21 September 2006
Security Council Presidential Statement Stresses Benefits of Closer Cooperation with Regional Organizations in Maintaining Peace, Security
Intends Further Steps to Promote Closer, more Operational Cooperation in Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping
NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council today stressed the benefits of closer cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, including in the brokering of peace agreements in conflict situations, and expressed its intention to consider further steps to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the United Nations and those bodies in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping.
Through the adoption of a presidential statement following a high-level debate today, the Council invited regional and subregional organizations with the capacity for peacekeeping or rapid response in crisis situations to enhance their working relations with the United Nations Secretariat and to cooperate with the Secretariat to determine the conditions in which that capacity could contribute to fulfilling United Nations mandates and goals.
The Council also urged the Secretariat, United Nations agencies, States and international organizations to contribute to the capacity-building of regional and subregional organizations, in particular of the African Union and African subregional organizations, which play a useful role in brokering peace agreements, in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict stabilization.
Welcoming the intent of many regional and subregional organizations to be closely associated with the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, the Council also welcomed efforts under way to enhance cooperation between the United Nations Secretariat and regional organizations in mediation and peacemaking, and invited the Secretariat to expand its peacemaking databank to regional and subregional organizations so as to facilitate mutual information.
Commending the Secretary-General's efforts in strengthening partnerships with regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations on peace and security, the Council called on the next Secretary-General to continue to strengthen those efforts.
"We have a better sense today of our respective strengths and advantages", United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, noting that 14 years had passed since the Council had invited his predecessor to submit recommendations for strengthening the United Nations in the field of international peace and security. Regional actor's political engagement was improving the Organization's knowledge of specific situations. Their military peacekeeping capacities had made it possible to respond more quickly at key moments, and their resources were proving to be a linchpin of post-conflict peacebuilding.
"We sometimes forget how quickly our world evolves", he added. Not too long ago, the idea of more than 90,000 United Nations peacekeepers in the field, or of an African Standby Force, or of a European Union police mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had been unthinkable. Those were reality today. The reality of the next decade was that the demand for peacekeeping would continue to grow, and the United Nations must be ready. The time had come for the international community to take the regional-global partnership to a new level of clarity, practicality and seriousness.
Opening the debate, Dora Bakoyannis, Council President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, agreed that the time had come for greater clarity regarding a series of issues that would shape the vision of a regional-global mechanism for peace and security. Given the nature of the new security threats, greater involvement by international organizations in conflict prevention and management in cooperation with the Council was required. While many important developments had taken place in that regard, many challenges remained to make that relationship more substantive and operational.
Congo's representative, speaking as representative of the Chairman of the African Union, said regional and subregional organizations could play a greater role in peacekeeping. The challenge today was defining that role and determining the nature of the United Nations partnership with the organizations that would intervene in the maintenance of international peace and security. Implementing the vision of a world order based on a clear division of labour would not be easy. It was important, therefore, to recognize the important role that regional organizations could play in the area of conflict prevention, disarmament, non-proliferation, the protection of civilians and natural disasters.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, Markus Lyra, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, said the Union viewed its relationship with the United Nations as a cornerstone of its external action. While he welcomed the focus on the increased responsibility of regional organizations to resolve area conflicts, he cautioned that this shift should take place within the United Nations framework. Member States should avoid the creation of additional structures or forcing a uniform framework on organizations that were very different. The European Union considered flexibility, light structures and pragmatism as guidelines for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
Joining other speakers in welcoming the recent establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said it was an important step in instituting the true of idea of teamwork at the international level. While the United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, had the pre-eminent role in maintaining international peace and security, regional organizations had the responsibility to assist the United Nations.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Qatar, China, Slovakia, France, Denmark, Argentina, Russian Federation, Peru, United Republic of Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Ghana and the Philippines (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)).
Statements were also made by senior officials from the Organization of American States, the League of Arab States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Council of Europe.
The meeting began at 10:50 a.m. and adjourned at 1:50 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document S/PRST/2006/39, reads as follows:
"The Security Council recalls its previous relevant resolutions and presidential statements on the cooperation with regional and subregional organizations and its three previous meetings on this subject held on April 2003 under the Mexican presidency and on July 2004 and October 2005 under the Romanian presidency.
"Member States emphasized that the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and that the establishment of a more effective partnership between the United Nations and regional and other intergovernmental organizations, consistent with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, would contribute to the maintenance of peace and security.
"The Security Council notes the start of the practice of annual Secretary-General's high-level meetings, their high-level attendance and their broadening substantive agenda; the Security Council notes that the seventh high-level meeting takes place immediately after its meeting on 20 September 2006, and the President of the Security Council has been invited to report the results of that meeting to the seventh high-level meeting.
"The Security Council welcomes the progress made in realizing the goals of resolution 1631 (2005), as elaborated by the Secretary-General in his report (A/61/204; S/2006/590), and commends the efforts of the Secretary-General in strengthening partnerships with regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations on peace and security, thereby contributing to the realization of the recommendations of the 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1) for a stronger relationship between such organizations and the United Nations. The Security Council calls on the next Secretary-General to continue and strengthen these efforts.
"The Security Council notes that a working-level meeting was organized by the Secretariat with regional and other intergovernmental organizations in early July 2006 to review the progress in implementing resolution 1631 and calls for this practice to continue in 2007.
"The Security Council stresses the benefits of closer cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security, including the brokering of peace agreements in conflict situations. In this regard, the Security Council agreed, in its recently adopted Note of the President of the Security Council on the Work of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions to expand consultation and cooperation with regional and subregional organizations by:
-- Inviting relevant regional and subregional organizations to participate in the Security Council's public and private meetings, when appropriate;
-- Continuing to consult informally with regional and subregional organizations when drafting, inter alia, resolutions, presidential statements and press statements, as appropriate;
-- Drawing the attention of representatives of regional and subregional organizations where appropriate to relevant resolutions, presidential statements and press statements.
"Encourages regional and subregional organizations to convey their perspectives and analysis to the Security Council prior to its examination of regionally-relevant agenda items;
"Invites all regional and subregional organizations that have a capacity for peacekeeping or rapid response in crisis situations to enhance their working relations with the United Nations Secretariat and cooperate with the Secretariat to determine the conditions in which this capacity could contribute to the fulfilment of United Nations mandates and goals.
"Invites the Secretariat and regional and subregional organizations to explore further information-sharing on respective capabilities and lessons-learnt in peacekeeping by expanding the scope of the website of the Peacekeeping Best Practices Section to cover the deployment experiences of all regional and subregional organizations and all experiences of cooperation in peacekeeping between the United Nations and these organizations.
"The Security Council takes note of the Secretary-General's Progress Report on the prevention of armed conflict, including its recognition of the role played by regional and subregional organizations. The Security Council urges United Nations Secretariat and United Nations agencies, as well as all States and other relevant international organizations to continue their efforts to contribute to the capacity-building of regional and subregional organizations, in particular of the African Union and African subregional organizations which play a useful role in brokering peace agreements, in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict stabilization.
