The Honourable Dr. Kenneth Baugh
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica
at the 32nd Annual Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
of the Group of 77 and China
during the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly
26 September, 2008
· This year has proven to be a particularly challenging one for developing countries. The difficulties posed by the high costs of energy, shortages of food leading to a global food crisis, uncertainty due to instability in financial markets and increased devastation caused by natural disasters are but some of the challenges which have placed many developing countries in a highly precarious position. These interrelated crises have led in some cases to a slowing of growth, or, in others, a reversal of progress achieved.
· This is exacerbated by the constant threat posed by Climate Change to many developing countries, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Nonetheless, the developing world has remained resolute in the face of these challenges, as we have sought to explore ways to ensure that action is taken at the multilateral level to remedy the situation.
· It is within this context, Mr. Chairman, that my delegation has been heartened by the leadership shown by Antigua and Barbuda, a fellow CARICOM Member State, as Chair of the G77 in articulating the concerns of the developing world.
· The transfer of technology, more predictable aid disbursement free of conditionalities, debt reduction and the successful conclusion of the Doha Round will go a long way in improving the development prospects of the majority of the world’s people and assist in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
· Jamaica conveys its appreciation to the members of the G77 who vocalized effectively and decisively at the WTO, the concerns of poor farmers in developing countries, in terms of protecting them against surges in imports and subsidies.
· Additionally, for the group of countries known as Middle-income countries, of which Jamaica is a part, we have seen our share of official development assistance (ODA) diminish over time while being unable to access concessionary forms of financing due to our status. We are of the view that it is time for the international community to take on board the concerns of this group in terms of the management of debt and access to financing.
· Jamaica is also of the view that the following issues should also remain the focus of our attention:
o The first of these is Sustainable Development. The increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters which have resulted in colossal damage to many of our countries, highlights the vulnerability faced by many in the developing world in particular SIDS, and underlines the need for more attention to be directed to disaster mitigation and humanitarian assistance. There is also need to ensure longer-term investment in programmes in agriculture and other areas which would assist in enhancing food security.
o As we look towards the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus at the end of this year and which the Government of Qatar has so generously agreed to host, we must coalesce to ensure that its outcome reflects in large part the concerns of developing countries. Financing for development issues also need to remain on the agenda of the United Nations. It is our hope that the follow-up International Conference will provide clear guidelines as to how to bridge the gap in financing commitments while addressing concerns in relation to debt, international trade and development. In this connection, we need to build on the agreements forged in Accra during UNCTAD 12 on an integrated treatment of trade and development issues.
Finally Mr. Chairman,
· We commend the efforts of members of the Group in advancing South-South Cooperation which provides an avenue for developing countries to achieve their development goals. Jamaica remains a strong advocate of South-South cooperation which is an expression of the collective self-reliance of developing countries and further underscores our abiding commitment and our capacity to harness our resources in the common pursuit of our development objectives. We support the conclusions reached at the Twelfth Session on the Intergovernmental Follow-up and Coordination Committee on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (IFCC-XII) held in Côte d’Ivoire in June of this year as a means to strengthen the conclusions of the Second South Summit held in 2005. We look forward to the High-level Conference on South-South cooperation which will be held next year.
· Despite the diverse interests of the G77, it is absolutely essential that the Group maintains its cohesiveness and unified stance, the core principles upon which the Group is premised. Allow me to reaffirm the commitment of Jamaica to the work and aspirations of the G77 and to assure your successor of our full support during its chairmanship in 2009.
· Thank you Mr. Chairman.