SEPTEMBER SUMMIT LAST CHANCE TO MOBILIZE ACTION FOR TIMELY ACHIEVEMENT OF MILLENNIUM GOALS, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD
SEPTEMBER SUMMIT LAST CHANCE TO MOBILIZE ACTION FOR TIMELY ACHIEVEMENT OF MILLENNIUM GOALS, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD
Fifty-Ninth General Assembly
89th & 90th Meetings (AM & PM)
SEPTEMBER SUMMIT LAST CHANCE TO MOBILIZE ACTION FOR TIMELY ACHIEVEMENT
OF MILLENNIUM GOALS, GENERAL ASSEMBLY TOLD
During Three-Day Session to Review Secretary-General’s
Report ‘In Larger Freedom’, Assembly Hears Views of 83 Governments
The September summit to review progress in meeting the goals of the 2000 Millennium Declaration would be the last chance to mobilize action towards the timely attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, the representative of Cameroon said today, as the General Assembly concluded its three-day session to consider the Secretary-General’s report “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all”.
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented the report to the Assembly on 21 March, urging Member States to enable the United Nations to better respond to current challenges and saying that his comprehensive strategy gave equal weight and attention to the Organization’s three great purposes: development, security, and human rights -- all of which must be underpinned by the rule of law. He has urged that they aim to make critical decisions on reform at the September summit in New York.
Today, the Cameroon delegate said the United Nations reform being undertaken could only produce acceptable short-term results for the majority of Member States if it was accompanied by a sense of urgency. At first blush, however, the report seemed not to have done justice to the development imperative. For example, all it suggested in order to free people from want boiled down to wishes, without any quantifiable or binding measures. It did not recommend any strict and precise commitments by rich countries and, therefore, gave the impression that poverty was the poor people’s fault; poor people alone were responsible for their destitution, and it was their fault that economic, trade and financial imbalances defined inter-State relations.
He asked what kind of freedom could there be for starving people and which democracy could they speak of in a country ravaged by famine or pandemics. To which dignity did the world refer when a man could not eat his fill, could not read or write, or when his children were threatened with the same fate? The reform exercise should be restructured by re-establishing the development priority within specific time frames. A “solidarity contract” between the North and South was needed.
Sri Lanka’s representative, reinforcing that message, said it was essential that the reform process must, first and foremost, strengthen the ability of the United Nations to deal with development issues. The main task in September should be to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals and the creation of a development-oriented trading and financial system. It was, therefore, important to focus on the issue under the heading “Freedom from Want” as a matter of priority, recognizing that the overwhelming number of people in the world still lived in poverty, and that meeting their basic human was fundamental to their enjoyment of such other freedoms as “freedom from fear” and “to live in dignity”.
Viet Nam’s delegate, addressing the section of the report dealing with security, called for further efforts to deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, attention should not only focus on proliferation measures, but on nuclear disarmament. The existence of nuclear weapons today was a serious threat to international peace and security, and there was an urgent need to implement the 13 practical steps agreed at the 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), with a view to accomplishing the total elimination of those weapons. In addition, Viet Nam condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and supported all efforts for the early conclusion of a comprehensive international anti-terrorism convention.
Botswana’s representative, while agreeing that the international community’s genuine security concerns required urgent attention, said his country shared the African Union’s strong position on terrorism, but it was even more alarmed by the insidious threat of landmines and light weapons, which were responsible for maiming and killing so many innocent civilians in African and Asian conflicts that the international community had been unable to stop. The question of conflict prevention was pivotal if Africa was to rid itself of the accompanying devastation to its infrastructure and economy, let alone the great suffering and displacement of large populations. The prevention of conflict was also central to Africa’s efforts in promoting sustainable development
Cuba’s delegate, stressing the need for decisions that reflected a consensus among Member States based on well founded, measured and objective analysis, said the Assembly must, without further delay, undertake a genuine and comprehensive reform of the United Nations, by going back to its fundamental roots and political essence, which was intergovernmental in nature and respectful of the balance of the functional competences of the main organs. All reforms must ensure full respect for the Charter by all States. The report seemed to call into question the fact that the United Nations was basically an intergovernmental organization designed to defend States. An attempt had been made to ignore the central aspect of that system and of international law, namely, sovereignty and equality among States.
Venezuela’s representative, expressing disappointment with the report, said it was drafted exclusively from the standpoint of the powerful States and represented their interests, while offering rhetorical sugar-coating for the majority of Member States, which were those of the South. If accepted, its recommendations would lead to an outcome that was even more unjust and distant from respect for the rights enshrined in the Charter The report’s proposals were a clear attempt to make United Nations reform a macropolitical manipulation on the part of the dominant Powers, a global hegemony with a view to a disproportionate and dangerous concentration of power in the Security Council, forgetting the powers given to the General Assembly under the Charter. Regarding terrorism, Venezuela also called for a definition of terrorism that covered State terrorism, liberation struggles and resistance to foreign occupation.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, General Assembly President Jean Ping (Gabon) said a total of 83 delegations and six senior officials had addressed the Assembly in the course of its three-day discussion of the Secretary-General’s report, “In Larger Freedom”. He had sought to devise a work plan that was open, inclusive and transparent. Meanwhile, he had been pleased that speakers had reaffirmed the Assembly’s central role in formulating suitable solutions to advance implementation of the Millennium Goals and United Nations reform.
Other speakers today included the representatives of Poland, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Mauritius, El Salvador, Canada, Bhutan, Benin (on behalf of the least developed countries), Tonga, Costa Rica, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mexico, Kenya, Spain, Belize (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, Syria, India, United Republic of Tanzania, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
Mexico’s representative spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
Also making a statement was the Observer for Palestine.
The General Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue with its consideration of integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields and follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit.
ALFRED DUBE (Botswana), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, and the African Group, said that the international community’s genuine security concerns required urgent attention. Botswana shared the African Union’s strong position on terrorism, but it was even more alarmed by the insidious threat of landmines and light weapons, which were responsible for maiming and killing so many innocent civilians in African and Asian conflicts that the international community had been unable to stop. The issue of conflicts and their prevention was pivotal if Africa was to rid itself of the accompanying devastation to its infrastructure and economy, let alone the great suffering and displacement of large populations.
The prevention of conflict was central to efforts to combat poverty and promote sustainable development, he said. Peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding must, therefore, be reinvigorated by ensuring that peacekeeping operations included the added capacity to maintain the peace long after the cessation of hostilities. Botswana, therefore, supported wholeheartedly the Secretary-General’s proposal for the establishment of a peacebuilding commission with enough authority to play a pivotal role in post-conflict stabilization.
Pointing out that common security did not stop with the control of conventional and unconventional weapons, or the proliferation of light weapons, he said it was equally threatened by poverty, marginalization, poor governance and the spread of killer diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Member States must focus on the practical measures and commitments that would give impetus to the eradication of poverty and provide the resources that the public health sector needed to tackle HIV/AIDS, which now threatened the very survival of a substantial population in some nations.
Turning to the need to strengthen United Nations institutions, he said reform was long overdue. Security Council reform had brought about a great deal of excitement among MemberStates and the general public, and there was a great temptation to put it at the top of the agenda. That temptation must be resisted and dealt with in the same spirit as other issues. The revitalization of the General Assembly was critically important to most Member States, as it was the forum in which their voices and ideas could be heard. Botswana expected to see lively exchanges with other regional groups on those issues.
PIOTR SWITALSKI, Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, said he shared the Secretary-General’s approach, which had built on the interlinkage and mutual reinforcement of security, development and human rights as the main pillars of the political agenda. It was obvious that if real breakthroughs were to be achieved, significant progress had to be made in all of those areas, in a mutually supporting way. All of the recommendations, therefore, should be addressed comprehensively. There were many different assessments of threats and challenges, sometimes visible during debates in this Hall. The report, however, had reflected all of those different concerns and preoccupations. Ambition must guide the Assembly’s work, and it must be ensured that decisions taken at the September summit were irreversible.
