|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
4th & 5th Meetings (AM & PM)
Delegate Warns Second Committee Colleagues Not to Lose Sight of Emerging
Food Insecurity Threat, as General Debate Continues
Climate Change, Post-2015 Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals Top Themes
The international community must not lose sight of the emerging and interconnected threats of food insecurity and climate change, Cambodia’s representative warned delegates today, as the Second Committee continued its general debate.
“By 2030 the world would need to produce 50 per cent more food, 30 per cent more clean water and 40 per cent more energy,” he said. “Consequently, the increased competition for natural resources and bio-fuel energy versus agriculture and food for human needs would only further exacerbate the situation of food security.”
He said developing countries like Cambodia must take the initiative to acquire and develop new technologies that would ensure that development and environmental protection went hand-in-hand. Calling on the international community to explore innovative ways to overcome development challenges, he said they included sharing knowledge as well as exchanging information and experiences. Given the weak global economic situation, there could be a temptation to accelerate economic growth at all costs, especially environmental costs, he cautioned, emphasizing that it was, therefore, more important than ever to redouble efforts for environmental conservation and sustainability.
Thailand’s representative described food insecurity as a clear and present threat to all, pointing out that prices continued to rise while, at the same time, access to food was not enjoyed by all. The international community must ensure that people had adequate access to quality food at fair prices, he stressed, encouraging the sharing of reliable and updated information on production, consumption and food reserves to cushion the impact of food-price volatility.
He went on to emphasize the link between climate change and food insecurity, noting that his country faced threats ranging from desertification to loss of biological diversity. The flooding in Thailand and many of its neighbours at the end of 2011 had raised public awareness of the need for building disaster resilience, he said, noting that natural disasters and their effects had become more transnational in nature. Besides widespread destruction and loss of life, the disruption of industrial and agricultural supply chains often extended the impact far beyond the originally affected areas.
The representative of the Philippines said his country also had an important stake in reversing the effects of climate change. Just last year, the Philippines had been struck by a powerful and damaging typhoon which had affected millions of people. The massive damage and cost persisted to the present day, he said, stressing the importance of improving responses to the growing frequency and intensity of disasters, which were becoming more frequent.
Pakistan’s representative said his country had also suffered the effects of climate change, citing the “unparalleled” floods of 2010 and 2011, which had further exacerbated development challenges. Responding effectively to the dangers posed by climate change was particularly urgent for Pakistan, he said, adding that reversing the effects would only be possible through international cooperation.
Several representatives discussed the transition to a “green economy”, whereby development and environment would co-exist in harmony. Guinea’s representative said that, following the easing of his country’s foreign debt, there was hope for directing funds towards the path of sustainable development, and the Government had already seen the beginning of a “quiet revolution” in parts of the country, which demonstrated efforts to move towards a green economy.
Argentina’s representative said not all nations could bear the brunt of the economic and financial crisis equally, as some were more responsible than others for the downturn. Developed countries were more responsible for climate change as it was they who had produced more greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, most of the consequences had become the burden of people who had not caused the crisis but who were now feeling its tremendous effects.
In that regard, Ecuador’s representative emphasized that the world must adopt a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in hopes that it would enforce recognition by developed countries of their responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. Stressing the need to respect biological diversity, he said Ecuador was one of the only countries in the world whose Constitution recognized the rights of nature.
Delegations also reiterated their commitment to reaching agreement on a set of achievable Sustainable Development Goals in time for implementation by 2015. In addition, many urged the timely implementation of the commitments agreed at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference of Sustainable Development; completion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations; and agreement at the upcoming Doha Climate Change Conference in pursuit of development goals. Many delegates also reiterated the benefits of South-South, stressing that it must complement, rather than replace, triangular cooperation and official development assistance (ODA).
Also speaking today were representatives of El Salvador, Lesotho, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Republic of Korea, Brazil, Belarus, Senegal, Qatar, Philippines, Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, Botswana, Malaysia, Iran, South Africa, China, Jordan, Syria, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, Mongolia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Bolivia, Cuba, Nepal and Nigeria.
Representatives of Israel and Syria spoke in exercise of the right of reply, as did an observer for Palestine.
The Second Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 10 October, to conclude its general debate.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its general debate of the sixty-seventh session.
CARLA TERESA ARIAS OROZCO (El Salvador), associating herself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), called for strengthening of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council, and reform of multilateral economic bodies to promote better global economic governance for the future. Development should focus on eradicating poverty and hunger, she said, calling for continued and intensified efforts to implement the Monterrey Consensus, particularly through review and analysis of what had been achieved so far. The different regional, subregional and international development mechanisms must work within the United Nations system, she said, adding that South-South cooperation could not replace, but must complement official development assistance (ODA).
Gross domestic product (GDP) should not remain the main criterion for measuring development, she continued, citing alternatives suggested by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which focused on measuring structural gaps to enhance the impact of aid on development. While El Salvador had developed policies to deal with economic and other shocks, food security remained limited due to climate change and oil-price rises, she said, calling on development partners to support Government efforts already made. On sustainable development, she stressed the need to restore economic balance and achieve equally distributed economic growth. Support for adaptation to natural phenomena linked to climate change was essential, especially for developing countries, she added.
MAFIROANE MOTANYANE (Lesotho), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country had been severely affected by the current crises, including climate change. Lesotho’s efforts to improve the agriculture sector were severely undermined by drought, floods and acute land degradation, a situation that had increased its vulnerability to climate change and undermined efforts to combat it. However, the Government was determined to restore food reserves and safeguard people’s right to food by subsidizing agricultural inputs, scaling up conservation farming and providing nutrition services to mothers with infants, among other methods.
