|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
3rd & 4th Meetings (AM & PM)
Rich Nations Pressed to Shoulder ‘Historic Responsibility’ of Helping Poor
Countries Bridge Development Gaps, as Second Committee Continues Debate
With global crises and the destructive effects of climate change continuing to threaten not only global socio-economic development, but also the world’s very existence, developed countries must assume their “historic responsibility” to help their developing counterpart bridge existing imbalances and gaps, many speakers said today, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its general debate.
Qatar’s representative said global progress towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals had not been satisfactory as the 2015 target year drew closer. Many gains had begun to falter owing to the world economic, financial and food crises, he said, noting that developing countries would continue to be the most affected by the resulting fallout. Developed nations had a duty to provide unconditional official development assistance (ODA), especially since the crises originated primarily with them, he declared.
Several speakers noted that the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit had clearly underscored the urgent need to scale up global partnerships for development and to mobilize the promised ODA. Kazakhstan’s representative stressed that eliminating the disparity between developing and developed countries was a prerequisite for realizing the Goals, to which Lebanon’s delegate added that political will on the part of developed countries to fulfil their pledges was a cornerstone of all future success. With regard to climate change, he said it was the most serious challenge of modern times, and it was high time, therefore, that the international community, and the developed countries in particular, address it at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
Many speakers, especially from developing and least developed countries, urged developed countries to work towards a comprehensive and legally-binding climate agreement in Cancun. They also asked them to commit to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, as contained in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Calling for ambitious, realistic “deliverables” in Cancun, Thailand’s representative added that developed countries must make good on their commitments to cut emissions deeply and provide fast-start financing and technology to developing countries.
Germany’s representative agreed that the issue of climate change must be addressed urgently, noting that if the world failed to limit global warming, major climatic changes and environmental disasters would lead to the destabilization of whole countries and entire regions. As a member of the European Union, Germany would fulfil its commitments on mitigation and adaptation, including its pledge to provide €350 million for fast-start financing, he affirmed.
Ethiopia’s representative said the fragility of world ecosystems meant that Africa and other least developed regions were “indeed paying dearly for the wealth and well-being that was created in the developed countries through carbon-intensive development”. That trend must be immediately reversed, he stressed.
Also making statements today were representatives of the Russian Federation, Malawi, Comoros, Iran, Syria, China, Israel, Belarus, Liechtenstein, Libya, United States, Honduras, Botswana, Sudan, Algeria, Cuba, Bolivia, Saudi Arabia, Georgia, Mexico, Viet Nam, Jordan, Costa Rica, Peru, Morocco, Nigeria, Zambia, Colombia, Senegal, Bangladesh and Venezuela.
The Second Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 6 October, to conclude its general debate.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its general debate.
MIKHAIL SAVOSTIANOV ( Russian Federation) said any Second Committee decisions on the macroeconomic cluster including financing for development must be adopted by consensus and should be balanced, feasible and economically justified. Since the Development Goals were intrinsically linked to climate change, responses to the climate challenge should not undermine efforts by States, particularly developing countries, to achieve long-term economic growth.
He said that an extremely important task for the Committee was to help the climate change conference in Cancun elaborate specific modalities of the international climate regime beyond 2012, on the basis of consensus. The need for consensus in that regard was obvious since a post-Kyoto agreement would be meaningless without the support of any emitting States. Hopefully, joint international efforts to meet international arrangements on climate cooperation beyond 2012 would pick up after the Russian Federation’s decision to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 per cent by 2020 as measured against 1990 emissions.
The Committee was also an important platform for the elaboration of a strategy to ensure a full-scale transition to new, environmentally sound technologies, he said, emphasizing the crucial nature of that issue for his country, which was pursuing a policy of economic modernization. There was a need to explore initiatives in the development of advanced waste-treatment methods. The growing trend of using waste as an additional resource was the direct result of United Nations efforts to implement the sustainable development concept.
Moving on to describe his country’s experience in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis, he said it had overcome the recession quickly and had enjoyed gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4 per cent. Balanced and positively conservative macroeconomic policy was a key to preserving the Government’s credibility, he said, noting that his country’s budget deficit had stood at 6 per cent in 2009 and was expected to drop to 5.3 per cent this year. The Government had approved a special programme to promote competition as a major anti-crisis measure, with the goals of eliminating all factors leading to unjustified price increases, and facilitating free competition at all levels.
MIKE JAMU ( Malawi), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the continent had enormous potential in many respects, but its growth had recently slowed due to multiple crises. If development partners continued to provide support, existing gaps could be bridged and growth ensured. However, support to Africa had been incoherent and uneven, failing to yield maximum results, he said. Challenges such as food insecurity, energy insufficiency and climate-induced problems were not confined to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals alone, but went beyond to questions of peace and security, good governance and equal opportunities for all Africans.
The twin challenges of low agricultural productivity and inefficient energy production continued to frustrate development efforts, he said, calling on the international community to supply short-, medium- and long-term African needs in agricultural production, as well as supply- and demand-side constraints. While trade was an important vehicle for propelling Africa’s economies, its participation in global trade was the lowest of all continents, he said, stressing the need for a balanced, equitable and open multilateral trading system.
“The failure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) round of negotiations is very disappointing to developing countries and particularly Africa,” he said, urging the negotiating parties at the Doha Development Round to demonstrate a spirit of give-and-take. Furthermore, donors had been falling behind on their commitments, he said, urging them to fulfil their pledges. The African Group was concerned about official development assistance (ODA) targets, since an increase in ODA of up to 0.7 per cent could not be counted as support for climate change mitigation and adaptation, but rather as additional funding. He also raised concerns about intellectual property rights agreements and trade-related investment measures.
