GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 62ND SESSION OF
THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
STATEMENT BY
HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ENKHBOLD NYAMAA, MP,
MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF MONGOLIA
New York
, 1 October 2007
 
Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

 
We are in the middle of the road, halfway towards the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
 
Eight years left ‚€“ is it much? Are we keeping the pace?

 
Measured against the history of the human race ‚€“ it is but a sand particle in an hourglass. Measured against the hopes and expectations of millions of people living in abject poverty, with no access to clean water, for children with little prospect of gaining an education and reaching their full potential in life, for women dying in childbirth, for infants who will never learn how to walk or talk, or write and read, taken away by preventable diseases ‚€“ this surely amounts to much more than a sand particle.
 
By 2015 our peoples shall make a judgment if the pledges and commitments made by their leaders and the international community as a whole were genuine. They shall ascertain if the conferences and illustrious gatherings of the world leaders stand for actual deeds or if they equal to empty words and hollow promises. The eight years towards 2015 are thus a litmus test of our credibility.
 
To pass this test or not is, therefore, upon us.
 
We must deliver what we pledged. We must achieve the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed developments goals. We must exert our best efforts individually as nations. We must exert them collectively as international community.
 
In order to do so we must now look back at our individual progresses so far. We must take stock of what has already been achieved and what is yet to be done to achieve the Goals on time.  
 
My country - Mongolia is intimately monitoring her progress on the path towards achieving the MDGs. Second National Report on MDGs Implementation in Mongolia has only recently been considered by the national Parliament.
 
Implementation of the MDGs is about meeting basic needs of the people, securing their social and personal welfare, and my Government is serious about delivering them for our people. Unfortunately, despite considerable efforts made, success is still far from assured on a number of goals and first and foremost on the goal to halve poverty.
 
On a global scale, the MDGs progress report of 2007 revealed the same mixed picture. The report made a strong case for a concerted additional action to be taken immediately and sustained until 2015 if the world were to attain the MDGs. It argued that lack of any significant increase in ODA since 2004 makes it impossible, even for well-governed countries, to meet the MDGs. 
 
Against this backdrop, I lend my full backing and support to your proposal, Mr. President, to have an MDGs Leaders Meeting here at the United Nations. Such a meeting must, in our view, not only serve as a midterm review mechanism, it must also coin concrete proposals and recommendations on the way forward.
 
Mr. President,
 
We are fully aware of our primary responsibility for our own development. Yet there are factors well beyond our control that impede progress and climate change figures prominently among them.
 
Climate change is definitely no longer a subject of pure scientific and academic discourse. Nations large and small, coastal and landlocked alike, are feeling its effects on their economies and livelihoods of their peoples.
 
The recent report by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that poor countries will be the hardest hit by climate change effect in spite of the fact that they contribute the least to the phenomenon.
 
Is this fair? 
 
The contribution of my country to global warming is negligible at most.  Yet Mongolia is severely affected by negative consequences of climate change. To give but a few examples:
 
-          Over the last 60 years the average temperature in Mongolia has risen by almost 2¬įC, compared to a rise in global mean temperature of about 1¬įC over the last century;
 
-          Some 85 percent of land surface has been degraded, mostly due to wind erosion combined with human activities, including mining and overgrazing by livestock. Desertification is rampant. Pastures that support the semi-nomadic lifestyle of Mongols, have decreased and become more fragile. Over the past 40 years soil fertility has decreased 2-3 times.
-          The country has been subject to ever more frequent occurrence of natural disasters like drought and dzud (cold winter with heavy snowfalls) in recent years, which had a severe impact on the pastoral economy of the country.
 
Fair or not, no country can stand aside or afford inaction in the face of truly global challenges like climate change. We all must carry our share of the common endeavor. Yet, it is only natural that those who contribute the most to global warming must carry the bulk of the burden. Hence, the industrialized countries should fulfill their commitments to take the lead in reducing their greenhouse gases emissions and provide financial resources and transfer clean technologies to developing countries.
 
