Helen Clark: Keynote speech at the 40th Annual Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Group of 77 and China Interactive Thematic Debate: Sufficient Economy Philosophy for the Sustainable Development Goals

Sep 23, 2016

UNDP is committed to working closely with the Group of 77 to ensure sustainable development progress for all countries and peoples. Photo credit: UNDP

I am pleased to address this 40th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 and China. I commend the Permanent Representative of Thailand and Chair of the Group for his leadership and commitment to the work of the United Nations.  

I also sincerely thank H.E. the Prime Minister of Thailand, for his keynote speech on Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy.

Representing 134 developing countries, and with a strong commitment to multilateralism and to finding solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, the Group of 77 and China plays a crucial role in the UN system.  

This has included helping to shape the design and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ensuring that its pledge of leaving no one behind is realized.

Just as the Group was a key player leading up to the agreement on the universal, transformative, and integrated 2030 Agenda, so your continued ownership and commitment are essential going forward. 

We commend the Thai Government for its commitment to 2030 Agenda implementation, and are pleased to observe how the core principles of Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) relate to principles which are important for achieving the 2030 Agenda.

The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy underscores, for example, the need to build resilience to internal and external shocks – something which is also essential for the success of the 2030 Agenda. Sufficiency Economy can also be applied to a range of areas important to the SDGs, including agriculture, community development, water, forest, and private sector development. 

Successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a top priority for UNDP, and we look to the G77 and China as major partners in our work. 

Guided by the UN Development Group’s approach for SDG mainstreaming, acceleration, and policy support - MAPS – we can support countries at their request to: 

• mainstream the agenda into national plans, policies, budgets, and service delivery;

• accelerate progress across the SDGs; and

• receive joined-up policy support from across the UN system.

A number of countries have already made significant progress in adapting the 2030 Agenda to their national contexts. To date, 95 of the more than 130 UN Country Teams around the world have been requested by their host governments to support SDG implementation. It is noteworthy that some of the most innovative examples of early action on the SDGs have come from countries where development challenges have been exacerbated by crises and shocks.

UNDP was very pleased to support all those Member States of this Group which presented experiences of early SDG implementation during the National Voluntary Reviews at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July. We stand ready to continue to support such presentations at future HLPFs. 

It is well recognized in the 2030 Agenda and by UNDP that South-South Co-operation will play an important role in ensuring the success of the SDGs. We commend Thailand for including South-South co-operation as one of the priorities for its Chairmanship. 

At UNDP we firmly believe that all developing countries have capacities and experiences which may be adapted by other countries to their unique circumstances. We have therefore made South-South and Triangular Co-operation central to UNDP’s work, placing it at the heart of our Strategic Plan. 

To take these efforts further, and in close consultations with Member States, we have prepared a Corporate Strategy on South-South and Triangular co-operation. We thank G77 and China for their valuable input into this process and count on you to accompany us in its implementation.

UNDP is pleased to host the UN Office for South-South Co-operation on behalf of the UN system. Currently, we are jointly supporting the establishment of a Global Coalition of Think Tank Networks for South-South Co-operation. The goal is to support them in informing global policy dialogues on South-South co-operation, including the upcoming Buenos Aires Plan of Action+40 process and the thematic discussions of the High-level Committee on South-South Co-operation.


In conclusion, let me reiterate that UNDP fully recognizes the important role of the Group of 77 and China in the United Nations system and its processes. 

This includes in the upcoming negotiations on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), the results of which we hope will empower and position the UN Development System to support countries well in their 2030 Agenda implementation. We look to the G77 and China to ensure a QCPR resolution which strengthens our work as the co-ordinator of the UN Development System and as a major fund and programme. 

Going forward, UNDP is committed to working closely with the Group to ensure sustainable development progress for all countries and peoples.



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