Statement delivered by Ambassador Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka
at the Informal Consultation on the Roadmap for the
Summit of the Future, 14 February 2023
Permit me the honor to state that Sri Lanka joins the statements delivered by Cuba on behalf of the G77 and China and by Pakistan on behalf of the Like-minded Group. I wish to make the following points in my national capacity:
My delegation appreciates the convening of these informal consultations and I wish to pledge to you the full cooperation of my delegation as we look forward to successfully tread through to a tangible and productive outcome. We must not however lose sight of operative paragraph 18 of resolution 76/ 307; that the Summit of the Future should be well coordinated with, and complementary to, the Sustainable Development Goals Summit (the high-level political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the General Assembly), and requests the President of the General Assembly to ensure that the two Summits are well coordinated and must necessarily combine in such a way as to enhance the character of each other. It must necessarily be supportive. A summit to the ultimate summit in 2030 of the SDG’s.
The Summit of the Future offers a rare opportunity to bridge the considerable gap between the magnitude of the challenges the world is, and will be, facing and the agility and capacities of the UN to mount effective responses, partnering also with others to this end. Despite political differences, Member States should recall that a capable UN is in their best self-interest and seize the opportunity.
We, as member states should also decide on the scope and elements of the Summit. The first part of the process should be dedicated to discussions on this fundamental aspect. It is only then can we delve into the substantive discussions. It is essential that member states be given the space to identify and agree upon the scope and elements of the Summit of the Future at the preparatory ministerial meeting this September. Developing countries must have the space to decide our priorities; to decide what we want and those that we do not want. It must be borne in mind that 137 of us are underdeveloped as the World Bank proclaims. The proposed tracks by the Secretary General are a welcome starting point. But member states should be free to amend or include the tracks based on the inter- governmental negotiations we are engaged in currently. How to better tie the Summit of the Future to the SDGs?
So far there is not yet a very well-developed understanding of how the changes that are being discussed in the various tracks will “turbocharge” SDG implementation. A convincing narrative, complete with theories of change, is needed to maximize support for both agendas. This could include spelling out how the Summit of the Future can, inter alia:
• foster enablers of SDG acceleration such as digitalization and access to finance;
• tackle obstacles to SDG implementation, for example, through the New Agenda for Peace, by promoting effective crisis response through the Emergency Platform, by addressing fake news, and by supporting global public goods financing;
• reinforce international standards conducive for the SDGs, including Beyond GDP, ‘longtermism’ and rights for future generations, and of course those on human rights and gender; and
• develop a more networked, inclusive, and effective UN for SDG acceleration through the Emergency Platform, Youth Office, and a biennial summit with IFIs and the G20, among others.
The two agendas are also tied in other ways. Credible support for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, including concrete improvements in the area of UN development cooperation and financing, will be important – not least for rebuilding trust in international cooperation, which has taken a battering in many developing countries. Only then will it be possible to leverage consensus on the SDGs to also achieve progress towards a more effective multilateral system.
My delegation also welcomes the idea of providing policy briefs for the specific tracks identified by the secretariat which we believe would be important sources for discussion. Adequate time and space should be allowed for proper consideration of these policy briefs and for delegations to consult with their capitals. This should allow for substantive discussions to take place after the high-level week. It would be akin to what is described in the expression “putting the cart before the horse” if substantive discussions were to take place before member states decide on the overall scope and elements of the Summit.
Finally, we would also emphasize that this preparatory process is essentially an inter-governmental process as stated in OP16 of resolution 76/307 while major groups and other stake holders are “encouraged” to engage in the process and intrinsically a mechanism to make an assessment of our progress in our journey to achieve the SDG’s. I must hasten to strike a note of warning that it will be no easy task to secure the presence of our HoS’s who would be preoccupied with meetings with their counterparts and other state officials during their short visit to the UN.