SPEAKERS QUESTION POSSIBILITY OF ‘PACKAGE’ ADOPTION OF REFORM PROPOSALS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES DEBATE ON ‘IN LARGER FREEDOM’
SPEAKERS QUESTION POSSIBILITY OF ‘PACKAGE’ ADOPTION OF REFORM PROPOSALS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES DEBATE ON ‘IN LARGER FREEDOM’
Fifty-Ninth General Assembly
87th & 88th Meetings (AM & PM)
Speakers question possibility of ‘package’ adoption of reform proposals,
as General Assembly continues debate on ‘in larger freedom’
Speakers in the General Assembly today -- its second day of discussion on the Secretary-General’s comprehensive reform proposals -- stressed the need to identify the correct approach, particularly with regard to institutional reforms, with many cautioning that aiming for adoption of the measures as a single package could hamstring adoption of those on which there was already broad agreement.
Dozens of speakers have so far participated in the debate on the Secretary-General’s 21 March report, “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all”. The discussion, which has touched on the entire range of proposals on the threefold theme of development, security and human rights, in line with the relevant institutional changes, is in preparation for the September summit review of progress in meeting the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration.
Uruguay’s speaker said that he agreed with the Secretary-General that the world must face immediate threats with immediate action, but he was not so certain that the proposals should be adopted as a package. Using a progressive approach to the reforms should be a possibility -- of adopting decisions as agreements were reached. Care must also be taken about the way those measures were adopted. He did not share the view that, absent consensus, the Assembly should press ahead with measures only partially supported. At the very least, the major reform measures or those involving Charter amendments must be by consensus.
On a similar theme, the United States representative said that, as the reform process proceeded, her country would like to move forward on the basis of broad consensus, along the lines previously stated and without artificial deadlines. Given the historic significance and complexities of the overall reform enterprise, it would be unrealistic to adopt a “package approach”. Instead, the approach should be pragmatic, building consensus around reforms on which everyone agreed and, then, progressively working to achieve the more difficult changes. She supported Security Council reform, provided that it enhanced the Council’s effectiveness. That was the benchmark upon which the United States would evaluate all proposals.
The time for reform was ripe, Germany’s representative said, urging a decision on Security Council reform before the summit in September. Everybody knew that consensus on that complex issue was not possible. It might be desirable, but its absence should not be a pretext for inaction. In fact, that was a strange understanding of democracy, because taking decisions through a vote was being done in parliaments around the world. Not heeding the Secretary-General’s advice to take a decision on Security Council reform before September would cast a shadow on the summit, because the public perception would be that the United Nations had not addressed one of the major reform issues. He favoured enlarging the Council with permanent and non-permanent seats. False compromises should not be made to accommodate the specific national issues of a very few.
A most important element for consensus was the issue of the use of force, the speaker from the Russian Federation said. The Charter remained the reliable and solid legal basis for that question and it did not require a revision or new interpretation. The Security Council should adopt a resolution on the principles of the use of force, but its formulation must not impair the Council’s ability to take relevant decisions. The emerging norm on the responsibility to protect did not yet have broad international support, but it was clear that massive human rights violations and acts of genocide could be a cause for international intervention. The Council must authorize such action once it deemed that an internal, domestic or regional crisis threatened international peace and security.
Japan’s representative favoured the idea of a peacebuilding commission, including that its members be drawn equally from members of both the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. He shared the key concerns underpinning the proposal to establish a human rights council, but sought further details. The time was ripe for action on Security Council reform, but he agreed that an inability to achieve consensus should not become an excuse for postponing action. History had shown that important progress was rarely made through consensus, but through bold decisions. He recalled that the decision to expand the Council’s elected membership in 1963 had been achieved by a vote.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Singapore, France, Turkey, Denmark, Republic of Korea, Nigeria, Iran, Slovakia, Romania, Belarus, Argentina (on behalf of the Rio Group), Australia, Palau, Croatia, Uganda, New Zealand, Tuvalu (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Solomon Islands, Norway, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (on behalf of the landlocked developing countries), Liechtenstein, Iceland, Ukraine (also on behalf of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova), Angola, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia.
The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 8 April, to continue its discussion of the Secretary-General’s reform report.
The General Assembly met today to continue its consideration of follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, in particular the Secretary-General’s report “In Larger Freedom” (document A/59/2005). For a summary of the report, see Press Release GA/10337 issued on 6 April.
VANU GOPALA MENON (Singapore), noting that without peace there could be no freedom, said that it was necessary to be more creative to break the vicious cycle of conflict. He strongly believed there was scope for the Secretary-General to use his good offices to do more in the areas of mediation and conflict prevention. To that end, everyone should agree to more resources being allocated in an institutionalized manner through assessed contributions. In the context of freedom from want, he strongly supported the recommendation that Member States should provide duty- and quota-free market access for all exports from the least developed countries.
In a highly evolved global community, he said it was high time that massive killings and crimes against humanity be things of the past. A special challenge for Member States was to have frank, open-ended discussions to establish clear rules underscored by clear and agreed criteria on how to prevent and to deal with such crimes, criteria that would at the same time leave no room for abuse of any sort, by anyone.
The United Nations itself, as an institution, needed to be reformed and strengthened, he stated. He was encouraged to learn about the broad range of internal reform measures, some of which were long overdue, that the Secretary-General was planning to implement. One noble goal was to enhance the accountability of senior managers. That, in turn, would lead to a much better working environment for international civil servants by providing certainty as to their rights and responsibilities.
MICHEL DUCLOS (France) said that everyone knew the crucial stakes of the September summit. There should be no illusions about the serious consequences of what a failure in September would mean. Africa, whose special needs must be recognized, would also suffer from such a loss. He believed in success, because the conditions for success had been met. The first condition was proper preparations, to have a good process to enable Member States to succeed. He hailed the way in which the President was guiding the Assembly’s work, combining the needed openness and transparency with authority to go forward. The Secretary-General’s report provided the best possible basis on which to attain results. His proposals were relevant, coherent and balanced.
Turning to specific proposals, he highlighted financing for development. The commitments to be made in that connection would determine whether the Millennium Goals would be attained. It was necessary to stick to the road drawn up by the Secretary-General. There should be a specific timetable for increases of official development assistance (ODA) to the agreed level, and debt cancellation was also required. France would work to further clarify the Secretary-General’s proposals on those matters. He also emphasized the need to prepare the launching of a number of pilot projects, such as a tax on air transport to contribute to the fight against AIDS.
Also, combating terrorism called for unequivocal action, he said. The strategy presented by the Secretary-General in Madrid had provided elements for common action. The recent adoption of the convention on nuclear terrorism showed that the will to overcome differences existed. On peacebuilding, he said discussions had shown that there was a lack of a place to mobilize and coordinate the action of all actors. The establishment of a peacebuilding commission was now part of the expected results of the summit. The mandate and functions proposed by the Secretary-General seemed wise, and they were in keeping with the general orientation of initial debates on the topic.
The promotion of the dignity of people was something that was a crucial part of the United Nations mission, he noted. That dimension was gaining ever greater importance in today’s world. He believed in the responsibility to protect, the rule of law and human rights. The Commission on Human Rights had played a fundamental role in the establishment of norms, policies and instruments, but had encountered some difficulties. To enhance the legitimacy and effectiveness of that body, he was in favour of the enhancement of its status together with strengthening the Office of the High Commissioner. In addition, proposals on various agencies were of great importance and would determine whether the Organization could face the issues relating to development, humanitarian action and the environment.
The proposals on the revitalization of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) were most welcome. He was ready to work on those proposals. On the Security Council, France’s position was well known and had not changed. The Assembly was now entering the second stage of work leading to the summit -- a decisive stage.
ANDREY DENISOV (Russian Federation) commended the report for being in line with his country’s own position on strengthening collective security and enhancing the structure of the world Organization. He fully shared the Secretary-General’s conclusion on the linkage between specific tasks aimed at neutralizing current threats and meeting current challenges, for which the United Nations was irreplaceable. Thus, the Organization must be equipped with all necessary resources, and its reform must further rally the international community around the principles of multilateralism. Thus, reform decisions should be taken on the basis of the fundamental agreement of Member States and on the bedrock of international law. The Secretary-General had faithfully reflected the priorities of socio-economic development and identified the key areas of work needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals.
