Dominicana Online » Noticias » Speech by the Dominican President at the United Nations General Assembly

Speech by the Dominican President at the United Nations General Assembly

Speech by the Dominican President at the United Nations General Assembly

Speech by the Dominican President at the United Nations General Assembly
New York, 0/23/2010

Distinguished Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon;
Distinguished Heads of States and Governments;
Distinguished Ministers and Chiefs of Delegations;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the government and the people of the Dominican Republic, we extend our greetings to the members of this United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals, on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of their official proclamation.

These goals were enthusiastically embraced by the Dominican Republic and other nations around the world because they provided clear guidelines and deadlines for reducing poverty, promoting education and health, fostering gender equality, and guaranteeing sustainable development.

In the specific case of the Dominican Republic, since the early 1990s, which is the date of the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals, our population has grown 35% from 7.2 million people in 1990 to 9.7 million today.

The Gross Domestic Product increased from approximately 123 billion pesos, that is $22 billion dollars, to 342 billion pesos or $50 billion dollars.

That is like saying that during that period, the Dominican economy expanded more than two-and-a-half times. In other words, in economic terms the economy grew two-and-a-half times from 1990 to 2009.

During that same period, the Dominican Republic had one of the best economic
performance rates in terms of GDP growth in Latin America and the Caribbean, with an annual growth rate of nearly 6%.

In spite of these appreciable growth rates, it is unlikely however, that the Dominican Republic will reach a 50% reduction of its poverty rates during the coming five years to be able to reach its desired goal for 2015.

There are several reasons that explain the difficulty in achieving that objective. First, the internal financial crisis that occurred in 2003, which severely affected many banking institutions.

As a result of that crisis, the economy declined a -0.3%; our currency lost more than a 100% of its value; inflation sky-rocketed to worrisome levels, and
unemployment jumped from 13% to 19%.

In that context, poverty ended up increasing rather than decreasing; it was not
until 2005 when our national economy began to pick up, that social indicators also started to improve.

From 2005 until the present, extreme poverty decreased 5.5 percentage points and overall poverty declined 9 points.

However, while making enormous efforts to overcome the internal financial crisis, we were also seriously affected by the rising prices of oil and food.

A rise in the cost of oil and a subsidy established to help with increasing food prices, diverted resources that would have normally been earmarked to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals.

The third factor that has, of course, had a negative effect on attempts to reach the Millennium Development Goals has been the global financial and economic crisis unleashed at the end of 2007 and which continues to slow-down the already fragile growth of the global economy.

Finally, the frequency and intensity of natural disasters that are occurring as a consequence of climate change have also left their mark by limiting the resources originally established to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

As we can see, ladies and gentleman, it is not lack of political will or planning and accountability what will prevent the Dominican Republic from achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, as planned.

Rather, it has been the result of unforeseen circumstances, both nationally and
internationally, that have become obstacles in the path to achieving the stated goals.

This means, therefore, that we need to redouble our efforts and design new strategies for sustainable growth and development, which we are currently doing in the Dominican Republic with an eye towards 2030 and the objective of creating and providing well-being and prosperity for our people.

But we should not lose sight of the fact that the future holds daunting challenges
when it comes to reducing poverty in the world. These challenges are derived from the increasingly visible phenomena of interdependence in the global economy as well as the speculative nature of many financial and commercial transactions.

We reaffirm our national commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and we harbor the hope that this United Nations system can play a dynamic and active leadership role in designing a new global financial and economic order that is fairer, more equitable, more supportive and more in favor of the world’s poor.

Thank you very much.

© DominicanaOnline, El portal de la República Dominicana - All Rights Reserved