SAID MOHAMED OUSSEIN (Comoros), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that in light of the global crises, including climate change, that continued to confront the international community, the Second Committee must play a dynamic role at the forefront of the fight to combat those challenges. While Africa as a whole had made remarkable progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals, particularly in primary education, gender parity, the political empowerment of women, and reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, rising food prices threatened to push an additional 1.2 million people into poverty. Describing challenges such as a 6 per cent increase in the prices of basic essential goods, he highlighted several Government measures aimed at tackling them.
However, it was clear that national efforts alone could not be enough, he said, urging the international community to redouble its efforts significantly so as to help developing countries. With respect to international trade, the international community must improve their access to markets by eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers that hindered trade. Failure of the Bretton Woods institutions to reach agreement on that score was an opportunity to involve developing countries more closely in future decision-making, he said, calling for commitments made during G-8 and G-20 summits to be upheld. Lastly, he noted that small island developing States, like his own, could disappear within the next 50 years if nothing was done to mitigate climate change. The Comoros hoped Cancun would produce a legally-binding climate agreement based on common but differentiated responsibilities, he said.
ESHAGH ALEHABIB (Iran), noting that blind faith in market self-regulation was over, pointed out, however, that that a positive shift in thinking had yet to be reflected in the national and international practical macroeconomic sphere, with major financial actors going back to “business as usual”. The tasks of ensuring the safety of all financial products, creating stricter standards for hedge funds, and bringing ratings agencies under international ownership and control must be rigorously pursued, he stressed.
Rather than alleviating poverty in countries with high inequality rates, growth exacerbated poverty and inequity, he said, emphasizing that inclusive development should not be left to market forces. There was a need for a second Bretton Woods conference, under United Nations auspices, to address the new realities and make decisions on structural reform of the financial system. However, the ongoing reform of the Bretton Woods institutions looked more cosmetic than real, he said, calling for the introduction of a double-majority voting procedure, measures to ensure accountability on the part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the abandonment of pro-cyclical conditionality.
He hailed the work of the General Assembly working group to follow up on issues relating to the Outcome of the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, saying its mandate should be extended. On the other hand, the outcome document of the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit failed to address systemic shortcomings, he said, welcoming its adoption but expressing concern about its overall strength and the message it was supposed to send to the global poor. Iran had expected a more action-oriented text with new and additional commitments from all parties to help realize the Millennium Development Goals on time.
BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the outcome document of the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit was a work plan to accelerate efforts over the next five years. It emphasized the importance of global partnerships, the need to further mobilize resources and the urgent necessity to support developing countries in facing development challenges. Notwithstanding encouraging data on the global economy, however, the effects of multiple global crises were still being felt. It was important to continue the Ad Hoc Working Group on Economic and Social Crises, in keeping with the mandate given by the General Assembly.
Several climate change-induced natural disasters had highlighted the need for developed countries to assume their historic responsibility to work for a reduction of existing imbalances, he said. A binding agreement based on common but differentiated responsibilities was needed in Cancun. As for the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan, he said international law required action on that issue. The occupation had caused a serious collapse in the area’s economy, in addition to systematic exploitation of agriculture. The outcome document of the Millennium Goals Summit affirmed the need to eliminate obstacles facing people under foreign occupation to achieving the Goals. In conclusion, he said world trade should not be politicized, and called for an end to the unilateral use of economic coercive measures against some States.
WANG MIN ( China) said the impact of the financial crisis, climate change, food insecurity, the energy crisis, natural disasters and other factors had severely challenged the ability of developing countries to realize the Millennium Development Goals by the target year. The serious gap in development between the North and South was the root cause of the world economic imbalance and other global challenges. Only when developing countries were fully developed could there be a solid basis for, and enduring growth of, the global economy. Top priority must be given to development, particularly helping African countries and the least developed countries alleviate poverty, he said.
He said his country supported a discussion of development at the G-20 summit to be held in Seoul, expressing hope that that meeting would provide greater political impetus, more economic resources and better institutional guarantees towards that end. There was a need to secure development resources, he said, emphasizing that the global financial crisis should not be used as an excuse to reduce ODA. Developed countries should implement the Monterrey Consensus in good faith and fulfil their pledges to earmark 0.7 per cent of GDP for ODA. They should provide steady, long-term and predictable financing, increase technical aid to developing countries and further open their markets to developing-world goods and products.
Development mechanisms must be improved, he emphasized, calling on the international community to expedite reform of the international financial institutions, increase the representation in them of developing and emerging economies, and create a fair, just, inclusive and orderly international financial system. Development concerns, such as food and energy security and climate change, must be addressed. The international community must invest more in agriculture, stabilize energy prices, meet the energy demands of all countries, and adhere to the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities when addressing climate change.
GERSHON KEDAR ( Israel) said he was encouraged that some of the Millennium Development Goals remained on track, but so many families still went to bed hungry at night, so many children died from disease, and so many women faced discrimination and preventable maternal mortality. The Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health offered a new opportunity to work together for big strides in development.
He said that over the last decade, his country’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, MASHAV, had aligned its activities with the Millennium Goals, stressing the importance of harmonization and multilateral collaboration. MASHAV collaborated with partner countries throughout the developing world, with a particular emphasis on Africa and the Middle East, and on supply- and demand-driven programmes, in line with nationally-owned development strategies. Areas of cooperation included adaptation to and mitigation of the effects of climate change, food security, public health, water and sanitation, education on gender as a cross-cutting issue, and economic development.
