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Remarks by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, on the summary paper on the declaration produced by the co-faciltators of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Post-2015 agenda

Thank you, Distinguished co-facilitators, for allowing me to make some preliminary remarks on this paper. I join others in commending you for your tireless efforts in facilitating this exercise. While endorsing the positions of the G77 and China and of the African Group, I have 5 more points of views where we believe this position paper can be further improved.

We are of the view that in a human-centered agenda, poverty eradication in all its multidimensional forms should be central as the overarching objective of the Post-2015 development agenda within this Declaration. This targets primarily vulnerable people including persons with disabilities who can benefit from social protection while others are afforded the opportunity to become active and resilient productive citizens, with decent and gainful employment.

On Para 2, cognizant of the substantive work achieved by the MDGs, it is important to carry over the unfinished business in order to tackle the transition from MDGs to SDGs, bearing in mind lessons learned and what should not be replicated, account taken on gaps encountered in achieving MDG 8.

On Para 3, for developing countries to implement the Post 2015 development agenda, adequate Means of Implementation should be provided. In this era of high tech, Enhancing transfer of technology, strengthening capacity building, innovating and finding solutions to current problems as well as making breakthroughs in science and ICTs would be crucial in leapfrogging some stages of development with a view to strengthening national institutions for an effective implementation of the Post 2015 development agenda.

Co-facilitators,

We attach great importance to the state sovereignty in the decision-making to deliver this agenda as the State holds the primary responsibility to the people.  In our approach, we recognize ourselves in our national values as the guiding principles that shape our lives and define who we are as a people.  In this respect, history, circumstances encountered in life, national and cultural heritage; etc. determine our priorities.

To achieve that, we opted to empower our people in shaping their own destiny. Therefore, it would be paramount to recognize and reflect this concept in the Declaration, highlighting the importance of respecting national ownership and of developing a national policy framework. Providing budget resources in line with national goals as well as enforcing accountability measures to monitor progress and delivery on programs can contribute to ensuring that no one is left behind.

Distinguished co-facilitators; another key area of development which cannot be overlooked is; achieving Gender Equality.  It goes without saying that no progress can be reached when one half of the population is left in the margins of decision-making. We need to foster inclusive growth by empowering women to enable their participation at all levels of development.  This important area should be provided for in the Declaration to promote gender equality and remove structural barriers that stand in the way of women and girls so as to enable them to enjoy their full social and economic wellbeing.

Finally, Distinguished Co-facilitators, another area we believe should be reflected in the Declaration is the opportunity to generate growth through infrastructure development.  Addressing that imperative would enable developing countries, Africa in particular, often referred to as the “dark continent” with its brilliant minds, great potential and massive natural resources to generate renewable energy and enhance its development through sustainable industrialization while ensuring the protection and preservation of our precious planet

I thank you

Remarks by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the opening of the special committee on peacekeeping

Madam Chair,

Rwanda greatly honors the opportunity to discuss and negotiate the existing concerns in the field of Peacekeeping during the 2015 substantive session of the C-34 Committee. We are hopeful that this year’s Session will guide our deliberations to a successful conclusion.

At the outset, I would like to commend you, Madam Chair, as well as the other members of the Bureau for your continuous support in advancing Peacekeeping efforts. Moreover, I would like to commend the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary General for their tireless efforts to address the challenges peacekeeping operations face today.

Madam Chair,

Rwanda, as one of the top Troop and Police Contributing Countries, with a presence in eight UN Missions, continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to peacekeeping operations and would like to express its readiness in improving peace operations. Taking into account the current multifaceted challenges on the ground, we look forward to working with the C-34 to solve these current issues.

My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered by Morocco, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and I would now like to make few additional remarks in my national capacity.

 Madam Chair,

An area of extreme importance in the field of peacekeeping is the Protection of Civilians, which remains at the heart of peacekeeping operations. We believe that the Committee needs to discuss how to adapt the protection of civilians in a changing and complex security environment. As rightly stated by the African Union Commission during an interaction with the High Level Panel, the greater risks faced by TCCs should lead us to rethink the principles underpinning traditional peacekeeping operations.

