|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-second General Assembly
23rd & 24th Meetings (AM & PM)
DELEGATE IN SECOND COMMITTEE SPELLS OUT FOUR KEY CHALLENGES KEEPING CARIBBEAN
COMMUNITY FROM REALIZING MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The international community must strengthen the global partnership for development in order to enable the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to overcome the four main challenges to the region’s halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015, Suriname’s representative told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today.
Speaking on behalf of CARICOM during the Committee’s debate on the eradication of poverty and other development issues, he said those challenges included economic strengthening and restructuring to create a dynamic private sector that could generate growth and jobs; strengthening regional, national, State and non-State capacities to define, implement and monitor poverty-eradication policies; upgrading labour-market training institutions; and strengthening social-sector policies to adequately protect the poor and underprivileged.
The current world order revealed economic disparities, unequal trade regimes, income inequalities between and within countries, social injustice and declining opportunities for millions of people, he said. An alarmingly disproportionate number of women, including rural and indigenous women, were mired in poverty. Combating those ills was a common challenge that required action by all actors to avert the erosion of development gains and the exacerbation of poverty, while promoting good governance at all levels, as well as transparency in the global financial, monetary and trading systems.
Pakistan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it was paradoxical that more than 800 million people went hungry every day in a world that possessed wealth and food production capabilities. Half the world lived on less than $2 a day, while those who had escaped extreme poverty -- less than a dollar a day -- had simply joined the “less than $2 a day” group. But the world had the resources and knowledge to make poverty history. Developing human resources and building capacity in science and technology, coupled with easier access to the latest technologies, would help developing countries realize the Millennium Goals. The empowerment of women was also central to achieving those targets through equal rights and full access to education, training, employment opportunities, technology and financial resources, in line with the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action.
Portugal’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said pockets of poverty and social exclusion persisted even in developed countries, and better efforts were needed to target disadvantaged groups. The National Action Plans for Inclusion, established by European Union member States, aimed to do just that. It was a coordinated policy framework to address poverty among children, women and other vulnerable groups. The European Union Council’s revised Lisbon Strategy and the subsequent Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008) emphasized the need to invest more in research and development, underpinned by technological innovation, and in human capital, a key determinant of economic growth in a knowledge-based economy.
Similarly, the 2005 European Consensus for Development underpinned development cooperation and emphasized the importance of policy coherence, she said. It also ensured that policies on trade, security and integration contributed to the efforts of developing countries to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. It was also important to strengthen the United Nations gender architecture and design comprehensive gender-sensitive poverty eradication strategies to enable women to participate fully in policy-setting and decision-making.
Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on women in development, pointing to the direct link between women’s participation in decision-making and resource allocation for development and poverty-reduction strategies. Research showed that women in decision-making positions were more likely to sponsor bills and support decisions that addressed the multidimensional nature of human poverty. They were also more likely to create laws and policies that addressed women’s and children’s rights in areas directly related to reducing poverty and violence against women. Moreover, an increasing number of women decision-makers had improved the quality of governance, and had been actively involved in promoting gender-responsive budgeting initiatives to ensure that Government budgets and their corresponding policies and programmes addressed women’s priorities and needs.
Other speakers included the representatives of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, China, India, Iceland, Colombia, Qatar, Sudan, United States, Armenia, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Libya, Malawi, Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Poland, Philippines, Nepal, Brazil and Venezuela.
Nikhil Seth, Director of the Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on human resources development; and Sergei Zelenev, Chief of the Social Integration Branch in the same Department’s Division for Social Policy and Development, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006).
Earlier in the meeting, the Committee concluded its debate on groups of countries in special situations, hearing statements by the representatives of Turkey, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Chile, Republic of Korea and Burkina Faso.
At the outset of the meeting, Pakistan’s representative introduced several draft resolutions on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., on Thursday, 8 November, to conclude its general debate on the eradication of poverty and other development issues, and to begin consideration of its agenda item titled “Towards global partnerships”.
Meeting today to conclude its debate on groups of countries in special situations, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) was also expected to take up its agenda item on eradication of poverty and other development issues, including implementation of the First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), women in development and human resources development.
Under consideration since yesterday was the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries and specific actions related to the particular needs and problems of landlocked developing countries: outcome of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation.
At the outset of the meeting, the Committee heard the introduction of draft resolutions related to sustainable development, including texts on the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/C.2/62/L.21); the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/62/L.20); Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/C.2/62/L.17); and Promotion of new and renewable sources of energy (document A/C.2/62/L.19).
As regards eradication of poverty, the Committee had before it a letter dated 30 May 2007 from the Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/62/155), which transmits the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the first African Conference on Human Development, which Morocco hosted in Rabat on 6 and 7 April 2007. Attended by representatives of 45 African countries, the Conference was convened to conduct a constructive exchange of experiences in the field of human development, in light of progress made since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, and to consider opportunities for improving South-South cooperation among African countries.
The Committee also had before it a letter dated 8 October 2007 from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/62/488), which transmits the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China at their thirty-first annual meeting, held at United Nations Headquarters on 27 September 2007. The Declaration reviews international economic developments and activities undertaken in the context of the United Nations development agenda.
Also before the Committee was a report of the Secretary-General on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (document A/62/267), which includes recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly, provides an overview of key developments during the Decade and addresses some challenges in poverty reduction.
Despite the commitment of Governments to poverty reduction and evidence that poverty is retreating globally, the report states, it is clear that “off-the-shelf” macroeconomic policy fixes have largely failed the reality test, and there is widespread agreement on the need to develop comprehensive national development strategies and priority lines of action. Among other things, the General Assembly may wish to consider urging all countries with extreme poverty to develop and implement a national development strategy to halve extreme poverty by 2015. All Member States, United Nations system entities, civil society, non-governmental organizations and other partners are urged to reaffirm their commitment and continue undertaking more concerted efforts in the fight against poverty.
