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Second Committee

(New York, November 2, 2009)

Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations, Item 53: Sustainable Development


Mr. Chairman,

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.

Mr. Chairman,

1. It is hard to identify another moment in history as the one we are experiencing today, one in which humanity has had to confront numerous and significant challenges derived from its relationship with the environment.

2. Among them, the dependency on limited natural resources, the environmental deterioration resulting from activities aimed at insuring economic growth, the negative consequences at a global scale that this implies, and the lack of capacity to assimilate and counteract these consequences.

3. Without a doubt, climate change is the phenomenon that most evidently summarizes the mentioned challenges, as well as the need to generate timely, durable and collective solutions, under the principal of common but differentiated responsibilities.

4. For Colombia, given its high vulnerability rate, the fight against climate change constitutes a national priority. The country presents the highest average of natural disaster incidences related with climate in Latin American in the last 30 years. Just in 2008, wintry tragedies left over a million people affected and serious effects on the productive sector. The investment made by the State in disaster prevention and attention since 2005 is superior to 1.8 million dollars.

5. Among other vulnerability factors in Colombia, we include the existence 28 islands with over 100 thousand habitants in total, extended coastlines in the Caribbean and Pacific, high mountain ecosystems and the second biodiversity reserve in the planet.

Mr. Chairman,

6. In contrast with the seriousness of the situation, the Colombian economy has been relatively clean. Our average emission per GDP point is inferior to the Latin American average, which is itself significantly lower than the global average. As was affirmed by President Alvaro Uribe in his speech at the General Assembly: "Colombia is a net producer of oxygen and a small contributor of CO2".

7. In effect, one of the highest contributions to this world fight is reflected on the protection of over 578 thousand square kilometers of forest, which is in great extension Amazonic. One of our emblematic programs is "Forest Ranger Families" that has linked more than 90 thousand rural families to the collective work of taking care of forests, keeping them free from illicit crops and watching over their recovery. In the program, supervised by the United Nations, over 340 million dollars have been invested.

8. For such reasons, among other, we consider that the incentives for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), must be adequately reflected in the regime under the Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. A flexible scheme that allows a higher recognition of the huge efforts that countries carry out in different territorial levels is required.

Mr. Chairman,

9. Colombia trusts that the General Assembly will be clear and creative in elaborating a message to the Conference of the Parties to be held in Copenhagen. An encouraging message, one that reaffirms the need for a comprehensive, fair and ambitious agreement.

10. However, this is not the only positive message we expect from the Assembly this year. Close to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in 2010, it is a priority to ratify the need to culminate and adopt an international regime on the access to genetic resources and the fair and equal distribution of the benefits derived from its use. The regime, which must be binding, is fundamental to combating biopiracy, protecting traditional knowledge and stimulating the protection of the patrimony of biodiversity that megadiverse countries, such as Colombia, have.

11. We also expect that this period of sessions serve to reach concrete goals on the discussion about the promotion of new and renewable sources of energy. It is important for the resolution on this issue to go beyond the repetition of agreed drafts and adequately reflect the advances made on this area in the global, regional, and national levels. The production and use of sustainable renewable energy represents a fundamental action front to foment economic and social development, protect the environment, and confront climate change. In my country's case, 87% of the energy is produced from hydro resources and comprehensive policies have been promoted for the production and sustainable use of biofuels. Currently, Colombia is the first Latin American producer of biofuels and the second of ethanol. The production is made from sugarcane and African palm, in harmony with food security.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to finish by reiterating Colombia's firm and constructive compromise with sustainable development. The comprehensive treatment of this issue by the Assembly results vital to secure coherence among international measures aimed at promoting a global environmental welfare, as well as economic stabilization and social advances. This approach is equally indispensable to recover the course towards the achievement of the "Millennium Agenda" and, in particular, the eradication of poverty.

I thank you.


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