|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
4th & 5th Meetings (AM & PM)
Delegates in Second Committee Raise Concerns over Widening Gap
Between Emerging, Least Developed Countries
Middle-Income Countries Reiterate Continuing Need for International Aid
The gap between emerging and least developed countries was widening as the latter continued to lag behind in their pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, Haiti’s representative stressedtoday, as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its general debate.
Emphasizing the importance of common but differentiated responsibilities, she called on Member States to step up their ambitions as they forged the post-2015 development agenda. The focus must be on improving its relevance and coherence. The challenges already facing small island developing States were severely exacerbated by global market turbulence and the effects of climate change, she stressed.
The representative of the Maldives was one of several other speakers who stressed that tackling climate change was not just a matter of sustainable development, but a struggle for their very survival. He pointed out that 80 per cent of his country’s land was a mere metre above mean sea level. A formal definition of small island developing States was needed so they could gain special treatment from development organizations and donor countries. Equally detrimental to their sustainable development was the use of misleading indices such as gross domestic product (GDP) per capita income to gauge development levels, he added.
Chile’s representative sounded a similar note, pointing out that like other middle-income countries, his own was experiencing a paradox: while it was poised to meet the Millennium Development Goals deadline by September 2015, it still needed international development assistance. He warned against ending United Nations operational activities in middle-income countries, saying that such a step would be devastating.
The representative of the Russian Federation pointed to the global economic imbalance among countries, saying that economic policy must be closely linked to social issues such as unemployment, trade reform and investing in human development. The post-2015 development model must be geared towards promoting sustained economic growth. That required responsible and coordinated international action to promote fiscal responsibility and the equitable and fair distribution of risk. Overcoming the economic crisis required serious long-term efforts, making use of innovative resources and regional integration, he said.
Several delegates emphasized the need for developed countries to deliver on their aid pledges, with the representative of United Republic of Tanzania saying that they must render 0.7 per cent of their gross national income as official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries and 0.15-0.20 per cent to least developed countries. Just as important, however, were collective efforts to mobilize domestic resources, especially since private international capital flows in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) tended to fade in most developing countries. Aggressive tax avoidance techniques by some multinational corporations also cost those countries considerable capital from investment and trade, he said, underlining the need to strengthen national capacities to curb tax evasion.
Venezuela’s representative said that the marketization of commodities and speculative trading were new forms of colonization, emphasizing that fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals depended mainly on developed countries, which had not complied with their aid and technology transfer commitments. The current global economic system of subordination fuelled the development of countries in the global North, he said, adding that the Bretton Woods institutions were used as tools that recognized societies favouring aggressive hegemony. It was imperative to regulate financial capital and ensure that banks returned to their traditional role as intermediaries. The current pattern of global consumption was unsustainable, he said, noting that global production was determined by demand that was driven by the income of the rich, while natural resources continued to be sacrificed, mainly in poor countries.
The representative of the United States said her Government was determined to make every last day count to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the due date. The United States was committed to an even more ambitious 2015 agenda that would incorporate sustainable development’s social, economic and environmental pillars. However, rapid urbanization could overwhelm the enormous gains made in pursuit of the Millennium targets. Looking ahead, a new development agenda must take into account the rapidly changing world, growing populations, new technologies, demands for inclusive participation and the interconnectedness between and within societies that had been unimaginable a generation ago.
Also speaking today were representatives of Republic of Korea, Egypt, Syria, Japan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Mexico, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Israel, Argentina, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Thailand, Qatar, New Zealand, Bolivia, Senegal, Nicaragua, Jordan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Morocco, Viet Nam, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Samoa, Bangladesh, Federated States of Micronesia, Switzerland, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, El Salvador, Singapore and Iraq.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply was the representative of Syria.
The Second Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m., on 11 October to continue its general debate.
The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met this morning to continue its general debate of the sixty—eighth session.
PAIK JI-AH( Republic of Korea) said the Secretary-General was correct to praise the Millennium Development Goals as the most successful effort to eradicate poverty in history. Yet, 1.2 billion people around the world still suffered from it, with the number continuing to increase in sub-Saharan Africa. Some Goals seemed difficult to attain while persistent and growing inequalities must be addressed beyond 2015. Designing a new agenda, without detracting from the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, was an urgent task, he emphasized. Hailing the success of recent high-level meetings on the subject, he stressed the importance of coherence and consistency across all sustainable development processes on and in the post-2015 agenda. The adoption of the resolution on strengthening the Economic and Social Council as the General Assembly session’s first action would enable the Council to enhance its effectiveness in addressing global challenges. The Republic of Korea was committed to scaling up its official development assistance (ODA) and to increasing cooperation with United Nations development agencies, he said.
