Fifty-seventh General Assembly
24th and 25th Meetings (AM & PM)
FOCUS ON CONFLICT PREVENTION AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES DEBATE ON WORK
OF ORGANIZATION AND FOLLOW-UP TO MILLENNIUM SUMMIT
As the General Assembly continued its consideration of the Secretary-General’s reports on the follow-up to the Millennium Summit and the work of the Organization, many Member States focused today on the need to strengthen efforts for conflict prevention throughout the world.
The representative of Switzerland said that efforts by the United Nations would be better concentrated on suppressing the causes of conflict and preventing it, than on dealing with its consequences. Seconding that view, Colombia’s representative expressed his country’s support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to move the United Nations from a culture of reaction to one of conflict prevention, and reaffirmed that prevention could do the most to guarantee peace and security.
Many delegations also praised the Organization’s increased rapid deployment capacity and its efforts to improve the planning and management of peacekeeping operations. Yet, they expressed concern over the continued need for contributions of human as well as financial resources. The representative of India noted that developed countries seemed reluctant to contribute to peacekeeping operations in Africa, but not in Europe.
Guinea’s representative exhorted major troop-contributing States to continue their efforts to avoid compromising the efficacy of peacekeeping missions. The representative of Bangladesh reminded the Assembly that Member States bore the burden of doing everything possible to make the Organization more efficacious. In that respect, each State’s capacity to contribute should be identified, with those that were better endowed assuming a greater share.
Also of concern was the lack of sufficient progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, such as the effort to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS, particularly in Africa. Japan’s representative remarked that as public health was critical for the development of poor countries, investment in the health sector was a means of improving health conditions and achieving the Millennium Development Goals with respect to poverty reduction.
Botswana’s representative said that despite the involvement of the United Nations, the donor community and other partners in providing resources for the fight against the disease, resources were still inadequate to satisfactorily fund the response to HIV/AIDS. Much more must be done if the goal of halting and
reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases was to be achieved by 2015, he emphasized.
Also today, the Assembly, acting on the recommendation of the General Committee, decided to include in its current agenda an additional sub-item, entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of South-East Asian Nations”, under item 22 and to consider it directly in plenary session.
Other speakers today were the representatives of Croatia, Republic of Korea, Nauru, Kenya, Tunisia, Cyprus, Libya, Venezuela, Kuwait, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, United States, Fiji (on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Myanmar, Mongolia, Jamaica, Uruguay and Lesotho.
The Assembly will meet again to conclude it consideration at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday 8 October.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue 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.)
Also this morning, the General Assembly would consider the second report of the General Committee (document A/51/250/Add.1), which recommends that the Assembly include “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of South-East Asian Nations” in the agenda as a sub-item of agenda item 22 and consider it directly in plenary session.
KOICHI HARAGUCHI (Japan) said that preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means for delivering them had become a task of the greatest urgency in the maintenance of international peace and security, as those weapons posed a particularly grave threat when used for terrorism. On Iraq, the Security Council should seek to adopt appropriate and necessary resolutions in order to gain international cooperation in resolving the situation. Also of concern were the situation on the Korean Peninsula, that between India and Pakistan, the progress of peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan, and the situations in the Middle East and Africa.
There was a clear causal link between development and peace and security, he said, and development also had much to do with enhancing human security. Within the East Asian region, significant development had been achieved through vigorous investment sustained by high savings and the availability of highly skilled human capital. The dedication of people with low incomes to realizing a better future had played a major role in achieving that success. Moreover, development should be pursued in a sustainable manner. As public health was critical for the development of poor countries, investment in the health sector was a means of improving health conditions and achieving the Millennium Development Goals with respect to poverty reduction.
Emphasizing the need to strengthen the United Nations, he said the Organization should establish work programmes and formulate budgets in accordance with the priorities defined by the Millennium Declaration and global conferences. Also, as the debate on Security Council reform entered its tenth year, the discussion should be focused on the number of seats in an enlarged Security Council, he added.
IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said that United Nations activities should be realigned with the Millennium Development Goals and the outcome of major international conferences, adding that the time had come for implementation and tangible results. Until now, progress in meeting the Goals had been too slow and uneven. Most countries still had a chance to meet the Goals in the remaining
13 years but they could not do it alone. It was necessary to build on Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg to achieve the Goals and to make globalization work for all. To that end, it was necessary to encourage the building of partnerships at the global, national and regional levels, and to include the private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A strong sense of ownership by countries fighting for their development was key to success.
