ACTION NEEDED ON UNDERLYING CAUSES IF CONFLICTS TO
In Debate on UN Millennium Summit Declaration,
NEW YORK, 19 November (UN Headquarters) -- If the Millennium Declaration of the United Nations were not to become another waste paper lying buried in the archives, it would have to be implemented in all sincerity and entirety, said the representative of Pakistan this afternoon, as the General Assembly continued its consideration of the follow-up to the Millennium Summit. He said there was a need to address the underlying causes of conflicts if peace was to be maintained, as unresolved political disputes had a destabilizing effect on world peace.
The pace of the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit fell far short of the goals set in the Millennium Declaration, said the representative of China. He said the events of 11 September had demonstrated that terrorist forces posed an increasingly harmful threat to peace, stability and economic development. The United Nations should double its efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Declaration.
The representative of the Czech Republic said the implementation of the Millennium Declaration could strongly benefit from the renewed unity and spirit of multilateralism awakened by the terrorist attacks. The same amount of determination forging the anti-terrorist alliance should be turned to cooperation in other areas such as conflict prevention, poverty eradication, peace-building, promoting democracy and human rights or protecting the environment.
The representative of Tunisia said the issue of terrorism was not new, and it had been addressed by the Millennium Declaration. Tunisia reiterated the need for a global strategy to combat that scourge, including preventive action against underlying reasons and the potential sources of violence and extremism.
The representative of the Philippines said the Secretary-General's "road map" for implementing the Declaration must be sufficiently flexible. Particular strategies might require adjustment through time, or new strategies might be needed to suit changing circumstances and needs. More important, however, was the necessary political will and commitment to implement them.
If States were serious about translating rhetoric into action and reality, they must have the necessary resources to move forward, said the representative of Indonesia. Those resources must be commensurate with the tasks of carrying the mandates of the Organization forward. The United Nations must receive its financial contributions in a timely and predictable manner, at the same time being sympathetic to States which, because of genuine economic difficulties, were temporarily unable to meet their financial obligations.
The President of the General Assembly read out a statement on Africa Industrialization Day, which is to be observed tomorrow, Tuesday, 20 November. He said the observance was appropriate since the new Millennium was being shaped by the rapid process of globalization, which would provide opportunities for Africa's development.
The representatives of Ukraine, Poland, United States, Republic of Korea, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Bangladesh, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Morocco, Israel, Nauru, Kazakhstan, Cameroon and Venezuela also spoke, as did the Observer for Switzerland.
The General Assembly will meet on Wednesday, 21 November at 10 a.m. to consider the items on assistance in mine action, the zone of peace and cooperation of the South Atlantic, and the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, 2002.
The Assembly convened this afternoon to conclude its consideration of follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit. (For more background information, see Press Release GA/9973 of 19 November.)
VOLODYMYR KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said the indefensible acts of terrorism perpetrated against the United States had severely undermined the hope that peace and prosperity would be the hallmarks of the new century. The efforts being undertaken now to find effective and lasting solutions to the challenges international terrorism had issued to the world should form part of overall efforts to resolve the problems of underdevelopment, increased poverty, economic strife and disease, and should create new relationships in the international community.
His country was pleased to note the Secretary-General’s emphasis on the necessity to intensify efforts to reduce the number of natural and man-made disasters. Although 15 years had passed since the Chernobyl accident, the problems of the elimination of its consequences were still acute in the Ukraine and presented serious obstacles to achieving sustainable development. The delegations of Member States affected by Chernobyl would submit a draft resolution called "Strengthening of international coordination and coordination of efforts to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster" under the relevant agenda item. He appealed to all of Ukraine’s partners to support the draft.
While primary responsibility for creating the necessary domestic environment rested with the sovereign nations themselves, he believed that increased international dialogue and cooperation were needed to assist developing countries and countries in transition to respond to the challenges of the 21st century. The globalization process needed to be transformed into a positive force, whose benefits were available for all. Furthermore, poverty must be eradicated. It affected all countries and fed political and social instability, criminality, terrorism and the degradation of nature.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said the pace of follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit fell far short of the requirements of the various goals set in the Declaration. The 11 September events had demonstrated that terrorist, separatist and extremist forces were posing an increasingly harmful threat to peace and stability as well as to economic development internationally. The United Nations should double its efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Declaration. If any progress could be achieved in solving global issues such as poverty, regional conflict and sustainable development, it would help strengthen international cooperation against terrorism the world over.
