16 June 2005

Development, Security, Human Rights Depend on Each Other, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Group of 77 Summit in Doha

NEW YORK, 15 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the address, as delivered, by Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette to the Group of 77 Second South Summit, in Doha, Qatar, today:

It is a great honour for me to address this Second South Summit. I bring warm greetings from Secretary-General Kofi Annan to our host, the Emir of Qatar, to the Chair, Prime Minister Patterson of Jamaica, and to all of you. The Secretary-General wishes very much that he could be here to continue in person the excellent dialogue on United Nations reform that he had with many of you six weeks ago in Jakarta.

For over 40 years, the Group of 77 has worked to make sure that the voice of a majority of the world’s countries and inhabitants is heard loud and clear at the United Nations -- and this year, more than ever, the creative engagement of the G-77 at the United Nations is vital.

In September, world leaders will meet in New York to review progress in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. That Summit is an opportunity to remove some of the obstacles that have hampered the achievement of the vision of the Millennium Declaration -- including insufficient resources for, and commitment to, our agreed development agenda, as well as lack of consensus on how to ensure security and human rights for all.

To seize this opportunity, all nations must recognize that development, security and human rights are ends in themselves -- but also that they reinforce each other, and depend on each other. In our interconnected world, the human family will not enjoy development without security, it will not enjoy security without development, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. And no nation can expect others to cooperate on the issues which it deems to be of greatest urgency if it does not recognize the need to cooperate also on the issues to which others give highest priority.

In March, the Secretary-General suggested a framework for decisions by Member States at September’s Summit. I am heartened that the draft outcome document recently circulated by the President of the General Assembly draws on many of the ideas put forward by the Secretary-General.

The number one priority must be an all-out global effort to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 -- with both developing and developed nations living up to their commitments.

Your countries must have effective national strategies in place for achieving the Goals. You should also promote transparent and accountable governance, as many of you are already doing. And you need to do more to help each other in a range of fields -- from trade and investment to technology transfer and human resource development.

But developed countries must also meet their responsibilities. The summit outcome must incorporate a major boost in international assistance, and development-conducive arrangements on trade and debt.

On this score, we have reasons to be hopeful.

Last month, the European Union agreed that its members would increase official development assistance substantially over the next decade, so that its more affluent members reach the target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income by 2015.

Last Saturday, the G-7 Finance Ministers agreed to cancel immediately $40 billion of debt owed by 18 of the world’s poorest nations, mostly in Africa, and there is the hope that the scheme will be extended to other countries soon.

And in a little over three weeks from now, we will be looking to the G-8 Summit in Gleneagles, chaired by Prime Minister Blair, for further positive decisions in favour of the developing world.

We must also press ahead with the development round of trade negotiations launched here in Doha, so that your countries can compete in the global trading system on a fair and equal basis.

The development agenda, vital as it is, is only one leg of a tripod whose other two legs -- security and human rights -- are also of great importance to all the countries represented here.

After all, your peoples suffer more than any others from the strains placed on the peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, disarmament and human rights machinery of the United Nations.

They suffer most from inaction in the face of massive violations of human rights. They are too often the victims of acts of terrorism and the events that those acts unleash. They pay a high price for the proliferation of small arms, light weapons and land mines. They would pay an even higher price if our global nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime were to be undermined, fuelling nuclear arms races and cutting off technology transfers vital for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

September’s Summit is your opportunity to work with others to strengthen multilateral action in all these areas. And just as you challenge rich countries to free up resources for development on a scale never before seen, so you, too, must be prepared to break new ground and forge consensus with other Member States on issues such as terrorism, human rights, and the responsibility to protect.

Last but not least, I come to the question of institutional reform. The institutions of the United Nations should reflect the world of 2005, not 1945.

Security Council reform is long overdue, and must be addressed in a way that recognizes its basic importance while not overshadowing the rest of the reform effort.

Member States need to ensure that the work of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council is more strategic and relevant to the pressing challenges facing the world’s peoples.

The creation of a Peacebuilding Commission would enable the various actors involved in helping countries move from war to lasting peace to come together to agree on an integrated approach.

A new Human Rights Council would give us a chance to restore human rights to their prominence accorded by the UN Charter. Its purpose would not be to single out particular countries for punishment. We see too much of that now. Its job would be to promote respect for all human rights in all countries.

Secretariat reform is also vital. The Secretary-General needs the support of the Member States to ensure that the Secretariat is able to live up to the highest standards of performance, efficiency, accountability and transparency, and can implement the agreed priorities of the Member States in a fast-changing world.

These issues are today on the table. The time for creative engagement is now. A functioning, effective United Nations is critical for all countries -- and for many of your citizens, it can mean the difference between life and death.

That is why the Secretary-General hopes that you will come to New York in September ready to approve a historic reform and renewal of the United Nations, so that we can unite the strength of nations large and small, and advance towards a world of development, security and human rights for all.

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