Inter Press Service » G77Headlines http://www.ipsnews.net News and Views from the Global South Mon, 29 May 2017 18:27:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.18 “Seeing Progress, Though Still Not Enough” on Tax Justicehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/seeing-progress-though-still-not-enough-on-tax-justice/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seeing-progress-though-still-not-enough-on-tax-justice http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/05/seeing-progress-though-still-not-enough-on-tax-justice/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 14:21:49 +0000 Tharanga Yakupitiyage http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150459 Interview with Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long]]> Guillaume Long

Guillaume Long

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, May 18 2017 (IPS/G77)

The time is now to work together to fight illicit financial flows, according to Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Guillaume Long.

Ecuador, which has long advocated for tax justice, has shed light on the issue at the United Nations. As Chairman of the Group of 77, Long highlighted the need to end the financial secrecy of tax havens and to create an intergovernmental body to help regulate taxation and financial flows.

In an interview with IPS, Long explains the issues, challenges, and goals towards tax justice.

Q: The President of the General Assembly said that SDG financing is going to take 6$ trillion annually and then $30 trillion through 2030. Do you think much-needed finances will be made available if the current rate of illicit financial flows is curbed?

A: I think it’s huge what you can get from curbing illicit flows and basically from tax dodging or tax evasion. In the case of Ecuador, we calculated that an approximate amount of $30 billion is held in tax havens. Just so you get a general idea of what that means, Ecuador’s GDP is roughly around $100 billion, so $30 billion means almost 1/3rd of our GDP. Most countries struggle to grow, but here you’ve got 30 percent of GDP hidden away, literally being robbed from us in tax havens.

That means less investment, less dynamism in the economy, less creation of jobs but also less taxes and it’s those taxes that are used for public policies to reduce poverty, reduce inequality, and create much needed infrastructure.

There are lots of statistics that we can throw around but there are have been estimates that public infrastructure that is needed right now in the developing world is roughly $1.5 trillion. This is hospitals, schools—the kind of infrastructure that the developing world needs to reduce huge rates of inequality, poverty, and some of the things we are trying to amend through, for example, the SDGs. And that’s only probably about 15% of illegal assets held abroad in tax havens and various offshore accounts.

It could revolutionize and dramatically transform the story and history of development. And it would certainly be one of the best sources of financing for development, which is the big thing. Now that we have come to an agreement on the 2030 Goals and what it is that we want to do, the next question is how do we do this? And we have to do this with resources.

Some resources are available to us, but many others aren’t and this is basically through tax dodging. This is also fundamentally a practice that is carried out by elites and therefore it also means that you get greater rates of inequality.

In a continent or a region like Latin America—if you do a per capita average then it is the middle class, but we know that averages hide huge disparities, and Latin America is actually the most unequal region in the world and a lot of that has to do with elites not being a willing part of the social contract.

And a major aspect of the social contract is taxation and not participating in tax dodging.

Q: How much does the developing world, particularly Africa, Asia, and Latin America, lose to illicit financial flows?

A: There are huge numbers that are being reported. Oxfam talks of $7.6 trillion in tax dodging—I’m not even talking about illicit financial flows, not even talking about offshore accounts, I’m talking about $7.6 trillion in tax dodging. That’s Oxfam’s number.

In the case of Ecuador, we are talking about $30 billion that we believe are held currently in secret accounts offshore. This is why Ecuador has taken this issue so seriously. We’ve been talking about tax havens and tax avoidance for years, particularly in this government in the last ten years with the Presidency of Rafael Correa. But after the Panama Papers scandal last year, President Correa really launched this as his priority and as a major crusade. He even launched what he called an “Ethical Pact” which included a referendum in Ecuador to ban civil servants and elected officials from holding assets in tax havens. If you are found to hold assets in tax havens, you can be removed from office automatically.

I really think Ecuador is one of the countries, if not the only country in the world, that’s done the most. This referendum, which was successful in terms of its results, is an example to the world. And I think Ecuador has been the most proactive country in the year that’s transpired since the revelations of the Panama Papers in taking concrete and bold steps.

Another major thing that we have been doing on the international front is from our presidency of the G77 which we currently chair. We have pushed for the creation of an intergovernmental body on tax justice. We had a workshop this morning which was co-chaired by Ecuador, India, and South Africa with huge participation exactly on this issue.

There is an opportunity—now that the issue is back at the forefront of the media, it means that we have to maximize that opportunity to try and create mechanisms, particularly inside the United Nations, that fight tax dodging. Those things we can deal with if we have the right tools and institutions to fight that.

Q: What are your thoughts on public disclosures on tax havens like the Panama Papers? Is that something that is needed more in order to increase transparency and action on tax havens?

A: Whistle blowing plays an important role. When information is public and people find out about these things if their politicians have been hiding money and fog them—most politicians have a very patriotic discourse saying they’re going to create jobs and economic activity and bring foreign investment. But surely there is a paradox and a contradiction if you are saying ‘vote for me because I’ll bring loads of foreign investment into the country’ and then on the other hand you’ve got all your personal assets hidden away somewhere without paying taxes. I think when those contradictions and lies and I would use the world ‘robbery’ especially if you are dodging taxes, are exposed then that’s a good thing. It creates greater consciousness.

In fact, I would say that I think this is a time of great opportunity because since the Panama Papers scandal, a lot of countries that could be considered to be tax havens are starting to take measures because they are under increasing pressure by people and by countries like Ecuador and also other countries to do something about it. The fact that we are having this debate today and the fact that I am talking to you is not necessarily in the tax haven’s interest, because it brings the spotlight onto their activities so, generally speaking, those kinds of public disclosures are a very important part of creating a general awareness that this must stop.

There are a lot of double standards too. On the one hand, developing countries are under pressure for all sorts of things. They’ve got to grow, they’ve got to be good economically, they’ve got to guarantee human rights—all of these things which we absolutely abide by and are very committed to, but surely there is a contradiction with having to do that and then on the other hand, all of these countries that are kind of sermonizing the rest of the world from their kind of civilizational pedestal are reaping the benefits of all the crony and corrupt elites of the developing countries depositing their money in these bank accounts without paying taxes.

So there’s a hypocrisy there that has to be exposed. And if these public disclosures can help to do that, then so be it.

Q: Has there been any progress since the Economic and Social Council’s (ECOSOC) adoption of the ‘UN Code of Conduct on Cooperation in Combating International Tax Evasion’?

A: That was a very important step. It was the first piece of important legislation and regulatory result that came out of the Committee of Experts in a long time. So we are seeing progress, though still not enough, but still progress. And that has to do with what we’re talking about, that it is back on the agenda.

Now there is a new step, which I think is very important, that the Secretary-General from June onwards is going to be naming the members of the Committee of Experts. So that’s also a positive development because it obviously raises the stakes and gives it more political clout.

However, Ecuador’s position is that we celebrate that the Committee of Experts was created with largely the fruit of debate that goes back to Monterrey in 2002. But now we think that the Committee of Experts is insufficient and that we need something else. We need something with more clout, with more accountability, with more relation with the United Nations system itself and the governmental nature of this organization.

You have it in other spheres—if you look at trade, the World Trade Organization is a regulatory body at the highest level for trade; the Intellectual Property Organization is a regulatory body for intellectual property at the highest level.

Those institutions exist because it is the interest of big capital that they should exist. Big capital is in favor of free trade, and if a country stands in the way of free trade, then you get reprimanded. But it’s not necessarily in the interest of big capital to have the equivalent in the field of taxation. This is an important concept that we should bear in mind. A lot of the institutions of global governance that we have inherited also respond to specific interests and not always to the interests of the most powerless in society. They respond to the interests of the most powerful in society.

And why should trade be more important than taxation? Probably in terms of redistribution, taxation is more important than trade. Although, nobody is saying that trade isn’t important for the overall accumulation of wealth of different countries, but in terms of redistribution and in terms of capacity of the state to work towards the 2030 Agenda, then surely [taxation] plays a huge role. And yet, we are fighting here for what? Not even for the outcome of what this body might decide, we are fighting for the creation of a body, we are fighting for the debate to exist, we are fighting for the rights of states to be a part of the debate, including tax havens, because if we do get an intergovernmental body, then any country can be a part of the intergovernmental body, including obviously tax havens.

It is great that we are getting closer, but it is frustrating that we are still talking about a fight in order to create an institution that will then dedicate itself to fighting for a greater outcome, which is tax justice. We are not even fighting for tax justice; we are fighting for the right to have the corresponding institutions just like you have them in the fields of trade and intellectual property and others.

Q: Are you proposing a new UN tax body or are you hoping to transform the Committee of Experts into an intergovernmental body that you have proposed?

