General Assembly president pledges action on issues crucial to poorest countries

 

New York, 19 October 2007 (UN Headquarters) – Srgjan Kerim, President of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly has pledged to work in an inclusive and transparent manner to address issues of greatest concern for the world’s most vulnerable developing countries during his tenure and called for active support, assistance and advice in advancing those issues on the General Assembly’s agenda.

 

Addressing a meeting of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Least Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at UN Headquarters in New York today, Mr. Kerim said the crucial issues of sustainable development affected the three groups of countries in a particular and dramatic way.  Coming from a Landlocked Developing Country himself, the challenges faced by the three groups were familiar to him and therefore his resolve to work with them on those issues was strong.

 

Mr. Kerim told the meeting organized by the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States that both development and the preservation of the environment were of greatest concern to the work of the General Assembly, observing that the three groups of countries, representing almost half of the Member States of the General Assembly, were particularly exposed to economic and environmental challenges. 

 

He said he had identified climate change and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as priorities for the current session of the General Assembly because the two issues were closely intertwined and were also central pillars to the three comprehensive programmes of action adopted by the General Assembly for each of the three categories of countries: the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs; the Almaty Programme of Action of the LLDCs and the Mauritius Strategy for the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS.

 

On the MDGs, the Assembly President said he had expressed to Member States his concern that several sub-Saharan African countries, most of whom were LDCs or LLDCs, were not on target to attain any of the MDGs. 

 

“Let us work together to create a new climate of mutual trust and cooperation which would strengthen our ability to make meaningful and prompt progress on all of these issues”,  Mr. Kerim told the meeting, urging action with purpose, determination and vision where everyone accepted shared, but differentiated responsibilities.  By so doing, he added, “we can nurture a new culture of international relations based on international solidarity and tolerance, equality and freedom, respect for nature and a collective responsibility for economic and social development, and international peace and security.”

 

Addressing the meeting earlier, Cheick Sidi Diarra, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) pointed out that the three groups of the most vulnerable countries required special attention and support of the international community, including the General Assembly, to overcome their economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities.  Altogether, the three groups account for 91 of the 192 Member States of the UN. 

 

Mr. Diarra further expressed his confidence that the General Assembly  President would not only give due attention and support to issues of concern to the three vulnerable groups of developing countries, but also draw the attention of the Assembly and the international community to the fulfilment of the commitments made in the three programmes of action.

 

The meeting was also addressed by Mr. Angus Friday, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations and Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS); Ms. Ismat Jahan, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and chairperson of LDCs; and Amid Diallo, Charge d’Affaires, a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Mali to the United Nations and chairperson of the LLDCs.

 

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UN-OHRLLS/38/2007

 

For further information, please contact Derrick Ed Bwalya, Information Officer, Office of the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). Tel: +1-917-367-2471.  E-mail: bwalyad@un.org  Website: www.un.org/ohrlls/