5 October 2005

Speakers in Second Committee Highlight Hazards of Climate Change, Natural Disasters, High Oil Prices for Countries with Special Needs

Continuing General Debate, Delegates also Underscore Need to Strengthen Private Sector, Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society

NEW YORK, 4 October (UN Headquarters) -- As the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) continued its general debate today, speakers highlighted the effects of climate change, natural disasters, rising oil prices, transport problems and other hazards on the development of countries with special needs, including small island and landlocked developing States.

The representative of Mauritius, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), underscored the increasing impact of climate change, sea-level rise, climate variability, and natural disasters on small island economies, noting that the frequency, intensity, and span of hurricanes and tropical cyclones had increased, damaging and devastating island livelihoods.  Global warming was like second-hand smoke blowing over such countries, and since they themselves did not emit greenhouse gases, island States should receive financial and technical assistance to counter the effects of emissions.

He also observed that high oil prices were a heavy burden for small islands, which were far from major markets, and energy dependence was a major source of their economic vulnerability.  They could improve their energy efficiency and reduce their consumption, but many island States lacked the policies, information, awareness and education to do so.  Consumers, as well as energy producers, were reluctant to make the necessary initial high investments.

A World Bank representative reinforced that point, noting that growth in developing economies was threatened by the recent spate of natural disasters and high oil prices, in addition to the longer-term threat posed by persistent global imbalances.  Oil prices had more than doubled since late 2003 and the effect of that increase on poor countries could only worsen, partly due to the stagnant prices of their own commodity exports.

Azerbaijan's representative highlighted the multifaceted challenges facing landlocked developing countries, saying they included a low level of trade-openness; a limited ability to respond to export-demand shocks; the negative correlation between transport costs and exports; high import costs; and dependence on the export policies, transport enterprises and facilities of other countries.  Azerbaijan welcomed the further consideration of "smallness" by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a sign of that body's support for landlocked developing countries.

Kazakhstan's delegate said that his own landlocked country was committed to taking early and practical steps to improve its trade, transit, transport and energy capacities.  Together with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Kazakhstan had discussed strategies to establish a transit transport system that would go a long way towards promoting the country's social and economic integration.  Kazakhstan also welcomed international assistance with environmental disasters in the Aral Sea and Semipalatinsk areas.

Mongolia's representative pointed out that trade and investment also played pivotal roles in ensuring sustainable development, emphasizing that trade barriers faced by developing countries wishing to export to rich countries were three to four times higher than those faced by rich countries trading with each other.  If a developing country was small and landlocked, as was Mongolia, it faced further handicaps.  Hopefully, the upcoming Doha Round of trade negotiations in Hong Kong would set up more favourable terms of trade for countries with special needs.

Similarly, El Salvador's delegate stressed the importance of an equitable international trading system in supporting the legitimate aspirations of small developing economies.  The country had just suffered a volcanic eruption, an example of natural disasters that further limited the ability of developing countries to attain their development goals.  The international community should adopt new measures guaranteeing environmental sustainability.

Other speakers underscored the need to strengthen the capacity of the private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society to provide supplemental support to governmental programmes and policies in developing countries, as well as to South-South cooperation.  They also stressed the need to provide debt relief to middle-income developing countries so that they could boost their investment in education, health, rural development, nutrition, greater regional security in conflict-ridden areas, and increased chances for economic development.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Croatia, Libya, Malaysia, China, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sri Lanka, Syria, Costa Rica, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Ecuador.

A representative of the African Union also made a statement.

Other representatives speaking today included those of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Second Committee will continue its general debate at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, 5 October.


The Second Committee (Economic and Financial) met today to continue its general debate.


VANESSA INTERIANO (El Salvador) said that commitments laid down at the 2005 World Summit would require political will in order to achieve consensus on implementing a new development agenda.  Of particular importance was an equitable international trading system to support the legitimate aspirations of small and developing economies.  El Salvador supported innovative financial mechanisms and specific programmes for reducing poverty, as the limitations faced by developing countries were exacerbated by a downturn in the international economy and high energy prices.  In such times, it was necessary to ensure continuity in international cooperation in order to help developing countries to achieve greater progress and the Millennium Goals.

Emphasizing also the need to strengthen South-South cooperation, she said El Salvador would continue to support such projects, which were valuable in enabling nations to improve their skills and transfer knowledge.  It was also necessary to strengthen the role of the private sector in developing countries and that of non-governmental organizations and civil society in providing supplemental support to governmental programmes and policies.  Natural disasters were further limiting the ability of developing countries to reach development goals, as had this week's volcanic eruption in El Salvador.  It was time to adopt new measures to guarantee environmental sustainability.

