|Date||22 November 2004|
Click on thebutton beside the speech or paragraph to expand it to a useful panel containing:
- The date of the speech
- A link to the original page of the PDF document
- A URL that can be used in most blogs
- A structured Citation template suitable for use in a Wikipedia article.
Those last two rows ("URL" and "wiki") use textboxes to hide most of the text.
To access this text, right-click in the textbox with your mouse and choose "Select All", then right-click again and choose "Copy". Now you can right-click into another window and choose "Paste" to get the text.
Agenda item 158 (continued)
Declaration by the United Nations of 8 and 9 May as days of remembrance and reconciliation
Draft resolution (A/59/L.28/Rev.2)
Members will recall that the General Assembly held its debate on this agenda item at its 57th plenary meeting, on 19 November 2004.
I call on the representative of the Russian Federation to introduce draft resolution A/59/L.28/Rev.2.
As you will recall, on last Friday, the delegations of Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine presented, for the consideration of the General Assembly, a draft resolution on the declaration of 8 and 9 May as days of remembrance and reconciliation. That is an important collective initiative aimed at further enhancing efforts to establish a secure and just world order, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.
In light of consultations that took place at the suggestion of several delegations, a few changes have been introduced to the draft resolution. They appear in A/59/L.28/Rev.2. Additional consultations have resulted in further modifications to the text, some of which are of a clerical or grammatical nature.
In the third preambular paragraph, where it reads "dealing with new challenges and threats, with the United Nations playing the central role", the definite article "the" before the words "central role" is changed to the indefinite article "a". That change relates only to the English version of the text.
At the start of the fourth preambular paragraph, the proposal is to insert the words "in overcoming its legacy and towards establishing" after "Second World War", so that the paragraph begins "Underlining the progress made since the end of the Second World War in overcoming its legacy and towards establishing reconciliation, international and regional cooperation ...".
In operative paragraph 1, the words "and commemoration" are inserted after "individual days of victory or liberation". At the end of the paragraph, the phrase "to all victims of the Second World War" replaces "to all who lost their lives in the Second World War".
A similar change is introduced in operative paragraph 2, replacing "the sacrifices made during the war" with "all victims of the war".
With those additional changes and modifications, which are supported by the sponsors of the draft resolution, we hope that the General Assembly will adopt the draft without a vote.
The Assembly will now take a decision on draft resolution A/59/L.28/Rev.2, entitled "Commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War", as orally revised.
May I take it that the Assembly decides to adopt the resolution A/59/L.28/Rev.2, as orally revised?
Before giving the floor to those representatives who wish to speak in explanation of vote after the vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to an absolute maximum of 10 minutes and should be made by delegations from their seats.
I give the floor to the representative of the Netherlands.
I speak on behalf of the European Union. The European Union joined the consensus on the resolution after some important amendments were included by the sponsors. There should be no doubt that on a substantial matter such as this, only unanimous adoption is in order. Reconciliation by definition should be a uniting matter.
The significance of the end of the Second World War cannot be underestimated. We can never forget the cost of that historic event. We can never forget the sacrifices made. One cannot speak of the atrocities of the Second World War without explicitly mentioning crimes against humanity, the Holocaust and war crimes. We bow our heads in deep respect, for all victims of the war. In our view, commemoration and reconciliation should not be characterized only by contemplating the past, but also by looking forward -- through working closely together as nations in overcoming the remaining legacies of the war and in creating a new environment of international harmony. As mentioned in the resolution, the United Nations has a central role to play in that regard.
The resolution does acknowledge progress made in promoting democratic values, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We must realize, in that respect, that for some of our partners within the European Union, freedom, democracy and human rights were denied for decades.
It is clear that setting a time for commemoration is not an easy matter, since specific times may have different connotations. We believe that the final text reflects that perception.
Azerbaijan joined the consensus on the resolution declaring 8 and 9 May as days of remembrance and reconciliation. We pay tribute to the blessed memory of millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijani women and men, who sacrificed their lives for the future of succeeding generations. We salute the veterans of that war and all those who helped to bring peace and stability to the world, not only on the battlefield, but also on the home front, including the oil workers of Azerbaijan who provided so much needed fuel for the army.
Although the resolution deals with the past, it is not only retrospective. The message it delivers is future-oriented. It reaffirms the central role of the United Nations and calls upon the Member States to unite their efforts in dealing with threats and challenges and to settle all disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations. That call is particularly relevant in view of ongoing armed conflicts, the continued occupation of the territories of sovereign States and the sufferings of refugees and internally displaced persons.
By a tragic coincidence, on 8 May 1992, Armenian forces occupied the Azerbaijani town of Shusha and expelled the entire population. Seizure of that ancient historical cultural centre of Azerbaijan -- stained with the blood of innocent people -- prompted the response of the Security Council, which expressed its concern for the heavy losses of human lives and the illegal acquisition of territories.
By adopting this declaration, Azerbaijan not only pays tribute to the memory of the past, but votes for the earliest resolution of the conflict with Armenia, the liberation of Shusha and adjacent occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and the return of displaced persons, in security and dignity, to their places of origin. That will mark the day of reconciliation for Azerbaijan.
My delegation fully associates itself with the statement made by the representative of the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union. Nevertheless, we would like to highlight a few points.
Lithuania joined the consensus on this resolution out of immense respect for the millions of victims of the Second World War, who rightly deserve to be remembered and commemorated. At the same time, we are deeply convinced that commemoration of the end of the Second World War should also refer to the legacy of that war and reveal the historical truth.
Each nation has its own destiny and its own dates to commemorate. Neither 8 May 1945 nor 2 September 1945 -- the official dates of the end of the Second World War -- brought freedom, liberation and sovereignty to Central or Eastern Europe, including Lithuania, no matter how much we had hoped for them. The date 8 May 1945 marked the end of one totalitarian ideology, fascism; yet another, totalitarian communism, expanded its domination. To us, 9 May is not a day of victory, since that date also signifies our occupation by the Soviet Union and our continued captivity for many decades.
We are grateful to all those nations throughout the world that firmly adhered to the policy of non-recognition of the occupation of the Baltic States. Now we are free and sovereign States, but the remaining legacies of the Second World War have yet to be overcome, and we call for a thorough and honest process of historical truth, remembrance and reconciliation. Therefore, while we are commemorating the end of the Second World War and remembering all of its victims, we will also be commemorating victims of occupation and repression.
We have heard the last speaker in explanation of vote. The General Assembly has thus concluded this stage of its consideration of agenda item 158.
Agenda items 45 and 55 (continued)
Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields
Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit
Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Joint Inspection Unit entitled "Achieving the Universal Primary Education Goal of the Millennium Declaration" (A/59/76 and A/59/76/Add.1 and Corr.1)
Letter from the Permanent Representatives of Finland and the United Republic of Tanzania transmitting the report entitled "A fair globalization: creating opportunities for all" (A/59/98)
Draft resolution (A/59/L.30)
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the 19 countries of the Rio Group: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Brazil.
At the outset, I should like to thank the Secretary-General for preparing the report contained in document A/59/545, on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. I should also like to thank Assembly President Jean Ping for having held informal consultations on 9 November that enabled us to form an opinion regarding some of the elements involved in the preparation of that meeting. Likewise, I am grateful for the circulation of the characteristically faithful summary of the informal discussions that he organized, which serves as an excellent basis for continuity in our consultations.
The preparation of the September 2005 summit is one of the main items on the agenda of the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session. The summit will have a significant impact on the future of multilateralism and of the United Nations. In that context, we envisage a process in which the components of security, development and institutional reform will be addressed in a balanced manner. Many of the current items, such as HIV/AIDS, are affected by more than one of those components.
We wish to express our support for the proposal contained in the summary of the 9 November discussions, in which the President announces the intention to establish a small group of facilitators to advise him in the consultations on the preparation of the high-level plenary meeting, as was done for the Millennium Summit. We, the members of the Rio Group, are prepared to cooperate with the President to ensure that the plenary meeting will be the success that the Organization and multilateralism need so much.
As suggested by the Secretary-General, the preparatory process must be open, inclusive, flexible and transparent. It must enable all Member States to participate. Moreover, the Rio Group supports the participation of civil society, in conformity with the General Assembly's rules of procedure. On the same basis, we also support the idea of a broad exchange of views with civil society.
In the light of our experience with the Millennium Summit, we support the holding of plenary meetings and round tables. In addition to defining whether the round tables will have to address different specific items or whether they will all consider the same agenda, we will need to ensure that their composition of the round tables will be geographically balanced.
Given the important nexus between financing for development and the Millennium Goals, the Rio Group believes that the high-level dialogue on financing for development must be oriented so that, on the one hand, it guarantees the broadest possible participation at the highest possible level on the part of all relevant actors and, on the other, it preserves the integrity of the Monterrey process. In that connection, we must ensure that the follow-up to the International Conference on Financing for Development will make a substantial contribution to the 2005 summit.
We, the countries of the Rio Group, hope that fundamental decisions will be adopted in 2005 regarding the comprehensive implementation of the Millennium Declaration, particularly the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. In that connection, Member States must cooperate in seeking tangible progress with regard to all the elements contained in the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development, including in the area of possible innovative financing sources and mechanisms and in ensuring greater participation and a greater voice for developing countries in global economic decision-making.
In the meantime, the sooner that substantive consultations and negotiations begin, the closer we will be to achieving tangible results at the forthcoming summit. We believe that we must take full advantage of all opportunities to promote wide-ranging discussion of the items that will be considered at that meeting, taking into account the two phases proposed by the President: first, from now until March, adopt a decision regarding the aspects involved in organizing the summit and have an exchange of views among Member States; and secondly, from March until September, hold consultations with a view to achieving concrete results for the summit.
Likewise, the member States of the Rio Group support the Secretary-General's suggestion to produce a single, integrated set of decisions to be worked out in advance, thus taking into account the specificity of each of its components to be submitted to the high-level plenary. As part of that process it will be important to hammer out each and every one of those decisions on its own merits and to make sure that the agreements in the development arena, along with all others, are not made contingent on agreement being reached in one or more other realms.
Finally, the Rio Group expresses its agreement that it is indeed important for the decision on the organizational facets of the gathering to be adopted as soon as possible, preferably as soon as this December.
The high-level plenary meeting in September 2005 will mark a milestone in the history of the United Nations and of multilateralism. The work of preparing for the summit under the leadership of the Assembly President will be essential to ensure that in September 2005 the international community will be able to make final, specific and substantive decisions. That is, after all, what we all want.
Morocco is very pleased to be participating in this debate on the follow-up to the Millennium Summit and the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits. Today's debate is important, indeed, of critical importance, because it is taking place only 10 months before the summit that we have set for next year.
This summit provides an excellent opportunity for heads of State or Government to assess international cooperation and the progress achieved towards the implementation of the goals set down by our Organization, in particular, in the Millennium Declaration, concerning development, peace and security.