The United Nations, he said, should take the development goals of the Declaration as its overriding current priority. It should formulate concrete, feasible plans with clear time-frames and in accordance with the specific realities and requirements of developing countries. The two upcoming meetings on development should acknowledge the reality that economic globalization had resulted in widening the gap between rich and poor. Developed countries should take concrete steps, such as providing and increasing official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries, cutting their debts, transferring technology and improving market access.
In formulating the New African Initiative, African leaders had made an important step towards economic and political integration and sustainable development, he said. At the same time, to attain the goal of sustainable development, Africa would have to achieve an average annual growth of 7 per cent for the next 15 years. He appealed to the international community, developed countries in particular, to response positively to the Secretary-General’s recommendations and make substantive efforts to alleviate the special difficulties African countries faced.
ENRIQUE A. MANALO (Philippines) said that the road map must be sufficiently flexible: particular strategies might require adjustment through time, or new strategies might be needed to suit changing circumstances and needs. More important, however, was the necessary political will and commitment to implement the proposed strategies. We know what needs to be done, he said. But translating that into action remained the biggest challenge for each nation and the international community. Concerning disarmament, he said that strategies to eliminate weapons of mass destruction through the full implementation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and weapons conventions had never been more relevant.
He stressed the need to overcome the obstacles developing countries faced in mobilizing resources to finance their sustained development. He commended the strategies proposed in the report on international trade, such as the need to ensure that developed nations fully comply with Uruguay Round commitments to improve market access for developing country products, eliminate trade barriers, and ensure that the next round of trade negotiations fully takes into account the needs and priorities of developing countries.
Debt relief for developing countries remained an essential component of any development package, he said. He agreed with the Secretary-General’s proposal, particularly the need for donors to mobilize resources to finance debt relief. Developing countries also needed greater access to global capital goods and markets. It was equally important that debt relief should be additional and not at the expense of other forms of development assistance. Globalization as a process needed to be addressed. The highly uneven spread of its benefits must not condemn more lives to the margins. Globalization and adequate social safety nets were not incompatible. Appropriate strategies for that purpose must be included in the Road Map.
JANUSZ STANCZYK (Poland) recalled that world leaders had elaborated a clear message in the Millennium Declaration. As one, they had determined that the priorities were to manage the world economy and social development, as well as deal with threats to international peace and security, by promoting sustainable development as a matter of the collective and shared responsibility of all States, international organizations and all civil societies and individuals. Strengthening the rule of law, including by taking action against international terrorism, was a major goal. So were the eradication of poverty and the promotion of human rights, democracy and good governance, including by capacity-building.
Overall, he said, the upholding and strengthening of the rule of law was the top priority. Since 11 September, preventing and combating terrorism had become a major aim requiring joint and coordinated action, since acts of terror crossed State borders and struck transnationally. In a sense, war had been declared by those acts, without declaration, in the most heinous and insidious way. There was no choice but to continue it.
Reducing poverty and promoting development would require the achievement of sustained and broad-based economic growth, he said. Major changes would have to be made, including structural economic reforms, effective use of public resources, improving the delivery of assistance to the poor and reducing vulnerability. In addition, since the burden of debt for developing countries and those in transition was an obstacle to development, steps to alleviate the debt must be undertaken.
He said Poland had been among the countries that had introduced the concept of "good governance" into United Nations practice. The Millennium Declaration made a strong reference to it. A systematic, comprehensive debate on the complex issue should be held, including in regional bodies and organizations, and in the context of a dialogue among civilizations. The interrelation between human rights and the quality of governance on the one hand, and the negative effect on development of a lack of good governance on the other, had already been demonstrated. Universal good governance principles or guidelines, as found in "good governance environments", should be elaborated and carried out in relation to the economy as well. Indicators of progress in implementing the Millennium Declaration should also be elaborated.
SICHAN SIV (United States) said the great coalition against terrorism was a testament to the consensus that terrorism and civilization were not compatible. Terrorism was one aspect of violence that hampered progress in raising living standards worldwide. Countries suffering from armed conflict had witnessed a dramatic, prolonged failure to meet basic human needs. Resolving conflicts depended primarily on the belligerents themselves. However, the international community should support efforts to resolve them. Conflict prevention and resolution was one of the pillars of the United States in development assistance.
He reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to upholding human rights. The war against terrorism required a renewed resolve to support democracy building, judicial reform and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights. One of the gravest threats to developing countries, especially in Africa, was HIV/AIDS. His President had pledged $200 million to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with more to follow as the fund demonstrated success. His country remained committed bilaterally and multilaterally to support developing countries’ efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. Strong economic growth began with solid national economic policies and institutions. Development partners could only provide support.
