Agenda was an opportunity for the Government to adopt a development model that had sustainability at its centre, was mindful of equality and human dignity, focused on public and private institutional effectiveness, and targeted those who needed assistance.

EI EI KHIN AYE (Myanmar) said her country’s national economic and development policy was designed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.  Food security, poverty alleviation and the promotion of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises were some of Myanmar’s top priorities.  In addition, building nationwide peace and security was paramount, and her Government was committed to the ongoing initiatives of the Panglong Peace Conference that intended to bring sustainable peace to the country.  Combating HIV/AIDS was another highly prioritized goal, she said, adding that the country’s national strategy plan focused specifically on prevention, treatment and care for priority populations.  Emphasizing the importance of close cooperation between developed and developing countries, she highlighted that ODA would continue to be important to developing countries as they pursued the 2030 Agenda.  Her delegation also underscored the importance of the quadrennial comprehensive policy review that would help developing countries achieve the 2030 Agenda and “narrow the development divide among the Member States”, she concluded.

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA-GARCÍA (Costa Rica) said the Second Committee’s biggest challenge during the session would be the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Public and private resources must be mobilized towards that end.  Implementation should be accomplished through the solidarity and transparency of all Member States.  It must consider the needs of the most vulnerable and include middle-income countries, which represented the largest number of Member States in the United Nations.  He also stressed the importance of the Paris Agreement and announced that his country planned to ratify the accord in the coming days.

LUKE DAUNIVALU (Fiji), associating himself with the Group of 77, Association of Small Island States and the Group of Asia and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, stressed that implementation of the 2030 Agenda would not be realized without adequate financing.  It was necessary that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda be further strengthened and nations formed a global partnership.  As his country had had too many experiences with the adverse impacts of climate change, he urged countries that had not done so to ratify the Paris Agreement.  Extreme weather events would be more frequently experienced if the international community failed to fulfil its commitments.  Discussions at this year’s Second Committee session should maintain the focus on combatting climate change and contribute to finding durable solutions that tackle its multidimensional threat.  For Fiji, as a large ocean State, the Pacific was a lifeline and its declining health must be reversed.

ARTHUR AMAYA ANDAMBI (Kenya), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that at the time of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, his country was already implementing its Vision 2030 through five-year medium term plans which embraced the three dimensions of sustainable development.  It was important to focus on the means of implementation defined under all Goals and number 17 in particular.  It was critical to mobilize sufficient resources to meet the financial demands of implementation.  For Kenya, now a middle-income country, it was necessary to seek increased foreign direct investment (FDI) and to mobilize domestic resources.  Kenya continued to build effective and capable institutions at the national level to coordinate both within and across ministries.

MOURAD MEBARKI (Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, described the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda as global achievements.  The 2030 Agenda would ensure eradication of poverty if needed resources could be mobilized.  Algeria had succeeded in implementing the Millennium Development Goals and was working on the Sustainable Development Goals by putting in place national mechanisms drawing in all stakeholders.  He noted, however, challenges in funding the Goals, especially considering the negative forecast of international finance.  The World Bank had suggested increasing ODA and tightening South-South cooperation to combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows.  The international community must pay special heed to the funding needs of Africa and assist it in becoming more competitive in international trade.  It was difficult to put in place global partnership mechanisms without solidarity among nations.  The South-South partnership was the best proof of solidarity, but South-North cooperation and technology transfer must also be enhanced.

MAYTHONG THAMMAVONGSA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself the Group of 77, said it was incumbent on countries, United Nations agencies and other organizations to mobilize resources to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The Sustainable Development Goals had been mainstreamed into his Government’s national development plans.  The country continued to remove unexploded ordnance that continued to impair the livelihoods of its citizens.  Enhanced partnerships would be important to mobilize resources to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Over the past years, the international community had provided support and assistance to his country, which had contributed to its efforts to eradicate poverty.  Climate change was a global challenge, if it was not addressed adequately, and no one country would be able to cope with or address it alone.  His nation was among the first group of countries to ratify the Paris Agreement and that accord would be implemented in an effective manner.

Ms. ABDULLAH (Malaysia) expressed concern about the global economic crisis, which was having a negative impact on smaller economies.  She called on the international community to strengthen global financial regulation.  Repercussions of the financial crisis in developing countries were always costly and disruptive, especially in mobilizing resources for development.  She stressed the importance of South-South cooperation, which complemented efforts of developing countries to achieve sustainable development, but said it should not replace North-South cooperation.  The 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement were important milestones in paving the way for sustainable development, but the lack of financial resources in developing countries should be addressed.  It was also important to acknowledge that every country had its own challenges in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

ABDALLAH WAFY (Niger), speaking on behalf of the African Group and associating himself with the Group of 77, said the continent’s plans for sustainable development were informed by the African Union’s Agenda 2063 as well as the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that the Second Committee worked to concretize the international outcomes of 2015 — including the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and others — he said the importance of ensuring the adequate means of implementation could not be overemphasized.  In that regard, ODA commitments must be fulfilled and illicit flows of finance and resources out of Africa must be curbed.  While information and communication technologies (ICTs) were essential enablers for development, access to them remained a challenge for developing countries.  Restrictive trade measures created hurdles and made for an unfair international trade system.  Despite Africa’s insignificant contribution to the causes of climate change, it was also suffering from drought, flooding, climate-induced displacement and other climate-related challenges.  The international community should accelerate efforts to curb those negative effects, including at the upcoming Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Morocco.

RUBÉN ZAMORA (El Salvador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said it was important to speed up and implement recently signed agreements.  Those included the Paris Agreement, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda.  A fundamental task for the United Nations was to deal with the structure of the global financial and trade system, currently arranged to help the developed countries and punish those that were not developed.  Financing for development was critical to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.  The definition of middle-income countries needed to be revised because those States featured structural imbalances which were not reflected in the per capita income numbers, but were systematically covered up by averaging out gross domestic product (GDP).  It was necessary to understand the changing and evolving needs of societies that were evolving at different levels.  El Salvador confirmed its support for reforming the world economic governance structure to ensure more effective and coordinated handling of important global issues.

HORACIO SEVILLA BORJA (Ecuador), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the need for structural change in the international financial system limited the ability of developing countries to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  To promote international peace and stability, the international community must have a dialogue to increase transparency and good governance in that financial system.  Its excesses had widened inequalities in the world.  She noted that taxes were tools to increase wealth within and between societies, but stressed the need to eliminate tax evasion, illicit monetary flows and tax havens.  Equador’s tax havens currently held $30 billion, an amount which would contribute substantially to sustainable development.  She suggested creating a world government body that discussed tax issues in tackling the problem of such havens.

APPOLINAIRE DINGHA (Congo) said the Second Committee’s work was taking place at a time of slow economic growth and geopolitical concerns.  He expressed hope that the upcoming Habitat III conference would be a strong policy effort to open up development opportunities for the world’s cities and eradicate poverty.  The first session of the high-level political forum on sustainable development drew a picture of the development programme through the 2030 Agenda, and the Committee needed to take that work to heart as it proceeded.  It was necessary to have better capacity-building in operational terms for the United Nations system for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  The 2030 Agenda touched on all aspects of development, but nonetheless, to ensure its effective implementation and to eradicate poverty, it was necessary to strengthen partnerships.  Congo had a national plan and through it the country had committed to taking ownership of the 2030 Agenda.