"Welcomes the intent of many regional and subregional organizations to be closely associated with the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and commits to facilitating their participation, as relevant, in the country-specific activities of the Commission.
"Equally welcomes efforts under way to enhance cooperation between the United Nations Secretariat and regional and subregional organizations in mediation and peacemaking, and invites the Secretariat to expand without delay its peacemaking databank to regional and subregional organizations so as to facilitate mutual information and exchanges of experience.
"Notes with appreciation the efforts of an increasing number of regional and subregional organizations, working with the Security Council's subsidiary bodies, to address the threats to international peace and security posed by acts of terrorism, and calls on them to intensify their activity to develop the counter-terrorism capacity of their Member States.
"Urges regional and subregional organizations to assist States, as appropriate, in implementing existing agreements and enhance efforts to eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, including via more effective regional mechanisms. The Security Council also urges regional and subregional organizations to encourage their Member States to strengthen their legislations in this field.
"The Security Council recalls the relevant paragraphs of the 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1) and notes with gratitude the many steps that the Secretary-General has undertaken to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and regional and subregional and other intergovernmental organizations. In this context, the Security Council intends to consider further steps to promote closer and more operational cooperation between the United Nations and regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations, participating in the High-Level Meetings convened by the Secretary-General, in particular in the field of conflict prevention, peacebuilding and peacekeeping."
The Security Council met this morning to hold a ministerial-level thematic debate on cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security. The meeting was initiated by Greece, which holds the Council Presidency for the month.
Guiding the Council's discussion was a background document prepared by the President (document S/2006/719), which describes the important role regional organizations have played in maintaining international peace and security. It notes that the 2004 report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change focused on the issue of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations and recommended that cooperation between them be expanded and formalized in an agreement. In the 2005 Summit declaration, world leaders supported a stronger relationship between the United Nations and subregional organizations pursuant to Chapter VIII of the Charter.
Since 1994, six high-level meetings have been convened between the United Nations and regional and other intergovernmental organizations, with the aim of enhancing this partnership. A Standing Committee was established in 2005 and Working Groups in 2004 to support the Secretary-General's preparations for the high-level meetings.
On its part, the Council has, since 2003, held three meetings with regional organizations on the subject of cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security, adopting resolution 1631 (2005) on the issue. In that resolution, the Council expressed its determination to take appropriate steps to the further development of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, and invited the Secretary-General to report to it on opportunities and challenges facing this cooperation.
In his report entitled, "A regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities" (document S/2006/590), the Secretary-General notes that the opportunities before the international community lay in the establishment of a more effective partnership operating in close cooperation with the Security Council, based on a clear division of labour that reflects the comparative advantage of each organization. As important is the development of a programme of action for capacity-building across the globe.
The Secretary-General identifies two main challenges, namely clarification of the identity and role of each member in the partnership and a programme of action for capacity-building to ensure more equal ability among United Nations regional and other partners to assist in the maintenance of peace and security. He submits a number of recommendations for strengthening the partnership in the areas of conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and disarmament and non-proliferation.
On the issue of clarifying the nature of the overall partnership, the Secretary-General notes that the Council could, among other things, elaborate on the new challenge regarding the scope of cooperation with regional and other intergovernmental organizations. It could also discuss the desirability and practicability of partner organizations identifying themselves either as regional organizations acting under Chapter VIII of the Charter, which covers the issue of regional arrangements, or as other intergovernmental organizations acting under other provisions of the Charter.
Regarding the formalization of the partnership, the Secretary-General invites partner organizations that plan to initiate a formal agreement with the United Nations, in accordance with the 2005 Summit Outcome, to express this wish in writing to him. As a practical initial step, partner organizations may wish to consider agreement on a general statement of principles, which could provide a guiding mechanism for future collaboration with and between all signatories and the United Nations.
Security Council President DORA BAKOYANNIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, speaking in her national capacity, said the debate offered an opportunity to discuss recent developments in the implementation of resolution 1631 (2005). Most importantly, the meeting could stimulate an interesting discussion on the vision to create a "Regional-Global Security Mechanism". The Secretary-General's report identified challenges and opportunities in making the relationship with regional organizations more effective, paving the way for the construction of a mechanism that would enable the world community to handle future threats and challenges in a more consistent and coordinated way.
Given the nature of the new security threats, greater involvement by international organizations in conflict prevention and management in cooperation with the Council was required, she said. A greater role by regional agencies in peace and security would not only lessen the Council's burden in that area, but would also increase the Council's legitimacy by providing a more balanced input into decisions from regions with different cultural, religious and historical backgrounds. Many important developments had taken place in that regard, particularly through the convening of the six high-level meetings. It was important to ensure the more effective implementation of those principles, in close coordination between the United Nations and international organizations. For its part, the Council had developed an enhanced relationship with regional and subregional organizations, focusing on such peace and security challenges as prevention and management, peacebuilding and counter-terrorism.
Despite those developments, however, many challenges remained to make that relationship more substantive and operational, she said. While Chapter VIII of the Charter referred to regional agencies and arrangements and set forth the functional relationship with the Council in Articles 52 and 53, it was silent with regard to their constitutional relationship with the Council. The time had come for greater clarity as regards a series of issues that would shape the vision of a regional-global mechanism for peace and security, agreed both by the Council and the regional organizations. There was a need to identify regional and subregional agencies and to clarify the criteria on the basis of which those agencies were distinguished, for the purpose of applying Chapter VIII, from other international organizations.
Such clarity would give real meaning to the envisaged regional-global mechanism and restore more authority to the Council and greater reliance on constitutionally delegated executive functions to genuine regional agencies under Chapter VIII, she said. The Secretary-General had identified the importance of the issue in his report, which emphasized the need to clarify both the membership and mandate of regional and other organizations. She endorsed his recommendations on the issue and supported also the other recommendations contained in the report. Member States should promote the capacity-building of regional and other organizations through providing human, technical and financial assistance. In that respect, the seventh high-level meeting would focus on the implementation of the 10-year process of sustained capacity-building for African regional and subregional organizations.
United Nations Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN said that it was now 14 years since the Council had invited his predecessor to submit recommendations for strengthening the United Nations in the field of international peace and security, including its collaboration with regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the Charter. Since then, six high-level meetings had been convened with heads of partner organizations, and a seventh was to be held shortly. Those meetings were helping to build a common forum and agenda for cooperation. The partnership was stronger today than in the early 1990s. Many of the regional and subregional partners themselves were stronger, and the Organization's interaction with them was more intense, substantial and meaningful. This year alone, such political and operational collaboration had included cooperation with the African Union's operation in the Sudan; cooperation with the European Union in support of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and ongoing partnerships with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and the Organization of the American States (OAS) in support of Haiti's electoral process.
