April 4, 2008: Statement by Mr. George Talbot, Chargé d’ affaires a. i., Permanent Mission of the Republic of Guyana, in thematic debate entitled “Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges and getting back on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015” (Agenda item 116)
initiative, Mr. President, to convene a thematic debate on the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) is most timely and welcome.
The MDGs are an important dimension of the international development agenda. They represent a key focus of global efforts to build a better world in the twenty-first century, one where people everywhere live in dignity, free from want and fear and in an environment protected from the ravages of human activity. Our debate focuses on hunger and poverty, education and health: areas where the need for progress is especially urgent. Progress in those areas is of course integrally linked with achievements in respect of other Goals, notably those related to the empowerment of women, environmental sustainability and the strengthening of the global partnership.
The theme of
our present debate aptly captures our shared recognition of the fact that
progress towards the achievement of the MDGs on the whole is currently off
track, despite the many instances of successful interventions reported by
various countries and stakeholders in this very debate and the fact that the
international community has the means to address the gaps that persist. As
noted in the background information for this discussion, some 143 million
children under the age of 5 in the developing world continue to suffer from
inadequate nutrition. In a $65‑trillion world economy, such a situation
is nothing less than a call to resolute action. At the midpoint en route to
2015, our actions must be imbued with a new sense of urgency,
and our partnerships with a renewed vitality, to ensure that the
Speaking from a
national perspective, the Guyana
Our country is on track to achieve targets in relation to the eradication of extreme hunger, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and ensuring environmental sustainability. However, intensified efforts are needed to make the attainment of targets in relation to the eradication of extreme poverty and combating HIV/AIDS more likely, as well as to consolidate the encouraging gains made recently towards eliminating the threat of malaria.
On the other hand, should current trends continue, achieving the targets set for reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating other major diseases may prove elusive.
South-South cooperation, including extensive medical assistance from the
of the MDGs in
significant progress is possible with the scaling up of assistance and efforts.
As a country participating in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt
extent of progress is currently circumscribed mainly by the lack of resources, and by issues of sustainability where previous
assistance had been received. There have been notable shortfalls in donor
pledges and disbursement of financial resources to implement our poverty
reduction strategy. For instance, from 2003 to 2006,
A third lesson
is that a holistic approach remains the best guarantee for the successful
achievement of the MDGs, given the interrelated nature of the challenges to be
addressed. One of the more formidable of
Going forward, Guyana’s critical challenges include addressing impediments to economic growth, including the maintenance of debt sustainability, strengthening agricultural production and productivity, addressing capacity-building needs and obstacles to resource absorption, optimizing the resource envelope, coping with rapidly rising prices for basic food items and energy, improving monitoring and evaluation methods, addressing competing priorities such as those occasioned by climate change, dealing with crime and security and exogenous shocks, mainstreaming gender issues and developing a national strategy for achieving the MDGs in Guyana.
from climate change is particularly real for a country like ours, which on the
coasts is below sea level and subject to extensive flooding and which suffered
a loss of nearly 60 per cent of its gross domestic product as a result of the
last major inundation, in 2005. Care has to be taken to ensure that meeting the
real challenge posed by climate change does not exacerbate the competition for
resources to be devoted to the
my delegation wishes to underscore the fact that many gaps persist in the
global effort to ensure the achievement of the MDGs by 2015. One is the
relatively limited attention accorded to agriculture and food security. As the
World Bank has noted, about 70 per cent of the