MONGOLIAN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY INSTITUTE
Dedicated to public policy through knowledge-based research 

STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. BATBOLD SUKHBAATAR,
PRIME MINISTER OF MONGOLIA,
AT THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE 65TH SESSION OF
THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
(New York, September 27, 2010)
  

 Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished delegates,

This session of the General Assembly is taking place at a time when certain signs of recovery are being observed in the wake of the global economic and financial crisis, and come on the heels of sharp spikes in food and energy prices. Although the world is still grappling with the effects of those multiple and interrelated crises, the call of last week’s summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for intensified collective action gives hope for optimism.

As the world plunged into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the best minds around the globe sought clear answers as to what went wrong and what needed to be rectified. Many argued that the economic theories referred to as neoliberalism or market fundamentalism, which have prevailed for the past quarter century, were flawed. Their main premise — based on the notion, for instance, that markets are self-correcting and that regulation is accordingly unnecessary — seems to have been proved wrong.

The experience of countries and regions that have achieved rapid growth and progress in poverty reduction has shown that the State can deliberately intervene in the economy and even correct market-based incentives in such a way as to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development. Hence, a new concept of development is emerging that envisions a reversal in the thinking on the roles of the State and the market.
  
  
As a generator of the new and innovative ideas and development notions that have changed the world in the past, the United Nations is, in our view, the right place to engage intimately in nurturing such fundamental concepts, which could have a huge impact on the development policies and prospects of its Member States. That could prove to be an important aspect of the deliberations that the President proposed as the theme for this debate — “Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance”.

It has been widely recognized that today’s global challenges require global solutions. The underlying principles and characteristics of the United Nations make it an indispensable part of the evolving global governance system. The United Nations is the world’s most universal, legitimate and authoritative organization and a political centre for global cooperation. It represents a unique forum for synthesizing solutions to global problems, ranging from nuclear weapons to climate change, and development to human rights. It is at the United Nations that we see world leaders commit themselves to making the world a safer, fairer, more prosperous and greener place to live for this and future generations.

Yet, it is a fact that there are challenges that have found or are seeking to find solution outside the United Nations. A legitimate question would be: why? There may be many factors at play and many facets to cover in finding an easy answer to that question. But what has emerged as obvious from our deliberations is the fact that, if the United Nations is to reaffirm its central role in global governance, it will have to be efficient and its reform vigorously pursued.

  

Developmental states: "The experience of countries and regions that have achieved rapid growth and progress in poverty reduction has shown that the State can deliberately intervene in the economy and even correct market-based incentives in such a way as to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development. Hence, a new concept of development is emerging that envisions a reversal in the thinking on the roles of the State and the market."

The revitalization of the General Assembly must be further pursued so that our deliberations and decisions have a more practical and meaningful impact on the lives of the people in whose name we act here. The role of the Economic and Social Council in global economic decision-making must be enhanced. The reform of the Security Council, aimed at making it more representative of the world’s current reality, will certainly be a critical boost to reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance. Mongolia stands for a just and equitable enlargement of the Security Council by increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent seats and ensuring the fair representation of developing and developed countries alike.

Development, peace and security, and human rights are the three main pillars of the United Nations. Mongolia welcomes the revitalization of the United Nations development agenda, as attested by the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals last week and, most importantly, by the vibrant international debate in the lead-up to the summit. As a result, we are clearly in a much better place today as regards world leaders’ commitment to intensifying the efforts towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.

On our part, my Government recommitted itself, at the Summit, to the acceleration of our efforts towards poverty reduction, gender equality and environmental sustainability, the three MDGs where we are lagging behind. We have committed ourselves to a multisectoral, participatory and people-centred approach to the implementation of the MDGs, to improved governance as a foundation for successful development outcomes, and to better monitoring and evaluation of our work as we move forward.
  As we intensify our poverty reduction efforts at home, we plan to focus more on issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women as a critical part of success. My Government is confident that the newly created UN Women will be an important partner in this endeavour. This year, Mongolia presented its national voluntary presentation on gender equality and the empowerment of women to the Economic and Social Council and will proceed to improve the legislative framework enabling women to realize more fully their economical and political potential, have better access to health services for themselves and their children, and participate more visibly in democratic governance.

Attending to the needs of the most vulnerable is at the core of the United Nations development agenda. As a landlocked developing country, Mongolia, along with other fellow Members, strives to advocate the interests of that group of countries. Despite the progress in implementing the priorities of the Almaty Programme of Action, the landlocked developing countries continue to be marginalized from international trade. They still experience higher costs of moving goods across borders, which puts their products at a competitive disadvantage and discourages foreign investment.

With a view to maximizing our coordinated efforts for the full and effective implementation of the Almaty Programme of Action and the MDGs through enhanced analytical capability and home-grown research on our specific needs, Mongolia initiated the establishment of the International Think Tank for the Landlocked Developing Countries. I am delighted to inform Member States today that the multilateral agreement for that institution was endorsed by the ministers for foreign affairs of the landlocked developing countries last week at their ninth annual meeting. I extend my Government’s sincere appreciation to all stakeholders, including the Secretary-General, the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and our fellow members for their unwavering support.
  
 Distinguished delegates,
 
Climate change is another critical area for global governance. Building on progress achieved in Copenhagen in shaping a broad political consensus, it is imperative now to invigorate global negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the lead-up to the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties in Cancun later this year.
 
