PRIME MINISTER BATBOLD SUKHBAATAR'S SPEECH AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

AT THE GENERAL DEBATE
OF THE 65TH SESSION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY


September 27, 2010
New York


Mr. President Joseph Deiss,
Mr. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This session of the General Assembly is taking place when certain signs of recovery are being observed in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis fallen on the heels of the sharp spikes in food and energy prices. Although the world is still grappling with effects of these multiple and inter-related crises, the MDGs Summit’s call of last week for intensified collective action gives hope for optimism.
Prime Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar giving speech at the UN


As the world plunged into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression the best minds around the globe sought to get clear answers as to what went wrong and what needs to be rectified. Many argue that the economic theories referred to as neo-liberalism or market fundamentalism that have prevailed for the past quarter century were flawed. Their main premise based on the notion, for instance, that markets are self-correcting and that regulation is accordingly unnecessary seems to be proven wrong. The experience of countries and regions that have achieved rapid growth and progress in poverty reduction has shown that the State can deliberately intervene in the economy and even correct market-based incentives in such a way as to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development. Hence, a “developmental State” concept that envisions a reversal in the thinking on the roles of the State and the market, needs closer consideration.

The United Nations, as a generator of new and innovative ideas and developmental notions, that have changed the world in the past is, in our view, the right place to intimately engage itself into the nurturing of such fundamental concepts that could have a huge impact on development policies and prospects of its Member States. This could prove to be an important aspect of deliberations that you, Mr. President, proposed as the theme for this debate - “Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance”.

It has been widely recognized that today’s global challenges require global solutions. The underlying principles and characteristics of the UN make it an indispensable part in the evolving global governance system. The UN is the world’s most universal, legitimate and authoritative organization and a political center for global cooperation. It represents a unique forum to synthesize solutions to global problems ranging from nuclear weapons to climate change, development to human rights. It is at the UN that we see world leaders commit themselves to make the world a safer, a fairer, a more prosperous and greener place to live for this and future generations.

Yet, it is a fact there are challenges that have found or are seeking to find their solutions outside the UN. The legitimate question would be why? There might be many factors at play, many facets to cover to find an easy answer to that. But what has emerged as obvious from our deliberations is the fact that for the UN to reaffirm its central role in global governance it has to be efficient, its reform has to be vigorously pursued.

Revitalization of the General Assembly must be further pursued so that our deliberations and decisions have more practical and meaningful impact on the lives of people in whose name we act here. The role of the Economic and Social Council in global economic decision-making must be enhanced. The reform of the Security Council aimed at making it more representative of the current world’s reality will certainly be a critical boost to reaffirming the central role of the UN in global governance. Mongolia stands for a just and equitable enlargement of the Security Council by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats and ensuring fair representation of both developing and developed countries.
Development, peace and security, and human rights are the three main pillars of the United Nations. Mongolia welcomes the revitalization of the United Nations’ development agenda as attested by the High-Level Plenary on the Millennium Development Goals last week and, most importantly, by the vibrant international debate in the lead-up to the summit. As a result, we are, clearly, in a much better place today as regards the world leaders’ commitment to intensify the efforts towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.
On our part, my Government has recommitted itself, at the summit, to the acceleration of our efforts towards poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability, the three MDGs where we are lagging behind. We have committed ourselves to a multi-sectoral, participatory and people-centered approach in the MDGs implementation, to improved governance as a foundation for successful development outcomes, and to a better monitoring and evaluation of our work as we move forward.
As we intensify our poverty reduction efforts at home we plan to focus more on issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women as the critical part of success. My government is confident that the newly created UN-Women will be an important partner in this endeavor. This year, Mongolia presented its National Voluntary Presentation on gender equality and the empowerment of women at the ECOSOC and will proceed to improve the legislative framework enabling women to realize more fully their potential economically and politically, have better access to health services for themselves and their children, and participate more visibly in the democratic governance.
Attending to the needs of the most vulnerable is at the core of the UN Development agenda. As a landlocked developing country Mongolia along with other fellow members strives to advocate the interests of this group of countries. Despite the progress in implementing the priorities of the Almaty Program of Action (APA), the landlocked developing countries continue to be marginalized from international trade, they still experience higher cost of moving goods across borders which puts their products at a competitive disadvantage and discourages foreign investment.

With a view to maximizing our coordinated efforts for the full and effective implementation of the Almaty Program of Action and MDGs through enhanced analytical capability and home-grown research on our specific needs, Mongolia initiated the establishment of an International Think Tank for the Landlocked Developing Countries. I am delighted to inform you today that the Multilateral Agreement for this institution was endorsed by the Foreign Ministers of the LLDCs last week at their 9th Annual Meeting. I extend my Government’s sincere appreciation to all stakeholders, including the Secretary-General, the Office of the High Representative and our fellow members for their unwavering support.

Climate change is another critical area for global governance. Building on a progress achieved in Copenhagen in shaping a broad political consensus it is imperative now to invigorate global negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the lead-up to COP 16 in Cancun later this year.

