H.E. Mr. Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister
25 September 2008
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JAN PETER BALKENENDE, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, said the world was witnessing extraordinary financial turbulence, and all parties needed to shoulder their responsibility. At the same time, the crisis should not distract from efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Over 9 million children died each year before they turned five, while, every day, millions of people lived in fear of violence and abuse of power. Although, in the last 10 years, millions of people had escaped from poverty, there was still so much to do. All Governments needed to realize that good and ethical governance was an essential foundation for development, and act accordingly.
Returning to the financial crisis, he called on the financial sector and regulators to quickly implement the recommendations of the Financial Stability Forum: stricter supervision, better risk management, greater transparency and enhanced accountability. In that regard, IMF should play a central role by stepping up oversight. That was best way to restore confidence in financial markets and prevent future crises.
Welcoming the Secretary-General’s initiative to place food security at the centre of the Assembly’s agenda, he said Governments had the duty to provide food for their people. Likewise, international efforts to fight hunger, want and disease, should be as efficient as possible, working with other Governments, the business community and civil society. The position of small farmers was particularly important. Pointing out that the Netherlands had earmarked extra funding for the development of agriculture in developing countries, he said that increased agricultural production meant not only benefits for families, but for local communities too.
On the United Nations peacekeeping initiatives and establishing a global sense of freedom among all peoples, he said that, although the Organization had played an important role in ending conflict, peace operations were not enough. Political disputes often required political solutions. In that regard, there was no place in a free society for torture or the death penalty. Crimes that outraged world opinion should be punished through the International Criminal Court. The challenge for every Government was to affirm its people’s cultural and religious values and customs, and, at the same time, build bridges with the rest of the world.