Please note that all PDF documents are marked as such and will open in a new browser window.
Remarks by Ambassador Henry L. Mac Donald Permanent Representative of the Republic of Suriname to the United Nations at the State Partnership Education Program Suriname-South Dakota on the topic: “Suriname and the United Nations”
05 October 2008 / 10:13

South Dakota, November 6, 2007

Climate Change

Salutations,

1. The current international scene predominantly speaks about the devastating effects of climate change. The recent findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” has explicitly confirmed the warming of our climate system, and clearly linked it to human activity.

2. Today, the international community more than ever before offers scientific evidence to indicate and proof that human activity in many ways continues to contribute to the deteriorating situation of the global climate.

3. Finding effective and permanent solutions may not be easy, since many of these activities relates to our ways and standards of living and our aspirations.

4. However, the global community will not be able to present an adequate and responsible response to climate change and global warming, if we are not able to look beyond the short term gains/ benefits/ effects.

5. The answer to this problem is to support strategic and balanced approaches, which take social, economic and environmental aspects into consideration.

6. Known for its richness in natural resources and amidst the growing worldwide urge to exploit natural resources, the Government of Suriname finds itself in the position to reevaluate the balance between economic development and thus, the improvement of the welfare and well-being of its people on one hand and protection of the nation’s vast environment on the other hand.

7. As a low-lying coastal state in the north of South America, the Republic of Suriname like many other nations is already being affected by the dangers of climate change. The flooding in the interior last year and its effects on the indigenous and maroon communities is still fresh in our memory.

8. Many countries especially the SIDS and disaster prone countries do not have the means to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. The global community needs to make the financial resources available to support the countries to meet adaptation and mitigation challenges either by re-adjusting the current mechanisms or creating new ones.

9. The role of the United Nations is therefore crucial in addressing the challenges to climate change.


The Niche of Suriname in the Climate Change Debate

10. We all should by now be aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is way more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.

11. It is fundamentally a human issue, as it threatens human prosperity and the enjoyment of human rights and human survival.

12. The fundamental correlation between climate change and human rights is essentially that everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

13. If such a right is affected by human induced climate change, it will negatively impact on a range of internationally recognized and fundamental human rights including among others:


• the right to self-determination;
• the right to take part in cultural life;
• the right to use and enjoy property;
• the right to social security;
• the right to an adequate standard of living satisfactory for health and well being;
• the right to clean, potable or fresh water;
• the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
• the right to development and even;
• the right to life itself.


14. National and international action on climate change is therefore more than the implementation of sound environmental policies; it is in my view a vital necessity in order to safeguard basic human rights and prosperity for all.

15. The member states of the United Nations have pledged to safeguard and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as is reflected in the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as several other international human rights and environmental instruments, such as the recently adopted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol .

16. Internationally the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment stresses that both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his/her well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights.

17. At the regional level the members of the Organization of American States also guaranteed aforementioned human rights in various basic human rights instruments.

18. Although the constitutions of many countries, along with various international human rights instruments now particularly recognize the human right to an environment capable of supporting human society and the enjoyment of human rights, there is nonetheless no explicit international convention or legal framework recognizing climate change as a threat to human rights.

19. For many small coastal states and particularly those small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the dangers of climate change are immediate and threaten their very existence.

20. Their small size, remoteness, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems, low lying coasts, constraints on transportation and communication and for many limited freshwater supply, mean that they are extremely vulnerable to even the smallest changes to the global climate.

21. Just as the integrity of many small states is threatened, so are the rights of their peoples to a safe and secure home and the enjoyment of their most basic and fundamental rights as human beings. It is for that reason important to put people back at the heart of the climate change discussion.

22. For Suriname the matter of deforestation will be vital importance during the upcoming negotiations in Bali and any future international agreement on this issue.

23. The ultimate goal has to be to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process.
Such an agreement should tackle climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.

The Current Oil Prices in Relation to the Millennium Development Goals


24. The MDG’s are eight development targets that were set by the world’s leaders at a United Nations summit in 2000. The first goal is to halve by 2015 the number of people whose income is less then one US dollar a day.

25. At the time the MDG’s were conceived, however the prospect of high oil prices posing a mayor hurdle appeared remote, therefore the issue of a possible oil price hike was never discussed 7 years ago as a possible hindrance to the realization of the MDG’s

26. Those days we were living in a happy world, when the price was around US$ 25.00 a barrel. In the years since, the oil price rose to over US$ 80.00 per barrel. Last Friday oil fetched a record high of US$ 96.07 per barrel, leading the speculation that the US$ 100.00 mark is very soon to be reached.

