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Second Committee

(New York, October 7, 2009)

Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, General Debate of the Second Committee

 

Mr. Chairman,

Colombia 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.

Allow me to compliment you and the other members of the Bureau on your election to conduct the work of the Second Committee. You can count on the confidence and support of my delegation in the fulfillment of your duties.

Mr. Chairman,

In reaction to the outstanding global challenges we face today, the program of the Committee reflects various and complex priorities. Among them, we highlight the issues related to the responses to the economic crisis, the achievement of food security and the fight against climate change.

The task for Member States will be to approach these issues in a highly pragmatic manner. We must go beyond the simple repetition of past political declarations or the intention to interfere in negotiation processes that exceed the activities of this Body. Well focused, our objective should be more generous: the continuous promotion of solutions implementable by UN bodies and States.

Frequently, the thematic assignments of this Committee and the crosscutting nature of development issues have entailed difficulties in the search of opportunities for making new contributions and avoid duplicities with other decision-making spheres at the international level, such as the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization and some multilateral environmental agreements. At a key juncture to ensure the stabilization of the world economy and consolidate the foundations of sustainable development, my delegation advocates the due accomplishment of the mandate of this Committee, as a complement to the work carried out in other multilateral settings. We must favor the creation of synergies with other institutions and identify opportunities to allow concrete inputs in the field of development by the UN system, including its funds, programs, and specialized agencies.

We are living in a time that demands temperance of speech and effectiveness of action. It is necessary to avoid polarization attempts. On the contrary, we should secure a cooperative spirit as pillar of the work of the Committee, as well as of the partnerships and sound consensus that are required to support development and the achievement of MDGs.

Mr. Chairman,

Forecasts on global economic perspectives are diverse. Despite recognizing that the risks of a generalized depression have been overcome, the most pessimistic predict low levels of growth, investment, productivity and employment in the long run. In contrast, optimistic visions believe in the plausibility of a gradual return to the levels of activity prior to the crisis, in a relatively short period of time.

Regardless of the approach applied in those projections, it is imperative that the international community maintain the level of responsibility and the sense of urgency that it has displayed so far. The processes initiated in order to respond to the crisis deserve our support. This includes the actions led by National Governments or multilateral actors such as the BWIs, Regional Development Banks, the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the G-20, among others.

In the midst of a complex international environment, Colombia has been able to preserve the hard gained achievements of recent years in terms of security, economic performance and social protection. According to the report published by UNDP in past days, the country has shown a significant advancement in the Human Development Index ranking.

In this context, the promotion by the National Government of investment and entrepreneurship with social responsibility has been instrumental. As stated by President Álvaro Uribe before the General Assembly: "Social responsibility is indivisible from the value of capital as a factor in the creation of social wealth and not of speculation. The economic crisis is a crisis of speculation, not of the free entrepreneurship creativity."

In Colombia we have improved entrepreneurial confidence and competitiveness, but most importantly, there has been a reduction in poverty indicators, a core factor to create equality. Though the pace of Foreign Direct Investment has been affected, the decrease has been far inferior to the contraction experienced by global capital flows. Tourism, which has suffered a significant reduction worldwide, has grown in my country by 9.5% this year.

However, Mr. Chairman, the fears of a new wave of protectionism and selective closure of markets -which could frustrate the recovery of developing economies- appear to be valid today. It is essential that the Second Committee sends a clear message rejecting these trends and reaffirming the importance of reaching a satisfactory conclusion of the Doha Round in 2010. Market access is not only central for economic recovery, but also for the correction of imbalances that have affected, for example, global food production and the stability of commodities prices.

Mr. Chairman,

While the negotiations of the UNFCCC progress slowly in Bangkok, Colombia reiterates its firm commitment to the achievement of an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen.

As indicated by our President during the Summit convened by the Secretary-General, climate change constitutes a national priority for my country. Even though Colombia is a minor emitter of CO2, we are voluntarily contributing to this global fight with the protection of over 578 thousand square kilometers of forests, as well as the generation of clean energy. 87% of the energy in Colombia is generated from hydropower and we have advanced in the production of biofuels compatible with food security.

Paradoxically, the country presents the highest Latin-American average of incidence of natural disasters related to climate. The fact of having 28 islands and long coastal extensions in the Caribbean and the Pacific, high-mountain ecosystems and vast biodiversity, among other factors, makes us particularly vulnerable.

Therefore, we expect that the Second Committee elaborate a clear message -guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities- in order to:

• Express the urgency of reaching a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen, with ambitious mitigation commitments by developed countries.

• Reaffirm the need for flexible and inclusive schemes to effectively recognize the efforts of developing countries.

• And raise the priority of adaptation actions, as well as the importance of applying objective vulnerability criteria.

Mr. Chairman,

Other thematic areas such as the process on financing for development, operational activities, South-South cooperation, cooperation with middle income countries and the promotion of renewable sources of energy, are also of the highest importance. My delegation will be actively engaged in our deliberations and activities related to these matters. We already offer all our collaboration, with a view to ensure that the efforts of the GA and this Committee are commensurate to the magnitude of our responsibilities.

I thank you.

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