The impact of climate change on Mongolia is undeniable. In less than 20 years, more than 70 per cent of our territory has been affected by desertification. Hundreds of rivers, springs and lakes have dried up, causing water shortages and biodiversity loss. Yet, climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques suitable for scaling up to meet the country’s needs have yet to be fully identified and introduced. The strategies and programmes in place have failed to yield the desired results, and the emergence of mining as a major industry has only heightened concerns over the environment. The sustainable management of natural resources and addressing the country’s ecological vulnerability will therefore need our sustained focus in the years ahead. Four issues — enforcement, dedication, financing and development cooperation — stand out as our priorities in addressing these challenges.
 
Last month, my Government held a special Cabinet meeting in the sands of the Gobi Desert. Desertification is an issue of vital concern to more than 1 billion people in over 100 countries. Continued land degradation, be it from climate change or unsustainable agriculture, is a serious threat to the food security and, ultimately, the human security of those affected. Through the message sent from Gobi, my Government expressed its firm resolve to effectively address desertification within the framework of the United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification.
  
Distinguished delegates,

In 2010, we have seen renewed international optimism with regard to the multilateral disarmament agenda. This shift in climate was reinforced by the new START agreement and the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit, both of which were welcomed by my Government and reflected in the outcome of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Conference agreed on forward-looking action plans that impart much-needed momentum to the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons.

Mongolia welcomes this outcome and is proud of the contribution it made towards nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation by declaring its territory to be nuclear-weapon-free. This status is fully recognized by the international community, as attested by the final document of the NPT Review Conference. Mongolia welcomes the increasing role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in contributing to freedom from fear and freedom from want. The achievement of the MDGs will depend to some extent on the contribution of nuclear applications in such areas as nuclear energy, health care, and food and environmental security. Mongolia is expanding its cooperation with the Agency, especially in human resource development and nuclear applications in health and agriculture. Our 2009-2014 country programme framework, signed last year with the Agency, added the development of nuclear energy infrastructure and the country’s uranium reserves as priority areas of cooperation.

This year, Mongolia has been designated one of the eight Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy model demonstration site countries. This will help Mongolia to most effectively address the increasing cancer epidemic and to share its experience with other developing countries. I would like, therefore, to take this opportunity to express my Government’s gratitude to IAEA and its Director General for their valuable support.


Mongolia welcomes the second review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which, while emphasizing national implementation, stressed the importance of assisting Member States in this task. Mongolia takes seriously its responsibility to contribute to the global counter-terrorism endeavour and is party to all anti-terrorism instruments. Last May, we hosted, together with the United Nations, a subregional workshop on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). We firmly believe in the vital importance of furthering development, democracy and respect for human rights in fighting terrorism and in building States’ capacities to combat it.
 
Peacekeeping is an important tool for global governance in the hands of the United Nations. Since its inception, United Nations peacekeeping has contributed to preventing and managing violent conflicts and supporting nations in protecting and building peace in a post-conflict environment. Over the past decade, it has undertaken important reforms to make peacekeeping stronger, more effective and comparatively cost-efficient. Mongolia wishes to see more coherent interaction between the peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts of the United Nations.
 
Over the past decade, Mongolia has taken deliberate steps to enhance its participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions. Mongolia now participates in six United Nations-mandated peacekeeping operations — including the most challenging ones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad and Darfur — and stands ready to further expand its participation.

Distinguished delegates,
 
In the recent past, Mongolia has been an active participant in international activities aimed at strengthening institutions and processes of democratic governance, protecting human rights and promoting democratic consolidation. The 1992 Constitution of Mongolia guarantees the Mongolian people fundamental freedoms and human rights. Mongolia is party to all major international human rights instruments. An independent National Human Rights Commission was set up, and a national human rights action programme adopted in 2003 is being implemented. The programme is a main policy document that aims at improving the capacity and accountability of the authorities; enhancing the participation of civil society, mass media and the private sector; and encouraging public motivation for strengthening human rights protections and combating human rights violations. All in all, our efforts can be summed up by affirming that political commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights, along with the setting of standards, is in place in Mongolia.
  

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However, as has been rightly said, no human rights record is perfect. The implementation of human rights commitments in my country is hampered largely by two gaps, namely, a knowledge gap and a capacity gap. Furthermore, emerging transboundary threats, such as the spread of HIV and AIDS and other infectious diseases, human trafficking, migration and others, require an adequate collective response based on effective regional and international cooperation. Mongolia looks forward to constructive engagement with the Human Rights Council as it prepares to consider our national human rights report under the Universal Periodic Review in early November this year.

Direct civic engagement is essential to any type of governance, at both the national and the international levels. My Government endeavours to actively engage civil society and communities in policy development and implementation. We have a partnership agreement with civil society and, through our open Government website, citizens relay their views and comments to assist in drafting policy papers and laws prior to their consideration by the Cabinet.

Over the past two months, I have travelled extensively across the country to see first hand the development challenges being faced in the countryside and to hear views at the grass-roots level. This kind of direct interaction is essential to identifying people’s immediate and long-term needs alike and to reflecting their concerns in the Government’s activities. Earlier this year, through the Mongolia Economic Forum, we also had an extensive discussion on economic and development issues with businesses, civil society and media to set our priorities for the years ahead. The President returned to the Chair.

To have people employed, educated and healthy — in other words, human development — is at the heart of the policies and activities of my Government. Towards this end, my Government is pursuing policies to accelerate inclusive economic growth through widescale industrialization and by undertaking mega-projects in mining and infrastructure development. National wealth will be distributed to each and every citizen of Mongolia through a newly established human development fund in the form of regular allowances, as well as through health care, education and housing benefits.

Mongolia has the honour and privilege to assume the chairmanship of the Community of Democracies next year, and looks forward to a strong collaboration with fellow members and other global stakeholders. In conclusion, may I reiterate Mongolia’s strong commitment to and support for the United Nations — a strong, inclusive and open United Nations.