PAUL LOSOKO EFAMBE EMPOLE (Democratic Republic of the Congo) was committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, incorporating them into its national strategic plan.  The country sought to become a middle-income country by 2021, an emerging market by 2030 and a developed State by 2050.  The country continued its development and sought to reduce poverty, and had managed to have the appropriate economic and social infrastructure to improve the welfare of its population.  Climate change was an unprecedented global challenge and jeopardized the very future of humanity.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was moving to finalize the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the end of 2016.  There remained a gap between developing and developed States, particularly among the least developed countries.  It was necessary to win the war against poverty so humanity would not suffer a failure of development.

NECTON MHURA (Malawi), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country had undertaken several economic initiatives to address high inflation and the decline in GDP.  Malawi had suffered from recent weather-related setbacks as well.  Women were at the very core of any society’s success and with that in mind, Malawi had risen the age of marriage to 18 years and was focusing on programmes that boosted girls’ access to education.  As a landlocked developing country, his nation would feel the positive impact of infrastructural development specifically in the area of increasing the number of Malawians that had access to electricity.  He noted the inconclusiveness of the trade negotiations surrounding duty-free and quota-free market access to certain products and said that the stalemate had only exacerbated the challenges faced by landlocked countries.  Malawi called on its global partners to continue supporting programmes that increased access to education for everyone but especially for girls.

JEANNE D’ARC BYAJE (Rwanda), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that global development was a shared responsibility.  Solidarity needed to be encouraged to ensure that vulnerable countries could achieve sustainable development.  An over-reliance on a few key commodities had helped plunge many countries into recession, for instance.  Low or even shrinking growth would adversely impact the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, where growth of about 7 per cent annually was needed to eradicate poverty by 2030.  Rwanda would continue to invest in its people, enhancing citizen empowerment and community capacity-building.  It was imperative to respond to the aspirations of people; advance gender equality; tackle infrastructure and energy gaps; and realize that all actors needed adequate financing to implement the development agenda.

FREDERICK M. SHAVA (Zimbabwe), associating himself with the Group of 77, stressed the need for global partnership to achieve the 2030 Agenda, in the form of provision of financial resources, transfer of technology and capacity- building.  A supportive international environment, including an equitable multilateral trading system, was also critical for poverty eradication, as was follow-up on the Financing for Development agenda and reform of the international financial institutions to respond better to the needs of developing countries.  He expressed particular concern over the lack of commitment from some Member States in promoting cooperation on tax matters and addressing the problem of illicit financial flows.  On climate change, he urged developed countries to fulfil their commitments to provide means of implementation for adaptation and mitigation, in line with the Paris outcome.

TALAL ALI RASHED ALJAMALI (Yemen), associating himself with the Group of 77 and Group of Least Developed Countries, said that one year was not enough to evaluate progress but the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals could be reviewed and its successes and setbacks evaluated.  Those Goals would not have an impact on the poor unless they translated into action.  Yemen had signed the Paris Agreement and joined international efforts to preserve the planet, he said, emphasizing the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility.  Industrialized nations must accept their historic responsibilities.  Yemen was in a “particular situation” and “chaos was prevailing”, he said, adding that the country was now “struggling to reach relief” instead of focus on the development gains it had made.

ABDULLAH A KH A KH ALSHARRAH (Kuwait), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the Paris conference was extremely important in terms of dealing with climate change in a fair way.  The road map was done and now it was time to “shoulder responsibility” in the fight against extreme poverty.  It was critical to ensure respect for the environment and take into account ongoing climate change.  There were common but differentiated responsibilities for all to bear.  Conflict interfered with development and therefore it was critical to address immediate humanitarian needs and put an end to conflict worldwide.  Kuwait, as a high-income country, was doing its best to speed up new partnerships in various regions and was set on creating better living conditions for the people in its region.  “Our efforts had been somewhat successful,” he said, emphasizing that his country’s humanitarian assistance was in accordance with its values.

LAWRENCE XOLANI MALAWANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Africa Group, said the success or failure in implementing the 2030 Agenda would depend on adequate means of implementation and meaningful follow-up and review architecture.  Convinced that the financing for development and the 2030 Agenda processes remained on separate tracks, he urged development partners to honour their commitments on ODA.  Addressing illicit financial flows was crucial.  Upgrading the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters should be upgraded into a universal and intergovernmental body which would provide developing countries with tools to deal with a number of tax related issues, including illicit financial flows.  To combat poverty, special attention should be given to agricultural development and food security.

KUNZANG C. NAMGYEL (Bhutan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said that, as a landlocked least developed nation, it had faced immense development challenges.  Stressing that the transformation in the 2030 Agenda period must take place within the least developed countries, he said Bhutan had begun integrating the Sustainable Development Goals into its national priorities in its development planning framework.  The support of development partners was critical to those endeavours, and success would ultimately hinge on the quality of partnerships between Governments, the private sector and civil society at the national, regional and global levels.  Likewise, the 2030 Agenda required a United Nations development system that was able to deliver integrated and coordinated policy support on the ground in response to national needs and priorities.  Noting that Bhutan had been identified as eligible for graduation out of the least developed country category, he emphasized that graduation must be seen in the larger context of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and must be handled carefully.

MWABA P. KASESE BOTA (Zambia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said poverty, through its many offshoots, remained an overarching and pressing challenge around the world.  Promoting transformation and strengthening resilience of economies in Africa — especially countries in special situations — called for the active pursuit of industrialization.  Zambia had been creating a five-year national development plan aimed at fostering growth by initially placing a special focus on the development of rural areas that had the highest prospects for reducing poverty levels.  Other strategies included industrialization, appropriate infrastructure development and fostering rural development by focusing on agriculture and creating jobs.  It was also working to create Value Chain Cluster Programmes, diversification of the agricultural sector, promotion of forestry and Multi-facility Economic Zones and to prioritize infrastructure, energy, water, transport, communication, education and health.  Climate change also remained a national priority.

DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda had not yet begun in real terms.  It was important to find and urgently remedy the delay so that 2030 commitments could be translated into meaningful results on the ground, including poverty eradication.  Poverty was the worst enemy of humanity, serving as fertile breeding ground for most social ills, beginning with hunger and illiteracy and resulting in anger and even terrorism.  National commitments, ownership, leadership, people-centric and accountable governance systems must be complemented by robust international partnership to win the arduous battle against poverty.  He also stressed that the international community was obliged to help graduate least developed countries and ease structural deficiencies of landlocked developing countries, as agreed in programmes of action for those countries.  It was also important to note the huge potential of South-South cooperation, which could be a game changer in ensuring implementation of new agendas.

ALASSANE CONTE (Guinea) said the international community had committed itself to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Guinea had suffered two years of the Ebola outbreak and was now paying strict heed to the Goals.  In May, the new Prime Minister had promised to re-establish rule of law, kick-start the national economy and combat corruption.  The Government was the first pillar around which sustainable development progress should be made.  Economically, specialists had noted that Guinea could supply the world’s aluminium needs for a century.  The country was currently focusing on mining, creating a framework favouring investment.  Programmes had been signed for several billion dollars in investment, which could make Guinea the mining capital of West Africa.  A large programme had also been put in place to improve agriculture, which could make his country the bread basket of the region.

IVA JEMUOVIC (Serbia) said that her country had begun the process of updating its national strategy for sustainable development and the financing to go along with that.  Failure to achieve the “lofty” goals set was not an option.  Each country had a responsibility to attain sustainable development but sub-regional, regional and global cooperation was indispensable to that.  Moving on to climate change, she noted the massive and devastating floods that had hit Serbia two years ago and outlined myriad concrete actions taken by the Government including stemming greenhouse gas emissions.  On migration, she said that over the past year and a half more than 700,000 refugees and migrants transited through Serbia.  Currently, there were more than 7,000 migrants and asylum-seeking people in the country.  As a nation that had experience protracted displacement for more than 20 years, Serbia simply did not have the capacity to be a long-term, mass shelter for migrants.  A comprehensive European and global solution was vital to address that phenomenon.

MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said there was a growing international consciousness intent on reducing development gaps.  He called on the international community to provide means to implement the 2030 Agenda, referring to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  Stressing the importance of enhancing global partnerships, he pointed to the importance of abiding by agreed-upon development assistance for developing countries, especially in Africa, considering the harsh challenges they faced.  Due attention should also be paid to transition countries to overcome social and economic difficulties by reinforcing resources and transferring technology.  Efforts should also be made to eliminate tax evasion, illegal flows and financial corruption.  Finally, there was a need to facilitate the access of developing countries to special funds to alleviate the effects of climate change.

ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said his country had taken into account domestic risks and vulnerabilities in its implementation of sustainable development.  Its administration had invested in projects with hopes that Equatorial Guinea would become an emerging economy by 2020.  Society was informed by the planned targets through various public campaigns.  State stability fostered development and from that standpoint, the State was a clearly defined public entity that could represent many interests but its very existence was absolutely fundamental.  “Speaking quite frankly, if there is no State, there could be no development,” he said, noting the various failed States worldwide whose development gains and hopes had been squandered.  Equatorial Guinea and its Government were committed to applying the development agenda and had already budgeted for it until 2020.  It was focused on diversifying its economy by being less dependent on resources.

NOUR MAMDOUH KASEB ALJAZI (Jordan), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that some development gains had been jeopardized by various factors including the recent flow of migration.  The number of displaced people worldwide was beyond 60 million, she added, emphasizing the need for an international response.  Partners, civil society and the private sector must join forces to address the phenomenon.  The Syrian crisis had substantially increased “the burden on Jordan’s shoulders”, she said, adding that her country had taken in 1.3 million refugees.  That caused problems with social infrastructure and availability of Government services but despite those immense challenges, Jordan remained committed to sustainable development.  Financing represented a major challenge, she said, underscoring the importance of ODA for both developing and middle-income countries.

MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the 2030 Agenda recognized that the elimination of poverty was a serious challenge and crucial to sustainable development.  The Agenda provided a new framework for sustainable development and was universal in nature, eliminating imbalances and inequalities within and between countries.  It was a commitment that applied to all countries, considering the priorities and capacities of each.  Argentina had begun strengthening its institutional regulations to implement each part of the Agenda.  He stressed that climate change was the biggest challenge facing mankind today.  Argentina had attempted to improve its governance, setting up a national network on climate change to monitor reductions in emissions and determine steps to take in future years.  He also emphasized that operational activities for development must have a broader and greater role to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda.  The international community must develop national capacity in developing countries and integrate South-South and triangular cooperation into the strategic plans of several United Nations agencies.

LEWIS G. BROWN (Liberia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that while everyone had been analysing challenges pertaining to sustainable growth it was equally important to note that the Millennium Development Goals deepened humanity’s understanding of global poverty, rising inequality and pervasive injustice.  Liberia had embarked on the process of domesticating the Sustainable Development Goals through robust initiatives, working with the private sector, civil society and faith-based leaders.  Efforts to enhance national ownership were also manifested in several areas, including the national budget.  The focus was on a process of localization and decentralization.  With 42 per cent of biodiversity in the West African region, Liberia understood the importance of protecting the environment from the trappings of global warming and the effects of climate change.  It remained committed to the sustainable use of land and forests.

ABDULLAH ABU SHAWESH, observer for the State of Palestine, aligning his statement with that of the Group of 77, asked how the Second Committee could promote development when the people of Palestine faced acute challenges.  Israel was the occupying Power and was destroying in a systematic manner all pillars of development.  Forty eight years ago, Israel had occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and since then Palestinian development had gone backwards.  Palestinian resources were being looted and depleted in full view of the international community, producing an imbalanced relationship where the Palestinians were being denied access to their natural resources while Israeli settlements were being enlarged.  The 2030 Agenda stated that peace and development were inseparable.  Israel continued to take hundreds of military actions depriving Palestinians of their right to development, notably through the policy of settlement expansion.  “They are terrorist settlers armed to the teeth, armed with racial ideologies,” he said, and added that it was high time to end the Israeli occupation.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said the recent conclusion of many significant international commitments demonstrated a willingness among political leaders to come together to address global challenges.  At the same time, however, there had been a continued breakdown of trust as inequalities among and within countries had widened and the number of violent conflicts had increased.  A human-centred approach must form the centre of all efforts to address the interconnected challenges of environmental, economic and social development, he said, underscoring the need to avoid a reductionist approach that viewed the human person as an obstacle to development or, even worse, as the cause of his or her own underdevelopment and neediness.  Among other things, he called for a renewed commitment to just and equitable mechanisms for global trade and multilateral financial assistance, and warned against “global indifference” to the needs of others.  “The strength of international cooperation is based on the principle of one common humanity rooted in the equal dignity of all,” he said.

XOLISA MABHONGO, International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA), said that nuclear science and technology had myriad peaceful applications which could help countries reduce poverty and hunger, improve energy supplies, and diagnose and treat diseases.  When it came to treating cancer, numerous countries lacked both the equipment and the trained medical personnel.  In Africa alone, there were 28 countries which did not have a single radiotherapy machine.  The Agency was working to provide both technology and training to health professionals.  Two years ago, it had helped countries in West Africa deal with an outbreak of Ebola by providing diagnostic kits and laboratory supplies.  It was now adopting a similar approach in Latin America and the Caribbean in the response to the Zika virus.  It was also developing nuclear techniques to fight insect pests.  While energy was the engine of development, over a billion people still lacked access to electricity.  Nuclear power was one of the lowest-carbon technologies to generate electricity.

LAKSHMI PURI, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), urged Second Committee delegates to make gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda a central element.  The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review should empower and reposition the United Nations development system to reflect the gender aspect of the Agenda and maximize its impact at the country level.  The Review should leverage normative gains of 2015 to help accelerate gender equality achievements and ensure no one was left behind.  It should also provide operational policy guidance on accelerating transformative results, as well as build and empower the next generation of gender equality champions across all United Nations entities.

CARLA MUCAVI, Director of the New York Liaison Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that 795 million people still suffered from chronic hunger, and over 70 per cent of the world’s poor and food insecure lived in rural areas of developing countries.  When opportunities for a decent life were not present, rural people were often forced to leave their homes.  Global action must be geared at overcoming constraints to accessing markets and resources.  Action must focus on building resilience, promoting sustainable approaches and supporting efforts to adapt to climate change.  It was also important to create jobs and opportunities that rural communities needed.  Rural development and improved food systems were also important parts of the effort to promote sustainable production and consumption and reduce food loss and waste.

VINICIUS CARVALHO PINHEIRO, International Labour Organization (ILO), said a major sustainable development challenge for the coming years was creation of decent jobs for young people.  Ongoing trends of low and jobless economic growth and dissemination of labour-saving technologies may impact the future of work could compromise Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda.  ILO studies showed that, since the low-carbon economy was more job-intensive, work created by a transition to clean energy and more sustainable production patterns could more than offset the loss of jobs in emissions-intensive industries.  If managed well, transitions to environmentally and socially sustainable economies could become a strong driver of job creation, job upgrading, social justice and poverty eradication.

