24.09.2004 General News

MDGs can't be achieved with an unfair global trade system - Aliu warns

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From: Beatrice Akua Asamani, GNA Special Correspondent, United Nations, New York

New York (US) Sept. 23, GNA - Ghana's Vice President, Aliu Mahama, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, on Thursday, called for an urgent action to establish a fair global trade system, saying the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would not be realised if the present system remained unchanged.

He said: "There continues to be an agonising paradox between Summit and conference declarations of a new global partnership and the persistence of an asymmetrical global system that works largely against developing countries," he told the 59th Session of the Assembly. "...The concerns of developing countries have been reiterated in this Assembly over the years and we urge our developed partners to act now."

Vice President Mahama, therefore, urged developed countries to eliminate agricultural subsidies, lower tariffs and work with their developing partners to put in place an open, equitable, rule-based non-discriminatory trading and financing system.

He described the MDGs, which aim at halving poverty and hunger by 2015, as laudable, but said it lacked genuine support from the countries that possessed the resources, technical know how and the capability to facilitate its achievements.

The Vice President, however, acknowledged that developing countries had the primary responsibility towards ensuring that the goals were realised and said Africa, under the auspices of its continental body, African Union, was making strenuous efforts to put its house in order. Through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Pan African Parliament, Peace and Security Council and others, African leaders, he said, were working for political stability and accountable and transparent governance to facilitate the eradication of poverty, illiteracy, conflicts and diseases.

Vice President Mahama said: "The initiatives of ECOWAS, the West African regional body, currently chaired by the President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, in dealing with the conflicts that have recently plagued the Sub-Region are good examples of this development,".

He said because of the complex and far reaching impact of today's conflicts it was important to use multilateral efforts under the umbrella of the UN to resolve international conflicts.

Vice President Mahama said: "September 11 reminds us of the importance of seeking a multilateral and peaceful means for the maintenance of international peace and security".

He, consequently, welcomed the initiative of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in setting up the High-Level Panel on Threats and Challenges to the UN, which would also make proposals on how best the universal body can be reformed to best meet present day challenges.

Vice President Mahama said Ghana looked forward to the recommendations of the Panel as well as the reforms to restructure the Security Council to make it more representative and democratic.

He suggested "With regard to the Security Council, the African position emphasises the need to democratise and ensure equitable geographical representation, with Africa allotted not less than two permanent seats and five non permanent seats".

The Vice President pledged Ghana's support for the work of the UN, especially in peacekeeping efforts and for the protection of UN personnel.

His address also focused on supporting women and children's development and the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Delegations of the 191 members of the UN are attending the two-week Session, which ends at the end of September. 23 Sept. 04

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