Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General
Your Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to start by congratulating you warmly, Mr. President, on your election to the high post of President of this respected global forum and to wish you success during your tenure. Your election to the post of President of the General Assembly is indeed an honour and a source of pride for all St. Lucians, as well as for your brothers and sisters in the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS), the CARICOM, and Latin America.

Your Presidency is as such, a CARICOM/LATIN AMERICA Presidency, and your record of prudence and diplomatic skills will certainly be instrumental in meeting the lofty goals sought commonly by all of our nations and peoples.

I take this opportunity to congratulate your predecessor, His Excellency Jan Kavan, for the leadership he provided to 57h session of the General Assembly, a session which brought out clearly the many challenges confronting the United Nations in this decade. The Delegation of the 'Commonwealth of Dominica assures you of its full cooperation and support. Profound appreciation is also due to our Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his tireless efforts to make the United Nations more responsive and effective. Mr. President,

Over the last nine months, the relevance of the United Nations has become a burning issue worldwide. We must all appreciate that it remains the only universal multilateral institution with the capacity to address the complex set of global problems of the 21" century, ranging from peace and security to development.

Mr. President,

Today's world is entangled in a web of complex problems that threaten global security. These problems, which require urgent attention from the United Nations, include HIV/AIDS and other diseases, poverty, marginalization of indigenous people, terrorism and global crime, the growing scarcity of freshwater, global warming, the spread of light arms which threaten peaceful countries like Dominica, nuclear proliferation, armed civil conflicts and the refugees they give rise to, trafficking in humans, and unfair trade rules that contribute to growing poverty in the developing countries.

All of these problems require a strong and effective multi-lateral organization, enjoying the trust and confidence of the people on this planet, and capable of articulating collective approaches towards some solutions.

Mr. President

The world has changed considerably, yet present institutions for global governance-the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization- continue to operate on outdated political and economic foundations. The legitimacy, effectiveness and credibility of the UN continue to erode in face of the "democratic deficit", that was an integral part of the original design, but needs to be remedied now.

The reform of the Security Council and of the General Assembly is indispensable to restoration of the moral authority lost because of failure to enforce resolutions. Effective governance, predicated on the principles of accountability and transparency to the people of the member states, is a highly desirable objective that we must strive for.

I wish to reaffirm my country's total commitment to, and support for the United Nations. Mr. President:

Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to Sergio Viera de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, other staff of the United Nations, and the citizens of Iraq who lost their lives or sustained injuries in the tragedy of Baghdad last August. We share the sorrow of the Secretary-General and his staff, and extend our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.

The return to peace and stability in Iraq has now become the responsibility of all member states of the international community. If the international community must accept and shoulder this important responsibility, then we must commit to a greater role for the United Nations. We hold strongly to the view that stability in Iraq is inextricably linked to the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis, who must have sole responsibility for their

future.    The Coalition forces must give a clear mandate to the United Nations for the creation of a multinational force, led of course by the main troop contributors, in order to ensure the security of Iraq.

Mr. President,

While the attention of the international community is focused on restoring peace and security in Iraq, we cannot turn a blind eye to the breakdown in the Middle East peace process. My delegation supports the Road Map for Peace in the Middle East and calls for the removal of the obstacles that have stalled the process. We embrace the two state solution as the only mechanism for a lasting peace in the Middle East. The State of Israel, and the Palestinian Authority must both commit to a cease-fire and return to the agreed obligations under the Road Map framework.

Mr. President,

The fight against international terrorism remains a priority for Dominica given the horror of September 11. In that regard we have taken many steps to comply with the obligations of Security Council Resolution 1373. This year our Parliament enacted The Suppression of Financing of Terrorism Act, which complements two earlier pieces of legislation related to the prevention of terrorism, the Money Laundering Act, and the Exchange of Information Act. The passage of these pieces of legislation has contributed to significant strengthening of the regulatory regime for banks operating in our offshore financial sector and to efforts to combat money laundering.