A common understanding of the Protection of Civilians from policy formulation to direct implementation is of the utmost importance moving forward. From Mali to Somalia, CAR and other places around the world, terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups are threatening the lives of our civilians, and ultimately, the essence of our human existence. The reality is that peacekeepers are operating in an environment where there is no peace to keep. For these reasons and more, we must make sure that peacekeepers are equipped with the required tools to proactively protect civilians as well themselves. In this regard, Rwanda will organize, on 28 and 29 May, in Kigali, an international conference on protection of Civilians. Details will soon be shared with Member States.

Madam Chair,

Rwanda is alarmed by the increasing number of violent attacks against peacekeepers on the ground and the need for the UN to further promote and deliver safety and security for its personnel carrying out vital peace missions in unstable and dangerous areas.

Among other high-priority issues, we must ask ourselves how we will face and fight mobile extremists using suicide bombings, IEDs, and other unconventional means. Of course the mobility and rapid response capabilities are of great importance; but pro-active measures and physical presence on the ground are more than needed to have a strong and persuasive posture.

Madam Chair,

Another area of importance to my delegation is regional partnerships and funding thereof.  This is something that we think is very important especially for the African Continent, which provides around 2/3 of the agenda of the Security Council meetings. Strengthening African capacity to deal with the conflict in the context of Chapter 8 of the UN Charter – particularly by sustainable and predictable funding of AU operations mandated by the Security Council – is essential to addressing conflict in the continent.

Madam Chair,

The UN needs greater representation of women in peacekeeping, and for this crucial reason, Rwanda has made it a priority in deploying more female peacekeepers. To put words into action, Rwanda continues to support further measures and strategy aimed at increasing the participation of women, so that they play their rightful role in conflict resolution and peacebuilding at all levels. We welcome and commend the efforts made so far in this regard, including the All-Female Training and Assessment Pilot Project organized by the Police Division in Rwanda in September of last year. As a leading nation in women’s empowerment, my country is committed to continue not only contributing more female peacekeepers, but also advocating for increased women’s involvement in peace operations.

Madam Chair,

While we acknowledge the added value of the use of new technology in peacekeeping operations, especially in regard to the protection of civilians and the safety of peacekeepers, we would like to emphasize that the data collected by UAVs should be shared with concerned member states. Additionally, may we be reminded that the use of new technology in peacekeeping operations does not replace human capabilities on the ground, especially human intelligence.

Madam Chair,

My delegation would like to add its voice to those who have called for an efficient and timely reimbursement of Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) and troop cost. The problem of delayed payments regularly observed in some peacekeeping missions and which in turn has resulted in substantial long outstanding dues owed by the United Nations to TCCs is not only worrying but unacceptable.  TCCs need the reimbursements on time to maintain their equipment to avoid deductions for Shortfalls. The current practice for reimbursement should not only be reviewed to avoid the observed delayed but also to enable TCCS/PCCS receive their reimbursements at least a month only after the COE Inspections.

Madam Chair,

 Let me conclude by reiterating Rwanda’s commitment to supporting the United Nations peacekeeping operations.  We pay tribute to the brave men and women who serve in peacekeeping operations and have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I thank you.

Remarks by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the Post-2015 Intergovernmental negotiations- declaration session

 Distinguished Co-facilitators,

Let me first commend you on the able way you are conducting these proceedings and take the opportunity to thank you for providing the elements paper for the Declaration which came in handy in informing our decision on the key points.

Rwanda aligns itself with the statements made by the Permanent Representative of South Africa on behalf of the G77 and China as well as the Permanent Representative of Mozambique for the African Group. We endorse fully LLDCs and LDCs statements delivered by the Permanent Representatives of Zambia and Benin respectively.

Co-Facilitators,

We have here before us a very important task to agree on the elements to feed in our Declaration for the post 2015 Development Agenda. Given that it is a political document and while we reckon that there might be some divergences, we remain confident that there will be many points of convergence if we are all aiming at achieving a universal, ambitious, bold and action-oriented agenda geared towards the eradication of extreme poverty as the overarching objective.

