Intervention at the Roundtable on Environmental Sustainability, New York, 25 September 2008


Intervention by

H.E. Dr. N. Hassan Wirajuda,
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Republic of Indonesia

At the Roundtable on Environmental Sustainability

New York, 25 September 2008

Mr. Chairman,

I wish to commend the Secretary-General and the President of General Assembly for convening this roundtable meeting. As this is the first review since our leaders committed themselves to the Millennium Development Goals at the start of this century, meeting gives us the opportunity to reinforce those commitments made at the highest political level.

Fully committed to attaining the MDGs, the Government of Indonesia has issued its2007 MDGs Report as a half-way overview of challenges and efforts needed to achieve individual MDG targets.
The MDGs are particularly relevant this year as we confront the crises of high food and energy prices and of climate change. These three crises have made it exceedingly difficult for most of us to meet our MDG commitments by 2015. Even the environment factor seems to have become a major handicap.
In fact environmental sustainability is not and should not be treated as an obstacle to development. And it is not a developing countries issue, nor is it a developed countries issue. It is universal. It is all about the human race and its continued survival.
We can ensure environmental sustainability and still rescue the teeming millions trapped in poverty. It is feasible to strike a happy balance between these two concerns.
On the part of the developing countries, there is no a lack of political will to pursue environmental sustainability. But they need sufficient resources to accomplish that—resources in terms of technology, funds and human capacity. We in Indonesia therefore seek a new global commitment to allocate sufficient resources for sustainable development. This can be done through such innovative arrangements as debt-for-environment swaps.
It is also important that the forthcoming review of the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development should have financing for climate change as an integral part of its outcome.
Mr. Chairman,
The pursuit of green development requires leadership at all levels. Governments must provide incentives for consumers and businesses to choose “green” development. The United Nations with its universal membership must work hard for the attainment of existing environmental goals at global level.
Technological innovations are crucial to green development. Particularly important are resource-saving technologies. So that developing countries can afford these technologies, the Intellectual Property Rights regime for environmental technologies must be amended.
And let us not forget that small actions, replicated many times over on a global scale, can make a big difference. We therefore propose that this session of the General Assembly launch a pilot project for a “No Car Day.” Repeated every month worldwide, a “No Car Day” can yield tremendous results.
Mr. Chairman,
There will soon be new opportunities for us to advance our green development agenda. In 2012, two historic events will take place: the launch of the new climate framework and the twenty-year review of the Rio Earth Summit (Rio+20). If we seize the opportunities that these two events will provide, they can add considerable momentum to our green development efforts.
Indonesia is therefore taking early action at the national and global levels. We are striving to ensure sustainable management of tropical forests and oceans, through the work of the Forest Eleven, the Heart of Borneo project and the Coral Triangle Initiative launched by President Yudhoyono last year. Having contributed to the charting of the Bali Roadmap, we intend to contribute as well to the success of Rio+20.
I am optimistic about a green future. In spite of the crises of our time, we can achieve our goals through concerted action in a global partnership for sustainable development. All we need is a combination of adequate resources and a strong political will.
For the sake of our future generations, we must succeed in that endeavour.

I thank you.