GENERAL ASSEMBLY INVITES STATES TO EXPAND ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE CULTURE OF PEACE AND TO OBSERVE ANNUAL DAY ON 21 SEPTEMBER

4 November 2002
GA/10094

GENERAL ASSEMBLY INVITES STATES TO EXPAND ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE CULTURE OF PEACE AND TO OBSERVE ANNUAL DAY ON 21 SEPTEMBER

04/11/2002
Press Release
GA/10094


Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Plenary

43rd Meeting (AM)


GENERAL ASSEMBLY INVITES STATES TO EXPAND ACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE CULTURE


OF PEACE AND TO OBSERVE ANNUAL DAY ON 21 SEPTEMBER


Also Takes Action on African Development; Discusses Decade to Roll

Back Malaria; Elects Members to Committee on Programme and Coordination


The General Assembly this morning invited Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on and expand their activities promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, and to observe 21 September each year as the International Day of Peace.


The Assembly took that action as it adopted, without a vote, a text on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010.  In doing so, it also emphasized the significance of the plenary meetings on the item planned for its sixtieth session, and encouraged participation at a high level.  It decided to consider, at an appropriate time, the possibility of organizing those meetings as close as possible to the general debate.  The text was introduced by Bangladesh.


The representative of El Salvador, on behalf of the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, said that as a result of the 11 September and other terrorist attacks, the international political situation had deteriorated and threatened global peace and security.  Therefore, efforts to consolidate a culture of peace were more crucial than ever.  Peace was multi-dimensional and called for efforts not only to achieve disarmament but to achieve true human development, resolve conflicts and to put an end to environmental degradation. 


In other action, the Assembly decided to bring the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) to a close and endorsed the recommendation of the Secretary-General that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, as decided by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its thirty-seventh ordinary session, held at Lusaka from 9 to 11 July 2001, should be the framework within which the international community, including the United Nations system, should concentrate its efforts for Africa’s development.


By further terms of the text, introduced by South Africa and adopted without a vote, the Assembly underscored the need for a structure in the United Nations Secretariat, at an appropriate level, which would review and report on support provided by the United Nations system and the international community for the New


Partnership, among other things.  In that context, it requested the Secretary-General to make proposals on the organization of such a structure within the framework of his proposals for the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005.


Also this morning, the representative of Guyana introduced a draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order, saying that the time had come for the international community to create an alternative vision of development.  A new global human order involved, among other things, a definitive solution to the debt problem, a new official development assistance policy, the mobilization of new resources, and the review of the role of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization.


The Assembly also discussed the Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa, 2001-2010.  Awareness-raising, said Togo's representative, was crucial in regions where Malaria was rampant.  Also essential was partnership, particularly between the countries of the North and the South, as well as the mobilization of financial resources.  He hoped that the international community would do everything to ensure that the Decade did not meet a similar fate as that of UN-NADAF.


At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly elected the following countries, on the nomination of the Economic and Social Council, to the Committee on Programme and Coordination for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2003: Benin, Central African Republic, South Africa, India, Armenia, Nicaragua, Monaco and Switzerland.  Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and the United Kingdom were re-elected to the Committee. 


The election of one member from the Western European and other States was postponed, as was action on a text on religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation. 


In addition, the Assembly began its consideration of information and communication technologies for development, with statements by the representatives of Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico and Brazil.


Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Russian Federation, Cyprus, Egypt, Pakistan and Senegal.  The observer of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta also made a statement.


In addition, the representatives of Israel and Egypt exercised their right of reply.


The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 November to conclude its consideration of information and communication technologies for development.  It will also begin its consideration of follow-up to the outcome of the twenty-sixth special session:  implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.


Background


The General Assembly met this morning to consider a number of issues.  First, it would take up the election of 20 members of the Committee for Programme and Coordination, for which it had before it a note by the Secretary-General (document A/57/428 and Add.1).  The Assembly is called on to elect 20 members, on the nomination of the Economic and Social Council, to fill the vacancies in the Committee that will occur on 31 December upon the expiration of the terms of office of Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Mauritania, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, San Marino, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. 


The vacancies are to be filled as follows:  four members from African States; four members from Asian States; three members from Eastern European States; four members from Latin American and Caribbean States; and five members from Western European and other States. 


