7 April 2005
Secretary-Generals Reform Recommendations Did Not Go Far Enough, General Assembly Told, as Debate Begins on in Larger Freedom
Speakers Address Wide Range of Issues, Including Failure to Meet Past Commitments, Inequitable Global Trade, Foreign Debt
NEW YORK, 6 April (UN Headquarters) -- The recommendations contained in the Secretary-Generals report In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all merited serious consideration, but did not go far enough, Jamaicas representative said today, as the General Assembly met to consider the document in the context of the follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences in the economic, social and related fields.
The Secretary-General presented the report to the Assembly on 21 March, urging Member States to enable the United Nations to better respond to current challenges and saying that his comprehensive strategy gave equal weight and attention to the Organizations three great purposes: development, security, and human rights -- all of which must be underpinned by the rule of law. He has urged that they aim to make critical decisions on reform at the September summit in New York, which will review progress in meeting the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration.
Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, he said bolder and more far-reaching decisions were needed with regard to the mobilization of resources, to systemic economic issues and policies beyond the narrow framework of the Millennium Development Goals and to international economic governance. While the Millennium Project Report had calculated current and future development needs, the real question was not how to gain new commitments, but rather the implementation of those already made in relation to official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and improved mechanisms for the transfer of resources.
Emphasizing the critical importance of achieving the commitments made at major United Nations summits and other meetings, as well as the special commitments to Africa, he called for the removal of major development constraints flowing from existing global policies in trade, finance and technology and for a move away from policy conditionalities that restricted the policy options of developing countries. It was also necessary to remove coercive measures unilaterally applied against those countries. The time had come for reforms that would open the way for developing countries to exercise greater influence on the formulation of policies affecting global economic relations, and for more inclusive decision-making arrangements, especially among the Bretton Woods institutions.
Perus representative, speaking on behalf of the Andean Community, said that while the Secretary-Generals proposals constituted the concept of a single undertaking, the variety of the issues covered gave them a specific value, which demanded separate considerations. The Andean Community was concerned that he had paid scant attention to countries which, in spite of their struggle to attain an average income level, still suffered high levels of poverty. Serious issues like foreign debt, poverty, recurring economic crises and social instability required urgent attention, and United Nations reform must take into account the need to pay balanced and comprehensive attention to all countries and regions.
Calling upon the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization to adjust themselves to the social challenges posed by globalization, he said they impeded the generation of employment and created instability. A clear commitment should be made to favour special and differential treatment in trade, stronger actions in the science and technology field and an adequate international solution to foreign debt. There was a need for resolute measures to counteract the volatility of capital flows, as well as to achieve an international intellectual property rights regime that would not hamper the transfer of technology.
Samoas representative, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said that the so-called Mauritius Strategy, a practical blueprint to address the sustainable development needs of small island developing States, had hardly rated a mention in the Secretary-Generals report. The Forum trusted that the oversight could be rectified during the consultation process, given that the Mauritius Strategy had meant so much to the small island developing States. The Forum asked for two elements to be added to the outcome of the September summit to review progress in following up on the Millennium Declaration. First, it should acknowledge and reaffirm the Mauritius Strategy as the small island developing States comprehensive plan for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, and second, it must acknowledge those countries special needs.
Pakistans representative said the September summit would fail if it did not include clear commitment to at least create a development-oriented international trading system; decide on changes to make international financial and economic governance more equitable and supportive of development goals; address the endemic problem of commodities; and promote measures to generate employment. While seeking to make the most far-reaching reforms in the history of the Organization, the Secretary-Generals report did not focus fully on building upon the major strengths of the United Nations system, which included enlarging the treaty-making role of the General Assembly and empowering the international judicial system, especially the International Court of Justice.
In the area of peace and security, he said, the report had not only endorsed, but further accentuated, a concept of collective security conceived as an instrument of coercion and intervention, rather than of cooperation. That concept, which sought to endorse the undue concentration of authority in the Security Council, would legitimize and reinforce the pervasive inequality -- in security, power and wealth -- which characterized the times, and which the United Nations must seek to rectify. While the central purpose of the United Nations, under the Charter, was to prevent the use of force and military intervention, rather than facilitate them, the report spelled out so-called criteria for the authorization of force, which were subjective and could be misused, mostly by the powerful against the weaker States.
Luxembourgs delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said he shared the Secretary-Generals view that development, security and human rights went hand in hand. They were also interconnected with justice and the rule of law. The coherent nature of the Secretary-Generals set of proposals was underpinned by that interconnectedness and the potential impact of combined efforts in those areas. The European Union was strongly resolved to pursue effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its centre, as the most effective response to the threats and challenges facing the international community.
He said that environmental sustainability was crucial to meeting virtually all the other Millennium Development Goals. Funding national development strategies would create the optimal conditions for sustainable human development. The Union had agreed with the reports emphasis on ownership through bold national development strategies, which should provide the framework for national action, supported by the international community. The Union fully accepted its share of common responsibility for development, and was strongly committed to implementing the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals.
At the outset of the meeting this morning, the chairpersons of the various regional groups read out tributes to the late Pope John Paul II. As the meeting resumed for its afternoon session, they read out similar messages in tribute to the late Prince Rainier III of Monaco. On both occasions, the Assembly stood in observance of a minute of silence.
Also offering tributes were the representative of Turkey (on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference); United States (host country); Poland; Italy; the Holy See; and Monaco.
Other speakers today included the representatives of Malaysia (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement); Estonia (on behalf of the Eastern European States); Malawi (on behalf of the African Group); China; Czech Republic; United Kingdom; Algeria; Egypt; Colombia; Morocco; Chile; Switzerland; San Marino; Brazil; and South Africa.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Thursday, 7 April, to continue its session on the report of the Secretary-General.
The General Assembly met this morning in the first of four plenary meetings scheduled for today and tomorrow to discuss the Secretary-Generals report -- In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all, in the context of its discussion on follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.
Presenting the report (document A/59/2005) to the Assembly on 21 March, the Secretary-General urged Member States to adopt this year a package of specific, concrete proposals to tackle global problems and enable the Organization to better respond to current challenges. He said his comprehensive strategy gave equal weight and attention to the Organizations three great purposes: development, security, and human rights -- all of which must be underpinned by the rule of law.
He explained that the report is called In Larger Freedom because those words from the United Nations Charter conveyed the idea that development, security and human rights went hand in hand. The cause of larger freedom could only be advanced if nations worked together, and the United Nations could help only if it was remoulded as an effective instrument of their common purpose.
The report proposes an agenda to be taken up, and acted upon, at the high-level Summit, to be held at the opening of the Assemblys sixtieth session in September. It contains policy decision and reforms, which are actionable if the necessary political will can be garnered. It lays out key proposals for development, security, human rights and United Nations renewal.
Key proposals for development: developing countries to implement national action plans to meet the Millennium Development Goals, supported by increased development assistance by developed countries, including meeting their commitment to achieve the 0.7 per cent target of gross national income by 2015 or sooner; and mitigating the impact of climate change by mobilizing science and technology and committing to a more inclusive international framework for stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions following the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
Key proposals for security: agreement on a comprehensive convention against terrorism based on a clear and agreed definition, as part of a broader strategy to prevent catastrophic terrorism; States to complete, sign and implement a fissile material cut-off treaty to reduce the risks of proliferation of nuclear materials; and the creation of a United Nations Peacebuilding Commission to help win the peace in post-conflict countries.
On human rights, the report advocates replacing the Human Rights Commission with a smaller, more empowered standing United Nations Human Rights Council. It calls on all States to embrace the responsibility to protect as a basis for collective action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and it suggests the creation of a Democracy Fund to provide funding and technical assistance to countries seeking to establish or strengthen their democracy.
Key proposals for United Nations renewal include: expansion of the Security Council to make it more broadly representative of the international community as a whole and todays geopolitical realities; and streamlining of the Secretariat to be more flexible, transparent and accountable in serving the priorities of Member States and the interests of the worlds peoples.
The report says that events since the Millennium Declaration demand that consensus be revitalized on key challenges and priorities and converted into collective action. The guiding light in doing so must be the needs and hopes of people everywhere. The world must advance the causes of security, development and human rights together, otherwise none will succeed. Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.
