by H.E. Mr. Jan Kavan,
President of the Fifty-seventh Session of the General Assembly
New York, September 10, 2002
Mr. Secretary-General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
is a great honor and privilege for me to assume the Presidency
of the 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly today.
Let me thank you for the trust and confidence you extended to
my country and myself. I would like to assure you that I will
do my best to perform all my functions and tasks effectively
and with full understanding of the concerns of each Member State,
as well as for the interests of the United Nations Membership
as a whole.
the outset, let me express sincere gratitude to my most esteemed
predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Han Seung-soo, President of
the 56th Session of the General Assembly. Under his able leadership,
you have all made the previous Session successful in many areas.
I personally highly value the fact that under his guidance an
entirely new procedure of transition between General Assembly
presidencies was established. The newly adopted rules for election
of the President and the General Committee several months ahead
is an important achievement that will enable all future General
Assembly Presidents to assume their responsibilities in a smoother,
more organized and efficient way.
Czech Republic has always emphasized the indispensable role
the Organization plays in maintaining international peace and
security, enhancing economic, developmental and humanitarian
cooperation, and promoting respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms. Over the years, we have served the Organization in
many ways, working in various governing bodies in intergovernmental
processes and participating in development cooperation and peacekeeping
operations all over the world. I therefore assume the General
Assembly presidency with a great responsibility and commitment
to contribute, in my modest personal capacity, to further strengthening
the role of the United Nations.
me to share with you our priorities for the work of the 57th
session. As we now commemorate the tragic events of September
11, 2001, we must remain focused on the fight against international
terrorism and uphold our international coalition. The strengthening
of United Nations instruments, including the set of international
treaties combating terrorism, should be central to the efforts
of the international community. In this respect, I highly commend
the work of the Counter-Terrorism Committee that greatly contributed
to the implementation of the historic Security Council resolution
1373. On the part of the General Assembly, we still have an
important task to resolve. We lack the General Convention, including
the definition of international terrorism, and I strongly urge
Member States to proceed with their work in the Ad Hoc Working
Group of the Sixth Committee on this issue. I am ready to take
an active part in all UN efforts to combat international terrorism.
is also crucial to continue our work in the area of conflict
prevention. Recent experience suggests that certain conflicts
can be prevented through preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment
and preventive disarmament. The far-reaching recommendations
of the Secretary-Generals Report on Prevention of Armed
Conflicts serve as a guide to enhance the United Nations preventive
capacity and move from a culture of reaction to a culture of
prevention. Successful preventive strategies should include
accountability and good governance, respect for human rights,
promotion of social and economic development, as well as programs
aimed at disarmament, education, and gender equality.
necessity for an effective strategy for conflict prevention
is underlined by the number of existing conflicts troubling
today's world. One of the most protracted is the Middle East
conflict. The international efforts to bring peace to the area,
on both a bilateral and an international basis, intensified
in the past decade. The United Nations has been actively involved
in numerous efforts to resolve the conflict since its establishment,
most recently as one of the players in the Quartet initiative.
There is a growing hope that the Quartet has a necessary potential
to cool down the vicious spiral of violence and to bring new
prospects of peaceful settlement to the parties in the conflict.
During our deliberations at the General Assembly, I would like
to contribute, to the extent possible, to the existing efforts
to political resolution of this conflict.
issues of great importance I will follow closely are poverty
eradication, the fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic, and sustainable
development in the accelerating process of globalization. The
Millennium Summit was a remarkable milestone in our endeavour
to explore ways to achieve a more equal distribution of the
benefits of globalization. We believe that the 57th session
of the General Assembly is the session in which the implementation
of the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the
outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development should
be duly addressed.
Millennium Declaration laid out the set of development goals
that have been widely accepted as targets for development cooperation.
In Monterrey, substantial progress was achieved in the area
of financing for development, bringing a number of recommendations
to national governments, local authorities and international
institutions. The Monterrey Consensus itself gave us guidance
on how to change our work in the United Nations in order to
achieve better coherence and efficiency. We will also have to
improve cooperation between the General Assembly, ECOSOC and
the Main Committees.
