Environmental and economic reforms needed for Latin American development, UN hears

Amb. Francisco Carrión Mena of Ecuador

27 September 2011 – Four Latin American countries have called for environmental and economic reforms to ensure growth in their region during the General Assembly’s annual general debate.

Ecuadorian Ambassador Francisco Carrion Mena today stressed the need for an increase in regional economic cooperation as part of “a new financial architecture capable of reducing the negative effects that our economies suffer from because of their intricate links to the international financing system.”

Mr. Carrion said regional cooperation was the first step for global economic reform, but remarked that regional initiatives need to be integrated under a new global institutional framework.

Mr. Carrion also spoke of the need for taking immediate measures on the environment ahead of the Rio+20 Summit, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, which will take place in June next year in Rio de Janeiro.

He urged countries to fulfil their previous commitments and embrace new measures to improve the environment, citing Ecuador’s Yasuní Initiative as a successful example of an effective and innovative environmental strategy. Through this initiative, Ecuador has promised not to extract oil from its soil to avoid massive tons of carbon emissions in exchange for financial compensation.

Danilo Astori, Vice President of Uruguay

Uruguayan Vice-President Danilo Astori echoed Mr. Carrion’s remarks on the need for economic reform.

“The need to establish new regulations and global agreements has become more than apparent in recent years. We are entering a new era in international economic relations,” he said yesterday.

Mr. Astori also spoke of the environment as a key factor for development, stressing that “lacking an adequate environment will limit the effect of any other development effort.”

In particular, he spoke of the importance of food security as “a fundamental component of Uruguay’s developmental agenda, as well as one of its national priorities. We remain convinced that the current critical situation is caused by structural causes that must be resolved collectively and urgently,” he said.

To tackle the issue, he called for the renewal of trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Development Round, which have been stalled since 2008, and pressed for the elimination of agricultural subsidies in developed countries.

Samuel Santos López, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Samuel Santos López, echoed Mr. Astori’s remarks on the issue of food security, stating that “the global economic and financial crisis has aggravated the already serious food crisis, primarily in the impoverished countries.”

“Immediate concerted actions are indispensable in order that we avoid the continued increase in the number of people who are hungry and develop sustainable policies for guaranteeing food security in the world,” he said.

Wilfred Elrington, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Belize

For his part, Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred P. Elrington stressed the need for the transfer of environmentally friendly technologies and funding from the international community to small island developing States (SIDS) that are moving towards low-carbon and no-carbon emission economies.

“For small island and coastal States like Belize, global warming poses an existential threat… While we appreciate that we are primarily responsible for our own welfare and are taking full measures as are within our competence to cope with our changing circumstances, climate change is a global problem which requires a global response based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility,” he said.


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