In a world of inter-connected threats and opportunities, it is in each countrys self-interest that all of those challenges were effectively addressed, the report says. Hence, the cause of larger freedom can only be advanced by broad, deep and sustained global cooperation among States. The world needs strong and capable States, effective partnerships with civil society and the private sector, and agile and effective regional and global intergovernmental institutions to mobilize and coordinate collective action. The United Nations must be reshaped in ways not previously imagined, and with a boldness and speed not previously shown.
In the section on freedom from want, the following are identified as priority areas for action in 2005: national strategies; financing for development; trade; and debt relief. New action is also needed to ensure environmental sustainability. Other priorities include stronger mechanisms for infectious disease surveillance, a worldwide early warning system on natural disasters, support for science and technology for development, support for regional infrastructure and institutions, reform of global financial institutions, and more effective cooperation to manage migration for the benefit of all.
On freedom from fear, the report says that the United Nations must be transformed into the effective instrument for preventing conflict that it was always meant to be, by acting on several key policy and institutional priorities: preventing catastrophic terrorism; nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; reducing the prevalence and risk of war; and use of force. Other priories include more effective cooperation to combat organized crime, to prevent illicit small arms trade, and to remove the scourge of landmines, which still kill and maim innocent people and hold back development in nearly half the worlds countries.
In terms of freedom to live in dignity, the summary recalls that Member States had stated in the Millennium Declaration that they would spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. Over the last six decades, an impressive treaty-based normative framework has been advanced. But, without implementation, these declarations ring hollow, and without action, promises are meaningless. Action is called for in the following priority areas: rule of law; human rights; and democracy.
On strengthening the United Nations, the summary says that, if the United Nations is to be a useful instrument for its Member States and for the worlds peoples, in responding to the challenges mentioned, it must be fully adapted to the needs and circumstances of the twenty-first century. A great deal has been achieved since 1999 in reforming the internal structures and culture of the United Nations. But, many more changes are needed, both in the executive branch -- the Secretariat and the wider United Nations system -- and in the United Nations intergovernmental organs.
Concerning the General Assembly, the report says that it should take bold measures to streamline its agenda and speed up the deliberative process. It should concentrate on the major substantive issues of the day, and establish mechanisms to engage fully and systematically with civil society. The Security Council should be broadly representative of the realities of power in todays world. The Secretary-General supports the principles for reform set out in the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, and urges Member States to consider the two options, Models A and B, presented in that report, or any other viable proposals in terms of size and balance that have emerged on the basis of either Model. Member States should agree to take a decision on this important issue before the Summit in September.
The report advocates reform of the Economic and Social Council so that it can effectively assess progress in the development agenda, serve as a high-level development cooperation forum, and provide direction for the efforts of the various intergovernmental bodies in the economic and social area throughout the United Nations system. The report finds that the Commission on Human Rights suffers from declining credibility and professionalism, and is in need of major reform. It should be replaced by a smaller Human Rights Council, as a principal organ of the United Nations or subsidiary of the General Assembly, whose members would be elected directly by the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting.
On reform of the Secretariat, the report says that the Secretary-General will take steps to realign the Secretariats structure to match the priorities outlined in the report, and will create a cabinet-style decision-making mechanism. He requests Member States to give him the authority and resources to pursue a one-time staff buy-out to refresh and realign staff to meet current needs, to cooperate in a comprehensive review of budget and human resources rules, and to commission a comprehensive review of the Office of Internal Oversight Services to strengthen its independence and authority.
Other priorities include creating better system coherence by strengthening the role of resident coordinators, giving the humanitarian response system more effective stand-by arrangements, and ensuring better protection of internally displaced people. Regional organizations, particularly the African Union, should be given greater support. The Charter itself should also be updated to abolish the enemy clauses, the Trusteeship Council and the Military Staff Committee, all of which are outdated.
The Secretary-General concludes in the report that it is for the world community to decide whether this moment of uncertainty presages wider conflict, deepening inequality and the erosion of the rule of law, or is used to renew institutions for peace, prosperity and human rights. Now is the time to act. The annex to the report lists specific items for consideration by heads of State and government. Action on them is possible. From pragmatic beginnings could emerge a visionary change of direction for the world, states the report.
Tribute to Pope John Paul II
Before opening the discussion of follow-up to the major conferences and summits, General Assembly President JEAN PING (Gabon) extended his most sincere condolences to the Vatican community, to all Catholics and to all throughout the world who had been touched and inspired by the life of Pope John Paul II.
The Assembly then stood in a minute of silence in tribute to the Pope.
Mr. Ping also, on behalf of the Assembly, paid tribute to Monacos Prince Rainier III, who passed away earlier today.
BROWN BESWICK CHIMPHAMBA (Malawi), on behalf of the African States, described Pope John Paul II as a great friend of Africa. At least 147 million Catholics across the continent were mourning his death. Indeed, the whole of Africa joined them and the world in that loss and bereavement. He carried the torch of peace throughout the world. Through his influence and voice of wisdom, he had been able to convince many to take the path of peace and not violence. He represented true leadership, as he continued to embrace all women, men and children of different races, nationalities, religions, economic status and political ideals in the quest for tolerance and harmony.
To Africa, the Pope had been an ally in the promotion of peace, democracy, human rights, social justice and development, he said. He had been an embodiment of compassion, and had represented the poor, the voiceless, the marginalized, the desperate and the oppressed. Africa would always remember him as a true friend and a pope for all people. He commended the Pope for his tireless efforts and contribution towards peace and justice in the continent and the world.
On behalf of the Asian States, DAW PENJO (Bhutan) said he was deeply saddened by the passing away of his Holiness, who had not only been the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, but always a true leader for all, who had devoted his life to the cause of peace, harmony and justice. The world must honour his Holiness by renewing its resolve to promote the values he tirelessly embodied and promoted throughout his life. Mr. Penjo offered the Asian Groups deepest condolences to the Holy See and to the brothers and sisters of the Catholic community. His Holiness would always be remembered with deep affection and profound respect by all whose lives he influenced.
TIINA INTELMANN (Estonia), on behalf of the Eastern European States, said the world was bidding farewell to a great man and a great Pope - a genuine humanist and untiring Pope of peace, love, and forgiveness. She bowed to his great works, which had marked the road of the Catholic Church and the fortunes of millions worldwide. As a great humanist and protector of morality, the Pope had dedicated his whole life to spiritual liberation, moral self-betterment and tolerance. He presented moral values in a simple and understandable way, which helped people in an ever more complicated world to remain themselves and prosper.
She said his message had found resonance and given hope. He had unfailingly guarded the memory of history and reminded many eastern Europeans of their European identity, based on the foundation of Christian cultural heritage. He had become a moral point of reference for millions worldwide, both believers and non-believers. His influence stretched beyond the borders of religions and political beliefs. In paying tribute to the Pope, she thanked him for 26 years of service to the universal church and the world, and offered her deepest condolences to Catholics and all others touched by his blessings, compassion and dedication to non-violence and peace.
PHILIP SEALY (Trinidad and Tobago), on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, said the Pope had brought moral leadership and touched the lives of so many through his words and deeds. He expressed his heartfelt condolences to the delegations of the Holy See and Poland. More than 1 billion people worldwide professed the Catholic faith, including an estimated 90 per cent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Popes influence, however, had gone far beyond his own congregation. He was a genuinely charismatic figure and an enormous force for good in the world.
He said that the pilgrim Pope, as he came to be known, had had the papacy thrust on him and, at the age of 58, had become the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. He had been the youngest Pope in modern history and, at his death, the third longest-serving Pontiff. From the beginning, the Pope had shown himself to be a humanist, who advocated freedom, human rights and religious tolerance for all. He had become the voice of the poor, the dispossessed and the weakest in society, while steadfastly reaffirming the Churchs position on several important issues. He had a special place in his heart for youth, and he was committed to religious freedom and inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation. Indeed, he had opened the channels of communication between different religions.
ANDERS LIDEN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the Group of Western European and Other States, said the Pope would be particularly remembered for his role in ending the division of Europe. During his many journeys around the world, the Pontiff had been met with love and faith, and his death was mourned around the world from his own hometown, to the Philippines and to Africa.
ANNE WOODS PATTERSON (United States), speaking on behalf of the host country, said the American people had a special place in their hearts for the late Pontiff, who had won the respect and admiration of Americans from all backgrounds. Pope John Paul II had contributed enormously to the cause of peace, and his discreet diplomatic efforts had had a direct impact on the cold war, helping to bring it to an end. In 1995, he had spoken at the General Assembly on matters of universal concern that were the very reason for the existence of the United Nations.
