THE HONOURABLE S. R. INSANALLY
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA
TO THE FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Over this Assembly hangs a cloud of uncertainty, indeed of unease about the future
of multilateralism and international relations generally. The tragedy of September
11, 2001, which we commemorated just three days ago, has so numbed our minds that
we are yet to fully understand its consequences.
It is meet, therefore, that as a family of nations, we should not only remember
the disaster but also seek to learn from it how we can best restore to mankind
some measure of faith and hope in our common humanity.
Mr. President, my delegation is pleased to see you presiding over this Assembly
since, as the representative of a country which has known the horror of war, you
will undoubtedly inspire us to find our way forward.
In wishing your Presidency well, I would also like to place on record our gratitude
to His Excellency Han Seung-soo of the Republic of Korea for guiding us through
a most difficult and challenging time.
Our appreciation and thanks must extend to the Secretary General who, throughout
these past months, has helped to sustain our commitment to the purposes and principles
of the United Nations.
We are pleased to welcome Switzerland as a full member of the family of nations
and look forward to doing the same for East Timor when it takes its place among
Mr. President, the international system is now plagued by dangerous instability
which threatens to undermine - if not destroy - many of our states. Not only do
we face terrorism with its horrific violence but we must also live with other
manifestations of terror in the form of poverty, hunger and disease - which though
more silent perhaps are no less deadly.
Conflict, both inter and intra-state have clearly demonstrated how poorly an economy
functions without political and social cohesion. Such cohesion continues to be
under threat in many countries. Divisions that rend the fabric of our societies
- divisions that derive ultimately from ethnicity and race are not only severely
counterproductive to our attempts to better the commonweal, but preclude the emergence
of a durable peace and tranquility without which we can never prosper.
Recent global conferences have focused our attention on the importance of a rights-based
approach to social inclusion. However, commitment to inclusionary policies rests
not only with States but with civil society as a whole. Poverty and underdevelopment
are easily exploited by some elements in our societies to undermine the authority
of democratically elected governments and to exacerbate ethnic and other tensions.
This instability is further compounded by the rampant trade in illegal drugs,
arms and ammunition with its attendant corruption and violence which daily test
the legal, financial, security and governance capabilities of most small states.
The social contract between the State and its citizens has been seriously jeopardised
by these new political developments. Greater national endeavours and international
solidarity are now necessary to confront these challenges and to ensure the economic
and social progress of our peoples.
Old conflicts persist, denying entire populations the opportunity to live in peace
and security. The situation in the Middle East must be of special concern to us
all since it threatens to become a wider conflict. The right of the Palestinian
people to national self-determination - a right guaranteed by international law
- must be upheld if there is to be a just and lasting solution to the region's
The tensions which exist in Indo-Pakistan relations over Kashmir cannot be allowed
to persist given the risk of a calamitous nuclear conflict. As a country which
is committed to the pacific settlement of disputes and as a friend of these two
important countries of Asia from which many of our ancestors originated, Guyana
would wish to encourage them to continue their search for a definitive solution.
Mr. President, global instability also results from our failure to implement our
agreed Agenda for Development. After more than a decade of development-related
conferences, we are yet to grasp fully the implications of an increasingly interdependent
world and globalized economy for international cooperation. The recently-concluded
meetings in Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg have now brought the international
community full circle in assessing the effectiveness of global collective action
aimed at the realization of the millennium development goals and the eradication
of poverty. We should now be fully persuaded that global action remains indispensable
to the development process.
What is less clear, however, and continues to be a daunting challenge is the relationship
that should underlie such action. To what extent can equality be achieved in a
system of skewed economic and military power? Will sovereignty subject itself
to the imperatives of the global good? How can trustworthy procedures be found
for international intervention in situations characterized by the collapse of
national social and economic structures? What more can be done so that the current
international trading system is beneficial for all States and not only a select
few? How can the policies of the Bretton Woods institutions be made more responsive
to the concerns and needs of the developing countries in particular?
There are no easy answers to these questions. And indeed, each international conference
and general debate of this Assembly has made us more aware of how difficult it
is to find a consensual approach to these issues. Dialogue and engagement are
continuously balanced against hasty attempts to achieve short term goals. Yet,
the imperative of global stability - both political and economical - requires
a greater symbiotic relationship among States. The increased permeability of borders
which has made all countries vulnerable to contagion from outside, is a reality
which we cannot ignore.
Meanwhile, the debate on the benefits of globalisation is becoming increasingly
polarized. Many developing countries, despite their own best efforts at reform
and restructuring, have not seen any significant improvement in their economic
and social condition. The growth rate of most developing countries was two per
cent lower in the 1990s when compared to that of the oil crisis years of the 1970s.
Similarly, over the past fifteen years, although the number of people living on
less than one dollar a day - that is in extreme poverty - has reportedly decreased,
those living on less than two dollars a day has increased. Poverty figures have
in effect remained high despite an improvement in world income in the last decade
by an average of 2.5 per cent annually.
The situation has been especially difficult for small states. Over the past ten
years, CARICOM Member States have been pursuing aggressive socio-economic reform
measures to enhance the region's economic competitiveness to derive the benefits
of globalization. The results have generally been disappointing in large part
due to the small size, geographic location, limited natural resource base and
the high dependence on international trade which make CARICOM economies vulnerable
to the global economy. This situation is further aggravated by the high incidence
of HIV/AIDS pandemic which is the second highest in the world.
Mr. President, small states such as ours in the Caribbean require sustainable
development cooperation based on mutual trust and fulfillment of commitments.
One major step in this direction should be a focus on new ways of balancing equity,
economics and ecology to create the opportunities for small economies without
inflicting disillusionment and despair. Every effort should also be made to ensure
the full implementation of the HIPC initiative to liquidate the debt burden in
developing countries. To address this task an integrated approach to capacity
development should be designed that addresses all the different elements required
for maximizing the possibilities of sustainable development. Our task is to build
a global system where people matter.
Mr. President, it has now become fashionable to speak of partnership for sustainable
development and indeed partnership, if properly conceived and implemented, can
serve to eradicate poverty and promote economic growth. However, as the President
of Guyana stated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,
'partnership' between states must be based, if it is to succeed, on mutual trust
and respect and on the interest of all parties. Public/private sector partnerships
must be founded on equity and transparency, with full regard to the laws of countries.
And finally, partnerships with multilateral financial institutions must be informed
more by an understanding of the situation in the partner countries and less of
a doctrinaire approach to policy making. To quote President Jagdeo directly "Progress
will only come, if there is an enlightened understanding of partnership."
Concerned by the inadequacy of past development models and the trend towards leaving
development matters largely to market forces, Guyana has sought to promote the
concept of a New Global Human Order based on a genuine partnership for cooperation
between developed and developing countries. By addressing the problems of peace
and development in a holistic manner, this compact would provide developing countries
with structural, strategic and long-term support by the international community.
Guyana hopes to build upon resolution 55/48 in the coming months with the aim
of bringing greater predictability and stability to international development
Mr. President, it is clear that the period ahead of us is fraught with difficulty
and that some of the challenges are historically unprecedented in scale. The instability
and uncertainty by which so many societies around the world are afflicted must
be attended to if we are to avoid their collapse. We must therefore ready the
United Nations, the most important and most widely supported international governmental
organisation in existence, to address these problems. There is simply no where
else to take them.
I thank you.