In implementing its co-sponsored draft biannual resolution on agricultural technology for development, Israel had been working to further develop and expand its partnerships, he said. In pursuing that text’s call for Member States to collaborate on combating poverty and hunger while ensuring better production and safer land use, Israel had been working to ensure that agricultural technologies reached areas in which they could have the greatest development impact. Its projects focused on training women in sub-Saharan Africa in agricultural entrepreneurship, he said, stressing that eliminating gender disparity must be integral to any strategy for meaningful, sustainable development.
SANSANEE SAHUSSARUNGSI ( Thailand) expressed hope that the upcoming climate change conference in Cancun would be a stepping stone to a fair, legally binding post-2012 agreement. Calling for ambitious, realistic deliverables, she said developed countries must make good on their commitments to cut emissions deeply and provide fast-start financing and technology to developing countries. Thailand supported the ongoing work of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and had participated actively in the two working groups mandated to continue with the climate change negotiations.
She said that the third Biodiversity Outlook, launched earlier this year, presented a disturbing picture of how far short the international community was falling in meeting the 2010 target for slowing the deterioration of species and the loss of biological diversity. It was to be hoped that the upcoming Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity would adopt the revised and updated Strategic Plan for the Convention, including new biodiversity targets for the post-2010 period. Thailand fully supported the proposal on the draft Multi-Year Plan of Action on Biodiversity and Development.
Reform of financial regulation and supervision was needed to achieve global financial stability, she said, emphasizing that developing countries needed greater voting rights and more of a say in the management of international financial institutions. Thailand encouraged the creation of a coordination mechanism by the United Nations and the G-20 to bridge gaps in international cooperation, she said. Thailand valued greatly the global partnership for development and had allocated more than $170 million to it, with 90 per cent of it focused on development cooperation for least developed countries.
VLADIMIR GERUS ( Belarus) said that realizing the Millennium Goals in an era of globalization and interdependence was a transnational task, adding that the essence of global partnership consisted of a readiness by States to cooperate on an equal footing, as well as the willingness of developed countries to provide adequate assistance to the developing world. However, neither of those critical components of global partnerships had been achieved in practice, he noted, urging the United Nations to reaffirm its significance as a mechanism for global economic cooperation. The global economic crisis had shown that a strong, socially-oriented State was needed to ensure economic stability, and could create democracy and self-governance by its people.
In September, the Government of Belarus had, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), prepared its second national report on progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals, he said, adding that it would be circulated in the near future. Some of the country’s achievements on its path towards becoming a law-based democratic State included high economic growth and social and political stability, he said. Real GDP had doubled, and per capita dollar GDP in purchasing power parity had tripled, despite the global economic crisis. As of 2010, Belarus had achieved Goals 1, 2 and 3, and if the current momentum was maintained, it would also realize Goals 4-7, he said. However, it would be impossible to attain them without strengthening the economic potential of middle-income countries, he cautioned, calling on the United Nations to help those countries resolve the challenges confronting them.
GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said the principles of universality, sovereignty, equality and democracy were important elements of the substantive consensual agreements of the United Nations. Against that backdrop, the Committee’s work had particular importance this year, especially its development agenda. It could build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals Summit and counter those voices that criticized its work as lacking progress. By advancing the United Nations development agenda, the Committee could strengthen the Organization’s primary role in the global governance system.
While Liechtenstein was hopeful that the new G-20 Working Group on Development would boost development efforts beyond 2015, it was not a substitute for the United Nations development agenda, he said. “Only targeted input allows for targeted action.” This year, the Committee should focus on sustainability in development efforts, as well as incentives for new capital inflows to developing countries, he said. It must advance normative standards with regard to good and transparent governance, as well as the fight against corruption and money-laundering. The problem of illicit capital flows must also be addressed on both the supply and demand sides, he said. The Committee must play a central role in promoting internationally recognized standards of transparency and information exchange, since the legitimacy of its work would be judged by the results it delivered.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM ( Libya) said the world faced an unprecedented economic and financial crisis with serious political implications, particularly for developing countries. It was clear that while some countries had made significant progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals, others would not be able to do so because they were unable to mobilize the requisite resources. At a recent summit meeting, the G-8 had announced $50 billion in aid, but that fell short of the requisite target figure of 0.7 per cent of GDP in aid to the developing world, he said.
Efforts were needed to use resources more effectively and implement the Monterrey Consensus, he emphasized. Reform of the international financial institutions would not be easy, but it was doable, given the requisite political will. There must be collective efforts to reduce the cost of the crisis, he said, emphasizing the need to strengthen the voice of developing countries in the decision-making procedures of the Bretton Woods institutions.
Climate change was a danger that particularly affected developing countries, he said, adding that it was particularly difficult for them as they tried to combat poverty and illness while pursuing realization of the other Millennium Goals. They lacked the financial and technological means to do so. Water transport costs in arid African counties were very high, and they needed help through the transfer of technology. Hopefully, the international community would reach agreement on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan this month, and on climate change during the upcoming conference in Cancun, he said.
TOUFIC JABER ( Lebanon), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the Committee must consider meaningful measures aimed at alleviating the magnitude, severity and adverse socio-economic implications of the global financial and economic crisis on developing countries. Moreover, calls for a comprehensive, equitable and inclusive international financial system must be addressed. It was high time to reform the Bretton Woods system in order to increase developing-country participation in their norm-setting and decision-making processes. The Committee should contribute to the establishment of an effective early-warning system to avoid another global financial crisis, he said.
Challenges including agricultural development, food security, international trade and poverty eradication were linked and must be addressed, he stressed. The global nature of current challenges required the international community to address them through an approach that was global in scope. The recent Millennium Goals Summit had asserted the urgent need to scale up global partnership for development and to mobilize promised ODA resources. To that end, political will on the part of developed countries to fulfil their pledges was a cornerstone of all future success.
