Statement on Agenda Item 59: Eradication of poverty and other development issues: in the Second Committee Plenary Debate of the Sixty fourth Session of the General Assembly

David Carbajal
United States Advisor on the Economic and Social Council 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 22, 2009

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

Just a month ago, President Obama urged the General Assembly to renew its efforts in combating poverty.  He reiterated United States support for the Millennium Development Goals, and committed to “setting our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.”

The international community has long recognized that for countries to embark on a sustainable path to prosperity and for each successive generation to enjoy a higher standard of living than the one before it, we have to build on a foundation of good governance, rule of law, and an enabling business environment that promotes long-term economic growth, peace and security.

The United States has been a strong supporter of countries’ efforts to improve their people’s lives, and we have worked with the international community to achieve this shared objective.  The world has made significant progress in reducing poverty, despite the recent worldwide economic slowdown.  Notably, China, East Asia, and South Asia have made great strides. 

Progress on meeting the MDGs, however, has been uneven.  Sub-Saharan Africa, despite considerable progress made in the 1990s, is estimated to be falling behind on the 2015 time line.  The United States supports strongly the many international efforts underway to accelerate development progress in Africa, many of which are built on commitments the African nations themselves have made.

Recognizing these challenges, the United States will continue to commit resources and work with others to address global poverty and promote economic and social development.  Even in the midst of a global recession, trade and investment with the United States continue to be powerful forces for poverty eradication for many developing countries.  United States Official Development Assistance (ODA) totaled $26 billion in calendar year 2008 – a $4.2 billion, or 19 percent, increase from the previous year.  
However, the Monterrey Consensus (2002) and Doha Declaration (December 2008) recognize that more than a transfer of resources through ODA is necessary to achieve the MDGs.  Private financial flows through trade, investment, and remittances, as well as domestic sources of revenue are much larger than official development assistance and crucial to a country’s path to development. Transparent, accountable governments that commit to creating enabling environments, implementing sound policies and institutions and engaging with local people – including women farmers and entrepreneurs – at the front end of development planning processes have more broad-based opportunities to foster inclusive sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.

As the world economy continues to recover, we anticipate economic growth will pick up in developing countries and poverty levels will again begin to decline.  In addition to the steps the United State is taking alone and with other countries to stabilize the world economy and promote broad-based economic growth, the United States is focusing our governmental resources on two key areas of concern—food security and health.  At the London G20 Summit, President Obama underscored the U.S. commitment to assist the world’s poorest by pledging to double funding for agricultural development.  In May, the President also announced a six-year, $63 billion comprehensive global health strategy. 

Mr. Chairperson, there is a strong consensus across the international community about the critical importance of poverty eradication.  The deliberations in this committee should help strengthen this consensus, and provide direction to the vast number of stakeholders engaged in the war against poverty.  The United States stands ready to work with all member states and partners to carry this work forward.

Thank you very much.


PRN: 2009/240