Concerns of island nations top final session of UN Assembly's high-level debate

30 September 2004

The United Nations General Assembly wrapped up its annual high-level debate today by hearing calls for continued assistance to small island nations struggling to deal with development and environmental issues.

Foreign Minister Jérémie Bonnelame of Seychelles said his country wished to be an example of co-habitation between man and nature, and an example of unity and cohesion within a people, two objectives at the heart of the country's development plans. It had committed to a progressive programme of adjustments to give a new dynamic to its economy. As a small island country isolated from markets, the Seychelles remained a vulnerable economy, he noted. Video

H.E. Mr. Fathulla JAMEEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Foreign Minister of Maldives, Fathulla Jameel, said small nations felt more vulnerable to challenges and threats such as terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction, as their security was entirely dependent on the prevalence of global security and the observance of the rule of law by all States. Clearly, the concerns of small States could not be confined only to issues of the environment, climate change, sea-level rise and sustainable development. The ominous threats on the political and security fronts had far-reaching implications on all. Video

H.E. The Honourable Frederick MITCHELL, MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Public Service

In highlighting the devastating effects of the recent wave of hurricanes to hit the Caribbean, Frederick Mitchell, Foreign Minister of the Bahamas, supported the call for an international donors conference to meet the needs of all the countries adversely affected by the storms. He also urged the countries of the region to better plan for eventualities such as hurricanes. They risked losing their dignity if they were not seen to help themselves. However, if the recent hurricanes, as scientific evidence suggested, were related to climate change, it was clear that the region could not hope to defend itself alone. A major shift by the most polluting countries was required, thus assuring the survival of people in the small island developing States. Video

H.E. Mr. Talbak NAZAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Talbak Nazarov, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan, said the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the struggle against international terrorism were urgent problems that needed to be addressed. Another issue facing the international community was the problem of illicit drug trafficking. The volume of narcotics being transported via Tajikistan constituted a serious threat to his nation's stability, he said. Video

Her Excellency Mrs. Maria LEVENS, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Suriname's Foreign Minister Maria Levens said development issues such as the eradication of poverty and hunger, as well as protection of the environment, were among the most important issues that needed to be tackled if one wished to obtain lasting and comprehensive security. Globalization had not delivered vast development opportunities on a worldwide scale. The current world order was still characterized by economic disparities, unequal trade regimes, income inequalities between and within countries, social injustice and declining opportunities for hundreds of millions, she noted. Video

H.E. Mr. Carlos MORALES TRONCOSO, Secretary of State for Foreign Relations

For Carlos Morales Troncoso, Secretary of State for Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic, the fight against poverty, essential for economic development, could not be separated from a country's attainment of democracy, good governance and stability. He expressed deep concern at the rise in corruption and human and drug trafficking in many regions of the world, including his, which jeopardized the development efforts of the countries concerned, and urged international action against those crimes. In addition, he invited countries to rededicate themselves to the fight against HIV/AIDS, which also constituted a threat to the survival of nations. Video

Also participating in the general debate were the Chairmen of the Delegations of Grenada, Lamuel Stanislaus Video; Belize, Stuart Leslie Video; and Australia, John Dauth. Video

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