The Declaration should then draw from agreed outcomes of previous instruments such as the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development and the 2000 Millennium Declaration as well as many others addressing the issue of sustainable development.

While the challenges ahead might seem insurmountable, we have reason to be optimistic, invigorated by our success in tackling the MDGs and equipped with lessons learned from our past errors. To that effect, the Declaration should insist on the necessity to take in hand own development, build communities’ resilience to external shocks in order to consolidate gains. For that, we call for a particular attention to be put on vulnerable countries still stagnant in a vicious circle of poverty to enable them emerge frome their quagmire. The Declaration should count on a renewed spirit of solidarity as no country would benefit if others are still lagging behind. Building ties stemming on mutual interests and as equal partners would yield positive results and be beneficial to all parties involved.

The Declaration should also be an opportune moment for world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to the principles and values central to the achievement of sustainable development notably the eradication of poverty and hunger, the respect of human rights, rule of law and justice and state ways affording people to lead a life of dignity brought about by decent & gainful employment for women and men. We should be driven by ensuring gender equality, women and youth empowerment as well as equitable access to basic needs such as education, health, water, sanitation, as well as ICTs and STI as major enablers. In our quest to ensure those benefits to all vulnerable groups, the Declaration should furthemore provide for the convergence of the 3 dimensions of sustainable development, economic, social and environmental if we are to keep the world in harmony.

Distinguished co-facilitators,

Bearing in mind that not all countries will follow the same development path in delivering to their citizens, especially account taken on their level of progress, challenges and multi faceted exceptionalities inherent to their status as LDC, LLDC and Sids, as well as to their history, values and culture, the Declaration should state the importance of differentiated solutions tailored towards addressing those various needs while at the same time safeguarding state sovereignity and responding to priorities highlighted in country strategic development plans.

In addition, it is imperative to note in the Declaration, reliance on adequate means of implementation and proper funding if we are to reach success in realizing the post 2015 development agenda. This will call for mobilizing domestic resources and tapping into other sources of financing. The Declaration must highlight the important call on each country to generate those vital funds needed to tackle the post 2015 development agenda but also to multistakeholders and donor community to ease all impediments preventing developing countries to embark on a positive trajectory such as challenges in attracting FDI, weak private sector, absence of trade facilities, debt restructuring, lack of adequate means of implementation, etc.

It is also imperative to complement governments’efforts and regional entities to build appropriate infrastructure. Technology, innovation and capacity building and an adequately trained workforce would not only address sustainable development challenges in that respect but also add value. Finally, science, technology and innovation and dissemination of new and existing technologies will be needed if the SDGs are to be met.

The Declaration should stress the needs to craft emergency measures to avoid the spiralling downward of our planet to the point of no return due to climate change. In this respect, we believe that Action ought to be taken now if we are to stop the countdown dragging us towards a complete destruction of our planet. The Declaration should contain a section establishing responsibility of Developed countries and the international community as a whole towards developing countries, in addressing environmental challenges sustainably bearing in mind the principle of CBDR. This will include a rethinking of our unsustainable production and consumption patterns, the reduction of carbon emissions depleting the ozone layer and causing global warming, the deforestation responsible for drought and desertification, pollution and dumping of hazardeous and toxic waste endangering our flora, fauna as well as marine ecosystems.

As we proceed in the crafting of the 2015 development agenda, we need to bear in mind that we cannot dissociate sustainable development from other processes initiated by the United Nations but rather should blend in efforts deployed by governments to reach convergence. The Declaration has to establish that link and stress on its complementarity for better results.

Distinguished Co-Facilitators,

In this 2015 process, Rwanda renews its commitment and willingness to continue to move in tandem with all actors in crafting a development agenda that will make a difference in the lives of our people by eradicating extreme poverty and ensuring to one is left behind.

I thank you

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the 53rd Session of the Commission for social development

Thank you Madam Chair,

At the outset, let me extend my congratulations to you and to all the Bureau Members on your election and especially on the able, cheerful and energizing way you are steering the work of this Commission.

Rwanda aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished Permanent Representative of Mozambique on behalf of the African Group under this agenda item as well as South Africa for the Group of 77 and China.

