Senator the Honourable Arnold J. Nicholson, QC
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica
at the 36th Meeting on Ministers of Foreign Affairs
of the Group 77 & China
Friday, 28th September 2012
I wish to commend the Government of Algeria for its effective leadership of the Group of 77 & China. Your delegates have acquitted themselves well in guiding fellow members of the Group through the UNís substantial development agenda this year, including r the Rio+20 Conference which took place in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in June .
This is my first opportunity to address a gathering of the Group of 77& China, and I am pleased to be doing so in a year when my country is celebrating both its 50th Anniversary of independence and the 50th Anniversary of having joined the United Nations.
Jamaica reaffirms its strong and unqualified commitment to the invaluable role that the Group of 77 & China plays in advancing the interests of all developing countries here at the United Nations. It is only through unity of action and purpose that, as developing countries, we will be in a position to effectively tackle the numerous challenges with which we are currently confronted Ė climate change, widespread poverty, food insecurity, global pandemics and non-communicable diseases. We must continue to work together to prevent the marginalisation of the needs and interests of developing countries whether they are Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) or Middle Income Countries (MICs) in the shaping of the international agenda. Given current global developments, the G77 & China remains as relevant now as was at the time of its creation providing ample justification for its continued existence. We must, therefore, continue to work in solidarity to secure the vital interests of all developing countries.
The global economy remains challenging despite some signs of improvement. Many developing economies continue to be negatively affected by the economic uncertainty which prevails worldwide.
Some developing economies have seen improvements in their economic situations. However, small and open economies such as Jamaica are particularly vulnerable to challenges such as high energy prices, food price volatility, high inflation, decreases in export commodity prices and weak capital inflows.
Such external shocks undermine the progress we have made to date in meeting the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the current economic climate, with traditional partners less forthcoming with assistance, the support provided through South-South cooperation is particularly appreciated. At the same time, developed country partners must be held accountable for the provision of the financing, technology transfers and capacity building commitments which they have made at various international conferences and summits.
The global development agenda needs to be reinvigorated. We are a mere three years away from the 2015 date for the achievement of the MDGs and the results so far have been uneven. While we will redouble our efforts to move closer to the achievement of the goals over the next three years we must continue to press for the fulfillment of the commitment to a global partnership for development as embodied in MDG 8.
As we embark on the process of developing the post-2015 development agenda, we have an opportunity to build upon the lessons learned in the years since the launch of the MDGs.
We welcome the Secretary-Generalís appointment of a panel of eminent persons to contribute to the development of a post-2015 development framework, but underscore that the perspectives of developing countries should be at the heart of the process. We look forward to working with colleagues in the Group of 77 & China to ensure that developing countries are treated as true partners in the creation of the post-2015 framework.
The challenges faced by Middle Income Countries (MICs), which are home to a significant proportion of the worldís poorest and most vulnerable, must be taken into account in the development of the post-2015 development framework and in the negotiations on the quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR), which will be undertaken during this session of the General Assembly. This is key as these will guide the UNís operational activities for development over the next few years.
The Rio+20 Summit provided us with an opportunity to assess the shortcomings of the two previous decades in the area of sustainable development. As guardians of the earthís limited resources we have made commitments to each other and to future generations. However, these will not be achieved without collective effort to protect the environment while pursing sustainable approaches to social and economic development. The Group of 77 & China must continue to argue for the provision of the means of implementation which are essential to the fulfillment of our sustainable development aspirations.
We welcome the decision to launch an open and inclusive process aimed at developing a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and anticipate the constitution of the Open-Working Group on the SDGs in the weeks to come. The SDGs should be universal and encompass a realistic set of targets and indicators and serve as the impetus for the widespread adoption of more sustainable policies and programs in all countries, developed and developing alike. SIDS must be appropriately represented in the Open Working Groups. Similarly we look forward to the early meeting of the Working Group on Financing for Sustainable Development, and urge that developing countries play an active role in determining its outcome.
The protection and preservation of the marine environment, including in areas beyond national jurisdiction, remain fundamentally important for the attainment of sustainable development. This yearís commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Opening for Signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay, Jamaica, provides a platform for reflection on one of the most ambitious undertakings and significant achievements of the United Nations in its history.
Jamaica is, therefore, gratified for the support received from those members of the Group which are parties to the Convention for the General Assembly to hold a Special Session in December to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
In a few months we will travel to Doha, Qatar to engage in climate change negotiations at the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Jamaica is keen that a more ambitious approach to the adaptation and mitigation, which are essential to our continued survival, is adopted. Business as usual is not an option we can entertain; this will affect our survival.
The agenda of the Group is extensive and the challenges ahead numerous. However, ours is a principled fight to secure the socio-economic well-being of our people and the integrity of our natural environment.
As you lead the charge, Mr. Chairman, you can be assured of my delegationís full and unwavering support.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.