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL ( Egypt) aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, saying that the Millennium Development Goals had not ironed out global disparities. The global partnership for development was the weakest link and global efforts needed scaling up. The Goals had also failed to alter development discourse and had not changed the relationship between donors and beneficiaries. Improving international trade and granting better access to technology was even more important than aid and the rules needed changing. The post-2015 development agenda had to address such shortcomings, focusing on poverty eradication and on creating an international enabling environment. Some countries wanted to push sustainable development in the wrong direction, he said, stressing that while the development landscape might be changing, the problems remained the same, if not more complex. Welcoming establishment of the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development, he also underlined the importance of bridging the technological divide if the Rio+20 outcome document was to be fulfilled.
RABEE JAWHARA( Syria) associated himself with the Group of 77 and China, saying follow-up to Rio+20 needed to complement and build on previous efforts. He hoped the High Level Political Forum would avoid the problems faced by the Commission on Sustainable Development. Political will of all participants was vital to ensuring the Forum’s success. The Rio+20 outcome document and many other United Nations documents had called for the need to end foreign occupation in order to ensure development. Foreign occupation was continuing to negatively impact development. He pointed in particular to Israel’s occupation of the Syrian Golan and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Palestinians had suffered for a long time with a blockade and natural resources policies that benefited the colonisers. He also expressed concern about some United States companies engaging in business activities in occupied Syrian territory. He was also opposed to unilateral economic measures imposed on States by other countries or multilateral entities, stressing the negative effect they had on development, calling for respect for international agreements.
VLADIMIR SERGEEV ( Russian Federation) said the risk of a global economic downturn continued to rise due to the worsening crisis in developed countries. Eradicating the global imbalance called for a model geared towards promoting sustained economic growth, which in turn required responsible and coordinated international action to promote fiscal responsibility and equitable distribution of risk. Economic policy must be closely linked to social issues such as unemployment, trade reform and investing in human development. Just last month, global leaders at the St. Petersburg G-20 Summit had reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating poverty and accelerating pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals, he recalled. The Group had also emphasized the particular importance of constructive cooperation in implementing the post-2015 development agenda. Overcoming the economic crisis required serious long-term efforts, making use of innovative resources and regional integration, he said. The Russian Federation was actively engaged in integration programmes in Eurasia, ensuring the unhindered flow of goods and capital. The customs union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation helped to harmonize the regional policy of cooperation, technical assistance and agricultural subsidies, which yielded practical and concrete results in increased trade and employment.
KATSUHIKO TAKAHASHI( Japan) said that the special event on the Millennium Development Goals held two weeks ago had been a great opportunity to forge a new post-2015 development framework. In line with its commitment to accelerating progress towards meeting development targets, Japan had pledged $500 million to address health issues in Africa, and was involved in training 120,000 health and medical professionals there. It had also pledged $3 billion in official development assistance, to be disbursed over the next three years in such areas as women’s rights and the fight against HIV/AIDS. The post-2015 development agenda must be guided by human security, he said economic growth and job creation were also critical to virtually all development targets, he stressed, also underlining the importance of developing infrastructure and human resources. On climate change, he said disaster risk reduction must be mainstreamed into the agenda since a disaster could wipe out years of development progress in an instant. Noting his country’s experience with natural hazards, he said Japan stood ready to share its disaster risk reduction technology with others.
E. AHAMED (India), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said building on the progress made under the Millennium Development Goals, the international community must now make an ambitious push to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. High priority must also be placed on promoting women’s access to economic opportunities. Sustained and inclusive economic growth was the only way for developing countries to lift their populations out of poverty and drive gains in human development. He called for a development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round and emphasized the need to reform global economic governance institutions to give a real voice to developing countries through enhanced aid and investment, a supportive multilateral trade regime and a strengthened framework for transferring technology. Turning to the post-2015 development agenda, he said efforts of sustainability would remain hollow unless the international community confronted issues of inequity in consumption of global resources. The burden of sustainability could not be placed on the poor.
NURAN NIYAZALIEV(Kyrgyzstan), aligning himself with the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that his country had set out its national plan for 2013—2017, aiming for stability, guaranteed rights, and meeting key development priorities. Mountainous, landlocked developing countries had particular development needs and faced many specific problems that needed acknowledgement in the post-2015 development agenda. Green economic growth in Kyrgyzstan would rely on water, but resources were under growing pressure due to climate change, he said. Glacial melting had declined by 30 per cent, reducing river flows and potentially leading to socioeconomic tension. Hydro-energy was essential to the region’s sustainable development, he said, expressing hopes of sharing best practices with other countries. There were more than 8 million cubic metres of uranium tailings in areas of seismic activity that were also prone to flooding, which made it vital to ensure protection of the tailings, he stressed, calling the Committee’s attention to a draft resolution on the issue.
