The Honduras Delegation to the
53rd General Assembly
Allow me, first of all, to thank you for the opportunity to present to the General Assembly a declaration regarding the state of emergency in Central America, a result of the negative effects of Hurricane Mitch. At present, having felt the destructive forces of nature, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are experiencing considerable human and material losses.
In these moments of death, mourning, and sadness, our societies are mobilizing for the tasks of rescuing and helping thousands of compatriots. That spirit of solidarity is strengthened and multiplied when the international community comes to our relief and support.
At this time, we appeal to that solidarity which characterizes the members of the United Nations, so that the organisms, institutions, and nations, bilaterally grant us the aid requisite to conquer the scourge of this tragedy visited upon us.
The symbolic expression "in the eye of the hurricane" became a harsh, painful reality for Honduras. Until now, despite limitations in our ability to thoroughly evaluate the situation, we have determined that no less than 300 people have died, an undetermined number are missing, 250,000 have left their homes, and more than 1 million people have been affected in Honduras. Entire communities are cut off from communication due to flooding, brought on by the overflow of 79 rivers, causing the most severe damages anyone in our country can remember. The lack of food, potable water and medicines has made this a dramatic situation indeed.
The Atlantic Coast of Honduras, hub of the country's economic activity, generator of more than 60% of gross national product and 80% of export production, is the most severely affected. This region is completely paralyzed with human and material losses that require assistance in the short, medium, and long term.
In Nicaragua, at least 180,000 people are without basic provisions, 121 have died and thousands are considered missing. In addition, 172 communities are isolated and 5,066 have been destroyed. In El Salvador, human and material losses are also immense, at least 100 people have died and 127,000 are victims of the disaster. In Belize, thousands have been evacuated, due to an alert issued by national authorities. In Panama 8,200 are reported affected and one person, in the zone of Darien, is dead. In Costa Rica, 7 people have been reported dead, 3,500 have been affected and 2,064 have had to seek refuge in safe places. Meanwhile, extensive damages are reported to infrastructure and crops in the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.
Evidently, the magnitude of the damages in the region is considerable and the task ahead is immense. Despite our grief, the mettle and integrity of our men, women, and children will make rehabilitation and reconstruction possible, with the generous cooperation of the international community as the complement to our efforts. As the President of the Republic of Honduras, Carlos Roberto Flores, said last week, our countries are galvanized and ready to work. "May God help us and bless us, may God hear our prayers, we are not alone, we are united in fraternal solidarity, and the international community is at our side, solicitous and companionly, the complement to our own efforts and resources.
In view of the above, MR. President, I respectfully move to submit resolution A/52/L for consideration by this Assembly.
Speech Delivered By
Allow me to congratulate you for your deserved election to preside the Second Committee during the fifty-third period of session of the General Assembly. We are sure that under your conduction, our deliberations will be successful and productive. My congratulations extend to the other members of the bureau.
I have the honor to address the Second Committee on behalf of the countries of the Central American Integration System: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Dominican Republic, who associate ourselves fully with the statement made by the Group of 77 and China, but consider it important to make some additional comments.
We, the Central American countries, Mister President, are profoundly concerned by the burden that the service of our foreign debts brings to the region. As is known by the General Assembly, Honduras and Nicaragua, remain among the low-income countries that the World Bank considers severely indebted.
The burden of foreign debt in the Central American region seriously limits our ability to continue and intensify our economic reform, structural adjustment and stabilization programs. While, at the same time, limiting our ability to alleviate the social costs of these. The service of foreign debt impedes us from having full access to the market, from increasing our economic efficiency and from reducing our inflation. Problems of external debt negatively affect our development efforts, particularly those of poverty eradication and attention to the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
When the development and economic growth of a region is at risk, international economic growth, apt, among other things, to adequate exchange relations, good commercial practices and equitable access to markets and technology, is also compromised.
This is why, Mister President, the Central American countries join fully in the labors of the General Assembly and try to create an international consensus on the necessary strategies to reduce the debt of countries such as ours.
For our part, the Central American countries feel that we make great efforts to fulfill our part in the international strategy to grant assistance to seriously indebted countries. That is to say, we have adopted macroeconomic stabilization and economic reform programs, with the support of multilateral financial institutions.
Nevertheless, we allow ourselves to say that the part that corresponds to the creditors is not been met with the urgency it deserves. We recognize that the general situation of debtor developing countries has improved since the General Assembly began to study it, in 1986. However, the burden of foreign debt continues to limit the possibilities for growth and development of a good number of developing counties. It is worth highlighting that it is precisely the poorest countries that continue suffering debts in which the ratio of the present value of debt service to Gross National Product (GNP) is over 100%. The service of these quantities brings an alarming economic cost.
As is known, the treatment of this situation on an international level is managed through the agreements reached by International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in what is called the Highly Indebted Poor Country Debt Initiative (HIPC) . The relief mechanisms to opt for the resources of these institutions are widely known, of which the following can be highlighted: First, having two three-year agreements with the International Monetary Fund in what is known as the Fund's Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF), and second, the Naples terms, according to which the Paris Club simultaneously considers the reduction of bilateral debt for broader relief. To opt in both cases, parameters, such as the one previously mentioned, have been established with regard to the relation of debt service to GNP and to the level of exports.