The Economic and Social Council nominated the following States for three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2003:  African States (Benin, Central African Republic, Gabon and South Africa); Asian States (India, Indonesia, Iran and Pakistan); Eastern European States (Armenia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine); Latin American and Caribbean States (Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Nicaragua); and Western European and other States (Germany, Monaco, United Kingdom and Switzerland).  The Council postponed the nomination of one member from the Western European and other States.


The Assembly also had before it a report on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (A/57/186 and Add. 1), submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 56/5 of 5 November 2001.  The report consists of three main sections, covering implementation of the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace; the role of civil society; and communication and networking arrangements.  It is a contribution to the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session in 2005.  Member States are invited to further expand their activities promoting a culture of peace and non-violence at all levels.


According to the report, a coordinated effort should be made by mass media and specialized agencies to educate for a culture of peace.  Civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, should be invited to adopt a programme of activities.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) should continue to develop the communication and networking arrangements to provide updated information to promote a culture of peace.


Furthermore, the report lists activities undertaken by the by United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the University for Peace to help developing countries generate the resources and skills to promote a culture of peace and non-violence. These activities include education and fostering democratic participation.


On this item, the Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010 (document A/57/L.9/Rev.1) by whose terms the Assembly would emphasize the significance of the plenary meetings on the item planned for its sixtieth session, and in that regard would encourage participation at a high level and would decide to consider, at an appropriate time, the possibility of organizing those meetings as close as possible to the general debate.


The draft resolution would have the General Assembly invite Member States to continue to place greater emphasis on and expand their activities promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, in particular during the Decade, at the national, regional and international levels, and to ensure that peace and non-violence are fostered at all levels.  It would invite Member States as well as civil society, including NGOs, to provide information to the Secretary-General on the observance of the Decade and the activities undertaken to promote a culture of peace and non-violence.


Furthermore, the draft resolution would invite Member States to observe

21 September each year as the International Day of Peace, as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 55/282 of 7 September 2001.


Additionally, the General Assembly had before it another resolution on Religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation (document A/57/L.12), which would denounce acts of intolerance, discrimination, stereotyping, racial profiling, bigotry and hate-mongering in all forms, shapes and manifestations, those derogating a religion, projecting religious teachings incorrectly as advocating violence, desecrating religious sites and insulting revered religious personalities.


The resolution would urge States and the international community to protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, including through the provision of adequate education and the facilitation of their participation in all aspects of the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of society and in the economic progress and development of the country.


Moreover, the resolution would call upon States to exert utmost efforts, in accordance with their national legislation and in conformity with international human rights standards, to ensure that religious places, sites and shrines are fully respected and protected and to take additional measures in cases where they are vulnerable to desecration or destruction.  Finally, it would call upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote the implementation of the present Declaration and to continue to engage in a dialogue with governments for that purpose.


The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution, contained in the Report of the Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole for the Final Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (Part II) (document A/57/468/Add.1), which would decide to bring the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s to a close and endorse the recommendation of the Secretary-General that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), as decided by the Assembly of heads of State and government of the Organization of African Unity at its thirty-seventh ordinary session, held at Lusaka from 9 to 11 July 2001, should be the framework within which the international community, including the United Nations system, should concentrate its efforts for Africa’s development.


The resolution would urge the international community and the United Nations system to organize support for African countries in accordance with the principles, objectives and priorities of the New Partnership in the new spirit of partnership.  Moreover, it would underscore the need for a structure in the United Nations Secretariat in New York, at an appropriate level, which will review and report on support provided by the United Nations system and the international community for the New Partnership, and on the coordinated implementation of outcomes of summit meetings and conferences as they relate to Africa as well as to coordinate global advocacy in support of the New Partnership.  In this context, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to make proposals on the organization of such a structure within the framework of his proposals for the programme budget for the biennium 2004-2005.


Finally, the Assembly would thereby decide to include a single, comprehensive agenda item on the development of Africa, entitled “New Partnership for Africa’s Development:  progress in implementation and international support”, in its annual agenda, beginning at the fifty-eighth session, and encourage the efforts being made towards clustering the items related to Africa’s development.


Also before the Assembly was a report entitled 2001-2010:  Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa (document A/57/123), which highlights the progress made in the first year of the decade.  It also summarizes the challenges facing malaria-endemic countries in the fight against the disease.


The report reviews Roll Back Malaria (RBM) implementation status with a focus on the strategies of access to effective treatment and the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs).  It shows the RBM partnership's success in creating an environment to roll back malaria through various advocacy efforts. It also provides an update on new tools to fight malaria, such as preventive treatment for infants and insecticide nets.