CHANTAL LINE CARPENTIER, Chief of the New York Office of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), expressed concern about the global economy as illustrated in UNCTAD’s recent Trade and Development Report and World Investment Reports.  “If we don’t get trade, investment, finance and technology right, and right now […] we will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said, stressing that the Goals must be used to turn the global economy around.  Countries would need to pool their knowledge, tools and funds to support implementation, especially to the benefit of least developed, African, landlocked and small island States, as well as middle-income countries and others in special situations.  That was the only way to stem protectionism and isolationism and re‑establish globalization as an engine of inclusive prosperity for all.  UNCTAD was launching a multi-donor trust fund on trade and productive capacity and initiating deeper and more inclusive partnerships.

News

UN-backed fund expands wildlife protection plan to 19 countries in Africa and Asia

10 June 2016 – A United Nations-backed partnership fun has approved an additional $40 million to expand its support of a global programme fighting against illegal trafficking to a total of 19 countries in Africa and Asia.

The expansion for the Global Wildlife Program was approved by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and includes contributions from the Asian Development Bank, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank Group and the World Wildlife Fund.

&#8220The victims of wildlife crime are not only the animals and ecosystems that are devastated by poaching and trafficking, they are people as well. The human cost of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife is measured in lives lost to the criminal networks involved and livelihoods destroyed by the erosion of a natural economic foundation,&#8221 said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

&#8220Ending the illegal trade in wildlife requires a concerted and cooperative effort between all sectors. These new projects will further these efforts and help bring us closer to ending wildlife crime once and for all,&#8221 he added.

Specifically, the Global Wildlife Program was established to address the growing poaching crisis and an international call to action. The value of illegal trade has been estimated at between $10 and $23 billion per year, making wildlife crime the fourth most lucrative illegal business after narcotics, human trafficking and weapons, UNEP said.

The new $131 million agenda is expected to leverage $704 million in additional co-financing over seven years. The national projects aim to promote wildlife conservation, wildlife crime prevention, and sustainable development in order to reduce adverse impacts to known threatened species from poaching and illegal trade.

Additionally, a global coordination grant from the GEF will strengthen cooperation and facilitate knowledge exchange between national governments, development agency partners and leading practitioners, UNEP said.

&#8220Poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking are reaching unprecedented levels, robbing the livelihoods of local communities and eroding the global commons,&#8221 said Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson. &#8220In response, the GEF has launched a major international effort to help tackle the supply, trade and demand for wildlife products. Importantly, the project is not only about stopping the slaughter of animals in the forests and savannas of Africa; it also aims at reducing the demand in Asia.&#8221

This past month, at the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi, GEF joined other partners to support the launch of the Go Wild for Life campaign, a UN-led campaign that urges politicians, celebrities and business leaders to help bring global attention to the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

&#8220Wildlife poaching and the illicit trade of wildlife and forest products are abhorrent. This multi-billion dollar worldwide trade is a security issue, an environmental issue, and a development issue,&#8221 said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

&#8220It is pushing vulnerable and endangered species toward extinction. The illicit trade is also fuelling corruption and conflict, destroying lives, and deepening poverty and inequality. If not addressed decisively, illicit poaching and wildlife trade will have significant national economic impacts,&#8221 she added.

In June 2015, the GEF approved 10 national projects from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. Today’s announcement expands that program to strengthen the capacity of Governments to combat poaching and trafficking of wildlife, and wildlife products in key range and transit countries that are in the front lines of combatting wildlife crime.

The nine additional countries include Afghanistan, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Activities in the Global Wildlife Program in the source countries will include enhancing anti-poaching tracking and intelligence operations, increasing the size of conservation areas and improving their management, and providing opportunities for development through nature-based tourism and other agriculture, forestry and natural resource projects that benefit local communities.

In transit countries, the Global Wildlife Program will support anti-smuggling and customs controls, while in demand countries, it will initiate targeted awareness-raising campaigns to help increase legal deterrents for purchase of wildlife and wildlife products.

News

Secretary-General Hails History-Making Ceremony as World Leaders from 175 Countries Sign Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Day-long Event Sees 14 States Parties to Treaty Deposit Ratification Instruments

World leaders from 175 countries gathered at United Nations Headquarters today for the official signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the historic accord reached last December, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling upon all States to quickly sign up to the treaty so it could enter into force as soon as possible.

“The poor and most vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” said Secretary-General Ban as he opened the high-level signature ceremony in the General Assembly Hall.  Climate action could help eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of girls and women.  However, the window for keeping global temperature rise below 2°C, let alone 1.5°, was closing and intensified efforts were needed to decarbonize economies, he said.

Noting that today’s event had made history, he said it had involved the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day.  Among them were the following 14 States parties that deposited their ratification instruments:  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa and Somalia, as well as the State of Palestine.  The treaty must find expression in actions taken on behalf of the current generation and all future generations, the Secretary-General said.  “Young people are our future.  Our covenant is with them.”

Following his remarks, Getrude Clement, a youth leader from the United Republic of Tanzania who spoke on behalf of children, said they would feel the effects of climate change most acutely.  “This is not the future we want for ourselves,” she emphasized.  “We expect action, action on a big scale, and we expect action today, not tomorrow.”

In a similar vein General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark) pressed Member States to take bold steps to make that transformation happen now.  Among others, he congratulated the leaders of France and Peru — Presidents of the two previous climate conferences — for having shepherded a remarkable breakthrough.

President François Hollande of France said that in the run-up to the Paris Agreement, important steps had been taken by Governments, business, local leaders, civil society and ordinary citizens.  And yet, since agreement on the treaty, temperatures continued to rise and disasters had occurred, including the cyclone that had devastated Fiji, spreading drought in Africa, the shrinking of Lake Chad, and rising sea levels that threatened small islands with disappearance under the waves.

On that point, Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga of Tuvalu lamented that an average of 62,000 people were displaced due to climate change each day, a staggering figure that should ring alarm bells.  He called for an Assembly resolution establishing a legal protection system for people displaced by climate change.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil said that developing countries like her own had achieved significant emission reductions and taken on even more ambitious targets.  She called for increasing climate financing beyond the annual $100 billion commitment, saying that international financial flows must be permanently reoriented to support measures that would facilitate solutions.

President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking for the least developed countries, said that category had been among the most progressive during the climate negotiations, with 47 of them having communicated their intended nationally determined contributions, although such efforts were not mandatory.

Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of China said that, as a responsible, major developing country, whose people owned their commitments, China would work earnestly to implement the Paris Agreement, notably by early accession to the treaty.  The Government of China would finalize the domestic legal accession procedures before the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in September, he said.

John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, said the Paris Agreement’s power lay in the opportunity it created.  The deal had sent a message to the markets that innovation, entrepreneurial activities, allocation of capital and Government decisions would define the new energy future.  Investment in renewable energy had been at an-all time high of nearly $330 billion in 2015, he noted.

Anand Mahindra of India’s Mahindra Group said that addressing climate change was the responsibility of the private sector, given its role in contributing to the problem.  The Agreement gave business a chance to redeem itself from the “trust deficit” it faced.  Many companies had joined programmes to double energy productivity by 2030, or made a commitment to transition towards 100 per cent renewable energy in the future, he said.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Indigenous Women and Peoples Association of Chad, said climate change was “adding poverty to poverty”, forcing people to leave their homes in search of a better future.  “It is time to change your hope into promise,” she said, urging leaders to sign, ratify and implement the Agreement.  “We want you to act.”

The signature event extended throughout the day, in parallel with meetings in which Heads of State and Government offered updates on how they would integrate national climate plans into broader sustainable development programmes.  Opening the event was a brass quintet from the Juilliard School in New York City, joined by 197 children representing the States parties that have adopted the Paris Agreement.