In addition, he said he supported the focus of reform of ECOSOC in terms of rendering the more effective implementation of its decisions. Indeed, the link between the drafting of norms and the operational activities of the United Nations system overall should be reinforced. He also sought to enhance ECOSOC’s capacity to tackle the socio-economic problems of peacebuilding and development, but he was not convinced of the need for a major review of the way that Council functioned; the Secretary-General’s initiatives were fully attainable within the existing framework and format of ECOSOC. A most important element for consensus in the report should be on the issue of the use of force. The Charter remained the reliable and solid legal basis for problems related to the use of force and it did not require a revision or new interpretation. He fully shared the recommendation that the Security Council should adopt a resolution on the principles of the use of force.
He said that the formulation of such principles must not reduce the Security Council’s ability to take relevant decisions. Both the Secretary-General and the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change had defined the concept of responsibility to protect as an emerging norm. Establishing such an international norm should have broad international support, but that was not yet the case. It was clear, however, that massive human rights violations and genocide could be a cause for intervention by the international community. Such action could only be carried out with the Security Council’s authorization, which would deem that an internal, domestic or regional crisis posed a threat to international peace and security, under Chapter VII of the Charter. In such cases, the Council’s decisions must be based on credible information, and the use of force must main a last resort.
On the whole, he said he welcomed the proposed comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, including countering it in its newest and most dangerous manifestations, which, first and foremost, related to terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction. He also supported the quest to attain a definition of terrorism, but so far the proposed elements for such a definition were more political than legal. It was important, while working on a definition, to avoid wording that could be interpreted as putting criminal acts of terrorism on an equal footing with anti-terrorist acts of States. Adoption on 1 April of a new convention to suppress nuclear terrorism was welcome, and had flowed from a proposal of the Russian Federation from seven years ago. Hopefully, the text would soon be adopted by the General Assembly.
He said that the disarmament section of the report had rightly emphasized the need for further effective steps towards the non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons and their delivery systems, including the counter-terrorist aspect of that problem. Worthy of consideration was the recommendation that the Security Council adopt a resolution hampering terrorists’ attempts to acquire and use man-portable air defence systems, or MANPADS. It would be premature at this stage, however, to press for a legally binding international document on the marking and tracing of small arms and light weapons, as there was no agreement yet on that issue and work on that by the expert group was ongoing.
On human rights, he said he had agreed with the Secretary-General that the work of the Human Rights Commission was often “stuck” because of excessive politicization, confrontation and the use of double standards. That situation was definitely ripe for change, but what change was required? The High-Level Panel’s suggestion to universalize the Commission’s membership should be kept in mind. He also shared the concern over the lack of resources for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, especially in light of proposals to broaden the scope of its work. On Security Council reform, his country’s position was well known. Efforts must continue to attain the broadest possible agreement on that question, in order to avoid a schism in the United Nations, which would be fraught with serious and regrettable consequences.
BAKI ILKIN (Turkey), aligning himself with the European Union, said that one of the main difficulties on the way to achieving reform was the restructuring of the Security Council. While it did not seem as though full consensus could be achieved on that particular issue, the important thing was to find a common denominator for the overwhelming majority of the Member States. The Secretary-General had underlined that Models A and B were not being presented on a “take it or leave it” basis and States should try and see the extent to which they could produce a common denominator out of those models, if need be, by infusing some new ideas. On the other hand, the review mechanism envisaged for 2020 did not seem realistic and a new structure for the Council should be agreed that would not necessitate changes for the foreseeable future.
Turning to the recommendations on sanctions, he said they addressed only one basic dimension of that issue, without referring to the needs and problems of third States implementing sanctions. Article 50 of the Charter could not easily be invoked, as illustrated by Turkey’s experience following the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. Turkey, therefore, welcomed the Secretary-General’s clear reference to that shortcoming. Regarding the use of force, the issue was very much at the heart of United Nations reform and the common understanding that Member States were expected to reach would have a direct impact on the Organization’s future role in defending peace and security.
He said the Economic and Social Council definitely should be revitalized in light of the immense changes that had taken place in the economic and social spheres over the last 60 years. A more focused Council should provide strategic guidance, promote coherence and coordination and evaluate performances without interfering in the work of other financial and trade organizations. Regarding the proposed human rights council, the issue was quite new and would visibly affect the functioning of human rights mechanisms in the United Nations as a whole. Member States needed to further evaluate and consult among themselves. They would have to focus on such issues as representation and efficiency, as well AS review the working of the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).
ELLEN MARGRETHE LØJ (Denmark) said that the Secretary-General’s report raised many important and complicated issues. She singled out three challenges to which her country attached primary importance. First, at the September summit, world leaders should agree on financing the implementation of the Millennium Goals, particularly in Africa. Second, the United Nations peacebuilding capacity should be strengthened, through the establishment of a peacebuilding commission, as recommended by the Secretary-General in his report. She looked forward to receiving the Secretary-General’s more detailed proposals on that crucial issue. Third, the United Nations must strengthen its fight against terrorism based on the recommendations and strategy of the Secretary-General, and strengthen its efforts in the fight against weapons of mass destruction.
Those three central issues could not be seen in isolation, she said. Heads of State and government should take further steps to strengthen United Nations efforts in the fields of human rights and the rule of law. They should also agree on effective measures to deal with climate change and enhance environmental protection. She supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General in the annex of his report on access to reproductive health. At the summit, leaders must reiterate the linkage between achieving the Millennium Goals and ensuring reproductive rights and universal access to reproductive health, as well as the importance of an intensified fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Secretary-General had rightly pointed out the need for continued reform of the United Nations Secretariat and intergovernmental bodies. She encouraged the Secretary-General to continue the modernization of the Organization, which he had set in motion under his prerogative as chief administrative officer. Denmark would engage actively in efforts to further develop the proposals of the Secretary-General regarding reform of the Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC. She commended the Secretary-General for his proposals to establish a human rights council and looked forward to seeing that recommendation further elaborated.
FELIPE H. PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said he agreed with the Secretary-General that the time had come for decisions, that the world must face immediate threats with immediate action and that the meeting of world leaders in September was an excellent opportunity to reach agreement on a work programme for the twenty-first century. He was not so certain, however, that the decisions should be adopted as a package. The international community should act with prudence and try to ensure that, in pursuing the ambitious goal of reaching agreement on all measures, it did not end up delaying the implementation. The possibility must be left open of using a progressive approach to the reforms; of adoption of decisions as agreements were reached. Care must also be taken about the way those measures were adopted. He did not share the view that if consensus was not possible, the Assembly should press forward and implement measures that were supported by only some States. At the very least, those measures that involved major reforms or Charter amendments must be adopted by consensus. Measures on such important questions that did not have broad support would not strengthen efforts to deal with current threats.
He said he agreed with several of the recommendations, but several of them appealing to States to fulfil their commitments flowing from treaties and conventions were reiterations of recommendations already made in other forums. Unfortunately, the Secretary-General did not propose any mechanism that would permit evaluation of the extent to which States had implemented those recommendations. He might have proposed the preparation of a periodic report to provide information on, for example, measures taken by the governments of developing countries to implement the recommendations, or on developed countries that had increased the level of their ODA. Moreover, many recommendations in the section on freedom from want were too general and imprecise. He had the impression that many States that would otherwise be willing to implement those recommendations would not know where to begin. It would have been very useful to have had more concrete guidance.
The recommendations in the section on freedom from fear included one that gave rise to serious doubts, he said, namely, the one requesting the Security Council to adopt a resolution on the use of force setting our principles governing its use. That clearly referred to use of force by the Council, and not by States. There was no need to attempt such regulation, however, as that would include unnecessary reaffirmation of pre-existing principles and rules so fundamental that it would be superfluous to reiterate them. It would also include criteria that the Council should use in authorizing or resorting to the use of force, but it was so obvious that the Council must apply -- and in fact applied -- those criteria. Thus, their explicit formulation in a resolution was totally unnecessary. It was unimaginable that the Council would have to resort to the use of military force without taking into account the purpose for which it was used, the seriousness of the threat, or the chances of its success.
He asserted that the regulation of the use of force by the Security Council seemed not only unnecessary, but dangerous, because the formulation of rules additional to the Charter’s provisions, or rules interpreting those provisions, could end up becoming a straitjacket that placed undue restraints on the discretion which the Council enjoyed when it acted under Chapter VII. That could lead to inaction. Thus, his delegation could not now adopt a final position on that matter, but wished to proceed to a more detailed analysis of the proposal and carry out further consultations. The recommendation on the International Court of Justice was ambiguous. He did not see the need for the international community to recognize the importance of the role played by that main judicial organ of the United Nations. He also wished to know why the Secretary-General believed that the work of the Court needed to be strengthened and what ideas he had for achieving that objective. Was he thinking of a change in composition, or in procedures, or in its competence? he asked.
