Statement by H.E.Ms. Enkhtsetseg Ochir, Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations, at the GA thematic debate on the MDGs

 

“Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenge and getting back on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015”

                                                                                                            2 April 2008

 

 

Mr. President,

 

My delegation supports the UN leadership, especially the H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations, and H.E.Mr.Srgjan Kerim, President of the General Assembly, in focusing this year on achievement of the MDGs at this historic juncture. We strongly believe that this thematic debate will contribute constructively to global discussion on identifying what needs to be done by the international community to getting back on track to achieve the MDGs throughout 2008, including the GA high-level meeting on Africa's development needs, to be held this September.

 

Mr. President,

 

My country is determined to ensure the timely and full realization of the MDGs. We have taken primary responsibility for our own development and committed to sound policies, good governance at all levels and the rule of law. The Government of Mongolia is exerting all its efforts to mobilize domestic resources, attract foreign investment and promote international trade as an engine for development and achievement of the MDGs.

 

In pursuance to the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document the Parliament of Mongolia adopted earlier this year a national long-term development strategy. It is an MDGs-plus development strategy and will help Mongolia to become a middle-income country by 2021 with GDP per capita $12000.

 

The progress on the MDGs in Mongolia is encouraging as it is illustrated in the second national report, which was released in 2007[1]. Among 22 Mongolia-specific MDG targets, almost 60 percent have been achieved or likely to be achieved by 2015. In last 4 years we have been experiencing an average of 9 percent growth in GDP. And in 2007 it soared to 9.9 percent.[2]  We are honored to report that Mongolia succeeded in early achievements on such target indicators as girls and boys ratio in secondary schools, percentage of children covered by measles immunization, infant mortality and under-five mortality rate.

 

Nevertheless, the report warned a slow-down in implementation of some of goals, on which we need to redouble our efforts. Furthermore, we have also acknowledged the problem of the quality to the progress achieved and have taken some measures. For example, the food is sufficient in terms of supply but its production and safety have not been all solved. Thus, the Government of Mongolia declared this year as the Year of Food Security and is implementing a concrete programme to tackle the problem.

 

 

            Mr. President, 

 

The Government of Mongolia believes that good governance is the most important requirement for economic growth and sustainable development as well as to the achievement of the MDGs. Thus, building on its nearly a two decade of its democratic development Mongolia integrated democracy, human rights and democratic governance  in its national framework for achieving the MDGs, so-called MDG-9. The MDG-9 includes targets on strengthening human rights, fostering democratic governance and combating corruption.

 

            Mr. President,

 

There remain many issues which the Government of Mongolia faces in its drive towards the MDGs by 2015. But the question of translating rapid economic growth benefits to significant poverty reduction poses the major challenge for us. In order to address this challenge, the Government of Mongolia has been undertaking series of quick impact measures on poverty reduction and income generation.

 

For example, salaries in the public sector have been raised by 4.2 times, the minimum wage by 3.6 times; an allowance is being provided to 1 million children of Mongolia, as well as one-time monetary support is offered to newly married couples and new born children; mothers with five or more children and the elderly have seen considerable increase in their monthly allowances and pension. Free school meals program for elementary school children has been successfully provided. All these quick win interventions and direct cash distribution already show sign of success in our efforts to reduce poverty and achieve the MDGs.

 

            Mr. President,

 

Apparently, every MDG-aspiring country faces prohibitively high cost of financial resources. For Mongolia, according to recently conducted cost needs assessment study, $14 billion is required for MDGs, which is significant financing gap if you consider that Mongolia’s GDP was $ 3.2 billion in 2007[3].

 

Thus, supportive external condition is essential for every countries to achieve the MDGs in today’s globalized world. Commitments by developed countries to substantial increases in official development assistance should further continue in order to reach as early as possible 0.7 percent of GNP for ODA. And we welcome international efforts to enhance the quality of aid and developing innovative sources of financing.

 

            Mr. President,

 

We add our voice in calling for the international community to complement the national efforts to achieve the MDGs with supportive global programmes, measures and policies aimed at expanding the development opportunities of developing countries. A call for an international programme of action from 2008-2015 has been reverberating at different quarters of the international community /see UK’s PM Brown’s 2007 statement/. Indeed, concentrating global efforts to detailed objectives of the MDGs each year from 2008-2015 could prove useful in getting back on track to the MDGs.

 

Another practical measure to this effect might be an annual report prepared by the UN to keep track and compare progress among member states. This report might follow pattern of the UNDP’s Human Development Report. It would illustrate progress by each state on each goal and help member states to compare its own progress with others. It would be a global check list that might create incentive for all member states to enter a race for achieving the MDGs. The race which will take on board those states that lag and those that capable to help them.

 

Mr. President,

 

Mongolia's effort to achieve the MDGs is not limited to the national level. At the international and regional levels Mongolia has been making its effort in advancing the MDGs. 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. Mongolia hosted last year the Meeting of LLDCs Trade Ministers and the Thematic meeting of Landlocked developing countries and their transit neighbors on trade and trade facilitation issues in Ulaanbaatar. This event has set priorities of the LDDC Group in the context of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and contributed in the lead-up to the high-level mid-term review of the Almaty Program of Action, which is to be held here this October.

 

Mongolia is also proposing to host a North East Asian regional summit on climate change early 2009, which could also contribute to MDG-7 on environmental sustainability in the sub-region.

 

Mongolia has been contributing to the MDG-8, the development of the global partnership, through its initiatives on various economic and social issues within the UN. Thus, after more than 30 years of absence we have decided to run for the ECOSOC membership. We look forward to valued support from all Member States in elections which is to be held during the 64th UNGA in 2009.

 

            Mr. President,

 

At the end, I would like close my statement on the practical note. I think that we need to follow-up this thematic debate with concrete action by the General Assembly. And thus, we look forward to a summary of this thematic debate by the PGA as was the case in previous one on climate change.



[1] The report can be accessed and downloaded at http://mirror.undp.org/Mongolia/publications/MDGs/MDG-NR2-Eng.pdf