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H. E. Mr. Fernando Lugo Méndez, President

24 September 2008

Statement Summary

FERNANDO LUGO MÉNDEZ, President of Paraguay, said the United Nations was a place where the world Powers wrote history, and in which States should move beyond lofty political rhetoric to “become tools for eliminating hunger”.   Paraguay, after 61 years of single-party government, had seen a party come to power through the vote.  “ Paraguay is part of the winds of democratic change in the region,” he declared.  This year, citizens had voted for greater social justice to halt massive destruction of the environment, as well as to combat corruption.  The new administration represented “the end of the transition to democracy”.  Political and economic stability were not more important than social stability, and he was committed to applying policies that would combat extreme poverty.

Two weeks ago, Paraguay began its war against illicit Government management, he said.  The new Government, which came to power on 15 August, had responded to defend democratically elected Governments, such as in Bolivia.  Carrying out economic relations through the “market mechanism”, which had indebted Latin America, had proven to be a mistake, and today, the world was seeing a crisis that had resulted from “immoral speculation”, prompted by the desire for greater wealth.

He said Paraguay supported strengthening the General Assembly, adding that, as the most representative United Nations body, it must become “the true parliament of the world”.  Regarding climate change, the irony was that the poorest people -– those least responsible for climate change -– had suffered the most from its consequences.   Paraguay underscored the need to “turn pledges into action”, and called for recognizing shared but different responsibilities.

The same was true in determining economic and political responsibility for the global economic deterioration.  In many regions, citizens were not involved in decision-making processes, he said, strongly calling for respecting indigenous peoples.  Not doing so would be an “intolerable attack” on civilizations.

Paraguay had begun an unprecedented process of transparency, in which the media was proactive in combating corruption.  He called for working towards a more just world.  States would fail if they were unable to “draw a smile” on young people, or help women who had been relegated to low social positions.  On food security, he called for greater international assistance for agricultural production, without destroying the environment.

Continuing, he said the unique issues faced by landlocked countries were important to Paraguay’s foreign policy, and the global community must recognize special treatment for those countries.  The Government was prioritizing using renewable resources, which would complement efforts to create opportunities for work, and reducing poverty.  On financing for development, Paraguay hoped that the global community would mobilize resources for supporting development in smaller economies.  That was a priority for international financial institutions and developed economies.

He called on States to be guided by humanitarian ideals, and welcome his country’s migrants who were today dreaming of having a decent life, and finding a solution to the new and dramatic fallout from globalization.  To achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, he called for strengthening combined efforts, and by increasing official development assistance (ODA), notably for the most vulnerable economies.

In Latin America, poverty had reached 44 per cent of the population.  In Paraguay, 35.6 per cent suffered from that scourge, 20 per cent of whom lived below the extreme poverty line.  That situation was unacceptable, and called for a “radical change”.  The international community must ensure that resource mobilization become a priority for finance organizations and developed economies.

The word “love” was not used frequently in politics, but there was no other way to rebuild a world full of “hate”, he said, adding that States must not forget individuals with special capacities.   Paraguay believed in friendship, which was why it had set 30 July as a Day of Friendship, which he hoped would resonate around the world.

[Source: GA/10751]