STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR J.ENKHSAIKHAN IN THE
PLENARY ON AGENDA ITEM 37
"THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OUTCOME OF THE WORLD SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT"
New York, 6 October, 1998
At the outset, my delegation wishes to associate itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Group 77 and China.
The World Summit for Social Development has provided an invaluable opportunity to focus international attention on the core issues of poverty, unemployment and social integration. The Copenhagen Summit demonstrated that social development is indeed a question of global concern, and therefore, the implementation of its decisions, naturally, acquires special significance.
In the past three years since the Social Summit there have been encouraging signs of progress in fulfilling the commitments taken by the governments at the Summit, in creating the conditions for reducing poverty, unemployment and encouraging comprehensive social integration. At both national and international levels, there have been many encouraging examples of both policy formulations and concrete actions reflecting a stronger commitment by member states to social development.
My delegation welcomes the results of the Special Session of ECOSOC devoted to the integrated and coordinated implementation and follow-ups of major UN conferences and summits, as well as the work of the Preparatory Committee for the Special Session of the General Assembly, concerning the implementation of the outcome of the Summit. Likewise, we welcome the established practice of holding panel discussions on the priority issues as an important and innovative input into the deliberations.
More concretely, my delegation sees great value in the work of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) to organically integrate the internationally agreed programmes into national policies and actions. It also highly evaluates the work of the Commission for Social Development and the newly created Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Mongolia, like many other countries undergoing fundamental changes, has been grappling with the challenges of transition period for the past 7 and half years. The market reforms have been boldly accelerated by liberalization of trade and prices, by large scale privatization and other economic measures. However, the reform process has not been without difficulties. The inherited burdens of a weak financial system, inefficient state enterprises coupled with a lack of free market traditions have compounded the reform challenge.
To adequately address the above problems, the Government of Mongolia has been taking a host of measures designed to reduce poverty and unemployment, and improve the living standards of the most vulnerable segments of the society. Thus in June 1994, it has launched a six-year multi-sectorial National Poverty Alleviation Programme (NPAP) aimed at effective mobilization and utilization of both national and external resources to reduce the population under poverty to less that 10 per cent by the year of 2000. This would be done by inter-alia, the revival of the national economy, promotion of productive employment and creation of jobs, improvement in health and education, and the advancement of women as full partners of development.
Allow me to dwell briefly on the implementation of the NPAP that started in late 1994 with 65 pilot projects in selected aimags (provinces) and districts. The projects include the build-up of institutional framework, both at the national and local levels, creation of the fund mechanisms, establishment of project formulation, appraisal, selection and implementation procedures, adoption of operational guidelines, training of personnel and so on.
The nation-wide implementation of NPAP was launched in March 1996. By June 1998, six cycles of projects, each requiring an implementation period of 3 to 4 months, have been completed. The NPAP activities undertaken within and outside the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) mechanism include:
∑ Public works projects to develop and strengthen local infrastructure that provide short-term employment to the unemployed and the poor;
∑ Basic education projects to substantially reduce school dropouts and non-enrollment rates as well as to renovate school buildings and school heating systems in rural areas;
∑ Rural health projects to help the rural health services to restore and maintain their ability to provide primary health care;
∑ Pre-school strengthening projects to improve the quality of and access to pre-school education by improving developmental and cognitive skills of school entrants;
∑ Support projects for the disabled to create wider employment opportunities for the disabled by supplying training equipment and learning material to the institutions engaged in their training and education.
The UN agencies play an active role in the implementation of NPAP. From the very inception of the NPAP, UNDP has been assisting the Government in resource mobilization and in adopting a coordinated approach of the United Nations Systems (UNS) and donor community to poverty alleviation in Mongolia. UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and UNESCO support our policy of improving reproductive and primary health care, immunization, safe motherhood, control of meningitis and respiratory infections, improving education etc. It should be noted that United Nations Volunteers also play an important role in the NPAP activities.
It should be pointed out that the United Nations Systems operational activities have been consistent with our countryís needs and Government priorities. The UNSís assistance and support programmes have been drawn up in full collaboration with the Government and focused on the areas where its comparative advantage is most effective and feasible.
The NPAP has been implemented in close coordination with the Mongolian Action Programme for the 21st Century, the Population Policy of Mongolia, the National Programme of Action for the Advancement of Women, all adopted as follow-ups to the Rio, Cairo and Beijing conferences, as well as with the National Employment Generation Programme of 1996.
My delegation is happy to inform that the Government of Mongolia is launching in close partnership with the UN family bodies stationed in Mongolia and the NGOs a "One World Conference Series" project aimed at ensuring national and international integrated follow-up to the world conferences and summits held in the 1990s.
To commemorate this year as "The Year of the Youth", the Government of Mongolia and the UN System agreed on five areas of cooperation on critical youth issues. This innovative process, and the resulting memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement, will, we hope, positively affect nationís youth situation in the next millenium.
In order to celebrate "The International Year of Older Persons" (IYOP) next year, the Mongolian Government has recently established a National Preparatory Committee for the Celebration of the IYOP, and will launch a series of supportive activities.
The current decline in ODA and in contributions to the UN core resources is a matter of concern for Mongolia, like for other member states. As a developing , land-locked country, with weak financial resources, at present Mongolia relies to some extent on external resources for development. My delegation welcomes the cost-sharing practices in the UN Systems operational activities and would like to reemphasize the need to increase core resources on a predictable, continuous and assured basis. It also favors increased non-core and earmarked funding as well as mobilization of private sector support.
In conclusion, Mr. President, may I express my delegationís sincere hope that the ongoing deliberations on the implementation of the outcome of the Social Summit will help to generate renewed political will at the national and international levels to attain the objectives of sustainable human development.