Three weeks ago, his President had met with trade, finance and commerce ministers from 35 African countries for the first meeting of the United States-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, where he had announced a new $200 million Overseas Private Investment Corporation support facility to promote investment in Africa. With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the United States was a full participant in the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Twenty-four countries had begun to receive debt relief under that initiative. President Bush had also proposed that multilateral development banks should substantially increase the share of grants in their assistance to the poorest countries.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said that while basically concurring with the views and suggestions contained in the seven areas of the Road Map Report, he saw two areas in which one could take more tangible measures at the United Nations level: peacekeeping operations; and strengthening the United Nations. In the field of peace and security, it was widely recognized that conflict prevention was the most cost-effective and politically sound means of ensuring long-term peace and stability. The preventive capacity of the United Nations therefore needed to be further reinforced. In that regard, it was worth mentioning that the working methodology of peacekeeping operations had been improved considerably over the past year, in accordance with the recommendations of the Brahimi report. He hoped that United Nations peacekeeping operations would be further expanded in the years to come.
It went without saying that the follow-up to the Millennium Declaration could not be successfully carried out without strengthening the United Nations. According to the Millennium Declaration, the foremost policy objective in the field of strengthening the United Nations was to reaffirm the central role of the General Assembly, and enable it to effectively play its role. With that in mind, he hoped that future United Nations debates could be conducted in a more practical manner.
In the spirit of joining the international effort to curb missile proliferation, the Republic of Korea had become a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime last March. In addition, his Government had demonstrated its commitment to reducing the use of anti-personnel mines by acceding to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and accepted its Amended Protocol II. As part of the effort to strengthen the implementation of democratic principles through institutional reform and civic awareness, his Government would host the Second Conference of the Community of Democracies in Seoul next year. Furthermore, the Korean Government was making continuous efforts to increase its ODA and expand its participation in donors’ conferences.
JAN KARA (Czech Republic) said the goals and targets of the Millennium Summit were not a brand-new invention, but the Summit’s added value was to have consolidated its goals and targets to secure more synergy in pursuing them. A year later, a whole different world of ominous threats opened up without warning on 11 September. The core challenge of today was to combine the immediate priority of combating terrorism with the long-term strategies and goals the Summit had endorsed. In other words, it was necessary to strike a balance between "the agendas of 10 and 11 September" and to secure a balanced commitment to both.
He said implementation of the long-term strategy set out by the Millennium Declaration could strongly benefit from the renewed unity and spirit of multilateralism awakened by the terrorist attacks. The same degree of determination binding the anti-terrorist alliance should be turned to cooperation in other areas such as conflict prevention, poverty eradication, peace-building, demining, promoting democracy and human rights, and protecting the environment. All those areas were interrelated -- and fed the roots of terrorism when neglected. The response to the terrorist attacks had made it obvious that it was possible to generate political will. Its potential in relation to the goals of the Millennium Summit should be explored.
YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said two global issues commanded the international community’s urgent attention: degradation of the global environment and HIV/AIDS. In the area of global environmental protection, a significant step was marked with the agreement reached at the seventh Conference of Parties on specific rules for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. In order to ensure the effectiveness of measures for preventing global warming, Japan would continue its efforts to formulate one universal framework for cooperation, with the hope that the United States and developing countries would participate.
In order to address the issue of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, the international community must develop a well-coordinated response to the needs of each country in a wide range of areas, including education, prevention, treatment, establishment of sanitation systems, and research and development. Japan welcomed the New Partnership for African Development launched by African countries. He looked forward to a substantive discussion at the forthcoming Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) ministerial meeting on how the international community could best support that initiative.
Equally important for the future of the international community was to realize a world in which children could develop and expand their innate creativity. His Government strongly hoped that the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, to be convened in Yokohama in December, would contribute to a successful special session on Children. Next year’s International Conference on Financing for Development could provide a significant opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to mobilizing the financial resources and utilizing them efficiently for development. Security Council reform was another issue stressed the Millennium Declaration. Discussions should be focused on the question of the size of the expanded Council.