He said that the section on freedom from want was one of the most important parts of the document. The report, with its concrete proposals and specific time frames in the area of development, was a fundamental basis for smooth preparations and a good summit outcome. Of particular importance in the development sphere were good governance, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the importance of ensuring national ownership and partnership in the context of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The report had rightly confirmed that principles of mutual responsibility and accountability of all development partners were key to advancing the broad development agenda and successfully fighting hunger and poverty. It was also important to ensure that the Millennium Goals addressed the broader perspective, as part of the larger agenda, which included prior summit outcomes. The concept of Millennium Development Goal-based national strategies merited high appreciation, as that was probably the formula for translating the Goals into reality. A way must also be found to translate the common commitments into national strategies. He shared the Secretary-General’s view that “quick wins” would bring added value to efforts to fight poverty and hunger, yet the key challenge was the sustainability of such efforts. System-wide coherence was also critical.
The part of the report devoted to freedom from fear required the utmost attention, he said. The international security system should be based on a new approach, which must recognize that a new security paradigm had emerged –- a paradigm moving the centre of attention from the security of States towards the security of the individual. That was about shifting the concept of defending territories to the notion of protecting people. The principle of national sovereignty now included not only States’ privileges, but also their obligations to protect and secure the welfare of their peoples, and that of other States. Indeed, there was a collective international responsibility to protect, “exercisable” by the Security Council when sovereign governments proved unwilling or unable to act. Bearing in mind that the use of force was a very sensitive question, the core requirements of international law, however, remained unchanged. He favoured the proposal for the Security Council to formulate guidelines on the use of force, limited to the scope and confidence of that body, and without effect to the use of force, in general, particularly the right to self-defence.
He said he also supported the recommendations for a new global anti-terrorism strategy, comprising a definition of terrorism and a comprehensive convention. On institutional reform, he supported the comprehensive and urgent reform of the Security Council, including the necessary expansion of its membership in both categories. The Council must be more representative and, therefore, more legitimate and effective. He had not favoured any changes in the regional grouping system; however, there should be one additional non-permanent seat for the Eastern European Group, at a minimum, in order to maintain a balance and effect a fair distribution of seats. He also supported the establishment of a human rights council, whose activities must be centred on the individual. That would be the final measure of the United Nations’ success and effectiveness. That might sound banal, but it made sense to be reminded of that simple truth, because the exercise now being undertaken had particular importance. For Poland, it was not just another summit or another political document to be drafted. The coming summit would be a very important test for the credibility of the Organization and for its ability to adjust to future challenges.
ALISHER VOHIDOV (Uzbekistan) said that a unified vision was lacking with regard to how to eliminate threats. Uzbekistan agreed with the proposal that a threat to one should be considered as a threat to all. Yet, the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the adoption of a Security Council resolution on the use of force required further discussion, since Member States were very concerned about that issue. Equally important was the definition of terrorism, as there was still no consensus on that issue. Fortunately, an international convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism had recently been approved by an ad hoc committee, and Uzbekistan hoped that soon after its entry into force the global non-proliferation system would be strengthened.
Regarding human rights, he said his country was a signatory to many international conventions, treaties and other instruments and had consistently fulfilled its international obligations. However, there was a growing trend in the United Nations towards the politicization of human rights and a selective approach when looking at the human rights records of various countries. It was to be hoped that reform would lead to less politicization.
Taking up the question of institutional reform, he said, with regard to the Security Council, that it must be in keeping with the aim of enhancing that organ’s authority and effectiveness. The Council must be more democratic and representative, particularly with regard to greater representation for Africa and Eastern Europe, in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. Regarding the September summit, all Member States must be involved in the preparatory process for that important event, in order to ensure a realistic and well-defined agenda.
CHOISUREN BAATAR (Mongolia) said that the Secretary-General had succeeded, to a great extent, in his task of presenting a balanced vision of how to tackle the international community’s key concerns. He fully supported the report’s emphasis on the three main areas, namely, development, security and human rights. Indeed, the latter could not be separated from development or security; those were intrinsically interconnected and mutually reinforcing processes. He attached utmost importance to the development issues, and believed that the Secretary-General had brought forward a series of important, but achievable, recommendations which, if realized, could galvanize the international community to meet the development challenges confronting humankind. It was now up to Member States to respond by supporting the proposals and delivering on the commitments.
In particular, he said he supported the Secretary-General’s call for increased and more effective aid, openness to trade, and improved governance, including respect for the rule of law. He also echoed the call for all countries to meet their promises to achieve effective governance and to accede fully to promises of aid. He also supported the call to build capacity in developing countries, strengthen national strategies, improve the private investment climate and scale up investments in infrastructure for economic growth. On collective security, he supported the Secretary-General’s vision, which had incorporated several very important and far-reaching recommendations pertaining to the maintenance of international peace and security, which deserved the most serious consideration. He also supported the comprehensive anti-terrorism strategy, based on five pillars. The report also, once again, reiterated the importance of progress and genuine commitment to the disarmament and non-proliferation of mass destruction weapons. In that context, he looked forward to the upcoming review conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
On institutional reform, he said that Mongolia had consistently stood for a just and equitable enlargement of the Security Council, by increasing membership in both permanent and elected categories, while ensuring a just share of ownership by countries from both the developing and developed world. He understood that the proposal to consider the two models “A” and “B”, had not been presented as a “take it or leave it” package. It was gratifying to note that some aspirant States for permanent seats now saw the possibility of making some modifications to the proposed model “A”, in order to retain the existing regional groups system, or an increase in the number of the proposed non-permanent seats. On the other hand, some of those States that had favoured model “B” had also started to talk of its improved version. He welcomed such flexibility on both sides and hoped that Member States could find an acceptable formula. He was ready to consider any proposal based on the model “A” that would enjoy broad consensus, or at least the widest possible support from the Member States.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Eastern European States, said his country’s Foreign Minister had recently met with the Secretary-General to express support for his report. Much was at stake and some of his recommendations required further detailed consideration. That was a responsibility for Member States, which must preserve the Organization and enhance its effectiveness. The Millennium Declaration called for political will on the part of both the developing and developed countries. Bulgaria was an emerging donor country and was working out its official development assistance (ODA) capacity.
It was important that United Nations allow a new and lasting balance among its three main organs in a manner that would benefit the greatest number of Member States. Bulgaria welcomed the idea of a human rights council. Its mandate should make it possible to ensure that human rights were a priority. Through cooperation, it would help in dealing with crises, especially internal crises, as well as provide early warning in cases of imminent dramatic or mass human rights violations. Civil society must also be more involved in that work. Implementation of the responsibility to protect would be a real step forward in preventing genocide and other crimes against humanity where governments could not protect their own populations, he said. The proposed council’s mandate would compensate for any shortcomings in the existing system, otherwise, countries could go from period of relative calm to greater tension, as often happened in post-conflict societies where fledgling State institutions were still fragile.
ANADRAO HURREE (Mauritius) said that, although the primary focus of the September event was the review of the implementation of the Millenniums Declaration and outcomes of major United Nations conferences, the Secretary-General’s report had highlighted only some of the recommendations of the Millennium Project Report, but not others equally crucial to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Although the Declaration had emphasized the special needs for Africa, five years later the continent remained at the epicentre of the crisis in achieving the Millennium Goals. Difficulties were still being experienced in mobilizing domestic and external resources to achieve the strategic objectives set in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Even if ODA commitments were fully met, there would still be a financing gap. It was also important that the development dimensions of the Doha round be fulfilled.
He said that a reformed Security Council should be based on wider representation, transparency and equitable geographical distribution with inclusion of developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Africa should have not less than two permanent seats, with the right to veto, and five non-permanent seats. He also supported permanent membership for India. Apart from enlargement of the Council, there was still work outstanding on improvement of its working methods, including enhancing accountability and transparency.
The 2005 Mauritius International Meeting for the Sustainable Development of Small Island States resulted in the Mauritius Declaration and Strategy for implementation. However, the Secretary-General’s report only made general references to small island developing States. The International Meeting had significantly advanced the recognition that such States required special treatment, because of their structural handicaps and inherent vulnerability, and that one size did not fit all. He hoped, therefore, that in the preparatory process and in the high-level event and its outcome document, the specific challenges as posed to small island developing States would be addressed.
ORLANDO REQUEIJO GUAL (Cuba) said that the report had sought to establish a different logic for organizing political life, relegating to a second level the current basis for the work of the United Nations. System reforms were needed, but not along the lines proposed in the report. He was prepared to analyse different proposals, without undue haste, so that decisions reflected Member States’ consensus, on the basis of well founded, measured and objective analysis. The Assembly must, without further delay, undertake a genuine and comprehensive reform of the United Nations, by going back to its fundamental roots and political essence, which was intergovernmental in nature and respectful of the balance of the functional competences of the main organs. All reforms must ensure full respect for the Charter by all States.