Mister President, require a revision to ensure
that they have not become a series of obstacles to
the realization of the Highly Indebted Poor County Debt Initiative as an
alternative that offers more possibilities of achieving a
lasting solution to the debt problem. For instance, we can ask
if the period of six years, required by
the initiative, does not constitute a barrier to a more
expeditious solution of the problem. It is possible that in a shorter period,
countries can demonstrate their compromise to correct economic policies and in that way
can free their scarce resources for other activities. In this matter we share the concerns
expressed by African countries. It is also important to analyze what criteria are
used to determine the "viability" of the debt and if the national authorities
A final element which merits attention, and which is being currently discussed at an international level, is the question of whether the content of structural adjustment programs has solved the problems faced or whether it has exacerbated them. Contractionist policies, which tend to reduce growth in order to benefit stabilization, are under serious scrutiny in middle income countries. We could ask if this also applies to poor severely indebted countries.
As we expressed
at the beginning of our
intervention, we do not want to ignore the
important advances made in the treatment of
external debt at an international level.
Our desire is to point out that for an important group of countries, among them two
Central American ones, Honduras and Nicaragua, the debt problem continues to be an
important obstacle to the possibilities of economic growth and the
preparation of our countries for their
participation in the globalization process. This is
why, we consider necessary that the Second Committee maintain its discussion on
these points and that together we find the avenues of agreement that will lead to
effective solutions for our countries.
Mister President, Mister Secretary General Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I have the honor to express, on behalf of the Honduran Government, my sincere congratulations for successfully presiding this special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations devoted to the fight against the illicit production, sale, demand, traffic and distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and related activities and to proposing new strategies, goals, practical activities and concrete measures with the goal of strengthening international cooperation to face the problem of the inappropriate use and illicit traffic of drugs
My country congratulates the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which has acted as preparatory body for this Assembly, for the excellent work done and for the elaboration of important documents which we are sure will constitute valuable guidelines for our deliberations.
In the same manner, my country recognizes this highly positive initiative of His Excellency Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, President of Mexico, which allows us to grant a global and integral focus to this scourge which circles the confines of the orb.
The Plan of Government of the New Agenda of Honduras -- of the New Government of Honduras -- advocates with urgency for a profound change which would allow the citizen the right to be a protagonist in national development and in his/her destiny and to elevate in this manner, the greatness of the nation and his/her own economic, social, and spiritual well-being. This is why, aware that the health of the citizenry, the children, the young, and the strengthening of the system of law and of public institutions are threatened at a global level by drug traffic and related crimes, such as the illicit traffic of arms and money laundering, Honduras also actively promotes international cooperation and action, that together with national strategies, reduce the demand as well as the supply of these criminal substances which poison the consciences and destroy the health and hopes of thousands of peoples around the world. With this purpose, the Plan of Government of the New Agenda contemplates:
The Government of Honduras reiterates that it shares the efforts of the international community in the fight against the production, distribution, and consumption of drugs. In this sense, the Government of Honduras has been part of the signatory governments to the three conventions approved by the United Nations. In July of 1997, together with the governments of six Central American countries, Honduras signed a convention against money laundering with the vision of combating drug traffic.
In the recently past Presidential Summit in Santiago, Chile, our president, along with the rest of the assisting presidents, adopted a plan that determines concrete actions, to be executed in the following years, to combat drugs, under the direction of the Interamerican Commission for the Control of Drug Abuse (CICAD), technical specialized body of the Organization of American States (OEA).
The new Government of Honduras has seriously committed
itself to combating this evil and continues to adopt the necessary measures, including
legislation to punish crimes related to drugs, strengthening of the judicial system,
cooperation with other countries in prosecution activities, adherence to pertinent
international judicial instruments, and necessary campaigns, to be developed, that
distance our people, all equally, from these substances that destroy lives, communities,
hopes, and illusions.
The Republic of Honduras highly values the resolutions and decisions proposed by the international community in this special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations dedicated to the world drug problem. According to international guidelines in the fight against the scourge of drugs, as one of the greatest problems of the modern world, the Republic of Honduras sees with sympathy the Political Declaration in this special session and shares the terms of the document: First, that all citizens of all countries of the world be benefited equally by the anti-drug policies and anti-drug actions. Second, that the young be protected from the use of psychoactive substances. Third, that the necessary resources be provided for the rehabilitation of those individuals the have fallen in the use of narcotics. Fourth, that international organizations be exhorted to include in their programs, determinant actions in the fight against drugs. Fifth, that actions against violence, terrorist groups, and organized criminals that produce, traffic, and sell illicit drugs, be established internationally. Sixth, that in each country social communities be exhorted to grant their help in the fight against illicit drugs.
In particular, Honduras supports the objectives, purposes, and concrete goals that have been determined for the coming years, in relation to anti-drug programs. No more pain and crying in the world, no more destroyed families, no more contaminated societies, no more cursed money. All together in the fight against the drugs that threaten the health and well-being of humanity, the independence of states, stability, democracy, the structure of our societies, and the dignity of thousands and thousands of human beings.
Mister President, Distinguished Delegates:
Honduras aspires for a world with peace for all and without drugs for all.
Thank you very much.
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