16 September 2005
Steps to Reform UN Should Unite, Not Divide, International Community, General Assembly Summit Told
On Summit's Second Day, World Leaders Continue Debate on Security Council Restructuring, Achievement of Millennium Goals, Key Economic Issues
NEW YORK, 15 September (UN Headquarters) -- With more than 150 global leaders gathered in New York to weigh the future of the United Nations, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation stressed that while there was a real need to adjust to "the new historical reality", steps to reform the world body should unite, not separate the international community.
The experience and authority of the United Nations enabled it to play its indispensable, truly unique role in global policy, and economic and humanitarian cooperation, said Mr. Putin, calling for constructive and inclusive organizational reform at the General Assembly's 2005 World Summit convened to forge a global consensus on development, security, human rights and United Nations renewal.
But Hugo Chavez Frias, President of Venezuela, argued that the United Nations had outlived its model and that the twenty-first century required profound changes that meant a recasting of the Organization, not merely reforms.
A revamped United Nations required that the Security Council be expanded in the permanent and non-permanent categories and that its working methods be improved to increase transparency. Further, the "elite mechanism" of the veto decision should be removed in the Security Council, and the role of the Secretary-General should be strengthened, he stated.
Calling for a more measured approach, Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said it was time to take stock and remain focused, with a view to moving forward. Member States had a substantial unfinished agenda and new challenges to face. Reform of the Organization must be in the multilateral interest and embrace all facets of the United Nations' activities.
The vision that Member States adopted at the Summit should be decisive, she stated. It should serve as a road map leading to further change and reform. The changes must touch on the Organization's entire agenda, overall reforms could not be piecemeal, but must benefit all Member States equitably. An integrated approach to security, development and human rights was the key to achieving that, she said.
Mathieu Kérékou, President of Benin, said the document before the Summit acknowledged that new challenges had emerged and that reform must be undertaken courageously to make progress. The United Nations was the unique forum for addressing problems that faced global society, and the Security Council's composition and working methods must be reformed to reflect the new realities, with Africa given fair representation.
Also addressing the Summit today were the Heads of State or Government of: Djibouti, Zambia, Ecuador, Central African Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iraq, Belarus, Chile, Gambia, Mali, Brazil, Seychelles, Burundi, China, San Marino, Cape Verde, Georgia, Nauru, Congo, Mongolia, South Africa, India, Ethiopia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cambodia, Samoa, Mauritius, Lesotho, Turkey, Czech Republic, Denmark, Jamaica, Italy, Kuwait, Israel, Guinea, France, South Africa, Monaco, Ukraine, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Marshall Islands, Lithuania, Slovenia, Mozambique, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Brunei Darussalam, Swaziland, Comoros, Uruguay, Gabon, Estonia, Philippines, Cyprus, Switzerland, Albania, Iceland, Solomon Islands, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Sweden, Belgium, and Belize.
Vice Presidents from Viet Nam and Afghanistan addressed the Summit, as did ministers from: Saint Lucia, Serbia and Montenegro, Germany, Luxembourg, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, and Burkina Faso. The President of the National Assembly of Angola addressed the Summit as did the Permanent Mission of Eritrea.
The General Assembly this morning reconvened the 2005 World Summit, which coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations, and which will consider the status of the Millennium Development Goals, the ambitious set of targets aimed, among other things, at easing world poverty, turning back the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and providing improved education and better health care, all by 2015. The Summit will also consider Secretary-General Kofi Annan's proposals for sweeping United Nations reform.
ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH, President of Djibouti, said that in the five years since the Millennium Summit, the world had experienced many crises, wars, global political and economic turmoil, and a disturbing decline in international peace, understanding and cooperation. Regrettably, the central role of the United Nations and its effectiveness had come into question, as had its very relevance. A changing world needed a United Nations that was, among other things, readily able to mount and coordinate a collective response to crises, work towards poverty eradication, counter terrorism and advance human rights. It should also be equipped with the necessary technical and management expertise and resources to perform its duties effectively at all levels.
While the search for consensus on a comprehensive yet realistic reform agenda for the United Nations may have suffered a bit of a setback, the search for common ground continued, he said. The challenge was for Member States to get their acts together and rise above narrow national interests in order to forge consensus. The United Nations had very little independent capacity, and indeed could only ever be as strong as the commitment of its Member States.
Turning to Africa and the situation of so many of the world's people and nations struggling to overcome poverty and improve their livelihoods, he said that while there had been many significant advances, it was still not certain that enough had been accomplished to "make poverty history". So many nations and peoples remained mired in abject poverty, disease and hunger, particularly the Niger, which was crying out for help as its people grappled with a devastating array of challenges. To that end, the Assembly and the wider international community were urged to support the Secretary-General's proposal to increase the United Nations Emergency Fund. As for Djibouti, the Government had made it a priority to promote and support an inclusive, egalitarian society. It had invested substantially in education and ensured equal opportunities for both boys and girls. But meagre resources had made the overall process a difficult one, particularly as it coincided with a boom in population growth.
On the work of the Summit, he said the outcome document represented an "agreement of least common denominators". Quite a number of proposals had been accepted only in principle, with the details left for concrete decision later in the Assembly session. It was clear, that Member States had shied away from taking the practical actions that were needed immediately. And while a unique opportunity had perhaps been squandered, Djibouti hoped Member States would not give up and would continue to work towards lasting consensus on 11 crucial issues impacting the present time.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, President of the Russian Federation, said that the destiny of the world had been inseparably bound to the work of the United Nations for six decades. For 60 years of its existence, the Organization had seen heated discussions and bitter disagreements. But it had become a unique forum for the systemic dialogue of nations on how to build a safe world, and had seen the birth of many ideas of détente, as well as a joint search for and establishment of the foundation for the fundamentally new, confrontation-free world order. As Member States looked back, they could not but give justice to the accomplishment of the United Nations.
In the new historical context, he said, the experience, authority and supreme legitimacy of the United Nations enabled it to play its indispensable, truly unique role in global policy, and economic and humanitarian cooperation. There was a need to adjust the Organization to the new historic realities. That process should be constructive, taking into account both the lessons learned and the positive experience gained by the United Nations. The process should also unite, not separate.
Only through a broad agreement could Member States further strengthen the authority and legitimacy of the United Nations, as well as its capacity to respond more effectively to the challenges of the twenty-first century, he said. Terrorism posed the main threat to human rights and freedoms today, as well as to the sustainable development of States and peoples. For that reason, the United Nations and the Security Council must be the main centre for coordinating international cooperation in the fight against terrorism as the ideological successor to Nazism. The two bodies must also coordinate settlement of long-lasting regional conflicts.
It was not only through the concerted actions of States that Members should counteract the ideologists of the split of civilizations and terrorist aggression, he said. It was of principal importance that the broad potential of civil society, mass media, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, as well as of equal interdenominational dialogue, be engaged. Who else would take the role of coordinating and organizing that work but the United Nations? Member Sates were urged not to forget that the Organization belonged to everyone and to no one in particular, and it was to be hoped that States had the wisdom to preserve it for future generations.
LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA, President of Zambia, said that at the dawn of the new millennium, there was optimism for humankind, as the hope for change to a more democratic and equitable world appeared very promising. In 2000, that optimism had given rise to a shared desire to restructure the United Nations. Five years later, it had become clear that the international community had not found a common strategy to achieve the desired goals. Collaborative efforts between the developed and developing countries were needed to accelerate global efforts, and Zambia applauded recent efforts to provide more resources for development.
He said that although the record thus far indicated that Zambia had not made much progress on all the targets of the Millennium Development Goals, it had done enough to believe that the target was achievable. The country was encouraged by the promise of total debt relief, as well as by the fact that it had registered positive growth in agriculture over the last two-and-a-half years and positive developments in education. But while there had been a notable improvement in Zambia's health sector, HIV/AIDS remained a major obstacle to development because most of its human-resource base was being depleted.
In terms of resource mobilization, he continued, Zambia was one of the countries that had benefited from the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development. The country had agreed with its cooperative partners on good and efficient aid modalities. The Government had instituted prudent financial and public expenditure systems that would ensure efficiency and transparency. It had declared zero tolerance on corruption and hoped to see greater support by the international community in the collaborative work required to make such a programme succeed.
ALFREDO PALACIO, President of Ecuador, said his country had ratified its commitment to the Millennium Goals, which were a starting point, not the end, and called on all Governments to meet them. A new world order should be based on economics, international law, and biology. In Ecuador, that would be embodied by a healthy, educated and productive citizen of the twenty-first century.
Since his assumption of the presidency four months ago, his Government had dedicated itself to transforming the country, even going so far as to create a ministry aimed at realizing the Goals. Everyone should agree on what type of nation they wanted before deciding on ways to achieve that. To that end, numerous political reforms had been undertaken. The reactivation of production was equally urgent. Gross domestic product (GDP) must rise from its current level of 2.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent annually to 4.5 per cent in order to avoid recession, reactivate the productive sector and increase purchasing power. Gross domestic product would have to be doubled from those target levels in order to reach a sustainable level of development.
While increased investment was essential to growth, investments in the oil sector and commercial liberalization would not be enough to foster growth, he said. It was essential to devote public and private resources to non-oil production, in areas such as tourism, manufacturing and agriculture. Ecuador's Government had organized around four areas in which to fulfil the Goals: health, social security, education and productivity. A key part of meeting the Goals was the aim to provide full health-care coverage to the country's entire population by 2015. The proposed 2006 budget significantly increased spending for health, education and social welfare. Ecuador's historical investment of less than 1 per cent of its GDP in science and technology was one of the reasons for its underdevelopment.
He presented a national report that provided a snapshot of the current situation of the Goals in Ecuador, including their viability and costs. Looking beyond 2015, the report also defined a vision for Ecuador in 2020. Social investment and human development were possible with permanent policies and a collective will to ensure a progressive distribution of income and an adequate use of the budget.
FRANÇOIS BOZIZE, President of the Central African Republic, said that at the time when the world had committed to meeting the goals set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, his country had been experiencing a series of dramatic and devastating crises that had hampered any efforts to work towards those agreed targets. The country was in economic ruin, occupied by foreign troops, its institutions had failed, and children had been left to fend for themselves as conventional rules of law and policy were flouted. But a determined programme of institutional revitalization and legislative and social reforms had led the country back to constitutional legality. The Central African Republic's experience had shown that solidarity was key to ensuring peace, stability and security, which was true for all States. As it emerged from a difficult transition period, the Central African Republic would continue to promote solidarity and would also count on cooperation from its friends.
He said the Central African Republic would call on all nations to work towards such solidarity for their own peoples and would assure the international community that it was prepared to take its destiny in its own hands, continue to rebuild its institutions and provide better lives for its peoples. At the same time, the fear loomed that the country might have to return to the starting blocks. The Government had been concerned that the many friends that had helped the country through its elections had become more and more timid, even as that process had gained strength.
As for the work of the Summit, he said the Central African Republic supported the African Union's view that not only did United Nations institutions and programmes need to be strengthened and reformed, but that those very institutions should be revitalized so as to promote expanded participation by developing countries. The Summit should continue to work towards consensus in order to ensure peace, development, security and human rights throughout the world.
BRANKO CRVENKOVSKI, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, said his country was strongly committed to the full implementation of the Millennium Development Goals at the national level. Significant progress had been achieved regarding a number of targets, but a long transition process had led to the impoverishment of a large portion of the population. A multidimensional approach was needed to fight poverty. The fight against international terrorism remained among his country's top priorities, and the recent adoption of the Convention against Nuclear Terrorism was encouraging. As South-eastern Europe was affected by the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia strongly supported the full implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action in that regard.
He said his country remained committed to further democratic and economic development in compliance with its uppermost national priorities: full membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The final status of Kosovo should be resolved among Belgrade, Pristina and the international community, meeting the requirements of the United Nations. He welcomed the proposal to establish a Peacebuilding Commission and a standing Human Rights Council, and stressed the importance of strengthening coherence and cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations and arrangements, as well as associating United Nations activities with civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.
JALAL TALABANI, President of Iraq, said his country was once again standing on its feet as a partner in the international order. Iraq's experiences over three decades reflected the characteristics of a unique and historical lesson that could be summarized in one sentence: Development was the other face of freedom and democracy. A system of good governance that respected human rights and stood on democratic foundations was the only one that could realize development and what it meant to create more choices for the human being.
As Iraq tried to reform and rebuild what dictatorship had destroyed, he said, it also called for reforms in the United Nations that strengthened its role in maintaining international peace and security, as well as achieved international cooperation in the economic, cultural and social fields. Reform should be the base for activating the General Assembly's role in keeping international peace and security by setting the mechanisms that could guarantee respect for and implementation of its resolution. Reform of the Security Council should secure more transparency and participation by non-Security Council members.
