GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES STATES TO FURTHER INTEGRATE PUBLIC HEALTH INTO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, AS IT CONCLUDES DEBATE ON MILLENNIUM SUMMIT REVIEW
GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES STATES TO FURTHER INTEGRATE PUBLIC HEALTH INTO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, AS IT CONCLUDES DEBATE ON MILLENNIUM SUMMIT REVIEW
Fifty-ninth General Assembly
60th Meeting (AM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES STATES TO FURTHER INTEGRATE PUBLIC HEALTH INTO NATIONAL
DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES, AS IT CONCLUDES DEBATE ON MILLENNIUM SUMMIT REVIEW
Also Hears Introduction of Draft Resolution,
Speakers on Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan
As the General Assembly concluded its discussion of preparations for the 2005 high-level review of the Millennium Summit this morning, it finished on an issue that was addressed in three out of eight of the Millennium Development Goals and urged Member States to further integrate public health into their national socio-economic and development strategies.
The Assembly took that action by adopting a resolution, without a vote and as orally amended yesterday, on enhancing capacity-building in global public health, which prompted States to carry out that request through the establishment and improvement of effective public health mechanisms, particularly networks for disease surveillance, response, control, prevention, treatment and information exchange. The text also called on States and the international community to raise awareness of good public health practices and emphasize the importance of active international cooperation in the control of infectious diseases.
Four years ago, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration at the conclusion of the United Nations Millennium Summit, setting out a blueprint to build a better and safer world for the next century through collective security and a global partnership for development. The Millennium Goals aimed at a series of ambitious targets ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education, all by 2015. In September 2005, the Assembly will hold a meeting to review implementation of the Declaration and the integrated follow-up to other major United Nations conferences.
Also this morning, the Assembly discussed the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, during which Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, introduced a draft resolution on the issue. Eleven years ago, he said, the Assembly had expressed support for the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)-led Minsk Group to settle the conflict in his country according to the norms and principles of international law.
Illegal settlement policies and practices carried out by Armenia in his country were clearly in violation of Security Council resolutions and international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Conventions, he said. Such actions also ran counter to efforts aimed at a political settlement of the conflict, undermined the credibility of the OSCE mediation efforts, and were aimed a prejudicing their outcome and imposing a fait accompli on Azerbaijan.
Although Armenia confirmed the political will to settle the situation peacefully by its statements, it continued to aggressively challenge Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, he continued. Examining the entire chain of events, one could conclude that, acting with impunity, Armenia was in the final stages of implementing its heretofore camouflaged goal -- to realize its territorial claims over Azerbaijan. As the situation continued to worsen, Azerbaijan had been forced to request the Assembly to take up the matter. The draft text aimed to create favourable conditions for continuing negotiations.
Armenia’s representative said that, about a month ago, a process had started in the Assembly to discuss concerns over the situation in the so-called occupied territories of Azerbaijan, under the guise of “urgency”. The inclusion of a new agenda item on the matter did not enjoy the support of an overwhelming majority of the Assembly and was opposed by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs (France, United States and Russian Federation), who had now been dealing with the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh for 12 years. They had unequivocally stated that the move was counterproductive and did not meet the required criteria of urgency and importance.
There was no official policy of settlement being carried out by Armenia, he said. And neither was there any official document or report confirming Azerbaijan’s allegations. His country opposed the Azerbaijani initiative, since the existing OSCE mechanisms could effectively address all Azerbaijan’s concerns. Nevertheless, his Government decided, in order to put all concerns to rest, to suggest facilitating a fact-finding team within the Minsk Group framework to assess the situation.
Azerbaijan also highlighted Nagorno-Karabakh as being an alleged safe haven for all possible ills, he added. Yet, when authorities there and Armenia invited international fact-finding teams to verify those allegations, Azerbaijan had created various obstacles to hinder the mission’s dispatch.
Statements in today’s session were also made by the representatives of Turkey, United States, Pakistan, Thailand, Venezuela and Lebanon.
The observers for the Holy See, the Inter-Parliamentarian Union and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also addressed the Assembly this morning.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. on Monday, 29 November to take up the question of Palestine.