The United Nations was also engaged in regular consultations with the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States, he continued. Mediation and other efforts included partnerships with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) on Somalia and the Sudan; Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste; International Organization of la Francophonie in the Central African Republic; and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries in Guinea-Bissau. That was just a sample of the wide-ranging policy and operational activities that were taking place. Those diverse experiences spanned conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and they were delivering results on the ground, as well as lessons for the future.
"We have a better sense today of our respective strengths and advantages", he said. The political engagement of regional actors was improving the Organization's knowledge of specific situations. Their military peacekeeping capacities had made it possible to respond more quickly at the outset of a crisis and at key moments. And their resources were proving to be a linchpin of post-conflict peacebuilding. His report contained specific suggestions for building on that growing knowledge of each other's strengths. Much as the capacities had been strengthened over the years, it was essential to do even more. The 10-year capacity-building programme for the African Union was making promising progress, primarily because it had brought together, with a great sense of purpose, all relevant regional, subregional, in-area and out-of-area actors. With that example in mind, his report set out a number of concrete recommendations for furthering that, and other capacity-building efforts.
"We sometimes forget how quickly our world evolves", he said. Not too long ago, the idea of more than 90,000 United Nations peacekeepers in the field, or of an African Standby Force, or of a European Union police mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been unthinkable. Those were reality today. Likewise, the breadth of the Organization's involvement in mediation efforts, the growing awareness of the fragility of post-conflict situations, and increased emphasis on prevention, had also been major features of its work. The reality of the next decade was that the demand for peacekeeping and other services would continue to grow, and the United Nations must be ready.
That meant the time had come for the international community to take the regional-global partnership to a new level of clarity, practicality and seriousness, he continued. Chapter VIII existed for reasons that were as valid today as they had been 61 years ago. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations offered a framework for doing that with the requisite flexibility, accountability and legitimacy. He welcomed the deepening engagement of regional organizations in United Nations efforts for peace and security, and urged everybody to keep thinking of new ways to further cooperation and to create a global collective security mechanism that would protect people and lay the groundwork for lasting peace.
Sheikh HAMAD BIN JASSEM BIN JABR AL-THANI, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, said that regional and subregional alliances had been established to strengthen the foundations of peace and security. They were often better placed to find the best approach to deal with conflicts in their own region. The United Nations recognized that, and had taken a greater interest in partnering with regional and subregional organizations on the basis of comparative advantage and a clear division of labour.
He explained that work between the United Nations and a regional organization would strengthen the role played by an organization in its region, and vice versa. But, different approaches were required to deal with situations based on their specifications.
He noted that the cooperation between the Security Council and the African Union was evidence of the great potential that could be tapped in regional and subregional organizations. But double standards in treatment of regional and subregional organizations occurred for political reasons. The problem of imbalanced relations between the United Nations and regional bodies was present in the Arab region.
He concluded by stating that Qatar would support the draft presidential statement from today's meeting.
LI ZHAOXING, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, said that, at a time when security interests of countries were increasingly interconnected in the face of global security threats, his country supported enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and regional, subregional and other intergovernmental organizations. China, in principle, endorsed the analysis and proposals of the Secretary-General's report before the Council and supported the establishment of an effective global partnership. It was important to complement each other's efforts and enhance coordination in that regard. China welcomed the contribution of regional and subregional organizations in maintaining peace and security, both in their regions and the world, by fully drawing on their experience and strengths in addressing issues in their respective regions in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter. He supported establishing the basic principles guiding such partnership and ensuring the leading role of the United Nations. Full play should be given to respective strengths of the two sides, which should complement each other's efforts. Regional organizations should make timely and full reports to the Security Council on the progress in relevant activities they carry out in accordance with the Charter.
It was important to advance results-oriented cooperation, he continued. The United Nations might, in light of respective strengths and features of regional organizations, as well as actual conditions, carry out cooperation with them in confidence-building, conflict prevention, crisis management and peacekeeping. Such cooperation should be flexible and diversified in form and should not be confined to a particular model or mechanism. The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission marked a new stage for the work of the United Nations in that field, and he supported the active participation of relevant regional organizations.
It was also important to strengthen capacity-building, he said. Enhancing crisis response capacity at the regional level was the best way to prevent or end conflicts, and the regional organizations of developing countries were paying an increasingly important role in that respect. The United Nations should put more emphasis on its cooperation with those organizations and provide them with assistance and policy incentives in terms of institution-building, information exchange and funding. He called on the United Nations, countries and regional organizations to give more assistance to the African Union in capacity-building and support a greater role of the Union in maintaining peace and stability in Africa.
JÁN KUBIŠ, Minister for Foreign Affairs for Slovakia, said that, as a member of a host of European and international regional organizations, as well a United Nations Member State serving as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, his Government realized how important it was for the international community's response to be well organized and coordinated. "That is why we simply cannot afford to waste the scarce resources that are available to each of the organizations on activities that may potentially compete with or even contradict one another", he said. Since no two regional or intergovernmental organizations were alike, the United Nations should try to identify the areas where possible cooperation could be effectively enhanced and implemented.
He went on to say that the creation of mechanisms to allow such organizations to present their key findings from their respective peacebuilding and post-conflict missions would provide a more flexible, effective and regular flow of topical information between the United Nations and regional organizations. The overall goal was to establish partnerships that would benefit from the comparative advantages of each organization involved in conflict prevention and peacekeeping. Such enhanced cooperation could play an especially important role in dealing with many of the conflict-based items on the Council's agenda. Partnerships with regional organizations often reinforced United Nations efforts on the ground, helped build confidence and trust among conflict parties, or create opportunities for dialogue on the launching of important political processes.
The rationale was obvious: regional and subregional organizations had at their disposal unique knowledge and expertise of local conditions, which could greatly benefit the United Nations in achieving tangible results for peace, stability and prosperity. Slovakia agreed that more attention needed to be focused on efforts to help Africa build up its own capacities in areas such as early warning, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and conflict management. "Also the 10-year capacity-building plan for the African Union, envisaged in the 2005 Summit Outcome document deserves our urgent attention", he added. Also regarding Africa, he said that the continent's most pressing security and humanitarian concern was "the Darfur catastrophe".
While the cooperation in Darfur between the African Union and the United Nations, as well as the League of Arab States and others, had been essential, the efforts needed to be expanded even farther to achieve any tangible progress, he said. He went on to note that regional and intergovernmental cooperation could also have an important role to play in the fight against terrorism and in preventing proliferation of deadly weapons. Outreach to States on a regional and subregional level was integral to the work of several of the Council's substantive committees, including those dealing with counter-terrorism. He added that recent discussions on reforming the Council's working methods had focused on the need to broaden its cooperation with regional organizations and to ensure their more frequent and systematic participation in relevant public and private Council meetings. For its part, the Council should inform regional and subregional organizations when it adopts resolutions or presidential statements that are relevant to specific areas of operation.