DILYOR KHAKIMOV ( Uzbekistan) said his country’s responsible financial and economic policies were a model for post-Soviet States. Uzbekistan had achieved a stable 8 per cent annual growth rate, expanded per capital gross domestic product (GDP) by 2.6 times since 2000, and attained a five—fold increase in public expenditures over the same period. Though possessing significant hydrocarbon reserves, renewable energy was a priority, he emphasized. The Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme had supported the construction of solar and wind power stations, while efforts continued to improve fuel for vehicles and increase the efficiency of existing power stations, in line with the aims of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. Climate change had led to growing resource insufficiency, and the Aral Sea disaster was negatively affecting socioeconomic development, he said. Uzbekistan’s 2013—2017 Plan of Action reaffirmed its commitment to sustainable development and environmental security, with the Government devoting $2 billion to ensuring rational water use. In that connection, he urged States not to implement projects upstream of the Amu Darya and Sir Darya, noting the risks faced by countries downstream, and calling for regional cooperation on transboundary water use.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said the post—2015 development agenda must have inclusion as a central premise to ensure not only the reduction of poverty and inequality, but also the active participation of the most vulnerable. Mexico announced it would soon host a meeting to promote a global perspective for inclusion involving Governments, civil society and United Nations agencies, funds and programmes. Mexico promoted the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, while it supported an open and secure Internet that guaranteed fast, high-quality access for all. The Secretary-General’s announcement of plans for a climate change summit in 2014 and the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction scheduled for 2015 were also supported by Mexico.
ASTRIDE NAZAIRE(Haiti), aligning herself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), expressed concern over the growing gap between emerging and least developed countries as the latter continued to trail in their pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals. Emphasizing the importance of common but differentiated responsibility, she called on Member States to step up their ambitions as they forged a post-2015 development agenda and to focus on improving its relevance and coherence. She called for implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Barbados Programme, saying that challenges facing small island States in agriculture, food security and fair trade were exacerbated by global market turbulence and the effects of climate change. Particular attention should be paid to the sustainability of mountains, she said, pointing out that two thirds of Haiti was covered by mountains. Expressing disappointment over the absence of migration and development from the Committee’s current agenda, she said a substantial resolution would be helpful in recognizing the rights of migrant workers, which continued to be breached.
DOCTOR MASHABANE ( South Africa) emphasized that the full implementation of the Millennium Development Goals should remain the key priority for the next two years and the development aspirations of Member States under that framework should not be eclipsed by the debate on the post-2015 development agenda. As different countries had different capacities and circumstances, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should permeate all development discussions. Poverty reduction should continue to be prioritized and the means of implementation could not be overemphasized. The post-2015 agenda should be closely aligned with regional priorities, and African countries were currently developing a common position to ensure they could collectively defend their interests in the negotiations on the agenda. He also underscored the importance of a strengthened global partnership for development that built on existing commitments, such as those made in the Monterrey Consensus and the Doha Declaration. Good governance was needed as well, which should create conditions for mutual accountability for the delivery of development commitments made previously towards developing countries and help strengthen efforts to stem tax evasion and illicit financial flows from developing countries.
TLEUZHAN SEKSENBAY ( Kazakhstan), noting that Member States were ready to start conceptualizing the post-2015 development agenda, said in that regard that his country was among those engaged in national consultations conducted by the United Nations Development Programme. Among the main principles that had emerged were: the process should be global in nature but with national implications, it should be human-centered, and it should be based on the rule of law and good governance. The world needed collective solutions, new approaches and bold actions to solve its problems, he said, adding that his country had suggested the creation of a global, inclusive and transparent virtual platform that would provide all countries with an equal voice and opportunity to exchange ideas and develop proposals and policies for addressing global challenges.
Terri Robl ( United States) said she was determined to make every last day count to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by their due date. Looking ahead, a new development agenda must take into account the rapidly changing world, growing populations, new technologies, demands for inclusive participation and interconnectedness between and within societies unimaginable a generation ago. The international community lived at a time of historic opportunity to make decisions and irreversible gains in poverty eradication. The United States was committed to an even more ambitious 2015 agenda that incorporated sustainable development’s social, economic and environmental pillars. It would continue to pledge that commitment through a range of development activity and through promoting fiscal responsibility, rule of law and the employment of youth and women. Rapid urbanization could overwhelm the enormous gains in achieving the Millennium targets. The number of people who lacked access to clean water and sanitation was unacceptable; too many still lived in poverty and conflict-afflicted States. Tackling such complex, interrelated challenges required a particular focus on empowering women, educating youth and providing equal opportunity to persons with disability. Such measures would contribute to economic growth and transform societies. It was important to exploit innovative ideas from civil society, youth, private sector and academia. The United Nations could serve as a platform to mobilize ideas for practical solutions. The official development assistance landscape was changing. There was a need to look beyond traditional methods of financing and expand new partnerships with the private sector.