To accomplish the difficult tasks ahead, the United Nations must work together, he said. Coherent and efficient policies, which could only be achieved by constantly improving coordination among the Organization's main bodies, agencies, funds and programmes, were of utmost significance. To that end, the further strengthening of the Assembly and enhancement of the Economic and Social Council were of interest to all. The spring meeting of the Council with the Bretton Woods institutions and World Trade Organization (WTO) should become a forum for taking stock of what had been done and setting new policies.
Special attention should also be devoted to the countries emerging from conflict, he said. There was an urgent need to bridge the gap between humanitarian and developmental aid as well as to ensure that post-conflict development was based on sound economic and social policies integrated into the developmental plans of the concerned country itself. To that end, the Economic and Social Council had adopted a resolution that provided for the establishment of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on African Countries Emerging from Conflict. It was now in the process of establishing such a group on Guinea-Bissau.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said that although the Millennium Declaration appeared to be a distant aspiration, experience had shown what could be achieved when concerted and united actions were undertaken to realize certain goals. Examples of that could be found in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.
Turning to terrorism and disarmament, he said the Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism would serve as a factor in the Organization’s readiness in the fight against terrorism. He urged a regional approach to disarmament and non-proliferation because a great deal could be accomplished when the specific concerns of a region were integrated into disarmament efforts.
Regarding development issues, he stressed the importance of United Nations development initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals, saying it was time for the international community to work together, in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue, to attain tangible progress. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was a welcome action in the field of African development and information and communication technologies (ICT) should become a priority in all development strategies. He also underlined the urgent need for international cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS, a commitment that had been made in the Millennium Declaration.
VINCI N. CLODUMAR (Nauru) said that his country, and most, if not all other Pacific island nations had done all that was necessary to keep the subregion safe from nuclear weapons, weapons of mass destruction and toxic waste by ratifying the relevant regional and international instruments. It was regrettable, however, that the States possessing nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction had ignored the many calls to respect the island nations’ desires.
Noting that the problem may well be one of “attitude”, he said that some of those weapon-States considered themselves the “good guys” that should not be pestered with such commitments, whereas those they classified as either “bad” or “evil” should. Those same weapon-States considered the safety and security of their own countries and people as paramount, at the expense of neighbouring regions and peoples. The development of “star-wars” weapons could only reinforce such thinking, he added.
He said that his country had been quick to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, even though it had no direct relevance for Nauru. Nonetheless, it had acted in the belief that Court would provide a mechanism against impunity in regions of conflict, and thereby contribute towards the undertakings of Chapters I and II of the Millennium Declaration. It was regrettable to see those States that had expressed reservations about the Court bent on making the institution impotent, he said.
BOB JALANG’O (Kenya) said that developing countries continued to carry a heavy debt burden, and that debt service obligations as well as declining ODA had resulted in a net outflow of financial resources to the developed World. That had impacted negatively on their ability to provide essential services in education and health, hindering the achievement of targets in those critical social sectors.
He said the era of multilateral trade arrangements had been to the disadvantage of most developing countries. Developed-country markets remained inaccessible to the products of developing countries due to tariff and non-tariff barriers, including subsidies. In addition, the prices of primary commodities, a major export of developing countries, continued to fetch lower prices in the world markets, inhibiting their ability to finance their own development.
Regarding NEPAD, he said that in order for its objectives to become a reality, it needed unfailing commitment and support by Africans themselves and by the international community. Africa had the capacity to resolve the conflicts that had continued to reverse developmental gains on the continent. Those conflicts in turn contributed to the proliferation of small arms in the region.
Concluding, he said, it was evident that the Millennium goals may not be achievable at the present rate of implementation and that a much larger effort was needed on the part of all actors to mobilize financial resources.
NOUREDDINE MEJDOUB (Tunisia), stressing that Member States bore responsibility for the slow progress toward the achievement of the Millennium goals, said that the recipe for achieving them remained the same: a global approach, a coordinated strategy, mobilizing the will and necessary resources, and strengthening the lead role of the United Nations. He called for a binding international code of conduct to unite all parties, in that respect.
While the United Nations had made progress in the field of peace and security, he said, further improvement was needed. The Security Council should treat all conflicts on an equal basis and with the required diligence. It should retain collective responsibility for the resolution of the Iraq question as well as the situation in the Middle East. Moreover, the counter-terrorism strategy should be fine-tuned.
