JIS News

Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Senator Anthony Hylton, yesterday (Sept. 26) called on the United Nations (UN) to speed up the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at promoting development among poorer countries.
Minister Hylton, who was addressing the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, expressed disappointment at the lack of any significant progress in the implementation of development assistance for developing states especially since last year’s debate was dedicated to action.
Noting that a number of potentially very useful provisions were incorporated in the 2005 Summit Outcome Document to address the vulnerability of the less developed countries, Minister Hylton told the world body that, “Jamaica is concerned that we have not discerned any significant focus on implementation in the area of development over the last year”.
“We have seen no work for example, to implement the commitment to support the development efforts of middle income developing states to help them meet their financial, technical and technological requirements; develop any framework to provide significant debt relief or restructuring of middle income developing countries with unsustainable debt burdens; and implement the development dimension of the Doha Work Programme for smaller economies in the World Trade Organization (WTO),” he stated.
He noted that Jamaica was facing a number of challenges, which must be overcome for the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Some of these challenges are: a debt burden of over 125 per cent of gross domestic product; falling export value; downward market trends due to uncritical approach to globalization and trade liberalization; heavy dependence on imported petroleum, vulnerability to natural disasters and the outward movement of skilled labour.
Minister Hylton said that while it is agreed that much of the resources for financing development must come from trade, the economies of scale were too much among the membership of the influential trade group.
“Jamaica strongly supports the view that fundamental to a viable and equitable trade regime is the need to take account of the wide disparity in structural characteristics and approaches to economic policy among the members of the WTO,” he stated.
While calling for some flexibility in WTO policies, Minister Hylton told the meeting that concerns for the differences in levels of development between developed and developing countries could not be overlooked.
He further pointed to the need for a return to the Doha Round of negotiations, to speed up implementation of development initiatives.
On international peace and security, Minister Hylton told the General Assembly that, “it is undemocratic and ultimately unsustainable that less than five per cent of the membership of the UN continues to wield inordinate power over the rest of us,” and that Jamaica supported the expansion in both categories of membership of the Security Council to include representation from all regional groups.
The Security Council, he said, “should be reflective of the contemporary international community as a whole, based on equitable geographic representation and the increased representation of developing countries.”
On the situation in the Middle East, Minister Hylton sided with the new Security Council Resolution 1701, and urged the international community to make every effort to build on, this new platform to secure lasting peace in the region. The resolution calls for “the immediate cessation by Hizbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations” in Lebanon.
“We must continue to emphasize the critical importance of multilateral diplomacy, of even-handedness and of maximum restraint. We must reinforce the mutually beneficial relationships among us as a community of nations. We must equip the UN to act decisively,” he stated.
Turning to security in the Caribbean region, Minister Hylton expressed concerns for what he said was the illicit spread of small arms and ammunition and the linkages to trans-national organized crimes, including drug trafficking.
He told the member states that Jamaica was disappointed in the outcome of an earlier conference to deal with this growing menace and told the meeting that Jamaica would continue to advocate for the establishment of legislation giving stricter controls to such challenges.