It is clear that the success of the summit requires the participation and commitment of all in a positive manner and within the framework of international solidarity to achieve balanced and consensus results in keeping with the expectations and interests of all countries. To do so, we must take into account all aspects of the challenges confronting the international community.
While issues of security and terrorism have taken on particular importance over the last few years, development questions and questions of financing the development goals must continue to play a pivotal role in our discussions and, therefore, in the final results of the summit. It is also obvious that the summit of 2005 can succeed only if development questions and the interests of the developing countries are given all the attention they merit.
We would like to underscore that the assessment of the coordinated and integrated implementation of the results of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits is of the greatest importance. This was a decision taken by the General Assembly in resolutions 57/250 B and 58/291. In terms of those resolutions, we in fact decided on the convening of the summit for 2005. The consecration of that integrated and coordinated approach to the implementation and follow-up to the commitments made was the result of an extremely lengthy process and therefore must guide our work and future action to implement the objectives we have laid down.
Development issues, to be sure, and the issue of the maintenance of peace and security are closely linked. Therefore, we need to provide all due support to countries emerging from conflict so that peace won at such a cost should not be called into question. It is our conviction, in addition, that development and security hinge on good governance and respect for the rule of law. To promote harmonious development of all human society, the imposition of any fixed model must be avoided. So, too, there is a need for dialogue with all the elements of any given society so that it needs may be met and its culture and history be respected.
The Secretary-General, in his report on follow-up to the Millennium Declaration (A/59/282 and Corr.1), in fact sounded the alarm: at the present pace, the Millennium Development Goals will not be met by 2015. Progress achieved up to now has indeed been limited. While some countries are on the right track, none of the Millennium Development Goals will be achieved at a global level.
The reasons are many and well known. They include a lack of national capacity and resources, insufficiency and inefficiency in public spending, the lack -- as I have just said -- of good governance and of free and competitive space, not to mention problems of infrastructure that require heavy short- and medium-term investment. We could also add the debt burden, insufficient access to the markets of the developed countries, inadequate official development assistance and a lack of an international environment conducive to the growth of the countries of the South.
That said, the realization of the Millennium Development Goals requires integrated and coordinated implementation, at both the national and global level, as well as the implementation of all commitments that have been contracted by Member States, both developed and developing.
The 2005 summit represents an historic occasion for our heads of State or Government to reaffirm their determination to act in a specific and immediate manner to achieve the Goals through clear decisions accompanied by a schedule for issues of financing, debt, trade and investment. Our heads of State or Government must also explore innovative sources of financing to supplement available resources.
Hope must be restored to poor peoples, who today number more than 800 million individuals. Indeed, it is not possible to continue to marginalize these millions of poor, for there can be no security without development and without respect for human dignity. Such is the challenge that must be met in a world undergoing such enormous transformation. The 2005 summit will provide an opportunity to take stock and to make the necessary adjustments to implement the objectives of the Millennium Declaration by 2015.
Under the heading of issues of reform and security, we are awaiting the recommendations of the Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. We support the proposal of the President of the General Assembly to begin an informal exchange of views as soon as the Panel's report is issued, that is, at the beginning of next month. Such an exchange of views will allow the Secretary-General to take into consideration the positions voiced by Member States in drafting the report that he is to submit to us in March 2005.
With regard to the modalities, format and structure of the summit, we support the Secretary-General's recommendations on that subject. The experience of the 2000 Millennium Summit should be borne in mind here. We believe that the preparatory process for the 2005 summit should be the responsibility of the President of the Assembly, who can -- as he has suggested -- appoint a group of friends or facilitators to assist him in accomplishing that task.
Concerning the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, we support the Secretary-General's proposal to hold the Dialogue in Geneva immediately before or after the ministerial segment of the Economic and Social Council, which will assess the progress made towards implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The holding of those two meetings in Geneva will undoubtedly make possible the mutual strengthening of the two processes and significant participation by our ministers in the deliberations at both meetings, and will therefore make a contribution to the preparatory process for next year's summit. We would thus leave enough time for the authorities responsible for the process to integrate the outcome of the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development and to take it into consideration with the summit in prospect. Indeed, we believe that, if the two meetings, the one on financing and the summit, were held back to back, there would not be enough time for the summit to benefit fully from the results of the meeting on financing. That is why my country would prefer that the meeting on financing for development be held in the summer, in June or July, at Geneva.
Finally, my delegation must congratulate the two facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Nicaragua and Norway, on having enjoyed the confidence of the President and for working together in consultation with us so that the draft resolution on procedure could be adopted before the end of this year. We are convinced that the two facilitators will successfully carry out their duties in that regard. For our part, we shall do everything possible to help them to attain that objective concerning the modalities, form and structure of the summit. Likewise, we hope that they will ensure that the draft resolution sets out all the arrangements necessary for the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development.
In conclusion, Morocco attaches much importance to the draft resolution on procedure that will be adopted by the end of this year, because that procedural framework will establish the timetable and the manner in which future discussions are held, and it will enable us to set out the commitments of States to the global negotiations that must be prepared from December 2004 until September 2005. Those comprehensive negotiations must take place in the context of the draft resolution to be adopted by the end of the year. What is important for Morocco is that the international community, including all of its components, be able to express its unity on that occasion.
We welcome the opportunity to participate in the discussions on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. We thank the Secretary-General for his report on this item (A/59/545), for his report on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields (A/59/224) and for his report on the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (A/59/282 and Corr.1).
The opportunity provided by the 2005 major event should enable the general membership not only to reaffirm its commitment to the full implementation of the Millennium Declaration, but also to agree on creative, concrete and clear ways of actually implementing it on time. The event should provide a strong impetus towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals contained in the Millennium Declaration and of other development goals contained in the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields. We are equally interested in the review of other aspects contained in the Millennium Declaration, including, in particular, issues relating to the maintenance of international peace and security, disarmament and the United Nations reform process, including institutional and structural changes, in which developing countries have an equal and vital stake.
On the timing and duration of the high-level event, we broadly agree with the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting. Participation at the highest possible political level would ensure a sense of ownership on the part of all Member States concerning the outcome.
We agree with the Secretary-General's recommendations with regard to the structure and format of the high-level event. The plenary setting would provide a platform for heads of State or Government to make statements and to address important policy questions relating to the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The round tables, on the other hand, would provide a setting for more interactive and intensive discussions on various aspects of the agenda.
The agenda of the high-level event, as set out in resolution 58/291, should encompass a comprehensive review of the implementation of all aspects of the Millennium Declaration. That would enable delegations to pay particular attention to any area on which they might wish to focus. For example, India and other members of the Group of 77 would place emphasis on efforts towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and on the obstacles encountered by the developing countries in their endeavours. Some of us may wish to pay special attention to the question of financing for development. Some would wish to concentrate on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on sustainable development. Member States would attach importance to peace and security and to questions such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, including the danger of their proliferation to non-State actors.
All those objectives are integrally linked to reform of the United Nations, including reform and expansion of the Security Council. We await the presentation in March 2005 of the report of the Secretary-General on the comprehensive review. We trust that the report will identify practical ways in which to attain the Millennium Development Goals and to implement other parts of the Millennium Declaration.
With regard to preparations, we agree with the unexceptionable principles, contained in the Secretary-General's report, for making the preparatory process open-ended, transparent and inclusive. That would enable all Member States to feel a sense of ownership, which would be particularly important so as to ensure that the relatively small and underresourced delegations of developing countries would be in a position to participate and involve themselves fully in the preparatory process.
We need to look at how the various processes initiated in the intergovernmental bodies can feed into the preparations for the 2005 event and how the outcome can take into account such inputs and incorporate them appropriately. In that context, the 10-year reviews of the Beijing and Copenhagen conferences are relevant.
We look forward to receiving the recommendations of the Secretary-General on the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which he set up. We believe that Member States should carefully examine the report and the recommendations and adopt appropriate decisions on the recommendations. The report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, which contains concrete recommendations on making the process of globalization fairer, more equitable and more inclusive, as well as on certain institutional changes, deserves fuller consideration by Member States in the run-up to the 2005 event. We hope that the preparatory process for the high-level event will give detailed consideration to each of these reports, which will help shape the outcome of the high-level event.
We believe that the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development should provide meaningful inputs for consideration during the high-level event. We would therefore prefer the High-level Dialogue to be held in late June or early July 2005, preferably in New York. Any event that is held back-to-back with the high-level event itself would not serve that purpose, and the same shortcoming would also affect even a two-stage holding of the event on financing for development.
We support an intergovernmentally agreed outcome to the 2005 event that is concrete, action-oriented and implementable. In that context, we take note of the Secretary-General's suggestion of a single integrated package of decisions, to be endorsed at the high-level plenary meeting. It is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that the preparatory process produces such a package of decisions. For that purpose it would be useful to identify different clusters of topics and to work on a series of decisions that can be locked in as we approach the millennium review event. However, we would caution against the danger of progress on one issue being held hostage to progress on others during the preparatory process. Conversely, we might add that progress on each issue would reinforce and assist progress on succeeding and other issues.
Some delegations have spoken of the need to avoid divisiveness in the consideration of issues in the preparatory process. "Divisive" is not a label that should be used to characterize just one set of issues. Depending on the perspective employed, any issue can be considered divisive. The issue of development can be as divisive as that of peace and security or terrorism, if that is the way a delegation or a group of Member States chooses to approach it. In our view, therefore, this should not serve as a pretext to avoid a serious discussion or decisions on institutional reform.
The preparatory process we wish to put in place should be determined by the outcome that we seek to achieve for the millennium review event. Most developing country delegations have expressed themselves in favour of an action-oriented outcome, rather than a declaratory one that is based on a lowest-common-denominator approach. Those desiring to move away from such an approach should be ready for bold approaches that seek to reclaim the role of the United Nations in strengthening multilateralism and that provide the broadest possible agreement using the extant rules of procedure.
Seeing you, Sir -- the representative of a fellow cricket-playing nation -- in the Chair, I cannot resist saying that it is extremely important to work as a team. The 11 players on a cricket field have to work as a team, but it is equally important that they follow and use the rules of procedure -- the rules of the game.
Developing countries have waited long enough for this to happen. They are interested in results, not just in ritual; in meaningful decisions, not just in declarations. We are confident that they would not hesitate to grasp the gauntlet of steel, rather than just run through a gamut of statements. The Secretary-General has again reiterated in his report that we have come to a fork in the road. We may add that one path, caught in the past, leads to a blind alley. The other holds the promise, through the opportunity of the major event, of leading us to transform the Organization so that it can deal effectively with current and emerging challenges and threats, while being responsive to the interests and concerns of the developing countries.