A: We are looking to transform the Committee of Experts but we are very open to different kinds of formats. We are trying to create consensus and if you are trying to create consensus—I mean, we preside over the G77, that’s 134 nations so creating consensus between 134 nations is already a tall order—but at the end of the day, we are actually trying to create consensus between 193 nations of the United Nations and that includes tax havens, countries that have been a little pro-status quo particularly in the OECD, and a lot of countries that are not in the G77.

So we are open to all sorts of different outcomes. We just want to raise the hierarchy, the political clout, the visibility, the strength of the body. There are a number of initiatives. Some people have talked about keeping it within the ECOSOC while others want to elevate it to the General Assembly—there’s a huge debate within the G77 about it. But there is consensus among 134 nations of the G77 that it should be an intergovernmental body. And that’s something that we are trying to do, through our presidency, to express the will of the nations that are members of our group.

Q: How feasible is the proposal for an intergovernmental body for approval by the General Assembly?

A: I think multilateralism is a slow process always. I think we are getting closer, significantly closer. And I think that the big conference on financing for development in the next few weeks should make significant progress. I think we will find that there is much more consensus than there was in Addis Ababa in 2015.

Most countries from the Global South have these discussions about tax justice and the right to development. But a number of countries from the G20 or OECD or more industrialized countries have also started to be flexible in their position. We are seeing changes. In the workshop we had today, which would have been unthinkable a few years ago, we had loads of tax havens present. Not just tax havens that are blacklisted in the Global South by the Global North but tax havens from Europe and from other parts of the world. And they were there because they want to listen in on the debate, which shows that at least they are concerned or interested and some of them actually spoke out and said they are making changes and showing a greater commitment.

There is another major thing which is the securitization of the issue. For some countries, the issue of terrorism is a big thing. Where do terrorists hide their money? Well, increasingly in constituencies that enjoy banking secrecy and those tend to be tax havens. If we can all at least agree on the outcome which is greater accountability and greater regulations on that matter, even if it is for different reasons, it’s about consensus building and that’s what multilateralism is about.

Q: So would this proposed UN tax body help bring such international cooperation in tackling illicit financial flows?

A: That’s exactly right. It’s not just about naming and shaming tax havens. It’s just like how commercial dumping, just to use an example, is frowned upon and you can have regulations to stop that. You can have the same in taxation. If suddenly you have two neighboring countries in a European setting, even if they are developed countries, and they start this kind of taxation war by lowering their taxes in order to try to suck capital and investment out of each other in this kind of race to the bottom, then a [UN tax] body like that should be able to intervene and should be able to make at least the right recommendations. Whether those recommendations become compulsory then that’s another debate. But it should be a body, like you have in other fields, that has the capacity to make clear recommendations.

Q: Have you faced or expect to face opposition for this proposal, especially from the Global North?

A: For sure. The G77 has been facing—basically with the same position I am presenting to you is not a new position, the position has been going on for decades and there has been clear language on behalf of the G77.

It is interesting because within the G77, you actually have tax havens as well. But even those tax havens have accepted that an intergovernmental body, which doesn’t exclude them, is quite a good measure if you want to have a serious debate and discussion between member States on this issue. This has been the position of the G77 which has been resisted for decades. There has been loads of opposition.

We saw it in Addis Ababa, particularly members of the G7 or the G20 and lots of opposition from the OECD countries and opposition from countries that are not always considered to be tax havens in the kind of stereotypical manner. Countries like the United Kingdom, which has been opposed to this very much, not only because of its own policies but also because of what is euphemistically called non-autonomous territories.

The five biggest tax havens in relative terms of the offshore assets per GDP index are non-autonomous territories and four of the five are British, while one is a U.S. territory. They are not sovereign nations and they are not members of the United Nations. That’s an important issue and it’s not surprising that there is opposition when we are trying to move away from this.

The Panama Papers singled out Panama and actually Panama is making quite significant efforts to move away from that image. And we have been critical of Panama because of its tax system and we are very happy to see them move away from such practices. But actually, Panama is not necessarily in the top five in terms of the GDP index. The very people who even write up the black lists are not free of tax malpractice themselves.

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G77 Underlines Key Role for Digital Technology & Social Mediahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/g77-underlines-key-role-for-digital-technology-social-media/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-underlines-key-role-for-digital-technology-social-media http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/g77-underlines-key-role-for-digital-technology-social-media/#comments Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:21:27 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150268 children-looking-at-tablets

By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 28 2017 (IPS/G77)

Underlining the key role to be played by digital technology in helping implement the UN’s 2030 development agenda, the Group of 77 has said it recognizes the importance of information and communications technologies (ICTs), including social media, and their positive potential to significantly amplify the UN’s messages to the widest possible audiences and to enhance greater interaction with the United Nations, in particular among the global youth population.

However, it cautioned, that the use of traditional media, including television and radio broadcast as well as print, must continue, since they still remain the primary means of public communications in many developing countries.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja of Ecuador and chair of the G77, told the UN Committee on Information the Group would encourage the Department of Public Information (DPI) to continue to promote, through its public campaigns, key decisions and agreements reached by the international community.

These, he pointed out, include agreements on sustainable development, decolonization, the New Urban Agenda, dialogue among civilizations and the culture of peace, the initiative on a world against violence and violent extremism, peacekeeping, disarmament, poverty eradication and climate change.

“The importance of the Department’s work cannot be stressed enough, amid increasing calls for the United Nations to better communicate to and connect with the global public, in order to be better understood and remain relevant,” he added.

Ambassador Borja said the General Assembly resolution 69/324 recognizes that multilingualism promotes unity in diversity and international understanding.

The Group fully supports its integration into all activities of the United Nations.

“While we recognize that there has been progress in this issue, the Group continues to be concerned at the disparity in the use of all official languages in United Nations public information materials and platforms, including various social media campaigns,” he noted.

“In this regard, we encourage the Department to reinforce its efforts to continue narrowing the gap among the official languages on United Nations websites and, as a matter of priority, we reiterate the request to design a strategy to deliver daily press releases in all six official languages, in accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions.”

In addition, the Group also reiterated its full support for the work of UN Information Centers (UNICs) worldwide in disseminating information about the work of the United Nations in local languages.

“This will not only help overcome the language barrier faced by a large portion of the world population, but also enable them to participate in the discourse on global issues. We therefore encourage the Department to continue supporting them and strengthening their structure regarding both staffing and equipment.”

The G77 chair also warned against the misuse of information technologies. Despite their numerous benefits, information and communications technologies, including social media, can pose a risk of misuse and abuse.

Inaccurate and distorted information can have a negative impact on nations and their citizens.

The Group strongly rejects such practices and reiterates “our position that the use of such technologies should be fully compatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law, in particular the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of States, and internationally recognized rules of civil coexistence among States.”

The use of information and communications technologies with declared or covert purposes to subvert the legal and political order of States is a violation of the recognized international norms in this field, whose effects could generate tensions and conflicts which could also affect international peace and security, he declared.

Meanwhile, the Group also said the Question of Palestine and the Middle East peace process deserve special attention.

The Group underscores the importance of the Special Information Program on the Question of Palestine in raising international awareness on this important issue and in supporting the political process to achieve a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.

“We commend the Department’s efforts in this regard, including the annual training program for Palestinian journalists, aimed at strengthening skills and capacities of young Palestinian journalists, and call for their continuation and enhancement.”

The G77 also emphasized the importance of the continued implementation by DPI of the ongoing Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists’ Fellowship Programme for broadcasters and journalists from developing countries as mandated by the General Assembly, and requests the Department to consider how best to maximize the benefits derived from the Programme by extending, inter alia, its duration and the number of its participants.

“We also emphasize the importance of the educational outreach activities of the United Nations and this regard commends “the United Nations Academic Impact” (UNAI) for its engagement with the global academic, research and scientific communities in realizing the objectives of the Organization.”

The Group encourages promoting this initiative, by inviting more institutions of higher education in all regions, especially from developing countries, to contribute actively to, and support the common principles and purposes of the Organization.

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Economic Growth Continues to be Thwarted by Lack of Infrastructurehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/economic-growth-continues-to-be-thwarted-by-lack-of-infrastructure/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=economic-growth-continues-to-be-thwarted-by-lack-of-infrastructure http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/economic-growth-continues-to-be-thwarted-by-lack-of-infrastructure/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 07:56:10 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150263 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 27 2017 (IPS/G77)

The economic growth of developing countries continues to be thwarted by the lack of sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

The statistics are staggering: more than 1.2 billion people in the developing world still have no access to electricity; about 783 million people lack access to clean water; 2.4 billion do not have adequate sanitation; 2.8 billion people still cook their food with solid fuels; and one billion people live more than two kilometers from an all-weather road.