Also before the Committee was a letter dated 19 June 2007 from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/62/211), which transmits a press release announcing the launch of the Poverty Alleviation Fund of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Dakar, Senegal, on 29 May 2007 at the thirty-second meeting of the Islamic Development Bank. The Fund was launched with a total budget of $10 billion and initial contributions totalled $1.5 billion, including $1 billion from Saudi Arabia, $300 million from Kuwait and $100 million from Iran.
A report of the Secretary-General on women in development (document A/62/187) states that global trends indicate an overall reduction in poverty since 1990, but notes that women remain particularly vulnerable. Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to achieving all the Millennium Goals, and the potential for eradicating poverty by promoting gender equality must be harnessed by mainstreaming a gender perspective into economic policies and programmes.
According to the report, women’s participation in Government decision-making has been growing, albeit slowly, over the last decade, and many Governments have taken measures to promote their participation at the national and local levels. As of May 2007, women represented 17.3 per cent of parliamentarians in single or lower houses of parliament, up from 11.7 in 1997. Data from 78 countries collected by United Cities and Local Governments shows that in 2005, 20.9 per cent of councillors and 9 per cent of mayors were women.
The report recommends, among other things, that the Assembly call on Governments, the United Nations system and other relevant actors to ensure the explicit incorporation of a gender perspective into the design, implementation, monitoring and reporting of all development and poverty-reduction strategies; develop methodologies, tools and capacity-building to ensure that a gender perspective can be identified and addressed in policy areas where is has previously been neglected; and encourage more effective consultation with and participation of national mechanisms for gender equality and women’s groups and networks in national policies and strategies.
Additionally, the Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on human resources development (document A/62/308), which addresses the challenges and opportunities of using science and technology for human resources development, and explores strategies to promote technology learning to empower people and expand their economic and social opportunities.
Human development is not conceivable without access to, assimilation and application of technological knowledge, which boosts social and economic progress, the report states. In developing countries, limited resources for investing in human and physical capital, and the lack of proper organizations and institutional arrangements to support science, technology and innovation make it difficult to keep up with rapid technological change.
The report says science and technology offer important opportunities to bridge the technological divide: medical breakthroughs lead to lower mortality rates; higher agricultural production entails better seeds and water use; and manufacturing technologies drive industrial expansion, employment and incomes. Lessons learned include the information and communications technology that has driven India’s economy; Uganda’s National Innovation Fund, which supports more than 20 small-scale operations in areas including farm mechanization, post-harvest storage and natural health-care products; and Brazil’s Telecentre project, which has provided free Internet access to more than 5 million people in 2,500 cities.
At the national level, the report recommends formulating comprehensive strategies for science and technology, including investment in infrastructure for electricity, telecommunications and transportation. At the international level, donors should support developing countries in formulating science and technology strategies that consider and address the risks involved in the use of technology, especially new technologies with environmental and health impacts.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
FARHAT AYESHA (Pakistan) introduced, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the draft resolutions on the oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/C.2/62/L.21), the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (document A/C.2/62/L.20), Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (document A/C.2/62/L.17) and Promotion of new and renewable sources of energy (document A/C.2/62/L.19).
HALDUN TEKNECI (Turkey) said that despite some progress by least developed countries and increased assistance, much remained to be done, especially in terms of poverty reduction. Extreme poverty appeared to be the main challenge, but life expectancy was declining in several of those countries. The promotion of economic growth and sustainable development, as well as enhancing human and institutional capacities, poverty eradication and good governance, were essential to improving the living conditions of more than 600 million people living in least developed countries.
He said his country had provided $750 million in official development assistance (ODA) last year, and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency was carrying out hundreds of projects through its 22 field offices, in addition to its having established a $15 million fund earmarked for least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. Turkey had also reached out to 17 African countries, mainly through the World Food Programme (WFP), providing significant humanitarian and technical aid to 25 countries worldwide in 2005 alone. International trade and bilateral commercial relations were vital to least developed countries.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said the international community was duty-bound to provide least developed countries with more help and to implement the Brussels Programme of Action. Developed countries should strengthen development partnerships, turn political will into action and turn their commitments into results. China called on developed countries to further improve market access for least developed countries, increase ODA and expand financial and technological support. They should also speedily honour their commitments to grant tariff and quota exemptions to exports from least developed countries, which would constitute at least 97 per cent of all tariff items by 2008.
He said last year his country had cancelled all interest-free governmental loans owed by African least developed countries that had matured by the end of 2005, and had more than doubled the coverage for zero-tariff treatment of exports from 190 items to 454. In the next three years, China would double its 2006 aid volume to African countries, establish an Africa-China development fund, train 15,000 personnel, and help develop infrastructure and public interest projects. As for challenges facing landlocked developing countries, China had, among other things, acceded to the Agreement for Facilitation of Transport in the Greater Mekong River Region and signed bilateral transit transport agreements with neighbouring Kazakhstan and Mongolia. It also supported the construction of transnational transport channels such as the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway.
TULGA NARKHUU ( Mongolia) strongly endorsed the modalities for the 2008 midterm review of the Almaty Programme of Action and called for the highest possible level of participation by Member States, stressing that responding to the problems of landlocked developing countries required a multidimensional approach. The development of their transport infrastructure was a priority, and since most landlocked developing countries greatly needed financial and technical assistance to construct, maintain and improve their transport and transit-related facilities, bilateral and international support and cooperation should be further expanded and strengthened. Close regional cooperation among landlocked developing countries and transit countries was also of the utmost importance. Mongolia proposed a multilateral agreement based on article 5 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to ensure efficient transit transport services and reduced costs and losses.
Market access measures could only be effective if complemented by sustained efforts to improve the productive capacity of landlocked developing countries, he said, calling on the international community to increase access for exports from developing countries and help them enhance their export capabilities. Mongolia was actively engaged in facilitating trade talks with fellow World Trade Organization members and partners, including on issues concerning cost implications, technical assistance and special and differential treatment. Mongolia called on the international community to give consideration to the unique and difficult problems confronted by landlocked developing countries in the World Trade Organization negotiations.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said that landlocked developing countries, tied to their geographical handicap, lacked sovereign access to the sea, were isolated from major international markets and sources of supply, had inadequate transport infrastructure, and were laden with cumbersome procedures. Their effective integration into the global economy and timely realization of the Millennium Development Goals would be accomplished only through genuine partnerships with their development counterparts; between public and private sectors at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and global levels; and through the full implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action.