The General Assembly met this morning to conclude debate on the outcome of the Millennium Summit and of the other major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields. (For background, see Press Release GA/10303 issued on 22 November.)
The Assembly was also expected to consider a draft resolution on the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan (document A/59/L.32), by which it would urge the parties to the conflict involving the Nagorno-Karabakh region to continue seeking a peaceful settlement based on relevant norms and principles of international law. It would also reaffirm the right of return to refugees and internally displaced persons while strongly appealing to the parties in conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law.
In addition, the Assembly would stress that any actions to consolidate the status quo of occupation was legally invalid and that actions such as the transfer of settlers into the occupied territories were illegal under international law and must be reversed immediately. It would also invite the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to urgently dispatch a multinational fact-finding mission to inquire into and report on all aspects of the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Further, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to report on the situation at the Assembly’s sixtieth session, and would decide to include the item on the provisional agenda of that session.
Situation in Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan
ELMAR MAMMADYAROV, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, introduced the relevant draft resolution, saying that 11 years ago, the Assembly had considered the issue of the occupation of the territories of his country, and had expressed support for the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)-led Minsk Group (Co-Chaired by France, United States and the Russian Federation), aimed at settling the conflict in accordance with the norms and principles of international law. Since then, the OSCE-led negotiations had yielded both successes and failures, and a host of Security Council resolutions adopted in response to the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories remained the principle basis for settlement of the conflict with Armenia.
The Assembly, he continued, had previously contributed to alleviation of the acute humanitarian situation in his country through its adoption of its resolution 48/114 on emergency international assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Azerbaijan. The occupation of a significant part of Azerbaijan’s territories and the resultant heavy humanitarian burden had obviously made Azerbaijan the country most interested in bringing about an effective peace as soon as possible. Azerbaijan’s consistent adherence to a ceasefire over the past decade had demonstrated that it preferred peaceful settlement of the conflict for the benefit of the entire region.
He went on to detail the Minsk Group negotiations on the matter, taking place on various fronts and led by the Foreign Ministers of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. During those talks, Azerbaijan became concerned at credible information concerning increased transfer of settlers to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan –- from which 750,000 Azerbaijanis had been expelled. Although similar sporadic incidents had been registered in the past, those most recent large-scale and organized transfers were being administered through an official programme of Armenia called “Return to Karabakh”. That programme was steered by Armenia’s Department of Refugees and Migrants and was primarily financed through a budget specifically allocated for the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh regime.
The most disturbing situation had arisen in the Lachin district, which was populated by Azerbaijanis prior to the conflict. Following the implementation of the settlement programme, that region was now inhabited by some 13,000 Armenians, he said. Under one aspect of the programme, Armenia renamed Azerbaijani towns -- erasing their original identities -- in the occupied territories. For the establishment of those settlements, the Armenian Government mobilized its armed forces deployed in the occupied territories. Those forces had participated in the establishment of two new settlements in the Kelbadjar region, he added.
He went on to cite a number of official international sources that had confirmed the transfer of settlers, noting that an OSCE official had recently referred to the programme, which envisaged a two-fold increase in the Armenian population in the occupied territories. In addition, Armenia also consolidated its occupation of the Azerbaijani territories through economic and financial policies. Indeed, the banking system of the puppet regime established in the territories was regulated by the Central Bank of Armenia.
Illegal settlement policies and practices carried out by Armenia were clearly in violation of Security Council resolutions and international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva Conventions, he said. Such actions also ran counter to efforts aimed at a political settlement of the conflict, undermined the credibility of the OSCE mediation efforts, and were obviously aimed a prejudicing their outcome and imposing a fait accompli on Azerbaijan. Although Armenia confirmed the political will to settle the situation peacefully by its statements, it continued to aggressively challenge Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Examining the entire chain of events, one could conclude that, acting with impunity, Armenia was in the final stages of implementing its heretofore camouflaged goal: to realize its territorial claims over Azerbaijan.
As the situation continued to worsen, Azerbaijan had been forced to request the Assembly to take up the matter. The draft under consideration today was aimed at creating favourable conditions for continuing negotiations. “By doing this, we do not intend to solve the problems of political settlement of the conflict in the United Nations,” he said, adding that neither was Azerbaijan attempting to engage the Assembly in conflict resolution issues. The matter, he stressed, concerned a problem that was impeding the process of peace negotiations, and which, if continued, could lead to a humanitarian disaster.