The RBM partnership has studied the challenge before it and is organizing its resources to provide improved support to scale up effective interventions, according to the report.  Human and financial resources are still the major constraint in the fight against malaria, but this situation is improving.  The momentum must not be lost, and achievements in malaria-endemic countries must be replicated.


It is recommended that the General Assembly call on Member States, particularly those that have experienced the burden of malaria, to join in solidarity with malaria-endemic countries in Africa and elsewhere to roll back malaria.


It is also recommended that the General Assembly call on United Nations agencies to renew their commitment to roll back malaria and the goal of halving the burden of malaria by 2010.


Additionally, the General Assembly had before it a report on the role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order (document A/57/215), which responds to General Assembly resolution 55/48 in which the Secretary-General is requested to seek the views of Member States and agencies and organizations of the United Nations system on the promotion of a new global human order, and to prepare a report thereon to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.  The report provides a summary of views, as requested in the resolution, and concludes with the observation that the concept of a new global human order requires further clarification as to its boundaries and content.

The report states that it would appear from the relatively meagre response rate that a new global human order requires a holistic approach, which means combating poverty and promoting peace, security and economic prosperity.  Central to the concept of the new order is reversing the growing disparities between rich and poor countries through a focus on human development.  This entails growth with equity, the eradication of poverty, the expansion of productive employment, promotion of gender equality and social integration.  This in turn requires a long-term approach that is people-centred and aimed at promoting the social and economic welfare of people.  This means a focus not only on financial and economic factors but also on moral and social imperatives.  From the above, the concept of a new global human order echoes the Millennium Declaration in many ways.


Also from the foregoing, says the report, it becomes clear that the concept is still quite diffused and means different things to different people.  Making the concept more operational requires further information on what a new global human order entails and encompasses.  At this stage, the concept is viewed by some as too abstract and too elusive and therefore needs to be translated into something tangible, such as the fight against poverty.  However, equating the new global human order with poverty eradication would reduce the former to something considerably less than what its sponsors believe it to be.  Poverty eradication is seen as one aspect of the new global human order, not its substitute.


If any recommendation can be drawn form the foregoing, says the report, it would be that those who advocate this concept should clarify both its boundaries and its content.  Without such clarification, the risk exists that a new global human order will become merely a slogan.


The Assembly also had before it another draft resolution entitled the role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order (document A/57/L.10), which would have the Assembly decide to include that item in the agenda of its fifty-ninth session.  The Assembly would note with interest the proposal regarding a new global human order and would call for further elaboration of the proposal, and in this regard invite Member States and other stakeholders to submit proposals for consideration at its fifty-ninth session. 


Finally, the General Assembly had before it the summary by the President of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly of its meeting devoted to Information and communication technologies for development (document A/57/280), which took place at Headquarters on 17 and 18 June.  Responding to General Assembly resolution 56/258 of 31 January, the meeting addressed the digital divide in the context of globalization and the development process and recommended promoting coherence and synergies between various regional and international information and communication technologies (ICT) initiatives.


Highlighting the main issues of the meeting, which aimed at fostering digital opportunities for all in the emerging information society, the President notes that the meeting was recognized as an important and timely initiative, especially in the light of a persistent digital divide between developed and developing countries, as well as within countries.  A wide consensus had emerged on the potential of ICT to promote sustainable growth; to combat poverty; to strengthen democratic governance and to contribute to the empowerment of women in reducing gender inequalities.  In short, ICT represented a strategic instrument for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  The United Nations and other international organizations were recognized as a catalyst for fostering digital opportunities and putting ICT at the service of development.

The meeting recognized the significance of multi-stakeholder partnerships for leveraging development with the use of ICT.  It emphasized the importance of collaborative partnerships between governments and civil society and the private sector, in order to ensure that the benefits of ICT became available to all.  The private sector had a key role in developing and disseminating ICT.  Governments were responsible for providing transparent regulatory and legal frameworks that integrated the specific needs of developing countries.  Civil society could bring a broader, participatory and inclusive approach to ICT development.


Statements -- Culture of Peace


VICTOR MANUEL LAGOS PIZZATI (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, said that as a result of the

11 September attacks and other terrorist attacks, the international political situation had deteriorated and threatened global peace and security.  Therefore, efforts to consolidate a culture of peace were more crucial than ever.  The culture of peace presupposed an effort to change minds and attitudes with a view to promoting peace.