We welcome the assistance of the Commonwealth in a review of our legal system to allow its alignment with the global strategy to fight terrorism, as well as the guidance of the Counter Terrorism Committee.

The numerous terrorist actions this year in Indonesia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Iraq underscore the central importance of being vigilant and prepared to manage any crisis from a terrorist attack. We appeal to member states to continue collaborative efforts in this global fight to combat terrorism, and to ensure that the capacities of small states are enhanced through transfer of intelligence information, surveillance technology, and training in prevention strategies.

Mr. President,

The United Nations Year of Freshwater has helped the world community to focus attention on the millions of poor people who lack access to clean sources of water. Dominica is one of the islands in the Caribbean blessed with abundant freshwater resources, largely due to our high rainfall. Our experience conserving our mountains and forests, which contribute to the maintenance of the water table, is one of the many experiences that our people are prepared to share with the world community.

Mankind faces a great challenge as growing scarcity of freshwater becomes a reality of this century. This is clearly an arena for constructive global action by .the United Nations. Let us hope that the concern and attention remain a core part of the continuing engagement with the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr. President,

My delegation is indeed pleased at the tremendous progress made by the International Criminal Court over the last year. We have moved one step closer to punishing war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

Mr. President,

This year is an important year for the Commonwealth of Dominica because we are celebrating the silver jubilee of our political independence, as well our 25th anniversary of our membership in the United Nations. Twenty-five (25) years of nation building has given us some experience in the global arena and allowed us to build a foundation for the next twenty-five years of national development.

As a peace-loving people, we hold in high esteem the right to self-determination and the full, fair and unhindered expression of the will of the people. We reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law, good governance at all levels, and deepening of our longstanding democratic tradition.

Dominica and its sister islands of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Jamaica are island nations adversely affected by the WTO banana regime, which will bring to an end preferences and quotas for bananas exported to the European Union. The impending end of the banana quota at the end of 2005 has contributed immensely to an economic crisis in these CARICOM states. Thousands of small farmers in these island nations have lost hope and left banana production altogether. This has led to a 60 percent decline in banana export earnings, and impact negatively on our national savings.

In Dominica, this situation has necessitated implementation of an austerity program, in tandem with a stand-by agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We are however working assiduously to create the conditions for economic revitalization and transformation.

As we struggle to eradicate the mono-crop nature of our economy, a remaining vestige of the colonial period, we are determined to anchor our future economic foundation on the following pivots: sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, eco-tourism, information technology, financial services, and water resource management. Our resolve to build a new economic order is based on our assertion of the principle of responsibility for our own development.

Our efforts at economic re-engineering urgently require a complement of new foreign direct investment, ODA transfers, technology transfer, and deepening of cooperation with member states and global civil society. We remain hopeful that our donor partners will soon translate into action the ODA commitments they made at Monterrey last year since these commitments have become critical for economic reconstruction throughout the developing world.

Mr. President,

Our call for "special and differential treatment" in the trade arena continues to resonate loudly. The outcome of the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun was not encouraging. We join other developing nations in the call for an end or drastic reduction of agricultural subsidies in the developed countries.

Mr. President,

Let me take this opportunity to commend UNAIDS for organizing the High-level plenary meeting in respect of the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS which took place on Monday, September 22. This meeting will only be successful if it renews the resolve of member states to accord a higher priority to national integrated efforts to fight the disease, which is exacting a toll on the youth and adult populations of African and Caribbean nations.

The Commonwealth of Dominica has developed a five -year plan of action to guide our efforts to manage the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and we increasing our efforts to ensure a coordinated and participatory national response that involves school children, workers, the private sector, and the voluntary sector.

I also wish to recognize the great initiative of President George W. Bush for the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It is a bold and assertive commitment, which will contribute much-needed financial resources for the global campaign, particularly on the African continent, and in the Caribbean nations. I also want to recognize the tremendous efforts of UNAIDS, UNIFEM, UNICEF, and WHO/PAHO in HIV/AIDS prevention. The programmes of these UN organizations deserve additional resources from member states, international finance institutions, private foundations, and multinational corporations if we are to expect higher levels of effectiveness and greater positive outcomes in HIV/AIDS prevention.