Also speaking during the signature ceremony were the Presidents of Peru and Bolivia and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Italy.  The Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation also spoke, as did a royal Princess from Morocco.  United Nations Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio also addressed the ceremony.

Opening Remarks

GETRUDE CLEMENT, youth representative from the United Republic of Tanzania, spoke on behalf of young children in the opening ceremony, saying that climate change presented a big problem all over the planet, but it was children who would feel its effects most acutely, both now and in the future.  Climate change affected the lives of young people, their planet and their education, and children saw its negative results in their daily lives.  “This is not the future we want for ourselves,” she said, adding that children were leading their communities in taking action.  Youth leaders in the United Republic of Tanzania had visited many communities to talk about the effects of climate change and had learned how it impacted the lives of young people.  “We expect action, action on a big scale, and we expect action today, not tomorrow,” she emphasized.  “The future is ours, and the future is bright.”

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, recalled that in Paris last December, the international community had adopted the world’s first universal climate agreement, with every country pledging to curb emissions and strengthen resilience to potentially devastating climate impacts.  Today, more than 165 Governments had gathered to sign the Paris Agreement.  “This is history,” he said, describing the largest number of countries ever to sign an international agreement on a single day.  He commended the 14 States parties depositing their ratification instruments:  Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, Grenada, Jamaica, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa and Somalia, as well as the State of Palestine.  Noting that records were being broken inside the chamber today, he said they were also being broken outside — record global temperatures, ice loss and carbon levels.

“We are in a race against time,” he emphasized, urging countries to join the Agreement quickly so that it could enter into force as early as possible.  The window for keeping global temperature rise below 2 °C was closing, he warned.  The era of consumption without consequences was over and intensified efforts were needed to decarbonize economies and support developing countries in making that transition.  “The poor and vulnerable must not suffer further from a problem they did not create,” he stressed.  Climate action was not a burden.  Rather, it could help eradicate poverty, create green jobs, defeat hunger, prevent instability and improve the lives of women and girls and it was essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  He said he had worked towards this day since “day one” as Secretary-General.  “You are signing a new covenant with the future,” which must find expression in actions taken on behalf of the present and future generations to protect communities.  “The power to build a better world is in your hands,” he declared.

FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, President of France, said 12 December 2015 had been a historic day for the whole international community.  The moment it had become clear that agreement had been reached had been an emotional one.  It was important to recall that the terrorist attacks on Paris had been the backdrop to the Agreement, he said, adding that world leaders had nevertheless demonstrated their ability to come together with a sense of partnership and responsibility to ensure that an agreement would be the fruit of the Paris meeting, as a symbolic act for the rest of the world.

In the run-up to the Agreement, important steps had been taken by Governments, business, local leaders, civil society and ordinary citizens, he recalled.  The success of the Paris meeting had compelled Governments to go even further than the promises and pledges made, and there was a need to ensure that words became actions.  Since 12 December, temperatures had continued to rise and further disasters had occurred, including the devastating cyclone in Fiji, the spread of drought in Africa, the continuing shrinkage of Lake Chad and the rising sea levels that threatened small islands at risk of disappearing under the waves.

Never in the history of the United Nations had it been possible to bring together 170 countries to sign an agreement, all together, on one day, he noted, emphasizing that there was no turning back now.  The world must accelerate action to implement low-carbon policies.  Noting that some $100 billion was needed between now and 2020, he said every country must set an example, particularly developed countries, by stepping up contributions for combating climate change.  “It is not just a question of States taking action, the entire world must come together,” he stressed.  “Everyone must feel that they have a stake in this.”

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, congratulated Governments for having demonstrated what true leadership was all about; society and business leaders, for keeping the pressure and momentum going; the leaders of France and Peru – Presidents of the previous two Conference of Parties – for having shepherded a remarkable breakthrough; and the Secretary-General, for his tireless commitment on the long journey to Paris.  “We must raise the level of ambition even further,” he said, calling for bold steps to make the transformation happen now.

OLLANTA HUMALA TASSO, President of Peru, said the Paris efforts went hand in hand with others under way at the heart of the United Nations, energetically promoted by the Secretary-General, to combat poverty and inequality, notably with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Against that backdrop, he said, he was grateful for his country’s important role in that process, and to the international community for its trust in his Government.  Recalling that the Lima Call for Action had been adopted in 2014, laying the foundations for the Paris Agreement, he said Peru had worked with France to craft a historic accord that must now be implemented responsibly.

The unprecedented presence of so many Heads of State and Government to sign — and some to ratify — the Agreement was proof of the worthy efforts deployed in reaching the accord, he said.  Peru had been motivated by the need to mobilize the greatest partnership in history for the benefit of climate and development.  Indeed, the Paris Agreement contained weighty obligations that the international community must assume under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.  States would need to ramp up dialogue and cooperation, and ensure robust commitment was in place to push forward the climate financing needed for mitigation and adaptation efforts, and to shape low-carbon, climate-resilient economies.

In that context, he went on to point out the importance of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, saying it must play a full part in the run-up to the twenty-second Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakech, Morocco, which aimed to promote climate action at all levels of society.  For its part, Peru was working to become a climate-responsible country, having committed to reducing greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2030, and to enhance adaptation actions.  Those included reducing vulnerability in terms of access to water, agriculture, fisheries, forests and health, as well as across five sectors — disaster risk management, resilient public infrastructure, the fight against poverty, gender equality and promoting private investment.  The Paris Agreement represented the tangible expression of a desire to achieve fair, secure and sustainable development for all.  “Today, we can ratify the greatest partnership against the enemy — climate change,” he declared.

JOSEPH KABILA KABANGE, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, noted that the Group of Least Developed Countries had been among the most progressive in the climate negotiations and had played a significant role in building important components of the Paris Agreement.  For them, today was not merely a symbolic event; it was an important opportunity to reaffirm the positive spirit and narrative created in Paris.  Today was an opportunity to outline a timetable for ensuring the Agreement would have full force in international law and would be implemented.  Ministers from the least developed countries had met in Kinshasa earlier this month to reiterate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and had declared that their Governments would take all necessary steps required for ratification of the Agreement, as soon as possible.

The Paris Agreement created many challenges and opportunities for economies, he continued.  To reach many of the goals it set out, predictable and significantly increased financial flows and other resources would have to be put in place to enable robust action.  Resilience to the adverse effects of climate change and enhanced actions on adaptation would also be required.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was fully aware of the need for a global effort to tackle global warming and had committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent between 2020 and 2030, he said.  That represented a considerable effort for a country that was resolutely working to rebuild itself and move ahead.  The transfer of technology, building capacity, securing financing, ensuring resilience in the face of climate change, and developing renewable energy were the main priorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said, noting that it had a significant and diverse range of natural resources that made it an important partner in the fight against climate change.  The development of hydroelectric power would help meet its own energy needs, as well as those of its neighbours and beyond, he said, emphasizing that States had a duty to overcome narrow self-interest and opt for proactive, mutually beneficial cooperation.

EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, declared:  “The Earth is not an object that can be sold,” emphasizing that his community had taught him that land was “our mother, our home that should be protected”.  He described the main enemies of life as consumerism, mercantilism, the arms race and greed — in sum, the capitalist system, which should be eradicated.  The world was witnessing the most serious disasters — temperature rise, drought, hurricanes and other extreme events — and unless Governments lived up to their Paris commitments, temperatures would rise by between 5 and 6 °C, he warned.

