Remarks by Ambassador Ernesto Soberón Guzmán, Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations at the high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative.

New York, 17th April 2024.

Distinguished Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of the People´s Republic of China to the UN,

Distinguished Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the General Assembly,

Excellences,

The current development challenges are colossal.

The complex, multidimensional global crisis, exacerbated by the pandemic, seriously threatens the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

Basic indicators such as life expectancy, education and the economy have deteriorated in more than 90% of countries. Once again, the poorest are suffering the worst consequences. This includes billions of people in both the North and the South.

The Global Development Initiative has the great merit of placing the issue of sustainable development and international cooperation at the center of the multilateral system's priorities.

Cuba recognizes that China has all the authority and international prestige to promote an initiative of this importance, the content and scope of which are closely related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the development-related issues contained in the Compact for the Future.

In this regard, as reflected in the Non-Paper, the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs must remain the overall roadmap for sustainable development, and the Summit of the Future must draw directly from the outcomes of the SDG Summit.

Most of the points contained in the non-paper aim to give greater prominence to the development pillar in the draft Pact of the Future, in line with the centrality of the 2030 Agenda, and thus to achieve an appropriate balance between the three pillars of the United Nations, which constitutes a major priority for developing countries as it should be for the whole international community.

In this regard, we underscore the importance that the Initiative places on people-centered international cooperation.

With the support of the countries that currently make up the Group of Friends, and many others that are sure to join, we hope that the Initiative will be consolidated as a comprehensive and inclusive roadmap to duly address the legitimate development aspirations of the countries of the South and to advance international commitments to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

We welcome the steps taken to implement the Initiative. We must continue to move forward to consolidate an action-oriented approach.

We will continue to share our modest experiences in order to contribute as much as possible to the development of other countries in need.

There are many synergies between the priorities of the Group of 77 and China and the GDI that we believe should be further promoted. The working document we are presenting contains some of the issues of common interest, namely: poverty eradication; science, technology and innovation for development; reform of the international financial architecture and greater representation of developing countries in international financial institutions; trade; unilateral coercive measures; strengthening international cooperation and official development assistance; and climate change.

Cuba will always remain faithful to its vocation of solidarity and humanism, despite the enormous impact of the illegal economic, commercial and financial blockade that the United States has raised to extreme levels since 2019 and maintains today. We thank the members of the Group of Friends of the Initiative for their invaluable support to Cuba in its just struggle to end this policy.

We will continue to advocate multilateralism, solidarity cooperation and the search for global solutions, through dialogue and cooperation, to common development challenges.

Thank you.