H.E. YOSIWO P. GEORGE
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
IN THE PLENARY SESSION
48TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON AGENDA ITEM 55
UNITED NATIONS INITIATIVE ON OPPORTUNITY AND PARTICIPATION.
NEW YORK, 15 NOVEMBER 1993
Check Against Delivery
For a newly-emerged island country such as the Federated States of Micronesia
there can be no higher priority than development, and we are not alone.
It is the most widely and constantly discussed subject here at the United
Nations. The World itself is divided in many ways, but in no way more familiar
to us than between developed and developing, or as it is often put, North
and South. One hundred twenty-seven of the UN's Members, more than two thirds,
devote the bulk of our energies here to one thing - development.
This is not surprising, because the United Nations, in concept, is largely
about securing the future, and without development, most of the people of
the World face a very grim future. But for all the focus up to this point
on what is surely a most central concern of Mankind, results have been very
uneven. Huge sums have been spent, and in some developing countries great
progress has been made, while in others it seems that all the expert analysis,
all the planning and all the conferences have made little difference. Even
where progress has occurred, too often we see it impacting favorably the
lives of only limited groups within societies, while thousands, even millions
of others wait in vain for the fruits of development.
In other words, the need exists to find ways of making more efficient
use of increasingly scarce assistance dollars, and of reaching those who
are not reached by the development process. The proposed resolution under
Agenda Item 55 to launch the United Nations Initiative on Opportunity and
Participation, addresses that need in the view of my delegation in a most
appropriate way. Accordingly, I take this occasion to reiterate the strong
support of the Federated States of Micronesia expressed from this podium
by Secretary Moses during the general debate. We are proud to cosponsor
the proposed resolution, and are grateful to the Government of Papua New
Guinea, to Minister Kaputin and to Ambassador Lohia, for their vision and
untiring efforts in bringing this matter forward.
Mr. President, my country is one of many that stand to benefit enormously
by the process called for in the proposed resolution. My people have had
access for a number of years to various forms of assistance, primarily from
the United States, both as a Trusteeship and, more recently, as an independent
country. We now also receive increasing aid from several of our neighbors
in the Asia-Pacific Region. As a UN Member, we are working with the Asian
Development Bank and the World Bank Group, and we are participating to the
extent we can in all the many ongoing processes of this Body aimed at encouraging
development. Finally, we participate in a number of Pacific regional organizations
where we join with our island brothers to address common developmental problems
But with all this, the pace of development has been and remains very
slow in my country. While it is true that today visitors are struck by the
advances made in several of our urban centers, much of the rest is little
different and for a great many of our people life is largely unchanged.
Worst of all, those people have little prospect of becoming part of the
process of advancement. Is it because they lack ambition? No. Thanks to
modern telecommunications, they are very much aware of their position. Do
they lack energy? Certainly not. Survival at or near subsistence level is
hard work. Are they oppressed by their leaders? Again, no. Ours is a thoroughly
democratic society, and our strong extended family system makes our leaders,
if anything, even more accountable.
We would have already become very discouraged, had we not known that
most other developing countries are in much the same condition. But just
knowing that does not make us better servants of the people. It does not
address the ineffectiveness of our utilization of development assistance.
It does not give us the insight needed to unlock the great potential lying
within broader participation by our citizens in the advancement of their
What we do gain from this awareness of similar developmental profiles
among developing countries is the realization that many of the fundamental
obstacles we are experiencing probably are not attributable to inadequacies
unique to us. Thus, through the Initiative on Opportunity and Participation
we are given a powerful new resource to gain understanding of our difficulties
and chart a more effective course for the future. The work carried out through
this initiative will significantly enhance the outcomes of the great developmental
efforts now underway, and will, in particular, go far toward facilitating
the fullest possible implementation of Agenda 21.
Mr. President, Operative Paragraph 4 of the Draft Resolution invites
member States and international organizations to contribute on a voluntary
basis towards its implementation. Minister Kaputin has placed us even more
deeply in his country's debt by announcing that Papua New Guinea is making
a very generous contribution. The Federated States of Micronesia also wishes
to demonstrate its appreciation and support for the initiative, and therefore,
at the appropriate time, will contribute to this voluntary fund a sum which
will confirm our recognition of its importance to us.
We join all the cosponsors of the Draft Resolution in calling for its adoption by consensus.
Thank you, Mr. President.