Jamaica is pleased to join the international community in celebrating United Nations Day 2008.
Since its founding sixty-three years ago, the United Nations has consistently demonstrated its central role in the maintenance of international peace and security, in advancing the development agenda to promote social progress and better standards of life, and in promoting and protecting fundamental human rights and freedom. This has given the United Nations the unique advantage of addressing the key issues and challenges that confront the international community at the political, economic, social and humanitarian levels. Issues and challenges range from disarmament, regional and national conflicts, sustainable development, migration, natural disasters and humanitarian crises, and development and trade matters.
Over the years, the world body has been at the vanguard of collective action in tackling global issues of common concern and creating an international environment that is supportive of national development efforts. The role and contribution of the UN is particularly critical at this time of turbulence in global financial markets, and higher oil and food prices.
The important role that the UN has been playing is reflected in initiatives that have led to agreement by all countries to implement certain international goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which seek, inter alia, to eradicate extreme poverty, reduce infant and maternal mortality, promote primary education, gender and children’s rights, and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. The diverse nature of the work of the UN continues to draw special attention to issues such as financing for development and combating climate change and global warming. Here in Jamaica, we have sought to work within the framework of the MDGs to help us advance our socio-economic development.
In the area of international peace and security, the United Nations plays a pivotal role. Jamaica has supported this endeavour through its contribution of civilian police to several UN Peacekeeping Missions around the globe in an effort to make the world a safer place. Of particular interest to us has been the work of the UN in support of combating organized crime, in particular the illicit traffic in small arms, and in tackling the global drug problem. This is an area in which we will remain actively engaged and in which we expect the UN to continue to play a crucial role.
The promotion and protection of human rights remains a central feature of the work of the United Nations to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms are not infringed. The UN’s work in promoting the dignity and worth of the human person takes on particular significance as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As a small island developing state, Jamaica regards the United Nations as an invaluable partner. Indeed, there have been several areas in which the work of the UN has contributed significantly to the improvement of the human condition in Jamaica. In partnership with the UN Country Team in Jamaica, we have been able to embark on some key initiatives in order to ensure that we can effectively provide an enabling environment for this and future generations. Although Jamaica has been designated a middle-income developing country, we emphasize the need for sustained international cooperation and assistance and, to this end, look forward to continued collaboration and partnership with the UN funds, programmes and agencies.
Jamaica attaches such importance to the work of the United Nations that we remain committed to efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organisation at the international and national levels. In keeping with this objective, we will continue to be actively engaged in the deliberations at the multilateral level and through our membership of various bodies and commissions of the UN system. By so doing, we can ensure that we are poised to influence the decisions that impact us here at the national level.
As we join in commemorating United Nations Day, let me reiterate Jamaica’s unswerving commitment to the principles and objectives enshrined in the UN Charter. We affirm our belief in the intrinsic values of the United Nations and stand ready to cooperate with the Organisation in the pursuit of lasting peace and sustainable development.

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