|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)
As Second Committee Concludes Its General Debate, Delegates Stress Need for New
Systems to Relieve Debt, Prevent ‘Reckless’ Speculative Financial Practices
Greater Clout Urged for Developing World in Global Economic
Structures as Speakers Call for More Institutional Democracy, Equity
As developing countries struggled to gain economic traction, there was an increasingly urgent need to set up systems to relieve their external debt, bolster their clout in international financial institutions and prevent a recurrence of the reckless speculative developed-world financial practices that had wreaked havoc on their economies, several speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) as it concluded its general debate today.
In the words of India’s representative, the global financial architecture was “overwhelmingly loaded against the developing world” and in urgent need of reform. It was time, he said, for the Bretton Woods institutions to become more democratic and equitable. Ghana’s delegate agreed, saying the financial and economic crisis had illustrated the need for a more participatory and development-oriented international structure.
Developing countries deserved a greater voice, greater representation and more participation in those global financial institutions, he said. That meant reforming their quota systems, the composition of their Boards of Directors, as well as their procedures for selecting managers and staff. Financial regulations must also be overhauled to attract long-term capital for productive investment in developing countries, he added.
He went on to state that the role of the United Nations in global economic governance must be strengthened so that the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council could serve as a true forum for discussing macroeconomic issues and coordinating international development agendas and decision-making. He called for the creation of an independent mechanism to resolve developing countries’ sovereign debt issues, which had worsened due to the multiple global crises, as well as temporary debt relief or a moratorium on debt-servicing.
Similarly, Ecuador’s representative underlined the merits of greater United Nations engagement in global financial reform, and advocated for the establishment of an ad hoc panel to provide advice to the Assembly on reforming the international financial architecture. He noted that last year’s Conference on the World Economic and Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Development had recognized the right for all countries, especially those in crisis, to adopt legitimate trade measures, temporary restrictions on the movement of capital and debt-moratorium agreements between debtors and creditors. In the meantime, Ecuador and its Latin American neighbours were setting up their own systems to mitigate the effects of the crisis and prevent a recurrence, he said, citing the establishment of the Bank of the South, the Common Reserve Fund for Latin America and the Unified System for Regional Compensation (SUCRE) payment compensation system.
Norway’s State Secretary for Foreign Affairs recalled that during the Assembly’s recent general debate, his country and several others had agreed to introduce a levy on a wide range of financial transactions. Such a move could provide stable and substantial financing for development, he said, calling for a strengthening of the dialogue between the United Nations and the Group of 20 (G-20), and expressing support for the Assembly President’s intention to hold informal talks with the Secretary-General and the G-20 host country prior to and after summits of that Group.
Norway would continue to help finance international development, he said, noting that the national budget for 2011 exceeded the Government’s goal of earmarking 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) – or $4.6 billion - for development aid. “We urge all Member States to keep their part of the financial deal. The financial crisis must not become a pretext for cutting down on official development assistance – the need has actually grown, rather than decreased, over the years,” he said.
However, developing countries must also live up to their end of the bargain, he emphasized, calling on them to mobilize more domestic resources by broadening their tax base, fighting corruption and increasing transparency and accountability. In the last few years, Norway had worked to place the question of illicit financial flows from developing countries higher on the international agenda, he said, pointing out that those flows were many times higher than the total of annual development assistance — an alarming drain on vital resources that must stop.
In closing remarks, Committee Chairperson Enkhtsetseg Ochir ( Mongolia) summarized the main themes of the Committee’s three-day general debate, saying that many speakers had noted the success of the Assembly’s recent Millennium Development Goals Summit and the urgent need to implement its outcome. She urged delegations to incorporate the main elements of the Summit’s outcome document, and their related proposals, into the Committee’s relevant draft resolutions, focusing particularly on expediting implementation.
Other themes discussed included the critical importance of deliberations on climate change, biodiversity and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development; the need for an agreement on targets for greenhouse gas emissions; expediting the implementation of existing climate change agreements; and new financing to help countries mitigate and adapt to its effects.
She said speakers had also called for a swift conclusion to the Doha Round of World Trade Organization trade negotiations. They had stressed the importance of South-South, triangular and other forms of cooperation and experience-sharing as an effective way to promote development. That recognition, she said, should be appropriately reflected in the Committee’s subsequent discussions and draft resolutions.
Also speaking today were representatives of Egypt, Malaysia, Tuvalu, Armenia, Myanmar, United Republic of Tanzania, Namibia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Japan, San Marino, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Uganda, Haiti, Mozambique, Maldives, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Kenya and Afghanistan.
Other speakers today were representatives of the Permanent Observer Missions of Palestine and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Officials of the International Labour Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also delivered statements.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 October, to discuss its working methods.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its general debate.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said the financial and economic crisis had revealed discrepancies in the current global economic and financial decision-making process. The question of unemployment deserved due attention, especially since the impact of the recovery on job creation had yet to be seen. Today more than ever, United Nations operational activities were crucial in realizing many of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal 1, he said, stressing the need to improve funding for the pursuit of the targets.