MIRJANA MLADINEO (Croatia), aligning herself with the European Union, said her country was aware that current aid levels were not sufficient for development purposes and it was necessary to consider the creation of an international finance facility and international taxation as possible complementary sources of financing.  Regarding the environment, Croatia supported the establishment of a worldwide early-warning system for natural hazards, especially in recognition of the vulnerabilities of small island developing States.

Acknowledging Croatia's need for better population planning due to rapid urban growth and degradation in rural areas, she said that measures for integrated water resource management were being examined, and the country was interested in a strengthened United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), as well as the implementation of the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II).  Croatia was also active at the subregional and regional levels and had signed a number of bilateral agreements with its neighbours to fight corruption and organized crime.  It had signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

JABER ALI RAMADAN (Libya) said improvements in the international economy must be translated into sustainable development and progress in reaching development goals.  Many nations were still marginalized from the international economic system, which must be fair and non-discriminatory.  It was also necessary to increase official development assistance (ODA) and encourage public, as well as private, investment to help developing countries attain economic and social development.  Further, the international community must discuss ways to provide financial and technical support to Africa; construct a fair multilateral trading system; and alleviate debt for middle-income countries.

Emphasizing that sustainable development was vital to achieving international development goals, he said there must be a balance between economic development and the environment.  The international community must take the necessary measures to implement all its commitments for sustainable development in a timely manner, especially in the areas of desertification and climate change.  An international strategy was also needed to integrate developing countries into the international economy, allowing them to benefit from globalization.

HAMIDON ALI (Malaysia), associating himself with the "Group of 77" developing countries and China and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that programmes could not be implemented if they were not supported by the required financial resources.  For that reason, Malaysia viewed financing for development as crucial and recalled a proposal adopted by the Group of 77 for the establishment of a monitoring mechanism to ensure that ODA targets were met on time.  At the follow-up meeting to the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Qatar, the international community had been urged to address the reform of the international financial architecture in a holistic manner.

He said the rise in oil prices had had adverse effects on the economies of most developing countries and suggested that the United Nations could play a leading role in canvassing urgent international cooperation to mitigate that problem.  While some countries had taken advantage of the opportunities provided by globalization, inequities between developed and developing countries still prevailed.  Malaysia had launched a South-South Information Gateway as a one-stop information centre where radio, television, film and news content would be exchanged among countries of the South to encourage business opportunities and general understanding.

OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG, Director-General, Department of Multilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, noted that progress in implementing the Millennium Goals had been mixed and uneven.  Today, the world had the financial, technological and human resources to make a decisive breakthrough in human development, yet it remained divided, fraught with disparity and inequality.  Such a "business as usual" attitude was inappropriate when 2.5 billion people -- 40 per cent of the world's population -- lived on less than $2 per day, accounting for only 5 per cent of global income.

She stressed that while aid was an effective weapon in the war against poverty, it must be increased sufficiently to make multiple investments in health, education and economic infrastructure in order to break down cycles of deprivation and ensure sustained growth.  Further, the quality of aid must be improved.  The international community must provide stable and predictable multi-year financing, as well as incorporate the principles of mutual accountability, increased ownership and untied aid.

Pointing out that trade and investment also played pivotal roles in ensuring sustainable development, she said that the trade barriers faced by developing countries exporting to rich countries were three to four times higher than those faced by rich countries trading with each other.  If a developed country was small and had additional handicaps -- it was landlocked, for example -- the situation turned even worse. Hopefully, the Doha Round of trade negotiations would establish more favourable terms of trade for developing countries, especially those with special needs, in the form of enhanced and predictable market access and assistance in building productive and trade capacities.

YAO WENLONG (China), aligning himself with the Group of 77, said the end of the World Summit had marked the beginning of an implementation stage.  An equitable new international economic order, with economic structures that allowed developing countries to make use of their comparative advantage, was called for.  Member States should use dialogue between the United Nations and the international trade and financial institutions to persuade those bodies to put structural issues at the top of their agendas.  Meanwhile, developed countries should open up their markets, remove agricultural-product subsidies, and genuinely implement special and differential treatment.

He said the United Nations should carry out reform more forcefully and play a leading role in consensus-forming, the formulation of rules and expanded participation.  China favoured enhancing the capability of the Economic and Social Council, particularly in constructing an evaluation framework for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and of international cooperation and aid.  Meanwhile, China would also conduct more exchanges with developing countries to advance South-South cooperation.

