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H.E. Ms. Dora Bakoyannis, Minister for Foreign Affairs

27 September 2008

Statement Summary

DORA BAKOYANNIS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, said that the only way to tackle a threat was to “face it together”.  It was in ancient Greece that society had developed the ideals cherished by people around the world today, including democracy and individual rights.   Greece had not forgotten what fear felt like, and that was why it continued to work closely with all States, organizations and institutions to ensure that everyone could prosper.  The United Nations needed increased support from more Member States, especially when it came to efforts to develop and improve the lives of people.

Gross violations of human rights unfortunately persisted throughout the world, and Member States must redouble their efforts to reduce them, she continued.  The Human Rights Council could be a powerful force in that struggle, and Greece had decided to become a candidate for membership for the term beginning in 2012.  The United Nations must also strengthen efforts to alleviate the bitter poverty that still gripped many parts of the world.

It was necessary to increase trade for development, and her delegation regretted the lack of progress in the Doha round talks.  The progress achieved thus far in attaining the Millennium Development Goals was jeopardized by higher prices -– particularly of food and oil -– and the global economic slowdown.  Success in achieving the Goals would be judged primarily in Africa, she continued, and one way to help jump-start development on the continent was to involve women in the economy more extensively.

Providing women with entrepreneurial opportunities at local, national and regional levels would allow them to strengthen their role in society, increase their involvement in education, and ultimately allow them to play a more active part in decision-making.  She went on to say that another challenge facing the United Nations was climate change, which, if not addressed, threatened not only the Millennium Development Goals, but also the world’s economic and social stability.  It was necessary to achieve in 2009 a new, truly global climate agreement that had binding mitigation targets.  A much stronger effort regarding adaptation was also needed.

Noting challenges, including, among others, migration, human trafficking, terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she said such issues would require “the patience of Job to endure and the strength of Hercules to confront”.  As individual States, there was no hope of marshalling the strength to contemplate -– let alone battle -– the dangers the world faced.  But together, through the United Nations, States could find the resolve not only to confront the challenges, but also to subdue the threats that they posed for humankind.

[Source: GA/10757]


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