Fourth Brainstorming Session of Ambassadors of the Group of 77
On 1 May 2013, the New York based G77 ambassadors met for the 4th time this year in a series of brainstorming meetings on the subject of sustainable development in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
The meeting was convened by H.E. Ambassador Thomson, the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, in his capacity as the Chair of G77 and China. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Thomson welcomed the Permanent Representatives of South Africa, Guyana, Kenya and the Charge d’affaires of Brazil, in their respective capacity as co-chair or co-facilitators of the silo process on the Special Event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the review of the implementation of resolution 61/16 of the General Assembly on the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) respectively. The co-facilitators and co-chair briefed the G77 ambassadors on the progress of their work, followed by an interactive discussion.
In his briefing, Ambassador Mamabolo of South Africa reminded the meeting that the 2010 High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs called for a High-level Special Event on the MDGs to be held in 2013 and requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations in his annual reports, for further steps to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. Ambassador Mamabolo acknowledged the current impasse between the G77 members and some developed countries on the status of the outcome document of this Special Event. He said the G77 has been insisting on an ‘intergovernmentally agreed’ document which is implementable within the UN system while some developed countries stood firm on their preference for a ‘President’s Summary’, an outcome that is not binding. He urged the Group to move beyond the insistence of terminology but focus on the actual outcome document instead.
Ambassador Talbot of Guyana informed the meeting that he had facilitated five rounds of informal consultations on the reform of ECOSOC. He highlighted some possible elements of improvement in the Council and stated that a draft resolution containing those elements would be circulated to Member States before end of May with a view of the resolution being adopted at the Substantive Session of ECOSOC in July.
Ambassador Kamau of Kenya provided an update the Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs. He informed the G77 ambassadors of the outcome of the recent 2nd formal session of the OWG, which was held on 17-19 April. The agenda of the 2nd formal session focused on a conceptual debate on SDGs and a discussion on poverty eradication. Ambassador Kamau also highlighted the work program of the OWG for the rest of 2013 till February 2014. He said all the important issues that would be discussed at the various sessions of the OWG would define the narrative behind the SDGs and that actual negotiations on the form and content of the SDGs would begin in March 2014.
The Charge d’affaires of Brazil, Ambassador Dunlop gave a brief summary on the four rounds of informal consultations that her delegation facilitated on the HLPF. She informed the G77 ambassadors that there is a general convergence among members to adopt a hybrid option in terms of placing the HLPF under both the ECOSOC and the General Assembly to make use the institutional strength of both UN bodies. The meeting was also informed that the organisational structure of the HLPF would be three layers: the Head of States summit to be held over regular intervals; the Annual Ministerial Meeting; and Senior Officials Meeting. Ambassador Dunlop took note of the Group’s position on the assurance of universal participation and decision-making at all levels of meetings. She further informed the meeting that another round of informal consultation would take place soon with the aim of finalising the draft resolution by end of May on the non-exhaustive elements of the format and organisational aspects of the HLPF.
In his closing remarks, Ambassador Thomson thanked the four co-facilitators/co-chairs for their comprehensive briefings to the meeting. He stressed the importance for the Group of 77 to play an active and leading role in all the consultative meetings as these processes are inter-linked in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.