H.E.M. LÉON KACOU ADOM
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF COTE D’IVOIRE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF
THE AFRICAN GROUP
ON THE FIFTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (CSocD 59)
Theme: "Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and the well-being of all"
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK
FEBRUARY 9, 2021
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the African Group, I would like to thank the Bureau of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development for their leadership in spearheading the work of this Commission. The African Group aligns itself with the statement delivered by Guinea on behalf of G77 and China under the theme “Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and the well-being of all”.
The African Group believes that one of the fundamental pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to achieve sustainable development for all nations and people across the globe with the objective of leaving no one behind. The Group is of the view that this Agenda is deeply anchored in the principles of the Copenhagen Declaration of inclusiveness, fairness and shared prosperity. Distinguished Delegates, addressing the inter-linkages between social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and examining the role of digital technologies in facilitating the transition that is inclusive and more equitable is fundamental and necessary as we embark in the decade of Action to reach the SDGs. It requires pursuing a socially just transition that is people-centered and is built on the ideals of social justice for all.
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
While we are experiencing in different regions and countries, the ongoing economic and social fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize that the crisis is reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty and it is exacerbating further the high levels of inequalities across and among countries and regions globally. This pandemic has exposed all nations’ fragilities, it is affecting communities in vulnerable situations and countries disproportionately, and also migrant workers by restricting their ability to get social services. Therefore, no doubt that COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity to profoundly rethink existing socio-economic policy frameworks in order to build back better. Excellences, the Group is of the view that it is time to create and implement effectively, a policy and regulatory environment that would reduce inequalities and eradicate poverty for all, if we are truly committed to fully achieve the sustainable development goals and to free mankind from diseases and ailments of poverty regardless.
In this unprecedented context, the African Group realizes that with the COVID-19 pandemic, information and communications technologies present new opportunities and challenges. The digital technologies offer new opportunities for achieving the three core objectives of social development, as agreed at the Social Summit: eradicating poverty, promoting full and productive employment for all and fostering social inclusion. We recognize that digital technologies have transformed societies, and have a potential to accelerate the realization of the 2030 Agenda in advancing social development by ensuring access to: including among others, lifelong quality education, health care, decent work, affordable housing, social protection, especially for those in vulnerable situations, as well as promoting gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. Excellences, the Group is concerned that more than four in five people in the least developed countries, do not have access to Internet, and with the continuing challenges of the COVID pandemic, there is eminent digital divide that we must urgently tackle. We believe that there is a pressing need to address the major impediments that developing countries face especially in Africa in accessing new technologies, to bridge the digital divides, in between, within and among regions, countries and communities, to harness information and communications technologies for development and build balanced urban rural infrastructure development needs. The African Group emphasizes the importance for quality of access to bridge digital and knowledge divides, using a multidimensional approach that includes: speed, stability, affordability, capacity-building and technical assistances, as well as accessibility for all including persons with disabilities, refugees and displaced persons.
The African Union Science, Technology Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 places technology and innovation at the epicenter of Africa’s socio-economic development and growth and reinforces the implementation of the long-term African Union Agenda 2063.
In concluding, the African Group is of the view that building back better in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to set the basis for a collective response to future crises. This is a chance to transition towards more inclusive and resilient societies, including through promoting universal access to basic necessities and social protection for all. It is important to act together, Ladies and Gentlemen, our global actions should be geared to resolve the challenges faced by developing countries, particularly in Africa, including in matters relating to international cooperation, north-south, south-south and triangular co-operations, on the official development assistance, on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on migrant workers and their families, full and effective implementation of Addis Ababa Action Agenda, debt cancellation, social protection through stimulus packages, to mobilize adequate financial resources to support inclusive adequate health infrastructure supportive of social development, access to medicines and vaccines, develop digital skills through capacity building and the transfer of ICT technology on mutually agreed terms.
Distinguished Delegates, we should remain cognizant of the global climate change, in our common endeavor, as we move towards a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery, we must fully and effectively implement the Paris Agreement under the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
We call on all the international family and partners to support these efforts in the spirit of global solidarity and partnerships.
And finally, we urge the international community to take necessary measures in favor of countries under economic sanctions, particularly in Africa, facing the COVID-19 pandemic, to waive sanctions that can undermine countries’ capacity to respond to COVID-19 crisis and to help them “build back better”.
I thank you all for your attention!