H.E. Mr. Abdurrahaman Mohamed Shalgam 
Secretary of the General Committee for Foreign Liaison
and International Cooperation

at the 
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
3 September 2002

Mr. Chairman.

Ten years ago the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted basic principles and a work programme aimed at achieving sustainable development . In reviewing what has been done during the past decade we do find several accomplishments, but they remain less than what we aspired to and hoped to achieve. Most peoples of the world have not seen the benefits of science and technology. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption still persist, forests are being demolished, the air is poisoned, and rivers polluted. An infinite number of animals is threatened by extinction. Epidemics old and new are rampant, and the hordes of the deprived and disadvantaged whose per capita income is less than one dollar a day is on the increase. In developing countries, a majority amongst us here, there is still need for a favorable environment capable of overcoming persisting problems in the domains of finance, trade, technology transfer, and external debt.

Mr. Chairman.

Conditions, such as these pose serious challenges, the value of our work is embodied in the action we take to respond to them and overcome them in the course of our endeavor to accelerate the achievement of the Rio objectives, and those of the 21s` Century Agenda. The starting point, in our view, is to adhere to those principles and objectives, and to reaffirm that they remain as valid today as they were in 1992. We must commit ourselves to the achievement of these objectives in their entirety, along with, the other development aims agreed upon internationally and notably in the UN Millennium Declaration, the results of major conferences, and special sessions of the UN General Assembly, which have developed specific programmes for confronting environmental and developmental challenges through a genuine partnership among developed and developing countries, based on the principles of justice, equity, fairness, equality and mutual respect.

Mr. Chairman.

Poverty is one of those major challenges in today's world. As we hold our highlevel meeting here, it is the right of the world's poor to expect responsible steps to ensure equity and welfare We believe that in order to achieve this objective, our summit must declare the founding of an international alliance to eliminate poverty, on the basis of specific, time-limited commitments, first and foremost of which is to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger by half by 2015. Such action requires the tackling of problems that have always been major obstacles to the protection of the environment and achievement of sustainable development. First of all comes the combat of desertification, minimizing the impact of drought, floods and other natural disasters and set policies aiming at the development of water resources, by establishing desalination systems, and preventing the flow of rain water, rivers and melting snow into the seas and the oceans. It is essential to exert a great international effort to rescue lakes which shrink increasingly, protect rivers from pollution and address high rates of erosion in order to avoid a humane disaster and not only environmental one.

Mr. Chairman.

Peoples of the world are looking to this summit with the hope that decisive practical and time-limited measures be taken to remove all the impediments facing the comprehensive development. A positive reaction to the work at hand can only be ensured by committing ourselves to finding genuine solutions to the said problems, including the external debt burden borne by most developing countries. It is certain that these countries will not be able to respond to the requirements of development as long as the developed countries keep showering them with empty promises, and fail to fulfill undertakings in terms of official development assistance. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the effective participation of developing countries in the world economy and undertake to remove all impediments towards provision of access for their products to world markets, and enabling them to play an effective role in the decision-making process at the international level, especially at the level of international financial institutions.

Mr. Chairman.

An essential and indispensable condition for the realization of sustainable development is surely the elimination of the human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) and the syndrome of acquired human immune-deficiency (AIDS). We must emphasize at this forum that the elimination of this disease will never be accomplished under narrow commercial interests that are totally void of any humanitarian considerations. It can only be achieved by a genuine commitment ensuing the implementation of plans and programmes designed to save the lives of millions of human beings living with this killer disease.

We must also add that the usurpation of other people's land, the collective punishment and abuse of its inhabitants, and persistence in the violation of the norms of international law by resorting as certain states do, to measures such as siege and blockade, and the use of coercive measures, will never serve achieving sustainable development, meaning that our work will not be complete without a decisive commitment to put an end to such aggressive practices, the cessation of attempts to impose hegemony and domination by force, ending foreign occupation, and removing the vestiges of colonialism, including land-mines from which the majority of developing countries, including my own, continue to suffer.

Mr. Chairman

To live up to the expectations of our peoples, we must undertake to transform globalisation into a positive force beneficial to the entire population of the world, and not to leave the majority of them to face its adverse consequences. We must intensify our efforts to put an end to conflict in and among states. We must take practical measures to achieve total and universal disarmament in terms of weapons of mass destruction within a specified period of time under effective international control and supervision. Resources allocated to the development of such lethal weapons must be used in the achievement of development objectives, particularly in developing countries. The needs of Africa, in all aspects of sustainable development must be at the center of attention by the international community. We have to strongly support the endeavors of African countries to achieve peace in all parts of the Continent, reinforce stability and security, resolve conflicts and prevent the renewal of hostilities in order to direct the efforts of the continent towards continued economic growth and sustainable development.

Mr. Chairman.

We came to this Summit to contribute to the implementation of the principles and programmes agreed upon a decade ago . We are about to adopt an important document setting out what must be done next. Practical action is of paramount importance in this respect, let us all undertake to shoulder this responsibility in an atmosphere of sincere political will and constructive cooperation. Only this, and nothing else, is the evidence of our seriousness in making this 21s` century the century of sustainable development for all segments of the international community.
Finally, on my behalf, and on behalf of my country's delegation, I wish to express our deep appreciation to the people and Government of South Africa for their warm reception and generous hospitality, as well as their determination to make a success of the work of this Summit.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.