Iraq's war on terror, he continued, required diverse international help, not only for the sake of the country but also for the sake of the whole world. Development as a planned and organized effort needed a secure environment, as well as investors with multiple resources. Development would become an expression of partnership with rational and futuristic dimensions through which experiences and investments could be exchanged in a free market with clear mechanisms. Member States were urged to participate in rebuilding Iraq on the basis of partnership and mutual responsibility and respect.
ALEKSANDR LUKASHENKO, President of Belarus, said State leaders had gathered to take an honest look at today's world. Together, they must gain an understanding of how to lead their countries and mankind along the right path, otherwise, there was no chance to escape the present deadlock that the world was in. The dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had dramatically changed the world order with many consequences, such as a devastated Yugoslavia and the slaughter in Iraq. There were those who strove to rule the unipolar world. They made up imaginary conflicts and problems as a pretext for intervention. To that end, a very convenient banner had been chosen -- democracy and human rights. It had been used exclusively in the interpretation of the United States leadership.
The United Nations had allowed itself to be used as a tool, he said, adding that the Human Rights Commission had mechanically stamped resolutions on Belarus, Cuba and other countries. How could the Organization mind imaginary problems when real catastrophes existed? The leaders of the destroyed Yugoslavia and Iraq were behind bars on groundless accusations. There was nobody to defend their rights, except the United Nations. Poverty and sexual trafficking were real problems and it was high time the United Nations ended internal corruption and addressed the misery in the world.
RICARDO LAGOS ESCOBAR, President of Chile, said he had attended the plenary with a mixture of hope and frustration because not as much had been achieved at the Organization's sixtieth anniversary as had been hoped. Comprehensive reform was still necessary. Multilateralism was not just a slogan or concept, but a political reality for a relatively small State like Chile, which seemed better protected under a system of rights and duties, in which everyone moved forward together, assuming the tasks of a fairer and more balanced international order. Because of that belief, Chile had gone to Haiti as soon as the Security Council had made its first appeal. It was in the same spirit that Chile had worked to achieve the Millennium Goals. Now the Assembly must decide when and how to promote a policy aimed at narrowing the global gap between the rich and poor. Globalization was a reality that should be expanded for the benefit of the large majority.
Although falling short of expectations, the outcome document should be viewed with interest and satisfaction, he said. The document itself was not the goal, but it represented a starting point on the road to changing the Organization. The Human Rights Council was a particularly welcome addition. Hopefully, all the details would be worked out before the end of the present General Assembly session. The Peacebuilding Commission and the Democracy Fund would lead the way in the future, contributing to reconstruction and reconciliation in post-conflict countries and enhancing the spread of democratic practices and principles.
He said that the strong condemnation of terrorism must be translated into action, with a comprehensive convention on terrorism being finalized before the end of the sixtieth session. The Security Council should also reflect the political reality of today's world, not that existing at the end of the Second World War. Chile pledged its political will to accomplish the tasks necessary for creating a world in which multilateralism was the framework for international coexistence. There was still time for the sixtieth session to turn into a historic turning point, a moment at which the inevitable reform of the United Nations was initiated and forcefully projected into a future of effectiveness and relevance.
YAHYA JAMMEH, President of the Gambia, said his country was fully committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals and had already made significant progress towards achieving them. However, it was disturbing how little progress was being made towards meeting the Goals in sub-Saharan Africa generally. There was an urgent need for more resources, including the 0.7 per cent gross national product (GNP) commitment agreed by developed nations, the opening of commodity markets for developing countries, and an easing of the debt burden on developing countries. The Gambia called for efforts to bring high technology and up-to-date communications systems to developing countries to reduce the digital divide.
He said the Gambia was among the few countries that were on schedule to attain the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child malnutrition and mortality, as well as maternal mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, attaining environmental sustainability, and increasing access to safe drinking water. The Gambia was also one of the few African countries that was ahead of schedule in providing universal primary education equally for both boys and girls. However, the country faced significant challenges because it still lacked adequate resources to achieve poverty-reduction goals and to finance agricultural development, as well as access to free markets. Among the other obstacles it faced was that it spent 40 per cent of its budget on debt repayment. In addition to increased direct foreign investment, less restrictive trade policies, and more official development assistance (ODA) to Africa, the resolution of lingering conflicts in Africa was crucial for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
AMADOU TOUMANI TOURE, President of Mali, said that five years after the Millennium Summit, substantial progress had been realized, but some countries, particularly those in Africa, still had much of their populations living in poverty. Mali had adopted a strategic framework against poverty. Mali subscribed fully to the vision and strategic choices of the Millennium Development Goals, namely, to invest massively in human capital and basic infrastructure. If that were achieved, everything else would be built.
At the same time, he said, countries needed stable and adequate financing. The Monterrey Consensus recognized that development was a shared responsibility, which began with the countries themselves. Development must be supported by partners, who must now accelerate the movement towards a substantial increase in ODA, so as to achieve 0.7 per cent of GDP. And while ODA was more indispensable than ever, private investment also had a role to play in driving vigorous growth, which was necessary for economic momentum on the African continent.
With respect to United Nations reform, he said that the African Union had made consistent, balanced and fair proposals, which would allow the Security Council to be more representative of the international community in its entirety and which were based on current geopolitical realities. Mali was deeply committed to democratic values and respect for human rights. The present high-level meeting was taking place at a particularly crucial moment, as people were tired of promises and speeches, and were more impatient for education and jobs. Mali would continue to plead for a world that was more just and balanced, and believed that such a world was possible.
LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SLVA, President of Brazil, said the Millennium Development Goals represented a victory of the values of human solidarity over doctrines of moral indifference and political omission and exclusion. They were rooted in the conviction that the international community must fight inequalities while respecting and appreciating diversity. The Goals expressed the ideal of a civilization in which peace was based on justice, and no other agreed targets had proven more just or appropriate.
He said the challenge was to make them real, which required more than routine mechanisms and procedures, particularly because in most countries, the Goals would simply not be met under existing programmes and in light of current restrictions in aid flows. Immediate and courageous steps were needed in addition to a significant increase in resources to fight poverty and provide developing countries with a chance to secure real and lasting stability and development. If the developed countries seized on that notion, they would realize that such additional efforts were not only fair but absolutely necessary. Otherwise, international peace and security would remain a mirage.
Brazil had always supported the belief that every country must play its own part to enhance the livelihoods of its peoples, he said. Indeed, it had striven to implement at home the same measures it had proposed in the international sphere. Brazil had adopted the Millennium Goals as a benchmark against which all its public policies would be measured, and had also focused, among other things, on the fight against hunger, the right to jobs, the promotion of racial and gender equality, as well as environmental preservation. Brazil's "Zero Hunger" programme was built around a family stipend that reached some 7.5 million families, or about 30 million people.
He pledged that by the end of his tenure, all Brazilian families living below the poverty level would be incorporated into that programme, and the country would finally be able to assure all its children the right to eat every day. One particular example of Brazil's efforts to ensure racial equality was an affirmative action programme in which poor black and indigenous people educated in public schools could now attend universities.
Before concluding his statement, he stressed the urgent need to reform the Security Council in order to make that body more legitimate and representative. Otherwise, the United Nations would not be effective in carrying out its historic role.
JAMES A. MICHEL, President of the Seychelles, said that tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina and last year's Indian Ocean tsunami underscored the importance of collective responses. In the case of countries with limited relief and emergency resources, they also underscored the need for coordinating international efforts within the United Nations framework. Of equal importance was the collective task of investing in preparedness and in reducing vulnerability to natural disasters. Member States should enhance the effectiveness of collective efforts before, during and after such tragic events.
Most Member States advocated a stronger and more effective United Nations with less bureaucracy and a new ethical code based on a human-centred strategic vision of development, he said. However pertinent reservations and criticisms might be with regard to the present situation, the United Nations had an indisputable record of achievements over its 60 years of existence. In a changing, challenging and often unpredictable world, the United Nations Charter continued to provide the particular sense of common direction needed to adjust priorities and continue to think globally.
Development was a multifaceted process leading towards real growth, access to skills, technologies, markets, finance and other related areas, he said, voicing concern over the loss of trade preferences for some small island developing States, and the adverse impact that would have on export capabilities. The Seychelles called upon developed countries to consider the issue seriously at the forthcoming World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting. United Nations reform, however fundamental a matter, should not distract minds from the other pressing issues on the agenda. Those included, in particular, the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals as part of the fight against global poverty, and for the attainment of dignity and happiness by men and women in all countries.
PIERRE NKURUNZIZA, President of Burundi, joined other delegations in expressing deepest sympathies to the Government and people of the United States in the wake of the deadly hurricane that had devastated the country's south-eastern Gulf Coast region.
He said that during the past several years, Burundi had been able to turn the page on war and to begin writing a new history focused on political and economic security and social development. The country knew that it could continue to count on the support of the international community as its transition continued. Among other things, Burundi had pledged to boost its education system and to build schools throughout its rural areas. The country was also committed to improving the status of women.
He said the new Government was concerned, however, that much more work was needed to enhance the country's health sector and preserving the environment, particularly in promoting the use of clean, new or reusable energy resources. The Government wished also to break the vicious cycle of conflict and poverty and to provide rapid relief to displaced or otherwise affected populations in order to reduce the chances of losing ground. The international community was a stakeholder in Burundi's post-conflict rehabilitation and continued support was essential.
HU JINTAO, President of China, said countries could only create a bright future for mankind, a harmonious world and lasting peace if they rallied together to seize the opportunities and take on the challenges. Efforts to settle international disputes peacefully should be encouraged and cooperation in the fight against terrorism should be stepped up. The United Nations should also take concrete measures to implement the Millennium Development Goals. A multilateral trading system should be established that was open, fair and non-discriminatory, and the international financial regime should be further improved. The developed countries should shoulder greater responsibility for universal, coordinated and balanced development in the world.
He said a country's right to choose independently its own social system and development path should be respected. The diversity of civilizations should be preserved in the spirit of equality and openness. Also, rational and necessary reform should be carried out to maintain the authority of the United Nations, improve its efficiency and strengthen its capacity to take on new threats and challenges. Greater United Nations commitment to the question of development must be a priority of reform. Also, Security Council reform should aim, as a priority, at increasing the representation of developing countries, particularly those from Africa. China would continue to hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation.
CESARE ANTONIO GASPERONI, Captain Regent of San Marino, said the world needed multilateralism today more than ever. Development brought about by globalization had resulted in a wider gap between the rich and the poor, and, in light of that, mechanisms should be introduced to make the benefits of globalization more widely accessible. He praised the decision of the Group of 8 countries to increase financial aid and forgive the debt of 18 States.
He said San Marino was intensifying its cooperation and humanitarian assistance within the possibilities of a micro-State, and was working to eradicate poverty and guarantee adequate development for all people in line with the Millennium Declaration. It was deplorable that millions were still suffering from hunger and extreme poverty, which had decreased in Asia but worsened in sub-Saharan Africa, an area of the world that was simultaneously burdened with HIV/AIDS. The deaths of 11 million children due to malnutrition or lack of basic health care, as well as the lack of access to primary education for 115 million children, was unacceptable, and Member States must set guidelines for effective and meaningful action.
PEDRO VERONA RODRIGUES PIRES, President of Cape Verde, said that based on the founding principles of the United Nations and inspired by its fundamental values, countries had succeeded in prevailing over foreign domination. Had the United Nations not sanctioned and legitimized its aspirations, the process would have been more painful and taken far longer. While perhaps not all its goals and purposes had been attained, everyone was indebted to it. It was imperative that the international community give priority to perfecting and consolidating the Organization in order to ensure better democratic, participatory and effective governments, as well as to guarantee greater human security.
Today, people lived in an interdependent and indivisible world, which should be a community of shared values and benefits, he said. The world was now at a crossroads, in which the richest countries were separated from the poorest, but another, more balanced world was possible. It could be seen, however, that to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, much remained to be done and exerted efforts would have to be made by all countries. Today's world had spawned threats to everyone's security that must be neutralized. Neutralizing terrorism required determination and a coordinated strategy, and everyone was responsible for one another's security.
Generous and visionary ideals had made the world move, he continued. Progress must be based on moving forward with moral values, human dignity and the dignity of peoples. Any progress was incompatible with hunger, want or ignorance. There was a need for a world of inclusion, which respected fundamental human rights and which was based on liberty, equality and human solidarity. It was to be hoped that Member States managed to carry out United Nations reforms and to shoulder the commitments that would make meeting the schedule of Millennium Development Goals a reality.
MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, President of Georgia, said that since his country's "Rose Revolution", real progress had been made on nearly every Millennium Development Goal. Georgia's economy was improving and social reforms were under way. But at the same time, the Government was aware that more work lay ahead. Georgia continued to feel the effects of an unresolved conflict in the region, particularly the thousands of refugees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Government was committed to peacefully resolving the matter and to the promotion of ethnic inclusion and respect for human rights. It was equally committed to establishing a democratic and free Georgia.
