H.E. Mr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister
26 September 2008
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MANMOHAN SINGH, Prime Minister of India, said that, even though the Member States had called for early and meaningful reform of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit, little progress had been made on the core elements of the reform agenda. There was need for the composition of the Security Council to reflect the realities of the twenty-first century, and Member States needed to hold negotiations towards that end.
While globalization had contributed to the prosperity of an increased number of countries like India, ensuring inclusive growth within nations and inclusive growth across nations remained a challenge. He said the development gains made by many countries were being threatened by the global food, energy and financial crises. There was a need for a global response to those challenges. He called for a new international initiative to bring structural reform to the world’s financial systems.
Continuing, he said the food crisis was caused by neglect of agriculture in the developing world and was exacerbated by distorted agricultural subsidies in the North, and the use of arable land for producing bio-fuels. Trade liberalization could help, provided it included the concerns of farmers in the least developed countries.
He said poverty, ignorance and disease still afflicted millions of people, and commitments by the developed world to transfer O.7 per cent of gross national income as ODA remained largely unfulfilled. Special efforts had to be made to help Africa. The international community needed a greater measure of predictability and stability in the oil and gas markets. He said the world needed a network of developed and developing countries engaged in research and development, energy efficiency, clean energy technologies and renewable sources of energy. The opening of international civil nuclear cooperation with India would have a positive impact on global energy security and on efforts to combat climate change. He reiterated India’s proposal for a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons, and providing for their complete elimination within a specified time.
He noted that he supported the multilateral negotiations taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and added that India had unveiled an ambitious national action plan on climate change. He went on to say that there was a need to strengthen international cooperation in combating terrorism and to bring its perpetrators to justice. Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts, he explained, needed support from the international community to ensure its success. He applauded the return of democracy to Pakistan, and said he was committed to resolving outstanding issues with that country. He saluted the new leaders of Bhutan and Nepal.