In that regard, he believed that a culture of peace had to be built on a daily basis.  It was first of all a personal decision.  Understanding and tolerance must come from the inside, and then be extended to the collective memory of peoples.  In that respect, the International Year for a Culture of Peace had been an excellent opportunity to promote a change of mind.  Peace was multidimensional and called for efforts not only to achieve disarmament, but to achieve true human development, resolve conflicts and put an end to environmental degradation.  To contribute to building a new vision of peace, it was crucial to ensure human rights, one of the most challenging tasks of our time.  The building of peace was today more important than ever.


IRINA KHAKAMADA (Russian Federation) spoke of her recent personal experience while negotiating with the terrorists in Moscow, so that when she spoke she would not be merely using “hollow words”.  She went on, “I have literally looked them in the face”.  After the terror attack in the United States, she said, everybody admitted the world had changed.  With the end of the cold war, there was the risk of “mythical” challenges arising rather than the real challenges now threatening the world.  In her mind, the most fundamental question was whether the culture of peace was compatible with the harsh realities of modern world politics.  The main thing was to gather the necessary data and implement preemptive measures.


It would be dangerous to draw parallels between terror and the political peculiarities of a given regime.  An appropriate boundary had to be drawn between the two phenomena, otherwise terrorism would always be able to exploit ethnic and religious divisions.  The goal that had to be pursued was the spread of human rights and the struggle for those ideals that facilitated such a spread.


In the face of the spread of terror, she said, the world had to react quickly.  There should not be an asymmetrical response to terror and it was vital to strengthen the United Nations ability to respond to the challenge.  One way of doing that would be to expand the membership of the Security Council.   The world, she added, needed to be concerned about the new generation of leaders.  New times, she said, needed new ideas and new initiatives.


Introduction of Draft Text


IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh), introducing the draft resolution entitled “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010”, said that, traditionally, this resolution had been tabled by Bangladesh and co-sponsored by many Member States.  Additional co-sponsors, beyond those listed on the draft resolution, were Morocco and Venezuela.  He also invited more Member States to cosponsor the draft resolution.


Expressing the hope that all delegations had had the chance to examine the draft, he said that there was little new material in the text, which recalled the relevant previous resolutions, while noting new developments and commending NGOs and civil society for their work in supporting a culture of peace.  The text also recognized the important work of the United Nations system and the international community in fields such as peacekeeping, peace-building, conflict management, democracy and the rule of law.


The text had been agreed on by representatives from more than 50 countries, he added, and had been circulated this morning as document A/57/L.9/Rev.1.  Expressing the hope that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus, he highlighted, among the particularly noteworthy paragraphs, the one which called for one day of plenary meetings to be devoted to consideration of the item during the sixtieth session of the General Assembly and for participation at a high level.  He furthermore requested that its consideration be scheduled as close as possible to the general debate.  Another important paragraph called for the provision of education programmes in children’s schools to promote tolerance and the culture of peace.


CONSTANTINE MOUSHOUTAS (Cyprus) said that if the objectives and essence of the culture of peace were to be realized, the beauty of integration and unity in diversity had to be instilled and cultivated in children’s minds.  Of cardinal importance to achieving that goal was the need for respect for diversity and respect for other religions and cultures.  Diversity had to be seen as a part of a beautiful mosaic, not as a pretext for segregation among peoples and for separatist movements.


He observed that paradoxically, at the same time that humanity had expanded its horizons and made continuous strides in scientific knowledge, it had also experienced schisms, divisions and violent separatist movements.  Thus, although the world had become a global village, it was also obvious that advances in science had not brought peace.  “We live in a state of conflicts and terror.  Knowledge has not brought peace,” he said.


AMR ABOUL ATTA (Egypt) emphasized the important role of civil society in establishing a culture of peace.  To promote that culture, it was first necessary to define what peace was.  Then, one of the most difficult stages was agreeing to peace and implementing that agreement.  Following that came the stage of peaceful coexistence among peoples.  The Middle East needed the spreading of the culture of peace.  The continuous cycle of violence in the Palestinian territories had led to the disappearance of hope for peace.  The Palestinian people were an occupied people, suffering daily from the oppression of Israeli forces.  They lacked appropriate health care and education, which were vital for development.