I should like, first, to join others in thanking the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report under this agenda item. My delegation associates itself fully with the statement made by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and wishes to make a few additional remarks as we prepare for the 2005 high-level summit.
Through the Millennium Declaration, world leaders captured the aspirations of the international community and committed themselves to transforming the development agenda, ensuring that knowledge, capacity, political will and respect for the rule of law become the necessary components in reducing poverty and advancing other areas of human development.
The most challenging development facing the least developed countries today relates to the process of globalization and the need for them to be affirmatively included and accommodated in this inevitable process. On this issue, I should like to make reference to the report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization, entitled A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All. The report makes an eloquent case for an inclusive globalization that is fair and equal for all, and contributes to international efforts towards a fully inclusive and equitable globalization.
Implementing the Millennium Declaration, especially measures towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, should be more than an inventory of mutual commitments and obligations by development partners. It should be a dynamic dialogue among the partners and within the countries involved in the implementation process on crucial issues such as policy reform, aid and trade, including market access and debt unsustainability, as well as financing the Millennium Development Goals and long-term requirements for economic investment.
Tanzania is fully committed to implementing policies and strategies aimed at achieving the Millennium Declaration targets and to ensuring the success of the summit next year. Tanzania developed its first poverty reduction strategy paper in 2000 and its second -- known as the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty -- in 2004, as national guiding frameworks for the fight against poverty and as instruments for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The Strategy identifies three major pillars, namely, growth and the reduction of income poverty, including improving food availability, accessibility and nutrition; improving the quality of life and social well-being; and ensuring good governance and accountability.
The Strategy identifies critical areas for priority interventions and financing. They include primary education, basic health care, water and sanitation, rural roads and agriculture as priority development sectors, and HIV/AIDS, gender, vulnerability -- including that of people with disabilities and older persons -- the environment and good governance as priority crosscutting issues. It also adopts a common and participatory monitoring system, involving all the stakeholders, to track progress, including on the Millennium Development Goals, which have been tailored to the Strategy targets.
The new Strategy effectively mainstreams the Millennium Development Goals and other regional and international obligations and targets as set out in the New Partnership for Africa's Development, the Brussels Plan of Action, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing and the Rome Declaration on Harmonization. I would like to report that Tanzania, in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and HelpAge International, organized a regional workshop on ageing and poverty in October last year, recommending the incorporation of ageing issues into poverty reduction strategy papers.
In November this year, the Government of Tanzania, within the context of the Tanzania Assistance Strategy -- which is the national framework for aid coordination -- hosted a second regional workshop on harmonization, alignment and results for development effectiveness, with a renewed call for country ownership of development initiatives and the use of country monitoring systems to track progress.
Tanzania has recorded achievements following the implementation of the poverty reduction strategy paper and other reforms, mainly in the areas of macroeconomic stability and an improved operating environment, as well as with regard to some social indicators. Achievements have been recorded in enhanced enrolment in primary schools following the implementation of the Primary Education Development Programme. The net enrolment ratio reached 89 per cent in 2003 -- 87 per cent for females and 90 per cent for boys. The gross enrolment ratio reached 105 per cent, 102 per cent for female and 109 per cent for male. The ratio of girls to boys in all standards was 0.95, thus almost closing the gender gap at the primary school level. The Secondary Education Development Programme is now operational. Tanzania is thus on course to achieving the education targets of the Millennium Development Goals.
There is improved health service delivery and marked improvement in the provision of basic infrastructure, especially roads. However, malaria is still one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children under the age of five; HIV/AIDS continues to impose a burden on the economy; there are ongoing efforts towards mainstreaming gender within the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper; and an environmental law is in place that ensures sustainable use of the environment and natural resources. However, challenges remain as poverty levels are still high; there is insufficient translation of macrolevel achievements to the majority poor; and further improvements are needed in the quality of social service delivery.
Challenges remain regarding how we can further reduce poverty, and regarding implementation, monitoring and financing. The achievement of Goal 8 and reporting of progress by developed countries remain critical. My delegation would like at this juncture to express its appreciation at the encouraging steps taken by Norway and the Netherlands in having met the 0.7 per cent target and in having prepared reports on Goal 8.
In conclusion, and as we prepare for the 2005 high-level plenary, my delegation wishes to stress that some of the critical prerequisites for the successful implementation of the Millennium Declaration demand that, at the national level, developing countries continue with and consolidate macroeconomic reforms to permit vibrant pro-poor economic growth and institutionalize good governance in all aspects.
However, there is also a need to address at the international level the issues of external indebtedness, attainment of the agreed target for official development assistance, and assistance to the least developed countries to develop their export capacities to effectively utilize the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the Everything but Arms initiative, the Canadian Initiative, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development and other bilateral and multilateral initiatives. Moreover, there is a need to honour agreed-upon obligations within the context of Doha, Monterrey, and Johannesburg and to set up standard monitoring systems and measurable indicators to follow up on the implementation of all the Millennium Development Goals, including Goal 8, upon which other goals are predicated. The report of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization also needs to be taken into account.
My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. However, it wishes to make its own observations on some of the salient points of the report.
The Millennium Declaration is an ambitious document. It is notable for identifying goals, targets and indicators. It has been almost universally accepted as the pre-eminent guideline imperative for the realization of any development effort, particularly the reduction of poverty. Yet, the implementation of even the most basic seven goals has met with serious problems and obstacles because commitments have not been followed by action.
The Eritrean delegation agrees with the Secretary-General's judgement that "all the United Nations Member States [must] engage in serious contemplation and renew their commitment to the Declaration in concrete ways" (A/59/282, para. 108). That, however, cannot be achieved until the rich countries take the necessary effective steps to honour their commitments, on the one hand, and, on the other, the developing States make serious efforts to put their priorities in order and to allocate more domestic resources to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Only such a credible partnership, based on mutual understanding and trust, can promote and ensure the realization of humanity's noble goals.
There have only been mixed results in the effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty eradication has been identified as the overarching goal of the Millennium Declaration. It was hoped that poverty would be reduced by 50 per cent by 2015, yet every available report on the matter clearly indicates that the world is not on track to achieve that goal. Indeed, the latest information from the United Nations Development Programme on the Development Goals makes it clear that
"The number of income-poor in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America combined has increased by some 10 million each year since 1990. Dozens of countries experienced absolute decline in average living standards in the past two decades."
It also reveals that "an estimated 1.2 billion people have to struggle every day to survive on less than $1 per day -- about the same number as a decade ago". That 1.2 billion constitutes one third of the world's population.
The goal of achieving universal education by 2000 had to be rescheduled to 2015. True, the gender gap has been reduced by 50 per cent; however, all available data confirm that universal education cannot be attained even by that date. The news on child and maternal mortality, as well as access to safe water and adequate sanitation, is also not encouraging. In most instances public health conditions have deteriorated, and our concerns now include not only HIV/AIDS but also tuberculosis, malaria and other epidemics that are actually being exacerbated by HIV/AIDS.
The fate of the Millennium Development Goals hinges, to a substantial extent, on the steady flow of meaningful development assistance from the developing countries and its credible use by the recipient States. It is estimated that $50 billion per year will be needed in development assistance to meet most Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Yet, they are affordable. It is reported that the Development Goals would be achieved if the member States of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) alone were to meet the official development assistance target of 0.7 per cent of their gross national products. Yet success can be guaranteed only if the flow of assistance is secure and stable. Debt relief is also a sine qua non. It is therefore disappointing that the results of the International Conference on Financing for Development were not reassuring to the developing countries.
The Millennium Development Goals have been declared a major subset of the national development goals of Eritrea. Despite the serious reversals to Eritrea's socio-economic development caused by the recent aggression against it, Eritrea has made considerable progress towards the achievement of the Goals. The Government's effort to reduce the number of underweight children and the number of those dying before the age of five, as well as the maternal mortality rate, have been successful, and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other epidemics has been reduced. The ratio of girls to boys in primary schools has increased significantly, and the protection of environmental resources has increased dramatically. The Government's programmes in those areas are thus on track.
The Government's projects are off-track in only two, albeit significant, areas: the reduction of extreme poverty and the attainment of universal primary education. The first was a consequence of aggression and drought, while the second is mainly the result of wanton and inexplicable destruction by a barbarous enemy army.
Eritrea has also made great strides in socio-economic development, including in those areas covered by the Millennium Development Goals. Needless to say, they have to be sustained and improved. That can happen only with the achievement of at least a 5 per cent growth rate, which, under prevailing constraints caused by the aggression, may not be possible. Estimates indicate that approximately $1.337 billion will be needed to achieve the Development Goals. Those costs, which will be borne by the public sector, will amount to about $122 million a year. To that end, the Government must, and is determined to, restore macroeconomic stability, attract private investment, ensure food security, achieve sustained and rapid economic growth and mobilize resources.
Development is inextricably linked to and dependent on peace. Armed conflicts and the threat or use of force are the most glaring obstacles to peace, security, stability and prosperity. Peace is based on respect for the law, including the United Nations Charter and the provisions of numerous conventions and other international instruments that promote good-neighbourliness and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Such peace has been elusive in regions like the Horn of Africa, where lawless nations and rogue States systematically and with impunity flout the Charter and/or refuse to abide by the decisions of arbitration commissions recognized by the Security Council. The consequences of such lawlessness, if not checked in due course, are clear to us.
It is obvious that lawlessness continues to negatively affect the processes initiated by States to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It is to be deplored that such lawlessness is, in some cases, being aided and abetted by none other than some of those whose mandate it is to maintain peace and security, to uphold the rule of law, to ensure strict observance of the Charter and to enforce compliance with the final and binding decisions of arbitration commissions sanctioned by the Security Council, whose implementation is guaranteed by the highest authorities of international and regional organizations. It must be recognized that such a renunciation of trust will result in conflict and the derailment of any development plans and processes that were on course towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
To the people of Eritrea -- who have been betrayed not once but twice before, and who have been waiting for justice during the past two years -- that evokes memories of past injustices and may cause them, against their fondest hopes and wishes, not to wait until the word "expeditious" -- which means immediate, instant or prompt -- regains, after its first use in a United Nations resolution more than two years ago, its original and real meaning. Justice delayed is justice denied, and justice denied invariably has disastrous consequences for peace and security.
Finally, I wish to refer to certain points made by the Secretary-General in his address to the General Assembly at the 3rd plenary meeting, on 21 September 2004, and also reflected in the present report. The Secretary-General emphasizes the following about the rule of law:
"At the international the level, all States -- strong and weak, big and small -- need a framework of fair rules, which each can be confident that others will obey."
"Where the rule of law is most earnestly invoked ... those invoking it do not always practice what they preach." "Too often it is applied selectively, and enforced arbitrarily."
"All [nations] must feel that international law belongs to them and protects their legitimate interests."
"Laws must be put into practice."
"Yes, the rule of law starts at home."