BAKI ILKIN (Turkey), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the international community would remember the late Pope as a man of peace, humanity and compassion. During his tenure, he had personified brotherhood, tolerance, righteousness and the coexistence of all religions. As the first Pontiff to visit a mosque, he had been welcomed warmly in all the Islamic countries that he had visited.
JEAN-MARC HOSCHEIT (Luxembourg), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, recalled that almost 10 years ago the late Pope had stood at the General Assembly rostrum and spoken about the human principles of dignity, liberty, respect for others and solidarity. He had spoken of the United Nations as being the moral centre of the world. As a humanist, the late Pope had fought for justice, peace and dialogue among civilizations throughout his pontificate.
ANDRZEJ TOWPIK (Poland) said his country was bidding farewell not only to a great man, but also to the greatest Pole in human history. In 1995, he had come to the United Nations to celebrate the Organizations fiftieth anniversary and it was unfortunate that he would not be coming again as the United Nations prepared to mark its sixtieth anniversary. However, his words and deeds should remain a great guidance in efforts to make the Organization better. The Pope had promoted reconciliation and understanding among peoples and had consistently struggled for justice, human dignity and fundamental rights.
MARCELLO SPATAFORA (Italy) said the Popes passing was a huge loss for the international community and for Italy, in particular. He had been admired for the strength of his ideas, his courage, his passion and his capacity for transmitting values and hope to all, especially the younger generations. The Pontiff had been admired for his extraordinary determination in pursuing dialogue and building bridges between cultures, religions and ethnicities. He would be remembered as one of those men who had shown the path to liberty and justice and who had pursued them with all his strength.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Observer for the Holy See, said the late Pontiff had been guided by respect for the human being, who was made in Gods image. During his first visit in 1979, he had noted that the Holy See attached great importance to its collaboration with the United Nations, which, due to its universal character, would not cease to be the place best suited to addressing all the challenges facing mankind. He had wished dearly to see the Organization develop more effective strategies than war to solve humankinds problems.
Assembly President PING (Gabon) then introduced the debate on the Secretary-Generals report In Larger Freedom, which had been presented to the Assembly on 21 March. A thorough and more detailed consideration of the report would take place throughout the month in consultations. But, in an effort to make those discussions more transparent, he wished to embark on them in plenary.
On behalf of the European Union, Mr. HOSCHEIT (Luxembourg) said he hoped for the first draft of an outcome document of the General Assembly in early June, in time for the September summit. Last month, 25 heads of State and government of the European Council had welcomed the Secretary-Generals report, which was a key contribution to the preparation for the summit. The report lived up to the Secretary-Generals ambition of presenting bold but achievable proposals. It was now incumbent on Member States to respond constructively to the challenge. The Union would strengthen its efforts to cooperate as it strove for an ambitious and balanced summit outcome.
He said he shared the Secretary-Generals view that development, security and human rights went hand in hand. International economic and social cooperation, maintenance of international peace and security, and promotion and protection of human rights were core missions of the United Nations. He underscored their interconnectedness with justice and the rule of law. The coherent nature of the Secretary-Generals set of proposals was underpinned by that interconnectedness and the potential impact of combined efforts in those areas. The report had also recognized that no State, however powerful, could protect itself on its own, and no country, weak or strong, could realize prosperity in a vacuum.
The Union was strongly resolved to pursue effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its centre, as emphasized in the European security strategy, he said. That was the most effective response to the threats and challenges facing the international community. There would be ample opportunity in the weeks ahead to comment in greater detail on the four clusters of issues in the Secretary-Generals report, but he would introduce some key points. In terms of freedom from want, the Union supported the reports aims in the development sphere. Development was an important means towards peace and stability, but he also reaffirmed the role and benefits of development as a distinct pillar in its own right, and the Union was committed to sustainable development as a shared responsibility.
He said that environmental sustainability was key to meeting virtually all of the other Millennium Development Goals. Funding national development strategies would create the optimal conditions for sustainable human development. The Union had agreed with the reports emphasis on ownership through bold national development strategies, which should provide the framework for national action, supported by the international community. The Union fully accepted its share of common responsibility for development, and it was strongly committed to implementing the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals. It also underscored the link between achieving implementation and reaffirming the outcomes of the major conferences and summits in that sphere.
The Union had also acknowledged Africas special needs, as a continent disproportionately affected by the threats and challenges discussed in the Secretary-Generals report. It also recognized the specific development needs in other parts of the world, in particular, in middle-income countries, and continued to address them. It had made consistent, significant efforts to sustain and increase its official development assistance (ODA) in the spirit of the partnership established in Monterrey and confirmed in Johannesburg. The Union would take a decision on financing for development before the high-level dialogue on that question, scheduled for the end of June. Apart from the quantitative side of development, the Union also stressed the need to improve the quality of ODA and better donor practices. It called on all Member States, in a position to do so, to live up to the internationally agreed ODA levels, in both qualitative and quantitative terms, and to acknowledge the efforts already made in that regard.
He also stressed an open and equitable trade system as a powerful engine for development, and called on Member States to commit themselves to a rapid and successful conclusion of the Doha development round of talks. Meanwhile, the Union had been satisfied at the attention given in the report to environmental issues, including the link with good international governance. On freedom from fear, the security concerns of all States must be tackled, as with sovereignty came rights and responsibilities. The Union acknowledged the need to further develop and implement the United Nations comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy, based on the recent outline provided by the Secretary-General in Madrid. The Union sought an agreed definition of terrorism and for the conclusion of the comprehensive anti-terrorism convention.
The Union also wished to promote institutional development within the United Nations, particularly by strengthening the Counter-Terrorism Committees Executive Directorate and further building State capacity, he said. Arms control and disarmament efforts were important contributions to the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons. He underscored the importance of universal ratification and accession to the relevant multilateral agreements and, where necessary, reinforcing their provisions by enforcing compliance. He welcomed the Secretary-Generals proposal on small arms and light weapons and urged adoption of a legally binding instrument on marking and tracing, as well as on the brokering of such weapons. On terrorism, the Union supported the call for wider access to and implementation of existing instruments, and for a stronger Security Council role.
On the use of force, he said the Union welcomed the Secretary-Generals view that a set of principles, agreed by the Security Council, could contribute to the use of force debates. In particular, the report had called for the strengthening of United Nations peacekeeping and crisis management capabilities through, among other things, improved coordination in the field and between the field and United Nations Headquarters. The Union also supported the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, as a way of addressing the gaps between the end of armed conflict and durable peace to prevent a relapse into conflict. It urged, however, that such a commission needed a well defined mandate. It also supported the call to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, but in a larger framework, strengthening democracy was crucial.
He said that flagrant human rights violations and acts of genocide called for a strong international response. In that regard, the Union emphasized strengthening the rule of law at national and international levels, as well as combating impunity. It also stressed its support for the International Criminal Court and other war crimes tribunals, and called for Member States to cooperate. Measures should also be considered to strengthen the work of the International Court of Justice. The Union was a strong supporter of United Nations reform, with the objective of strengthening the international communitys capacity to face new threats and the broad spectrum of present-day challenges.
Institutional reform was not an end in itself, however, but should flow from objectively assessed needs and the desire to make the response more effective, he said. The Union supported the adoption and early implementation of a comprehensive and far-reaching package of reform proposals to revitalize the General Assembly, and it welcomed the proposal to strengthen and refocus the work of the Economic and Social Council. It also acknowledged the need for Security Council reform. Institutional reform in the human rights field was also critical, and, in that regard, he welcomed the proposal for a Human Rights Council.
OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru), speaking on behalf of the Andean Community, said that while the Secretary-Generals proposals constituted the concept of a single undertaking, the variety of the issues covered gave them a specific value, which demanded separate considerations. Therefore, the decisions to be adopted in the process of evaluation of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and the reform of the United Nations must lead to balanced results that enabled the fulfilment of the interests of all Member States. The Andean countries fully supported multilateralism as a means of improving and strengthening the capacity of Member States to meet the needs of their populations, individually and collectively, and to comply with international commitments taken voluntarily, thus strengthening the agreed international regimes.
He expressed concern that the Secretary-General paid scant attention to countries such as those of the Andean region, which, in spite of their struggle to attain an average income level, still suffered high levels of poverty. If that issue was not addressed properly, their income levels could slip back, making it even more difficult for them to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Such serious issues as foreign debt, poverty, recurring economic crises and social instability required urgent attention, and United Nations reform must take into account the need to pay balanced and comprehensive attention to the worlds various countries and regions.
