Calling for a new global commitment to peaceful, inclusive development, on day two of the UN General Assembly debate, leaders from the Latin American region warned the United Nations General Assembly that deepening inequality and unfair economic policies by powerful countries condemn vulnerable people to the margins of society and prevent small countries from enjoying the rights enshrined in the UN Charter.
Bolivian President Evo Morlaes Ayma told the General Assembly, that Bolivia and other countries in the region followed a different path from many so-called industrialized nations.
He said, having heard the speeches of other world leaders, he felt their views on liberty, equality, dignity and sovereignty left "a lot to be desired."
President of Bolivia Evo Morales Ayma (UN Photo/Sarah Fretwell)
Even as developed and powerful countries claimed to be experiencing a financial crisis, Bolivia was, among other gains, bringing people out of poverty, expanding its coverage for maternal health, boosting literacy and investing in water and sanitation. President Ayma said.
In short, his country was on the path towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said.
Asserting similar thought, President Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, of El Salvador, said the global development agenda must ensure protection for those most affected by the economic crisis and the impacts of climate change.
For some years, El Salvador's economy stopped growing, and exports declined, as had family remittances, the President Cartagena pointed out.
President of El Salvador Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
"This terrible reality was the result of decades of outside economic and social models that promoted inequality, backwardness and injustice," he said.
As his Government had begun to press ahead with fair and inclusive implementation of the MDGs, that socio-economic situation had changed.
Claiming that El Salvador was on the path of implementing the MDGs, President Cartagena said, the Government reduced the number of homes and individuals living in poverty, and among other gains, boosted literacy, improved access to water and sanitation, and had achieved a "remarkable" decrease in maternal mortality. It had also brought healthcare to the remotest regions of the country.
President Cartagena said, these and other deep changes had been driven by the decision to follow a different economic model, one which focuses on, among others, small farmers, children and the poorest sectors of the country.
Echoing some of the those thoughts, Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of Peru, pointed out that worldwide, inequality has become more acute, deepening the gap that marginalizes the poor from the benefits of progress and development, preventing them from enjoying the rights enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
"It is necessary to strengthen, renew, and uphold our global commitment to develop peaceful relations among peoples, and to find solutions that rule out the use of force to fix our problems," he said.
President of Peru Ollanta Humala Tasso (UN Photo/Amanda Voisard)
He said that the theme of the General Debate regarding establishment of sustainable development goals converges with the post- 2015 development agenda and should help the UN contribute to solving urgent development challenges.
"It is, thus, pressing to integrate the various efforts undertaken separately," President Tasso said.
He stressed that the UN should have a single and comprehensive development agenda.
"Yet, in order to do so, we need to change the equation and put at the centre of our efforts the fight for equality. Let us not make growth an end in itself, but rather, let us turn it into a tool," President Tasso said.
These leaders are among of several other leaders and officials speaking at the 68th Annual General Assembly session of the United Nations in New York.
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