He said the text was balanced and constructive and was based on the principles of international humanitarian law and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions. It would have the Assembly give its strong support for the OSCE mediation efforts and contained concrete provisions aimed at addressing the impediments to peaceful settlement of the conflict. The negotiations were now at a critical juncture, he said, and prompt and adequate measures were needed from everyone. Armenia must take immediate, unconditional and effective measures to cease and reverse the transfer of settlers to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan would continue to undertake all possible diplomatic measures to stop the dangerous developments in the occupied territories of its country.
ALTAY CENGIZER (Turkey) said his country had been unwavering in its support for a just and lasting solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, based on international law, the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and relevant Security Council resolutions. It had actively supported every initiative geared towards peace that had come forth from the OSCE Minsk Group, and encouraged all the parties concerned to facilitate the work of that Group. It was unfortunate that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was still an obstacle to lasting peace, stability and regional cooperation in the southern Caucuses.
Today’s debate, he said, was neither an attempt to hamper or replicate the OSCE’s Minsk process, which was the platform to address the issue. On the contrary, it was a call to support that very process. The Assembly should recognize today’s debate for what it was: a cry out of frustration for years of despondency that had to be endured each day for more than a decade by those directly affected by the results of the prolonged conflict. “Hence, it is time for the international community to see the dangers of prolonged human suffering, and the perils inherent in allowing conflicts to fester”, he said.
“We have seen...how problems, which were left to linger on, eventually come back to haunt all of us, and how people locked in protracted conflict situations, left solely to their own devices, failed alas to attain peace”, he said. It was based on that understanding that Turkey voiced its support for the dispatch of a multinational OSCE fact-finding mission that would report on all aspects of the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. That would have a constructive impact on the efforts of the Minsk Group.
ARMEN MATRIOSYAN (Armenia) said that, about a month ago, a process had started in the Assembly to discuss concerns over the situation in the so-called occupied territories of Azerbaijan. That had been done under the guise of “urgency”, using loopholes, and had not been based on any substantiation of the arguments’ supposed “urgency” by providing any factually correct information. The inclusion of a new agenda item on the matter did not enjoy the support of an overwhelming majority of the Assembly and was opposed by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, who had been dealing with the conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh for 12 years now. They had unequivocally stated that the move did not meet the required criteria of urgency and importance, and was counterproductive as well.
At that time, some countries, while supporting Azerbaijan’s motion, expressed their sensitivities arising from the alleged “transfer of settlers into the occupied territories”. Armenia had clearly stated then and would reiterate today that there was no official policy of settlement being carried out, and that neither was there any official document or report of any kind confirming Azerbaijan’s allegations. Armenia strongly opposed the Azerbaijani initiative, since the existing mechanisms within the OSCE could fully and effectively address all Azerbaijan’s concerns. But in a constructive manner, the Armenian Government, nevertheless, decided, in order to put all concerns to rest, to suggest facilitating a fact-finding team within the Minsk Group framework to assess the situation. “Let’s see how Azerbaijan tries to address its own concerns”, he added.
He said that, although presenting the draft under consideration as a balanced document that did not interfere in the Minsk Group mediation, Azerbaijan had attempted to give one-sided answers to almost all the elements of the negotiation package, namely the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the issues of Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons and the territories themselves. Azerbaijan also tried to present its resolution from the perspective of human rights and humanitarian law, he said.
“A country which has violated these laws in the first place with meticulously planned and systematically carried out massacres of Armenians in its capital Baku, cities of Sumgait and Kirovabad (Ganja) from 1988 to 1990 during peacetime, tries to cloak its own actions by selectively applying international humanitarian law”, he said of Azerbaijan. It limits the application of the return of refugees to “the area of conflict” and to ethnic Azeris only, conveniently leaving out the rights of over 400,000 Armenians under the same laws, particularly those from the immediate conflict zone from Shahumain, Getashen and northern Martakert. Their homes today were fully confiscated and populated by ethnic Azeris, he said.
