Madam Chair,

1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. At the outset, allow me to express the Group’s appreciation to the Secretariat for the documentation, and relevant updates pertaining to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the implementation of the agenda 21 for sustainable Development.

3. The Group acknowledges that the implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and attaining “the future we want” are imperative to the full realization of sustainable development. Though the 2030 Agenda is our primary focus, we must work to ensure that efforts to implement the mandates of pre-existing sustainable development commitments are adequately supported, in the context of their contribution to the overall achievement of sustainable development.

4. The Group also acknowledges the importance of sustainable consumption and production patterns in achieving sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda. Accelerated actions and multi-stakeholder partnerships at all levels, including with the UN system and international financial system, to advance innovative pathways to achieving sustainable consumption and production are also important parts of a sustainable, inclusive and resilient COVID-19 response and recovery.

Madam Chair,

5. The Group stresses that Sand and dust storms as an issue of international concern continue to grow. These hazardous events, the costs of which are measured in economic, social and environmental terms, directly affect 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

6. Thea UN Coalition on combating sand and dust storms which aims, inter alia, to promote and coordinate a collaborative United Nations system response to the growing issue of sand and dust storms on a local, regional and global scale, ensuring that unified and coherent action is taken, and to facilitate the capacity-building of countries, raise their awareness and enhance their preparedness and response to sand and dust storms in critical regions.

7. The Group highlights the logic link between sand and dust storms and COVID-19 when it comes to the negative impact on human health, where sand and dust storms may exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19, in addition to the other negative impacts that can be associated with respiratory and cardiovascular disorders such as asthma, tracheitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis and silicosis.

8. Small Island Developing States have been greatly affected by the pandemic, even before the pandemic the Midterm Review of the SAMOA Pathway found that SIDS faced many difficulties in achieving the 2030 agenda and the full implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. COVID-19 increased the challenges of SIDS and therefore a tailored response is required in order to better assist these small states.

9. Given the ongoing challenges that SIDS will continue to face and the need for greater support by the UN system and more broadly the international community, there is a need to begin the process for the consideration of a fourth UN conference for SIDS to be held in 2024, given short remaining years of the mandates of the SAMOA Pathway.

10. Thus far, the Group takes note with appreciation of the efforts made by WHO so far in conducting and the willing to conduct further studies regarding the common effects of both COVID-19 and sand and dust storms on public health, and invites the United Nations Coalition on Combating Sand and Dust Storms, within its existing mandate and resources, to continue its efforts to prepare recommendations on mitigating the common effects of both COVID-19 and sand and dust storms on the respiratory systems of infected people, to be included in the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the General Assembly at its seventy-seventh session.

11. The Groups reaffirms the need for a broader and a more people-centered preventive approach to disaster risk and that disaster risk reduction practices need to be multi-hazard and multi-sectoral, inclusive and accessible in order to be efficient and effective. We recognize that the Sendai Framework, including its core provision to “build back better”, provides guidance relevant to a sustainable recovery from COVID-19, and looks forward to the midterm review of the implementation of the Sendai Framework in 2023.

12. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) continues to play a fundamental role in promoting coherence in the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations System.

13. As an inter-governmental international organization, there’s need to strengthen the capacity of UNEP to support and serve countries to address challenges arising from climate change, biodiversity loss and other threats to the environment that affect human health and wellbeing. We reaffirm the need to ensure sustainability, predictability and stability of the funding of UNEP to enable it to fulfil its mandate, for a sustainable and inclusive recovery that protects the planet, revitalizes our economies and enhances future resilience to global crises.

14. We welcome the decision of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the UNEP in March 2022 to celebrate its added value and fundamental role in international environmental governance.

15. The Group reiterates that urgent and significant actions are needed to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. Up to one million species currently face the threat of extinction, more than any other time in human history. We also reaffirm the necessity of fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and the contribution from indigenous peoples and local communities whose traditional knowledge, including traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources, and practices are relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. In that regard, the Group urges the international community to strengthen its efforts to halt the biodiversity loss and protect ecosystems. The Group looks forward to the convening of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China in 2021 and 2022, which is mandated to update the Convention’s strategic plan and adopt a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, as a follow-up for the next decade, considering the 2050 Vision of the CBD strategic plan “Living in Harmony with Nature”.

16. The group expresses great concern with the deteriorating climate realities before us. The latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change depicts a grim picture, particularly as it relates to global warming. With COP 26 quickly approaching, the Group reiterates its call for developed countries to deliver on their commitment to mobilize $100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries. The successful implementation of the Paris Agreement depends on it. We hope that this is addressed during the upcoming climate meeting.”

17. The Group reiterates the request of the General Assembly to provide prompt and adequate compensation to Lebanon, as they contend with the consequences of the oil slick disaster, and urges all financial institutions and relevant stakeholders, to continue their technical and financial support for Lebanon, to alleviate the impact of the tragic port explosion.

18. The worldwide investment in clean energy and energy efficiency will need to triple over the next 10 years to put the world on track for net zero emissions 2050.

19. To close the gap, it is estimated that the annual rate of growth in electrification would have to rise to 0.9 per cent annually until 2030. Economic disruptions related to COVID-19 crisis would make it even harder for developing countries to their targets.

20. We welcome the convening of High-Level Dialogue on Energy 2021 by the Secretary-General, which is the first global gathering on energy under the auspices of the General Assembly in 40 years. This was the need of the hour for galvanizing the political commitments and accelerated implementation required in the coming years.

21. Financial commitments to developing countries need to increase, given the need to substantially scale up overall renewable energy investments in order to reach the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 7.

22. The United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) provides a unique global platform to strengthen ambition and action in response to the outcomes of the high-level dialogue on energy. The global stock-taking will be a useful step to further galvanize political commitment and strengthen concerted action in support of Sustainable Development Goal 7 and net zero emissions

23. The Group emphasizes the importance of investing in digital hybrid learning, including through better access to the internet, stronger parental support, targeted teachers’ capacity development programs, development of online learning platforms and resources.

24. The Group acknowledges also the importance of adopting science, technology and innovation strategies as integral elements of national sustainable development strategies to help to strengthen knowledge-sharing and collaboration and the importance of scaling up investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and digital literacy education, and enhancing technical, vocational and tertiary education, distance education and training and of ensuring equal access for women and girls and encouraging their participation therein.

25. The Group reaffirms education for sustainable development as a vital means of implementation for sustainable development, as outlined in the Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development and the Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development.

26. Calls upon the international community to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and distance education, including technical and vocational training.

27.The Group urges all financial institutions, and relevant stakeholders to continue their support for Lebanon, technically and financially, as they contend with the consequences of the oil slick and the recent tragic explosion.

28. Reaffirms the commitment at the very heart of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind and commit to taking more tangible steps to support people in vulnerable situations and the most vulnerable countries and to reach the furthest behind first.

29. Calls for scaling up efforts to give priority to education and safely reopen educational institutions for in-person learning based on scientific evidence and in consideration of local contexts while prioritizing the availability of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for everyone everywhere, health and safety of students and educators as well as ensuring that the reopening plans are equity-oriented, gender-responsive, inclusive and targeted.

30. Finally, the Group asserts the absolute importance of this agenda item and renews our commitment to engage fruitfully and in good faith with our partners in development.

I thank you.

© The Group of 77