Noting that the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit had highlighted the importance of global partnership for development, he said he was concerned that, of the $25 billion increase in official development assistance (ODA) envisaged for Africa at Gleneagles, only $11 billion had been delivered. Egypt called for the continent’s special needs to be given priority, and for an expansion of debt relief initiatives, including the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative. There was also a need to address the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – on an equal footing. As for issues and needs arising from climate change, Egypt remained firmly committed to supporting the efforts of all developing countries, including small island developing States, landlocked developing countries and particularly the least developed countries.
ESPEN BARTH EIDE, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Norway, called for strengthening the dialogue between the United Nations and the Group of 20 (G-20), and expressed support for the General Assembly President’s intention to hold informal talks with the Secretary-General and the G-20 host country prior to, and after, summits of that Group. He said his country would continue to honour its commitment to help finance international development, pointing out that Norway’s budget for 2011 exceeded its goal of earmarking 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) – or $4.6 billion - for development aid. “We urge all Member States to keep their part of the financial deal. The financial crisis must not become a pretext for cutting down on official development assistance – the need has actually grown, rather than decreased, over the years,” he said.
Urging developing countries to mobilize more domestic resources by broadening their tax base, fighting corruption and increasing transparency and accountability, he said that in the last few years, Norway had worked to place the question of illicit financial flows from developing countries higher on the international agenda. Those flows were many times higher than total annual development assistance, an alarming drain on vital resources that must stop, he emphasized, adding that innovative financing must be scaled up to meet poverty challenges. He recalled that, during the General Assembly’s general debate, his country and several others had agreed to introduce a levy on financial transactions. It would be applied on a large scale and to a wide range of transactions that could provide stable and substantial financing for development.
SIRAT ABU, Member of Parliament representing Malaysia, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said there was an urgent need for the Committee to address sustainable development issues and economies recovery. Climate change, financial and economic recovery, and realization of the Millennium Development Goals were interconnected and pertinent issues in which the United Nations could play a more effective role. He said that while the world was still deciding the terms and conditions for actions to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, natural disasters, resulting largely from climate change, continued to affect many countries. The failure of the Copenhagen round reflected a lack of political will, he said, adding that the United Nations must ensure a successful and timely conclusion to the climate change negotiations.
Turning to the Millennium Development Goals, he said his country believed strongly that improved coordination of resources, the use of precise and updated development data and enhanced collaboration among stakeholders were critically important for realization of the targets. It was crucial that the United Nations take stock of current achievements, he stressed, calling on the Organization to ensure that ODA commitments were fulfilled, to explore other frameworks for cooperation to fund development activities, and to make use of science and technology in monitoring, evaluating and accelerating progress towards meeting the Goals. In closing, he stressed that the Doha Round of World Trade Organization trade negotiations must return to its original objective of ensuring free, fair and equitable trade. “We should not let it fail,” he added.
LITA PITA ( Tuvalu) said that despite its limited resources and unique challenges as a small island developing State, her country had made some progress towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals relating to primary education and women’s participation in society. However, there was still room for improvement on adequate access to health care, maternal health care, child mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Protecting Tuvalu’s reefs and atolls was essential to its livelihood and its very survival, she emphasized, calling for further protective measures and a stronger focus on coral reef protection in the biodiversity field.
As an economically and environmentally vulnerable country, Tuvalu was dependent on sustainable growth, she said. As a party to the Nauru Agreement, it had taken steps to create specific fishing rules for the sustainable management of tuna stocks. But there was room for more measures, she said, pointing out that, like other Pacific small island developing States, Tuvalu depended on cooperation with other countries to implement regional agreements. She called for a results-oriented approach to implementing the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.
Describing the importation of fossil fuels as a major drain on her country’s economy, she said Tuvalu was seeking partners to help with renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies. Extreme weather could easily destroy its progress overnight and threaten its very survival, she said, noting that the recent catastrophes in Haiti, Pakistan and the Russian Federation were examples of things to come. After last year’s failure in Copenhagen, the world desperately needed concrete results. She called for agreement on amendments and rules for the Kyoto Protocol, a mandate to start talks on a new legally-binding agreement based on the Bali Action Plan, to include a set of decisions providing interim implementation measures.
NIKOLAY SAHAKOV ( Armenia) said it was necessary to galvanize the Global Partnership for Development, the cornerstone of the strategies, policies and programmes adopted to realize the Millennium Goals. “None of us can do this alone,” he stressed, noting, however, that many countries, including his own, had been making impressive progress. It was vital that the international community recognize the vulnerabilities of developing countries, which had been severely exposed to the multiple global crises. The financial crisis had struck full force in the third quarter of 2008, and Armenia had been severely affected. Widespread job losses had been reported as growth rates had declined in most areas, reversing the development gains of previous years.
Armenia’s economic outlook was considerably improved today, owing to fiscal stimulus packages and expansionary monetary policies, he said. The Government had prioritized the strengthening of social protection, and was working to implement other ambitious programmes by promoting agriculture, rural development and environmental sustainability. Pointing to an urgent need to strengthen the multilateral financial architecture, he stressed that such reforms must be structural, further strengthening the relationship between the Bretton Woods institutions and the United Nations. As universal bodies, the Organization and the World Bank should play a central role in that regard, he said, calling also for more inclusive participation in multilateral organizations by developing countries.