Pointing out these major deficiencies, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja of Ecuador and chair of the Group of 77, said the breakdown in infrastructure is due primarily to serious financing challenges facing developing nations caused by insufficient access to resources, both from the public and private sector, and resulting in a wider global infrastructure gap.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Ambassador Borja said there was an urgent need to bridge this financing gap, including the US$1 trillion to US$1.5 trillion annual gap in developing countries.

In this context, he said, multilateral development banks have a critical role to play in providing financing resources and enhancing access to, and improving quality of, infrastructure services which are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

Addressing a meeting of the 2017 Global Forum on Infrastructure in Washington DC, he said infrastructure is a powerful driver of economic growth and contributes to economic, social and environmental development.

The participants in the Forum included the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

The Group reiterated that international development cooperation, especially North-South cooperation, remains a fundamental catalyst to sustainable economic growth.

“We urge developed countries to urgently fulfill their unmet Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitments. In the same vein, and underscoring the increasing recognition of the central role of tax systems in development, we reiterate our concern over illicit financial flows and related tax avoidance and evasion, corruption and money -laundering, with negative impacts for the world economy, in particular for developing countries,” he declared.

The Group also stressed the importance of eliminating safe havens that create incentives for the transfer abroad of stolen assets and illicit financial flows — and the importance of scaling up international tax cooperation and combating illicit financial flows in order to mobilize domestic resources for inclusive and sustainable infrastructure.

At the same, the Group also recognized the important contribution that private investment can make to sustainable development, particularly in infrastructure, through tools and mechanisms such as public-private partnerships.

“In this regard, we acknowledge that impediments to private investment in infrastructure exist on both the supply and demand side.”

Insufficient investment, he said, is due in part to inadequate infrastructure plans and an insufficient number of well-prepared investable projects, along with private sector incentive structures that are not necessarily appropriate for investing in many long-term projects, and risk perceptions of investors.

“We further call for enhanced roles of the multilateral development banks to provide the soft infrastructure through technical support and capacity building programs.”

This calls for the strengthening and increased state-private sector risk alignment of mechanism such as the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and development of more context-responsive investment risk assessment and guarantee mechanisms.

He singled out six categories of developing nations that require special attention: least developed countries, African countries, small island developing States, landlocked developing countries, countries and peoples under colonial and foreign occupation, and middle-income countries facing specific challenges.

These are the most affected developing countries by lack of adequate infrastructure and disaster-risk, particularly in terms of sustainable and resilient infrastructure, in view of their higher vulnerability and risk levels which often greatly exceed the capacity to respond to and recover from disasters.

In this regard, he said, the Group also encourages the Forum to identify and address infrastructure needs and capacity gaps to enhance preparedness in countries affected by the El Niño/ La Niña phenomenon.

In order to enhance coordination between this Forum and the UN System, the ambassador said, the reporting mechanism of the Forum to the annual ECOSOC Forum of Financing for Development follow-up needs to be strengthened.

“We are looking forward to an annual exchange of ideas to improve alignment and coordination among multilateral and national development banks, United Nations agencies, national institutions, development partners and the private sector,” he declared.

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UN’s 2030 Agenda Requires Revitalized Global Partnershipshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/uns-2030-agenda-requires-revitalized-global-partnerships/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uns-2030-agenda-requires-revitalized-global-partnerships http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/uns-2030-agenda-requires-revitalized-global-partnerships/#comments Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:09:18 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150220 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 21 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has underlined the importance of increased financial resources and the transfer of technology to developing countries in order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the eradication of poverty and hunger by 2030.

ILEANA091615Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, the delegate from Ecuador told the High-Level SDG Financing Lab the implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized global partnership.

To that end, partnerships with financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders need to take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development, respecting national policies and priorities.

“We reiterate that enhancing support to developing countries is fundamental, including through the provision of development financial resources, transfer, dissemination, and diffusion of technology to developing countries on favorable, including concessional and preferential terms, as well as capacity-building and a rule-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals,” he told delegates.

He pointed out that financial flows need to be more aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. Public finance, both domestic and international, will play a vital role in providing essential services and public goods and in catalyzing other sources of finance.

Private business activity, investment, and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth, and job creation.

He said the Group recognizes the important contribution that direct investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI), can make to sustainable development, particularly when projects are aligned with national and regional sustainable development strategies.

“Therefore, we call upon all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges.”

The Group also expressed concern that many of the least developed countries (LDCs) continue to be largely sidelined by FDI that could help to diversify their economies.

The Group stressed the importance of increasing efforts to address financing gaps and low levels of direct investment faced by landlocked developing countries (LLDCs), small island developing states (SIDS), many middle-income countries, as well as countries and peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, and countries in a situation of conflict and post-conflict.

Moreover, to build adequate conditions to unlock financial resources and ensure that both public and private finance is channeled towards the SDGs, developing countries will need to improve their investment climate.

In this regard, he said, official development assistance (ODA) can help catalyze additional resource mobilization from other sources, public and private.

It can support improved tax collection and help to strengthen domestic enabling environments and build essential public services. It can also be used to unlock additional finance through blended or pooled financing and risk mitigation, notably for infrastructure and other investments that support private sector development.

The Group reassured its readiness to work in ensuring proper and effective follow-up of the financing for development outcomes and all the means of implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

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G77 Confident on New Treaty on Marine Resourceshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/g77-in-key-role-drafting-treaty-on-marine-resources/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-in-key-role-drafting-treaty-on-marine-resources http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/g77-in-key-role-drafting-treaty-on-marine-resources/#comments Fri, 21 Apr 2017 07:33:30 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150214 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 21 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 is taking an active role in the drafting of an international legally-binding instrument on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

The new treaty, when finalized, will come under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), according a General Assembly resolution adopted back in June 2015.

The third Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) meeting, which was held March 28 through 8 April, will be followed by a fourth session scheduled to take place from 29 August to 12 September.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja of Ecuador and G77 chair, expressed confidence that by the end of the 4th session of the PrepCom, “we will be able to fulfill this mandate and to make substantive recommendations to the General Assembly on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea and before the end of the 72nd session.”

The General Assembly will then decide on the convening — and on the starting date—for an intergovernmental conference on the proposed treaty.

Ambassador Borja also requested the Chair of the PrepCom, Ambassador Carlos Duarte, to prepare a paper consolidating and streamlining what has been expressed on the floor and in the written submissions, to be circulated before the beginning of the 4th PrepCom in August.

“Given the progress made, we consider that a set of draft recommendations reflecting the substantive elements could be useful and valuable. It would help us to prepare for and lead us to engage into productive and constructive discussions for the next session and we would request that you prepare such a draft to be shared at the earliest possible date,” he added.

He also pointed out that the PrepCom has been mandated to report to the General Assembly on its progress before the end of this year.

Meanwhile, speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, a delegate from Ecuador, addressed some of the cross-cutting issues such as the scope, objectives, and guiding approaches and principles of the proposed new legally binding instrument on BBNJ– as well as the definitions of different terms that are of technical nature or need more clarification.

Addressing the third PrepCom meeting, he said the Group of 77 would like to reiterate that the new instrument should not undermine existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies as it is stated in the resolution 69/292.

This instrument should reflect sustainable use of resources in the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) and consider mechanisms for its rehabilitation in order to achieve sustainability.

To this end, the Group of 77, joined by China, believes there is merit in looking at structure of existing organizations and convention bodies such as the International Seabed Authority, the International Maritime Organization, the UNFCCC, etc., to consider lessons learned and best practices, while accomplishing universality, in an effort to determine the most effective mechanisms going forward.

At this juncture and without prejudice to the further consideration of the nomenclature of institutional bodies of the new instrument, institutional bodies could include 1) a secretariat; 2) a decision-making body such as Conference of Parties (COP); 3) a scientific and technical body with an advisory competence which can play a role in the establishment of ABMTs, including MPAs; 4) a clearinghouse mechanism to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation, knowledge and data sharing as well as 5) a mechanism in charge of access and benefit sharing of MGRs, he noted.

Regarding the question of definitions, the Group is of the view that it can inspire from the existing instruments where some notions are defined in order to scope and give effect to the instrument.

“We believe that all the notions contained in the objective or main topics of the new instrument such as marine biological diversity, areas beyond national jurisdiction deserve to be defined. Furthermore, ‘marine genetic resources’ (MGRs), ‘utilization of marine genetic resources’ as well as their related technical notions should also be defined,” he declared.

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UN the Only Universal Forum for International Tax Reformshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/un-the-only-universal-forum-for-international-tax-reforms/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-the-only-universal-forum-for-international-tax-reforms http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/un-the-only-universal-forum-for-international-tax-reforms/#comments Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:01:26 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150218 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 20 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has declared that the United Nations is the only universal forum that can openly discuss issues relating to international tax reforms.