Climate change continued to pose a destructive threat to socio-economic development, and to the world’s very existence, he noted, urging the international community — and developed countries in particular — to commit themselves to the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities during the forthcoming Cancun climate change conference. Lastly, he expressed hope that the upcoming Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Nagoya, Japan, would reaffirm the international community’s political will and commitment to conserving biodiversity.
RICK BARTON ( United States) said the issues before the Committee were critically significant during a year in which the world’s economies were still steadying themselves after the global economic crisis while nurturing a fragile yet promising recovery. Natural disasters had left millions homeless and slowed development in some of the world’s neediest places, further adding to the gravity of the Committee’s work. He welcomed efforts to make that work as effective and efficient as possible, noting the Bureau’s constructive non-paper on working methods.
The Committee had the profound responsibility to build upon the momentum of the Millennium Development Goals Summit, he said. Its efforts should support the common objective of achieving the targets by 2015, in addition to issues on which consensus could be found, rather than on revisiting themes that had been obstacles in the past. During his 22 September address to the General Assembly, President Barack Obama had unveiled a new United States development strategy that strongly supported full realization of the Millennium Goals. It was an approach based on outcomes and results, he said.
He said the strategy stressed the need to foster innovation and deploy new technologies to confront global threats, including disease, malnutrition, climate change and other environmental challenges. Practically speaking, debate must move from inputs to outcomes, from directives to partnerships, from blame to responsibility and accountability, he said. The United States looked forward to working with other Member States to advance the consensus on key issues, such as continuation of the Internet Governance Forum, promoting trade and investment, and sustainable development.
MIGUEL BERGER ( Germany), associating himself with the European Union, said the recent Millennium Goals Summit had been a major success for all development partners. It had shown that the United Nations, due to its universal legitimacy, played a vital role in achieving consensus on solutions to global challenges. However, it was important to turn that consensus into action, he stressed, adding that his country was ready to do so. There was no time for complacency ahead of the Fourth Conference on Least Developed Countries, he emphasized, pointing out that the world had changed drastically since the adoption of the Brussels Programme of Action in 2001. German contributions to the least developed countries had almost tripled, in absolute terms, from 1997 to 2008.
Climate change would have a tremendous impact on ways of life around the globe, particularly on the small island developing States, he said, warning that if the world failed to limit global warming, major climatic changes and environmental disasters would lead to the destabilization of entire countries and regions. In that regard, he stressed the importance of a legally binding agreement in Cancun. As a member State of the European Union, Germany would fulfil its commitments on mitigation and adaptation, including its pledge of €350 million for fast-start financing, he said. As for sustainable development, he said economic growth, development and environmental protection could be mutually beneficial. International institutions dealing with the implementation of sustainable development policies must become more efficient, and the international community must step up efforts to protect global natural resources. To that end, Germany would provide an additional €500 million for the period 2009-2012, and a similar amount each year from 2013, he said.
MARY FLORES ( Honduras) said the recent financial, food and energy crises had pushed 64 million more people into poverty, and many ODA commitments had not been respected. The world’s financial situation and concerns today were very different from those of the past, and the Bretton Woods institutions could not apply the rules of the past to the problems of the present. Reform was needed in that context, she said, noting the positive interventions by G-20 members during the recent wide-ranging General Assembly debate on the Millennium Development Goals, including the proposed tariff on international financial transactions to help reduce extreme poverty.
Emphasizing that food security should be a national priority, she said her country had a strategic plan to modernize agriculture and reduce poverty in the countryside. That was crucial, particularly since Honduras suffered the almost cyclical destruction of national crops. Furthermore, customs barriers on Honduran products and the quota regime erected by developed nations hindered the country’s efforts to achieve sustainable food security. The strategy of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Honduras was directly related to the national strategy to reduce poverty, she said.
The Honduran Government had signed an agreement with the IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank to reactive social programmes and poverty reduction strategies, she continued, noting that the external debt relief granted to some developing countries would not be enough. Current debt levels were unsustainable and thwarted efforts to realize the Millennium Goals. The lack of progress on the Doha Round was costly, as developed countries continued to apply customs barriers, quotas and other discriminatory measures. That must end, she stressed.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals was not satisfactory. While significant progress had been made in many areas, it had begun to falter due to the multiple global crises. The international community should exert greater efforts to protect international cooperation for development, and while continuing to consider innovative methods for providing development support.
Developed nations had the duty of providing unconditional ODA, especially since the financial crisis had originated with them, he said. On the other hand, developing countries had an obligation to pursue good governance, while striving to achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance. A restructuring of the world financial system was critical, he said, adding that such a reform would allow the flow of resources necessary for revitalizing developing economies through more donations, as well as debt cancellation. However, the G-20’s role in dealing with the world financial and economic crisis could not replace that of the United Nations, he emphasized.
Noting the importance of global partnerships in achieving the Millennium Goals, he called on developed countries to show goodwill and flexibility for the success of the Doha Round of trade negotiations. The international community should also mobilize efforts to address food security. As for climate change, Qatar was fully committed to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, he said, stressing that effective solutions to climate change could only be applied through an integrated approach within the framework of the sustainable development process.
CHARLES NTWAAGAE ( Botswana) said that, through the prudent management of limited resources, the pursuit of dynamic macroeconomic policies, good governance and respect for the rule of law, his country had been able to safeguard the goodwill and political capital entrusted to it by the international community. Botswana had emerged into middle-income status, but the vulnerability of its economy, which was heavily dependent on a single export commodity for its revenue, had been manifested during the recent global financial and economic crisis.
