General News

Economic and Social Council: High-Level Segment

Note:  A complete summary of today’s Economic and Social Council meetings will be made available after their conclusion.


PEARNEL CHARLES, Minister of State of Jamaica, said that close alignment between Jamaica’s national development plan, Vision 2030 Jamaica and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has enabled a strong and consistent sense of national ownership and commitment to the Goals.  Jamaica has achieved a relatively high human development ranking, improved its performance in key indicators of human capital formation and attained a measure of macroeconomic stability.  Yet, the country’s efforts are constrained as its faces challenges triggered by vulnerabilities aggravated by the negative effects of climate change and a high debt level.  Capacity-building is central to Jamaica’s efforts to implement targeted, well‑designed and cross-cutting strategies for achieving sustainable development.

JOSÉ ISAÍS BARAHONA, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras, said the City of Tegucigalpa is home to 1.2 million people, the greatest concentration of urban poverty in the country, due in part to a lack of housing.  Thus, the Tegucigalpa housing action plan seeks access for all people to basic, adequate and affordable homes, and to improve slum areas, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 11.  It also seeks to tackle public safety, disaster vulnerability, land use and transport.  Noting that Honduras is among the 44 countries in 2017 to present its voluntary national review, he went on to stress that the supply of water and sanitation has improved, notably through the inclusive approach taken that involves interinstitutional and intersectoral workshops.  Water and sanitation are also among the country’s 37 strategic priorities for the period until 2022, he added.

RITA SCHWARZELUEHR-SUTTER, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, said the upcoming sustainable development summit would offer high-level political guidance for implementing the Goals.  Indeed, multilateralism is an important means to do so and both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change provide a solid framework to ensure human wellbeing within the planetary boundaries.  The transition to sustainable development models could offer a comprehensive modernization programme, with positive impacts on competitiveness and political stability, among other things.  Germany’s sustainable development strategy is regularly updated through consultations among stakeholders, she said, noting that the Government would also draw on the peer review of its national strategy, which itself was aligned with the 2030 Agenda.  Germany is committed to leaving no one behind, she said, stressing that the value of working with all relevant stakeholders could not be overstated.

NEZHA EL OUAFI, Secretary of State to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development of Morocco, said her country is deeply engaged in pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals.  She noted various steps taken by the Government to preserve biodiversity and address climate change.  “We have implemented a host of programmes for waste management and improving quality of air,” she added.  In pursuit of the ambitious 2030 Agenda, Morocco is drawing up plans at the provincial level to address climate change, implement the Paris Agreement and launch large solar energy projects.  All efforts of society are being mobilized.  Youth and women are particularly engaged in implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Morocco is further focused on ensuring gender equality in all sectors. 

YAKOV HADAS, Special Envoy for Sustainability and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, said it is a very profound task to ensure the well-being of the Earth for generations to come.  It is also a part of the Jewish tradition.  Noting Israel’s location in one of the most water-scarce regions of the world, he pointed to various steps by the Government to ensure water conservation.  Desalination has been a “game charger”, but must only be one part of the water solution.  “We have limited land resources,” he added, noting that Israel’s population is estimated to grow in the near future.  Israel is committed to sharing its solutions and expertise, he continued, adding that the Government recently decided to accelerate investments in the developing world.   Through sharing best practices, it is possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and create a better world for future generations.

MAHAMANE A MAIGA, Permanent Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mali, said his country is facing major challenges in the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Despite these constraints, the Government is working to improve the lives of vulnerable populations.  He welcomed progress made with the adoption of peace agreements and the holding of recent presidential elections.  Government action is focused on providing citizens with basic services and ensuring that no one is left behind.   He noted several infrastructure projects, including the building of roads in rural areas and housing projects for vulnerable populations.

LARYSA BELSKAYA, Head of Directorate-General for Multilateral Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that, in 2017, the national coordinator on Goals presented a report, which noted that much had been accomplished.  The Sustainable Development Council is an institutional platform for cooperation.  The principles of sustainability are included in legislation on public-private partnerships, water supply and the handling of organic produce, among other things.  In June, a special Government meeting was held to consider the Goals and the Government is considering using sustainable development indicators in regional economic, environmental and social programme.  Belarus is also planning to increase awareness on sustainability.  An open-ended partnership group on the Goals comprises business, civil society and academia, she said, noting that an expert maps mission was also held in 2017 and stressing that Belarus aimed to create a national network of coordinators for the Goals.

