UNGA 57th session
STATEMENT BY REPRESENTATIVE OF MONGOLIA
ON AGENDA ITEM “Environment and
14 November 2002
At the outset, my delegation wishes to associate itself with the statement delivered by the Chairman of the Group of 77 and China on this item. We all acknowledge that Agenda 21 objectives have not been fully realized and thus enormous problems and challenges still face the humankind.
We agree that sustainable development is a central element of the international agenda and that the Johannesburg Summit gave new impetus to global action in promoting the integration of the three components of sustainable development- economic development, social development and environmental protection. Road to achieving the noble goals of WSSD would be difficult and challenging. Different countries have different sets of developmental priorities and challenges, as it has been underlined in Johannesburg.
As a country highly susceptable to natural disasters, highly sensitive to fluctuations of commodity prices and where much of the economy is dependent on the environment, Mongolia attaches special importance to sustainable development, and in this case to the Plan of Implementation of the WSSD.
My delegation is pleased to note the progress made in implementing the UNCCD and welcomes the outcomes of the second GEF Assembly, particularly designation of land degradation, primarily desertification and deforestation, as a new focal area of the Facility. Combating desertification is one of the priorities of our national development agenda.
As the 17th largest country in the world, Mongolia has 13.2 per cent of its total landmass as protected area. Although this area equals to entire territories of many countries, we endeavor to expand it further and place almost the entire territory of Mongolia under special environmental protection. Doing so would help to prevent the spread of desertification not only in Mongolia but also in Central Asia and beyond. Otherwise, due to its location on the Central Asian highland at the crossroads of wind-flows, Mongolian sands could reach even the far away regions on the globe.
Despite the considerable efforts exerted by Mongolia towards ensuring sustainable development, it is still faced with enormous environmental challenges, many of them beyond her control. Natural disasters, droughts and zud (severe snowfalls) which have occurred in Mongolia over the last three years, badly hurt the livestock sector, the backbone of the country's economy, forcing thousands of herdsmen and their families to join the ranks of the poor. That is why Mongolia attaches special significance to the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. With a view to strengthening the national capacity building and improving the disaster management system, my Government is taking steps for disaster mitigation in collaboration with the UNDP and the Government of Luxemburg. The indirect effects of disaster on economic activities and other long-term consequences on the environment remain difficult to assess. Therefore we support the work of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction and cooperation with the Inter-agency Task Force and its working group on climate change and natural disasters.
Mongolia is member of the Commission on Sustainable Development. My delegation agrees with the need to strengthen further the institutional framework for the sustainable development at all levels, as underlined in Chapter XI of the Johannesburg outcome, particularly to enhance the role of the Commission in reviewing and monitoring progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and fostering coherence of implementation, initiatives and partnerships.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to point out that in our view coherent holistic approach and cooperation are a key to implementing the sustainable development agenda and would like to assure you of my delegation’s full support and cooperation as we embark on this major task.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.