H. E. Mr. Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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MICHEÁL MARTIN, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ireland, said the United Nations was an indispensable framework for realizing the potential of the international community. Global challenges such as climate change, economic turbulence, spiralling food and energy prices, HIV/AIDS and terrorism, were confronting us all. All countries had witnessed the potential fall-out from the current financial crisis, but had failed, as yet, to reach an agreement on a balanced world trade deal. Rising fuel prices and climate change had exacted a singular toll on the world’s most vulnerable and poor. More than halfway to 2015, the international community had not made enough headway towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
Pledging Ireland’s support for United Nations reform, he said, most recently, his Government had been pleased to work closely with the United Republic of Tanzania to facilitate consultations on greater system-wide coherence. Moving forward with the reform agenda, of course, did not mean losing sight of the real strengths and achievements of the United Nations, especially in peacekeeping. As the world evolved, so would our approach to peacekeeping. Regional organizations, such as the European Union, could and should be expected to play an increasingly prominent role in undertaking Security Council-mandated operations, noting that the EUFOR (European Union-led force) efforts in Chad, was under the leadership of Irish Lieutenant General Pat Nash.
As for Ireland, he emphasized that it no longer needed to build peace at home, but was working towards securing and underpinning it for generations to come. Ireland’s history made it particularly conscious of the huge human cost of conflict, and the moral obligation to prevent and resolve it. Thanking the international community for its role in peacebuilding in Ireland, he said anchoring the peace process was a central partnership between the British and Irish Governments. Ireland had also established a Conflict Resolution Unit to complement the work of others, especially the United Nations.
On disarmament, he said Ireland was committed to creating a secure and stable world through effective arms control and disarmament, and the elimination of nuclear weapons. He pointed out that Ireland had hosted the Diplomatic Conference that had delivered the Cluster Munitions Convention this past May, an agreement to end the production and use of those instruments of war. Establishing peace also meant improving the United Nations capacity to tackle human rights abuses effectively, by ensuring a strong and vigilant Human Rights Council. In that regard, Ireland was supportive of the International Criminal Court and its mandate.
Noting that Ireland was the sixth largest aid donor to development assistance in terms of gross national product, he said Ireland had established a Hunger Task Force to tackle the root causes of hunger, especially in Africa. To that end, he called for improving small-holder productivity in Africa, increasing focus on maternal and infant under-nutrition, and fully meeting the Millennium Development Goals.