Eritreans wish to add to that last statement "including at the United Nations". I conclude by saying, "Amen".
I would like to begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his two reports, on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly (A/59/545), and on the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (A/59/282 and Corr.1). We look forward to receiving the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General on the Millennium Declaration early next year and to receiving, in the coming days, the findings of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, together with comments and suggestions from the Secretary-General on how discussions could proceed.
With regard to the 2005 summit on the Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary-General has our full support concerning his recommendations for its format, organization and preparatory process. Iceland agrees that Member States should participate at the highest level. It will be our responsibility to make balanced decisions on reform, taking into account all relevant matters, such as development, social issues and human rights, as well as peace and security. We will have the opportunity to make changes that will equip the multilateral system to be more effective in preventing conflict, resolving conflict where it occurs and building peace following conflict.
The progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals has been mixed and characterized by vast regional differences. While a number of countries have prospered at an unprecedented pace, others have lost headway and have even regressed. The lack of progress in sub-Saharan Africa is especially worrisome.
Attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 will require determination, resolve and concerted efforts by all parties -- developing and developed countries alike. We must all honour the Monterrey Consensus, and next year's summit will give us a new opportunity to strengthen our efforts. A crucial premise for attaining the Goals is developing countries' own commitments to reform. Efforts to achieve macroeconomic stability must be reinforced, institutions and good governance must be strengthened, capacity constraints must be addressed, and the focus on human development must be enhanced. The developed countries must also deliver. Here, increased development assistance is a critical instrument. Moreover, international trade liberalization is a key pillar, and the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda is important for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Government of Iceland is fully committed to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. To that end, the Government has decided to increase Iceland's official development assistance significantly in the coming years. A clear target has been established to double Iceland's present level of official development assistance by 2009.
The Government of Iceland will work constructively and actively to play its part in making the summit a successful and groundbreaking event of decisive importance.
At the outset, my delegation wishes to subscribe to the statement made by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I would like to explain Tunisia's views concerning some issues of interest.
The major event of September 2005 marks an important date on the international agenda and is increasingly bringing together all of the disparate elements of the international community. The task is not only to take stock of the objectives laid down and the commitments undertaken during the Millennium Summit and during other major United Nations conferences, but also to draw conclusions and learn lessons that will enable us to correct our course and realign our sights on our targets.
The delegation of Tunisia believes that the summit will provide a good opportunity to identify the areas of disfunctionality and the objective factors that have prevented or delayed the realization of one goal or another. It is also an opportunity to reach a shared understanding and a common operational approach to meeting numerous challenges, which are hampering development and peace, and to rebalance the world order both politically and economically.
Therefore, the summit meeting is an extremely important date, given what is at stake and the promise that it holds. Merely reading the statements of the heads of State and Government and heads of delegation from the General Assembly debate shows that this meeting is on everyone's mind and already evokes great expectations, hence the imperative to work on a preparatory process commensurate with those expectations and with what is at stake.
In his report on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting, the Secretary-General made some suggestions and voiced some preferences, which my delegation, to a great extent, shares. Indeed, the principles of transparency, flexibility and openness should guide both the preparatory process and the positions taken by the players involved. Regarding the length, the date and the structure of the summit, the options put forward by the Secretary-General seem to have the backing of the majority of delegations, including my own. Otherwise, as far as organizational issues are concerned, my delegation will join the consensus that will emerge following the consultations that the President of our Assembly is conducting with his well-known acumen and with the aid of his facilitators.
However, regarding the various segments of the proposed structure, my delegation would like to emphasize the notion of balance. First, we would like to see a balance among topics covered -- the agenda of the summit must be balanced in such a way as to facilitate unique and integrated decisions and a successful outcome to our efforts. In that regard, the choice of topics for the round tables is of particular importance and requires the constructive involvement of all parties. The topic of security should not preponderate to the detriment of development issues.
Then there is the question of balance among the reference texts. The Millennium Declaration and the texts that have emerged from various conferences held over the last few years, such as the Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development and the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, should receive equal attention.
Finally, there should be a balance of interests. During the preparatory process and during the summit itself, it is important to work to achieve genuine consensus that reflects shared interests and a common vision for the future.
My delegation considers that those three elements of balance will help us to move towards a logic of compromise and a successful summit in keeping with the great expectations for it. I say that with the understanding that, in the present context, in which topics relating particularly to development and security are actively discussed in societies and increasingly involve international public opinion, the United Nations and its members have an obligation to achieve results.
My delegation, like other delegations, is awaiting with interest the various reports that we will be receiving in the months to come, and their contents clearly will determine the substantive debates we shall be having from now until September 2005. Without prejudice to those debates, I would like to underscore the following points.
First, consideration of the threats and challenges now facing the world should be comprehensive, and the changes that we wish to see should not be limited to political reforms, but should also include institutional reforms, without which the balance of interests to which I referred earlier cannot be made a reality. Here, the Security Council comes first and foremost to mind.
Second, while development is a major concern for the 2005 September summit, the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular those regarding the fight against poverty and the improvement of living standards, remains our main objective. In that regard, it is widely recognized today that the search for additional resources for financing development has become an urgent need. That quest should take into account all existing realistic possibilities, in particular the idea of international human solidarity -- a concept that today is a prerequisite if we are to meet those challenges.
Third, one of the most blatant aspects of poverty is the digital divide, which is the subject of a separate summit, that is the global summit on information society, which is being held under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly and under the guidance of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is taking place in two stages in Geneva in December 2003 and in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005 and will fit in perfectly with the series of high-level events that will take place in 2005. The General Assembly, in our view, must take that into account.
In conclusion, my delegation shares the point of view that the debates that will take place in the months to come and the major event of September 2005 must be conducted in the spirit of achieving as broad a consensus as possible. That consensus must take into account the interests of all and, above all, the duty we all have today to reaffirm the importance of multilateralism in the lives of our nations and the relevance of the United Nations system in resolving today's and tomorrow's global problems, and in guaranteeing collective security in all of its aspects and human solidarity with all of its nobility.
The delegation of Nigeria is pleased that this joint debate is taking place today on the important subjects of the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic and social fields as well as the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Nigeria associates itself with the statement made by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and informative reports that have been introduced for this debate.
The Millennium Summit offered the world a unique opportunity to refocus on the twin issues of development and peace. It is undeniable that we all cherish peace, development, human rights and the protection of our environment. The Millennium Development Goals that were derived from the Millennium Declaration remain the best framework, one that is both coherent and focused on the set of actions required to achieve sustainable development. Apart from the enthusiasm and optimism that followed the Millennium Summit, there was also a renewal of hope in the efficacy of multilateralism as the best instrument for managing complex global affairs.
Against the backdrop of the lukewarm and often uncoordinated action at the global and national levels, the need for implementation of the outcomes of major conferences and summits cannot be overstated. Poor implementation at the national level and the lack of fulfilment of commitments by the donor community have given rise to the duplication of efforts, poor results and unfulfilled expectations. It is incumbent on the international community to redeem its image by regaining the confidence of the poor and weak members of society. Here at the United Nations we must live by the values we profess and hold dear: respect for the dignity and freedom of human beings, democracy and good governance, the rule of law, participation, accountability and transparency.
In Nigeria, as in other countries, there is a recognition that the eradication of poverty is essential for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Unless we combat poverty and the numerous ills associated with it, our efforts to promote and manage peace would remain fruitless. In that regard, we note with regret the findings in the Secretary-General's report A/59/282 on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Notwithstanding the successes enumerated by the Secretary-General, it is obvious from his report and other sources that for many developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, the path to achieving the Millennium Development Goals is anything but smooth.
That notwithstanding, Africa has taken bold and imaginative steps through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to address the challenges of development. It is our hope that in 2005 this Assembly will not only reaffirm the special challenges and needs of Africa, but, more importantly, will come up with concrete proposals on how to mobilize the additional resources required to place Africa on track towards the achievement of the Goals and the realization of the objectives of NEPAD.
Nigeria firmly believes that the objectives articulated in the various United Nations conferences and summits are as valid today as they were at the time the conferences and summits took place. They can be realized only under conditions of peace, security and development. Moreover, the international system must be inclusive and accommodating of diversity in culture and beliefs. We must address the dangers posed by xenophobia, religious intolerance and terrorism. But above all, we must place development at the heart of the international agenda, because there can be no lasting peace without development.
In that regard, we repeat that the Millennium Declaration must be implemented in a holistic manner. The threats of hunger, poverty and HIV/AIDS deserve the highest priority action if we are to secure cost-effective peace and stability.
The outcome of the Millennium Summit set high store in cooperation and collaboration among all members of the international community in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals. We cannot afford to perpetuate the mistaken view that developed countries are immune to the negative effects of hunger, disease and poverty, or that terrorism is a threat only to a few countries. On the contrary, we must find a common ground to address the global challenges of our time. We must collectively summon the political will to fulfil our mutual commitments and responsibilities, so as to make our world better and safer not only for ourselves, but also the generations yet unborn.
At the Millennium Summit our leaders underscored the need to make globalization a positive force for all humanity. It has been Nigeria's consistent view that the benefits of globalization, as well as its costs, should be shared in an equitable manner. Urgent action is needed in different facets to address the current imbalances in representation, decision-making and participation in the international financial system. Global economic and financial policies must support development. As we encourage trade liberalization, we should also encourage the unencumbered movement of persons. We therefore urge the international community to act on the useful suggestions and recommendations of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization contained in its report entitled "A Fair Globalization: Creating Opportunities for All".
In our assessment, the United Nations needs to be strengthened and supported for it to achieve the objectives it stands for. The Organization must remain not only the moral voice to articulate the wishes and aspirations of all, especially the poor, but also the centre for dialogue and action on the challenges of our time. Nigeria strongly supports the Secretary-General's call for the strengthening of the United Nations as a multilateral and legitimate organization. One sure way of doing that is to provide the United Nations with adequate and predictable resources to enable it to fulfil its mandate.
The review in 2005 of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and other internationally agreed development goals should provide Member States the opportunity to underscore the need for coordination and coherence in our policies. The implementation deficit that stares us all in the face must be addressed through a coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of all United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. Happily, we have had the opportunity, in the Commission on Sustainable Development as well as other forums, to identify the challenges and obstacles to meeting our agreed development goals and targets.
As we prepare for the 2005 major event, we should reaffirm our commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. But we should aim to achieve much more than that. Our overall goal should be to implement the outcomes of all major United Nations conferences and summits. That would ensure the promotion of synergies and coherence in our actions and policies.
Nigeria supports participation at the highest political level, as well as the Secretary-General's recommendation with regard to the participation of other stakeholders at the 2005 event. Similarly, we endorse the Secretary-General's proposal to organize a plenary and round tables. We also share the view that the preparatory process should be open-ended, transparent and inclusive. That would enhance participation by all and ownership of the outcome.
