Statement the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Mr Luwellyn Landers, on the occasion of the G77 and China Ministerial Meeting, 23 September 2016, UN Headquarters, New York
Chairperson of the G77 and China, Minister Don Pramudwinai of the Kingdom of Thailand, United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Peter Thomson Excellencies
We come together at the start of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly at a time when the world continues to face growing inter-connected global challenges, which include growing instability brought about by, inter-alia, continued conflict, increased cases of terrorism, large-scale movements of refugees and migrants; global health crises, economic stagnation and underdevelopment. In all these challenges, what is clearly evident is that developing countries that are ones most severely affected.
Last year, this Group was at the forefront of the historic multilateral outcomes, which will guide the global economic, social and environmental development for the next several years. The collective unity, cohesion and vision of the G77 and China ensured that we were able to ensure that these outcomes positively reflect the interests of developing countries.
South Africa welcomes the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. This is with the understanding that the pre-existing pre-2020 legal commitments of developed Parties need to be honoured and that support, in the form of climate finance, technology transfer and capacity building, is provided to developing countries, both pre-and-post 2020. It is also our clear understanding that early entry into force does not alter the 2020 commencement date for the new commitments and that no Parties will be excluded from UNFCCC decision making processes to operationalise the Agreement.
The G77 and China played a leading role in forging the Paris outcome and we are confident that, under Thailand as Chair, this Group will once again show leadership at the COP22/CMP12 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2016.
The central message of the G77 and China, consistent with the Paris outcome, could be that pre-2020 action on climate change needs to be enhanced and accelerated. It is particularly important that developed countries step up support to developing countries because, without this support, developing countries will not be able to contribute their best effort and the global goals in the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved. At COP22/CMP12 we specially need deliverables on adaptation and finance, including a roadmap on how developed countries are to deliver on their obligations.
South Africa supports the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development as an integral and complimentary part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which in particular stresses the critical importance of industrial development as a critical enabler for the development of African Economies.
South Africa endorses the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development without any reservations. The triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality that the development agenda seeks to address is the primary focus of the South African Government and people. The SDGs are also aligned to South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), as well as to the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Firmly guided by our Constitutional values, principles and imperatives, we use the NDP to guide plans, policies, programmes, projects and operations in every sector – including how budget and skills investment and other resources are allocated at national and local levels to move South Africa forward and to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all our citizens. In this regard, South Africa is implementing and ensuring the domestication of the SDGs as part of implementing our NDP.
As we have emphasised previously, the realisation of the SDGs will only be achieved if the Global Partnership focuses on adequate means of implementation and also recognises the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). This would recognise our different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respects our national policies and priorities. It is imperative that the follow-up and review process for the goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda should also focus on whether the means of implementation have been achieved and whether developed countries have kept to their commitments.
The scourge of illicit financial flows has diminished the benefits that developing countries could derive from trade, primarily in commodities, which is a driver for investment, economic growth and social development. South Africa, therefore, stresses the importance of effective policies to address the challenges of illicit financial flows at national, regional and, most importantly, global level. While efforts undertaken by some international organisations to address this issue are commendable, the establishment of an inclusive, inter-Governmental structure to ensure collective responsibility and cooperation in the fight against illicit financial flows is necessary.
Two days ago we commemorated the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development. The G77 and China must continue to advocate for the realization of this right is linked to economic, social and cultural rights, which are essential in ensuring the enhancement of the quality of life of those afflicted by poverty and extreme poverty.
Key to the implementation of the outcomes that we have adopted is an adequately resourced, relevant, coherent, efficient and effective UN system. The G77 and China must therefore continue its collective commitment to improving the efficient and effective functioning of the United Nations, in particular through calling for adequate resourcing of the organisation to deliver on its mandates. In this regard, South Africa is concerned that we are losing momentum with the continued delays in presenting a coherent and well-reasoned United Nations implementation plan and budget request for the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Plan.
We look forward to participating in the negotiations for the next Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) to ensure that the UN Development System is aligned to the demands of the 2030 Agenda.
In conclusion, we wish to stress that as we embark on the even more arduous task of implementing the momentous agreements that we adopted in the last year, the Group of 77 and China needs to continue to show resilience and unity to ensure that the collective interests of the South are realised.
I thank you.
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
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