JAGDISH KOONJUL (Mauritius), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), noted that the recent sharp rise in oil prices was placing a particularly heavy burden on small island developing States, which were far from major markets.  Energy dependence was a major source of economic vulnerability for those States, and the Committee should discuss ways to create more awareness of the need to invest in alternative sources of energy.  By improving the efficiency of energy production, distribution and use, small island developing States could reduce their energy consumption per unit of energy service. But many island States experienced difficulties in adopting energy-efficiency practices and designs due to a lack of appropriate policies, information, awareness and education, as well as a reticence on the part of consumers and energy suppliers to make the initial investments.

He said that the fragile environment of small island developing States had worsened due to climate change, sea-level rise, climate variability, and susceptibility to natural disasters and other global environmental phenomena.  The frequency, intensity, and span of hurricanes and tropical cyclones had increased, creating unprecedented damage and devastation to island livelihoods.  For small island developing States, global warming was like second-hand smoke, but with greater consequences.  They did not produce the greenhouse gases which blew over them, causing no end of problems, and, as the least responsible for emissions, they should receive financial and technical assistance to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Turning to trade, he said the notion of special and more favourable treatment had so far seen little progress, with the exception of the World Bank's "small island exception", through which ODA treatment could be granted to small island economies exceeding the low-income threshold.  For over 30 years, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had been advocating special treatment of small island developing States as a highly desirable response to their permanent problems, both on the financial front and in the multilateral trading system.  Small island developing States were also recognized by UNCTAD as highly vulnerable economies in light of the United Nations Economic Vulnerability Index.  The AOSIS called on the United Nations to work with small island developing States in promoting enhanced capacity-building programmes on trade so that they could translate that recognition into actionable decisions.

YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) drew attention to the needs of landlocked developing countries, saying his country was committed to taking early and practical steps to advance concerns relating to trade, transit, transport and energy capacities. Together with the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Kazakhstan had discussed strategies to establish a transit transport system that would go a long way in promoting the country's social and economic integration.

Environmental sustainability was another priority objective, he said, commending the efforts by the international community to help Kazakhstan with environmental disasters in the Aral Sea area and the Semipalatinsk region.  But those efforts were not enough and development partners should support a General Assembly draft resolution on international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region.  Kazakhstan also supported efforts to develop, put in place and improve cooperation mechanisms involving transborder watercourses, with existing environmental conventions becoming a foundation for such cooperation.

K. BHAGWAT-SINGH, Permanent Observer for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural resources (IUCN), welcomed the Outcome document's recognition of the crucial role played by conservation and sustainable natural-resource management in achieving development.  But ecosystems were still being used unsustainably and, in that regard, the IUCN welcomed the international community's resolution to commit itself to reducing biodiversity loss by 2010.

He also applauded the consideration given to climate change, desertification, water and sanitation, chemical and hazardous waste, oceans, forests, natural disasters, energy and sustainable-development education.  Investing in environmental sustainability helped underpin food production and agriculture, fisheries, tourism, energy, forestry, health and disease management, water quality and availability, and climate regulation.

AMAR BHATTACHARYA, Senior Advisor, World Bank, noted that developing countries had been affected by the world economic slowdown, but their growth had remained strong.  Their expected rate of growth over the next three years -- 5 per cent -- exceeded that of the past decade.  Some regions would outperform others, but they were all seeing higher growth and experiencing its benefits.  Clouding that horizon however, were the recent spate of natural disasters, higher oil prices, the potential of inflationary pressures in real estate markets, and the longer-term threat posed by persistent global imbalances.

Oil prices had more than doubled since late 2003, reflecting sharply rising demand and limited capacity, especially for refined products, he said.  In the short term, the oil market faced considerable uncertainty and prices could rise sharply, depending on supply.  The impact of higher oil prices on poor countries was expected to deepen, partly due to lower prices for their other commodity exports.

On financing for development, he said 2005 had been a year for development, with the recent months seeing a welcome focus on the development agenda.  The annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had called for the translation of international agreements into concrete action plans and measurable steps.  They had agreed to clear the path to the complete relief of debt owed to the Bretton Woods institutions by some of the poorest countries.  There had also been a welcome increase in aid financing, which had risen by some $50 billion from $80 billion in 2004 to $130 billion in 2010, half of which was committed to Africa.  However, efforts to improve and increase aid would take time and there was still a strong need to push ahead with innovative sources of development financing.  It was also important to ensure that financing was delivered in accordance with agreed country performance and the results-based approach.  The quality and predictability of aid were also important.

