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General Debate of the 64th Session (2009)

H.E. Mr. lvaro Uribe Vélez, President

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23 September 2009

Statement Summary

ÁLVARO URIBE VÉLEZ, President of Colombia, said his Government’s objective was to increase the international community’s confidence in his country, and that he would accomplish that in several different ways, including by strengthening security and democracy, promoting socially responsible entrepreneurship and investment and ensuring social cohesion.

In terms of security, he noted several key achievements, including the dismantling of paramilitaries.  Those groups had been private criminal gangs whose objective was to combat drug-trafficking guerrillas.  However, that had often led to a “mafia-style” relationship between the guerrillas and criminal gangs that only exacerbated the situation.  Today, the State was the only body that combated criminals.  The accompanying problems, such as intimidation and assassination of judges, were now gone, he added.

“We combat terrorism with wholehearted determination as we practice democracy with full devotion,” he said, stressing that Colombia was betting on a modern democracy, safe, free and building social cohesion, with independent institutions, with confidence derived from the transparency that was based on a high degree of citizen participation.

Another pillar of his Government’s strategy encouraged socially responsible investment and entrepreneurship as a means to overcome poverty and build equity.  He said that speculation should be avoided, and “social responsibility is inseparable from the meaning of capital as a factor in the creation of social wealth and not of speculation”.  He also stressed that social responsibility was inseparable from the fight against climate change.

Continuing, he noted that his country’s greatest contribution to the fight against climate change was the preservation of 578,000 square kilometres of rainforest. That was more than 51 per cent of the national territory, which encompassed the Amazon at its greatest extension.

Further, he said a special forest ranger families programme included some 90,000 rural families who helped protect the rainforest and keep it free of illicit drug crops.  In addition, Colombia was the second largest producer of sugar cane-based ethanol in Latin America, and it also produced some 108,000 litres of biodiesel from African palm.  Colombia was also providing incentive for other clean energies, such as solar and wind power, he added.

Lastly, he said the international community gained nothing if it failed to attach equal importance to the environment.  Such insistence on environmental protection was crucial for Colombia, a “mega-diverse” nation that held 14 per cent of the planet’s diversity in plant and animal species.

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Source: GA/10860