GIORA BECHER ( Israel), referring to comments made earlier by Syria’s representative, said that the situation of Syrians in the Golan Heights was much better than that of those in Syria. For one, they did not have to worry about being slaughtered by their own Government. Syrians were actually crossing the border into the Golan Heights to seek medical treatment, he added. The Committee faced the complex challenge of creating hope and opportunity today without compromising the future of the next generation. A transition to sustainable development did not mean a diminished commitment to ending poverty, he said, emphasizing that Israel remained committed to eradicating poverty through concrete actions by MASHAV, its international agency for development cooperation. Other key issues for Israel included childhood education, agriculture and irrigation, child mortality and maternal health, as well as gender equality. To that end, Israel would jointly host an international women leaders conference with UNDP and UN-Women, with the focus on ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment in the post-2015 development framework.
MARÍA CRISTINA PERCEVAL ( Argentina) associated herself with the Group of 77 and with CELAC, stressing that the post-2015 development agenda should maintain a focus on poverty eradication and social inclusion. She supported a comprehensive, people-centred approach to human development and noted that Latin America was a successful model for implementing social policies in support of development. Argentina’s own model focused on employment, promoting inclusion and upward mobility. The approach had brought sustained growth, recovery from the 2001 crisis and insulation from the global financial crisis. Argentina had applied anti-cyclical policies during the crisis, despite calls for structural adjustment, budget cuts, more flexible labour markets, less State presence and fiscal consolidation. She stressed that structural reform was not based on established theory or practice, citing the opinion of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had said that such reform caused contractions in private consumption and gross domestic product (GDP). Rather than States’ economies, it was the international system that needed reform. External debts remained a problem and vulture funds needed to be targeted. She appealed for a debate on the causes of poverty and called for inclusion of wealth redistribution at the new agenda’s core.
VANGANSUREN ULZIIBAYAR ( Mongolia) said her country had achieved double-digit growth in the past three years, but with raw materials making up the biggest chunk of exports, the economy remained fragile. Meanwhile, Mongolia faced environmental challenges including climate change, desertification, water shortages and air pollution in urban areas. Having realized the importance of sustainable development, the Government was making efforts to launch a national framework for green economy and attracting more foreign investment. As a landlocked country, Mongolia was remote from world markets and vulnerable to commodity—price volatility, climate change and other external shocks, she said, calling on the international community to provide more technical, financial and capacity—building assistance to all landlocked countries. Concerned about the lack of progress in the Doha Round of trade negotiations, she expressed hope that the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference to be held in Bali later this year would produce an outcome favourable to developing countries.
AUNG KYAW ZAN, Minister Counsellor of Myanmar, said that future challenges were more cross-regional and intergenerational than ever and demanded collective efforts among the family of nations. The greatest challenge for the international community this century would be achieving inclusive and sustainable development. Climate change was one of the most pressing global problems that required urgent attention and action, as its negative socioeconomic effects and environmental impacts transcended national boundaries and posed a serious threat to development efforts. He called on developed countries to keep their commitments to enhanced, predictable and sustainable flows of ODA. Meanwhile, Myanmar continued undertaking socioeconomic reforms to improve the livelihood of its own people in tandem with political reforms in its transition to democracy. While Myanmar was rich in natural and human resources, it was in desperate need of financial capital, technological know-how and human resource development.
GEIR O. PEDERSEN ( Norway) called for merging the Millennium Development Goals and Rio agendas into a single framework with the active engagement of the World Bank, in cooperation with the whole United Nations system as the international community looked ahead to the post-2015 era. Health issues were high on Norway’s international agenda, particularly reducing maternal and child mortality, and combating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Sustainable energy for all was another critical area that should not be omitted from the new development framework. “We cannot choose between economic growth and environmental protection,” he stressed. “We need to reconcile the two.” Norway was also concerned with gender equality and women’s participation, which were human rights issues. Gender equality and women’s rights should continue to be treated as a separate priority goal in the new sustainable development framework after 2015, he stressed. Reform of the United Nations development system, as called for in the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review, also needed follow up.
NORACHIT SINHASENI ( Thailand) stressed that the post-2015 development agenda must build on the lessons learned from the Millennium Development Goals, with poverty reduction remaining the overarching goal, while taking into account new and evolving challenges. The global economic and financial crisis had led to clashes over market access as well as a rise in national trade barriers. He highlighted the need to lay a stronger foundation for recovery by ensuring open, fair and inclusive international monetary, financial and trading systems. In that regard, Thailand called for a timely and satisfactory conclusion to the Doha Round of world trade negotiations. To successfully eradicate hunger and poverty, Member States should encourage a more sustainable food production and consumption pattern, as well as address the uncertainty of the food market. The effect of climate change and natural disasters could instantly wipe out development efforts and gains, he said, calling for more mitigating efforts and the inclusion of disaster risk reduction in the post-2015 development agenda. Given the importance of information and communications technology to development, Thailand placed the need to narrow the digital divide central to its national development strategy and looked forward to fostering partnerships in that field.