MANSOUR MOHAMED ALJUWAIED (United Arab Emirates), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, reaffirmed that development was one of the most important issues of the present time.  The United Arab Emirates employed its oil resources to build the infrastructure required for developing other sectors of its economy, especially the agricultural, industrial, commercial and services sectors, to minimize its reliance on oil as a source of income.  In addition, focus was given to human resources through education, social and health care, as well as equal job opportunities for men, women, persons with special needs and the elderly.

He said the United Arab Emirates had extended financial and in-kind assistance to many developing countries, as well as those affected by conflicts and natural disasters.  The Emirates had contributed about 4 per cent of its gross national product (GNP) in ODA in 2004, mostly in the form of grants.

RASHID ALIMOV (Tajikistan) noted that the 2005 World Summit had reaffirmed the viability of the Monterrey Consensus and the need to take action on development issues.  National efforts were critical to ensuring progress in implementing the Millennium Goals, and Tajikistan had worked out a national strategy from 2006 to 2014.  However, international support was needed for many countries to move forward in establishing a domestic climate that respected democracy and the rule of law, and attracted investment in support of the Goals.

Like other countries that had overcome conflict, Tajikistan believed that successful peacebuilding entitled them to international support in building up their economies, in addition to national efforts, he said.  That support included easing the debt burden, removing obstacles to global economic integration, opening up markets, and transferring technology.  The international community should also increase ODA and enhance its quality, putting it on a stable and more predictable footing.  It must also move towards an open non-discriminatory trading system, successfully and promptly completing the Doha Round.  Despite obstacles, achieving the Millennium Goals was still feasible.  However, their attainment required a coordinated and timely response by the world community.

ILEKA ATOKI (Democratic Republic of the Congo), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, described the numerous difficulties his country faced in trying to achieve economic development.  Serious impediments were posed by the lack of infrastructure and transportation; the deterioration of social institutions, caused by the breaking up of families and the destruction of schools; the lack of hygiene and other environmental difficulties; and disease.  Though the growth rate had increased of late, that was due to earnings in the telecommunications sector and did not represent native economic sectors like mining, transportation and others.

He said that given the situation, his country required a post-conflict programme that was specific in nature.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had stated that the likelihood of post-conflict programmes bearing fruit stood at 40 to 50 per cent.  As a country whose natural resources were being plundered through out-of-State terrorism and organized looting, the Democratic Republic of the Congo clearly fell into that category.  Its natural resources should have enabled it to be a regional development leader, and Member States should support the commitments made at the Great Lakes Conference to help it regain its status.  Unless measures were taken to finance a push for Africa, it would be impossible to improve the situation.  Member States were not responsible only for their own peoples, but also for each other.

YASOJA GUNASEKERA (Sri Lanka) said debt relief could substantially increase investment in key sectors in order to achieve development goals, including in education, health, rural development, nutrition programmes for children and other rural and hunger-reduction initiatives.  Excessive debt burdens in lower-middle income countries greatly hindered growth, especially in light of escalating oil prices and depression in commodity prices.  The IMF had estimated that external debt of above 50 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in such nations depressed future growth prospects.  In general, every percentage point increase in debt servicing by low-income countries reduced public investment by about 0.2 per cent.  Therefore, cancelling half their debt would translate into a 0.5 per cent increase in annual growth and fiscal space for increased public and private investment.

Noting that there were still significant trade barriers in the export markets of low-middle income countries, she said globalization had failed to create a level-playing field or to generate expected "trickle down" benefits for improving the standards of living of all people.  The international community should also recognize the nexus between international migration and development, with a view to addressing the challenges and opportunities that it offered to both origin and receiving countries.  International cooperation on migration, which had an impact on economic growth, must be enhanced to ensure that the movement of people across borders was managed in an effective and humane manner.

FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, noted that development rates had declined in the last year, and gains made by several developing countries had been exposed to trade imbalances in the form of exchange rate fluctuations, increases in interest rates and the deterioration of commodity prices.  Trade negotiations had hit snags, leading to questions about the commitment of development partners.  Syria urged Member States to work together towards a suitable conclusion at the follow-up conference on financing for development, to be held in Qatar.

Underscoring the need for development in Africa, particularly through innovative financing, he said the international community must meet the needs of those countries that were most vulnerable to natural disasters.  Questions regarding the digital divide, and its effect on development, should likewise be taken into consideration.