Progress had been most limited in the area of development and poverty eradication, he noted, adding that his country had proposed the creation of a World Solidarity Fund for the eradication of poverty. To meet the particular needs of Africa, the international community’s efforts must be redoubled and international assistance should respond to African priorities and not be tied to preconditions unrelated to the real state of affairs in the region. Moreover, coordination and consultation with regional and subregional African organizations should be reinforced, he said.
V.K. NAMBIAR (India) said that the underlying causes of the situation in South Asia were cross-border terrorism and the unwillingness of the concerned establishments to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, which they had nurtured over nearly two decades. When those causes were addressed, the nation-building interests of the sub-continent’s peoples would be realized and the problem areas in the relationships between its countries could be resolved.
He expressed concern that the artificial nuclear scare in the region a few months ago, caused by efforts to sidetrack the critical issues had precipitated a Phase III emergency or security alert covering United Nations personnel in India. That development provided a telling insight into the political judgement and evaluative capacities of the United Nations Secretariat at senior levels of the political and security divisions. On a related matter, he said India had been consistently and totally committed to the cause of United Nations peacekeeping and had contributed significantly to such efforts. However, developed countries seemed reluctant to contribute to peacekeeping operations in Africa, but not in Europe. That gap had to be addressed, he stressed.
Regarding the emphasis of the Secretary-General’s report on international conventions, legal frameworks and world conferences in assessing the implementation of the Millennium Declaration’s human rights, democracy and good governance commitments, he said that approach contributed little to any durable culture of human rights. Further, the report ignored the fact that usurpation of power by the military and its perpetuation through legal frameworks had an impact in that regard.
He stressed that the Millennium goals had emerged out of a global compact, saying there was a need for country-level reporting by developed countries on official development assistance (ODA), debt relief and market access. He also expressed appreciation for the continuous efforts of the United Nations system to respond to humanitarian crises, particularly in Afghanistan, calling for that momentum to be maintained.
LEUTLWETSE MMUALEFE (Botswana) noting that the challenges facing humanity were as varied as they were complex, requiring concerted individual and global responses, said there was no better place to start than the United Nations, the only institution that could effectively foster partnership, cooperation and multilateralism. The challenges facing developing countries, particularly Africa, were even more daunting. The statistical analysis in the Secretary-General’s report painted a grim picture of Africa’s performance with respect to various indicators compared to other regions, where improvements had been registered. However, there was no room for despair and recent efforts by the United Nations and the international community gave much hope that the challenges facing the continent could be successfully addressed.
He said the HIV/AIDS pandemic had had very serious implications for economic and social progress in the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where there was very little capacity to deal with the problem owing to limited resources. That situation required more broad-based global approaches. Despite the involvement of the United Nations, the donor community and other partners in providing resources for the fight against the disease, resources were still inadequate to fund satisfactorily the response to HIV/AIDS. Much more must be done if the goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases by the year 2015 was to be achieved, he emphasized.
CONSTANTINE MOUSHOUTAS (Cyprus), agreeing with the Secretary-General that the need for a multilateral institution had never been more acutely felt than it was today, also concurred on the need for more changes in the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Department of Public Information. He called for the creation of an Office for the Global Compact, and for changes in the planning and servicing of meetings. Enhancing public information through special United Nations programmes and meaningful messages would be especially useful in strengthening the good relationship existing between the Organization, diplomatic personnel and the Host Country.
He welcomed the progress made in enhancing the transparency of working methods in the Security Council and expressed the hope that the efforts of the Open-Ended Working Group on the increase in its membership would finally be agreed upon.
However, he noted that the proliferation of meetings, official documents and reports were a source of problems for the general membership, especially the small delegations. Cyprus supported the rationalization of the Assembly’s agenda provided that the new agenda served the interests and needs of the whole international community. Of special concern was the Secretary-General’s assessment that movement was too slow on all the broad objectives. The international community owed it to itself and to the credibility of the Organization to move faster in implementing the Millennium Declaration.
JUMA AMER (Libya) said that the positive developments reflected in the Secretary-General's report indicated clearly that there were ways to bring about peace in areas still suffering from conflict. Hopefully, continued efforts would also take into account increased levels of poverty, the spread of diseases, environmental degradation, and the Security Council's inability to deal with certain situations.
