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                        Statement by Muhammad A. Muhith, Minister
             of the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh to the United Nations in NY
         at the Fifth Committee of the 63rd Session of the UNGA on 14 October 2008
            on agenda item 118: Programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009-
                               development related activities

Mr. Chairman,

        I would like to welcome the presence of the Deputy Secretary General Ms.
Asha-Rose Migiro here today and thank her for presenting Secretary-General’s report
entitled ‘Improving the effective and efficient delivery of the mandates of
development-related activities and revised estimates relating to the programme
budget for the biennium 2008-09’ (A/62/708). Let me also take the opportunity to
thank the DSG for leading and coordinating the efforts of the departments/offices and
the regional commissions involved in development related activities and for her
valuable guidance under which the Secretary-General’s relevant proposals had been
elaborated. I would also like to thank Ms. Susan McLurg, the chairperson of the
ACABQ for introducing her committee’s relevant report as contained in document

02.   My delegation aligns itself with the statement made, on behalf of the Group of
77 and China, by Ambassador John Ashe, the Permanent representative of Antigua
and Barbuda. I would however like to make mention of some issues of our concern.

Mr. Chairman,

03.    Sustained economic growth, sustainable development and poverty eradication,
as enshrined in the internationally agreed development goals including the MDGs,
should remain at the heart of the UN activities. The world is now facing a variety of
challenges. Needless to say, climate change has turned out to be one of the most
urgent issues of our time. Under this backdrop of new and emerging challenges, the
need for a stronger United Nations is more than ever before.

04. My delegation believes that the current development architecture in the UN falls
short of producing expected results. We would therefore like to have an in-depth
analysis to understand and identify the underlying causes, the gaps and shortcomings
in order to address them in appropriate manner having the structure refurbished and
strengthened further. We would also like to point out here that allocation of additional
resources and provisions of new posts, in our view is a means to an end. The question
of strengthening development pillar should not only be confined to allocation of more
resources in terms of money and personnel, it should be aimed to review the existing
machinery in its all aspects, having supported by knowledge, skill, commitment and
resources so that it can address current global challenges, particularly in the areas of
poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Also, the disparity or mismatch
between mandates and resources, is well documented. It is therefore, very timely and

appropriate that the Secretary General has undertaken an initiative to reinvigorate the
development pillar of the United Nations.

05.     We want to consider the development issues in a holistic manner. The three
pillars of the organization – peace and security, human rights and development are
interdependent and complementary to each other and require a balanced and
adequate provision of mandates, capacities and, of course, resources. We agree with
the Secretary-General that there is a need for systemic efforts to scale up capacity of
the Organization to deliver its mandates and to respond effectively to new and
emerging challenges in all three core areas of work. In this regard we note with
concern that the combined initial appropriation for the development-related sections of
the regular budget decreased from 21.8% of 1998-99 budget to 17.8% of 2008-09
budget. Also the meager allocation for the Development Account makes us wary. The
international community is now looking at the UN to take the lead with a vision to
address the developmental needs as well as to tackle the imbalances in the global
financial system. The development machinery of the UN is now dysfunctional. It needs
overhaul with the injection of adequate resources to ensure its expected

Mr. Chairman,

06. The Least Developed Countries comprise the bottom of the ‘bottom billion’. It is a
transcontinental Group which deserves particular attention of the international
community, in particular of the UN. All development policies must therefore, provide
particular focus on this most vulnerable group of countries in their reports,
publications, programmes and projects. This is more important now as we embark on
the preparation of holding the 4 th UN Conference on the LDCs towards the end of the
decade. The LDC unit of the Office of the High Representative should be provided with
adequate means to fulfil its exclusive intergovernmental mandate as contained in the
General Assembly resolution 56/227.

07. In this regard Mr. Chairman, let me recall the Secretary-General’s announcement
made on 22nd January this year bringing under the High Representative for Least
Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing
State (HRLLS and SIDS) the functions that the member states assigned to the Special
Adviser on Africa. My delegation attaches great importance to the implementation of
the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This is why this programme
needs a separate leadership and not a part time attention of the High Representative.
I would like to categorically point out here that the OHRLLS and OSAA were created by
two distinct GA resolutions. It is, therefore the exclusive prerogative of the GA to
make any changes to the mandates of these two Offices. In this connection paragraph
1 of the resolution 56/227 may be recalled by which the Assembly ‘decides to
establish the Office of the High Representatives for the Least Developed Countries,
Landlocked Countries and Small Island Developing States…’. Mr. Chairman, these
specific functions of the OHRLLS mandated by the General Assembly are binding in
nature. Any changes in these mandates tantamount to violation of GA mandates. Also,
while putting in record the issue of lack of clarity in making such critical changes, as
pointed out in ACABQ’s report, my delegation expresses its deep apprehension that
the proposed realignment will seriously undermine both the Offices’ ability and
effectiveness. We want to highlight the fact that the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS include 90
UN member countries- nearly half of the total UN membership and most of them are
the most vulnerable countries in the world. We fully agree to the comments made by
ACABQ at paragraph 15 of its report that the changes proposed for OHRLLS and OSAA
are ‘inconsistent with the relevant decisions taken by the General Assembly’. My
delegation therefore requests for restoring quickly the mandates of the two Offices.

This is particularly important as the Office will be organizing the forthcoming 4 th UN
Conference of LDCs. If the Office can not function as mandated by the General
Assembly, the LDC Conference can hardly be expected to be successful.

Mr. Chairman,

The uniqueness and strength of the UN lie in its universality, legitimacy, transparency,
accountability and a high standard of good governance and most importantly its
intergovernmental nature of decision making. Any intergovernmental decision can only
be superseded by another intergovernmental decision. It is our collective responsibility
to substantiate such high standards of the UN.

The issue of development is critically important to my delegation and therefore it
believes that development entities of the UN like DESA, UNCTAD and the Regional
Commissions can play vital role in promoting development. As the larger membership
can participate in decision making and monitoring with regard to role and functions of
these entities, we trust that these entities can act as catalysts for development and
can generate multiplying impact.

My delegation is looking forward to a constructive engagement with all concerned in
the Fifth Committee, as, like our chair, we believe that the modest proposals
‘constitute an important step in the right direction’.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.



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