General Debate
    His Excellency
    Kenneth Baugh
    Minister for Foreign Affairs

    Statement summary

    KENNETH BAUGH, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, noting that long-standing disputes and pockets of instability and conflict continued to fester around the world, stressed that the United Nations preventive diplomacy and mediation capacities must be strengthened. Meanwhile, as peace and development were mutually reinforcing and intrinsically linked to growth and prosperity, it was important to consciously strengthen and support the role of the Peacebuilding Commission. Concerning the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which was “long overdue”, he stressed that the occupation of the Palestinian territory must end. Jamaica supported a solution that recognized the Palestinian State within the 1967 borders and assured the security of Israel. Central to that solution must be Israel’s cessation of settlement building and expansion, and renunciation of violence by the Palestinians.

    In the current difficult financial times, developing countries had been forced to make painful policy decisions aimed at recalibrating their economic plans to address immediate challenges — a “balancing act” that could have dire consequences for their most vulnerable. Two neighbouring countries — Haiti and Cuba — required the attention of the international community; in the case of the latter, the decades-old embargo that had long slowed growth must be lifted. Further, classifications of countries — such as that of Jamaica as a “middle-income country” — sometimes obscured continuing development challenges. The missing link to progress was the urgent need to build capacities in developing countries through infrastructure development, institution-building, and expanding and enhancing productive capacity for competitiveness.

    Unfortunately, development aid and assistance to developing countries continued to fall short of the agreed goal of 0.7 per cent of gross national income, he continued. Jamaica urged its partners to recommit to the development agenda both at the United Nations and in the context of the Bretton Woods institutions. It was also imperative that the Group of 20 activities in the area of development be in accord with the central role of the United Nations, he stressed. Further, the Doha Development Round of negotiations must be re-engaged. Jamaica also supported coordinated and collaborative efforts within the context of the review and implementation of the Aid-for-Trade initiative in support of developing countries and would continue to work with its development and aid partners in building on the supply side.

    As the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline approached, Jamaica remained deeply concerned at the slow pace of delivery on commitments in several key areas, including official development assistance, trade, debt relief and access to new technologies and to affordable essential medicines. It renewed the appeal made by the Prime Minister at the 2010 Summit for an emergency programme to re-energize the Millennium Development Goals agenda. More concessionary loans and grants for debt-for-equity swaps should be among the instruments used. Additionally, he said, as a result of its classification as an upper middle-income country, Jamaica would not be able to access the necessary funds and risked reversing the gains it had made in one area, the HIV/AIDS response. He again urged that the factors used by relevant multilateral agencies in the measurement of a country’s wealth be reviewed.

    He went on to describe Jamaica’s position on issues including non-communicable diseases, food security and environmental sustainability. Touching on disarmament and transnational organized crime, he said that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries continued to face severe threats to their long-term socio-economic development from the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, small arms and light weapons and ammunition. Jamaica had made marked reductions in crime over the past year, he stressed, and was continuing to strengthen the capacity of its security forces and improve the justice system. It believed, however, that the full impact of such efforts would not be seen without an international regime that regulated the sale and transfer of conventional weapons. Finally, in the area of United Nations reform, Jamaica said that one “glaring failure” had been the inability to agree on reform of the Security Council. Moreover, the African countries and the Latin American and Caribbean region still had no permanent seat at the table. “This injustice cannot continue,” he said.

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