Regarding terrorism, he said his country had acceded to all the relevant international instruments and submitted its report in compliance with Council resolution 1373 (2001). The struggle against terrorism required concerted action and could not be eradicated by individual actions, he emphasized, cautioning against linking the phenomenon to one country or culture. A special session on combating terrorism was necessary, which should also agree on a definition of terrorism and separate it from legitimate struggles for independence, he added.
Welcoming the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in the area of conflict prevention and resolution, he expressed particular pleasure with the pledges made during the Assembly’s high-level meeting on NEPAD. Everyone must cooperate to bring about the success of that initiative, which was African-owned and led. On sanctions, he noted that the Secretary-General had underlined that targeted sanctions could contribute to preventive diplomacy, but warned against resorting to such measures merely as a means of punishment.
MAMADY TRAORE (Guinea), acknowledging that the question of peace and security had been a priority in the Organization’s work, said that in order to further the consolidation of peace, it was essential to adopt a global and integrated approach, acting simultaneously on the political, military, humanitarian and economic fronts. Though a number of challenges must still be met, significant advances in managing conflict had resulted from improvements made to the capacity for rapid deployment, training and the integrated planning of operations. Major troop-contributing States should continue their efforts so that the efficacy of peacekeeping missions was not compromised.
The serious humanitarian consequences stemming from armed conflict and natural disasters needed more attention, he said. In the protection of civilians -- the heart of intervention in complex emergencies -- difficulties of access to displaced populations, non-respect for humanitarian rights and principles, and insufficient financial resources had been encountered. Urging the provision of adequate resources for emergency actions, he welcomed the creation of an autonomous coordinator for the security of personnel.
He said that another challenge was the eradication of poverty, which was often the root cause of instability. In that connection, the attention given to settling crises should go hand in hand with efforts to fight poverty. It was essential to honour the commitments made at international conferences in order to realize concrete solutions to problems of development, particularly in Africa.
LOUISA PEREZ CONTRERAS (Venezuela), noting that major objectives as the reduction of poverty, infant mortality and malnutrition, and protection of the environment had been set for 2015, expressed satisfaction that no new bodies would be created to realize the Millennium goals. However, there was a need for greater coordination among the principal organs of the United Nations in achieving those goals and the Secretary-General’s “Guide for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration” provided the necessary methodological framework.
She stressed the important role of South-South cooperation in the pursuit of those goals, noting that strategic multilateral alliances among States and the Bretton Woods institutions would contribute to the development and well-being of nations generally. Funds released from military budgets should be spent for development purposes, she added.
Expressing satisfaction with the Secretary-General’s report on the work of the United Nations, she said reform of the Organization must result in its comprehensive revitalization. She urged the use of multilateralism as a permanent instrument to build global unity and resolve differences among nations.
MOHAMMAD A. ABULHASAN (Kuwait), while commending the Secretariat’s decision to merge the debates on the outcome of the Millennium Declaration and the work of the Organization, said he had hoped that only one report covering both issues would have been submitted. No one would have objected to that positive approach since it would have reduced the burden on both Member States and the Secretariat. In light of the large number of important reports submitted by the Secretary-General, they could not all elicit the same amount of interest by Member States.
On the two reports before the Assembly, he supported the Secretary-General’s opening statement concerning the pivotal role of United Nations in the area of maintaining international peace and security. However, an important question was how the Secretary-General could reconcile that principle with some of the thorny issues before the United Nations. Regarding Iraq and Kuwait, he supported the position on prisoners of war and the return of Kuwaiti property, but found it difficult to understand the Secretariat’s insistence on using the term “missing” with respect to prisoners of war.
In addition, he noted that the Secretary-General’s report, when covering peacekeeping operations, did not mention the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM) and did not cover developments in the situation, particularly since Kuwait was voluntarily contributing two-thirds of the Mission’s budget.
LEA RAHOLINIRINA (Madagascar) said that the international community had accepted the collective responsibility to create a more just, prosperous and peaceful world, based primarily on the fight against poverty, conflict prevention and environmental protection. The scant progress achieved so far should move the international community from a posture of engagement to one of commitment. Regarding the creation of a culture of peace, Madagascar shared the view that it was more humane and less costly to prevent conflict than to manage its tragic consequences.
She said the international community must not lose sight of its responsibility to create a more just global environment by reducing the inequalities between States, which contributed to political instability. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) had predicted an increase in the number of people living in extreme poverty in Africa if current trends continued. Yet, if of ODA was supplemented by a fraction of the funds now spent for military purposes, all the Millennium goals could be met.