Turning to the question of collective security, he said that that system should be rebuilt in a way that guaranteed the development of multilateralism. The report had not taken duly into account the mandates given by United Nations resolutions, and it went beyond the powers given to the Secretary-General by the General Assembly. Placing development in an unequivocal and definitive way at the centre of the Organization’s agenda should be a main result of the September summit. That principle, reiterated repeatedly since the start of the preparations by the largest block of developing countries, seemed, once again, to have been sidestepped in the report. He noted with profound concern the lack of an appropriate balance in the document, which had resulted in a disproportionate emphasis on the subjects of security and human rights, to the detriment of the development problem, in all its aspects and dimensions.
Another basic limitation of the report was that it analysed problems of the developing world in a “conceptual vacuum” and it disregarded the fundamental causes of underdevelopment and poverty -- an unjust system of economic relations, a regrettable lack of real political will on the part of the developed countries to change that system and apply measures aimed at sustainable development, and an unfair present order, among them. He also considered unfortunate the excessive emphasis on concepts such as good governance, democracy and accountability in referring to the supposed demands to be met by the developing countries, levelling explicit criticism against them.
Also disturbing had been the conditionality attached to ODA, on the basis of subjective and selective criteria, he went on. Developing countries should continue to demand implementation of the commitments undertaken by developed countries. The development goals required a profound, bold and frank analysis of the root causes of the problems, and recommendations must be agreed that were wide-ranging enough and aimed at reforming the current system of international trade and financial relations. Despite the fact that peace was the central concept of the Charter, it was virtually ignored in the report. What was promoted was a concept of security, which was more diffuse and made the centrality of the Charter less clear. The report had tried to encourage a set of controversial concepts while disregarding basic international law principles, such as sovereignty and non-intervention into the internal affairs of States. There were very few references to sovereignty, and those that found their way into the report were controversial.
At the same time, he said, the text seemed to call into question the fact that the United Nations was basically an intergovernmental organization designed to defend States. An attempt had been made to ignore the central aspect of that system and of international law, namely, sovereignty and equality among States. There was an inappropriate proposal to strengthen the Security Council at the cost of decreasing the role of the other main organs, mainly the General Assembly. The Council must not be turned into an organ in which texts were adopted with a scope similar to international treaties.
He said that the report’s discussion of the Charter’s Article 51 had been a dangerous reinterpretation of that article, and one which gave sufficient flexibility to allow wars and preventive attacks. That had already been unleashed by the world’s super-Power and had been, nonetheless, illegal and reprehensible. He rejected the attempt to broaden the scope of that article to include imminent threats, as that weakened multilateralism and contradicted basic principles. The subject of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction was taken up from the perspective of horizontal non-proliferation, relegating to a secondary level the fundamental and priority topics of disarmament. It had been disturbing that the report blessed the so-called “initiative against proliferation”, which was a non-transparent mechanism designed by only a few States and in the margins of the United Nations and international treaties. The same treatment had been given to illicit and licit small arms and light weapons, which had not taken into account the right of all States to possess such arms to meet their defence needs.
On the fight against terrorism, he said it was vital to adopt a comprehensive international convention that contained a clear and precise definition of that scourge. The report also took up human rights in a narrow framework, and an attempt had been made to create a conceptual basis to justify intervention. It was true that the Human Rights Commission had lost credibility, owing to blackmail and hypocrisy of countries whose sole objective had been to realize their own political interests. Instead of advocating a body with greater democratic composition and transparency, the Secretary-General had proposed the creation of a human rights council with a reduced membership, in order to create more favourable conditions for that body to be used as the “private property” of the powerful. The strategy of those supporting that approach was clear –- to eliminate the Third Committee, which was a body of universal composition. Separating the human rights council from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) weakened the concept of economic, social and cultural rights, and called into question the very existence of those rights and ignored the principle of their universal, interdependent and interrelated nature.
In recent years, he noted, the proposal for the so-called “collective responsibility to protect” had been increasingly rejected by an important group of Member States. When the illegal war against Iraq broke out, some of the most ardent defenders of the responsibility to protect had remained silent. As a result, thousands of Iraqi civilians had died in that cruel attack. Nor did those supportive of the responsibility to protect proposal blink an eye when they learned of the indescribable torture committed in the jails of Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. It would be suicidal to endorse the so-called “right to intervention”, which had been invoked recently in circumstances of a unipolar global order, characterized by an economic and military dictatorship by a super-Power seeking to impose its own single model of society. There was also a nuclear club, double standards in the work of the Security Council, and disdain by some towards the General Assembly. Today’s world was also characterized by unilateral coercive measures and the manipulation of policy and a selective approach to human rights. Until elimination of the Council veto was achieved, at least that should be limited, he said.
CARMEN MARIA GALLARDO HERNANDEZ (El Salvador), reiterating her country’s commitment to the undertakings of Monterrey and Johannesburg, said that the responsibilities of national governments must be complemented by open trade and financial systems geared towards development, as well as debt relief. It was important that the Secretary-General’s report recognized that the Millennium Development Goals did not constitute a complete development programme, but were only part of a broader programme and that some countries had special needs. There was an urgent need to complete the Doha round of trade negotiations by 2006, to respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS and to mitigate climate change, bearing in mind the issue of differential responsibilities. El Salvador also supported firmly the inclusion of migration among the priorities of the United Nations agenda for the twenty-first century.
On the freedom from fear, she joined those MemberStates who supported multilateralism, as well as the Secretary-General, with regard to the need for a concept of threats that included traditional threats, as well as terrorism. El Salvador supported the need to develop a complete network of legal instruments in order to fight that menace and hoped that a comprehensive convention against terrorism would be adopted by the end of the year. Member States, particularly the nuclear-weapon States, had a special responsibility to maintain the NPT, including their commitment to the moratorium on nuclear testing and guarantees given to non-nuclear States. There was also a need for effective controls on the export of nuclear materials that could be accessed by non-State actors.
She said the Charter contained a good foundation for regulating the use of force, which should not be applied except in self-defence and with the authorization of the Security Council. It was regrettable that, in more than 10 years, Member States had found it impossible to agree on changes in the Council’s structure and composition, although the subject was a complex one. It was important to support creative efforts and greater flexibility on the part of the States that were most concerned, in order to make the organ more democratic and representative. The revitalization of the General Assembly would be possible, as long as it evolved as a deliberative and legislative body with greater responsibility regarding security, so that it could reflect a better balance in the structure of the United Nations. Reform of ECOSOC should relate to areas in which it had a comparative advantage, such as emerging development issues and follow-up to the major United Nations conferences. Progress on establishing a peacebuilding commission would be welcome, as a means to close the gap between security and development.
PRASAD KARIYAWASAM (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China, said it was essential that the reform process, first and foremost, strengthen the ability of the United Nations to deal with development issues. The main task in September should be the review of the progress made on the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 and the creation of a development-oriented trading and financial system. It was, therefore, important to focus on the issue under the heading “Freedom from Want” as a matter of priority, recognizing that the overwhelming number of people in the world still lived in poverty and were in want of basic human needs for their existence. That existence was most essential and fundamental in order for human beings to enjoy other freedoms, such as “freedom from fear” and “to live in dignity”.
Expressing pleasure that the Secretary-General’s recommendation under the heading “Preventing Catastrophic Terrorism” was on the way to adoption, he recalled that his country had chaired the Ad Hoc Committee that had recently approved the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. It was to be hoped that Member States would work with similar enthusiasm and dedication to conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism before the end of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. Sri Lanka also welcomed the approach outlined by the Secretary-General on combating terrorism. Access by non-State actors to weapons and illegal trafficking of weapons was now becoming a greater threat to security and peace. Setting up mechanisms to control their illicit transfer and the means for its financing were urgent tasks for the United Nations family.
