WSSD Statements: Jordan, Qatar
Bassem I. Awadallah
Minister of Planning Head of Jordanian Delegation
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Johannesburg, South Africa
2 September 2002
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, I would like to express our deep gratitude to our host, South Africa, for providing us with the opportunity to come together and focus our attention on actions to achieve sustainable development. Allow me to thank all those who have worked so hard to make this summit possible.
We meet here today as we recognize our mutual reliance as people and as nations. We have reached cross-roads in Earth's history where we, as humanity, must choose our destiny. As we strive through our collective efforts to reduce the disparities between countries, and enhance inclusiveness and equality, we would do well to draw on the ethical vision of the Earth Charter. It is a vision that seeks to inspire all peoples with a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well being of the human family and the larger living world. In our struggle to bring forth a sustainable global society, we must use this code of conduct as a common standard by which our actions are to be guided and assessed.
Sustainable development can only be achieved if we collaborate together and funnel our energies to achieve the same goal. Jordan participated in The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and reiterated a genuine desire towards achieving sustainable development. Our commitment is reflected in our embracement of Agenda 21 adopted at the Earth Summit and in shaping our national agenda. During the past few years, Jordan has broadened its vision of sustainable development. Projects and policies that are being implemented range from the environment to education to technology enhancement.
Jordan is at the doorstep of integration into the global economy. Since the late 1980's, we have implemented a series of stabilization and structural adjustment reform programs. These reforms steered Jordan's economy away from stagnation to economic growth, from high to low inflation, from substantial to moderate fiscal deficit and from an outstanding to significantly less external public debt.
Access to information and communication technologies has become crucial to a sustainable agenda of economic development and poverty reduction. The increasingly global and interdependent world requires developing countries to bridge the so-called `digital divide' and develop their technology centers into a vibrant, modern and responsive field. The Jordanian Government realized the various dimensions and dynamics of the information revolution, unleashing the creative powers of markets, providing legal and regulatory framework for more competitive markets, and developing policies conducive to enterprise development. In this regard, E-government has moved beyond the conceptual plan to the planning and initial stages of implementation. Furthermore, Internet use and information dissemination have grown rapidly as the country moves towards becoming a knowledge-based economy.
The Government of Jordan has adopted numerous social development programs as a means to improve the living standards of its people. The strong commitment and support afforded by His Majesty King Abdullah II, ensures that all national efforts are synchronized to ensure the success and continuity of sustainable development. The Social and Economic Transformation Program adopted in November 2001 aims to complement and build on the economic successes Jordan has achieved over the past decade. Its overall objective is to achieve sustainable social and economic development, while improving the quality of life and the standard of living for Jordanians.
in Jordan with respect to environmental sustainability is
also promising. New initiatives for biodiversity
conservation are helping alleviate poverty in rural
communities and promote popular support for the philosophy
and practice of nature conservation. Recently, several
projects have been implemented including the development of
eco-tourism and other small nature-based businesses, which
serve as engines of income generation.
Paving the road towards the empowerment of women in Jordan has also been successful. Gender has emerged as a key component in public health and education. Compulsory education for girls through grade 10, combined with child laws, has contributed to female school enrollment and completion ratios that have exceeded those of males. Women are now playing a greater role in all sectors of society. Based on the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the League of Arab States (LAS), Arab states met in 1994 in Amman to develop a Plan of Action for the advancement of women. The plan discussed the importance of incorporating women in decision-making processes. It also emphasized the abolishment of all obstacles preventing women from their rights and their involvement within the social, economic and political spheres.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The process of integrating the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development is far from easy. It is a lengthy and extensive process requiring commitment from all levels of society. We in Jordan believe that human development requires such an integration of political, economic, social and human factors, within a matrix that protects peoples' fundamental human, civil, and political rights and that guarantees freedom of expression and equal opportunity for all. Towards this end, our global engagement aspires to ensure that the spirit of Rio, the Millennium Summit, Monterrey, and Johannesburg, be respected, cherished and ultimately realized into practical actions that are implemented to the benefit of humanity, for the salvation of those who are poor and impoverished will ultimately be reflected in universal stability and prosperity for all mankind in this global village.
Eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today. Addressing issues of poverty has been the cornerstone of international dialogue on sustainable development. However, as indicated by the UNDP Poverty Report in the year 2000, more than three-quarters of countries around the world have poverty estimates, and more than two thirds have anti-poverty plans, but less than a third have set targets.
Already among the world's most water-starved countries, Jordan faces increasing deterioration in the quality and quantity of its water resources because of growing demand. Simply stated, without better management of scarce water resources, sustained long-term development in Jordan will not be possible. The Dead Sea Basin is the lowest point on earth. It is also home to rare wildlife and thirteen endemic plant species. The Dead Sea and its surroundings serve as a unique ecological and historic resource. Presently, the Dead Sea region faces an extraordinary number of environmental and economic challenges as experts expect this magical spot to disappear by the year 2050. Over the past three decades the water level has dropped by approximately 25m, falling at a rate of 80cm to lm per year. The cost to save the Dead Sea is daunting, and we ask the international community to help save this magnificent 'international treasure' from irreversible environmental degradation.
When addressing issues of sustainable development in our
part of the world, one is compelled to mention one of its
main pre - requisites, namely, stability and peace. The
continuing struggle in the region is strangling our economy.