27. The most vulnerable countries in this process are those that have low economic strength, low economic performance and high energy (oil) dependency.

28. Many of the countries now effected by the sky high oil prices, such as my own, have till now been saved from being at the bottom of the barrel, cause of the ability of their respective economies to absorb ‘oil price shocks”, by performing better with high or medium gross domestic product and economic growth rates (The economic growth rate of Suriname for example has been a steady 5-6% over the last 5 years).

29. However, if oil prices continue to remain at the current level for the next three to five years, then even these countries will be in serious trouble. The new reality of the oil prices is grim and poses a critical threat to achieving the MDG’s world wide. The Permanent Mission at the United Nations will therefore endeavor to bring this critical issue on the agenda/negotiation table of the UN.


The Concept of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


30. The notion of inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding and cooperation for peace in order to advance mutual understanding and tolerance in the world is also a concept which Suriname will strongly support in its work at the United Nations.

31. We are all aware of the fact that the Surinamese society is truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi religious.
32. There is consequently no need to bombard you with all kinds of statistical data on these facts. The acceptance and appreciation by each individual group for the various cultural expressions of the others is extraordinary.

33. I frequently use the experience during my elementary education in Paramaribo as a clear example of cultural and religious tolerance in Suriname. I am a Christian; however I was enrolled for six years at a Muslim school in the capital, without a problem. It was not problematic for my parents, not for the school administration and I did not have a problem with either. In fact today I consider myself fortunate to have been able to communicate and interact with persons with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

34. Those that have spent sometime in Suriname should be aware of how the commonly amicable relationship among religions in our society contributes to religious freedom in the country. Most citizens, particularly those living in the capital celebrate to varying degrees the religious holidays of other groups.

35. Since 1989 the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname has been the venue for consultation and dialogue between the main religions in the country. This council is composed of the principal representatives of all significant religions in Suriname. Council members meet at least twice each month to discuss planned ecumenical activities and their position on government policies when necessary.
36. It is noteworthy that in the past this institution has been instrumental in bringing solutions to major national political impasse.

37. On the regional level the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname cooperates with its Caribbean counterparts with the aim to discuss regional and global issues.
38. In situations of cultural and religious pluralism, it is increasingly apparent that mutual understanding and respect for differences play a vital role in maintaining unity necessary for genuine progress and for ensuring that the specter of inter-religious or interethnic conflict does not occur.
39. At the international level however, it remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures. The Suriname Mission at the UN will therefore continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations, because a culture of peace and understanding can be significant in enhancing the dialogue to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and Peoples all over the world.

40. Suriname is mindful of the fact that, dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is an effective remedy to prevent conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

41. The Surinamese delegation at the United Nation will consequently strive to enhance the aims of interfaith dialogue further within the United Nations system.South Dakota, November 6, 2007

Climate Change

Salutations,

1. The current international scene predominantly speaks about the devastating effects of climate change. The recent findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” has explicitly confirmed the warming of our climate system, and clearly linked it to human activity.

2. Today, the international community more than ever before offers scientific evidence to indicate and proof that human activity in many ways continues to contribute to the deteriorating situation of the global climate.

3. Finding effective and permanent solutions may not be easy, since many of these activities relates to our ways and standards of living and our aspirations.

4. However, the global community will not be able to present an adequate and responsible response to climate change and global warming, if we are not able to look beyond the short term gains/ benefits/ effects.

5. The answer to this problem is to support strategic and balanced approaches, which take social, economic and environmental aspects into consideration.

6. Known for its richness in natural resources and amidst the growing worldwide urge to exploit natural resources, the Government of Suriname finds itself in the position to reevaluate the balance between economic development and thus, the improvement of the welfare and well-being of its people on one hand and protection of the nation’s vast environment on the other hand.

7. As a low-lying coastal state in the north of South America, the Republic of Suriname like many other nations is already being affected by the dangers of climate change. The flooding in the interior last year and its effects on the indigenous and maroon communities is still fresh in our memory.

8. Many countries especially the SIDS and disaster prone countries do not have the means to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. The global community needs to make the financial resources available to support the countries to meet adaptation and mitigation challenges either by re-adjusting the current mechanisms or creating new ones.

9. The role of the United Nations is therefore crucial in addressing the challenges to climate change.


The Niche of Suriname in the Climate Change Debate

10. We all should by now be aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is way more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.

11. It is fundamentally a human issue, as it threatens human prosperity and the enjoyment of human rights and human survival.