There was a need for resolute measures to counteract the volatility of capital flows, he said. There was also a need to achieve an international intellectual property rights regime that would not hamper the transfer of technology and the participation of developing countries in decision-making. Likewise, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization should adjust themselves to face the current social challenges posed by globalization, which impeded the generation of employment and created instability. A clear commitment should be made to favour special and differential treatment in trade issues, stronger actions in the fields of science and technology and an adequate international solution to foreign debt, as well as a clear acknowledgement of the need for new international financial mechanisms to strengthen the efficiency of public policies and democracies.
RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia), on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the questions of development and social advancement should remain the centrepiece of the deliberations at the United Nations. In that context, it stressed that the outcome of the high-level plenary meeting should provide a proper balance on all questions, particularly the balance between questions relating to development and social advancement and those relating to peace and security. The Secretary-General, in presenting his report to the Assembly on 21 March, had expressed the hope that the proposals it contained would be adopted as a single package by Member States. In his view, to treat them as an a la carte menu would not work. He further stated that his proposals amounted to a comprehensive strategy, which gave equal weight and attention to the three principles of development, security, and human rights, underpinned by the rule of law.
He welcomed the subsequent clarification of the proposals by the Deputy Secretary-General in briefings to regional groups on the inter-connectedness of the issues raised in the report, and that a single package had not implied a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. It was up to Member States to respond to the report, with a view to achieving a balanced outcome. It was also necessary to assess each recommendation according to its merit. The Movement affirmed the findings of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, a number of whose recommendations had been incorporated into the Secretary-Generals report. However, the latter report had not reflected, to a significant extent, the comments and views of the Organizations membership, including the Movement, on the report of the High-Level Panel and the Millennium Project. The Non-Aligned Movement, whose member countries represented almost two thirds of the Organizations membership, had noted that, generally, the ideas and observations it had submitted had not been taken into consideration in the Secretary-Generals report.
Thus, he said, the Movement reserved the right to table its position and comments on the questions raised by the Secretary-General until their consideration in the coming weeks. Like others, it was not in a position today to present an in-depth response to the proposals. At this stage, it was important to continue to identify issues on which Member States could find common ground. That should be done by, among other things, striving to maintain the consensus previously achieved five years ago at the Millennium Summit and by maintaining the inviolability of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and of international law. The Non-Aligned Movement also advocated upholding the Millennium Declaration and abiding by the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. Indeed, Member States shouldered a heavy and collective responsibility to ensure a genuine, meaningful and successful outcome of the high-level plenary meeting.
STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said the Secretary-Generals recommendations merited serious consideration, but they did not go far enough. Bolder and more far-reaching decisions should be taken, principally in three development-related areas. First, with regard to the mobilization of resources, the Millennium Project Report had calculated current and future needs and the real question was not how to gain new commitments, but rather the implementation of those already made in relation to ODA, debt relief and improved mechanisms for the transfer of resources. The achievement of the commitments made at major United Nations summits and conferences and the special commitments to Africa were all of critical importance.
Second, the report did not adequately cover the broader range of systemic economic issues and policies beyond the narrow framework of the Millennium Development Goals, he said. The major constraints to development flowing from existing global policies in trade, finance and technology should be removed in favour of policies that promoted development. It was also imperative to move away from the policy conditionalities that restricted the policy options of developing countries, as well as to remove coercive measures that were unilaterally applied against them.
Third, action was needed with respect to international economic governance, he emphasized. The Secretary-General was moving in the right direction with respect to measures to strengthen the Economic and Social Council, which should lead to the creation of a better balance in the overall functioning of the different United Nations organs. However, there was also a need for bolder action on a wider front extending to those institutions directing policies relating to trade, money and finance and technology. The time had come for reforms that would open the way for developing countries to exercise greater influence on the formulation of policies affecting global economic relations. More inclusive decision-making arrangements were needed to facilitate a more sensitive and responsive approach to development needs, especially among the Bretton Woods institutions.
ALIIOAIGA FETURI ELISAIA (Samoa), on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, said the member countries of the Forum had partnered successfully over the years to address the challenges of development, security and human rights, and all but two of its members were small island developing States. The special circumstances of the majority of its members and their particular vulnerability to environmental, economic and social shocks were well known to all. Development was central to the United Nations agenda and was the basic foundation on which peace, security and human rights could be achieved. The report was bold and innovative and placed those three pillars squarely at the centre of the global agenda. But the so-called Mauritius Strategy, a practical blueprint to address the small island developing States sustainable development needs, hardly rates a mention at all in the report, he said.
He said he trusted that that oversight could be rectified during the consultation process, given that the Mauritius Strategy had meant so much to the small island developing States. It must be ensured that the high-level session in September produced a win-win situation for all stakeholders, including those in the Pacific region. The Forum asked for two additional elements to be added to the summit outcome. The first was that it acknowledged and reaffirmed the Mauritius Strategy as the small island developing countries comprehensive plan for meeting the Millennium Development Goals. The second was for the summit to acknowledge those countries special needs.
On institutional reform, he said the Forum supported the call for the Economic and Social Councils enhanced role as the principal body to ensure stronger system-wide coherence of the various development and humanitarian agencies, while, at the same time, avoiding duplication in the system. Overall reform of the United Nations was long overdue. The Assembly should reclaim its stature as the highest deliberative decision-making and representative body that the framers of the Charter had envisioned it to be. Focusing on the practical challenges, as initial steps to breathe new life into the Assembly, was a pragmatic and realistic way to start the reform process. He also supported an enlarged Security Council, and the need to act decisively on that issue could not be overemphasized. We must capitalize on the current momentum and enthusiasm, and act in tandem with what appears to be an environment of tolerance to change on the horizon, he said.
In that connection, a truly positive note to emerge from the High-Level Panels report had been the proposal for an Asia and Pacific grouping in the context of Security Council reform, he said. Much to the members regret, the Secretary-Generals report was silent on the Asia and Pacific constituency. Hopefully, in time, the Panels proposal would take root and bode well for the Pacific region in the years ahead in a reformed and reinvigorated United Nations. The proposal to create a Human Rights Council was a bold one, and the Secretary-General had made a strong case for it. He cautioned, however, against making a rushed decision. Only after the membership was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that the end product would serve the interests of all 191 Member States justly, equally and effectively, should that proposal be implemented.
Ms. INTELMANN (Estonia), speaking on behalf of the Eastern European States, noted that the Secretary-Generals report urged Member States to consider Models A and B, or any other viable options in taking a decision on reform of the Security Council. The two models, as presented by the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and mentioned by the Secretary-General, did not meet the expectations of the Eastern European States.
Reiterating the Groups position that existing regional groups should be maintained, she said that any increase in the non-permanent membership of the Security Council should ensure enhanced representation of the Eastern European States by the allocation of at least one additional non-permanent seat to the Group, which had more than doubled its membership since 1991. The Eastern European States appreciated the Secretary-Generals recommendation to make the Security Council more broadly representative and effective and were confident that their legitimate interests would be fully taken into account in that crucial process.
Mr. CHIMPHAMBA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the African States, said there was a need for a clear stipulation of commitments and appropriate means of implementation if the Secretary-Generals recommendations were to be considered an acceptable package. There was an imbalance between the efforts of African States to fight poverty and the insufficient commitment by the international community to support those efforts. The African Union had adopted the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) as the programme for the continents socio-economic development and it was to be hoped that the September summit would be another opportunity for the international community to increase its support for it.
He said the African Group supported the recommendation on the need for world leaders to reiterate in September the crucial importance of universal access to reproductive health by 2015 in order to reverse the appalling state of maternal health and the increasing spread of HIV/AIDS, as well as for womens empowerment. Regarding HIV/AIDS, the balanced strategy of prevention and treatment proposed by the Secretary-General required sustained investments in reproductive health commodities as an essential component of the quick win initiative. However, the criteria for the selection of countries for the implementation of quick wins should be transparent and objective, bearing in mind the limitations of private-led development in countries without basic infrastructure and the role of governments and their partners in providing public infrastructure.
On security, he stressed the need to address all perceptions of threats and challenges in order to achieve collective security agreed by all. The Secretary-General had introduced some new nuances and concepts that required further reflection and elaboration. While terrorism could not be justified for any political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other motive, there was a difference between terrorism and legitimate struggle waged by a people for liberation or self-determination, in accordance with principles of international law.