With increasing reports of illicit financial flows having a devastating impact on the economies of developing nations, the Group is seeking a dialogue among national tax authorities underscoring the importance of the growing recognition of the central role of tax systems in development.

The Group of 77, joined by China, has pointed out that there is still no single global inclusive forum for international tax cooperation at the intergovernmental level.

While it may be indicated that a certain level of dialogue and initiative actions are taking place at the international level regarding cooperation on tax matters, the Group underscores that the United Nations is the only universal forum where these issues can be discussed in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner, “considering that other processes might be outlined from a perspective that safeguards the interests of constituents from developed countries.”

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Carola Iniguez, Under-Secretary of International Organizations of Ecuador, told a special meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that efforts in international tax cooperation should be universal in approach and scope, and should fully take into account the different needs and capacities of all countries.

The subject under discussion was titled “International Cooperation on Tax Matters”.

The Group emphasized the importance of inclusive cooperation and dialogue among national tax authorities on international tax matters, and underscored the importance of the increasing recognition of the central role of tax systems in development, and stressed the importance of scaling up international tax cooperation and combating illicit financial flows in order to mobilize domestic resources for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Group also underlined the importance of coordinated and enhanced action towards eliminating safe havens that create incentives for transfer abroad of stolen assets and illicit financial flows.

“We reiterate our commitment to work to strengthen international cooperation and national institutions to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism, which have serious implications for economic development and social cohesion,” she told delegates.

In Africa alone, the estimated resources leaving the continent, in the form of illicit financial transfers, was nearly 530 billion dollars between 2002 and 2012, according to the Geneva-based UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Group also highlighted the need to strengthen the Committee of Experts and called on Member States, relevant organizations and other potential donors, to contribute generously to the Trust Fund for International Cooperation in Tax Matters established by the Secretary-General, to supplement regular budgetary resources, to enable the Committee to fulfil its mandate.

At the same time, the Group underlined the importance of an equitable geographical distribution of members of the Committee of Experts and invited developing countries, particularly least developed countries (LDCs), to nominate candidates as members of the Committee of Experts, taking into account an increased participation of members from developing countries with a view to reflect a balanced representation of different tax systems and to fully take into account the different needs and capacities of all countries.

The Group urged the Committee and its subcommittees to fulfill its mandate– considering new and emerging issues that have extensively affected domestic resources mobilization, especially illicit financial flows, tax evasion and corruption– with a view to eventually eliminating them through strengthened national regulation and increased international cooperation, taking into account the best practices and lessons learned on tax policy and administration.

Additionally, the Group urged Member States to consider the upgrading of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, by transforming it from experts acting in their own capacity, to an inter-governmental subsidiary body of ECOSOC, with experts representing their respective governments. This upgrading is necessary and important to allow all Member States to participate in a mechanism that is inclusive and participatory.

The Group said it stands ready to engage actively and constructively with Member States and the Council in order to make the global discourse in tax matters to be as transparent and inclusive as possible.

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Strengthening South-South Cooperation to Boost 2030 Development Agendahttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/strengthening-south-south-cooperation-to-boost-2030-development-agenda/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=strengthening-south-south-cooperation-to-boost-2030-development-agenda http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/04/strengthening-south-south-cooperation-to-boost-2030-development-agenda/#comments Thu, 20 Apr 2017 07:55:50 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=150217 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 20 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has reiterated the urgent need for strengthening South-South cooperation for the successful implementation of one of the UN’s key objectives targeted over the next 13 years: the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Horacio Sevilla Borja, Ambassador of Ecuador to the UN

Horacio Sevilla Borja, Ambassador of Ecuador to the UN

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja of Ecuador, chair of the G77, welcomed the progress, and reaffirmed the importance, of further strengthening South-South cooperation projects and initiatives, especially in the current international economic environment.

“The Group reaffirms that South-South cooperation is a collective endeavor of developing countries, based on the principle of solidarity. However, the Group reiterates its position that South-South cooperation is a complement, rather than a substitute for North-South cooperation,” he noted.

Addressing the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the G77 chair said there is an urgent need to channel effective and sustainable support in accordance with specific needs and constraints of developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs), and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), as well as countries and peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, and countries in situation of conflict and post-conflict.

At the same time, he underlined the importance of “a robust, effective, transparent, and long term Global Partnership of public and private sectors to support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.”

But this, he said, should take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development, respecting national policies and priorities, through the delivery of the means of implementation, as contained in Sustainable Development Goal 17, as well as in each specific Sustainable Development Goal.

The ECOSOC debate was titled “Partnerships for Promoting Opportunities, Increased Prosperity and Sustainable Development For All.”

The G77 encourages the transfer of technologies to developing countries on favorable terms, as well as capacity-building and a rule-based and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system, for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, the G77 chair added.

“While we fully support United Nations multi-stakeholder partnerships, we also emphasize the importance of coordination in engaging potential partners between entities within the UN System, according to their respective mandates. ECOSOC as the main coordinating organ for partnerships has a significant role in this regard, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) could lead in undertaking a mapping exercise of UN partnership initiatives,” he declared.

He pointed out that UN multi-stakeholder partnerships must be based on transparency and accountability.

“It would be highly appreciated if information could be made available regarding the partners, their contributions and matching funds and projects for all partnerships with the UN, including at the country level. It would also be helpful if systematic reporting on such partnerships to the relevant Executive Boards could be strengthened.”

He said it was especially timely that ECOSOC discuss the issue of guidelines and principles for UN-associated partnerships, as it is important to debate on ways to enhance Member States’ oversight of partnerships involving the United Nations.

This will enable Member States to examine and adopt guidelines to improve transparency, coherence, impact, accountability and due diligence in partnerships between the United Nations and the private sector, philanthropic organizations, academia and other related stakeholders.

“In the light of the continued imbalance of funding structure for the UN development system, we highlight that partnerships between entities of the UN development system and other stakeholders should aim to prevent further imbalance between core and non-core resources, while giving priority to the former,” he noted

Finally, to enhance global partnership for development, “we reiterate the need for developed countries to fulfill their commitments regarding Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries and to provide genuine debt relief to LDCs.”

The Group of 77 and China reassures its readiness to work with all stakeholders to encourage effective partnerships, including public, public-private and with civil society, to enhance synergies on our joint efforts for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ambassador added.

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Developing Nations Support Proposed New Global Compact on Migrantshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-support-proposed-new-global-compact-on-migrants/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=developing-nations-support-proposed-new-global-compact-on-migrants http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-support-proposed-new-global-compact-on-migrants/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:51:46 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149786 Libya_

By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 30 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77, joined by China, has extended its strong support for a proposed new global compact on migrants.

The UN General Assembly, which approved the relevant resolution last month, will soon begin a preparatory process for inter-governmental negotiations for “a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.”

The proposal is expected to be adopted at an inter-governmental conference on international migration in 2018.

The Group told the Fifth Committee it fully supports the provision of the resources requested by the Secretary-General, including additional resource requirements in the amount of $1,244,700 for 2017 under the programme budget for the biennium 2016-2017.

The Group said it recalls all mandates approved by the resolution 71/1, entitled “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”, which launched the process of intergovernmental negotiations for the adoption the proposed global compact.

As part of the preparatory process, the President of the General Assembly (PGA) will organize a series of informal thematic sessions between April 2017 and November 2017, as well as four days of informal interactive multi-stakeholder hearings between April 2017 and June 2018.

The organizational arrangements for the preparatory process have been agreed and the resolution on them will be formally adopted soon in the UN General Assembly.

Although the resolution is pending formal adoption by the Assembly, the PGA is initiating the process for relevant stakeholders to apply to participate in the process, in consideration that the preparatory process is envisioned to begin in April 2017.

The final modalities of the preparatory process remain subject to the formal adoption of the resolution.

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G77 Calls for Access & Benefit-Sharing of Marine Genetic Resourceshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/g77-calls-for-access-benefit-sharing-of-marine-genetic-resources/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-calls-for-access-benefit-sharing-of-marine-genetic-resources http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/g77-calls-for-access-benefit-sharing-of-marine-genetic-resources/#comments Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:22:35 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149778 Healthy_Oceans_2

By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 28 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has strongly underlined the significance of marine genetic resources (MGRs) to the economies of developing nations.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, Luis Ona Garces of the Ecuadorean Mission to the UN told a meeting of the Preparatory Committee that the Group reaffirms the importance of access and benefit sharing of marine genetic resources and reiterates that the principle of common heritage of mankind must underpin the new regime governing MGRs of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

“Given its crosscutting nature, the principle should be at the core of the new instrument,” he added

The common heritage of mankind provides the legal foundation for a fair and equitable regime of conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Over the course of the past sessions, he said, the Group has continued to emphasize that marine biodiversity represents a potential, in terms of economic prosperity, and a challenge, in terms of conservation and global food security, for humanity as a whole.