PHILIPPE DOUSTE-BLAZY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France, said most of the crises that the Council took up had been the focus of increasingly active involvement by regional organizations, both at the political level and on the ground, with a growing diversity of modalities. That involvement, in most cases, was an essential condition for the success of the Council's action. As a European, he was thinking of the growing affirmation of the European Union as a major actor in furthering peace, as demonstrated by its commitment in Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Middle East and Darfur. He was also thinking of Africa, where the regional and subregional efforts for integration by the countries on the continent elicited respect and admiration. The political institutions which the African Union had acquired -- the Peace and Security Council, the Commission -- were emerging as requisite instruments for peace in Africa.
In light of those developments, several lessons could be identified, he said. The first was the continued development of relations between the Council and regional organizations as the latter asserted themselves as key actors in peace. It was now common for the Council, in most of the crises that came before it, to hear the leaders of the regional organizations involved. Close contacts and operational cooperation were developing at all levels between the United Nations and those organizations. The second lesson was the complementary nature between Council action and that of regional organizations. The Council needed the specific expertise of the latter and their intimate knowledge of situations and people. The regional actors, for their part, could not envision lasting and legitimate action without Security Council support and the United Nations authority and experience.
He said the Council must continue to encourage the efforts towards regional and subregional integration, which had not achieved the same level of progress in all parts of the world. While the impetus for that could only come from the countries and regions concerned, it was in the Council's interest to support those efforts through the action of Member States, organizations and the Secretariat. He had in mind the necessary continuation of regional capacity-building, particularly in regard to peacekeeping. He was also thinking of the increasingly diverse and innovative forms of cooperation that had been started in the field. Beyond that, it was important to draw all the consequences of the growing diversity of action by regional organizations and the specific skills they had acquired in certain areas. It was, therefore, necessary to encourage exchanges of experience and expertise on the issues among organizations and with the United Nations. It was also important to define best practices and common procedures.
On the Peacebuilding Commission, he said all States understood the value of such a forum for enhancing the efficiency of international action in post-conflict situations. The common responsibility of Member States was to do everything possible to ensure that the Commission succeeded in the missions assigned to it. The stakes for the Council and the United Nations were important. "Our action is judged in the final analysis by our capacity to resolve in a lasting way the crises referred to us", he said.
PER STIG MØLLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, welcomed continued efforts to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and African subregional organizations such as ECOWAS. The values of cooperation had already been demonstrated in the conflicts in the Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia. At the same time, the conflicts had clearly shown that a much stronger partnership between the United Nations and the African organizations was of vital importance. The goal should be to have a real impact on the ground. To that end, efficient partnerships and a practical division of labour between organizations involved in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict stabilization were needed.
While the Peacebuilding Commission was designated to have the overall coordinating responsibility for the international response to peacebuilding, the African Union and the subregional organizations were in a unique position to mobilize African resources to assist nations on the African continent. There was no question that the United Nations had deep knowledge and expertise on how to prevent and resolve conflicts. Few, if any, however, were more familiar with the root causes of conflict in Africa than the African organizations themselves. The key to developing strategies that would consolidate peace in African countries was to involve the African institutions fully in all phases of peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. He encouraged the Council and the Peacebuilding Commission to explore how to best support efforts to develop the African security architecture and work closely with the African Union and the subregional organizations on such issues as conflict preparedness, planning and capacity-building.
He said Denmark firmly believed that regional organizations could play a particularly important role in the fight against terrorism. Regional organizations increasingly developed their agenda in that field. Regional organizations had a key role to play in ensuring that action against terrorism was taken across a region. Politically, regional organizations could help solidify the global consensus by condemning terrorism in all its forms consistently, clearly and vocally. Such an unambiguous message was essential to help eliminate any remaining doubt that terrorism in some form could be acceptable. On the technical level, regional organizations could help Member States implement their international obligations. Many States were willing to do more in the fight against terrorism, but lacked the capacity to do so. Regional organizations could disseminate information, provide assistance and support the development of regional, as well as national, capacity.
Improved cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was a work in progress, he said. The Council had significant practical experience on which to build. For example, the European Union, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) formed critical components under the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) in Kosovo. With the overall goal of enhancing international peace and security and ensuring real impact on the ground, Denmark remained committed to supporting concrete initiatives to further improve cooperation in the future.
JORGE TAIANA, Minister for Foreign Affairs for International Trade and Worship for Argentina, said that, over the past years, the majority of the conflicts of the Security Council had essentially been products of civil wars, which were characterized by, among others, human right violations, religious or ethnic persecutions, great movements of internally displaced or refugees, trafficking in people, deterioration of the situation of women and children and grave distress for the agriculture and infrastructure of the affected countries. Often, those internal conflicts had expanded throughout the entire region.
He noted that geographic proximity and close historical and cultural ties between members gave regional organizations comparative advantages to better understand the roots of the conflict and to find peaceful solutions. Tasks of prevention and early alert had important significance within that proximity and the same was true with achieving stability in their region. The work of recent peacekeeping operations in the African Union in Burundi, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sudan; and ECOWAS, in Côte d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Liberia, were good examples of collaboration between regional actors and the United Nations. He noted that, in the American region, Haiti was an example of cooperation between the United Nations and the OAS.
As the Secretary-General indicated in his report, compliance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter offered enormous possibilities for reaching peace and security through efficient operational associations between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations, he said. Before acting in the field, the Organization should have the opinion and advice of a regional partner. Argentina supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General to establish a data bank on the capabilities of the partner organizations and the system of the United Nations as a basis for a conflict prevention mechanism of global and regional reach, as well as the need to foment major recognition of the function of human rights in conflict prevention and early alert.
The recently created Peacebuilding Commission could increase cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations through the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, he said. Not only would it be necessary to end discrepancies between regional organizations and other organizations in the world, but it would be of utmost importance for partner organizations to identify themselves either as regional organizations that act in accordance with Chapter VIII, or as other intergovernmental organizations that act according to other dispositions of the Charter.
SERGEY V. LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that cooperation with regional organizations must be firmly based on the Charter of the United Nations, in particular its Chapter VIII. The United Nations and regional organizations should act in a complementary manner, taking advantage of their respective advantages. For the United Nations, those included the universality of its membership and legitimacy. The regional organizations, in their turn, had the best knowledge of the situation on the ground and possessed their own sources of financing. A clear division of labour between the United Nations and regional organizations, while preserving the prerogatives of the United Nations and its Security Council, would improve the international community's ability to counter crises.
He said the most important area of the Organization's cooperation with its regional partners was peacekeeping in the widest meaning of that word; that is, crisis prevention, settlement, and post-conflict peacebuilding. It was necessary to build on the positive cooperation experience with such regional organizations in Africa as the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). His country continued training peacekeepers from Africa and intended to widen those activities. An important role in finding peaceful solutions to numerous problems in their regions should also be played by the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Latin American organizations. He would also like to see further development of United Nations cooperation with such structures as the OSCE, the European Union and NATO. Of course, it was important to ensure full respect for the Security Council's primary responsibility for international peace and security, including the approval of the mandates of operations aimed at peace enforcement.