With regard to institutional reforms, he said that priority should be given to revitalizing the General Assembly. The drastic reduction in its agenda and its focus on the most urgent problems of the moment were the most appropriate means of achieving that objective. All other measures could improve the procedures and streamline the functioning, but those were not sufficient to ensure that the Assembly regained the authority it should have as the most representative organ of the United Nations. On Security Council reform, it should be remembered that the pursuit was not only for it to become more representative, but also more democratic and more effective. In order to achieve that threefold aim, consultations and negotiations had been taking place for the past 13 years. The difficulty in reaching an agreement could be traced precisely to the fact that some reform proposals aimed at ensuring greater representation, but were also themselves obstacles to the achievement of the other two objectives.
KIM SAM-HOON (Republic of Korea) said he shared the Secretary-General’s view that, for the first time ever, the international community had the resources and knowledge necessary to realize the goal of universal freedom from want. Hence, the debate on development issues should be focused on how to faithfully carry out existing commitments, based on shared responsibility and accountability, as agreed in Monterrey and Johannesburg. Successful completion of the Doha development agenda negotiations, combined with assistance in building the export competitiveness of developing States, was essential in facilitating development. He also supported the launching of a series of “quick win” development initiatives.
Any threat to one State must be treated as a threat to all, calling for a collective response by the entire international community, he said. In countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the imminent task was to make existing regimes more universal and effective, while building capacity to cope with newly emerging threats. His country also supported enhancing the United Nations role in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts through its greater cooperation and coordination with regional organizations. In addition, he fully endorsed the creation of a peacebuilding commission. However, the proposed sequential model required further clarification as to how to delineate the various stages in the continuum from post-conflict to development.
It was high time, he said, to come up with more effective ways to protect and promote human rights. In that vein, he fully backed the initiative to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In addition, the responsibility to protect should receive serious consideration. It was necessary to explore ways to deter and prevent massive or systematic violations of international human rights or humanitarian law in failing or failed States.
Regarding Security Council reform, he supported an expansion of elected seats, not permanent seats, and an improved version of Model B as a basis for negotiations, with a view to reaching a broad consensus. He believed Model A would seriously undermine the goal of making the Council more broadly and equitably representative, effective, efficient, democratic, accountable and transparent. Among other things, the addition of permanent seats would reduce the opportunities for middle and small States to be represented in the Council, and it was unlikely to enhance the transparency of the Council’s work.
Given its significant implications, his delegation was still reviewing the proposal to set up a human rights council and would make recommendations at a later date. The role of ECOSOC in coordinating economic and social bodies should be reinforced. In the meantime, the idea of expanding the bureau of ECOSOC and establishing an executive committee warranted careful consideration. He was also eager to see more detailed plans for rejuvenating the Secretariat. In that regard, he could go along with a one-time staff buyout only if it could be implemented without additional resources.
SIMEON A. ADEKANYE (Nigeria) said that the special needs of Africa must be addressed. Africa expected an acceleration in implementation of the various initiatives launched bilaterally and multilaterally to support the continent’s development. For their part, African countries had demonstrated their commitment to economic and political reforms. The international community should complement their efforts by providing structured technical and effectively deployed financial support and access to global markets. Africa needed debt cancellation as no growth could take place with heavy debt overhang.
Any reform of the Assembly should seek to reinforce its role in line with the Charter provisions, he said. Also, it was his desire that ECOSOC assume prominence as the moral voice on international economic and social matters. The Secretary-General’s views on ECOSOC’s role on coordination, policy review and guidance on economic and social matters were undoubtedly significant in that regard, and so was the suggestion that the Council should hold an annual ministerial assessment of progress towards achieving internationally agreed development goals.
Concerning the Security Council, he supported the proposals for the expansion of the Council’s membership to make it more representative, democratic and effective. Africa deserved a minimum of two permanent seats on the expanded Council. His delegation was studying carefully the proposal concerning the replacement of the Commission on Human Rights with the human rights council, particularly its wider implications for all Member States. He added that the forthcoming summit should send a clear message to the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting on Trade in December on the need to conclude the negotiations on the Doha round in 2006.
JAVAD ZARIF (Iran) said that the report had lost sight of a fundamental threat which lay at the root of current international maladies, namely, the propensity to resort to coercion and violence by State and non-State actors. Furthermore, and perhaps because of that failure, it was far from certain that the prescriptions presented by the report would, or even could, enhance the capacity of the international community to address the very threats that had been identified or whether they would rectify the present shortcomings of the United Nations machinery or further entrench them. Success would depend largely on the collective courage to question the feasibility and practicality of the dominant interventionist paradigm and tendencies.
The international community had seen far too many cases of resort to the justification of imminent threat as an excuse for aggression to allow it to be recognized as a license for war under the Charter, he said. An attempt to broaden the license to legalized coercion was in itself indicative of the failure to recognize the root cause of the current international crisis -- that was militarism and the propensity to resort to exclusion, coercion and violence on the part of States and non-State actors.
Turning to disarmament and non-proliferation, he said the report contained a number of important suggestions which needed adequate scrutiny. However, the report failed to address the recent plans for development of new nuclear weapons and new doctrine for their use against non-nuclear-weapon States. It prescribed the addition of new discriminatory restrictions on access to peaceful nuclear technology, which would, in turn, lead to a further categorization of “haves” and “have nots” within the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). In fighting terrorism, the rule of international law and the basic principles of human rights and humanitarian law must be strictly observed. The Secretary-General’s proposal to create a special rapporteur who would report to the Commission on Human Rights on the compatibility of counter-terrorism measures with international human rights laws was a positive and helpful initiative.
The report had also accepted the vague and highly controversial concept of “responsibility to protect”, which had been subjected to a wide range of interpretations. There was a grave concern that that concept could be invoked by certain countries to pursue their own political agenda, and that through that idea some parts of the world might be transformed into a potential theatre for their intervention. In addition, a pertinent question arose whether the proposed human rights council would be able to rectify the present shortcomings of the United Nations machinery. Such a body might further polarize and politicize the human rights system and might, in turn, further marginalize the developing countries in yet another important United Nations forum. The establishment of a peacebuilding commission was an important idea which merited careful consideration.
The proposal seeking to have ECOSOC more focused on development issues were worth considering. However, they should not alter the mandate and the scope of the work of ECOSOC. Care should be taken to strengthen ECOSOC and to avoid its downgrading into a functional commission. Also, the two features of revitalizing the Assembly -- enhancing its authority and role and improving its working methods -- should be pursued simultaneously.
PETER BURIAN (Slovakia), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Eastern European States, agreed with the Secretary-General that each country had primary responsibility for its own development. Slovakia had moved gradually from being a recipient of development assistance in the early 1990s to its present situation as an emerging donor country providing ODA to about 14 countries in the Balkans, in Asia and Africa. As a member of the European Union, Slovakia also provided duty-free and quota-free market access for all exports from the least developed countries.
Slovakia strongly supported the idea of strengthening the role of the human rights bodies in the field of implementation, effective promotion and monitoring of adopted measures, he said. It also supported the strengthening of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and looked forward to the presentation of her action plan. The closer relationship between security and human rights also required better interaction between the Office of the High Commissioner and the Security Council. Also, Slovakia considered the proposed transformation of the Commission on Human Rights into a responsive and efficient standing human right council as an initiative worth further consideration and elaboration, especially considering the proposed council’s membership and statute.
In the area of institutional reform, he expressed strong support for the creation of the peacebuilding commission as a necessary prerequisite for abolishing the existing institutional gap. The urgent needs of maintaining peace and security in post-conflict situations and achieving long-term sustainable social and economic development must be addressed appropriately. Also, Slovakia reiterated its position that an enlarged Security Council should include Germany and Japan as new permanent members. In addition, neither of the two models proposed for Security Council reform reflected the existing structure of regional groups, namely, the existence of the Group of Eastern European States. All regional groups should be maintained and should be able to nominate candidates for membership of an enlarged Council.