The Committee on the Rights of the Child had recently stated its concern about the lack of information on the situation of children in the Palestinian territories, he said.  The Committee had expressed its serious concern about complaints that Palestinian children had been tortured by Israeli police and recommended that the Israeli Government investigate all allegations of torture.  It also expressed its concern about the lack of health care for Palestinian children and recommended that every child receive such care.  He called on the forces of peace in Israel to entrench the culture of peace and break the cycle of violence.  The International Decade on Cultural Diversity stipulated that culture should be looked on as the complete characteristic of a specific society, including value systems and traditions.  He expressed serious concern about using religion as a means of discrimination. 


ISHTIAQ HUSSAIN ANDRABI (Pakistan) said the last century had been marred by conflicting ideologies, the glorification of might and its ruthless application.  Yet, as time progressed, people and States had refined mechanisms to create better social environments and conditions, such as the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  Moreover, the end of the cold war had unfolded possibilities for a new world order based on the fundamental principles of freedom, equality, justice and tolerance.


But, the events of 11 September 2001 had dealt a serious blow to hopes attendant upon the new millennium, he noted.  While the international community had united to combat international terrorism, there had also been efforts to pit religion against religion, civilization against civilization to create a clash of civilizations.  Yet while much violence had been committed in the name of religion, it could play an important role in reconciling differences, promoting a universal ethical code and working together for the creation of a climate where morality and justice prevailed.


Peace was not merely the absence of conflict, he concluded.  The culture of peace was a dynamic process in which participatory interaction was encouraged and conflicts were resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation.  Thus, it was the intention of Pakistan to introduce a draft resolution containing a declaration on religious and cultural understanding, harmony and cooperation, under agenda item 24, in the next few days.


PAPA LOUIS FALL (Senegal) said that international action to promote a culture of peace must lead to the full exercise of the right to self-determination.  The Programme of Action on a culture of peace included measures to strength the culture of peace for education, lasting economic and social development and guarantee of the free flow of information and knowledge.  UNESCO’s report included information on the progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action and Declaration.  He welcomed the many and important initiatives taken by UNESCO and the personal dedication of its Director-General in implementing the Declaration and Programme of Action.  He supported the proposal of the Secretary-General to proclaim 21 September as the International Day of Peace.  He also endorsed the priority themes for 2003, 2004 and 2005 under the International Decade.  The protection of children was to be emphasized and he welcomed the initiatives taken by UNICEF to promote a culture of peace.


More than ever, his country was prepared to give high priority to a dialogue among civilizations to spread peace.  It was necessary to promote the complementarity of the very rich cultures of the planet.  Globalization must not be equated with cultural conformity.  Rather, it must breed dialogue and cultural exchanges.  It was also necessary to ensure strict respect for international human rights instruments.  The implementation of the Universal Declaration of UNESCO on cultural diversity could lead to building global tolerance and understanding.  It was important to involve the media, universities, schools and NGOs to disseminate that Declaration and promote the values of peace among children and adolescents.  Otherwise, the world ran the risk of witnessing the transformation of many cultures into “simple market products”.


JOSÉ ANTONIO LINATI-BOSCH, Observer for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, said that culture of peace could not be considered as a separate notion.  It was part of a framework that included economic and social problems, strongly tied to human development.  The culture of peace must not be a milestone but a cornerstone of progress and benefit to mankind.


He considered important the clause in the Declaration and Programme of Action for a Culture of Peace that promoted initiatives in conflict situations -- such as days of tranquillity to carry out immunizations and medicine-distribution campaigns, corridors of peace to ensure delivery of humanitarian supplies, and sanctuaries of peace to respect the central role of health and medical institutions.


He said there was a collective responsibility to uphold human dignity and equality, and to ensure that globalization became a positive force for the world's people.  There were "formidable" obstacles to development, such as external debt, barriers to market access, lack of infrastructure, clean water shortages, and diseases.  Practical measures must be adopted and realizable goals set.  "Words must be translated into action," he said.


Action on Text


The Assembly was informed that the following countries had joined as sponsors to the text on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010:  Kuwait, Honduras, Grenada, Belarus, Dominica, Egypt and Burundi.


The Assembly then adopted the text without a vote.


