News

Nuclear-Weapon States Justify Deterrence Policies amid Calls for Transferring Bloated Defence Budgets to Development Efforts, First Committee Hears

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea defended its nuclear weapons programme before the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) today, with its representative saying his Government had no option but to build a nuclear deterrent in response to threats from the United States.

“Going nuclear is the policy line of our State,” the representative said on the fourth day of the Committee’s general debate on disarmament and related international security agenda items.  He pointed out that Security Council resolutions and sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea constituted an abuse of the United Nations Charter.

He went on to say that neither the Charter nor international law stipulated that nuclear tests or satellite and missile launches constituted threats to international peace and security.  For its part, his Government would simultaneously promote economic construction and build up its nuclear forces “in quality and quantity” as long as nuclear blackmail and arbitrary actions continued.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the United States called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea a clear and present danger on the Korean Peninsula.  Its provocations would only increase the international community’s resolve in seeking new sanctions, he said, adding that the United States remained prepared to defend itself and its allies.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the Republic of Korea’s representative said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s hostile policy against her country was being used as a pretext for its nuclear programme.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must abide by Security Council resolutions and honour its pledge as a Member State of the United Nations, she added.

Responding in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea attributed the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the United States’ long-held hostile policy dating back to the Korean War.

During the general debate, a number of speakers shared views of nuclear deterrence policies.  India’s representative said that as a responsible nuclear-weapon State, his country’s national doctrine continued to emphasize a policy of credible minimum deterrence and of non-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon States.  As such, India remained committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on testing.

Expressing another perspective, Cuba’s speaker rejected attempts made by nuclear-weapon States to legitimize holding such weapons and said a nuclear deterrence policy was unacceptable.  The $1.7 trillion currently being spent on the military and arms industry was also unacceptable, she said, adding that those funds should instead be allocated towards development.

Japan’s delegate, noting that his country was the only one to have experienced the use of nuclear weapons, said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s claim to have successfully detonated a warhead had brought the threat to a whole new level.  In response, Japan would coordinate with others on a new Security Council resolution that would include additional sanctions.

Speakers raised other concerns during the debate.  Fiji’s delegate emphasized the risk that an accidental or intentional nuclear detonation posed to the people and environment of Pacific island nations.  The representative of Burkina Faso drew attention to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, calling it the primary threat to peace and security in Africa.

Also speaking today were representatives of Paraguay, Iraq, El Salvador, Cameroon, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova, Cambodia, Georgia, Botswana, Malawi and Portugal.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of the Russian Federation and Georgia.

The Committee will meet again on Friday, 7 October, at 10 a.m. to continue its debate on all disarmament and related international security agenda items.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met this morning to continue its general debate on all agenda items before it.  For background, see Press Release GA/DIS/3545 of 3 October.

Statements

ENRIQUE JOSÉ MARÍA CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay) called for compliance with all provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Reaffirming Paraguay’s commitment to the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, he encouraged Member States to discuss the possibility of increasing such zones around the world.  Nuclear weapons threatened mankind and the principles of the United Nations Charter.  While Paraguay had advocated for the peaceful use of nuclear technologies, it believed that the production of nuclear energy could damage the environment.  States that carried out this type of production should do so responsibly and adhere to international best practices, taking into account any cross-border impacts.  Turning to small arms and light weapons, he called for a complementary framework to the Arms Trade Treaty to stop the production of those weapons and encouraged technical assistance from the international community to developing countries such as Paraguay to implement the instrument.

MOHAMED ALI ALHAKIM (Iraq), associating himself with Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the maintenance of international peace and security was the responsibility of all.  Concerned about the threat of nuclear weapons, he stressed the importance of prioritizing that issue until their complete elimination was achieved.  The Conference on Disarmament was the only negotiating forum for those issues, he said, expressing disappointment that it had not upheld its responsibilities for more than 20 years.  Iraq supported the Open-ended Working Group taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations and its efforts towards creating a non-discriminatory, legally binding instrument that prevented the production, use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.  Deeply concerned about the continued failure to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he stressed the importance of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, calling for Annex 2 countries to ratify the instrument.  Turning to other concerns, he said small arms and light weapons had catastrophic effects that did not differ from weapons of mass destruction and highlighted the need to prevent terrorist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) from gaining access to those arms.

