ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL HEARS NATIONAL VOLUNTARY PRESENTATIONS OF PERU, VIET NAM AND NIGERIA
1 July 2013
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon heard the national voluntary presentations of Peru, Viet Nam and Nigeria, followed by an interactive dialogue.
Nestor Osorio, President of the Council, said that the national voluntary presentations enabled the Council to explore ways to address lags in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The presentations this year would be linked to the theme of the 2013 Annual Ministerial Review on "Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals". They provided a platform where national level implementation could connect with international policy making. He conveyed his special thanks and appreciation to the Governments of France, Nigeria, Peru and Viet Nam for volunteering to give national voluntary presentations this year.
Gladys Triveno, Minister of Production of Peru, presenting the report of Peru, said that between 2000 and 2012 Peru had seen an average growth rate of 5.8 per cent, driven by private investment, while poverty had been reduced from 58.7 per cent in 2004 to 25.8 in 2012. However, the share of industry as part of the Gross Domestic Product had not grown at the same rate. Among the remaining challenges were the low collaboration between academia and industries and the low level of patent applications. Peru was taking several measures in that respect and was also intensifying efforts to combat malnutrition, to promote basic and higher education, and to achieve the repatriation of researchers. A number of incentives were being provided as part of the legal and institutional framework for the promotion of science, technology and innovation.
Japan, Brazil and the United States spoke in the interactive dialogue and posed questions to Ms. Triveno.
Nguyen The Phuong, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investments of Viet Nam, presenting the national voluntary report of Viet Nam, said that Viet Nam was committed to implementing the Millennium Development Goals but, like many other countries around the world, faced several challenges. Environmental sustainability, restraining HIV/AIDS growth, further reducing poverty, empowering women, and promoting primary education remained high on Viet Nam’s list of goals. The net enrolment rate in primary education in 2010 was over 90 per cent for both boys and girls, the mortality rate among under-five-year-old children had been reduced significantly, and efforts to attract direct foreign investment had been intensified. The increasing impact of climate change posed many challenges but Viet Nam would continue to tackle the problem and its effects for vulnerable populations.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Republic of Korea and Mozambique raised questions about the national voluntary presentation of Viet Nam.
Precious Kalamba Gbeneol, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, presenting the report of Nigeria, said that Nigeria was now able to mainstream sustainable development into national strategies. Significant progress in implementing the Millennium Development Goals had been made, including the creation of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President and disbursing additional spending by local governments. On the other hand, unequal leadership commitment, the weak involvement of beneficiaries, the effects of climate change, and security issues were some of the remaining challenges. Nigeria had put in place specific policies and action plans in order to address environmental challenges.
Namibia, United Kingdom and the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Adnan Amin, who moderated the discussion, posed questions to Ms. Gbeneol in the interactive dialogue which followed.
The next meeting of the Council will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 2 July 2013, when it will hold a high-level policy dialogue with the international financial and trade institutions on current developments in the world economy. The national voluntary presentation of France will take place at 3 p.m. tomorrow.
Introduction of the National Voluntary Presentations
NESTOR OSORIO, President of the Economic and Social Council, said the national voluntary presentations enabled the Council to explore ways to address lags in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The presentations this year would be linked to the theme of the 2013 Annual Ministerial Review on "Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals". They provided a platform where national level implementation could connect with international policy making. He conveyed his special thanks and appreciation to the Governments of France, Nigeria, Peru and Viet Nam for volunteering to give national voluntary presentations this year. He trusted that the national voluntary presentations would pave the way for the further strengthening of global coordination and cooperation, and the global partnership for sustainable development.