Right of Reply


Mr. SHACHAM (Israel), replying to the statement made by the representative of Egypt, said that since signing their peace treaty, Israel and Egypt had tried to build on that peace.  The efforts made by Egypt to promote peace had been unrelenting.  He was therefore puzzled by the rest of the Egyptian statement, a one-sided diatribe against Israel.  Israel had welcomed the statements by the Committee on the Rights of the Child as well as its recommendations.  Unfortunately, the Egyptian representative had ignored the use of children by the Palestinians in the ongoing violence, including suicide bombings, which had been condemned by the majority of Member States.  Also, the Egyptian statement had neglected the effects of Palestinian action on the Israeli side.  Nine hundred Israeli children had been injured in the violence.  The Egyptian statement did not reflect the fact that the most important factor in the well-being of Palestinian children was Palestinian terrorism.


MAI TAHA MOHAMED KHALIL (Egypt) said her country had been the first to extend a hand of peace to Israel.  The only way to break the cycle of violence was the withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territories.  She condemned all acts of violence against civilians.  The Israeli Government was ignoring the fact that violence and counter-violence were the direct consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. 


Introduction of Draft Text on African Development


DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa) said he was introducing the resolution because it had its foundation in the African Renaissance -- something owned and promoted by African themselves.  Developed partners, he said, including the United Nations system, had indicated their commitment to enter into partnership with Africa.  Adoption of the draft would mean Africa had again indicated its willingness to assume full responsibility for its future.  He added that the text was the culmination of a process which had begun in the Economic and Social Council last year.


By making the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) central to the international community’s commitment to the continent, the priorities identified by Africans themselves would receive the attention they deserved and would guide Africa's future partners.


The context for the resolution was a recognition that the New Agenda for the Development of Africa had not attained its goals.  The present draft text therefore signaled a new start of interaction between Africa and the international community.  Lessons had been learned from past experiences.  Constructive ideals had been kept, new priorities established and the principles of ownership, accountability and partnership had been reiterated.


Africa, he continued, supported the proposal to establish a new structure in the United Nations Secretariat to review and report on support from the Organization as well as support from the international community.  Also welcome was the decision to place a single, wide-ranging resolution on the agenda of the Assembly, focusing on international support for Africa.  He expressed the hope that all stakeholders in Africa would continue to contribute to Africa’s development and that the Group of Eight (G-8) commitment would result in private-sector investment in Africa.  It was important that Africa have access to developed markets, a point that could not be overemphasized.  That would result in enhanced trading, transfer of appropriate technology, sharing of expertise and capacity-building.


The draft text, he said, recognized Africa’s particular needs in the areas of debt, official development assistance (ODA), trade, investment and the transfer of technology.  He was looking forward to discussing those issues in the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly as envisaged in the resolution.


Decade to Roll Back Malaria


Mr. ATTA (Egypt) said that fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis had become one of the main health challenges in developing countries today.  While Egypt supported the mobilization of all efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, it also acknowledged that a similar effort was needed to fight malaria.  World Health Organization (WHO) studies showed that malaria had spread across more than

100 countries, representing 40 per cent of the world’s population -- across Africa, South America, the Middle East and South Asia.  Indeed, it had spread to an extent parallel to that of HIV/AIDS.


The most common victims of malaria were children, he continued, because of the weakness of their immune systems.  A child died every 30 seconds because of malaria.  Yet it was a scientific fact that malaria could be easily treated if properly diagnosed.  However, many were unable to afford treatment.  That indicated an economic and social problem, not just a health problem, in many countries.  Studies had shown that in some African countries 25 per cent of the population was affected by malaria.  Moreover, malaria affected the future of those countries, as well as the present, since affected children were unable to receive a full education. 


According to the WHO, an additional billion dollars was needed to achieve the goals of the roll-back campaign, he added.  A reduction of the debt burden serviced by developing countries would allow them to liberate new resources to address diseases like malaria.  Egypt also supported the call for increasing the international fund to combat malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.  If a child died of malaria every 30 seconds, how many more would die during the Assembly's deliberation on the item?  How many would have to die before the international community moved to eradicate malaria?  The funds needed were but a fraction of what was spent on armaments.


KODJO MENAN (Togo) said that efforts to combat malaria were urgently needed.  In addition to the areas requiring greater attention singled out in the Secretary-General’s report, he wished to highlight the following.  Awareness-raising was crucial in regions where malaria was rampant.  Also essential was partnership, particularly between the countries of the North and the South, as well as the mobilization of financial resources.  On outreach, the African Day to Combat Malaria had been celebrated on 25 April.  That commemoration provided an opportunity for countries to launch major activities and initiatives to promote awareness among their populations.  NGOs had also used that Day to organize their own activities to combat malaria.


