Last year the United Nations convened in New York for the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development to discuss how to address the worldwide economic downturn and in particular protect vulnerable populations from its impact. In five years the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are slated to be accomplished, and yet in the last two years this economic crisis has negatively affected developing countries by stunting their attempts at economic growth, political stability, and infrastructural development. Isolationism of countries with larger economies is a constant threat as they attempt to defend themselves from further economic degradation by shutting their markets from outside trade and investment. Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs), who in large part depend on foreign aid and donations, are suffering most in the wake of this collapse. Focus has shifted from progress to protection, hindering improvements and strides for growth as exchange rates fluctuate, trade decreases, and markets deteriorate, causing job loss and revenue shortages that lead to lack of infrastructure and slow down the MDGs. Haiti agrees wholeheartedly with the statement made by the General Assembly in its Outcome of the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development that, “Going forward, our response must focus on creating jobs, increasing prosperity, strengthening access to health and education, correcting imbalances, designing and implementing environmentally and socially sustainable development paths and having a strong gender perspective.” This opportunity cannot be wasted, and Haiti encourages action from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), governments, and members of the private sector to follow the urgings of Bangladesh’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Dipu Moni who spoke on behalf of the LDCs at the Conference for stimulus money to be provided to encourage growth of developing countries’ economies, infrastructure, and development programs, particularly as they relate to the MDGs. Haiti urges that LDCs be given greater attention, and encourages them to assume significant roles in economic enterprise through aid, support programs, and development policies from foreign benefactors as referenced in A/RES/64/193. Donors are urged to deliver their promised aid packages, while the debts of qualified LDCs will be put on standstill as recommended in A/RES/64/190. While Haiti avoided some of the effects of the global economic crisis through its already implemented careful bank regulation and its lack of foreign investments and resources, our national budget relies on foreign donation. We recommend that countries such as us who display national financial responsibility in our banking and stock exchange should be rewarded with support to continue with infrastructural improvements and economic growth activities through continued increased financial aid and NGO program assistance. Furthermore, attention is requested regarding the special needs of LDCs including giving them increased access to the international marketplace so that their exports do not accumulate, leading to loss of resources and jobs, completion of the MDGs, and the protection of vulnerable people such as women and migrants. Education and equipment of the populations in LDCs through the accomplishment of the MDGs, particularly through the eighth goal, Global Partnership, will help to reduce these risks.
II. The Role of Diamonds in Fuelling Conflict
Political instability in West Africa continues to be exacerbated by conflict diamonds that find market in the Western Hemisphere. With 65% of the world’s diamonds coming from Southern Africa, where instability has mingled with development, now is the time to staunchly stem the flow of conflict diamonds. Haiti urges the strengthening of The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which is striving to abolish conflict diamond trade, needs to be strengthened and supplemented to achieve optimum results. Haiti points to the proven results reaped when diamonds are regulated legally: immense increase in country revenue, stability for governments and citizens, and infrastructural growth, and seeks these benefits through the cessation of conflict diamonds to promote the development and stability of Africa. Two of the most significant gaps in the KPCS is the lack of a centralized regulatory system to oversee the integrity of the standards cited, and the lack of support for artisanal production. The voluntary self-regulation system currently in place is not providing provable evidence for or against the true effects of the KPCS. Diamond diggers are working in poor, unethical conditions of instability and insecurity that increase likelihood of corruption and conflict. To combat these gaps in the Kimberly Process and work alongside it, efforts must be made in four crucial areas: Centralization, Optimization, Reintegration, and Cooperation (CORC), building on the suggestions and concerns from the June 2010 Intersessional Meeting in Israel. Centralization requires that all participating KPCS countries implement a UN trained task force to oversee their diamond operations. All aspects of the industry must be universally regulated, tracked and operated according to Kimberly Process policy. Development improvements rest on the need for Optimization which draws from the economic benefits that result from legal diamond trade. Revenue from diamonds may be used for the building of schools, government and social infrastructure, and business growth. Through Optimization there can be the Reintegration of countries into global economic and social participation. Governments may acquire stability and resources may be utilized to benefit the nation and its people. Finally, Cooperation is essential to the end of conflict diamonds. Haiti has a proven record of successfully ending conflict with its neighbors. Therefore, increased regional accountability and partnerships must be given high priority. NGOs, governments, individuals, and businesses must work in tandem Cooperation to end the illegal trade of diamonds and use the revenue of all Kimberly Process diamonds for further country development for regional security. Because the Kimberly Process is strictly regulatory, there is urgent need for developmental systems of improvements to supplement its work. Therefore, as a member of the Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production, Haiti supports bold steps to support initiatives such as the Diamond Development Initiative, which work to provide support for diamond miners whose jobs contribute to the root problem of diamond conflicts. CORC would help educate miners and provide them with appropriate working conditions and awareness to develop sustainable, secure communities. Implementing these initiatives to keep diamond mines open and functioning within a legal framework would continue to provide needed employment and economic flow for the local communities as well as a strong export for their nations.