Highlighting affirmative action plans to promote, among other things, employment and education for ethnic minorities, he called on the Russian Federation to cooperate in a constructive and positive way to resolve the difficulties Georgia had inherited from its imperial past. At the same time, Georgia needed the United Nations to do more than talk about solutions. The Organization must act to end the lawless and immoral annexation of the territory of Abkhazia.
Turning to the work of the Summit, he said Georgia supported efforts to make the United Nation more transparent in its decision-making, particularly ensuring that the Security Council was a more effective and representative body, and enhancing the Organization's human rights and peacebuilding mechanisms. The United Nations should also do more to prevent climates that allowed mass violence, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations. The stakes could not be higher and the global community should undertake every effort to promote global peace and security. Democracy was on the rise, as were development and prosperity, but neither would be lasting without peace and stability. And for that, a stronger more effective United Nations was needed.
LUDWIG SCOTTY, President of Nauru, said it was important to remain vigilant in efforts to ensure the collective security and well-being of the world's peoples, as much work remained to be done. Since the adoption of the Millennium Goals in 2000, there had been positive growth and achievements in some parts of the world, but other areas, particularly underdeveloped countries and small island developing States like Nauru, had not experienced such success.
While the Government of Nauru was strongly committed to promoting sustainable development, upholding the rule of law and combating corruption, the country was in dire need of assistance to stabilize its economy, he said. Early implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, aimed at addressing the special needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing States, would be most welcome. A United Nations presence to assist Nauru and other smaller States of the Pacific region in reaching their development goals would also be welcome. Developed countries should meet the challenge of contributing 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) for development aid.
He said that without protection of all human rights, democracy and the rule of law, there could be no true peace and security. For that reason, it was important not to turn a blind eye to the welfare of the 23 million people living on the island of Taiwan. Peaceful dialogue should be encouraged to resolve that issue, which affected the peace and security of the entire world.
Many threats to international security and peace required urgent and collective action, he said. To meet the full range of challenges, the United Nations should be strengthened. The creation of a human rights council was most welcome, and the Security Council should be expanded to include Germany, India, Japan and Brazil as permanent members. Ongoing reform measures recommended by the Secretary-General should be implemented within the tightest deadline possible.
DENIS SASSOU NGUESSO, President of the Congo, said that while significant progress had been made in fighting poverty at the global level since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, lack of forward steps in many countries, particularly in Africa, where extreme poverty remained prevalent was a matter of concern. In that light, it was important to highlight the recent and specific initiatives aimed at boosting development on the continent and around the world, including the recent decision by the Group of 8 to boost development aid.
Turning to the situation in the Great Lakes region, he said the Congo was committed to ensuring durable peace and security, which would be a potent tool to promote development. The international community should support all the region's countries and consider designating the Great Lakes a special development and reconstruction zone. Africa's hopes would have no tomorrow without peace and security, which were the bedrock protection against threats such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation and environmental degradation. Africa -- and many other regions -- had nothing to gain from the international community's inertia and the Summit provided an excellent opportunity to make real progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
NAMBAR ENKHBAYAR, President of Mongolia, said that for all its failings, the United Nations had proved indispensable as it had prevented wars, fed the hungry, ended colonialism and helped nations to develop. Effective multilateralism, with the United Nations at its heart, should guide efforts to establish a system of international relations that was truly democratic. Mongolia was deeply committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and had provided for the necessary resources in its annual budgets. However, national action was handicapped by significant capacity constraints and the support of the international community was much needed.
He said the world was still short of achieving the target of 0.7 per cent, and endorsed the Secretary-General's recommendation that developing countries with sound, transparent and accountable national development strategies should receive a sufficient increase in aid. In addition, new and innovative sources of financing, including an International Finance Facility and debt-conversion for implementation of the Goals should be strongly encouraged. There was a need to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to coordinate and guide global response comprehensively in all three of its equally important pillars: development, security, and human rights and democracy. The outcome document was an important basis for decisive action and the sixtieth session must yield results to ensure its smooth implementation.
THABO MBEKI, President of South Africa, said the United Nations had made no decisive progress on reform, and that any move to commit and deploy needed resources to realize the Millennium Goals had been half-hearted, timid and tepid. The reason for such limited progress was due to the lack of what the Summit outcome document described as "a security consensus". Quoting that document, he noted that it reaffirmed a commitment to work towards a security consensus, based on the recognition that many threats were interlinked, that development, peace, security and human rights were mutually reinforcing, that no State could best protect itself by acting entirely alone, and that all States needed an effective collective security system.
The international community had failed to reach a "security consensus" because of widely disparate conditions of existence and interests among Member States, as well as the gross imbalance of power that defined the relationship between those States, he said. A "security consensus" would best serve the interests of the world's poor, but the actions of the rich and powerful strongly suggested that they were unconvinced it would benefit them. Power was used to perpetuate an imbalance in the ordering of global affairs, and no progress was made on United Nations reform. Required resources were not transferred to the poor so that they could extricate themselves from their misery. Power was used to reinforce the powerful, and disempower the powerless -- a poisonous mixture that had given the world the Summit outcome.
MANMOHAN SINGH, Prime Minister of India, began by conveying his country's deep condolences to the Government and people of the United States on the widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
He then recalled 2000, when there had been growing recognition that HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and terrorism were challenges that cut across national borders and demanded a global response. At the same time, there had been new hope and optimism that advances in science and technology could help confront those challenges. Five years later, the international community was generous in setting goals, but parsimonious in pursuing them. Greater efforts were needed to mobilize resources in order to meet the Millennium Goals. Failure to do so would only make the task more difficult and more costly in the future.
He welcomed the agreement reached on the draft outcome document, calling it a road map for reorienting the United Nations, which needed urgent and comprehensive reforms to meet present challenges. Those reforms should include expanding the number of permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council, whose structure and decision-making process reflected the world of 1945, not 2005. Unless it became more representative of the contemporary world and more relevant to present concerns and aspirations, its ability to deliver on the Millennium Goals, and even its Charter obligations, would continue to be limited.
Outpourings of global sympathy and mobilization of resources in response to disasters must be turned into a sustained effort to deal with less apparently dramatic but more damaging crises, he stressed. It was also necessary to stop nuclear proliferation and promote non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament. Failure to do so could eventually turn such challenges into unmitigated disasters. Furthermore, no space could be yielded to terrorism and any notion that it was justified by any cause must be firmly rejected. India had experienced cross-border terrorism, and would never succumb to or compromise with it, whether in Jammu and Kashmir or elsewhere. The United Nations must not fail in its efforts. Globalization offered exciting opportunities for improving world living standards, provided the weak and powerless were empowered by education and health to become genuine partners in progress.
MELES ZENAWI, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said that five years ago, Member States had embarked on a 15-year historic journey with reasonably high hopes. With one third of the journey completed, it had become clear that without additional joint efforts on the part of all, it would be impossible for low-income and least developed countries, such as Ethiopia, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, in particular defeating extreme poverty. On the other hand, the past five years had demonstrated that even for countries such as Ethiopia, most of the Millennium Development Goals were demonstrably achievable.
He said there was no doubt, however, that countries like Ethiopia required effective international cooperation consistent with the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration and at Monterrey. While it was obvious that the primary responsibility for achieving the Goals lay with the concerned countries, it was also the obligation of partners to make it possible for low-income countries that had demonstrated the readiness to discharge their responsibilities, in order to overcome the poverty trap.
In that regard, the report of the Millennium Project contained valuable proposals whose implementation would no doubt ensure the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals long before 2015, he said. Official development assistance, debt relief and trade-related issues needed to be aligned with the Goals in order for low-income countries to achieve their targets. While there had been progress in building consensus on the fight against poverty at the Summit, Member States had sometimes seemed to move backward on their commitments. That appeared to be occurring with regard to the full cancellation of debt. It was necessary to avoid backtracking, to move beyond the reiteration of consensus positions and to start acting in earnest.
DENZIL DOUGLAS, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, urged world leaders to ask themselves if anything could be held up as results of their stewardship over the Goals, remarking that there seemed to be "an intention of unravelling the consensus which previously stimulated action towards the Millennium Development Goals". He said that Member States must address the make-up of the Security Council and the "business-as-usual" attitude in the General Assembly, the Human Rights Commission and the Economic and Social Council, so that institutional failure could no longer be used as an excuse for a failure to act. He added that the tendency to challenge or discredit areas where progress is being made should also not be tolerated.
He reported that his country's progress on the Goals has been incremental, but said that primary and secondary education is compulsory and free, and that school meals, uniforms, textbooks and access to information technology were being given to the less fortunate. On the question of HIV/AIDS, a Pan Caribbean Partnership was formed to negotiate the reduced cost of medicine, among other services given to help victims of the disease. He noted that this partnership has been mentioned by the United Nations as a best practice model, and pointed out the commitment of the Republic of China, Taiwan, as a contributor to the partnership, despite its omission from the World Health Assembly and the United Nations General Assembly.
He also said that sugar production, upon which his country depended for its economic survival, was forced to be abandoned due to increased competition from globalization. The social, psychological and economic costs of doing so were tremendous, a demonstration that globalization and the free market did not always spread prosperity. However, he was encouraged by the Group of 8's move to provide debt relief for heavily indebted countries. Fairer trade policies should be informed by capacity restraints and be accorded special and differential treatment to smaller economies, he said. In that vein, he reminded Member States that escalating oil prices were threatening to further undermine the fragile economies. He closed by saying that the United Nations had been given power to intervene in failed States; yet there was no corresponding effort to empower the United Nations to assist States going through dramatic economic dislocations, social inequities and political unease.
SAMDECH HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Cambodia, said his country had turned a new page in its history, putting behind it the tragedies of the past while making progress in establishing democracy, public order and the rule of law, as well as, protecting human rights. That was happening amid a backdrop of spectacular economic growth, and advances were also being made towards reaching their Millennium Development Goals in education and combating HIV/AIDS. A National Strategic Development Plan for 2006-2010 was also being developed to determine milestones towards achieving the Goals by 2015.
With regard to development, he stressed the importance of a partnership between rich and poor countries based on respect and trust, shared responsibilities and transparency. Aid-providing nations and institutions must support the receiving nations' ownership of processes and priorities in achieving socio-economic progress. Politically driven hidden agendas and shifting ideologies aimed at bringing coercive influence on the recipients must end. They only served to punish the poor. Most aid was not delivered to the real poor, and a large amount was paid for technical assistance and studies, as well as some sectors that were not consistent with the development priorities of recipient countries, resulting in money being ploughed back to benefit the economy of donor countries or consultants from other countries, who were either incompetent or ignorant about prevailing conditions.
He welcomed the decision by the G-8 countries to write off the debts of 18 countries, but remarked that it was merely a rescue rather than a solution. Successful development required a greater net transfer of resources for real investments in poor countries in the form of grants. In that way, poor countries would be able to implement projects of great benefit but which did not necessarily have the capacity to generate high revenue, with few ill-effects on their repayment capacity and macroeconomic development plans.
Finally, he welcomed the goal of the International Conference on Population and Development to achieve global reproductive health services before 2015 and the promulgation of the Kyoto Protocol. Cambodia also urged Member States to put an end to conditions exploited by terrorists -- such as the frustrations of the poor. Scarce resources that could be used to meet development challenges were being diverted towards combating terrorism.
TUILA'EPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa, said the Summit was a historic occasion that presented a unique opportunity. Member States must rise above the dictates of narrow national interests and work to benefit from the diverse perspectives of membership. Name-calling and intransigent positions had no place in the review, but Members should instead recommit themselves, both in deeds and in words, to honour the letter and spirit of the Millennium Declaration.
The review had revealed some successes and also unmet expectations, he continued. There was understandable panic and anxiety in some quarters, just as there was reason for guarded optimism that the Millennium Declaration would be implemented in full. Member States should remember that there was no universal prescription and no magical formula to induce a desirable outcome for all States, if countries were not willing to put their own houses in order first. Samoa remained confident of meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals within the proposed time frame, but that would not be easy without the support of development partners. There was need for a change of heart on the part of those with the capacity to make a difference in order to take bold action in addressing the imminent threat of climate change, which greatly concerned small island developing States.
With regard to the Security Council, Samoa supported an enlarged Council in both membership categories to reflect contemporary geopolitical realities, he said. The case for democracy and transparency in the Council's procedures and working methods, in order to facilitate a more engaged and effective relationship with the General Assembly, remained a compelling one. The Assembly, on the other hand, needed to work hard to regain the confidence of the world in its status as the highest deliberative and representative making body of the Organization. Meaningful management reforms must also include the Secretariat, and Samoa also supported the creation of a Human Rights Council and the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission.
NAVINCHANDRA RAMGOOLAM, Prime Minister of Mauritius, offered his delegation's full support for the outcome document as a foundation for international social and economic development. The Group of 8's forgiveness of the debt of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries was commendable. Its specific recommendations regarding Africa, if properly implemented, would mean faster progress towards reaching the Millennium Goals. The Bretton Woods institutions must also develop a debt sustainability framework for low-income and middle-income countries. Emphasis should be placed on liberalizing trade as an engine for growth and development, and integrating developing countries, especially small island States, into the global market system.