12. The fundamental correlation between climate change and human rights is essentially that everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

13. If such a right is affected by human induced climate change, it will negatively impact on a range of internationally recognized and fundamental human rights including among others:


• the right to self-determination;
• the right to take part in cultural life;
• the right to use and enjoy property;
• the right to social security;
• the right to an adequate standard of living satisfactory for health and well being;
• the right to clean, potable or fresh water;
• the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
• the right to development and even;
• the right to life itself.


14. National and international action on climate change is therefore more than the implementation of sound environmental policies; it is in my view a vital necessity in order to safeguard basic human rights and prosperity for all.

15. The member states of the United Nations have pledged to safeguard and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as is reflected in the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as several other international human rights and environmental instruments, such as the recently adopted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol .

16. Internationally the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment stresses that both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his/her well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights.

17. At the regional level the members of the Organization of American States also guaranteed aforementioned human rights in various basic human rights instruments.

18. Although the constitutions of many countries, along with various international human rights instruments now particularly recognize the human right to an environment capable of supporting human society and the enjoyment of human rights, there is nonetheless no explicit international convention or legal framework recognizing climate change as a threat to human rights.

19. For many small coastal states and particularly those small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the dangers of climate change are immediate and threaten their very existence.

20. Their small size, remoteness, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems, low lying coasts, constraints on transportation and communication and for many limited freshwater supply, mean that they are extremely vulnerable to even the smallest changes to the global climate.

21. Just as the integrity of many small states is threatened, so are the rights of their peoples to a safe and secure home and the enjoyment of their most basic and fundamental rights as human beings. It is for that reason important to put people back at the heart of the climate change discussion.

22. For Suriname the matter of deforestation will be vital importance during the upcoming negotiations in Bali and any future international agreement on this issue.

23. The ultimate goal has to be to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process.
Such an agreement should tackle climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.

The Current Oil Prices in Relation to the Millennium Development Goals


24. The MDG’s are eight development targets that were set by the world’s leaders at a United Nations summit in 2000. The first goal is to halve by 2015 the number of people whose income is less then one US dollar a day.

25. At the time the MDG’s were conceived, however the prospect of high oil prices posing a mayor hurdle appeared remote, therefore the issue of a possible oil price hike was never discussed 7 years ago as a possible hindrance to the realization of the MDG’s

26. Those days we were living in a happy world, when the price was around US$ 25.00 a barrel. In the years since, the oil price rose to over US$ 80.00 per barrel. Last Friday oil fetched a record high of US$ 96.07 per barrel, leading the speculation that the US$ 100.00 mark is very soon to be reached.

27. The most vulnerable countries in this process are those that have low economic strength, low economic performance and high energy (oil) dependency.

28. Many of the countries now effected by the sky high oil prices, such as my own, have till now been saved from being at the bottom of the barrel, cause of the ability of their respective economies to absorb ‘oil price shocks”, by performing better with high or medium gross domestic product and economic growth rates (The economic growth rate of Suriname for example has been a steady 5-6% over the last 5 years).

29. However, if oil prices continue to remain at the current level for the next three to five years, then even these countries will be in serious trouble. The new reality of the oil prices is grim and poses a critical threat to achieving the MDG’s world wide. The Permanent Mission at the United Nations will therefore endeavor to bring this critical issue on the agenda/negotiation table of the UN.


The Concept of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


30. The notion of inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding and cooperation for peace in order to advance mutual understanding and tolerance in the world is also a concept which Suriname will strongly support in its work at the United Nations.

31. We are all aware of the fact that the Surinamese society is truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi religious.
32. There is consequently no need to bombard you with all kinds of statistical data on these facts. The acceptance and appreciation by each individual group for the various cultural expressions of the others is extraordinary.

33. I frequently use the experience during my elementary education in Paramaribo as a clear example of cultural and religious tolerance in Suriname. I am a Christian; however I was enrolled for six years at a Muslim school in the capital, without a problem. It was not problematic for my parents, not for the school administration and I did not have a problem with either. In fact today I consider myself fortunate to have been able to communicate and interact with persons with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

34. Those that have spent sometime in Suriname should be aware of how the commonly amicable relationship among religions in our society contributes to religious freedom in the country. Most citizens, particularly those living in the capital celebrate to varying degrees the religious holidays of other groups.

35. Since 1989 the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname has been the venue for consultation and dialogue between the main religions in the country. This council is composed of the principal representatives of all significant religions in Suriname. Council members meet at least twice each month to discuss planned ecumenical activities and their position on government policies when necessary.
36. It is noteworthy that in the past this institution has been instrumental in bringing solutions to major national political impasse.