57th session of the General Assembly will face the very important
and challenging task of preparing for the High-level Dialogue
in 2003 as a follow up to the Monterrey Consensus. Building
global partnerships for development is key to its success. During
my term of office, I will pay special attention to closer cooperation
between the United Nations and major stakeholders, namely the
World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade
Organization, as well as other multilateral institutions, representatives
of the private sector and civil society.
the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,
Governments reaffirmed their commitments to the achievement
of sustainable development. After lengthy and uneasy negotiations,
Governments endorsed the Plan of Implementation that contains
at least some specific targets, timetables and ways to alleviate
poverty and protect the environment. In addition more than 220
partnerships, representing USD 235 million in resources, were
introduced at the Summit in Johannesburg to complement the Government
am aware that the World Summit did not meet all the expectations
of all the people but I am confident that the compromise reached
will enable the United Nations to come up with mechanisms that
would be instrumental in timely implementation of the commitments
made in Johannesburg. As President of the General Assembly,
I will support an early follow-up to the World Summit for Sustainable
Development. My attention will also be focused on regional initiatives,
such as the New Partnership for Africas Development.
I am sure that there is no direct causal link between poverty
and terrorism, I am at the same time convinced that extreme
poverty is one of the important ingredients which combined with
some others, such as unresolved long term political conflicts,
could produce potentially an explosive cocktail. At the very
least it can lead to a feeling of powerlessness, frustration
and anger which can create a fertile ground for fundamentalist,
radical or even terrorist behavior. We therefore have to implement
the Millennium Development Goals and fight poverty not only
for moral and humanitarian reasons but also as an integral part
of the fight against terrorism and extreme intolerance of all
kinds, as part of our struggle for a stable, secure and more
just world. I am convinced that for anyone, who truly understands
the meaning of international solidarity, and let me stress that
we have in mind an ordinary human solidarity, fighting against
poverty and for human dignity is a task which has to be tackled.
There is no option of doing nothing or even doing less than
the past two months, I have had the opportunity to consult with
some of you on questions of UN reform. I have heard a clear
message we should make the work of the General Assembly
more dynamic, lively and efficient. I plan to build on the achievements
of my predecessors, President Harri Holkeri and President Han
Seung-soo, and continue the work on revitalization of the General
Assembly. I intend to hold panel discussions on issues of common
interest and informal consultations on items that require more
information and interactive dialog. In this regard, I rely on
your active involvement.
want to further improve the working methods of the General Assembly
by streamlining its agenda. In this regard, we have already
achieved some modest progress. For the first time ever, in a
close and effective cooperation with the Secretariat, a draft
Programme of Work for the entire main part of the 57th session
was provided to the Member States several weeks before the beginning
of this Session. In this Programme, items of the agenda have
been clustered, allowing for joint or consequent debate on inter-linked
issues. The support of Member States for this proposal could
help eliminate repetitive speeches and create better pre-conditions
for more complex consideration of inter-related and crosscutting
this connection, I would like to inform you about my strong
intention to fully utilize the time allocated for our meetings,
including the punctual start of our work. In chairing the meetings,
I am determined to adhere to the agreed time limits of speeches.
Also in this respect, I hope to gain your support and cooperation.
look forward to the outcome of the on-going work of the Secretariat
on enhancement of its effectiveness as part of the implementation
of the Road Map. I am convinced that this initiative combined
with the efforts on revitalization of the General Assembly could
result in more profound changes that would make the United Nations
the Chairman of the Open-ended Working Group on Security Council
Reform, I will do my utmost to facilitate discussion to bring
Member States closer to an agreement. I would like to reiterate
that a more representative Security Council reflecting the changed
realities of todays world should be in the interest of
all Member States.
Secretary-General, I would like to commend the assistance provided
so far to my Office and me from the Secretariat. Let me also
express my hope that this kind of constructive cooperation will
continue throughout the entire 57th session.
Secretary-General, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies
conclusion, allow me a brief reflection. We all come from different
parts of the world, bringing diverse backgrounds, skills, knowledge
and approaches. The diversity of our views and cultures makes
our discussions rich and powerful, sometimes even dramatic.
On the other hand, we all have a lot in common particularly
our desire to live in a peaceful and secure world where the
values and the principles expressed in the UN Charter are honored.
I would like to plead with all of you to work during the upcoming
session in a spirit of partnership and solidarity. Let open
discussion, mutual understanding and tolerance as well as constructive
cooperation govern our deliberations. I wish all of us a fruitful
and productive session.
you for your attention.