AHMAD MOHAMED AL-THANI(Qatar), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, recalled that the Monterrey Consensus affirmed the responsibility of developing countries for their own development, and that donors had agreed to increase assistance while improving debt conditions and trade with the developing world, thereby enhancing international equality. The Doha Declaration reaffirmed the need to consolidate development assistance. Investment in developing countries was vital, as was a development—centred conclusion to the Doha Round of trade negotiations. The Third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had renewed global commitment to Agenda 21, he further recalled. Calling for increased South-South cooperation to end poverty, and for joint international action to uphold poverty-eradication commitments, he said developing countries must overcome their problems with implementation, especially in terms of policies on mitigating soil deterioration and desertification. Doing so would boost agricultural yields and improve food security, thereby reducing poverty. Radical steps were also needed to boost agricultural investment and empower rural areas, he emphasized.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives) associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that 80 per cent of the Maldives land area lay just above a metre from mean sea level. Tackling climate change was necessary for its very survival. With more than 80 per cent of its GDP entirely dependent on coral reefs and the sea, Maldives was spending more than 27 per cent of its national budget to build resilience to combat the effects of climate change. He stressed the need to deliver ODA, assist capacity-building and transfer technology. With five out of eight development goals met, there must be a commitment for one big push to achieve those that remained. Clean water, equitable access to healthcare and energy security was critical. Calling for the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of that action programme, he stressed the need for a formal definition of small island developing States in order for them to gain special treatment with development organizations and donor countries. He condemned the use of distortive indices such as GDP per capita income to gauge development levels.
TUVAKO NATHANIEL MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said the Millennium Development Goals were just the beginning of a long journey towards a stable and secure future for all, but in order for progress to continue, developed countries must deliver on their promises to render 0.7 per cent of their gross national income (GNI) as ODA to the developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent to least developed countries. The international community must also work collectively towards effective mobilization of domestic resources, especially as private international capital flows in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) faded in most of the developing world. Pointing out that aggressive tax avoidance techniques by some multinational corporations had caused countries to lose considerable capital from investment and trade, he stressed the need to strengthen national capacities to curb illicit financial flows and tax evasion. Turning to climate change, he said that, like other African countries, the United Republic of Tanzania was vulnerable to its effects. Countries that contributed more to climate change must take a bigger share of responsibility, he stressed.
JIM MCLAY ( New Zealand ) said his country welcomed the designation of the sixty-eighth Assembly session as “setting the stage” for the post-2015 agenda and that it reflected the need to work together on creating an agenda focused on economic opportunities and poverty eradication. New Zealand was strongly committed to supporting the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, to be held in Samoa next year. Another priority for New Zealand was the 2015 conference to review the Hyogo Framework for Action on disaster risk reduction, to be held in Japan in 2015. The international community could advance the position of the world’s most disadvantaged people if it created a framework within which they could trade more effectively. Macroeconomic and financing for development agenda items would be an important part of the Committee’s work in the coming months.
Sacha Sergio Llorentty Solíz (Bolivia), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, cited “unrelenting consumerism” as the core reason for the current global crises. Human beings were prioritized over nature, with capitalism creating a civilization based on waste. Consumption patterns must change, he emphasized. There was a need for a new order that would seek to close the gap between the rich and the poor. The right to development was essential to the post-2015 development agenda, and recognition of diversity must be reflected in development models and visions. South—South cooperation could improve the self-sufficiency of developing countries, but it was no substitute for North-South cooperation, he said. Underlining the importance of food sovereignty and food security, he also stressed the need to live in harmony with nature, saying he had reservations about the “green economy”, which was based on mercantilism and the commercialization of nature. Bolivia’s national paradigm, called “Living Well”, aimed to recover strategic national resources and redistribute the wealth they generated to the poorest, he said, adding that other States could apply it to their own situations as an alternative to capitalism.
KHALY ADAMA NDOUR (Senegal), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said developing countries were drifting away from pursuing the Millennium Development Goals because of the poor international economic environment. There was an urgent need for a new development vision, he said, adding that he was pleased by the strong mobilization in support of the Rio+20 outcome. Poverty eradication could not be the only goal; investment in agriculture and infrastructure was needed, while trade and investment required stimulation. Voicing support for several international agreements, including those on biodiversity, desertification and disaster resilience, he called for international action to support forestry, which was threatened with degradation due to the illicit trade in wood.
PATRICIA BAJANA ( Nicaragua), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, stressed the need for a new global economic system that promoted equality and social inclusion, with a core focus on poverty eradication. Gender equality and women’s empowerment must also be given particular attention. She welcomed creation of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, saying it must be universal and transparent. She stressed the importance of common but differentiated responsibility, calling on all developed countries to fulfil their commitments of 0.7 of gross national income to ODA. She was deeply concerned that the Committee was meeting in the same or even worse global economic situation than before. While the food and energy crises were worsening and affecting the poorest, there was still no viable international agreement to eradicate poverty. The current system was based on the exploitation of the majority by a minority. Her region was already building a society based on solidarity and the equitable trade of commodities, resources, and livestock. Looking forward to the nineteenth session of the Conference of Parties, she said developed countries must own up to their responsibility to tackle climate change challenges within the framework of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change.