37. On the regional level the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname cooperates with its Caribbean counterparts with the aim to discuss regional and global issues.
38. In situations of cultural and religious pluralism, it is increasingly apparent that mutual understanding and respect for differences play a vital role in maintaining unity necessary for genuine progress and for ensuring that the specter of inter-religious or interethnic conflict does not occur.
39. At the international level however, it remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures. The Suriname Mission at the UN will therefore continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations, because a culture of peace and understanding can be significant in enhancing the dialogue to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and Peoples all over the world.

40. Suriname is mindful of the fact that, dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is an effective remedy to prevent conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

41. The Surinamese delegation at the United Nation will consequently strive to enhance the aims of interfaith dialogue further within the United Nations system.

South Dakota, November 6, 2007

Climate Change

Salutations,

1. The current international scene predominantly speaks about the devastating effects of climate change. The recent findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” has explicitly confirmed the warming of our climate system, and clearly linked it to human activity.

2. Today, the international community more than ever before offers scientific evidence to indicate and proof that human activity in many ways continues to contribute to the deteriorating situation of the global climate.

3. Finding effective and permanent solutions may not be easy, since many of these activities relates to our ways and standards of living and our aspirations.

4. However, the global community will not be able to present an adequate and responsible response to climate change and global warming, if we are not able to look beyond the short term gains/ benefits/ effects.

5. The answer to this problem is to support strategic and balanced approaches, which take social, economic and environmental aspects into consideration.

6. Known for its richness in natural resources and amidst the growing worldwide urge to exploit natural resources, the Government of Suriname finds itself in the position to reevaluate the balance between economic development and thus, the improvement of the welfare and well-being of its people on one hand and protection of the nation’s vast environment on the other hand.

7. As a low-lying coastal state in the north of South America, the Republic of Suriname like many other nations is already being affected by the dangers of climate change. The flooding in the interior last year and its effects on the indigenous and maroon communities is still fresh in our memory.

8. Many countries especially the SIDS and disaster prone countries do not have the means to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. The global community needs to make the financial resources available to support the countries to meet adaptation and mitigation challenges either by re-adjusting the current mechanisms or creating new ones.

9. The role of the United Nations is therefore crucial in addressing the challenges to climate change.


The Niche of Suriname in the Climate Change Debate

10. We all should by now be aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is way more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.

11. It is fundamentally a human issue, as it threatens human prosperity and the enjoyment of human rights and human survival.

12. The fundamental correlation between climate change and human rights is essentially that everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

13. If such a right is affected by human induced climate change, it will negatively impact on a range of internationally recognized and fundamental human rights including among others:


• the right to self-determination;
• the right to take part in cultural life;
• the right to use and enjoy property;
• the right to social security;
• the right to an adequate standard of living satisfactory for health and well being;
• the right to clean, potable or fresh water;
• the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
• the right to development and even;
• the right to life itself.


14. National and international action on climate change is therefore more than the implementation of sound environmental policies; it is in my view a vital necessity in order to safeguard basic human rights and prosperity for all.

15. The member states of the United Nations have pledged to safeguard and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as is reflected in the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as several other international human rights and environmental instruments, such as the recently adopted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol .

16. Internationally the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment stresses that both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his/her well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights.

17. At the regional level the members of the Organization of American States also guaranteed aforementioned human rights in various basic human rights instruments.

18. Although the constitutions of many countries, along with various international human rights instruments now particularly recognize the human right to an environment capable of supporting human society and the enjoyment of human rights, there is nonetheless no explicit international convention or legal framework recognizing climate change as a threat to human rights.

19. For many small coastal states and particularly those small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the dangers of climate change are immediate and threaten their very existence.

20. Their small size, remoteness, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems, low lying coasts, constraints on transportation and communication and for many limited freshwater supply, mean that they are extremely vulnerable to even the smallest changes to the global climate.

21. Just as the integrity of many small states is threatened, so are the rights of their peoples to a safe and secure home and the enjoyment of their most basic and fundamental rights as human beings. It is for that reason important to put people back at the heart of the climate change discussion.

22. For Suriname the matter of deforestation will be vital importance during the upcoming negotiations in Bali and any future international agreement on this issue.

23. The ultimate goal has to be to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process.
Such an agreement should tackle climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.

The Current Oil Prices in Relation to the Millennium Development Goals


24. The MDG’s are eight development targets that were set by the world’s leaders at a United Nations summit in 2000. The first goal is to halve by 2015 the number of people whose income is less then one US dollar a day.