Recalling that Sri Lanka’s President had expressed her concern over the lack of progress in Security Council reform, as well as her support for Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for permanent seats on an expanded Council, he said his country wished to see consensus emerging on the permanent representation of Africa, which must be included when a final determination was reached on the Council’s future composition. Sri Lanka viewed the Secretary-General’s Model A on the Council’s expansion as the way forward and hoped that non-permanent representation could be appropriately developed to represent the interests of a large majority of Member States.
Expressing concern that the report did not have a substantive reference on the issue of migrants, particularly migrant workers, he noted that due to globalization the twenty-first century was becoming a century of migration, with large numbers of people criss-crossing State boundaries in search of work and family reunion. Their well-being and human rights could no longer be kept on the back burner. While the Secretary-General himself had taken up that issue and encouraged high-level discussions, his report did not directly reflect migrant issues in the section on “Freedom to Live in Dignity”. That issue must receive more attention, culminating in recommendations at the September summit.
NGUYEN DUY CHIEN (Viet Nam) said that several recommendations in the report were useful, among them, the setting of a timetable for donors to reach 0.7 per cent ODA and to launch an international finance facility to support an immediate front-loading of that assistance. More concrete and accelerated actions towards implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, however, were needed. While developing countries had taken steps to adopt the Goals based on national development strategies and scaled-up investment to achieve them, developed countries should honour their commitments to provide unfettered development assistance and create the necessary conditions for access for goods from developing countries. Emphasis on balanced and equitable international trade would assist the developing and least developed countries in achieving the development goals. Also necessary was to ensure the entry of the developing countries to the World Trade Organization.
On security, he said he agreed that further efforts were needed to deal with the proliferation of mass destruction weapons. At the same time, attention should not only focus on proliferation measures, but on nuclear disarmament. The existence of nuclear weapons today was a serious threat to international peace and security. Such reality demanded that the international community’s efforts at non-proliferation run parallel to efforts towards nuclear disarmament. It was urgent to implement the 13 practical steps agreed at the 2000 NPT Review Conference, with a view to accomplishing the goal of the total elimination of those weapons. Viet Nam condemned all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and was convinced that the fight against it could only be won through comprehensive and balanced measures. He, therefore, supported all efforts aimed at the early conclusion of a comprehensive international anti-terrorism convention.
Also important was to uphold the rule of law, both at national and international levels, he stressed. At the international level, that required that the Charter and other basic international law principles be strictly upheld. The use of force could only be the last resort and invoked by the Security Council. The Charter’s Article 51 was clear and restrictive, in the sense that the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence could only be employed if an armed attack occurred against a MemberState. That Article did not provide permission for Member States to take military action on the basis of a perceived imminent threat. He was also not convinced that “responsibility to protect” was an emerging norm of international law. The rule of law meant that the creation of international legal obligations for States, including necessary amendments to existing agreements and conventions, could be performed by and with the participation of States, according to international treaty law. States were under obligations not only to respect, but to fully implement all commitments undertaken in international treaties.
FERMIN TORO JIMENEZ (Venezuela), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and China, the Andean Community and the Rio Group, said his country welcomed the Secretary-General’s report, but feared that his extremely broad responsibilities had had the unfortunate result that it had been drafted by bureaucrats whose view of democracy corresponded to that of the dominant Powers. Venezuela was a people’s participative democracy, which believed in the exclusive right of every people to decide on their own political institutions. That right could not be usurped by any other State or international organization.
It had been hoped that the report would represent a faithful and proper balance, as well as the will to contribute to the establishment of a real equilibrium. However, that was not the case. The report was disappointing, as it was drafted exclusively from the standpoint of the powerful, representing their interests. It merely offered a sugar-coating of rhetoric for the majority countries of the South. If accepted, its recommendations would lead to an outcome that was even more unjust and distant from respect for the rights enshrined in the Charter and reflected in the Millennium commitments, including the right to development and self-determination. The recommendations gave an indifferent salute to everything regarding the interests of the South and were characterized by a paternalistic, arrogant and disdainful ordering of what must or must not be done.
He said the report’s proposals were a clear attempt to make the reform of the United Nations a macropolitical manipulation on the part of the dominant Powers, a global hegemony with a view to a disproportionate and dangerous concentration of the power in the Security Council, forgetting the powers given to the General Assembly under the Charter. There was an attempt to reduce the Assembly to a state of mere formal survival, stifled and diluted, the whole package masked by sweet phrasing disguised as supposedly agreed language. The “responsibility to protect” was supposed to be a starting point for protecting against genocide and other human rights violations, while, in reality, it aimed at seizing the right to adopt coercive measures against States of the South.
A second example, he said, was the attempt to create a human rights council, which would be composed of a subgroup of the Security Council with the task of reconstructing the institutions of States that were considered to have failed. It was no coincidence that a special office had been created in the United States Department of State to deal with Haiti. There was a list of 25 weak, failing and collapsed States that were to be targeted under the pretext of humanitarian intervention. There was also an attempt to legitimize the right to decide when there was a threat to international peace and security, which would open the way for the use of force. Those attempts were covered by the attractive mantle of a revitalization of the General Assembly, which really proposed to remove its competency under the Charter. A green light had been given to flood the Assembly with non-governmental organizations of all types, including those that were most representative of the empire, in the name of a vague and unrepresentative civil society. In reality, they were private organizations that would only contribute to the erosion of State sovereignty, as represented by the General Assembly.
He called for a definition of terrorism that covered everybody and everything, including State terrorism, liberation wars and struggles against foreign occupation. Nuclear proliferation must have as a goal complete and total disarmament. Given the disappointing report, the peoples of the South must, on their own, overcome the untenable imbalance that was overwhelming international institutions.
ALLAN ROCK (Canada) said that the Secretary-General had presented a coherent approach that fully identified the actions to be taken in September. Also welcome had been the report’s emphasis on development, and he shared the objective: to see results on the ground that made a difference in peoples’ lives. The Millennium Development Goals were human-centred goals measured in tangible improvements in the lives of individuals, including, as a matter of necessity, the preservation of the natural environment that enveloped and sustained all. All avenues must be pursued to achieve those goals, and each action taken must be judged against its impact on peoples’ lives. He had been encouraged by the strong reaffirmation of development partnerships elaborated in the Monterrey Consensus, as the basis for cooperation in attaining the development goals. Some proposals to reduce poverty and promote prosperity, however, would provoke intense debate, but the core commitment to the Millennium Goals would persist. Time was of the essence and action, not rhetoric, was required. What was already being done must be done better.
He said that developed countries, including Canada, should increase the amount spent on development and debt relief. They should improve the quality of their aid, and take steps with developing countries to improve the contribution of world trade to development. In addition to national commitments, the international community must also strengthen the United Nations development machinery. Support for its development system included a unified country presence and openness towards an expanded development role for ECOSOC. Threats to health had a direct impact on the economic welfare of States and their capacity to function well. They were of concern for poor nations and rich, alike. He, thus, welcomed the proposals for infectious disease surveillance and monitoring, and he supported the call for an early conclusion to negotiations on the revision of the International Health Regulations and their adoption by the World Assembly in May.
On peace and security, he said he supported the call for a comprehensive approach to terrorism. Also essential was to make tangible progress on the ratification and implementation of the international counter-terrorism treaties. With the right amount of political will, those goals could be achieved. That had already been proven with the completion and imminent adoption of the convention on nuclear terrorism. It was time to respond to Mr. Annan’s call to maintain the moment and press ahead on a comprehensive convention against terrorism. He strongly urged Security Council members to adopt use of force guidelines, which would strengthen that body’s authority, effectiveness and transparency. In light of the ever-increasing demands for complex peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions in States emerging from conflict, he encouraged the establishment of a peace support office and the creation of a peacebuilding commission, with direct links to both the Security Council and ECOSOC.
