H.E. Ambassador Rezlan Ishar Jenie
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations on behalf of ASEAN
The General Debate of the Second Committee
Of the 60th Session of the General Assembly
New York, 3 October 2005
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the ASEAN member countries namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. We congratulate you and other members of your bureau on your respective election and wish you all every success in carrying out your duties.
ASEAN aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Jamaica on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and stands ready to contribute to constructive deliberations and a productive session.
We also appreciate the very useful account of the economic situation and global prospects presented by Under-Secretary-General for the Economic and Social Affairs.
Poverty is a scourge that affects the lives of many. Indeed, from the total 4.8 billion people living in the developing world, 1.2 billion are still living under the poverty line. The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. And we know it will continue to widen until we stop it.
But how can we do that? Development is our best hope.
Fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals and the commitments undertaken at the major UN conferences and summits on the economic and social fields is essential. But the international economic environment has not always been conducive for developing countries.
The debate of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly that just concluded a couple of weeks ago is testament to that. Nevertheless, ASEAN’s faith in the multilateral process remains strong epitomized by the convening of the Second ASEAN-UN Summit held in New York on 13 September 2005.
ASEAN expressed appreciation for the United Nations support for ASEAN’s goal of realizing the three-pillared ASEAN Community namely the ASEAN Security Community, ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Socio Cultural Community. Of special importance is the latter’s continued backing of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP), a successor of the Hanoi Plan of Action, adopted at the 10th ASEAN Summit held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 29-30 November 2004, which focused on accelerating ASEAN integration and narrowing the development gap among ASEAN Member Countries.
We hope the realization of the ASEAN Community will contribute positively to development, stability and peace in the region as well as the world at large. And, ASEAN hopes to establish an ASEAN Charter soon.
ASEAN-United Nations cooperation with the involvement of the various UN specialized agencies needs further enhancement. This will encompass key issues related to development in particular poverty eradication, prevention and control of infectious diseases, natural disaster management, transnational issues, trade and investment, energy.
Still even with the differences in the levels of economic development among the ASEAN member countries, we wish to be a significant player for the wider progress of the Asia-Pacific region. The Regional Ministerial Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: the Way Forward held in Jakarta from 3-5 August this year agreed that concrete cooperation among countries in the region including ASEAN will be further explored to ensure that countries can meet the MDGs.
As a part of South-South cooperation, ASEAN is pleased that greater recognition is being given for South-South’s complementary role in North-South cooperation. In this regard we urge the international community and international financial institutions’ to provide continued support through triangular cooperation for the implementation of the Doha Plan of Action as well as regional initiatives such as the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership serving as a new tool to bridge the two continents.
Development will only result from a genuine and balanced global partnership. Essentially this means that financing for development must run its course.
The developed countries’ commitments made three years ago in Monterrey are the hallmark of the global partnership. At the same time, developing countries continue with their own efforts to mobilize domestic resources and create the best conditions for development in line with national priorities and capacities.
At this juncture, ASEAN considers a follow up meeting to the International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) very useful to assess the distance made since Monterrey and the recent High Level Plenary. For this we are very grateful to the Kingdom of Qatar for offering to host the follow-up to the International Conference on FfD in 2007.
Indeed it is very important to take account of the international commitments on development and move forward with urgency. It is crucial to act on:
(i) A long overdue commitment of 0.7% ODA to support developing countries. For this reason, the establishment of timetables by a number of developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of GNI for ODA by 2015 is encouraging and we hope that those developed countries which have not done so will also follow suit and attain 0.20 percent of GNI for ODA to LDCs so as to ensure the full, timely and effective implementation of their MDGs-based Brussels Programme of Action;
(ii) Improving the quality of aid and aid effectiveness particularly when it comes to aligning assistance with country strategies, untying aid and enhancing developing countries capacity;
(iii) Supporting the initiative to eliminate the unsustainable debts of several HIPCs, whether through multilateral or bilateral channels. Along similar premises, ASEAN reiterates the importance of adequately addressing a viable solution for the debt problem of middle-income developing countries. This includes enforcing the linkage of debt sustainability with the attainment of the MDGs, to create greater fiscal space. A proposal which merits consideration relates to debt for equity in MDG projects - whereby the debt service or principal amount are converted into equities for new projects of at least equal value and with their own potential earnings;
(iv) Supporting the Sixth WTO Ministerial Conference, which will be held in Hong Kong in December 2005, and renewing our call for the successful realization of the goals embedded in the Doha Development Agenda. We stress the importance of regaining the momentum of the multilateral trade talks and pledge strong support to establish full modalities in agriculture and NAMA together with good progress in services, trade facilitation, improvement of rules and solutions in implementation-related issues by the Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. We are confident that there is great opportunity to make Hong Kong a success provided that developed and developing WTO Members closely work and complement each other’s roles. At the end of the day, key countries should take active leadership flexible to accelerate the pace of the on-going negotiations, mindful of each other’s concerns and developed countries being more conscious of the needs of the developing countries as well as small and vulnerable economies;
(v) Continuing efforts to reform the international financial architecture that includes enhancing the voice and participation of developing countries in the Bretton Woods institutions;
(vi) The destructive power of nature is something to contend with too. After the tsunami aftermath in the Indian Ocean, we held an ASEAN Special Leaders’ Meeting in Jakarta, which among others called for establishing an early warning system for tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. In this regard, we welcome the establishment of a worldwide early warning system for natural hazards, building on regional and national capacity including the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System. Moreover, we urge the international community to continue its support in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase in the tsunami affected countries as agreed in General Assembly Resolution A/59/279;
(vii) A crucial factor affecting development is the issue of energy and the high fuel prices. Every country is taking steps to face the challenge. In light of the world’s dependency on fossil fuels and its diminishing supply, greater effort needs to be put into promoting energy conservation, developing alternative energy and renewable energy sources;
(viii) We trust that commitments on sustainable development, science and technology, quick wins will also be enacted.
If we want to catch poverty in its tracks we cannot afford to just wait and see. We have to chart a strategy and act on it. Unfortunately, this is not being followed. If we continue on with the business as usual attitude then we will fail to stop the scourge of poverty.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org