25. At the time the MDG’s were conceived, however the prospect of high oil prices posing a mayor hurdle appeared remote, therefore the issue of a possible oil price hike was never discussed 7 years ago as a possible hindrance to the realization of the MDG’s

26. Those days we were living in a happy world, when the price was around US$ 25.00 a barrel. In the years since, the oil price rose to over US$ 80.00 per barrel. Last Friday oil fetched a record high of US$ 96.07 per barrel, leading the speculation that the US$ 100.00 mark is very soon to be reached.

27. The most vulnerable countries in this process are those that have low economic strength, low economic performance and high energy (oil) dependency.

28. Many of the countries now effected by the sky high oil prices, such as my own, have till now been saved from being at the bottom of the barrel, cause of the ability of their respective economies to absorb ‘oil price shocks”, by performing better with high or medium gross domestic product and economic growth rates (The economic growth rate of Suriname for example has been a steady 5-6% over the last 5 years).

29. However, if oil prices continue to remain at the current level for the next three to five years, then even these countries will be in serious trouble. The new reality of the oil prices is grim and poses a critical threat to achieving the MDG’s world wide. The Permanent Mission at the United Nations will therefore endeavor to bring this critical issue on the agenda/negotiation table of the UN.


The Concept of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


30. The notion of inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding and cooperation for peace in order to advance mutual understanding and tolerance in the world is also a concept which Suriname will strongly support in its work at the United Nations.

31. We are all aware of the fact that the Surinamese society is truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi religious.
32. There is consequently no need to bombard you with all kinds of statistical data on these facts. The acceptance and appreciation by each individual group for the various cultural expressions of the others is extraordinary.

33. I frequently use the experience during my elementary education in Paramaribo as a clear example of cultural and religious tolerance in Suriname. I am a Christian; however I was enrolled for six years at a Muslim school in the capital, without a problem. It was not problematic for my parents, not for the school administration and I did not have a problem with either. In fact today I consider myself fortunate to have been able to communicate and interact with persons with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

34. Those that have spent sometime in Suriname should be aware of how the commonly amicable relationship among religions in our society contributes to religious freedom in the country. Most citizens, particularly those living in the capital celebrate to varying degrees the religious holidays of other groups.

35. Since 1989 the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname has been the venue for consultation and dialogue between the main religions in the country. This council is composed of the principal representatives of all significant religions in Suriname. Council members meet at least twice each month to discuss planned ecumenical activities and their position on government policies when necessary.
36. It is noteworthy that in the past this institution has been instrumental in bringing solutions to major national political impasse.

37. On the regional level the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname cooperates with its Caribbean counterparts with the aim to discuss regional and global issues.
38. In situations of cultural and religious pluralism, it is increasingly apparent that mutual understanding and respect for differences play a vital role in maintaining unity necessary for genuine progress and for ensuring that the specter of inter-religious or interethnic conflict does not occur.
39. At the international level however, it remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures. The Suriname Mission at the UN will therefore continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations, because a culture of peace and understanding can be significant in enhancing the dialogue to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and Peoples all over the world.

40. Suriname is mindful of the fact that, dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is an effective remedy to prevent conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

41. The Surinamese delegation at the United Nation will consequently strive to enhance the aims of interfaith dialogue further within the United Nations system.

South Dakota, November 6, 2007

Climate Change

Salutations,

1. The current international scene predominantly speaks about the devastating effects of climate change. The recent findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” has explicitly confirmed the warming of our climate system, and clearly linked it to human activity.

2. Today, the international community more than ever before offers scientific evidence to indicate and proof that human activity in many ways continues to contribute to the deteriorating situation of the global climate.

3. Finding effective and permanent solutions may not be easy, since many of these activities relates to our ways and standards of living and our aspirations.

4. However, the global community will not be able to present an adequate and responsible response to climate change and global warming, if we are not able to look beyond the short term gains/ benefits/ effects.

5. The answer to this problem is to support strategic and balanced approaches, which take social, economic and environmental aspects into consideration.

6. Known for its richness in natural resources and amidst the growing worldwide urge to exploit natural resources, the Government of Suriname finds itself in the position to reevaluate the balance between economic development and thus, the improvement of the welfare and well-being of its people on one hand and protection of the nation’s vast environment on the other hand.

7. As a low-lying coastal state in the north of South America, the Republic of Suriname like many other nations is already being affected by the dangers of climate change. The flooding in the interior last year and its effects on the indigenous and maroon communities is still fresh in our memory.