Due to their geographical locations, landlocked developing countries had suffered similarly to small island developing States from climate change and global warming, she said. Desertification and permanent water-resource deficits, resulting from climate change, caused them problems that went largely unnoticed by the international community. It was to be hoped that Member States could translate the agenda item under consideration into specific recommendations on how to expand a multilateral partnership designed to put in place effective transit transport systems that would provide secure and predictable access to world markets for the products of landlocked developing countries.
STEVE MATENJE ( Malawi) called on the international community to facilitate implementation of the Brussels and Almaty Programmes of Action as vital tools to address the development and poverty eradication challenges of the least developed countries. Implementation of the Cotonou Strategy for the further implementation of the seven Brussels commitments was also urgently required.
He said his country had undertaken various reforms to support implementation of the Millennium Goals. Malawi had adopted sound fiscal and macroeconomic policies and instituted measures to promote transparency and good governance, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, public-sector management and gender mainstreaming in both the public and private sectors. In 2006, it had launched the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy for the period 2006 to 2011. The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and the Public Sector Investment Programme aimed to ensure efficiency as well as the sustainable use of resources to implement the Millennium Goals.
In line with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, he said, the Government of Malawi was finalizing a development assistance strategy that sought to align its development partners with the Development Goals by using the most practical and efficient balance of aid in order to increase its productive capacity. Malawi appreciated the cooperation shown by the Governments of Mozambique and Zambia, and by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in helping with the implementation of water projects on the Shire and Zambezi rivers, which aimed to give Malawi and other countries in the region direct, affordable access to the sea.
GENET TESHOME ( Ethiopia) called for greater market access for goods produced in landlocked developing countries. Since they depended on their transit neighbours for access to and from the sea, it was important to set up efficient transit systems through closer and more effective cooperation. Bilateral and regional economic cooperation and transit agreements should play a critical role in promoting and further facilitating transport cooperation.
Ethiopia, doing its best to address the disadvantages of being a landlocked developing country, had signed port utilization and transit agreements with Djibouti to expedite the movement of goods at port, he said. It had also been streamlining ports utilization frameworks in partnership with its neighbours. They had jointly developed laws in the maritime sector on multimodal transport, inland port facilities, transport operations and inland port administrative organization.
Development partners should reinforce their support for the development of physical infrastructure, improve the operational facility of existing facilities and help build new ones, he said. Special emphasis should be given to African landlocked developing countries, which required a mechanism to help them avoid the risk of being subjected to road funds and unfair port and related service fees. The United Nations system and other international, regional or subregional organizations should provide greater financial and technical assistance to landlocked and transit developing countries.
SULAY-MANAH KPUKUMU ( Sierra Leone) said that despite recorded economic growth in some least developed countries, many were still in the “twilight zone” of development. Sierra Leone, having made serious efforts to implement pro-poor policies aimed at poverty eradication and sustained economic growth and development, was in its third year of implementing its poverty reduction strategy, including the post-conflict Peace Consolidation Strategy. But limited financial resources and weak human, institutional and technical capacities continued to compromise its efforts. Those challenges were exacerbated by a massive loss of skills to the developed world. A recent study of 10 African countries showed them losing an average of 40 per cent of their university graduates. Sierra Leone had lost 53 per cent of its human resource base in that way.
The floundering trade negotiations in the Doha Development Round and falling ODA levels dealt a further serious blow to least developed countries amid their fight against poverty, hunger, diseases and illiteracy, he said. Sierra Leone called on development partners to implement a comprehensive debt cancellation. That would free much-needed resources and mobilize adequate, predictable and timely international support for the realization of the Brussels Programme of Action. Development partners should also strengthen implementation of the Aid for Trade initiative and expand market access by reducing trade barriers through the resumption of the stalled Doha talks, which would enable least developed countries to generate resources to finance sustained growth and sustainable development.
PARSHURAM MAGHI GURUNG ( Nepal) said that while the majority of least developed countries had adopted people-centred development policies, they remained unable to produce tangible results. They lacked productive capacities and were weak in global market competitiveness. Aid flows had decreased in real terms, and foreign direct investment (FDI) had not increased. Least developed countries were also unfairly hard-hit by global climate change. Trade had not been working as an engine for growth in least developed countries, and the Doha impasse was undermining the development dimension of trade, pushing back any beneficial integration of least developed countries and landlocked developing countries into the global economy.
The Aid for Trade initiative should be implemented properly to address supply-side constraints and the productive capacities of least developed countries, he said. The United Nations system could play a critical role in advancing the interests of countries with special needs by highlighting their progress and identifying implementation gaps in their programmes. Nepal emphasized the need for a comprehensive review of the Almaty Programme, which should put in place measures to overcome gaps in accelerating cooperation for implementation. Greater support, cooperation and collaboration were needed from development partners to boost the collective pursuit of internationally agreed development goals by countries with special needs.
HELEN BECK (Solomon Islands), urging all partners to support the Cotonou Strategy, expressed support for the call by least developed countries for the funding by the United Nations regular budget of two delegates per least developed country to the annual review of the Brussels Programme. Those countries accounted for just 2 per cent of global trade, and they continued to be subjected to some form of tax by other countries, which made it difficult for them fully to integrate into the global economy. It was to be hoped that all partner countries would accord duty- and quota-free access for all their products without exception.
