Fifty-seventh General Assembly
26th Meeting (AM)
ASSEMBLY HEARS WIDE-RANGING VIEWS ON OUTCOME OF MILLENNIUM SUMMIT,
WORK OF UNITED NATIONS
Need For Greater Commitment by Donor Countries,
Respect for State Sovereignty, International Terrorism Dominate Debate
“Terror creates poverty more than poverty creates terror,” the representative of Israel said this morning as the General Assembly considered the reports of the Secretary-General on the outcome of the Millennium Summit and the work of the Organization.
Israel, he went on, had had bitter experience as a victim of terrorism since before its establishment as an independent State. Much had been said about the root causes of terrorism, but “the new realities of terrorism must be faced”. The international community needed to remain vigilant and to fight the manifestations of evil where they were found, where they bred, multiplied and received succour and assistance. At the same time, he said, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would do much to “drain the swamp in which terrorism feeds”.
In the course of a debate in which the Assembly heard from 15 speakers, the representative of Iraq evoked an international atmosphere dominated by the language of anti-terrorism and preventive war -- led by the United States -- in the name of national defence. Such language threatened to marginalize the United Nations at a critical time for the Organization, for which issues of peace and security were key priorities. While the United Nations and the Security Council bore primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, collective efforts and action were required. The double-standard approach must be rejected. All Member States, beginning with the United States, must repudiate the threat of interference in other States, which served only their own narrow national interests.
His own Government, he stressed, had displayed its willingness to implement all Security Council resolutions and dispel any suspicion that it possessed weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had been unconditionally willing to accept the return of United Nations arms inspectors. Despite that, the United States and United Kingdom had persisted in their campaign of diplomatic disinformation to prevent the return of inspection teams. They had striven to impose a new resolution on the Security Council as a legal pretext for the seizure of Iraq and its oil and to increase tension throughout the Middle East.
Reiterating Iraq’s insistence on the need for respect for State sovereignty, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the major challenge to peace and security today was the emergence of a doctrine of power supremacy that trampled on the principle of sovereign equality. Member States must demonstrate a concerted will for respect of sovereignty and fair international relations as the only way to guarantee peace and security as well as sustainable development.
While several other speakers referred to the dangers of international terrorism, many expressed concern at what they saw as limited progress in pursuit of the social and economic goals of the Millennium Declaration. The representative of Canada, while acknowledging the need to deal with threats to peace and security, stressed that the world faced “other pressing priorities”. It was imperative to ensure that more was done to ensure that the Declaration’s pledges were fulfilled. At the heart of that Declaration was the need to meet Africa’s special requirements and to redress the poverty that was the decisive reality for so many people. He noted with concern the Secretary-General’s report that 10 years ago 48 per cent of Africa’s people were living on one dollar a day or less. Today that figure had shrunk by just one percentage point, to 47 per cent. The international community would have to do much better, he said. It was for that reason that Canada had made implementation of the Group of Eight Africa Action Plan a priority.
The representative of Papua New Guinea, acknowledging United Nations efforts in such areas as poverty eradication, sustainable development, biodiversity and climate change, said that “wherever failure could be detected”, it was due in part to the inadequate commitment of financial and other resources needed to ensure successful implementation of the Organization’s pledges and decisions.
The representative of Malawi said that in an era of increasing globalization and donor fatigue, trade remained the only hope for poorer countries. He called not only for “soft loans” to developing countries but for cancellation of their debts. Developed nations should concentrate on grants and foreign direct investment and should increase their official development assistance (ODA) to the agreed level of 0.7 per cent of their gross national products.
Also speaking in this morning’s debate were the representatives of Senegal, Ethiopia, Nepal, Suriname, Yemen, San Marino, Ecuador and Angola.
The Assembly will meet again on Monday 14 October and Tuesday 15 October to discuss the report of the Security Council and the question of equitable representation on and increase in its membership.
The General Assembly met this morning to conclude its consideration of the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, contained in the Secretary-General's first annual report on implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (document A/57/270 and Corr. 1) as well as the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization (document A/57/1). Please see Press Release GA/10072 for summaries of those two documents.
YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said that the United Nations needed to deal comprehensively with the spectres of the twenty-first century. As the danger of traditional war receded, the new realities of terrorism must be faced. Israel had had bitter experience as a victim of terrorism since before the establishment of its independence, and while much had been said about the root causes of terrorism, it was important to realise that "terror creates poverty more than poverty creates terror". The international community needed to remain vigilant, to continue to fight the manifestations of evil where they were found, where they bred, multiplied and received succour and assistance –- States needed to be held accountable for the assistance they provided terrorists.
At the same time, he said the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would do much to "drain the swamp in which terrorism feeds". Having participated in the Doha, Johannesburg and Monterrey conferences, Israel had also been active in the creation of international frameworks in priority areas.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic was another example of the need for concerted, global effort to reach the Millennium goals, he added. The African continent had been hardest hit by this modern-day plague. For that reason, Israel applauded the creation of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which faced these challenges head-on in a spirit of partnership, rather than dependence.
PAPA LOUIS FALL (Senegal) was convinced that multilateral action must today, more than ever before, be the driving force of the directions taken and the political choices made. Since the attacks of 11 September, it had become evident that no unilateral action could provide an appropriate approach to deal with the “monster” of international terrorism. Collectively, it would also be possible to put a stop to the spread of HIV/AIDS, take control over environmental degradation, annihilate the spread of inter- and intra-State conflicts and halt the trade in small arms and human beings. All of those posed a threat to international peace and security and jeopardized the future of humanity as a whole.
Over the past year, he noted, African issues had occupied a large part of the international agenda. The independent evaluation of the United Nations-New Agenda for the Development of Africa (NADAF) showed that the objectives set for Africa had not been achieved. With the launching of NEPAD, the goals had been proclaimed and the means identified. Now it was necessary to move from words to deeds to meet the special needs of Africa.
The implementation of the Millennium Declaration should remain an absolute priority for the United Nations; it could not be delayed or put aside, he said. It was the expression of the common aspirations of Member States for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. The United Nations was what the Member States made of it. While it was an imperfect organization, it was an irreplaceable one. It was through coherent and concerted action that the work of the Organization could be strengthened and made to work for the betterment of the international community.
TERUNEH ZENNA (Ethiopia) said that there should be greater cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, given the Organization’s role in resolving many conflicts on the continent. Because it was a peace-loving nation, Ethiopia accepted the solution to settle the border dispute with neighbouring Eritrea. He added that unless the root causes of conflict were addressed, world peace would prove elusive.
Commenting on the lack of progress in achieving the Millennium goals, he urged action to avert that negative trend. Donor countries had not lived up to their official development assistance (ODA) commitments. Only five had met the agreed 0.7 per cent target in 2001. Coupled with that situation, world commodity prices were plunging, thus aggravating the terms of trade between developing countries and developed. Unless that situation was solved, international peace and security would be put at risk.
In addition, he said natural disasters had caused many millions in developing countries to endure further suffering. To avoid the impending food crises in Africa, steps must be taken to deal with recurrent drought and desertification. Famine should be tackled by providing the rural poor with alternatives to farm labour. He was pleased with the efforts of the United Nations system to deal with the AIDS pandemic in Africa. A lot remained to be done to solve that problem. However, concerted action would yield results in dealing with poverty and diseases.
MOHAMMED A. ALDOURI (Iraq) said that in studying the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, one saw an international atmosphere dominated by the language of anti-terrorism and preventive war, led by the United States, on the pretext of national defence. That was likely to marginalize the United Nations, which the international community had created to save mankind from destruction and war. The world had witnessed the extent to which the Organization had, since the 1990s, seen attitudes of hesitation in addressing issues of international peace and security. What better proof could there be of that than the increase in insecurity worldwide?