Middle-income countries still had to contend with higher borrowing costs to stimulate their economies, he said, reiterating the call to international financial institutions to further broaden the participation of those countries in decision-making and norm-setting. There was also a need to continue efforts to strengthen surveillance activities in order to detect external threats and vulnerabilities in a timely way. Such systems must be more rigorous in sophisticated developed economies, he added.
The upcoming climate change conference in Cancun was an opportune time to gain some of the lost ground concerning climate change issues, he said. The same positive spirit that had strengthened the belief in delivery on the Millennium Development Goals two weeks ago should not be any different when it came to committing to fulfilling the goal of reversing greenhouse gas emissions. The upcoming Nagoya Conference would provide an excellent opportunity to translate biodiversity conservation policies and programmes into action. Due to its reliance on biological resources for development, Botswana needed more aid in the form of technology transfer and capacity-building so as to respond to and help local communities adapt to new ways of conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and the sustainable use of biodiversity.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that despite the progress gained by developing countries towards realizing the Millennium Goals, nearly 1 billion people still lived in extreme poverty. According to a recent Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, the number of hungry and malnourished people had risen. The most important obstacle to realizing the Millennium Goals was the inadequate mobilization of resources and existing asymmetries in the international economy, he said.
Reduced ODA, an unfair international trade system and restrictions on developed-world exports to world markets, as well as a worsening of external debt, were major challenges for both developing and least developed countries, he said. In that light, it was important to improve mechanisms for South-South cooperation and regional integration. Moreover, the international community should encourage such cooperation and provide capacity-building assistance and technology transfer.
He said his country’s debt burden and the economic sanctions imposed unilaterally against it were a major challenge, adding that debt relief would give Sudan the resources for other forms of investment. The country was one of the worst affected by the impact of climate change, and there was concern about how it would adapt. To that end, the Government had launched several national programmes addressing such issues as poverty, desertification, food insecurity and deforestation in the South. He urged the Committee to shed greater light on the concerns of developing countries, particularly those in Africa, and to ensure more development assistance for countries emerging from conflict.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the best way to deal with the global crises was to reform the international governance system. The recent Millennium Goals Summit had shown that measures to ensure economic growth required a new partnership in which developed countries offered support to developing countries. Developed-country commitments could be followed up with a moratorium on debt and increased ODA to the world’s poorest countries. Trade alone could not remedy all challenges, but it could enhance economic growth and reduce poverty, he said.
In light of the structural imbalances of the global financial system, there must be increased transparency, accountability and predictability, he continued. There was also an urgent need to ground the system upon a solid financial foundation, and the General Assembly was the appropriate forum to initiate such a reform. With regard to global financial governance, he said developing countries still suffered from a lack of financing, due to reduced foreign direct investment (FDI) and falling ODA.
Despite adding innovative sources of funding to traditional ones, developed countries must continue to respect their responsibilities for providing financial resources, he said. The international community must deal with the major obstacles preventing progress in developing countries, including intellectual property standards, rising food prices, and a lack of information technology. He also stressed the importance of establishing the nature of support to be given to developing countries as assistance for adaptation to climate change.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said: “We are standing at the threshold of a new, more fair and honest economic and development reality. It is our choice whether to step through.” With the world’s economic problems rooted in the inefficiency of the world monetary system, Kazakhstan proposed a completely new financial architecture with a global regulatory system to oversee financial markets with a view to avoiding speculative flows and situations whereby developing countries financed consumption in the developed world. Calling also for a single supranational currency, under the auspices of the United Nations, she said the ongoing reform of the Bretton Woods institutions must be intensified and enhanced.
She went on to emphasize the need to strengthen the Organization’s role in the area of international finance, and called for a swift conclusion to the Doha Round. Reform, development and modernization in Kazakhstan showed that the Millennium Goals were achievable, she said, describing the progress that her country had made towards realizing the Goals. Responsibility for attaining the Goals rested with individual countries, but an increase in the quantity and quality of ODA was necessary, she said, adding that her country had joined the group of new donor States. She concluded by expressing appreciation for the inclusion on the Committee’s agenda of the special needs of landlocked developing countries, and by calling for greater attention to be paid to Central Asia, noting that countries in that region possessed considerable energy, transport and transit potential.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA ( Cuba) expressed hope that the regrettable scenario in Copenhagen would not be repeated in Cancun, and that there could finally be agreement on the urgent action needed to fight climate change. During the recent high-level events and the Assembly’s general debate, Member States, particularly in the South, had expressed concern about the devastating effects of the global financial and economic crisis on development efforts. The optimistic predictions of some had been unable to explain the broadening North-South gap, why the crisis had increased extreme hunger to 1.02 billion in 2009, or why 100,000 people died of hunger every day, he said.
Nor could they explain why the crisis was estimated to cause an average of 200,000 to 400,000 more deaths in children between 2009 and 2015, or why 1.1 billion people had no access to clean piped water. The answer lay in the current unjust and unsustainable international economic order, which was based on highly unsustainable consumption and distribution patterns. Its radical transformation was a moral imperative, as well as politically, economically and socially logical, he said.
He reiterated his call for an assessment of the content of the Committee’s discussions, resolutions and decisions, saying they must be clear and direct. Developing nations represented in the Group of 77 would have the responsibility to submit to the Committee most of the drafts to be negotiated. That would require great effort that must be respected and reciprocated by developed countries at the negotiating table. The latter must engage in an open, frank and respectful dialogue.
JAVIER LOAYZA BAREA (Bolivia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Rio Group, said it was important to ensure State compliance with human rights obligations, thereby placing people and the environment at the centre of national economic policies. The international community must help developing nations capture investment flows which could stimulate jobs. Bolivia called for a satisfactory conclusion to the Doha Round, the reduction of trade barriers between counties, and the avoidance of excessive protectionist measures. He noted that landlocked developing countries had been negatively impacted by the multiple global crises due to strong cutbacks in exports and ODA flows, as well as export financing difficulties.