She said that despite debt relief, many least developed countries, including the Solomon Islands, continued to experience financial stress as many of the conditions attached to relief initiatives were hard to achieve, and lacked the necessary flexibility and the policy space to address national development priorities. The Solomon Islands also supported the call for a well-resourced office dedicated to promoting the causes of least developed countries. The United Nations system should equally support the efforts of the Small Island Developing States Unit of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to promote and advocate for those countries, as they were among the Organization’s most vulnerable Members. Statistical data from various United Nations agencies should be compiled into one booklet and made available to all least developed countries, and each agency should indicate exactly what it was doing under the Brussels Programme.
ALFREDO LABBÉ ( Chile) said landlocked developing countries needed facilities to enable them to access global markets. As a transit country, Chile had been translating into action its strong support of market access for landlocked developing countries by taking measures that would directly benefit landlocked South American countries. Chile and other concerned countries were currently carrying out a bilateral review of cross-border transport costs and various infrastructure issues.
He said his country had already granted transit facilities that went far beyond multilateral agreements currently in force. For instance, Chile had signed with Bolivia an important programme for border countries, and had also invested in access roads and port management. The country had also established with Paraguay a commission for physical integration which, among other things, reviewed matters dealing with the transit of products and goods.
SEO EUNJI ( Republic of Korea) said the primary responsibility for development in the least developed countries rested with those countries themselves. However, their efforts should run parallel with support from other Governments and international organizations. As an emerging donor, the Republic of Korea had declared its strong commitment to increasing its contribution to poverty eradication efforts and realization of the Millennium Development Goals in developing countries. The Government planned to increase its ODA to $1 billion by 2009 and to $3 billion by 2015. It had also decided to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee in 2010, in addition to other efforts to harmonize and align its development assistance with the Paris Declaration.
Underscoring her country’s recognition of the crucial role of trade in sustainable development, she went on to say the Republic of Korea was helping developing countries by building their capacity for trade, and expanding duty- and quota-free market access for imports from least developed countries. In addition, the equal participation of women was instrumental to overall development, and gender mainstreaming must be made a central pillar of the development strategies of least developed countries. Shared collective responsibility was important in reducing poverty and hunger, and the Republic of Korea intended to retain strong global partnerships for the realization of the Millennium Goals.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said the thematic regional ministerial meeting his country hosted recently had resulted in important proposals, including one on the creation of a plan for regional railway development, and another on the mobilization of technical partners and the integration of the environmental aspects of those projects. The Ouagadougou and other meetings had been successful in pinpointing and eradicating constraints hampering trade for landlocked developing countries.
But addressing those issues required a global partnership, whose role in the realization of adequate infrastructure was critical, he said. Any delay in implementing the Almaty Programme would escalate the marginalization of landlocked developing countries, stem their access to global markets and hamper their efforts to realize the Millennium Goals. Burkina Faso called for the international community to effectively implement the Programme.
Introduction of Reports
RACHEL MAYANJA, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on women in development (document A/62/187), saying women and girls continued to constitute a disproportionate share of the world’s poor. Their vulnerability to poverty had been increased by unequal access to productive resources, gender bias in poverty and inheritance laws, lack of access to education and job opportunities, minimal participation in decision-making, and time constraints as a result of the unequal sharing of family and work responsibilities.
According to the report, there was a direct link between women’s participation in decision-making and the allocation of resources for development priorities and poverty-reduction strategies, she said. Research showed that women in decision-making positions were more likely to sponsor bills and support decisions addressing the multidimensional nature of human poverty, and to develop laws and policies addressing women’s and children’s rights in areas directly related to poverty reduction and violence against women. Research also indicated that an increasing number of women in decision-making positions had improved the quality of governance, leading to reduced levels of corruption. Women had been actively involved in promoting gender-responsive budgeting initiatives that aimed to ensure that Government budgets, policies and programmes addressed women’s priorities and needs. Still, their impact was constrained, as women in Government often lacked the opportunities of their male counterparts in terms of training, access to resources and participation in networks. It was also important to addressed violence against women, since the violation of their human rights was a major impediment to development.
NIKHIL SETH, Director, Office of Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on human resources development (document A/62/308), saying the topic was critical to the realization of development goals. The quality of human resources effectively determined economic growth and the ability of nations to benefit from the opportunities of the globalizing world.
The pace of integration into the global economy was determined largely by the level of skilled human resources and their technological prowess, he said, adding that science and technology also provided important opportunities for developing countries to speed up the development of their human resources. The application of new technologies could facilitate access to knowledge, education, training and jobs. As a result, learning to use, adapt and apply new technologies had become essential to social and economic progress. Only through an integrated strategy to promote technological knowledge and learning could a nation acquire a sustainable capacity for science, technology and learning.
SERGEI ZELENEV, Chief, Social Integration Branch, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the report (document A/62/267) of the Secretary-General on implementation of the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006), saying it provided an overview of the Decade’s key developments, including how the commitment to poverty eradication had been fulfilled nationally and internationally. It addressed some key challenges faced by countries and the international community in pursuit of that objective, and highlighted concrete initiatives, including the World Solidarity Fund, the International Year of Microcredit 2005, International Human Solidarity Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The mixed results in achieving progress towards poverty eradication had led to a better understanding of the nature and the range of deep-rooted obstacles faced by countries in their efforts to reduce poverty, he said. National development strategies must be broad, inclusive and should adopt an integrated and holistic approach that could address poverty in all its dimensions, including through access to education, health, full employment and decent work, gender equality, empowerment, and participation by the poor in the development process. Donors and the international community must support national efforts by aligning ODA with them and creating a global economic environment that promoted employment in developing countries.
The Committee then took up the agenda item on the eradication of poverty and other development issues.
AMJAD ABBAS (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it was paradoxical that more than 800 million people went hungry every day in a world possessing wealth and food-production capabilities. Nearly 2.5 billion of the world’s 6.3 billion people lacked access to basic sanitation, and 1 billion lacked access to safe drinking water. Half the world lived on less than $2 a day, while those who had escaped extreme poverty -- living on less than a dollar a day -- had simply joined the “less than $2 a day” group. The progress made towards meeting poverty reduction targets had been uneven and slow.
