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UNGA 59th session
Agenda items: 93, 94 and 95
STATEMENT BY MR. P.GANSUKH
DEPARTMENT OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
5 October 2004
First of all, I would like to join other delegations in extending warm congratulations to you and the other members of the Bureau on your well-deserved election and wish every success in your endeavours. You may rest assured of my delegation’s full support and cooperation. I would also like to thank Mr. Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for DESA, and Mr. Johan Scholvinck, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development of DESA, Ms. Viviane F. Launay, Director of UNESCO Office in New York, and Inspector Doris Bertrand for their introductory statements on the agenda items under consideration.
Since the World Summit for Social Development, we have been meeting every year in this Committee to denote the progress made in implementing its outcome. Today, as we can see from the reports submitted to us, many of the social development goals have not been pursued to the extent that was foreseen. Thus, for example, with more than one billion people still living on less than one dollar a day, poverty reduction remains the biggest challenge of today. Therefore, we need to further strengthen our efforts in order to implement the commitments made in Copenhagen. As we are going to celebrate next year the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, the tenth anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration, and the fifth anniversary of the Millennium Declaration, we believe that this session will make an important step forward to facilitate their review process.
Like many others, my delegation welcomes the recent report of the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization “A fair globalization: creating opportunities for all”. We are of the view that its recommendations should be given high priority. As the Secretary-General recommended in his report “particular attention should be given to the principle of a people-centered approach and its realization in public policies and development strategies. Such an approach is a condition for progress towards the attainment of the goals adopted by the international community, notably the Millennium Development Goals. It requires, in particular, a better understanding and management of the social aspects of globalization, the gearing of national and international macroeconomic policies towards the realization of social goals and the increased capacity of national Governments to pursue their own social policies.”
Mongolia stands committed to the implementation of the social development goals. Considerable progress has been achieved in implementing the social development goals, but further efforts are needed to meet the challenges, that Mongolia is facing today. Thus, as is indicated in our first National Report on the Status of Implementation of MDGs in Mongolia, which will be launched this week, poverty remains widespread in the country. Official figures suggest that around one third of the total population live in poverty. Accordingly, the poverty reduction challenge is significant indeed. The new Grand Coalition Government, which was formed following the parliamentary elections held in Mongolia last June, attaches top priority to the reduction of poverty and unemployment.
Although social development is primarily a responsibility of national governments, it cannot be achieved fully without participation and partnership of all stakeholders within the country, as well as the cooperation and support by the international community. In this regard, my delegation once again welcomes the New York Declaration on the Action against Hunger and Poverty adopted on 20 September this year at the highest political level aimed at fostering our common fight to overcome poverty and increase financing for development.
My delegation is strongly convinced that education, with literacy at its heart, is not only human right, but also an important precondition and key to social development of any society, any country, as well as to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It is crucial that the national governments have a strong political commitment coupled with adequate budgetary allocation to provide education its primary role in development and poverty eradication. Unfortunately, as Inspector Doris Bertrand underlined yesterday, while introducing the Report of the Joint Inspection Unit on achieving the universal primary education goal of the Millennium Declaration, there is an underestimation of the importance of education. A great number of precise plans of action regarding education have been established in the past and adopted since the beginning of the 1960s, but they have never been fully implemented. The reasons for past failure are manifold but reside in the fact that lessons learned from the past have not always been fully taken into consideration.
Today, the illiteracy rates high in the world. Over 800 million adults are illiterate, while over 104 million school-age children do not have access to schooling. As it is highlighted in the Report of the Director-General of UNESCO on the implementation of the International Plan of Action for the United Nations Literacy Decade, the international community will not meet the literacy commitments if the present trends continue. That will become another failure, which will be both appalling and unacceptable as we talk about development in new Millennium. Therefore, we need to reinforce our efforts to effectively address the literacy problems and achieve the Decade’s goals.
As Ms. Viviane F. Launay, Director of UNESCO Office rightly pointed out yesterday “any process needs to get off to a good start”. Indeed, we had a good start in launching the United Nations Literacy Decade here in New York last year. It was followed by a series of launching ceremonies and related activities at the regional and national levels to build momentum around the Decade. In case of Mongolia, following our President’s participation in ceremonies held in New York, the official launching at the national level was organized on 28 April 2003 with the participation of Parliamentarians, Government officials and representatives of national NGOs. A series of activities aimed at mobilizing public awareness have been carried out through mass media, publications, national seminars on literacy, non-formal and distance education, and etc.
My delegation highly appreciates the efforts made by UNESCO as the lead coordinating agency for the Decade. At the same time we urge all Member States and international organizations to place the literacy issues high in their agendas to generate required political and economic support, and to address illiteracy challenges through collective efforts of all stakeholders, including NGOs, civil society and the private sector.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to inform you, Mr. Chairman, that the delegation of Mongolia, together with its traditional co-sponsors, will be submitting a draft resolution on this agenda item.