He said it was clear that the world was witnessing a new crisis with unpredictable consequences: the environmental and climate crisis. The planet was in danger and 30 per cent of its plant and animals were at risk of extinction. Humankind was consuming faster than the planet could regenerate, and world economies had already exceeded 30 per cent of its regeneration capacity. In that light, it was imperative that humans re-learn how to live in harmony with nature, he stressed, adding that development could not be infinite, but must have limits.
The culture of capitalism was both unsustainable and unviable, he continued, adding that the international community must therefore seek to meet basic human needs while causing as little damage as possible to Mother Earth. To combat the onset of future climate change consequences, Bolivia called for the establishment of an international court of climate justice, which would punish crimes against nature. He also called for the creation of a mechanism to guarantee compliance with global agreements on climate and the environment.
KHALID A. AL-NAFISEE ( Saudi Arabia) said that development and eradicating poverty was a moral and humane responsibility. Economic development could only be realized through collective efforts based on shared responsibility, without selectivity or conditionality. Saudi Arabia called for a global partnership to address the causes and results of recent crises, and to address the issue of food security within a more comprehensive humane framework.
Emphasizing the importance of encouraging investment in agriculture and land reclamation, he said his country had achieved several of the Millennium Development Goals and was on track to achieve the remaining ones before the target year. Reform of the international financial, monetary and trade systems should be undertaken by the competent institutions on the basis of international consensus.
It was crucial to enable developing countries to join the WTO on a fair basis, and they should be exempted from any fees, he said, adding that, over the last three decades, his country had provided some $100 billion in assistance to some 95 developing countries. Saudi Arabia’s ODA had reached 1.5 per cent of GDP, and its Government responded swiftly to calls from other countries and the United Nations during natural disasters.
Deeply concerned about the selective policies adopted by some industrialized countries in addressing climate change, he said calls to move away from the use of fossil fuels were impractical, especially given effective carbon storage technologies, and those enabling clean use of fossil fuels. Any international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must include a commitment to the principles and provisions of the “Bali Action Plan”, which were not open to re-negotiation. In addition, reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be voluntary for developing countries.
IRAKLI JGENTI ( Georgia) said the Millennium Development Goals were not only the expression of new global ethics, they were also profoundly local in their political impact. The Goals demanded that local stakeholders take political responsibility for their realization. Since 2003, Georgia had made great strides in pursuing the Goals, with the Government focusing on rapid economic development and job creation, thereby creating a favourable climate for investment. The number of Georgians living beneath the poverty line in 2003, some 50 per cent of the population, had been cut in half.
Improving education was an essential element in Georgia’s economic vision, he continued. Not only should educational programmes receive the necessary financial resources, but stakeholders should be endowed with a sense of “local ownership”. Georgia had established nationwide self-governance of its schools, he said. The Government was also implementing a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention programme, and nationwide initiatives were being undertaken, with the involvement of the private sector, to improve family planning and comprehensive care for expectant mothers and newborns.
All reform was driven as much by women as by men, he said. However, significant external factors impeded Georgia’s path to development. For four years, the country had suffered under a harsh economic embargo unilaterally imposed by its northern neighbour. Although Georgia had proved to be resilient, the embargo’s impact should not be underestimated, he cautioned, underlining that the Government had not retaliated, and that products and services from that neighbouring country remained available in Georgia.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said that, as the host country of next month’s Global Forum on Migration and Development, Mexico stressed the need to face the challenges of international migration in a multidimensional way. There was a need to strengthen cooperation frameworks and international dialogue by creating partnerships involving all relevant actors that could promote the links between migration and human development.
It was necessary to maintain the issue of international migration and its relationship to development on the United Nations agenda, she said. A focus on human rights was crucial to capitalizing fully on migration’s potential for development and to facing its challenges, she said, adding that valuable lessons from the Global Forum would greatly enrich the Committee’s debate.
Mexico was also host to the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, she said. In Cancun, leaders would be able to take a broad, balanced set of decisions that could be implemented immediately, she said, adding that no single action or agreement was enough to face such a complex phenomenon as climate change. The international climate change regime should evolve constantly, in line with scientific achievements and socio-economic development, and on the basis of shared but differentiated responsibilities.
The Committee’s discussions on the matter should help mobilize political will for the success of the Cancun meeting and create the basis for an effective, just international regime, she said. Today, more than ever, it was necessary to revitalize commitments to sustainable development and the Rio Principles. The international community should also focus on adopting, in Nagoya, an ambitious strategic plan and work programme linked to an effective and viable strategy for mobilizing resources. She called for a successful outcome to negotiations at that meeting on the Protocol on Access to Genetic Resource and the Equal Distribution of Benefits.
BUI THE GIANG (Viet Nam), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that, as a developing country, Viet Nam agreed that it was necessary to find concrete measures to enable countries to overcome obstacles to realizing achieving the Goals. However, there must be adequate resources and available to fulfil development agendas. Developed countries should do more to honour their commitments by increasing ODA, promoting trade, rescheduling debt, and transferring technology, among other efforts.
Concrete, feasible, coordinated and effective strategies at both the national and international levels must be acknowledged and undertaken seriously, he said. Developing countries must work to strengthen ownership, enhance capacity, and improve efficiency in governance. International cooperation and collaboration should be free from conditionality in all socio-economic fields and at all levels.