He went on to state that the Paris Agreement could change that reality, depending on its implementation.  It marked an important step, but it was not sufficient to save Mother Earth.  He called for examining the structural causes of the climate crisis, stressing that the rights of Mother Earth were more important than individual rights.  The environment must be protected and, as such, it was essential to adopt a universal declaration on the rights of Mother Earth, and an international climate justice tribunal.  They would judge and punish States responsible for the climate crisis, as well as businesses that caused social and environmental damage.  “If we don’t change the capitalist system in the future, we will see the destruction of humankind,” he asserted.

DILMA ROUSSEFF, President of Brazil, said that the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement represented an historic milestone towards creating the world humanity wanted — a world of sustainable development for all, with the full achievement of the Goals enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Realizing the commitments made in Paris would demand converging action by all countries and societies towards lives and economies less dependent on fossil fuels and dedicated to sustainable environmental practices.  Developing countries like Brazil had achieved significant emission reductions and taken on even more ambitious targets, she said.  The challenge of tackling climate would require a gradual increase in the ambition of developed countries and the continuous mobilization of the appropriate means of implementation.

She went on to emphasize that it was necessary to increase climate financing beyond the annual $100 billion commitment.  International financial flows must be permanently reoriented to support measures that would translate into solutions.  Brazil was determined to intensify mitigation and adaptation actions, and in that regard, would work for a 37 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025, and 43 per cent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, she said.  The country would also achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon and neutralize emissions from the legal suppression of vegetation.  Another challenge would be the restoration and reforestation of 12 million hectares of forest and another 15 million hectares of degraded pasture, he said.  Those were indeed ambitious targets, but they were based on Brazil’s understanding of the grave, negative impacts of climate change.

ZHANG GAOLI, Vice-Premier of China, described the Paris Agreement as a milestone in the global response to climate change, which his country had actively worked to conclude.  In Paris, the President of China had put forward the country’s vision and proposals, and China had played a vital role in the negotiation process.  It was a responsible, major developing country, whose people owned their commitments, he said.  “We will work hard to earnestly implement the Paris Agreement,” notably by acceding early to the accord, and would finalize its domestic legal procedures on its accession before the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in September.  China would work with the rest of the international community for early accession in order to ensure the accord’s early entry into force.

He said China would take actions at home to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, setting a peak by 2030 and making its best efforts to peak early.  Those efforts had been included in national development plans.  Under the national five-year plan, efforts would be made to cut carbon emissions by 18 per cent, control carbon intensity and launch near-zero carbon emission projects.  It would also put in place a strict accountability system for environmental protection and ensure implementation of all targets.  More broadly, China would enhance international cooperation against climate change by taking part in follow-up negotiations on the Paris Agreement, while deepening South-South cooperation on climate change.  New projects had been launched in 2016, especially those focused on enhancing the climate financing capacity of developing countries.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, Prime Minister of Canada, said climate change represented not only a challenge that must be met, but also an opportunity that must be grasped.  It was a challenge that Canada had already begun to address, he said, noting that his Government had met with a range of stakeholders to create a plan that would meet or exceed emissions targets, and taken steps towards clean economic growth.  Canada had encouraged actions to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and invested billions in a green energy fund.  It had also signed on to “Mission Innovation”, a global partnership that aimed to double Government investment in climate-change initiatives over five years, while encouraging a more prominent role for the private sector.

“These actions are just the beginning,” he said, emphasizing that the country was not making such investments to be “nice”.  Rather, Canada was doing so because it was the right thing to do for the environment and the economy.  The humanitarian case was also clear.  It was well known that climate change would hit the poorest citizens the hardest, making it more difficult for the international community to address other challenges, such as food insecurity and the growing needs of refugee populations.  The business case was also obvious, and there were tremendous opportunities in that regard.  Canada’s ambitions would not end with those planned steps aimed at addressing the issue at home.  The country would also play a prominent role in supporting developing countries, which should neither be punished for a problem they had not created, nor deprived of the opportunities for clean growth that developed countries were pursuing.  That was why Canada would investment $2.5 billion over the next five years to help developing countries move towards sustainable development, he said.

MATTEO RENZI, Prime Minister of Italy, asked delegates to close their eyes and imagine their sons and grandsons in the General Assembly chamber for the first time.  “Today, finally, we give a message of hope,” he said.  The Paris Agreement was important, but not only for a single issue.  Its most important aspect was its political message.  “We give the message that politics is able to give hope for the next generations,” he said, emphasizing that Italy would work for implementation of the Paris Agreement in the coming months.  The international community had demonstrated that it understood the importance of delivering a collective message, and Italy would consider that a priority for its presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) and for its role in Europe.

ENELE SOSENE SOPOAGA, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, said “we need to take the Paris Agreement and mould it into an international call to action” — a “document of revival”.  Signature was the first step, to be followed by ratification to ensure its early entry into force.  He said that he had arrived today with Tuvalu’s instrument of ratification, and encouraged the legislatures of other countries also to ratify.  He welcomed the decision by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to develop a special report on the impacts of a 1.5 °C global temperature rise, saying he suspected that would have serious implications for small-island countries, such as his own.

More broadly, he said an average 62,000 people were displaced each day due to climate change, a staggering figure that should ring alarm bells.  Calling for an Assembly resolution to establish a legal protection system for people displaced by the impacts of climate change, he said that, since small island developing States required better access to climate financing, disbursement of the Green Climate Facility must be based on accessibility and level of vulnerability, rather than how well a State party could write its adaptation or mitigation proposals.  He also sought support for a Pacific island climate change insurance facility.

ALEXANDER KHLOPONIN, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, said today’s signing was a remarkable and important step by the international community towards achieving the goal of tackling global climate change.  The Paris Agreement created a reliable international legal framework that united actions of developed and developing countries, including the main emitters of greenhouse gases.  The quality of life of all of humanity and the move towards a more sustainable future depended on resolving climate issues.

The Agreement, he said, contained important provisions on the role of market-based mechanisms to provide incentives to Governments and businesses to take effective measures to address climate challenges.  His country was prepared to cooperate with all States and had laid out an ambitious set of intended nationally determined contributions, which included its intention to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 70 per cent of 1990s levels by 2030.  The preservation of forests was of major concern for the Russian Federation.  The potential of forests must be maximized, without artificial restrictions.  The Russian Federation had created a national plan to implement the Agreement, which included a long-term strategy of low-carbon development through 2050, and systemic efforts for the sustainable management of forests.  There needed to be innovative approaches based on technologies, with a particular focus placed on technical cooperation to address climate problems.  He concluded by highlighting a proposal by his Government to convene a scientific forum under the United Nations to discuss climate change challenges, including the depletion of natural resources.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State of the United States, recalled that he was a young organizer just back from Viet Nam on the first Earth Day in 1970, and a young Senator advocating in Rio de Janeiro for the first Earth Summit.  After having attended many Conferences of Parties, it was fair to say that all felt an “extraordinary sweep of joy” when 196 nations said in Paris that they would live up to their responsibility to future generations.  That meeting was a turning point in the fight against climate change, when the world had decided to heed the mountain of evidence, put to rest the debate of whether climate change was real, and instead, began to galvanize the focus on how to address the irrefutable reality that nature was changing rapidly due to our own choices.

