The unanimous adoption of the Paris Agreement and a package of supporting decisions covering climate action in the pre- and post-2020 periods by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Paris Climate Change Conference, in December, would have been unlikely without the leadership and cooperation demonstrated by the Group of 77 (G77) and China, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers.
Addressing attendees at the handover ceremony of the chairpersonship of the G77 in New York, on Tuesday, he lauded the “unprecedented” unity and cohesion demonstrated by the G77 and China.
“It is no exaggeration to say that there would not have been a Paris Agreement without the G77 and China’s highly constructive contributions on both substance and process.
“The strong solidarity within our diverse group ensured that developing countries remained central in the climate change negotiations until the very end,” Landers remarked.
He added that it now remained essential that the G77 and China remained united, focusing firmly on ensuring that the Paris Agreement was ratified.
“There is much work to be done this year and beyond to ensure the Paris Agreement is fairly and effectively implemented after 2020 and that existing commitments in the pre-2020 period are honoured,” he held.
Landers’ assertions were supported by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who said at the Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the G77 in September that the success and strength of the group lay in the perpetual forging of alliances between countries of the South.
She further reaffirmed that the G77 and China had made notable contributions over the years to the effective functioning of the United Nations (UN) system.
“As the largest grouping of States within the UN system, the G77 and China have played a fundamental role in crafting international economic policies and relations, narrowing the gap between developing and developed countries.
“The group could, therefore, legitimately claim a large part of the credit for advancing the interest of marginalised people of the world within the UN system,” she said.
Reflecting on further progress made by the grouping during South Africa’s chairpersonship of the G77, Landers referenced the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Ethiopia, in July.
He believed the concrete policies and actions outlined in the agenda complemented and supported the Means of Implementation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the context of a framework of a revitalised global partnership for development.
“The G77 and China constructively engaged in this process and sought a meaningful and ambitious financing for development outcome relevant to the needs of developing countries.
“We are pleased to note that the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda has ensured that important objectives set by the G77 and China, such as the enhanced global partnership for development; the need to further strengthen international commitments towards financing for development; and the full and timely implementation of existing commitments, were reemphasised,” Landers noted.
He added that focus should now move to ensuring that, over the next 15 years, member States worked together nationally, regionally and globally to deliver on sustainable development by focusing on the means of implementation of the goals and targets.