“However, the ability and capacity of countries to benefit from the potential, and to address such challenges, is not equal, creating a situation in which some access, exploit and benefit from these resources without the concomitant obligation to share the benefits. It is important to work in a provision that define access and benefit sharing obligations and overall compliance,” he added.

“We are of the view that the benefits should be both monetary and nonmonetary. The non-monetary benefits should comprise of access to all forms of resources, data and related knowledge, transfer of technology and capacity building as well as facilitation of marine scientific research on MGRs of areas beyond national jurisdiction”.

The Group, he pointed out, “was also open to discuss the different modalities of monetary benefits on the basis– but would not be limited– to those mentioned in our written submission, which would make their sharing of benefit most effective and responsive to the protection and preservation of marine environment, and the needs and interests regarding marine scientific research as well as the development opportunities of the developing countries, including future generations.”

In this sense, a clearinghouse mechanism could be established and a protocol or code of conduct or guidelines could be developed within the said mechanism in order to ensure environmental protection compliance and ensure transparency in the use of marine genetic resources of areas beyond national jurisdiction, he declared.

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The Ebola Crisis: Lessons Learned for Developing Nationshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/the-ebola-crisis-lessons-learned-for-developing-nations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-ebola-crisis-lessons-learned-for-developing-nations http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/the-ebola-crisis-lessons-learned-for-developing-nations/#comments Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:35:32 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149783 ebola_11

By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 27 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has pointed out that the Ebola crisis of 2014-2015 proved that “no country is immune from a disease outbreak, no matter where it emerges”

The Group has argued that the world is now a big village, where the borders between countries are crossed by millions every day for different reasons– a better life for some, a migration for others, all due to different factors, including climate change and the outbreak of fast-spreading diseases.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, Lourdes Pereira of the Ecuadorean Mission to the UN told the Fifth Committee that since the 2014 Ebola outbreak, it became quickly evident that one country alone, with limited capacities and resources, could not face singlehandedly a threat of that dimension spreading across the borders – particularly, if it was not contained with global efforts.

But it also became evident, she pointed out, that regional and international organizations in charge of health, in particular the World Health Organization (WHO), did not have the relevant mechanisms and resources in place for a rapid response to stem the tide of the crisis.

“Uncertainty, fear and a lack of capacity and preparedness contributed to an ineffective and delayed response.”

She expressed the Group’s appreciation for the establishment of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the first-ever UN emergency health mission.

Despite serious challenges, the presence of UNMEER played a catalytic role in mobilizing the necessary financial and human resources to scale up the response to fight a disease which mostly affected West Africa.

The UN Mission contributed in bolstering national operational response capacity of the three Ebola affected countries, namely, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone where more than 11,000 died.

The Group underlines that, the availability of immediate funds in an emergency intervention, flexible enough to meet identified critical gaps, is every important and helps build synergies of the global response.

To this end, the Group commended the Office of the Special Envoy on Ebola for its role in mobilizing extra-budgetary resources to the Ebola Multi-Partner Trust Fund, the international institutions, in particular WHO, OCHA, the bilateral and multilateral partners, the African Union and sub-regional organizations, the civil society, and many others for their fundamental contributions during the Ebola outbreak.

She said the reports under consideration by the Fifth Committee highlighted the numerous challenges encountered in the fight against the Ebola virus disease.

These challenges included, but not limited to the lack of coordination, initial confusion on responsibility sharing; trained and experienced personnel; inefficiencies in the use of new mechanisms which led to the loss of time; ineffective community engagement; proper logistic coordination; information on the financial performance of the Mission and on the liquidation and disposal of assets.

In order to avoid future problems in such crisis situations, the Group underlined the importance of building on existing institutional and coordination mechanisms, working with entities already on the ground such as the WHO and the United Nations Country team and the African Union, so as to reduce confusion, especially in the midst of health crises such as the recent Ebola outbreak.

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G77 Remains Committed to Gender Empowermenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/g77-remains-committed-to-gender-empowerment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-remains-committed-to-gender-empowerment http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/g77-remains-committed-to-gender-empowerment/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:28:37 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149780 csw61_

By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 23 2017 (IPS/G77)

As the United Nations continued its two-week long sessions focusing on the rights of women and gender empowerment, the Group of 77 said it remains “deeply concerned” that overall progress for women and girls remains unbalanced.

“Inequalities remain in labor force participation and leadership, wages and income, pensions, social norms and conditions of work,” Ambassador Horacio Sevilla, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations, told the 61st annual sessions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the primary inter-governmental body on women’s rights.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, he told delegates that women continue to be vulnerable in terms of access to basic healthcare and education; lack social protection and other services essential for maintaining economic livelihood and self-sufficiency and supporting their ability to generate income and to thrive, particularly women in rural areas.

The Group of 77 remains fully committed to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, he declared.

The theme of this year’s session was titled “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty_First Century.” The sessions, which began March 13, concluded on Friday March 24.

Ambassador Horacio Sevilla said the Group welcomes progress made by women and girls in many fields around the world.

However, poverty, inequality, violence and discrimination linger in the world’s current affairs, particularly affecting women and girls living in countries affected by conflict and living under colonial administration and foreign occupation, unilateral coercive measures or unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.

“We express our appreciation for the submission of the Secretary-General’s report on “The situation of, and assistance to, Palestinian Women”, and the Group is pleased to put forward for consideration of all Member States a draft resolution on this important issue.”

The Group of 77, joined by China, also affirmed that an environment that maintains world peace and promotes and protects human rights, democracy and the peaceful settlement of disputes — in accordance with the principles of non-threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence and of respect for sovereignty as set forth in the UN Charter– is an important factor for the advancement of women.

Ambassador Horacio Sevilla said the current 61th Session of the CSW presented a renewed opportunity to address many of these gender-related issues.

Women’s economic independence remains vital to their role as full and equal partners for development. The Group recognizes that progress requires the full and equal integration of women into the economy, in particular into economic decision-making processes.

Having in mind that the feminization of poverty persists, the Group emphasized that the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is an indispensable requirement for women’s economic empowerment.

The Group also acknowledged the important contribution of migrant women, and recognizes that impediments to accessing employment, vocational training, housing, schooling, technology, health services and social services, as well as other public services, contribute to the vulnerability of migrants, in particular women and girls.

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Developing Nations Seek Funding & Technology to Battle Climate Changehttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-seek-funding-technology-to-battle-climate-change/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=developing-nations-seek-funding-technology-to-battle-climate-change http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-seek-funding-technology-to-battle-climate-change/#comments Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:48:59 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149771 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 23 2017 (IPS/G77)

The negative fallout from climate change has not only severely impacted on the world’s developing nations but also eroded development gains undermining and delaying the achievement of the 17goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Climate-Summit-Social-Media“We are already taking significant steps in this regard. Nonetheless, for our common goals to be achieved, enhanced and adequate financial and technology support, as well as capacity building, must be provided to allow for effective action both pre-2020 and beyond,” Helena Yanez Loza, Minister and Deputy Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations, told delegates.

“In the context of implementation, we believe Parties should respect, promote and consider their respective obligations, including the rights of people in vulnerable situations,” she added

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, she told the high-level meeting on “Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda” that last year’s Paris Agreement on Climate Change was a result of a collective effort by all Parties working constructively in a spirit of compromise, to timely and effectively address the global challenge posed by the adverse impacts of climate change, through enhancing the implementation of the Convention.

This included its provisions and principles, in particular equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances.

During the implementation phase, the delicate balance of all the elements of the Paris Agreement as well as the principles and provisions of the Convention must be preserved, she argued.

The Group also stressed that developed countries should continue taking the lead in addressing climate change, particularly in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, in accordance with historical responsibilities and their respective capabilities.

She also reiterated the urgent need to enhance the pre-2020 ambition, including with the ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which will provide a strong basis for post-2020 efforts under Paris Agreement.

“We need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5º C.”

The focus now should be on delivering major tasks to enhance pre-2020 implementation including action on adaptation, which is an urgent priority for developing countries.

It is therefore regrettable, she said, that after more than four years, only 75 parties have deposited their instruments of acceptance to the Doha Amendment.

The Group reiterates that the unfinished business of the pre-2020 actions and ambition, which are long overdue, must be urgently addressed. The Group sees the Kyoto Protocol as a fundamental building block in our post-2020 efforts. “We urge all Parties that have not done so to ratify the Doha Amendment expeditiously.”

The Group also emphasized the relevance and priority it allocates to adaptation, as a matter of urgency for developing countries whose capacities to carry out actions to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change are limited.

“We therefore urge that progress in implementing the Paris Agreement must reflect balance between adaptation and mitigation.”

