Foreign-Backed Conflicts Continue to Exacerbate Social Lives in Mideast: Iran’s Envoy
The Iranian deputy ambassador to the UN said foreign-sponsored armed conflicts in the Middle East continue to worsen social lives in the region.
“I would also like to point to the bitter impact of political instability and war on the emergence of new instances of poverty. A case in point is the Middle East, where armed conflict and insecurity continue to exacerbate the social lives of many people, in particular women and children,” Eshaq Al-e-Habib said on Thursday at a Security Council meeting on “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for All”.
Following is the full text of his speech:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you and the other members of the bureau for your election to lead the 56th Session of the Commission on Social Development. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on “strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all”, which will contribute to enrich our discussions on the matter.
The Islamic Republic of Iran associates itself with the statement made by the Arab Republic of Egypt on behalf of the G77 and China.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is of the view that since the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration followed by the MDGs and the Current 2030 Agenda, substantial progress, though uneven, has been made in relation to poverty alleviation. As the first Sustainable Development Goal, “ending poverty in all its forms everywhere”, is an indispensable step in our common endeavor towards pursuing the other goals, which includes ending hunger and ensuring healthy lives.
Despite the positive steps taken in previous years, it remains a source of concern that a large number of people still live in acute poverty across the world. Many indices of poverty have deteriorated worldwide in recent years. At the global level, both the number of chronically undernourished people and the prevalence of undernourishment experienced an increase in the year 2016. I would also like to point to the bitter impact of political instability and war on the emergence of new instances of poverty. A case in point is the Middle East, where armed conflict and insecurity continue to exacerbate the social lives of many people, in particular women and children.
It should also be noted that combating poverty as the world’s current utmost priority in the field of social development should not fall prey to foreign political pressures. Imposing illegitimate economic sanctions and extending its scope by resorting to the application of unjustified extraterritorial jurisdiction impede the process of achieving SDGs and infringe the right to development of the people in the targeted countries.
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to follow and implement policies focusing on the eradication of poverty and deprivation through adoption of multiple approaches with a view to the specific nature, urgency, and severity of each situation of poverty.
The Sixth Five-year National Development Plan (2016-2021) provides a solid platform for planning, implementing and following up on national development strategies and policies, particularly with regard to poverty eradication. Special priority is given to empower women and female-headed households.
Furthermore, a number of legal measures have also been adopted. For instance, according to a parliamentary legislation, the government becomes obliged to make up for the underdevelopment of the provinces and regions whose development indices are below the indices of the country. Also, in Iran’s annual budget law, specific finance is dedicated to the development of deprived regions.
The Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, as one of the biggest public charitable organizations, provides cash and non-cash assistance for the livelihood of the poor, including orphans, individuals with disabilities and female heads of the households, housing, marriage facilitation and family formation, and medical care. In 2015, about 4 million people were supported by the Foundation nationwide.
The efficiency of the process in poverty reduction has come to the fore in recent years. Our experience reveals that adopting regional developmental plans tailored to meet local needs and circumstances in the form of community-based approaches have the capacity to substitute older policies based on social assistance. Founded in 2007 by the order of the Supreme Leader, Barakat Foundation is an example of this approach which aims at strengthening the self-sufficiency and economic development of underdeveloped and less-developed regions through training local inhabitants, promoting family businesses and small enterprises, removing intermediaries, and providing low-cost grants and loans for establishing economic activities.
And finally, Mr. Chairman, the Islamic Republic of Iran is determined in pursuing nationally appropriate poverty eradication, welfare policies and strategies and their effective implementation with the participation of all relevant stakeholders to ensure equality and social development for all.