November 25, 2017

Statement by a Member of the Cyprus Delegation Mr. Yiorgos Christofides to the Commission on Sustainable Development Acting as the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Mr. Chairman,

The international community is currently engaged in a preparatory process leading to the Johannesburg Summit of 2002, which we consider of utmost importance as it poses a major challenge for its commitment to achieve sustainable development in the years ahead. It presents us with a unique opportunity to draw on the setbacks recorded in implementing Agenda 21, during this past decade, and with an opportunity to launch an action-oriented programme for the realisation of its goals.

We join previous speakers in underscoring the need to base this endeavour, on a strong and unequivocal political will, at the highest level. There is a pressing need to drastically address the external factors that continue to undermine the quest for sustainability. In particular, the global community should effectively tackle international inequalities; secure appropriate technical and financial support at bilateral and multilateral levels; and demonstrate empathy to the aspirations of those less fortunate, by incorporating equity considerations into regional and global policies. At the same time, in our effort to strengthen the implementation of the sustainable development principles, we must effectively address the new challenges within the context of the major changes that we have witnessed in the global environment during the past decade, especially globalisation, the revolution in information and communication technologies and the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Mr. Chairman,

We agree with the Secretary-General’s assessment, that sustainable development policies and programmes at all levels, have fallen short of the level of integration required to serve economic, social and environmental objectives. At the international level, we believe that it is essential to build on other international processes and the outcome documents of major United Nations summit conferences and secure synergies between them. We are encouraged by the successful outcome of the Doha Ministerial Meeting and we hope that the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Monterrey in March, will give a new impetus to the process and to the Summit itself.

Mr. Chairman,

Cyprus has aligned itself with the statement delivered yesterday by the delegation of Spain on behalf of the European Union. We fully concur with the Union’s position in support of the idea of a Global Deal as a conceptual framework for the Summit’s outcome and its objectives.

At the same time, Cyprus, as a small island state, shares the concerns of members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) associated with their unique characteristics and their economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities. I take this opportunity to reiterate our full support to the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the outcome of the 22nd Special Session of the UN General Assembly. Cyprus has shared with other small island states, its experience in the successful development and implementation of renewable energy policies, especially in the use of solar energy collectors. Furthermore, the Government of Cyprus is currently developing a programme for expanding its assistance to small island states, in areas where the country has gained experience, including tourism, forestry and management of small and medium enterprises.

Mr. Chairman,

The Government of Cyprus, in support of the preparations for the World Summit, and within the context of the assessment process, has submitted its National Report on priority issues concerning sustainable development. The basic goal of the Government is to, gradually and methodically, introduce the environmental dimension into all parameters of economic and social policies. Thus, development objectives are pursued in conjunction with the preservation of the environment, and the development effort is gradually re-adjusted, so as to integrate environmental considerations into all mainstream economic sectors.

The major sustainable development goals of Cyprus were incorporated in the Strategic Development Plan for the period 1994-1998. Its results on the issue have been mixed, as sustainable development involves the re-orientation of the entire economic system and changes in the approach of traditional development policies. The main thrust of the new Development Plan for 1999-2003 is centered around the further incorporation of sustainability into economic development policies, with particular emphasis being placed on the social aspects of development, and the real improvement in the quality of life, including the protection of the environment.

Mr. Chairman,

In the process leading up to the Johannesburg Summit we must ensure a high level of cooperation between developed and developing countries based on partnership and mutual responsibility. The active involvement in this process of NGOs, the business sector and other Major Groups and their participation through, inter alia, the multi-stakeholder dialogues, should be encouraged further as it constitutes a valuable asset for our deliberations.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.