H.E. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
On Behalf of ASEAN
At the General Debate of the Second Committee
New York, 6 October 2008
Speaking on behalf of ASEAN - Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao DPR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - allow me first of all to congratulate you on assuming the Chairmanship of the Second Committee and to extend congratulations to other members of the bureau. Let me assure you of ASEAN’s full support and cooperation in the coming months. My thanks also go to the Secretariat for organizing the Committee’s Work and for preparing the relevant documentation.
This year the Committee’s work is being undertaken against a backdrop of energy and food crises, as well as financial turmoil that has not been seen for over 30 years. And just as the phenomenon of record energy and food prices was beginning to subside and stabilize, the global economy is now being shaken by a financial crisis which some have referred to as a “tsunami” in the financial sector.
Unlike the financial crisis the majority of the ASEAN members went through in 1997/98, the present crisis looks very different. It did not originate in the periphery, but at the center of the system. Its effects are therefore being felt globally. The potential is there for a sharp slowdown in economic activity, even a global recession.
Together with climate change, the current global economic crisis is exerting tremendous pressure on the international community and needs to be addressed urgently. As a result of the crisis, the efforts of the developing countries to attain internationally agreed development goals, including the MDGs, are being hampered, including in ASEAN.
It is therefore a challenge for us in the Second Committee to address issues relating to economic growth and development at a time of crisis and economic uncertainty.
Over the next couple of months we will be dealing with issues such as financing for development, sustainable development, poverty eradication, globalization and interdependence, and information and communication technologies for development. We must ensure that we address these issues in such a way to help fashion meaningful solutions to the current crises and overall global economic situation.
Concerning our collective response to the crises, the message from our leaders last week in the general debate was clear. There is need for a stronger United Nations. We must therefore ensure the UN has a visible role in addressing the various crises impacting the international community.
In this regard, ASEAN would like to highlight three issues related to the work of the Second Committee on which we feel progress is essential.
First, we must make use of the forthcoming review of the Monterey Consensus on financing for development to re-energize the spirit of partnership and solidarity to provide the financing for the internationally agreed development goals. This must include the implementation of long standing international commitments for development such as on ODA and development assistances to LDCs.
In the context of the financing for development review process, ASEAN views the draft outcome document for the Doha review conference as a good basis to start our negotiations. In it are many positive elements. And given the urgency of the present global situation, the review process must accommodate new challenges and emerging issues. All discussions must be solution-oriented.
Second, at a critical time when the global economy is burdened with high food and oil prices and faces the possibility of global recession, the failure to reach agreement on the Doha Development agenda caused a serious setback to development. ASEAN believes that the UN must provide a clear political consensus to encourage WTO members to return to the negotiating table and focus on development issues.
On ASEAN’s part, we should work towards finalizing the Doha Development Round to open new markets, especially for developing countries, foster development and reinforce openness on a multilateral basis. In addition ASEAN also emphasizes the importance of facilitating the accession of all developing countries, in particular the LDCs, for membership in the WTO.
Thirdly, it is important that our work on sustainable development in the Committee maintain the momentum for addressing climate change. We should help ensure the climate change process remains on track and on time, with progress in Poznan and satisfactory results in Copenhagen. ASEAN is committed to the climate change process.
Determined to complement global efforts to tackle environmental issues, ASEAN has implemented initiatives in a broad range of sectors to address climate change, including greenhouse gas emissions. We have promoted cooperation on aforestation, reforestation, and reduction in deforestation, including by promoting sustainable forest management.
In the context of the food crisis, it is important for the work of the Second Committee to be in line with the theme of the 63rd General Assembly, namely, the impact of the food crisis and democratization of the United Nations. The Committee should take concrete actions to address these issues, to ensure that the United Nations maintains its lead on them.
ASEAN should also like to underscore the significant of partnership and solidarity in undertaking our work in the second committee. Our experience has shown that a strong partnership both within ASEAN and with our dialogues partners have brought about important accomplishments.
Among the most important accomplishments include the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint to transform ASEAN into a single market and production base by 2015, as well as a number trade and economic agreements with dialogue partners that would enhance market access for ASEAN products and services. In real terms these has translated to include a 20% increase in ASEAN FDI Flows and a 30% increase in ASEAN trade in 2007, despite the slowdown in the global economy last year.
Inclosing Madame Chair, while the crises have increased concerns about achieving the MDGs by the 2015 deadline, we must however be ready for life after 2015. Development is a never-ending process. So our development efforts will continue indefinitely.
To that end, our success in addressing today’s crises should not be seen in terms of how well we were able to avert their short term impact. Our success must be measured on how the international community rises to the occasion and realize its global commitments through ensuring sustained global partnership and solidarity for development even beyond 2015.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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