Turning to his country's role at the regional level, he said that Russia played an important role in the cooperation between the United Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In the zone of the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict, its Armed Forces acted in close contact with the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). His country also participated in peacekeeping efforts in South Ossetia and Transdniestria. It believed that those conflicts could be settled if all the parties conscientiously observed the existing agreements. There were also substantive prospects for cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Among other things, it would be useful to ensure cooperation with NATO in fighting drug trafficking in Afghanistan. An increasingly important role was played by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. As a current Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Russia intended to strengthen that organization's interaction with the United Nations.
JOSÉ ANTONIO GARCÍA BELAUNDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Peru, said the framework provided by Chapter VIII of the Charter had taken on special significance. The fact that the majority of the 16 existing peacekeeping operations involved the participation of regional organizations reflected the importance of the relationship between the United Nations and those organizations. The current international system was increasingly characterized by globalization and fragmentation. Aware of that reality, Peru had placed a priority on marginalization and exclusion. That dynamic meant that States must adopt a modern approach to ensure democratic governance and contribute to regional security. International organizations were called on to play a special role in conflict prevention. It was also important for regional authorities to develop their own mechanisms. The Andean Peace Zone, for example, assured the banning of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and landmines.
A good example of the potential of the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations could be seen in the work of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). That peacekeeping operation showed the capacity of countries in the region to administer the United Nations mandate through regional bodies, such as the OAS and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In the case of Haiti, the OAS had played an important role at the institutional level. The World Bank and other such organizations should join that effort and help to promote an environment that promoted stability, facilitated trade and generated jobs.
The General Assembly and the Security Council had given the Peacebuilding Commission the responsibility for post-conflict situations, he added. In that connection, it should include the need for regional and subregional organizations to help define political objectives. Entities such as the Global Compact should also be included in efforts to promote cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
ASHA-ROSE MTENGETI MIGIRO, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that United Nations collaboration with regional organizations had enabled those organizations to increasingly get involved in brokering peace agreements, conflict resolution and peacekeeping. In Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan and, recently, in the Sudan, they had played a useful and complementary role to the efforts of the Security Council. They were indispensable partners in maintaining regional and international peace and security. But, even with those developments, more was required.
Only an institutional approach would enable a shift from the present ad hoc and fragile arrangements to more substantive cooperation, she said. That was central to the needs of both the United Nations and regional organizations. It was necessary to devise practical arrangements for strengthening the relationship between the United Nations and regional and other intergovernmental organizations, in keeping with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter. That was the challenge the Security Council faced today in Darfur. The African Union had done a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances there, both in brokering the Darfur Peace Agreement and in monitoring the Ndjamena Ceasefire Agreement. The people of Darfur, and indeed the Sudan, needed peace and security. The challenge before the Council was to assist in fulfilling that desire. It, therefore, must not be found wanting in discharging its responsibility.
The Council had the power and the prerogative to advance that cooperation to a higher level, she said. That required new forms of partnership for peace. The African Union had demonstrated the advantages a regional organization offered: its proximity to the conflict and a greater understanding of the dynamics. Investing in the capacity of regional organizations was investing in peace. In the case of Africa, everybody acknowledged that what was required most were resources to enhance the rapid deployment capabilities of the African Union and its subregional organizations. Focus in that area was in keeping with the decisions of last year's Summit and the resolve of the international community to strengthen capacities for conflict prevention and peacekeeping in the context of the United Nations Standby Arrangement framework.
She said the African Union stood to benefit from a formalized arrangement with the United Nations in developing the institutional and operational capacity of its Peace and Security Council, in training of civilian and military personnel, in exchange of information, early warning systems, communication and capacity-building, at both peacekeeping and peacebuilding stages. She was also mindful of the advantages that regional organizations had gained through cooperation with other regional and intergovernmental organizations, including the European Union, ECOWAS and IGAD. That kind of cooperation should continue, alongside that between the United Nations and regional organizations.
KIM HOWELLS, Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that, while the United Nations was a uniquely legitimate and indispensable global body, it could not operate in isolation. And with the Organization's responsibilities continuing to expand -- particularly in the area of peacekeeping -- the United Nations required the help of regional and other partners to effectively deliver to those most in need. Such cooperation also applied to the international community's response to a host of other challenges, including terrorism and weapons proliferation, poverty, climate change, and the protection and promotion of human rights.
The United Kingdom would, therefore, welcome the presidential statement the Council was set to adopt at the close of today's meeting on expanding cooperation with regional and subregional organizations as a way to strengthen the 15-nation body's ability to respond to conflict, through prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction. "Nowhere is this more necessary than in Darfur", he said, where the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) has done an outstanding job in difficult circumstances, but "should now be allowed to share the burden with the UN and the wider international community". It was unreasonable to expect any single regional organization to maintain for long periods the level of force needed in Darfur, he said, adding that the African Union itself had long recognized that many months would be needed for a transition to the United Nations.
"We cannot understand why the Government of Sudan, while accepting a United Nations force on almost identical terms in the south of its country, is turning its back on the UN's help in the west of Sudan. We hope that contacts in New York this week will help President Bashir understand that our goal is to help the Sudan", he said. At the same time, the United Nations could not remain idle "if Sudan pursues a military solution of its own in Darfur". The Council would need to act to support the African Union and to take its own responsibilities. "But we hope such a crisis can yet be averted", she noted. The European Union had twice deployed its security force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in 2003, in the war-torn Ituri province and, in 2006, to help the United Nations with election monitoring) since the launch of the European Security and Defence Policy some 10 years ago.
He welcomed the increasingly close relations between the United Nations, the Council of Europe and OSCE. The three organizations shared common aims and purposes and, by working together, they could enhance one another's contributions to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and their response to security challenges. It was time to build stronger relationships between the United Nations and regional organizations, particularly by identifying strengths and building up capacities. He invited the Secretary-General to consider whether the United Nations could bring together those regional organizations -- the European Union and the African Union -- most closely involved across the conflict cycle to develop genuine partnerships to strengthen the cooperation.
BASILE IKOUEBE (Congo), speaking also as representative of the Chairman of the African Union, said he was grateful that the theme of Africa had been included in the outline for the meeting. His country had assumed responsibility as acting chair of the African Union and was aware of the need for such cooperation. He thanked the Secretary-General for the report. There was a need to integrate the new tools of cooperation with a view to greater effectiveness in meeting real needs in the area of peace, security and development. Resolution 1631 advocated regular meetings with regional and subregional organizations, in order to strengthen cooperation in the maintenance of international peace and security. He was pleased to see that intention taking shape today. Implementing the vision of a world order based on a clear division of labour would not be easy. In that regard, it was important to recognize the important role that regional organizations could play in the area of conflict prevention, disarmament, non-proliferation, the protection of civilians and natural disasters.