On financing, she said, that although a certain level of progress has been made on finance within UNFCCC, the Group remains particularly keen for clarity or assurances on the mobilization and provision of scaled up financial resources for developing countries, in particular for achieving a balance of financing for mitigation and adaptation.

Predictability and adequacy of financing for adaptation remain important difficulties to be solved. Certainty for the financing of an Adaptation Fund that serves the Convention, including the Paris Agreement, also needs to be guaranteed.

Timely and effective actions by the entities related to the UNFCCC financial mechanism, the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, and from the Standing Committee on Finance are expected for developing country Parties to access adequate means of implementation to undergo actions on mitigation and adaptation both pre and post-2020.

“Adequate, predictable and sustained finance, technology and capacity-building must be ensured to assist developing country Parties to enhance our climate actions”, she declared.

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Developing Nations Call for New Trust Fund on Forest Protectionhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-call-for-new-trust-fund-on-forest-protection/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=developing-nations-call-for-new-trust-fund-on-forest-protection http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/03/developing-nations-call-for-new-trust-fund-on-forest-protection/#comments Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:29:20 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149405 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 14 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 is calling for the creation of a new and dedicated Trust Fund for the implementation of the UN’s strategic plan on forests for the period 2017-2030.

Forests-UN-Plan_The proposed Trust Fund is expected to be under the management of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN).

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, joined by China, Santiago Garcia, Director of the National Forestry Office in Ecuador told a Working Group meeting he believes that without such a Fund, the implementation of the Strategic Plan on Forests “is difficult for developing countries”.

“As we come together to this Working Group Meeting, let me stress that Forests are crucial for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth of developing countries,” he said.

Forests are also central to sustained poverty reduction and is related to practically all aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and crucial for access to water, rural development, agricultural productivity, conservation of biodiversity, energy, soil conservation, and flood control.

“They provide habitat for at least 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and are also a major carbon sink for regulating global climate,” he added.

The Group believes that the United Nations strategic plan on forests for the period 2017-2030 should be action-oriented, and strengthened to deliver a real impact on the ground, catalyze the implementation and facilitate the mobilization of increased and predictable financing to adequately carry out sustainable forest management at all levels.

And it should also restate the commitments regarding financing in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Garcia said.

He also reiterated that the adequate and timely implementation of the United Nations strategic plan on forests for the period 2017-2030 is fundamental for developing countries.

“In this regard we express our concern on approaches delivered in this venue regarding the important issue of financing which needs to recognize major gaps on financing issues.”

He said it is important to strengthen the UNFF Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (GFFFN) and foster and capitalize existing, new and emerging financing opportunities.

These opportunities include capacity building– given constrained abilities by several developing countries to apply to or implement international cooperation for forest-related programs—and facilitating mechanisms for developing countries to access funds and disseminate best practices on Sustainable Forest Management while ensuring the full implementation of the Forest instrument and achieving the goals and targets comprised in this proposal.

The Group took note of the proposal by the Co-chairs to explore further available data on official development assistance (ODA). However the Group is committed to include a reference on increasing of funding from all sources, including an increase in ODA.

“We highlight the voluntarily nature of the Strategic Plan proposed and that the provision of means of implementation should also encompass technology transfer to developing countries on favorable terms and capacity building for developing countries.”

In this regard, he said “we also should avoid increasing the burden of reporting or creating overlaps in the process of communication through streamlined reporting on the implementation of the Forest Instrument, the Strategic Plan and voluntary planned contributions”.

“We should agree on a communication strategy that addresses those issues, especially by reassuring a transparent process on the issue of reports. The Group also believes that the term voluntary planned contributions could be replaced by “national voluntary contributions”.

The Group expressed its general agreement on the co-chair’s proposal for the six Global Forest Goals. The group also recognized certain overlapping among the targets.

“In this regard we believe that numerical targets should be based on clear forest-related definitions and baseline,” he declared.

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General Assembly President on the Crucial G77 Role in Upcoming SDG Eventshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/general-assembly-president-on-the-crucial-g77-role-in-upcoming-sdg-events/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=general-assembly-president-on-the-crucial-g77-role-in-upcoming-sdg-events http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/general-assembly-president-on-the-crucial-g77-role-in-upcoming-sdg-events/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:43:59 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149243 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 28 2017 (IPS/G77)

Addressing the Group of 77, the President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador Peter Thomson of Fiji said he plans a series of high–level meetings over the next few months in which the G77, joined by China, is expected to play a crucial role.

Peter Thomson

Peter Thomson

The upcoming meetings include the UN Oceans Conference; a High-Level SDG Action Event; a High Level Meeting on ‘Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Agenda’’; a SDG Financing Lab; a ‘High-Level Event on Innovation and Connectivity;’ and a High-Level Event on Education.

Firstly, he pointed out, all of the events have been selected to address means of implementation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or to drive cross-cutting action for SDG implementation.

Secondly, they all aim to help increase global awareness of critical implementation challenges, to identify concrete solutions, and to bring together all key stakeholders – across Government, the international community, civil society, the private sector, and academia.

And thirdly, the success of each of these events relies on the engagement of all partners.

“In this regard I call on the G77 to participate actively, and at the highest possible levels, to ensure their success,” he said.

“As a former Chair of the G77, I am keenly aware of the importance of progress on a number of key issues and processes during the 71st Session, to advancing the interests of the Group,” Ambassador Thomson told delegates.

“Indeed, as we enter the second year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, it is essential that we continue to work closely together to build momentum, collaboration and partnership between all stakeholders, and to keep the wheels of implementation turning,” he noted.

Paying a tribute to the current G77 chair, Ambassador Thomson said he would like to take the opportunity to commend Ecuador on the priority theme for its presidency of the G77 – strengthening international cooperation in tax matters.

Implementing the 2030 Agenda will require mobilising all forms of finance, including by increasing private investment, and enhancing the capacity of countries to mobilize domestic resources through taxation.

“In our changing development cooperation landscape, characterized in particular by the declining levels of international development assistance, international cooperation to build human and institutional capacity, strengthen governance, and combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows, takes on even greater importance”, he declared.

In line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, he will support efforts aimed at increasing international cooperation on tax matters.

In this regard, the ECOSOC Special Meeting on International Cooperation in Tax Matters, to be held in April, provides an important opportunity to take forward these discussions.

“They might also be included in the discussions at the SDG Financing Lab, which I am organising in April,” he added.

Ambassador Thomson singled out the UN Oceans Conference, to be convened from 5 to 9 June this year, as a historic milestone in building global momentum for the implementation of SDG 14.

“The Ocean Conference represents our best opportunity to reverse the cycle of decline into which human activity has pushed the Ocean.”

The Conference will catalyse political support through a strong ‘Call for Action’; and it will secure the game-changing voluntary commitments and strategic partnerships necessary for the achievement of SDG14’s noble targets.

“In this regard, I underline the importance of the online registry for voluntary commitments that has been launched and which can be found on the Conference’s website. I urge you all to register your commitments in support of SDG14 without delay.”

The other upcoming meetings include:

An SDG Financing Lab, scheduled for April 18, will promote global discussions on sustainable financing. The event will include workshops showcasing strategies for leveraging private and public financing for the SDGs, and demonstrate how capacity-building can help these efforts.

A ‘High-Level Event on Innovation and Connectivity‘, on May 17, will discuss ways to harness the power of technology to solve critical challenges in support of SDG implementation.

On 28 June, there will be a High-Level Event on Education to raise the importance of inclusive and equitable quality education as a pre-requisite and driver of opportunity for all.

And in August, there will be a High-Level Meeting on UN Habitat.

He said the General Assembly will also soon begin preparations for a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, following the recent finalisation of consultations on the modalities resolution.

The modalities resolution is set to be adopted by the General Assembly at the conclusion of the Fifth Committee’s budget processes.

“Given the time-sensitivity of this process, I urge you to support the swift consideration of the budgetary implications of the modalities resolution in the Fifth Committee, so that the process can move forward, consistent with the timeline envisaged in the agreed modalities,” he added.

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UN Development System Has Key Role in SDGs Successhttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/un-development-system-has-key-role-in-sdgs-success/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=un-development-system-has-key-role-in-sdgs-success http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/un-development-system-has-key-role-in-sdgs-success/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:05:16 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149249 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 27 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77 has underlined the importance of the governance process of the UN Development System (UNDS) pointing out the need to strengthen transparency, accountability, and responsibility of the UNDS to member states, as well as the need to improve the working methods of the Executive Boards.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja, G77 chair and Permanent Representative of Ecuador, highlighted the importance of the work of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)– both within the UNDS and at the country level– to bring about real progress in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We continue to face increasing demands for development assistance, the effectiveness in carrying out its mandate to facilitate the necessary means of implementation, particularly in the areas of finance and capacity-building”.