Given the importance of the Monterrey Consensus in meeting our development goals, Nigeria is of the view that the integrity of the Monterrey follow-up as a distinct process and important event should be preserved. However, that should not constitute an extra burden on developing countries. Therefore, Nigeria supports the option of holding the Monterrey high-level meeting in New York in September just before the commencement of the 2005 major event, on the dates suggested by the Secretary-General. We believe that that would sustain the momentum and interest in the event, particularly in the spring dialogue between the Economic and Social Council and the Bretton Woods institutions. The high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council substantive session in 2005 could also be a further venue to articulate views on the 2005 major event.
Finally, I wish to restate Nigeria's readiness to work with other Member States to ensure a positive action-oriented outcome that would address the need for more political will, commitment and additional resources to foster the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We assure our willingness to participate actively in the consultation processes leading to the major event.
My delegation would like to commend the Secretary-General for his comprehensive reports under agenda items 45 and 55.
Mongolia fully associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. However, I would also like to make some comments from the national perspective.
The result of the Millennium Summit was a manifestation of humankind's global vision for the first 15 years of the new millennium. It laid out a new common agenda for peace and prosperity for the world community. So far, the results have been mixed.
While we recognize that there has been some progress in economic and social development in certain regions, it has become a common view that we are seriously lagging in ensuring the implementation of the goals set forth in the Millennium Declaration and at major United Nations conferences and summits. We firmly believe that the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals will not become mere additions to the growing pile of those declarations and plans of action that await implementation. It is our hope that the high-level event, or review summit, to be held next year will provide the necessary impetus, reaffirmation and recommitment needed for delivering the results.
War, international terrorism and violent conflict continue to cause devastation for millions of civilians and to pose a serious threat to international peace and security. We are of the view that ensuring global political stability is the first and foremost condition for successfully addressing poverty, hunger and underdevelopment worldwide. The international community cannot again witness major wars and conflicts, which dangerously destabilize the global political situation, if we are serious about meeting our common development goals and objectives.
Mongolia has consistently supported the United Nations as the only world Organization serving the interests of its Member States. It is a principal instrument of multilateral cooperation, given its underlying purposes and principles and universal representation. We believe that the multilateral United Nations system is essential for global action; it is a very important asset, which should be strengthened. The 2005 high-level event will therefore also provide an opportunity to reiterate the importance of enhancing the role of multilateralism and of reforming the United Nations in order to address the formidable challenges faced by humanity in the twenty-first century.
Monitoring and assessing the process of implementation of our goals, commitments and responsibilities are important in ensuring effective results and progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. We were pleased to learn that many countries have published their national reports on the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, and I am happy to include my country on that list. In preparation for the 2005 event, the Government of Mongolia has produced and launched its first national report on the implementation of the Goals, and we are endeavouring to work consistently towards their implementation in close collaboration with our development partners.
My Government considers that reporting is a clear manifestation of accountability. It ensures that every effort is made towards achieving the Goals, and helps to monitor progress, share experiences with others and bring all stakeholders together to identify ways and means of achieving them. Moreover, the report is also an effective advocacy tool for the public. In that context, I am pleased to note that our report was the product of extensive consultation and a scrupulous revision process by all stakeholders. Furthermore, advocacy and campaigning for the Goals at the grass-roots level have resulted in the greater involvement of civil society in the overall Goal-oriented process in my country.
Most importantly, the parliament of Mongolia has embarked on a debate on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals with a view to reflecting on national legislation, including through the National Development Strategy and Plan of Action of the new grand coalition Government, which was formed a few months ago.
The High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change was established to analyse the current situation and determine future threats with regard to international peace and security, and to make recommendations on the best ways and means of undertaking collective action to meet those challenges. My delegation hopes that, on the basis of the expected report of the High-level Panel, the Secretary-General will present bold, implementable, action-oriented policy recommendations. On the other hand, we are confident that all Member States will consider the proposals and recommendations in a very positive manner, approaching them and making decisions on the basis of their merits and of the common interests and goals of the world community.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General for his excellent report on preparations for the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. We all recognize that every single day is important to us if we are to ensure the successful outcome of the 2005 event. My delegation is grateful to the Assembly President for having embarked on the process of preparing for the event and for undertaking consultations in that regard. We are confident that under his able stewardship the preparatory process will be productive and that, consequently, the high-level event itself will become a historic milestone for realizing our aspirations.
Let me begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his reports on the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, and the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, as contained in documents A/59/545 and A/59/282. My delegation also welcomes the combining of those two interrelated agenda items in a joint debate in the interest of ensuring efficiency in the Assembly's work and a clear focus on the work that lies ahead for us between now and September 2005.
My delegation associates itself with the statements delivered earlier by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and by the representative of Brunei Darussalam on behalf of States members of the Association of the South-East Asian Nations. However, my delegation wishes to highlight a few points of interest to Malaysia.
The Secretary-General's reports cover a wide spectrum of important issues relating to the Millennium Declaration and the major conferences and summits. While the reports have served to enhance our awareness of the status of the achievements and shortcomings in the realization of the proclaimed goals, they also remind us of the various complex and daunting challenges and promising opportunities that lie ahead. We welcome the Secretary-General's recommendations as a basis for further consideration by Member States and the various bodies and institutions within the United Nations system.
Next year -- 2005 -- has been earmarked as an important year to review, assess and even take bold decisions, if necessary, on the status of implementation of the various decisions that our leaders agreed to at the dawn of this millennium in 2000.
We are pleased that serious attention has been given to the achievement of the goals set in the Millennium Declaration through the convening of relevant follow-up conferences and summits that specifically focus on the goals and means of achieving them. We consider the high-level international meetings and follow-up conferences to be convened next year, including sessions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies, to address various questions, including social development, advancement of women, sustainable development, population, the family, HIV/AIDS, trade and financing for development, as an important part of the process that is to culminate in the high-level plenary meeting or summit in September 2005.
Malaysia believes that the international community should continue to focus on follow-up action to the Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, the Plan of Implementation of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and other important follow-up conferences and summits that would contribute to the realization of the Millennium Declaration and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
We congratulate the Secretary-General on his vision and on a number of his initiatives leading to the establishment of various supporting mechanisms to monitor, facilitate and assist in the implementation of the Goals by Member States. The Secretary-General's efforts, in particular through the United Nations Millennium Project and the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, as well as the series of informal consultations and dialogue carried out among Member States and other actors, should keep everyone focused on the progress made and further measures required.
In that connection, Malaysia reaffirms the central role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security and in promoting and coordinating international cooperation on development and international economic affairs. We commend the Organization for its excellent efforts to monitor and coordinate the progress of implementation of the MDGs. We believe that the international community must fully commit itself to this to ensure that the United Nations is able to maintain this role in the years to come, if necessary through reforms which could be agreed upon at the 2005 summit.
Now is the time for serious reflection. By September 2005 we will have completed one third of the journey to our target date of 2015. By now we already have reasons to be concerned about the prospect of many countries, especially the least developed countries, not being able to meet many of the MDG targets. The report of the Secretary-General and other reliable statistics from United Nations agencies and the Bretton Woods Institutions clearly indicate that, while some countries are on track towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, many others still face enormous difficulties and obstacles in the quest to meet the set targets.
HIV infection has reached alarming levels not only in Africa but also in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. Poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other serious communicable diseases remain major problems. The incidence of poverty in many parts of the world has not been mitigated and in some cases has worsened. It is therefore imperative that the international community be able to harness the knowledge, capacity, resources and technological tools that are necessary to achieve real progress in combating hunger and poverty, in coping with communicable diseases, in redressing the negative impact of globalization and in meeting the security threats and challenges arising from the failure to adequately address these questions, including the root causes of terrorism.
Malaysia believes that we have to seriously mobilize sufficient political will and find additional ways to move countries forward on the path to progress in achieving the MDGs. New and innovative sources of financing for development must be found. The World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations under the Doha Round must result in the attainment of a final agreement that will, hopefully, deliver on the promise of a level playing field for developing countries in the area of trade. A rollback of developed country trade barriers and subsidies in agriculture alone would yield about $120 billion, thereby improving global welfare.
Most of the MDGs require a multidimensional approach that calls for action at the international, regional and national levels. The need for international aid and assistance is central to that approach. As has been widely acknowledged, an estimated $150 billion per year would be required to meet the goals set in the Millennium Declaration. Efforts must be focused on raising the required financial resources, including through new and innovative sources of financing. While it is important to find ways and means to ensure that countries are able to meet the targets, it is equally important to prevent any regression as concerns the goals that have already been achieved.
Malaysia is pleased to note that many developing countries are working closely with the United Nations system, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, and their development partners to introduce necessary reform and changes to their policies and national priorities to achieve social and economic development. Good governance is key to reform. But good governance at the national level must also be matched by the commitment to apply good governance at the international level, to establish a dynamic and enabling international economic environment. That could surely facilitate the integration of developing countries into the world economy and allow them to share the benefits of globalization.
The international community must continue to introduce necessary reform and changes, including to the international financial architecture, to create a level playing field that would give developing countries a fair chance to remain engaged with the increasingly globalized world economy. In that regard, Malaysia believes that the deliberations that would proceed following the issuance of the reports of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change; the Millennium Project; and the Secretary-General's own report, expected in March 2005, as we prepare for the Summit to be held in September 2005, would be of the utmost importance. We also believe that the results of summits and conferences held outside the United Nations system would also provide useful inputs to the 2005 summit.
The Secretary-General, in his report on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, has made useful proposals for consideration by Member States. My delegation offered its preliminary comments at the informal consultations conducted by the President earlier this month. We generally concur with the Secretary-General's recommendations, as well as the views already expressed by many delegations. Mr. President, we look forward to your leading the preparatory process for the summit. Like others, we attach great importance to the summit. We agree that the summit should provide the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the integrated follow-up to the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, as well as to discuss other issues vital to the world, including the future of the United Nations.
Malaysia will actively participate in the process in our national capacity as well as in that of Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. We will work closely with the President and with other delegations, the major groupings, the Secretary-General and other actors in ensuring that the summit truly achieves the objectives that everyone hopes for.
In the face of the new threats and challenges emerging in the international community today, the United Nations system is in urgent need of reform and strengthening in order to maintain its relevance and effectiveness. During this year's general debate in September, Japan's Prime Minister, Mr. Koizumi, emphasized the need to create a new United Nations for the new era. Although expressed in a variety of ways, the need for such change within the United Nations was stressed by a large number of leaders.
We are now presented with an historic opportunity to make the United Nations more effective in addressing the new realities. The High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change is expected to submit its report to the Secretary-General in early December. We hope that the report will provide us with many inspiring ideas for strengthening the multilateral framework.