SHARIN TAHIR-KHELI (United States) said that at no time had the world been more in need of an effective United Nations. As the world worked towards achievement of the Millennium Summit’s Development Goals, for peace around the world, especially in Africa and the Middle East, and as it confronted the challenges of terrorism and the urgent need to stop the spread of mass destruction weapons, the world needed a United Nations that lived up to its high ideals, a United Nations that acted effectively to implement real solutions, and a United Nations whose efficiency and integrity was beyond question. The United States welcomed the Secretary-General’s positive emphasis on the importance of promoting freedom and respect for human rights and human dignity, advancing democracy, and strengthening the rule of law. And, it appreciated his support for the creation of a “UN Democracy Fund”, as proposed by United States President Bush last year.
If created, she said, the Fund would be instrumental in laying the foundation of democracy by instituting the rule of law and independent courts, a free press, political parties and trade unions. Also welcome had been the report’s call for the creation of a peacebuilding commission to improve the United Nations’ post-conflict peacebuilding capabilities. The United States also supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to replace the Commission on Human Rights with a smaller, more effective human rights council. Especially appreciated had been the emphasis on dealing with terrorism, particularly the report’s call on all States that had not yet done so to accede to the 12 existing counter-terrorism Conventions. Also welcome had been the position that there was no justification for the targeting and killing of civilians. Nevertheless, she believed that a definition of terrorism should exclude State military operations.
Also welcome had been the report’s acknowledgement that the proliferation of mass destruction weapons was a “real and growing” threat, she said. She also welcomed the reiteration of the importance of the NPT and the specific reference to the “crisis of confidence and compliance” facing the Treaty. States failing to abide by their Treaty obligations had created a serious challenge for the non-proliferation regime, which must be addressed. She was pleased to see the support given to the Proliferation Security Initiative and to Security Council resolution 1540 as useful new initiatives to combat the “WMD” proliferation threat, including by non-State actors. Also welcome had been the call for universal adoption of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Additional Protocol and its enrichment and reprocessing programmes, because of the proliferation dangers those posed.
She said she also supported the report’s focus on national controls against “WMD” delivery systems, as the proliferation of missiles and related technologies to unstable countries was an area of great concern to the United States. Also welcome had been the report’s assertion that Article 51 of the Charter should not be changed. The report made the key point that a State need not wait until it was actually attacked in order to use force in self-defence, which was to say that there was a right of anticipatory self-defence in appropriate circumstances. Anticipatory action was an element of the inherent right of self-defence, which remained lawful under the Charter. That right must today be understood and applied in the context of the new threats posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, which the Secretary-General had highlighted.
On economic development, she reaffirmed and committed the United States anew to implementing the development consensus achieved at Monterrey and Johannesburg, and to the agreed goals of the Millennium Declaration. She fully agreed with the Secretary-General that developing countries should recommit themselves to taking primary responsibility for their own development by strengthening governance, combating corruption, and putting in place policies and investments to drive private sector growth. The United States had pledged to increase foreign assistance by 50 per cent over 2000 levels by 2006, and it had met that pledge three years early. Last year, its development assistance exceeded its 2000 level by 90 per cent. The United States Millennium Challenge Account initiative would support poor countries committed to governing justly, investing in their people, and encouraging economic freedom. In addition, she urged the World Trade Organization (WTO) members to complete the Doha round of talks by 2006, if possible. She cautioned, however, that finding the right structure for open and free markets -- one that would contribute positively to increased development and opportunity -- was more important than the constraints of a calendar.
She said that recent investigations of mismanagement and wrongdoing, including in peacekeeping operations, were causes for concern and had underscored the need for greater transparency and accountability within the United Nations. She, therefore, strongly supported the strengthening of the authority and independence of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) as a means to accomplish that. The United States also supported Security Council reform, provided that it enhanced the Council’s effectiveness. She remained open to considering all proposals and would evaluate them against that benchmark. As the reform process proceeded, her country would like to move forward on the basis of broad consensus, along the lines previously stated and without artificial deadlines. Given the historic significance and the complexities of the overall reform enterprise, it would be unrealistic to adopt a “package approach” to United Nations reform and development goals. Instead, the approach should be pragmatic, building consensus around reforms on which everyone agreed and, then, progressively working to achieve the more difficult changes.
MIHNEA MOTOC (Romania) said that the report was a remarkable political and intellectual blueprint for putting the vision of United Nations reform to work. The international community would be well advised to take it as the platform upon which consensus could be built. Rather than on elaborating further or fine-tuning some of the report’s concepts, the focus now should be on preserving the delicate balances and not hurting them. Member States also should actively engage in the process of adapting the United Nations, including through further refining assessment of the Secretary-General’s proposals, by submitting them to a series of crucial tests. The question was to what extent the institutional framework could deliver on the commonly held objectives and values. While the report did an impressive job of overhauling key bodies in a better integrated matrix, it did not, as the Secretary-General himself could not -- add significantly to the issues of improving the General Assembly’s performance. As the central, flagship body, the Assembly’s reform must receive the attention of each and every MemberState.
On the question of Security Council reform, he stressed, once more, that the Eastern European Group must be considered as an integral part of any enlargement scheme. For countries like Romania, enlargement of the Council could be supported -- on structure -- provided that it reflected the increased contribution of the Eastern European Group, and --on substance -- provided that it brought everyone at least one inch closer to decision-making in a more representative and authoritative Council, and one inch closer to fairer recognition of contributions to safeguarding international peace and security. Giving the group one additional elected seat was “hugely modest”, since it would then end up with one permanent mandate and two elected ones, which was much less than one fifth of the number of countries represented in an enlarged Council. Before accommodating the legitimate aspirations of every country, “let us respond properly to at least aspirations from the main regional constituencies of the Organization”, he urged.
He said that the overall reform proces should not be bound to the ability to take decisions about Security Council reform. He favoured a broader and deeper reflection on the reform package on the following issues: global prevention and the fight against terrorism; the nexus between that scourge and weapons of mass destruction proliferation; and the enhanced relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations. His delegation was prepared to devise a “concept paper”, which elaborated the following ideas, among others: ensuring that Chapter VII was actually observed and implemented in a more orderly manner; generating new integrationist processes where appropriate and making existing ones more meaningful; and recognizing that regional organizations were increasingly playing a role alongside individual States, and their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping or peacebuilding should be recognized.
KENZO OSHIMA (Japan), on freedom from want, said that there was no issue more serious or deserving of closer attention than the hardships faced by hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty in many developing parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The international development agenda was broader than the Millennium Development Goals, but the Goals must figure as the most pressing priority, and Japan was strongly committed to contributing to their realization. In its approach to the Goals, it would be guided by the Secretary-General’s newest recommendations, plus the outcomes of major international conferences. Nation-building began with capacity-building, and advancing capacity-building was essential to promoting a sound sense of ownership, which was indispensable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development.
On financing for development, he said his country had argued that resource mobilization must cover, not only ODA but also all other available sources, such as those available through trade and investment, and domestic financial resources in the recipient countries. East Asia’s development experience offered an interesting example in that a “happy combination” of development financing, which consisted of ODA, trade and private investment, had produced an environment for healthy economic growth and sustainable development. That, in turn, had helped reduce the population in poverty by more than 200 million over a decade. Japan’s strong commitment to development aid and cooperation through its ODA remained unchanged. Backed by that commitment, Japan had contributed about one fifth of the worldwide volume of ODA over the last 10 years, and it would continue its efforts as a major donor. It was striving to increase the level of ODA for the purpose of achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
Concerning peace and security, as clustered under “freedom from fear”, he said he welcomed the concrete proposals to strengthen multilateral frameworks for disarmament and non-proliferation. He supported the universalization of those regimes, as well as of the instruments for the suppression of terrorism. He welcomed the adoption last week of the draft international convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism. Early agreement on the text was no doubt facilitated by the Secretary-General’s report. On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, the NPT Review Conference would be very important, in light of the serious challenges facing the NPT regime. Through that forum and others, Japan would continue to actively promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation out of its desire to contribute to improving the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
Among his points on institutional reform, he said he supported the idea of a peacebuilding commission, including for its composition, drawing an equal number of members from both the Security Council and ECOSOC. He shared the key concerns underpinning the proposal to establish a human rights council, but further discussions on the details were needed. The time was ripe for action on Security Council reform. He agreed with the Secretary-General that an inability to achieve consensus should not “become an excuse for postponing action”. History had shown that important progress was rarely made through consensus, but through bold decisions. It should be recalled that the decision to expand the Council’s membership in the non-permanent category in 1963 had been achieved by a vote. He had argued for Council expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, which enjoyed the support of a large number of Member States. Japan would advance the process by tabling a “framework resolution” this summer.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that many countries with economies in transition continued to face serious difficulties in implementing market-oriented reforms and achieving economic growth and integration into the world economy, which had a serious negative impact on their movement towards the Millennium Development Goals. Timely, targeted and effective international support to transition countries would not only address their development problems, but also work simultaneously to increase the international community’s overall assistance potential; in other words, today’s aid recipients would become tomorrow’s donors.
