2 February 2012
Statement by Mr. Eshagh Al habib
Deputy Permanent Representative
of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
at the 50th Session of the Commission for Social Development
on Poverty Eradication- under priority theme: agenda item 3a
(2 February 2012 – New York)
In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate
Excellency, Mr. Chairman,
I would like to begin with congratulating you and the Bureau for your well deserved election. I am confident that under your chairmanship the Commission will have a fruitful and successful session.
Undoubtedly, economic growth is the basic requirement and pre-requisite for addressing poverty. In the absence of a decent level of economic growth the proportion of poverty in any given society will but deteriorate. Yet, it is true that in some parts of the world, even in the most developed ones, economic growth alone has not brought down the level of poverty or vulnerability to poverty in a substantial and sustainable manner.
Thriving a few at the expense of impoverishing and marginalizing the majority in the name of economic growth should not be the approach towards development. Benefits of economic growth need to be distributed more equitably to avoid deepening of inequality. The role of a “development State” which promotes economic growth and inclusive development policies is particularly critical. Macroeconomic policies need to be refocused on the stability of real output, incomes and employment rather than exclusively monitoring of inflation and fiscal deficit.
Meanwhile, there is more to poverty than just inadequate income. Essential social services such as access to basic health and primary education and safe water and sanitation as well as basic social protection are integral parts of policies addressing poverty and essential in measuring the level of poverty or the success in eradicating it.
Therefore, social policies, taking into account the respective responsibilities of public and private sectors, need to be seen as integral to the development process. While, the promotion of full, decent and productive employment is an imperative for macroeconomic policies, in this current time of crisis and increased economic insecurity the provision of basic social protection, its extension to every one and the expansion of social expenditures seems more necessary than ever.
Iran, as one of the world’s major oil producers, during the last two years has undertaken a huge national project on rationalization of prices of energy carriers mainly through elimination of subsidies to this sector. Optimal use of natural resources, reduction of economic distortion and waste as well as protection of environment has been the driving force behind the policy.
To assist vulnerable populations, however, the government has implemented, at the first stage of execution of the project, a national plan of cash transfer up to the remotest parts of the country. On the second stage, it is intended to limit the cash transfer provision only to poor population and families, to safeguard them against possible economic pressure.
A significant shift in the trajectory of fossil fuel consumption has already been registered. However, the more important result, so far, has been the record increase of the income in the poorest provinces and families throughout the country.
Some other achievements of the government towards poverty eradication during recent years are as follows:
- Decreasing the ratio of the population living with income under 1.25 US$ per day, from 4.6 per cent in the year 1997 to less than 0.5 per cent in the year 2008;
- Ratification of the “Poverty Eradication” bill in the parliament in 2005;
- And, establishment of insurance fund for poor villagers.
All these measures show that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran inspired by the Islamic values and principles of Country’s Constitution, attaches great importance to the poverty eradication in all its aspects. Of course, no one size fits all. Each country has its own conditions and circumstances, however, the end result of economic growth, in developed or developing countries alike, should be inclusion of everyone, particularly the poorest ones in the process of development.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its part remains committed to uproot poverty and inequality from its society.
I thank you very much.