United Nations, Second Committee plenary meeting: opening debate - statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Statement delivered by Craig J. Hawke, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations in New York, 7 October 2019
Thank you Mr. Chairman,
I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and my own country, New Zealand.
We would first like to congratulate you, Ambassador Niang, on your election as chair of the Second Committee. We assure you of Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s full support.
We also wish to express our sincere thanks to Ambassador Arenales of Guatemala for his committed and efficient chairing over the last year.
All of us shoulder a great collective responsibility: to implement the commitments of the 2030 Agenda while ensuring that no one is left behind.
We have made some progress and we should celebrate that success. But inequality among and within countries, particularly gender inequality, persists. There are too many people living in hunger. Global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss is accelerating. The state of our ocean is deteriorating. And the world is not on track to end poverty.
2030 is a mere decade away. We need to do more.
As delegates of Second Committee, we must focus on ensuring the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda and not renegotiating what the world has already agreed.
Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not want to see a roll back of existing pledges.
We believe that we need to focus on four core goals: to achieve gender equality, to leave no one behind, to combat the impacts of climate change, and to strengthen the means of implementation.
Firstly, the advancement of gender equality and the elimination of stigma and discrimination must be at the very heart of our work.
Poverty cannot be eradicated and equality cannot be achieved if half of our population continues to face discrimination.
Beyond the economic loss, this is a basic rights issue: women and girls deserve to be treated equally with men and boys.
Secondly, we need to concentrate our efforts to leave no one behind.
This means paying special attention to the needs of least developed countries, so that they do not fall further behind.
It means focusing on the unique challenges faced by Small Island Developing States, building on the recent mid-Term Review of the SAMOA Pathway.
It also means addressing the specific structural challenges of landlocked developing countries, which face economic disadvantages that challenge their ability to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Leaving no one behind also means promoting inclusivity and full participation.
This includes persons with disabilities, who remain discriminated against and underrepresented in development efforts.
We must recognise and break down the barriers faced by Indigenous peoples, a key concern for our three countries, at home and abroad.
We recognize that prosperity and equal opportunity are essential for maintaining international peace and security.
Expanding opportunities, creating decent jobs and achieving inclusive growth will help us tackle the root causes of conflict.
Thirdly, we must not lose sight of the clear message we heard two weeks ago: climate change presents the single biggest threat to sustainable development everywhere.
It disproportionately impacts businesses, homes and communities of the poorest and the most vulnerable.
SIDS, along with least developed countries, are the most vulnerable to climate risks.
It is only by working together that we’ll be able to combat this threat.
This is why Canada, Australia and New Zealand remain committed to ensuring the ambition of the Paris Agreement is preserved.
Fourthly, we must work together to strengthen the means of implementation as outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
Mobilizing the means of implementation is crucial to the realising of our objectives.
We know that globally there is enough capital to close the financing gap.
We must break down siloes and forge new partnerships, to mobilize the trillions needed.
We must engage all levels of government, civil society, academia, and the private sector.
As part of these efforts, we will continue to pursue a progressive trade agenda, and promote trade liberalization, to ensure that the benefits of free trade are enjoyed by all.
These are ambitious goals. However, we can make a valuable contribution here in the Second Committee by remaining focused and purposeful in our work, and pursuing consensus outcomes.
To this end, Canada, Australia and New Zealand remain committed to more efficient and effective working methods.
We need to allow time to analyze, consult, and discuss each resolution in-depth within the standard working hours.
We welcome the Bureau’s commitment to the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, and the creation of an informal open-ended working group.
We need to work to fill gaps, minimize overlap, and reduce duplication.
This includes through biennialization, clustering and eliminating items on the agenda.
We heard a clear message during the summits convened on the margins of the General Assembly. That was: we have made progress towards the SDGs, but more is needed and faster. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are committed to responding to these challenges, together with all of you.
I thank you very much.