Landlocked least developed countries continued to face development challenges due to their geographical location, he said, adding that those problems translated into structural inadequacies and thereby undermined economic growth and development. Lesotho remained one of the most disadvantaged landlocked least developed countries, surrounded as it was by a single neighbour, he stressed, expressing hope that the Almaty Declaration, recently adopted at the Fourth Meeting of Ministers of Trade of Landlocked Developing Countries, would reinforce efforts for the reintegration of their economies into the global trading system through trade facilitation, increased market access and the development of productive capacities. In addition, he called for continual follow-up and implementation of the commitments made in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration on financing for development.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA ( Kazakhstan) said the world’s problems required collective solutions, new approaches and bold actions, and her Government was already advancing that pattern. In December 2011, President Nursultan Nazarbayev had announced the creation of the G-Global group of nations, and its ideas had received broad support over the past several months from thousands of participants, including politicians, scientists, experts, and business representatives. The initiative’s principles could guarantee the constructive development of civilization and serve as fundamental principles for a new world order, she said. With genuine engagement and sustained common efforts, “we will succeed in overcoming the stagnation of the entire system of international relations and establishment of a transparent world policy”, she said.
Inviting other delegations to support her country’s initiative to organize the International Anti-Crisis Conference in Astana in May 2013, as a follow-up to major gatherings in the economic and financial fields, she recalled that her country had recently hosted two other events less than a month ago — the fourth meeting of Ministers of Trade of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, and the thematic meeting on International Trade, Trade Facilitation and Aid for Trade, as part of the preparatory process for the comprehensive 10-year review conference on implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action. Kazakhstan would make a valuable contribution to the mobilization of all stakeholders in advancing global, regional and national strategies to address the issue of sustainable development, she pledged.
ABIR ALI ( Lebanon) said the world was at a crossroads, with the global crisis hindering sustainable development efforts and accentuating pressure on vulnerable populations such as women and youth, particularly those in developing countries. The Bretton Woods institutions needed to enhance the voice of developing countries in decision-making and norm setting, she said, adding a call for the modification of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank quotas.
Describing Rio+20 as an opportunity to improve collective engagement on sustainable development and poverty eradication, she pointed to the significant progress her country had made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Nonetheless, she added, donor countries must meet their ODA commitments. To change current production patterns, developing countries needed the means necessary to face new challenges she said, welcoming the notion of a green economy and the Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable use of natural resources and energy was crucial, she said, calling for reform of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Emphasizing the significance of the regional dimension of sustainable development, she praised the work of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and underlined her country’s commitment to that body. She also emphasized the role of conflict, occupation and aggression in hindering development in the Middle East, and urged special support for those suffering from such problems, like the Palestinians and her own country. Lebanon would continue to spearhead efforts to clean up the oil spill caused by an Israeli air force attack, she said, pointing out that six General Assembly resolutions calling for Israel to provide compensation had gone unheeded.
S. SANDO WAYNE (Liberia), discussing power-supply deficiencies in Africa, described the West Africa Power Pool project linking businesses, schools, hospitals and homes to ensure a reliable power supply, boost economic growth and promote regional cooperation. The project would expand access to energy for citizens, with a view to universal access, and encourage investment. However, it would require financial investment, he said, noting that its clear rules would help to attract financial input. In addition, the Lift Liberians project aimed to lift the country to middle-income status by 2030 by focusing on jobs for women and young people in the agricultural and industrial sectors, he said.
Thanking the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for helping his country make enormous strides in its recovery from conflict, he said political stability was vital, and had resulted in a growing economy. Although job creation was not growing, revenue had risen significantly, with $16 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) resulting in higher budgets for education, the goal being to ensure universal access to education. As a post-conflict country, ODA remained an essential catalyst to Liberia’s reconstruction, he said, noting, however, that figures showed global aid donations to have fallen by 3 per cent in 2011. They would continue to fall in the next three years, he said, adding that he therefore remained concerned about the future of Liberia’s youth and the challenges of meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
KIM SOOK (Republic of Korea) said the Rio+20 Conference had provided historic momentum for “the future we want” because the world had agreed to establish the Sustainable Development Goals, in addition to making progress in strengthening the governance and institutional framework for sustainable development. “Now it is time for action to make this a reality,” he urged, emphasizing that the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference should be implemented in a more harmonious manner, without the time-consuming repetition of national positions. As a country that had embraced green growth as a new paradigm of development, the Republic of Korea would contribute to progress on that issue in the Second Committee, he said, welcoming the Global Green Growth Institute as an international organization that would increase efforts to help developing countries in their transition to green economy.
Achieving the Millennium Development Goals was one of the most important challenges the world faced, he said, noting, however, that although progress had been made in many areas, efforts must be redoubled to facilitate attainment of the outstanding Goals by 2015. The post-2015 development agenda must set out a bold vision and concrete goals beyond the Millennium Development Goals, he stressed, adding that it must build upon the successes already made while also filling in the gaps. The most vulnerable countries deserved special consideration, he added. Welcoming the launch of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, he said its main goal was to provide diverse perspectives and professional recommendations with a view to making the intergovernmental process more inclusive and effective. The role of the public sector was critical in maintaining the momentum towards achieving sustainable development. Concerning development aid, he said that although it was important to recognize the current economic situation, it was to be hoped that developed countries would do their best to fulfil existing ODA commitments.
SÉRGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS ( Brazil) associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, urged the international community to mobilize significant financial resources for development, in a stable and predictable manner, particularly for the poorest countries. That was especially vital since ODA had decreased in 2011, he said, noting that South-South and triangular cooperation also had the potential to contribute significantly towards the global partnership for development, but as a complement — never a substitute — to aid.
Multilateral financial institutions must become more accountable and responsive to the legitimate needs of the developing world, he continued, noting with concern that implementation of the 2010 IMF Governance and Quota Reform was moving at a slow pace. Concerning Rio+20, he said the Conference had served as a very important step forward in collective action to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. “We must be prepared to fulfil our commitments and live up to the measure of the challenges ahead,” he added, noting that Rio had reaffirmed the centrality of poverty eradication to sustainable development while recognizing the links connecting the three pillars of sustainable development. There was a need to further mainstream sustainable development, and to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns at all levels, he stressed.
Other areas requiring increased efforts, he continued, were the establishment of the High-level Political Forum, the intergovernmental process on options for an effective sustainable development financing strategy, and the facilitation mechanism for the promotion, development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies. Lastly, this year’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of United Nations operational activities for development provided a timely and much-needed opportunity to address head-on the challenges of the current international development cooperation landscape. “In doing so, we need to take concrete action to achieve a healthy balance between core and non-core resources,” he said.
YURI YAROSHEVICH ( Belarus) said Rio+20 had demonstrated the international community’s will to move towards sustainable development. Now, implementation was key, and the full capacities of the United Nations must be brought to bear in helping countries make the transition to a green economy. However, the consensus reached in Brazil “must not be buried” by procedural issues, he warned, saying he looked forward to playing an active role in the Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals. Belarus paid particular attention to new and renewable sources of energy, he said, stressing that ensuring access to modern energy services was vital to the comprehensive energy agenda of the United Nations. Concrete steps were also needed on technology transfer, he said, stressing that the Organization was making insufficient use of factors that could promote global recovery.
For example, the growth capacities of middle-income countries were huge and needed the focus to fall upon them, he continued. Belarus was pleased to see events devoted to middle-income countries included on the Second Committee’s agenda. Pointing to the positive impacts of regional economic associations, such as the single economic space linking Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, he said he also looked forward to discussing operational activities for development during the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. Concerned by the decline in core resources, he called for stabilization through an expanded donor base as well as public-private partnerships. He also called for a swift end to unilateral economic measures that would hinder trade or prevent the achievement of internationally agreed development targets.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, welcomed the Rio+20 Conference outcome document, saying it showed that an international consensus on sustainable development was possible. Hopefully, the Sustainable Development Goals would form part of a continuum with the Millennium Development Goals, with renewed commitment and strengthening. Environmentally focused international instruments were a priority, particularly those relating to climate change and desertification, he said.
The economic crisis had left developing countries’ macroeconomic frameworks unstable, making it difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, he said. Without ODA, economies could not recover successfully, establish a smooth transition to sustainable development or implement the Istanbul Programme of Action. Aid flows had declined in real terms, he noted, calling for a viable cooperation framework to restore them. Least developed countries required targeted policies, on debt management and reduction, for example, and it was important to boost production and trade so as to stimulate growth. In calling for a balanced conclusion to the Doha Round of trade negotiations, he also stressed the need to reform the Bretton Woods institutions, and to increase their coherence and effectiveness.
ABDULRAHMAN YAAQOB Y.A. AL-HAMADI (Qatar), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Arab Group, said the world continued to face rising unemployment, reduced trade as well as the price-related food and fuel crises. Developing countries were the most affected because they were incapable of creating the most basic and desperately needed social networks. Concerned that the first assessment of the Millennium Development Goals had not been satisfactory, he said much of the progress made in combating hunger and poverty had been insufficient, particularly in the Arab World and in parts of Africa. Developed countries must honour their ODA pledges, he said, while stressing the great importance of seeking innovative alternative ways to finance development.
He went on to express concern that the poorest countries would be most affected by the global economic and financial crisis, emphasizing the importance of reforming international financial institutions while at the same time protecting local systems to ensure the resumption of investment flows. Least developed countries required enormous investment in resources, and that process would only be successful through international cooperation and partnerships, he said. Despite the recovery seen in the international economy, enormous challenges remained and their social consequences were ongoing, he said. An environment that would enable developing countries to make full economic use of their assets and the global economy was essential. Concerned that the Doha trade negotiations remained stalled, he urged developed countries to show greater flexibility on climate change and reaffirmed that Qatar would uphold the pledge it had made at the Rio+20 Conference.
EDUARDO JOSE ATIENZA DE VEGA (Philippines), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), called for a fair, open and rule-based multilateral trading system and the early conclusion of the Doha Round. Turning to climate change, he said that, as a developing country, the Philippines had an important stake in reversing its effects. It was important to improve responses to the growing frequency and intensity of the disasters striking so many regions of the world, including Asia, he said, recalling that just a year ago, his country had been struck by a powerful and damaging typhoon which had affected millions of people. The daunting damage and cost from that disaster persisted, he added.
Describing migration as a key element of development, he expressed regret that the Rio+20 Conference outcome document did not make as many references to that issue as he had hoped. “We must respond to the reality that much of migration now is South-South migration and not simple South to North,” he said, adding that he looked forward to a successful Global Forum on Migration and Development, to be held next month in Mauritius, and the High-level International Dialogue on Migration and Development, to be held in New York next year. Finally, he said his country had bright prospects to report following the conclusion of a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic National Liberation Front after decades of turmoil in the southern island of Mindanao.
