THEODORE BRENT SYMONETTE, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas, expressing regret for the recent loss of life and wide-ranging destruction caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, said that devastation reinforced the need for global attention to the adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters. Indeed, the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters, including hurricanes, were among the major challenges facing the Bahamas. Together with economic and social challenges, these and other environmental challenges, such as waste and water resource management issues, constituted serious national constraints. The Government was committed to mainstreaming sustainable development principles into its national development strategies, and progress was being made in protecting biodiversity and promoting renewable energy. It expected that next year’s “ Rio+20” conference would take into account the unmet needs in each of the three pillars of sustainable development.
He said the economic crisis underscored the need for greater effectiveness in global governance, including an enhanced ability to respond to evolving global challenges in an inclusive, participatory and transparent manner. As the role of the Group of 20 grew, the question of how that Group could better engage and consult a wider range of countries, as well as the United Nations, must be answered. He stressed that the aspirations of the marginalized for greater democratization, inclusiveness, representativeness, transparency and accountability were no less legitimate at the international level than at the national one, and the Security Council must be reformed in both its composition and its working methods. At the same time, the United Nations must take on a greater role in a number of areas, including international cooperation on tax matters. Specifically, the committee of experts on that issue should be converted into an intergovernmental subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council.
He further noted that many small middle-income and ostensibly high-income developing States like the Bahamas continued to grapple with the lingering effects of the global economic and financial crisis. National efforts must be met with appropriate and urgent actions at the international level to help sustain progress in achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including through the provision of new and additional resources, the establishment of necessary implementation mechanisms, the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus and the creation of a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system. The Bahamas also welcomed increased dialogue on improving international cooperation on international migration and development.
He underscored that political stability was fundamental to Haiti’s economic and social development and hoped issues delaying the Prime Minister’s appointment would be resolved shortly. He called on donor States to honour their pledges to the Haitian Recovery Fund, some of which remained dishearteningly outstanding. His delegation strongly believed that the members of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) must uphold the highest standards of conduct and that any misconduct must be rigorously investigated and appropriately addressed. Since its presence remained as pressing and urgent as ever, the Mission must be structured for greater relevance and efficacy.
Among other issues, he underlined the interlinked threats from the illicit arms trade, transnational organized crime, and drug trafficking. His Government supported a strong, effective and non-discriminatory Arms Trade Treaty that included the category of small arms and light weapons. Noting his country’s success in combating HIV/AIDS, he stressed the need for support as it turned to preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases. Given the absence of time-bound targets and commitments in the recent United Nations Political Declaration on non-communicable diseases, his Government looked forward to the comprehensive review of the issue in 2014. Finally, he appealed for support for the permanent memorial to be erected to commemorate the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.