The impact of climate change in Mongolia is undeniable. In less than 20 years more than 70 percent of our territory has been affected by desertification. Hundreds of rivers, springs, lakes have dried up, causing water shortage and biodiversity loss. Yet, climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques suitable for scaling up to meet the country’s needs have yet to be fully identified and introduced. The strategies and programs in place have failed to yield the desired results. And the emergence of mining as a major industry has only heightened concerns over environment. Sustainable management of natural resources and addressing the country’s ecological vulnerability will need, therefore, our sustained focus in the years ahead. Four issues - enforcement, dedication, financing, and development cooperation – stand out as our priorities in addressing these challenges.
Last month my Government held a special meeting in the sands of the Gobi Desert. Desertification is an issue of vital concern for more than 1 billion people in over 100 countries. Continued land degradation – whether from climate change or unsustainable agriculture – is a serious threat to food security, and ultimately to human security of those affected. By virtue of the message from the Gobi my Government expressed its firm resolve to effectively address desertification within the framework of the UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification.

In 2010, we have seen renewed international optimism with regard to multilateral disarmament agenda. This shift in climate was reinforced by the new START and the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit, both of which were welcomed by my Government and were reflected in the outcome of the NPT Review Conference. The Conference agreed on forward-looking action plans that impart a much-needed momentum to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. Mongolia welcomes this outcome and is proud of the contribution it made towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation by declaring its territory as nuclear-weapons-free. This status is fully recognized by the international community as attested by the Final Document of the Review Conference.

Mongolia welcomes the increasing role of the IAEA in contributing to the freedom from fear and freedom from want. The achievement of the MDGs depends to some extent on the contribution of nuclear applications in such areas as nuclear energy, health care as well as food and environment security. Mongolia is expanding its cooperation with the Agency, especially in human resource development, nuclear applications in health and agriculture. The 2009-2014 Country Program Framework, signed last year with the Agency, added development of nuclear energy infrastructure and the country's uranium reserves as a priority area of cooperation.

This year Mongolia has been designated as one of the eight PACT Model Demonstration Site countries. This would help Mongolia to most effectively address the increasing cancer epidemic as well as share its experience with other developing countries. I would like therefore, to take this opportunity to express my Government’s gratitude to the IAEA and its Director-General for their valuable support.

Mongolia welcomes the second review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that, while emphasizing national implementation, stressed the importance of assisting member states in this task. Mongolia takes seriously its responsibility to contribute to the global counter-terrorism endeavor and is party to all anti-terrorism instruments. Last May we hosted together with the United Nations a sub-regional workshop on the implementation of the Security Council Resolution 1373. We firmly believe in the vital importance of furthering development, democracy and respect for human rights in fighting terrorism and building states’ capacities to combat it.
Peacekeeping is an important tool for global governance in the hands of the UN. Since its inception the UN peacekeeping has contributed to preventing and managing violent conflicts, supporting nations in protecting and building peace in a post-conflict environment. Over the resent decade it has gone through important reforms to make peacekeeping stronger, more effective and comparatively cost-efficient. Mongolia wishes to see more coherent interaction between the peacekeeping and peace-building efforts of the United Nations. Over the last decade Mongolia has taken deliberate steps to enhance its participation in UN peacekeeping missions. Mongolia now participates in 6 UN mandated PKOs, including in the most challenging ones in DRC, Chad and Sudan and stands ready to its further expansion.
In the recent past Mongolia has been an active participant in international activities aimed at strengthening institutions and processes of democratic governance, protecting human rights and promoting democratic consolidation. The 1992 Constitution of Mongolia guarantees the Mongolian people the fundamental freedoms and human rights. Mongolia is party to all major international human rights instruments. An independent National Human Rights Commission was set up and the National Human Rights Action Program adopted in 2003 is being implemented.
The Program is a main policy document that aims at improving capacity and accountability of the authorities, enhancing participation of civil society, mass media and private sector, and encouraging public motivation for strengthening human rights protection and combating human rights violations. All in all, it could be summed up that political commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights along with standard-setting are in place in Mongolia.
However, no human rights record in any country is perfect. The implementation of human rights commitments in my country is hampered largely by two gaps, i.e. knowledge gap and capacity gap. Furthermore, emerging trans-boundary threats such as spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, human trafficking, migration and others require an adequate collective response based on effective regional and international cooperation. Mongolia looks forward to a constructive engagement with the Human Rights Council as it prepares to consider our national Human Rights Report under the UPR (Universal periodic review) early November this year.
Direct civic engagement is essential to any type of governance both at national and international levels. My Government endeavors to actively engage civil society and communities in policy development and implementation. We have a partnership agreement with civil society, and through our open-government web-site citizen relay their views and comments to draft policy papers and laws prior to their consideration by Cabinet. Over the past two months I have extensively travelled across the country to see first-hand the development challenges faced in the countryside and hear the views at the grassroots. This kind of direct interaction is essential in identifying people’s both immediate and long-term needs and reflecting their concerns in Government’s activities. Earlier this year, through Mongolia Economic Forum we also had an extensive discussion on economic and development issues with businesses, civil society and media to set our priorities in the years ahead.

To have people employed, educated and healthy, in other words, human development is at the heart of the policies and activities of my Government. Towards this end my Government is pursuing policies to accelerate an inclusive economic growth through wide-scale industrialization and undertaking mega-projects in mining and infrastructure development. National wealth will be distributed to each and every citizen of Mongolia through a newly established Human Development Fund in the form of regular allowances, as well as through healthcare, education and housing benefits.
Mongolia has an honor and privilege to assume the Chairmanship of the Community of Democracies next year and looks forward to a strong collaboration with fellow members and other global stakeholders. In conclusion, may I reiterate Mongolia's strong commitment and support to the UN and close my statement by quoting your words "A strong, inclusive and open United Nations as the guarantor of global governance".
Thank you for your attention

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