Statement by Ambassador Leendertse at the second thematic consultation on “Our Common Agenda”, UN General Assembly on February 14th, 2022

Logo of the report and ensuing consultation process Our Common Agenda by Secretary-General Guterres

Logo: Our Common Agenda, © UN

14.02.2022 - Speech

Title of the consultation organized by the President of the General Assembly:
“Accelerating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through sustainable financing and building trust.”

The SDGs are our ambitious plan for a better future for all. I would like to flag two important requirements: sufficient financing and trust. They are two highly relevant components – the “hardware” and the “software” we need for the system to work.

We welcome the proposal of using taxation as a tool to reduce extreme inequalities and drive sustainable transition. Effective taxation will strengthen domestic resource mobilization.

Building capacity in people and infrastructure within administrations is key. We therefore support the Addis Tax Initiative. The international system needs to offer more support to countries that lack the ability to make such investments by themselves. The G20 and the OECD are working to reform the international tax system in a coordinated manner in order to reduce tax competition as well as base erosion and profit shifting.

We need further improvements of the international debt architecture and related instruments. Three aspects are of particular importance to us:

The G20 Common Framework for debt treatment addresses a heterogeneous creditor landscape. The implementation of the Common Framework must improve. Its attractiveness should be increased.

We need to protect the ability of international financial institutions to remain the core of an effective global financial safety net.

And we need a consensus on enhanced transparency, responsibilities and effectiveness.

We need to jointly step up efforts to help vulnerable developing economies maintain or regain debt sustainability. The G20 International Financing Architecture Working Group will analyze debt vulnerabilities in vulnerable middle-income countries this year, which is a step in the right direction.

Corruption must be prevented by transparency and integrity in the governmental and business sectors. When corruption occurs, it must be disclosed, prosecuted and punished. This includes bribery of foreign public officials.

At the same time, the fight against corruption cannot become an excuse to dilute rule-of-law principles. We must strictly comply with human rights when we combat corruption.

Germany supports increased efforts in countering illicit financial flows and money laundering. These efforts should be closely aligned with international standard setting bodies - like the Financial Action Task Force - to avoid duplication of work.

Measuring what matters” is one of the key tasks for guiding countries on sustainable development pathways. The adoption of the System of Enviromental Economicy Accounting (SEEA) in 2021 was a watershed moment for natural capital accounting. Implementation and application of this standard must be given priority. We call on all partners to step up their efforts for support and for maintaining the international visibility of the SEEA.

Germany also welcomes efforts to accelerate the development and harmonization of approaches for measuring other dimensions, particularly social aspects of welfare. We should build international consensus for structural indicators that complement the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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