In January, the United Nations Millennium Project report will also be submitted to the Secretary-General. Taking into account the content of those two reports and the comments of Member States, the Secretary-General will then submit his report on the Millennium Declaration next March. With those important documents in hand, we will then set about preparing for the high-level meeting next September. We must work together and do our utmost during the current session to ensure that our preparations will be conducive to a successful outcome for the meeting.
Before I consider the issues related to the preparations for the summit next year, I would like to briefly touch upon some points regarding the Secretary-General's report on implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration, contained in document A/59/282.
First, the report points out the surge in demand for United Nations peacekeeping operations and calls for greater commitment from all partners, including Member States. Japan will certainly fulfil its role in that regard. Bearing in mind that the resources each country is able to provide for peacekeeping operations are not unlimited, we believe it vital to ensure the effective and efficient management of peacekeeping operations. We are also of the view that efforts based on a sense of ownership -- that it is, after all, the countries in conflict themselves who own their future -- are critically important for the success of peacekeeping operations.
Secondly, the Secretary-General's report devotes special attention to the need to combat transnational crime. Japan fully endorses a coordinated global response to that challenge and has been actively engaged in the efforts of the international community to curb transnational crime. Upon adoption of the necessary domestic laws, Japan will ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Japan is also preparing for the conclusion of the Convention's Protocols. The United Nations Convention against Corruption is another legal instrument of great importance. Japan was among the active participants in the negotiations on that Convention and signed it last December.
Thirdly, protection of the vulnerable is one of Japan's foreign policy priorities. Continuously stressing the importance of human security, we pay particular attention to the protection and empowerment of people in transition from conflict to peace. Armed conflict impoverishes society and leaves it in a dire state. Promoting human security enables people and the community to move towards peace and national reconstruction. Japan continues to be committed to promoting the protection and empowerment of people by extending assistance through such channels as the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.
We note with appreciation the Secretary-General's report on the modalities, format and organization of the high-level plenary meeting (A/59/545). I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the work of Mr. Julian Hunte, President of the General Assembly at its fifty-eighth session, and of the two facilitators. It is essential that we reach agreement on the organizational matters concerning the high-level meeting as early as possible so that more of our time may be devoted to the discussions on the substantive issues of the meeting. Japan supports the suggested duration, timing, structure and format of the meeting, including the convenient of one plenary meeting and four interactive round-table meetings.
With regard to the themes for the round-table meetings, we consider it more appropriate to have our leaders discuss one common theme, as was the case at the Millennium Summit, rather than to allocate different themes to each round table. That would allow them more time for reflection and discussion from a wider perspective of interlinkages among the issues we are dealing with.
As to the timing for holding the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, our position is flexible. If there is enough support for the Secretary-General's suggestion to hold the meeting in late June or early July 2005, immediately prior to the high-level segment of the substantive session of the Economic and Social Council, we would have no objection.
The review of the Millennium Declaration is an overarching exercise, since that document addresses a wide variety of issues ranging from development and international peace and security to institutional reform of the United Nations system. The preparations for the high-level meeting next September are very important. Japan is firmly committed to making an active contribution to progress in all those areas.
The decisions we will be making as we approach next September will be diverse in nature. Some will be legal decisions involving amendment of the Charter, others may take the form of affirmations of the commitments of Member States to take certain actions. While some issues might be topics that are newly brought to our attention and thus require longer deliberation, there are other issues that we have discussed exhaustively for more than 10 years.
With a view to making the most of the opportunity provided by the high-level meeting next year, we need to conduct the preparatory process as effectively as possible, since the success of the meeting depends on the way decisions are taken and how our achievements are brought together to produce an integrated outcome.
With that in mind, I would like to draw the Assembly's attention to the following points that in our view are of critical importance in the preparatory process leading up to the summit next year.
First, we need to use our time effectively and efficiently in order to maintain the momentum generated by the reports and to achieve as much as possible in the run-up to the summit.
Secondly, although the scope of the summit encompasses a wide range of issues to be addressed in a comprehensive manner, "comprehensive" does not necessarily mean "simultaneous". If we assume that the summit next September is the only opportunity to take decisions on all matters, our efforts will not meet with success. In the period leading up to the summit meeting, we should try to bring each matter to a conclusion and build upon the results to ensure a successful outcome for the summit meeting as a whole.
Thirdly, an optimal mechanism to deal with the various themes needs to be devised. I would suggest that the Assembly President convene informal consultations of the plenary upon issuance of the reports of the High-level Panel and of the Millennium Project, with the authors of each report invited to participate. That would provide an important opportunity for a direct exchange of views between Member States and the authors of the reports. We would then proceed to parallel thematic discussions. In this preparatory process we need to engage in focused and in-depth deliberation on each theme. We believe it may be a good idea to organize several round-table meetings on specific themes for that purpose. Of course such meetings would have to be open to all Member States.
Fourthly, while efforts to build consensus are to be commended, there will certainly be cases where we will have to take decisions according to the procedures provided in the Charter. That is a perfectly legitimate and democratic measure. We should be aware of the danger that putting too much emphasis on consensus may in some instances stall the improvements required for the United Nations.
Last, but not least, being cautious is often a virtue but caution is sometimes used to camouflage timidity or used as a pretext for not taking any necessary action. We all know that there are occasions when we have to be courageous and take action. We believe the time has come for us to take the necessary decisions. It is imperative for us to work together to seize this historic opportunity to create a New United Nations for the new era.
I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report concerning integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields, as well as the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit (A/59/545).
We also associate ourselves with the statement made by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the statement by the representative of Brunei Darussalam on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The report of the Secretary-General leaves no illusion about the achievements and challenges in the implementation of the goals as set out in the Millennium Declaration, as well as the commitments made at United Nations major conferences and summits in the economic and social fields. It suggests to us also that challenges are never static.
Today's international outlook, marked by the threat of terrorist activity, violence, poverty and hunger, devastating natural disasters, escalating debt owing to an unfair form of globalization, the threat of deadly diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and lagging development assistance, impact many developing countries negatively, in particular, the poorest nations. Therefore, we have to find concrete ways and means to redress those challenges collectively.
It is of primary importance for us to avoid rhetoric. In our view, we have to continue enhancing multilateralism as the only vehicle by which the complex challenges posed by international peace and security, as well as and those linked to poverty, disease and sustainable development, can be resolved.
I am encouraged by the fact that the international community continues to attach great importance to the role of the United Nations. Therefore, we must empower the United Nations -- through the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council -- to serve as the effective tool of multilateralism, which is the essence of its character. We must comprehensively reform the United Nations, including the Security Council, by making it more democratic in terms of procedure and representation in order to reflect today's geopolitical realities. We must also address the scourge of poverty, which results from social and economic inequities, the affronts of corruption, and inadequate support for States attempting to deliver a standard of living that befits human dignity, including basic education for all.
Efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals will succeed only if developed and developing countries institute the right combination of national and international policies and implement their shared commitments as set out in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation on sustainable development.
In this regard, South-South cooperation will always serve to complement but not to replace existing international cooperation and regional initiatives. In that context, the Asia-Africa Summit will be held in Indonesia from 21 to 23 April 2005 in conjunction with the commemoration of the golden jubilee of the 1955 Asian-African Conference. The Summit will launch the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership as a vital means of bringing about a better future for Asia and Africa. That will contribute to their capacity to implement the goals of the Millennium Declaration and the outcomes of other major United Nations conferences and summits.
Above all else, the high-level plenary of the General Assembly next year to review the implementation process will mean one thing: the opportunity to renew our commitments to the ideals of peace and security, as well as to sustainable development. We can use our collective political will and engage in concrete action to build a better future and a better world. It is indeed fortunate that at no point has the compelling need for implementation been allowed to fade from the forefront of the current development agenda.
With respect to the review meeting, we agree with the Secretary-General's proposal for a three-day high-level plenary meeting of heads of State and Government to precede the general debate. However, we need to know what the role of the general debate of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly will be, given the fact that it could be overshadowed by the review preceding it.
Indonesia endorses the idea of holding plenary meetings and interactive round tables. We believe that the round tables should cover as many matters of concern as possible. While we have an open mind on that matter, we see the merit of the Secretary-General's second option, where each round table is assigned specific themes. That arrangement would allow participants to make far more substantial contributions towards the themes being discussed.
We also agree that the preparatory process should be open, transparent and inclusive so as to enable the participation of all Member States. We remain convinced that the involvement of the President of the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session in the preparatory process is necessary. The President has first-hand knowledge of the concerns and desires of delegations. Therefore, we welcome the commitment of the Assembly President to personally oversee the entire consultation process. We also welcome the appointments of the Permanent Representative of Nicaragua and the Permanent Representative of Norway as facilitators.
With regard to the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, we support the idea that April would be too early and September too late for that event. It is our view that late June/early July would be the most appropriate time for that meeting, thus allowing sufficient time for its outcome to be fed into the plenary.
We hope that the General Assembly will soon conclude the ongoing informal consultation process on the modalities for the high-level plenary meeting. It will then allow ample time for us to continue the informal consultation on the substantive aspects, with a view to achieving concrete results for the high-level meeting.
Since I am taking the floor for the first time at the General Assembly plenary, I wish to congratulate the President on his well-deserved election.
Our sincere appreciation goes to the Secretary-General for his concise and comprehensive reports and constructive and appropriate recommendations under the agenda items. My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of the State of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Our leaders identified and agreed on some common agendas and set goals and targets in various United Nations conferences and summits and in the Millennium Summit, and urged the international community to achieve the internationally agreed development goals.
The Millennium Summit was a hallmark event that reaffirmed the need for collective, collaborative and concerted actions in identifying and addressing the problems of the poor peoples of the world. It also emphasized the strengthening of multilateral strategies and policies and provided energy to the international community for a new international order.
We see the Millennium Declaration as a reiteration and reaffirmation of the United Nations Charter, a renewal of the commitments of the international community to the peace, progress and prosperity of the peoples of the world, and a journey into the new century and a new civilization. At this juncture, it would not be out of context also to recall the outcomes of the various United Nations conferences and summits, including the First, Second and Third United Nations Conferences on the Least Developed Countries, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the World Summit on Social Development, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the Almaty Ministerial Conference on transit transport cooperation, and the Monterrey International Conference on Financing for Development. We believe that the international community should focus on ensuring their implementation and comprehensive and coherent follow-up.
We understand that the primary responsibility of the economic and social development of every country lies with its Government. However, experience shows that the national efforts of the developing countries alone cannot translate their dreams into reality without the substantial support of their development partners. Many developing countries, particularly the least developed and land-locked developing countries like Nepal, are lagging behind in achieving those internationally agreed development goals and targets, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The integrated and coordinated concrete action of the international community is a must in order to attain the MDGs and other development goals. In that context, we urge the developed countries to fulfil their commitments to providing 0.7 per cent of their gross national product to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent to the least developed countries.