Emphasizing Africas commitment to human rights, he said it was difficult to define collective security solely in terms of the responsibility to protect. The protection of citizens should not be used as a pretext to undermine the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of States. In addition to the civil and political rights included in the report, human rights should include socio-economic rights, particularly the right to development and the right to determine systems of governance.
Regarding institutional reforms, he acknowledged the important roles that the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council could play in peacebuilding and emphasized the importance of according the revitalization and strengthening of those organs the required focus. Africas goal was to be represented fully in all the decision-making organs of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, which was the principal decision-making organ in matters relating to international peace and security. Full representation for Africa meant not less than two permanent seats with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership, including the right of veto, and five non-permanent seats.
WANG GUANGYA (China) said the report represented a unique opportunity for the United Nations. The September summit would take important decisions bearing on the future orientation and role of the Organization. Successful completion of the preparations for the summit was a challenging task for all. The many proposals in the report were marked by unique insight and boldness. The report was well intentioned, nobly inspired and contained many practical suggestions, which his country was studying in-depth. The dramatic changes in the international situation had meant that only by undertaking necessary reform could the United Nations maintain its vitality and play a greater international role.
He called for accelerating the pace of reform and establishing a renewed and highly efficient mechanism for the process. Business as usual would not improve the United Nations credibility or ability. Sight must also not be lost of the fact that the reform should be well rounded and multisectoral. That could not be accomplished overnight or in one round, and no one should expect any permanent fix. Reform was a gradual process with a variety of national perspectives and dissimilar interests at play. It was only natural, therefore, for diverging views and controversy to arise. Given that reality, agreement should first be sought on some basic principles for reform, which should include: participation on an equal footing in the discussion; accommodating the views and concerns of all United Nations Members, especially developing countries; tackling more manageable issues first and proceed gradually from there to the thornier ones; and focus on effectively reversing the trend of giving priority to security over development, which had characterized United Nations efforts for a long time.
Narrowing the gulf between rich and poor, and achieving development for all, was an extremely important strategic mission for both the North and the South, he said. Those central topics deserved priority attention at the September summit. The report stressed the urgency of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but those were achievable only if we break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action now. The reports many proposals deserved further fleshing out. He supported the proposal on collective action against security threats and challenges. That coincided with Chinas proposal for a new security concept, which emphasized mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation. The proposals on combating terrorism, on peacekeeping, and the fight against transnational organized crime were, on the whole, sound and positive. Differences still remained, however, on the definition of terrorism, the criteria for the use of force, the concept of responsibility to protect, and the prevention of proliferation, on which further consultations were needed.
He said that several other proposals also had Chinas support, including revitalizing the Assembly and strengthening the role of the Economic and Social Council, and reforming the existing human rights machinery by changing the current practice of politicizing human rights issues. The proposal to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a smaller standing Human Rights Council would overcome the serious credibility deficit plaguing international human rights work, but the topic needed further earnest exploration. Meanwhile, he was favourably disposed towards establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, whose main responsibility should be to devise plans for the transition from conflict to post-conflict peacebuilding and to coordinate initiatives of the international community in that respect. At the same time, he had serious reservations about abolishing the Military Staff Committee.
Elaborating Chinas position on Security Council reform, he said he supported that bodys reform, with priority given to increasing the representation of developing countries. As controversy on the Councils expansion was bound to emerge, it was essential to take full account of the interests and concerns of all regional groups and each country in a process characterized by democratic, in-depth discussions, patient consultations and a deliberate, orderly procedure. Only a blueprint resulting from consensus could truly strengthen the Councils authority and effectiveness and win broad trust and support. China was open to all proposals for increasing Council membership as long as they were conducive to overcoming divergence and maintaining unity among Member States.
Recalling that the two proposals of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change for Council reform had met with major and persistent differences when discussed in the General Assembly, he said there was no reason to confine that discussion to the two models put forth by the Panel. It was important to tap the collective wisdom of all and treat all proposals with equal seriousness. In the long-term interest of the United Nations, China was not in favour of setting an artificial time limit for Council reform, and still less interested in forcing through any immature proposals, which lacked consensus, in the form of a vote. Council reform, as one part of the overall reform process, should not be allowed to eclipse equally important reforms. Debate and controversy over Council reform should not jeopardize consultations on other issues, particularly those concerning development. Special care should be taken to avoid a major rift among members, with the unfortunate consequence of compromising the drafting and consideration of the summits final document.
HYNEK KMONICEK (Czech Republic), aligning himself with the European Union, said it was well known that his country had consistently supported the enlargement of the permanent membership of the Security Council, as well as that of the elected membership. In particular, the Czech Republic supported the aspirations of Germany and Japan for permanent seats and the allocation of other new permanent seats for Africa, Asia and Latin America. With respect to the elected membership, one seat should be allocated to the Eastern European regional group and, consequently, the Czech Republic was strongly against the elimination of the Eastern European Group, which would cause problems in elections to other United Nations organs.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom) said his country believed in multilateral diplomacy, but its faith was not blind. The problems were extensive and varied, but, as the Secretary-General had pointed out, they were intricately connected. Security, development and human rights were indissoluble: each of them was essential in their own right and basic to the success of the others. Sustained security required an effort to tackle the full range of human concerns, including development and human rights, while sustainable development could not exist in the absence of security. As the Secretary-General had clearly shown in his report, international efforts should be aimed at promoting peoples right to freedom.
He said that the reports section on freedom from want highlighted the need to act now if the Millennium Development Goals were to be achieved on time. That meant, among other things, changing the amount of aid that was provided to the developing world and the way that was provided. The United Kingdom would do its part by raising its ODA to 0.7 per cent of its gross national product (GNP) by 2013 and by promoting a more harmonized delivery of aid and innovative financing mechanisms. It also sought to create the right environment to foster economic growth and employment opportunities. In line with the Secretary-Generals warning, however, he cautioned that defeating poverty and pursuing sustainable development would be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resource depletion continued unabated.
On freedom from fear, he said that that included the need to tackle terrorism through a comprehensive strategy, to work against proliferation, and to adopt a Security Council resolution on the use of force. It should be remembered that the Charter did not limit a Member State to take action in self-defence only after an armed attack. The proposed new Peacebuilding Commission was particularly welcome to bring long overdue coherence and purpose to international efforts in countries afflicted by conflict. In terms of the freedom to live in dignity, he said that concerned upholding and extending the rule of law, and respect for human rights - economic and social, as well as civil and political. He welcomed the proposals for a higher profile and strong institutional capacity for human rights. Important, but secondary, details of organization should not stand in the way of basic reforms in that regard, which were long overdue.
Indeed, he said, reform was needed in all of the institutions and working methods of the United Nations. That included a revitalized General Assembly, a reformed Economic and Social Council and an enlarged Security Council. But, reform was much more than the institutional; it was the development of the right policies, the modernization of systems, and the more coherent and effective delivery of humanitarian and development work. Action must be taken to strengthen coordination, increase human capacity, and ensure long-term predictable funding for United Nations humanitarian and development work. We cannot keep deferring the day when we tackle the waste and inefficiency caused by the overlap and duplication between different UN agencies, he stressed. The emphasis could not be on preserving what had always been done, or on zealously protecting individual prerogatives.
Noting that the Secretary-General had been much maligned in recent times, he said that Mr. Annan enjoyed the full support and confidence of the British Government. He must be given more flexibility to manage the Organization efficiently and effectively. Too often, he was unduly constrained by processes that allowed minorities to block constructive ways forward. But, in return for greater flexibility, there also needed to be greater transparency and accountability - particularly in the recruitment and professional standards of senior staff. It was a huge year for the United Nations and an opportunity for all countries and groupings within the Assembly to benefit from the Charters larger freedom through effective multilateralism. Given the political will, the September summit could relaunch the United Nations. Success, including the entire package contained in the report, required a common commitment by nations here and in capitals. The summit must be remembered for what it delivered, and not as a failed opportunity, he emphasized.
Members stood for a minute of silence, upon the opening of this afternoons meeting, in memory of Prince Rainier III, the late Head of State of Monaco, who died earlier today. Along with the Assembly President, the following delegations paid tribute to the Prince: Malawi, on behalf of the African States; Bhutan, on behalf of the Asian States; Estonia, on behalf of the Eastern European States; Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States; Sweden, on behalf of the Western European and other States; United States, as the host country; and Turkey, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
GILLES NOGHES (Monaco) said that the emotion upon Prince Rainier IIIs passing was commensurate with the popularity he enjoyed in his 56-year reign. In Monaco, and far beyond, the Prince had been a source of innovative and beneficial initiatives. He had provided a decisive impetus to Monacos expansion since the first years of his reign, and he had seen to it that Monaco would be able to adjust to emerging challenges. He ensured the countrys security and development, while equally aware of the need to preserve the environment. He had actively participated in the Rio Conference and its follow-ups.
