Joint press conference by the Secretary-General and Mongolian Prime Minister Bayar Sanjaa [Secretary-General's remarks only]
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 27 July 2009SG: Your Excellency Prime Minister Bayar, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media. Sain baina uu.
Thank you Mr. Prime Minister for your government's hospitality and [for the] courtesies that you are providing me during my official visit to Mongolia.
As Prime Minister Bayar has just mentioned, we have had very good discussions covering all the issues pertaining to the partnership between the United Nations and Mongolia.
And taking this opportunity I would like to commend the Mongolian Government's successful transition to democracy and market economy with an accountable and responsible government and an empowered population. This is a good example as a developing country which I hope many developing countries will emulate.
We have discussed issues like how the United Nations and the Mongolian Government can work together for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, how we can work better to assist those people who are experiencing food insecurity, and most importantly how we can work together to address climate change issues.
As one of the landlocked developing countries, Mongolia confronts the negative impact of climate change from the melting of permafrost and glaciers, environmental degradation, desertification and water shortages.
These problems caused by climate change and their possible solutions have for me the human faces of the herders I met yesterday. As I listened to the many problems of a community suffering to adapt to a changing environment, I also witnessed their resilience and admired their spirit.
It is crucial to minimize the impact of global warming on vulnerable countries like Mongolia.
I will also continue to push for concrete and significant financial commitment for adaptation.
This too is very important for vulnerable countries like Mongolia to meet their very real needs, to pursue immediate adaptation measures and build your capacity for disaster risk reduction.
As you know I am going to convene a Summit meeting focused on climate change on September 22nd in New York at the United Nations. And I hope that this will be a major step in mobilizing political will to seal the deal in Copenhagen in December.
As I said, we discussed with the Prime Minister the impact of the world financial and economic crisis on landlocked countries like Mongolia.
I commended Prime Minister Bayar for Mongolia's political leadership as a pioneer of the cause of landlocked developing countries at the global level, undertaking active measures to ease the difficulties of landlocked developing countries in the framework of the United Nations and in the context of the multilateral trade focus at the World Trade Organization.
We also discussed ways to increase Mongolia's participation in peacekeeping operations worldwide. I strongly welcome and encourage Mongolia's active interest to take part in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
I visited yesterday the Tavan Tolgoi Peace Operations Training Center and I was very much impressed by what I saw, by their strong commitment, and dedication and also their discipline.
We are very grateful in particular for the very important role Mongolia is playing in peacekeeping. Mongolia has done an excellent job securing the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown and ensuring peace in Sierra Leone and in Liberia.
I am also very much grateful for the decision by the Mongolian Government to provide a battalion for our peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, called MINURCAT. This is real leadership and we deeply appreciate it.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This might be my first visit as Secretary-General to Mongolia. But please know that I am an old friend of Mongolia. And I can assure you that [this visit] will not be the last one.
As I stayed overnight at Hustai National Park, I was given the privilege of naming a newborn takhi horse.
I observed him from afar and I called him “Peace”, “ENKHTAIVAN” in Mongolian.
Now my newfound parental responsibilities will be an added incentive to come back to this beautiful land.
Bayarlalaa - Thank you very much.
SG: As we have already discussed, and as I have already told you, Mongolia has been making a great contribution to peace and stability not only in your country or in this North East Asia region but worldwide. You have peacekeepers in four missions around the world at this time, most importantly at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown. That has been very much appreciated and your decision to participate by providing a battalion of peacekeepers to the Central African Republic and Chad, that is a significant contribution in demonstrating Mongolia`s commitment for global peace and security. Now global peace and security does not come only from taking part in peacekeeping operations. Demonstrating and exercising good governance and good democracy, with a responsible and accountable governance, and through an economic development that will be also a great contribution to global peace and security and harmony. And I sincerely hope that as one of the model countries, the role of Mongolia will be emulated by many countries in the world, particularly developing countries.
Another area of contribution is nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. As a nuclear weapon free country, Mongolia is again taking a leadership role and making a great contribution to a world free from nuclear weapons. I sincerely hope that such a contribution will have an impact on the forthcoming NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] review conference in 2010.
Q: Mongolia is a landlocked developing country which faces certain challenges and difficulties in expanding economic growth and foreign trade potentials. What would you say about UN support and assistance to resolve these problems?
SG: Roughly one-sixth of the UN membership [is made of] landlocked developing countries. Thus, the United Nations gives great priority on how to help landlocked countries in addressing their challenges. In that regard, as I said in my remarks, I would like to praise the political leadership the Mongolian Government has been [demonstrating] until now. In 1994, Mongolia initiated this international conference on landlocked developing countries and has taken a leadership role, a chairmanship role for many years – about seven years. And this is a very important initiative for landlocked countries, particularly Mongolia.
This is reflected in your continuous efforts to transform Mongolia into an efficient transit country in accordance with the Almaty Declaration, the Almaty Program of Action.
The United Nations stands ready to assist Mongolia and other landlocked countries in their efforts to establish efficient transit transport systems, including through the provision of substantive and technical assistance and by raising the awareness of the international community on the special needs of the landlocked developing countries.
This afternoon, I am going to open a very important think tank institute to address these land-locked developing countries' challenges. I hope that this think tank will provide excellent research and raise ideas on how the international community can work together with the UN to address the challenges of landlocked developing countries.
SG: The United Nations has a special department with the Under-Secretary General in charge of addressing the special challenges of land-locked developing countries. The UN Almaty Program of Action was a part of that framework which was initiated and done by the United Nations. And the Mongolian Government has been taking important measures.