Position Paper for the General Assembly Second Committee
As a country which consistently implements a policy of international cooperation, the State of Qatar actively engages in financial and economic issues such as discussed in the General Assembly Second Committee. As a member of the Group of 77 (G77) Qatar highly appreciates the discussion of these topics as they are of utmost concern for the developing countries. This year we are concerned with the questions of: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Development; Promoting Low-Carbon Economic Growth in the Developing World; and Protecting Developing Countries during the Current Financial Crisis.
I. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Development
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) improve the way we live and work in countless ways. Especially in combating poverty and poor medical conditions technologies such as the internet can play and will have to play a fundamental role. Therefore, it is a primary objective to connect every place on earth to the internet and therefore with each other. Schools, hospitals, public authorities and other institutions have to be cross-linked. Thereby an important step towards accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) can be achieved. But still, the international community has not been able to bridge the digital divide between developed and undeveloped countries, as the Digital Divide Report from 2006 reveals.
With significant documents like the Declaration of Principles and the Geneva Plan of Action adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society and the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society adopted by the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Tunis, the United Nations have emphasized the need of a reform several times. The State of Qatar wants to confirm its “[…] commitment to the joint world effort to build the information society”, as stated by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, former Prime Minister of the State of Qatar. As a member of the G77, Qatar wants to fulfill its obligations to play a leading role in developing the ICT. Governments as well as the private sector, the civil society and the United Nations have to cooperate closely to bridge the digital divide. The regional cooperations such as the Trans- Eurasian Information Superhighway have the potential to narrow this gap. Qatar has long been a regional leader in promoting the use of ICT, especially in government services and hence established the Supreme Court of Information and Communication Technology. This portal is coordinating the strategic thinking and implementation of ICT initiatives in government, market development, education, health and cyber security.
Qatar, fully aware of the importance of the required resources and infrastructure to implement ICT in the Least Developed Countries, wishes to enhance the Financial Mechanisms for meeting the challenges of ICT for Development as well as to promote the transfer of technologies. ICT have to be available to all so everyone can benefit from its positive impact on everyday life and from the potential it holds for the future. By hosting the International Conference on Communications Development in 2006 and the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2008, Qatar wants to emphasize that it “[…] was and still is in the heart of the international community challenges” as pointed out by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, former Prime Minister of the state of Qatar. It is about time to tie in with the resolutions A/RES/57/295 and A/RES/63/202, to take action by drawing comprehensive and long term national strategies and to follow up the implementation of such strategies.
II. Promoting Low-Carbon Economic Growth in the Developing World
In climate change humankind faces one of the biggest threats of its history. As the detailed report of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) shows and as is widely acknowledged, this threat will confront us with the declining of river flows, with desertification, nutrition supply problems and other serious challenges. As the countries which suffer most from climate change are those least responsible for the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measures have to be taken to support the developing world in building up a low-carbon economy. This has to occur on a basis that can guarantee the developing countries a prospering future while holding the carbon emissions to a minimum. We have to assure that the right to development and equal participation is not endangered by biased restrictions.
The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development adopted at the 17th plenary meeting of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 as well as further conferences and United Nations resolutions state our world’s commitment to sustainable development. The State of Qatar highlights the importance of not only considering carbon dioxide but all of the GHGs, when talking about this problem. As a major oil and natural gas exporter, Qatar is already taking actions by investing in alternative energies and by working on establishing a global market for natural gas, as it is the least GHG producing fossil fuel and an expedient way of lowering emissions in developing countries. Furthermore, Qatar provides financial and technology support for other countries. Being a current board member of the Adaption Fund, Qatar wants to point out the importance of this fund. It has been created to finance concrete adaption programs in the developing countries that are parties of the Kyoto Protocol.
The State of Qatar invites every country to contribute to the process of helping developing countries to a lowcarbon economy. “An optimal and effective solution to the problem of climate change can be found only through an integrated approach addressing climate change in the context of sustainable development.“ as stated by H.E. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Ambassador of Qatar. The international community has to work together to achieve the goals set up in A/Res/63/32 and in the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Considering that the countries responsible for most of the carbon emissions have to take the financial burden, not only for them, but also for less developed countries, an active support has to be established. This support should not only focus on financial but also on technological assistance. The Adaption Fund is a first step, but the international community has to take further actions in this direction. We have to guarantee an easy and durable access to cleaner energy as well as to technology and research exchange in order to assure a healthy and sustainable growth in the developing world, which is for the benefit of us all.
III. Protecting Developing Countries during the Current Financial Crisis
The international community is faced with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The impacts of this crisis can be seen all over the world and people everywhere are affected. However, the developing countries which did not cause this crisis, are affected the most. The consequences are serious, wide-ranging and differing from one country to another. Unemployment, poverty, hunger and infant mortality are increasing dramatically, to name just a few of the aftermaths. The international community is challenged to act in concern and to support the developing countries during this crisis, so that the economic and social progress which has been achieved during the last years, will not be exposed to any danger.
The State of Qatar wants to accent that the sustainability of the aspired resolutions should be in the very fore. The international community has to assure the prevention of a crisis like this by supporting developing countries. This could be achieved by strengthening their positions in case of future economic downturns. All of the already adopted resolutions or reports such as the Report of the Secretary General E/2009/114, A/RES/63/303 and the Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impacts on Development, held in New York in June 2009, are suited models to be enhanced. Coordinated responses of the international community on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its impact on development have to be the goal.
The State of Qatar asks every country to work together on this important issue to assure sustainability in the financial sector of the developing countries. As pointed out in the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development adopted by the Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus in December of 2008, economic resilience „[…] requires constant and more concerted efforts in small and vulnerable economies“, consisting of “[…]international support for capacity building, including through financial and technical assistance“. Qatar considers the different aspects of each country dealing with the financial crisis to be of utmost importance. Hence the only reasonable and effective consequence has to be a detailed analysis of each situation without ignoring the general view. Qatar also calls upon all nations to implement the Doha Development Agenda to guarantee a reduction of market barriers. Therefore, Qatar urges this body to take the upcoming discussions very seriously and asks the international community to fulfill its commitments made prior to the financial crisis.