Canada’s full support for the principle of the “responsibility to protect” was well known, and he hoped that leaders in the Assembly would offer a similarly strong endorsement, he said. Human rights must be at the centre of United Nations’ work. Unless respect for human rights was ensured, as well as endeavours to achieve gender equality, it would not be possible to achieve the objectives of security and sustainable development. If there was to be freedom from fear and freedom from want, there must be freedom to live in dignity. Human rights must be better mainstreamed into all aspects of the United Nations’ efforts. To do so, institutional reform was required. He fully supported elevating the status of the human rights work by creating a new body “equivalent in status” to the Security Council and ECOSOC. He also supported the concept of a peer review, under which every State would come up for review periodically. He also supported strengthening the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
DAW PENJO (Bhutan), recalling the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and the Non-Aligned Movement, in their statements on Wednesday, agreed that a better balance could have been obtained if the report had given issues of development as much prominence as security issues. It was important to ensure that the outcome in September did not also result in a similar imbalance. Sight must not be lost of the main objective of the summit, as elaborated in General Assembly resolution 58/291. Issues pertaining to development were of primary importance to Bhutan. As a least developed country, his delegation was deeply concerned that the challenges facing such countries and other disadvantaged groups had received little attention in the report. Given that more than a quarter of the United Nations membership was in that category, the goal of a just and equitable world order could not be achieved without addressing those countries’ special needs.
He said that the issue of reform of the Security Council, on the table for more than a decade, had undergone intense and difficult discussions. That reflected, on the one hand, the great importance placed by the Member States in the work of that body and, on the other hand, the urgent need for it to be reformed to reflect today’s realities. The argument for reform should take precedence over difficulties in reaching consensus, as, otherwise, it would be another missed opportunity. Given that scenario, he supported the Secretary-General’s call to take a decision on the issue before the September summit. Council reform must include all aspects, including its working methods and composition. Small States that had no hope of direct involvement with the Council could identify themselves with its work only if that was carried out in a transparent manner and made accountable to the entire membership. A review clause should be included in any decision made this year on Council reform allowing for a review in 2020 or earlier, as some delegations had proposed.
Reform of the Council’s composition should include expanded membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, he said. In the absence of any alternative models or proposals, he felt that Model “A” would better serve the interests of the membership, as that provided for expansion in the permanent category to include new members, particularly from the developing world and, thus, bring into the decision-making process countries more representative of the broader membership. In the permanent category, he was convinced that India and Japan, by virtue of their contributions to the United Nations and their capacity to effectively contribute to the Council’s work, deserved to be members with the same level of privileges and responsibilities exercised by the current permanent members. He also supported the membership of Germany and Brazil, as well as representation from Africa in the same category.
OUSSOU EDOUARD AHO-GLELE (Benin) on behalf of the least developed countries, said the report was bold, poignant and relevant. The group of least developed countries wished to limit its assessment, however, to the report’s development section. He agreed with the Secretary-General, of course, on the interrelationship among development, human rights and security. Discussions about development should look at the most vulnerable segment of the international community, namely, the least developed nations. He was pleased that issues those countries faced now ranked among the United Nations’ priorities.
Noting that in September world political leaders would meet in New York to assess progress made since all States adopted the Millennium Declaration in September 2000, he said that would enable the world to see what progress had been made in development. Of utmost concern had been the fact that there had been no mention in the report of the specific way in which progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals was linked to advancing the development of the least developed countries. The Brussels Declaration, which had been the outcome of the third United Nations conference on least developed countries, had remained the specific expression of commitments made during the Millennium Declaration for those countries. In the Brussels Declaration, Member States had committed to international development goals, actions by the least developed countries themselves, and proportionate measures of support by their development partners.
The Brussels Action Programme also contained political, social and economic goals and, when necessary, other United Nations objectives, he said. Yet, the Secretary-General’s report had not indicated the “relevance and real correlation” between the Millennium Development Goals and the least developed countries programme of action. Those were not two separate evaluation approaches to development, but the one and only approach befitting attainment of both. In other words, the only way to consider progress towards achieving the Millennium Goals was to evaluate implementation of the least developed countries’ action plan.
Mrs. F’UTOIKAMANU (Tonga) said that development issues had always been on the forefront of her country’s agenda. She shared the view of the need to see the Millennium Development Goals as part of an even larger development agenda, as well as the urgent need to achieve them. A holistic approach within an institutional, legal, social and political framework was required to achieve the goals. Each developing country had the primary responsibility for its development, but support at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels was also needed. She, therefore, welcomed the call for those countries that had not yet done so to establish timetables to achieve the 0.7 per cent ODA target by no later than 2015, starting with significant increases no later than 2006 and reaching 0.5 per cent by 2009.
On freedom from fear, she said her country supported the comprehensive and collective approach to security –- one that tackled new threats and old, and addressed the security concerns of all States. She also shared the Secretary-General’s view that “we must act to ensure that catastrophic terrorism never becomes a reality”. On the role of human dignity, she agreed that the rule of law was the essential foundation for political stability, social progress and sustained development. With respect to the Organization’s institutional reform, Member States should take a decision about Security Council reform before the September summit. It would be preferable if that were a consensus decision, but the absence of such broad agreement should not be a pretext for postponing action. She reiterated her country’s support of Model “A” as the most appropriate blueprint for Council reform, and Tonga supported Japan’s entry to the Council as a permanent member. Also important was to improve coordination with regional organizations.
MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said that the report was rich and exceptional, and had defined the realistic and pragmatic interconnectedness between development, peace, security, freedom and justice. He agreed with the need for the Organization’s in-depth reform to enable it to adapt to the changed realities of the past 60 years, and especially to render it capable of responding effectively to current challenges, including new threats to peace and security. All nations, without discrimination, should be allowed to participate actively in international affairs. That meant more transparency within the Security Council and equitable geographical representation, a strengthened General Assembly, and a secretariat that reflected the Organization’s universality and was equipped with appropriate means and powers. There was also a need to enhance the institutional and legal arsenal, in order to expedite the universalization of the ideals of democracy and freedom, and to guarantee respect for the human rights of all individuals everywhere, including the right to development.
He said that the exercise being undertaken could only produce acceptable results in the short term for the majority of Member States if it was accompanied by a sense of urgency. At first blush, however, it seemed that the report had not done justice to the development imperative. For example, all that had been suggested to free people from want boiled down to wishes, and had not contained any quantifiable or binding measures. Yet, the international community was duty-bound to create the best possible conditions to generate more resources and ensure that those would be equitably distributed among countries and peoples. In addition, the report had not made any recommendations for strict and precise commitments by rich countries and, therefore, had given the impression that poverty was the poor people’s fault; poor people alone were responsible for their destitution, and it was their fault that economic, trade and financial imbalances defined inter-State relations.
Everyone understood that the September summit was the last chance to mobilize attainment of the Millennium Development Goals on schedule, he said. But, what kind of freedom could there be for starving people? Of what democracy would we speak in a country ravaged by famine or pandemics? What was the dignity to which the world referred in the case of a man who could not eat his fill, or who could not read or write, and whose children were threatened with meeting the same fate? The reform exercise should be restructured by re-establishing the development priority within specific time frames. A “solidarity contract” was needed between the North and South. At a conceptual and institutional level, the report had broached the thorny question of use of force, and some had suggested that would keep the international community busy long after September 2005.
Specifically, proposals touching in interpretation of the Article 51 of the Charter, among others, warranted careful consideration, he said. Setting in stone the existing institutional imbalance in favour of the Security Council to the detriment of the General Assembly and ECOSOC should be avoided. And, care should be taken not to marginalize the International Court of Justice. Any credible reform must enhance the United Nations’ legitimacy, increase its transparency, and ensure that it was sufficiently inclusive. He wondered about the restrictive participation foreseen in certain proposed new institutions, such as the peacebuilding commission and the human rights council. On the latter, the actual purpose for reforming the Human Rights Commission had apparently remained elusive.
BRUNO STAGNO UGARTE (Costa Rica), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, as well as the Rio Group, expressed surprise that internal threats and challenges as immediate, and as troubling and damaging, as the glaring oversight and management failures regarding the “oil-for-food” programme and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), had not been referred to at all. On oil-for-food, the Independent Inquiry Committee had found conflict of interest, pre-emption and frustration of competitive bidding processes for political reasons, non-documentation of decision-making processes, non-verification of bidding parties references, and other systematic violations of formal procurement and management procedures. Although a series of internal reforms were currently under way, for increased transparency and accountability in procurement and management, none of them seemed to warrant inclusion in the report. Correcting the failings of the system was central to the credibility of the United Nations.
He said that in MONUC and many other peacekeeping missions, the allegations of misconduct concerned to the systematic exploitation of minors for sexual favours and personal gain, the subsequent intimidation and retaliation to keep victims silent, and the active interference by contingent commanders and others with ongoing investigations. Although the report referred to the sexual exploitation of minors, the solution provided was clearly insufficient, as there was zero compliance with zero tolerance throughout parts of the Mission.
