Cuba associates itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished delegations of Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election to lead the work of the Second Committee. We are confident that your guidance will enable us to bring our objectives to a successful conclusion during this session.
Cuba will participate in the work of the Second Committee in a constructive spirit and guided by the purpose of contributing, through multilateralism and cooperation, to eliminating the obstacles and challenges that the most vulnerable countries face in the area of development.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities in many of our countries, which in turn have been aggravated by the persistence of an unjust international economic order and irrational capitalist patterns of production and consumption.
The socioeconomic impacts stemming from the impact of the pandemic, the proliferation of protectionism, unilateral coercive economic measures, inequalities and the weakening of multilateral agreements have hindered the ability of developing countries to pursue the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The pandemic led to a setback in the past 25 years of steady progress in poverty reduction and the number of people in extreme poverty increased for the first time in a generation. The global poverty rate rose sharply from 2019 to 2020, from 8.3 percent to 9.2 percent. This wiped out more than four years of steady progress. Unemployment will affect 207 million people in 2022, 21 million more than in 2019, and 773 million human beings cannot read or write.
We see inequality and social polarization worsening around the world. Every 26 hours a new billionaire emerges, while inequality contributes to the death of at least one person every four seconds. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the world suffer from hunger. Nearly 1 in 3 people (2.3 billion people) could not access adequate nutrition in 2021, an increase of nearly 350 million people since the start of the pandemic.
Added to this is the dilemma faced by developing countries, which must choose between protecting their populations or paying an external debt that has already been sufficiently repaid, and which increased from 6.5 trillion dollars in 2011 to 11.1 trillion dollars in 2021.
What has taken so many lives is not only a respiratory disease, but also the virus of inequality. The above data show us that we need to get back on the road to achieving the SDGs, and this will only be possible if we translate our commitments to preserving, promoting and strengthening multilateralism into action. Multilateral solutions are needed, with the participation of all States and for the benefit of all, without discrimination or political, economic or any other kind of exclusion. Nor without an international financial system that is increasingly exclusive and where only the elites define the policies and make the decisions that affect the majority of the planet's population.
We support the challenge launched by the Secretary-General in the high-level segment of this General Assembly when he called on world leaders to engage in an honest and urgent effort to reform the international financial system, a clamor that has been championed for decades by developing countries.
We know that this will be a process that will have powerful detractors, but we are convinced that it is not only possible, but an imperative necessity if we are to ensure the sustainability of the global governance system.
The international system cannot be an instrument of imposition and legitimization of unilateral measures of the strongest and most powerful over others, contrary to the just, democratic, inclusive and equitable world order we need.
We need not only immediate solutions, but also sustainable and inclusive solutions. Without adequate means of implementation, including the transfer of new, additional and predictable technology and financial resources on favorable terms for developing countries, the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs risk becoming mere political statements.
Most developed countries have systematically failed to meet their international commitments to official development assistance, honored by only five of them, while military expenditures around the world are increasing outrageously.
Climate change threatens the survival of our species and the planet. We must safeguard and comply with the Paris Agreement and its Program of Action. It is time for developed countries to take supportive leadership in reducing emissions and providing the necessary means of implementation for developing countries, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Moreover, loss and damage are at the same level as adaptation and require a special effort to mobilize resources.
The international community has rejected on countless occasions the imposition of unilateral coercive measures, incompatible with international law and the Charter of the United Nations.
For more than 60 years the Cuban people have resisted the impact of the application of these measures, as a consequence of the illegal and unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States. The unprecedented intensification of this policy in times of an unprecedented global pandemic, aimed at asphyxiating an entire population, broadly confirms its genocidal nature.
Despite these obstacles, Cuba does not stop. Our country is moving forward with inventiveness and creativity and we will not relent in the goal of building a nation that assumes its commitment to the 2030 Agenda as a responsibility towards the sustainable development of our country.
The international community cannot continue to postpone the achievement of the right to development. Cuba's actions will continue to be guided by that objective and by the will to work for a more just, inclusive and equitable world. Finally, allow me to reiterate my delegation's full support and cooperation in the work of the Second Committee.