Second Committee Emphasizes Climate Change During Sustainable Development Debate
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The President of the UN General Assembly stressed the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and securing financing for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as key to addressing sustainable development challenges.

Many small island States underscored the need for increased partnerships, funding, capacity building and technology transfer.

9 October 2017: The UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) considered agenda item 19 on Sustainable Development and its sub-items, with Member States responding to UN system reports on related issues. Governments highlighted the need for, inter alia: addressing climate change, as it undermines poverty eradication and sustainable development; infrastructure support; technology transfer, including for Middle Income Countries (MICs); and multi-stakeholder partnerships for securing needed resources.

The meeting took place on 9 October 2017, at UN Headquarters in New York. The discussion continued on 10 October.

Opening the session, the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Miroslav Lajčák, stressed the importance of implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and securing financing for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as key to addressing sustainable development challenges. He also announced that UNGA will contribute to the International Decade for Action, ‘Water for Sustainable Development’ (2018‑2028).

Introducing seven reports of the Secretary-General on various sustainable development issues, Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that advancement on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is uneven across regions, ages and genders, and that the pace of progress is insufficient to meet them by 2030.

Robert Glasser, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the Sendai Framework DRR 2015‑2030. He explained that disasters bring 26 million people into poverty yearly, with annual average loss in less developed countries of more than 20% of social expenditure. Glasser said the disaster-related costs are increasing rapidly mainly because of climate change, but also from failure to include risk in economic investments. He announced that the Sendai Framework Monitor would be launched online in early 2018, providing countries with an evidence-based management tool for developing DRRs strategies and making risk-informed investment decisions.

Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), said the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 13) to the UNCCD, which convened in September 2017 in China, resulted in the adoption of a new framework to replace the 10‑year strategy that ends in 2018.

Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the work of CBD. She noted that while significant progress was made towards achieving some of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, progress is insufficient to ensure their accomplishment by 2020.

In the ensuing discussion, Ecuador for the Group of the 77 and China (G-77/China) stressed the need for a more people-centred preventive approach to disaster risk by promoting inclusive multi-hazard and multisectoral practices. He called for international cooperation in addressing climate change, desertification, drought and other challenges.

The Philippines, for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), called for the “full and effective implementation” of all nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and urged developed countries to enhance support for efforts to promote low-carbon and climate resilient cities in Southeast Asia.

Maldives, for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), stressed the need for increased partnerships, funding, capacity building and technology transfer.

Barbados, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the international community must tackle issues of debt relief and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in island states as ways of improving adaptation to climate change.

Solomon Islands, for Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS), called for developing funding criteria that reflect emerging vulnerabilities and capacity building at national and institutional levels for mitigation. Bangladesh, speaking for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), stressed the importance of the Green Climate Fund.

El Salvador, for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called for strengthening the links of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) with the UN Regional Commissions and stressed the importance of official development assistance (ODA) for developing countries in achieving the SDGs.

Samoa, for the Pacific Islands Forum, said SIDS need technology transfer, capacity building, and adequate and predictable funding to implement the 2030 Agenda. He suggested the Green Climate Fund’s approval of a pilot scheme should offer a simplified approval process. [Second Committee Website][Second Committee Calendar of Meetings][SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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