DIANA ALI NAHAR AL-HADID ( Jordan) said that sustainable development could not advance in the absence of a real and solid recovery of the world economy and a sound climate for global trade and investment. Hopefully, the Doha Round of negotiations would move forward at the World Trade Organization’s ninth ministerial conference, to be held in Bali in December. Stressing the importance of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals effectively carrying out the mandates underlined in the Rio+20 outcome document, she called upon the international community to provide the Forum with sufficient resources and support. Citing climate change as one of the complex challenges that could undermine sustainable development, she pledged her country’s active participation in existing and new international efforts in that regard. Jordan intended to become a party to a new global legally binding agreement on climate change, on condition that the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities would be upheld.
Kim Un Chol (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said collective efforts should be made to establish a peaceful environment for sustainable development while an individual nation’s right of development should be ensured. Coercive actions and high-handed policies such as the threat and use of force and sanctions should come to an end, since they infringed on the rights of development of Member States. Efforts should also be directed at reforming the existing unfair international economic structures, including trade and financial systems, through which no country could achieve sustainable development. The systems should be fundamentally reformed to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth under a new international order. Consultations and cooperation between Member States should be encouraged to set practical, attainable goals and targets.
Wang Min ( China), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said recovery of the global economy would take time and be “full of twists and turns”. ODA had declined at a time when it had previously been predicted to increase. Moreover, developing countries lacked sufficient domestic drive. To address those challenges, the international community must emphasize development from a strategic perspective, with the United Nations playing a central role. Improved global governance would require Governments to be more responsible, while reforming the international financial system would give voice to developing countries. Calling for the elimination of protectionist mechanisms, he said a global discussion on debt relief and market openness was long overdue. China was experiencing a period of economic transformation, he said. Following a downturn, it had adopted macro and micro policies, shifting its focus to promoting market dynamism. Rather than spotlighting gross domestic product as an indicative factor of growth, China was focused on the quality of that growth, he added.
TARIK Iziraren (Morocco) aligning himself with the Group of 77 and with the Africa Group, pointed to uneven progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, with a billion people still in poverty. Many African countries were among those lagging, particularly in the health sector. He cited statistics suggesting that an African woman was at 100 times greater risk when giving birth than a woman elsewhere. Goal 8 was still far from fulfilment, he noted, pointing out the decrease of ODA over the preceding two years from an already unacceptable level. While looking forward to the Bali trade talks, he stressed the importance of a successful conclusion to the Doha Round to ensure that developing countries benefited from international trade. A renewed and strengthened global partnership for development was vital to the success of the post-2015 development agenda, he said calling also for integration of the three pillars of sustainable development. National ownership was also important to the agenda and flexibility was needed to ensure it met the needs of many States.
LE HOAI TRUNG ( Viet Nam), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said inequality within and across countries was rising. Irresponsible over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution leading to global warming, rising sea levels and new epidemics were all taking an enormous toll on the environment and on human lives, especially in developing countries. The United Nations was better positioned than any other organization to coordinate solutions to those challenges, he said. Its priority continued to be the promotion of the Millennium Development Goals, lifting people out of poverty and contributing to the socio-economic development of each nation. He called for the post-2015 development agenda to create a favourable international economic, trade and financial environment that would facilitate equitable and inclusive growth. It must be inter-governmental in nature to ensure the accountability of the Governments primarily responsible for its implementation.
WASTHSALA AMARASINGHE (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said the new commitment to the Millennium Development Goals witnessed during the Assembly’s recent general debate had brought a real sense of optimism. However, numerous multilateral processes must converge to create a single and coherent post-2015 development agenda. The world must not dilute the focus of the Goals and should help countries that still lagged behind. He called for comprehensive structural reform of the existing imperfect global economic order to reflect current realities. It was important to recognize the critical needs of middle-income countries as well as the vulnerabilities of Least Developed Countries. Although increased investment in human resources development remained a great challenge, countries had no alternative to working in that direction. Sri Lanka would host the Commonwealth Youth Forum later this year and the World Conference on Youth next year, he said, urging the United Nations to declare an International Skills Day in recognition of the imperative of youth development.
DAVID DONOGHUE ( Ireland), aligning himself with the European Union, called for recognition that much more work was needed to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals and lift people out of poverty. Ending global hunger and poverty remained the single greatest international challenge and lay at the heart of Ireland’s foreign policy. Nutrition was central to development and the Government had pledged to double spending on it by 2020. Ireland strongly advocated the “Scaling-Up Nutrition” movement, especially its focus on maternal and child nutrition. It was also important to address climate change, the effects of which were felt clearly by small islands and African States. The poorest, who had contributed least, were suffering the most, and a focus on climate-, gender- and nutrition-sensitive agriculture was needed, he said. Equality, inclusion and fundamental human rights sat at the core of Ireland’s work on the post-Millennium Goals agenda, he said, underlining the need to respect the rights of women and girls. Despite Ireland’s financial constraints, it had maintained its overseas development cooperation programme because partnerships were vital.
Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia (Samoa), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said it was a pivotal time to shape a global framework that successfully integrated the three pillars of sustainable development. He highlighted the work of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, stating that future development architecture would be largely shaped by their work. In the same vein, the High-level Political Forum must contribute to and review the commitments made to sustainable development. He welcomed the designation of 2014 as the year for small island developing States, hoping it would provide a strategic platform for the United Nations to help address their unique risks in order for them to pursue economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability. For some of the low-lying Pacific island countries, climate change could very well lead to their eventual extinction. There would be no sustainable development unless the international community addressed both the root causes and impacts of climate change.
Abulkalam ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) reported that his country had already come up with its national post-2015 development agenda strategy, with 11 goals and 58 specific targets to achieve sustainable human- and environment-oriented development goals. Bangladesh was one of the few developing countries that had made substantial progress in achieving the Millennium Goals, but there was still work to be done, he said. Most least developed and post-conflict countries were not able to make significant progress in pursuing their development targets and a big push was needed. Developed countries and capable developing ones must fulfil their international trade pledges and commitments to least developed countries and allow meaningful market access, he stressed. Migration issues, particularly the cost of remittances, should be considered at the international level, as should the lack of action in addressing climate change on the part of some major industrialized countries.
JANE J. CHIGYAL ( Federated States of Micronesia), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the AOSIS, said the Committee would define the modalities of the third International Conference on small island developing States, to be held in 2014. She emphasized the importance of the new high-level political forum for monitoring and evaluating implementation of sustainable development commitments made and looked forward to the high-level summit on climate change. A comprehensive, legally binding climate change treaty was needed and its ambitions needed to exceed those of the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period. She hoped to see continued global phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol and noted that climate change was mainstreamed in her Government’s decision-making processes. Micronesia had instituted a National Energy Policy but the remoteness of the country, its limited national capacities and the complex requirements of the United Nations had increased the difficulty and expense of development efforts. Major donors needed to uphold their commitments on ODA and technical assistance needed to be integrated into it.
Thomas Guerber ( Switzerland) underscored that the post-2015 development agenda must be more ambitious than the Millennium Development Goals, with a holistic approach to the three pillars of sustainable development. It should apply to all countries, while taking on board the different capacities and realities at national and regional levels. The newly formed High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development must ensure that sustainable development issues would be central to the concerns of Member States and have greater weight and visibility within the United Nations system. Above all, the Forum should be the place where countries came together to monitor and review at the highest level the new post-2015 agenda. To attain their shared development objectives, Member States would depend on the efficiency of the United Nations system, he said, calling on the Organization to implement desired reforms at its Headquarters as well as in the field, so as to achieve better coordination and greater harmonization of the work of its different bodies.
DONA TURK ( Lebanon) said a smooth transition to the post-2015 development agenda was crucial. Although Lebanon faced challenges in fully achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the target date, it was determined to seize the opportunity to enhance the vitality of productive sectors such as sustainable agriculture, forestry and ecotourism. Since all nations had endured the impacts of the global financial crisis, they could no longer afford to continue with practices and trends of the past, which marginalized communities, spiked global prices and damaged the environment. She called for smart investments in education and social safeguards as well as in research and development and knowledge-sharing platforms. The role of regional commissions was significant in the elaboration of the post-2015 agenda, she said, adding that people living in conflict, post-conflict and occupied nations required special support. With the escalation of the Syrian conflict, spillovers into Lebanon had rapidly moved beyond the humanitarian to the economic and social spheres. The World Bank projected that the conflict might cut real GDP growth by 2.9 per cent, push 170,000 Lebanese into poverty and double the unemployment rate to above 20 per cent.
AHMAD NASEEM WARRAICH ( Pakistan) said the global economic crisis could not be resolved through decision-making in limited groupings given the world’s interconnected, interdependent and globalized nature. Pakistan supported bolstering the existing cooperation between the United Nations and international financial organizations, especially the Bretton Woods institutions. Developing countries were not responsible for the current global crises, yet they suffered the most. Their voices must be heard in the World Bank and IMF on the basis of equity and fairness, rather than economic weight, he emphasized. The success of the post-2015 agenda would hinge on its capacity to help developing countries achieve the required economic transformation towards sustainability without compromising economic growth. Sovereign debt restructuring and debt relief should have a high priority, alongside funding for climate change.