He reaffirmed his country's belief that the use of unilateral sanctions was in violation of international law, and impeded social and economic development.  A clear stance was needed against countries that used such measures.  For instance, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine was required because it presented an impediment to development in the Middle East.

CINTHIA SOTO (Costa Rica) said that increasing ODA without ensuring greater access to markets and eliminating subsidies would create greater dependence on external aid among those that received it, and greater poverty among those that did not.  Development was far broader and more ambitious than simply achieving the Millennium Goals, and sustainable development was an opportunity to ensure general well-being and the full enjoyment of political, social and environmental rights.  Achieving them was a first step forward in the road map of human development.  When designing national strategies, countries should address the Millennium Goals as a whole, rather than in an isolated fashion, since they were all linked.

Development in Costa Rica required a high level of investment in the competing sectors of education, health, transport and other sectors, she said.  Middle-income countries needed predictable aid to confront unexpected setbacks.  Several countries had experienced a certain disillusionment with the World Summit, as much of the Outcome Document repeated or reaffirmed terms rather than proposing new actions.  The challenge now lay in building on what had been achieved, bearing in mind that the poorest would be the most affected by any action.

YASHAR ALIYEV (Azerbaijan), noting that a high growth rate could not be sustainable without an increase in investment, said his country supported calls to increase the share of investment in the field of research and development.  Improved market access for primary commodity exports was also needed, and the development of risk-management strategies in that sector should be considered.  Flexible compensatory schemes for developing countries whose export earnings were derived from extracting industries, such as the minerals industry, should also be examined.  Information on best practices in promoting economic diversification could also be useful.

Azerbaijan was pleased that the problems of landlocked developing countries in terms of their trade relations were receiving attention, he said.  The multifaceted challenges they faced ranged from low trade-openness to limited ability to respond to export-demand shocks, negative correlation between transport costs and exports, high import costs to dependence on other countries' export policy, transport enterprises and facilities. Azerbaijan welcomed the further consideration of "smallness" by the World Trade Organization (WTO) as a sign of that body's support for landlocked developing countries.

EVGENY YUSHKEVICH (Belarus) said the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document lacked far-reaching recommendations on the development of international trade.  Hopefully, the upcoming WTO meeting in Hong Kong would provide a breakthrough in negotiations, taking into account the interests of developing and transition countries.  The environment was the single area of international life with the least clearly expressed foreign policy statements.  Recent unprecedented global changes in the environment called for the strict implementation of international conventions and agreements.

Turning to operational activities for development, he said the primary responsibility for coordinating all types of external assistance was borne by the Governments of beneficiary countries.  It was critical to strengthen partnerships between the developed countries and those receiving development assistance.  The needs of middle-income States, including transition countries, was frequently overlooked by partners and international organizations.  The international community should help those States to enjoy the benefits of globalization by assisting in their full integration into the world economy.

BONIFACE G. CHIDYAUSIKU (Zimbabwe), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that development assistance, debt relief and foreign direct investment (FDI) continued to have conditions attached to them.  That had a negative impact on the ability of developing countries to achieve development.  Progress was needed to extend debt cancellation to include low- and middle-income countries.  The lack of time-bound targets and practical follow-up to the special needs of Africa, especially the challenges that HIV/AIDS posed to the continent, were matters of concern.

He said countries like Zimbabwe needed market access for their products through the abolition of subsidies, trade facilitation and supply capacity-building.  That could only be done when the special and differential treatment provisions contained in the WTO agreements were improved upon.  Furthermore, landlocked countries faced additional challenges associated with the transmission of goods over long distances and across borders.  There was an urgent need for positive outcomes to negotiations on special and differential treatment.

Finally, he said that the use of coercive economic measures and the passing of laws and regulations with extraterritorial impact, including sanctions, to deter developing countries from exercising their sovereign rights over their natural resources should never be encouraged.

DJANKOU NDJONKOU, International Labour Organization (ILO), noted that the 2005 World Summit had put decent work and employment firmly back on the national and global development agendas.  The Outcome Document made an unequivocal pledge to promote fair globalization for all, and to make full and productive employment and decent work a central aim of national and international policies and strategies to achieve the Millennium Goals.  The ILO would be guided by that commitment in supporting national development strategies, continuing to promote links between decent work and other comprehensive national frameworks of the multilateral system.

