Statement by H.E. Mr. Felipe Perez Roque, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, at the opening session of the ministerial segment of the Second South Summit of the Group of 77 and China, Doha, Qatar, 13 June 2005

Mr. Chairman;

Dear colleagues:

Our congratulations to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar and to all his staff on the excellent work done in preparation for this Second South Summit.

As a host country of the First South Summit, we really understand the enormous amount of work that our Qatari colleagues have had to engage in. Our recognition also goes to Jamaica, our Chair of the G-77 and China.

The Cuban delegation would like to underscore three key ideas.

First: The socio-economic situation in most of the 132 countries making up the G-77 and China is now more dramatic and dangerous than when we held the First Summit in Havana. At the current rate, it can be empathically stated that not even the modest goals of the Millennium Summit will be complied with by 2015. Let us see:

  • We set out to halve by 2015 the 1.276 billion human beings in abject poverty that existed in 1990. More than 46 million impoverished people would have to be reduced every year. However, excluding China, between 1990 and 2000 extreme poverty increased by 28 million people. Poverty does not diminish; it grows.
  • We wanted to halve by 2015 the 842 million people in starvation around the world. Some 28 million of them had to be reduced every year. However, there has been a mere reduction of 2.1 million hungry people per annum. At this pace, the goal would be achieved by 2215, some 200 years after the foreseen timetable. I am afraid that by then none of us will be able to see it.
  • We proclaimed the aspiration to reach universal primary education by 2015. However, more than 120 million children, one in every five in that school age, do not attend primary schools. According to UNICEF, at the current rate the goal will be met after 2100.
  • We undertook to reduce by two thirds the mortality rate in children under five years of age. However, every year continues to see the death of 13 million children of diseases that can be either prevented or cured.

The situation is worse, esteemed colleagues, and there is absolutely no reason for us to make an optimistic assessment of what is happening. There is an increase in poverty, in exclusion and an aggravation in the degradation of the environment.

Second: The main reason why, instead of moving forward, there is a step backwards is that there are no new, non-conditioned financial resources to implement the programs that would enable us to meet the Millennium Goals. Our 132 countries are net providers of financial flows towards the rich, developed countries. We are poor so that they can squander. That is the gospel truth.

They are in possession of the money for investments, of markets and technologies. Out of every 100 new patents, 86 are owned by developed countries. The gap, far from diminishing, is on the rise. Let us see:

Some US$ 150 billion is needed to meet the Millennium Goals. But the money is nowhere to be found. The developed nations do not show the necessary political will to abide by their commitments. Beautiful words, but not concrete facts. However, last year they gave US$ 78 billion in Official Development Assistance, barely 0.25% of GNP. As we know, the United States gave only 0.1%. We, on our part:

  • Pay more than US$ 436 billion per annum to developed countries in foreign debt service; and let us not fool ourselves: the debt reduction initiatives, including the recent announcement by the G-8, are barely a drop of water in the desert;
  • Pay US$ 100 billion in tariffs so that our products enter their protected markets;
  • In the meantime, they spend US$ 300 billion per annum on subsidies to their farmers;
  • And the developed countries are the ones that also spend most of the trillion dollars used on arms and the trillion dollars used on commercial advertising.

We must give momentum to South-South cooperation and, as a matter of fact, we have concretized some actions after the Summit in Havana, but we must not cease to insist that the countries in the developed North abide by their commitments. It is their historic duty. Their wealth has resulted from our colonial exploitation.

Third: The development-oriented proposals contained in the document on the UN reform are totally insufficient, lenient towards the non-compliance by the developed countries and without any real and innovative proposals.

  • There is a clear imbalance in the priority of the issues addressed, to the prejudice of the treatment of our right to development, our access to markets and technologies, and a real solution to the debt problem;
  • On the other hand, there has been a distortion in the mandate contained in the Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly to convene the High-Level Segment in September. An attempt is being made to divert attention from the real fact that developed countries do not comply with their commitments, and that is the main cause for the non-compliance with the Millennium Goals.

Cuba believes that it is necessary to redirect the terms of the debate and turn the High-Level event into a forum where these issues can be really discussed, where the blatant default by the developed countries can be looked into so that they are held accountable for it.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to express that Cuba supports the document prepared for this debate by the President of the G-77, as a policy guideline for the positions of the Group with regard to the development cluster in the ongoing reform process.

I hereby reiterate, Mr. Chairman, that you can count on Cuba’s full cooperation for the successful development of this debate and in the concretization of agreements that take into account the legitimate interests of our Group.

Thank you very much.


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