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Statement of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries on the ECOSOC HLPF session on Launching the decade of action at a time of crisis: Keeping the focus on the SDGs while combatting COVID-19

Tuesday, 07 July 2020
HON. MR. KARL KENDRICK CHUA Secretary National Economic Development Authority of the Philippines
New York, USA



I wish to deliver this statement on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries Supporters of Middle-Income Countries.

The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals and Targets cannot be achieved without addressing the diverse needs and specific challenges of middle-income countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global shock that has exacerbated existing challenges and created new vulnerabilities for middle-income countries, setting back progress and development gains made during the past years. Recent data generated by various UN entities and reflected in the SG Policy Briefs have highlighted that the substantial drop in remittances, loss of full-time employment, loss of employment in the informal sector, debt risks, pressure on health systems and food security due to the pandemic are specifically being felt in, and will acutely impact, middle-income countries.

As we enter the UN Decade of Action, we wish to underline the following:

  1. We need to build a transformational, inclusive and forward-looking model of cooperation for global sustainable development. Development Cooperation partners must recognize the complex realities of developing countries, especially for middle-income countries, in analyzing their strengths and weaknesses. We challenge the validity of modalities used to address development levels inasmuch as the achievement of sustainable development in its three dimensions - economic, social, and environmental - requires working in conditions that go beyond income, such as, among others, equality, inclusion, healthy ecosystems, and access to services.
  2. We need to foster an open and innovative dialogue about the multidimensional concept of development that considers the broad the vision of the international community to create more appropriate, focused and efficient solutions to achieve sustainable development.
  3. We reiterate our request for the UN Development System to address the specific challenges of MICs in a comprehensive, holistic and UN-system wide approach, prioritizing UN agencies’ inter-agency work based on their mandates and comparative advantages, noting that both 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda explicitly recognize the need to address the challenges of MICs. We welcome the call of the Secretary-General for the UNDS to evolve its support to middle-income countries in all their diversity;
  4. Access to international cooperation for MICs, in particular for climate finance, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, disaster risk reduction and prevention and preparation for future epidemics and pandemics is important. South-South and Triangular cooperation should be harnessed to facilitate the transmission of knowledge, best practices, technology and innovation. The current pandemic has demonstrated the need to strengthen national scientific systems and promote cooperation between countries to avoid leaving anyone behind in the recovery.
  5. Middle-Income Countries should not be left out of funds and programs to recover better from this pandemic.  UN agencies should continue to support MICs with greater resources to confront the humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis of COVID19, including for countries hosting migrants and refugees, which further strain the resources available; and
  6. We request the Secretary General for an analysis report on the impact of COVID19 on middle-income countries, with policy recommendations for the UN system.

Thank you.