The language of preventive war had an impact on debates at this critical stage for the Organization, he said. Issues of peace and security were the key prerogatives of the Organization. It was incumbent on the United Nations and the Security Council to bear primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. That would require collective efforts and action. The double-standard approach must be rejected. All Member States, beginning with the United States, must repudiate the threat of interference in other States, which only served their narrow national interests.
His Government, he stressed, had displayed its willingness to implement all Security Council resolutions and dispel any doubts that it had in its possession weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had been willing to unconditionally accept the return of United Nations arms inspectors. Despite that, the United States and the United Kingdom had persisted in their campaign of diplomatic misinformation to prevent the return of inspection teams. They had striven to get the Security Council to adopt a new resolution to set up a legal pretext for the seizure of Iraq and its oil and increase tension throughout the Middle East. The international community must become aware of the suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of the blockade. The sanctions had caused approximately 1.7 million Iraqi deaths. The only way to address that situation was to lift the decade-old sanctions.
MURARI RAJ SHARMA (Nepal) accused Maoist terrorists of inflicting unspeakable anguish and trauma on the nation. Their violence, over a six-year period, had caused great hardship to the people of Nepal, even threatening mid-term elections scheduled for November. He called for external assistance to fight the Maoist terror and to advance the country’s development process.
Drawing the connection between peace and development, he said that in the global village conflicts had a spillover effect, causing people in conflict situations to seek to escape to places of stability. He noted that there were positive developments in the area of peace and security. Afghanistan had been freed, Timor-Leste had been freed from the pall of violence and joined the family of free nations, while Sierra Leone and Angola were on their way back to normalcy. In contrast, South Asia remained highly volatile, and the Great Lakes Region of Africa was still shrouded in uncertainty. In the face of all that, he was dismayed that disarmament had taken a back seat on the global agenda. Nepal was willing to work with all to promote peace and security.
He said poverty was the greatest challenge facing the world because it fertilized conflicts and despair. He called for the implementation of the Millennium goals and noted that would not come about if the approach was business as usual. The United Nations needed to be commended for its efforts to get the goals implemented, in spite of the fact that the economic and social domains had been eroded in the United Nations. That process should be reversed. Helping refugees was another area of weakness of the Organization. Bhutanese refugees in Nepal needed continued assistance from the United Nations, and he called for bilateral negotiations between Bhutan and Nepal. Reform of the United Nations system, he said, pinpointing the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council as bodies needing attention, was still inadequate. In fact, Security Council reform was distressingly sluggish.
IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) emphasized the need to develop a global partnership for development, including an open trading system, increased debt relief and special attention for the needs of the least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing States (SIDS) and landlocked developing countries. In addition, ODA must be doubled and developed countries must fulfil their commitments. The Millennium Development Goals, adopted in September 2000, were promises for fundamental changes. Those changes needed to address the various aspects of poverty, such as the lack of adequate food and shelter, clean drinking water, education and health and the consequences of natural disasters.
She reiterated the importance of ensuring human rights within the endeavours of the international community to combat terrorism. She agreed with the Secretary-General that what was needed was to "deal with conflict by preventing it, rather than to face its tragic consequences once it had erupted". Therefore, it was essential to take a multi-dimensional approach to international security, and not to focus solely on the military aspect of security but also look at political, social, economic and human security. She added that the Millennium Campaign recently launched by the Secretary-General to make the goals better known throughout the world and to mobilize public opinion behind them was very promising.
KIM CHANG GUK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that the major challenge to peace and security today was the emergence of the doctrine of power supremacy that trampled on the principle of sovereign equality. The doctrine was the main factor undermining international relations and posing a constant threat to peace, as it disregarded the principles and norms of international law.
He said: “Arrogant and impertinent acts labeling other countries as ‘axes of evil’ and ‘targets of pre-emptive nuclear attack’ as one pleases and in one’s own interests are also rooted in the doctrine of power supremacy.” The challenges Member States now faced required them to demonstrate a concerted will and action for the respect for sovereignty, equality and development of fair international relations. That was the only way to guarantee world peace and security as well as sustainable development.