Sharing the Secretary-General’s view on the need to upgrade the United Nations humanitarian response system, he said that improving the response capacity was one of the Organization’s most urgent problems. Belarus proposed the inclusion, in the draft outcome document of the September summit, a paragraph committing Member States to strengthening the potential of the United Nations humanitarian response system by developing new funding arrangements necessary for providing timely and adequate responses to sudden and large-scale natural and technological disasters and other humanitarian emergencies.
He said that any models of Security Council enlargement that would lead to the elimination of the Group of Eastern European States, even if only for the purpose of distributing Council seats, would be unacceptable. Moreover, Belarus supported the Group’s rightful claim to an additional non-permanent seat on an enlarged Council. The primary consideration in choosing a formula for enlargement should be, not the abstract beauty of the model, but its fairness. Belarus proposed to use the chances of an individual MemberState to get elected to a non-permanent seat, as well as the general ratio of regional representation.
CESAR MAYORAL (Argentina), on behalf of the Rio Group, said that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must be at the centre of all concerns. The Group sought a broadening focus on social and development issue, with emphasis on agreements reached at the major United Nations conferences and summits. Those had duly stressed improving living standards and promoting respect for human rights. Also necessary was to assist middle-income countries and small and vulnerable economies, with a view at the 2005 summit to guaranteeing that, by 2015, far fewer people would be in danger of slipping down the hill of poverty and marginalization. The opening of trade markets and progress in the Doha round should never be linked to any conditionality. In that context, any approach to trade must continue to emphasize the external debt problem by relating the important concept of the sustainability of that debt to compliance with the Millennium Summit objectives and those to be agreed at the upcoming review.
He said, moreover, that the emphasis on development matters must also include the deep interrelationships among: sustainable development; stability of the economic, political, social and environmental systems; democracy; the universal enjoyment of human rights; internal and external peace; and, thus, security, including in cases of natural disasters. The Group emphasized the importance of the initiative against hunger and poverty, which, among other things, envisaged a series of innovative mechanisms for development financing and sought to increase present ODA levels. It agreed with the Secretary-General on the urgent need for developed countries to establish timelines, in order to achieve the goal of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) for ODA.
In terms of the reform process, progress at the policy level must be backed by consistent institutional changes. Democracy was a universal value, and consolidating, preserving and promoting it were fundamental to ensuring equity, justice, freedom, peace and sustainable development. Special attention should be paid to the prevention of genocide and massive human rights violations. The reform debate must include a legal framework that conformed to the Charter, and it must prioritize strengthening of the rule of law and respect for human rights. The rule of law was strengthened through universal participation in the international human rights instruments. The Group was willing to consider strengthening the institutional aspect of human rights at the United Nations, in agreement that the Human Rights Commission needed to be reformed. To advance counter-terrorism efforts, the Group urged agreement on a definition of terrorism, which would enable the international community to face that scourge from a multilateral and unified approach. Due process was always important in that fight.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said that the Secretary-General’s report rightly acknowledged the special needs of Africa. The summit outcome must also recognize pressing development needs elsewhere, including in the Asia and Pacific region where some two thirds, or 700 million, of the world’s poor lived. There needed to be recognition of the specific development needs and challenges facing small island developing States as agreed in the Mauritius Strategy. Economic growth was a powerful driver of development, supported by comprehensive trade liberalization by both developed and developing countries under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Doha trade round. It was necessary to highlight the importance to development of trade-derived economic growth and ensure that the summit created a positive atmosphere for an early resolution and concrete outcomes from the Doha round.
Australia agreed with the Secretary-General’s proposals for strengthening the multilateral framework for arms control and non-proliferation. The summit outcome should endorse a range of practical measures, including the commencement of negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty and the conclusion of a small arms and light weapons treaty. He welcomed the comprehensive strategy against terrorism, which the Secretary-General announced in Madrid, and agreed that a concerted effort should be made to finalize the draft comprehensive convention against terrorism. He looked forward to more details of the peacebuilding commission, not least given the important role it could have in addressing the problems facing fragile States. The establishment of a practical and effective commission should be a key summit outcome.
His country also welcomed the Secretary-General’s endorsement of the emerging norm of the “responsibility to protect” and his call to embrace that norm and act on it when national governments were unable or unwilling to protect its citizens. He also supported the proposal to develop greater capacity in the United Nations to assist emerging democracies, and agreed with the suggestions on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of human rights treaty bodies. In particular, he agreed with the vital need to elevate and mainstream consideration of human rights in the United Nations system.
Australia supported expanding the permanent membership of the Security Council through the inclusion of Japan, India, Brazil, an African country and possibly Indonesia. Existing and prospective Council members should be prepared to meet the international community’s expectations regarding the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, Secretariat reform was indispensable to meaningfully renew the United Nations. He strongly supported all of the Secretary-General’s proposals on improving the Organization’s structure and management methods and considered such reforms to be a major component of the package of reforms under consideration.
STUART BECK (Palau) reiterated his country’s support for reform of the Security Council, pursuant to Model A, and permanent membership for Japan. He noted that the Secretary-General had stated in his report that no country, weak or strong, could realize prosperity in a vacuum. Such a vacuum existed in many small island developing States, and particularly in Palau, by the failure of the institutions of the United Nations to create a compelling presence within Palau’s borders. There was not one single permanent United Nations representative in Palau to interact with the Government and with civil society to build the capacity of the State to address the daunting and complicated challenges that confronted it.
He suggested that every State in the international community was entitled to the permanent presence of at least one talented United Nations official who could guide the local population. A permanent office in every MemberState was the only way to provide the greater access to the world institutions that the Secretary-General had called for. The only reason that such a practical and obvious solution to the remoteness and isolation of Palau and other countries like it had not been implemented was an argument relating to its cost. It was believed that it was better to group United Nations personnel in so-called “regional centres”, and to periodically visit States like Palau, or to bring Palauans to those centres for seminars and workshops.
He suggested that the cost of those visits was probably greater than the cost of actually locating an official within the State. Even assuming that some slight increase in cost would be occasioned by the development of country offices in remote States, the benefits of such an initiative would far outweigh the costs.
IVAN NIMAC (Croatia) said that development was the pillar of the United Nations mandate, and achieving the Millennium Development Goals were international obligations. Maintaining international peace and security, the struggles against terrorism and transnational organized crime were common concerns. The report proposed a range of measures to strengthen the normative basis for State and human security, and his delegation would engage constructively in the dialogue to come. He was pleased at the attempt to link security and development. That link was clear to many countries emerging from conflict and building national capacities and institutions in the post-conflict period. He, therefore, welcomed the proposal for a peacebuilding commission, which could fill a void in the United Nations system, and he awaited with interest further details.
He said that since lasting peace and security could only be founded upon the rule of law, Croatia supported a stronger United Nations role in building State capacity to allow States to deliver rule of law for all of their citizens. Responsible States provided safety for their citizens and secure neighbourhoods. He also supported the proposal to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights. On Security Council reform, he was concerned that the two models did not foresee the existence of the Eastern European Group. That would not serve as a final agreement on Council reform. Moreover, the Group, given its growth in membership in the past 15 years, had an equally legitimate claim, as did others, to an additional non-permanent place on the Council. If overall reform was to succeed, it must justly account for the interests of all, and not be, or be perceived as being, at anyone’s expense. Council reform must also extend to its working methods and its interaction with other principal organs, mainly ECOSOC.
FRANCIS BUTAGIRA (Uganda) said that the Secretary-General had quite rightly emphasized that his proposals gave equal weight and attention to three great purposes of the United Nations: development, security and human rights. However, it appeared that security had taken centre stage, while development was seen from the angle of security, thus, giving it a secondary role. In fact, unless development issues like poverty, education, health and the environment were addressed, there could be no meaningful discussion of security. In that context, it was necessary to rejuvenate ECOSOC so that it could play its role as envisaged in the Charter. To say that over time bodies like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization and the specialized agencies had usurped the powers and role of ECOSOC was defeatist. Both the Council and the specialized agencies should be funded adequately to address the issue.