LUIS-ALFONSO DE ALBA ( Mexico) said the results of the Rio+20 Conference and the recent substantive session of the Economic and Social Council aimed at defining the post-2015 development agenda were significant. They provided a unique opportunity to revitalize the United Nations development agenda, and ensure that the process was consistent and that it increased the Organization’s ability to contribute to the resolution of urgent global problems. Outlining some priorities, he said they included the urgent incorporation of parallel or isolated efforts into a new, single strategic framework. It was also important to ensure that the term “sustainable development” would not remain a synonym for the environmental agenda.
The post-2015 agenda must ensure that its interlinked economic, social and environmental aspects were underpinned by the rule of law, he said. Another challenge involved establishing greater coherence to achieve greater institutional effectiveness, he said, describing the Second Committee as the “first port of call”. While there was too much duplication of work within the United Nations, the work of other actors was also disregarded. The Economic and Social Council was in charge of comprehensive follow-up to conferences relating to social, economic and environmental issues, meaning that it was up to the Council to acknowledge the General Assembly’s complementary and essential role, he said. One way to begin achieving that was for the Chair of the Second Committee and the President of the Economic and Social Council to streamline their agendas.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ ( Colombia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said poverty eradication was both the major global challenge and the major condition for sustainable development. Colombia hoped for the establishment of a single sustainable development agenda and for a single set of Sustainable Development Goals incorporating key elements of the current Millennium Development Goals, he said, adding that a working group was needed to define those goals. Agriculture and food were of particular importance to Colombia, and there was an urgent need to tackle food-price volatility by resolving structural market weaknesses.
He stressed the particular roles and needs of middle-income countries in financing for development, pointing out that those countries comprised 80 per cent of the world’s poor. Their “dynamic participation” was essential to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. Middle-income countries remained active agencies in the exchange of knowledge, and were part of the strategic partnerships in triangular cooperation for least developed countries. He said reform of the international financial system should account for the needs of all countries, while United Nations operational activities for development should work to help Member States deal holistically with social, economic and environmental challenges.
TARIK IZIRAREN (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Arab Group and the African Group, said the impact of the financial and economic crisis on the most vulnerable countries was of great concern, especially after ODA had fallen in 2011. The stagnant global economic forecast and reduced trade was preventing developing countries from joining the international community of developed nations, he said, emphasizing the significance of global partnerships as a tool for moving towards the post-2015 development agenda. Completion of the Doha Round of negotiations should lead States to place development at the centre of the multilateral development system, he said, adding that the focus should also be placed on means of implementation, including technology transfer.
The current session should serve as an opportunity to discuss the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, which should meet the needs of developing countries on the basis of national-ownership principle, he said. It should also take into account the progress made at the Rio+20, he said, calling also for a renewed balance between core and non-core resources, the absence of which had caused fragmentation. That and the issue of cost recovery should receive full attention during Second Committee meetings, he said. Finally, he said that while South-South cooperation was contributing to the growth of developing countries, especially at a time when ODA was waning and trade was slow, it should not be a substitute for North-south cooperation.
CHARLES T. NTWAAGAE ( Botswana) said the special event “The Special Needs of Middle Income Countries”, to be hosted by the Committee next month, would go a long way in bringing to light some of the biggest concerns of those countries. They had suffered greatly during the last session due to a lack of substantive consideration of the one item that spoke specifically to their special needs. Focused discussions on both macroeconomic and sustainable development issues could be successful if all partners were motivated by the spirit of compromise, especially on those issues on which there was a common approach and commitment.
Moving forward, he said, it was also necessary to establish with absolute certainty which Millennium Development Goals would continue to be key contributors to improving the living standards of the majority of people, and which had already successfully achieved their intended target. Member States had the unique advantage of concluding other crucial processes and incorporating them into the new development framework, he noted. To that end, the eighteenth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the eighth Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol should both seize the moment and bring to fruition the discussions to be held in Qatar next month, he said.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, warned of the risks in continuing to test the planet’s capacity. “We must act in concert now,” he stressed. “We need to change our way of life immediately.” There was a great deal of work on the Second Committee’s plate, including follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference, establishing the post-2015 development agenda, strengthening the Economic and Social Council, preparing for the Doha Climate Change Conference and conducting the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, and tackling the challenges facing countries in special situations. Reiterating the importance of South-South cooperation’s solidarity dimension, particularly in light of the global financial crisis, he stressed that it should not be viewed as a substitute for traditional forms of cooperation.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, called for “an inclusive, transparent and democratic world economic order, with functioning merit-based institutions that are focused on preserving stability and prosperity of the world economy as a whole rather than protecting the greedy interests of a few”. To help achieve that, reform of the global financial system and architecture was necessary. Given the universal membership of the United Nations and its unquestioned legitimacy in addressing global economic governance, the world body should be strengthened and enabled to address global challenges by providing it with all necessary resources.
Developing countries still faced challenges stemming from a lack of financial support and the absence of technology transfer, he said. That was not because of a lack of commitment by developed countries, but a “dismal performance in carrying them out”, he said, adding that the failure threatened the very future of humankind. On climate change, he said any international response should enhance implementation of the Climate Change Convention and be motivated by the principles of equity and shared but differentiated responsibilities. As such, Iran looked forward to a comprehensive, equitable and balanced outcome at the upcoming eighteenth Conference of Parties in Doha.
MAMADI TOURÉ ( Guinea), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said the current session was particularly important because it was being held at a very complicated and crucial time in history. In order to derive maximum benefits, the Committee should look back to the progress made as well as to the prospects for future development goals, he urged.
