AOSIS Statement: Informal Briefing of the Secretary-General’s Report on the “Our Common Agenda”February 13, 2023
Topic: Sustainable Development
Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President Excellencies, I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and we align ourselves with the statement delivered by the Distinguished Permanent Representative of Cuba on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, AOSIS, like other delegations, wishes to express its appreciation for this briefing and for all the follow-up work being undertaken regarding the Report ‘Our Common Agenda” and the recommendations proposed therein. AOSIS believes we should be mindful of the fundamental reason why OCA was initiated. Mr. Secretary-General you said it best, “… Our Common Agenda is, above all, an agenda of action designed to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals”. AOSIS fully concurs with this. There is a place for the grand ideals proposed for a progressive and technologically advanced future. Our collective history is rooted in the grand manifestations of action and change. Our history is also replete with challenge, with discord, and with unsustainable pathways. Our joint endeavors to face those impediments to sustainable development led us to the commitments to the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement, Sendai and all the other intergovernmental agreements, which are all deeply rooted in the concepts of leaving no one behind, eradicating poverty and providing a better environment for future generations, a better life for all of us. Arguably we cannot have the forest without the trees, but SIDS implore you, it is not a case of one or the other, it is instead a definite case of what fuels our work and garners our attention. The challenges in front of us, the unequal recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Climate Change, rising insecurities, and food, fuel and energy crises require action now. At a time when there is a drastic increase in poverty and a further widening in inequality, with unfavorable prognoses from scientists and financial institutions, and crippling disasters, it is the furthest behind who deserve the most of the international community’s attention, in a focused and deliberate way. Our 2015 Agreements point the way. Mr. President, The OCA report lays out key proposals across 12 commitments, with the whole concept of leaving no one behind at the core. As we begin focusing on these proposals, it is critical that we look at how they can bring us closer towards achieving this core commitment. The basic needs of many are still not met. We must remember those who would feel privileged if they can gather three meals together, if they know how many miles they need to walk for water, and maybe the possibility to visit a place where there is electricity. Some may have had these things prior to a natural disaster, which is now becoming more frequent and deadly due to climate inactions. Something we, as SIDS, are neither responsible for nor contribute to. However, we remain among the most adversely affected. There is a need to move to action on this front as a matter of urgency. Fundamentally, the OCA proposals must be an accelerator and enabler of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. In this regard, we should carefully deliberate and strategise how the OCA proposals could or should feed into the Summit of the Future in a way that best supports the outcomes of the SDG Summit and our goals for the 2030 Agenda. We will look to the Secretary-General’s policy briefs on the various related tracks as a resource for our deliberations, with the understanding that member states will make the final decision on the outcomes. AOSIS is calling for a balance in how we approach our vision for a future generation that is safe and secure, that can benefit from the grand transitions for which we all aspire. For SIDS, if there is no climate action, reform of the global financial systems, and food and energy security, there will be no future for these States and their people. Provisions must be made for the millions of people who are not at a place where they can join this movement, and if we are to be true to our commitments then there is definite need to invest in the most basic needs of people. 2030 is a few seven years away, there is really no time to waste and no greater effort that must consume us. So, our call here today is for us to begin undertaking this exercise of making a better future for generations to come, by building solid, sustainable, resilient foundations beginning with the furthest behind first. I thank you.
Sub Topic: SDGs