Statement by Secretary of State - Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H.E. Mr. Kanat Saudabayev,
at the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
(New York, 22 September 2010)
Ladies and Gentlemen ,
This Summit, as part of the process of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, set by the United Nations General Assembly ten years ago, takes on special significance as people all over the world expect from it decisions and outcomes that will live up to their hopes for peace, security, development and prosperity.
The Summit provides an opportunity for the international community to reiterate its commitment to the ideals of the United Nations, laid down sixty five years ago. Achieving the MDGs is a moral and political imperative to ensure a safer future for all humanity. In this regard, Kazakhstan reaffirms its support for these Goals and its commitment to an effective multilateral system, which is indispensable for achieving them.
Sustainable social and economic development, security and human rights constitute the main pillars of the United Nations system; achieving simultaneous progress on all these three tracks represents the best guarantee for international peace and welfare of humanity.
This balanced approach characterizes Kazakhstan's 2010 Chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is one of the key international organizations promoting the concept of common and comprehensive security.
Sustainable development is impossible without security. We believe that the United Nations should play a key role in ensuring peace and, for that, discussions have to be stepped up, within the framework of our world Organization, to take concrete action on disarmament and non-proliferation, the new threats to security, especially terrorism, and finally conflict prevention and post-conflict resolution and reconstruction.
We are convinced that the elimination of the disparity between the developing and developed countries, in terms of their ability to get economic benefits from the global economy, is a pre-requisite for achieving the MDGs. In this connection, we attach particular importance to the speedy completion of the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations. In addition, it is essential to take measures to bridge the gap in the level of technological development between countries.
A deepening global energy crisis and growing threat of adverse climate change on the planet constitute today acute problems that beset the world community. In this regard, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, speaking from this podium in 2007, put forward the proposal to develop a global energy and environment strategy to be discussed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2012. In our vision, the imperative of energy and environmental forecasting and an active strategy of partnership among civilizations developed on that basis, become the most essential elements of a radical and innovative renewal of the global community.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Kazakhstan has been contributing to the achievement of goals set by the United Nations by putting forward initiatives in the area of security, as well as in the economic and humanitarian areas.
Thanks to consistent implementation of social, economic and political strategy of development under the leadership of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, we are successfully addressing the tasks of improving the people's wellbeing in the framework of national sectoral development policies.
The results achieved in Kazakhstan in the process of reforms, development and modernization, in the nineteen years of its independence, reveal that the MDGs are achievable, provided there is a strong political will of the State, clear development guidelines and close international cooperation.
Kazakhstan has not only made progress on the MDGs; on a number of tracks it has assumed additional obligations as part of the "MDG plus" agenda.
In fact, since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration ten years ago, Kazakhstan has demonstrated high rates of economic growth and, already by 2007, doubled its economy compared to 2000; and by 2015 we intend to triple it .
Due to timely economic interventions and financial reserves in the amount of more than 50 billion US dollars, accumulated as a result of the management of natural resources, our country has successfully overcome all effects of the global crisis. Along the way, we have managed to maintain economic growth, reduce unemployment and fully meet all our social obligations.
We intend to carry forward the technological modernization of Kazakhstan's economy within the framework of approved national programme of accelerated industrial and innovative development.
Over the past decade, there has been a fourfold decrease in the number of people with incomes below the subsistence minimum. Hunger has ceased to be an important issue in Kazakhstan soon after its independence.
Spending on education and health has been rising steadily. Over the past ten years, it has grown more than eight times .
The infrastructure of the education and health systems has been upgraded. A unified network of smart schools and medical facilities is being set up across the country.
A nearly 100 percent secondary school enrolment has been ensured. The literacy rate in the country stands at 99.6 percent.
Health indicators have improved significantly. Life expectancy has increased from 65 to 68 years. The incidence of TB has decreased by 30 percent. Maternal mortality has been halved, and there has been a time and a half increase in the birth rate.
Particular importance has been attached to a more active role of women in the political life of the State . The goal is to achieve a 30 percent rate of representation of women in decision-making positions by 2016.
Kazakhstan has made some progress in meeting the commitments to ensure environmental sustainability . The country has been successfully implementing the Sustainable Development Strategy to be reached by 2020.
In order to bring closer the European and Asian processes of transition to sustainable development, Kazakhstan has launched the "Green Bridge” initiative, which provides for the establishment of a broad platform for cooperation in the area of transboundary ecosystems protection and adaptation to climate change. It will be presented in greater detail during the sixth conference of Ministers of Environment, Economy and Social Protection of UNESCAP countries to be held next week in Astana.
We appreciate the assistance provided by the United Nations system and the international community to overcome the effects of environmental disasters in the Aral Sea and Semipalatinsk regions. We also note the importance of a new comprehensive development-oriented approach in addressing the existing set of tasks.
Mr. President ,
This Summit is a test of our collective political will to give a much-needed impetus to the implementation and realization of the Millennium Declaration. Of course, the primary responsibility for achieving the MDGs rests with the countries themselves. Yet the international community can and should support national efforts.
To achieve the MDGs, it is necessary to increase the quantity and quality of official development assistance . In this regard, we welcome the steps taken by many developed countries to fulfill commitments to bring their official development assistance to 0.7 of GDP by 2015.
Until quite recently, Kazakhstan has been a foreign aid recipient. Thanks to successful economic reforms, it has now joined the group of states known as the "new donors". We assist individual countries in the region of Central Asia. For instance , in the case of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan provides grants for training of thousands of Afghan professionals in Kazakh universities and vocational schools, in the amount of 50 million US dollars, which will certainly help the country in its efforts to achieve the MDGs.
We are convinced that achieving the MDGs requires joint efforts of the entire international community towards the further promotion of global solidarity and assistance to developing countries.
A political statement to be adopted at the end of this meeting is a step in the right direction , which will reaffirm the commitment by all Member States to the Millennium Development Goals and reinforce our collective efforts and partnerships in order to attain, by 2015, all that we have set for ourselves. This Assembly has been mandated to facilitate the acceleration of progress towards achieving the MDGs. Kazakhstan is ready to contribute actively to this process and sets an example, proving that the Millennium Goals are achievable.
Thank you for your attention.