Afternoon Statements in General Discussion
MUNIR AKRAM (Pakistan) said that the September summit would be a failure if it did not include clear commitment to at least the following: create an equitable and development-oriented international trading system; decide on changes to make international financial and economic governance more equitable and supportive of development goals; address the endemic problem of commodities; and promote measures for employment generation. In the area of peace and security, the report had not only endorsed, but further accentuated, a concept of collective security that was conceived as an instrument of coercion and intervention rather than of cooperation. That concept, which sought to endorse the undue concentration of authority in the Security Council, would legitimize and reinforce the pervasive inequality -- in security, power and wealth -- which characterized the times and which the United Nations must seek to rectify.
He said, however, that the United Nations central purpose, under the Charter, was to prevent, not facilitate, the use of force and military intervention. Yet, the report spells out so-called criteria for the authorization of force, which were subjective and could be misused, mostly by the powerful against the weaker States. Furthermore, going even against the High-Level Panels caution against reinterpreting Article 51 of the Charter, the reports analysis and recommendations open the door to the pre-emptive and even preventive use of force. The endorsement of the so-called responsibility to protect would steer the United Nations along the same interventionist path. Those who would decide where and when to intervene to protect people supposedly at risk would be the big and powerful States, not the small and weaker ones.
Pakistan was in the forefront of the war on terrorism, he said. He welcomed the conclusion of the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism, and agreed that a comprehensive strategy was required to combat terrorism. But, such a strategy must be clear, equitable and realistic. Everyone agreed that wanton violence against innocent civilians constituted terrorism, whether perpetrated by non-State actors or State actors. Of course, civilians did not include armed forces suppressing or occupying peoples. And, individual acts of terrorism could not delegitimize legitimate movements for self-determination and national liberation. Nor could the root causes of terrorism, including foreign occupation, denial or self-determination, political and economic injustices be brushed under the carpet in any effective counter-terrorism strategy.
He said that the recommendations on weapons of mass destruction were also partial and incomplete. The first priority remained achieving complete nuclear disarmament and the effective prohibition and elimination of all mass destruction weapons. Non-proliferation must be promoted in tandem with disarmament. Arms control -- global and regional -- was essential to offer equal security to all States. There were also significant omissions in the report. It did not fully address the most important and existential threats to peace arising from foreign occupation, denial of self-determination, territorial disputes, interventionist policies and the excessive accumulation of increasingly lethal conventional and non-conventional armaments. Nor was the troubled relationship between Islam and the West addressed in the report.
While seeking to make the most far-reaching reforms in the history of the UN, the report did not fully focus on building on the major strengths of the United Nations system, which included enlarging the treaty-making role of the General Assembly and empowering the international judicial system, especially the International Court of Justice, he said. It was essential to adapt the Organizations intergovernmental, as well as Secretariat, structures to todays realities by, among other things: restoring the Assemblys authority and role under the Charter; taking appropriate measures to enhance the role of the Economic and Social Council; and creating a new Peacebuilding Commission. The proposal to create a new Human Rights Council appeared to be counter-intuitive to addressing the complex and controversial problems relating to the United Nations approach to human rights. There were simpler avenues by which the consideration and action of the United Nations on human rights issues could be made more effective.
He said that deep differences persisted on the issue of Security Council reform, which threatened to overwhelm the entire reform agenda. If a partisan model, reflecting the ambitions of a few States, was put to a vote, as they had indicated, that could derail the entire reform process. It would be wise to realize comprehensive Security Council reform by building a general consensus for a model that accommodated the legitimate interests and aspirations of all States, reflected current global realities and enhanced that bodys representativeness and effectiveness. A group of like-minded countries were seeking to unite to promote such a consensus. Those efforts deserved the support of all Member States, the Secretary-General, and the General Assembly President.
ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria), aligning himself with the African Group, as well as the Group of 77 and China, said that the United Nations was at a crossroads. Its situation had deteriorated considerably and multiplying scandals had exposed its structural failures, as well as serious problems of training at the Secretariat level that had compromised the Organizations image and credibility. It was seriously sick and required treatment, but the Secretary-Generals report was not the treatment expected, nor the cure that some were making it out to be. The report provided some good solutions, but others left something to be desired.
The long-awaited proposals for a timetable for the incremental increase of ODA w0as welcome as was the proposed international finance facility, which was a good proposal, as long as it supported ODA rather than replaced it, he said. The quick wins were undeniably a good proposal, but there was a problem with that approach, which was based on implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The report reduced development issues to the sole implementation of those targets, which was obviously an error. Furthermore, it spoke of sustainable development only as it was related to environment. The report omitted important problems like foreign debt, which was given short shrift, foreign direct investment (FDI) and the need to restructure the international financial architecture. The report contained only one recommendation on Africa.
On the right to live in freedom from fear, and the issue of nuclear non-proliferation, he said it was regrettable that the appeal launched to the nuclear Powers addressed only the reduction of non-strategic weapons and did not mention the need to strive for complete nuclear disarmament. Regarding terrorism, the report did not mention its root causes and the need to eradicate them. Solutions must be found to such real problems as foreign occupation, poverty, despair and political desperation, which all provided a justification for terrorism. Such solutions did include the promotion of democracy, respect for human rights and the strengthening of dialogue among civilizations and religions, but a definition of terrorism would, of course, strengthen the struggle to eradicate it. The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change had proposed some definitions, but there would be less need for one if the underlying causes were tackled.
He said the Secretary-General should show more caution on the question of sanctions, which should only be imposed as a last resort. The section on that issue contained no reference to a legal framework governing sanctions and offered no time frame. On the use of force, he clearly endorsed the Panels logic. The wording of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter was restrictive and stipulated that the right of legitimate self-defence could only be invoked in the case of aggression. It did not cover preventive attacks and it seemed as though the Organization was moving from a position where such attacks were unauthorized to one where they could be justified under certain conditions.
He said Algeria had doubts as to the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in ensuring the responsibility to protect. There was a need to examine the principles of non-intervention and the sovereignty of States. Would such proposals apply to all States or only to the small and weak as opposed to the big and powerful? Bold reform was needed to make the Economic and Social Council an independent body rather than one subordinate to the General Assembly. On Security Council reform, Algeria preferred Model B in accordance with the African Union position, which recalled the Harare Declaration with one important exception: African Council members would be designated solely by the African Union. That position must be taken fully into account in all plans to reform the Security Council.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said that, in the context of negotiating a final summit document, he had been pleased with the assurances of the Deputy Secretary-General that the package of recommendations to which the Secretary-General had referred had meant that members should reach a number of balanced recommendations, rather than seek to accept or reject the recommendations in the report as an integrated package. It was essential to ensure that the final text struck a practical balance between development and security needs. Also important was to guarantee the full implementation of the agreed outcome, which should necessarily secure both the development and security goals. There is simply no more room for rosy promises that were never fulfilled in the past, he said. Also indispensable was to focus on reaching an agreed document through negotiation, in which each country had the opportunity to contribute.
He said he welcomed the reports acknowledgement of the nexus between development and security and its recognition that the departure point for any international efforts to address development was the sincere implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and the outcomes of the major relevant United Nations conferences and summits within agreed time frames. Towards that goal, attention should be focused on the formulation of practical and implementable recommendations in the areas of market access and debt relief, including the establishment of effective mechanisms for the integration of developing countries into the international trading system. Development efforts in Africa deserved special international attention. Realization of the Charters collective security system required the wide participation of Member States in the adoption of a new vision.
Among his views of some of the Secretary-Generals new proposals, he urged extreme caution in attempting to render legality to the concepts of prevention and pre-emption in relation to the use of force, or in reinterpreting self-defence in cases where an attack has not occurred. Such an attempt would shake the Charters basic legal and moral foundation, threaten to legitimize unilateral actions, and provide additional leverage for the few, more powerful countries. In addressing terrorism, the Secretary-General had correctly emphasized civilian protection. Such protection, however, must be comprehensive in its geographic scope and must adhere to unified criteria, beginning with the protection of peoples under occupation from State terrorism exercised by the occupying Power and the repressive measures it undertook. The issue was not to ignore State terrorism or reach an agreed definition of terrorism. The core issue was whether it was possible to reach, through the Assembly, a binding convention ensuring mutual and parallel international obligations that reinforced the ability to combat terrorism and violence through the settlement of international and regional problems.