The report was bewilderingly selective in the relative urgency it conferred upon different aspects of institutional reform, he said. On the General Assembly, the Secretary-General did not seem to recognize the same urgency with which he addressed Security Council reform. Moreover, the report only really called for the Council’s enlargement and only in passing did it mention working methods, as if enlargement in and of itself was a solution to representation. The Charter conferred privileges and responsibilities on the permanent members, and in light of the fact that Security Council reform was distracting the United Nations membership’s collective attention from the priorities set by General Assembly resolution 58/291, Costa Rica called upon the permanent Council members to indicate promptly what reform would enjoy their concurring vote and ratification as required by Charter’s Article 108. The developing countries had too many expectations riding on the September summit, and it seemed only appropriate that their principal focus throughout the preparatory process be the development agenda.
IGOR DZUNDEV (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) said he fully supported the call to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Only full observance of the human rights instruments could promote democracy and respect for human dignity. He, once again, recalled the Secretary-General’s message at the opening of the Assembly’s fifty-ninth session that full respect and implementation of the rule of law at national and international levels was of equal importance. In that context, he valued the proposal to establish a new third council, namely, the human rights council, although the proposal required further elaboration by the Secretary-General, as well as further consideration by all delegations.
He acknowledged the need to implement a comprehensive strategy on counter-terrorism, for which he urged States to reach agreement on a definition and to successfully conclude in the coming months the comprehensive anti-terrorism convention being drafted. The adoption just last week of an international convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism had been very encouraging. That was the right direction and indicated a very promising step for the ongoing exercise. Moreover, that agreement had sent a strong signal that the international community was able to change things and press ahead. While further details were needed on the proposal to establish a peacebuilding commission, he stressed its importance in bridging the gap between containing a conflict and rebuilding the peace in a post-conflict setting. Continuous action was also needed to ensure environmental sustainability, as the report had rightly emphasized. His country had assumed its responsibility in that regard by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol last September.
Regarding institutional reform of the United Nations, he said the Organization must be reshaped in ways “not previously imagined, and with a boldness and speed not previously shown”. He supported Security Council reform by increasing its membership with countries from the developed and developing world. The Council should be reformed in a way that provided it with better geographical representation, increased democracy and accountability, and transparency. The issues should be treated with the utmost transparency; and broad agreement, to the extent possible, was desirable. He supported enlarged membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories; however, he could not agree with the proposed structure of the regional groups as presented in the High-Level Panel’s report. The present regional structure should remain and be used as a core base for the Council’s future expansion. Similarly, rigorous efforts should also be undertaken to reform the General Assembly and ECOSOC.
ENRIQUE BERRUGA (Mexico) said it was necessary to provide United Nations organs with the authority and resources they needed to discharge their mandates. In practice, the only main organ that showed the capacity to enforce compliance with resolutions was the Security Council, considering that its resolutions were obligatory under Article 25 of the Charter. In the case of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council or the Commission on Human Rights, the legal nature of their resolutions were different. The system would not work at its full capacity if those organs acted separately and at different rhythms. The General Assembly was perfectly capable of remedying that lack of coordination. It was for the Assembly to have the overall vision, since it represented the whole community of nations. The Assembly’s resolutions, however, even though they reflected the main currents of world opinion, had alarmingly little transforming capacity.
If that trend continued, the United Nations would be dominated by the Security Council with no counterweight or alternative, he said. Thus, when humanitarian crises arose, it was not the Commission on Human Rights that would play the primary role, but rather the Security Council. There was the recent case of Darfur. When crises rooted in poverty and poor governance arose, it was not ECOSOC that had the resources and capacity to address them, but rather the Security Council. There was the example of Haiti. Furthermore, there was the risk of burdening the Council agenda with added tasks that would end up undermining its functioning and efficiency. Seen in that light, any perceptive observer would conclude that reform of ECOSOC and of the Commission on Human Rights was more urgently needed than Security Council reform. But the main emphasis was being placed on reform of the Security Council and only tangentially on the other components of the system, including the General Assembly.
With regard to the proposed creation of a human rights council, he said that its attributes and composition should be defined by the General Assembly and surmount the shortcomings and weaknesses that the Commission on Human Rights had shown. It should have the capacity to alert and respond to grave humanitarian crises and operate in a manner consistent with the norms of implementation determined on the basis of the concept of the responsibility to protect. Mexico agreed that there was a close relationship between human rights and security and, in that sense, agreed on the need for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to play a more active role in the deliberations of the Security Council and, where necessary, of the proposed peacebuilding commission. It was impossible to achieve peace and stability without an active policy to protect human rights.
ANTHONY ANDANJE (Kenya) said that, as a developing country, Kenya was convinced that the report, which had drawn on the outcomes of major United Nations conferences and summits, represented a significant shift in the tone of debate within the United Nations. The process was redefining the global development agenda. The focus now was on ends rather than on means, as highlighted by the report of the Millennium Project. Today, the discussion revolved around a global partnership based on mutual responsibility and mutual accountability. That was very encouraging. Considering that change in the United Nations occurred mostly incrementally, the few small steps being taken in a relatively short time would amount to something significant.
He said that while interests in the proposals varied among countries and blocks of countries, that should not detract from the wider objective of advancing the global development agenda. Sight should not be lost of the fact that development was a prerequisite to peace, security and human rights. None of those issues could be advanced or assured without the attainment of sustainable development. At the same time, there were many areas where he felt more concrete recommendations were required. For example, in the area of debt, further measures should be undertaken to reduce outstanding indebtedness, including debt cancellation. He welcomed the recommendations for sustainable development, but the question of resources for institutions dealing with environmental issues was clearly absent. Similarly, the actions expected of Member States regarding the environment were not spelled out. The overall objectives might be ambitious and well meaning, but in the absence of adequate resources to advance the cause of developing a prosperous and just world, all efforts would come to naught.
JUAN ANTONIO YANEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), associating himself with the European Union, said his country wished to work on the basis of the Secretary-General’s report and to contribute to the shared objective of the September summit, which was to give a due response to the crucial issues of the days, both for the United Nations and the international community at large. Considerable challenges lay ahead, and sustained efforts would be needed even beyond the summit.
For too many people, development was a matter of survival, and Spain, as a co-sponsor of and contributor to the Initiative against Hunger and Poverty, was committed to doing its share regarding official development assistance, he said. It had set a specific timetable of commitments to reach 0.3 per cent of GDP by next year and 0.5 per cent by 2008, making it possible to meet the target of 0.7 per cent by 2012, three years before the Millennium Development Goals target year.
Underscoring the need to eradicate prejudice and intolerance, he said that valuable initiatives presented by a number of States, including Spain, were working in that direction, because a growing trend towards division between peoples, religions, civilizations, the West and the Arab and Islamic world was one of the greatest threats to the international community. Resolving that grave problem would also provide remedies to other challenges confronting the world today.
In the framework of reform, he said that emphasis should be placed on preserving the balance between the main United Nations organs as enshrined in the Charter. Spain had established its own preference for reform through the broadest agreement among States. A large number of States that did not consider either Model A or B desirable as they stood in the report risked marginalization. There should be new alternatives for universal representation in the Council so that reform could be achieved without steps that could only produce further divisions.
STUART W. LESLIE (Belize), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the Secretary-General’s report had heralded in a new momentum for the preparatory process, as well as for the United Nations reform process as a whole. The CARICOM was in the process of reviewing the report’s recommendations. The high-level plenary meeting, which presented a unique opportunity to refocus global attention on development matters, should take decisive action to advance the broad global development agenda and to strengthen the United Nations role in the management of global affairs. There was evidence that developing countries had embraced their commitments set out in the Monterey Consensus to reallocate and mobilize more domestic resources, reform institutions to suit national priorities, and to adopt effective, nationally owned socio-economic policies that could spur economic growth.
Developed countries must also fulfil their responsibilities by increasing development assistance, embracing wider debt relief and fostering technology transfer, he continued. A more accommodating international environment that recognized the inherent vulnerabilities of small island developing States was urgently needed. In that regard, the Secretary-General’s report did not give sufficient focus to their unique circumstances. CARICOM’s emphasis on development should not be interpreted as indifference to security issues, but rather as related in part to its security concerns. He did not favour any proposal that would have the effect of reinterpreting the Charter, which provided the framework within which States conducted international relations. “It is the scale upon which we balance the interests of States large and small”, said.