National Voluntary Presentation of Peru
GLADYS TRIVENO, Minister of Production of Peru, said that between 2000 and 2012 Peru had seen an average growth rate of 5.8 per cent, driven by private investment, primarily in the mining sector, as well as by the dynamism of the export sector, which had allowed for a significant reduction of total poverty from 58.7 per cent in 2004 to 25.8 in 2012. Despite the growth, the share of industry as part of the GDP had not grown at the same rate, having stalled its share between 13 and 14 per cent in recent years. This was an industry which was highly concentrated in consumer goods, with low levels of sophistication. Peru invested only 0.14 per cent of its GDP in research and development; main investment in research and development was not carried out by the private sector; and the trade balance of knowledge was clearly insufficient. Among other challenges, Ms. Triveno identified that the collaboration between academia and industries was low, and only 11 per cent of manufacturing firms had been associated with universities in the 2009-11 period to carry out innovation activities; industry personnel was not necessarily suitable for innovation; and there was a low level of patent applications. The Government endeavoured to change this situation and, among other positive developments, the number of patent applications and main indexed scientific publications had increased. A national agreement and sufficient funding to promote these activities were also being provided by the Government; moreover, adequate incentives including fiscal measures had also been adopted as part of the legal and institutional framework for the promotion of science, technology and innovation.
The report of Peru can be seen here.
Japan said that it was inspired by all that Peru had done to promote innovation through its national policies. It was clear that Peru had invested a lot in the environment and that it had achieved a significant reduction of poverty. The country could do more to strengthen competitiveness in strategic sectors and to promote further social inclusion. Stakeholders in the private sector needed to be carefully identified and included in efforts made by Peru. As a country which attached great importance to the promotion of scientific and technological innovation, Japan admired Peru’s efforts, which could serve as a model for many other countries, including Japan. It was encouraging that there was already ongoing cooperation between Japan and Peru in several areas, including solid waste management.
Brazil said that the Millennium Development Goals had been designed as a commitment agreed by countries to create a better planet, and stressed that it was important for the exchange of lessons learned during the implementation of the goals to continue. Peru had been successful in incorporating scientific and technological innovation into its policies and in centralizing its production capacity and promoting biodiversity, while its efforts to enhance the management of national asserts and to increase business competitiveness were starting to pay off. Peru had also made significant progress in implementing the commitments which it had undertaken, including reducing childhood mortality and extreme poverty. Efforts to improve pregnant women’s health and to fight against diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria should have been made clearer in the national voluntary presentation.
United States said that the presentation was compelling and Peru’s efforts to elevate science, technology and innovation as a national priority provided important examples in this regard. Concerning education, information and communication technologies and innovation, the increase in GDP growth was enviable and Peru had achieved significant progress and the presentation was evidence of the Government’s determination to enrich this growth with diversification and other measures. Could Minister Triveno further explain how the revolution of education intended to be brought about and how the focus on science and mathematics fit within the larger national plan in this regard? Concerning information and telecommunications technologies, what steps was Peru taking to benefit small and medium enterprises? Finally, concerning innovation, the United States asked about the transfer of technology and what were the most important steps to address intellectual property issues and create a culture of prevention.
GLADYS TRIVENO, Minister of Production of Peru, responding to Japan’s questions, said that one of the instruments used to provide incentives for enterprises to innovate were related to tax incentives. All efforts and expenses geared towards innovation were since last year recognised as expenses and additional credit was provided to companies who trained their staff with a view to increase productivity. One of the non-traditional products exported to Japan was the fibre of camu camu, why could Peru not add value to the processing of this product before it was exported? A similar trend was found with regards to natural dyes and science and technology could contribute to creating additional value for products for which there was a demand. In response to other questions, the Minister said a programme looked at the situation of pregnant women with the objective of providing incentives for regular antenatal checks to provide care for the delivery of their children and support to go back to the working world, in order to empower women. The vast majority of city mayors were men and significant challenges remained to empower and provide opportunities for women. Technological innovation centres provided opportunities so that small enterprises could improve their production and the Government was also investing resources to ensure a multiplying effect in patent registration. Education was at the root and a number of initiatives had been implemented, including the improvement of nutrition and the development of technical education.