KYAW ZWAR MINN ( Myanmar) said the lack of financial resources and technological know-how hindered the ability of developing countries to effectively mitigate and adapt to climate change. That must be addressed through international cooperation, within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, on the basis of shared but differentiated responsibilities.
Describing steps undertaken by his country to meet the Millennium Goals, he said it had implemented a food security programmes focused on increasing productivity in agriculture, livestock and fisheries. The programme had significantly enabled Myanmar to boost its production of rice, beans, pulses, meat and fish between 1990 and 2010 in order to ensure food security. Moreover, the country was on track to achieve the education-related Millennium targets, thanks to various national programmes.
Myanmar was implementing a 30-year health care plan aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality, he said. It also intended to reduce maternal mortality to 1.45 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015 by assigning auxiliary midwives and upgrading rural health centres. Thanks to a programme to vaccinate all pregnant women against maternal and neonatal tetanus, Myanmar was now free of that disease, he said. Thanks to the national health plan to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the country’s HIV prevalence rate had dropped to 0.61 per cent in 2009. Myanmar was on track to meet the Millennium target on malaria, having already met the tuberculosis one.
SEIF IDDI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that the prospects for global economic growth were as uncertain in 2010 as they had been in 2009. The global financial and economic crisis had negatively impacted Tanzania’s economy, particularly the export, tourism and transit trade sectors, as well as Government revenues and overall gross domestic product projections. To curb those effects, the Government had implemented the $1.06 billion Economic Rescue Plan, he said, noting, however, that promoting growth to previously anticipated levels remained a daunting task.
Climate change had affected several sectors of the Tanzanian economy, including agriculture, water resources, grasslands, livestock and biodiversity, he said. While the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference had been historically significant, the outcome had been way below expectations for actionable commitments and programmes. There was a need for developed countries to support mitigation, adaptation strategies and to transfer technology and build the capacity to cope with climate change. Political will was required for a successful and balanced outcome at the next climate conference, in Cancun, he said.
He said that for a country like the United Republic of Tanzania, in which 80 per cent of the population depended on agriculture for their livelihoods, poverty could not be alleviated without addressing production, productivity and market challenges in the agriculture sector. He also noted that the vulnerabilities of small island developing States had been further exacerbated by climate change, and urged the international community to increase its support for them. As for the international trading system and the Doha Round, he pointed out that the question of commodities was related to the lack of adequate support for trade in the agricultural sector.
WILFRIED EMVULA ( Namibia) cautioned that the global financial and economic crisis was not over, and that recovery was uneven and uncertain. It was imperative for developed and developing countries to work together to mobilize new, additional and predictable sources of financing. Climate change was a global threat, and major emitters of greenhouse gases should make ambitious commitments to reduce their emissions drastically while supporting efforts by developing countries to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol should fulfil their obligations, including on mitigation and technology transfer, he said, expressing hope that developed countries would make good on their commitment to provide developing countries with $30 billion in climate-change financing. He called for a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol in order to ensure that commitments to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gases on Namibia and other developing countries were honoured. While development financing was declining, the demand for funding to build and restore infrastructure destroyed by natural disasters was rising, he said.
Growing exposure to risks and vulnerability to natural disasters associated with climate change had outstripped the capacities of many nations, he said. Namibia looked forward to a successful outcome of the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, he said, underscoring the need for the political will necessary to enable State parties to adopt the Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. The Protocol would provide the multilateral framework for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity, particularly as it related to traditional knowledge. The Protocol would also be a mechanism for ensuring that post-2010 targets were met through sufficient financing and technology transfer to developing countries, he said.
ABDULLAH HUSSAIN HAROON ( Pakistan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, emphasized the continuing harm done to developing countries by the global economic crisis. With systemic imbalances still threatening sustained growth, the outcome document of the recent High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals had identified the way forward. “It is for us now to build stronger global partnerships to implement its recommendation,” he said, affirming that his country remained committed to realizing the Goals despite the setbacks caused by security challenges and unprecedented flooding.
He said there was a need to consider seriously a debt moratorium and debt-relief mechanisms for developing countries, adding that policy approaches by multilateral financial institutions should not lead to increased debt. In addition, a genuine effort by all stakeholders was needed to break the stalemate in the Doha Round, in the interest of creating an equitable, rule-based, development-oriented international trade system. A concerted effort must also be made to eliminate the “technological deficit” of developing countries, and to increase their participation in formulating global financial and economic policies.
Turning to climate change, he said a comprehensive but balanced set of decisions must be adopted in Cancun, including on better financing mechanisms, principles for future negotiations, an adaptation mechanism and a general agreement on the period 2012-2020. Pakistan also supported a new, comprehensive, science-based approach to dealing with the vulnerability of developing countries. On other areas, he affirmed that the Nairobi Outcome on South-South Cooperation should guide common efforts in that area. Global problems demanded inclusive and transparent processes, with the United Nations playing the central role in advancing the global agenda, he stressed.