Despite its continued calls for the observance of humanitarian law, it was Azerbaijan that consistently hindered any kind of international involvement or operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, thus violating those laws, as well as relevant Security Council resolutions, he continued. Azerbaijan also spotlighted Nagorno-Karabakh as being an alleged safe haven for all possible sorts of ills, yet when authorities there and Armenia invited international fact-finding teams to verify the nature of those allegations, Azerbaijan had created all kinds of obstacles, hindering the mission’s dispatch.
In addition, Azerbaijan also tried to formalize its totally baseless allegations by misrepresenting the tenor of Security Council resolutions and selective interpretation of international laws. It avoided mentioning one major international legal principle in the current resolution: the right of peoples to self-determination. That, despite the fact that the exercise of that right was at the core of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Further, Azerbaijan “conveniently forgets” that the Council resolutions mentioned “local Armenian forces” and called for unimpeded access for international relief efforts, and restoration of economic, transport and energy links to the region. Indeed, Azerbaijan had never implemented those particular provisions of the Council resolutions it so frequently mentioned.
With the resolution under consideration today, Azerbaijan tried to dissect the so-called occupied territories from the package of negotiations, he said. However, it failed to admit that those territories had come under the control of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians as a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan in an attempt to stifle the peaceful drive of the people of that region for self-determination. Given the military suppression in the region in the very recent past and the war mongering rhetoric of the Azerbaijani leadership, the issue of those territories could not be resolved unless there was a resolution on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and security guarantees were provided.
He said that Nagorno-Karabakh had never been a part of an independent Azerbaijan. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh had proven their right to live freely and securely on their own territory both legally –- through a referendum conducted in 1991 –- and by defending that right in a war unleashed against them by Azerbaijan. While peace should be achieved first and foremost between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan was not interested in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. It had rejected or walked out on every single peace proposal made by the Minsk Group. The present motion aimed at further torpedoing those ongoing negotiations and in diverting the international community’s efforts into parallel processes, which would allow it to manoeuvre between them without committing to a final settlement of the conflict.
SUSAN MOORE (United States), speaking on behalf of the co-Chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group (United States, France and the Russian Federation), said the issue before the Assembly was one in which the OSCE and the Minsk Group had been actively involved in, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the situation prevailing in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Minsk process had already produced positive results. It had made proposals to the parties and was now awaiting a response to those proposals before proceeding to the next stage.
In that light, she welcomed the efforts of the international community, through the Assembly, noting that any actions taken by that body and others were helpful and, therefore, welcome. Stressing that no efforts should be spared in the search for a peaceful resolution of the problem, she said serious consideration should be given to the dispatching of a fact-finding mission, and urged the parties to take necessary steps to facilitate the OSCE’s efforts.
MASOOD KHALID (Pakistan) said his country supported all the efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and attached great importance to all the initiatives of the OSCE Minsk Group, the Organization of Islamic Conference and others who were seeking to advance the peace process. The best path to be pursued was through peaceful dialogue with the support of the international community.
Action on Draft
The Assembly was then informed that action on the draft resolution on the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan would be taken at a later date.
Follow-up to UN Conferences, Summits
AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan) said the Millennium Declaration, with its comprehensive and balanced approach, was still not only valid but was also an imperative to rally the international community behind the vision of a world united by common values and shared goals. In testing times, it was absolutely necessary to reaffirm the concept of strengthening multilateralism. Cooperative multilateralism, pursued mainly through the United Nations and based on the principles of the Charter was the best hope for achieving the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration. The 2005 review would provide a timely opportunity for the international community to recommit to multilateralism.
He had taken note of the Secretary-General’s assessment of the progress made in the implementation of the Millennium Goals and of his observation that “our pre-occupation with the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction greatly overshadowed other issues –- from HIV/AIDS to extreme poverty and environmental degradation –- despite the impact that such issues have on the lives of hundreds of millions of people everyday”. The 2005 event would be an occasion to address the global development agenda in a holistic and comprehensive manner, including the inextricable links between development, peace and security, he said.
