S T A T E M E N T 
by H.E. Mr. J. Enkhsaikhan, Ambassador,
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the
United Nations, at the Ninth Session of the

Commission on Sustainable Development

 

                                                                                                                        19 April 2001

            My delegation agrees that irresponsible exploitation and depletion of natural resources, marginalization and impoverishment of those increasingly excluded from the process of globalization and technological advancement are undermining the basis of well-being for both the present and future generations. CSD-9 is rightly focusing on a number of areas that are of priority importance in reversing the above trends and creating a sound basis for sustainable development, and particularly of the most disadvantaged among the developing countries.

            Thus, the issue of access to transport and the efficiency of the transportation system are still of great importance for such developing countries like Mongolia, that has a large, sparsely populated territory and limited domestic resources to develop transport infrastructure. Small size of the country’s over-all population and low level of economic development raise the question of finding the optimal way of developing and utilizing the infrastructure to its full capacity. It is for this reason Mongolia is seeking to develop the transport infrastructure bearing in mind the needs and interests of its immediate neighbors and the region at large. For instance, the Millennium Road project, that envisages building over 2.500 km of road in Mongolia, is to interlink not only the country’s all five economic regions and enhance thus access of the rural population to transportation. At the same time it would also link and offer greater opportunities of economic cooperation with and among its neighbors as well as with the region as a whole.

             The special needs and problems of the land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) have been a subject of discussions in various international fora for many years. However, the challenges that these countries still face continue to be formidable, with globalization threatening them with further marginalization. That is why the Millennium Summit Declaration has urged both bilateral and multilateral donors “to increase financial and technical assistance to this group of countries to meet their special development needs and to help them overcome the impediments of geography by improving their transit transport systems”. Therefore, it is important that in the spirit of the Declaration, special emphasis be made during the discussions on increasing international support to enhance the capacity of land-locked developing countries to effectively participate in the rapidly globalizing world. Addressing the problem of land-locked developing countries is addressing the core developmental problems of 1/5 of UN membership, most of them being the least developed.

             My delegation fully concurs with the importance that is given to international cooperation within the framework of Agenda 21 for creating an enabling environment for sustainable development. In this context, we attach great importance to the activities of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as a mechanism for financing global environmental aspects of sustainable development. Taking this opportunity, I would like to draw the attention to the issue of funding of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the only convention which is not supported by a predictable financial mechanism. Although land degradation, specifically desertification, is part of GEF activities, its share in the latter’s overall funding remains extremely low. Therefore my delegation expresses its full support for the proposal that GEF be made the full-fledged financial mechanism of this convention, enabling thus more than 110 countries with a population of over 1 billion to make use of GEF`s resources to tackle the problems and challenges of creeping desertification.

            Financial resources and mechanisms are the most crucial means for implementing Agenda 21. In this regard, my delegation expresses the hope that the outcome of the International Conference for Financing for Development, to be held next year, will contribute to attaining the major goals of sustainable development, in particular economic growth, poverty eradication and protection of the environment.

             In conclusion, I would like to underline that the major achievement of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) process is bringing the concept of sustainable development to the mainstream of developmental policy. Even more importantly, it is being translated into practical actions in the form of implementation of the conventions on Biological Diversity, Climate Change and Desertification, among others. I would like to stress the political importance of the forthcoming ten-year review of the progress achieved since UNCED that is expected to give a new impetus to the commitment to sustainable development by all countries and stakeholders. Let me express my delegation’s hope that CSD-9 would achieve substantive results and make a worthy contribution for the Review Conference. As member of CSD as of its 10th session, Mongolia will take a most active part in the Commission’s work, especially in the preparations for  Rio+10.