Africa was the continent most affected by poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, she said, noting its need for international solidarity to rescue it from abject poverty. Developing countries preferred trade to aid, and solidarity to charity. The numerous challenges of achieving them could be overcome by political will, adequate resources, a coordinated strategy and appropriate coordination at all levels, she added.
MOHAMMED AL TAIEEB (Saudi Arabia) paid tribute to the realism of the Secretary-General’s reports, saying that the main reason for the decline in the feeling of security was that many countries had given up their commitment to the principles and goals of the United Nations Charter and the rules of international legitimacy. It was also due to the fact that the international community had not stood up to those who acted outside international legitimacy. Events in the occupied Palestinian territories embodied policies of injustice and State terrorism, reflecting a lack of respect for the principles of the United Nations. Israel had rejected recently adopted Security Council resolutions calling for withdrawal of its forces to positions held prior to September 2000, he noted.
Pointing out that security was also declining due to the growth of terrorism, he said his country had continuously called for intensified efforts to combat it and had acceded to many international instruments in that regard. It was regrettable that the terrorist attacks of 11 September had generated a phenomenon no less dangerous -- that of spreading hostility against Arabs and Muslims. Some countries had taken up a hostile campaign against them as perpetrators of terrorism, he said, noting that Islam called for peace and tolerance. He called on the United Nations to confront that phenomenon, which was based on racism and xenophobia, and to promote a dialogue of peace among cultures.
JOAN PLAISTE (United States), pointing out that her country had led the world community in the vigorous pursuit of terrorists since last September, called on all States to continue or increase their commitment to the terms of Security Council resolution 1373 (2001) and ratify all United Nations conventions on
terrorism. On the issue of peace in the Middle East, she said the United States envisaged a comprehensive peace with two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders.
Turning to development matters, she said there was no simple blueprint for overcoming all economic and social obstacles impeding sustainable development. Greater success would be achieved once the emphasis remained on governance and social investment that enabled people and countries to become more productive, and on better measuring, monitoring and management of development results. Reminding delegates about her country’s Millennium Challenge Account to bridge the divide between poverty and wealth, she said more had to be done to combat hunger.
Regarding persistent instability and conflict, which had displaced civilians all over the world, especially women and children, she urged States to follow the example of the United States by ratifying the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child -- on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution, and Child Pornography.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHARY (Bangladesh) expressed the desire to see the Secretary-General’s reports made available six weeks in advance, saying that consideration should be given to compiling reports dealing with linked subjects. In the effort to build a more peaceful, prosperous and just world, it was important to remember that although the United Nations was the primary vehicle for achieving the Millennium goals, it could only do so much. Member States bore the burden of doing everything possible to make the Organization more efficacious. While the capacity of each nation should be identified, those States that were better endowed should assume a greater share, he added.
It was necessary to look beyond selfish and short-term interests into the realm of common global interests, he said. While some successes in promoting the goals had been concrete, others remained merely agreements on paper. Bangladesh had participated actively in international efforts, particularly peacekeeping, while pursuing an active development process at home.
He said that while development was a primarily national concern, the international community should provide the global background and enabling ambiance. The unfinished fight against terrorism, consolidating international peace and security, creating stability in Afghanistan, South Asia and Africa as well as bridging the growing gap between rich and poor countries, the widening digital divide and combating narcotics were, among the challenges that must be faced. As the primary institution for coordinating collective efforts, the United Nations must be strengthened and made more democratic, he stressed.
AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji), on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, noted that threats to international peace and security were no longer confined to areas of conflicts or crises, pointed out that the HIV/AIDS pandemic had also been identified as a security threat falling under the mandate of the Security Council.
He said that the quest by Member States to combat terrorism through the diplomatic process, by drafting appropriate international instruments, was hampered by political differences. However, the Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC), established by Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), was meeting with greater rapport from Member States. Political solutions to boost the fight against international terrorism were therefore an additional avenue that the Secretary-General should consider.
In that regard, he said, meeting the Millennium goals was a significant way of uprooting the adverse social, economic and human rights conditions in which terrorist tendencies flourished, and replacing them with a more enabling and empowering socio-economic environment.
JENO STAEHELIN (Switzerland) said that the Millennium Declaration reaffirmed the international community’s commitment to defend the principles of human dignity, equality and equity and its determination to establish a more peaceful, prosperous and fair world. Those objectives were a broadly recognized work tool for the international community, but some questions remained unresolved, particularly those regarding the establishment of a viable monitoring mechanism.