MARIA ANGELA HOLGUIN CUELLAR (Colombia) said that the world had changed since the Organization was founded, but certain similarities remained. Inequality among States persisted, and the Organization still needed to commit itself to the real social and economic development of the worlds population. The reform worth pursuing was one that redirected the focus and engaged in cooperation for development and the promotion of equality in sovereignty. The Secretary-Generals recommendations did not advance those aspects when he proposed the creation of Councils with exclusive participation and hierarchy, and reduced the concept of development to mere assistance. The problems in 2005 were the same as they were in 1945. In the development arena, differences between the North and South persisted. In terms of security, there were still conflicts between and within nations. Globalization had not benefited everyone equally, and commerce barriers persisted. Poverty and disarmament remained mere ideals. Still, the multilateralism of 60 years ago was as valid today.
He said he regretted that development, now more than ever, had less space within the United Nations system. Debates continued on development issues within the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, but there was no capacity to implement decisions and provide solutions. In fact, development concerns had become rhetoric at the United Nations. Assistance approaches and emergency solutions had been the response to needs for progress and development in the majority of Members. Only true political will would eradicate poverty. Each State, and the international community, must work to satisfy the worlds basic needs, especially those of the developing world. The Economic and Social Council should not only be a forum for cooperation for development. It must become a high-level forum for development, so that it could work on all dimensions, means, and mechanisms, which focused on achieving sustainable development of all nations. For that purpose, issues of poverty eradication, the asymmetric economic order, trade distortions, the exclusionary international financial system, and the growing scientific and technological gap, among others, must be incorporated into the Councils work programme.
None of the recommendations on human rights treated the issue in depth, he said. The problem was the politicization, the lack of objectivity, and the selectivity in dealing with human rights around the world. Such focus had weakened the development of mechanisms of cooperation, which could advance the promotion and realization of human rights. He favoured the recommendation about a universal commission and the report of the human rights situation in all countries. On terrorism, the commitment to fight that scourge must be unequivocal. He reaffirmed that there was only one terrorism -- there could not be a first or second class terrorism when it affected societies in similar and tragic ways. The lack of political will was no excuse to delay agreement on defining terrorism. Regarding Security Council reform, only a consensus decision would avoid greater divisions, which beyond doubt, would weaken the United Nations and multilateralism.
MOHAMED BENNOUNA (Morocco) said the Secretary-Generals report contained many elements that satisfied the expectations of Member States, although in-depth consideration of some aspects was required. The main question asked of Member States was whether they could transcend their quarrels and renew the solidarity pact drafted by the Organizations founding fathers 60 years ago. There was solidarity between rich and poor in the full implementation of development goals by 2015; in facing new threats to the security of the worlds peoples, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and in protecting the freedoms, human rights and democracy of everyone everywhere. Each part contained normative aspects, including the commitment of the international community, as well as institutional aspects such as the framework for implementation.
Solidarity was the responsibility of each country, which must mobilize its resources, manage them and distribute them equitably among its respective citizens. There must be rules for that and the Secretary-General reiterated in his report the need to promote the rule of law, including prescribed rights and obligations, as well as a credible and independent judiciary. Solidarity could also be expressed beyond borders, given the great disparities in resources and other aspects. The Secretary-General had asked for emphasis on the granting of ODA to the least developed countries, most of which were in sub-Saharan Africa. In all those efforts, the Bretton Woods institutions, with the support of the United States as the worlds leading Power, must play a role.
The Economic and Social Council had a role in facilitating the transition of countries emerging from conflict with the assistance of the proposed peacebuilding commission, he said. There was also a matter of fighting impunity by supporting the International Criminal Court, as well as efforts to facilitate the resolution of disputes and their referral, if necessary, to the Court. On Security Council reform, the question of expansion had dominated discussion, which was a shame, because though expansion was necessary, the Council must also improve its responses to crises or threatened crises. The Charter had institutionalized a balance between the Council and the General Assembly, a balance that must be respected. As regards the use of force and collective security, it was imperative to stick to the Charter as interpreted by the International Court of Justice. While the struggle against terrorism must be a focus of all United Nations organs, the Ad Hoc Committee of the Assemblys Sixth Committee (Legal) had recently approved the thirteenth convention drafted under the United Nations, on nuclear terrorism. Still lacking was the fourteenth convention, which would finally provide a definition of terrorism and make it easier to fight the scourge.
HERALDO MUÑOZ (Chile) said that the report was a good point of departure, but not an end in itself. Like any proposal, there was room for improvement. All proposals in the report should be taken up in a process of constructive dialogue.
He supported the United Nations comprehensive reform -- one that encompassed the entire system and adopted a realistic approach reaffirming the Charter. It was urgent to create a more effective institution capable of addressing todays challenges. That meant reform of the Security Council, of the Economic and Social Council and of the Assembly. It was not enough to introduce a package of minor reforms or to deal selectively with one or another aspect. The process would not be easy and would require flexibility on the part of all delegations. Ultimately, not every delegation would be 100 per cent satisfied with every outcome, but that was part of any negotiation. The challenge, therefore, was to approach the package of measures with pragmatism and a willingness to compromise.
He said he shared the Secretary-Generals view of the three main indivisible reinforcing concepts. His delegation attached key importance to development, which must not be neglected because of a limited concept of security. Indeed, without development, it was not possible to achieve security. In that context, he welcomed the Secretary-Generals call for concrete action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Also appropriate had been the measures and time frames suggested in the report for the developed countries to fulfil their ODA commitments by 2015. At the same time, he agreed that developing countries must undertake better efforts to improve governance, adopt strategies involving civil society and the private sector, and employ better resource management. Africas special needs deserved tangible and sustained cooperation. Also important was the early and successful conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks, leading to agreement on a set of clear and stable rules, particularly anti-dumping measures and norms governing subsidies for agricultural goods and textiles.
On terrorism, he stressed that efforts must be made to narrow the gap between positions and agree on a common definition. Evidence that progress in that regard was possible had been the adoption last week of an international convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism. That had showed that it was possible to reach agreement on sensitive terrorism-related issues. He sought more concrete proposals for how to tackle that and other threats effectively and from a multilateral perspective, using a single approach that avoided duplication. There should be an entity that dealt with coordination of the anti-terrorism efforts of various bodies. States must ratify and implement the relevant conventions and protocols, and strengthen their own national criminal justice systems. Also, human rights and due process must be taken into account. Attention should be given to the Secretary-Generals proposals to appoint a special rapporteur to ensure, among other things, the compatibility of anti-terrorism measures and human rights norms.
He said he also supported the proposal to establish a peacebuilding commission, in order to assist countries through the transition from armed conflict to the rebuilding of national institutions, and to help them overcome the traumas resulting from those conflicts. Its mandate should include a strong component of conflict prevention. On security, a new agreement could and should be reached within the current parameters of the Charter. On the use of force, he supported an attempt to define common criteria, without amending the Charter. He, therefore, endorsed the proposal that the Security Council should adopt a resolution setting out the governing principles, consistent with the rule of law at the international level. He rejected unilateral, preventive action. The Council had sufficient authority under the Charter to take preventive action, which did not necessarily imply the use of force. He also supported the creation of a rule of law assistance unit to assist national efforts. That proposal was in line with an earlier one made by his delegation to establish such a focal point within the Secretariat.
With respect to institutional reform, starting with the human rights mechanisms, he said he shared the diagnosis that the Human Rights Commission had lost credibility. In addition, the agenda and working methods of the Assembly should be rationalized, so that a reformed Assembly could take up some of the matters currently on the Security Councils agenda. The Economic and Social Council proposals -- to conduct annual ministerial-level evaluations and turn the high-level session into a biannual high-level forum -- were also sound. There was a public perception that the United Nations had serious management, administrative and oversight deficiencies. Although that perception might be exaggerated, it could not be denied that problems existed and that urgent reforms were needed. The Secretary-General, therefore, must have enhanced authority and increased resources to rationalize the Secretariat.