8. Many countries especially the SIDS and disaster prone countries do not have the means to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. The global community needs to make the financial resources available to support the countries to meet adaptation and mitigation challenges either by re-adjusting the current mechanisms or creating new ones.

9. The role of the United Nations is therefore crucial in addressing the challenges to climate change.


The Niche of Suriname in the Climate Change Debate

10. We all should by now be aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is way more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.

11. It is fundamentally a human issue, as it threatens human prosperity and the enjoyment of human rights and human survival.

12. The fundamental correlation between climate change and human rights is essentially that everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

13. If such a right is affected by human induced climate change, it will negatively impact on a range of internationally recognized and fundamental human rights including among others:


• the right to self-determination;
• the right to take part in cultural life;
• the right to use and enjoy property;
• the right to social security;
• the right to an adequate standard of living satisfactory for health and well being;
• the right to clean, potable or fresh water;
• the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
• the right to development and even;
• the right to life itself.


14. National and international action on climate change is therefore more than the implementation of sound environmental policies; it is in my view a vital necessity in order to safeguard basic human rights and prosperity for all.

15. The member states of the United Nations have pledged to safeguard and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as is reflected in the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as several other international human rights and environmental instruments, such as the recently adopted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol .

16. Internationally the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment stresses that both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his/her well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights.

17. At the regional level the members of the Organization of American States also guaranteed aforementioned human rights in various basic human rights instruments.

18. Although the constitutions of many countries, along with various international human rights instruments now particularly recognize the human right to an environment capable of supporting human society and the enjoyment of human rights, there is nonetheless no explicit international convention or legal framework recognizing climate change as a threat to human rights.

19. For many small coastal states and particularly those small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the dangers of climate change are immediate and threaten their very existence.

20. Their small size, remoteness, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems, low lying coasts, constraints on transportation and communication and for many limited freshwater supply, mean that they are extremely vulnerable to even the smallest changes to the global climate.

21. Just as the integrity of many small states is threatened, so are the rights of their peoples to a safe and secure home and the enjoyment of their most basic and fundamental rights as human beings. It is for that reason important to put people back at the heart of the climate change discussion.

22. For Suriname the matter of deforestation will be vital importance during the upcoming negotiations in Bali and any future international agreement on this issue.

23. The ultimate goal has to be to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process.
Such an agreement should tackle climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.

The Current Oil Prices in Relation to the Millennium Development Goals


24. The MDG’s are eight development targets that were set by the world’s leaders at a United Nations summit in 2000. The first goal is to halve by 2015 the number of people whose income is less then one US dollar a day.

25. At the time the MDG’s were conceived, however the prospect of high oil prices posing a mayor hurdle appeared remote, therefore the issue of a possible oil price hike was never discussed 7 years ago as a possible hindrance to the realization of the MDG’s

26. Those days we were living in a happy world, when the price was around US$ 25.00 a barrel. In the years since, the oil price rose to over US$ 80.00 per barrel. Last Friday oil fetched a record high of US$ 96.07 per barrel, leading the speculation that the US$ 100.00 mark is very soon to be reached.

27. The most vulnerable countries in this process are those that have low economic strength, low economic performance and high energy (oil) dependency.

28. Many of the countries now effected by the sky high oil prices, such as my own, have till now been saved from being at the bottom of the barrel, cause of the ability of their respective economies to absorb ‘oil price shocks”, by performing better with high or medium gross domestic product and economic growth rates (The economic growth rate of Suriname for example has been a steady 5-6% over the last 5 years).

29. However, if oil prices continue to remain at the current level for the next three to five years, then even these countries will be in serious trouble. The new reality of the oil prices is grim and poses a critical threat to achieving the MDG’s world wide. The Permanent Mission at the United Nations will therefore endeavor to bring this critical issue on the agenda/negotiation table of the UN.


The Concept of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


30. The notion of inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding and cooperation for peace in order to advance mutual understanding and tolerance in the world is also a concept which Suriname will strongly support in its work at the United Nations.

31. We are all aware of the fact that the Surinamese society is truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi religious.
32. There is consequently no need to bombard you with all kinds of statistical data on these facts. The acceptance and appreciation by each individual group for the various cultural expressions of the others is extraordinary.

33. I frequently use the experience during my elementary education in Paramaribo as a clear example of cultural and religious tolerance in Suriname. I am a Christian; however I was enrolled for six years at a Muslim school in the capital, without a problem. It was not problematic for my parents, not for the school administration and I did not have a problem with either. In fact today I consider myself fortunate to have been able to communicate and interact with persons with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

34. Those that have spent sometime in Suriname should be aware of how the commonly amicable relationship among religions in our society contributes to religious freedom in the country. Most citizens, particularly those living in the capital celebrate to varying degrees the religious holidays of other groups.

