H.E. YOSIWO P. GEORGE
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
IN THE PLENARY SESSION
48TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON AGENDA ITEM 55
UNITED NATIONS INITIATIVE ON OPPORTUNITY AND PARTICIPATION.
NEW YORK, 15 NOVEMBER 1993
For a newly-emerged island country such as the Federated States of Micronesia there can be no higher priority than development, and we are not alone. It is the most widely and constantly discussed subject here at the United Nations. The World itself is divided in many ways, but in no way more familiar to us than between developed and developing, or as it is often put, North and South. One hundred twenty-seven of the UN’s Members, more than two thirds, devote the bulk of our energies here to one thing – development.
This is not surprising, because the United Nations, in concept, is largely about securing the future, and without development, most of the people of the World face a very grim future. But for all the focus up to this point on what is surely a most central concern of Mankind, results have been very uneven. Huge sums have been spent, and in some developing countries great progress has been made, while in others it seems that all the expert analysis, all the planning and all the conferences have made little difference. Even where progress has occurred, too often we see it impacting favorably the lives of only limited groups within societies, while thousands, even millions of others wait in vain for the fruits of development.
In other words, the need exists to find ways of making more efficient use of increasingly scarce assistance dollars, and of reaching those who are not reached by the development process. The proposed resolution under Agenda Item 55 to launch the United Nations Initiative on Opportunity and Participation, addresses that need in the view of my delegation in a most appropriate way. Accordingly, I take this occasion to reiterate the strong support of the Federated States of Micronesia expressed from this podium by Secretary Moses during the general debate. We are proud to cosponsor the proposed resolution, and are grateful to the Government of Papua New Guinea, to Minister Kaputin and to Ambassador Lohia, for their vision and untiring efforts in bringing this matter forward.
Mr. President, my country is one of many that stand to benefit enormously by the process called for in the proposed resolution. My people have had access for a number of years to various forms of assistance, primarily from the United States, both as a Trusteeship and, more recently, as an independent country. We now also receive increasing aid from several of our neighbors in the Asia-Pacific Region. As a UN Member, we are working with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank Group, and we are participating to the extent we can in all the many ongoing processes of this Body aimed at encouraging development. Finally, we participate in a number of Pacific regional organizations where we join with our island brothers to address common developmental problems
But with all this, the pace of development has been and remains very slow in my country. While it is true that today visitors are struck by the advances made in several of our urban centers, much of the rest is little different and for a great many of our people life is largely unchanged. Worst of all, those people have little prospect of becoming part of the process of advancement. Is it because they lack ambition? No. Thanks to modern telecommunications, they are very much aware of their position. Do they lack energy? Certainly not. Survival at or near subsistence level is hard work. Are they oppressed by their leaders? Again, no. Ours is a thoroughly democratic society, and our strong extended family system makes our leaders, if anything, even more accountable.
We would have already become very discouraged, had we not known that most other developing countries are in much the same condition. But just knowing that does not make us better servants of the people. It does not address the ineffectiveness of our utilization of development assistance. It does not give us the insight needed to unlock the great potential lying within broader participation by our citizens in the advancement of their country.
What we do gain from this awareness of similar developmental profiles among developing countries is the realization that many of the fundamental obstacles we are experiencing probably are not attributable to inadequacies unique to us. Thus, through the Initiative on Opportunity and Participation we are given a powerful new resource to gain understanding of our difficulties and chart a more effective course for the future. The work carried out through this initiative will significantly enhance the outcomes of the great developmental efforts now underway, and will, in particular, go far toward facilitating the fullest possible implementation of Agenda 21.
Mr. President, Operative Paragraph 4 of the Draft Resolution invites member States and international organizations to contribute on a voluntary basis towards its implementation. Minister Kaputin has placed us even more deeply in his country’s debt by announcing that Papua New Guinea is making a very generous contribution. The Federated States of Micronesia also wishes to demonstrate its appreciation and support for the initiative, and therefore, at the appropriate time, will contribute to this voluntary fund a sum which will confirm our recognition of its importance to us.
We join all the cosponsors of the Draft Resolution in calling for its adoption by consensus.
Thank you, Mr. President.