Globalization has offered both opportunities and challenges to the developing countries. We cannot stop the wave of globalization, but we can prevent its negative impact and minimize its challenges and risks. The international community has to play a crucial role by seizing its new and vast opportunities and by making globalization work for all.
As trade plays a major role in sustainable development, we call for an open, fair, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trade and trade regime. Free, fair and judicious access for all the products of least developed countries to the global markets is also a need of our times.
The debt and debt-repayment cycle trap the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, in a vicious circle of poverty. The debt relief schemes are slow and inadequate. Needless to say, a lasting solution to the problem of the external indebtedness of heavily indebted poor countries would be the total cancellation of debt.
We are of the view that development, peace and security are inseparable and intertwined. We believe that sustainable development cannot be achieved unless peace prevails, and peace is not possible without sustainable development. We are not disappointed by our meagre progress and tremendous need, as we know that today's necessity is tomorrow's opportunity.
The Economic and Social Council can and should play a key role in enabling a stable and stronger link between policy formulation and implementation activities. It has to strengthen its role as the central mechanism for the coordination and promotion of integrated and coordinated implementation.
We are of the view that the functional commissions -- including the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Statistical Commission and the Commission on Population and Development -- are playing important roles in pursuing the follow-up to the outcomes of the United Nations conferences and summits. We call upon the regional and functional commissions to further strengthen and mobilize their activities and enhance their coordination with the United Nations system with regard to the effective implementation of the outcomes of the major international conferences and summits. The regional and subregional cooperation towards implementation and follow-up deserve our appreciation.
We also believe that the increased dialogue between and among the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization is making the international environment conducive to implementing the outcomes of those conferences and summits. We also underline the significance of the contribution of other stakeholders, such as civil society, to the implementation of the outcomes of those summits and conferences.
His Majesty's Government is doing all it can to accelerate the social and economic development of the nation. It is working hard to find ways to realize its great potentials. His Majesty's Government has reaffirmed its abiding commitment to the global fight against poverty. Nepal has placed the attainment of the MDGs at the top of its national development policies. It has devised policies that are consistent with the commitment of the major United Nations conferences and summits to achieve the internationally agreed development goals.
We are all eagerly looking forward to participating in the high-level plenary next year. We believe that the world leaders gathering at the United Nations will assess the implementation of the commitments of the international community and address the obstacles, impediments, constraints and challenges to their development agenda and actions. We believe that this will again be a good start -- something we can build upon and something we can achieve from.
We believe that the United Nations has a major role to play in identifying and addressing the problems and challenges of the developing countries. The United Nations must, as Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said, confront all those threats and challenges -- new and old, hard and soft. The United Nations must continue to hone its strategy and synergy and to sharpen its focus in order to fulfil the aspirations of the billions of people of the globe.
At the outset, allow me to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his reports on agenda items 45 and 55 on the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and the Millennium Summit.
We believe that those reports contain a number of important recommendations for further action to promote an integrated and coordinated approach to the implementation of the outcomes of those conferences and the Millennium Summit. Such an approach concerns, first of all, the achievement of the key objectives of poverty eradication, sustained economic growth and sustainable development. We should realize that ultimate success in attaining those and other development goals will be achieved through the interaction of cross-sectoral issues, the mobilization of resources and the maximization of support from various constituencies of the development process.
The delegation of Kazakhstan would like particularly to emphasize the role of the General Assembly in ensuring the overall monitoring and oversight of the implementation of decisions taken in global multilateral forums. The guidance given to various entities by the General Assembly is serving to ensure mutual reinforcement in the follow-up to and implementation of conference outcomes.
My delegation would also like to stress the key role of the Economic and Social Council as the central mechanism for the system-wide coordination of the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits. We support the Secretary-General's report in saying that a timely adoption of the multi-year work programme could help the Council to bring about greater coherence and effectiveness in the exercise of its managerial and coordination responsibilities, particularly with regard to providing focused guidance to its functional commissions.
We welcome the ongoing involvement of a number of functional and regional commissions, notably the Commission on Sustainable Development, in the review of their working methods in order to better pursue the implementation of the outcomes of the various global events.
One of the central events of 2005 is going to be the high-level plenary meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. We concur with the view that this event will provide the international community with a unique opportunity to re-energize the pursuit of the vision embodied in the Millennium Declaration. We hope that, in addition to its important task to undertake an overall review and assessment of the work that has been made since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, the high-level plenary meeting will provide Member States with an opportunity to reinvigorate the political will of the international community to achieve these goals in a timely manner. In this regard, our efforts in the lead-up to the September 2005 event should be devoted to its comprehensive and coordinated preparation. We expect the General Assembly to adopt at its current session a specific resolution on the format and organization of this major event, taking into account the views expressed by Member States at various consultations. We believe that the overall success of the meeting will depend mostly on the contributions to be made to the preparatory process by various intergovernmental bodies, organizations of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations.
A dialogue on financing for development at the ministerial level to be held in 2005 is designed to provide a concrete input into this process. We encourage the Economic and Social Council, its functional commissions, regional commissions and other relevant subsidiary bodies to gear their deliberations and work plans towards making significant contributions to this process. It concerns primarily the Council's high-level segment with the Bretton Woods Institutions in 2005, the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, as well as the high-level meeting of the Assembly on HIV/AIDS in June 2005 and the review meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Social Development. We also hope that future outcomes of the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, to be held in Mauritius in January 2005, will contribute significantly to the preparations for the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly in 2005.
We are looking forward to the discussion of the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, with comments by the Secretary-General on the changes we need to make for the Organization to be an effective instrument. We also consider it important and timely for the Secretary-General to present in March 2005 a comprehensive report on the progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We believe that this landmark document could serve as a good starting point for the preparation of final documents of the high-level plenary meeting.
My delegation would like to reiterate Kazakhstan's adherence to its commitments towards the Millennium Declaration and the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits. We also express our conviction that the United Nations should continue to play a critical role in ensuring steady progress towards forging global partnerships for development. Kazakhstan stands ready to contribute to the follow-up efforts and will be fully engaged in the preparation for the upcoming summit meeting at the highest possible level.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement made by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. However, I would like to add the following points.
Over the past decade, numerous United Nations conferences and summits on overarching issues set a number of development goals. They are interlinked and cross-cutting. However, sustainable development always remained the centrepiece of all United Nations conferences and summits. Four years ago, world leaders convened in New York in an unprecedented spirit of partnership and cooperation. They adopted an extraordinary declaration of solidarity and determination. They sought to free the world from the scourge of poverty. The declaration in its nature, scope and specificity was remarkable. The architecture of development agenda and the means of its implementation already decided, we began our journey towards the cherished goals. It was now time to pursue effective mechanisms for the follow-up and for the review of its implementation.
The Millennium Declaration set a series of quantifiable targets for ending extreme poverty by 2015. It provided a moral imperative for Member States to act to reduce the sufferings of nearly two billion people across the globe. The Declaration also pledged to free our peoples from the scourge of war and to establish sustained peace and security across the world. Goal eight of the MDGs is an essential element. It underscores the importance of building a strong global partnership, which will make possible the achievement of the first seven goals. The International Conference on Financing for Development, World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries also added a number of important issues to the list of targets. At Monterrey, the international community reiterated the shared responsibility to finance development.
The cross-cutting themes identified in the Millennium Declaration and other conferences and summits need to be addressed in a synchronized manner. It will not be possible to fulfil all commitments without commensurate global cooperation. Broad achievement of the goals particularly depends on increased financing for development as well as on the successful pro-development outcome of international trade negotiations within the framework of the World Trade Organization. United Nations agencies should further strengthen their operational guidelines, results-based management and inter-agency cooperation.
Progress on the achievement of goals falls far short of the required targets. For developing countries, the implementation of outcomes presents an enormous challenge. Many Asian and sub-Saharan African countries need special support to accelerate progress and to overcome resource crunch and current account deficits. The report of the Secretary-General measures the distance to be travelled by humanity to achieve the targeted goals. The impediments are multifaceted. It is incongruous to advocate achieving the Millennium Development Goals while at the same time maintaining trade and non-trade barriers.
Trade is an important source of financing development. A universal, open, rule-based and equitable multilateral trading system can play a critical role in stimulating economic growth. The international financial system should be reformed to ensure effective participation of developing countries in the decision-making process. Development partners should make concrete efforts towards achieving the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) as official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries and 0.2 per cent to the least developed countries. We welcome the progress achieved by some countries in this regard and the setting of clear timetables by some others in achieving this important objective. In 2003, ODA totalled US$ 68 billion, which is only 0.25 per cent of the GNP of the donor countries. A ballpark figure is an annual increase of US$ 50 billion. This requires doubling of ODA, along with greater and undistorted market access, promotion of public and private investment in the developing countries, 100 per cent debt relief for the least developed countries, and increased targeted assistance to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases.
Existing sources should be reinforced by additional aid flows and commitments and by new mechanisms. Innovative sources of funding like global environmental taxes and taxes on currency flows and international finance facilities need to be seriously considered. An appropriate intergovernmental forum should be set up to explore alternative sources of funding.
Bangladesh has achieved considerable success in curbing population growth, reducing child mortality and child malnutrition, gender mainstreaming, empowering women and mitigating disaster. We have a strong democratic polity and a vibrant civil society. We have already achieved food self-sufficiency. Bangladesh has nearly achieved universal access to safe drinking water. However, a trace of arsenic in the sub-surface water has posed a new health hazard.
We have factored in innovative home-grown ideas like microcredit, non-formal education and social forestation in our development strategies. These have contributed most effectively to our poverty-eradication process. The Millennium Development Goals needs assessment for Bangladesh finds that it is on the right track for achieving some of the Goals. However, the sustained attainment of these targets remains contingent upon an external environment of aid, trade, debt, investment and remittances. The study indicates that Bangladesh requires a total external support of $7.4 billion annually between 2005 and 2015 in order to be able to meet the MDGs. The current flow is less than one seventh of that requirement.
The summits and conferences of the last decade have given renewed relevance to the work of the United Nations in the economic, social and related fields. They have helped place development into centre stage. The General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and funds and programmes have a critical role to play in the implementation process. This three-tiered structure, supported by the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and other intergovernmental bodies, as well as by non-governmental organizations and civil societies, should work in a coherent and coordinate fashion to support the implementation of conference outcomes.
An integrated approach within a single strategic framework, with full participation of the host Government, would be most effective at the country level. The high-level plenary meeting of 2005 will be an important event. The Secretary-General's report has very aptly indicated that the event "will offer us our best -- perhaps our only -- chance to ensure a safer, more just and more prosperous world in the new century, not only for our own sakes but for those of our children and grandchildren".
