INDEPENDENT NEWS

UN2K: Tonga PM Prince Ulukalala-Lavaka-Ata

Published: Sun 10 Sep 2000 11:48 PM
STATEMENT BY
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCE ‘ULUKALALA-LAVAKA- ATA
HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER
OF THE KINGDOM OF TONGA
FRIDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2000, NEW YORK
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Your Excellencies,
The Co-Chairman of the United Nations Millennium Summit.
This Summit marks an historic milestone that with the hindsight of the past affords us the opportunity to chart the future direction of our organization by addressing the issues of concern to our organization and peoples. Accordingly, the outcome of this Summit ought to be the resolution of our needs and concerns and the realization of our collective aspirations.
I congratulate the Secretary General on the quality of his report "We the Peoples." He poses for us poignant issues deserving our earnest attention: from the new challenges to globalisation, from freedom from want and fear to sustaining our future to renewing the United Nations culminating in four significant conclusions; freedom from poverty; from the scourge of war; from the danger of living on a planet spoilt by human activities and to making our organization a more effective instrument in the hands of the world's peoples. We ought to dedicate our energies, resources and policies to improve education, protect our environment, bring an end to poverty, promote gender equality, increase security, promote good governance, human rights and the rule of law. L therefore, concur with the issues raised in his report, the initiatives that he sets for the new century to achieve our priorities and to this end, see the need for an action-oriented programme.
I welcome the commitment by member States to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as I do the commitment by the member States of the G-8 to cancel the debt burden of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. We look forward to its urgent implementation.
For the past century and half, Tonga has invested heavily in education. Whilst this has been a boon for us we now find it altogether imperative that developing countries should lock into the information and communication technologies. In this respect, I welcome the declaration on information technology by the ECOSOC Ministers.
While my son sees information technology as "the way to go," it is clearly the way to communicate; it is a significant means to enhance the education of all our people; and it enables them to be a participant in what is happening in the world. This, in part, is also the reason for our support of the SIDSNET. In particular, I welcome the offer of Japan to establish a dedicated IT programme in Okinawa and appreciate the resources they have earmarked for that purpose. The offer and the mechanics for its operation is deserving of our thoughtful consideration.
I am cognizance of the special needs of small island developing States, which ought to be resolved by implementing the Barbados Programme of Action and the outcomes of the 22nd Special Session of the General Assembly. Consequently, we call on the international community for focused commitment to the resolution of those needs.
I welcome the inclusion of economic vulnerability as a factor for determining the LDC criteria but also recognize that small island developing States are vulnerable to environmental changes. 1, therefore, commend to you the work on the environmental vulnerability index currently carried out by the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission and register my appreciation to those member States who have made available the resources for the completion of this study.
Small island developing States are sea locked with the inherent problems that this entails. They are acutely vulnerable to globalisation for the benefits are not yet equally shared and remain prone to the vagaries of market forces. They are ocean bound so the efforts to harvest the living and non-living resources of the oceans are especially important to them. Thus, the activities this year and in the immediate future of the UNCLOS States Parties, the Open Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and Law of the Sea, and the International Seabed Authority are of utmost significance to them and forms the basis for pursuing arrangements that returns a fair share of the harvest.
The conclusion of the recent NPT Review Conference seems to give hope that at some time soon nuclear disarmament might be possible however; the transshipment of nuclear waste through the waters of small island developing States needs to be regularly considered to ensure that they meet the highest international safety standards.
Tonga supports the endeavours of the Security Council and of the General Assembly to find solutions and enduring peace to the troubled regions of the world. In supporting the peacekeeping activities of the United Nations, we endorse the call to review the formula for assessing our contribution premised on a fair and equitable arrangement and on the principle of capacity to pay. We also commend to you the recommendations of the Brahimi Report.
Finally, I support the effort to reform the Security Council by the expansion of the number of permanent seats and non-permanent seats that would include both developed and developing countries to reflect today's realities and to deal with today’s needs and pressing issues. Without such reform we shall be dealing with today's problems through the machinery of yesteryear.
I thank you Co-Chairman.

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