Reiterating the need for urgent action to halt the emission of chlorofluorocarbon gases, he said it was imperative that all countries ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible, as well as develop a more inclusive international framework on Climate Change beyond Kyoto's expiration in 2012. Mauritius sympathized with countries that had suffered losses from Hurricane Katrina and last year's tsunami, which served as important lessons on the necessity of investing in disaster-risk reduction to protect the most vulnerable.
He strongly supported the outcome document's recommendations concerning terrorism, particularly the push for an agreement on a comprehensive international convention on terrorism, and endorsed the "responsibility to protect" as the norm of collective action in cases of genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Because the Peacebuilding Commission would be an important element of conflict prevention and management, its composition should be open to the participation of any country that could effectively contribute.
The current Assembly session offered a unique opportunity for substantial reform of the United Nations system, he said. Africa should find its rightful place on the Security Council, with representation in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, and India should have a permanent seat. The Organization should also internalize the principles of efficiency and effectiveness within the Secretariat. It was incumbent upon the leaders of the world to enhance the image of the United Nations and enable it to face its challenges in a spirit of fairness, justice and interdependence with the common objective of the good of humanity.
PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho, said that at the Millennium Summit, the international community had been confident that the goals and targets set at that important meeting were achievable. But now, just five years later, the spread of HIV/AIDS, which world leaders had resolved to curb by 2015, represented an unprecedented threat to international development. The disease not only threatened to undermine the efforts of many African countries to achieve the Millennium targets, but it continued to wreck the lives of millions of people worldwide.
He said that while Lesotho and many other African countries knew well that the pandemic should receive the same level of international attention as other issues like security, one could not help recall the notion raised by the Secretary-General's High-level Panel, which questioned in its report whether the global response to the disease would have been so slow if HIV/AIDS had reduced the average life expectancy in non-African countries by 30 years. Lesotho, therefore, reiterated its call on the international community to urgently adopt an expanded and comprehensive response to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Such a response would include, among other things, immediate supplies of anti-retroviral and other drugs, as well as the provision of the financial and technical resources for training and capacity-building, he said. The international community must commit itself to ensuring affordable and accessible treatment and generate the requisite political will to boost funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. For its part, Lesotho had taken many initiatives to curb the spread of the virus, including enacting legislation and elaborating workplace policies to protect the rights of HIV-infected people, and opening an HIV/AIDS paediatric care clinic.
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN, Prime Minister of Turkey, said that because of its central role in promoting peace and prosperity, the United Nations must be strengthened. Solutions were needed to human suffering around the world. The greatest obstacles to happiness and the prosperity of nations were the increasing gap in income distribution between North and South and the arms race. Poverty, disease, environmental degradation and terrorism had also become ever-growing threats. Wherever they arose, their ramifications were felt on a global scale. Ways must be sought jointly to globalize peace instead of war, prosperity instead of poverty, conscience instead of greed, and rights and freedoms instead of oppression and violence. The world's future depended on reconstructing international institutions accordingly, with the United Nations in the forefront.
He said the culture of conflict had become a global plague, making it a priority concern. Ways must be found to help those who lived in poverty, who did not benefit from democracy and freedom, or were trapped amid conflict and destruction. Different traditions and cultures should not be presented as justifiable sources of conflict. The draft outcome document was an important step by the international community towards fulfilling its commitment under the Millennium Goals. The commitments in the document and the necessary structural reforms should be implemented by the end of the current Assembly session.
One of the main reasons why Turkey had announced its candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for 2009-2010 was to make contributions to the realization of global peace and welfare, he said. A United Nations that renewed itself, was more democratic and transparent, and represented the joint will of all Member States was in the joint interest of humanity.
JIRI PAROUBEK, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, said the gap between rich and poor nations must be diminished and the Millennium Goals achieved. Children were dying from starvation in many areas of the world and reversing that shameful situation must become a moral imperative to which everyone was committed.
The Czech Government had overcome its communist economic legacy and succeeded in putting the country on road to growth, he said. Accession to the European Union had further boosted the country's key macroeconomic indicators and the Czech Republic had become the largest donor among the Union's 10 new members. Czech development assistance had more than doubled and would continue to grow.
Stressing that the United Nations was key to multilateral cooperation, he said its role must be strengthened and its performance improved. The Organization was often accused of being slow and inefficient, but it was individual Member States that made it what it was. They must demonstrate political will in reforming the Organization and making it more efficient in the challenging era of globalization.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, Prime Minister of Denmark, said that the enormous progress achieved by market-oriented economic reform in Asia and Latin America over the last decade proved that the eradication of poverty was not an impossible goal. However, an extraordinary effort was required to give Africa the chance to succeed. Everyone had to do more to do better, including African Governments, rich countries, and the United Nations. Africa needed to overcome epidemic diseases, and the fight against AIDS should be the world's absolute top priority.
Africa also needed trade, as free trade was the most effective way to improve economic growth and fight poverty, he said`. All States must work for a successful outcome of the December's WTO development round in Hong Kong. Africa also needed peace, and Africans themselves must prevent conflicts and manage crises. Other States must help Africans maintain the fragile peace and, for that reason, it was very important to establish the Peacebuilding Commission. Denmark urged all donor countries to strengthen their contributions to the continent. Lastly, Africa needed better governance, as aid would come to nothing if countries were ruled by corrupt dictators. States also must agree on the establishment of a Human Rights Council.
In order to maintain its moral authority and play a role in that process, the United Nations must get its own house in order, he said. The reports on the mismanagement of the "oil-for-food" programme pointed to several cases of severe misconduct and corruption, and Denmark was pleased that the Secretary-General had promised to take a hard look at those problems.
PERCIVAL JAMES PATTERSON, Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of Jamaica, said the Summit must send a message of hope to millions still living in misery. For that to happen, commitments solemnly given must be implemented. An adequate and predictable flow of resources and their effective utilization, without burdensome policy conditionalities and with institutional safeguards for good governance, was the essence of the partnership between donors and recipients. That process should be complemented by adjustments in global economic policies that would give developing countries better access to markets, capital flows and technology transfer. Reform in global economic governance could no longer be postponed and the Bretton Woods institutions should be among the first candidates.
He said reform of the United Nations institutions, necessary as it was, should be designed carefully to strengthen multilateralism and not entrench the world power structure. The Security Council should become more representative, and the Economic and Social Council should be strengthened and empowered to participate in global economic policy-making. Reform should bring an end to the excessive politicization that had discredited the Human Rights Commission, while disarmament and arms control should remain a priority. The outcome document was far from ideal, but it represented a workable basis for a stronger United Nations.
SILVIO BERLUSCONI, Prime Minister of Italy, said it was the duty of the United Nations to safeguard the freedoms of every person on the planet -- whenever dignity was denied and wherever the exercise of fundamental human rights was impinged. Freedom from want was the Organization's primary goal, and the developed countries were responsible for providing support and resources for economic and social development. At the same time, developing countries were responsible for creating the conditions at home for all their peoples to reap the benefits of those resources.
The Organization's other main goal was freedom from fear, he said. Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction posed serious threats to peace and security, so the success of United Nations reform would be measured by its ability to fight and eradicate those new global perils. For its part, Italy had been promoting a common strategy to address those challenges and had just yesterday signed the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. But the international community should do more, including by mounting a strong opposition not only to the terrorists themselves, but also to all those who supported, protected and justified their actions by inciting hatred and intolerance.
Along with ensuring that the United Nations was in a position to respond courageously to complex crises that arose in the wake of conflicts, he said, the international community must ensure that the Organization had new and more effective tools with which to meet its goals. That was why Italy strongly supported the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and a new Human Rights Council. The Organization's role in promoting democracy and freedom must be strengthened, and Member States must avoid divisions regarding the question of Security Council reform. To that end, Italy had joined the countries belonging to the group Uniting for Consensus in submitting a flexible proposal that provided for an increase only in elected seats.
SABAH AL-AHMAD AL-JABER AL-SABAH, Prime Minister of Kuwait, said that he welcomed the pledge by developed countries to increase their ODA to 0.7 per cent of their gross national income. He also urged those countries to honour previous aid commitments and to consider a substantial reduction in debts owed. He then invited developed countries to consider easing tariff restrictions on products from developing countries that were entering their markets.
He noted that, despite being a developing country, Kuwait had covered a lot of ground in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and had even done so ahead of schedule. His country had also honoured its obligations in establishing a global partnership for development. To that end, a Kuwait Fund for Economic Development had been established, putting in place a "liberal facility" for providing assistance to developing and least developed countries. Recipients now exceeded 100 countries, with a volume of assistance exceeding $12 billion. That meant that ODA from Kuwait was almost double the internationally agreed-upon percentage.
In addition, he reported that Kuwaiti women could now exercise their right to vote and to run as candidates for election to the National Assembly Parliament, thereby moving towards gender equality in the political field. But, he added that environmental issues still proved to be a challenge, noting that it would require a massive rally to develop and deploy the effective mechanisms needed to mitigate and reverse adverse effects on the environment. Still, the progress made so far against the Millennium Development Goal benchmarks provided the encouragement needed to enhance his country's capabilities.
ARIEL SHARON, Prime Minister of Israel, said that last week, when the last Israeli soldier left the Gaza Strip and military law there was ended, Israel had proved that it was ready to make painful concessions in order to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians. The decision to disengage had been very difficult, involving a heavy personal price. Israeli society was undergoing a difficult crisis as a result of the disengagement and now needed to heal the rifts. It was now the Palestinians' turn to prove their desire for peace, and until that occurred, Israel would know how to defend itself from the horrors of terrorism.
The successful implementation of the disengagement plan had opened up a window of opportunity for advancing towards peace, in accordance with the Road Map, he said. It was possible to reach a fair compromise and coexistence in good neighbourly relations between Jews and Arabs. However, there would be no compromise on the right of the State of Israel to exist as a Jewish State, with defensible borders, in full security and without threats and terror. The Palestinian leadership must show determination and leadership to eliminate terror, violence and the culture of hatred. It was in the power of the two nations to present their peoples with a new and promising horizon of hope.
He said that while the Jewish people remembered the 1947 vote in the United Nations Assembly that had recognized their right to national revival in their historic homeland, they also remembered dozens of harsh and unjust decisions made by the Organization over the years. They knew that, even today, there were those who sat as representatives of a country whose leadership called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, and no one spoke out. Hopefully, the comprehensive reforms that the United Nations was undergoing this year would include a fundamental change and improvement in the approach of the Organization and its institutions towards Israel. Peace was a supreme value in the Jewish legacy, as well as the desired goal of Israel's policy.
CELLOU DALEIN DIALLO, Prime Minister of Guinea, said his country had resolutely committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals, and had, in 2002, implemented a strategy to promote sustainable development. There was real hope that the plan would succeed, despite the recent influx into Guinea of refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone. But the momentum had slowed because of continued instability in the region and erratic aid flows. Now, in order for it to reach the Goals, Guinea would need not only increased resources, but also effective action on the issue of debt relief. Indeed, nearly 60 per cent of all the country's revenue was eaten up by debt repayment.
In the five years since the international community had pledged to implement the Millennium Goals, Africa was still desperately poor, he said. The continent was still plagued by disease, and its peoples and Governments were being crushed by the burden of external debt. Efforts by some African countries to meet the 2015 deadline for attainment of the Goals appeared to be in jeopardy. Guinea pledged to work with the United Nations and the wider international community to ensure that long-term development, peace and security were achieved for all.
DOMINIQUE DE VILLEPIN, Prime Minister of France, said the United Nations embodied the best that existed in Member States -- their aspirations to peace, justice and the freedom of individuals and people. Despite divisions and doubts, the time had come to adapt the Organization to the changes in the world in order to strengthen its legitimacy and allow it to fulfil its political potential. For the first time since the Millennium Summit and Monterrey, Member States shared the same development goal. They must also take on the challenge and be true to their commitments, especially in Africa. That was why France had proposed new financing mechanisms along with other like-minded countries.
It was necessary to learn what experience had to teach, be it in Iraq, the Middle East, Côte d'Ivoire, Afghanistan or Haiti, as well as all the regional crises that destabilized the world, he said. Where division had brought about failure, States must together find new ways forward. Where unity had enabled the achievement of initial success, States must persevere. New principles were needed, such as the responsibility to protect, as were new instruments, such as the Peacebuilding Commission. Along those lines, people first and foremost required security, and France believed firmly that operational cooperation must be stepped up to combat terrorism. People also required respect, and for that a Human Rights Council was necessary.
The declaration that States would be adopting paved the way on all of those issues, he said. It was necessary to keep the momentum going, because an in-depth reform of institutions was urgently needed now. If reform was to have legitimacy, it must respond to the requirements of the times: the unity of the international community, respect for the rule of law, and the affirmation of collective responsibility. If it was to be effective, it must ensure better representation of the international community. Security Council reform, therefore, must be concluded by the end of the year. The plan put forward by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan enshrined the rights of each continent, in particular Africa, and strengthened the Council.