He said his country had made major progress since January 2011 in combating macroeconomic imbalances and improving living conditions for its citizens. Following the easing of its foreign debt, Guinea hoped to direct funds towards sustainable development, which lay at the heart of the national economy. The Government had already seen a “quiet revolution” begin in parts of Guinea, which demonstrated its efforts to move towards a green economy, he said, adding that significant strides were planned in the energy and mining sectors.
Turning to peacebuilding, he said his Government had requested support in priority sectors, including the security sector. One year after undertaking those commitments, Guinea was pleased to welcome the significant progress made in security-sector reform, including the withdrawal of 4,000 soldiers, he said, expressing hope that the Government would extend that progress to the police force as well. Lastly, he described South-South cooperation as a “major player” capable of addressing the lack of trade and ODA, among other challenges.
MENGEANG NAY (Cambodia), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and ASEAN, warned the Committee not to lose sight of the emerging threats of climate change, food insecurity as well as the adverse impacts of globalization. Food security was a major issue, he said adding that the world would need to produce 50 per cent more food, 30 per cent more clean water and 40 per cent more energy by 2030. Consequently, increased competition for natural resources and the struggle over biofuel energy as opposed to agriculture and food for human needs would only further exacerbate the food-security situation.
Cambodia had taken various steps to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he said, adding that the National Strategic Development Plan set the objectives of improving health and education among the poor in rural areas, and enhancing living standards by developing agricultural activities. The Government had imposed new systematic measures to minimize negative impacts on food security, he said. Concerning the green economy, he pointed out that several developing countries were taking the initiative to acquire and develop new technologies, which meant that development and environmental protection could go hand-in-hand. In that regard, he called for innovative solutions that would overcome development challenges as the world approached 2015.
THEMBELA NGCULU ( South Africa) called for urgent reform of the international financial architecture and strengthening the United Nations role in global economic governance. Recent progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals needed acceleration, he said, noting that Africa was the only continent unlikely to meet the targets. With hunger and malnutrition pervasive, despite the continent’s abundant natural resources and largely agricultural population, policies aimed at boosting agricultural productivity were the keys to boosting African growth. However, efforts to establish the new Sustainable Development Goals should not deflect attention from the current Millennium Goals, he cautioned, stressing the continued importance of eradicating poverty.
Following Rio+20, there should be a balanced framework that would enhance coherence, strengthen coordination and avoid duplication, he said. With natural disasters increasing in regularity and scale, the international community must assist in building community resilience in developing countries in order to mitigate disaster risk in an effective and efficient manner. Unchecked, climate change would continue severely to undermine development gains and poverty eradication efforts, he warned, emphasizing the international community’s collective responsibility to implement the Durban outcomes and address the devastating effects of climate change. South Africa called for strengthened South-South cooperation, and for a Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review that would stress the need for ownership, leadership and full participation by national authorities in preparing and developing all planning and programming documents of the United Nations development system.
WANG MIN ( China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the decrease in ODA in 2011 marked the first time that had happened since 1997. The decline put the global development partnership under a major test, he said, adding that international development cooperation was “at a crossroads”. Going forward, the international community must carefully plan the future of international cooperation for development, explore effective approaches to dealing with global challenges and join hands to revitalize the multilateral development agenda.
The General Assembly should focus on mobilizing the political will to expedite implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, he continued, pointing out that the MDG Gap report pointed to potential backsliding for the first time in the history of the Goals. Calling for a greater sense of international urgency and effective fulfilment of commitments by developed countries, he also called on the United Nations to play a central role in promoting and strengthening global economic governance, and to help accelerate implementation of the Rio+20 Conference outcome.
The sustainable development agenda needed revitalization and a focus on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” as well as the eradication of poverty. He added a call for the early establishment of an open-ended working group to formulate a set of Sustainable Development Goals for the period after 2015. Regarding that post-2015 development agenda, he added a call to make the international responsibilities of developing countries commensurate with their level of development, noting that South-South cooperation should complement, rather than replace, North-South cooperation.
DIANA ALI NAHAR AL-HADID (Jordan), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Arab Group, called for a dynamic and enabling international development model that could enhance cooperation in areas such as finance, technology transfer, debt relief and trade. Concerning the Millennium Development Goals “countdown”, she said a framework for the post-2015 development agenda could offer a more inclusive approach to poverty eradiation and better incorporate the three dimensions of sustainable development, responding in particular to the significant changes that had taken place in the world.
She expressed hope that the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review of United Nations operational activities for development would serve as an opportunity for assessment and lead to further guidance on improving the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the support provided by the United Nations development system to programme countries. “While there cannot be one size fits all, the ‘Delivering as One’ initiative would be capable of achieving greater coherence, efficiency and effectiveness in United Nations operational activities,” she said. Furthermore, different models of the Resident Coordinator system could respond to organizational needs and be a key driver of system-wide coherence, in response to global shifts in development cooperation and the need for clear, integrated policies to ensure a solid three-pillar foundation for sustainability.
RABEE JAWHARA (Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said natural disasters due to climate change required international solidarity and clear commitment based on shared but differentiated responsibilities. There was a need to iron out imbalances in the Copenhagen Agreement, to help developing States confront ongoing changes, and to ensure the transfer of technology and capacity-building. The Rio+20 Conference outcome introduced various important ideas with a view to achieving sustainable development, he said, adding that those ideas, together with other advances in sustainable development, needed following up.
