H.E.Mr. Marc RAVALOMANANA
President of the Republic of Madagascar
SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 13 September 2002
Our Madagascar delegation, which I have the honor to lead for the first time to this General Assembly, is delighted to congratulate you on your brilliant election to the Presidency of this current session, and we wish you tremendous success in carrying out your important duties.
We also wish to express to your predecessor, H. E. Mr. Han Seung-soo, our profound appreciation for his courtesy and skillful leadership in bringing the 56th, session to a successful conclusion even though it takes place on the first anniversary of a great tragedy here in New York.
We also want to express our profound gratitude and appreciation to our Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his steadfast pursuit of good results for our United Nations. I want to reassure this eminent leader of the steadfast and devoted support of Madagascar.
Madagascar is also extremely pleased by the recent admission of the Swiss Confederation into the United Nations, and we admire Switzerland as a good friend and wonderful example of a tolerant, peaceful and multicultural society built on the values of democracy.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 with their stunning consequences for humanity and the global socio-economic environment, clearly show that terrorism is now the most dangerous enemy faced by the international community.
As an international phenomenon without borders, terrorists cannot be eradicated without effective international cooperation supported by the means truly adequate to address even the most serious challenges. In this regard, we take a moment here to congratulate the efforts of the United Nations through its Committee Against Terrorism created by the Security Council, to carry out its Resolution 1373 (2001), and we also congratulate the various regional initiatives to combat this evil plague. To fight terrorism, countries such as mine will need special technical assistance to allow us to put this UN resolution into effect, along with other international treaties.
The persistence of various conflicts around the world, especially the Middle East, demands the strengthening of the United Nations, to be even more effective in responding to the needs of the international community, to support peace and security, which are, after all, the purposes for which the UN was created. To pursue this critical objective, more than ever, we must strengthen our efforts to make the Security Council more democratic, more representative and more transparent.
There is no doubt that the UN gives us the best and most all-encompassing means for creating the conditions that allow both nations and people to choose peace over war.
In this regard, Madagascar wishes to congratulate East Timor on its independence after a valiant and heroic struggle by the East-Timor people and successful efforts by the UN to reestablish peace there.
In addition, Madagascar congratulates the UN for its mediation efforts toward resolving conflicts throughout Africa. At this time, I would also like to reiterate the profound gratitude of the Malagasy people for the role the UN agreed to play in resolving the post-election dispute that threatened Madagascar. This crisis is now over and a new era full of hope is breezing through Madagascar.
Convinced that it must have sustainable development without the diminishment of civil rights or good governance, our new Administration will strive now to take all appropriate measures for a more sane and rational management of public finances and international aid. In this context, like many other developing nations, and a few developed nations, Madagascar has made the fight against corruption the very highest priority and assured that stinging political measures will be developed and introduced to attack this evil on all fronts. As we support Resolution 55/61, where our General Assembly decided to create a committee in charge of negotiating legal instruments against corruption, Madagascar seeks to establish its own procedure in the near future, in order to fill the gaps in its own legal system and methods. We look forward with considerable interest to the high-level Conference in Mexico in 2003 for signing a treaty against corruption.
Since we are all too aware that the deprivation caused by poverty offers fertile ground for instability, and weakens democratic values, our new Government has established as an ultimate goal "the rapid development of Madagascar" so that we can emerge from the rut of dehumanizing poverty. In this sense, Madagascar will establish policy aimed at rebuilding, in concrete steps, the rapid and sustainable growth of our economy, in which the private sector will be the driving force. It is our view that a key to development is a public/private partnership in which the government works together with private businesses and NonGovernmental Organizations to pursue goals of benefit to our citizens. We invite private businesses to invest in Madagascar. The returns on those investments will be good for the companies and good for the people of our country.
As an absolute necessity for the development of peace, Education will be a very high priority for this new government, so that Malagasy children can fully participate in the 21st century, and be well-trained in high technology and in all forms of communicating information. Infrastructure development, especially the construction of roads will also be a priority for our country.
Madagascar applauds the adoption of Resolution 56/258 calling for a World Summit on Information Technology to be held in 2003 and in 2005, to offer the global community a wonderful chance to discuss information technology and the start-up of number-based technologies, especially in Africa and in less developed countries.
The Republic of Madagascar is ready to do everything in its power to put the country back on the path of development, but we can't do this without the support of the international community in a sense that is mutually beneficial. I would like to take this opportunity to express the sincere gratitude of the Malagasy Government to all bilateral and multilateral partners in our development, for their precious contribution to the restarting of economic activity in our country.
Faced with multiple deficits in our time that is so marked by poverty and underdevelopment, international cooperation is no longer a choice ; it is an absolute necessity for the survival of humanity. The elements in our demise as human beings, poverty, the pandemics HIV/AIDS, famine and illiteracy, cannot be eliminated without a true spirit of solidarity, guaranteeing a better future for all people. We must remember the vision that founded the UN, that all human beings deserve the chance to lead a dignified life, to be educated, to have access to good healthcare and a decent job, and to be able to develop their talents and creativity. The task that falls to us, to reduce poverty everywhere in the world, is more urgent and important than ever.
The global economic slowdown following the attacks of September 11, 2001, aggravated impoverishment and plunged millions of people into total deprivation. Within this distressing backdrop, globalization can indeed play a positive and uplifting role in the struggle against poverty, on the condition that all the countries of North and South are offered the same advantages and possibilities for development. So that globalization can really benefit humanity, it must contribute to the creation of a partnership founded on considering the best interests of both North and South in an economy that is both global and shared.
Global interdependence and the need for full cooperation are notions that must be accepted fully if we are going to achieve the goals articulated in the Millennial Declaration. Our collective conscience must be determined to formalize a true partnership; this will be indispensable for us to succeed in turning our goals into reality instead of some impossible dream. In this spirit Madagascar applauds the consensus achieved during the recent International conference on Finance and Development held in Monterrey.
Meanwhile, Madagascar would like to urge the international community to bring a firm and concrete support to NEPAD, or the New Partnership for African Development, at bilateral and multilateral levels. Madagascar wishes to give the private sector an important part in the development of the country and totally adheres to the principles and objectives of NEPAD. In the next months, I intend to make Madagascar as one of the flagship country of NEPAD, since I sincerely believe in Good governance, in Infrastructure development, in education, in new technologies, in mastering the Energy, in the access to developing markets, and in the protection of the Environment.
The disturbing conclusions of a report entitled "The Future of the Environment in Africa," put together by the Program of the UN on the Environment, along with recent weather disasters that struck Central Europe and Asia, demand that the international community choose a new Code of ethics for conservation and protecting the total environment. Our Government intends to make protection of the precious environment of Madagascar one of our highest priorities. Also, Madagascar hopes that the Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg a few days ago, will give new momentum in our collective determination to offer all countries a chance to develop themselves in a manner that benefits their inhabitants, their countryside and the planet Earth.
By some standards of measurement Madagascar is a poor country. But these standards do not tell the whole story. Madagascar is rich in unique natural resources. We are rich in educated people. Our country is blessed with a population committed to democracy, strong family values and faith in God.
Today we acknowledge our desire to work with the UN as partners in progress in building the new Madagascar.
By working in partnership, we will create a future for Madagascar more hopeful than the past. And the world will come to know us based on our strengths and not on our weaknesses.
Together with the family of Nations, Madagascar is ready to make its contribution to build a planetary village where all countries will receive equal treatment and have the same possibilities for full development, which are inalienable conditions for inaugurating a lasting peace that is deeply longed for by all people.