JUSTIN HUGH MBOMBO MUPAMHANGA, Deputy Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet of Zimbabwe, associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and the African Group, said his country continues to strengthen existing programmes and pursue new initiatives to build a resilient society.  He cited in that context the Presidential Inputs Scheme, which provided farming inputs support, reinforced by a command agriculture structure, which has restored the strategic grain reserve to 500,000 metric tons, a “great leap” towards food self-sufficiency.  On Goal 6, he said the national programme for the rehabilitation and repair of non-functional water points is being pursued, and a shift has been initiated towards solar powered piped water schemes.  Improved sanitation is still a challenge in rural and urban areas, with open defecation at 34 per cent.  A national behaviour change programme was launched which has eliminated the practice in 3,800 villages, he said, citing other programmes to increase the availability of renewable energy and address the resource gap, with measures taken for illegally externalized resources to be repatriated.

LAURENCE MONNOYER-SMITH, Commissioner-General for Sustainable Development and Inter-Ministerial Delegate for Sustainable Development of France, said that, in 2016, his was among the 22 first countries to submit a voluntary national review, from the belief that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement “are two faces of the same dime”.  He advocated effective, strong multilateralism to respond to collective challenges, noting that the One Planet Summit in Paris marked a step forward for Heads of State, development banks and businesses making commitments to protect the planet.  More broadly, France has implemented structural policies, notably the biodiversity plan, which sought to preserve biodiversity as a national priority and lead to a new global framework during the 2020 Conference of Parties meeting on biodiversity.  In July 2017, France adopted a climate plan for the Paris Agreement to be irreversible and would adopt a national deforestation policy.  France would also increase official development assistance (ODA) to 0.55 per cent of gross national income, he said, adding that it had devised a roadmap for the implementation of the Goals, which it would present during its next voluntary national review in 2019.

KEVIN MOLEY, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs of the United States, said that business as usual can no longer be the way forward.  The United Nations must shift its priorities to demonstrate its full commitment to sustainable development.  An enhanced relationship between the private and public sectors is instrumental to addressing the many challenges facing vulnerable communities.  He stressed the need to create affordable housing, invest in technology and support local business.  For its part, the United States is utilizing new technologies in its development work, including predicting drought and subsequently ensuring food security.  He noted various projects aimed at safeguarding safe drinking water.  At the international level, the United Nations must think about the most efficient and effective way to generate progress.  Its system must be inclusive, welcoming the views and inputs of various stakeholders.  “Change will not happen overnight,” he emphasized.  United Nations agencies will need to move away from low priority activities to focus on the most pertinent ones.  Member States must ensure the system is “fit for purpose” to best serve those in need, he added.

FRANCESCO LA CAMERA, Director-General of the Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, associating himself with the European Union, said a universal integrated approach will be possible only by adopting an innovative culture of governance based on policy coordination and coherence.  Following the adoption of a national strategy for sustainable development, Italy assumed a leading role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  It established a consultative forum to share best practices with its regional partners.  He noted that the financial sector is crucial in the transition to sustainable development.  A transition towards sustainable, resilient societies must give priority to addressing climate change, he added, stressing the need to adopt various international agreements focused on that goal, particularly in the most affected regions.  Italy has also set up an African center focused on combating climate change on the continent, notably recovery of Lake Chad.

RACHID BELADHANE, Ambassador and Chair of the Inter-Sectional Organ of the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said the 2030 Agenda shows the way forward to achieve human sustainable development.  “It shows us that we need to deepen our thinking towards sustainable societies capable of overcoming crises,” he added.  Building a resilient society is a priority for the Government of Algeria, which set up a social security system based on principles of solidarity, allowing the country to almost fully eradicate extreme poverty.  Algeria is also focusing on recovery and transformation of its economy.  Protecting water resources and the environment is an integral priority, as well, he noted, adding that considerable investments have been made in the construction of water reservoirs and purification systems.  A sustainable urban development policy was also implemented, with a focus on rural areas and improving the living conditions of those citizens.  He emphasized the importance of ODA in tackling major international challenges such as human trafficking.