He said that, while African countries were striving to adopt the Millennium Development Goals, the developed countries should fulfil part of their bargain by contribution 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) as ODA, he said. Much rhetoric had been heard; it was time for action, and the “quick wins” initiative was welcome in that regard. Basic needs like soil nutrients, universal primary education and the provision of free meals to schoolchildren should be the focus of the development partners. What was needed, above all, was the political good will to implement promises already given by developed countries in numerous international forums. Uganda supported the call for completion of the Doha round of negotiations by 2006, and Africa’s persistent demand for access to the markets of developed countries should be met.
Welcoming the proposed establishment of a peacebuilding commission, he said it would be useful in stabilizing countries and preventing them from slipping back into conflict, as well as in strengthening institutions that promoted stability in those not experiencing conflict. Such a body should be well funded and independent, rather than an appendage of the Security Council. Uganda also supported the establishment of a democracy fund and an international finance facility. However, the democracy fund should be used to support home-grown institutions of democracy and not to import foreign brands of democracy. Uganda also supported the establishment of a $1 billion voluntary fund to provide urgent relief to victims of sudden disasters.
DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said his country largely supported the recommendations in the section on freedom from want, and it welcomed the emphasis on the importance of governance and sound, transparent and accountable national strategies to reduce poverty. It also supported the call for developed countries to provide increased development assistance in support of those endeavours. New Zealand particularly supported the recommendations for an intensified response to combat HIV/AIDS. Gender equality, the full enjoyment of reproductive rights, and access to reproductive health information and services were crucial prerequisites for development, and he welcomed their discussion in the report. Regarding HIV/AIDS, the summit must focus on both prevention and treatment of the diseases. Obviously, universal access to reproductive health information and services, including for adolescents, was a vital strategy in that fight.
He said his country also welcomed the report’s focus on the need for enhanced action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change, including through commitments by all major greenhouse gas emitters. He was concerned that the particular vulnerabilities and special development needs of small island development States had received insufficient recognition in the report. At the same time, he welcomed the acknowledgement that global peace and security required progress on disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as the practical proposals put forward to achieve that, such as a fissile material cut-off treaty and strengthening the verification authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). On terrorism, he agreed on the need to conclude a comprehensive convention. He also strongly supported the principles of the responsibility to protect, which set out clearly the need for collective action against genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
Also welcome had been the proposal to set up a peacebuilding commission, he said. He also strongly supported increased resources for the Secretary-General’s vital “good offices” function. Those activities, often conducted quietly behind the scenes, were under-appreciated, as well as under-funded. It was particularly pleasing to see the prominent place given to human rights in the report. He agreed with the assessment that a shadow had been cast on the United Nations system as a whole owing to the declining credibility and lack of professionalism of the Human Rights Commission. He, therefore, supported the proposals for a high-level human rights council. The question of whether that council would be a principal organ of the United Nations or a subsidiary body of the General Assembly should be carefully considered. Either option would be a “radical restructuring” of the Organization’s human rights institutions, but they would be worthwhile if they solved the problem of politicization of the Human Rights Commission.
ENELE SOSENE SOPOAGA (Tuvalu), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said there was perhaps no other group in the United Nations family to whom the relevancy of international reforms to enhance development and security was more meaningful than the small island developing States. Their unique vulnerability to social and economic forces, and particularly to environmental degradation, required the international community’s consistent attention. In that context, the Alliance appreciated the report’s focus on the urgent need for comprehensive and global actions on implementation, and the general references to small island developing States, particularly in its chapter on “Freedom from Want”, where it made reference to trade and climate change.
Nevertheless, one must be very careful about lumping categories of countries together, he cautioned. While recognizing that the Millennium Development Goals referred to addressing the special needs of the least developed countries, landlocked countries and small island developing States, it was inappropriate to gather those different countries into one group and to suggest that some sort of action could collectively address the concerns of all of them. That approach ignored the particular needs and concerns of small island developing States and the fact that one size did not fit all, because of their structural handicaps and inherent vulnerability. They should be given the special treatment they deserved to ensure that their concerns were not diluted through clustering with other groups, or through the application of the lowest denominator common to all developing countries.
He stressed the need of small island States for assistance in strengthening and developing their preparedness and disaster reduction, emergency relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, particularly in the field, to enhance their capacity to address post-disaster human settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction. More so, the Alliance was most discouraged by the lack of mention in the whole report of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. That blueprint contained not only action-oriented, concrete and practical measures to address the areas of concern to those States, but also highlighted areas of mutual responsibility to be pursued by small island developing States and the international community. Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would be seriously undermined, unless appropriate actions for the full implementation of the Mauritius Strategy were properly considered in September.
COLLIN BECK (Solomon Islands), associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, the Pacific Island Forum and the Alliance of Small Island States, said that his country was a small island developing State, as well as a least developed country, sitting on the periphery of the international system. Countries in that position had come to rely heavily on certain international frameworks to support and sustain their national efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the Brussels Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, among others. The Solomon Islands would like to see performance-based, goal-driven United Nations organs with clear phases and time lines aimed at monitoring agreed international programmes. To achieve that, resources would have to be made available as soon as was practical.
Noting that United Nations reforms should be sensitive to the political, economic and social status of Member States, he said the report seemed to suggest an approach that was too open for those that were still undergoing nation-building, as well as seeking a common identity and a sense of national unity. Regarding security threats, some had received more attention than others. The report also lacked a sense of clarity in dealing with threats posed by Member States to non-Members or within Member States themselves. That created a security vacuum that, if left unattended, could degenerate into a security dilemma, shaking the Organization’s credibility. There must be an agreed mechanism for addressing specific threats within the parameters of the Charter.
The Solomon Islands continued to have difficulty with the recommendation regarding a regional conflict-prevention capacity within the United Nations, he said. The question of regions responding promptly to a legitimate request by a MemberState was in conformity with international law and should be encouraged. Regional cooperation was about the pooling of resources and mutual assistance to preserve and uphold global peace and security. That statement was made against the country’s experience with the Security Council and as a recipient of the regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands.
JOHAN LOVALD (Norway) welcomed the increased focus on human rights, noting that the current machinery needed reform. More emphasis should be placed on technical cooperation at the country level in order to achieve practical results. However, though the intention to enable a permanent human rights council to more effectively address evolving human rights situations was welcome, there was a clear need to develop that idea further in order for Member States to be able to conclude that it would be preferable to a Human Rights Commission with universal membership.
Emphasizing that there would be no peace without development and no development without peace, he said it was vital to develop the Organization’s capability and capacity for preventive action. Steps should be taken to strengthen the Secretary-General’s role and capacity in preventive diplomacy. His good offices could play an even more important mediation role to end conflicts. Also, the international community must agree on a more consistent and coherent approach to peacebuilding. While the proposal to establish a peacebuilding commission could be a step in the right direction, its mandate, organization and function must be clarified. Norway supported the proposal to establish a peacebuilding support office, the main purpose of which should be to ensure more coherent planning and operational peacebuilding capacities within the United Nations. Its operational functions should have priority over the Secretariat services for the proposed peacebuilding commission.
He said that when a State ignored its responsibility towards its population, the international community must not remain passive, he stressed. It had a responsibility to use diplomatic, humanitarian and other means to help protect the human rights of civilian populations, and when those were not sufficient, the Security Council had the responsibility to take action under the Charter, with authority, efficiency and without hesitation in situations of mass atrocity. Norway endorsed the Secretary-General’s appeal to embrace the principle of the responsibility to protect as a norm of collective actions in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. There was a need to build greater consensus around the need for collective action and early diplomatic response, which could eliminate the need for military intervention.
ALOUNKEO KITTIKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said that a crucial dimension of the global partnership for development was to address the special needs of the least development countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States. Those three vulnerable groups of countries constituted almost half of the United Nations membership and represented the poorest segment of the international community. Those countries lagged far behind in the international development mainstreams because of specific structural and geographical challenges constraining their development capacities. The international community had worked hard to identify their special development needs, but due to their vulnerabilities those States were in very difficult and special situations. Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals should be closely linked to action programmes already designed to suit those nations’ special situations, such as the Brussels Programme of Action for least developed countries, the Almaty Programme of Action for landlocked developing countries, and the Mauritius Programme of Action for small island developing States.