In conclusion, he said that France knew that although globalization awakened hopes, it could also bring with it scorn for human values and the treatment of people as merchandise. In the face of that urgent need, States must rouse their consciences and respond to all those who suffered and who wanted to believe in the United Nations. All the words of Member States would be empty if they were not grounded in solidarity, justice and respect. States would not be judged on what they said, but on what they did.
PETRUS COMPTON, Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, recalled that five years ago, Heads of State and Government had reaffirmed their faith in the United Nations, and resolved to create an environment conducive to development and the elimination of poverty worldwide. In support of that, they had created the Millennium Development Goals, pledging to meet them by 2015. Much had happened since then which had distracted the world from that task, including the 11 September terrorist attacks and the Indian Ocean tsunami. Because of that, valuable energy and resources had been diverted away from the Millennium Development Goals. Saint Lucia was concerned that those goals were far from being realized, but encouraged by initiatives being spearheaded by the Group of 8 in respect of Africa.
He recalled that five years ago, Saint Lucia had pointed to certain concerns contributing to despair about the future of the small island developing States and the role of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. The nations of the world had been very enthusiastic about their determination to work toward ending poverty and disease, but at the same time, the strong and powerful had adopted positions that had increased the marginalization of the small and disadvantaged. How could smaller countries have confidence in the declarations made at various summits? They needed no new declarations, but rather the political will to do what had already been promised and more.
VUK DRASKOVIC, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, said that disagreements over the enlargement of the Security Council must not prevent or slow the changes that were necessary and possible now. The agreement reached on terrorism was encouraging and could put an end to the policy of double standards, so that the killers of children and civilians in Beslan, in Kosovo and elsewhere could not be called or treated other than as terrorists.
The delay in rich nations allocating 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) in assistance to poor countries was hard to comprehend, he said. The concentration of might on one side and lack of it on the other had been the cause of many inter-State wars, ideological and religious fanaticism, as well as a solidarity that boiled down to a trade in the suffering of millions of people.
His country supported the concept of a new collective security, and a ban on the production and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He also supported the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and a new Human Rights Council, as well as a disaster relief and an environment protection fund. It would not be possible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals without extensive assistance to poor and developing countries.
He said there were no people in Europe today whose rights were more brutally trampled upon than the rights of the Serbian people in Kosovo, the province administered by the United Nations since 1999. His government demanded that Serbs, Montenegrins and other non-Albanians in Kosovo be able to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Charter and that the United Nations respect the principle that the borders of States could neither be changed by force, nor renamed. The respect for those principles would open the door to an agreement on the future status of Kosovo.
ALBERT II, Prince of Monaco, said his country remained committed to the Millennium Development Goals and would increase its ODA through an intensive cooperation policy with other organizations and countries.
Monaco also supported the "Declaration on Innovative Sources of Financing for Development" and said that development would not have to jeopardize the environment. He would start the process needed to let Monaco accede to the Kyoto Protocol and supported the transformation of the United Nations Environmental Programme into a specialized agency with a broader mandate.
He also urged global leaders to work towards implementing the Plan of Action adopted at the Hyogo Conference and to strengthen international cooperation to reduce the risks of natural disasters.
And finally, he condemned terrorism and urged global leaders to finalize the Global Convention to Combat Terrorism.
VICTOR YUSHCHENKO, President of Ukraine, said the reform of the Security Council would be necessary to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations, and its membership should reflect present realities in order to perform adequately. It would be fair if all regional groups, including the Group of Eastern European States, would be represented in the Council.
He said Ukraine remained committed to the Millennium Development Goals and would work to ensure their full achievement. The nation also stood for the hard-edged fight against terrorism and was convinced that terrorism could be overcome by collective efforts. The international community should do everything possible to destroy the environment -- intolerance, tyranny, poverty and humiliation -- that nourished terrorism.
Ukraine also would continue to provide support to peacekeeping efforts around the world, and he hoped Ukrainian peacekeepers under the United Nations flag would prove their courage and professionalism once again.
TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President of Equatorial Guinea, said that Hurricane Katrina and other recent disasters, including December's tsunami, called for increased international solidarity. He observed with concern, that despite all the efforts and excellent declarations adopted over the years, the international community was still a long way from achieving peace and prosperity for all. Multi-dimensional efforts and the involvement of all players were needed to rectify current social inequalities and prevail against poverty.
Asked to abandon the practices of the old system, the international community was trying to put an end to the old situations of competition, insecurity, instability and violence, he continued. The experience of the United Nations testified to the interdependence of nations. It had been shown that however powerful a nation, it could not fight alone against the evil of terrorism, for example. Also, hunger, misery and underdevelopment could not be eliminated without the help of wealthy countries. That should not be done at the cost of weaker countries, either. While many wealthy countries were reluctant to spend the minimal portion of their GNP to assist the poorest countries, the recent decision of the Group of 8 to forgive the debt of some of the poorest countries was particularly welcome.
The main responsibility for achieving the Millennium Development Goals fell directly on national Governments, however, he said. In his country, the Government was trying to put a human face on justice, democracy and development. To eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases and implement other goals, his country had just set up a social development fund, to which it devoted some 40 per cent of the funds for 2005. Quite clearly, however, without money, no country could achieve the Millennium Goals. For that reason, he asked the rich countries to provide financial assistance and provide technical assistance to those nations that encountered difficulties in the implementation of the Goals.
In support of the French proposal to adopt innovative mechanisms for financing for development, he also agreed to the levy on air tickets to deal with major diseases. He would also be happy if such measures were extended to investments of major international companies.
HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, President of Namibia, said his country was a low-middle income country with a dual society worse than anywhere in the world. Since independence 15 years ago, the Government had been redressing the injustices that were the remnants of colonialism. For example, 0.3 per cent of the population owned 44 per cent of the land while the remainder occupied 41 per cent. One of 10 children died before the age of five, and 95 per cent of the population lived in abject poverty.
While the Government had made great strides in reversing the stark legacies of colonial apartheid, he continued, development partners were needed to translate the noble development objectives into concrete outcomes to promote social justice, democracy, peace and well-being for all Namibians.
He said Member States had taken a bold and historic step by adopting the Millennium Development Goals. Resolve should propel leaders to a new dawn of hope for conquering poverty, hunger, ignorance and disease. The resources must be mobilized to give billions of people the hope that life will be better for their children. Leaders had a sacred duty and a noble mission to find practical solutions to the challenges of the time. They should not be found wanting.
KESSAI H. NOTE, President, Marshall Islands, reaffirmed his commitment to the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the right for self-determination of peoples in conformity with the principles of justice and international law. For an Organization that adhered to the principles of universality and self-determination, the 23 million people of Taiwan represented too significant a portion of the world's population to be denied membership. The Organization was now charged with managing a number of new dangers, requiring joint response. Once charged with protecting national borders, the world was now called upon to address the dangers that knew no boundaries.
He said that along with the potential terrorist threats, of equal importance for his country were the social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities it continued to endure. The international community's support and the full implementation of internationally agreed principles and goals were crucial for its sustainable development. Yet, worldwide, exploitation of people, land, sea and the environment continued to pose real and immediate threats to the Marshall Islands' very existence. Global warming and sea-level rise remained a threat. He called on those States that had not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol to do so without delay, and to take further steps to fully implement the Climate Change Convention and the Protocol. Without such global actions to mitigate climate change and arrest sea-level rise, his national efforts and sustainable development would be rendered meaningless, and his people would become "environmental refugees".
VALDAS ADAMKUS, President of Lithuania, said the United Nations must undertake reforms to reflect the significant changes in the world since its founding. Reform must go hand in hand with the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and should reaffirm the intrinsic link between development, security and human rights.
"We cannot go about this Summit as business as usual", he said, with millions dying from starvation, terrorism spreading fear and horror, and preventable infectious diseases and natural disasters destroying lives and wiping out entire areas. A major management overhaul of the United Nations ensuring greater accountability, efficiency and professionalism was required to stand up to new threats and challenges.
He said the Security Council must be expanded in both categories of membership, with inclusion of new major international actors as permanent members. Joint efforts must be undertaken to speed progress towards achieving the Millennium Goals, especially in Africa.
He said the individual must be placed at the centre of the whole of the United Nations. Human rights must be incorporated into all areas of the Organization's activities, and democracy and the rule of law must be promoted. Speedy decisions must be made to create an effective Human Rights Council with a robust mandate, and it must be fully operational as soon as possible.
The relevance of the United Nations will be measured by its fight against terrorism, including the threat of weapons of mass destruction getting into the hands of terrorists. Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of where committed, by whom and for what purpose, must be condemned. At the earliest opportunity, a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy and a relevant convention on international terrorism must be adopted. The creation of a Peacebuilding Commission was a significant building block of a renewed United Nations, and it should be operational before the end of the year.
JANEZ DRNOVSEK, President of Slovenia, said that the findings of experts in the area of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals were frightening. World poverty was not diminishing, but was in fact growing. More than a billion people lived below the threshold of absolute poverty. Among the main reasons for that situation, he listed the lack of access for developing countries to markets and financial institutions, the current state of global trade relations, heavy burden of external debt and the slow rate of growth of official development aid. On the latter, he welcomed the recent agreement on increasing aid up to 2010, but recalled that the commitment had been first made in 1970 and not honoured to the present day. In recent years, several innovative proposals had been made to increase development funds, yet none of them had broken the inertia of the financial institutions. It was completely clear that one could not expect any positive breakthroughs with existing financial instruments.
Poverty was not the only danger, he continued. Climate change and atmospheric warming were among the other threats. It was important to work together under the aegis of the United Nations to find more effective and determined solutions, and contribute to raising the general awareness of people and especially politicians. The Organization must take a decisive step towards seeking consensus among the Member States, and the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations provided an occasion to turn serious attention to those issues.
He added that no type of security measures and protection against terrorism could give anyone complete security. "Burying our heads in the sand is a reflection of our lack of responsibility to humanity today and to all future generations", he said. A decisive role in that regard should be assumed by the developed world, the biggest and most advanced countries and all those international organizations, together with the United Nations, that had a decisive impact on the current trends and bore responsibility for development. "If we wish to hand down a more just, sustainable and humane world to the next generation, we must be prepared to significantly alter our habits and beliefs", he said. "We have to be aware of the suffering of a large part of humanity and strengthen our sensitivity towards people around the world who live in distress."
ARMANDO EMILIO GUEBUZA, President of Mozambique, said that despite the progress made so far, abject poverty remained a feature of the majority of the developing countries. In Africa, data available indicated that most countries in the continent were far from achieving most or all of the Millennium Development Goals. States should renew their determination to achieve the targets agreed upon. He called upon the international community to increase the flows of official development assistance and foreign direct investment and to establish a fairer world trade system, as well as total debt cancellation for poor countries. The adoption of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and its African Peer Review Mechanism should also be seen in the context of Africa's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. At the core of the NEPAD were peace and security, good governance, democracy and respect for human rights.
He hoped that his country would continue to count on the support and encouragement of the international community for the successful implementation of its five-year development programme, which focused on poverty reduction through the promotion of rapid, comprehensive and sustained economic growth. It also focused on deepening of an enabling environment for investment and development of national entrepreneurship, as well as bold actions in education, health, water and sanitation and rural development.
Mozambique had made some progress, he said. The proportion of the population living below the poverty line had fallen from 69 per cent in 1977 to 54 per cent in 2003. That meant that the country had already met and exceeded its target of reducing the proportion of the population living in poverty to 60 per cent by 2005, as set out in the Government Action Plan for the reduction of absolute poverty 2001-2005. The decline in poverty had been accompanied by improvements in mortality rates, immunization coverage, access to primary education and literacy.
Despite the tangible progress achieved, the road remained long, he said. Mozambique relied heavily on foreign resources, including aid which amounted to 12 per cent of its GDP compared to 6-8 per cent for the rest of Africa. He hoped that the momentum created by the High-Level Plenary Meeting would give new impetus to commitments to make the world a better place for all humanity. It was imperative that political commitments were translated into concrete actions. He pledged his country's continued efforts towards the attainment of the internationally agreed development goals.
HEINZ FISCHER, President of Austria, said the Summit declaration contained valuable commitments to development and new understandings on peace and security, human rights, the rule of law and strengthening the Secretariat. The lack of agreement on disarmament and non-proliferation, however, was cause for concern.
The decision to establish a Peacebuilding Commission was one of the most important results of the Summit, and the agreement on a Human Rights Council should improve the efficiency and credibility of the United Nations in that area. The right structures and procedures for the Council must still be found. It should be a standing body, one capable of addressing serious violations, as well as guaranteeing opportunities for observer States and civil society to participate. Fully implementing the rule of law in the field of international relations would be a task of the coming years. Strengthening the rule of law should be a central part of efforts to achieve sustainable world security and prosperity.