MURAD ASKAROV ( Uzbekistan) said the Committee should promote the development of mutually acceptable ways to settle global challenges, while actively coordinating the potential of Member States to find solutions, since the world now faced a “perfect storm” of multiple crises. Uzbekistan was one of the countries least affected by the financial crisis, which its President attributed to its model of democratization and its transition to a socially-oriented free market economy. Education and the raising of citizens’ consciousness had also played a significant role. Uzbekistan was focused on joining the ranks of developed countries, and even more so on moving beyond its years as an underdeveloped economy with primitive industrial and social infrastructure, as well as low per capita consumption levels. Today Uzbekistan boasted a reliable and stable financial and banking system.
Turning to the issues of water management and food security, he said his country agreed with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that fresh water should be used primarily for food production. Every State in Central Asia should use water resources responsibly and effectively. The drying up of the Aral Sea was a tragedy that served as a vivid example of “our irresponsible attitude towards environmental problems”, he said. Uzbekistan, with almost half the region’s population, had a moral right to lead efforts to find a solution to the problem, he said. In that regard, the most important task would be preserving the natural biological pool of the area adjacent to the Aral Sea, as well as to reduce the disastrous impact of the crisis on the environment and on the lives of millions of people living there.
SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan), describing his country’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, said it would focus on health and education, where progress was particularly slow. Japan would provide $5 billion over five years for the realization of health-related Millennium Goals. As an enhanced approach to maternal and child health, he proposed a model called EMBRACE – Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care. Emphasizing the importance of adequate sanitation for the poor, he called for support to realize “Sustainable Sanitation – the five year drive to 2015”. He said that in order to ensure a comprehensive improvement of the learning environment, his country had advanced the “School for All” model. Japan also stressed the importance of human security – a “comprehensive, people-centred, bottom-up and multi-stakeholder approach” — in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable by protecting and empowering them.
It was also important to tackle the challenges of global sustainability, he said, adding that his country would strive for the adoption of a comprehensive and legally-binding document at the Conference of the Parties in Mexico. With natural disasters becoming more severe, it was important to reinforce the resilience of communities through the Hyogo Framework for Action, he said. As host to the Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, under the theme “Living in Harmony with Nature”, Japan would propose a General Assembly resolution on the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity, he said, calling also for the adoption of a resolution on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). He also outlined his country’s assistance to small island developing States and least developed countries.
HENRY TACHIE-MANSON ( Ghana) said his country’s development agenda focused on growth and poverty reduction, and it was firmly on track to achieve the first and second Millennium Goals in addition to significant parts of Goal 3 and Goal 6. Ghana’s most notable achievement had been reducing poverty from 34 per cent in 1990 to 9 per cent in 2004, and it was on track to become the first African country to halve poverty and hunger before 2015. It was committed to implementing actions and strategies defined in the outcome document of the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit, he said.
Noting that the global financial and economic crisis had illustrated the need to create a more equitable, coherent, participatory and development-oriented international financial architecture, he said the Bretton Woods institutions required governance reform to increase the voice, representation and participation of developing economies. That called for reform of the quota system, the composition of the Board of Directors and procedures for selecting managers and staff. It was also necessary to reform financial regulations to attract long-term capital for productive investment in developing countries, he said.
He went on to say that the role of the United Nations in global economic governance needed strengthening to enable the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council to serve as forums for discussing macroeconomic issues while coordinating international development agendas and decision-making. A mechanism was needed for resolving sovereign debt, the burden of which had worsened as a result of the multiple global crises. The call by some developing countries for temporary relief or a moratorium on debt servicing should be given serious attention, he said, encouraging developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments and ensure predictable, sustainable aid flows to sub-Saharan Africa and the least developed countries.
VIDYA CHARAN SHUKLA ( India) said that although the global economy was on the path to recovery, sustaining economic growth was of the utmost importance. Since trade was important for growth, there was need for a fair and equitable multilateral trading system that would take the interests of the poor and marginalized into account. The international financial architecture, “so overwhelmingly loaded against the developing world”, required urgent reform, and the Bretton Woods institutions must become more democratic and equitable. Commitments by developed countries to devote 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to ODA must be fulfilled at the earliest opportunity, he said, also emphasizing the importance of ensuring access to affordable technology.
Turning to climate change, he said the lack of progress on promises made at Copenhagen undermined the level of trust required to advance the negotiations. India, among the countries worst affected by climate change, would continue to push for an ambitious and equitable outcome under the Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol processes, on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The threat of climate change to small island developing States should also be addressed, he said. As for the meeting on biodiversity in Nagoya, he urged Member States to provide urgent impetus to the Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and the creation of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
DANIELE D. BODINI (San Marino), emphasizing the need for strong political will and enormous financial resources to realize the Millennium Goals, said the international community must stabilize the global financial landscape and create sustainable economic growth throughout the world. Unemployment and underemployment were affecting hundreds of millions of world citizens, he said, adding that those challenges must be addressed at the local, regional, national and multinational levels, in both the private and public sectors. “If we do not immediately address the unemployment issue, we might face national and global social and political instability,” he said, urging the Committee to focus its work on that issue.
