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STATEMENT BY

H.E. SHEIKHA HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY

"THE UNITED NATIONS: OUR SHARED RESPONSIBILITY TO ADDRESS HUMANITY'S GLOBAL CHALLENGES"

AT A HEARING WITH

THE ITALIAN SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND MIGRATION

PALAZZO MADAMA
ROME, ITALY
27 FEBRUARY 2007

Eccellenze,
Senatori distinti;

Eccellenze,
Senatori distinti;

It is indeed an honor and a privilege to be invited to address the 3rd Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Emigration, in the distinguished Palazzo Madama.

I would particularly like to thank the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Lamberto Dini.

Allow me at the outset to inform you that i visited the UN Logistics Base in Brindisi yesterday, which left me with extremely positive impressions. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the Italian government for supporting and hosting these operations and to the base officials in brendisi.

The base is a testament to Italy's commitment to multilateralism and the work of the United Nations.

Distinguished Senators;

Today, I would like to talk to you about our shared responsibility to address humanity's global challenges

The United Nations was created to end wars between nations by replacing bombs and bullets with cooperation and compromise.

It represented the burning hope of a generation for a better world.

If we had not had the wisdom to conceive of the United Nations then, we would be trying to invent it now.

Multilateralism is essential to globalisation, and the United Nations is the heart of multilateralism.

For all our successes and failures during the past 60 years, the United Nations has served us well and achieved much.

It has played a unique role in delivering a global consensus to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

In the past 20 years, over 400 million people have been lifted out of absolute poverty - equivalent almost to the total population of the EU.

It has increased its peace-keeping operations from five in the late 1980s to over twenty today. This has been a major factor in the reduction of armed conflict.

Yesterday, I visited the United Nations logistics base in Brindisi. I would like to recognize its unique contribution to UN peacekeeping missions.

Progress on global development, peace and security would not have been possible without the support and expertise of the Republic of Italy.

Your commitment to multilateralism and poverty reduction is an acknowledgement that these issues are central to our global economic stability and prosperity.

Distinguished Senators,

The world we now live in now is very different from the world of the post-war years. Things have changed.

Many conflicts are not between states, but within states.

Terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction threaten us all.

Climate change threatens to undermine development hitting hardest those countries least responsible.

As water becomes scarce, so securing its supply will become increasingly important.

Global health crises - HIV/AIDS and bird flu - represent new threats.

And, huge variations in wealth are giving rise to global inequality.

From the devastation of Europe after the war, the EU is now the world's largest donor and its largest trader.

And, new powers are emerging - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa - challenging the old status quo.

Information technologies allow traumatic events in one part of the globe to be beamed into our living rooms within hours.

We are daily witnesses to the suffering of our fellow human beings.

All this means that the structures we created after the 2nd World War are not able to cope as best they might.

Distinguished Senators;

At the World Summit in New York in 2005, Heads of States and government set out a vision of a more coherent, more effective United Nations able to rise to these challenges.

Since the Summit we have had a clear roadmap for reform, and we have made concrete progress.

A dedicated institutional mechanism - the Peacebuilding Commission and Fund - has been established to address the special needs of countries emerging from conflict.

The new Human Rights Council is functioning; the Central Emergency Revolving Fund is operational; and the Economic and Social Council is being strengthened.

As part of the revitalization of the General Assembly I have also initiated three thematic debates, involving NGOs, academics and the private sector;

Distinguished Senators,

As President of the General Assembly, I am also working closely with Member States on several outstanding reforms from the 2005 World Summit, most notably, reform of the Security Council and environmental governance.

It is apparent that there is no consensus on the various formulas that have previously been put forward to reform the Security Council.

However, there is agreement that reform is essential to make its decisions more legitimate and to better reflect geopolitical realities.

I have recently established a fresh series of consultation on Security Council reform. The key issues have been grouped into clusters, each lead by a Facilitator on my behalf.

I am confident that these consultations will pinpoint areas of agreement, and illuminate potential compromises to provide the 'building blocks' for a negotiated outcome.

On environmental governance we can no longer refute the scientific evidence: climate change threatens the development goals for millions of the world's poorest people.

We have waited too long and we have lacked coordination in our efforts to get to grips with the problem.

We need clear objectives and strong ecological governance at the global level, a concept that continues to elude us.

We must agree on a strategy that reflects our shared concern to ensure that the requirements of economic growth take environmental and social considerations fully into account.

I am consulting Member States on how to improve and strengthen the institutional framework of the UN's environmental activities.

By reaching consensus on these important reforms we have the opportunity to make a real difference. The support of Italy and the EU will be vital.

Distinguished Senators,

Out of the ashes of the Second World War came a clear vision of what a better world would look like.

Over sixty years later, we're still trying to build that world. Our very survival depends on us doing this together.

But the means by which we seek to achieve this are going to have to change, just as the world has changed.

It is our shared responsibility to strengthen and reform, the institutions that are our only, and best hope, of building that world.

Only then will we have done our duty.

Only then will we be able to pass our world on safely and securely to the generation that will come after us.

Thank you very much.