The hon. S. Norwood Langley
Dupty minister of planning and economic affairs
Geneva, 30th of June 2000
Ladies & Gentlemen
Thank you for inviting Liberia's participation to this gathering of stakeholders for this Special Session of the General Assembly on the World Summit for Social Development - achieving Social Development for all in a Globalizing world.
I should hasten to note that the past five (5) days of discourse by the presenters before me have adequately platformed the realities of a new and highly potent revolution. A revocation which will forever change the way we live, work, play and organize our societies and ultimately define ourselves. This revolution, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, is Globalization.
"Achieving Social Development for all in a Globalizing World" in my opinion is indeed an appropriate Theme for this World Summit and my salute goes to the Swiss Government and the organizers.
I am honored to be here and will speak to the concerns of post - conflict least
developed Economies. Half a decade has lapsed since we gathered in a similar
fashion in Copenhagen to lay out a global social development agenda. Following
deliberations at the summit, the International Community agreed on ten commitments
to serve as guideposts in identifying solution to the problems of poverty, unemployment
and social disintegration. Now, at this Session of the General Assembly, we
are undertaking an assessment of the progress achieved thus far, and of the
drawbacks and constraints which stood as obstacles to full implementation of
the Summit's goal.
During the preparatory process for this Session, it was realized that most Governments, especially those of developing countries are still unable to meet the basic social needs of their citizens. Poverty, illiteracy and treatable diseases abound. In some countries, hunger and famine have led to malnutrition and numerous deaths. Internal conflicts contributed to these appalling condition for million& Declining terms of trade, increasing external debts, reduction in official development assistance and stringent structural adjustment programs, which do not consider the social implications, worsen the situation. In addition, the forces of globalization, while presenting many opportunities, carry considerable risks. Unfair trade practices, unequal technological know-how and low pricing for agricultural commodities on which most least developed countries depend are factors that impede social progress for their peoples.
my country, Liberia has not been able to record significant success in meeting
the social development agenda, principally because of the decade long civil
conflict that raged during the 1990'x. All institutions that dispensed social
needs and services were devastated. Three years after the war, the duly elected
Government of President Charles Taylor has the herculean task of restoring
the pre-war functioning level of basic health care delivery systems, schools,
and food distribution facilities. There are the added problems of rehabilitation
of excombatants and their reintegration into civil society with newly acquired
skills to enable them to live productive lives. Efforts are being made to
resettle returning refugees and internally displaced persons. In order to
address these problems, the Government of Liberia has endeavored to establish
an environment of durable peace conducive to revitalize the national economy.
However, the post-conflict situation requires an infusion of financial assistance
to jumpstart the process. Unfortunately, such assistance is in woefully short
The Government of Liberia has made numerous appeals for international assistance only to be lectured about human rights, which seem to exclude the most basic right of sustenance; the right to have adequate meals and good health. Notwithstanding, the Government of Liberia continues to engage international donors and its partners in development to help revive the economy as a basis for setting and implementing a social development agenda that accords with the ten commitments made at Copenhagen.
Mr. President, our deliberations have considered all the dimensions of constraints and restraints that have prevented countries, both developed and developing, from meeting the socioeconomic needs of their people. For developing countries, improvement of their capacity rests on increased development assistance, equitable terms of trade, debt cancellation and reduction, and structural programs tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of individual countries. This will enable them to utilize their meager budget for people-centered programmes.
We have set the year 2015 as the target date to significantly reduce poverty and ameliorate conditions imposed by it. The success achieved by then will depend on how we view ourselves. If we continue to consider the peoples of the world in terms of "They" in the North and "We" in the South, these appellations can only accentuate the great divide and the unwholesome thoughts that nurture the indifference to longstanding social injustices.
The human family has come a long way since the United Nations came into being. The New Millennium offers the promise for us to give tangible expression to the preambular edict of the United Nations Charter which mandates us "to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social progress of all peoples".