Octavio Errázuriz ( Chile ) said the international financial and economic crises had caused some countries to build protectionist barriers and expressed hope that the upcoming World Trade Organization ministerial meeting would strengthen the international trading system. Chile had boosted its commitment to least developed countries and, on the national level, would achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the September 2015 deadline. Noting that the devastating effects of climate change most burdened developing countries, especially small island States, he said much of their progress would be threatened unless a concrete strategy was adopted to increase resilience. Reducing poverty, strengthening political and social stability, and promoting open and fair trade were the most effective ways to ensure food security. He warned against the United Nations ceasing operational activities in middle-income countries such as Chile because that would be devastating to them.
Julio Rafael Escalona Ojeda ( Venezuela), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, described the “marketization” of commodities and speculative trading as new forms of colonization. Meeting the Millennium Development Goals depended mainly on the efforts made by developed countries, which had not complied with their ODA and technology transfer commitments. The current global economic system of subordination fuelled the development of countries in the global North, he said, adding that the Bretton Woods institutions were used as tools that recognized societies favouring aggressive hegemony. There was an urgent need for measures to regulate financial capital and ensure that banks returned to their traditional role as intermediaries. Initiatives such as the ALBA bank and Banco DELSUR were important in breaking the credit monopoly, he added. Emphasizing that the current pattern of global consumption was unsustainable, he said global production was determined by demand, based on the income of the rich while natural resources continued to be sacrificed, mainly in poor countries. It should therefore be up to the poorest countries in the North and the countries of the South to forge a post-2015 development agenda.
YaşarHALIT ÇEVIK ( Turkey) said the process of establishing the post-2015 development agenda would be a key focus of his country’s presidency of the G-20. With both developing and developed countries experiencing the ongoing impact of the global economic and financial crisis, the international community should exert further concerted efforts to find a way out and create an environment for increasing production, trade, investment and jobs. Specific challenges faced by least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States must be addressed without delay, he emphasized. Moreover, enhancing cooperation on science, technology and innovation was highly beneficial for developing countries. In that regard, Turkey supported the establishment of a technology bank under the auspices of the United Nations to address the technological needs of developing countries and was ready to host the facility, he said. Climate change remained one of the most important challenges today, and Turkey hoped that the forthcoming climate change conference, to be held in Warsaw in November, would pave the way to a single, comprehensive and fair agreement applicable to all parties.
Rubén Armando Escalante Hasbún ( El Salvador) associated himself with the Group of 77 and with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. The international financial and economic crises were to blame for countries failing to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals. He called for solidarity and international cooperation to boost economic recovery and growth, stressing the need for a common framework for trade to ensure more inclusive growth. Culture could make a qualitative and quantitative contribution to enhancing development and it should be present in the post-2015 agenda. El Salvador was tackling poverty in a multidimensional manner, accounting for health, education, housing and other issues. He expressed optimism about the work of the intergovernmental panel of experts as well as other results of the Rio+20 Conference, but stressed the need for effort and cooperation to secure their success. He supported reform of global economic governance structures. The international financial architecture needed to strengthen its partnership with the United Nations. Reforms needed to expand developing countries’ influence in the Bretton Woods institutions. He stated concerns over reductions in donor countries’ ODA contributions and about international reticence towards assisting middle-income countries.
THAM BORG TSIEN ( Singapore) said his country strongly supported a coherent approach in crafting the post-2015 development agenda, which built upon the Millennium Development Goals and integrated the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner. As a small city State, Singapore emphasized the need for considering the issues of urban management, water and sanitation in the discussions of that agenda. Noting the Second Committee’s heavy workload for the session, he urged that it increase the effectiveness and efficiency of its working methods.
Razaq Salman Mashkoor ( Iraq) associated himself with the Group of 77 and China, saying the Rio+20 outcome document was an essential source of guidance for reform of the global financial and economic system. Such reform should use previous experiences and failures as lessons. Turning to climate change, he called for a balanced and legally binding response that accounted for the particularities of least developed countries, which was based on the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities. He was unsure how well a treaty could be applied while some countries were following national policies that ignored scientific facts. To meet the Millennium Development Goals and achieve sustainable development, it was vital to address the problems that developing countries faced. Developed countries would play a crucial role, contributing ODA and technology. As well as pointing to pressures generated by the debt crisis, he stressed the need for a development-centred agreement on international trade. He hoped to join the World Trade Organization soon, having been an observer since 2004, and he underlined his commitment to freeing up trade.
Right of Reply
The representative of Syria, speaking in exercise of his right of reply, said Israel was trying to politicize the Committee’s work through a series of lies aimed at Syria. Israel was an occupying Power in the worst occupation of modern time, impeding the ability of Arab States to achieve the development goals that other countries were able to achieve. The Israeli occupation had been involved in the violence inside Syria by providing assistance to the rebels and transporting settlers across the demarcation line, he said. Israel was also “inhumanely” occupying the Golan Heights, attacking Syrians who lived there and their natural resources.
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