The power of the Agreement was not that it guaranteed States would hold the global temperature rise to a target of 1.5 or 2 °C.  “It does not and we know it”, he said.  Its power was in the opportunity it created, the message it sent to the marketplace that innovation, entrepreneurial activities, allocation of capital and Government decisions would define the new energy future.  Its power lay in what it would do to unleash the private sector.  In 2015, renewable energy investment reached an-all time high of nearly $330 billion.  It was predicted that States would invest tens of trillions of dollars by the end of the century.  More of the world’s money was now being spent on fostering renewable technologies than on fossil fuel plants.

“None of what we have to achieve is beyond our capacity technologically,” he said.  “The only question is whether it was beyond our collective resolve.”  The urgency of the challenge was only becoming more pronounced.  The United States looked forward to formally joining the Agreement this year and called on all its international partners to do likewise.  Quoting former South African President Nelson Mandela, he said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

LALLA HASNA, Princess of Morocco, whose country would host the twenty-second Conference of the Parties in Marrakech, said collective efforts should focus on the Agreement’s effective implementation.  To honour its commitments, she said that Morocco would, by 2030, cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent while meeting 52 per cent of its energy needs through renewable sources such as solar and wind farms.  It stood ready to share its know-how with others, particularly countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Noting how the next Conference would see the adoption of procedures and mechanisms for implementing the Paris Agreement, she emphasized the importance of a clear and predictable road map to raise funds for projects, thus fostering change in private investment patterns.  Countries needed to benefit from a full range of incentives, with developing States getting access to patented technology on preferential terms and solutions being found to environmental trade barriers.  Negotiations on implementing the Agreement had reflected a spirit of international solidarity and responsibility, she said, and with the commitment of all parties, the pledges made in Paris would result in specific objectives, effective mechanisms and concrete projects that would turn ambitions into reality.

ANAND MAHINDRA, private sector representative, said the transition to a greener way of life was happening after much “churning”.  Nevertheless, indisputably positive things were beginning to take place, starting with today’s signing of the Paris Agreement.  It was the first step towards visibly integrating the private sector’s future with the future of the planet.  Addressing climate change was the responsibility of the business sector given its role in contributing to the problem.  It gave businesses a chance to redeem themselves from the “trust deficit” it had faced following the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Many corporations were joining programmes to double energy productivity by 2030 or had committed to transitioning towards 100 per cent renewable energy in the future.  Investment in renewable energy options now outstripped that in conventional energy for the first time and represented an attractive business opportunity.  It would be on the best investment he, as a business leader, could make.  He welcomed the Agreement’s signing today as a sign that the inner conscious of nations and corporations had been stirred.

HINDOU OUMAROU IBRAHIM, civil society representative from Chad, said her people were nomadic pastoralists, where more than 10 million depended on a fragile ecosystem.  Thirty years ago, her mother used to walk 10 kilometres a day to collect water and food.  Today, young mothers were climate refugees.  They could not walk to Lake Chad because it was vanishing.  The land was being used by Boko Haram and her people’s rights and dignity were under threat.  “Climate change is adding poverty to poverty every day,” she said, forcing people to leave their homes in search of a better future.  Migration was a tragedy for those who had been left behind — women and children who must stay and fight the consequences of climate change on their own.  They fought for survival.

“Nature is our supermarket.  To protect it, we use our indigenous and science knowledge,” she said, noting that her people had developed a participatory treaty to help women and children manage the few resources left.  But their traditional knowledge could not solve everything.  It could not end fossil fuel or protect people from land grabbing.  Today, delegates had the responsibility to ensure international citizenship.  In her community, thousands of women and children had never used electricity.  They had seen the damage caused by fossil fuels and carbon.  For her people, true climate justice was renewable energy for all.  “Without adaptation measures, soon there will be no one to adapt.  In Paris, you gave us hope.  Now it is time to change your hope into promise,” she said, urging leaders to sign, ratify and implement the Agreement.  “We want you to act.”

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, United Nations Messenger of Peace, recalled how he had travelled the world over the past two years to document how climate change had altered the natural balance of life.  “All that I have seen and heard on my journey absolutely terrified me,” he said.  It was proven that climate change was a direct result of human action and would get astronomically worse in the future.  “You know what will happen if this scourge is left unchecked,” he warned, calling climate change a “runaway freight train” that threatened impending disaster for the world.

Although the Paris Agreement had been reached, he said, evidence proved that it would not be enough.  The planet would not be saved unless fossil fuels were left in the ground, where they belonged.  Reversing the course of climate change would not be easy, but the tools were in the international community’s hands, provided they were applied before it was too late.  Many of the steps that had been taken were already yielding fruit, but it was now incumbent upon world leaders to lead, empower and inspire.  Signing the Paris Agreement would mean nothing without bold, unprecedented action.  After 21 years of debate, it was time to declare — no more talk, no more excuses, no more 10-year studies, no more allowing fossil fuels companies to dictate the policies that will affect the future.  The United Nations was the body that could make a difference.  “The world is now watching.  You will either be lauded by future generations, or vilified by them,” he warned.  “You are the last, best hope for earth,” he concluded.

National Statements (A to L)

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, opened the segment, calling it an opportunity for Parties to the Convention to provide updates on how their Governments were implementing their national climate plans and integrating them into their overall sustainable development plans.  Speakers would also set out their countries’ road maps towards achieving the overall aim of limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C, and indicate their respective Governments’ timetables for ratifying the Paris Agreement.  In addition, he said, participants would indicate how their Governments would accelerate climate action before 2020 by drawing on the ingenuity, resources and efforts of all sectors of society.

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN, President of Colombia, called climate change the greatest challenge faced by mankind.  The sooner the Paris Agreement was ratified, the faster the benefits would be seen, he said, adding that his country had recently concluded an agreement on climate change that called for effective and coordinated action, with a national policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as deforestation in the Amazon region.

He said his country was particularly vulnerable, having experienced in recent years some of the worst flooding and drought in its history.  Acting on climate change would benefit the environment, turn those who had been engaged in conflict into promoters of change, and help restore forests that had been impacted by conflict and drug trafficking.

ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon, called upon States to adopt economic development models that were low in carbon emissions.  Doing that would require new ways of cooperating internationally to combat climate change, he said, stating that Gabon stood ready to work with the international community to reduce global warming.  With 88 per cent of his country covered by forests, he said Gabon had opted for the mainstreaming of land management.

Politically, his State had sought to bring national legislation in line with the challenges of climate change, he said, reiterating a commitment to transition to renewable energy.  Implementation of the Paris Agreement should create a climate that was conducive to private sector investment, particularly in countries committed to a green environment.

ROSEN PLEVNELIEV, President of Bulgaria, calling the Paris Agreement a decisive step forward, said that there was “no turning back”.  Transformation would be made in all key sectors.

Having achieved its targets under the Kyoto Protocol, he said that his country had an ambitious national framework to meet the new targets it had set in compliance with the Agreement’s standards and regional goals, putting an emphasis on energy efficiency within energy networks.  It was now up to everyone to secure early ratification and implementation action.

KOLINDA GRABAR-KITAROVIĆ, President of Croatia, said that the next 10 years were critical for the future existence of the world.  Efforts to face it must not take a back seat.  Having fairly low levels of emissions, but being very vulnerable to climate changes, her country was already seeing irreversible changes in the ecosystem.

Early ratification and implementation was now a priority for the country under the standards of the Paris Agreement and action of the European Union, she said.  Strong partnerships must be built to support collective efforts; her country was participating in cooperation with countries in all regions, as climate change affected all no matter where they were located.

