Global response necessary to tackle economic crisis, Mauritian minister tells UN debate

Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell of Mauritius. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

1 October 2012 – Noting the global nature of the economic crisis, Mauritius’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Arvin Boolell, called for a coordinated response from enhanced United Nations institutions, in his address to the UN General Assembly today.

“The debate over good economic and fiscal governance at (the) national level will always remain valid and necessary, but however sound such domestic policies may be, the global environment will impact on growth and development especially of developing countries and small economies,” Dr. Boolell told delegates attending the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters today.

He added, “It is imperative that the General Assembly of the United Nations, with its pre-eminent universal membership, play a crucial role in the debate for globally coordinated solutions.”

The Foreign Affairs Minister also expressed his country’s support for bringing about a “revitalized” UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). He said the 54-member body “should have the role and function” that the UN Charter attributes to it.

According to the Charter, ECOSOC can, among other mandates “make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related matters.” It can also make recommendations “promoting respect for, and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”

In his remarks to the gathering, Dr. Boolell said that one way for developing countries to emerge from the economic crisis was to increase trade among themselves, and to pool their resources.

“Regional integration and cooperating are key to future development…” said the Foreign Affairs Minister, who also serves as Minister for Regional Integration and International Trade. “Pooling entails more economies of scale and makes it less costly to acquire technology.”

Dr. Boolell especially highlighted the benefits of regional pooling in the energy sector, saying it could “facilitate the development of technology and the implementation of renewable energies.”

With Mauritius being a developing island nation, Dr. Boolell spoke of the “enormous potential of the oceans as an engine for growth, and called for stepped up international cooperation to bring about a “vast collective effort to tap this potential.”

But he also pointed to the challenges UN-recognized Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face, both because of the global economic crisis, and climate change. “It is imperative that SIDS issues be more effectively mainstreamed across all UN organizations and that a dedicated and clearly identified focal point be set up within every UN entity dealing with SIDS issues,” he noted.

Other issues featured in his address included global youth unemployment, the violence in Syria and the need to help Madagascar in its current political transition “to ensure a speedy return to constitutional democracy in this great country.”

The Mauritian Foreign Affairs Minister is among scores of heads of state and government, and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual, national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on Monday.


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