Mr. President,

In 2004, the Decade of Indigenous People will come to an end. The Decade was important from the standpoint that it did, for the first time since Columbus came to the Americas, highlight the marginalization of the world's indigenous people. Although the decade has fallen far short of expectations, it did have one positive outcome, that is, a more extensive sensitization of the international community about the continuing plight of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Dominica's indigenous people, the Caribs, made some important gains during the decade. These include, building of links with other indigenous groups across continents, consolidation of a Caribbean grouping of indigenous organizations, and government's establishment of a Department of Carib Affairs.

Indigenous people around the world continue to face marginalization and wallow in abject poverty. The world community must demonstrate greater responsiveness to improving their condition through more generous contributions to the Voluntary Fund.

Mr. President,

We welcome the first report of the Secretary-General on New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and we are greatly encouraged by the number of African actions to institutionalize NEPAD, along with the incremental steps towards alignment of UN activities with the priorities of NEPAD. We commend the African Union and the United Nations for all the efforts towards strengthening NEPAD's momentum.

Mr. President,

Dominica reiterates its continuing support for the efforts of our brothers and sisters in Africa to take full responsibility for their own development.

Mr. President

Next August, the International Meeting for the 10-year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action on Small Islands Developing States will be held in Mauritius. This meeting will address the future of the world's Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and will be a momentous occasion for Dominica and all the members of AOSIS to finally get the much-needed international support to address the range of vulnerabilities we confront.

Dominica is honoured to host next week, a Meeting of Sustainable Development Experts, who will assess the performance of the indicators of the Barbados Program of Action. The Mauritius Conference is especially important given the marginalization of SIDS by unfavourable WTO trade rules and the trade liberalization process.

Mr. President,

The International community must pay greater attention to the social and economic vulnerabilities faced by Small Island Developing States. The sudden adjustment to trade liberalization and WTO trade regime has contributed to the economic decline in many small island states. Averting the rapid descent into a downward economic spiral, and social dislocation in SIDS requires a wider embrace and understanding of our call for special and differential treatment in the trade arena.

The Dominican Delegation believes that we have an obligation to be responsible to future generations by ensuring that they will have an earth that is safe, secure and can sustain life. Let us not forget the commitments we made last year at the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD), especially regarding SIDS. We reiterate our concern once again about all manifestations of climate change, and our opposition to continuing trans-shipment of nuclear wastes through the Caribbean Sea.

We therefore call on all member states to support and participate in the Mauritius Conference for the ten-year review of the Barbados Program Of Action next August. We also appeal to corporations, private foundations, bilateral and multilateral organizations to lend support for significant participation of civil society organizations, particularly from AOSIS member states, at this conference.

Mr. President

The delegation of the Commonwealth of Dominica wishes once again to address the participation of the Republic China on Taiwan in the work of the United Nations. Taiwan has demonstrated its willingness to provide much needed assistance to countries around the world, including relief to war-torn and devastated countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Article 4 of the United Nations Charter invites "all other peace-loving states" to join the Organization and compels us to consider the participation of Taiwan's `23 million people.

The problem of SARS ably demonstrated that progress towards the noble goals of the United Nations is only impeded by not integrating the Republic of China on Taiwan into international efforts to confront global challenges.

The situation regarding the Republic of China must be addressed to ensure a more meaningful contribution to global peace, security and poverty eradication.

In conclusion, Mr. President,

Dominica repeats it s call for a new global framework to redress the imbalances brought about by the galloping forces of globalization. We urge the international community to rally behind the banner of multi-lateralism and to support the bold initiative of President Julian Hunte to make development and its attendant components, poverty eradication and the Millennium Development Goals the central focus of the 58th General Assembly.

We call also for the leadership role of the UN in the quest for peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Iraq, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and for the unwavering support of the international community to the special needs of the Small Island Developing States.

I thank you.