H. E. Mr. Elías Antonio Saca González, President
24 September 2008
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ELÍAS ANTONIO SACA GONZÁLEZ, President of El Salvador, said there was a danger of backtracking amid the current financial crisis, and prudent capitalism must be undertaken to finance economic development and not speculation. Serious financial fluctuations must be mitigated, books balanced and the credit situation stabilized. Countries directly affected should meet as soon as possible to find common solutions to the deepest financial predicament the world had seen in the past 75 years.
It was undeniable that the rise and instability of oil prices continued to negatively impact development in a majority of the world’s countries. “If we don’t act immediately and together to find balanced solutions,” he said, “we are virtually condemning ourselves to bankruptcy.” The international community had invested in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, but past successes would be swept aside by excessive oil prices if preventative actions were not taken.
Turning to social and economic challenges in El Salvador, he described programmes created to reduce extreme poverty, combat hunger and infant malnutrition, and other objectives established by the Millennium Development Goals. In the face of that tangle of problems, creative responses were required. He supported holding a special session of the General Assembly on the world food and energy crises. To prevent a food crisis in El Salvador, he said, superior seed for basic grains had been provided, which had resulted in record production this year. Efforts made by multilateral organizations or individual countries required a deep feeling of social solidarity irrespective of ideologies.
He went on to say that middle-income countries needed a global plan of action to achieve success with the Millennium Development Goals. Such a plan should include new aspects such as South-South and triangular cooperation, as well as a mechanism for debt swapping. He also delineating some of El Salvador’s recent successes in respect to the Millennium Goals, including a 32.6 per cent decrease in extreme poverty, increase of school enrolment from 78 to 93 per cent, improved literacy rates, universal availability of antiretroviral drugs, reduced child and maternal mortality, and improved access to clean drinking water.
On the subject of migration, he called for intensified actions to prevent all forms of trafficking in persons, particularly women and children. Although migration policies must be respected, States must acknowledge the positive contributions that had been made by undocumented migrants -- nearly 12 million of whom were located in the United States alone. These were good, hardworking people, he said, who were working to support their families.
In closing, he said the international community must try to achieve consensus on climate change and global warming. From a Central American point of view, guidelines needed to be determined to deal with the serious problems arising from the phenomenon. For its part, El Salvador had launched a “green network” to bring on board governmental and private institutions.