Secretary-General: No Longer Guarantee Organization’s Smooth Functioning without Immediate Funding Action
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the opening ceremony of the forty-third annual meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, in New York on 27 September:
It is a great honour to address you. The Group of 77 and China are on the frontlines of multilateralism and of support for a strong United Nations, consistent with your founding principles. I thank the State of Palestine for its effective Presidency of the Group. May I, Prime Minister, tell you how much we enjoyed the very close and effective cooperation with your Mission and with your Minister during our work this year.
We meet at a time of strong headwinds against multilateralism. Deadly conflicts and a disregard for international humanitarian law; tensions between nations; nationalism, intolerance, and xenophobia are undermining faith in international cooperation.
Your support for an effective and just multilateralism is more important than ever. Your priorities are my priorities: eradicating poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; winning the race against climate change; creating opportunities for young people; achieving gender equality; peace and human rights for all.
Climate change and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin. The Group of 77 has been at the forefront of efforts for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement and of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. And you have been the most persistent voice in insisting that the international community lives up to its common but differentiated responsibilities.
Today’s review of progress on the Samoa Pathway for Small Island Developing States makes clear that they are a special case and a top priority. I thank Group of 77 Member States for your pledges and commitments at Monday’s Climate Action Summit, at the Sustainable Development Goals Summit and at the High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development. We need a strong focus on resilience, as well as financing for adaptation, including through a significant replenishment of the Green Climate Fund.
I believe we are starting to turn a corner. Young people are moving forward, businesses are moving ahead, and we have many of the solutions we need. But to make serious progress, we need to fill the financing gap for the Sustainable Development Goals – some $1.5 trillion per annum.
The commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda must be implemented in full. But official development assistance (ODA) to the least developed countries fell by 3 per cent in 2018 while foreign direct investment (FDI) was down by nearly a fifth. We must halt and reverse these trends. The international community must also support countries that have reformed their tax systems by tackling the illicit flows of capital, money-laundering and tax evasion that drain resources away from developing countries.
With your support, we have launched an ambitious reform agenda across the three pillars of the United Nations. A new generation of United Nations country teams and resident coordinators is emerging to better support you in delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, under national ownership.
Our goal is to be your trusted, reliable and accountable partners. We have also strengthened our peace and security architecture; created new management structures; and made progress on gender parity and geographical diversity at senior levels. And we will very soon present a comprehensive strategy on geographical diversity, and we are already making enormous progress that can be seen very easily in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
I thank the Group of 77 and China for your leadership on the reform agenda, and I count on your continued support. I also urge you to help as we tackle the financial crisis that is affecting every aspect of our work as you, Mr. President, have underlined.
I commend Governments that have paid their dues on time and supported proposals to reimburse troop- and police- contributing countries more quickly. It is immoral that developing countries that are also troop- and police-contributing countries became the financial supporters of the Organization.
But the situation remains dire. Without immediate action, I can no longer guarantee the smooth functioning of the Organization. I urge you to help put the United Nations on a solid financial footing. The Group of 77 and China have the energy, the creativity and the first-hand knowledge of what we need to galvanize progress on all our climate and development goals. We need your wisdom and vision more than ever to drive change, reassert the value of global cooperation and build a cleaner, safer and more prosperous world for all.