UN General Assembly
Agenda items 60:
DEPARTMENT OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
October 3, 2006
As the first United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (1997-2006) is nearing its end my delegation cannot but add its voice of concern over the slow and uneven progress in global poverty reduction – the main conclusion arrived at the review of the decade during the 44th session of the Commission for Social Development. With all the political commitments made in Copenhagen, Beijing, Cairo, Monterrey, Johannesburg and New York over the last decade and a half, one might wonder what has gone wrong with their implementation both at national and international levels. May I share with you today some ideas on what, in our view, has essentially impeded our progress.
The first appears to be deficit of implementation. Progress in achieving globally the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been registered as mixed and uneven. Implementation of MDGs, especially that of halving the extreme poverty in many developing countries is being handicapped by significant capacity constraints, where the support of the international community is much needed.
Mongolia, for one, produced its first national MDGs implementation report back in 2004 as a result of an all-inclusive and participatory exercise. As a reflection of the importance we attach to its implementation, the Parliament of Mongolia adopted in April last year a specific resolution endorsing the national MDGs while entrusting the relevant state entities with its implementation and monitoring. Thus they have been mainstreamed into the guidelines for the country’s economic and social development and the necessary funds to meet the individual goals are to be reflected in the annual state budget.
To honour its commitment made at the 2005 World Summit Mongolia is developing its MDGs-based comprehensive development strategy and plans to submit its draft to the Parliament shortly.
The latest national statistics indicate that most of the goals especially those related to education, health and gender are well on track and can be achieved by 2015. However, poverty still remains high and persistent and needs to be addressed more aggressively.
Mr. Chairman, I would like here to highlight two national MDGs that have an added value for Mongolia and perhaps might be of interest to others. The first is adoption of an additional Millennium Development Goal-9 on promoting human rights, fostering democratic governance and combating corruption. It was, indeed, an innovative step reflecting the inseparable link between development, good governance, human rights and democracy in public policy. Within the framework of working towards meeting this goal the Parliament has recently passed a new law against corruption, thus creating a legal environment to remove the shackles that this phenomenon imposes on development. In accordance with the new law, a new Anti-corruption body is to be set up that will deal with public awareness raising, prevention and detection of corruption, investigation of corruption cases and auditing of financial and income declarations of public officials.
Under Goal 8 to “Develop a global partnership for development”, we have introduced specific targets to address the special needs of landlocked countries and in the midst of implementing a pilot project with UNDP on the role of trade and transportation in achieving human development goals, including MDGs. It is estimated that Mongolia spends about 7 to 8 percent of its GDP on transport costs on its exports and imports. This sizeable cost, if translated into income, could significantly alleviate our economic vulnerabilities. In this regard, I wish to draw the kind attention of this august body to the full and timely implementation of the Declaration adopted at the first ever Summit of Landlocked Developing Countries held in Havana, Cuba last month.
Deficit of implementation is closely linked with the deficit of resources. Building a global partnership between affluent countries and their less fortunate partners, as reaffirmed anew by the recently concluded general debate of the current session, ought to become a reality.
Despite an encouraging shift in the increase of ODA over the recent couple of years the world is still well short of achieving the long-standing target of 0.7 percent. Here, I wish to fully endorse the recommendation of the Secretary-General that developing countries that put forward sound, transparent and accountable national strategies should receive a sufficient increase in aid, of sufficient quality and arriving with sufficient speed to enable them achieve their MDGs. In addition, new and innovative sources of financing, including debt-conversion for MDGs-implementation-projects should be strongly encouraged.
Overcoming these deficits will, in the final analysis, require display of genuine political will in order to forge the partnership needed to erase the staggering gap d between commitments made and actions to be taken. That brings up the next deficit that we need to tackle – the deficit of solidarity. No matter how liberal the world economy is becoming, it is a matter of fact that many developing countries could not enjoy the fruits of economic globalization. Efforts have to be redoubled to make globalization a more inclusive and fair process. In doing so, display of solidarity with countries facing specific constraints in their development efforts is much needed.
All the above deficits ring true bell for the United Nations Literacy Decade as well, for which Mongolia is honored to serve as its humble sponsor. Indeed, the very fact that there are nearly 800 million youth and adults who lack basic literacy at the beginning of the new millennium raises serious questions about our political commitment. Yet, literacy, including functional literacy and education are recognized as the most effective tools for poverty reduction.
As we are coming close to the Decade’s mid-term review let us all, each and every stakeholder, both domestic and international, intensify our collective work and translate into practical action our political and financial commitment to achieving the expected outcomes of the Literacy Decade and its International Plan of Action. In doing so, my delegation will continue to rely on the lead role of UNESCO in coordinating the efforts of the international community in effectively promoting sustained literacy provision for all age groups. In this regard, I am pleased to inform this august body that Mongolia has offered to host an Asia-Pacific regional mid-term review of the UN Literacy Decade in collaboration with UNESCO and ESCAP. My delegation also intends to submit an updated resolution on the implementation of the goals of the Literacy Decade and its International plan of Action and welcomes, in that respect, substantive inputs and cooperation of all the distinguished colleagues.
I thank you.