Calling on Israel to end its occupation of Arab lands, he said that was one of the greatest violations of international humanitarian law, and endangered the environment through the destruction of agriculture, the local population’s main source of income. Concerned about Israel’s plan to build turbines for power generation on occupied land, he called on the Second Committee to highlight the ramifications of the occupation. He also stressed his country’s opposition to unilateral economic measures that hindered efforts by developing countries to face up to the economic crisis and achieve sustainable development, condemning those countries and entities that viewed the imposition of trade measures as a viable tool for political repression.
NORACHIT SINHASENI ( Thailand), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, reiterated that the Committee’s immediate priority should be to reach agreement on a set of achievable Sustainable Development Goals in time for implementation after 2015. In addition, he brought up the issue of food security as a clear and present threat to all. Food prices continued to rise, but access to food was not enjoyed by all. There was a need to ensure that people had adequate access to quality food at fair prices, he emphasized, adding that sharing reliable and updated information on production, consumption and food reserves could cushion the impact of food-price volatility.
Given the weak economic situation, there could be a temptation to accelerate economic growth at all costs, especially without due regard to the environment, he said. It was, therefore, more important than ever to redouble efforts to ensure environmental conservation and sustainability. In that connection, Thailand supported the continuation of climate change negotiations on established principles, under the auspices of the Climate Change Convention. The relevant issues ranged from desertification to the loss of biological diversity, each of which would require a tailored approach.
He said the flooding in Thailand and many other countries in South-East Asia at the end of 2011 had raised public awareness of the need to build resilience to disaster, he said, adding that the effects of natural disasters had become more transnational in nature. Apart from the widespread destruction and loss of life in the immediately affected area, the disruption of industrial and agricultural supply chains often extended the impact far beyond the original affected areas.
AMAN HASSEN ( Ethiopia) associated himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries, the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and the African Group. He said that despite the reduction of extreme poverty by half, hunger and malnutrition remained high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, he said, adding that despite progress on gender equality, women remained disadvantaged in relation to productive employment opportunities. Successfully achieving the Millennium Goals depended on partnerships for development, he said, noting that despite global dialogue and commitments, significant gaps remained in the delivery of development aid, with the total disbursed having dropped by 3 per cent in 2011.
Negotiations on the Doha Round of trade negotiations were also in deadlock, and calls to exempt least developed countries from duties and quotas remained unanswered, he noted. The post-2015 development agenda should use the vision embodied in the Millennium Declaration as the starting point. New and emerging issues, including employment, sustainability, climate change and inequality should gain prominence, while issues specific to developing countries, like inclusive economic growth, productive employment, disaster risk reduction and resilience should also be at the top of the agenda. Overall, the post-2015 development agenda should focus on the growing vulnerabilities of the poor to the effects of natural disasters and economic shocks, he said.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, underlined the importance of the Rio+20 outcome document, which provided the “blueprint for the global sustainable development agenda”. The task now was to deliver concrete and pragmatic outcomes, and to transform the enthusiasm for the outcome document into tangible action for the benefit of humankind. A key challenge was climate change, he said, adding that because of their historical responsibility, developed countries needed to make higher commitments as the international community addressed the issue.
With many developing countries still struggling to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals, their lack of funding was a key factor that made a backward slide into poverty a reality for millions, he said. Sri Lanka had recorded impressive gains despite global uncertainty, he said, citing balanced socioeconomic strategies as the main reason for the country’s graduation to middle-income status. Sri Lanka had already achieved most of the Millennium Development Goals, with food security no longer an issue and absolute poverty significantly reduced. Already widespread access to energy would be universal by 2015, he added.
DIEGO MOREJÓN ( Ecuador), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, expressed regret that the Second Committee’s work would be conducted amid the persistent global economic and financial crisis. Imbalances in trade, food and fuel insecurity, debt and other challenges were daunting, while the excessive volatility of financial flows, food prices and unsustainable debt must be addressed. The players who had caused the crisis must be held accountable, he stressed. Many of the Committee’s agenda items remained unfinished, he noted.
Pledging to host a new conference on financing for development, in line with the Doha Declaration, he expressed hope that that would be helpful in forming the new Sustainable Development Goals. Migration was also another important matter with a clear link to development, he said, emphasizing the need to promote and defend the rights of migrant workers. There must also be a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol in hopes that it would compel developed countries to recognize their responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. Urging respect for biological diversity, he said there was an urgent need to ensure the protection of intellectual property, pointing out that his country was one of the only ones in the world with a Constitution that recognized the rights of nature.
MATEO ESTREME ( Argentina ), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, noted with concern the negative impact that the economic and financial crisis had generated, affecting nations and the daily lives of millions of people around the world. Most of the consequences burdened people who had not caused the crisis, but who now felt its tremendous economic effects. He called for increased representation for developing countries on the international stage, including at the IMF. Concerning sustainable development, he stated his country’s commitment to the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit” as well as to the Rio+20 Conference, emphasizing that sustainable development must include social and economic growth ensuring respect for nature and the environment. That principle had been reaffirmed at the Rio+20 Conference.
Stressing that there could not be equal responsibility between countries on the basis of their levels of development, specific circumstances and historical responsibilities, he pledged to work constructively with other delegations in seeking a strategy and innovative means of financing for development. They must be built upon the progress made in science and technology, he said, adding that they must focus on eradicating poverty. Hopefully the Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals would help identify the structural causes of poverty, which would help provide tools for enabling least developed countries to empower themselves. Despite much progress, growth had been interrupted and undermined positive trends, including the goal of eradicating poverty, he said, adding that productive employment was the key to fighting poverty and inequality.