He said CARICOM agreed that the multilateral system needed strengthening if it was to be effective. The Secretary-General’s recommendations on the revitalization of the General Assembly were steps in the right direction as were recommendations for strengthening ECOSOC. Security Council reform must address both its working methods and its expansion to ensure that it was open, democratic and effective. In that regard, CARICOM believed that the High-Level Panel’s proposals for the Council’s expansion should be closely examined, with due regard for today’s geopolitical realities and the need to ensure that the Council was more broadly representative of the international community as a whole, even if such examination prompted Member States to seek a middle ground between Models A and B.
FAWZI BIN ABDEL MAJEED SHOBOKSHI (Saudi Arabia) said that the report had a special importance at the present stage of human development, since the world was witnessing speedy transformations in all walks of life, and the emergence of new concepts, which were reflected, one way or another, in the values and principles of international relations. United Nations reforms must be comprehensive, practical and able to support the Organization’s credibility and efficiency in the face of current challenges to the international community. Hence, all views of all Member States must be taken into consideration. The report contained numerous proposals, which required an exploration of their dimensions and potential impact on international relations. He agreed with the report that there was an interlinkage between development, security and human rights. There was no development without security, and there was no security without development. There was neither security nor development in the absence of human rights.
He said he shared the Secretary-General’s hope that developed countries should increase their ODA. Assistance by Saudi Arabia and soft development loans totalled 4 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). He also supported the Secretary-General’s statement that the threats and dangers facing the international community around the world were intertwined and necessitated concerted efforts by all States. Among those dangers and challenges was terrorism. That horrendous international phenomenon did not belong to a specific religions or culture, and would not disappear unless the international community grappled with its root causes and eliminated it. Regarding the definition of terrorism, Saudi Arabia’s position was the same as that adopted by the Arab and Islamic countries in their relevant treaty. In today’s world where political interests and double standards prevailed, the report’s recommendations on human rights were worthy of consideration. His Government sought to avoid politicizing human rights and subjecting them to double standards. The proposal to replace the Human Rights Commission with a smaller permanent human rights council required further details and careful study.
DAN GILLERMAN (Israel) said that, while some States lacked the will to live up to their responsibilities, many States were willing to meet their international obligations, but lacked the capacity to do so fully. Those well meaning States required a genuine partnership that focused on development, capacity-building and establishing responsible, transparent and accountable self-governing institutions. The international community should work with those States to address the deep problems of poverty and hunger, and combat such epidemics as malaria and HIVAIDS. Sustainable development should be ensured in a way that did not degrade the environment. An atmosphere free from armed conflict should be guaranteed, where the rights to freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to a dignified life were respected. All States, in all stages of development, must accept that the claim to sovereignty conferred on them not just rights, but also obligations.
He said that, in an age of catastrophic terrorism, and as a result of the interconnectedness of the world, everyone had a vested interest in the promotion of democratic rule, women’s empowerment, and in advancing a culture of tolerance and mutual respect, not just between States, but also within them. Israel was a strong supporter of efforts to revitalize the General Assembly, so that it could become a more relevant and meaningful voice on issues of universal concern. He, therefore, welcomed the calls for bold measures to rationalize, streamline and reform its work. “We must recommit ourselves to a General Assembly that is a forum for constructive dialogue, not a stage for acrimony and divisiveness”, he said. Nowhere had those shortcomings been more evident than in the treatment of the Middle East issues. The multitude of anachronistic, repetitive and one-sided resolutions, and their associated mechanism, presented not only an unjustifiable burden on the United Nations’ time and resources, but they undermined the Assembly’s credibility and reputation.
There was no justification for treating those items as somehow immune from the reform agenda, especially since their effective and timely treatment would, for many, be a partial measure of the success or failure of the reform and revitalization process, he said. As the parties in the region worked towards re-energizing the Middle East peace process and realizing their mutual rights and obligations, it was especially important that the General Assembly find a way to bring an end to the counter-productive role that it had played in that field for so long. Similar problems plagued the Human Rights Commission, whose legitimacy had been fundamentally eroded by States with notorious human rights records. While he agreed with the Secretary-General that the solution could not come in the form of a new body with universal membership, he cautioned that the merits of establishing a human rights council of limited membership be judged, not only on its form, but also on its substance and on the actual standing of it members.
On the question of terrorism, he noted that the Secretary-General had added his voice to that of the High-Level Panel in recognizing that State use of force was adequately regulated under international legal norms and affirming that no cause or grievance could justify the deliberate targeting of innocents. Those statements had been echoed in numerous Security Council resolutions. Quite simply, the view that the claimed right to resist occupation could justify or excuse acts of terrorism was “untenable as a matter of law and morality”. The reports of the Secretary-General and the High-Level Panel on those questions met with the approval of the overwhelming majority of States and responded to the concerns of the world’s citizens in the face of the contemporary terrorist threat. There was no good or bad terrorism. Despite the completion last week of a convention to suppress nuclear terrorism, there was much that the United Nations still needed to do in its efforts to fight terrorists and confront the regimes that aided or tolerated them. Conclusion of a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention would, no doubt, be an important step in the right direction.
NASSIR ABDULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China, said it was necessary to develop the current concepts and mechanisms available to the multilateral international system in order to face the challenges, threats and dangers to international peace and security at the beginning of the century, particularly in light of international and regional developments, foremost of which were in the Middle East. Worthy of particular attention by the developing countries was the realization of balanced and sustainable development, including the fight against hunger, poverty and the spread of disease, which required the international community’s renewed interest and support.
He stressed that the outcome of the September summit must strike a delicate balance between the issues raised and the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s report, namely, the balance between the issues related to development and social progress and those related to international peace and security, taking into account the mandate provided in General Assembly resolutions 58/21 and 59/145. It was also important to review the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and to take into account the views and suggestions of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China.
Qatar was fully prepared to cooperate at all levels in the realization of a successful outcome to the September summit, he said, based on the purposes of the United Nations Charter and resolutions that aspired to establish a more balanced and just multilateral collective international system that reflected the concerns and aspirations of peoples to development, prosperity, peace and security. The Second South Summit, to be held in Qatar between 12 and 16 June 2005, would represent an opportune moment to prepare for the September summit.
FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said that the report deserved full consideration as a contribution to a successful, realistic, comprehensive, and balanced United Nations reform. The Charter had kept its vitality and relevance, but notable changes in the international scene had required the United Nations to embark on important changes to maintain its vitality and play a greater international role. He could not overemphasize the importance of dealing with the maintenance of international peace and security from a perspective that did not keep a “wrong” situation in place, or preserve a doomed “fait accompli”, which was not in line with the principles of international law and justice. Such treatment of the issue would eventually lead to the opposite results of those desired, particularly in such dangerous and sensitive regions as the Middle East and certain parts of Africa.
He said that the Assembly’s role in multilateralism should receive the utmost attention in any reform decisions, since it was the United Nations’ principal policy-making organ. Deliberations about Assembly reform should focus on bolstering its ability to face the contemporary challenges, rather than to strengthening the Security Council in a way that caused imbalances among nations and undermined the Assembly’s role. Revitalizing the United Nations would not be accomplished when certain States did not respect its resolutions and decisions. On the use of force, Arab States rejected the right for intervention for humanitarian reasons, as that had no basis in international law. It was important to accurately study the terminology of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States. The concept of sovereignty should not be redefined on the basis of facing up to the challenges of the twenty-first century. Its aim of restricting wars and disallowing so-called preventive action should be preserved.
Syria, which had suffered from the horrors of terrorism, was the first State to propose a United Nations convention on international terrorism (1986) that defined terrorism and distinguished it from the legitimate struggle for freedom and independence, he said. Any definition or related discussion that did not take into account the reasons for terrorism, including State terrorism, which must include occupation and political or economic injustice, would not lead to effective strategic action to confront it. The report’s recommendations on mass destruction weapons were fragmented and incomplete. Priority should be given to achieving nuclear disarmament and the total and complete ban of all weapons of mass destruction, and non-proliferation must be accompanied by disarmament. Nor had the report dealt with the establishment of a Middle East zone free from mass destruction weapons.