ALASSANE OUATTARA, President of Côte d’Ivoire, said that today was a demonstration of solidarity to deal with the effects of climate change.  His country had experienced warming and a decrease in rainfall, resulting in smaller agricultural yields and other effects.  For his country, implementing the Paris Agreement was an imperative.  A framework for that purpose was now being constructed in coordination with the country’s development plans.  The support of the international community was needed in those efforts, particularly for the dissemination of clean electricity.  Scientific and technological progress, for that purpose, must be made available to all.

JÁNOS ÁDER, President of Hungary, said that despite progress on climate agreements and investments in green technology, it appeared that climate change was accelerating.  The Earth continued to give daily warnings of the consequences of our current practices.  It was not yet time to celebrate; much progress must be made urgently.  For that reason, the largest emitters must take accelerated action.  Research into storing energy must also be a priority.  Noting that “time is our most precious non-renewable resource,” he urged all stakeholders to use it carefully.

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania, praised the Paris Agreement as “a win” for the planet, the people and the economy, urging all stakeholders to take action to implement it.  Lithuania, she said, was fully committed to the European Union’s pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 and was a clear example that rapid economic growth was possible without harming the environment.  In the last 25 years, national emission levels fell by almost 60 per cent, while gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 30 per cent.  She concluded with a warning that although nuclear energy could be a component of a clean energy strategy, the safety of all related infrastructure must be in line with international law and ensure cooperation with neighbouring countries.

FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, Head of State of the Central African Republic, said decisions needed to be taken on measures that would limit the effects of climate change.  He recalled the commitment that his country’s delegation had made at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to work towards reducing carbon emissions, and noted the need for financing to protect the Congo Basin forest.  It was his country’s desire to see mechanisms established quickly so as to maintain the global ecosystem.

DAVID ARTHUR GRANGER, President of Guyana, said his country was a net carbon sink, with forests that sequestered more carbon than what its population generated.  With the world’s second highest percentage of rainforest cover, Guyana commanded important carbon stocks.  Nevertheless, he said his country was committed to limiting the rise in global temperatures with ambitious initiatives in the forest and renewable energy sectors, moving closer towards a 100 per cent renewable power supply by 2025.  It would invest in such measures as timber monitoring and alternative forms of power generation.

JOCELERME PRIVERT, President of Haiti, said that after Paris, there is now a race against the clock for implementation.  It was a matter of survival of the planet.  In Haiti, hurricanes had become more devastating and droughts more extreme.  In that light, his Government was committed to measures to reduce emissions by 31 per cent by 2030.  Energy reform, reforestation and strengthening human settlements would be among the priorities in that effort.  The climate regime must be implemented along with action to reduce poverty and inequality.  He appealed for that reason for stepped-up assistance to developing countries.

ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, said that her peaceful, unarmed country had placed its faith in multilateralism and in international agreements such as the Paris Agreement.  She urged its early ratification.  Costa Rica had long provided a model in renewable energy, forest preservation and other measures to reduce its carbon imprint, and was continuing plans to move towards a carbon neutral economy.  All measures were taken in line with the country’s human rights and development plan.  She pledged that her State would build on its achievements and urged all stakeholders to work along with it.

JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister and Minister for iTaukei Affairs and the Sugar Industry of Fiji, said the citizens of his country and other small and vulnerable developing States desperately needed help.  The Paris Agreement was a positive first step, but it was not enough, and for that reason the Pacific Islands Development Forum was seeking a new limit on global temperature rise to 1.5°C.  He went on to call for changes to current arrangements for funding climate change adaptation, as they impeded the ability of small and vulnerable nations to gain access to appropriate financial arrangements.

GASTON ALPHONSO BROWNE, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Corporate Governance of Antigua and Barbuda, said that Caribbean countries had accumulated high debt due to increased spending to address climate change.  Adequate and predictable financing was needed to enable the region to meet climate challenges.  He also supported a proposal to swap debt for climate change adaptation.  With the financial services sector of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member States under existential threat, he appealed for a halt to the destructive practice of delinking Caribbean countries from the international payment system.

ALPHA CONDÉ, President of Guinea, said that his country was ready to go into action to implement the Paris Agreement, particularly in respect to renewable energy.  In that area, the Agreement included a framework for assistance to his continent.  African States were waiting for a clear response in their appeals for such provisions of the Agreement to be operationalized in a timely manner.  Early implementation was critical for Africa and the world.

JIMMY MORALES, President of Guatemala, said that the Paris Agreement provided hope for developing countries that had been severely affected by climate change.  His country had been battered by severe weather in many forms, causing loss of much life and harming the national economy.  Signing the Agreement was just the first step.  All States must commit to implementation.  His country was committed to managing resources in a sustainable way and to promoting a green economy for development.  More must be done to assist Guatemala and other vulnerable States to adapt to climate effects and reduce poverty while mitigating emissions.

DEAN BARROW, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Belize, speaking on behalf of CARICOM, said that small island development States had long been weathering — “no pun intended” — severe climate events spawned by an industrial revolution not of their making.  The world knew in 2009 that survival was at stake, yet it took a veritable labour of Sisyphus to finalize an agreement.  To avoid Armageddon, it was essential to maintain unrelenting pressure, with everyone playing a part and major emitters carrying their commensurate share.  CARICOM was calling for an equitable climate financing architecture and saw promise in the Green Climate Fund as an effective model for implementation.  He also said that, by depriving their domestic financial institutions of correspondent relationships, the phenomenon of de-risking was threating to lock Caribbean economies out of international trade and finance.

FREUNDEL STUART, Prime Minister of Barbados, said his Government’s signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement sanctioned the consideration and acceptance of its first intended nationally determined contribution, which was submitted in 2015 to the Climate Change Convention.  In light of recent reports that 2015 was the hottest year on record and of the study that concluded that climate forecasts underestimated the sea-rise impact of Antarctic thaw, there was no time for complacency.  The contribution of fragile island nations like Barbados would be constrained by the development of operational methods to support the Agreement’s implementation, the outcomes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on the impact of the 1.5°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels, and by the facilitative dialogue among parties, all of which would not occur until 2018.

PERRY GLADSTONE CHRISTIE, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Bahamas, said that his Government welcomed the commitments in the Agreement, including the aim to limit the annual average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.  That ceiling was the only way to ensure the survival of low-lying islands such as the Bahamas.  His country was still recovering from Hurricane Joaquin.  Climate change was threatening its very existence.  Policies and programmes towards climate change adaptation and mitigation were in the early stages of implementation due to limited capacity and other constraints.  They would operate in the wider context of the national development plan, which aimed to decrease emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.  To implement it, the Government would continue making the necessary investments.  He called on developed countries to fulfil their financial aid pledges on concessionary terms.

KEITH C. MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Grenada, said the unique characteristics, particular vulnerabilities and special circumstances of small island developing States must continue to be a pillar in climate change deliberations.  Grenada had begun the process of integrating climate change into its national development plans and was assessing major national investments for their sensitivities to climate risks.  Grenada intended to increase emissions reduction targets over time and pursue action to fulfil commitments as an integral part of national development.  Grenada was fully committed to achieving common climate change objectives.  He presented Grenada’s instrument of ratification of the Paris Agreement with the hope that it would take effect in the not too distant future.

ANTONI MARTÍ PETIT, Head of Government of Andorra, said that his country had already put in place plans to reduce carbon emissions by 37 per cent by 2020 in comparison with earlier periods.  It was now focused on reductions in the energy and transportation sectors, which combined caused 90 per cent of emissions.  There was a plan of investment for renewable energy in place that amounted to 10 per cent of the gross national product (GNP).  Educational systems and the private sector would be engaged in the effort.

PAUL KABA THIEBA, Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, welcoming the signing of the Paris Agreement, said that ratificat