NURAN NIYAZALIEV ( Kyrgyzstan), associating himself with the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said his country was committed to long-term sustainable green development and to a green economy. Vulnerable mountainous and landlocked States were encumbered with growing debt, despite paying their interest and principal sums. That meant funding for development programmes was stretched, while investment declined, exacerbating problems and constraining national abilities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, he said, also speaking in favour of a debt-cancellation mechanism for mountain States, which would promote sustainable development and help to mainstream the green economy.
He expressed hopes for progress at the Doha Climate Change Conference and called for a comprehensive approach in tackling the problem. Kyrgyzstan had suffered a large increase in disasters over the last 10 years, and their number and destructiveness was set to grow, he said, adding that he looked forward to taking part in shaping the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Kyrgyzstan had submitted its candidacy for membership of the Economic and Social Council, and set great store by its activities in formulating and implementing solutions to economic, social and environmental issues, he said.
LAURIE FERGUSON, Member of Parliament from Australia, said he was particularly pleased with the Rio+20 outcomes on sustainable management and conservation of the oceans, not least because small island developing States made up 22 of Australia’s 24 neighbours. Australia was committed to delivering on the Barbados Programme of Action, the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation of the Barbados Programme and “The Future We Want”. The Rio+20 outcome document also recognized the need for improved food security and investment in agricultural research and development, he said. While the international community had made significant progress on the Millennium Development Goals, much work remained, with one billion people still in poverty and 61 million children missing out on education.
They were often excluded because of ethnicity, gender, disability or conflict, which were urgent problems, he continued. “They demand our attention, and they demand our action.” In response, Australia’s aid programme had tripled in size and would expand by a further 50 per cent in the next four years. The Prime Minister co-chaired the MDG Advocacy Group and was a champion of the “Education First” initiative. He said he looked forward to contributing to participating in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals and integrating them into a post-2015 development agenda, as well as contributing to discussions on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review. Australia also hoped to drive meaningful reforms of the United Nations system and enable the delivery of real results to the poor.
TULGA NARKHUU ( Mongolia), associated himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, and warned that signs of a new economic slowdown had emerged in some parts of the world. Today’s challenges required collective responses, he said, highlighting the “historic” outcome of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, where world leaders had agreed to define the Sustainable Development Goals that would be coordinated with the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda. More attention was needed to meet the needs of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, particularly their need for ODA, he said, while also expressing hope for recommendations during the Review of the Almaty Programme of Action on tangible actions to enhance the integration of landlocked countries into the global economy.
PAUL LOSOKO EFAMBE EMPOLE ( Democratic Republic of the Congo), associating himself with the Group of 77, the African Group and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the current session was very important because it was the first one following the Rio+20 Conference. While the present time was important for monitoring the progress of development goals, the Second Committee would have to play a central role in approving draft resolutions that would promote the implementation of Rio+20 initiatives. Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals should remain a top priority of the United Nations system, he said.
Emphasizing the importance of financing for development, he expressed gratitude to the countries of the global North that had delivered aid, while calling on others to meet their pledges. Eliminating poverty with a view to ensuring a green economy must be an international effort, and should encourage all stakeholders to deliver on their commitments as well. The Democratic Republic of the Congo would not achieve the Goals without the transfer of new green technologies as well as renewed development aid, he said. Moreover, building peace, for which the Congolese people had paid a high price, called for increased security, greater economic stability and the return of refugees to their respective homes.
ANDREW KIHURANI ( Kenya), associated himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, and stressed the importance of tackling the follow-up to Rio+20. The Conference had addressed many issues relating to sustainable development that required the Committee’s follow-up, including the post-2015 development agenda and establishing the Sustainable Development Goals, which must reflect different levels of development and build upon gaps in the Millennium Development Goals. The new set of goals must account for the special needs of developing countries, particularly African States, since most of them lagged behind in their pursuit of the Millennium Goals. He said he looked forward to reform of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on Sustainable Development and UNEP, which would enable those institutions to respond better to the needs of Member States. UNEP should benefit from stable financial resources, universal membership and consolidation of its scattered departments in Nairobi in order to aid better coordination, he said, calling for the relocation of the 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption to its “natural home” within UNEP.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ ( Bolivia) said developing countries had been victims of processes that they had not triggered. They lacked resources to implement sustainable development, which could not come from the markets. Mechanisms like carbon trading and the international tax on financial transactions to establish a sustainable development fund was the best option, he said. It would generate new, stable and additional resources for developing countries. A rate of 0.05 per cent globally could collect $661 billion a year. However, a lack of resources was no excuse, he said, pointing to the $1.5 trillion that developed countries devoted to their militaries. Those funds should be channelled immediately into sustainable development, he said. Bolivia’s national development plan proposed the goal of eradicating poverty by 2025. Between 2005 and 2012, the country had significantly reduced extreme poverty to the extent that it had achieved the Millennium Development Goals early, he said, adding that his country aspired to food self-sufficiency, and the Government had met with various groups to work out how best to achieve that. He pointed out that 2013 would be the International Year of Quinoa.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan), associated himself with the Group of 77 and China, and said the Committee was meeting at a time of high economic uncertainty and weak global trajectory. “The situation is compounded by extraordinary unemployment levels, declining global trade, escalating sovereign debts, increasing threats to food and energy security as well as an aggravated global climate challenge.” Pakistan was pleased with the outcome of the Rio+20 Conference because it laid out both policy and institutional foundations for a sustainable world, he said, stressing, however, the need to meet deadlines in implementing decisions. Recognizing that countries with different levels of development had different priorities, he said that in the globalized and interconnected world, economic difficulties should be treated as global issues. Addressing common challenges was a shared responsibility, he added.