Global partnerships for development must support development priorities, and North-South, North-South-South, and South-South cooperation should be promoted and enhanced, he continued. The United Nations should be a centrepiece of development operations and multilateral mechanisms, playing a fundamental role in reforming global governance. Highlighting his country’s progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals, he admitted that Viet Nam still faced many challenges, ranging from enhancing capacity to sustain economic growth to narrowing down development gaps.
DIANA AL-HADID ( Jordan) said most policy challenges had an increasingly complex global dimension, particularly the deepening of the energy crisis, food insecurity, climate change and the effect of the global financial crisis, which could undermine progress towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals. Further coordination and stronger international cooperation were the bases for tackling those global concerns.
As developing countries struggled to realize the Millennium Goals, international development partners must keep their promises to fulfil ODA commitments by 2015. A renewed global partnership for development was the only sure way collectively to achieve meaningful and sustainable global development, she said.
Describing the lack of consensus on climate change as regrettable, she said urgent action was needed to approve the guidelines to regulate the 30 billion metric tons of global carbon dioxide emissions and protect the planet’s biodiversity, as well as the nearly 17,000 species of plants and animals threatened with extinction. Jordan looked forward to a successful outcome at the upcoming Nagoya meeting.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be the primary forum for negotiating the global response to climate change, she said, adding that it was essential to further advance global negotiations in the lead-up to the December meeting in Cancun. Climate change was closely linked to other areas of development cooperation, and access to clean and renewable energy was crucial for ecologically, economically and socially sustainable development, she added.
AMAN HASSEN BAME ( Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals had been mixed. Despite significant gains, even in the world’s poorest countries, overall progress had been uneven. Many countries in Africa still struggled to bring about significant advances in social progress. Seriously concerned by the continent’s disproportionately high maternal, newborn and child mortality and morbidity rates, African Union Heads of State and Government had re-dedicated themselves to efforts to attain all the Millennium Goals.
He said the fragility of the world ecosystem meant that Africa and other least developed regions were “indeed paying dearly for the wealth and well-being that was created in the developed countries through carbon-intensive development”. That trend must be reversed immediately, he said, noting that realization of the Goals required both developed and developing countries to scale up action.
However, realizing Goal 8, on the basis of the principles enshrined in the Monterrey Consensus and reaffirmed in the Doha Declaration, was critical for financing development. “Keeping Goal 8 means keeping the rest of the Goals,” he declared. In closing, he highlighted Ethiopia’s economic performance and social progress over the last decade. Positive developments were accompanied by problems of income distribution, as well as high population growth. Those enormous challenges must be addressed, including the impact of the global economy and climate change.
SAUL WEISLEDER ( Costa Rica) said his country was committed to working with others so that the Committee could make an effective contribution to a clear development agenda. It was necessary to work towards dynamic, inclusive and democratic socio-economic development. The sustainable management and use of natural resources was everyone’s responsibility, and draft resolutions must be consistent in calling for action to create a fair, open and responsible international system.
Climate change posed a dangerous threat to efforts to achieve development, he said. That was why international cooperation for a consistent disaster management strategy was indispensable. It was time to make shared decisions that were multilateral in scope and well coordinated. The principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities should always be the guiding light, he said, pointing out that large polluting countries would gain more if they took responsible decisions early on. If they could bring about substantive change at the upcoming meetings in Cancun and Nagoya, everyone would win, he added.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ ( Peru) said more commitment, work and solidarity were required to make progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals. The onset of global crises, drug issues and international crime had shown that no country was immune in a globalized world. It was therefore imperative to strengthen the role of the United Nations in global governance. Due to its legitimacy and inclusiveness, the Organization could play a central role in global economic governance, and hopefully that idea would be considered by the “Group of 192” so as to gain truly global consensus.
Many developing countries, including Peru, continued to grow thanks to sound and responsible policies. It was necessary to recognize in that regard the contribution of middle-income countries which had overcome the multiple global crises. As one of the world’s few “megadiverse” countries, Peru housed 84 of the 104 zones of life identified on the planet, and it also possessed great glacier wealth. It was therefore a strategic country in terms of mitigating climate change, and very actively committed to finding a solution in an open, transparent manner.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said the means to achieve development objectives, particularly in terms of financing, still did not exist. The global economic situation was still fragile and the challenges posed by climate change could have a long-term impact on growth. While developing countries were taking ownership of development strategies, the international community’s contribution remained vital.
International organizations had assessed that the world was not on target to achieve the Millennium Goals, he said, pointing out that more than 1 billion people were still suffering from hunger while maternal and infant mortality rates remained unacceptably high. The global partnership for development should be enhanced, he stressed, adding that, in order to realize the Goals by 2015, it was necessary to reduce the debt burden of developing nations, open markets to their goods and products, transfer technology to them, and build up their capacity.
Describing climate change as a major obstacle to developing countries, which threatened their very survival in some cases, he said it could cause agricultural production to drop by 50 per cent in some African countries. The upcoming Cancun conference would be an opportunity to work together under the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities. The commitment of development partners to Africa must be focused on tackling the continent’s challenges, he said, noting that promises made to African countries had not been respected. The Gleneagles pledge to double aid to Africa was a short-term commitment, he said, noting that the continent needed more investment to tackle poverty.
JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said not since the Great Depression had the global economy and development prospects been as profoundly challenged as they were now. The optimism generated by initial signs of recovery had been supplanted by growing pessimism over widespread economic difficulties, including unabated deficits, increased national debt and shrinking access to credit. There was a need for systemic reforms and the ascendancy of a new international economic order, she said.
She said Nigeria was one example of how many developing countries had used sectoral reforms, support to banks and other economic and regulatory agencies, and increasing interactions with neighbours and the international community to boost domestic resource bases. South-South cooperation provided a reliable zone of interaction for developing countries, but concerted action was needed to address economy-related crises and accelerating ecosystem degradation. She concluded by stating that gaps should be bridged to make the Cancun conference the final act of the long-playing climate change drama by reaching a comprehensive globally-binding agreement in December.