I would like to take this opportunity to join previous speakers in thanking you and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs for the successful organization of the 53rd session of the Commission for Social Development as well as of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the World Summit for Social Development.

While the Commission has done a lot in facilitating dialogue in the process of the adoption and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, this session and the subsequent 20th commemoration come at a critical time when we are transiting from unmet MDGs targets to a post-2015 development agenda.

We believe it is high time to reflect on what has been achieved, what the challenges and gaps in social development domain are so as to move decisively and embrace a truly universal sustainable development agenda. We need to give great scrutiny to past development practice, current development needs and future development goals, with an aim of developing a comprehensive, yet flexible sustainable development agenda that places people and the environment at the centre; an achievable agenda that is consistent with contemporary issues and challenges.

This is so true in that the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and the Programme of Action came at a critical time when many countries, particularly in Africa were experiencing conflicts, while others were undergoing democratic transition, and post conflict reconstruction, which hampered the implementation of the Declaration in many ways.

You might recall that the Declaration was adopted a year after my country had witnessed a devastating genocide that left over a million of our population dead, a collapsed infrastructure, and a destroyed social fabric. In our efforts to rebuild, the post genocide Rwandan Government undertook several steps in promoting social development and integration as ingredients of efforts geared towards not only promoting national reconciliation and cultivating social cohesion, but also as a way to uplift the living standards of our people through poverty eradication.

In this respect, Mme Chair, placing greater attention on the multidimensional and dynamic nature of poverty and understanding the challenges and the many dimensions of poverty for its effective and sustained reduction, became one of our priorities. We also understood that fighting the new trends of growing inequalities and addressing chronic global interdependencies were some of the avenues to address and redress all underlying causes leading to extreme poverty once for all.

In our view Mme Chair, it means that on top of promoting global economic growth to eradicate poverty, more efforts were deployed on building individual and community-level capabilities, assisting national policies and strategies in ensuring increased access to services including health and education and more importantly in improving access to decent work and in recognizing the important role of ICT and STI among other enablers.

Bearing in mind that employment is vital in that respect, we managed to make it accessible to the key drivers of the economy, namely young people and women, who are the most disadvantageous due to their vulnerability.  For that to be achieved we reinforced national policies geared at stimulating job creation such as entrepreneurship, improving quality of education so as to provide a comparative advantage to the vulnerable groups.

Rwanda’s revival therefore took place within the context of a far-reaching development programmes whose objectives was the dispersal of decision-making powers and resources from the centre to the local level, which followed wide-ranging consultations on the causes of disunity among Rwandans and underdevelopment of our societies and our country.

This explains therefore why, since the end of the genocide, my country has gone through a number of phases and undertaken several policies seeking to promote social, economic and political transformation: namely   the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase from 1996 to 1999, which  laid  the ground for national reconciliation;  the poverty reduction phase from 2000 to 2005, laying the ground for decentralization; and the medium-term (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy I&II) and long-term (Vision 2020) developmental phase. In the process, this phase is also laying the ground for an efficient state and accountable government within the framework of a decentralized service delivery.

Madam Chair,

While we share the view that the transition from MDGs to SDGs represents a crucial moment, from poverty reduction to addressing the structural underlying causes of poverty, progress is never guaranteed and the risks and obstacles are many, as they were with MDGs. As stated in the Secretariat’s Note on emerging issues: contributions of social development to the transition from MDGs to SDGs, without inclusive economic and social policies, economic gains tend to benefit few, which in turn creates societies that are prone to conflict and instability. Governments efforts should strive to fulfil basic needs of their people, including in providing access to health, education, decent work and the realization of individual right and freedom

In concluding Madam Chair, allow me to reaffirm Rwanda’s commitment towards the eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities, which remain one of our priorities in our development path, as well as in the negotiation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

I thank you!

 

 

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the UN High Level debate on the Means of Implementation for the Post-2015 agenda

Thank you Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank you Mr. President for convening this important High Level debate and through you I would also like to extend my appreciation to our keynote speakers for enlightening us this morning. Rwanda aligns itself with the statements made on behalf of the African Group and of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. President,

As stated in the past, committing to and achieving the SDGs will be an impossible task without adequate means of implementation and a genuine global partnership for sustainable development. In this respect, we ought to start from a common understanding that comes September, when our Heads of States are gathered at the UN General Assembly, they adopt an agenda that will truly include adequate resources to eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms by 2030, once and for all.