While conflict prevention was the prerogative of Member States, he said he was pleased to note that the African Union, the OSCE and the European Union each had in place a conflict prevention centre with an early warning system. He agreed with the Secretary-General that regional and subregional organizations could do more in that area. International cooperation was needed, in light of the logistical and financial difficulties facing regional organizations. When it came to peacemaking, regional and subregional organizations had an important role to play. In that regard, the African Union had set up collective mechanisms, including the Union's Peace and Security Council, and subregional organizations, such as ECOWAS. He reaffirmed the Union's commitment to a stronger partnership between the United Nations and the African Union with regard to the crisis in Darfur. The transition to a United Nations force fit into the prevailing logic in such situations. In order to strengthen its intervention capacities, namely its reserve forces and systems, the African Union had called for the establishment of five brigades by 2010. The international community should support that initiative, which could also be used as an example for other theatres of operation.
Regional and subregional organizations could play a greater role in peacekeeping with a view to establishing a coordinated approach, he said. The challenge today was defining the role and determining the nature of the United Nations partnership with the organizations that would intervene in the maintenance of international peace and security. He shared the Secretary-General's view that the Council could study the scope of cooperation and assess to what degree those organizations would like to identify themselves as regional organizations acting under Chapter VIII of the Charter, or intergovernmental organizations acting under other provisions of the Charter.
JACKIE WOLCOTT SANDERS (United States) said that today's topic of debate was timely, as the agenda of the Council grew ever longer. Her country welcomed the opportunity to review cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. The activities of regional organizations, when properly planned, could play an important role in such areas as conflict resolution, promotion of democracy and human rights, countering terrorism and support for economic development. The regional organizations could bring their knowledge and experience to help solve many problems, and valuable synergies could be created. Enhanced cooperation could be valuable, especially in sharing lessons learned and information about peacekeeping missions. She encouraged the Council to consult with regional organizations, where necessary, and better utilize their experience in conflict prevention and resolution. However, such cooperation should be of an informal nature and should not detract from interactions within the United Nations. It was important not to limit the United Nations' ability to act at a time of crisis.
KENZO OSHIMA (Japan) said the role of regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security had been growing. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations had become essential in that regard. The Council and its subsidiary bodies needed to strengthen cooperation with a variety of organizations with wide-ranging networks in implementing Council resolutions. The role played by regional organizations had already seen tangible results. Cooperation to facilitate the rapid deployment of peacekeepers would also enable the Council to cope with conflicts with greater speed and efficiency.
He added that, while there were various options available for the enhancement of such capacities, the Council might consider arrangements between the United Nations and regional organizations under which the United Nations would provide training, equipment and other capacity-building assistance to the troops of regional organizations or countries. In so doing, regional troops' rapid deployment capabilities could be developed, with the understanding that the organizations or countries concerned would swiftly dispatch troops at the United Nations' request upon the Council's decision to establish peacekeeping operations in a given region. Although such capacity-building assistance had already been provided through bilateral and Group of Eight (G-8) frameworks, systematizing such assistance would assure a stronger link between those activities and the United Nations.
Another important aspect of the role played by regional organizations in peacebuilding lay in encouraging regional ownership of the post-conflict process, he said. Japan supported the participation of regional organizations in the Peacebuilding Commission and thus welcomed the presence of regional organizations such as the African Union in the Commission's country-specific meetings on Sierra Leone and Burundi. The increasing role of regional organizations in the maintenance of peace and security required enhanced dialogue between those organizations and the Council. In that regard, he suggested creating more opportunities for regional organizations to brief the Council on their activities. The Council should establish cooperation with a wide range of organizations in order to implement its resolutions. Japan would support existing and new initiatives to strengthen cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said that, lately, there had been some "worrying trends" in the relations between the United Nations and some African countries. Effective cooperation between the United Nations and regional entities, such as the African Union and ECOWAS, in the promotion of peace and security could only be achieved if those regional bodies used their leverage with Member States to further shared objectives. Regional entities had an obligation to strengthen the hand of the United Nations in peacemaking by ensuring, among other things, that international peace efforts were not obstructed.
He said the collaboration between the United Nations and ECOWAS had been especially productive in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In stark contrast to that stood the lack of cooperation shown by some member States of the African Union, which could unravel the Union's role in the regional-global partnership. In that regard, he expected that the restrictions imposed on the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) would soon be lifted. The expansion of the United Nations presence in Darfur was a must.
Commending the Council for initiatives it had undertaken to enhance cooperation with the African Union and ECOWAS, and expressing appreciation for the work of the Inter-Agency Task Force on West Africa, he said those contacts could lead to a framework of further cooperation. He supported proposals from Lakhdar Brahimi's report on United Nations Peace Operations, such as the coordinated use of logistics sites, co-listing of African Standby Forces' capacities in the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, and improving the use of early warning and analytical information in Africa.
He said recommendations from the report on regional-global security partnerships should also be taken into account. The current United Nations desk-to-desk consultations with the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE could be used as a model to enhance dialogue between the United Nations and both the African Union and ECOWAS on conflict prevention. Cooperation with the United Nations was also possible on implementation of the Programme of Action on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
One area of concern was the need to strengthen coordination between the African Union and regional organizations, most of which were only in their formative stages and thus lacked well-established institutions, he said. There was also a need for the various regional entities to rationalize their activities in order to avoid wasteful duplication of effort. The best guarantee of peace and security for all nations was a credible multilateral system organized around the principles and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter. There could be no higher objective for the regional-global security partnership than working together to extend to most of mankind the rights and basic protections guaranteed by the Charter.
MARKUS LYRA, Under-Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and Associated States, said that a European Union priority for this year's General Assembly was supporting cooperation between the United Nations and relevant regional organizations as a way to strengthen effective multilateralism. While he welcomed the focus on the increased responsibility of regional organizations to resolve area conflicts, he cautioned that this shift should take place within the United Nations framework. Member States should avoid the creation of additional structures or forcing a uniform framework on organizations that were very different. The European Union considered flexibility, light structures and pragmatism as guidelines for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
The European Union viewed its relationship with the United Nations as a cornerstone of its external action and had intensified its relations with the United Nations over the past years, including the area of crisis management. Since the beginning of 2003, it had engaged in more than a dozen military or civilian operations, most of them in close cooperation with the United Nations. That included, for example, a military operation to support the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) during the election period in that country. Other areas included its role to ensure swift action on Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), regarding the situation in Lebanon. Concerning the newly created Peacebuilding Commission, he said close cooperation with regional organizations and the involvement of civil society was vital for the Commission's success. The European Union was fully committed to contribute to the Commission's work.
JOSE MIGUEL INSULZA, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, said that the OAS fully supported the initiative of the Secretary-General for the development of regional and global partnerships. The challenges and opportunities faced by the United Nations and regional organizations were very similar in many ways. Important steps should be taken to develop cooperation between them. It was necessary to go from a simple policy of consultation to clearer norms of cooperation.
