H.E. Ambassador Choi Young-jin, Permanent Representative, at High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council Substantive Session of 2005
We are now in the midst of preparing for the upcoming September summit. The draft outcome document for September was circulated, and we exchanged our preliminary views on it. Meanwhile, the high-level dialogue on financing for development concluded successfully a few days ago. It is our hope that the high-level segment of the ECOSOC, as another phase of this ongoing discussion, will also contribute to the success of the September summit.
I thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report, which takes stock of the progress made in achieving development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and in implementing the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits. The report contains useful recommendations that deserve serious consideration.
My delegation acknowledges the significant progress made towards achieving the MDGs globally. We are concerned, however, that this progress has been slow in some regions of Africa, Asia and the Pacific. We note that the Asia-Pacific region is home to two thirds of the world’s poorest people and nearly forty percent of the total population of least developed countries. If we are to achieve our development goals, we must devote increased attention to least developed countries (LDCs), taking into consideration the special needs of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).
The Republic of Korea agrees with the Secretary-General that a more integrated, synergistic and holistic framework is required for the timely and effective achievement of our shared development goals. Indeed, development goals are interconnected, each goal reinforcing every other. For example, the promotion of gender equality contributes to reductions in maternal and child mortality, environmental sustainability can protect against famine, and so on. Furthermore, it is important to recognize that achieving development goals is closely linked to implementation of the outcomes of the major UN conferences and summits. To facilitate this process, we should strengthen the critical role of the ECOSOC in coordinating various stakeholders’ actions.
Each sector is important in implementing the integrated and holistic framework for development. However, I would like to highlight four key issues that we believe are critical in facilitating the achievement of development goals: financing for development, rural development, health issues, and science and technology.
Without sufficient and reliable financial resources, development goals cannot be achieved. To maximize financing for development, it is necessary to cultivate domestic resources, secure more aid and promote international trade. Domestic resources can be greatly expanded by increasing domestic savings, improving tax administration and making public administration more participatory and transparent. Official development assistance (ODA) must be further increased, continuing the recent growth trend, and the effectiveness with which aid is put to use must be enhanced. To generate reliable resources for development over the long term, successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations is essential, as is assistance in building the competitiveness of developing countries.
The Republic of Korea has actively joined global efforts to mobilize more resources for development. Our ODA doubled between 2000 and 2004, and we are working to increase our ODA still further in the medium and long term. Moreover, in May, in cooperation with the United Nations, the Republic of Korea hosted the Sixth Global Forum on Reinventing Government, where thousands of participants exchanged views and shared experiences on strengthening participatory and transparent governance, which we believe is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of aid.
A second key issue is rural development. Considering that three quarters of the world’s extremely poor people live in rural areas, we believe that national development strategies should be formulated and implemented with a strong focus on rural development. Our own national experience suggests that successful rural development should feature the enhancement of rural infrastructure, the implementation of new technologies to increase agricultural productivity, investment in human resource development, and the active participation of rural communities in employment, income-generation and other projects undertaken by governments.
Our third concern is health. We believe that health issues should be further emphasized in our common efforts to accelerate achieving development goals. Three of the eight MDGs are focused on health: reducing child mortality, reducing maternal mortality and combating diseases including HIV/AIDS and malaria. The cost of these diseases in economic and social terms is staggering. These issues call for urgent action: while we hesitate, people die.
Finally, as the Secretary-General properly points out, science and technology need to be promoted to effectively attain sustainable development. Indeed, advanced science and technology greatly strengthen the potential for long-term development, and accelerate the achievement of development goals at low cost. For example, inventing new and affordable vaccines against infectious diseases would not only prevent illness, but also save considerable resources that otherwise would be needed to cope with the consequences of disease. We believe that it is necessary to build developing countries’ capacity for science and technology and to increase international assistance in the critical research areas of agriculture, health and environmental management.
Recognizing the importance of health issues and the potential of science and technology for development, the Republic of Korea has sponsored the International Vaccine Institute. We are also providing a home and 10 million dollars to the Asia-Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology (APCICT), which was called for in a resolution adopted by the ESCAP this May, and which I am confident that the ECOSOC will endorse when it is considered during the upcoming general segment. The Centre will provide training for policy-makers and professionals in the field of information and communication technology.
In closing, Mr. President,
I wish to reiterate that to achieve development goals, it is necessary to take an integrated and synergistic approach based on global partnerships and shared responsibilities between developing and developed countries.