H.E. U Win Aung 
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Union of Myanmar

at the World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg,South Africa
3 September 2002 

Mr. President,

On behalf of the delegation of the Union of Myanmar and on my own behalf I would like to extend to you our warm congratulations on your election as President of this historic World Summit on Sustainable Development. I am positive that under your able guidance, this conference will achieve its aims and objectives. I also wish to express our deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of South Africa and to all the responsible officials and personnel for the excellent arrangements made for this important event and for the warm hospitality accorded to us to make our stay in this beautiful city of Johannesburg a fruitful and memorable one.

Mr. President,
Since, the UN General Assembly has adopted its resolution at its 55th  Session for convening the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, we have placed high hopes and great expectations on this occasion as an important opportunity to reinvigorate our commitments and accelerate our present processes on sustainable development. We have made commitments at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and again at Rio + 5 in New York to take a sustainable development path for saving the Earth and our future generations. The adoption of Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit has indeed been a giant step forward in the right direction. But records and statistics have shown that over the past ten years despite national and international actions, the global environmental situation has indeed worsened.

We have all accepted the concept of "sustainable development". We have all realized that environment and development go hand in hand. Yet there are still many nations which desperately seek economic gains and lack political will and fervour to meet global environmental obligations.

Mr. President,

We have fully recognized the fact that sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing effectively the problem of poverty in the developing nations. Throughout the world we will find that countries with lack of access to safe water and sanitation, adequate health care, housing and energy are facing declining environmental situation. Therefore, in our pursuit for sustainable development, first priority should be given to alleviating poverty.

Poverty reduction is the top priority of our national policy. In the past, lack of security and stability has made it extremely difficult to address poverty issues, especially in the rural areas. At present, after achieving peace and stability in the country, our government is making tremendous efforts to promote development in these areas through building chains of dams, reservoirs, pumping stations and network of canals to enhance water supply, thus enabling farmers better cropping, resulting in higher income. Improvement in transportation by means of building extensive network of roads and bridges has also helped the rural areas develop faster.

Mr. President,

Lack of access to market and financial restraints are the main inhibiting factors for economic and sustainable development of the developing countries. Therefore, we should respect the elements contained in the Doha agreement and the Monterrey consensus to create better trade and financial environment. In this respect, I would like to welcome the encouraging remarks made by the leaders of the developed nations at this summit in terms of concrete commitments to promote cooperation in the global-fight against poverty, to promote renewable energy, and to promote better market access for the developing countries of their agricultural products in the global trade by dismantling market distorting agricultural subsidies. It is our ardent hope that words will be transformed into actions.

Mr. President,

Global partnership is crucial to protect life-supporting ecosystems, such as forests, marine, mountain, mangroves and wetlands. As a country rich in natural resources, sustainable use of these resources has always been incorporated in all our economic undertaking to conserve and sustain valuable natural resources of the country. About fifty one percent of our total land area is covered by forests. We still want to see more forests. We are working hard to regreen the arid dry zones of the country by planting millions of trees every year. The results are bearing fruit. Annual rainfall in these dry zones has significantly increased in recent years. The farmers are getting better crops thus alleviating poverty to a large extent.

Mr. President,

Myanmar shares the view that achieving sustainable development objectives is an important and formidable challenge for the developing countries. Availability of technical and financial resources is a necessary condition to meet this challenge. The developed countries are yet to fulfil their ODA targets to enable developing countries to implement their national environmental agendas and achieve their sustainable development objectives. In this context, Myanmar as one of ASEAN countries would like to urge the international community to support and endorse the recommendations highlighted in the ASEAN report to this World Summit.

Mr. President,

Concrete targets and positive actions are urgently required if we really want to create a better world for our future generations. I firmly believe that by working together we can achieve that goal.

Thank you.