He called on all Member States to respect the Charter of the United Nations and to faithfully carry out the purposes and principles enshrined therein for the proper settlement of problems. He also called for the strengthening of the General Assembly and the thorough reform of the Security Council “to meet the demands of all Member States”.
ABDUL-DAYEM M.S. MUBAREZ (Yemen) felt it was significant that the attacks of 11 September occurred one year after the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. It served as a reminder of the need for collective action to address the challenges before the international community. He reaffirmed what the Secretary-General had stated in the report, that efforts should not be confined to drying up the sources of funds for terrorism but also spent on addressing the root causes of terrorism. Efforts should be doubled to conclude discussions on the international convention on terrorism. It was also important not to confuse terrorism with legitimate resistance to occupation.
The world, he said, seemed to be slipping back into a welter of conflicts. The importance attached by the Security Council to certain issues, and selectivity in its applicability of resolutions, was of concern. That had an impact on the credibility of the Organization. Despite efforts to narrow the gap between the rich and poor, very little had been achieved. The lack of political will on behalf of the developed countries remained the main cause of that state of affairs.
The Secretary-General’s report underlined that progress in the field of human rights had also been limited, he said. Undoubtedly, international attention should focus on the fight against terrorism. However, that should not become a pretext for violating the human rights of individuals and communities. The politicization of human rights and the policy of double standards, which only served to impede the achievement of the goals of the Organization, should be avoided. There was a great need to consolidate the work of the United Nations, the most vital tool for multilateral diplomacy. While reform efforts had led to improvements within the Organization, the winds of change had not affected the Security Council, he noted.
GIAN NICOLA FILIPPI BALESTRA (San Marino) said the Secretary-General had provided some encouraging information on the achievements of the goals contained in the Millennium Declaration. However, one could not refrain from concluding that the world situation was far from satisfactory. After almost 60 years of implementing decisions on international cooperation, there were still economic and political contradictions. The responsibility lay with the shortcomings of international cooperation and governments’ lack of political will.
Concerning disarmament, he said it emerged from the report that negotiations on the issue and on the Convention on Biological Weapons were stagnant. He added that the present collective fight against terrorism was clear evidence that multilateralism was the only effective means to cope with the problems confronting the world.
He said that an issue of particular interest to his delegation in the strengthening of the United Nations was revitalization of the General Assembly. Some adjustments had been made in its procedures, but they were not sufficient. It was necessary to continue with that task, especially in two major areas: the rationalization of the Organization’s agenda; and ensuring the follow-up and implementation of its resolutions.
PAUL HEINBECK (Canada) said that Member States had a responsibility to each other to deal with threats to peace and security while simultaneously addressing other pressing priorities. As the Secretary-General had stated, it was imperative that more was done to ensure that the pledges in the Millennium Declaration were fulfilled.
At the heart of the Millennium Declaration, he noted, was the need to meet the special needs of Africa and to redress the poverty that was the decisive reality for so many people. He noted with concern the Secretary-General’s analysis that 10 years ago 48 per cent of the people of Africa were living on one dollar a day or less. Today, that figure had shrunk almost imperceptibly to
47 per cent. To meet the goal of halving that figure by 2015, the international community would have to do much better.
It was for that reason that Canada, as this year’s chair of the Group of Eight (G-8), had made implementation of the G-8 Africa Action Plan a priority, he said. The Action Plan included over 100 commitments, many of them addressed to areas crucial to development such as resource mobilization, peace and security, governance, education, health, economic growth, agriculture and water. He welcomed the affirmation of France, the next chair of the G-8, that Africa would remain a priority of the G-8 agenda.
LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA (Ecuador) said that many States wanted to protect their citizens but did not have the resources to do so. The Secretary-General had correctly stated that no single country had the capacity to deal with the challenges of an interconnected world. There was an awareness that problems transcended national borders and called for global approaches. In the current stage of history it was impossible to ignore multilateral action.
In the past year, the international community had taken far-reaching steps, such as the Monterrey and Johannesburg conferences, he noted. The Monterrey Consensus reflected a new approach to international economic cooperation. The immediate challenge to realizing the Millennium objectives was to develop a pragmatic programme of implementation of what was agreed to in Monterrey, as well as to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Also, it was necessary to immediately tackle the task of putting into effect what was decided in Johannesburg.
