24 September 2010

Addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable

Summary of United Nations Round Table 5

High Level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals

Dr. the Hon. W. Baldwin Spencer
Prime Minister
Antigua and Barbuda

Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I am honoured to present a summary of the discussion in Round Table 5 on Addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.

* It was observed that that the promotion and protection of human rights is a prerequisite for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We must spare no effort to advance equality and non-discrimination with regards to gender, age, disability, ethnicity, geographical location, and HIV/AIDS status.

* It was noted that to answer the question of who the most vulnerable are and what are the causes of their vulnerability we need more disaggregated data.

* The representatives of small island developing states and landlocked countries pointed out their special vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters, high costs of energy and transportation. To fight climate change more investments should be made in mitigation and adaptation mechanisms, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and investment in renewable energies.

* The international community is urged to assist vulnerable countries: least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states in addressing their specific needs and development challenges. Urgent action must focus on effective aid and trade policies; fulfilling of all ODA commitments and further mobilization of financial resources for development, including capacity building and technology transfer.

* Countries in conflict and post-conflict situations are especially vulnerable and in need of renewed focus on peace-building, including
consolidation of state institutions and assistance to internally displaced people and refugees.

* Member States recognize that ensuring equitable access to economic opportunities and social services for the poor and those in vulnerable situations is vital for the achievement of the MDGs. We should devote adequate resources to tackle basic sources of vulnerability, such as lack of access to adequate nutrition, education, skills training, health services and decent jobs. More efforts are needed to ensure access to financial services, including microfinance, credit and insurance for all, and especially those in vulnerable situations.

* Governments also underscore that comprehensive systems of social protection are essential to reduce inequality and vulnerability and achieve development goals as well as shield those most vulnerable in times of economic crises. Some also noted that conditional and unconditional cash transfers can be effective in vulnerability reduction.

* More international cooperation is needed to support policies and programmes to reduce vulnerability of people living with HIV/AIDS through prevention, treatment, care and support strategies, including special efforts to address stigmatization and discrimination.

* Vulnerable groups, especially women and minorities should be empowered and represented in national parliaments and included in the development process.

* Vulnerability in context of peace-negotiations was also noted. Special needs of Palestinian refugees merit special attention.

* In conclusion, we all agree that without addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable countries and people MDGs cannot be achieved.

Thank You Very Much.

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