MOCHAMAD S. HIDAYAT (Indonesia) said combating terrorism was crucial for the future of peaceful coexistence between States. It was also true that the multiple threats and challenges already preoccupying intergovernmental deliberations before the 11 September attacks had not gone away. The threat of nuclear annihilation had not fully faded, despite recent disarmament negotiations. Nor could the international community neglect the daunting challenges of preventing conflict. Inextricably linked to those issues were pervasive underdevelopment, marginalization and wrenching poverty.
In meeting those challenges, a balance must be kept in addressing the environment, social development and economic growth, he said. A major mechanism that could be effectively used would be to build on the momentum and high commitments for sustainable development. In that context, poverty eradication was central. In reaching the Millennium Summit goal of halving global poverty levels by 2015, there was a crucial need for country-driven initiatives, including a focus on building human and institutional capacities at the national level.
Empowering the United Nations was central to promoting people-centred sustainable development, he continued. A revitalized General Assembly and a reformed Security Council, designed to reflect the contemporary development of international relations, were essential to create a more democratic world. But if States were serious about translating rhetoric into action and reality, they must have the necessary resources to move forward. Those resources must be commensurate with implementing the mandates of the Organization, including the Millennium Declaration. The Organization must receive its financial contributions in a timely and predictable manner. It must, at the same time, be sympathetic to States that –- because of genuine economic difficulties -- were temporarily unable to meet their financial obligations.
JORGE EDUARDO NAVARRETE (Mexico) said the Secretary-General had pointed out that most of the objectives of the Millennium Declaration were not new, but were taken from world conferences of the 1990s and the various international juridical instruments achieved over the last half century. That was a precedent not to forget, since any hesitation on the part of the international community about commitment to those objectives would detract from the seriousness and legitimacy of a half-century of United Nations work.
Terrorism should not be treated in isolation, he said. Its causes and motives should be examined as well as its links to other international phenomena such as international organized crime, drug trafficking and money laundering. Recognizing the integration and interdependence of international action was perhaps the most important feature of the road map. No progress would be made in any area if not accompanied by decisive movement in the remaining areas. Because of the economic slowdown, it was probable that the international community was moving further away from some objectives. Many countries could witness an increase in the number of people living under the poverty line, which would make the objective of halving the number of such people by 2015 more difficult.
There was a need for a strategy for progress of handicapped persons, he added. That valuable repository of human capital must be fully integrated into society. A broad convention protecting and promoting the rights of handicapped persons would make it possible for them to contribute to the objectives of the Millennium Declaration, he said.
CHUCHAI KASEMSARN (Thailand) said that the onus of attaining "freedom from want" was best reflected in the Millennium Summit’s commitment to development and poverty eradication. That must be one of the highest priorities. Only by ensuring that the basic needs of people were met –- by overcoming hunger, gaining access to safe water, having equal access to education, and getting treatment for diseases ranging from malaria to HIV/AIDS -– could individuals feel genuinely secure and live their lives to the fullest potential. Poverty also generated another serious threat to both human and national security –- that of narcotic drugs. The drug threat was inextricably linked to multiple forms of transnational crimes, including money laundering and international terrorism. Thailand was therefore determined to redouble its efforts to implement its commitments to counter the world drug problem, as called for in the Millennium Declaration.
Thailand had made poverty eradication one of its top policy priorities. The establishment of micro-credit schemes for both the rural and urban poor was but one concrete manifestation of that policy. And to ensure that those policies bore fruit, Thailand pursued them by applying strictly the principles of transparency and good governance, including anti-corruption measures.
Attaining "freedom from fear" by providing people with an environment of peace and security was a key ingredient of human security, whose ideas were embraced both in the Millennium Declaration and the road map. A culture of peace and tolerance needed to be more actively promoted to help prevent disagreement from escalating into conflict. That could involve the development of effective conflict prevention strategies, and following up on various recommendations made in the report of the Secretary-General on the prevention of armed conflict. Peacekeeping operations were an important arm of the United Nations in helping to maintain international peace and security. As a major troop-contributing country, particularly in Southeast Asia, Thailand hoped that the United Nations would give priority to expenditure and to the completion of the peacekeeping reform process.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said his country had taken note of the Secretary-General's road map and commended the initiative, yet there were some areas of concern. Paragraph 82 emphasized the need to integrate the Millennium development goals into national goals to narrow the gap between expectation and achievement. However, it did not take adequate note of the fact that poverty reduction already existed as an overarching priority for the developing countries and their domestic policies. It also failed to mention that national plans and programmes could only have limited success, as those countries faced significant challenges stemming from lack of resources. Paragraph 86 suggested strengthening capabilities to improve basic services, yet for the least developed countries (LDCs), initial support by development partners might be necessary.