Addressing the first regular session of the Executive Boards of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), he said the Group emphasizes the importance of the UNDP in supporting national efforts and the development of national capacities to achieve development goals.

“We reiterate our commitment to work for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda in a balanced and integrated manner.”

He said the Group reaffirms the importance of integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely inclusive and sustained economic growth, protection of the environment, and social inclusion.

“The UNDP’s role in this context should be its cooperation on the achieving of the internationally-agreed development goals in the 2030 Agenda,” Ambassador Sevilla Borja said.

The new agenda for the implementation of the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) provides to the UNDP a long-term strategic guidance to adapt its work -especially the Strategic Plan 2018-2021- to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as other inter-governmentally agreed development commitments.

The QCPR requested the UNDP to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in their strategic planning documents and their work at all levels, taking into account that the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, the Ambassador said.

“We look forward to engaging constructively in the elaboration of the next strategic plan and integrated budget, a process that should be transparent, inclusive, and consistent with the 2030 Agenda and the QCPR resolution, making sure that the final text is representative of the views of the whole membership,” he added.

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G77 Chair Critical on Lack of Progress on Social Developmenthttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-chair-critical-on-lack-of-progress-on-social-development/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-chair-critical-on-lack-of-progress-on-social-development http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-chair-critical-on-lack-of-progress-on-social-development/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:59:57 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149248 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 27 2017 (IPS/G77)

Addressing the 55th Commission for Social Development (CSD), the chair of the Group of 77, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja, Permanent Representative of Ecuador, said the Group is “deeply concerned about the uneven progress achieved in fulfilling all of the interrelated commitments made at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and by the lack of satisfactory progress of social development”.

Horacio Sevilla Borja

Horacio Sevilla Borja

Conflicts, slowing global economic growth, volatile financial markets, high rates of youth unemployment, global health threats, humanitarian crisis, corruption, the challenges posed by climate change and other related challenges, increase the difficulty to advance and impedes progress in the fulfillment of social objectives.

Consequently the role of the Commission, he said, is crucial to meet these challenges in order to achieve and sustain progress in social development.

The priority theme for the work of the CSD this year was “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, he said the eradication of poverty is the greatest moral imperative of the planet.

Even though the world has made tremendous progress tackling poverty, its overcoming still remains one of the major challenges for the international community.

Provision and mobilization of adequate and sufficient resources remain one of the main requisites for developing countries for the implementation of relevant policies and programs targeting effective poverty eradication.

Furthermore, social exclusion continues to be a challenge in many parts of the world, by virtue of growing inequalities and decent-work deficit, thus negatively affecting youth, older persons, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and migrants, among other people in vulnerable situations.

“As set out in the Secretary General’s report, if we maintain the policy status quo to address these matters we will not get the job done,” he warned.

New policy approaches and strategies are required to tackle poverty, in which both the political will and the financial aspects can make the difference.

It is not possible to obtain significant reductions in the levels of extreme poverty and other dimensions of poverty without adequate financing and international cooperation.

He pointed out that 2015 marked a historic year in which the international community agreed on a set of new universal goals and commitments for the years ahead: the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction; the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the Paris Agreement; and one year later, the New Urban Agenda.

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development began the implementation phase and follow-up of the world agenda towards a sustainable future.

This Agenda recognizes that eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable prerequisite for sustainable development.

The Commission for Social Development can make a significant contribution to the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda through the ECOSOC High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, providing substantive inputs and sharing “strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”.

It is important that the international community reinvigorates all pending commitments made in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, while implementing an integrated, ambitious and impactful sustainable development agenda in which no one will be left behind.

This Commission needs to therefore send a strong signal to the HLPF that the interlinkages among the SDGs, and addressing the well-being and the rights of youth, women and girls, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, older persons, refugees and other groups is a prerequisite for achieving the 2030 Agenda.

The delegates at the 1995 Summit agreed on the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, and the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development.

The Programme of Action included: an Enabling Environment for Social Development; Eradication of Poverty; Expansion of Productive Employment and Reduction of Unemployment.; Social Integration and Implementation and Follow-up

The Group of 77, joined by China, underlined once again, the importance of the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen in 1995, which marked and continues to be the integral point of reference in the field of social development at national and international level.

“Therefore, we reaffirm the Group’s commitment in fulfilling the goals agreed more than twenty years ago, particularly on poverty eradication, full employment and social integration”.

The Group welcomes the work of the Commission on the situation of social groups and the review of the relevant plans or programmes of action of persons with disabilities, youth, ageing, and family issues.

The Group also welcomes the Commission’s continued focus on the social dimension of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. “Our deliberations in this Session will allow exploring new ways to strengthen the social dimension of sustainable development”, he noted.

The Group would also like to stress the importance of removing obstacles to the realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, in particular of peoples living under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, with full respect of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, which adversely affect their social and economic development, the Ambassador said.

The Group is acutely aware that poverty, in all its forms and dimensions, as well as unemployment, income inequalities, social disintegration, and inequalities within and among countries, are complex issues and intertwined global challenges.

“We emphasize the need to eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions in order to truly leave no one behind. Furthermore, as the aim of the 2030 Agenda, it is important to address poverty in a more coherent, holistic, comprehensive and systematic manner”.

The Group is fully committed to working tirelessly for the full implementation of the Agenda by 2030 in a balanced and integrated manner to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions: social, economic and environmental, and to build on the lessons learned from the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, seeking to address their unfinished business.

These aspects must be at the core of the formulation of the new strategies for eradicating poverty and exclusion to achieve sustainable development for all, which requires greater effort at international and national levels in order to have a successful and real action of the 2030 Agenda.

“Only together can we transform our world into the world we want and we all deserve,” he declared.

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Sustainable Development & Sustainable Peace are Interlinked, Says G77http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/sustainable-development-sustainable-peace-are-interlinked-says-g77/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sustainable-development-sustainable-peace-are-interlinked-says-g77 http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/sustainable-development-sustainable-peace-are-interlinked-says-g77/#comments Mon, 27 Feb 2017 21:53:34 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149247 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 27 2017 (IPS/G77)

Speaking during the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Peace, G77 chair Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja, Permanent Representative of Ecuador, said the overarching objective of eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions remains the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

“We reaffirm our commitment to work tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030 in a balanced and integrated manner to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions”, he added.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, Ambassador Sevilla Borja called on the international community to address the challenges and needs faced by developing countries, especially countries in special situations.

He specifically singled out the economic plight of many African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

He also said there were specific challenges facing many middle-income countries, including countries with conflict and post-conflict situations, and countries and peoples living under foreign and colonial occupation.

“We underscore the message of SDG16 that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.”

The theme of the High-Level Dialogue was: “Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies Between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace.”

The year 2016 marked the first year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the “Charter of Algiers”, the first platform of the G-77 calling for joint efforts by developing countries towards economic and social development, peace and prosperity.

Ever since, the Group has called for joint efforts of developing countries to advance socio-economic development in tandem with the promotion of peace.

“It is fundamental to adopt a holistic approach to sustainable development that is people-centered and inclusive, leaving no one behind,” the Ambassador said.

The Group of 77, joined by China, welcomes the progress made by Member States in their national implementation, but stresses that implementing the 2030 Agenda at all levels requires a revitalized global partnership and the full implementation of SDG 17, he added.

In this context, enhancing support to developing countries is fundamental, including through provision of development financial resources, transfer of technology on favorable terms including on concessional and preferential terms, enhanced international support and targeted capacity-building and promoting a just and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

The Group reaffirms that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security, and that peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development.

The least developed countries in conflict and post-conflict situations and those experiencing political instability have specific structural challenges and require context-specific approaches.

The Group took note of the principles set out in the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States by the Group of Seven Plus, countries that are or have been, affected by conflict.

“We are encouraged by the recent positive achievements on the efforts on peaceful resolution of complex conflicts in Africa, as well as for the general understanding to adequately resort to preventive diplomacy as a mean to avert conflicts before its outbreak”, Ambassador Sevilla Borja declared.

Sustainable development is a prerequisite to sustainable peace. Investment in development is the most cost-effective approach to achieving a sustainable peace because socio-economic disparity and grievances are causes of conflict. Sustainable peace is not possible without sustainable development and vice versa, he added.

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G77 Reiterates Need to Protect Oceans & Marine Eco-Systemshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-reiterates-need-to-protect-oceans-marine-eco-systems/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-reiterates-need-to-protect-oceans-marine-eco-systems http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-reiterates-need-to-protect-oceans-marine-eco-systems/#comments Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:41:34 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=149245 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, , Feb 24 2017 (IPS/G77)

The Group of 77, joined by China, has reiterated its firm commitment to support the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 which calls for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.

The commitment was made ahead of the UN high level conference on oceans and marine resources scheduled to take place in New York June 5-9.

