The UN General Assembly's (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) opened its General Debate for the UNGA 70th Session.
Member States focused on issues related to the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The General Debate is taking place on 7-9 October, and will be followed by a discussion of the Committee's working methods on 9 October.
7 October 2015: The UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial) opened its General Debate for the UNGA 70th Session. Member States focused on issues related to the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The General Debate is taking place on 7-9 October, and will be followed by a discussion of the Committee’s working methods on 9 October.
Andrej Logar, Permanent Representative of Slovenia and Chair of the Second Committee, stressed the need to define a bold and ambitious action plan for the Committee, in line with the 2030 Agenda. He outlined items to be considered by the Committee, including: eradication of poverty; macroeconomic policy questions, which he said should be guided by the AAAA; supporting countries in special situations; information and communication technologies (ICTs) for development; gender equality, and global partnerships for sustainable development. Logar also highlighted side events to be convened during the Session, as well as joint meetings with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), on the topics of: women’s equality; inclusive growth and informal economy; crisis mitigation for least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS); water scarcity and drought management; illicit financial flows and development financing in Africa; and taxation issues.
Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, remarked that work towards the 2030 Agenda should seek to: leave no one behind; enhance coherence at domestic, regional and global levels; provide special attention to the poorest and the more vulnerable countries; and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. He highlighted the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) support for the Agenda, including: preparations for the 2016 session of High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF); preparations for the UN Secretary-General’s report on follow-up and review, which was mandated by the 2030 Agenda (paragraph 90), including to seek Member States’ views “soon”; organizing the second meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) in late October; assisting several pilot countries with integrated planning and policy-making for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); supporting the implementation of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM); and helping to align the work of the Second Committee with the 2030 Agenda.
Giving the keynote address to the Second Committee, Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that: bringing about change, including institutional changes, does not only require money but also the intellectual space to innovate; partnerships should provide the framework for creating and innovating; getting more resources is not the only answer to challenges faced by developing countries, and small, low-cost initiatives can be very powerful; and data should be used not only for accountability and monitoring, but also to identify what works and what does not.
As the Committee began its General Debate, statements were made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the African Group, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the EU and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Speakers expressed consensus on the need for a strong climate commitment at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The groupings identified top priorities for the session, including: the key principle on which implementation of the 2030 Agenda should be based – either common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) or shared responsibility; means of implementation (MOI) for the AAAA and 2030 Agenda – including the TFM, infrastructure, official development assistance (ODA) and systemic issues such as trade, sovereign debt restructuring, and global economic governance; the role of South-South Cooperation; industrialization; operationalizing the technology bank for LDCs; building an effective follow-up and review mechanism through the HLPF; and youth issues, specifically youth employment.
G-77/China said the AAAA is a support and complement for the MOI outlined in SDG 17 and throughout the other SDGs, stressing it does not replace these.
The EU said the Second Committee should have a new agenda that corresponds to the 2030 Agenda, adding that this would necessitate consulting with ECOSOC in order to avoid duplication.
Other delegations also underlined the integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda and the need for the delegates to work with their colleagues from other UNGA Committees.
During the organizational meeting for the Committee that took place on 21 September 2015, Logar had asked delegations to consider making sustainable development an overarching framework of the agenda instead of one cluster, and reorganizing all other clusters under a sustainable development framework.
The Second Committee plans to conclude its agenda for the Session by 25 November 2015, both because any draft proposals with financial implications must be submitted to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) by 1 December, and because the Paris Climate Change Conference will begin on 30 November, impacting many Committee members’ availability.
In addition to Logar, the Committee’s Bureau for the 70th session includes Enrique Carrillo Gómez (Paraguay), Purnomo Ahmad Chandra (Indonesia) and Reinhard Krapp (Germany), who serve as Vice-Chairs, and Chantal Uwizera (Rwanda), as Rapporteur. [Second Committee Webpage] [General Debate Statements, 7 October] [Summary of Organizational Meeting]