Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Official Statement by Pastor Micha Ondo Bile, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophonie for Equatorial Guinea

Delivered on September 21, 2010 during the UN’s High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals

United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Excellencies, Mr. President and Co-President,

Your Majesties Excellencies,

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great honor to speak at this important high-level meeting on behalf of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who because of many official duties has not been able to attend this important meeting personally and in whose name we direct our warmest congratulations to the Honorable President and Co-President and other officers, responsible for directing the discussions at this Third Round Table on the theme Promotion of Sustainable Development.

Our presence at this meeting highlights the strong commitment of Equatorial Guinea to multilateralism in general, and the principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations in particular. It is in this context and on behalf of the President of the Republic, the Government and people of Equatorial Guinea, which I extend my warmest greetings to Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, and I renew our appreciation for the hard work in management and service of humanity and sustainable development.

This high-level meeting is devoted specifically to discuss the Millennium Development Goals, and is for all of us a great opportunity to give new impetus to achieving these goals.

Therefore, I congratulate the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, for the brilliant initiative and this high level meeting, and for the detailed report, which clearly illustrates the path over the last ten years and that which still remains to be done to reach the finish line successfully. It presents another important opportunity to renew the commitments made by the international community since 2000 during the Millennium Summit and to review progress and strengthen our commitments in order to give a decisive final push in order achieve these goals by 2015.

Also, we understand that this high-level meeting provides an opportunity to chart the way forward, establishing a "road map" or realistic Program of Action, with specific measures to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

Mr. President and Co-President,

The Report of the Secretary-General stresses once again that the goals and objectives set in the Millennium Declaration have not been achieved as desired by us all, and most of the countries, especially developing countries, and those least developed, are generally marginalized in the global economy, and affected by extreme poverty.

Progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals has always been undermined by a series of negative factors, including among others, declining flows of official development aid, severe structural handicaps, falling commodity prices, and for some countries, violent conflicts or post-conflict situations and natural disasters. The global recession has complicated, moreover, the way to 2015, but we must not lose sight of the important and in some cases, significant progress achieved so far by some countries.

The economic crisis left about 50 million people in extreme poverty. The number of children reaching the age of five worldwide has increased steadily, although this progress is not fast enough to achieve the target set in the Millennium Declaration.

Instead, the events that have occurred and the delays experienced since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000, dictate that we must revitalize the consensus among all countries on the challenges and key priorities for action, and that consensus become collective action.

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea understands that in the context of implementing the Millennium Declaration, a series of decisions must be made that jointly involve and encourage all states to implement their commitments made in 2000 and in 2005, in which we proceeded, first, to review compliance with the Millennium Development Goals. These are policy decisions, measures and reforms that should lead all states, and can be applied to mobilize the political will of all countries of the international community and its allies, and also the willingness of all partners firmly committed to fight for the cause of development.

We should all be guided by the needs and expectations of each country and all people in the world. In a world of interconnected threats and opportunities, we should respond effectively to these challenges in the interest of all nations, and particularly of African Nations.

Mr. President and Co-President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Millennium Development Goals represent for Equatorial Guinea a serious commitment to sustainable development. It is for this reason that my Government has taken a series of economic, legislative, legal and administrative measures to enforce the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.

During the past ten years, the economic performance of Equatorial Guinea has been particularly outstanding, thanks to the discovery and operation of major oilfields.

However, the development of oil production has relegated to the background all the traditional sectors of the national economy. Equatorial Guinea's economy now relies mainly on oil, which represents about 95% of GDP and exports. Timber and cocoa, the main sources of the economy in 1990, have almost disappeared, thus the timber which accounted for 40% of exports in 1990, today represents only 1%. This implies the dependence of our economy on oil and its fragility.

To mitigate the effects of poverty and meet the Millennium Declaration, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has embarked on a strategic planning process long-term development, which has led to the holding of two national economic conferences.

The second of these conferences was held in November 2007 under which our Government has established strategic guidelines and priorities that shape and sustain the "Plan of Economic and Social Development and Poverty Reduction in Equatorial Guinea for Horizon 2020.”

In a concrete way, the second National Economic Conference of Equatorial Guinea has defined the main directions of economic and social policies to reduce poverty strongly in Equatorial Guinea for Horizon 2020, which is structured around five (5) major axes, which are: (i) Invest in strengthening economic growth, (ii) Strengthening the development of structured investments, (iii) To promote and strengthen the development of social policy actions, (iv) Ensure a transparent social climate, and (v) Develop the prospects for better monitoring and evaluation of poverty and living conditions of households.

The vision of sustainable development by 2020 adopted by the Republic of Equatorial Guinea means achieving the Millennium Development Goals through the multiplication of our efforts, expanding the sources of production and training human resources to achieve appropriate levels of growth for a competitive economy, capable of eradicating poverty and hunger, as defined under the current Action Plan for the Development of Equatorial Guinea to the Horizon 2020, established by our Government in 2007.

Instruments such as the Social Development Fund (SDF), created by the Government of Equatorial Guinea in 2006, under the diligent assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), are strategic initiatives by our country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

The fund aims to improve social services made available by the Government for the benefit of the population, to facilitate their access to quality basic public services, ensuring sustainable human development and a well-protected environment.

The Fund's main objective is to develop the capacities of the institutions of the social sector ministries and the training of human resources of Equatorial Guinea in developing methods and procedures, management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects.

The financing of this fund is secured with funds of the Government, and an amount of USD $15 million has already been made available to USAID for technical assistance, and the Government has committed to allocate another USD$72 million for the first phase of implementation of projects, which is over five years, representing 0.8% of GDP according to IMF data sources.

My Government is agreeing to contribute substantial financial allocations to the development of activities to promote sustainable human development. To name a few, the contribution made to UNESCO for a prize for research in life sciences, worth USD$3 million and to the African Union for implementation of the Pan-African Center for Science, Technology and Innovation, worth USD$3.6 million. In addition, there are several other financial contributions that have been made in recent years to the Secretary General, the Agencies and United Nations to support the strengthening of their activities.

Mr. President and Co-President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The above measures are to confirm the strong commitment of my country to move towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially to in fully meet those targets set in recent international conferences sponsored by the international community in the economic, social, and related fields. The application and coordination and follow-up results, are the main purpose of this high-level plenary meeting during this 65th Session of General Assembly.

Mr. Chairman and Co-Chairs

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea has not been exempted from the global financial and economic crisis, which has had serious impact on all economic activity in Africa, reversing the process made towards achieving the development goals for the continent.

In several countries of our continent, including Equatorial Guinea, the crisis has slowed progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, as well as toward achieving the development goals set by the African Union, under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

The cause of development and especially the fight against poverty and hunger plaguing the world today can only be achieved through extensive, deep and sustained international cooperation among states, with strong commitment and support from agencies of the United Nations, including the private sector and civil society.

The "Global Partnership for Development" (UNDP) should therefore be based on mutual responsibility and accountability, calling on developing countries to strengthen their economic structures to fight corruption, promote the growth driven by the private sector and maximize the availability of domestic resources to finance national development strategies, while developed countries must necessarily and legitimately support these efforts with a substantial increase of 0.7% of Official Development Assistance.

The need for compliance with the objectives of financing development is becoming increasingly evident in the current global economic crisis where developing and poorer countries are bearing the brunt of that crisis, and how it holds back the progress made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

In our humble opinion, the Millennium Development Goals detailed in the Millennium Declaration in 2000 can be met by 2015, but only if all stakeholders now break with routine, dramatically accelerate and scale up our commitment. To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, there is an absolute need for greater solidarity within the diversity among all states and institutions that comprise the international community.

Thank you.