STATEMENT BY

H.E. AMBASSADOR RADZI RAHMAN

ALTERNATE PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE

 OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS

AT THE 12TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION

 ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

21 APRIL 2004 NEW YORK

Mr. Chairman,

 

Allow me to begin by commending you and the Bureau for the hard work in preparing for this first substantive session of the CSD under the new format.  It reminds us of the challenges we faced in 1993, when Malaysia chaired the first CSD meeting after the Rio Summit.  As was evident then, the comprehensive reports prepared by the Secretary General were central in ensuring informed deliberations and in this context, we commend the Secretariat for the useful reports prepared for this meeting. 

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

2.          Malaysia associates itself fully with the statement made by Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  We also agree with the observation of the Secretary General that the two years since the World Summit on Sustainable Development is perhaps too short a time to see results.  However, we think that enough time has passed to begin to discern trends, and we are disconcerted with what we see.  Using progress in the Means of Implementation as our litmus test, we see average official development assistance still hovering at 0.23 per cent of GNP; we see protectionist markets, and we also see continued difficulties for developing countries in particular in accessing environmentally sound technologies.  The lack of progress in the Means of Implementation is compounded by the failure to date, of the partnership arrangements to bring the much needed additional resources.  It is our view Mr. Chairman, that this Commission needs to evaluate the reasons and constraints for the lack of progress in the Means of Implementation.  This will enable us to craft appropriate policy measures at CSD 13 to ensure real progress in implementing the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

 

3.       On its part, Malaysia has put in place plans, programmes and projects to address water, sanitation and human settlements issues.  As a result of these measures, 97 per cent of the urban population has access to safe drinking water, with the corresponding figure being 86 per cent for the rural population.  Our water tariff structures are devised to include a lifeline rate to ensure affordability by the poor of the minimum quantities needed to support life and health.  Malaysia expects to achieve 100 per cent coverage by 2015.  With regard to sanitation services, we currently have almost 100 per cent coverage in urban areas and 80 per cent in rural areas.   

 

4.       A National Water Resources Master Plan with a 50 years planning horizon from 2000 to 2050 is also in place, among others, to ensure that water catchments are protected, conserved and developed in a timely manner to meet future needs.  Last month, our water and sanitation services were placed under one agency to strengthen coordination and improve resource mobilization. 

 

5.       In addition, the provision of adequate, affordable and quality houses to all Malaysians has always been a priority with particular emphasis to the low-income group.  The Government has earmarked several funds for the construction of low-cost houses.  The prices and rental of low-cost houses are controlled to ensure affordability.  Our planning requirements oblige private developers to allocate 30 per cent of housing developments to low-cost homes, and to put land aside for the construction of community amenities.  Government loans at low interest rates are also made available for the very poor to build or buy low-cost houses. 

 

6.       In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we wish to emphasize that the discussion on water, sanitation and human settlement issues must take place within the development context.   We must be wary of and able to curb any tendency to descend to narrow technical discussions of concepts and approaches that might make us miss the opportunity to contribute to real progress.  

 

Thank you for your attention.