UN General Assembly
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR CHOISUREN BAATAR
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MONGOLIA
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON AGENDA ITEM 39:
“Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the UN, including special economic assistance”
11 November 2004
Let me start by expressing my condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Mongolia to the bereaved family and to the Palestinian people on the passing away of their farther, husband and the leader, the late President Yasser Arafat.
My delegation wishes to commend the Secretary-General on his reports on agenda items under consideration. Mongolia associates itself with the statement delivered earlier by the representative of Qatar on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
During the past decade natural disasters has been on increase worldwide. Seven fold increase in disaster fatalities in 2003 comparing with the previous year is a grim reminder of the immense power of the natural disaster. The passing year witnessed different types of disasters in various parts of the world, mostly in developing countries. According to the World Disaster Report 2004, disasters in countries with high human development an average of 44 people were killed per event, while in low human development countries that was 300 people per event. However, natural hazards, when they take place, do not exercise discrimination on rich or poor countries. Disasters are humanitarian challenge and impediment to achieving Millennium Development Goals.
Humanitarian action and disaster reduction is one of the core functions of the UN. The role of the UN in advocating principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and respect for the sovereignty of states during humanitarian activities is very important. Humanitarian problems should be solved through international cooperation and common approach.
We share the worries regarding increased involvement of commercial organizations and military forces in relief activities. Consequences and relevance of provision of humanitarian assistance by military actors should be studied carefully.
We welcome the Organization’s effort to respond with coherence and effectiveness while integrating immediate relief measures with long-term strategies on disaster prevention. Strengthening of coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the UN much depends on increased support from the extended donor community. Meanwhile, the UN needs to further explore mechanisms to ensure appropriate resourcing for humanitarian activities. Mongolia supports and stresses importance of “Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative.”
Natural hazards cannot be avoided but their dramatic consequences can be greatly reduced through appropriate preparedness and risk reduction measures including education, technology development, land-use planning and environmental protection. Devising indicators and targets to monitor and evaluate response to natural disasters at the national and regional level might be useful exercise in the endeavors to the Millennium Development Goals.
The utilization of modern technology, especially the Internet for early warning and alert systems should be further explored and introduced in the field. We welcome new Early Warning Promotional Platform, which has been established in Bonn, under the auspices of ISDR.
The passing year witnessed dramatic and disturbing occassions when humanitarian personnel in their noble duty were directly attacked. Safety and security is an essential precondition for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Regarding national measures taken to prevent and respond secuirty incidents that involve UN and its associated personnel Mongolia acceeded to the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel in Februaury this year.
Mongolia is vulnerable to a variety of natural disasters such as severe snowfalls, droughts, flash floods and earthquakes. At the start of the new millennium Mongolia had been hit hard for three years by countrywide droughts in summer and calamities in winters. Economically vital livestock industry had been devastated in particular. The country is still trying hard to recover from that disaster. Mongolia is grateful to the United Nations and other donors for the assistance it had been given and for the positive response to the joint appeal by the United Nations and the Government of Mongolia during that time.
Furthermore, I would like to appreciate the UN’s work to strengthen and develop a variety of disaster response tools for assisting and supporting national response capacity. Here I would like to particularly underline the ongoing project by the UNDP and other international partners in developing long-term strategy and building institutional capability for disaster preparedness and management in Mongolia.
Under the support of the UNDP, the Government of Mongolia has taken important steps. We have moved from military to civilian control of the disaster management, with the adoption of new Law on Civil Protection in June 2003 and establishing the National Disaster Management Agency in January 2004.
Natural disaster response capacity of Mongolia is still in need of improvement. More importantly, it is the people who must be prepared because the measure of our success will be the reduction of people’s dependence on handouts and appeals and their ability to create the livelihoods of their choice without fear of disaster.
The Government of Mongolia appreciates July 2004 mission by the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team, which analyzed disaster response in my country. The team’s recommendations contained in the report are valuable and practical in improving disaster response system. We have taken note of the UNDAC team’s precaution that the most potential natural disaster in Mongolia would be an earthquake in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, in which resides considerable number of the entire population. Thus, we are looking forward to cooperation with the international assistance partners in building urban and rescue capacity in Mongolia.
In the conclusion, my delegation would like to express my country’s full support and further cooperation with the UN in discharging its life-saving tasks in the humanitarian filed. My delegation believes that the World Conference on Disaster Reduction to be held in January 2005 in Kobe will become a milestone in advancing our common interests in disaster reduction. Mongolian delegation is prepared to participate actively in the Conference.
Thank you, Mr. President.