Statement by H.E. Mr. J. Enkhsaikhan,
Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations,
at the High-level dialogue on strengthening international
economic cooperation for development through partnership
September 21, 2001
Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of the General Assembly. I am confident that under your most able leadership this session of the General Assembly will successfully achieve its objectives. My congratulations also go to your predecessor, H.E. Mr. Harri Holkeri for his dedicated and skilful leadership.
My delegation wishes to associate itself with the statement delivered yesterday by the Chairman of the Group 77. The current process of globalization and technological advancement remains highly selective and eludes vast majority of the global population from its prospective benefits. A situation, where the income of the top 20 per cent of the global population is nearly 80 times more than that of the 20 per cent at the bottom, is not only morally difficult to comprehend, but it is also impossible to sustain. Further marginalization of the most weak and vulnerable is becoming a global challenge. Delegations that spoke before me touched upon manifold responses that ought to be taken to address this global challenge. I would like to confine my brief remarks to the two sub-themes of our discussion.
1. Integration of developing countries into the world economy
and generating new public and private resources to complement development
With regard to the first sub-theme i.e. promotion of integration of developing countries into the world economy and generating new public and private resources to complement development efforts, many delegations yesterday justly emphasized the importance of the efforts by the developing countries themselves. It must be pointed out, however, that international economic cooperation in trade, finance and and technology could, and in fact should, create adequate conditions for enabling the developing countries to reap the benefits of globalization.
International trade plays an important role in economic and social advancement of developing countries. Therefore, elimination of physical and non-physical barriers to trade would be a major step towards addressing the challenge faced by the developing countries. The current multilateral trade agreements require tariffs to be assessed on an equal most-favoured-nations basis. In these circumstances adequate measures should be taken to “level” the unequal playing field between industrialized and developing countries, taking fully into account the needs of the most vulnerable among them, particularly the least developed, landlocked and small island developing countries.
The current trade regime overlooks a very important fact that greatly varying international transport costs create extreme vulnerabilities for landlocked developing counties. Thus, these countries are paying three times more than industrialized states and twice as much as fellow developing countries to transport their export items to the world market. Therefore, it is difficult, or even impossible, to talk about benefits of international trade and globalization for this particular group of countries. Most landlocked developing countries depend heavily on few export-based sectors for their economic and social growth. Therefore, my delegation believes that the special circumstances and needs of these countries should be adequately addressed at multilateral trade fora, particularly WTO Ministerial Meeting and at the new round of trade negotiations, if and when it is to commence.
The issue of technological marginalization of most of the developing world is being justly raised during our discussion. We believe that this problem, like other problems, could not be adequately addressed when one third of the world’s population has to survive on the equivalent of one dollar per day. Adequate sources of financing are needed. Under these circumstances, the International Conference on Financing for Development and World Summit for Sustainable development should address all aspects of development and development financing, especially for the most vulnerable and weak developing countries.
2. Enhancing the integration of developing countries in the
emerging global information network, facilitating access to information and
communication technology for developing countries
The ability to benefit from globalization depends not only on the improved capacity to benefit from international trade, but also on the ability to make use of complex information and communication technology. ICT is becoming an essential tool for economic development in our age; it underlines power, knowledge and creativity. As developing countries, especially the most vulnerable among them, become ever marginalized from globalization and left behind the advancements of information technology, their developmental opportunities vanish and they face further marginalization with all the ensuing consequences. Therefore, it is vital that the United Nations makes it own contribution to addressing this growing challenge.
My delegation, therefore, welcomes the establishment of the ICT Task Force as a significant first step towards bridging the digital divide. A major task now is to commence the activities of the Task Force, as has rightly has been pointed out by the Chairman of G-77 earlier in his statement.
My delegation believes that, perhaps, a special brainstorming meeting could be held on ICT for development. This meeting could provide a major impetus to the commencement of the Task Force and could bring together governments, multilateral institutions, the donor community, the private sector and the civil society. The meeting could discuss concrete ways and means of assisting developing countries to acquire technological infrastructure of the new economy and capacity to utilize it effectively. It could also focus on such priority issues as improving the quality of education in developing countries so as to enable them to utilize to the fullest extent the technology, developing informational infrastructure as well as broadly introducing ICT to the vast rural population in developing countries. It is evident that rural people would remain on the margins of development if their specific informational needs and remoteness from centers or processes of technological development are not addressed.
Discriminatory globalization is fraught with creating a world that is made up, on the one hand, of highly connected, and thus productive, extremely affluent minority and, on the other, vast majority that is excluded not only from its benefits but also from contributing in their turn to technological advancement and globalization. The international community, through its sustained and cooperative efforts, should prevent and reverse further marginalization of the most weak and vulnerable. My delegation expresses the hope that the current High-level dialogue on strengthening international economic cooperation for development through partnership would be able to contribute to these efforts.