In order to achieve the Millennium objectives, coordination and collaboration between governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector required reinforcements, he said. Particular importance should be placed on reinforcing the integration of the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. The realization of those objectives would depend on the will to undertake all necessary measures within the scope of more humane and sustainable development.
The principle of sovereignty implied the responsibility of each State to protect its citizens and guarantee their fundamental rights and physical integrity, he added. Moreover, since a community was only as strong as the weakest of its members, efforts would be better concentrated on suppressing the causes of and preventing conflict, than on dealing with its consequences. Economic, social and political stability facilitated development and was, therefore, the surest path to preventing war and conflict.
BRUNO STAGNO (Costa Rica), pointed out the consequences of failing to achieve the goals, noting that the Secretary-General had sounded a note of alarm about what had been attained so far. In almost every area there was cause for disappointment because the actions of the international community had been inadequate. Given present performance, about 900 million people would continue to live in poverty by 2015. While millions continued to live on less than a dollar a day, the developed world continued to consume more than six times the resources in the developing world.
At the present rate, there would only be a 25 per cent reduction in infant mortality by 2015, he said. In Africa, the infant mortality rate had hardly varied owing to resurgent communicable diseases. HIV/AIDS, despite the commitment made in the Declaration, was still spreading and, in fact, the situation was worsening in Asia and Latin America. Tuberculosis was getting worse due to the emergence of highly resistant strains. There was not much progress in education either, as the enrollment of boys and girls still fell short of projected targets.
He said governmental institutions must be reformed to give priority to the eradication of poverty and that countries had to invest in the development of human resources if real progress were to be achieved. Only in that way would social justice be achieved. Countries also needed to develop and improve democratic institutions because democracy was indispensable to social justice. Stressing the need to fight corruption, he expressed the hope that the United Nations convention on corruption would soon come into existence.
To forge ahead, he said, the necessary resources must be made available at the international level. From that standpoint, it was discouraging to note the reduction in ODA. A trade and financial system that assisted the developing world had to be put in place. It was scandalous to see developed countries spending about $1 billion a day on agricultural subsidies, he said, calling on donor countries to provide between $40 and $60 billion annually to the developing world if the Millennium goals were to be attained.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), underscoring that everyone was preoccupied with the future of the United Nations at a time when efforts to meet the global development goals were seriously undercut by the recession afflicting the international economy, said it was important to recall the Organisation’s notable achievements since the Millennium Summit. Although the gap between the goals and actual performance so far underlined under-performance, it also underlined the unrealized potential of the United Nations. Insufficient progress in the field was not necessarily the fault of the United Nations, he added.
He said that the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation offered a vision and pointed to the road that must be travelled.
RASTAM M. ISA (Malaysia) said that the United Nations could not be dismissed as irrelevant when the very principles that all its members strove to uphold were being challenged. Hopefully, serious efforts would be made by the Security Council, particularly its permanent members, to ensure that all Member States complied with Council resolutions. The United Nations remained for many people the last hope for the peaceful resolution of conflict in the effort to maintain international peace and security.
The United Nations must also cater to the needs of its entire membership, particularly the majority group of developing countries, he stressed. The smaller Member States, especially those in the least developed category, should not feel that they were being sidelined but should expect to participate in the discussion of global issues and to make a meaningful contribution, irrespective of their size.
The work of the United Nations could not be divorced from efforts to achieve the Millennium goals, he noted. While there were opportunities for a rapid reduction of the extreme poverty in most developing countries, the lack of resources had to be seriously addressed to allow countries, particularly those in Africa, to achieve the poverty reduction goal by 2015. There was a clear and urgent need to close the gap in financial resources required for countries to attain the goals.
While domestic action was required of Member States, he said, it was necessary to continue to deliberate in the Assembly and other organs of the United Nations on ways to bring to fruition the goals set by the Millennium Summit. Hopefully, the Secretary-General would continue his efforts to ensure the Organization’s ability to respond effectively and efficiently in assisting Member States to achieve the goals.
MOHAMED BENNOUNA (Morocco), noting the efforts made to realize the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his June 2001 report on conflict prevention, said that the progress made at the United Nations for a rapid deployment capacity was significant, as were the restructuring and reinforcement of peacekeeping operations and the publication of a related handbook. Yet missions continued to suffer from a lack of sufficient staffing.