Comprehensive implementation of the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and the Kyoto Protocol remains a priority even as the international community embarks on the road towards shaping the post-Kyoto framework. The post-Kyoto framework should be flexible and diverse, taking into consideration circumstances in each country. It must include all the major emitters and achieve compatibility between environmental protection and economic growth by utilizing advances in technologies to the greatest extent possible.

 
The United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Bali in December shall have a crucial role in shaping such a future framework. We must seize the opportunity and fully utilize the current session of the General Assembly to build the groundwork for the Bali conference.
 
Regional and sub-regional mechanisms should also be mobilized as complementary and supplementary instruments to global efforts. Mongolia - a Northeast Asian country - attaches particular importance to developing environmental cooperation mechanisms in the sub-region as dust and sand storms originating in the expanding Gobi desert have become a familiar phenomenon for inhabitants of Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo and beyond.
 
The Northeast Asia is one of the most dynamic and diverse regions of the world. It contains some of the world‚€™s major economic powerhouses such as China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation, along with smaller and more vulnerable economies of Mongolia and the Democratic People‚€™s Republic of Korea. The sub-region is also home to a quarter of the world‚€™s population. The sheer size and diversity of the sub-region mean that climate change manifestations are wide-ranging, yet they are intimately felt in each and every country.
 
Mongolia
has, therefore, come up with an initiative to hold a Northeast Asian Summit on Climate Change in the nearest future. We hope that such a high level event would make a breakthrough in the regional cooperation on climate change and serve as a tangible contribution to the global efforts.
 
Nationally, Mongolia has been making continuous efforts
in order to address the challenges posed by climate change by appropriately improving its legal environment and actively implementing various programs and projects.
 
-          In 1996 a National Action Plan to Combat Desertification was adopted.
 
-          In 1999, we established a National Climate Change Committee entrusted with formulating national policy on adaptation to climate change and reduction of greenhouse gases, preparing the reports on the national greenhouse gases inventories, policies and measures.
 
-          In 2000, the Government of Mongolia launched its National Action Program on Climate Change aimed not only to meet the UNFCCC obligations, but also to set priorities for action and to integrate climate change concerns into other national and sectoral development plans and programs.
 
Furthermore, our MDG-based National Development Strategy, the draft of which was recently submitted to the Parliament for its consideration and approval, contains a separate chapter on environmental policy. It identifies protection of nature and environment, reasonable use of natural resources and climate change concerns among national priority goals. The draft strategy is expected to be approved by the Parliament this autumn.
 
On a more practical side, in 2005, my Government launched a major program on agroforestry development entitled ‚€œGreen Belt‚€Ě in an attempt to  combat  desertification,  stop sand movement,  reduce dust and sand storms. Upon its completion a great Green Wall will extend for 2,500 kilometers from the east to the west of the country shielding the
steppes from the Gobi desert.
 
In the energy sector, which is mostly based on fossil fuels, particularly coals, the Government makes continued efforts to introduce an alternative or renewable source of energy. To this effect, construction of hydro power plants has started along with the implementation of the ‚€œ100.000 solar ger‚€Ě program.
 
Mr. President,
The landlocked geographical situation of my country is an additional hurdle for our development efforts and MDGs implementation. Indeed, lack of territorial access to the sea, remoteness from world markets, subsequent high transportation costs and undue delays are major impediments to trade of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Higher trade costs reduce a country‚€™s welfare and inhibit economic growth by making imports expensive and exports uncompetitive.
Hence, Mongolia together with other like-minded countries has endeavored to raise the awareness of the international community of the need for support and assistance for LLDCs and promote the common position and interests of the Group at both the United Nations and WTO. Here, I wish to highlight the importance of the Meeting of LLDCs Trade Ministers and the Thematic meeting of Landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbors on trade and trade facilitation issues held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia last month, for setting priorities of the Group in the context of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and in the lead-up to the mid-term review of the Almaty Program of Action.
 
Mr. President,
 
Security concerns continue to affect global development.
 
Despite our best efforts, the world around us is still not a safe place for many. Millions suffer on a daily basis from hunger, illnesses, insecurity and threat of violence. Thousands and thousands perish in sectarian violence, terrorist attacks and internal conflicts, with thousands more having fled violence, thus augmenting the growing ranks of refugees and internally displaced persons. All this invariably takes a heavy toll on the developmental aspirations of the affected countries.
 