Bangladesh believes that a meaningful preparatory process will need to be open-ended, transparent and inclusive of the global cultural diversity. The outcome document should focus on development, enveloping all its dimensions. It must be comprehensive and intergovernmentally negotiated. We believe that the Secretary-General's report on the Millennium Declaration, the findings of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and the report of the Millennium Project will afford us a clear picture of the reality and set the ground for further discussions. The process should commence at the earliest with greater attention to substance.
Assembly resolution 57/270 B is an excellent departure point for comprehensive and coordinated implementation of the outcomes. It proposes a framework for bringing architectural coherence to the various implementation processes. It also provides tools to better coordinate global, regional and national development activities. If properly pursued, it would optimize mutual reinforcement in pursuit of internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.
Bangladesh fully endorses the Secretary-General's observation that only a united international community can effectively confront the numerous obstacles that stand in the path of the realization of the millennium vision. It has been empirically demonstrated that when the world has united in addressing a particular problem, it has succeeded.
Concerns over international peace and security should not discount the challenges of economic development. The fight against global poverty must indeed be the central focus of our efforts. The Millennium Declaration provides us a clear road map. It is our responsibility to craft an environment for sustainable and harmonious development and a peaceful world. It will require unswerving commitment by all stakeholders in the spirit of solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility. The Millennium Declaration is technically feasible. Collectively we can provide the millions of poor, vulnerable and deprived a better quality of life. Indeed, in consonance with contemporary values, it is their right, a right that we can deny them only at the greatest peril.
At the outset, my delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive and informative reports on agenda item 55, entitled "Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit", contained in document A/59/282, and agenda item 45, "Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields", as contained in document A/59/224.
As has been announced in many global forums and documented in various reports, many countries are, at the current pace, falling short of the objective of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Progress in most cases is characterized by mixed results. It is noted that, while the world is said to be on track to meet the income poverty target by 2015, mainly owing to the rapid advances made in China and India in halving the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day, in sub-Saharan Africa both the proportion and absolute number of people in extreme poverty have been rising unabated. The situation with the other goals is more or less similar. Many sub-Saharan Africa countries are off track to meet the goal of universal primary education, and progress towards reducing child mortality by two thirds by 2015 has been extremely slow. The region has also experienced the same problem in reducing maternal mortality. HIV/AIDS continues to devastate life in countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The incidence of malaria and tuberculosis is increasing. Slums are rapidly expanding in and around major urban areas and the proportion of forest areas is declining. Gender inequality remains a matter of serious concern in many countries, including in Africa.
We all have a shared responsibility to correct the situation and put every country on track to achieve the agreed goals. Developing countries bear the primary responsibility for achieving the goals and should assume their role to create an environment conducive to poverty eradication and development and to promote democracy, human rights and good governance. More specifically, we must put in place the right kind of policies and undertake urgent actions to help meet important social and economic objectives. We should invest heavily in education and health, increase the productivity of our agricultural sector, improve infrastructure, ensure environmental sustainability, strengthen market- and trade-supportive institutions and improve the investment climate.
We in Ethiopia are doing our utmost to meet the targets set by the Millennium Development Goals. We acknowledge the need for faster and full implementation of the Goals. Many of the targets have been made an integral part of our national policies and strategies. The national Millennium Development Goals report, published recently in collaboration with the United Nations country team in Ethiopia, reveals that progress has been achieved in areas such as universal primary education and access to safe water. In particular, the school enrolment rate has shown an annual increase of 13 per cent in recent years, exceeding the required level of 3.8 per cent and leaving sufficient time to achieve the goal of universal primary education even before 2015.
The report indicates that the major challenge for Ethiopia is financing the efforts to achieve the Goals. To attain the 5.7 per cent growth rate required to meet the Millennium Development Goals target on poverty, a financing gap of $1.6 billion per year needs to be covered. Similarly, almost $40 billion is required from now until 2015 for sectors addressing poverty such as education, health, agriculture and water. As part of our efforts to enhance domestic resource mobilization, the Government is stepping up efforts in the areas of fighting corruption, reforming tax administration and increasing savings.
Admittedly, the financial requirements are beyond the Government's means. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to reiterate our call for the international community to further extend its assistance to help countries such as Ethiopia meet the Goals through increased aid and debt relief, improved market access and more foreign direct investment. In that regard, efforts need to be made to bring the per capita official development assistance received by Ethiopia up to the level received in the rest of Africa. Currently, it stands at approximately one-half the African average.
Progress in the first seven Millennium Development Goals requires that developed countries take concrete actions in areas such as trade, aid and debt relief. We are encouraged to note that some positive steps in the right direction are being taken. Some of the poorest countries, such as Ethiopia, have started to receive debt relief under the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) debt initiative. That will help to ease the heavy burden of debt servicing. We are also benefiting from duty-free trade opportunities provided by developed countries. As well, new commitments totalling an additional $16 billion per year in development aid by 2006 were pledged at the Monterrey Conference.
No doubt, that will contribute to the achievement of the Goals and the targets set out in the Millennium Declaration and eventually enable the poor to benefit from the gains. However, much remains to be done. Total official development assistance remains far below the amount required to achieve the Goals. Aid will need to be doubled from its current level of $57 billion annually. Even the full delivery of Monterrey-related pledges will result in an increase of official development assistance to just 0.26 per cent of donors' gross national product, far short of the agreed target of 0.7 per cent. Moreover, the HIPC process is proceeding too slowly. For some of us, the debt relief is proving insufficient to achieve sustainable debt levels. Further, poor countries continue to be at a disadvantage in the global trade arena because of tariffs, agricultural subsidies and other protectionist measures on the part of rich countries. Hence, much more action on aid, trade and debt is needed if we are to achieve the Goals by the deadline we set.
The experience of the past four years has shown us that progress is uneven, but it is also clearly emerging that the Goals are achievable. However, that will become a reality for all only when all of us recommit ourselves to live up to our shared responsibility set out in the Millennium Declaration.
While focusing on the Millennium Development Goals, it is worthwhile to give consideration to the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. In that connection, my delegation supports the recommendation of the Secretary-General contained in his report (A/59/224), which calls upon the Economic and Social Council to finalize the multi-year programme as soon as possible but no later than June 2005.
Owing to the time constraints, I will cut my statement into two parts. The first regards the preparations for the modalities of the high-level meeting of 2005. Our position has been conveyed to the facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Nicaragua and Norway.
I support the statement made by the delegation of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I should like to thank the Secretary-General for his report (A/59/224), which contains important information, describes the strengths and the weaknesses of our multilateral efforts and underlines the need for collective action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
We are all in agreement with respect to the international fluid situation. There is broad consensus on questions on the crises and developments that we have witnessed in the last three years. The international community's response to those crises has led many to a bleak assessment of the capability of multilateral efforts and the United Nations to respond to those crises. We must hold on to the United Nations as the framework of our collective response to threats, challenges and crises. That is how we can resolve new and long-standing problems. Thus, we recognize the importance of the United Nations Charter as a legal guide for international relations in general.
Those challenges and crises have security and safety aspects, as well as both domestic and international aspects. In that connection, we must give due attention to the ability of countries to tackle their own problems and to do so in a climate of liberty and freedom, fully respecting their sovereignty and their own efforts to tackle the root causes of conflicts, not only their manifestations. In other words, we need to respect international and national law. That is the general principle underpinning the international community's understanding of these issues, and that principle leads us to support the Secretary-General's initiative in forming the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.
With regard to a high-level meeting to study these difficulties and actively seek ways and means to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and related goals, we support the convening of the high-level meeting in 2005 to take a fresh look at how to achieve the Goals of the Millennium Summit.
The report of the Secretary-General also highlights the importance of a comprehensive and holistic approach and of maintaining a multilateral forum to deal with those problems in order to be able to address all challenges, and not just particular issues. With regard to how better to do that, it is not a matter of change or reform for their own sake. That is not enough, if we are to obtain the desired results.
In recent years it has been undeniably demonstrated that poverty, backwardness and decline in development rates are inextricably linked to instability at the local, regional and international levels. Egypt would therefore like to underscore the need for genuine global partnership if we are to overcome poverty and achieve sustainable development. The international community is currently dealing with a variety of economic, social and trade problems that hamper development and its causes.
We also agree with the Secretary-General that the high-level event scheduled for 2005 must not be merely an opportunity for us to think about these matters. We must go beyond qualitative and quantitative analyses of problems. We have to think about how to overcome the problems that have beset the international community for so long. We must strive to reach consensus. The delegation of Egypt hopes to be an effective participant in the preparations for the 2005 summit, both through the Economic and Social Council and through other United Nations bodies and specialized agencies. We hope and expect that the 2005 High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development will be a major milestone in the lead-up to the summit itself.
If we want to make the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals a reality, all States must shoulder their responsibilities and honour their commitments in the economic and social spheres in order to preserve the credibility essential to multilateralism. There must be sincere willingness to follow through on what was agreed at the Millennium Summit and at subsequent meetings, including the Monterrey, Johannesburg and Cairo conferences and summits. We believe that a multilateral approach must include matters associated with international trade, official development assistance and foreign direct investment. As the report also points out, such an approach must also seek to find drastic solutions to problems related to foreign debt. Furthermore, we must recognize and address the special needs of Africa in the context of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
We also support the Secretary-General's comments concerning humanitarian assistance to assist countries to cope with crises associated with armed conflict and natural disasters in order that they may be able to reach the Millennium Development Goals. All relevant bodies, organizations and agencies involved in humanitarian work must coordinate their efforts to help countries to cope with disasters and the effects of war. We must adopt a holistic approach to addressing all those problems and bring together all stakeholders -- including donors, financial institutions and the African Union -- to ensure that NEPAD is a success. Action must be taken at the international and regional levels to cope with natural disasters and any other problems that pose an obstacle to development.
That applies as well to the occupied Palestinian territories, where the daily suffering of the people constitutes collective punishment. The wall of separation sets up an additional barrier that exacerbates humanitarian problems and makes it difficult for the Palestinian people to have access to the most basic of services. The Secretary-General has mentioned all of that. There is a need for the international community in all its institutions to act quickly.
I should now like to turn to the recent unprecedented need for peacekeeping operations and for rapid deployment of forces. Such deployment must be under the command of the United Nations, and not of an individual nation. The Brahimi report has studied that question. It is a priority for Egypt and the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement to ensure that the rapid response and deployment capabilities of the United Nations be strengthened.
I would also like to say that the United Nations has played an important role in promoting the rule of law, combating international crime, furthering sound governance and promoting respect for customary international law in international relations. The role of the United Nations in that regard is indeed important. We must also recognize the legal and political aspects of customary law in the handling of world affairs.
Allow me also to point that the report of the Secretary-General may perhaps not have paid sufficient attention to the progress in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. Those issues must be kept at the top of the international community's concerns. The United Nations must play a pivotal role in working for nuclear and general disarmament and in countering proliferation in order that all the relevant international conventions in that sphere are implemented.