Remarks by John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, to the UN General Assembly's Second Committee (Economic and Financial)

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
October 3, 2011


Thank you Mr. Chairman,

We congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your appointments to lead the Second Committee during this year’s General Assembly. We look forward to working with you over the coming weeks on what we expect will be a very productive session.

As President Obama said last month before the General Assembly, “To bring prosperity to our people, we must promote the growth that creates opportunity.” Here, in the Second Committee, we can help set the stage for real gains in fighting poverty and for promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the years to come. Let’s address new challenges and opportunities as countries recover from the financial and economic crisis. At the same time, natural disasters have also affected many in both the developed and developing world, further adding to the gravity of this Committee’s work.

Last year, our leaders recommitted us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. However, many countries are still falling short, with fragile states and countries emerging from conflict often making the least progress. This became clear when we reviewed the progress of Least Developed Countries at the Fourth UN Conference for LDCs in Istanbul.

As we implement the Istanbul Program of Action, it is critical to expand partnerships supporting LDCs. This requires the participation of a broadened donor base, including emerging economies, civil society and the private sector.

As the world’s largest donor, the United States continues to target poverty, including through two centerpiece initiatives launched by President Obama last year: the multi-billion dollar Global Health and Feed the Future Initiatives. We are investing in national health systems — training health workers, establishing disease monitoring and laboratory systems, and repairing health clinics — so improvements in health can continue for generations. We are helping countries to accelerate inclusive agriculture sector growth through improved agricultural productivity, expanded markets and trade and increased economic resilience in vulnerable rural communities.

The United States remains gravely concerned over the impact of the devastating drought in the Horn of Africa, and we have mounted a robust response in cooperation with the governments of drought-affected countries, the United Nations and regional organizations to address immediate humanitarian needs as well as mitigate the effects of future droughts and build resilience among the region’s vulnerable populations.

Through President Obama’s Global Climate Change Initiative and other climate-related programs, the United States is integrating climate change considerations into relevant foreign assistance. We are accomplishing this through a full range of bilateral, multilateral, and private mechanisms that foster low-carbon growth, promote sustainable and resilient societies, and reduce emissions from deforestation and land degradation.

However, we all must bear in mind new budget constraints that affect all governments and multilateral institutions. Now, more than ever, a results-based approach to development is needed. One that is based on outcomes not inputs; one that measures effectiveness, promotes mutual accountability, and identifies best practices. Today’s economic realities require countries to innovate, build new partnerships, liberate domestic sources of finance, and prioritize sound investments for growth and poverty reduction. In this light, we look forward to the Busan High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which informs our work here, and the 2012 high-level meeting of the Development Cooperation Forum.

In order to deliver on our common commitments, we must continue to improve the transparency and efficiency of the UN Development System. To this end, the United States continues to call for the full public disclosure of audits of UN Funds and Programs, including by making them available to all on the internet.

And as we approach the Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development, we have an opportunity to re-energize global sustainable development efforts, with an emphasis on strengthening linkages among the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development.

The past year has seen incredible change. Countries in North Africa and the Middle East are undergoing one of most important transitions of our time. The success of these emerging democracies and others around the world will hinge on building strong and inclusive economies that improve people’s lives, especially the lives of young people. We have an important role to play in supporting home grown reforms that improve governance, enhance growth, and expand opportunities for citizens.


PRN: 2011/189