He also believed the preparatory process should be guided by the three Cs: caution, comprehensiveness and consensus. “We should move with caution so that the process will not be led by the ambitions of the few rather than the collective interests of the United Nations”, he said. A comprehensive approach was required so that an integrated package of decisions could evolve, while decisions must be taken by consensus for a “united United Nations” to also evolve. He agreed that the preparatory process should be open, inclusive and transparent. It would not be sufficient, however, for the 2005 event to adopt a declaratory agenda. The outcome document must contain concrete decisions on issues of vital interest to the larger United Nations membership. The event’s agenda must be comprehensive and balanced, and take into account the wishes of the developing countries.
KHUNYING LAXANACHANTORN LAOHAPHAN (Thailand) said her country’s commitment to the Millennium Goals had led to achieving internationally set targets six years early with regard to poverty, hunger, gender, HIV/AIDS and malaria. For example, poverty had been reduced by two-thirds since 1990; the proportion of underweight children had fallen by nearly 50 per cent; and yearly new HIV infections had been reduced by over 80 per cent since 1991. In addition, Thailand had committed itself to an ambitious set of Millennium Development Goals-Plus targets, which would bring the poverty level below four per cent by 2009. Trafficking, corruption and terrorism were on the domestic legislative agenda.
She said all the conferences and summits had the common goal of improving people’s welfare. Finance, trade and environment must work hand in hand for sustainable development. Coordination between the three pillars should be improved through the relevant institutions responsible for each on the domestic, as well as international levels. Among other activities, her country would host the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2005.
JANE HULL (United States) said the 2005 review would be an opportunity to improve the Organization’s agenda and make its activities more relevant. She welcomed a focus on what Member States had done to implement the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits. At the Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, 2002), world leaders had recognized that the primary resources for development were to be found within developing nations: from domestic capital, to foreign investment and trade. In that regard, the Report of the Commission on Private Sector and Development highlighted the critical role that the private sector played in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. Monterrey told the international community how to achieve development goals. For that reason, she preferred including the High-level dialogue on Financing for Development as an intrinsic element of the 2005 review.
Next year would be an opportunity to see how countries, with the support of development partners, were achieving results by improving the rule of law, and bringing increased transparency and accountability to local and national levels of government, she said. The event would also present an opportunity to improve the United Nations as an institution, to make it more effective through prioritization and judicious use of resources. She saw an opportunity to make intergovernmental deliberations more responsive to the pressing issues of today, rather than bound to agendas of decades past. Finally, 2005 would reaffirm the importance of peace, democracy and respect for human rights as the bedrock for stability within, and between, nations.
FERMÍN TORO JIMÉNEZ (Venezuela) said he was supportive of the holding of the follow-up event, as it would offer the international community an opportunity to take a fresh look at the achievements and shortcomings in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration. Further, the review would contribute to the strengthening of the United Nations itself and, thus, international peace and security.
Outlining his country’s programmes towards reaching the Millennium Goals, he said Venezuela had applied a number of economic and social programmes aimed at improving the situation of its people in keeping with those Goals. However, he criticized what he called recent acts of terrorism and attempts by some countries to try and get the country’s oil. Similar acts of subversion had been directed against his country and its institutions. Venezuela’s efforts to uplift the lives of its people included the provision of quality education, health and other services. The programmes were all directed at meeting the needs of the people by reducing the poverty levels of the population. The 2005 summit should focus on closing the gap between rich and poor.
He reminded the international community to deliver on the promises it had made. Even the United Nations needed to examine itself in terms of what it had and had not done. The Organization needed to develop means of taking action against countries that intervened in other countries’ internal affairs, ignoring international opinion. He urged the international body to speak with one voice and act with one will, stressing that the international community needed to condemn all abuses regardless of who committed them. It was wrong for any country to try and depose another legitimate government, under the guise of acting in the name of democracy. Those issues had to be addressed in the context of the rights of each nation to determine its own future.
MAJDI RAMADAN (Lebanon) said a major breakthrough was needed if the 2015 targets were to be met. His nation, like other developing countries, would strive to fulfil its commitments to reallocate and mobilize resources, reform institutions and adopt nationally owned economic and social policies that promote economic growth while strengthening democratic institutions and good governance. Commitments on official development assistance (ODA) must materialize, and although there had been recent increases in such assistance, he believed that the time had come to move from an incremental approach to increasing ODA to a goal-based approach. Commitments on market access and a new development-oriented trade round, in addition to wider and deeper debt relief, were equally important.