Regarding OAS cooperation with the United Nations, he said that an example of recent experiences in that regard was cooperation between the United Nations Mission in Haiti with the mission of the OAS in restoring a democratic system in that country. Latin American countries had become increasingly involved in the resolution of regional conflicts, and that should be the way of the future. Positive experience also included consultations on conflicts in the region. It was much better to prevent crises through dialogue. In conflict resolution, a proper division of labour and competencies was needed, as had been the case in Haiti. The OAS had also cooperated with the International Labour Organization in preparing a summit in Argentina and worked in electoral observation missions.
The United Nations and regional organizations should be able to coordinate their efforts in the future, pragmatically and flexibly, but in a more stable fashion, he said. The relationship should be institutionalized, not through creation of new organs, but rather through the development of norms of cooperation. Regional organizations could provide a better vision in the conflicts that took place in their geographical areas. That would allow the United Nations to become more effective in the area of maintaining international peace and security.
LAURO L. BAJA (Philippines), speaking on behalf of ASEAN, said that ASEAN continued to fully support the United Nations in its role in maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting international cooperation, as put forth in Chapter I of the United Nations Charter. Over the past four decades, ASEAN had put forward several initiatives that had significantly contributed to peace and stability in the region. Those included the Zone of Peace, the Freedom and Neutrality Declaration, the treaty of Amity and Cooperation in South-East Asia, the Declaration of ASEAN Concord and the Treaty on the South-East Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone. Efforts were under way to bring the political and security cooperation within the organization to a higher plane under the ASEAN Security Community -- the third pillar of its objective to establish an ASEAN Community by 2020.
ASEAN's efforts had recently received a major boost with the accession by Australia, China, India, Japan, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, he continued. Fighting terrorism and other transnational crimes was also among the organization's priorities. ASEAN had been expanding its contacts with various international and regional organizations, including the United Nations, OAS and OSCE. The organization's cooperation with the United Nations had been recognized during the first ASEAN-United Nations Summit in Bangkok in 2000. That cooperation had been further strengthened with the adoption of Assembly resolutions 57/35 and 59/05, which encouraged the two organizations to further increase contacts and strengthen areas of cooperation. With the assistance of the Department of Political Affairs and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a series of seminars on peacebuilding in South-East Asia had been conducted in ASEAN member countries. Another milestone had been reached with the convening of the second ASEAN-United Nations Summit at United Nations Headquarters a year ago.
Based on its experiences, ASEAN took the view that regional organizations should also explore and expand contacts with various countries, regional and international organizations in pursuit of peace and security, he said. In the age of globalization, regional organizations could only enhance their standing through increased interaction with other groups. Cooperation among regional organizations themselves should, therefore, be encouraged. A good opportunity occurred annually during the General Assembly sessions, when bilateral meetings between interested regional organizations could be organized on the fringes of the session. He also advocated cooperation on mutually beneficial issues, saying that such ventures could be on capacity-building measures, which could focus on organization, operations or resources. As various regional organizations had different levels of capacity, mandates and resources, it was necessary to determine their comparative advantages as far as their potential to contribute to the United Nations efforts was concerned. A region-to-region study could prove useful in that respect.
YAHYA MAHMASSANI, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said the maintenance of peace and security, the fundamental pillar of the Council's work, was being challenged by the tense global situation. While the nature of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was found in Chapter VIII of the Charter, that relationship needed to be reviewed in light of current circumstances. Regional organizations were developing their tools to deal with such problems, but that was not enough. Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the maintenance of international peace and security would not be possible without the reform of the United Nations itself. While recognizing the Council's major role in the maintenance of peace and security, the success of other United Nations bodies, such as the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council would result in an environment that was conducive to peace and security.
Cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations needed to be strengthened in all areas, he said. In that regard, Security Council reform was also necessary. Enlarging the Council would allow it to have a greater impact in international affairs. It was also necessary to review the Council's role with regard to conflicts in terms of the West and Islam. Such conflicts would not be resolved through dialogue alone, but through the Council's oversight.
Established at the same time as the United Nations, the League of Arab States was a twin of the world body and had faced the same difficulties, he said. Cooperation between the Arab League and the United Nations was essential for the resolution of issues in the Middle East. The Council was dealing with sensitive questions. The Arab League had appealed to the Council to hold a meeting tomorrow to reinvigorate the peace process in the region. In that way, the world could witness the way in which the Council dealt with such matters. The question was, would the Council assume its responsibility? He was confident that it would.
KAREL DE GUCHT, Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that he was pleased that the Council was holding its debate on cooperation with regional organizations, as security challenges around the world required consolidated action. He stressed close links between peace and security, democratic rule and economic development, saying that it was necessary to attach great importance to each and every one of those dimensions of the comprehensive approach to security. The OSCE Permanent Council had adopted a Declaration on cooperation with the United Nations, in response to recent calls from the United Nations to further strengthen cooperation with regional and subregional organizations in maintaining peace and security, in particular resolution 1631 and the Secretary-General's subsequent report. He was pleased with OSCE's fruitful cooperation with the United Nations in many areas of its activities, including the fight against drug trafficking and transnational crime.
Some activities of the OSCE resulted directly from various Council resolutions, for instance in Kosovo and in Georgia, he said. The OSCE also assisted in the implementation of Council resolutions in the area of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Through those activities, as well as through the transmission of data, evaluations and analysis, the OSCE could provide information and assistance to the Security Council. He looked forward to further developing cooperation in other fields, for instance in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation.
Regarding so-called protracted conflicts, such as those in Georgia-South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh or Moldova-Transdniestria, the OSCE offered its good offices to the parties to prevent escalation and to create the right conditions for a peaceful settlement. He also underlined the OSCE's strong record in the field of human rights, including protection of minorities, preserving the freedom of the media, promoting tolerance and furthering democracy. The OSCE's Forum for Security and Cooperation acted as the keeper of disarmament treaties and confidence-building measures. Since 2002, the annual Security Review Conference had grown into a comprehensive forum for security dialogue within the OSCE area. Through its contacts with Asian and Mediterranean partners for cooperation, the OSCE also encouraged the implementation of confidence and security-building measures. It was also engaged in capacity-building activities related to out-of-region organizations, such as the African Union, the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
VLADIMIR B. RUSHAYLO, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States, said the 2005 World Summit had opened the way for further work in the area of increased cooperation between regional organizations and the United Nations. Small arms, especially in the hands of terrorists, were dangerous and destabilizing, allowing conflicts to spill over into other regions. The United Nations convention against trans-border crime was one way to combat the spread of light weapons. Responding to the threat posed by small arms, the CIS had decided on ways to control the transfer of such arms across its States and was currently developing a draft statement in that regard.