MILICA PEJANOVIĆ-DJURIŠIĆ (Montenegro), noting that that the 2030 Agenda is enshrined in her country’s Constitution and guides its development framework, described efforts to explore how its implementation could also be linked to Montenegro’s European Union accession process.  The process, known as “Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support”, focuses on identifying points where the 2030 Agenda’s implementation can be expedited.  Noting that its implementation draws together experts and officials from across the European Union and the United Nations, she expressed support for the sharing of experiences and best practices, the development of research capacity and transfer of technology and expertise “to ensure that we are all on the same track”.  Such work has also revealed that the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and European Union integration are mutually reinforcing processes, she said.

TEODORO LOCSIN, JR. (Philippines) said that, given the country’s geographic location and the increasing prevalence of typhoons due to climate change, the Philippines placed great importance on disaster risk reduction.  He underlined the urgency of developing timely, comprehensive and disaggregated data to better understand the needs of citizens, particularly the poorest and those living in the most marginalized sectors.  Such information was critical for crafting policies and programmes tailored towards fulfilling the needs of the people.  The Philippines is committed to improving the quality and quantity of disaggregated data to monitor progress towards the Goals.  The Philippines supports the inclusive data charter launched earlier in the week.

SEVINJ HASANOVA, Deputy Minister for Economic Development of Azerbaijan, said her country participated in the 2017 voluntary national review, prompting it to intensify its focus on sustainability as a driver for prosperity.  Indeed, the Goals required the establishment of an efficient implementation platform, and in that context, three factors were considered:  high-level commitment, ownership and institutional arrangements.  Thus, the National Coordination Council on Sustainable Development was created to institutionalize the Goals into the national development agenda.  Government commitment is important, but not enough, for comprehensive implementation.  “Wide public participation is a must,” she said, citing Azerbaijan’s advocacy campaign strategy, along with events featuring the involvement of civil society, children, women and private sector representatives.  Third, global partnership and information-sharing accelerate implementation of the Goals, she said, noting that Azerbaijan would host a high‑level sustainable development forum in 2019.

AFIRIN RUDIYANTO, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Maritime Affairs of Indonesia, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, as well as Mexico, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia, said that Indonesia’s National Action Plan on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals was enacted last month and will take effect until 2019.  A draft national road map will guide efforts until 2030 and 34 regional action plans will implement the Goals at the provincial level.  The Plan is an integrated planning document that incorporates both the Government and non-governmental organizations.  The Plan’s monitoring and evaluation mechanism will be a collaborative effort, with civil society organizations conducting independent evaluations of their programmes.  Further, the annual national accountability report on the Plan will be a consolidated document.

JOSÉ ANTONIO MARCONDES DE CARVALHO, Undersecretary General for the Environment, Energy, Science and Technology, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, said that, during its voluntary national review, his country highlighted its national commission for the Goals, which was set up to foster dialogue, engagement and integration of initiatives carried out by the Government, civil society and the private sector.  Brazil has since launched its first biannual action plan, allowing for greater transparency and accountability.  It also established its first working group on partnerships and means of implementation, which would cover a range of topics pertaining to the implementation of the Goals in Brazil.  Other working groups would be formed to ensure follow up, and coherence between the Goals and public policies.  Special attention must be given to the internalization and localization of the 2030 Agenda, he said, underscoring the need to align public policies with the Goals, promote ownership of the Agenda, ensure the engagement of all and guarantee that national ambition is matched by action.

SEYED ALI MOHAMMAD MOSAVI, Director General for International Environmental and Sustainable Development Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that increasingly frequent and severe sand and dust storms are one of the most pressing environmental issues for his country and the whole of West Asia.  Hopefully a clear and concrete set of actions to address this problem will be agreed soon within the United Nations system.  He added that implementation of the Goals is being undermined by “a broadly exercised unilateralism”, threatening to reverse the progress made in recent decades.  That is despite paragraph 30 of the 2030 Agenda, in which States are strongly urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures not in accordance with international law and the United Nations Charter, he said.