September 2005 would provide an opportunity to take stock in the achievements and failures of implementing the Millennium Declaration and in following up to major United Nations conferences and summits, he said. Such an event, one with a clear focus on development issues, needed proper preparation in order to arrive at an outcome that was inter-governmentally negotiated, inclusive and transparent. He went on to say that peace and development were mutually reinforcing, and eradicating poverty and fighting hunger in the developing world was often hampered by armed conflicts. He awaited the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, which he hoped would open more possibilities for strengthening collective security, which was the building block of development.
CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Observer of the Holy See, said an important role for the United Nations was to provide advocacy and catalytic support to countries and enable them to better implement the commitments made in international forums. However, developed countries also had a role in empowering the poorest countries to reach the Millennium Development Goals. National leaders must reinterpret the idea of sovereignty with a view to a new global responsibility. Sovereignty in that light embraced the concept that developing countries must always participate fully in decisions about their territories while the United Nations provided enlightened leadership. That entailed building strong collaborations and playing down rivalries through a shift in focus onto shared goals.
It also meant taking the steps to make national and international governance more consistent, he continued. The Economic and Social Council must continue meeting with the Bretton Woods institutions and with the World Trade Organization to achieve ever greater coordination in favour of the poorest. The results must not be viewed as an intellectual exercise, but as a true and irreversible obligation.
SERGIO PÁEZ VERDUGO, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said the Millennium Goals now underpinned much of the work carried out by the world’s parliaments. Parliaments and parliamentarians had a crucial role in the pursuit those Goals, as most of them, in both developed and developing countries, had unique experiences to share in respect of their involvement in international cooperation.
Describing the Millennium Declaration as a genuine milestone in the development of the international system, he said many parliaments had made great strides in gradually realizing the Declaration’s Goals. Many legislative bodies, especially those in the developing world, had integrated the Millennium Development Goals explicitly into their work and had adopted development strategies and policies that related directly to them. While many had been involved in varying degrees in setting national development strategies, and had worked to attain some of the Goals, with those relating to HIV/AIDS and gender generally figuring at the top of their legislative agendas, he believed there was considerable room for progress in terms of direct interaction with the international organizations concerned, as well as in terms of a more dynamic and coordinated method of work.
The IPU was very involved in some of the vital areas set out in the Millennium Declaration, such as gender equity and development of a global partnership for development, he said. At its Second World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, to be held at United Nations Headquarters next year, the Union would study the overall progress made by parliamentarians in helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
ENCHO GOSPODINOV, Observer of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said the role of communities and civil society in reaching the Millennium Development Goals should receive more emphasis. What about partnerships beyond governments in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases? Future discussions should also allow more debate and the voices of civil society should enter in. The Millennium Declaration should be repositioned beyond its present context of development assistance to address the vulnerability that existed everywhere and was relevant to everyone.
In that regard, he said the subject of protecting the vulnerable should not be too heavily weighted toward emergencies. While it was true that emergencies significantly enhanced vulnerabilities and were at the heart of the Red Cross programme, it was no less true that vulnerability existed in other situations and in developed countries. All forms of those “forgotten vulnerabilities” should be addressed. Further, the Millennium Declaration must be applied everywhere to avoid the grave danger of the global underclass building a considerable challenge to peace, prosperity and stability worldwide.
Action on Draft
The Assembly next adopted, without vote, a resolution on enhancing capacity-building in global public health (document A/59/L.30), which had been introduced and orally revised by the representative of China yesterday. The text urges Member States to further integrate public health into their national economic and social development strategies, including through the establishment and improvement of effective public health mechanisms, in particular networks of disease surveillance, response, control, prevention, treatment and information exchange.
It also calls on States and the international community to raise awareness of good public health practices, and emphasize the importance of active international cooperation in the control of infectious diseases based on the principles of mutual respect and equality. In addition, it encourages Member States to participate actively in the verification and validation of surveillance data concerning public health emergencies and, in close cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), exchange information and experience in a timely and open manner on epidemics and infectious diseases that pose a threat to global and public health.
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