Elaborating on landlocked developing countries, he said that the Almaty Programme and recent General Assembly resolutions had recognized that they faced a number of developmental constraints, among them: lack of territorial access to the sea; remoteness and isolation from international major markets; prohibitive transit transport costs; heavy dependence on transit services and conditions of transit neighbours; and small markets. The Action Programme had offered specific actions in priority areas, including infrastructure development and maintenance, transit policy framework, and international trade and trade facilitation. It had also called on the international community to extend the necessary financial and technical assistance to both landlocked and transit developing countries to ensure the full and effective implementation of those priorities. Having reviewed the report in its entirety, however, he regretted that the issue of landlocked developing countries remained in need of special emphasis and “completeness”.
In implementing Millennium Development Goal 8, which addressed the special needs of least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, a specific set of measures and indicators should be applied to quantify the progress. The Goals would not be achievable unless the urgent needs of the three most vulnerable groups of countries, which comprised almost half of the international community, were met. Consequently, special attention should be focused on those groups, if the Millennium Development Goals were to be attained by 2015. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and SmallIslandDevelopingStates had been given an important mandate by the General Assembly to monitor the follow-up of implementation of the aforementioned action programmes. That Office, therefore, should be actively involved in, and duly able to contribute to, the Millennium Development Goal review process. Its primary task should be to establish linkages between the Millennium Goals and the action programmes, and indicate ways and means of achieving them.
GUNTER PLEUGER (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, said his country was constantly increasing its efforts to meet its development responsibility, both bilaterally and in the framework of the European Union. Its response to the tsunami catastrophe, by pledging more than $650 million (in addition to another $650 million in private donations), and its commitment to the goals of the Lula summit on fighting hunger and poverty were examples of those efforts. Germany would increase ODA to 0.35 per cent of its GDP in 2006, to 0.5 per cent in 2010, eventually achieving the 0.7 per cent target in three steps by 2014. It had also indicated its sympathy with the proposed international financing facility and intended to free up resources for development, particularly in Africa, by rescheduling and easing the debt burden of developing countries.
Regarding the Security Council, he said that, while time was ripe for reform, everybody knew that consensus on that complex issue was not possible. The Secretary-General was, therefore, correct in saying that consensus might be desirable, but its absence should not be taken as a pretext for inaction. The Charter itself supported that in Article 108, which provided for a two-thirds majority votes to change the Charter. To pretend that such a vote was divisive or undemocratic revealed a strange understanding of democracy, since taking decisions through a vote was the daily business of all democratic parliaments. Failure to decide before September would cast a shadow over the summit, because the public perception everywhere would be that one of the major reform issues had not been addressed, and another postponement of a decision after 12 years of discussion would mean the failure of Member States’ efforts. Germany was working on a reform resolution that should be put to the vote in May or June.
He said there was a clear trend in favour of enlargement of the Council by permanent and non-permanent seats, he said. Concerning the latter category, Germany favoured an increase of seats for Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Latin America and CaribbeanStates. While remaining open for ideas on many of the reform issues, Germany would not make false compromises in order to accommodate the very specific national interests of a few. Only enlargement in both categories would bring about the necessary structural change of the Council, reflecting today’s geopolitical realities and strengthening its legitimacy and effectiveness. The Council must become not only more effective and representative, but also more transparent and inclusive in its working methods, the reform of which would, therefore, be integral to the reform project.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) stressed that the summit outcome document should include a clear reaffirmation and commitment to the Monterrey and Johannesburg development consensus and the outcome of the Millennium Summit, on the basis of agreed steps to achieve those goals. Both developed and developing countries must step up their efforts to fulfil their respective responsibilities. Concrete measures were needed to fight extreme poverty, foster sustainable debt relief, open markets, promote gender equality, fight major diseases, act decisively against climate change, and reduce the risks emanating from natural disasters. Only a bold breakthrough in 2005 would save the international community from missing an opportunity to enhance global security and save millions of lives. He fully endorsed the call for a new security consensus. The summit must acknowledge the diversity and interdependence of all security threats, as well as the shared responsibility of all for each other’s security.
He said that, while the nature of the threats had evolved over the past 60 years, the Charter and the rules of international law remained the only viable basic framework for collective security. It was against the backdrop of the Charter that the international community must commit itself to develop and implement comprehensive strategies against the new threats and act on a number of levels. He called for urgent action to implement the Millennium Development Goals, and a revitalization of the legal framework for non-proliferation and disarmament. He also supported the proposed United Nations counter-terrorism strategy and its comprehensive approach, which included defence of human rights. The world must accept and act on its responsibility to protect people everywhere in the event of genocide and other mass atrocities, which national governments were unwilling or unable to prevent. He also called for a reaffirmation of the use of force, including of Charter Article 51 on self-defence. Action was also required on the recommendations in the areas of peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Protecting the rule of law at the international and national levels was at the heart of a strong multilateral system, he said. While the summit should clearly reaffirm commitment to the rule of law, it must also agree on concrete measures to strengthen it in the daily work of the United Nations. The concept of rule of law should be mainstreamed throughout the United Nations system, beginning with ensuring that the Organization, itself, respected those values. The summit must also result in an unequivocal reaffirmation of the commitment of all Member States to international law, and the important role of the International Court of Justice should also be reaffirmed. The success of such actions was inextricably linked to the efficiency and legitimacy of the United Nations bodies dealing with them. All of the main organs of the United Nations required major reform efforts, and the summit provided a unique opportunity to lay the groundwork. If many believed that United Nations reform could not be complete without Security Council reform, it should be emphasized that United Nations reform could not be complete without General Assembly reform. The Assembly required “another major overhaul”, in order to restore it to its rightful place, he said.
HJALMAR HANNESSON (Iceland), noting that development was a shared responsibility of both the developing and developed countries, said progress could only be achieved if countries themselves took the lead in their own development. The emphasis on Africa was particularly welcome, and Iceland aimed to double its development aid by 2009, having concentrated the bulk of its bilateral development efforts on Africa. Iceland also supported the emphasis on an open and equitable trade system to allow developing countries to take a full part in the globalized economy.
Praising the Secretary-General’s contribution to the establishment of a security consensus, he said its core was the interdependence of all States in addressing threats to security, be they in the form of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, disease, environmental degradation or poverty. Iceland also commended the proposal of a definition of terrorism, which would facilitate the struggle against that global menace.
Expressing support for the strong emphasis on the role of human dignity, comprising human rights, democracy and the rule of law, he said that Iceland agreed that, in order to achieve human dignity, States must be ready to embrace the responsibility to protect and to provide the judicial mechanisms to punish those who offended human dignity, particularly the International Criminal Court and other regional courts with international mandates.
VALERIY KUCHINSKY (Ukraine), on behalf of the GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova), said that while the report was a highly important contribution to ongoing preparations for the September summit, it did not fully reflect the views and concerns of the GUUAM and its memberStates. Among them, the position on Security Council reform, on the need to address the specific concerns of countries with economies in transition, and on the problem of human trafficking. Meanwhile, he supported the call for putting the Millennium Development Goals at the core of national development strategies. The entire United Nations system should continue to assist economies in transition to ensure that they were fully and effectively integrated into the world economy. The success stories of some did not forebode the sustained development of all transition economies.
He said he supported the new vision of collective security, which sought to address the security concerns of all States with the idea that a threat to one was a threat to all. That approach could bridge the gap between divergent views on security. He also fully concurred with the need to revitalize the multilateral frameworks for handling threats stemming from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and to restore confidence in the multilateral mechanisms of arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Disarmament and non-proliferation were mutually connected and dependable, particularly with regard to nuclear weapons, and simultaneous progress in both was urgently required. He called for the more active use of existing initiatives to prevent the illicit trafficking in nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their delivery means. The role of the Security Council in that regard was highly important.
Similarly, combating terrorism required sustained, long-term and global actions, he said. Hopefully, the proposed element of the definition of terrorism could facilitate the conclusion of the work on a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. On the use of force, he agreed with the importance of defining and adopting the criteria for authorizing the use of force by the Council. Situations where national authorities were unwilling or unable to protect its population from genocide, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity might require effective action by the international community in accordance with international law, including enforcement measures in exceptional circumstances. Such measures, however, could only be taken as a last resort by the Security Council. On human rights, the suggestions offered in the report did not offer a “magical solution” to the problems, but, certainly, they were a good point of departure for the creative and innovative measures needed to reinvigorate the United Nations’ human rights machinery.