Nevertheless, he said, it must be remembered that awareness-raising was an ongoing process.  The tangible progress in some African countries in combating HIV/AIDS through outreach and prevention should encourage everyone to persevere.  The Roll Back Malaria initiative was an illustration of the viability of such efforts.  In addition, it was essential that countries of the South which had been successful in combating malaria should demonstrate greater solidarity with those countries where the problem was still endemic.  He also emphasized the role of the private sector in the eradication of the disease. 


On improving ways to combat malaria, he noted that efforts were needed to address the problem of drug-resistance.  Since the launch of the Decade to Roll Back Malaria, the only effort by the donor community had been the Global Fund to Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.  After the first year of the Decade, it was premature to determine the impact of that initiative.  However, it was the duty of the international community to display more active solidarity with African countries to better achieve the objectives of the Decade.  Most of the programmes and plans of action to help combat poverty in Africa had, unfortunately, failed to achieve the expected results.  Consequently, he hoped that the international community would do everything to ensure that the Decade did not meet with a similar fate as that of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa.


Mr. FALL (Senegal) said that malaria was the main cause of mortality in many African countries.  Together with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, it compromised the development of African countries, with 300 million people affected annually.  As had just been recalled, a child died of malaria every 30 seconds.  In Senegal, malaria represented 30 per cent of medical consultations and a loss of 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product. 


A little over two weeks ago, he said, West African researchers had met in Dakar, Senegal, to define a regional approach to policies aimed at combating malaria and to take stock of its treatment.  The holding of that conference showed that Senegal attached particular importance to combating malaria.  The fight should not be made secondary to the struggle against HIV/AIDS, but must be met head on with equal determination.  At the Organization of African Unity’s Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in April 2001, a number of initiatives deserving of international support had been launched to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other endemic illnesses in Africa. 


In declaring 25 April the Day of Malaria, and in committing 25 per cent of their national budgets to health issues, African States had shown the collective will to meet the challenges of health and development, he said.  In that context, immediate measures must be taken to reduce or eliminate tariffs on products such as mosquito nets, insecticides and the drugs needed to fight malaria.  Moreover, the fight against malaria should be strengthened by increasing the involvement of the private sector in efforts to achieve the Decade’s objectives.  The enormous importance of strengthening the worldwide campaign to organize resources for the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria should be constantly stressed.


Introduction of Draft on New Global Human Order


OBDEEN ISHMAEL (Guyana), introducing the draft resolution on the role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order, said he had been inspired by the vision for human potential created at the end of the cold war as well as by the deepening interdependence of nations.  It was now an opportune time to build a new and enlightened partnership based on mutual respect, democratic governance and participation.  He had also been prompted by the realization that, over the last two decades, there had been a gradual displacement of development from the international agenda by the ascendancy of economic neo-liberalization and the accelerated pace of globalization, which had engendered new economic imbalances and reinforced patterns of inequality.


The time had come for the international community to create an alternative vision of development, he said.  In addition, the link between development and peace meant that if the development agenda failed, peace would be in peril.  The rising costs of implementing peace and security meant that development would be further starved of resources.  Countries could ill afford to address any one challenge at the expense of the others. 


Globalization could no longer remain a rudderless force but must be managed in the interest of all, he said.  Since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, several important global conferences had been held.  It was too soon to judge their impact on development.  However, it was necessary to grapple with the reality that two years after the Millennium Summit, the international community had yet to find solid footing on which to move forward with achieving the Millennium Development Goals. 


The two elements needed for progress, he said, were political will and resources.  The questions to be asked were how to develop the necessary political will and how to mobilize the necessary resources. Unless those two questions were answered, development could never be achieved.  What was a new human global order?  It was, first, an honest effort to find common ground for future international cooperation and a holistic framework for development.  It was not intended to conflict with present initiatives.  It involved, among other things, a definitive solution to the debt problem, a new ODA policy, the mobilization of new resources, and a review of the role of the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization to focus more on human development. 


Since the presentation of the draft resolution, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Venezuela had joined as co-sponsors. 


Information and Communication Technologies


ORLANDO REQUEIJO GUAL (Cuba) provided statistics to underline the fact that most of the world was still affected by a technological gap. He said 90 per cent of Internet users could be found in the developed world.  Africa was in a particularly disadvantageous position with limited telephone lines, whereas the developed world had well over 600 telephone lines to 1000 users.