Many of us come from countries not ravaged by conflicts or from regions that lay thousands of miles away from conflict zones. Yet, in this age of globalization, none of us could remain unaffected.
 
Record-hitting oil prices triggered by the situation in the Middle East have a profound impact on the world economy. Small, vulnerable and commodity dependant economies, like Mongolia, are hit the hardest along with other oil-importing developing countries.
 
However, it is ordinary people in the Middle East that bear the brunt of the suffering. The international community must deliver a promise of peace and security to the people of Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Darfur and other conflict zones.  
 
We must continue our global fight against terrorism with the United Nations at the helm of this collective effort. The recent hostage crisis in Afghanistan came as a sobering reminder of the threat still posed by Taliban. It once again proved that terrorists prey on those who cannot fight back. Thus, it is our solemn duty to offer protection to those who cannot defend themselves.
 
Mr. President,
 
Mongolia
- a country with an internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free status ‚€“ is pleased with the progress achieved in the Six-Party Talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the latest round of which took place last week in Beijing. As its contribution towards advancing the Six-Party Talks, Mongolia hosted a bilateral working group session on the normalization of relations between Japan and the DPRK from 4 to 5 September this year and stands ready to continue such efforts in the future.
 
Mongolia
is heartened at the news about the forthcoming inter-Korean Summit meeting starting tomorrow. We are hopeful that it will contribute to the cause of bringing about peace, security, and eventually a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula. In light of the promising political dynamics in the sub-region, Mongolia is optimistic that its early call for a multilateral security cooperation mechanism in Northeast Asia would gain grounds for support in the sub-region and beyond.
Mr. President,
With scores of countries having embarked over the last decades on a path towards establishing modern and functioning democratic societies built upon the principles of pluralism, respect for human rights, freedom of the press, and democratic governance, democracy has been firmly established as a truly universal value.
We in Mongolia believe that democracy is the best possible environment for sustained economic growth. Democracy and respect of human rights have been, in our view, inherently woven into the MDGs. Proceeding from this premise Mongolia was the first country to adopt in 2005 its MDG-9 on ‚€œStrengthening human rights and fostering democratic governance‚€Ě.
 
Mongolia
is proud of her successful democratic transition with major gains in the political, economic, social and spiritual areas of our societal life. Yet, as a young democracy, my country is also intimately aware of the complex challenges faced by countries in transition.
 
We believe in international cooperation and support to democratization efforts. In this regard, Mongolia applauds the increased role of the United Nations in fostering democracy and good governance, not only through assistance in holding credible elections, but through a wide range of activities to promote democratic institutions and practices. The UN Democracy Fund, which has already funded over 100 projects around the globe, is a notable example. The United Nations has also been an important stakeholder in the success of the new or restored democracies process.
 
Mr. President,
 
Global challenges require global approaches, and no other body is better equipped to serve as the steering house of the collective efforts of the international community than the United Nations. The United Nations is the world‚€™s most universal, legitimate and authoritative organization. It is a true political center of global cooperation. It gives us legitimacy. It gives us legality.
 
Our World Organization has embarked on a process of reform in order to better respond to the multi-faceted challenges, both existing and emerging, in this era of rapid globalization entailing growing complexities. Progress has been made in several reform areas, yet more efforts combined with stronger political will is needed to follow through with reforms related especially to system-wide coherence of the United Nations and the Security Council. Mongolia has full confidence in H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and supports his efforts aimed at improving the management, efficiency and internal cohesion of the United Nations system.
 
Our success as a community of nations in tackling the challenges of climate change, achieving the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals, countering terrorism, preventing conflicts, promoting democracy and human rights and effectively addressing other pressing issues of today largely depends on the success of this transformation.
 
The clock is ticking. We cannot afford continuing the business as usual. If we are to honour, in good faith and on time, the pledges and commitments we made to our peoples, we must redouble our concerted efforts to win this historic race.
 
Thank you for your attention.