He called the Summit a test of the collective political will to reach the Millennium Goals. While attaining the Goals was, first and foremost, the responsibility of the countries involved, the international community could and should support them by increasing official development assistance, fully securing the development aspect of the Doha Round, and giving more prominence to conflict prevention, reconstruction and reconciliation processes after conflicts. An important element of reaching the Goals was energy. With energy consumption by poor households falling far short of needs and potential, modern and environmentally-responsible energy should be made a reality for them.
He also asked Member States to support Austria's candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council in 2009/2010. The commitments contained in the Summit declaration must still be implemented, and deadlines must be met. The political momentum created by the declaration should be harnessed in order to ensure the lasting success of the World Summit.
IVO MIRO JOVIĆ, President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that the world faced new challenges and threats, and was determined to do something about it. Among many changes, the United Nations had grown three times in size in the last 50 years. However, the rich were getting richer and the poor were still poor. There had been the same number of inter-State wars in the 1990s as there were in the 1950s. Some women still could not vote, and a lot of children still did not go to school.
This year marked the tenth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accord, which ended a war, but failed to provide the foundations for sustainable peace, he said. The sound foundation of a lasting peace provided for the equality of all the nations and citizens, and that did not exist now. Despite the complexity of his country's political and constitutional structure, Bosnia and Herzegovina was committed to improve, by consensus, its Constitution and to take ownership of the State from the Office of the High Representative. His country also intended to meet the international obligations enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, including stability, prosperity, good governance, transparency and fulfilment of international legal obligations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was also committed to support any and all solutions that stood a chance to obtain a consensus from the majority of Member countries. That included the Peacebuilding Committee, Human Rights Council, and the enlargement of the Security Council. His country supported the principle that any decision by the United Nations or its bodies that affected or limited the sovereignty of a Member State needed to be made unanimously or by consensus. It also shared the view of its fellow developing countries that better representation at the Security Council was needed, but he said it would be a pity and the whole reform process would lose its momentum if States exhausted themselves deliberating the pros and cons of Models A and B. The bottom line was that a stronger, more efficient, better financed, more agile and more alert Organization was needed to address the threats to the international peace and security of the twenty-first century.
GEORGI PARVANOV, President of Bulgaria, said that it was clear that the aspiration to live in an environment of collective security would not be achieved unless dramatic progress was made in overcoming hunger and poverty, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and mass epidemics, protecting the environment, and expanding access to modern education. Regardless of the significant strides made over the past five years, the international community could not be complacent. Today was the chance for all to commit to double and even triple efforts and stand together in this mission to save mankind. That was why his country unconditionally subscribed to the outcome document, regarding it as a solid basis for implementing further the package of commitments made.
The meaning of "security" today differed substantially from what the founding fathers of the United Nations perceived 60 years ago and even from what was considered five years ago. A globally responsible thinking expressed in a culture of solidarity, cooperation and mutual assistance was needed. Fighting the destructive force of terrorism was still a task of primary importance. The new challenges imperatively imposed priorities for the United Nations' agenda, such as: non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, early prevention of crises and conflict, and expanding the capacity of the United Nations to conduct a broad range of peace operations. In that context, he said, the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission had turned into an urgent outstanding task.
No safer world of freedom, democracy and prosperity could be built without combating effectively international terrorism. However, that challenge could not be met if the principles of democracy, pluralism and protection of human rights were infringed upon. For his country, the concept of "human rights" already included the well-known standards laid down in the United Nations' instruments and further developed in the Millennium Declaration. Peoples should also have the right to be protected by the international community in the event their own Government was denying or unable to give them that protection. That was where he saw a role for a new Council on Human Rights, and his country subscribed to the concept of "responsibility to protect". He also called for a greater role and resources for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as a vibrant United Nations Fund for Democracy.
HAJI HASSANAL BOLKIAH, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, said the Millennium Goals had seemed at first a development checklist for individual countries, or were aimed at universal objectives, such as promoting gender equality. The people of Brunei had viewed them as targets mainly applying to other nations beyond their shores, since they had already reached most of the specific social, economic and cultural goals. Since then, however, there had been profound changes in the country, which had led to a far deeper understanding among its people. They had witnessed terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate changes, strange new viruses, often bewildering new technology, and rapid and sometimes bewildering economic change.
He said such changes had shown that the expression "the world beyond our shores" had little true meaning, and that there really was just one world that all people shared. The future would bring increased contact with the rest of the world, and the country would become more dependent on it. Future peace and prosperity would depend not just on the nation itself, but on the success of all countries, regardless of background, culture, faith and history. Such understanding had been the most important result of the Millennium Goals for his country's people, who had realized there would be no lasting security unless they were reached. The Goals were central to the profound political, economic, cultural and social challenges all nations must meet together.
MSWATI III, King of Swaziland, said that success for the millions of people who deserved a better and more decent standard of living required the political will and firm commitment of both the developing world and its development partners. Swaziland had acted on the call by the United Nations to set its priorities for fighting poverty through job creation in manufacturing, construction, tourism, agro-business and other areas. For the past five years, his country had made some gains in reducing poverty. Progress, for example, had been made in developing infrastructure, communications and rural electrification. Work had been undertaken on the majority of projects through loans, and not grants, which it continued to repay. Those gains, however, continued to be eroded by such formidable challenges as droughts, floods, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the reduction of preferential markets for his country's goods.
Having done its part to mobilize domestic resources, he felt it proper to request his international development partners to meet him halfway through grants and other official development support. It would not be fair to neglect his country just because it had "graduated" to a higher category; it deserved support to enable it to continue moving forward. The main key to its success so far had been the availability of external, particularly preferential, markets. As an agriculture economy, Swaziland was determined to continue to diversify its products with more emphasis on adding value through processing and quality control. At the same time, he was pleased to report that in pursuit of "larger freedom", his country had crafted a new Constitution that embodied fundamental human rights and was the result of extensive consultation at the grass-roots level. In terms of United Nations reform, Africa must be allowed to play its role in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council.
Colonel AZALI ASSOUMANI, President of the Comoros, commended the proposals contained in the outcome document. He supported the new Convention against Nuclear Terrorism and also welcomed the establishment of the Fund for Democracy. It was necessary to fight poverty, terrorism and create a stable environment. He urged the extension of debt relief proposed by the G-8 countries to cover other indebted States. His Government was working steadfastly to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals despite its meagre resources. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was assisting his Government with the implementation of projects.
Regarding preparations for an election to be held in 2006, he said everything possible was being done to make the election a success to prove that the country was truly on the road to democracy, rule of law and good governance.
He also drew attention to a donor conference planned for 8 December this year being organized with the assistance of the Governments of South Africa and Mauritius and the African Union.
HUGO CHAVEZ FRIAS, President of Venezuela, said the United Nations had outlived its model, and the twenty-first century required profound changes that meant a recasting of the Organization, not merely reforms.
To develop a new model, he said four areas in the United Nations needed reforms. The Security Council should be expanded in the permanent and non-permanent categories, and its working methods should be improved to increase transparency. Also, the elite mechanism of the veto decision should be removed in the Security Council, and the role of the Secretary-General should be strengthened.
He called for the recasting of the United Nations and said the international organization should leave the United States, a country that did not respect the resolutions of the General Assembly and went ahead and bombed Iraq even though weapons of mass destruction did not exist there.
The new United Nations Headquarters should be located in the South and an international city that did not come under the force of any single country should be created for the United Nations, he said. The city would be an existing city, such as Jerusalem, or a new international city. He said the South American continent could offer such a city.
He called for a new international economic order, as well as a new international political order. The President of the United States had met with the Organization of American States (OAS) recently and had proposed new trade measures and the opening of markets. That was the neo-liberalism capitalism that had led to the great level of misery and tragedy of people of the continent.
He also criticized the United Nations draft outcome document as an illegal document that was approved with a "dictator's hammer". The slow progress on the Millennium Development Goals pointed towards the need for United Nations reform. He urged that the fight against terrorism not be used as an excuse for military aggression.
TABARE VAZQUEZ, President of Uruguay, said social standards all over the world must be raised as a matter of human rights. There was no enjoyment of rights as long as people lived with scourges such as poverty. There was no freedom for people who were poor, and the very existence of poverty was a threat to the right to life since conditions of poverty led to other dangers. At this point in history, poverty was a scourge that shamed all people, as did corruption. Respect for rights was fundamental to human dignity, with ills arising from the situation of denying rights and forgetting the benefits of diversity. That brought up the scourge of terrorism.
The outcome of the high-level Summit must be the basis for reform of the United Nations to meet its responsibilities, he said. Security Council membership should be increased, and the right of veto must be abolished. The members for the proposed Human Rights Council must come from the Assembly. The Summit must do its part to fulfil the hopes and carry out the global tasks.
EL HADJ OMAR BONDO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon, said he fully endorsed the agenda set out in the Millennium Development Goals. But the Summit must address the lapses in implementation of the Goals by the developed countries. His country and others in the region needed development partners. They had assets to offer development partners, but where were they?
He said Gabon, for example, had established 15 national parks that were ready to be developed, but nobody had come to take advantage of the opportunity. His country also had oil and forests that environmentalists said must not be touched. They were territories for ecotourism, Gabon's primary source of income.
MATHIEU KEREKOU, President of Benin, said the document before the Summit acknowledged that new challenges had emerged and that reform must be undertaken courageously to make progress. The Secretary-General had helped facilitate the creation of an outcome document that laid a good foundation for development, an area where implementation was most crucial.
The concept of threats to international peace and security must be redefined, he said, and the international community must support the African Union in helping countries emerging from crisis. The United Nations was the unique forum for addressing problems that faced global society, and the Security Council's composition and working methods must be reformed to reflect the new realities. Africa must be given fair representation.
ARNOLD RÜÜTEL, President of Estonia, said his country favoured the implementation of the principles of free trade and the reduction of free trade barriers as a way to reduce development differences between nations.
He said the United Nations' efficient performance was crucial for the peace, stability and development of the entire world. To accomplish that goal, United Nations bodies should be reformed, and the coherence of the UN system should be improved in order for it to develop into an increasingly efficient multilateral institution. He said the United Nations' capability to ensure the protection of human rights was one of its most important functions, and he supported the speedy creation of a permanent Human Rights Council.
He also said that strengthening the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Commissioner's closer cooperation with other components of the United Nations system was a significant part of the United Nations reform. He urged that the drafting process of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples be completed in the near future.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Philippines, said the United Nations must take the lead in a collective action to ease the effects of the oil crisis. She cited as examples, collective efforts in the development of alternative and indigenous energy sources; conversion of cane sugar to ethanol or diesel oil from coconuts; as well as wind farms and rural solar energy projects. She also referred to collective oil rationing, energy conservation and regional stockpiling of oil. She called upon the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to recycle petrodollars and the extraordinary profits from the oil trade in the form of equity investments and long-term, low-interest loans to medium and poor oil-importing States. The Philippines felt justified in making the call as its overseas nationals contributed tremendously to the economies of the OPEC member countries in the Middles East.
Applauding the debt relief for Highly Indebted Poor Countries, she referred to the problems of the highly indebted middle-income countries with large populations that survived on less than one dollar a day. In their case, she proposed a large-scale 50 per cent conversion of debt for Millennium Development Goals financing programmes. It was not a call for debt forgiveness or debt cancellation, she said. The proposal was that the debt service or principal amount should be converted into equities in new projects of at least equal value and with their own potential earnings.
She reaffirmed her country's commitment to the fight against terrorism. Like others who had suffered the pain of terror, the Philippines had fought back with the vigilance of ordinary citizens, a strong bilateral and regional security network, the tools of interfaith dialogue, and its strategic alliance with the United States. The peace process under way in the country was perhaps the only one that incorporated an anti-terrorism component and the ceasefire agreement with the rebels of the southern Philippines included the interdiction of terrorist cells. She reaffirmed the role of the United Nations as the primary instrument in meeting the challenges that faced the international community -- the deepening cut of poverty, the relentless surge of terrorism, the burgeoning debt problem and the soaring price of oil.
TASSOS PAPADOPOULOS, President of Cyprus, said the historic Summit was an opportunity to take stock of the progress in reaching the Millennium Goals and build consensus on new and old challenges requiring urgent collective action. A strong United Nations was more important than ever, as it remained the ultimate expression of effective multilateralism.
He said joint actions for reforming the Organization must be agreed upon. Concrete measures for the timely implementation of the Millennium Declaration were needed. Development, peace and security and human rights all deserved equal attention. Strengthening the rule of law, both at the national and international levels, was essential to achieving those goals. With more than a billion people, particularly in Africa, facing extreme poverty, development must be declared a central issue on the Organization's agenda. Past commitments must be honoured, and concrete measures taken to achieve those goals, including increased development assistance, debt relief, eliminating market barriers, and allocating more resources to fight HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases.
