H.E. Hasan Kleib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
at the Second Committee
On Agenda Item 56: Group of Countries in Special Situation
New York, 20 October 2009
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprising of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. ASEAN associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished Representative of Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
ASEAN wishes to thank the Secretary-General for his informative reports and the recommendations contained under this agenda item. We commend Mr. Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary General, Special Adviser for Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), for his insightful remark.
The deepening of the global financial and economic crisis, combined with the ongoing energy and food crisis and severe threats of climate change, has given rise to a set of complex and daunting challenges for developing countries, in particular groups of countries in special situation. The prolongation and intensity of the crises has caused significant impacts for both midterm and long-term development prospects to vulnerable groups of countries.
Furthermore, economic and social regression caused by the crisis undermines the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals (IADGs), including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the least developed countries.
Despite some progresses since adoption the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) in 2001, there are still daunting challenges and constraints. The LDCs are unlikely to achieve the goals of the BPOA by its deadline of 2010.
Against this backdrop, genuine partnership between the LDCs governments and their development partners should be further strengthened. Strong support from international community is needed to assist LDCs’ national efforts to mitigate the effects of the global economic crisis and achieve the MDGs and other internationally agreed development goals. In this regard, ASEAN looks forward to the successful Fourth United Nations Conference on the LDCs which will be held in mid 2011. The conference is expected to conclude with a new framework for partnerships for the sustainable development and sustained economic growth of the least developed countries for the next decade.
To this end, Mr. Chairman, ASEAN encourages the United Nations agencies to continue playing a pivotal role in assisting the LDCs to achieve their objectives and goals. Although, most of the UN agencies have already mainstreamed the BPoA into their policies and work-plans, more concrete programs and projects on the implementation of the Plan of Action need to be further promoted.
The lack of territorial access to the sea, aggravated by remoteness and isolation from world markets, inadequate infrastructure and cumbersome border crossing procedures remain challenges for the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs). Although some progress has been made in the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the Sixty-third Session of the General Assembly on the Midterm Review of the Almaty Programme of Action, LLDCs continue to be marginalized from international trade, preventing them from fully harnessing the potential of trade as an engine of sustained economic growth and development. By not fully harnessing the potentials of trade, LLDCs will continue to face challenges in their efforts to establish transit transport systems and achieve their development goals, including the MDGs.
To overcome these challenges, ASEAN believes that the Almaty Programme of Action remains a sound global framework for enhancing strong partnerships in addressing the special needs of LLDCs. Continued efforts should be made to realize viable and predictable transit systems, as well as international trade and trade facilitation through the implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and Declaration. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) should play a more active role, particularly in the area of inter-agency coordination and resources mobilization.
ASEAN attaches a great importance to increasing the capacity of Member States, particularly the less developed ones, to enable them to effectively contribute and optimally benefit from the various ASEAN initiatives, programs and work plans as contained in the Vientiane Action Plan (VAP) for 2004 - 2010 and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI), including the revised Term of Reference of the IAI Task Force, the IAI Work Plan II (2009-2015).
An efficient and integrated transport system is key for ASEAN to integrate with the global economy, improve competitiveness and enhance the inflow of foreign direct investment. ASEAN underscores the importance of further advancing ASEAN transport’s integration and development in the building of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 and agrees to intensify concerted efforts in the timely implementation of the AEC Transport Strategic Schedule and Scorecard and supports ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan (ASTP) 2011-2015. ASEAN acknowledges the importance and critical roles in continuing collaboration and cooperation with ASEAN Dialogue Partners, international organizations and partners and related private sector associations and other stakeholders on strategic transport and infrastructure programs to hasten the establishment of the ASEAN Community by 2015.
In addition, ASEAN also attaches an importance on the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport (AFAFIST). The Agreement will greatly facilitate seamless regional cargo transportation and would serve as guidelines for Member States in undertaking trade facilitation policies. It also represents a significant milestone in ASEAN’s effort to facilitate the transportation of goods within the region. The Agreement puts in place the final enabling framework to support a harmonized, integrated and efficient transport logistics and facilitation environment in ASEAN.
ASEAN reaffirms its commitment in activating the National Single Windows (NSWs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV), in line with the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) Agreement and its protocol that would contribute to the enhancement of intra-ASEAN trade while taking advance of Information and Communication Technology. All these efforts are not only aimed at narrowing the development gap among Member States, but they are also addressing the special needs of the Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Least Developed Country in ASEAN.
ASEAN reaffirms their commitments to cooperate with United Nations agencies and international community to further support the implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action (BPoA) and the Almaty Programme of Action (APoA).
I thank you Mr. Chairman
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