He said that each year, the report on the Organization’s work pointed out that a more stable world would grow out of increased development and the fight against poverty. By taking their destiny into their own hands, Africans had, by initiating NEPAD, taken a significant step forward on integrated development. Yet, in spite of the progress made, the international community was still far from achieving the goals it had set for reducing poverty, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. A mechanism to follow up international conferences was needed under the aegis of either the General Assembly or the Economic and Social Council.
On United Nations reform, he suggested that it might be useful to decide on the next Assembly session’s priorities in June, at the election of its president and cabinet. The Secretary-General should be encouraged to increase his activities in the field of conflict prevention and political mediation. Moreover, the Organization should redouble its efforts to assist African countries to resolve their differences peacefully and to concentrate on the path to economic development for the benefit of their peoples.
MADINA JARBUSSYNOVA (Kazakhstan) said that although talks on preventing an arms race in space had become deadlocked and although the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty had not yet entered into force, positive steps had been taken in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation. There had also been progress to make Central Asia a nuclear-weapons-free zone. A nuclear-weapons-free world would be consistent with the integrity and sustainability of the international non-proliferation regime.
Expressing her country's commitment to a peaceful, prosperous and just world, she said Kazakhstan supported United Nations efforts to ensure global stability and build equitable relations among States and peoples based on mutual respect and universal values. The United Nations had shown itself to be flexible enough to respond to the world's various needs, agreeing with the Secretary-General that the multilateral approach would lead to progress globally.
Welcoming plans for the International Ministerial Meeting on Transit and Transport Cooperation, to be held in Kazakhstan in 2003, she said the conference would be the first legitimate forum where high-level officials from landlocked countries, transit developing countries, donor States and international financial and development institutions would have an opportunity to develop appropriate policy measures and action-oriented programmes aimed at creating efficient transit transport systems.
VALERIY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine), speaking on behalf of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova (GUUAM), drew attention to the problem of the so-called "frozen" conflicts, which had been left unresolved in newly independent States, emerging after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The international community could not turn a blind eye to the lack of progress in settling conflicts in Abkhazia, Nagorny-Karabakh and Transdnistria. He was most concerned with the lack of progress in Abkhazia, Georgia.
Despite the hope that had emerged after the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Georgia and the Security Council had endorsed the paper on "Basic principles for the Distribution of Constitutional Competencies between Tbilisi and Sokhumi", aimed at facilitating the political negotiations under the leadership of the United Nations, the Abkhaz side continued to brazenly refuse to accept the paper. He strongly urged the Abkhaz side to engage in constructive negotiations on the substance of the document. The settlement of that issue would greatly facilitate solutions to many other problems, including the improvement of the security situation, the return of 300,000 refugees and internally displaced persons and economic rehabilitation.
He strongly emphasised the need to develop a comprehensive strategy of conflict prevention within the United Nations, which could take full advantage of mechanisms such as preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment and preventive peace-building. The establishment, where appropriate, of regional centres of conflict prevention would enhance the Organisation’s capacity to monitor and assess existing and potential trouble spots in the world.
U KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar) said that the Secretary-General’s report on the Work of the Organization had underscored once again that there was little international cooperation in multilateral forums on disarmament, despite the commitment by world leaders in the Millennium Declaration to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. Myanmar was distressed by the fact that multilateral negotiations on almost all fronts –- nuclear disarmament, a treaty on fissile materials and efforts to prevent an arms race in outer space –- remained deadlocked.
Stressing the critical importance of multilateral cooperation on that issue, on which the very future of mankind depended, he called upon the Conference on Disarmament to establish, on a priority basis, an ad hoc committee to deal with nuclear disarmament and to begin negotiations for a phased programme of nuclear disarmament.
On another subject, he emphasized faster economic growth was the major driving force to alleviate poverty, adding that eradicating poverty must remain a central priority for the United Nations system. He also welcomed the creation of NEPAD, describing it as a highly significant initiative that could make a difference for the region’s people. Myanmar shared the view that NEPAD deserved the strong support of the international community.
J. ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said that it was noteworthy that the United Nations, with strong support from Member States, had been able to make considerable progress in improving its rapid deployment capacity. Thanks to firm commitment to the principles and practice of multilateralism, the Organization had been able to cope with the extraordinary challenges to international security. It had mobilized the world community in the struggle against terrorism, while successfully carrying out its mandate in the vast domain of human activities, such as strengthening peace and security, meeting humanitarian commitments, fostering cooperation for development and promoting human rights.
