His Majesty King Mswati III, Head of State
25 September 2008
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King MSWATI III of Swaziland said the world continued to face many challenges, including the catastrophic effects of climate change, diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS, and food shortages. High fuel and food prices, and an unstable global economy, were retarding the efforts of his country to fight poverty and attain sustainable development. He praised the United Nations, particularly FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) for helping developing countries find lasting solutions to the food crisis. Swaziland had put in place various strategies to ensure food security, he added.
Swaziland continued to undertake efforts to address those issues, and last year had held a national agricultural meeting which looked at ways to increase food production, among other national interests. The Government had arrived at various conclusions and was implementing them. He looked forward to positive results from the upcoming Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, particularly regarding agriculture. Developing countries hoped for secure and increased market access for their products.
Swaziland fully supported the dialogue on global warming and other environmental concerns, as it continued to be a victim of the devastating effects of global warming. Wildfires and droughts were constantly undermining development efforts in his country. Failure to respond in a timely and decisive manner to global warming would undermine international efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He added that he was pleased with the Assembly’s adoption of the declaration on supporting Africa’s development, and looked forward to its effective implementation.
There was an urgent need to address Africa’s special needs, particularly in economic development, poverty reduction and peace and security. He said access to international financial institutions was crucial to achieving sustainable development. Many people in Swaziland were living in poverty and facing unemployment. Swaziland’s commitment to achieving the Millennium Goals was unwavering, and they had been integrated into the country’s development and poverty reduction strategies.
The Government was doing all it could to achieve universal education, gender equality and environmental sustainability, reduce child mortality and fight diseases like HIV/AIDS. Swaziland was working with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ensure preservation of political and security standards. He urged the international community to support the Government of national unity in Zimbabwe. He condemned terrorism and commended efforts to fully implement the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. His Parliament had recently promulgated the anti-terrorism act.