STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY MS. THANAVON PAMARANON, FIRST SECRETARY, PERMANENT MISSION OF THE KINGDOM OF THAILAND TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE PLENARY MEETING OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE OF THE SEVENTY-FIRST SESSION FOLLOWING THE ADOPTION OF THE RESOLUTION ENTITLED "IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21, THE PROGRAMME FOR THE FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21 AND THE OUTCOMES OF THE WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT" (A/C.2/71/L.19/REV.1) UNDER AGENDA ITEM 19 (A) SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (New York, 8 December 2016)
1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. I would like to first reaffirm the 134 Members of the Group's commitment to the work of the Second Committee. We have worked tirelessly in this session in order to meet the expectations which our people, the international community, the developing partners and the Bureau put upon and look up to us. We have the responsibility to ensure that the work of the Second Committee is relevant; our work must meet the overall objectives of the ambitious global agenda of poverty eradication and sustainable development while taking into account the unfinished business and existing mechanism and frameworks.
3. The Group would like to take this opportunity to thank the Group's coordinator, the distinguished delegate of Papua New Guinea, for his dedication and hard work of the facilitator, the distinguished delegate of Mexico, for her efforts.
4. With today's adoption of resolution under Agenda item 19 (a) Sustainable Development, entitled "Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development" (A/C.2/71/L.19/Rev.1) by a vote, I would like to express the Group's deepest disappointment and grave concern regarding the future and way forward of this Agenda's sub item and the working spirit of this Committee.
5. It is deeply regrettable that the main reason why consensus cannot be reached is related to the periodicity of this resolution, and attempts to bring Revitalization discussions into the substantive work of the Second Committee.
6. At no point in time was the Group presented with a clear, objective, and evidence-based reason to change the periodicity of this resolution. This question was posed various times, but either fell on deaf ears, or proves that the desire to change the periodicity of the resolution is only the result of, what some would deem, an unfavorable result during the Revitalization process which occurred earlier this year.
7. The Group had engaged our development partners extensively and constructively at the early stage. We exercised further good faith in fulfilling our duty to submit the draft text on time, and indeed, the Group submitted the text early - which we would like to highlight, is our sovereign right to table, as equal Member States. We would like to make it clear that it is the responsibility of the Group to table a draft proposal within the deadline, not to find a facilitator. It was unfortunate that a facilitator for the resolution was assigned nearly two weeks after submission.
8. The Group tried countlessly to explain, to no avail, the value and relevance of this resolution. We highlighted the crucial elements, such as the institutional arrangements of Agenda 21, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Rio+20, as well as areas which this resolution could provide further value-add, including sustainable consumption and production, and water and sanitation. The response we received from the developed partners was quite interesting and rather revealing-- the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the High Level Political Forum should cover all aspects of the three previous conferences.
9. How can we be so sure and confident?
10. When we are not certain about something, we need to assess and be provided with evidence-based information so that we can make an informed decision. The Group exercised our utmost and extreme flexibility to bridge consensus. We in fact applied this approach which partners valued through the language: "(QUOTE) requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session a report on the implementation of the present resolution and to include in the report a comprehensive and substantive analysis of the unfinished business of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNQUOTE)" and we insisted to include the sub-title and resolution at the seventy-second session of the General Assembly to discuss the findings and the way forward. Nonetheless, this proposal was rejected by the partners upfront at the last informal informal and pressured the Group to either "take it or leave it" of the facilitator's text.
11. We have tried our very best before arriving at the revised Rev.1 document. We valued the discussions during the informal informals and the facilitator's efforts and hard work, and thus used the facilitator's text as the basis without proposals in the last two operative paragraphs, as opposed to our original L. document.
12. This demonstrates the Group's good faith, in order to honor the substantive agreements that we were able to reach. Throughout negotiations, the G77 sought to exercise extreme flexibility in trying to bridge consensus, and even sought to be creative in trying to accommodate partners' non-evidence based desire to change the periodicity of the resolution, including by addressing a clear gap in the work of the General Assembly. However, these attempts were not given the due consideration they deserved.
13. In this regard, we are deeply disappointed, and indeed worried and surprised, by some partners', including certain groups' lack of support for the concept of sustainable consumption and production, which has extremely clear and direct links to, and roots in, Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Programme of Implementation, and Rio+20 outcome "The Future We Want".
14. The Strategic Alignment of future sessions of the General Assembly with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was one of the major highlights by the President of the 70th Session of the General Assembly, informed us that the issues of sustainable consumption and production, as reflected in SDG12, and sanitation, as part of SDG6, are the two areas of the 2030 Agenda which remain almost entirely unaddressed within the work of the General Assembly.
16. Thus, the G77 has sought to ensure that adequate coverage was given to the issue of sustainable consumption and production, for the purpose of ensuring that the issue as a whole, including SDG12, is given the necessary political support by the General Assembly. It is within our legitimate hope that all Member States and State Members will engage in all future negotiations with dedication and an open mind in order to leave no one behind.
I thank you, Mr Chair.