|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference by Prime Minister of Tajikistan
on Millennium Development Goals Award
The Prime Minister of Tajikistan, Oqil Oqilov, told correspondents at a Headquarters press conference today that, despite the financial, energy and other difficulties his country faced, the Government was determined to overcome its problems and gradually utilize the entire potential of the country for achieving the global development goals on a timely basis.
Accepting a Millennium Development Goals Award on behalf of his President Emomali Rahmon, who was being honoured for his commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal for drinking water, Mr. Oqilov said that Tajikistan believed that the Goals were achievable and, to that end, the international community needed to consolidate and enhance its efforts, with the United Nations acting as the central and coordinating body in those efforts.
The Prime Minister said it was imperative to work out a complex approach towards addressing the issues of eliminating poverty; improving the existing methods of financing for development; ensuring predictability and stability of the official assistance for development; resolving demographic problems; mitigating the climate change impact; and reducing natural disaster risk. Assistance in the implementation of national development strategies needed to be made a major priority when rendering assistance and support to the developing countries, he stated.
Expressing appreciation to the Millennium Development Goals Award Committee for presenting the Tajik leader with the Millennium Development Goals Special Achievement Award, the Prime Minister said that it was refreshing to know that the leadership of the President on water and power resource management had been recognized at the international level. He said he was also thankful to the South-South news company for its worthy contribution to the achievement of the MDGs and use of information and communications technology as a means towards development.
He noted that Tajikistan was one of the first to have developed, in cooperation with United Nations agencies, its own national development strategy based on the Goals, thus making Tajikistan a pilot country for achieving the Goals. Implementation of the strategic document that set out the State’s development priorities remained a key issue that topped the Government’s agenda.
Also present at the press conference were Chris Wangro, producer of the Millennium Development Goals Award Programme; Executive Director of the Millennium Development Goals Awards, Michael Jacobson; and Richard Hall, Intel Corporation. Mr. Wangro said the Millennium Development Goals Award programme was introduced by the President of the sixty-first General Assembly, and they had been supported by each successive president. The mission of the MDG Awards aimed to bring recognition to the MDGs by honouring exemplary efforts of three stakeholder groups: the government, the civil society and the private sector. Recipients had included the Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, humanitarian Dr. Kevin Cahill, the President of the sixty-second General Assembly, and South Africa’s Desmond Tutu.
Zachary Muburi-Muita, Permanent Representative of Kenya and President of the United Nations High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation, who was also at the ceremony, lauded President Rahmon for being the recipient of the Millennium Development Goals Award, saying the role of South-South cooperation in economic development of countries of the South had been underlined in the various South-South outcomes, including the Buenos Aires Plan of Action adopted in 1978, and the Havana programme of action adopted by the first South-South summit in April 2000. The High-level conference on South-South cooperation held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2003 and the Outcome of the Second South Summit in Doha, Qatar, in June 2005 further reiterated the contribution of South-South cooperation as a development blueprint for countries of the south.
He said the High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation that met in Nairobi, Kenya, in December last year, adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which spelled out how countries of the South could promote development through South-South and triangular cooperation. In all, they reinforced the significance of South-South cooperation in the economic, commercial, industrial and environmental sectors in order to meet their developmental targets and fulfil the needs of their peoples. They also acknowledged that South-South cooperation was not an option, but an imperative complement to the traditional North-South engagements.
In his view, globalization and liberalization had presented both opportunities and challenges. Countries of the South still experiencing enormous development challenges needed each other in all fields of socio-economic advancement, including trade, finance, education, communication and technologies, as well as health and research. In that regard, South-South cooperation was more needed today than ever before. “No single country, not even the most advanced among developing countries can prosper individually and thus achieve both its growth and developmental targets,” he said, explaining that the growing political and economic ties among developing countries was key, as countries of the South had assumed leading roles in handling global issues ranging from economic recovery to food security, as well as climate change.
Continuing, the Kenyan envoy urged developing countries to strengthen the existing mechanisms, including enhancing capacities of national and regional institutions in order to improve access to, and sharing of, new technologies. Unfortunately, data showed that many of the countries of the South would not meet the Millennium Development Goals targets by 2015. For instance, no country in sub-Saharan Africa was on course to achieve all the Goals; and if anything, some had recorded negative growth, he said. Therefore, there was need to enhance the sharing of their experiences within the South-South countries in such areas as combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious diseases; improving maternal health; and in the education sector, among others.
Concluding, he said regional cooperation and integration proved to be a fast-track development tool through which countries of the South had raised their competitiveness at the global level. Additionally, intra-regional cooperation had also been critical in raising the economic development of those countries; just as solidarity among the countries of the South had contributed in influencing the outcomes of the international agenda. The collective voice had had more impact than if countries had chosen to go it individually, he said, adding that the participation of the private sector in South-South initiatives and programmes was also significant.
Jean-Francis Régis Zinsou, Permanent Representative of Benin, who also spoke, stressed the importance of the Millennium Development Goals as a challenge for the international community, saying that, while it was the responsibility of each Government to develop its country, the achievement of the Goals was a target that had been set by Member States in 2000, and it was important that everything was done to ensure achievement of those Goals. Benin had been chosen as 1 of the 10 countries constituting the steering committee set up by the Secretary-General to promote the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, because the continent had been seen as “a continent in delay” in the implementation of the Goals, said.
The steering committee was working with Governments to find ways to fund and solve the problems that were hampering the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. He called on Member States to seriously work on the nexus between the development goals and climate change. He was of the view that climate change was seriously hampering the gains achieved so far in the implementation of the Goals, hence the need for a quick outcome in the process of negotiations on climate change. Further, countries must also implement, without delay, the financial commitments taken to help the countries affected by climate change, and Africa stood to benefit from those resources.
“For the successful implementation of Millennium Development Goals, we need not only to invest in social sectors. We need to invest in promoting economic growth in the countries, because it is only with economic growth that we can maintain, in the long run, the Millennium Development Goals,” he declared.
* *** *For information media • not an official record