The gap would not easily be removed, given the fact that the developing countries generally lacked the resources, human and infrastructural, to tap into and benefit from the technological revolution.  He called for more efforts to get developing countries to participate in the technological revolution.  There was not only the gap between developed and developing countries but there were other gaps, such as the urban-rural divide within developing countries, that needed to be addressed in dealing with the digital divide.


To be able to benefit from the revolution, developing countries had to solve several problems, he said.  They needed electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.  Because of their situation, the developing countries had found themselves on the margins of critical developments, such as e-trade.


Cuba hoped that at the World Summit in 2003 and later in Geneva in 2005 the critical decision would be taken to put developing countries in an advantageous position so that they could benefit from technological developments.  There was need for cooperation among all actors to facilitate the transfer of technology on a preferential basis to the developing countries.


Though the victim of a blockade for the last four decades, Cuba had nevertheless taken steps to bridge the divide.  It was carrying out work to ensure Internet access at all levels in the society.  Cuba’s first priority would be the young.  It already had all the necessary equipment and instructors and teachers had been trained.  Computers had been installed in all primary and secondary schools, which would allow young people to handle all matters pertaining to informatics.


Though still at the start of the new era, countries would continue to speak of the digital divide as they went along unless they developed affirmative actions to deal with the issue before it was too late.


CHEAH SAM KIP (Malaysia) said that information and communication technologies (ICT) had revolutionized the world and, properly harnessed, could provide opportunities for the developing countries to catch up to the developed world.  However, it could also widen the gap by creating a digital divide.  The digital divide, if not carefully and promptly addressed, could further marginalize developing countries.  The United Nations had an important role to play in coordinating global efforts to address this gap.  In this context, Malaysia welcomed the launching of the United Nations ICT Taskforce in November 2001.


It was important that humankind understand the ICT revolution, he continued, so as to address its challenges and exploit its advances.  For instance, the application of ICT in E-government, E-medicine and education could facilitate the implementation of broader social and economic goals such as poverty eradication.  The greatest challenge was to bridge the digital divide and foster digital opportunity for all.  This message needed to be expressed at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) so as to provide for a resolute and coherent programme of action for implementation by governments, international institutions, and all sectors of civil society.


The WSIS, he added, would be the next world gathering to shape international cooperation at the multilateral level.  Genuine international cooperation was essential to ensure real, tangible and sustained transfer of knowledge and ICT technology to developing countries.  Information had become a powerful tool to enrich and empower all of humankind, and a knowledgeable society would generate more benefits to the people of the world.


MAURICIO ESCANERO (Mexico) said that at the Assembly’s special session on ICT, his delegation had pointed out that ICT was decisive in creating a world economy based on knowledge.  There was a need to mobilize those technologies to increase growth, increase competitiveness, promote sustainable development, eradicate poverty and facilitate effective integration in all countries.  There was a need to eliminate the obstacles which hindered the access of developing countries to such technologies.


He attached particular importance to the holding of the WSIS and welcomed the resolution tabled by Tunisia and Switzerland on that issue in the Second Committee.  He urged, not only all countries to intensify their work at the national and international levels, but also United Nations agencies and other international institutions to step up their cooperation as part of the preparatory process for the Summit.


MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said that ICT had become one of the main elements of globalization.  The new technologies had even brought about the creation of a new concept -- information society -- to describe all the changes.  In this respect, it was gratifying to see that the WSIS was to be an intergovernmental forum of universal composition, well placed to look at the issue from different angles and make decisions whose legitimacy would derive from broad participation.


In the economic field, ICT had reshaped the way that goods and services were produced and traded, she continued.  Enterprises could hardly be competitive without using ICT in their activities.  Another area in which it had proved useful was government.  In Brazil, ICT had allowed for the improvement of government services; income tax declaration, for instance, could be made online.  Moreover, ICT could facilitate the electoral process.  The Brazilian presidential elections, held between 6 and 27 October, were conducted entirely through electronic ballot,

including in the most remote rural areas.  This system avoided fraud, strengthened legitimacy and allowed for a fast and reliable vote count.


ICT was such a powerful tool, she concluded, that it could either narrow or widen the existing gap between developed and developing States.  The challenge was to figure out how to tap its vast potential.  At the national level, public policies to stimulate research in ICT were needed.  The importance of partnerships between governments, the private sector and universities could not be overemphasized.  At the international level, cooperation was crucial to bridging the digital divide.  All relevant actors should join efforts to promote technology transfers, investment in infrastructure and capacity-building.


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For information media. Not an official record.