35. Since 1989 the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname has been the venue for consultation and dialogue between the main religions in the country. This council is composed of the principal representatives of all significant religions in Suriname. Council members meet at least twice each month to discuss planned ecumenical activities and their position on government policies when necessary.
36. It is noteworthy that in the past this institution has been instrumental in bringing solutions to major national political impasse.

37. On the regional level the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname cooperates with its Caribbean counterparts with the aim to discuss regional and global issues.
38. In situations of cultural and religious pluralism, it is increasingly apparent that mutual understanding and respect for differences play a vital role in maintaining unity necessary for genuine progress and for ensuring that the specter of inter-religious or interethnic conflict does not occur.
39. At the international level however, it remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures. The Suriname Mission at the UN will therefore continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations, because a culture of peace and understanding can be significant in enhancing the dialogue to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and Peoples all over the world.

40. Suriname is mindful of the fact that, dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is an effective remedy to prevent conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

41. The Surinamese delegation at the United Nation will consequently strive to enhance the aims of interfaith dialogue further within the United Nations system.

South Dakota, November 6, 2007

Climate Change

Salutations,

1. The current international scene predominantly speaks about the devastating effects of climate change. The recent findings of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” has explicitly confirmed the warming of our climate system, and clearly linked it to human activity.

2. Today, the international community more than ever before offers scientific evidence to indicate and proof that human activity in many ways continues to contribute to the deteriorating situation of the global climate.

3. Finding effective and permanent solutions may not be easy, since many of these activities relates to our ways and standards of living and our aspirations.

4. However, the global community will not be able to present an adequate and responsible response to climate change and global warming, if we are not able to look beyond the short term gains/ benefits/ effects.

5. The answer to this problem is to support strategic and balanced approaches, which take social, economic and environmental aspects into consideration.

6. Known for its richness in natural resources and amidst the growing worldwide urge to exploit natural resources, the Government of Suriname finds itself in the position to reevaluate the balance between economic development and thus, the improvement of the welfare and well-being of its people on one hand and protection of the nation’s vast environment on the other hand.

7. As a low-lying coastal state in the north of South America, the Republic of Suriname like many other nations is already being affected by the dangers of climate change. The flooding in the interior last year and its effects on the indigenous and maroon communities is still fresh in our memory.

8. Many countries especially the SIDS and disaster prone countries do not have the means to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures. The global community needs to make the financial resources available to support the countries to meet adaptation and mitigation challenges either by re-adjusting the current mechanisms or creating new ones.

9. The role of the United Nations is therefore crucial in addressing the challenges to climate change.


The Niche of Suriname in the Climate Change Debate

10. We all should by now be aware of the fact that the phenomenon of climate change is way more than ecological, more than scientific, more than economic, more than financial and more than political.

11. It is fundamentally a human issue, as it threatens human prosperity and the enjoyment of human rights and human survival.

12. The fundamental correlation between climate change and human rights is essentially that everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure, healthy, clean and sustainable environment.

13. If such a right is affected by human induced climate change, it will negatively impact on a range of internationally recognized and fundamental human rights including among others:


• the right to self-determination;
• the right to take part in cultural life;
• the right to use and enjoy property;
• the right to social security;
• the right to an adequate standard of living satisfactory for health and well being;
• the right to clean, potable or fresh water;
• the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
• the right to development and even;
• the right to life itself.


14. National and international action on climate change is therefore more than the implementation of sound environmental policies; it is in my view a vital necessity in order to safeguard basic human rights and prosperity for all.

15. The member states of the United Nations have pledged to safeguard and promote universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as is reflected in the International Bill of Human Rights, as well as several other international human rights and environmental instruments, such as the recently adopted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol .

16. Internationally the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment stresses that both aspects of man’s environment, the natural and the man-made, are essential to his/her well-being and to the enjoyment of basic human rights.

17. At the regional level the members of the Organization of American States also guaranteed aforementioned human rights in various basic human rights instruments.

18. Although the constitutions of many countries, along with various international human rights instruments now particularly recognize the human right to an environment capable of supporting human society and the enjoyment of human rights, there is nonetheless no explicit international convention or legal framework recognizing climate change as a threat to human rights.

19. For many small coastal states and particularly those small island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean, the dangers of climate change are immediate and threaten their very existence.

