Trade not just aid essential for development speakers tell Assembly

The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, said assisting developing countries through increased official development assistance (ODA) is only a palliative, not a remedy. “Aid without trade, would not only be unsustainable but would indeed be self-defeating.” He said. “Trade is and will always remain the recognised engine of economic growth and development.”Pointing out that developing countries continue to face growth impediments, including tariff and non-tariff barriers in developed countries, he called on the international community “to demonstrate the necessary political will to ensure that the Doha Development Round truly takes into account these concerns so as to reach a fair and equitable global trading system for the benefits of our people.”Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili, welcomed efforts by donor countries that have reached global targets for official development assistance (ODA). “However, we reiterate our appeal that developed countries abide by their commitments to help developing countries in all the relevant areas,” he said. “They have to accelerate increased flows of ODA and of foreign direst investment.”He also called on developed countries to “to adopt appropriate measures to fully integrate small and vulnerable economies into the multilateral trading system, cancel debt, transfer technology, render financial and technical assistance, and provide capacity-building programmes for developing countries.”Mohamed Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said the International Community is entering a critical phase in the negotiations related to the Doha Development Agenda. “These negotiations made concrete progress last year in some difficult, controversial areas,” he said, citing agreement on talks regarding trade concessions. He said Qatar is looking forward to the achievement of “solid, ambitious progress” at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in 2006.President Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar reiterated his call for a “Marshall Plan for Africa,” and urged other countries to support the initiative. He also emphasized that the future of the continent is in the hands of its children, and urged measures to ensure that their potential is maximized. “We need an educational system that meets international norms in terms of quality and efficiency,” he said. “A system which will help our people realize their aspirations.” This would allow Africa to play its important role in the global economy.”Saving Africa’s children also requires providing adequate nutrition,” he said, calling for urgent attention to famine on the continent.Malawi’s President, Bingu Wa Mutharika, discussed responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He said the people of Malawi have welcomed the provision of voluntary counselling as well as free anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs. Since the free treatment programme started earlier this year, over 30 anti-retroviral clinics have been established throughout the country for people to receive counselling and treatment.He welcomed international calls for providing assistance for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in African countries, on a grant basis, and the need to encourage pharmaceutical companies to make antiretroviral drugs affordable and accessible in Africa. He particularly commended those who have contributed to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which had enabled Malawi to introduce its free treatment programmes.Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines drew attention to recent natural disasters. “To the extent that international mechanisms exist for prompt and appropriate relief work, they are clearly inadequate for the tasks at hand,” he said, calling for greater UN involvement in responding to disasters. “After all, natural disasters respect no territorial boundaries or power blocs; calamities from nature have a studied ideological neutrality.”At the same time, he pointed out that they “afflict the poor more disastrously than any other group” and called for urgent international attention to the matter. “A sustained, coordinated response is needed if we are to avoid an ignoble ‘disaster fatigue’ which treats a natural disaster in one country as a momentary distraction from normalcy, as television images determine, until the next one arrives.Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Maatia Toafa, said the impact of natural disasters on small island and low-lying coastal countries is devastating, “threatening lives, human rights and our long term survival.” He called for an urgent international response. The damage caused by Hurricane Katrina to the Gulf Coast of the United States three shows the need for serious attention to this matter.He urged stepped-up efforts to combat climate change, and called on all countries to ratify as soon as possible the Kyoto Protocol – which contains legally binding targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. “Not to do so will be to sign on Tuvalu’s death warrant,” he said.The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, joined others in calling for increased attention to the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. The UN needs funds at the ready to intervene rapidly when disaster strikes.For that reason, Luxembourg is working actively to reform the Central Emergency Revolving Fund. Efforts should culminate in the coming months, and should be in place when the Fund becomes operational in early 2006.Haiti’s Interim President, Boniface Alexandre, said that during this decisive moment of transition for his country, international support is crucial. Haiti was looking to organize free and fair elections. “We are aware that support from the United Nations at this time is crucial,” he said.In addition to facilitating a smooth political transition, Haiti’s Government must work for economic reconstruction and social progress, and its efforts must be supported by international solidarity. It was in this spirit that Haiti would work to achieve the MDGs.Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Burundi, said his country has entered an essential phase; after more than 10 years of war and a lengthy period of transition, the conflicting parties have agreed to bury the hatchet. To establish democracy, a government of national unity had been set up with women participating at all levels. Peace in Burundi is closely linked to stability in the Great Lakes region of Africa, he added.Burundi’s achievements in the areas of security are an important step in the right direction, but nevertheless represent just a start in a process that has to be consolidated, he said, emphasizing that economic growth is crucial to allowing people to reap the benefits of peace. “The support of the international community in this difficult period is of supreme importance,” he said, appealing to donor countries to ensure that the level of their commitments is commensurate with the urgent needs of Burundians.”We deplore the murder of journalists in any part of the world in the gravest possible manner,” said Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister, Norman José Caldera Cardenal. He voiced particular concern at the murder of three Nicaraguan journalists in the past three years, “not only because the criminals cut short precious human lives but also because, occurring at the height of the electoral campaign, the murders constituted an attempt to terrorize our journalists and suppress freedom of expression in our young democracy.” He pledged to “continue doing our utmost to punish the guilty and to break up all networks of terror and intimidation.”


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