JULIUS MUIA, Principal Secretary, Ministry of National Treasury and Planning of Kenya, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said access to clean and renewable energy is a national priority, with the country having carried out a 310‑megawatt wind power project that is among the largest in Africa.  In addition, 2 million incandescent bulbs have been retrofitted with more energy efficient ones, with a 65 per cent success rate.  To accelerate energy access, Kenya adopted pay-as-you-go systems and robust microcredit services, supported by mobile money services.  Yet, affordability is still a challenge.  On housing, he said Kenya sought to provide 400,000 affordable houses within the next five years, notably through partnerships, and to improve the lives of slum‑dwellers.  It has taken a landfill approach to waste management, which is among the preferred disposal methods, he said, noting that fostering sustainable consumption and production, along with a ban on plastics, are among the other objectives.

RIYAD MANSOUR, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine, associating himself with the Group of 77, recalled that his delegation in 2017 told the Forum it would submit its national report on the implementation of the Goals.  This year, his delegation provided its report.  That a people under occupation could comply with such guidelines is a credit to them, he said, stressing that Israel’s occupation, widespread abuses and non-compliance with international law hampered Palestine’s obligations to international agendas.  In 2018, one such challenge took the form of cuts in contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is already under severe financial crisis.  The 2030 Agenda’s vision to leave no one behind could not be fulfilled without allowing Palestinians to exercise their right to self‑determination and ending Israel’s military occupation.

NAME TO COME (Australia) said the Goals reflected things highly valued by his/her country, including respect for its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage.  Australia’s 2018 voluntary national review highlighted such achievements as stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef and its contribution to delivering effective development assistance at record levels in the Pacific region, where it is working with its Pacific partners to strengthen economic resilience and improve health, education, action on climate change and disasters, governance and gender equality.  Emphasizing the need for finance from all sources to achieve the Goals, he/she said the review highlighted ways that Australian overseas aid is leveraging new resources and promoting aid for trade to drive inclusive growth and poverty reduction.

CRAIG HAWKE (New Zealand) said that his country has introduced legislation to create an enduring commitment to reducing child poverty and increasing the minimum wage, boosting incomes of low- and middle-income families.  New Zealand has also opened domestic consultations on legislation that will commit the country to zero carbon emissions by 2050, while also opening consultations on a trade for all agenda.  Further, New Zealand has announced a reset of its contribution to the sustainable development priorities of Pacific countries, including a substantial increase to its aid budget.

KHIANE PHANSOURIVONG (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77, Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, emphasized the importance of Goal 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development).  For countries in special situations, the provision and availability of resources is essential in equipping them to deal with their unique challenges.  Reforming the United Nations system is a welcomed effort to make it fit for purpose and better serve Member States.  He called on development partners to provide adequate resources in a predictable and sustainable manner.  The Lao Government has set up a national committee focused on the 2030 Agenda.  In addition to setting up indicators of progress, it is also working to improve the livelihood of rural people.

MILENKO SKOKNIC (Chile) said that his country has continued to make development progress since presenting its voluntary national review in 2017.  It would be impossible to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals if they are not approached as national policy.  Chile has already achieved various targets including on public health, child health care and indigenous rights.  Chile has developed plans relating to water and sustainable and clean energy.  In terms of Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities, his country has implemented tangible and local measures.  It has also adapted a plastic bags bill which prohibits the handing out of such bags.  The Goal on gender equality is an enormous priority for Chile, he continued, adding that achieving related targets on women’s rights will help achieve the other Goals, as well.

KORNELIOS KORNELIOU (Cyprus), associating himself with the European Union, outlined developments in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals since Cyprus presented its voluntary national review in 2017.  On Goal 6 related to water and sanitation, Cyprus’ efforts are guided by the integrated water resources management paradigm, with a focus on desalination and wastewater reuse.  It is also collaborating at the regional level, including with Greece and Israel, in the field of water and wastewater sustainable management.  On Goal 7 relating to sustainable energy, Cyprus aims to achieve 13 per cent renewable energy use by 2020 by switching from oil to natural gas in its electricity generation.  Spotlighting several other developments, he said the country is also working to improve citizen participation and to mainstream human rights in its urban development.  Additionally, he said a new national health insurance system will promote universal health coverage by 2020.

