Statement at Second Meeting on Economic and Financial Committee
Ambassador Harold Agyeman
Ghana Permanent Mission to the United Nations
New York City October 5, 2021
GENERAL DEBATE OF THE SECOND COMMITTEE DURING THE 76TH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
I deliver this statement on behalf of the African Group.
At the outset, let me congratulate you, Madam Chair, Your Excellency Vanessa Frazier, on your election as the Chair of the Second Committee. I also convey to the other members of the Bureau our warmest felicitation. The African Group is particularly pleased with the historical all-female Bureau composition and looks forward to working with this eminently competent team of leaders.
We are hopeful that building on the successful chairmanship of Ambassador Amrit Bahadur Rai, from the previous session, the Committee’s programme of work would be successfully carried out during the session.
The African Group aligns itself with the statement delivered by Guinea on behalf of the G77 and China and wishes to highlight the following additional remarks:
- We take note of the recommendations in the Reports of the Secretary-General under the various agenda items and recognize their importance in enriching consideration of the different questions before the Second Committee.
- For the second year in row, we are holding the General debate of the Second Committee in the challenging context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee continues to have the responsibility to discuss in an effective, frank, and concrete manner the measures and actions needed to accelerate the path toward a sustainable and resilient recovery, as well as to follow up on the achievement of sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. We believe that the overarching theme of this session: Crisis, Resilience and Recovery – Accelerating Progress towards the 2030 Agenda, is a solid focus area.
- The African group is of the view that we need to capitalize on the discussions, recommendations and commitments taken during the High-level events that took place during UNGA76 high-level week, namely: the Second SDG Moment summit, the Food Systems Summit, the High-level Dialogue on Energy, the High-level round table on Climate action as well as the High-level event on job creation and social protection.
- During these events many African leaders had voiced Africa’s priorities, concerns as well as endeavors to achieve prosperity and sustainable development despite the ongoing crisis.
- A sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic requires today, more than ever, a greater focus on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the Decade for Action, policies that are more effective, stronger national institutions as well as a greater regional and international coordinated action.
- The spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated poverty, deepened hunger, and widened economic and social inequalities within and among countries. It has also overstretched public health systems, especially in Africa, and caused an enormous global economic, social, and humanitarian meltdown. This situation is negatively impacting the well-being and livelihoods of people at all levels, especially in the areas of health, food security, and education.
- We stress the need for the removal of export barriers to provide African countries with therapeutics and diagnostics and to ensure full access to the COVID-19 vaccines. We can’t emphasize enough the need to make vaccines global public goods.
- Amidst the current global crisis, and while we recognize the need for Global solutions for the current global challenges, there is a need to elaborate solutions at the local and regional levels, that are adapted to their specific contexts.
- While we are aiming to find the adequate financial solutions to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and while it is the least contributor to climate change, Africa remains disproportionately affected by its devastating impacts. The impacts of climate change are a reality in Africa, especially in the Sahel Region. These impacts pose an existential threat to many African countries including African SIDS. Our Group reiterates its call for a transformative action to implement the Paris Agreement and to focus on the needs of developing countries and the least developed countries in Africa.
- Furthermore, we cannot dismiss the crucial interlinkages among adaptation to climate change, building resilience, and ensuring food security and reliable food systems. We have to unleash the potential of technology-enhanced agriculture, sustainable energy, and sound water management. Investing in human capital, reinforcing social protection, development, and inclusive new skills training, involving women and youth, are essential for recovering and building forward better.
- Financing for development remains at the heart of our priorities and our concerns. Insufficient financing and high cost of debts, inadequate market access for goods and services, the expanding digital divide, restricted access to needed pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and reductions in revenue from tourism and exports, the continuous challenge of illicit financial flows from Africa, are only some of the structural difficulties that Africa is currently facing.
- As reiterated on many occasions, it is necessary to urgently provide African countries with an effective economic stimulus package that incorporates debt relief and deferred payments, including through the waiver of all interest payments on bilateral and multilateral debt, and the possible extension of the waiver to the medium term, in order to provide immediate fiscal space and liquidity to Governments.
- We would also like to stress that the reallocation of SDRs to countries that are in utmost need is among the most efficient and effective ways to provide additional resources to African countries. Furthermore, with no end to the pandemic in sight, extending the duration of the DSSI and expanding its scope to address the liquidity needs of Low and Middle-income countries is vital to pre-empt the larger threat of insolvency. We also call upon our development partners to respect their commitments related to transfer of technology and financing, in particular ODA and climate financing.
- Looking ahead, the African Group also believes that the forthcoming meetings of the International Financial Institutions, the G20, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and COP26 will be pivotal moments to keep the world on track towards a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive path.
- Finally, Madam Chair, the African Group reiterates the importance of South-South and Triangular cooperation as a growing channel for development cooperation. The Group is proud of the achievements of various countries of the South, and from Africa that continue efforts in helping each other to face the growing impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on the human, economic and environmental levels.
- Please be assured of the availability and full cooperation of the African Group during the deliberations of the 2nd We will be an active voice committed to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development under these extraordinary circumstances.
I thank you.