High Level Events

Abdulla Shahid (General Assembly President) Opening…

13 January 2022

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Abdulla Shahid (General Assembly President) Opening remarks at Opening of the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77

Production Date: 
13 Jan 2022

Video Length

00:07:24

Asset Language: 
English
Original

Summary: 
Opening statement by Abdulla Shahid, President of the General Assembly, on the Handover Ceremony of the Chairmanship of the Group of 77
Description: 

Excellencies,

Thank
you for the opportunity to speak at this year's handover ceremony of the
Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China.

I
commend Guinea for its able leadership of the Group through a challenging year.
I also extend my congratulations and full support to Pakistan as it takes over
the role for 2022.

Excellencies,

The
world today faces multiple challenges - from economic and social inequalities,
to unsustainable living and consumption patterns, to the catastrophic effects
of climate change and environmental degradation.

And
the pandemic has presented its own challenges.

It
is estimated that 120 million people have fallen back into extreme poverty; 114
million jobs have been lost; tax revenues, foreign direct investment, and trade
and remittances have all decreased; and debt vulnerabilities have increased
along with the rise in debt levels. 

We
cannot ignore the variance of the pandemic's impact, nor the fact that it is
those furthest behind who have been hit hardest.

It
is developing countries, in particular countries in special situations – the
Least Developed Countries, the Landlocked Developing Countries, the Small
Island Developing States – that are the worst-hit.

The
pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges the world faces, but at the
same time it has also given us an opportunity to rethink our habits and
reassess our priorities.

Our
pre-pandemic plans envisioned a Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development
Goals. Now it is clear that the lead up to 2030 must be a Decade of Recovery.

With
the SDG targets as our roadmap, we can recover better. We can build a world
that is greener, bluer, more resilient, and more sustainable.

Unlocking
financing for development, however, is essential for delivering on these
aspirations.

Among
the many impacts of COVID-19 is a marked decrease in ODI and other forms of
investment, as governments have been forced to prioritize their own economies
and constituents. At the same time, the global economy remains mired in the
worst recession in 90 years.

It
is clear that we must turn to alternative sources of investment and push
economic-resilience strategies if we are to rebound from this setback.

Achieving
this requires that the public and private sectors join hands in delivering
financing towards the same goals.

Consider,
that in a recent survey of 300 large investments firms, only thirteen percent
of their investments aligned with the SDGs.

And
many of these investments are not sustainable, with investment-returns often
taking precedence over social impacts.

We
must prioritise sustainability in our recovery, and beyond. By reorienting
economic practices in a more climate and environmentally friendly direction, we
can make a lasting difference.

We
must also take meaningful action to tackle debt sustainability and other
financial vulnerabilities.

And
developed countries need to deliver on the commitments made in the Addis Ababa
Action Agenda, particularly around meeting the 0.7% ODI commitment, as well as
commitments on technology, trade, market access, and capacity building.

Likewise,
the delivery of the promised $100 billion or more in annual climate finance is
essential. This will help boost jobs and economic growth and contribute to
greening the economy.

Related
to this is the need to support those vital sectors that have been hardest hit.

One
such example is tourism, where entire industries and hundreds of thousands of
people have seen their livelihoods dry up.

The
World Tourism Organization estimates that international tourism and its closely linked
sectors suffered an estimated loss of $2.4 trillion in 2020 due to direct and
indirect impacts of a steep drop in international tourist arrivals. 
For those countries that are heavily reliant on tourism, including small
islands, the economic fallout has been catastrophic.

Resolving
all of these challenges requires us to bring this pandemic to an end. This
means that we must 'walk the talk' on vaccine equity and ensure that vaccines
are universally available to everyone, everywhere.

Excellencies,

As
the largest and most diverse Group at the United Nations, the G77 and China has
a keen role to play in shaping discourse around contemporary development
issues, and to offer solutions to pressing global challenges.

Access
to vaccines; unlocking climate finance; mitigating debt burdens including by
debt restructuring; and financing a resilient recovery, including in at-risk
sectors such as tourism – are all areas where the G77 can and should lead, and
where developing countries must continue to stand together in
solidarity.  

As
we look to the remainder of the 76th session, trust that I will
prioritize each of these issues.

High-level
events, covering vaccine equity, tourism, debt, and climate and the
environment, are all on the horizon during the remainder of my Presidency.

I look forward to
receiving the Group's strong support for driving political momentum around
these issues and producing concrete outcomes that will benefit the global community.

I thank you again.

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