He said the United Nations needed to be empowered to deal with the changing nature of threats to collective security, such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and transnational crime, while old disputes still needed to be settled. "Detecting the seeds of conflict at an early stage and preventing conflicts should become the cornerstone of our collective security." The proposed Peacebuilding Commission would provide an overdue answer to the need for post-conflict action. The Security Council should also act to prevent the use of force. To reinforce its credibility and legitimacy, the Council must be reformed. Its working conditions and decision-making procedures must be improved, and it should be efficient in implementing its resolutions.
He said the system for protecting human rights at the international level was under considerable strain. The respect and promotion of the human rights of all people, and particularly internally displaced persons, refugees and missing persons, were of vital importance to Cyprus. For those reasons, the Commission on Human Rights should be upgraded to a Human Rights Council, and the leadership of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should be enhanced. In an era of globalization and interdependence, it was important to send a clear signal that a clash of civilizations should not take place.
CHANDRIKA BANDARANAIKE KUMARATUNGA, President of Sri Lanka, said it was time to take stock and remain focused, with a view to moving forward. Member States had a substantial unfinished agenda and new challenges to deal with. As recognized by the High-level Panel and the Secretary-General, the United Nations -- despite its many achievements, and because of its great potential -- had to do more to keep pace with the changes that had occurred in the world since its inception 60 years ago. Reform of the Organization must be in the multilateral interest and embrace all facets of the United Nations' activities.
The vision that Member States adopted at the Summit, she continued, should be decisive. It should serve as a road map to catalyse further change and reform. Reform must affect the entire agenda, including the mechanisms adopted to implement it and the resources States made available. Furthermore, reform could not be piecemeal, but must benefit all Member States equitably. An integrated approach to security, development and human rights was the key to achieving that.
Providing an overview of conflicts in her country, she said that Member States must be absolutely clear that the engagement of armed, non-State actors for peacemaking should not be done at the expense of the capability for democratic governance of a sovereign State that was conducting itself according to internationally accepted laws and norms. The United Nations and the international community could help in developing mechanisms that supported States engaging in such a peace process and sanction terrorist groups that undermined them. If Member States were to fight global terrorism, poverty and disease, they must take an integrated approach to security, human rights and development, both nationally and internationally. States must act together as a United Nations system to support and strengthen those States that were addressing those challenges comprehensively. That would form an essential part of the mission of the United Nations for the next decade.
SAMUEL SCHMID, President of Switzerland, said, that Switzerland supported the creation of the Human Rights Council because it would make human rights as important a priority for the United Nations as development, peace, and security. He said that human rights and democracy, peace and security, and development should be the three pillars of the United Nations' actions and that progress in each area was dependent on progress in all three areas. The new body would be more legitimate and efficient and hold a higher place in the United Nations hierarchy than the current Human Rights Commission. He added that the Council should be based in Geneva.
Mr. Schmid also welcomed the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission as a new mechanism to promote security and establish a connection between the rule of law, humanitarian work, and development. He called for making the Security Council more representative and for making its work more transparent to improve relationships with non-member countries and reaffirmed Switzerland's commitment to peacekeeping operations and to fight terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Its commitment was underscored by its signing of the International Convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism yesterday.
Development was inseparable from security, and, therefore, Switzerland would reaffirm its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and would urge other developed countries to redouble their efforts. It had devoted nearly half of its aid to poor countries to Africa and would continue to do so. But, he said coordination of development efforts was needed. To that end, Switzerland remained committed to the Paris Agenda on aid effectiveness.
He said Switzerland had reached the level of commitment it had projected at the Monterrey Conference and was ranked among the top 10 donors of the OECD countries, having allocated 0.41 per cent of its GNP to aid. He urged that questions regarding migration receive more urgent attention. In general, the United Nations had to aim for more effectiveness, more transparency, and more solidarity to achieve its goals.
ALFRED MOISIU, President of Albania, said the Summit marked a culminating point in the history of the United Nations because of the important decisions that would be taken and the large participation of world leaders. The meeting placed before Member States the immense duty that they were here to take decisions of global importance and to follow them with global actions. Albania had faith in the United Nations and in its important role in the international arena. His country believed that an effective multilateral system helped in facing challenges and threats, ensured stable development, and guaranteed the respect of human rights.
Furthermore, his country believed that development was a priority and an objective in itself, and valued the importance of partnership in development. Developed and developing countries together had the common and urgent responsibility to transform that partnership into a success and, in that context, all countries had the obligation to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Albania also joined and fully supported the powerful message of the Summit to condemn terrorism and undertake concerted action to fight against it. The issues of disarmament and halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in order to strengthen international security were also significant, he said.
Albania also supported initiatives for the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. There was a need, however, for better coordination, and a greater focus of the international community's efforts was needed to promote democracy and good governance. Regarding reform of the Security Council, he said any such action must enjoy a large consensus. Any enlargement of the non-permanent seats in the Security Council must also ensure an increased representation of the Eastern European Countries Group, giving it at least one more non-permanent seat in the reformed Security Council.
HALLDOR ASGRIMSSON, Prime Minister of Iceland, said his country had never looked at the United Nations as a mechanism solely for safeguarding sovereignty and mediating relations between Governments. The Charter also sets out how Governments should conduct themselves towards their own people and the people of other countries. That commitment had not been given due weight so far. The text before the Summit made significant strides towards redressing the imbalance.
The responsibility to protect was implicit in the Charter, he continued. The Human Rights Council would be a powerful tool for persuading countries to live up to their responsibility to protect. The Peacebuilding Commission would provide another tool to create a better future for individuals and nations.
He said large strides had been made on development matters, but reaching the Millennium Development Goals was far off. The clear recognition of Africa's particular challenges was an achievement, as was the clear restatement of the fundamental responsibility and right of developing countries to conduct their own development even as private investment capital and direct development aid increased. The Doha Round must make progress in creating a trade regime that gave developing countries access to the global economy.
Welcoming the text on terrorism, he said the United Nations had made a great difference to many, but had also failed many. Without reform of the Council, there would not be the strength and power to protect, to ensure security and to maintain peace. That could be done by the end of the year with the support of the Assembly President. And to contribute to peace and the welfare of Member States, Iceland was a candidate for a non-permanent seat on the Council for the 2009-2010 term.
ALLAN KEMAKEZA, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, said that 27 years ago his country had joined the United Nations, believing in the principles and values it stood for. Unfortunately, he said the Organization had not reconciled itself with the ever-changing environment. Countries such as the Solomon Islands had slipped from a developing to a least developed and, recently, into a vulnerable State. As a country from a region identified as off track in terms of meeting its Millennium Development Goals, his delegation was positive that the High-level Meeting would revitalize the country's efforts towards achieving those goals.
He said poverty reduction and socio-economic growth were achievable if global partnership was focused on the weak and vulnerable Members of the United Nations. The growing number of least developed countries indicated that the world had taken a complex approach in dealing with the basic needs of the poorest of the poor. The outcome document showed that various development frameworks remained unsatisfactorily implemented.
The Solomon Islands was committed to address past harmful economic policies, including the lack of fiscal discipline and good governance. The country required human and physical capital to raise productivity and achieve sustained growth. To attract and build capital, his Government was initiating a strategy to establish a stable macroeconomic environment which included the creation of a friendly tax regulatory regimes and improving infrastructure.
Solomon Islands debt remained crippling, but he said work was under way to develop a comprehensive debt strategy. Meanwhile, he welcomed the Philippines proposals to have debts converted into Millennium Development Goals projects. The Solomon Islands called on the IMF and the World Bank to explore the proposal.
He said it was unfortunate that the United Nations continued to deny the rights of the 23 million people of the Republic of China to have a voice in the forum of the United Nations. Taiwan was a major player in the international system, he said, and should be accorded due recognition as a full and equal Member of the United Nations family. The Solomon Islands enjoyed a productive and vibrant relations with the Republic of China, he called on the United Nations to address threats in the China Strait. Preventive diplomacy must dictate the action of the international community, he asserted, and added that failure to act would undermine the credibility of the Organization.
Crown Prince SULTAN BIN ABDULAZIZ AL-SAUD, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation, and Inspector General of Saudi Arabia, said his country had generously supported development assistance over the past three decades, contributing an average of 4 per cent of its annual GDP to 83 developing countries. It had also given material and moral support to multilateral development institutions at the Arab, regional and international levels by contributing to their capital and providing administrative and technical support, which helped spur economic and social development.
Saudi Arabia had also forgiven over $6 billion in debt owed to it by several least developed countries, and had contributed its full share to the IMF's debt-reduction initiative, he said. Further, the country was second highest in the world for workers' remittances (after the United States), which were a significant source of foreign exchange and financial resources in labour-exporting countries. As for innovative resources to finance development, he stressed the importance of achieving international consensus on such funding, which should not prejudice developing country resources or force them to assume additional burdens.
On international terrorism, he said Saudi Arabia had organized an international counter-terrorism conference last February, and the final communiqué -- the Riyadh Declaration -- had been issued at the Summit. The country was presenting a draft resolution to the General Assembly calling for the establishment of a task force to review the Riyadh recommendations, including the creation of an international counter-terrorism centre.
JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI, Prime Minister of Japan, said that his vision of a new United Nations included a caring Organization that would reach out to those who struggled with extreme poverty and lend a hand to those who strived to help themselves -- a strong United Nations that would lay a path towards peacebuilding and take an active role in the fight against terrorism. The world needed an effective Organization that reflected its aspirations and the standards of today's world, not those of 60 years ago. The United Nations needed to enhance its efforts for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. That required action and not just statements of good intentions. Implementation of enhanced commitments made by developed countries, including Japan, would serve as a foundation for a better world.
International efforts should not end at financing, he continued. The new United Nations would need to encourage the ownership of developing countries through partnership with the international community, focusing on an approach of "human security". The new, strong United Nations, with the proposed Peacebuilding Commission in place, must show initiative in ensuring a smooth transition from ceasefire to nation-building, and to reconciliation, justice and reconstruction. Japan was ready to play its part in that vital undertaking.
He also emphasized the important norm-setting role of the Organization in the fight against terrorism. Today, he had signed the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, and he called for an early conclusion of negotiations of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. For the last 60 years, Japan had determinedly pursued a course of development as a peace-loving nation, making a unique and significant contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.
Turning to the reform of the Security Council, he said that its composition must reflect the fundamental changes in the world situation. The reform was a just cause for the international community, as was deletion of the long obsolete "enemy State" clauses from the Charter. In a reformed Council, Japan was ready to play a larger role as a permanent member. He had called on his colleagues to rise to that fundamental challenge last year. Now, for the first time, there was a real prospect that action would be taken, with extensive support from Member States. Building on that momentum, it was necessary to pursue an early decision for Security Council reform in this session. The new, effective Organization must also open itself to rigorous public scrutiny, and Japan would work with like-minded countries to make that happen expeditiously.
GÖRAN PERSSON, Prime Minister of Sweden, said that multicultural cooperation had become a necessity. Surely, one could try to deal in isolation with climate change, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, famine and disease. But most likely, such efforts would fail. Rarely had the need for joint action been so obvious as in the current Doha Round. The benefits of development from trade could only be realized through greater market access and reduced subsidies. A common agenda was needed, based on the recognition of shared responsibility. "We share the praise for progress", he said. "We share the blame for problems. We share the responsibility for ensuring change."
Tomorrow, the participants of the Summit would agree on a common agenda, which had many strengths, he continued. It demonstrated that peace and security, development and human rights formed part of a single entity. It reminded Member States that they would not succeed in one area if they ignored the others, and affirmed such important principles as collective responsibility to protect people from genocide and ethnic cleansing. It also paved the way for such important concrete measures as the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, creation of a Human Rights Council, and the conclusion of a convention on terrorism.
However, further progress was needed in some other areas, he said. Recent lack of progress in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation was a failure. Urgent measures were needed in that respect. Advancement in one area would bring pressure for progress in the other. Tougher action must also be taken to address climate change. A functioning Kyoto Protocol was a crucial start, but it was also necessary to look to the period after 2012. The international community must "become better" at combining economic growth with environmental sustainability. It was also important to agree on reforming the Security Council.
The Charter required no revision when it came to the use of force, he said. What was needed was a Security Council that would better live up to its responsibility. Better representation was needed from Africa, Asia and Latin America, and there should be no extension of the veto power. Developed nations must increase the levels of ODA. Measures should also be taken to ensure good governance, freedom from corruption and strong political and economic institutions in all countries.
GUY VERHOFSTADT, Prime Minister of Belgium, said that the United Nations was needed now more than ever, and that "security, development and human rights cannot be separated". The immediate establishment of the Human Rights Council was also imperative.
Turning his focus to developing countries, he said that investment in development was the key to creating a safe, free and democratic world. In Africa, "we have failed in Goal One, reducing poverty by half by 2015". At the current rate, African poverty would not be cut in half until 2150, and the situation there was morally unacceptable. Peace was the first step to solving Africa's arms trade problems, and Belgium supported the proposal to start immediate negotiations aimed at an international agreement on that issue.