The world had the resources and knowledge to make poverty history, he stressed. Women’s empowerment remained central to achieving the Millennium Goals, and it was essential not only to recognize the role of women in eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable economic growth, but also to empower them with equal rights and to provide them with full access to education, training, employment opportunities, technology and financial resources, in line with the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. The development of human resources and capacity-building in science and technology, as well as easier access to the latest technologies, would help developing countries achieve the internationally agreed development targets, including the Millennium Goals.
VIRGINIA BRAS GOMES ( Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union, reiterated the relevance of human rights protection, including the right to food, in the context of poverty eradication. The European Union shared fully the broad definition of poverty encompassing various dimensions besides income, such as access to health and human services, education, gender equality, social exclusion, powerlessness and lack of voice or representation. Pockets of poverty and social exclusion persisted even in developed countries, and the European Union called for renewed efforts to target disadvantaged groups. The establishment of National Action Plans for Inclusion by European Union member States was a coordinated policy framework to address poverty among children, women and other vulnerable groups.
The European Union also supported the promotion of public-private partnerships to achieve the Millennium Goals and the implementation of comprehensive national strategies, she said. The 2005 European Consensus for Development recognized the importance of poverty eradication and sustainable development. It underpinned the European Union’s development cooperation activities in developing countries, underlined the importance of policy coherence for development, and ensured that such European Union non-development policies as trade, security and integration contributed to developing countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Goals.
She underscored the importance of strengthening the United Nations gender architecture in line with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. Comprehensive gender-sensitive poverty eradication strategies, allowing for women’s full participation in policy-setting and decision-making, were needed to address the feminization of poverty. The revised Lisbon Strategy and the subsequent Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008), adopted by the European Union Council, had placed an even stronger emphasis on the need to invest more in research and development, underpinned by technological innovation, and in human capital, a key determinant of economic growth in a knowledge-based economy.
TERRY SHAMEEM (Suriname), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the eradication of poverty was an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, but the current world order revealed economic disparities, unequal trade regimes, income inequalities between and within countries, social injustice and declining opportunities for millions of people. It was imperative to address the patterns of international finance, trade, technology and investment affecting the prospects of developing countries.
CARICOM also noted with concern the alarmingly disproportionate levels of poverty among women, including rural and indigenous women, he said. Since poverty was a common challenge requiring action by all actors, renewed international attention must be paid to the need for coherence in development, and for trade and finance policies to avert the erosion of development gains and the exacerbation of poverty. Poverty eradication required good governance at all levels, as well as transparency in financial, monetary and trading systems.
He said CARICOM was experiencing four main challenges while striving to halve the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015. The first was strengthening and restructuring the economy to ensure sustainable growth, with a pro-poor focus, by creating an environment conducive to a dynamic private sector that could generate growth and jobs, while taking into account the challenges of globalization and free trade. The second challenge was strengthening regional, national, State and non-State capacities to define, implement and monitor poverty eradication policies. The third was upgrading labour-market training institutions, and the fourth was strengthening social-sector policies for adequate protection of the poor and underprivileged.
ABDUL ALIM ( Bangladesh) said developing countries had taken significant reform measures, with many of them adopting poverty reduction strategies. Still, domestic efforts could not succeed without a commensurate level of global support, which had seen declines in ODA levels. Debt relief could not release sufficient resources, and the international trade regime was far from optimal. The consequence was that, despite some progress during the first decade, poverty was still a big threat. Inequality was another big challenge, with globalization contributing to increasing concentrations of income and wealth.
Creating decent and productive employment was an important path to reducing poverty, and microcredit had huge potential for poverty eradication, he said. But even though microcredit programmes and initiatives had spread rapidly and offered promising returns, about 500 million poor and low-income people worldwide remained without access to microfinance. Eliminating poverty and attaining prosperity was a treasured dream and a duty for humanity. Bangladesh strongly called upon Member States to proclaim a second decade for the eradication of poverty and looked forward to a new impetus in efforts towards the shared goal of a world free from fear, want and deprivation.
ADIYATWIDI ADIWOSO ( Indonesia) said uneven progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals had occurred because the international economic environment had not always been welcoming to developing countries, which had made a continued effort to mobilize domestic resources, as well as fair and equitable trade. But more ODA, further debt relief and FDI flows, and a non-discriminatory financial system remained mere promises.
Despite the burdens of past financial crises, Indonesia was on track to achieve the Millennium Goals, having gone through painstaking efforts to democratize and strengthen its economic fundamentals after the Asian financial crises, she said. Indonesia’s development strategy emphasized pro-growth, pro-poor and pro-job approaches. The Government continued striving to balance all policies and measures between the requirements of promoting growth and improving welfare distribution. Not all of the country’s problems had been overcome. Indonesia still faced high unemployment rates, and its education and health facilities were lacking. International cooperation was needed to support Indonesia’s efforts.
SANSANEE SAHUSSARUNGSI ( Thailand) said an integrated and holistic approach at all levels was required to address all dimensions of poverty, particularly the area of national capacity-building. The mobilization of domestic resources would not be sufficient, and Thailand strongly emphasized that developed countries must honour their commitments, especially regarding ODA to developing and least developed countries. Developing countries, for their part, must live up to their own commitments to adopt and implement national policies in a transparent manner, including sound economic policies.
International trade was a driving force for poverty reduction, and developing countries must not be denied opportunities to trade themselves out of poverty, she said. The Doha Round was now at a critical point and Thailand urged all World Trade Organization members to conclude the negotiations. Thailand had made great strides towards poverty reduction, but eradicating poverty required collective efforts. South-South cooperation, complementing North-South cooperation, had gained more attention, and lessons learned could be shared systematically, particularly at the United Nations, to help contribute to global efforts in poverty reduction. It was now time for the world to take urgent action to honour its commitments.