Most of the social malaise identified in the Millennium Declaration existed in an acute form in the LDCs, he continued. It was therefore crystal clear that the needs and concerns of the LDCs had to be addressed on a priority basis if a significant dent was to be made on worldwide poverty. Bangladesh felt that the issue should have received particular attention in the road map. If the road map was intended to be the primary plan of action, the special needs and concerns of the LDCs should receive attention with a view to achieving the goal of poverty reduction. That needed to be reflected in any subsequent report.
Peace, security and disarmament, he said, were vital aspects of ensuring freedom from fear. Peace and development were intertwined and interrelated. Therefore, the field of disarmament and total elimination of nuclear weapons was a priority for Bangladesh. In South Asia, Bangladesh stood out as a country which had manifested uncompromising commitment to the international disarmament regime for weapons of mass destruction as well as conventional weapons. In the wake of 11 September, Bangladesh reiterated that it had always been opposed to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stood committed to all international efforts towards its elimination.
SRGJAN KERIM (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said world peace had been shaken on 11 September, reversing the order of importance of some of the commitments and goals set out in the Millennium Declaration. The overarching challenge now was to preserve the fine balance among priorities in today’s globalized, interdependent world without marginalizing others. A truly global community was called for by that demand, one that confronted terrorism, international crime and money laundering as well as diseases, while at the same time building an equitable global trading system, promoting financial stability, preventing crises and safeguarding both natural resources and the environment.
As pointed out in the Secretary-General’s report, he continued, sustained political will was necessary to carry out the goals set out a year ago. The more fortunate must be courageous in taking the larger share of responsibility for the betterment of all, while those less fortunate must do their best to ensure their efforts benefited all. Further, the efficacy of a sustained international response to the global threat of terrorism must be measured not just by the exercise of effective justice for all involved, but also by multi-pronged action to transform an environment conducive to destructiveness and depravity. In particular, the rule of law should be strengthened along with non-proliferation regimes. The drug problem and the transnational crime issue should be addressed. Finally, concerted action should be taken to end the small-arms traffic and to support regional disarmament, including by providing technical assistance to fragile regions, such as Southeastern Europe.
In conclusion, he said that broadening understanding between civilizations and addressing regional problems were essential to the quest for comprehensive and effective remedies for a host of issues, many of them related to development. Reducing poverty was essential for achieving sustained and broad-based economic growth. The fact that a billion people in the developing world still lacked access to clean water and that 2.4 billion lacked basic sanitation was indication enough that addressing those issues was an emergency matter. In his country, an equally pressing issue was to implement strategies to reduce unemployment among youth. Worldwide, young people now constituted more than 40 per cent of the world’s total unemployed.
JOSÉ NICOLÁS RIVAS (Colombia) said the Millennium Declaration contained the instruments for ensuring a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. The challenges ahead affected all peoples. No State could turn its back on issues such as poverty, the trafficking and proliferation of arms and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Tolerance, equality and solidarity must be recognized as fundamental values, essential in international relations in the 21st century. Following the events of 11 September there was a common objective -- confronting international terrorism. The campaign against international terrorism must be led by the United Nations. In this battle, it would be dangerous to ignore the role played by drug traffickers, money launderers and tax and bank havens. The existence of those havens made the work of those criminals easy.
None of the priorities in the Millennium Declaration was more important than the need to ensure that globalization benefited all peoples of the world. States had a responsibility to humanize globalization and to end extreme poverty. A new framework to ensure sustained growth must be established through the removal of all trade barriers and tariffs currently denying developing countries access to the world market. More stability in the international financial world was needed. The commitments of the Millennium Declaration would remain a dead letter if the situation were not adjusted. He also stressed the importance of protecting the rights of civil society in armed conflict, particularly the rights of women, children and humanitarian workers. Such goals could only be achieved if the United Nations was given the tools to ensure the maintenance of peace.
He said that the recent terrorist attacks, and the goal of bringing the perpetrators to justice, highlighted the need for the International Criminal Court (ICC). At the Millennium Summit, world leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to peace and development. It was time to meet those commitments. Colombia supported any initiative that would make those objectives achievable. The goals of the Millennium Declaration could only be obtained if all States applied themselves to ensure a better future for humankind, a future when all men and women would be freed from poverty, suffering and war.
