22 July 2005

United Nations, Regional Organizations to Agree on Stronger Partnerships in Facing Peace, Security Challenges

Sixth High-Level Meeting of UN, Regional, Intergovernmental Bodies Set for Headquarters on 25-26 July

NEW YORK, 21 July (DPI) -- At a time when regional organizations are coming to the fore in efforts to resolve crises around the globe, a high-level meeting at United Nations Headquarters on 25-26 July will examine how the United Nations and these organizations can forge closer partnerships in the pursuit of peace and security in the 21st century.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan will host the Sixth High-Level Meeting between the UN and regional and other intergovernmental organizations, welcoming heads of major regional organizations to New York in the continuation of a process begun in the mid-1990s, aimed at forging closer ties. 

This year’s meeting is expected to produce recommendations for the World Summit in September.  Discussions will focus on proposals for United Nations cooperation with regional organizations contained in the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and in the Secretary-General’s “In Larger Freedom” report.  Both reports call for formalized partnerships with regional organizations to maximize resources and comparative advantages and to deal more effectively with regional crises.

The participants are also expected to discuss the potential contribution of regional organizations to a Peacebuilding Commission, proposed by the High-Level Panel and the Secretary-General.  Participants also will consider other proposals on cooperation across issues ranging from peacekeeping to the protection of civilians, human rights, the dialogue among civilizations and disarmament.  These proposals have been developed by working groups set up to implement the decisions of previous meetings and coordinated by a secretariat within the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.

Over the past 15 years regional organizations have worked in partnership with the United Nations in all of the major regions of the world, in preventing and containing conflict, and engaging in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.  For example:

-- In Africa, the United Nations and the African Union (AU) are cooperating closely in the effort to bring peace and security to Sudan’s Darfur region.

-- In Europe, the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Council of Europe (COE) are working together in Kosovo on democratic reform, economic development, human rights protection and the rule of law.

-- In Asia, the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) collaborated with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Peacekeeping Forces to stabilize the situation in Tajikistan in the mid-‘90s.

-- In the Americas, the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) deployed a joint civilian mission in Haiti in 1993, and currently they are cooperating there to support free and fair elections.

-- In the Pacific, the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) cooperated with the Pacific Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville through its holding of elections and the establishment of an autonomous government in June of this year.  In 2003 the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) sent a stabilization mission to the Solomon Islands, an initiative that was endorsed by the Secretary-General.

In all these cases, regional organizations took action under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, through pacific settlement in article 52 or enforcement measures in article 53. Acting under other provisions of the Charter, the United Nations cooperates with other intergovernmental organizations -- such as the European Union in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Georgia, and Interpol in counter-terrorism efforts. 

The five previous meetings convened by the Secretary-General with regional and other intergovernmental organizations took place in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2001, and 2003. The Security Council convened meetings on regional organizations in 2003 and 2004, with a third scheduled for October 2005.

Regional and other intergovernmental organizations invited to the Sixth High-Level Meeting:  the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; African Union; Caribbean Community Secretariat; Commonwealth of Independent States; Council of Europe; Commonwealth Secretariat; Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries; Collective Security Treaty Organization; Economic Community of Central African States; Economic Community of West African States; European Union (represented by the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the Presidency of the Council of the EU); Intergovernmental Authority for Development; International Criminal Police Organization; League of Arab States; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Organization of American States; Organization of the Islamic Conference; Organisation internationale de la Francophonie; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe ; Pacific Islands Forum; South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation; Southern Africa Development Community; and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

UN Agencies/Programmes/Funds/Offices:  the International Atomic Energy Agency; International Monetary Fund; Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons; United Nations Children’s Fund; UN Development Programme; UN Environment Programme; UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; UN High Commissioner for Refugees; United Nations Office at Geneva; United Nations Office at Vienna/United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; World Bank; UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (representing the Regional Commissions); and the United Nations University.

UN Organs:  the President of the Security Council; President of the General Assembly; President of the Economic and Social Council; as well as heads of the Department of Political Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

For further information please contact:  Daniel Tuohy, tel.:  (212) 457-1298; or Tania Felicio, tel.:  (212) 457-1721 of the Department of Political Affairs.

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