75 UNGA: Statement by Ana Teresita González Fraga, First Deputy Minister of foreign trade and investment of Cuba, at the Un High-Level Meeting on middle-income countries. New York, 2 July 2021.

Six years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, there is still a deep gap between the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals and international commitments to support their implementation.

In a complex global political, social and economic context, exacerbated by the aftermath of COVID-19, access to external financing, special and differential treatment in trade matters and international cooperation are crucial for middle-income countries.

In contrast to these needs, the Official Development Assistance provided to Latin American and Caribbean middle-countries fell from more than 1 percent of the region´s Gross National Income in the 1960s to 0.22 percent nowadays[1]. In this regard, we underscore the urgency for industrialized countries to fulfill without conditions their historical commitment to contribute 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income to Official Development Assistance.

Cuba considers that the use of income level as a classification criterion for accessing development cooperation flows is a limited approach. The concept of development is broader, multifaceted and requires not only the improvement of living standards but also the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth processes that address the set of structural gaps existing in middle-income countries, including extreme poverty and inequality.  

With the exception of China and India, middle-income countries account for 96 percent of developing countries´ public debt. In this regard, we advocate the search for efficient alternatives to solve the issue of the debt, factoring in the particular vulnerabilities of our countries.

Mr. President,

Despite the unprecedented tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States government against Cuba, our country continues to work steadily on the implementation of the National Plan for Economic and Social Development until 2030, whose strategic focus pursues the full achievement of the SDGs.

To this end, we attach great importance to South-South Cooperation, which although it is not a substitute for the much-needed North-South Cooperation, represents a valuable instrument in the quest for solutions to the problems we share.

Being consistent with this principle, we have developed cooperation programs in more than 150 countries. Currently, thousands of Cuban collaborators contribute to the fight against the pandemic in over 30 countries and territories.

Mr. President,

Cuba reaffirms its full commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reiterates its call to work together in the pursuit of a more prosperous, just and inclusive world, in which, beyond country classifications, human beings are recognized as the central link of sustainable development.

Thank you.