The Committee must also discuss the level of world financial borrowing, he said, pointing out that many developed countries had reached an unsustainable level of national, regional, local and consumer leverage. Without an appropriate reduction, the world could run into a dangerous inflationary environment, he warned, urging the Committee to use the Assembly for political discussions on a new set of financial rules since the uncertainty caused by speculative behaviour had derailed economic and social stability in many countries, including San Marino. Daily fluctuations in the Dow Jones Stock Exchange showed a “major disconnect between the reality of sound financing and the illusion associated with the continuous gambling of our world’s savings”. The world could no longer live with that kind of global financial uncertainty, he said.
FRANCISCO CARRIÓN-MENA ( Ecuador) said the Committee should focus on following-up to the Conference on the World Economic and Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Development. The crisis had been caused by a system favouring speculative financing as well as an unequal, unfair and inefficient global financial structure that must be reformed. The outcome document of the 2009 Conference recognized the right for all countries, especially those in crisis, to adopt legitimate trade measures, temporary restrictions on the movement of capital and debt-moratorium agreements between debtors and creditors.
He called for promoting the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group to follow up on those issues and for the creation of an ad hoc panel to advise the Assembly on reforming the international financial architecture. Latin American countries had created systems to mitigate the effects of the crisis and prevent its recurrence, by creating the Bank of the South, the Common Reserve Fund for Latin America and the Unified System for Regional Compensation (SUCRE) payment compensation system. To achieve external debt sustainability, it was increasingly urgent to adopt an international cooperation framework and an independent sovereign debt dispute resolution body, he said.
Migrants were particularly affected by the economic crisis, he said, urging the Assembly to address in a comprehensive manner the link between development and international migration. South-South cooperation was essential. On climate change, he said Annex 1 countries must comply with their commitments within the framework of the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. He said his country was fighting climate change through its Yasuni ITT initiative, an innovative project in which the Government had decided not to extract its greatest underground oil reserves. In doing so, it was avoiding the pollution that would otherwise have resulted from extraction, protecting the indigenous people in that area, conserving biodiversity and changing the energy grid.
HAN SUNG IL (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the financial crisis was a consequence of unrestricted liberalization and deregulation, measures advocated as a “panacea for development and growth”. There should be no one-size-fits-all formula, and all countries should therefore be assured of their right to pursue development strategies and policies aligned with their specific conditions and environments. Furthermore, unilateral coercive economic measures of an extrajudicial nature which threatened the sovereignty of developing countries and had a negative impact on their socio-economic development should end, he said.
An adjustment of the old international economic structure, as well as the removal of unequal trade barriers, was a fundamental condition for economic development in developing countries, he continued, emphasizing that developed countries should refrain from neo-protectionism and imposing conditionality in their partnerships with developing countries. Moreover, they must faithfully fulfil their commitments in areas such as financing for development, debt relief, and capacity-building. With regard to climate change, he said a new target should be set urgently to preventing global warming, along with practical measures to ensure the transfer of preferential and environmentally-clean technology to developing countries. Lastly, United Nations agencies should prioritize the strengthening of development assistance, and the Organization must work to enhance the role played by the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation.
PALITHA T. B. KOHONA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said his country had made significant progress in the areas of health, education and gender, with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) declaring that its experience was “among the most compelling”. With ODA and other forms of traditional development assistance on a downward trend, middle-income countries were forced to depend mainly on multilateral trade and the global financial system to generate funds. He called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to consider a permanent expansion of its resources through a general quota increase reflecting current global realities.
Climate change called for the widest possible cooperation by all countries, as well as their participation in an effective and appropriate international response, he said. Sri Lanka viewed technology transfer and financing as critical in enabling developing countries to realize their development targets. It welcomed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)-Plus activities, and called for them to be subject to various forms of support, as well as for the inclusion of indigenous peoples and local communities in their implementation. Stressing the importance of innovative approaches by developing countries to share mutual advantages through South-South cooperation, he highlighted the critical role played by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in linking such cooperation to sustainable industrial development. In closing, he emphasized that his country’s progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals could be attributed to its home-grown development strategies.
KANIKA PHOMMACHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Least Developed Countries, the Landlocked Developing Countries and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said progress by the world’s poorest nations towards realizing internationally agreed development targets had been severely undermined by the food, energy and climate change crises. The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic supported the outcome of the recent High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, which reflected, among other things, the need to reform global institutions so that economic and financial emergencies could be prevented, and to scale up the global partnership for development.
The Millennium Declaration and the Brussels Programme of Action provided a basis for the least developed nations to advance, she said. While some of them had indeed graduated from that category in their efforts to meet the Programme’s targets, implementation had been uneven, and others had been left without the benefits of globalization. There had been insufficient assistance to least developed countries, she said, calling for an assessment of how realizing the Goals could impact the seven commitments of the Programme of Action. The Istanbul Conference on Least Developed Countries should consider how to speed up implementation of the Goals. Also, there was need to do more to make the Almaty Programme of Action a reality, since landlocked developing countries remained extremely vulnerable to external trade shocks.