Critical to delivering on a post-2015 development agenda is therefore mobilizing all financial resources both from the private and public sectors including generating higher domestic resource mobilization and raising additional financing resources taking into account each country’s capability. This will fulfill the first step towards embarking on a positive trajectory.

In addition, establishing clear premises from the start would also define the responsibility to be borne by all stakeholders (developed and developing countries, international financial institutions, the public and private sectors, academia, etc.) in delivering effective means of implementation. Therefore, in underwriting the Post-2015 development agenda, developed countries are expected to truly honour all official development assistance commitments, including ODA as it remains the key international public financial resource for development purposes.

Equally important is reforming the international financial architecture to allow a more even flow of resources. in order to expand our growth market, it is imperative to take bold moves to enable free movement of people and goods if we are to reap the benefits of regional integration. Promoting a stronger multilateral trade system to complement local, national and regional efforts will be a positive addition. When it comes to trade, market access by itself is not enough, but we should go beyond and implement the Aid for Trade initiative. Ultimately, my delegation calls for better cooperation in trade and financial measures so as to assist us in the removal of policies that could impede the SDGs’ achievement.

Mr. President,

Building productive capacity is essential for achieving high and sustainable growth, structural transformation and creation of employment and decent jobs. Another key aspect of support would be to acquire modern technology tailored to productive capacity building. The proposed Technology Bank dedicated to LDCs can play a crucial role in this regard.

My country has made remarkable progress in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals specifically in education, gender equality, fighting maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS. More importantly, understanding as a nation that we were the primary artisans of our development and empowering the citizens to take in hand their own destiny drawing from culture and history to shape a new narrative embedded in our homegrown solutions enabled us to solve challenges inherent to our specific needs and to build resilience to external shocks.

From our homegrown solutions, we have fulfilled as a nation our quest for reconstruction, rebuilt our communities, mended our social fabric and lifted more than a million from poverty simply because we understood that no progress would be attained unless we created an inclusive society.

That is how we view an effective partnership on a global level if we are to face crises plaguing our continent; taking ownership first and joining in the efforts deployed by the International community and regional and sub-regional organizations to set our priorities, identify our problems and find tailored solutions to address them in cooperation with our partners.

The one constant imperative was also sustaining our economic growth to strive to reach economic transformation and eventually generate employment and give way to creativity and innovation from our young achievers and entrepreneurs. Empowering our women economically was another milestone that boosted our economy.

From lessons learnt, strengthening capacities, building effective institutions and ensuring good governance are an important prerequisite to further equip us with effective tools to implement the Post-2015 agenda.

Mr. President,

A win win global partnership should provide adequate technical assistance to build capacity, help developing countries deal with the main challenges posed by external debt and infrastructure gaps and improve investment efficiency while at the same time disbursing ODA commitments to be used to leverage domestic resources.

A genuine partnership should also enable to bridge the technology divide, by facilitating the international technology transfer as access by developing countries to environmentally sound technologies and new knowledge will contribute to achieving a truly transformative Post-2015 agenda.

We therefore support the creation of a facilitation mechanism as mandated by the Rio+20 Conference as well as the GA resolution 68/210. In our view, this mechanism should enhance the capacities of individual countries, by for instance, providing expert support to facilitate the prioritization of short-term and medium-term technology goals at the national level, improving access to funding for home grown technological innovations and to environmentally sound technologies and; transferring technology to empower youth and women who play a critical part in improving the wellbeing of the society. Using all productive capacity to generate employment of women would help in effecting gender equality.

Mr. President,

To conclude, we believe that meeting the requirements of achieving the Post-2015 development agenda has to be more than a slogan and rather be accompanied by a bold ambitious program of implementation that will impact on the way we conduct business. Rallying all actors towards ensuring adequate means of implementation will constitute the foundation of this agenda and a test of our genuine resolve to aim at shared prosperity.

I thank you