H. E. Ms. Rita Kieber-Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs
29 September 2008
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RITA KIEBER-BECK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, pointed out that, although the United Nations was a unique tool that could be used to address global issues, it was bogged down in bureaucracy, inefficiency and political infighting. All that landed squarely on the shoulders of the Member States and it was now up to them to adapt the Organization to today’s challenges.
Addressing the “lopsided” budget of the Organization, she observed that core activities such conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance and economic development, among others, were subject to an artificial policy of “zero budget growth” and financed through voluntary contributions. Furthermore, peacekeeping bills to Member States were increasing. She called for a shift in focus, “from fighting fires to preventing their outbreak”, and at the same time commended the Secretary-General’s efforts to strengthen the conflict prevention and mediation capacities of the Organization.
She also noted that some the reforms initiated by the 2005 Summit had come to a complete halt, while others were mired in difficult negotiations. Not only did managerial, human resources and internal justice systems need to be addressed quickly, involvement by non-members of the Security Council in that body’s work needed to be enhanced to make it more legitimate and effective.
While Liechtenstein’s commitment to the rule of law had been a motivating principle to join the United Nations 18 years ago, the current practice of the Security Council on sanction listings and delisting, particularly in the area of counter-terrorism, was of troubling. If basic international standards of due process were not applied across the board, the Council ran the risk of being perceived as violating human rights standards. She also noted that the Council needed to continue exercising its powers under the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statue responsibly. It had taken a significant step by adopting resolution 1593 (2005) referring the situation in Darfur to the Court. Now the Council must stand by the Court’s efforts, especially “if we want to win the fight against impunity.”
She said that the “responsibility to protect”, a narrow concept to clearly define cases of genocide, war, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, was one of the most significant gains to emerge from the 2005 Summit Outcome. That principle promised to address recent failures, on several occasions, to uphold the Genocide Convention. If the conceptual clarity and consistent implementation of the principle were not ensured, then the goal of sovereign responsibility of States to protect their own populations, as well as the United Nations Charter, would be jeopardized.
She concluded with a call to delegations to tackle the global crises of climate change, food and energy shortage and a faltering international financial system, by recommitting to a common approach to the development agenda. A consensus of Financing for Development built on the Monterrey Consensus would require sacrifice and compromise from all Members. Furthermore, a strong General Assembly was needed, not one that was antagonistic to other organs of the United Nations, but a forum for meaningful discussions that led to clear decisions and successful implementation.