ISMAEL ABRAAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that, while attaining the Millennium Development Goals posed specific problems to countries emerging from conflict, the devastation and destruction imposed by the prevalence of armed conflict enlarged the scope for national and international action. Furthermore, the prevalence of peace created the opportunity for a turning point that could be seized through capital-intensive programmes in the social and economic infrastructure needed to achieve the Millennium Goals and sustain the peace.
Different, yet fundamental, challenges affected the least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, he said. Geography, nature and income impaired their ability to achieve the agreed development goals as recognized in the Monterrey Consensus, as well as the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Brussels Programme of Action, the Almaty Programme of Action and, more recently, the Mauritius Strategy. Thus, reform of the United Nations must strengthen its ability to foster international cooperation so that humanity could enjoy development and security. Furthermore, the external debt burden had adverse effects on the attainment of the Millennium Goals, and Africa’s debt, in particular, was unsustainable. Debt servicing diverted resources away from development and contributed to their net transfer from the poor to the rich countries. To reverse that trend, the international community must address debt sustainability in highly indebted and low-income countries, particularly in Africa.
Turning to institutional reform, he said that the recommendation relating to the creation of a human rights council to replace the Commission on Human Rights required further consideration. But whatever decision was taken regarding its size, nature, mandate and location, the system of independent human rights experts and rapporteurs, who made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of the economic, social and cultural perspectives of human rights, should be maintained. Regarding the Security Council, African countries had long urged its expansion in order to make it more representative, as well as to enhance its transparency and inclusiveness. While the Ezulwini Consensus was clear in that regard, a failure to reach consensus must not become a justification for deferring action on the very purpose of the September summit -– meaningful progress and measures for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE (Indonesia) said that, while he supported the vision of the shared responsibility for each other’s development and security, he had been disappointed with some of the measures outlined in the report for achieving that vision. More space and greater emphasis should have been given to the development concerns of the developing countries on their merit. Presenting those concerns within a security framework had underlined security as the priority issue. For developing countries, development was the “sure foundation” upon which lasting peace and security rested, and there was no Millennium Development Goals that directly and explicitly focused on security. Achieving the internationally agreed goals demanded that the international community commit itself to creating a conducive environment at the national and international levels, which would pull together the necessary financial resources to pursue such a commitment. In Johannesburg and Monterrey, two very crucial steps had been taken, namely, to determine the specific actions that were required and the tools needed to realize them.
At the same time, he said that attaching significance only to the Millennium Goals was like giving attention to specific trees, rather than the entire forest. Thus, the Millennium Goals should not be treated as the full embodiment of development, as that included much wider issues, such as the systemic inequality in the international financial architecture and the use of tariffs to frustrate the will of developing countries to engage international trade. To ignore or violate the commitments already made would undermine the credibility and reliability of the international negotiating process. He was concerned, therefore, about the “new heavy emphasis” on developing countries assuming greater responsibility for their own development, as if to suggest that they were immune from the impact of the global community in pursuing that goal. That all of those countries should commit to national development strategies and mobilize their domestic resources to meet the development goals could not be contradicted. But, possession of resources would determine the nature of the plans formulated to implement the Millennium Development Goals. Without available resources for implementation, development plans were mere wish lists.
The report’s focus on the general spread of nuclear weapons, while avoiding the more critical issue of vertical proliferation and qualitative development, was difficult to comprehend, he said. Nuclear-weapon States should fully implement their commitments under article VI of the NPT, including the 13 practical steps, with a view to achieving the total elimination of nuclear weapons. On terrorism, he cautioned that a definition that ignored the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonialism or foreign occupation was untenable. He supported a counter-terrorism strategy by which that scourge would be attacked at its root cause. The time was now ripe for the conclusion of a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention; the adoption this month of the convention to suppress nuclear terrorism supplied momentum for consensus on the definition of terrorism, provided that States were willing to demonstrate flexibility.
On institutional reform, he said that the reform of the Organization must be seen as a process and undertaken as a systemic exercise. It should never assume the form of the reform of the Security Council solely. Institutional systemic reform meant that the exercise must be implemented, not as a selective, segmented exercise, but with the inclusion of all of the principal organs. Regarding the Council, he was not convinced that all of the restructuring options had been exhausted. Its working methods could still be improved by making it more transparent, inclusive and effective. Any reform of the Council must also strengthen multilateralism. Concerning EOCSOC, its important role in dealing with security challenges that had economic causes had been overlooked. There was a need to “rescue ECOSOC from the passive role it has been forced to play in recent times”, especially when compared to the vigorous roles being played by the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization in the economic and financial fields. Such limitations on ECOSOC were not consistent with the Charter. Indeed, ECOSOC should serve as a democratic safeguard for proper decision-making in those fields. It role should be expanded and centralized, and not undermined.
YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan) said that development and related challenges involving the timely and effective attainment of the Millennium Development Goals should continue to be the focus of the international community’s attention. The September summit should reaffirm the thrust and significance of the final documents emerging from the major multilateral forums and conferences held in Monterrey, Johannesburg, Brussels, Almaty and Mauritius. As a landlocked developing country, Kazakhstan encouraged the full consideration of the interests of that category of countries and called for unconditional implementation of the 2003 Almaty Programme of Action as it related to decision-making in the area of economic development, international trade and interregional cooperation.
Economic and social development constituted a key element in a preventive approach to collective security involving the development of an integrated United Nations strategy of response to emerging crises, he said. Kazakhstan welcomed the initiative to introduce a counter-terrorism strategy providing for the elimination of the causes of terrorism and its renunciation as a tactical means to attract political attention. Its success would depend largely on the strengthening of international, regional and subregional cooperation in the fight against international terrorism and the growing role of regional organizations in dealing with that evil. Yet building the capacity of States to prevent terrorist operations and the recruitment of terrorists was the most effective element of a comprehensive strategy. Kazakhstan called for an early agreement on the draft of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism in order to develop further an integrated legal mechanism to counter international terrorism.
Noting the timeliness of the recommendation on establishing a peacebuilding commission, he said its main task should be the prevention of the recurrence of situations when the lack of a peacebuilding strategy led to an escalation of internal conflicts and to States losing further their capacity to perform their sovereign functions effectively and responsibly. That commission should report to the Security Council or the Economic and Social Council depending on the stage of a conflict. Regarding decisions on the use of force to protect international peace and security, they should be taken as a last resort and based on reliable and objective information. In addition, Kazakhstan shared the view that it would be a mistake to treat human rights as though there were a trade-off between human rights and such global goals as security or development. Comprehensive compliance by all countries with multilateral human rights treaties and adaptation of domestic legislation to international standards constituted one of the main factors of international peace and security.
TERUNEH ZENNA (Ethiopia), aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and China, as well as the African Group, said that strengthening collective security required a sustained interaction between the United Nations and regional organizations like the African Union. To that end, a mechanism should be designed whereby continued logistical and financial support to the Pan African Peace Strategy would comprise an African standby force, a continent-wide early warning system, a mediation unit and a post-conflict reconstruction programme. In that regard, Ethiopia supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation on the establishment of an African standby force.
The United Nations had a special responsibility to promote and develop a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, he said. Ethiopia acknowledged the centrality of international cooperation and the need to build partnerships with regional organizations such as the African Union to ensure a coordinated approach in the prevention and combating of terrorism.
He said his country had noted the thrust of the Secretary-General’s recommendation on Security Council reform, particularly the drive to expand and make it more representative. It was to be hoped that during the debate, the issues of greater transparency, accountability and effectiveness would be further enhanced. However, the recommendations concerning the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council did not live up to the expectations of most Member States, who hoped that those organs would be given the appropriate authority and mechanisms effectively to address identified threats and challenges, in general, as well as development issues.
He expressed the hope that the Assembly’s role as the most democratic and universal policymaking organ of the United Nations would be restored. In addition, a failure to strengthen the Economic and Social Council as the essential organ dealing with economic and social development would be ironic at the very time that poverty, disease and environmental degradation were considered as major threats to international peace and security. United Nations reform required coordination and synergy between the Assembly, the Security Council and ECOSOC in order to enhance the Organization’s effectiveness.
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