For Pakistan, responding effectively to the dangers posed by climate change was particularly urgent, he stressed, recalling that the unparalleled floods of 2010 and 2011 had further exacerbated his country’s development challenges. At the national level, Pakistan had greater efforts to minimize the negative impact through a revised framework for economic growth, a reinvigorated rural economy, and strengthened social safety nets such as the Benazir Income Support Programme, through which cash transfers were made to 6 million poor families. The government had also made efforts to increase revenue collection while curtailing Government spending and rationalizing energy-tariff structures. The Government looked forward to open trade and regional economic integration, he said, adding that, at the global level, Pakistan expected a level playing field and a supportive environment.
OSCAR LEÓN GONZÁLEZ (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that since Group of 77 countries would present the majority of draft resolutions, developed countries should reciprocate by playing a genuine part in negotiations. The use of meaningless terms in draft resolutions was aimed at achieving consensus rather than achieving real goals, he said, calling for clear, direct language. Although there were fewer resources for promoting sustainable development, more resources were available for war, he said, noting that military spending had reached record levels in 2010. Sustainable development could be achieved if just 20 per cent of military spending was channelled in its direction instead, he added.
Calling for a more just and inclusive economic order, with strengthened multilateralism at its core, he said inequality was growing. Cuba urged reform of the international financial system with a view to making debt, trade, financing for development and globalization fairer and more favourable to developing countries. The Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review was a good opportunity to re-assert the guiding values of the United Nations and to strengthen its role in guiding development, he said, expressing hope that the document arising from the Review would strengthen multilateralism and make the United Nations more proactive. Heads of State and Government attending the Rio+20 Conference had reaffirmed principles from the 1992 Earth Summit, and recommitted to a future sustainable development model, he recalled, emphasizing that it was up to the Second Committee to implement and follow up in a transparent and inclusive way, while looking forward to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in 2014.
USMAN SARKI (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, recognized the unique opportunity afforded by the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review to take concrete and practicable steps in addressing the funding, functioning and effectiveness of United Nations operational activities for development. The Rio+20 Conference outcome document, “The Future We Want”, reaffirmed international commitments to the three pillars of sustainable development and reiterated the need for equal representation of geographical regions as well as the inclusion of relevant stakeholders in formulating the Sustainable Development Goals.
He warned that sustainable agricultural production leading to food security was threatened by desertification, drought, floods, and land degradation, which would lead to huge gaps in the food needs of many communities across the Sahel region and other parts of Africa. Reaffirming the centrality of the Climate Change Convention as the legitimate and principal forum for addressing climate change, he said it was imperative that the global community speed up action to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent interference with the climate system. Nigeria looked forward to a successful outcome at the eighteenth Conference of Parties in Doha later this year, he added.
SIRODJIDIN ASLOV (Tajikistan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that sustainable economic development was part of his country’s National Strategy for Development through 2015. It gave special attention to natural resources with the aim of promoting the creation of a green economy, he said. Kyrgyzstan attached great importance to the special needs of landlocked developing countries, and was committed to the Almaty Programme of Action on transit transportation. Its effective implementation would contribute to regional trade and economic cooperation, he said, calling for the granting of most-favoured nation status to landlocked developing countries due to the serious obstacles posed by their isolation and lack of access to the sea.
Expressing support for the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, he said that making access to energy a priority was key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and even more urgent for poor countries and remote mountain territories. For such States, social and economic development, as well as the eradication of poverty and hunger depended on access to energy. With the degradation of one third of its glaciers — the sources of river flows in the region — climate change was a serious issue for Tajikistan, on both ecological and economic grounds, he said, adding that with 93 per cent of the country covered by mountains, Tajikistan was one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and natural disasters, particularly water-related ones.
DURGA PRASAD BHATTARAI ( Nepal) associated himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries. Calling for “people-centric” development, including full implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, he said it was essential to meet the Millennium Development Goals and to build the post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, on the reinforced pillars of sustainable development, with poverty eradication at its centre.
Referring to the structural constraints facing Nepal and other landlocked countries, he called for the development of an effective transit transport system, as well as better access to global trade, which could be facilitated by the 10-year review of the Almaty Programme of Action. He called for prioritizing the protection of mountain ecosystems against the adverse effects of climate change, while maintaining a focus on building green economies. Globalization in its current form was breeding inequalities, he said, noting that remittances from migrant workers were a major source of his country’s income. He called for the protection of remittances while stressing the importance of continued ODA and a Doha Round outcome focused on least developed countries.
Right of Reply
The representative of Israel, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that cynical attacks on his country had nothing to do with the general debate and undermined the Committee’s serious work. He singled out Syria’s representative, saying he spoke for a regime that did not care about the development of its own people. Many women, children and men had been tortured and murdered by that regime, he added.
He also responded to the representative of Lebanon, saying she had failed to mention that Hezbollah had started the 2006 conflict by launching attacks on Israel. She had also failed to mention environmental destruction in Israel, and the latter’s extensive cooperation with the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and other groups that had assessed the degradation and damage on the Lebanese coast.
The representative of Syria responded to Israel’s “naïve claims” by the “worst system of occupation ever known to humanity”, saying the occupation fell well within the mandate and agenda of the Second Committee. Reaffirming the Committee’s agenda item on sovereignty over the natural resources of peoples under occupation, he called for international pressure to end Israel’s occupation of Arab lands and its exploitation of their natural resources.
An observer for Palestine said Israel’s status as the occupying Power was not a novelty, and its violations in Palestine continued. Israel had lost its credibility. Its occupation violated economic, political, social and cultural areas, as well as flora and fauna.
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