2 July 2002
H.E. Dr. M. Javad Zarif
Deputy Foreign Minister Of the Islamic Republic of Iran
At the High Level Segment of ECOSOC 2002
New York- July 2, 2002
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Mr. President,Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me at the outset to express our deep appreciation for your active and engaged stewardship of the work of the Council, and for a comprehensive introductory statement. We commend the valuable and tireless efforts of yourself and the other distinguished members of the Bureau as well as the Secretariat during the process of informal consultations. We found the report of the Secretary-General for this segment a very rich, substantive and useful document. We listened with keen interest to his comprehensive and quite perceptive opening statement.
The situation faced by hundreds of millions of people in large parts of the world is grim enough to call for realistic, pragmatic and at the same time comprehensive action oriented policies and approaches on a scale and magnitude necessary to address such plight. Your remarks as well as those of the heads of the UN agencies, Breton Woods institution and WTO also highlight the dim prospect before us.
Associating myself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Venezuela as the chairman of G77 and China, we are, of course, very much appreciative of the commendable efforts of the Economic and Social Council in placing the issue of human resource development at the forefront of the UN agenda and in highlighting its development potentials. However, in our view, it is imperative that the United Nations and its related bodies should focus their work on issues of critical importance in respect of transferring knowledge and technology in order for developing countries to build necessary domestic capacities. At stake, therefore, is the role that the United Nations system can and should play in this context. In concrete terms, the question before all of us is how to strengthen the development role of the UN system and by the same token how to enhance the effectiveness of its development activities and its support for national development strategies and programs through promoting access to and transfer of know-how and technology.
My delegation notices with great concern that the requisite adequate resources for the purpose of assisting the developing countries to face challenges before them and to design and implement appropriate policies and strategies for human resource development are not secured by the UN system. The concern over resources shortfalls as per available estimates has been vividly echoed in the conclusions of the recently held International Conference on Financing for Development. We think that within the context of human resources development, the achievement of internationally agreed development goals demands a new partnership between developed and developing countries. To this end and in the spirit of the Monterrey Consensus that emphasizes translation of principles into concrete actions, the fulfillment of the commitments pronounced by individual Governments at the Summit level of that conference is of utmost importance for at least partial achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Moreover, a number of paragraphs on health and education were agreed upon during the final preparatory meeting of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Bali, even though, the entire implementation text is to be concluded in Johannesburg. According to the agreed paragraphs, the goals of sustainable development can only be achieved in absence of a high prevalence of debilitating diseases. It has also called for the provision of technical and technological assistance to developing countries to implement the Health for All Strategy. The text emphasizes the development of programs and initiatives to reduce, by the year 2015, mortality rates for infants and children under 5 by two thirds, and maternal mortality rates by three quarters, of the prevailing rate in 2000, and reduce disparities between and within developed and developing countries as quickly as possible. It is vital for developing countries to have access to safe, effective and affordable drugs and medical technology, to meet those targets.
Furthermore, the text has called for the fulfillment of the MDG on universal primary education for all children, particularly those living in rural areas and those living in poverty, especially girls. In this context, it has asked for the allocation of national and international resources for basic education. We sincerely hope that all partners from now to Johannesburg, join the collective endeavors of the international community for full implementation of Agenda 21, thereby making the WSSD a great success for the humanity.
Let me turn to the situation of human resources development in my country. In a forward looking manner, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has forged a strong commitment to continue the focus on promotion of education and health care system, including reproductive healthcare, particularly in rural and less developed areas. Strong commitment to continue such policies has also been shown by various stakeholders. Without going into the details of our policies and measures which directed us towards the fulfillment of our designated targets in areas of health and education, I would like to briefly refer to the World Bank’s recent assessment on Iran’s socio-economic performance where it says:
Iran has performed splendidly. Concrete results have been achieved in terms of economic and social reforms. The poverty rate has fallen to 15.5% from 47% in 1978. The infant mortality rate dropped to 26 for every 1000 births from 47 in 1990. It has succeeded in building its foreign reserves, in reducing poverty and in ensuring basic education for all Iranian girls. It has paid much of its debt. It has lowered tariffs, removed most non tariff trade barriers and unified its system of multiple exchange rates, all well ahead of schedule.
With due acknowledgement of the support of the related international organization, I should emphasize that the achievements of my country in the field of human resources development is the embodiment of national ownership in terms of the primary responsibility of the government in defining and implementing the appropriate policies.
We are ready, within the framework of south-south cooperation, to share our experiences and the lessons learned with other developing countries both bilaterally and multilaterally and through regional and sub-regional cooperation.
As human beings are the focus of development, it is imperative to create an enabling international environment for development as well as sound macroeconomic policies conducive to high investments rates for further enhancement of human resources in developing countries including mine.
Unfortunately and contrary to our common expectations, the international community has witnessed a tendency to divide the world into unnecessary rival camps through exclusionist policies, which would adversely affect free trade as well as integration of all states into the world economy. Moreover, the rapid resurgence of militarism has brought about huge increases in military expenditures, leading to further exacerbation of the economies of developing countries thus resulting in negative impact on the much needed investment for human resources development. This would also breed discrimination and hostility that could lead to fresh round of arms race. Let me echo the very words of the Secretary General in his report to the present high level meeting of the council; “scant resources, which would otherwise have been invested in education and health, are spent on warfare and conflict resolution”. To this effect we believe that unilateral doctrines and policies that prescribe substantial increase in military expenditures should be dismantled to both prepare for an international political environment conducive to economic growth and expedite the ongoing efforts for human resources development in our countries.
In this context, the initiatives of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran to foster a new paradigm of international relations based on “dialogue among civilization” and “Coalition for Peace” could enable us to spare our own as well as future generations from the need to forge enemies as a tool for management of global governance and create a conducive environment for further implementation of the noble ideas envisaged for the welfare and prosperity of all our people.
I thank you Mr. President