H. E. Mr. Marty M. Natalegawa
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of
the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
Agenda item 118: Programme Budget for the Biennium 2008-2009 - Development Related Activities
New York, 14 October 2008
Let me begin by welcoming the Deputy-Secretary-General, Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro. I would like to thank her for introducing the Secretary General’s report (A/62/708) on this important agenda item. Thanks also to the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Ms. Susan McLurg for the related report (A/62/708.Add.40).
Before continuing, I would like to affirm my delegation’s support for the statement made by the distinguished delegation of Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 & China.
My task is a simple one. I merely wish to underline the strategic importance of the issue before us, development-related activities. These are often treated lightly in the budget. Yet, ironically, development is one of the three main pillars on which the UN rests.
My emphasizing development is not, however, intended to diminish the significance of the other two pillars – namely, peace & security and human rights. But it is a truism that without the existence of development, the other two pillars will never be sustainable. As the Secretary-General, himself, informed us in 2007 when introducing the proposed programme budget for 2008-2009, and I quote:
“Bear in mind a fundamental principle: there is an unbreakable link between peace, human rights and development -- the three pillars of our work. You cannot have one without the others. They go hand in hand, part of an organic whole. If we lose sight of this fact, we cannot hope to achieve our goals”, unquote.
Regrettably, our budget does not reflect this perspective. Even today, we note only a proposal to slightly increase the allocation for the development-side of the budget. While aware of the limited resources available to us, most of us agree that more could have and can be done to finance the United Nations’ development work. There is no disputing the fact that development is seriously underfunded, when compared to the resources required for its achievement globally.
In 1970, General Assembly resolution 2626(XXV) called for the economically advanced Member States to pledge 0.7 percent of Gross National Product (GNP) for Official Development Assistance (ODA). Developed countries accepted that challenge, but to date only 5 developed countries have achieved that target. In 1998 we also established the Development Account. Yet, a decade later, the proposed level of “only” $200 million has not been attained.
Those promises look empty to the present generation who are witnesses to the current financial crisis. As we speak over a billion people have been living in extreme poverty, on less a dollar a day, for decades. Clearly, we can and must provide more – more of everything: time, attention, efforts, and resources - to the United Nations’ development pillar.
Nevertheless, Mr. Chairman, I assure you that despite the exceptionally limited resources assigned to development-related activities, my delegation will work constructively with others to ensure the optimal utilization of those additional resources requested by the Secretary-General.
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