RUBÉN IGNACIO ZAMORA RIVAS (El Salvador) said the elimination of weapons of mass destruction could be achieved through multilateral negotiations.  Noting that the Test-Ban Treaty was not yet in force, he urged Annex 2 countries to ratify it as soon as possible.  The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons jeopardized the United Nations Charter, international law and human rights.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a solid foundation for the universal prohibition of nuclear weapons.  It was evident that most Member States were aware of the need to negotiate a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.  In that vein, he urged all delegations to pursue discussions on the humanitarian consequences of weapons of mass destruction, highlighting the connection between human development and security.

Mr. AHIDJO (Cameroon) said that through strong political resolve, Member States would reach agreement on disarmament.  Hopefully, a General Assembly conference to start negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons would lead to their complete elimination.  The quest for a safer world must be carried out comprehensively, he said, adding that Cameroon attributed great importance to multilateral disarmament efforts.  Turning to counter-terrorism, he said it was absolutely crucial to pool efforts.  Thanks to cooperation between Lake Chad Basin countries, the operations of Boko Haram had been seriously harmed.  That group had to be eradicated and reconstruction must begin.  Like its Lake Chad Basin neighbours, Cameroon would spare no effort in that regard, he said, urging a greater commitment from partners, given the scale of the need.

DELL HIGGIE (New Zealand) said recent discussions had “breathed new life” into the nuclear disarmament agenda.  The Open-ended Working Group taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations had been dynamic, innovative and inclusive.  With all United Nations Member States invited to join proceedings, it had also forged a “new mainstream”, unifying regional groupings into a single vision set out in the recommendation that the General Assembly convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.  With international humanitarian law being routinely flouted in Syria and elsewhere, the international community must move forward on the promise of the Non-Proliferation Treaty by matching prohibitions on both other types of weapons of mass destruction — chemical and biological — with one now on nuclear weapons.  On the Arms Trade Treaty, New Zealand would serve on the selection committee reviewing projects for financing from the voluntary trust fund and had contributed almost NZ$100,000 to it for such initiatives in the Pacific and Africa.

RI TONG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his Government fully supported the global struggle for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.  Recently, the United States had announced a programme to modernize its nuclear weapons over three decades at a cost of $1 trillion, making its talk of a nuclear-weapon-free world only a screen to cover up a strategy of nuclear monopoly and world hegemony.  Actual nuclear threats came from fully operational nuclear weapons, ready to be launched at any time, and not from proliferation.  The United States was using nuclear threats against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Joint military exercises and the United States’ decision to deploy an air defence system in the Republic of Korea clearly indicated a programme envisaging a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had entered an implementation phase.  His Government’s only option of possessing its own nuclear deterrent was “a self-defensive measure to safeguard its national sovereignty and the right to existence and survival”.

The Security Council, he said, had adopted resolutions to ban his Government’s nuclear tests and satellite and rocket launches, but nothing in the United Nations Charter or international law stipulated that such actions were threats to international peace and security.  The Council had meanwhile repeatedly turned a blind eye to joint military exercises conducted every year in the republic of Korea and sanctions against Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were an abuse of power and a misuse of the Charter.  “Going nuclear is the policy line of our State,” he said, adding that as long as the imperialists continued with nuclear blackmail and arbitrary actions, his Government would simultaneously promote economic construction and the building up of its nuclear forces “in quality and quantity”.  Having declared itself a responsible nuclear-weapon State, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would not use nuclear weapons first.  At the same time, it would faithfully observe its commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and to strive for global denuclearization.

AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka) said that as the entire world was geared towards implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, disarmament had assumed an “extraordinary” degree of significance.  It would therefore be imperative to divert resources from armaments to sustainable development.  In that regard, Sri Lanka believed in a sustainable plan for multilateral nuclear disarmament.  Warning of the threat posed by terrorism, he stressed a dire need to strengthen the coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels.  On non-proliferation, he said nuclear-weapon States must continue their work on eliminating stockpiles and, equally, tests carried out by Member States must be denounced.  Concerning the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, he said eradicating that scourge required concerted efforts by all nations.

CLAUDIO NARDI (Liechtenstein) said the recent nuclear test by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had dealt an additional blow to the non-proliferation and disarmament regime under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It was essential to achieve universality of the Treaty without delay, and, in particular, States must become serious about implementing all three of its pillars.  Liechtenstein had already prohibited all weapons of mass destruction and the financing, brokerage, development, production, acquisition, transfer, import, export, carriage in transit, storage or possession of them.  He expressed hope that other States would take similar legislative action.

TOSHIO SANO (Japan) said that as the only country to have ever suffered atomic bombings in wartime, it was keen to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation efforts geared towards a world free of such arms.  The engagement of nuclear-weapon States was imperative in disarmament deliberations.  The most effective way to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world was to take concrete measures that considered security considerations in regions facing challenges involving nuclear threats, such as those of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The international community must avoid further division and fragmentation and instead pursue consensus-based efforts in taking forward nuclear disarmament measures.

He condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for conducting its fifth nuclear test and urged it to immediately comply with relevant Security Council resolutions and other commitments.  In this year alone, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had launched more than 20 ballistic missiles, some of which had fallen into Japan’s economic zone, he noted.  During the latest nuclear test, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had claimed to have successfully detonated a nuclear warhead, bringing the threat it posed to a whole new level.  As a result, Japan would continue to coordinate with relevant countries towards the adoption of a new Security Council resolution that would include additional sanctions.

LUKE DAUNIVALU (Fiji) expressed serious concerns about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.  Fiji had witnessed first-hand the long-lasting effect of nuclear weapons and it was still living with the repercussions of more than 300 forced nuclear tests in the Pacific region.  Fiji supported strengthened nuclear-weapon-free zones, the prohibition on nuclear weapons and redress for those who had suffered the effects of testing.  It also supported the establishment of a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Recalling the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, he said Fiji and the Pacific region did not want to be left behind due to an accidental or intentional nuclear detonation.  “An accident in our waters can wipe away our environment and our livelihood,” he said.

LILIANNE SÁNCHEZ RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said the possibility of nuclear war was ever closer and unpredictable, making it an international priority deserving of attention at the highest level.  Some 15,000 nuclear weapons existed in the world and a new generation of weapons was being developed, she said, adding that the detonation of such weapons would have disastrous effects on the planet.  In that context, Cuba would continue to advocate for the adoption of a comprehensive convention that would work towards eliminating those weapons within a defined timeframe.  In the meantime, a treaty was needed to provide security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.  She rejected attempts made by nuclear-weapon States to legitimize holding such weapons and said a nuclear deterrence policy was unacceptable.  The $1.7 trillion currently being spent on the military and arms industry was unacceptable, she said, adding that those funds should instead be allocated towards development.

VLAD LUPAN (Republic of Moldova) said widespread armed violence continued to result in civilian deaths on a daily basis and unresolved conflicts had created opportunities for the spread of illicit weapons trafficking.  Conventional arms gravely affected civilians, he said, underlining his Government’s concern that those weapons could reach unauthorized actors, thus making it even more difficult to contain wars.  That issue was of particular concern to the Republic of Moldova as it had been confronted by an unresolved conflict in the Transnistrian region, where foreign troops were illegally stationed and regularly carried out military exercises.  Other concerns included ammunition depots and the danger of “black zones” for arms control regimes that could be used both as sources and transit points for international conventional arms trafficking.

SOPHEA YAUNG CHAN (Cambodia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), stressed the importance of mechanisms to guarantee that nuclear weapons would not be used.  Pending the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty, States should refrain from carrying out tests or other nuclear explosions.  As a post-conflict country, Cambodia still suffered from unexploded ordnance in farm lands and border areas.  While there were fewer victims than in past decades, mine clearance work needed to be accelerated.  Cambodia commended the solidarity of States parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction.  He expressed concern over the illicit manufacturing, transferring and circulation of small arms and light weapons, adding that Cambodia’s draft ASEAN convention against trafficking in firearms would complement the Arms Trade Treaty.

YEMDAOGO ERIC TIARE (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the African Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, called the proliferation of small arms and light weapons the primary threat to peace and security on the continent and particularly West Africa.  Burkina Faso had never wavered in its commitment to address the illicit traffic and uncontrolled trade in such weapons.  He underscored the role of the Arms Trade Treaty and the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects and urged all States and stakeholders to ensure their full implementation in order to combat terrorism and the socioeconomic collapse of States.  The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, known as the Pelindaba Treaty, demonstrated the will of African States to reinforce the non-proliferation regime.  Noting the link between disarmament and development, he emphasized the need to combat poverty, which underpinned conflict and the need for weapons.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia) said European security was challenged by the Russian Federation’s ongoing military aggression against Ukraine.  Further, 20 per cent of Georgia remained under illegal military occupation after the 2008 invasion.  As long as international mechanisms were absent in the occupied territories, there were no guarantees that the most dangerous weapons systems would not be transferred to terrorist or criminal groups.  Between 2006 and 2016, 25 cases of illicit smuggling of radioactive materials had occurred, 11 of which were from the occupied territories of Georgia.  Georgia, along with Morocco and the Philippines, had established a United Nations Group of Friends on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation and Security Governance, a forum to integrate that component into the international security architecture.

NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana) said that as long as the world remained seized with various conflicts and threats to international peace and security, the 2030 Agenda would only be a dream.  Expressing concern about the continued existence of nuclear weapons, the scourge of international terrorism and the illicit trade and flow of small arms and light weapons, he said those realities had brought into question the commitment of nuclear-weapon States to achieve complete disarmament.  While acknowledging security concerns, he warned against the potential catastrophic humanitarian impact of those weapons.  Deeply troubling was the notion that non-State actors and radical extremists could possess such weapons, deploying them with impunity.  “Should this occur, we only have ourselves to blame,” he said.  Expressing support for the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, he emphasized that Botswana was proud to be associated with the Pelindaba Treaty.  He also fully supported the implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and the International Tracing Instrument.  However, resource limitations and differing capacities of States hindered the Programme of Action’s full implementation.

D.B. VENKATESH VARMA (India) said that his Government’s support for global, non-discriminatory, verifiable nuclear disarmament remained firm.  That goal could be achieved through a step-by-step process underwritten by a universal commitment and an agreed multilateral framework.  The current complex international environment was in need of measures to enhance strategic trust globally.  At the same time, the international community must stand united against those whose persistent violations had increased nuclear threats and proliferation risks, he said.  As a responsible nuclear-weapon State, India’s doctrine continued to emphasize a policy of credible minimum deterrence and of non-first use and non-use against non-nuclear weapon States.  As such, India remained committed to maintaining a unilateral and voluntary moratorium on testing.

Right of Reply

The representative of the Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to the statement made by her counterpart from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The so-called hostile policy against the Republic of Korea was being used as a pretext to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear programme, she said.  The Republic of Korea’s military exercises, which had been conducted to respond to the military threat of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, were defensive in nature and had operated in a transparent manner.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must abide by relevant Security Council resolutions and honour its pledge as a member of the United Nations.

The representative of the United States, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, also took the floor to respond to the statement made by the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Member States had witnessed a “hypocritical and delusional diatribe”, he said, adding that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea presented a clear and present danger to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.  Provocations only served to increase the international community’s resolve in seeking new sanctions.  The United States would not accept the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a nuclear-weapon State nor allow it to possess nuclear weapons, he said, noting that the United States remained prepared to defend itself and its allies.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, responding to the representatives of the United States and the Republic of Korea in exercise of the right of reply, rejected their remarks as misleading.  The explosive situation on the Korean Peninsula was the result of the United States’ long-held hostile policy toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which dated back to the Korean War.  For more than half a century, they had held large-scale military exercises in the peninsula.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had no other choice but to “go nuclear” to protect its sovereignty.  Meanwhile, there was no provision in the United Nations Charter that stipulated that nuclear activity posed a threat to international peace and security.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, responded to the statement made by the delegate from Georgia and a reference made to the events of August 2008.  He said the establishment of two new States was due to the unfriendly policy of the Tbilisi regime at the time.  Moreover, any reference to the Russian Federation’s actions in the Ukraine had brought into doubt the rest of the representative of Georgia’s statement.

The representative of the Republic of Korea, taking the floor for a second time, said the actions of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, rather than of any outside force, were threatening peace.  By doing so, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would only jeopardize its economy by isolating itself and was in fact worsening living conditions for its people.  Nothing would be achieved by continuing provocative acts, she said.

The representative of Georgia, responding to the remarks made by the delegate from the Russian Federation, noted that the Russian Federation had not complied with the conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement brokered by the European Union.  The Russian Federation maintained thousands of troops in Georgia without the consent of Georgia’s Government, she said, calling on the Russian Federation to withdraw those troops without further delay.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, taking the floor a second time, rejected the remarks made by the Republic of Korea, saying they distorted realities and misled the world.  That country was a colony of the United States, which had long ago turned over control of its armed forces — a symbol of its sovereignty — to the United States.  It was moreover a servant to its master’s strategy in Asia, he said.

The representative of the Russian Federation, taking the floor a second time, said the second statement by his counterpart from Georgia had confirmed what he initially said.  He reminded the Committee that, on 8 August 2008, it was the Georgian authorities who had started military operations against South Ossetia that had bordered on genocide.  The then-leader of Georgia who had given the “criminal order” to begin those operations had not become the subject of an international arrest warrant, issued at the request of Georgia’s authorities.  In fact, Georgia’s authorities had recognized the criminal act that had been carried out by the former regime.  Georgia itself was guilty in terms of what had happened in 2008, making it also guilty of the consequences, namely the establishment of two independent States.

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.

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