(New York, October 22, 2009)
Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Item 59: Eradication of poverty and development issues
My delegation associates itself with the statement delivered by Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the declaration made by Mexico on behalf of the Rio Group.
1. At a little more than five years from the established deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and in the mist of a complex world economic situation, the fight against poverty must be maintained at the center of the work of the Second Committee.
2. Colombia considers that poverty reduction constitutes a fundamental basis for the construction of more equitable and democratic societies. Taking as pillars the consolidation of security for all its citizens, the promotion of investment with social responsibility and the achievement of a greater social cohesion, the Country has made systematic advances in the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty.
3. From our experience, it has been vital the implementation of policies to favor sustained economic growth, along with job generation, enhanced confidence from citizens and investors, as well as opportunities for entrepreneurship to every sector of the population.
4. In this context, several actions have instrumental. Among others, we highlight those carried out to strengthen the social protection system, increase education and health provision, improve the quality of urban life as well as enhancing access to credit, property and housing.
5. The wellbeing of the most vulnerable sectors of the population is one of the core lines of action within the policies of the Colombian Government. The JUNTOS Network for the prevention and eradication of extreme poverty, which seeks to integrate the poorest homes to the social services provided by State, represents a successful case in this area. This initiative, which is being implemented in a comprehensive and coordinated manner by various institutions, has incorporated 704 thousand families in 769 municipalities of the Country, as of July 2009.
6. Several of the most important social strategies have been designed with gender perspective, aiming at promoting equality and the empowerment of women. The program of cash transfers Families in Action is an example in this area. Through it, conditional subsidies are given to household mothers. In addition to this, initiatives to support entrepreneurship are now focusing on women. Among them, we highlight microcredit programs, business fairs for small-business women and the provision of technical and vocational training.
7. The fact of not having reached an agreement during the previous GA session on the convenience of requesting a report on the implementation of the Second Decade for the Eradication of Poverty has prevented us from getting updated information to guide the discussions of the Committee on this issue. In the current context, it is necessary to have a global outlook of the main challenges in countering the effects of the economic crisis on the world fight against poverty, as well as recommendations, from the Organization's perspective, to make the best use of the strategies to be applied during the Second Decade.
8. On the other hand, we are examining the Secretary-General's report on the legal empowerment of the poor. With regards to this issue, we want to highlight the need to maintain the development perspective in the analysis and negotiations of the Second Committee, as well as avoiding discussions that may divert us from the valuable ?action oriented? consensus that have been reached in the past. The empowerment of the most vulnerable must be understood from a comprehensive perspective, which, of course, should incorporate their economic and social empowerment, as well as a greater participation in decision-making.
Colombia reiterates its constructive and open spirit in the study of new approaches that could enrich intergovernmental agreements in the fight against poverty. Beyond specific conceptual frameworks, the challenge is to evaluate the practical utility of these approaches in enhancing our collective actions to ensure the achievement of superior commitments already made, such as those derived from the Millennium Declaration and the agenda on financing for development.
The key in these efforts will be to transcend the discussions on notions and concepts, and instead, focus on the consolidation of strategies to overcome existing gaps in the implementation of intergovernmental commitments, in order to materialize our willingness to cooperate and work in solidarity for the eradication of poverty.
I thank you.