The Group has underlined the importance of maintaining political momentum to keep working tirelessly for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in its three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — in a balanced and integrated manner.

“Hence, we welcome the decision to hold the high-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, and to contribute, through this deliberations, to the preparation of the ‘Call for Action,’” the G77, joined by China, said at the Preparatory Meeting which took place February 15-16.

According to the United Nations, oceans provide key natural resources including food, medicines, biofuels and other products. They help with the breakdown and removal of waste and pollution, and their coastal ecosystems act as buffers to reduce damage from storms. Maintaining healthy oceans supports climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. And it’s also a great place for tourism and recreation.

The lost economic benefits from the fisheries sector are estimated to be around $50 billion annually, while the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates the cumulative economic impact of poor ocean management practices is at least $200 billion per year.

Speaking on behalf of the G77, joined by China, a delegate from Ecuador said: “We recall that targets related to means of implementation— including target 14.a, on increasing scientific knowledge, developing research capacities and transferring marine technology in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing states (SIDS), least developed countries (LDCs), and developing countries with islands with significance biological diversity– are crucial for the achievement of sustainable development.”

The Group looks forward to constructively engage in the partnership dialogues, taking into account that one of the main objectives of the Conference is to build on existing successful partnerships and stimulate innovative and concrete new partnerships to advice the implementation of SDG 14.

The Group also said it recognizes that oceans, seas, islands and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical for global food security and for sustaining economic prosperity and the well-being of many national economies of developing countries, in particular small island developing states (SIDS), least developed countries (LDCs), and developing countries with biological diversity significance islands.

The conservation and sustainable use of them and their resources is vital for sustainable development.

“We reiterate the importance to protect, and restore, the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems, to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use for present and future generations.”

In this regard, the Group said, enhancing support to developing countries is fundamental, including through provision of development financial resources, transfer of technology, enhanced international support and targeted capacity-building, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment and addressing the impacts of climate change.

“The Group agreed that the “Call for Action” should be a concise, focused and inter-governmentally agreed declaration, but substantive in its nature, based not only in the above mentioned elements but also in the good practices and experiences gained through the partnerships, and national, regional or international initiatives that will lead us to identify ways and means to support the implementation of SDG 14, to stimulate and concrete new partnerships, involving all relevant stakeholders, and to contribute to the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by providing an input to the high-level political forum on sustainable development.”

Meanwhile, according to the United Nations, the upcoming June conference shall:

• Identify ways and means to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14;
• Build on existing successful partnerships and stimulate innovative and concrete new partnerships to advance the implementation of Goal 14;
• Involve all relevant stakeholders, bringing together Governments, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors to assess challenges and opportunities relating to, as well as actions taken towards, the implementation of Goal 14;
• Share the experiences gained at the national, regional and international levels in the implementation of Goal 14;
• Contribute to the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by providing an input to the high-level political forum on sustainable development, in accordance with resolutions 67/290 of 9 July 2013, 70/1 of 25 September 2015 and 70/299 of 29 July 2016, on the implementation of Goal 14, including on opportunities to strengthen progress in the future;

The Conference shall comprise plenary meetings, partnership dialogues and a special event commemorating World Oceans Day.

The Conference shall adopt by consensus a concise, focused, inter-governmentally agreed declaration in the form of a “Call for Action” to support the implementation of Goal 14 and a report containing the co-chairs’ summaries of the partnership dialogues, as well as a list of voluntary commitments for the implementation of Goal 14, to be announced at the Conference.

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G77 Expresses Gratitude to Thailand for Successful Chairmanshiphttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-expresses-gratitude-to-thailand-for-chairmanship/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g77-expresses-gratitude-to-thailand-for-chairmanship http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/02/g77-expresses-gratitude-to-thailand-for-chairmanship/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2017 18:23:54 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=148769 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 1 2017 (IPS/G77)

The 134 members of the Group of 77 expressed gratitude to Thailand for chairing the group in 2016, at a ceremony in the UN Trusteeship Council chamber on Friday 13 January.

Addressing the meeting Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand said that as Chair of the Group Thailand strived to build solidarity between the group’s diverse members:

“Thailand is honoured to have been entrusted by all of you to serve as Chair over the past year.”

“We committed ourselves to strengthening group solidarity. This meant reaching out to each and every member of the group. It meant truly listening to their concerns. It meant putting the group’s interests ahead of national interests. And it meant recognising that the real strength of the group comes from all of its member states.”

Pramudwinai said that some of the big issues the group had addressed in 2016 included: implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, the selection process for the new Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as antimicrobial resistance.

“These opportunities were possible in large part due to the willingness and flexibility of all group members,” he added.

“A key challenge for the group in 2016 was laying down the groundwork for the full implementation and realisation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development,” said Pramudwinai.

“Thailand recognised that in moving forward on this ambitious agenda not a single country could go alone and no one or no country should be left behind.”

He also noted that Thailand had shared its own approach to sustainable development with the other members of the group:

“It’s hopeful that when the group looks back on the Thai chairmanship you will remember that we shared with you our homegrown approach to sustainable development in a globalised world and that is the sufficiency economy philosophy,” he said.

Thailand led the group during a difficult year for Thailand after King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on 13 October 2016.

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, which will chair the Group in 2017, expressed Ecuador’s solidarity with Thailand over the death of His Majesty the King.

“We received from the King of Thailand the great responsibility of chairing the Group of 77 for this year,” said Correa.

“We particularly acknowledge the legacy of the King in the implementation of policies inspired by the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy,” said Correa.

Correa noted that Ecuador has a similar philosophy called “Living Well” “that we’ve inherited from our ancestral people and that has become a constitutional principle.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also addressed the meeting, as did representatives from the following groups: the Non-Aligned Movement, the Latin America and Caribbean Group, the Africa Group, the Asia-Pacific Group, Landlocked Developing Countries, Small Island States and Least Developed Countries.

China, which is not a member of the G77 but often joins G77 statements, also spoke as did, the state of Palestine.

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International Community Must Address Needs of Developing Nationshttp://www.ipsnews.net/2017/01/international-community-must-address-needs-of-developing-nations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=international-community-must-address-needs-of-developing-nations http://www.ipsnews.net/2017/01/international-community-must-address-needs-of-developing-nations/#comments Tue, 31 Jan 2017 20:50:32 +0000 an IPS Correspondent http://www.ipsnews.net/?p=148749 By an IPS Correspondent
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 31 2017 (IPS/G77)

Addressing the UN General Assembly’s High-Level Dialogue on Sustainable Development and Peace, Ambassador Horacio Sevilla Borja of Ecuador said the overarching objective of eradicating poverty –in all its forms and dimensions– remains the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

H E Mr Horacio Sevilla Borja, Ambassador of Ecuador to the UN

H E Mr Horacio Sevilla Borja, Ambassador of Ecuador to the UN

Speaking on behalf of the G77, and joined by China, he said: “We reaffirm our commitment to work tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030 in a balanced and integrated manner to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions.”

“The international community must address the challenges and needs faced by developing countries, especially countries in special situations, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, as well as specific challenges that many middle-income countries face, conflict and post-conflict countries, and countries and peoples living under foreign and colonial occupation,” he declared.

The ambassador underscored the message of Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 16 that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

Sustainable development is a prerequisite to sustainable peace. Investment in development is the most cost-effective approach to achieving a sustainable peace because socio-economic disparity and grievances are causes of conflict.

He said: “Sustainable peace is not possible without sustainable development and vice versa.”

He quoted a statement made by the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa at the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 on 13 January, when the President said: “Peace is not only the absence of war. In the twenty-first century, peace must be, above all, presence: presence of justice, presence of prosperity. Peace without justice is simply appeasement. The insulting opulence of a few next to intolerable poverty are constant affronts to human dignity”

Tracing the long history of the UN’s development agenda, the Ambassador told delegates that the year 2016 marked the first year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

And 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the “Charter of Algiers”, the first platform of the G-77 calling for joint efforts by developing countries towards economic and social development, peace and prosperity.

Ever since, he said, the Group has called for joint efforts of developing countries to advance socio-economic development in tandem with the promotion of peace. It is fundamental to adopt a holistic approach to sustainable development that is people-centered and inclusive, leaving no one behind.

Historically, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirms all the principles of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, in particular, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The Group further reaffirms that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development be guided by the principles in accordance with paragraph 74 of the 2030 Agenda.

The ambassador also said the Group of 77 and China welcomes the progress made by Member States in their national implementation, but stresses that implementing the 2030 Agenda at all levels requires a revitalized global partnership and the full implementation of SDG 17.

In this context, enhancing support to developing countries is fundamental, including through provision of development financial resources, transfer of technology on favorable terms including on concessional and preferential terms, enhanced international support and targeted capacity-building and promoting a just and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

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