20. Their small size, remoteness, geographical dispersion, vulnerability to natural disasters, fragile ecosystems, low lying coasts, constraints on transportation and communication and for many limited freshwater supply, mean that they are extremely vulnerable to even the smallest changes to the global climate.

21. Just as the integrity of many small states is threatened, so are the rights of their peoples to a safe and secure home and the enjoyment of their most basic and fundamental rights as human beings. It is for that reason important to put people back at the heart of the climate change discussion.

22. For Suriname the matter of deforestation will be vital importance during the upcoming negotiations in Bali and any future international agreement on this issue.

23. The ultimate goal has to be to find consensus on a comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC process.
Such an agreement should tackle climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation, human rights and resource mobilization.

The Current Oil Prices in Relation to the Millennium Development Goals


24. The MDG’s are eight development targets that were set by the world’s leaders at a United Nations summit in 2000. The first goal is to halve by 2015 the number of people whose income is less then one US dollar a day.

25. At the time the MDG’s were conceived, however the prospect of high oil prices posing a mayor hurdle appeared remote, therefore the issue of a possible oil price hike was never discussed 7 years ago as a possible hindrance to the realization of the MDG’s

26. Those days we were living in a happy world, when the price was around US$ 25.00 a barrel. In the years since, the oil price rose to over US$ 80.00 per barrel. Last Friday oil fetched a record high of US$ 96.07 per barrel, leading the speculation that the US$ 100.00 mark is very soon to be reached.

27. The most vulnerable countries in this process are those that have low economic strength, low economic performance and high energy (oil) dependency.

28. Many of the countries now effected by the sky high oil prices, such as my own, have till now been saved from being at the bottom of the barrel, cause of the ability of their respective economies to absorb ‘oil price shocks”, by performing better with high or medium gross domestic product and economic growth rates (The economic growth rate of Suriname for example has been a steady 5-6% over the last 5 years).

29. However, if oil prices continue to remain at the current level for the next three to five years, then even these countries will be in serious trouble. The new reality of the oil prices is grim and poses a critical threat to achieving the MDG’s world wide. The Permanent Mission at the United Nations will therefore endeavor to bring this critical issue on the agenda/negotiation table of the UN.


The Concept of Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Understanding


30. The notion of inter-cultural and inter-religious understanding and cooperation for peace in order to advance mutual understanding and tolerance in the world is also a concept which Suriname will strongly support in its work at the United Nations.

31. We are all aware of the fact that the Surinamese society is truly multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic and multi religious.
32. There is consequently no need to bombard you with all kinds of statistical data on these facts. The acceptance and appreciation by each individual group for the various cultural expressions of the others is extraordinary.

33. I frequently use the experience during my elementary education in Paramaribo as a clear example of cultural and religious tolerance in Suriname. I am a Christian; however I was enrolled for six years at a Muslim school in the capital, without a problem. It was not problematic for my parents, not for the school administration and I did not have a problem with either. In fact today I consider myself fortunate to have been able to communicate and interact with persons with different religious and ethnic backgrounds.

34. Those that have spent sometime in Suriname should be aware of how the commonly amicable relationship among religions in our society contributes to religious freedom in the country. Most citizens, particularly those living in the capital celebrate to varying degrees the religious holidays of other groups.

35. Since 1989 the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname has been the venue for consultation and dialogue between the main religions in the country. This council is composed of the principal representatives of all significant religions in Suriname. Council members meet at least twice each month to discuss planned ecumenical activities and their position on government policies when necessary.
36. It is noteworthy that in the past this institution has been instrumental in bringing solutions to major national political impasse.

37. On the regional level the Inter-Religious Council in Suriname cooperates with its Caribbean counterparts with the aim to discuss regional and global issues.
38. In situations of cultural and religious pluralism, it is increasingly apparent that mutual understanding and respect for differences play a vital role in maintaining unity necessary for genuine progress and for ensuring that the specter of inter-religious or interethnic conflict does not occur.
39. At the international level however, it remains a challenge for the peaceful coexistence of different values and cultures. The Suriname Mission at the UN will therefore continue to support and promote the dialogue among civilizations, because a culture of peace and understanding can be significant in enhancing the dialogue to promote mutual understanding, respect and tolerance among religions, cultures and Peoples all over the world.

40. Suriname is mindful of the fact that, dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions is an effective remedy to prevent conflicts on the national, regional and international level.

41. The Surinamese delegation at the United Nation will consequently strive to enhance the aims of interfaith dialogue further within the United Nations system.