MAX HUFANEN RAI (Papua New Guinea) said his country’s National Vision 2050 road map, Development Strategic Plan and other guiding frameworks are underpinned by the 2030 Agenda.  The Government has prioritized access to water and sanitation as a basic human right and a vital component of poverty alleviation and improving living standards.  “Overall, this remains an ongoing challenge as the majority of the population, who are primarily in rural areas, lack equitable access to safe and clean water,” he said.  Expressing the Government’s commitment to addressing such challenges — and appreciation to partners including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and the European Union for their support — he said Papua New Guinea has also adopted a national energy policy (2016-2020), aiming to address the major challenge of lack of access to affordable, reliable electricity.  Citing high investment costs due to the country’s rugged topography and remote communities as one obstacle, he said Papua New Guinea is nevertheless endowed with renewable resources that when harnessed can help it meet its development targets, including 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2050.

VERONICA GARCIA GUTIÉRREZ (Costa Rica), associating herself with the Group of 77, CELAC, Group of Middle Income Countries and the LGBTI Core Group, said her country has adopted the universal and transformative nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.  “Leaving no one behind is a State policy,” she emphasized, adding that her Government is focused on promoting sustainable societies, while examining production and consumption patterns.  The creation of sustainable cities is a “grand challenge” due to Costa Rica’s rapid urbanization, as well as the effects of climate change.  Costa Rica is committed to resolving the water crises, she said, adding that access to water is a major factor to human development.  Costa Rica faces grave challenges relating to climate change and pollution, as well.  It remains committed to protecting its natural resources and biodiversity, and conserving its parks and forests.  In terms of production and consumption, she underscored the need to adopt sustainable practices.  As a middle-income country, Costa Rica was dedicated to implementing the 2030 Agenda through multilateralism.

MODEST JONATHAN MERO (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the Group of 77, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country had made progress in mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda into national development plans for both the Union Government and Zanzibar, as well as on its commitment to increase domestic resource mobilization and conduct‑awareness workshops on the Goals.  Another milestone was the development of a monitoring and evaluation plan to track poverty reduction and Goal indicators.  Indicators for the Goals are now part of a local government monitoring database, thereby facilitating preparation of a baseline report.  Other actions include the mapping of plans and Goal indicators.  At the same time, the United Republic of Tanzania continues to face limited technology access, along with challenges around data, development financing and climate change.  He advocated greater cooperation, especially in capacity-building.

FRANCISCO DUARTE LOPES (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, said the 2030 Agenda challenges countries to assume their responsibilities.  Portugal’s voluntary national review presented last year offered an analysis of objectives and policy alignment.  Implementation of the Paris Agreement, alongside sustainable ocean management, is integral to implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Advocating North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, he said financing would be essential to achieving the Goals and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda provided fundamental guidance to that end.   “We need to unleash new forms of finance from all possible sources,” he said, though ODA would continue to play an irreplaceable role, especially in the least developed countries.

KRASSIMIRA BESHKOVA (Bulgaria) called for more efforts to address climate change, conflicts, inequality, poverty, hunger, rapid urbanization and industrialization, among other challenges.  “We need to reach the furthest behind first,” she said, noting that Bulgaria’s policies are based on this principle and built on strong disaggregated data.  Spotlighting several national initiatives — including on Goal 11 relating to improving energy efficiency, air quality and waste management — she said another critical target is Goal 12 on sustainable production and consumption.  Bulgaria is transitioning to a “circular economy” that effectively uses resources, while reducing their environmental impact.  On Goal 7, the country has gone beyond its national target of having a 16 per cent share of renewable energy, reaching a total of 18.8 per cent in 2016, and is continuing to ensure the security and efficiency of that energy supply.