National Voluntary Presentation of Viet Nam
NGUYEN THE PHUONG, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investments of Viet Nam, presenting the national voluntary report of Viet Nam, said that Viet Nam was committed to implementing the Millennium Development Goals but, like many other countries around the world, faced several challenges. Viet Nam had been affected by the global economic downturn but nonetheless it had managed to maintain a relatively high economic growth rate. The country remained aware of the importance of science and technology, the effective application of which had helped to improve national competitiveness and reduce poverty. Many of the targets set for 2015 had been achieved or overachieved at the national level. Environmental sustainability and curbing HIV/AIDS infections and the further reduction of poverty remained high on Viet Nam’s list of goals, as were empowering women and promoting primary education. The net enrolment rate in primary education in 2010 was over 90 per cent for both boys and girls, and the mortality rate among under-five-year-old children had been reduced significantly. Viet Nam had intensified efforts to attract further foreign investment and had managed to put malaria under control and to restrain the HIV/AIDS growth rate. Scientific development and innovation were very important to Viet Nam and the country had achieved important results in that area, but still encountered difficulties due to the increasing impact of climate change. Nevertheless, Viet Nam was determined to implement the Millennium Development Goals and would continue to tackle climate change and its effects for vulnerable populations.
The report of Viet Nam can be seen here.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic said that the report reflected Viet Nam’s commitment to actions to attain the Millennium Development Goals and commended Viet Nam for the achievements recorded on all aspects of the fulfilment of these goals. New rural development programmes and programmes on sustainable poverty reduction, in parallel with economic growth and the support of macroeconomic policies which had created numerous jobs and lifted people out of poverty, assisted in the achievement of the goals concerning poverty eradication. Additional efforts to enhance enrolment rates in primary education and multiple national programmes and strategies for gender equality had also been undertaken. Among the remaining challenges, poverty reduction was not sustainable because a number of households remained at risk of falling back into poverty and primary school completion rates remained low. Environmental sustainability was one of the most challenging issues in the upcoming years.
Republic of Korea was honoured to comment on the remarkable progress achieved by Viet Nam and was pleased to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of development cooperation between the two countries. Viet Nam’s presentation had been balanced, comprehensive and forward-looking, and its transformation into a middle income country in 2010 bore testimony to the commitment of its people to its development policies. Among the remaining challenges, income inequality, lack of infrastructure and environmental degradation could become obstacles for further development. The Republic of Korea was implementing policies as part of their partnership, focusing on environmental sustainability, human rights development, and infrastructure, aligned with those areas in which Viet Nam had seen breakthroughs. The Republic of Korea was working with Vietnamese authorities in remote rural areas to ensure the development packages reached ethnic minorities, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society.
Mozambique said that Viet Nam’s report had given the Council an accurate picture of the remarkable progress made towards implementing several of the Millennium Development Goals and achieving a high level of economic growth. Mozambique praised Viet Nam for decreasing significantly the poverty rate within a short period of time, for reducing child mortality, and for having one of the lowest rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world. It also highly commended Viet Nam’s achievements in the areas of science and technology, and said that Mozambique was very keen to learn from Viet Nam’s own experience. Lastly, Mozambique encouraged Viet Nam to proceed with its implementation programme of the Millennium Development Goals.
NGUYEN THE PHUONG, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investments of Viet Nam, thanked reviewing countries for their feedback and said that Viet Nam was particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, not only because of its geographical position but also because of its long coastline and mountainous areas. Flooding and other natural disasters had negatively impacted on the country’s agriculture and economy in general. Viet Nam had established a specific programme for poverty reduction, which also took into consideration natural disasters caused by climate change. The situation of ethnic minority groups was given special attention. Appropriate support and assistance were provided to minority groups affected by typhoons. Viet Nam’s legal framework for scientific and technological innovation had been significantly strengthened. That included a new law on the application of science and technology in various areas, and a new intellectual property law recently approved by the National Assembly.