GELSON FONSECA JR. (Brazil) said that the road map prepared by the Secretary-General was extremely useful. It covered a vast amount of material, and enhanced awareness of the genuinely global nature of the challenges and priorities the international community was facing. Brazil welcomed the fact that it identified yardsticks to be used in evaluating the implementation of the fundamental development goals. Clear and stable numerical targets could help trigger action and measure its effectiveness.
He said, one of the enduring strengths of the report was that it was truly integrated and comprehensive, drawing on the work and expertise of Governments, the entire United Nations system, international organizations and civil society. Because it was the outcome of these extensive consultations, the report had developed a truly unique set of indicators, which could be adopted so as to help Member States enhance the consistency and coherence of their national programmes and policies.
Many of the goals of the Millennium Declaration had been with us for years, he said. Brazil believed that to be effective, assessment must be continuous and it therefore endorsed the Secretary-General's proposal to follow up the road map with yearly reports, supported by strategic five-year evaluations on the long-term implementation of the millennium goals. Brazil believed all would agree that the most important tasks were in the fields that the Secretary-General had rightly identified – prevention of armed conflict; the treatment and prevention of diseases, including HIV/AIDS and malaria; strategies for sustainable development; bridging the digital divide, and curbing transnational crime.
ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) reaffirmed the commitments of the Millennium Declaration and said it was a matter of political will for States to implement the road map the Secretary-General had set out. Defence of human security was the world’s highest priority since 11 September. Against terrorism itself, the Security Council was working out far-reaching measures while the Assembly finalized the comprehensive convention. Beyond terrorism, the defence of human security involved a broad range of key areas that needed to be addressed urgently. Those included the need to continue disarmament at all levels, and the setting up of the ICC to protect against those who would misuse their power.
Further, he said, there could be no peace or security without eradication of poverty or the alleviation of diseases that were especially associated with the vulnerability that poverty produced. Of equal concern was the need to protect the environment and the rights of women and other vulnerable groups, such as migrant workers. The United Nations should step up to those challenges by taking measures that had already been recommended. The coordinating and streamlining of activities and a reform of the Security Council were among those measures.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia) said the issue of terrorism was not new and it had been addressed by the Millennium Declaration. The Secretary-General had developed specific measures to complete the international judicial framework for the fight against it. Tunisia, which since the beginning of the nineties had warned against the danger of terrorism, reiterated the need for a global strategy to combat that scourge, including preventive action against its underlying causes and the potential sources of violence and extremism. Everyone must contribute towards that collective responsibility.
He said the maintenance of peace and international security also required determined action of all States and other actors on all front. Consolidation of the rule of law on the national and international level was important, as well as preventing armed conflicts. Disarmament was a key area, where determined action was needed to eliminate weapons arsenals, in particular of weapons of mass destruction.
He said he supported the strategy proposed by the Secretary-General for the international community to forge a path towards implementation of development goals. It was urgent to increase the contribution of private capital. Industrialized countries should achieve the target of organization of developmental assistance of 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Tunisia had proposed a Solidarity Fund for, among other things, promoting small projects generating jobs in the poorest regions of the world.
He said the international community should urgently establish an international protection force to protect Palestinian civilians and ensure Israel’s respect for international humanitarian law.
MOHAMED BENNOUNA (Morocco) said that in the Millennium Declaration the United Nations finally had a document which was needed for the international community to envisage the future. The issue of highest importance for his delegation was strengthening the United Nations Organization by reforming it. When world leaders had committed to improve the future, basing it on justice and solidarity, it was the duty of all States to strengthen the capacity of action of the United Nations. Such strengthening should include reform of the Charter.
The Security Council must be reformed so that it reflected the new geopolitical order and was representative and legitimate. It was unfortunate that since 1993 there had been little progress in the examination of the issue, when everyone agreed that this reform was urgent. The Security Council must take into account the changes in the international arena over the past 50 years.
He added that the work of General Assembly must be given a new dynamic and focus on concrete action. As the main body of the United Nations, it had a role in international cooperation, political matters, and the development of codification of international law. With this level of responsibility, it must not be seen as a passive body. That would undermine the credibility of the Assembly and the United Nations as a whole.
On economic development and the efforts of the international community, he said that it may be time to re-think the structure of the Economic and Social Council. Turning to legal affairs, he observed that the increase in the number of international judiciary bodies may lead to the scattering of international law. It was important not to lose sight of the fact that the International Court of Justice was the main judiciary body of the United Nations, and must be involved when the Statutes of other international tribunals were in doubt.
YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said the attention of the world over the past year had been drawn to the daunting challenge of Africa. At the Millennium Summit, and again at the HIV/AIDS conference, the international community had undertaken to make special provisions for the unique situation facing that continent. The development of Africa, and providing it with the necessary tools to address the manifold social, economic, and political problems it was facing, would be a major challenge for the international community in the years ahead.
When world leaders had gathered to address the threats to peace and security of the new millennium, they had not yet been stunningly reminded of the global menace of terrorism, he said. The international community must scrupulously abide by Security Council resolution 1373, and reject any and all attempts to justify the murders of innocent civilians, regardless of cause or grievance.
There could be no greater fear than that which gripped the host city on 11 September and continued to oppress millions of innocent civilians around the world -– the fear of being suddenly and indiscriminately a target of deadly aggression, he continued. Terror has the potential to single-handedly disrupt all the noble and worthwhile objectives that we have committed ourselves to achieve in the new millennium. Just as buildings that took years to build were brought to the ground within an hour, so too can the efforts of thousands, undertaken over generations, be violently undone by a single act of terrorism.
VINCI N. CLODUMAR (Nauru) said his country had been working with the Pacific Islands Forum and development partners to develop a regional strategy, to better respond to problems, collectively and individually, with measures that were practical and acceptable to the communities. Nauru had offered to participate in a regional eminent persons observer mission of "eminent persons", drawn from Forum countries, to help monitor the forthcoming elections in the Solomon Islands.
Nauru recognized implicitly that health and education were fundamental building blocks for society. Along with other Pacific leaders, it had agreed to work further on the provision of resources for basic education and the development of partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The ongoing challenge was to source and allocate adequate budgetary resources to ensure basic education at an early age for the children of Nauru.
He said Nauru endorsed the strong emphasis in the Millennium Declaration on integrating the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes.
SHAMSHAD AHMAD (Pakistan) said unresolved political disputes in Bosnia, Kosovo, Palestine, Kashmir and other places had a destabilizing effect on world peace. The frustration of the oppressed people was understandable when such disputes as Kashmir and Palestine, despite being on the agenda of the United Nations for years, remained unresolved. Global peace and security would remain elusive if these conflicts were not addressed. If the Millennium Declaration was not to become another waste paper lying buried in the archives of the United Nations, it would have to be implemented in all sincerity and entirety.
He said the people of Afghanistan had been suffering the ravages and devastation of conflicts for over two decades. It was time to heal their wounds and empower them to rebuild their society. Any future political set-up in Afghanistan must be "homegrown" and not imposed from outside. Pakistan fully supported the efforts of the United Nations Secretary-General and his Special Envoy, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi to that end. It was also Pakistan's hope that the political process in Afghanistan would be accompanied by a resettlement plan for more than 3 million Afghan refugees now sheltered in Pakistan. Peace-building in post-conflict Afghanistan would require a gigantic effort on the part of the international community through sustainable measures as part of a three pronged strategy -- military, political and humanitarian-cum-rehabilitation.
He said the President of Pakistan had last week drawn the attention of the world community towards the tragedy of the third world, where rulers plundered the wealth of countries and were "afforded easy access and safe havens to stash away the loot in the First World". While restrictions had been imposed on the laundering of drug money and money held by terrorists, why could similar restriction not be imposed on loot money laundering? Pakistan hoped that the Secretary-General would evolve a mechanism for addressing this problem and urged the developed countries to legislate against deposits of ill-gotten money, and ensure its early return to the countries of origin.
MADINA B. JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said the Secretary-General’s report had expressed concern that the turn of the millennium had brought new challenges in the field of peace and security. Without peace and stability, there was no chance to foster dialogue between States for peaceful solutions, and socio-economic development was impossible. Force, terrorism and racial discrimination could not resolve global problems. Wars and conflicts were not among the key elements to create a new, better world free from violence.
The recent terrorist acts called for a coordinated response from the international community. She expected the comprehensive convention against international terrorism would be completed during 2001. She fully supported the international anti-terrorist coalition in eliminating the terrorist network in Afghanistan, and vigorously pursuing the war against remaining Taliban holdouts. It was also important to jointly consolidate the success of the recent military operation by moving forward the process of a comprehensive settlement for the Afghan situation.
The Millennium Declaration had identified key areas requiring the collective commitment of the international community, she continued. Her Government supported the strategies of the "road map" prepared by the Secretary-General. It was committed to a peaceful, stable and environmentally safe world, and supported all of the objectives of the Millennium Summit. She said she particularly welcomed the commitment pledged by world leaders to promote the survival and development of children, gender equality and the empowerment of women.