LIU YUYIN ( China) said that since the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, Governments and relevant international organizations had strengthened their cooperation and moved poverty eradication to the top of the global agenda. However, the number of people living in absolute poverty was still enormous. Sub-Saharan countries in particular faced great difficulties in realizing the Millennium Development Goals. The international community should scale up efforts towards poverty eradication, while paying proper attention to enhancing the self-development capacity of poverty-affected populations by providing them with resources and opportunities, and by encouraging them to tap into their creativity and initiatives. A harmonious and united society was the safeguard for poverty eradication, which should be used as a tool to promote social justice.
Vigorous international cooperation was also an important means to eradicate poverty, he continued, stressing that commitments made under the Millennium Declaration and the Monterrey Consensus should be honoured. Developing countries should build national strategies to eliminate poverty while developed countries provided the support and funding for those strategies. Eradicating poverty had always been a priority in China, and the poorer segments of its population were encouraged by the Government to “break away from the shackles of underdevelopment through hard work and self-reliance”. The significant reduction in national poverty levels had contributed greatly to the global endeavour against poverty. Internationally, China had promoted South-South cooperation, increased its development assistance, and contributed to training and research in international poverty eradication. Eradicating poverty and achieving prosperity were the common goals of mankind, and China was ready to join hands with all partners to achieve them.
ARUNA KUMAR VUNDAVALLI ( India) said his country was committed to promoting women’s participation in Government decision-making and was actively implementing the commitments made in the Beijing Platform for Action. A constitutional amendment required a minimum of 33 per cent representation for women in local self-government nationwide. That had led to the mobilization of women in rural areas across the country and brought over a million women into political decision-making at the grassroots level. India had institutionalized gender-sensitive budgeting and was promoting gender responsive legislation. It was also making efforts to mainstream gender into various Government policies and programmes. The Government actively encouraged and supported group initiatives to form women’s self-help groups, and today more than 2 million were members of self-help groups, supporting more than 10 million rural families. The Government also encouraged women entrepreneurs through special assistance schemes.
Developing countries had a comparative advantage in manpower availability, he said, noting that human capital could only be utilized effectively by enhancing economic output through proper human resources development. The scientific and technological knowledge base of a country’s human resources was a key determinant of competitiveness, productivity and level of development. The development of India’s information technology sector was a testament to the importance of creating a skilled workforce through human resources development. India called upon the international community to provide developing countries with financial resources and technical assistance for capacity-building, effective technology transfer, collaborative research and development, and the establishment of training institutions to impart advanced vocational training.
HJÁLMAR W. HANNESSON ( Iceland) said the advancement of women was critically important, both as a human rights issue and a precondition for successful achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals. It was, therefore, of great concern that women were underrepresented in political and economic decision-making. As support for the education, health and economic activities of women had shown a “multiplier effect” in their communities, Iceland had increasingly directed its development cooperation towards women’s interests in developing countries. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) had been a key partner in that regard, which was why the Icelandic Government had doubled its current contribution to it, marking a 30-fold increase in Iceland’s contributions since 2003.
Discussing bilateral work, he said the Icelandic International Development Agency had supported equal rights through social projects in several countries, and women’s issues would continue to be a key feature of its development cooperation. The Agency focused on adult literacy in its bilateral cooperation in Africa and also paid special attention to girls’ education. The Agency also cooperated with countries in the field of basic health care, with a particular focus on reproductive health. On its work within international organizations, Iceland emphasized the issue of women in war-torn countries. Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) had laid the foundation for States to further focus on women in war zones and post-conflict territories. As such, Iceland was currently mainstreaming gender equality into all its development activities.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said her country’s commitment to eradicating poverty was demonstrated by its having reduced poverty to 45 per cent between 2002 and 2006. It was expected that by 2010, that figure would be less than 35 per cent. That progress had been made possible by sustained economic growth and a social agenda more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals. Special attention had been given to educational enrolment, increasing employment, broadening the social security system, social management of the countryside and public services, promoting ownership, and improving the quality of urban life. To keep the momentum going, the State planned to establish coordinated mechanisms to give preferential access to the poorest and most vulnerable.
While Colombia and other developing countries showed favourable prospects for reducing poverty, progress also required stronger international action, she said, calling for full implementation of international commitments to the Millennium Development Goals. It was essential to increase support to middle-income countries in the fight against poverty, especially since a significant percentage of the world’s poorest populations lived in those countries. To eradicate poverty, action must be taken to ensure a stable and predictable international financial system, to promote a transparent and truly free trading system, and to realize fully the Doha Development Agenda.
AHMAD AL-ASMAKH ( Qatar) said that while Millennium Goal 3 recognized the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment, research showed the critical need for both developed and developing countries to redirect their macroeconomic policies towards creating full and productive employment, especially dignified work for women. Policies should focus on providing equal employment opportunities, and new and emerging challenges should be addressed to prevent women from falling into the poverty trap. There was a need for gender-equality policies to reduce the vulnerability of women, and therefore entire societies, during economic crises.
Research showed the important role of women in poverty eradication and sustainable development, he said, adding that their participation was vital to economic growth. Countries should pay increased and special attention to mainstreaming a gender perspective when devising their development strategies, in order to guarantee full participation and equal opportunity for women. Qatar was doing its part to increase women’s participation in decision-making. They occupied senior political positions, including that of Education Minister. Recognizing the important link between education and employment, Qatar had made higher education for women a top priority. The Government was trying to reduce the gender gap and had increased the percentage of women participating in various economic sectors.
HASSAN YOUSIF NGOR ( Sudan) said that since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Darfur Peace Agreement, his country had begun a period of development, and the national economy had seen a 7 per cent growth rate in 2006. Sudan had also begun a national programme to provide access to safe drinking water, health care and training. The Government’s agrarian reform project would help ensure the recovery of that sector, which would, in turn, ensure revenue generation. Sudan was also working towards a free education system.
But the country’s current external debt of $27 billion, half of which was destined for debt servicing, was a heavy burden that hindered all poverty reduction efforts, he said. Sudan called upon the international community to cancel the external debt, as the country could not benefit from increased ODA or debt relief initiatives due to unilateral economic coercive measures in place since 1997. The international community should support Sudan’s efforts to realize the Millennium Goals, especially with regard to poverty reduction. Sudan believed a second international decade for poverty eradication was required to ensure the realization of the Millennium Goals.