PATRICK MUGOYA ( Uganda) said that while the global economic and financial crisis was gradually receding, its severe impact would continue to affect many countries, as would the food and energy crises, as well as climate change. Recovery was still uneven, relapse could occur, unemployment levels had been exacerbated and many developing countries would not realize the Millennium Goals by 2015. Uganda welcomed last month’s renewal of commitment to the Goals. Calling for urgent collective action to reform weaknesses in the international economic and financial systems, he said that enhancing the representation of developing countries in the governance of the international financial system - including the World Bank and the IMF - was a priority.
He said developed countries must fulfil their commitments to provide financial assistance, open their markets, transfer technology, give debt relief and take other measures in order to establish a fair global partnership for development. Uganda had a fairly resilient economy after having funded projects in the fields of infrastructure, energy, free education and health services. However, the country was only on track to meet the maternal and child health targets, and might not meet all the Goals by 2015. He went on to say that the increasingly negative impact of climate change called for greater cooperation by all in finding a response. The international community should fulfil its commitments to help developing countries address the consequences of climate change, particularly through the transfer of technology.
JEAN CLAUDY PIERRE (Haiti), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Least Developed Countries, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Rio Group, said that since his country had been “blindsided” this year by one of the most lethal disasters in recent history, its already weak economy had slipped back several decades. It was therefore vital to rebuild Haiti, and for that reconstruction to take into account the need for progress towards the Millennium Goals. However, all reconstruction and other efforts to bring the country back to a pre-quake state would be considered more of a “plugging of the leaks”, he said.
Recalling that the Haiti Donors’ Conference held at United Nations Headquarters in March this year had resulted in commitments of $9.9 billion over a three-year period, he noted that, seven months after the event, funds were only trickling in. While waiting for them to become available, the Government of Haiti had developed, in cooperation with partners, more than 30 programmes for socio-economic rebuilding in the areas of education, health and infrastructure. It would cost more than $1 billion to implement them, he said, noting that the Government must be able to respond quickly since more than a million Haitians still lived in temporary shelters.
As an island nation, Haiti was in a fragile situation with regard to climate change, he said, adding that if nothing was done to combat it, some countries could simply disappear within a half a century. In that regard, he underscored the importance of the upcoming climate conference in Cancun, and expressed hope that States would adopt legally-binding measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Looking forward to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, he urged the international community to provide resources for sustainable development.
DANIEL ANTÓNIO ( Mozambique) said that in order to ensure long-term global economic growth and sustainable development, more efforts were needed to create jobs, scale up international development aid and transfer technology and technical capacities to developing countries. More investment in productive infrastructure, particularly in agriculture, was required to produce enough food and boost the export capacity of developing countries. He called on the international community to seize the opportunities offered by upcoming United Nations summits and conferences on economic, social and related matters to strengthen the Organization’s role in global governance. Hopefully a spirit of common purpose and commitment would prevail during the upcoming Cancun conference on climate change, and negotiators would form a comprehensive, legally-binding agreement that would significantly help save lives and ensure the planet’s survival, he said.
As a least developed country, he continued, Mozambique also hoped the international community would come up with a meaningful plan of action to reduce current socio-economic imbalances and speed up progress towards the Millennium Goals during next year’s Istanbul Conference on the Least Developed Countries. Mozambique’s stable political and social environment had enabled it to consolidate sound macroeconomic progress and thus improve economic growth. The country would soon adopt a national plan, in line with the Adaptation Plan for Africa, to mitigate the impact of climate change, thanks to financial support from Japan and technical assistance from the United Nations Country Team. He expressed support for the implementation of the Regional and Integrated Strategic Development Plan of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
GHAFOOR MOHAMED ( Maldives) said that following its first ever democratic elections in 2008, his country had adopted an approach to development that was based on empowering the people by promoting human rights, decentralizing Government, privatizing industry and promoting small enterprises, free markets and free trade. In close consultation with the IMF, the Maldives had begun to take steps to reduce the deficit inherited from the previous regime. It had already achieved five of the eight Millennium Goals, making significant progress on targets relating to poverty eradication, primary education, child mortality and health care.
However, the impending graduation of the Maldives from the United Nations list of least developed countries at year’s end had significant implications for its economy and programme of socio-economic development, he said. The Maldives would lose vital trade benefits that enabled its few remaining exports to stay competitive on global markets, and it would receive less development aid as a non-priority country. He emphasized that it was wrong to assume that the country’s well-documented vulnerabilities as a small island developing State would vanish upon graduation to middle-income status, he cautioned.
Emphasizing that climate change and sustainable development should not and could not be treated separately, he said the current institutional architecture was under-equipped to deal with the unique challenges facing small island developing States. There was a need for greater sensitivity to their vulnerabilities, a re-evaluation of measurement criteria on their economic sustainability and the creation of a formal category for small island developing States in the United Nations in order to improve access to concessionary financing and grant funding for small highly indebted vulnerable States.
FEDERICO ALBERTO CUELLO CAMILO ( Dominican Republic), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Rio Group, deplored that fact that millions of children could not receive an education. Women still died in childbirth or in the first six weeks after delivery, he said, stressing the need to ensure access to basic health services for all. During the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit, the Dominican President had described the international community’s commitment to achieving the Goals as “irreversible”, yet Governments were failing to reverse hunger, infant mortality and even the low levels of maternal health, he recalled. Was there a lack of commitment on the part of Government agencies?
