Address by H.E.Mr. Franck Biancheri at the Generale Debate of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly

Copyright United Nations Department of Public Information

Statement by: H.E.Mr. Franck Biancheri

27 September 2008

English Video

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me the outset, Mr. President, to convey to you my warmest congratulations upon your election and to acknowledge, through you, the Latin American and the Caribbean States who made possible this presidency of this noble Assembly. Let me assure you as well as the members of the Bureau that my Delegation will lend them its full support during the 63rd General Assembly.

I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his resolute action for peace and renew to him our sincere and full support.

Finally, allow me to state what a great honor it is for me to take the floor today for the first time at the rostrum in such lofty spheres.

Mr. President,

The great and regretted poet Aimé Césaire said: A civilization that is unable to resolve the problems it itself creates is a decadent one.

We know what the sufferings of our civilization are. We have identified the solutions needed to treat them. The issue at stake here is implementing them.

Eight years ago, in this very hall, all the UN members States adopted the Millennium Declaration, the decisive tool to fight against poverty, to promote peace and security, human rights and to ensure a sustainable environment. It provided the framework for eight precise goals accompanied by clear timeframes: I'm referring to MDGs.

My message today is a simple one: the international community cannot afford to fail in the implementation of the MDGs given the triple food, energy and environmental crisis which so seriously impact the global planet. To achieve the goals we set for ourselves for this new Millennium, we will have to step up our efforts and build on concerted action in the only universal forum have, namely the United Nations.

Mr. President,

Eight years ago, we together drew up a road map with quantified goals. We spelled out the steps to be taken to reduce poverty, fight hunger throughout the world and to combat pandemics. Eight years ago, the situation was a very alarming one. We could not have imagined then that things could worsen. Since then we have been faced with the energy crisis which has the effect of increasing scarce resources, the food crisis with the soaring price of basic food, and the climate crisis which is the effect of human activity on the environment. In addition to this already very gloomy picture we now have the financial crisis with constant repercussions the economy with its full impact still to be felt.

Each country suffers from the consequences of these crises in a differentiate way depending on its geographic location, its economy, the size of its trade and financial market share. And each country attempts to face them with their own means. The Principality of Monaco, at its level, has chosen to respond to these crises with the resources to hand: namely the food and the climate crisis.

Much of the progress achieved during these past few years in helping people suffering from hunger and malnutrition have been canceled out by the soaring increase in the price of basic foodstuffs. Two billion individuals beings are seriously at risk at the very moment when the world cereals production has reached a record high. The African continent and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, with 60% of its population affected by this crisis, is yet again the most threatened continent. Nonetheless, it remains clear the right to food is a basic human right. Last year, during the High Level Conference in Rome, the international community adopted the Declaration on world food security: the challenges of climate change and bioenergy. One which Monaco fully backs. The Principality also joins the appeal in favor of the creation of a World Partnership articulated around the High-Level task Force on the Global Food Crisis.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II announced in this very hall a year ago, His decision to substantially increase Monaco's ODA. The Principality's Government is bearing no effort to achieve the target of 0,7% of its Gross National Income by 2015, through an increase of 25% every year of our ODA and by focusing our actions on LDCs. In 2008, 22 countries have thus benefited from a development partnership with the Principality mostly located around the Mediterranean basin as well as in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to this bilateral cooperation, Monaco regularly contributes to large Funds and Programmes of the UN System such as WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNDP, UNFPA, whose expertise and setup is capable of helping the poorest populations.

Additionally, climate change and the disruptions it causes have a direct impact on the sustainability of our actions for development. The climate crisis, desertification, increasing shortages of water resources have all worsened the food crisis. Antoine de St Exupéry said We don't inherit our planet from our parents, we borrow it from our children. And by analogy the international community is not allocating the necessary sufficient funds to repay this loan.

The Principality's Government, led by our Head of State and in cooperation with the Prince Albert II Foundation has committed itself actively to the International Polar Year in order to draw the attention of as many people as possible to the consequences of global warming. The Arctic icecap is worthy of all our attention as it shows us of the consequences of the global warming as well as having an impact on climate change itself.

Last year in adopting the resolution on oceans and the law of the sea, Member States expressed their deep concern over the vulnerability of the environment and the fragile ecosystems of the Polar Regions, including the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic ice cap. Monaco also proposed for adoption by UNEP's Governing Council Tenth Special Session which took place in the Principality of Monaco in February 2008, the Decision on Sustainable Development of the Arctic Region.

We will continue our commitment to this cause in the coming months when Monaco will host two meetings on the Arctic: the first in November 2008, organized by the French Presidence of the European Union, and the second, organized by UNESCO at the beginning of next year. Finally, I would also like to state that the Principality solemnly reiterated its interest in the Polar Regions by acceding to the Antarctic Treaty on 31 May this year, and H.S.H. Prince Albert II will go on a scientific mission to Antarctica next January.

Mr. President,

Regardless of the obstacles we have encountered on the roadmap decided upon in 2000 we have to stay on track. Let's roll up our sleeves, consult each other and work together to multiply our forces and create genuine synergies.

I should like to reiterate the deep commitment of the Principality of Monaco to the UN, the only genuinely universal organization, which has at its very core Human Rights and the Dialogue between Nations. The UN Charter guarantees the sovereign equality of States as well as the Rule of Law. Fifteen years ago Monaco became member of the UN. Ever since, our small Principality has travelled a long path in the international arena by becoming member of the Council of Europe in 2004 and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership last year.

Without the UN, Human Rights might not have reached today's universality. Many ceremonies this year again remind us of the essential role of the UN here. For example, the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child as well as the 20th Anniversary of the Adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The world has changed since the San Francisco Conference. Today, we have to see to the modernization of the UN and to adapt its institutions with our democratic principles as well as to new geopolitical equilibria. As H.S.H. Prince Albert II stated here last year Monaco supports for an increase of the members of the Security Council remains.

Mr. President,

Only the combined efforts of all partners will enable us to achieve real progress in our fight against poverty, for better healthcare and education, access to water and the protection of the environment. As stipulated in the recommendations Steering Group for Africa the responsibility for achieving the Goals remains primarily with African Governments, who have shown tremendous leadership in recent years and who are putting into place bold programs that are likely to attract financial support of partner countries for development.

Real progress has been achieved since 2000, especially in the area of health care. Monaco contributes to various WHO and UNICEF programs and participates in the effort to combat HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anemia, TB and Malaria.

The largest possible national efforts if they are made individually without coordination will be insufficient to fight the scourges that affect our planet, especially the African continent.

An assessment of ODA policies, sharing of good practices, coordination of development assistance, partnership with the private sector, micro finance, the promotion of alternative incomes, are all instruments, which alongside the due priority to be given to the central role of women in the economy, will enable us to achieving the MDGs over the next seven years.

Thank you.