A key instrument in improving the well-being of those in developing countries, he said, was trade. Discriminatory and protectionist practices continued to exist. It was important for commitments undertaken in Doha to be fully implemented in a development-oriented way. Another positive step this year was the launching of NEPAD, which should receive robust support from the international community.
ROBERT AISI (Papua New Guinea) thanked the United Nations for its support and contribution to the peace process in Bougainville. “The United Nations has supported the Government and people of Papua New Guinea in every step we took in the peace process.” He was especially pleased with the establishment of the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville. He praised the United Nations for the work it had done to bring peace to troubled spots and for its peace-building work on the whole, including the work being done to bring about disarmament.
Through the holding of international conferences, he said, the United Nations had tackled a wide range of problems, such as terrorism, poverty eradication and sustainable development, and through the adoption of appropriate legal instruments linked to those problems. Those instruments included the adoption of the Rio outcomes on biodiversity and climate change, the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, and the Conference on the Rights of Women and Children, to name just a few. Wherever failure could be detected was due in part to inadequate commitment of financial and other much needed resources for successful implementation of decisions taken. It was satisfying to note that efforts to deal with these issues were being streamlined.
As a small island nation, Papua New Guinea, like other small island nations hindered by inadequate resources and other constraints, appreciated the value of the regional approach to problem-solving. He called for collaboration between the United Nations and such regional organizations as the Pacific Island Forum secretariat to deal with development challenges and problems facing small States.
ISAAC C. LAMBA (Malawi) noted the Secretary-General’s observation that the world was nowhere near attaining the Millennium Development Goals two years after their adoption. The pace of implementation was clearly too slow and drastic action and stronger efforts were needed to fast-track implementation.
On HIV/AIDS, he said the pandemic continued to undermine the limited success so far registered on the socio-economic front. By impacting young men and women, it was destroying the very core of poor nations’ productive capacity. He urged Member States to recognize HIV/AIDS as not only a health or development issue, but also as a security issue for all countries. The issue of poverty reduction was so close to the heart of most domestic programmes of economic development that the goal of halving the number of people surviving on less than a dollar per day by 2015 was crucial to the developing world.
He appealed to the developed nations and the WTO to create a more conducive environment for the promotion of free trade so that developing countries’ products could compete on international markets. In an era of increasing globalization and “donor fatigue”, trade remained the only hope of progress for poor countries. He called not only for “soft loans” to developing countries, but for complete cancellation of their debts.
Instead, he argued, developed nations should concentrate on grants and foreign direct investment and increased ODA, to the agreed level of 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product. He also called on the developed world to contribute “without further procrastination and unconditionally” to the vision and goals of NEPAD. “We in Africa believe that through NEPAD the continent will be able to overcome under-development and poverty; but we need massive external support from our partners in order to reach that goal and translate this noble vision into practical reality.”
ISMAEL A. GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) said his country’s experience of the suffering of war had led to the stated objective of contributing to peace and security in the world. Within the past year alone, the United Nations had undertaken further peacekeeping and peace-building missions, and it was important to acknowledge that successful missions and initiatives could be traced back to one fundamental ingredient -– the commitment of Member States to help the Organization implement collectively agreed courses of action.
On the humanitarian front, he reiterated that donor response to United Nations consolidated appeals remained unsatisfactory. Commenting that the failure to support humanitarian crisis situations undermined the fulfillment of the United Nations mandate, he noted that in respect of his own country, the establishment of lasting peace depended on the continued commitment of the international community.
Commending the advances made in the fight against terrorism, he urged completion of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The lack of progress on disarmament, particularly in relation to the prevention of an arms race is outer space and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, was regrettable. Finally, the Millennium goals represented a road map to sustainable development in the age of globalization. While every country remained responsible for establishing an environment conducive to its development, the interdependence of today’s concert of nations called for mutual support and concerted action.
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