In spite of the Summit’s success, the international community must still abide by the Secretary-General’s appeal for $250 million a year to finance the costs of achieving the Millennium Goals, he said. The multiple global crises made it clear that States must strengthen their resilience in the face of international shocks. The international community must adopt policies to mitigate the impact of natural disasters, integrate risk management into public policy, develop early-warning systems in coastal areas and adjust critical infrastructure in order to deal effectively with future catastrophes, he said, also underscoring the need for States to be able to function after a catastrophe. He called for the creation of a worldwide alliance of countries at risk, which could encourage the formation of a rapid reaction facility, as proposed by the President of Turkey during the Millennium Goals Summit.
JOSE VASQUEZ ROMERO ( El Salvador) said the economic and financial crisis had had severe repercussions for his country and its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Despite that, El Salvador would try to realize them through an all-inclusive socio-economic development strategy. He urged developed countries to meet their commitments to devote 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product to ODA, and to continue to employ innovative financing mechanisms for development. With more than one third of its population living abroad, migration was of great importance to El Salvador, and it would continue to support the Committee’s work on migration, he said. Furthermore, South-South cooperation was a focal point of solidarity among countries of the South, and last December’s Nairobi Conference on South-South Cooperation had created guidelines on that subject.
El Salvador aimed to acquire the technology to enable it to integrate into international technological networks, he said. However, the country depended on stronger international cooperation to transfer technology for development, particularly in the production and education sectors. Efforts to promote sustainable development were very important, while the challenges were diverse and numerous due to increased food and energy prices, biodiversity loss and climate change. El Salvador was committed to making significant progress during the forthcoming climate change conference in Cancun, he said, expressing hope that the forthcoming Nagoya Conference would also conclude with the successful adoption of the Protocol on Access to and Sharing of Benefits. In addition, it was to be hoped that important decisions on the six important themes under discussion would be made during the nineteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and at Rio+20.
S.K. MAINA ( Kenya) said that since most countries were still not on track to realize the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, there was urgent need for accelerated action, as well as scaled up global partnerships for development – the bedrock for meeting all the Goals. There had been no significant progress in the negotiations for a multilateral trading system that could deliver real and substantial benefits to developing countries. The Doha Round should be concluded with a development dimension that would successfully integrate poor countries into global economic development support, while ensuring enhanced productive capacity and expanded infrastructure and trade in poor countries. With debt-servicing increasingly diverting resources from priority sectors, alternative measures should be provided to those countries that were not beneficiaries of existing initiatives, he said.
Investing in clean energy, sustainable transport and environmentally friendly forms of agriculture could go a long way towards meeting the internationally agreed development targets, he said. As the loss of global biological diversity was approaching the tipping points, Member States had a responsibility to realize the three objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity: conservation, sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. He expressed hope that the upcoming Nagoya meeting would adopt an action-oriented outcome, including a Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. Moreover, for developing countries to respond effectively to climate change challenges, the forthcoming Cancun meeting should result in a balanced outcome, based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, he said.
ENAYET MADANI (Afghanistan) said that since the overthrow of the Taliban regime in 2001, his country had slowly begun to rebuild its shattered political, economic and social structures, focusing on the urgent need to bring the Afghan people out of grinding poverty and ensure basic human rights, opportunities and services. In 2004, the country had committed itself to the Millennium Development Goals, to be achieved by 2020, in the case of Afghanistan. The United Nations could play a very important role in helping least developed countries and those emerging from conflict in achieving the Goals, he said.
Since the financial and economic crisis had had an enormous impact on development agendas, particularly those of the least developed countries, that should be a matter for serious consideration by the Committee, he said. Poverty reduction could only be achieved through a resolute commitment on the part of both developed and developing countries to increased cooperation and continued international financial and technical assistance for developing countries.
Donor countries should consider channelling greater portions of their assistance through the core national budgets of developing countries, he continued, emphasizing the paramount importance of national ownership. Noting that more than 80 per cent of the Afghan people depended on agriculture for their livelihood, he called on the Committee to address matters relating to agricultural development and food security. Given that security concerns continued to impede the Afghan Government’s development policies, he requested the Committee give due consideration to the impact of security on development in post-conflict countries.
AMMAR HIJAZI, Observer for Palestine, associated himself with the Group of 77 and China, saying Palestine was in a unique position, because its development and economy remained stifled by foreign military occupation. The occupying Power had “systematically and illegally exploited our resources, confiscated our lands for building illegal settlements and imposed punitive restrictions on our development efforts”. Those illegal policies had unravelled Palestine’s economy and forced Palestinians into poverty and hunger, he said.
Despite the challenges facing Palestine, the Palestinian Authority had made great headway on fiscal reform and social safety. While there had been an overall drop in the unemployment rate, it remained shockingly high in the Gaza Strip, owing to the continuing Israeli siege. Both the industrial and agricultural sectors were struggling with the occupying Power’s bans on crucial raw materials, other restrictions and unduly high costs.