There was no doubt that the Security Council occupied a central place in the reform exercise, he said. In that regard, he stressed the need for a more representative, legitimate and effective Council. He reiterated his support for Brazil to occupy one of the permanent seats on the reformed Council. In the current report, the so-called Americas region had been given unfavourable treatment compared to other regions. In Model A, it was allocated only one additional permanent seat, while other regions were to receive two new permanent seats. Reform of the Council must encompass not only increased membership, but also new procedures and methods of work. If a decision was taken on Security Council reform by September, a clear mechanism for review of its new members should be designed.
PETER MAURER (Switzerland) said that, in order to achieve the goal of universal freedom from want, measures were required not only in the economic, commercial, and social areas, but to ensure environmental viability, prevent natural disasters, fight epidemics, and respond to urgent humanitarian needs. The international community must not agree on new development goals; it must implement those already agreed at the Millennium Summit and the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development. In other words, commitments must be honoured. For industrialized countries, that meant meeting their commitments to the quality and volume of their public development aid, mobilizing additional resources, and opening their markets to developing countries. It was just as crucial for developing countries to formulate and implement strategies conducive to sustainable development within existing resources, to the extent possible. It must also be ensured that appropriate resources were made available to United Nations funds and programmes, so that they could assume their responsibilities.
On the whole, he said, the Secretary-Generals measures were relevant, balanced and realistic. Switzerland reaffirmed its deep conviction that the Charter provisions governing the use of force did not require any adaptation or reinterpretation. The system of collective security, as established in the Charter, was adequate and flexible enough to meet current threats and challenges. The Secretary-General also underlined the Security Councils right to resort to armed force, if necessary, including for the purpose of prevention, notably in cases of genocide or other crimes against humanity. He noted with interest the proposal that the Council should formulate criteria to specify the cases in which collective military intervention would be legitimate. He expected the Council to involve all Member States in the drafting of those criteria. A particularly interesting proposal was that of establishing a peacebuilding commission to bridge the gap in international action that often existed between the peacekeeping phase and the development cooperation phase of a post-conflict country. Such a commission should report to both the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council.
Switzerland also supported the new strategy against terrorism outlined by the Secretary-General, he said. The possibility of the access by non-State groups to mass destruction weapons had singularly increased the risk of terrorism. At the same time, the fight against it could only achieve lasting success if fundamental human rights were respected. Also welcome had been the emphasis on respect for international law, promotion of the rule of law and human rights, and the establishment of democratic structures. Particularly welcome had been the proposal to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a Human Rights Council. Switzerland invited all Member States to give positive consideration to that idea and to discuss its modalities. On the institutional level, he also supported the proposals aimed at revitalizing the General Assembly, as well as the Economic and Social Council. He equally favoured strengthening the multilateral environmental-protection framework. He also supported proposals to delete certain obsolete wording from the Charter, such as references to enemy States, the reference to the Military Staff Committee, and Chapter VII concerning the Trusteeship Council.
FILIPPI BALESTRA (San Marino) said that, although it was essential to ensure the implementation of a comprehensive programme, none of the reforms underlying international cooperation could be sacrificed, he stressed. San Marino could not, therefore, accept the irreparable rift that a vote on the more important reforms, especially those involving a revision of the Charter, would cause within the international community. Those reforms, which would be opposed by a number of Member States, would be divisive, threatening both the Organizations credibility and the effectiveness of its actions. San Marino, therefore, could not agree with those States that wanted reforms at any cost, and opposed, as well, the Secretary-Generals idea that reform of the Security Council might eventually be adopted without a consensus.
Regarding the correlation between the Secretary-Generals recommendations and their implementation by Member States, he said that although the former were described in clear and unequivocal terms, there was no mention of establishing a monitoring system that would at least inform States about the implementation of reforms. The effect of such a mechanism would be to exert pressure on governments and encourage them to implement the recommendations adopted.
On the recommendation that the Security Council adopt a resolution establishing the principles regulating the use of force, he said it was unclear what the purpose of such a process would be since the Charter was fairly assiduous in defining the circumstances and limitations governing the use of force. Indeed, the Council had never been accused of having used excessive or unnecessary force, but rather of not having used it when it was thought necessary. A regulation of that kind might further limit the use of force in situations where it was, in fact, necessary. With regard to institutional reform, San Marino agreed that it was important to revitalize the General Assembly. Over recent years, certain reforms had been made to its working methods with the result that they had improved. However, those measures had not been sufficient to re-establish the Assemblys authority that the Organizations most representative and democratic body should have.
The recommendation that the Economic and Social Council should convene to assess urgent matters seemed sensible and useful, he said. Like the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council should be able to provide an immediate response to sudden threats to development that required rapid coordination. The idea of creating a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights should be examined in greater detail. The Commission had lost credibility as a result of internal politicization, but why would a Human Rights Council be less vulnerable than the Commission? As for the International Court of Justice, it had always been critically important because the rule of law was the condito sine qua non for democracy.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG (Brazil) acknowledged the reference in the report to work undertaken by Brazil, Chile, France, Germany and Spain in identifying innovative financing sources. He also fully supported the call for launching an international finance facility to support an immediate front-loading of ODA. The report had also acknowledged the role of Brazil and other developing nations in the provision of technical cooperation. There remained a need to deter environmental degradation and natural resource depletion. Brazil remained firmly committed to the successful implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol. Although developing countries were not bound to quantified emission limitations or reduction commitments, all parties had significant commitments to mitigate climate change.
He said that changes in the governance mechanisms of the international financial system were long overdue. A more democratic, stable and conductive international financial environment was needed for development, and developing countries must be allowed greater participation in the decision-making processes of the international financial institutions. The Doha round must be completed no later than 2006, and in a manner that fulfilled its development focus. Technological research and development were key to long-term sustained growth and change in the living conditions in the developing world, and ODA was crucial to building technological capacity, especially in the least developed countries. Debt reduction and debt sustainability were other key elements for a successful global development strategy. In the human rights field, there was space for improvement, including the elaboration of an annual report on human rights, which would build on objective information gathered by human rights mechanisms and special procedures. The aim should be to depoliticize United Nations treatment of human rights, both in the Human Rights Commission and in the General Assembly.
The new concept of collective security could help provide the tools needed to meet the most compelling contemporary threats to the international community, he said. The United Nations must be more effective in preventing conflict and reducing the risk and prevalence of war. Prevention must be central, and that included combating poverty and promoting sustainable development. The proposal to establish a peacebuilding commission was a concrete expression of such a vision. The same preventive reasoning should also apply to one of the most pressing issues of the times, namely, terrorism. Given the urgency and high visibility of the issue, the Assembly, which recently concluded a nuclear-terrorism convention, should redouble its efforts to adopt a comprehensive international instrument to combat terrorism. Collective measures were also needed to ban all mass destruction weapons. He, thus, attached equal importance to disarmament and non-proliferation, while preserving States legitimate right to the peaceful use of the technologies involved. As to institutional reform, no reform of the United Nations would be complete without reform of the Security Council.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and China, as well as the African Group, said that Africa would expect the September review summit to focus on the continents special needs that had been recognized in the Millennium Declaration. The Secretary-Generals report recognized that sub-Saharan Africa continued to be the epicentre of the development crisis and fell seriously short of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The international community was urged to support NEPAD, Africas sustainable development framework, which the General Assembly had already adopted as the framework for United Nations engagement with the continent.
Welcoming the Secretary-Generals focus on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, he said that, in addressing them, the international community should support a comprehensive approach that also focused on the development of overall health infrastructures in developing countries. South Africa was also pleased that the Secretary-Generals report had highlighted the importance of gender equality and access to sexual and reproductive health services as a critical component of womens empowerment. Also welcome were the Secretary-Generals expanded proposals on the establishment of the peacebuilding commission and a peacebuilding support office to assist countries emerging from conflict.
The General Assembly must be strengthened to play its proper role as the most representative and democratic body within the United Nations system, he said. Its intergovernmental nature should be reserved to ensure that it remained an essential forum of intergovernmental dialogue. There was a need to improve on the balance of competence between the Assembly and the Security Council. The Economic and Social Council should be strengthened, so that it could fulfil its role as the central mechanism for coordinating the activities of the United Nations system and the Organizations specialized agencies and enable it to play a pivotal role in furthering the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Regarding the enlargement of the Security Council, Africa had expressed its preference for no less than two permanent seats and five rotating non-permanent seats. The African Union had stated clearly that it sought permanent seats that were truly permanent and no different from the existing five permanent seats and enjoying the same prerogatives and privileges, including the right of veto.
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