MATHIAS DAKA ( Zambia) said concerted efforts were necessary to resolve the systemic problems facing the world economy and prevent a recurrence of the global crisis. The slowdown in Zambia’s key sectors, such as mining, tourism, construction, transport and communications, had decreased Government revenues and associated expenditures, especially in such sectors as health, education, and water and sanitation. Combined with the slow disbursement of ODA, that factor had had a negative impact on the country’s ability to realize the Millennium Development Goals, he said, calling for the speedy establishment of a mechanism to monitor all commitments relating to Africa’s development, as contained in the declaration “Africa’s Development Needs”.
Pointing out that his country was both a landlocked developing and a least developed country, he called on the international community to implement the Brussels Plan of Action and the Almaty Programme of Action. Agriculture was the only option for diversifying Zambia’s economy in order to achieve meaningful poverty reduction for the rural population. However, agriculture was vulnerable to both climate change and international trade, he said, expressing hope that the forthcoming climate change conference would mark a turning point in the international community’s endeavours to deliver on unfulfilled promises, and produce a binding successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Rio Group, said current times demanded solidarity and inclusive solutions, which would allow the participation of all nations. That had been acknowledged by world leaders during the recent Millennium Goals Summit, she said recalling that the President of Colombia had told other assembled leaders that the Summit was not the occasion to turn their backs on cooperation, since doing so would affect everyone, and industrialized countries even more. The Committee’s agenda reflected the most outstanding global challenges, she said.
The slow pace of progress with regard to global challenges explained why the Committee focused so much on negotiating political messages that were often repetitive, she said, asking: “What could we contribute from here, beyond political messages directed to ourselves? How can we contribute to the consolidation of an international spirit that is constructive and creative in the field of development?”
Emphasizing the need to promote informal intergovernmental dialogue and a better interface between the political and technical levels with respect to complex issues, she said the Committee must give greater priority to discussions on operational activities for development, including South-South and triangular cooperation. Moreover, it should focus its efforts on promoting the Millennium agenda and poverty eradication as cross-cutting issues. Lastly, it should complement cooperation efforts on urgent matters, such as the reconstruction of Haiti, and the sustainability of actions for that country’s short-, medium- and long-term development, she said.
ABOUBACAR SADIKH BARRY ( Senegal) said 2010 was a key year for the international development agenda, with the holding of the Millennium Development Goals Summit and other important meetings. That Summit had painted a bleak picture of the future. Developed and developing countries alike must make greater efforts for development by bolstering initiatives to end poverty, hunger and underdevelopment. Upcoming conferences in Nagoya, Cancun, Istanbul and other locations were opportunities for the international community to identify robust measures to reduce existing obstacles to development.
He said the efforts of developing countries could not be successful unless their developed partners met their obligations on trade, development assistance, and access to sustainable energy, modern technology and innovative sources of financing. Senegal was striving to overcome obstacles to progress in improving living standards through political reforms. The country had set sustainable economic goals and was investing in human resources and infrastructure to ensure lasting growth and sustainable employment, particularly for women and youth, he said. Investment in agriculture was important for increasing agricultural productivity and alleviating food insecurity, particularly in rural areas, he said, recalling that in 2008, the Government had launched a major food-security strategy, seeking to make agriculture part of efforts to enhance overall economic development.
ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Least Developed Countries, said global crises reminded the world of the need for unity in facing them and redressing historic inequality. The crises had also shown that unilateral protectionism and reckless markets had lost their place in the era of globalization. Development partners should fulfil their commitments in the areas of external debt, financing for development and technology transfer, he said, adding that the demand to implement ODA commitments, particularly allocating 0.2 per cent of gross national income to least developed countries, was now even more imperative, he said, noting that some had used the crises as an excuse not to fulfil their aid commitments.
Welcoming the role of the Working Group on the Financial and Economic Crisis, he called for a re-examination of the Bretton Woods “twins” and WTO. On climate change, he stressed the urgent need to establish an international climate change fund, urgently agreed in Copenhagen last December. Contributions to the fund by the developed world would need to be generous, and resources should be distributed to the countries most affected by climate change on a per capita basis and in accordance with the climate vulnerability index. Unless those measures were undertaken, it would be difficult to realize the Millennium Goals by 2015, he said.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said the world had been shaken by a global crisis of capitalism that had created more poverty, hunger, inequality and destruction of ecosystems. According to the World Bank, the crisis had produced 60 million more poor people, 10 million of them in Latin America. The International Labour Organization (ILO) said that the number of unemployed worldwide had reached 212 million in 2009, an increase of 34 million over 2007. It was necessary to rebuild the United Nations and create a legitimate global body to guide decisions and prevent global financial speculators from continuing to cheat the world and impose their own rules, he emphasized. It was essential that the Open-ended Working Group on the Follow-up to the International Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development continue its work.
An extensive process of transforming and democratizing the international financial and monetary institutions was needed to increase the voice and representation of developing countries in management and decision-making, he said. The General Assembly must establish a control system over the Bretton Woods institutions, the absence of which was at the root of the multiple crises. A financial transactions tax would raise the funds needed to finance the Millennium Development Goals and enable developing countries to better adapt to climate change. The credit monopoly of the Bretton Woods institutions must be broken, he said, calling for the creation of regional and subregional financial institutions with the ability to issue solidarity-based financing without conditionality, as well as expanded use of regional and subregional currencies to reduce dependency on the United States dollar.
* *** *For information media • not an official record