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New York, 20 October 2011

Mr. Chair,
Distinguished delegates,

I am very pleased to address the Second Committee today as President of the General Assembly.

Having been a member of the UN family in New York for the past 13 years, I am deeply aware of the hard work of so many individuals who dedicate themselves to fulfilling the United Nations’ mandate. In looking around the room today, I see many familiar faces, and it is my honour to support your efforts in this Committee in anyway that I can.

This year, the Second Committee - the Economic and Financial Committee - has a particularly important responsibility. The world economic and financial crisis continues to create obstacles to growth and development. The crisis is hitting hardest the most vulnerable countries and the most vulnerable populations in all countries. The deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals is rapidly approaching.

As the centre of global decision-making, the General Assembly has to respond to these challenges. Your deliberations in the Second Committee lay the basis for this response.

You can count on my full support this session. As you may know, I have chosen “Sustainable development and global prosperity” as one of my four main focus areas during the 66th session. In this context, I am committed to according the most vulnerable countries the much needed attention they deserve. This is the main reason why I chose to meet you on the day that you are discussing agenda item 22, “Groups of countries in special situations”. I encourage you to find creative and innovative ways to enable the full and timely implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, the Almaty Programme of Action for the Landlocked Developing Countries, and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation in respect of the Small Island Developing States. For this we need the full commitment of the development partners, particularly for realising the agreed commitments of support.

I also place great value in South-South and triangular cooperation for ensuring sustainable solutions to the issues before us.

Fortunately, in deliberating on such important matters, you can count this year on the very able guidance of Ambassador Abdul Momen and his distinguished colleagues from the Second Committee Bureau. Their leadership confirms that the work of the Committee is in able hands.

I was also pleased to learn that the Second Committee is holding two joint informal meetings with ECOSOC. By working together, you have much to contribute to system-wide coherence and coordination.

Distinguished delegates, I am aware that much remains to be done for your Committee’s work this session. You will also participate in other important preparatory processes related to development issues, including the historic Conference in Rio next June.

In undertaking your deliberations, I encourage you to foster a constructive atmosphere and to strive for consensus in your deliberations.

Your wisdom and flexibility will help ensure a good outcome in your work, which will benefit the General Assembly and the UN as a whole.

Thank you very much.



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