Subscribing fully to the concept of human security, Myanmar saw it as an important factor of sustainable human development, he said, adding that the country’s Government was presently working on the implementation of its national programme on "Good Governance for Human Security", adopted almost two years ago. The programme aimed to facilitate policy focus, coherence and sustainability of the overall development strategy, including poverty reduction. As a landlocked developing country, Mongolia attached special importance to United Nations activities to guarantee a more just distribution of the benefits of globalization among States, providing equal opportunities in international trade and access to international markets and financial resources for economic development.
STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica) said that the agenda for reform, as outlined in the Secretary-General's report on the work of the Organization, indicated the need to respond to emerging new needs. The past year had seen new challenges posed by terrorism and fresh outbreaks of violence in the Middle East. But despite the many challenges facing the world community, progress had been made. There had been increased activity by the United Nations to meet many humanitarian needs. The international legal framework had advanced as well with the establishment of the International Criminal Court and peace had also been promoted in many areas.
He said there had also been notable development achievements, including the Doha conference on trade, the Monterrey Conference on financing for development and the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Those conferences had achieved consensus on a number of undertakings and the task at hand now was to bring about the appropriate follow-up and implementation.
Similarly to the way in which the global community had been provided with a road map to achieve the Millennium goals, there should be a continuous review of steps towards realizing development goals, he said. Though not easy to achieve, the Millennium goals were nevertheless attainable. The fact that efforts to achieve them were falling short in most regions should serve as a stimulus for greater effort, especially towards making more resources available.
FELIPE H. PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said the General Assembly should focus on seeking mechanisms for the effective implementation of those objectives, through multilateral means, rather than on producing resolutions and declarations. Agreeing that United Nations reform was necessary to achieve greater effectiveness in both function and results, he warned that care was needed to ensure that reform of the Security Council did not make it less effective and democratic than it already was. Some proposals seeking to increase the number of Council members with a right of veto would clearly lead to that result.
He said the Assembly would not recover its authority if it did not address the issues of streamlining its agenda, identifying its priorities, clearly determining what type of message it wished to send to governments and peoples and changing its cumbersome style of negotiation, which required an enormous investment in time, energy and dedication to obtain watered-down results.
LEBOHANG K. MOLEKO (Lesotho), agreeing with the Secretary-General that the only solution to the political, economic, environmental and technological challenges of the interconnected world was a common effort on behalf of all nations, said that problems like global warming, poverty, HIV/AIDS and terrorism could only be eliminated by multilateral action. Only through unified action had success been achieved in Afghanistan.
Describing the General Assembly as the weakest of the United Nations three pillars although it was the one organ in which all nations had an equal say, he called for its strengthening. Much had been achieved in the reform of the Secretariat and the United Nations must now apply itself to reforming the Security Council into a body that was more accountable, proactive and rapid in reacting to situations affecting international peace and security.
He said Africans had taken a decisive step in transforming the Organization of African Unity into the African Union. NEPAD would identify goals to fight problems such as civil conflict and disease. Such regional efforts must be supported by concrete action by the United Nations.
In Lesotho, he said, a concrete plan of action had been launched to achieve education for all by 2015. The Government had taken steps to target those segments of society that previously had not seen the benefits of education. However, HIV/AIDS had had an impact on the teaching community, undermining government efforts.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia), supporting the Secretary-General’s efforts to move the United Nations from a culture of reaction to one of conflict prevention, said prevention could do the most to guarantee peace and security. In conflicts such as the one in Colombia, peace efforts had been stepped up in recent years and at the beginning of this year, negotiations had been concluded with some formerly outlawed groups. The government had worked hard to guarantee a peaceful solution to the conflict and had translated its international commitments into permanent action for the respect of human rights.
He said Colombia needed more cooperation and less criticism from the international community, and more action and less diagnosis in terms of providing alternatives to guarantee human rights for all Colombians and the return of internally displaced persons.
As objectives for development had been clearly delineated, it was now essential to implement them, he said. Actions must focus on the most vulnerable sections of society, such as the aged, children, women and the handicapped. Equally important problems such as the spread of infectious diseases, particularly malaria and HIV/AIDS, seemed to worsen without any lasting solution in sight.
Finally, he said that the production and trafficking in illicit drugs and small arms and light weapons constituted a grave threat to human security in Colombia and that the fight against those two scourges would continue to head the list of security issues.
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