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H. E. Mr. Somduth Soborun, Chairperson of the Delegation

29 September 2008

Statement Summary

SOMDUTH SOBORUN (Mauritius) said the world must summon the political will to remedy a long list of factors affecting global food security:  outdated agricultural practices, inadequate infrastructure, inequitable distribution of land and insecurity of land tenure.  Mauritius was attempting to diversify its food crops, livestock and seafood production, and seeking economies of scale through partnerships with neighbouring Madagascar and Mozambique.  Against that backdrop, the Secretary-General’s establishment of a high-level task force on food security was commendable.  Mauritius also welcomed the $1.5 billion earmarked by the European Commission for a rapid response to the food crisis, to be disbursed in coordination with the Secretary-General’s task force.

He said his country Mauritius was encouraging more efficient use of energy, and seeking to tap renewable energy resources, in light of rising oil prices.  Those goals were being advanced as part of the “Maurice Ile Durable” project, which envisioned Mauritius as nature’s laboratory, and whose aim was to seek ecological solutions to global warming and over-dependence on fossil fuels.  Indeed, climate change posed a particular burden on island States, and for that reason, the Government was fully engaged in the post-Bali process.  At the last high-level meeting on climate change, it had made a plea for the creation of a special fund to enable the development and implementation of adaptation measures.  However, that appeal to international donors was as yet unanswered.

He went on to note that continued access to official development assistance, concessionary financing arrangements, reduction in debt servicing and improved terms of trade was crucial in building up the economic resilience of small island developing States.  Arbitrary criteria applied to determine their eligibility for securing concessionary finance -- based on gross domestic product -- had disqualified most small island States from accessing much-needed funds.  For that reason, such States must be treated as a distinct category.

Describing his country’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals as good, he said the Government was pursuing a number of programmes to eliminate absolute poverty.  In addition, it had hosted a SADC conference on poverty in April, which had led to the convening of a joint ministerial task force on food security in July.  Mauritius noted the adoption last week of the political declaration on Africa’s development needs, and called for concrete action by the continent and its development partners.

Condemning the decision by Myanmar’s junta to prolong the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, he expressed favour for the creation of a Palestinian State, according to the various blueprints advanced by the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.  Regarding Africa, the parties to the Darfur conflict must exercise restraint.  Mauritius hoped a national unity Government would be established in Zimbabwe.  As part of its contribution to combating terrorism, Mauritius had joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.  Mauritius also called for the expansion of the Security Council, while voicing firm support for the Ezulwini Consensus, which called for two seats for Africa in both categories.

He concluded by raising his country’s sovereignty claim over the Chagos Archipelago, which the United Kingdom had excised from the territory of Mauritius prior to its independence.  High-level talks were underway, so as to enable its citizens to return to the islands of their birth.  Likewise, Mauritius urged France to pursue dialogue with Mauritius on the issue of Tromelin.

[Source: GA/10758]


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