NAME TO COME (India) said that with more than 110 Member States presenting their voluntary national reviews by the end of the Forum, “we have moved from the era of preaching to the era of sharing”.  India has launched what is perhaps the world’s most ambitious sanitation programme, involving the construction of toilets in households.  More than 550 million Indians will have benefitted directly from this project.  India is also expanding its solar and wind power initiatives.  The rate of expansion in this sector in India is perhaps the highest in the world.  By 2030, 600 million Indians will be living in urban areas.  India is undertaking a new urban green and resilience infrastructure project to build additional housing.  Strengthening global partnerships is essential.  To demonstrate their commitment to that, India has pledged $150 million to international development projects.

NAME TO COME (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that this meeting offers an opportunity to encourage developed countries to comply with commitments made.  She noted with concern the lack of progress for marginalized groups everywhere, underscoring the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility.  “While wealth concentrates in the hands of a few, solidarity suffers, while inequality thrives,” she added.  In just the last 10 years, Nicaragua has made substantial progress in providing water and electricity to its citizens.  She stressed the need for global partnership, adding:  “If we want to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, we have to ensure the survival of the human species and the rights of Mother Earth”.

TAKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), associating with the Group of 77 and China, African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said a lack of sufficient progress in meeting the 2030 Agenda should be a collective concern.  “We must inject a sense of urgency” into the process by addressing such challenges as the diverse impacts of climate change, which require greater political commitment and multi-stakeholder collaboration.  While he expressed regret that the ministerial declaration was not adopted by the High-Level Political Forum by consensus, its implementation could help deliver the Goals by 2030.  For its part, Ethiopia had fully integrated the Goals into its five-year development plan, increased its water supply, invested “massively” in renewable energy resources and continued to implement a climate-resilient green economy strategy, aiming to build a zero‑carbon economy by 2025.

NAME TO COME (El Salvador) endorsed the statements by the Group of 77 and China, CELAC, Group of Friends of Middle Income Countries, Group of Friends for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.  Stressing that all the Goals are interlinked, he said El Salvador launched a tool to monitor progress as part of its national planning system.  Local government, civil society and others would help ensure the Government had a better view of the progress achieved, which it would share in future voluntary national reviews.  He underscored the need for funding for the 2030 Agenda.  On migration, he welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration.  As El Niño, drought and floods have unleashed humanitarian emergencies, he advocated a focus on these issues, expressing concern over the difficulty in reaching consensus on the Ministerial Declaration and appealing for such.

MAHMOUD SAIKAL (Afghanistan) said the national Sustainable Development Goals Executive Committee, established in 2017, provided a high-level coordination platform for engagement among Government representatives, the private sector, academia, civil society groups and international partners.  Coordination among those stakeholders has significantly increased and is steadily becoming part of the national development discourse.  Noting that 45 per cent of Afghanistan’s population is food insecure, he said that, in response to the latest drought, the Government launched the National Food Security and Nutrition Agenda in 2017 and joined the global SUN Movement.  Despite repeated efforts, improved health, education and gender equality has come with a heavy price, due to the challenging security situation.  Yet, the Government remains committed to combating terrorism and violent extremism, he said, stressing that translating the goals into national and localized measurable targets and indicators, new tools for management, priority setting and policy coherence are being developed.

NAME TO COME (Kuwait) said that poverty, widespread conflict and human rights violations are all compounded by environmental and climate problems such as desertification.  The international community must urgently adopt a common approach to deal with these challenges.  Kuwait will continue to devote its resources to realize the 2030 Agenda.  At the international level, it will continue to provide development and capacity-building assistance to developing countries.  It is essential to manage natural resources in a sustainable manner, he continued.  Kuwait has also implemented many laws to address the various crises relating to the environment and climate.  Kuwait has established a road map that runs to 2035, welcoming the participation of all its citizens.  “We are fully confident that the United Nations is entirely able to play a role in the monitoring and implementing of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.

BAKHTIYOR IBRAGIMOV (Uzbekistan) commended the United Nations team in his country for its strong partnership with the Government.  Uzbekistan has been implementing far reaching reform in all areas to achieve the 2030 Agenda.  Special focus has been placed on mobilizing all resources.  Economic growth has been positive, he said, noting the construction of industrial facilities.  Job creation has also been a top priority for the Government.  The Minister for Finance has established a fund to help improve water supply and living conditions of people living by the Aral Sea.  Entrepreneurs are also provided with support from the Government to further innovate the private sector.