In efforts to promote decent work, special emphasis must be placed on young people, he said.  On average, young women and men were two to three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.  All too often, they worked unacceptably long hours under informal, intermittent and insecure working arrangements characterized by low productivity, meagre earnings and reduced labour protection.  Within the international community, and as an active contributor to the Youth Employment Network, the ILO had a special role in promoting youth employment.

The ILO also provided technical support to countries in policy formulation, and in establishing or strengthening legislation and administrative measures for the management of labour migration, he said. The aim was to protect the rights of migrant workers and promote their integration into destination countries. The ILO was cooperating in efforts to forge an international consensus on managing migration and developing a sound knowledge base on the subject.

TERUNEH ZENNA (Ethiopia) welcomed the cancellation by the Group of Eight of debt for members of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.  Ethiopia also welcomed the commitment to remove the supply-side constraints of least developed countries in their efforts to enter world trade.  Support for infrastructure development and communication technologies would advance the country's ability to attract FDI.  The upcoming WTO ministerial meeting should complement those commitments by dealing with export subsidies, enhancing market access and removing technical barriers to trade.

He said that the primary responsibility for development rested with the developing countries themselves, and in line with that, the Committee should provide guidance on how to translate commitments into concrete actions.  The development strategies of developing countries should be monitored, as should the commitments made with respect to ODA disbursement and debt relief.  Ethiopia was satisfied with the role and mandate given to the Economic and Social Council in the Outcome Document to follow up and implement internationally agreed development goals.

ELADIO LOIZAGA (Paraguay) stressed that the Second Committee must step up its efforts to ensure financing for development by further highlighting financial issues, such as debt relief and trade liberalization.  The section on trade in the 2005 Summit Outcome Document contained few of the proposals supported by developing countries.  Common objectives to complete the Doha Round of trade negotiations and open up markets, eliminate export subsidies, and reduce internal assistance should be better coordinated.  The international trading system must be free, fair, equitable and two-track, and the so-called 2004 "July Package" must be implemented fully.  The WTO work programme must address issues related to trade to ensure the greater integration of small, vulnerable economies into the global trading system.

Noting that the landlocked nature of his country made it more economically vulnerable, he said he had been struggling in United Nations forums to obtain special recognition of landlocked States since 1957.  High oil prices were now having negative effects on growth, making the transportation of Paraguay's products expensive, and reducing its ability to compete. There was a specific goal pertaining to the needs of landlocked developing countries within the Global Partnership for Development.  That goal had been ratified in the Summit Outcome Document, but was far from being put into practice or becoming a tool to overcome the geographical constraints of landlocked countries.  The international community must press forward in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable groups of countries by achieving greater equity and distribution of global proceeds.

OMOTAYO OLANIYAN, African Union, said that one of the key achievements of the 2005 World Summit had been the strong commitment to attaining the Millennium Goals.  Since its inception, the African Union had made substantial efforts to set up a suitable environment for the continent's sustainable economic growth and development. The African Union's Strategic Framework Plan for Development had the Goals as its benchmark for accelerating and measuring development in Africa, and it was committed to supporting African countries in adopting and implementing national development strategies for achieving the Goals.

He stressed that partnership was central to achieving development goals in developing countries.  Progress should be consolidated by procuring additional resources through external debt relief, improving the global trading system, increasing ODA and FDI, and domestic resource mobilization.  African countries required an increase in resources in order to tackle meaningfully the monumental tasks of sustainable development and poverty reduction.  The African Union welcomed the extension of debt relief to 14 African countries, and the commitment to increase ODA to the region to about $50 billion per year between 2005 and 2010, which would play a significant role in bridging the financing gaps for Africa's development.

MARISOL NIETO (Ecuador), aligning herself with the Group of 77 and China, said inequalities had compromised the ability of developing countries to achieve their development goals.  In order to reach those goals, development partners must fulfil their commitments, which required the exercise of political will.  Hopefully, the political resolve exhibited at the 2005 World Summit would similarly be on show at the WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong.

She said more decision-making opportunities for developing countries were needed to produce a more balanced global outlook, so that the principles of reciprocity and non-discrimination were more frequently exhibited.  Mechanisms to consider the problems of middle-income countries and members of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Debt Initiative were also needed.  Those countries faced situations where funds were being disbursed to meet international financial commitments rather than investing in development plans.

Migration, too, was a highly relevant issue for Ecuador, she said.  There were positive and negative consequences, including the cost of transmitting remittances, and the country looked forward to proposals to address that issue.  The Economic and Social Council's position as a facilitator for the various protagonists in the development arena was essential.

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