National Voluntary Presentation of Nigeria
PRECIOUS KALAMBA GBENEOL, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, said that Nigeria had been able to benefit from science and technology to pursue its development goals and was now able to mainstream sustainable development into national strategies. Nigeria had demonstrated its commitment to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and from 2005 Nigeria had been able to receive debt relief which had been dedicated to the achievement of these goals; the Office of the Special Assistant to the President had been created, additional spending by local governments had been disbursed, and significant progress on some of the goals had been achieved. Among the main key bottlenecks, Ms. Gbeneol noted unequal leadership commitments, weak involvement of beneficiaries, cultural and behavioural challenges, climate change and emerging security challenges. Science technology and innovation had been deployed in a number of these efforts: a conditional grant scheme targeted those with the greatest need on the basis of poverty mappings, baseline facility inventories, and need assessment activities and benefited from e-registration and e-payment technologies. Specific policies and action plans to address environmental challenges had been put in place to address environmental challenges. Nigeria was committed to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and to a science, technology, and innovation-based development framework.
The report of Nigeria can be seen here.
Namibia commended Nigeria on transforming its telecommunications sector; within the broader context of the Millennium Development Goals, Nigeria had made significant successes across many areas of intervention, including areas such as primary school completion. Also, enrolment rates of children in primary and secondary education were impressive, as was the reduction of infant and maternal mortality rates. Namibia was also pleased that Nigeria had mainstreamed the Millennium Development Goals agenda into national policy interventions and strategies, and that it had devised innovative strategies at the local, regional and national level. Nigeria was implementing its science policy through comprehensive science systems, including governmental bodies dedicated to science and technology. The areas of Nigerian success could be amplified and replicated elsewhere, including in Namibia. Despite numerous efforts made to improve primary and secondary education, the quality of education in many African States remained a serious challenge, especially in mathematics and science, for which a poor infrastructure was mostly to blame.
ADNAN AMIN, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency and Moderator of the discussion, said that Nigeria was an oil-producing country but was increasingly transforming its energy strategy. Could the Nigerian delegation give more details on that transformation? He also wanted to know how innovation in telecommunications could drive the economy forward, and how awareness of the Millennium Development Goals could be raised among young persons.
United Kingdom said that it was committed to supporting Nigerian efforts to eradicate poverty. The economic dynamism of the country, which was the top destination in Africa for direct foreign investment, was impressive. Even though the economy had grown by almost 7 per cent annually in recent years, a large number of persons lived in extreme poverty. Therefore, sustained effort and attention were needed for the continuing achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It was crucial that progress made in terms of reducing maternal and infant mortality be sustained and accelerated. Also, further progress was needed in the areas of water sanitation and poverty reduction, for which strong and determined leadership were essential. Bearing in mind the dynamism of the Nigerian telecommunications sector, the United Kingdom asked what lessons could be learned from other sectors important to social, economic and environmental development? Also, how could Nigeria ensure that the gathering and dissemination of data contributed to effective policymaking? How could Nigeria ensure that progress in one region of the country spread across the rest of the country?
PRECIOUS KALAMBA GBENEOL, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, thanked Namibia and the United Kingdom for taking the time to review its national voluntary presentation. Responding to the questions posed by the Moderator concerning remaining challenges, Ms. Gbeneol said that science, technology and innovation had been used to promote moving away from the mono-production of oil; diversification of technology and innovation in the diversification of agriculture would benefit a greater number of people. Concerning telecommunications, Ms. Gbeneol said that access to telecommunications had created new forms of doing businesses, thus reducing travel time and complications. Harnessing alternative energy, for example from solar sources, was cheaper than oil and gas, and it also provided for the generation of alternative forms of revenue. Nollywood was not only about entertainment, but it allowed for the dissemination of common beliefs and for raising awareness concerning issues relating to the Millennium Development Goals, such as those related to HIV/AIDS. The film industry also created jobs for young people. Technology had also been used in the provision of seeds and fertilisers to farmers. The national bureau of statistics was well grounded and provided reliable statistics. Ms. Gbeneol also highlighted the achievement of gender equality in the field of education.
ADNAN AMIN, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency and Moderator, highlighted that the national voluntary presentations had proven to be a useful tool. While delegations were still shy about raising questions about other States’ presentations, there had been some very interesting conversation and this constituted a good example of innovation in a United Nations context.
NESTOR OSORIO, President of the Economic and Social Council, thanked the representatives of Peru, Viet Nam and Nigeria for their national voluntary presentations and stressed the importance of highlighting examples of innovation in efforts to achieve development goals.
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