Citing good governance as an issue just as essential as peace, he said that the only way to achieve good governance was to coordinate aid efforts worldwide through a Peacebuilding Commission. The Summit was a reinforcement of the promise to offer more prosperity to hundreds of millions of people, he added.
SAID W. MUSA, Prime Minister of Belize, said that in addition to the Millennium Development Goal targets, small countries like his own had to find effective solutions to other grave concerns, such as crime and violence in their societies and their vulnerability to natural disasters. The terrible tragedy unleashed by Hurricane Katrina in the United States and the stunning paralysis and vulnerability it had exposed should leave a very clear idea of the damage suffered by entire economies of small countries on an annual basis, away from the glare of international media attention. Grenada was but the latest example. In the face of those challenges, some would say international goals were too ambitious and idealistic, but idealism grounded in reality was what provided the passion for concerted action.
Belize's first Millennium Development Goal report showed mixed results, he continued. While there was a positive outlook for achieving universal primary education, eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels, reducing child mortality and improving maternal health, there were considerable challenges in meeting the time-bound targets for poverty eradication and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and other major diseases. Such external shocks as exploding oil prices, the dismantling of preferential access for agricultural commodities to industrial countries, and vulnerability to hurricanes made it difficult for countries like Belize to avoid high public debt, which restricted their ability to invest in public and social services. His Government was implementing a national poverty elimination strategy and action plan. An updated medium-term economic strategy was also under way that would incorporate debt management, fiscal policy, public sector investment and growth with equity. Since 1998, the Government had also been building a strong national integrity system.
Security and development were two sides of the same coin, he continued. Collective security could never be built on a global minefield of poverty and injustice. Although the primary responsibility for development rested with national Governments, it was also essential for their developed partners to follow through on the assistance to which they had committed. For aid to be effective, its volume must be increased. Aid must be more easily accessible and should be provided at lesser transaction costs. It also must have country ownership.
Commending the efforts to the Group of 8 to cancel the debt of heavily indebted poor countries, he said that it was the type of partnership that needed to be developed if the international community was to accomplish the full implementation of the Millennium Goals in the decade to come. Belize also attached great importance to a successful conclusion of the current Doha Round -- a conclusion that would embody the needs and concerns of developing countries, especially those with smaller economies.
TRUONG MY HOA, Vice-President of Viet Nam, said that despite a number of positive achievements, there was lack of progress in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in many countries and regions. Many difficulties had resulted from the rise in terrorism, increased resort to protectionism in trade, and the unilateral use of force.
Turning to the progress achieved in her country, she said that Viet Nam had reduced by half the rate of poverty 10 years ahead of schedule. It had also eliminated illiteracy and achieved universal junior and secondary education. Viet Nam was a leading country in the Asia-Pacific region as far as women's representation was concerned. Among the country's other achievements, she listed a reduction by half of mortality rate among children under the age of five and a significant reduction in maternal mortality. That high rate of success had resulted from the Government's determination to achieve progress, its perseverance in pursuing reforms, mobilization of domestic resources and active integration in global economy, as well as administrative reforms and wide participation of the people. At the same time, she expressed high appreciation to the United Nations and other international and bilateral donors for their assistance.
Among the measures required to better assist developing countries in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, she mentioned the need to ensure allocation of 0.7 per cent of GNP to development assistance, cancel external debt, implement the commitments undertaken at international forums, provide assistance to build developing countries' capacity, and strengthen support for South-South cooperation,
Regarding United Nations reform, she said it must be based on the principles of the Charter and conducted in a balanced and comprehensive way to improve the authority and representative nature of the Organization. The international community had an urgent task of bridging the development gap and promoting sustainable development with a view to rooting out the causes of instability in the current world. The Millennium Development Goals were a crucial tool in that respect. Her country was committed to the implementation of those Goals.
AHMAD ZIA MASSOUD, Vice President of Afghanistan, said his country had been unable to adopt a national strategy for achieving the Millennium Development Goals at the time of the Millennium Summit. But since the start of the Bonn Process in 2002 and with the international community's help, two Loya Jirgas had been held. The first had established a government and the second had adopted a new constitution for an Islamic democratic State. Presidential elections had been successful, and parliamentary and provincial elections would be held in less than three days to mark the last step in implementing the Bonn Agreement of December 2001.
He said his country would need the sustained support of the international community for years to rehabilitate the country and consolidate security and peace. Key principles to enhance cooperation were: to allow the Afghan Government to take the leadership role in all aspects of reconstruction; to justly allocate resources throughout the country; to ensure that efforts served to build lasting capacity and sustainable institutions; and to ensure transparency and accountability at all levels. In preparing the national development strategy, the target date for achieving the Millennium Goals had been set for 2020 rather than 2015.
Saying he supported the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and Support Office, he called for reform of the Security Council in both composition and work methods. He also called for finalizing the comprehensive convention on terrorism since his country continued to suffer more than others from the curse. Finally, he expressed full support for the outcome document before the Summit, saying it would lead to a more efficient and effective Organization better able to address today's challenges to ensure the prosperity, security and dignity of the world's peoples.
ROBERTO DE ALMEIDA, President of the National Assembly of Angola, said the international community must demonstrate political will in mobilizing resources to fulfil obligations it had made in major United Nations conferences. Trade should become a true driver of development; South-South cooperation should be broadened; poor country debt should be pardoned; and science and technology needed to be promoted as critical factors influencing developing country progress. Other vital questions related to education and its adaptation to emerging country needs, gender issues and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
On the Summit outcome, he said Angola favoured the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission, but believed its mandate should include conflict prevention. Adding that attention should also be paid to economic and social problems in post-conflict countries, he said funds needed for reconstruction were not always sufficient. On United Nations reform, he stressed the central role of the General Assembly as the main deliberative organization, and agreed that the Security Council should be more representative, efficient and transparent.
The international community must also focus on the illicit exploitation of natural resources, which threatened peace and security, prevented development in affected countries, and contributed to massive violation of human rights, he said. In addition, he underlined the importance of respecting international humanitarian laws, especially the protection of civilians in conflict situations, which needed urgent attention in the United Nations.
JOSCHKA FISCHER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, said the Millennium Development Goals were "the social Magna Carta of our times", and the global community should continue working to make them binding. Germany was committed to increase its development aid and had agreed on a plan with its European partners to do so until 2015. Germany was also considering new instruments to finance development and was working with other States on the "Action against Hunger and Poverty" alliance initiated by Brazilian President Lula. He said fairer trade conditions, especially free access to markets, were vital for lasting development.
Germany also would do everything in its power to implement the Framework Convention on Climate Change and to further develop the Kyoto Protocol. The steady increase of natural disasters meant that vigorous action on climate protection must be agreed upon at the international level.
He said the ultimate success of United Nations reforms would depend on the reform of the Security Council. The Group of 4 countries had submitted a proposal which would meet the needs of the international organization, its Member States and regions, and he urged the sixtieth session of the Assembly to resume consultations on the reforms.
While he welcomed the proposal in the Summit document to establish a Human Rights Council, he said it raised serious questions. The global community needed to make the new body a powerful instrument, and the negotiating body created to shape the Council should present its proposals as quickly as possible, preferably by year's end.
JEAN ASSELBORN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, said that his country was proud to have been among the founding Members of the United Nations. Today, 60 years later, the Organization was, indeed, at the fork on the road. Trying to reach innovative solutions, it was important to tackle new challenges and threats. Democracy, security, human rights and development were interrelated, and the Organization should be armed with sufficient means and resources to deal with the new realities. Progress towards the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals was still uneven. In the face of underdevelopment, the international community must act.
Under Luxembourg's presidency, the countries of the European Union this year had made an important decision to mobilize funds for additional development assistance and arrive at a level of ODA of 0.7 per cent by 2015. His country was proud to be among the countries which had achieved that goal, and he hoped that in several years, Luxembourg would be able to devote 1 per cent of its GNP to ODA. At the same time, substantial efforts must be made by both donor and recipient countries to improve the quality of aid, introducing good governance and fighting against corruption.
Humanitarian disasters, recent famines in Africa and Hurricane Katrina reminded the international community of the need to mobilize financial resources quickly and on a more predictable basis, he said. In that context, his country supported strengthening the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, to which it had already announced a contribution of $ 4 million. To improve the Organization's efficiency in post-conflict situations, the new Peacebuilding Commission should be set up quickly. This year's sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Nazi camps should be a reminder to the world that the international community should not be powerless before crimes against humanity, genocide and ethnic cleansing. For that reason, the responsibility to protect should become an effective reality, when needed. It was also necessary to strengthen machinery to protect human rights, and rapid establishment of the Human Rights Council should strengthen action in that respect.
Regarding the outcome of the Summit, he said that Luxembourg would have preferred bolder decisions, and that was not impossible. However, the current Summit had taken a number of decisions, which lay the groundwork for further progress, including some time-bound objectives. It would be important to carry out its guidelines without delay and with determination.
LYONPO KHANDU WANGCHUK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, said United Nations reform should promote efficiency and legitimacy and make the United Nations institutions more democratic so they truly reflected the diversity and realities of today's world. The United Nations and its institutions -- including the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Secretariat -- should be reformed and strengthened.
Bhutan was deeply committed to the Millennium Development Goals and was on track to achieving the eradication of poverty, ensuring universal primary education, reducing child mortality, and improving the supply of safe drinking water and sanitation. By meeting most of the Goals by 2015, the country would go a long way towards realizing its national development goal of Gross National Happiness. The country's development process had been guided for more than two decades by the concept of Gross National Happiness. That concept stemmed from the belief that the ultimate goal of every human being was happiness, and a holistic and sustainable approach to development would help humans attain that goal.
He said developed countries should meet their aid commitments in order that the least developed countries could meet the Millennium Development Goals and the goals of the Brussels Programme of Action. Increased partnership between the least developed countries and the international community was urgently needed, as the General Assembly prepared to undertake a mid-term review of the Brussels Programme next year. He said the 260 million people of the 14 Asia-Pacific least developed countries received less than half the average per capita aid given to least developed countries in other regions, and the international community should address this situation.
KASSYMZHOMART TOKAEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said all efforts should be focused on enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations. Member States should work to improve its image as the bastion of peoples' hopes and aspirations. The quality of its decisions should be improved, and their implementation monitored more closely. Human resources management in the Organization should also be improved, as it was important to strengthen the functions of the United Nations Secretariat.
He said his country believed that a greater role and higher status for the General Assembly as the main deliberative, decision-making and representative body of the United Nations would promote genuine democracy in international relations. On the enlargement of the Security Council, Kazakhstan believed that the issue should, ultimately, be resolved on the basis of a broad international agreement, in accordance with the principle of equitable geographical representation.
He said that the peacekeeping functions of the United Nations should be enhanced. The Organization should not watch from the sidelines efforts to save victims of major natural and man-made disasters. The destiny of the United Nations was in the hands of its Member States, and that was why they should strive to promote mutual understanding, constructive approach, responsibility and competence.
His Government's unprecedented efforts to raise the standards of living of its people had not been duly recognized by the United Nations, he stated. Kazakhstan disagreed with how United Nations experts calculated the human development index in his country. Such assessments, based on uncorroborated sources and data, only undermined the credibility of the United Nations.
YOUSSOUF OUEDRAOGO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso, said global leaders had led the world to a new and better order when they signed the Millennium Declaration. Progress had been made in many areas, but the impact of macroeconomic growth on poverty had been limited. Improvements had been made in education, for example, but the Goal of universal education was far from being achieved by the target date of 2015. The infrastructure and facilities were lagging too far behind. The fight against disease and ensuring the availability of drinking water and improvements in sanitation were subject to the same handicaps.
He said hope lay in the concerted efforts of the international community to improve conditions, such as by easing access to trade for developing countries. That would make them increasingly able to make use of resources.
GHIRMAL GHEBREMARIAM (Eritrea), speaking on behalf of the late Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Said Abdella, who had passed away on 28 August, said that if the commitment on the Millennium Development Goals was to be taken seriously, two critical factors had to be met: while pro-poor policy reforms by recipient countries were necessary for meeting the Goals, developed countries should turn pledges and promises into concrete action; and recipients' national policies and programmes that promoted poverty reduction and achieved development goals should be formulated by a broad group of stakeholders within a country.
At independence, the Government had inherited a devastated economy and infrastructure, he said. After the 1998 border conflict with Ethiopia, Eritrea had not been able to fully focus on tackling the most pressing development challenges because of Ethiopia's refusal to abide by the final and binding decision on border demarcation by the Boundary Commission. Notwithstanding those obstacles, the country was projected to achieve eight of the 10 targets by 2015, but it was off-track in the areas of extreme poverty eradication and achievement of universal primary education. His country's Millennium Goal status, however, proved that even with modest resources, countries could go a long way in achieving the Goals, provided they had the right policies and strong Government commitment.
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