Despite Palestine’s impressive progress towards realizing the Millennium Goals, the occupation remained a major obstacle, he said, pointing out that the World Bank had recently recognized that the Palestinians would remain donor-dependent as long as the occupation continued. Moreover, their institutions, no matter how robust, would not be able to underpin a viable State, according to the Bank. Turning to climate change, he said the international community must step up its efforts, looking ahead to Cancun as a valuable opportunity. He urged Member States to scale up their support for Palestine’s demand: that the right of occupied peoples to protect their environment and natural resources from illegal exploitation and degradation, as well as their right to development, be “set in stone”.
BERTRAND DE LOOZ KARAGEORGIADES, Observer for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said the Order remained faithful to its original mission to help the sick, poor and disenfranchised, with a network of humanitarian workers active in programmes covering more than 120 countries. In 2009, it had provided immediate aid following the earthquake that had struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra and following typhoons Ketsana and Parma, which had simultaneously hit the Philippines and Viet Nam. The Order had provided assistance in Pakistan, where 1.5 million refugees had been forced from their homes due to the conflict between the army and the Taliban. In northern Sri Lanka, it had helped internally displaced persons forced by the civil war to take shelter in “transit camps”. The Order had recently celebrated the twentieth anniversary of its maternity hospital in Bethlehem, he said.
JANE STEWART, Special Representative to the United Nations and Director, International Labour Organization (ILO), said new clouds had emerged on the employment horizon and prospects had worsened significantly in many countries. If current policies persisted, a recovery in employment to pre-crisis levels would be delayed until 2015 in advanced economies. Resolving the jobs crisis was a difficult task, since some eight million new jobs were needed to return to pre-crisis levels. The ILO Global Jobs Pact provided a realistic set of policy measures that countries could adapt to their respective national circumstances, she said, noting that the labour market policies contained in the Pact must be considered alongside sound macroeconomic policies. Moreover, decisive action was needed on climate change, she said. “By redressing the historic imbalance between economic, social and environmental policies, we can turn the climate crisis into an opportunity to speed up the transition to low-carbon, high-employment, poverty-reducing economies,” she declared.
ELYSE MOSQUINI, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said the organization took a people-centred approach to development, working with public authorities on various activities, from upgrading water and sanitation facilities to addressing food insecurity and climate change. Following Mongolia’s declaration of a state of disaster, for example, the Mongolian Red Cross had mobilized its network to collect data on vulnerable groups, which, alongside Government figures, had been used to develop targeted interventions addressing the underlying causes of vulnerability. In Kenya, she continued, the national Red Cross was working to promote hygiene and pandemic influenza preparedness in one of the world’s largest informal settlements, where, among other issues, a lack of running water fostered diseases like cholera and typhoid. The growing number of people living in urban areas required a change in development strategy, and the World Disasters Report presented recommendations on reducing “urban risk” and building resilience, she said.
JAVIER MOLINA, Liaison Officer, Food and Agriculture Organization, said the number of hungry and malnourished remained very high, although it had dropped to just over 925 million in 2010. To meet the first Millennium Goal, on hunger reduction, the prevalence of hunger in developing countries must be reduced to 10 per cent by 2015, he said. There was a consensus on the need to pay greater attention to agriculture in development policies, in order to tackle the root causes of food insecurity and hunger, he said. In that regard, the standing United Nations resolutions on agriculture, food security, technology development and the right to food were steps in the right direction. He also pointed to gender equality as an important dimension of sustainable food security, since women made up 51 per cent of the agricultural labour force worldwide. In closing, he highlighted events and discussions to be held by FAO, and invited Committee members to join in observance of World Food Day on 4 November, the theme of which would be “United against Hunger”.
ENKHTSETSEG OCHIR ( Mongolia), Committee Chairperson, summarized the three-day general debate, noting that many speakers had hailed the success of the Millennium Development Goals Summit and stressed the urgent need to implement its outcome. She urged delegations to incorporate the main elements of the outcome document and their related proposals into the Committee’s relevant draft resolutions, focusing particularly on expediting implementation.
She said speakers had emphasized the critical importance of the deliberations on climate change, biodiversity and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, in 2012. They had noted that sustainable development was a great challenge for everyone, and that it entailed agreement on targets for greenhouse gas emissions, expediting the implementation of existing agreements and new financing.
Several speakers had noted that the recovery from the global financial and economic crisis was weak and uneven, she said. There had been a strong call in favour of countries that had been particularly hard hit, and a reaffirmation of commitment by their development-partner countries. Many countries in special situations had discussed the great impact of the financial, energy, food security and climate change crises. The Committee would build on the outcome of September’s Five-Year Review of the Mauritius Strategy, and contribute to preparations for the Istanbul Conference on the Least Developed Countries, she said.
Regarding global economic governance, many delegates had pointed to the deleterious consequences of the impasse in the Doha Round and called for its swift conclusion with results aimed at contributing to development, she said. Regarding global economic governance, many delegates had appraised the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Financial and Economic Crisis, and called for it to continue. She also noted the call by many delegations for continued follow-up to the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development. She concluded by recalling that several speakers had underlined the importance of South-South, triangular and other forms of cooperation, and of experience sharing as an effective way to expedite implementation and promote development. That recognition should be appropriately reflected in the Committee’s subsequent discussions, and in the draft resolutions to be approved.
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