RENE SADI (Cameroon) said that in the Millennium Declaration, a year ago, the world’s leaders had embodied all the highest aspirations of the world’s people for peace and development. The documents before the Assembly today represented the Secretary-General’s roadmap for implementing the ideal then set out. It was up to the global community to change words into deeds by taking the actions called for such as promoting a stable economic environment and ensuring development by opening markets and removing trade barriers.
Progress had been made in such areas as housing and improvement of the drinking water situation. Yet in the area of world peace, more work had to be done to address global problems such as illegal drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. Perhaps the role of the International Court of Justice could be enhanced, and the treaty bodies be given a stronger role.
The special session of the Assembly on HIV/AIDS, and its outcome Declaration, were both decisive steps toward implementing the Millennium Declaration aims. Other issues needed to be taken up with equal determination, he continued, calling for a review of the roadmap by the Economic and Social Council. He said the new partnership for Africa would be an important element in promoting the Millennium aims.
MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) said the Millennium Declaration had spelled out common values which were fundamental to relations between States: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance and a shared responsibility for management of economic and social development, and how to confront threats to peace and international security. It also included new commitments to make the work of the United Nations more effective, particularly for the poorest of the world.
He said concrete commitments were needed to halve, by the year 2015, the number of people living in poverty, to reduce infant mortality, to combat HIV/AIDS, to improve the situation of human rights and to promote democracy and good governance.
To renew the North-South dialogue was also a challenge, as was the South-South dialogue. Next year’s conference in Monterrey, Mexico (on financing for development) would be an opportunity to honour the commitments made at the Rio Conference. On United Nations reform, he said the Security Council veto right must be eliminated and the regional groups in the United Nations had to be institutionalized, strengthened and energized.
JENO C.A. STAEHELIN, Permanent Observer, Switzerland, said that the tragic events of 11 September seemed to have profoundly changed perceptions of the issues debated in today’s society. More than ever, the world had recognized that there was an interdependence and link between poverty, conflicts, the degradation of natural resources, the denial of human rights and poor governance. The major challenges that the international community was currently dealing with required a global and coherent approach. To find such an approach was the fundamental objective of the Road Map presented by the Secretary-General.
That closely followed the main guidelines of the Millennium Declaration. It was time to put into operation the many proposed strategies. However, it was important to avoid a scattering of efforts in all possible directions, which might lead to duplication and overlapping because of a lack of coherence and coordination. The best way forward would be to concentrate on the objectives put forward during the Millennium Summit.
All States should show the necessary political will and honour their commitments. He said the United Nations had often paved the way and worked hard to improve itself, but much remained to be done. It was vital that all protagonists – national and international, public and private -- came together to make the objectives of the Millennium Declaration a reality.
Africa Industrialization Day
Before adjourning the meeting, the President of the Assembly, HAN SEUNG-SOO (Republic of Korea), noted that tomorrow -– November 20 -- would be observed as Africa Industrialization Day, as it had been since 1990. The aim was to mobilize the commitment and resources of the international community in support of the industrialization of Africa. It was appropriate that "the challenges of Africa’s industrialization for the new Millennium" was the theme of this year’s observance, as the new Millennium was being shaped by the rapid process of globalization.
Globalization provided both opportunities for economic development and challenges such as marginalization of developing countries. Many African countries were among the most vulnerable to such marginalization, due to lack of capacity and resources, persistent poverty, rampant HIV/AIDS and chronic conflicts. He accorded high priority to issues of special concern to Africa.
He said industrialization was a necessary stage along the path of development. Diversifying economies and enhancing competitiveness were generally recognized as essential steps to promote sustained economic growth. Competitiveness of African enterprises depended heavily on technological innovation, absorption and management capability. Access to developed markets was also a prerequisite of sustainable development of Africa. He urged donors and developed countries to provide adequate resources and technical assistance, as well as beneficial treatment for African products.
Concepts of ownership and partnership should be seen as integral to national development and industrialization, he said. That required creating investor-friendly business environments. In that regard, he commended the historic initiative of African leaders in proclaiming the New Partnership for African Development, which frankly addressed the stark realities of African development and held out great promise of success. It deserved the full support of the international community.
He said he hoped the United Nations system would continue to work more closely to mobilize resources and expertise in support of the African-led endeavours. He invited all to join the ongoing efforts to assist African countries to adapt their industrial policies to changing global conditions and to create a supportive environment for sustainable development.