With terrorism presenting one of the major challenges to global security, CIS members had concluded a cooperation agreement on counter-terrorism, he added. That agreement provided the legal basis for the efforts of Commonwealth bodies to help curb acts of terrorism. The Commonwealth had also stepped up its efforts to sign onto the United Nations 12 counter-terrorism conventions. Implementing universal and regional treaties and programmes would contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. The Commonwealth encouraged cooperation with the United Nations and regional organizations as a way to counter the threat of terrorism.
EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that, today, as one tried to understand the problems of the world, many of which involved the Muslim world, one realized that the problems continued to worsen and that the scope of the crisis was widening. It seemed that the mono-dimensional approach to tackling those crises led to new complexities. When problems were approached solely from the angle of security and solutions were sought solely through military means, problems could not be solved in a lasting and comprehensive manner. On the contrary, they got harder to solve. Shortcut solutions complicated the situation more and increased their vehemence. Therefore, effective, lasting and comprehensive peaceful settlement of crises required a paradigm shift in approach.
Political grievances, backwardness, underdevelopment and the need for good governance were among the underlining causes of the problems that the international community was trying to solve, he continued. The international community needed to uphold respect for international legitimacy, while focusing on the long-term prospects with patience and wisdom, instead of resorting to a logic of intervention. Then the international community would be heading towards a more stable and secure world. The OIC, for its part, was promoting, in cooperation with the international community, moderation, modernization and development within the Islamic world. In particular, it was aligning its 10-year Programme of Action, which was adopted at the last OIC Extraordinary Summit last December, with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The Programme included the organization's proactive involvement in all stages of conflict management, as well as in combating international terrorism. The organization had also taken several initiatives related to conflict situations, including those in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Thailand, Cyprus, Jammu and Kashmir and the dispute between the Sudan and Chad.
In the field of development and peacebuilding, the OIC and its specialized organ, the Islamic Development Bank, were playing an active and constructive role in many places, he continued. It was also working in close coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission, for example on Sierra Leone, where the OIC Trust Fund for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Humanitarian Assistance, as well as the International Development Bank, was actively undertaking numerous projects. The OIC stood ready to cooperate with the United Nations and various regional and transnational organizations to make the maximum possible contribution to international peace and security.
In conclusion, he emphasized the importance of political engagement and the support of world leaders for dialogue, mutual recognition and respect and cooperation among representatives of various cultures, civilization and religions. He also stressed the need to reinvigorate the doctrine of multilateralism. It was only through cooperation on an equal, equitable and just basis that the objectives of international peace and security, as well as social and economic development, could be achieved.
JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER, Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, said it went without saying that NATO nations were deeply committed to the United Nations. NATO had continued to make a significant contribution, in particular by leading operations under a United Nations mandate. NATO's experiences of cooperation with the United Nations included the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina; defusing the crisis in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; training and equipping the security forces in Iraq; providing humanitarian assistance in Pakistan; and assisting with training and logistic support to both the United Nations and the African Union in the Sudan. Drawing on those experiences, NATO had learned valuable lessons about its own capabilities, as well as lessons with wider relevance.
He said it was clear that each organization had different strengths, which needed to be complemented and mutually reinforcing. NATO offered unparalleled military experience and capability. Yet, addressing a conflict required a coordinated and coherent approach from the outset. Cleary defined responsibilities regarding the political, military, economic and other challenges of the conflict were indispensable in order to maximize the chances of success. His second observation had to do with the role of Member States. An organization's ability to act depended on the involvement of nations, politically and in terms of will to contribute. There was also a need to find a balance between the responsibility of local and international actors. Without the support of public opinion, the political basis of interventions would shrink and resources would decline.
Welcoming the recent establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, he said it was an important step in instituting the true idea of teamwork at the international level. The United Nations, and the Security Council in particular, had the pre-eminent role in maintaining international peace and security. Regional organizations had the responsibility to assist the United Nations. NATO would continue to play its role in that collective effort.
NIKOLAI BORDYUZHA, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, said that they agreed with the recommendations presented in the report of the Secretary-General on the problems and opportunities of regional and global partnership for security. He said fulfilment of those recommendations would enhance collective potential in the areas of conflict prevention and the maintenance of peace, disarmament and non-proliferation.
He noted that his organization was in favour of increasing cooperation between regional partners in the solution of conflicts, provided that a clear understanding existed that the Security Council played the main role in full correspondence with the United Nations Charter. Additionally, his organization was taking steps to establish its own peacekeeping potential, which was intended to be deployed for United Nations peacekeeping operations. He expressed support for the Secretary-General's proposal that the Security Council study the question on the forms of participation for organization partners in the work of the Peacebuilding Commission, and generally in peacebuilding.
The agencies and organizations of the United Nations must work on being more effective and cooperate closer with regional and other intergovernmental organizations, as well as take the coordinating role in their respective fields of activity, he said. At the same time, there was a need for closer coordination efforts between regional organizations and he supported the idea expressed during the preparation for the seventh high-level meeting and in the Report of the Secretary-General to establish an online data bank. Regional organizations should also consider informing the United Nations immediately once a threat of conflict emerged in their area.
He proposed to establish a similar mechanism to combat terrorism and drug trafficking, because those were problems directly connected with the main United Nations function, maintenance of peace and security. He said that the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that was recently adopted by the General Assembly contained a direct recommendation to encourage regional organizations to support the implementation of the Strategy through mobilizing resources and expertise.
TERRY DAVIS, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, noted that the contribution of the organization to maintaining international peace and security was based on the concept of democratic security, anchored in a system of legally binding treaties. In the fight against terrorism, the Council of Europe had adopted a set of conventions that established as criminal offences activities which may lead to acts of terrorism, such as incitement, recruitment and training. They also modified existing extradition and mutual assistance arrangements between those countries which were parties to the convention. The conventions also reinforced the protection and compensation of victims of terrorism.
The foundations of the Council of Europe's anti-terrorism policy lay in measures to prevent the erosion of human rights, he continued. The most effective anti-terrorist policy was one which stopped more terrorists than it helped recruit. The organization also promoted intercultural and inter-religious dialogue to focus on the root causes of terrorism.
The Council of Europe was running three campaigns covering issues high on the United Nations agenda for promoting human security: a campaign to combat trafficking in human beings; a three-year programme for the promotion of children's rights and the protection of children from violence; and a youth campaign on diversity, human rights and participation. The organization also was engaged in post-conflict rehabilitation, including in Kosovo, where it had worked in areas such as decentralization, constitutional law, human rights, and cultural heritage. The Council of Europe had worked on implementation of a Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and on the institution of monitoring mechanisms for its Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
In conclusion, he addressed some of the points raised in a discussion paper circulated by the Greek presidency for the meeting. He welcomed the idea of clarifying the respective roles of different bodies, possibly through framework agreements with the United Nations. However, he favoured a results-oriented approach that did not waste time and energy on semantic discussions or attempt to categorize organizations which could not be categorized. At the end of the day, what mattered was the political will and the ability of each organization to deliver.
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