The spillover effects have exacerbated poverty and
Development however, will not be sustained in the region unless a just, lasting and comprehensive peace is achieved. For this to materialize, the core issue of the Arab - Israeli conflict, namely the continuing occupation of Palestine, must end, and the Palestinian people must be granted full and sovereign independence, in order for them to contribute in a meaningful manner to the development of their region. As the United Nations Arab Human Development Report has recently attested, sustainable development in Palestine cannot be achieved while a strangling military occupation stifles opportunities, limits freedoms, and obstructs the daily course of life. An end to occupation is a pre-requisite and it must come now. At a time when Jordan is exerting all possible efforts to stop the violence in the region, bring back the parties to the negotiating table and support the international community in leading the Middle East efforts towards justice, security, and stability, its economic, political and social fronts must be strengthened. Jordan cannot stand alone. To act together today is a moral obligation for all of us.
The gap between developed and developing countries points to the continued need for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the areas of finance, technology-transfer, debt. and trade, and full and effective participation of developing countries in global decision making.
In 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the international community successfully worked together to build the pillars necessary for achieving sustainable development. Agenda 21 contains over two thousand recommendations for action. At the Millennium Summit, the international community set time-bound development goals to be achieved by 2015. Earlier this year, we met in Monterrey to reiterate our joint commitment to meet these goals and we all agreed on the Monterrey Consensus. Now, the international community meets once more, in this nation of struggle, survival and excellence, to commit itself once more to concrete commitments of implementation. We have the will, we know the strategies, and we feel the urgency. We must act now. Together, we can achieve the goals for the sake of humanity, present and future.
His Excellency Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Bin Saud
Head of Qatar Delegation
World Summit on Sustainable Development
02 September 2002
In the Name of
The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful
At the outset, it gives me great honor to convey to Your Excellency the compliments of H.H. Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, coupled with his warmest congratulations on your election to preside over this conference. At the same time, I would like to thank the Government of South Africa and its friendly people for their hospitality and hosting of the sessions of this conference. At this occasion , I must in this respect commend the efforts of H.E. The Secretary General of The United Nation in preparing for and sponsoring of this conference.
Your Excellencies the Heads of Delegations,
This conference held at this level and size demonstrates the great concern which countries of the world attach to the continuity of the process of sustainable development, by all of them discharging their historic responsibilities in sustaining harmony and integration between the environment and other human activities to satisfy present needs without detracting from those of future generations in commitment to the implementation of the 21st Century Agenda agreed upon ten years ago at Rio Earth Summit.
We call through this meeting that all previous steps be reviewed and evaluated with the objective of focusing on the efforts needed for the implementation of the adopted resolutions and recommendations and dealing with all obstacles that faced us, without reverting to the process of renegotiating them.
Convinced of the paramount importance of the environment and the necessity of providing appropriate ground in society to protect it and preserve natural life with the objective of bringing about real change in human and institutional behavior to realize sustainable development and enhance the state capability to draw relevant policies and programs, my country has created a Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves presided over by H.H. The Heir Apparent. It is an autonomous body having control and supervision over all executive quarters that contribute to the realization of sustained development.
Moreover, the State of Qatar has, since 1992, joined and signed a large number of environmental conventions, and promulgated a considerable number of national environmental laws, as well as subjecting all development projects in Qatar to a mechanism of assessing and controlling their impact on the environment. We have joined the treaty on the Protection of Biological Diversity and the CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. We are presently working on increasing the area of natural reserves in the country to become in the next ten years more than 10% of the overall area of the State of Qatar.
Though the State of Qatar has during the last ten years realized in the economic, social, environmental and institutional spheres what confirms its commitment to the preservation of the environment and effecting sustainable development, it emphasizes that all countries of the world, especially those of the advanced world, must necessarily carry out their commitments through persistent collective action in the sphere of realizing sustainable development, on the principle of shared and varied responsibility between countries. It is also their duty in this respect to work for the following:
Helping developing countries face the impact of globalization which might hinder the possibility of effecting sustained development in them;
Urge the donors and United Nations Organizations to support the academic and research capabilities in developing countries, especially in the field of developing programs relating to desalination technologies, bio-technology, and rationalization of the uses of water.
To affirm that WTO works toward freeing trade and opening the markets for exports. In this respect, we emphasize the need for implementing the recommendations of Doha Declaration of WTO Fourth Ministerial Conference, held in Qatar in November last year, which was called "Doha Development Round" for driving the process of sustainable development towards wider horizons in a just and equal manner.
Assisting developing countries in drawing policies and programs which limit deterioration of the environment and natural resources, and to work toward managing them in a sustainable manner in order to achieve water and food security, preserve the ecological system, and biodiversity and combat desertification.
Urge the advanced countries, particularly the industrialized countries, to control the destructive norms of consuming environmental resources, as these countries are primarily responsible for the increasing rates of global pollution.
Offering support to the private sector in order to convert to cleaner means of production.
It is important to point out here to a critical question, that is, the need of the international community to condemn countries which cause, in one way or another, the loss, destruction or deterioration of natural resources during wars and conflicts and compel such countries to pay and reimburse the incurred costs.
In urging the summit to adopt explicit policies on the use of unsafe energy the State of Qatar, being a producer of natural gas which is regarded a clean and safe energy, , affirms before this international conference its keenness on implementing its commitments in the area of fulfilling sustainable development , and it's making efforts toward the realization of human development by focusing on building the potentials and promoting individual standard as well as improving the standards of hygienic and housing services, childhood and maternity care and that of those of special needs, preserving family ties, and providing educational opportunities and decent living conditions for all sectors of the society.
Before closing, I wish you all at this international conference every success.
Wassalam Alaikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatoh