World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


WSSD Statements: Libya, Rwanda, Thailand




H.E. Mr. Abdurrahaman Mohamed Shalgam
Secretary of the General Committee for Foreign Liaison
and International Cooperation

at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
3 September 2002

Mr. Chairman.

Ten years ago the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted basic principles and a work programme aimed at achieving sustainable development . In reviewing what has been done during the past decade we do find several accomplishments, but they remain less than what we aspired to and hoped to achieve. Most peoples of the world have not seen the benefits of science and technology. Unsustainable patterns of production and consumption still persist, forests are being demolished, the air is poisoned, and rivers polluted. An infinite number of animals is threatened by extinction. Epidemics old and new are rampant, and the hordes of the deprived and disadvantaged whose per capita income is less than one dollar a day is on the increase. In developing countries, a majority amongst us here, there is still need for a favorable environment capable of overcoming persisting problems in the domains of finance, trade, technology transfer, and external debt.

Mr. Chairman.

Conditions, such as these pose serious challenges, the value of our work is embodied in the action we take to respond to them and overcome them in the course of our endeavor to accelerate the achievement of the Rio objectives, and those of the 21s` Century Agenda. The starting point, in our view, is to adhere to those principles and objectives, and to reaffirm that they remain as valid today as they were in 1992. We must commit ourselves to the achievement of these objectives in their entirety, along with, the other development aims agreed upon internationally and notably in the UN Millennium Declaration, the results of major conferences, and special sessions of the UN General Assembly, which have developed specific programmes for confronting environmental and developmental challenges through a genuine partnership among developed and developing countries, based on the principles of justice, equity, fairness, equality and mutual respect.

Mr. Chairman.

Poverty is one of those major challenges in today's world. As we hold our highlevel meeting here, it is the right of the world's poor to expect responsible steps to ensure equity and welfare We believe that in order to achieve this objective, our summit must declare the founding of an international alliance to eliminate poverty, on the basis of specific, time-limited commitments, first and foremost of which is to reduce the number of people suffering from hunger by half by 2015. Such action requires the tackling of problems that have always been major obstacles to the protection of the environment and achievement of sustainable development. First of all comes the combat of desertification, minimizing the impact of drought, floods and other natural disasters and set policies aiming at the development of water resources, by establishing desalination systems, and preventing the flow of rain water, rivers and melting snow into the seas and the oceans. It is essential to exert a great international effort to rescue lakes which shrink increasingly, protect rivers from pollution and address high rates of erosion in order to avoid a humane disaster and not only environmental one.

Mr. Chairman.

Peoples of the world are looking to this summit with the hope that decisive practical and time-limited measures be taken to remove all the impediments facing the comprehensive development. A positive reaction to the work at hand can only be ensured by committing ourselves to finding genuine solutions to the said problems, including the external debt burden borne by most developing countries. It is certain that these countries will not be able to respond to the requirements of development as long as the developed countries keep showering them with empty promises, and fail to fulfill undertakings in terms of official development assistance. It is of the utmost importance to ensure the effective participation of developing countries in the world economy and undertake to remove all impediments towards provision of access for their products to world markets, and enabling them to play an effective role in the decision-making process at the international level, especially at the level of international financial institutions.

Mr. Chairman.

An essential and indispensable condition for the realization of sustainable development is surely the elimination of the human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) and the syndrome of acquired human immune-deficiency (AIDS). We must emphasize at this forum that the elimination of this disease will never be accomplished under narrow commercial interests that are totally void of any humanitarian considerations. It can only be achieved by a genuine commitment ensuing the implementation of plans and programmes designed to save the lives of millions of human beings living with this killer disease.

We must also add that the usurpation of other people's land, the collective punishment and abuse of its inhabitants, and persistence in the violation of the norms of international law by resorting as certain states do, to measures such as siege and blockade, and the use of coercive measures, will never serve achieving sustainable development, meaning that our work will not be complete without a decisive commitment to put an end to such aggressive practices, the cessation of attempts to impose hegemony and domination by force, ending foreign occupation, and removing the vestiges of colonialism, including land-mines from which the majority of developing countries, including my own, continue to suffer.

Mr. Chairman

To live up to the expectations of our peoples, we must undertake to transform globalisation into a positive force beneficial to the entire population of the world, and not to leave the majority of them to face its adverse consequences. We must intensify our efforts to put an end to conflict in and among states. We must take practical measures to achieve total and universal disarmament in terms of weapons of mass destruction within a specified period of time under effective international control and supervision. Resources allocated to the development of such lethal weapons must be used in the achievement of development objectives, particularly in developing countries. The needs of Africa, in all aspects of sustainable development must be at the center of attention by the international community. We have to strongly support the endeavors of African countries to achieve peace in all parts of the Continent, reinforce stability and security, resolve conflicts and prevent the renewal of hostilities in order to direct the efforts of the continent towards continued economic growth and sustainable development.

Mr. Chairman.

We came to this Summit to contribute to the implementation of the principles and programmes agreed upon a decade ago . We are about to adopt an important document setting out what must be done next. Practical action is of paramount importance in this respect, let us all undertake to shoulder this responsibility in an atmosphere of sincere political will and constructive cooperation. Only this, and nothing else, is the evidence of our seriousness in making this 21s` century the century of sustainable development for all segments of the international community.
Finally, on my behalf, and on behalf of my country's delegation, I wish to express our deep appreciation to the people and Government of South Africa for their warm reception and generous hospitality, as well as their determination to make a success of the work of this Summit.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.







at theWorld Summit on Sustainable Development

03 September 2002

• Your Excellency President Thabo Mbeki,
• Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
• Your Excellency Secretary General Kofi Annan,
• Your Excellency Executive Director, United Nations Environment Program, Klaus Toepfer,
• Distinguished Delegates,
• Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me on behalf of the People and Government of the Republic of Rwanda and on my own behalf, to express our appreciation to the People and Government of the Republic of South Africa for hosting this important Summit, and for the warmth and generosity with which my delegation and I have been received in Johannesburg.

Let me also take this opportunity to commend the dedication and commitment with the United Nations' organs have organised this Summit.
I would like to take this opportunity at the outset to extend our heartfelt sympathy to the various nations, which, since the Rio Summit, have experienced natural disasters such as the current floods and droughts which continue to wreck havoc in many countries on different continents. The continuation of these disasters stands as a living testimony for the need to confront our environmental challenges with greater urgency, consistency, and dedication than ever before.

Indeed, as we review the past decade's accomplishments since Rio in 1992, we have to conclude unfortunately that environmental degradation remains a serious threat to our planet, as demonstrated by, continued loss of biodiversity, desertification, sharp climate change, and global warming. Alternative sources of energy particularly in poor countries remain scarce leading to serious deforestation, while poverty and ignorance continue to affect millions and millions especially in the developing world.


Turning now to my Country, as you may be aware, just two years after Rio, Rwanda fell victim to the 1994 Genocide in which over 1 million people were killed. As a consequence, the Rwandan social fabric and the entire economy were devastated.

These tragic events notwithstanding, we attach great importance to the Rio Principles; we are fully committed to implementing Agenda 21 and Post-Rio developmental goals, including those contained in the Millennium declaration and the Beijing Platform for Action. In this context, Rwanda has, among other things:

Ratified and initiated the 3 Rio Conventions and other international instruments agreed upon in Rio and beyond;
Developed Programs which have as the central focus social development and poverty eradication, environmental management especially on land degradation, modernisation of agriculture, gender mainstreaming, human settlement programs, land tenure questions, and democracy and governance; .
Laid greater emphasis on combating HIV/AIDS and other major killer diseases such as malaria.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In addition to actively supporting international conventions, we have had to meet our specific challenges. For example, we have had to mend our social fabric, to rebuild and to continue consolidating unity and reconciliation, to uphold human rights, and to promote governance, democracy and the rule of law. We have established, in most of these cases, specific participatory mechanisms and institutions to address these key national challenges and issues. We are convinced that we are on the right path, and our modest achievements indicate this.


The Johannesburg Summit constitutes a unique opportunity for rededicating ourselves to the Rio Principles and Agenda. Let us also be mindful of the contemporary context in which we make this recommitment: that of globalisation. As we all know, globalisation presents us with enormous
opportunities, challenges, and risks as demonstrated by immense capacities of generating greater wealth and technological innovations and advancement. But unless these capacities are employed to uplift the human race from misery, we risk turning these opportunities into "missed opportunities" with grave implications. The outcome of this includes freezing our planet into the unstable camps of "haves" and "have-nots" - of wealth alongside poverty.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before we leave Johannesburg, let us develop a greater sense and desire of inclusiveness and responsiveness to the needs of the World's citizenry. Only then can we turn the agenda of human development from a distant wish into a concrete reality. The Johannesburg Summit offers an opportunity for adopting a realistic action plan towards this noble mission.

I thank all of you for your attention.






Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn

at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development

Johannesburg, South Africa
03 September, 2002

Mr. President,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me very great pleasure to lead the Thai delegation to the Johannesburg Summit. I have the honour of representing my father, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, on this most important occasion.

May I firstly take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to the Government of South Africa for the excellent facilities that have been provided. My delegation would also like to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of Mr. Nitin Desai, Secretary - General of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Mr. Emil Salim, Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for WSSD to the organization of this important meeting.

In 1992, I had the honour of leading the Thai delegation at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and this provides a perspective from which to assess and appraise the efforts that have been made to address the issues of environmental protection and sustainable development that remain a matter of urgent global concern.

This is why the Johannesburg Summit is of critical importance since it provides us with the opportunity to renew our commitment to Agenda 21 for the benefit of present and future generations. We believe that The Plan of Implementation should set time-bound targets. In turn, these targets will require support for capacity building from the developed countries.

In the context of this global concern for environmentally sound and sustainable development with necessary redistribution of financial and
technological support from developed countries to assist capacity building in the developing world, I would like to refer to my own country, Thailand, which has committed itself over the last 10 years to the implementation of Agenda 21. Despite the recent economic crisis that we experienced together with many of our South East Asian neighbours, I believe that we have made appreciable progress in a number of areas, particularly in poverty alleviation, education, energy, health and environmental protection. Most importantly with regard to poverty alleviation, successive governments have implemented policies and measures to improve people's quality of life and income in the long term, particularly those who live in the poorest rural areas.

Our current Ninth Economic and Social Development Plan for the period 2002 to 2006 has been guided by the philosophy of "sufficiency economy" first propounded in Thailand by His Majesty King Bhumibol. The main principle of this approach to development is the adherence to a middle path in all aspects of social interaction at individual, family and community levels. This philosophy encourages people to achieve a sustainable way of life in harmony with existing domestic resources and local knowledge and wisdom. People are thus at the center of development. Sustainable development, in His Majesty's philosophy is based on poverty alleviatian as the first step. Then education and vocational training can be followed to assist in income generation. There must be a redistribution of wealth within communities with the rich helping to fund projects to benefit the poor. The basis of this redistribution is not an act of charity but a process of enablement, to enable the poor to improve their own income generation. I most warmly invite you all to visit the exhibition at Ubuntu Village that has a number of exhibits illustrating projects initiated by His Majesty for the integration of economic, social and environmental development.

In the past, and "still today, industrial development has had negative impacts on human health and on the environment. Among these impacts, that of unregulated use of toxic chemicals has been one of the most damaging. However, in this regard I am pleased to announce that
Thailand has acceded to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International
Trade. Thailand has also signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). This we believe will help minimize the risks of
health hazards and impacts on the environment from the use of toxic chemicals. I am further pleased to announce that Thailand has ratified the Kyoto Protocol as of August 28th.

I believe that the Johannesburg Summit marks a critical juncture in our path to fully sustainable development as envisaged-ten years ago at the Rio Summit. We must now demonstrate our commitment to continued efforts along this path and at the same time to ensuring a more equitable basis for global partnership in order to both protect the environment and to enhance economic and social development for people in all parts of the world.

In our endeavors we must ensure that we do not disappoint future generations. Let us strive to make the Johannesburg Summit a beacon for continued development in a more equitable and healthier world.

Thank you.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Ongoing Carnage In Gaza

The past month has devoted a lot of space to the best music and films of 2018, and far less to the past year’s human rights violations. The under-reporting on the ongoing carnage in Gaza has been a case in point. More>>


Deal On Paris Implementation: Rapid Action Urged At Climate Change Conference

Following a year of devastating climate disasters around the globe, from California to Kerala, and Tonga to Japan, the annual UN Climate Change Conference opens with the goal of finalising the implementation guidelines for the Paris Climate Change Agreement. More>>


New Report: Refugees In PNG Being Pushed To The Brink

Refugee Council of Australia and Amnesty International paint a stark picture of a traumatised refugee population hit hard by Australia's recent healthcare and counselling service cuts, as well as continued threats to their safety. More>>


Jamal Khashoggi: UK, France, Germany Join Calls For Credible Investigation

Germany, the United Kingdom and France share the grave concern expressed by others including HRVP Mogherini and UNSG Guterres, and are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. More>>


MSF Not Wanted: Nauru Government Shows Continued Callousness

The Nauruan Government’s decision to ask Doctors Without Borders to immediately leave shows continued callousness towards asylum seekers desperately seeking a safe place to call home, Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said today. More>>