General Debate of the High Level Segment of ECOSOC.
(New York, June 30, 2004)
Statement by Ambassador Nicolás Rivas, Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia
A growing polarization in world's economy is being acknowledged with greater sharpness. Poverty wanders all over the planet and spreads in a geometrical progression worsened by pandemies that thrive whereever conditions are hard and natural disasters diminish a population both socially and economically vulnerable.
As a booming trend it threatens to rise a dual mankind: on the one hand, affluent, with never-ending access and squandering; on the other hand, dispossesed, malnourished, illiterate and risking contagious illnesses with the consequence of a shorter life expectancy. Out of the Earth's 6 billion inhabitants 2,8 billion survive with less than $2 dollars a day and 1,2 million with $1 dollar a day. The World Bank highlights that the average income in the top 20 richest countries is 37 times larger thant that in the 20 poorest nations and 1% of the world's population concentrates more resources than 57% of the poorest population. Statistics as alarming as these are repeated over and over again and get worse year after year with the consequence of the consolidation of an international imbalance.
The world's gap as a product of inequality has widened in an expedite manner since the Renaissance without an opposite tendence. An increase during the last centuries can be seen. The Human Development Report 2003 mentions such tendence while measuring the yearly income in 1820's Europe as 2,9 times bigger than that of Africa in the same year while such relation turned out to be 13,2 times bigger during the 1990's.
In as statement delivered on the occasion of the Ministerial Meeting held to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the G-77, the Secretary-General brought to our attention how the world has become even more unequal nowadays in comparison with four decades ago. This can be a consequence of the crisis of the external debt, the dependency on a sole export product, and the restricted access to developed markets as imbalances in the international trade regime, among others.
In spite of the worsening situation for the LDCs and the reduction of the number of middle-income countries -all of which aggravates global inequality-, the commitments acquired by the international community are not only insufficient per se but also late or fully unachieved.
Even though there is wide consensus on the primary responsibility of the States on their path towards development and domestic poverty eradication (as stated inter alia in the Declaration and Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010) there is also agreement on the urgent necessity to deploy international actions to achieve that goal. Those actions can not be limited to a mere support, an accompanying process or a simple resource allocation but also to fostering a national capacity as well as a genuine international economic entourage leading to a competitive economic insertion of developing countries.
My delegation firmly believes that such a space of commercial, symmetrical economic conditions will indeed allow a truly effective development on the basis of granting access to the markets of developed countries, supressing protectionist barriers -particularly subsidy regimes in agriculture- and reorienting international policies on basic products. Globalization cannot be layered in clusters. As the cornerstone of the global village, that phenomenon is the origin of the aim to foster market liberalization by developed States and it is highly contradictory and adverse that those same States keep imposing non-tariff barriers on commerce while turning them into retaining walls for products coming from developing nations. Thus, those nations see their already fragile economies being weakened through unemployment boosting and poverty prolongation. Mere solidarity is therefore not demanded; an effective way to implement corresponsibility or shared responsibility is necessary. Richness is not such if it is not on a par with poverty. Well-being will always be under threat if it is in the hands of a few ones and its access renders it unreachable. Notwithstanding that the Declaration on the Right to Development adopted by the General Assembly recognizes a national dimension it also acknowledges an international approach for the right to development.
The lack of an international favourable environment will not only worsen the current LDC's poverty situation but it will also keep reducing the number of middle-income countries many of which are already being alienated from the benefits of globalization.
In order to reach a more flexible, efficient financing for development and surpass the effects of both national and international crisis in the future a further mobilization of resources is needed together with a strengthening of the regional financing organizations as well as the achievement of official assistance for development, the promotion of foreign investment and the redesign of the international financing architecture.
International support and accompaniment have an important scope in preventing and solving internal armed conflicts. It is proven that conflicts pose a serious threat for development beyond the evil effects on the fundamental rights of those peoples affected by them. A Multilateral Fund under UN administration would help stabilize resource allocation to foster the return of displaced people, assimilate former combatants into society and pave the way to sustainable peace and development in cooperation with States experiencing internal armed conflict situations.
Thank you, Madam Chairperson.