UNGA Debate Concludes with Focus on 2015 Agreement, Link to Sustainable Development
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On the final day of the UN General Assembly's (UNGA) 69th General Debate, speakers again addressed: their countries priorities for the post-2015 development agenda; climate change; health; and security.

Closing the Debate on 30 September, UNGA President Sam Kutesa urged Member States to “make real and meaningful change in the livelihoods of humanity and the health of our planet.”

unga6930 September 2014: On the final day of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) 69th General Debate, speakers again addressed: their countries priorities for the post-2015 development agenda; climate change; health; and security. Closing the Debate on 30 September, UNGA President Sam Kutesa urged Member States to “make real and meaningful change in the livelihoods of humanity and the health of our planet.”

Alva Romanus Baptiste, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, welcomed the development bank established by Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS), which he said would assist countries to achieve the MDGs.

Noting the connections among climate change, energy consumption, food security and water resources, Vladimir Makei, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, recommended reflecting climate change in the post-2015 agenda. Jorge Alberto Silva Borges, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, expressed appreciation for the proposed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on climate change.

Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Mohamed Waheed, Former President and Special Envoy of the President of Maldives, Rimbink Pato, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Milan Jaya Nyamrajsingh Meettarbhan, Permanent Representative of Mauritius, Frederick A. Mitchell, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of the Bahamas, and Cape Verde underscored the particular vulnerability of small island developing States (SIDS), with several describing climate change as an issue of survival. Saint Lucia recommended further developing the Adaptation Fund. Mauritius recommended recognizing links between adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR), and including DRR in the post-2015 agenda.

Several speakers supported agreement on a global, legally binding climate agreement in 2015, including Barbados, Maldives, PNG and Mauritius. Wilfred Elrington, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize, and Cape Verde supported capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Cape Verde also called for the respect of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and a compensation mechanism for implementing the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. Nicaragua urged a binding agreement with ambitious, balanced commitments in accordance with equity and CBDR. Collin Beck, Permanent Representative of Solomon Islands, called for an agreement that, inter alia: guarantees SIDS’ and LDCs’ survival and responds to their needs; is comprehensive in scope; and addresses mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology transfer.

Noting that it recently ratified the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, Solomon Islands encouraged parties who have not ratified the amendment to do so. He suggested the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conduct negotiations in New York, US, where diplomats are located all year round.

Suriname described its status as a carbon negative country, explaining that its forests absorb 8.8 million tons of carbon, while its annual emissions are 7 million tons of carbon.

On climate change, he reflected that many delegates appreciated the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, and many had called for commitment towards the conclusion of a global agreement in 2015.

The 69th General Debate, which took place from to 24-30 September 2014, included 117 Heads of State and Government, three Vice-Presidents, eight Deputy Prime Ministers, 56 Ministers and other representatives who spoke on behalf of 193 Member States and two Observer delegations. [General Debate, 30 September] [UN Press Release on General Debate] [UN Press Release on SIDS Statements] [UN Press Release on Belarus Statement] [UN Press Release on Bhutan Statement] [UN Press Release on Eritrea Statement] [UN Press Release on Latin America and Caribbean Statements] [UN Press Release on Oman Statement]


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