WILLIAM A. HEIDT (United States), noting that economic growth had contributed significantly to declining poverty rates in all developing countries and at all income levels since 1990, said the average income levels of India, Bangladesh and Viet Nam had increased by an average of 3.5 and 6 per cent between 1996 and 2006. With sustained growth at those rates, the Millennium Declaration would be realized. However, progress had not been even and much more work remained to be done. Experience had shown that poverty reduction was driven by trade, private financial flows and investment in human capital through foreign assistance.
The United States had done its part in that regard, by pledging a 50 per cent increase in ODA by 2006, helping to launch the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), freeing up resources for low-income countries to invest in their citizens and, with other creditors, providing bilateral debt relief to 31 countries as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Under its Millennium Challenge initiative, the United States gave countries demonstrating their commitment to effective policies what they needed to launch State-specified initiatives, provided they led effectively to reducing poverty.
He emphasized that without poverty alleviation, sustainable progress could not be made in other sectors like health, education and nutrition. There was a need to create enabling environments to remove barriers that held people back from realizing their potential. Creating such environments meant registering property rights, enforcing contracts, allowing markets to be competitive, helping small and medium-sized enterprises get off the ground to create jobs, giving girls and women equal opportunities for education and employment, and tackling corruption. However, poverty could not be eradicated solely by frontloaded transfers from the public sectors of rich countries to those of poor countries. Rather, success in development came through private sector-led growth, good governance, investment in human capital and public-private partnerships.
LILIT TOUTKHALIAN (Armenia) said that since her country’s joining of the Millennium Declaration, recent research conducted by international financial institutions showed that some objectives set for 2009 had already been met by 2005. Armenia had experienced continuous and stable economic growth, labour market stability and growing allocations for pension funds and other social subsidies over that last five years. Together with a steady flow of private transfers from aboard, that had provided an observable reduction of poverty.
She said her country had focused on programmes targeting maternal and child health, education, and rural development to reduce poverty and move towards realizing the Millennium Goals. Selected as a partner of the American Millennium Challenge Corporation, in 2005, Armenia had signed a compact and developed an ambitious project to cover its rural regions with networks of roads, modern infrastructure, schools and health-care facilities. Armenia was confident that effective governance, further promotion and protection of human rights, and significant investment in human capital would become a powerful impetus for international donors, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and others, to further assist Armenia in its efforts to eradicate poverty.
NOOR BADER AL HAYKI ( Bahrain) said her country had made remarkable strides in reducing poverty, and it was well on its way to realizing the Millennium Goals. The Government’s top priorities were combating poverty, improving living standards and educational reforms. It had already achieved 100 per cent primary school enrolment and created a National Education Reform Project, a comprehensive inter-agency project aimed at sustaining economic growth and raising overall living standards.
She said gender equality was fundamental to achieving sustained economic growth and, as such, empowering women was instrumental to realizing development goals. Nationally, governmental and private institutions were encouraged to integrate gender aspects into their programmes, in order to enhance women’s capabilities and thus enable them to assume their role as decision-makers. Political participation, one of the three indicators of progress on the implementation of the Millennium Goal of gender equality, had increased in 2006 from 7.5 per cent to 13.75 per cent in Parliament. However, elevating women from poverty was a continuing process and, despite the efforts of some countries to provide small business grants to women, more support was needed.
Turning to human resource development, she said the Government had established a Labour Fund to help strengthen the national economy and develop the private sector into an engine of growth. It also encouraged greater efficiency and productivity among Bahraini workers and integrated women into the job market. The creation of more than 30,000 jobs was expected under a new industrial strategy to be implemented by 2015. National unemployment levels had already been significantly reduced through a National Employment Project, begun in 2006.
ABDALLA SHABBAN ( Libya) said poverty was multifaceted, and more must be done to help countries develop economically and socially while ensuring their civic and legal rights. More than 8 million people worldwide suffered from social and economic exclusion. Poverty eradication was a major challenge to the realization of the Millennium Goals, and the United Nations must encourage the international community, particularly international financial institutions and donors, to support poverty-reduction programmes.
He said ODA would play a decisive role in supplementing those countries’ efforts to reduce poverty, and developed countries must make good on their promise to earmark 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product for assistance to developing countries. The least developed countries lacked the resources to deal with the socio-economic and human consequences of poverty and to prevent its spread. Libya, working with Nigeria and Cuba, supported other South-South programmes and strategies to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. The Government had encouraged Libyan investors to increase their support for the Sahel region and for the programmes of Arab desert countries.
ROSELYN MAKHUMULA ( Malawi) said much-needed international support for least developed countries to overcome the challenges to getting millions of people out of poverty had been, and remained, grossly inadequate. Still, she expressed hope that, in partnership with the international community, Malawi would be able to achieve and surpass the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target date and reduce the poverty that had stifled socio-economic development. The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy was launched in 2006, as a home-grown, overarching national policy for creating new wealth, achieving sustainable economic growth and development, and combating endemic poverty that continued to engulf most people, especially women and children, in rural areas. The Strategy focused on agricultural development and food security, irrigation and water development, transport and communication infrastructure development, energy and power, integrated rural development, and management and prevention of HIV/AIDS.
Malawi had made considerable progress to reduce poverty, she said. The number of people living below the poverty line fell from 53 per cent in 1988 to 45 per cent in 2006. It had reduced the rate of child death, stepped up food production and security, distributed bed nets to prevent and control malaria, and was currently working to lower the high maternal mortality rate. Despite those efforts, it still encountered serious challenges to implement policies, due to limited resources and external policy factors. She called upon all development partners to fulfil their commitments to help Malawi achieve development. Women’s empowerment, particularly in rural areas, was a strong component of Malawi’s poverty-reduction processes. The Government strove to strengthen credit mechanisms to enable women to improve farm and non-farm activities by giving them better access to land, extension services and farm inputs.
SEO EUNJI ( Republic of Korea) said the reasons for the persistence of poverty include a lag in job creation, unequal access to development benefits and financial resources, and a lack of good governance. Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa was even more complex, with the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, ill-designed macroeconomic reform programmes and persistent debt. The Republic of Korea’s efforts to combat poverty included increasing ODA volume, which the Government would double by 2009 from its current level and further triple to about $3.2 billion by 2015. The Government would also bolster its Initiative for Africa’s Development, tripling its assistance by 2008, and would assist developing countries under Aid for Trade initiatives regarding non-tariff and other trade-related issues.
To further help to reduce poverty, she said, her country would increase opportunities to share its own development experience with developing countries by offering short-term methods to overcome poverty and underdevelopment. She said the Government was making strenuous efforts to strengthen global partnerships with donor countries, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and recipient countries to combat poverty. The role of women was a decisive factor of development strategies in eradicating poverty. Poverty required the world’s attention, and it was time for the international community to increase its efforts and commitment towards eradicating poverty and hunger.
HABIB MANSOUR ( Tunisia) said the multidimensional causes and effects of poverty needed to be set against a global background and needed to benefit from an integrated approach. Poverty resulted from a world characterized by unequal economic development; as a result, eradicating poverty was the world’s biggest challenge.
Poverty eradication, rooted in the Charter of the United Nations, was indeed a global goal, but that collective commitment must be translated into concrete action, driven by a real global partnership for development to combat poverty by relying on values of cooperation and solidarity, he said. Tunisia believed that declaring a second decade for poverty eradication was necessary, since the first 10 years did not achieve the principal goal for which it was established.
AGNIESZKA KARPINSKA ( Poland) supported the statement made earlier in the day by Portugal’s representative. She reiterated Poland’s understanding that any reference made to the sexual and reproductive rights of women did not constitute an encouragement to promoting abortion as a means of achieving advancement of women. She stressed Poland’s commitment to the full and swift realization of the advancement of women in the development agenda.
ERLINDA CAPONES ( Philippines) said the Millennium Development Goals formed a framework for her country’s development plan and its social commitments. Guided by its national development framework, the Government’s goal was to generate jobs and reduce poverty, and steps had already been taken to address hunger, technology enhancement, skills training, population management and microfinancing.
There was a need for interaction between macroeconomic policy and anti-poverty and social policies, she said. Growth needed to be translated into more effective social development and to demonstrate results towards poverty and hunger eradication. Beyond national macroeconomic and microeconomic reforms, the world needed to think and act internationally, and needed action, especially in mobilizing much-needed resources. She reiterated a call to consider the proposal of the Philippines for Debt for Equity in Millennium Development Goals projects. She called on the United Nations to lead an international campaign to change the concept of debt sustainability from “capacity to pay” to “levels of debt that allow developing countries to achieve the MDGs”, where debt payments do not form hindrances to the attainment of the Goals.
BAMADEV DHUNGANA (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the momentum generated for broad-based development by the first United Nations Decade for Poverty Eradication and expressed the hope that a second decade would generate an even greater focus on eradicating poverty. As the halfway point to the Millennium Goals deadline approached, much remained to be done, and next year’s review should be used as an opportunity to accelerate progress. In that context, implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action was crucial for least developed countries, and the United Nations could play an even more proactive role in that regard.
A people-centred policy framework was essential, he said, stressing the need to translate commitments into action and emphasizing the value of technological advancement and human resources development in stimulating innovation. To that end, women’s empowerment was critical. Poverty eradication was the focus of Nepal’s midterm development plan, and the Government was focusing on the need to establish sustainable peace through rural infrastructure reconstruction and quality education. Moreover, Nepal was committed to implementing the Millennium Goals by engaging all stakeholders. A community-led development approach emphasized the effective participation of women and marginalized communities. Nepal looked forward to enhanced cooperation with its development partners.
PIRAGIBE DOS SANTOS TARRAGO (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Rio Group, said poverty demanded action, which was why his country had launched the 2004 “Action against Hunger and Poverty” initiative. Economic growth alone could not lift families above the poverty line; it must be supported by public policies to address structural obstacles. Growth and poverty reduction must be pursued in tandem. In that context, the term “middle-income countries” could be misleading, in that the average income level in those countries neither reflected existing wide income disparities, nor revealed the “pockets of poverty” that harboured many of the world’s poor.
Aware of the urgent need to promote economic growth and better income distribution, Brazil had retooled its social policies to that end, he said. Inequality in per capita household income had fallen in the 2001-2004 period to its lowest level in 30 years. Between 1990 and 2003, more than 5 million Brazilians had been lifted out of extreme poverty. Public policies like the “Bolsa Familia” programme, which granted monthly allowances to 11 million families, had also been critical to combating poverty. Expanding access to education and bringing technological innovation into school rooms had also been a focus. The United Nations should play a primary role in assisting national policies to eradicate poverty and hunger.
AURA MAHUAMPI RODRIGUEZ DE ORTIZ ( Venezuela) said her country’s previous capitalist system had increased poverty in the country, but its new social development programmes focused on the fundamental right of all people to solidarity, justice, social inclusion, respect for human rights and civic participation. The Venezuelan Government’s social programmes, particularly its efforts to eradicate poverty, would enable the country to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015. The Government viewed poverty eradication in an integral, multifaceted manner that required that attention be paid to poverty’s social and economic aspects, instead of simply to monetary terms defined by multilateral organizations like the World Bank.
In the spirit of South-South cooperation, Venezuela was working to achieve sustainable social and economic development through energy and financial arrangements with other Latin American countries, she said. It aimed to promote integrated development and sovereignty in the use and control of natural resources and respect for the environment, in order to reduce poverty and social marginalization. Venezuela supported the call for a second decade to eradicate poverty, which would lead to the mobilization of financing for development, particularly internal resources, international investment, greater ODA, debt relief, and a fair, equitable, open, predictable, non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.
* *** *For information media • not an official record