On institutional reform, he said the idea of establishing a peacebuilding commission, overseen by the General Assembly and ECOSOC, should be considered, given his support for a strengthened United Nations in the area of peacekeeping. Dealing with the shortcomings of the Human Rights Commission, however, should start with ending its politicization, and selectivity and double standards. Replacing it with a human rights council required further examination, bearing in mind the need not to take such decisions rashly. Security Council reform by expanding its membership in both categories was imperative, as only that enlargement would make the Council transparent and credible, and reflect a just representation of all countries and civilizations. The Council could not safeguard its own credibility without respecting its mandate and resisting the hegemony of some of its members, and abuse of some of its mechanisms. Regretfully, the report had not dealt with the suffering of a people under occupation and of ending such occupation, he said.
NIRUPAM SEN (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77, said that the Bretton Woods institutions were created by Keynesian demand for high levels of employment. The chains had fallen from the poor, but in the last two decades, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had picked them up and placed them back on their shoulders. The present international economic system took from the poor and gave to the rich through negative resource flows, low commodity prices and poor market access, among other things. The centrality of development could, therefore, only be retrieved if the United Nations took control of the international economic agenda: it should not be forgotten that concessional aid, internationally created reserve assets and sustainable development were first debated and decided in the United Nations, and the Bretton Woods institutions had followed.
The Millennium Development Goals could not be achieved without implementing the 0.7 per cent ODA target in a time-bound manner, he said. The September summit must give a political direction in that regard to the Hong Kong ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization in December, especially on agricultural subsidies; non-agricultural market access (NAMA); Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); services; non-tariff barriers; special safeguard mechanisms; and the principle of special and differential treatment. That was especially critical because of the attempt in NAMA negotiations to eliminate the flexibilities for developing countries, which struck at the very heart of special and differential treatment.
He said the revitalization of the General Assembly could not be accomplished through mere rationalization of agenda and meetings or by transferring items from one weak body to another, he said. Its revitalization was necessary to guide and direct the other organs and thereby exercise functions envisaged under Article 10 of the Charter. In fact, the source of legitimacy for the Security Council was support by the General Assembly. The Assembly’s weakness and the Council’s strength had become a zero-sum game and the relationship between the two was dialectical.
The attempt to change the world order had led to much disquiet and questioning, creating a legitimacy deficit that, in some cases, inevitably led to a performance deficit, he said. The question, therefore, was not one of efficiency or enlargement of the permanent membership, but efficiency through enlargement. Only such an enlargement could include areas affected by decisions and countries that could contribute resources and capabilities and, above all, contribute to optimal decisions and their wide acceptance, thereby minimizing the use of coercion and force and increasing the power of persuasion and acceptance. That was why India had been working with Brazil, Germany and Japan and in cooperation with the African Union for a Security Council reform that would increase the permanent and non-permanent membership by including developed and developing countries in an expanded Council. Circumstances surrounding resolution 1441 of 8 November 2002 had completely undercut Model B or any other variant: when the permanent members were divided and the non-permanent members could have made a difference they had stood aside, urging the permanent five to agree among themselves and assuring their support for any agreement so reached.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA (United Republic of Tanzania), associating himself with the African Group, the Group of 77 and China, as well as the Non-Aligned Movement, applauded the special recognition accorded to Africa in light of the challenges that the continent faced. There were unprecedented good intentions towards Africa, as well as greater understanding of its predicament. But understanding was only useful if it triggered action when spurred by political goodwill. Striving to match that goodwill, Tanzania had been able to accelerate access to primary education for boys and girls by tripling the number of classrooms in the last three years, training and recruiting more teachers, and instituting community-level ownership of the improvements and reforms. As a result, the country could attain universal primary education, with gender balance, in the next three years and realize the second Millennium Development Goal almost eight years ahead of schedule.
But that was not enough, he said. Even with an economy growing at an annual rate of 5 to 6 per cent, and with declining indicators of income poverty, still about 35 per cent and 19 per cent of Tanzanians were, respectively, deemed as “basic needs poor” and “food poor”. As they struggled to confront that picture of poverty and great want, they must also strive to provide for the needs of those affected by the devastation of HIV/AIDS. It was in that regard that the United Republic of Tanzania saw the proposal to open the International Finance Facility as opening up an important new window for global cooperation against poverty and achieving all the Millennium Development Goals.
He said freedom from fear was an aspiration that all must share as human beings, and the United Republic of Tanzania, therefore, found great merit in the evolving notion of collective security based on recognition that threats were interlinked and that development, security and human rights were mutually interdependent. Africa, more known for its conflicts and post-conflict rebuilding challenges, found the idea of a peacebuilding commission innovative and one that should be pursued with a view to its early adoption and implementation. Equally, the proposed standing fund for timely humanitarian action in human-made emergencies and natural disasters was most commendable, but it would be more secure if its resource base was more predictable.
Regarding freedom to live in dignity, he said it was a noble ambition, but democracy and open markets would only be accepted for what they delivered, not what they promised. Human rights and the protection of civilians should not be compromised by political expediency, and the rule of law must be upheld as a cardinal principle of democracy and good governance. Consistent with the right to protect, the concept of “Convention Plus” with respect to the 1951 Refugee Convention merited further attention and elaboration. A regime that focused on the realities of protection today in conjunction with the concept of “safe havens” in countries of origin should be revisited and discussed with an open mind. That would give long-overdue attention to the plight and protection of internally displaced persons who now far outnumbered the world’s refugees.
JIMMY U. OVIA (Papua New Guinea) said that the report had put before Member States a timely challenge to discuss and take bold and decisive decisions at the upcoming summit. The Secretary-General had recommended the report as a balanced an integrated package, which gave equal weight and attention to all of the pillars of peace and security, development and human rights. He agreed, however, with the overwhelming majority of speakers, especially those from developing countries, which held the view that the report was not balanced. He shared similar concerns with the majority of developing countries that peace and security, and human rights had been given more emphasis and weight in the report than development issues. The central issue for the overwhelming majority of the world’s people living in poverty was development and survival. Peace, security and human rights could be achieved only when more people enjoyed the benefits of prosperity.
He stressed that the report was lacking in many aspects, especially on the importance and centrality of development issues and plans of action agreed at the major world conferences held over the last 15 years. That included the recently concluded Mauritius meeting and its strategy for the sustainable development of small island States, the Johannesburg plan of action and the Monterrey Consensus, to name just a few. He lived in hope, however, and, like others in the developing world, was hopeful that all was not lost. He hoped that, with the support of the Assembly President and that of the United Nations “community”, that oversight could be rectified during the consultation process to follow. He was also optimistic that it would be possible to work together to ensure that the September summit became a “win-win” situation for all.
Papua New Guinea, together with other small island developing States, shared special vulnerabilities of environmental, economic and social shocks. He supported the call for an enhanced ECOSOC as the principal body to ensure stronger system-wide coherence of the various development and humanitarian agencies. The reform should also allow ECOSOC to assess the progress of individual countries in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Member States must see to it that the Assembly was restored to its position as the highest deliberative decision-making and representative body. He also supported an enlarged Security Council, with the inclusion of Japan, Germany, and the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The need to act decisively on that issue could not be overemphasized, and efforts should build on the current momentum. The proposal to establish a human rights council was interesting, but it required further study. The Secretariat should be adapted to respond in a timely manner to the priorities and agenda of the whole United Nations membership.
MARLENE MOSES (Nauru) welcomed the report and expressed support for the Secretary-General’s commitment to multilateralism as a key to resolving the international community’s common challenges. Development and political will were the fundamental components for global resolve. They were central to recovery, development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals by small island developing States. It was, therefore, extremely disappointing that the report did not more comprehensively address the special cases of those States.
Nauru supported the reform of the Security Council on the basis of Model A and the inclusion of Japan, Germany and India for permanent seats on an expanded Council. Nauru believed that the main aims of the report were achievable. It was with those objectives in mind that their consultations in the days ahead would be conducted.
SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, Observer for Palestine, associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 and China, said the Secretary-General’s report contained some positive elements that should be expanded upon, but it was not as comprehensive as had been expected. It was disappointing that the report ignored many ideas, comments and positions, including those of the Arab Group.
She said Palestine shared the Secretary-General’s statement that every nation proclaiming the rule of law at home must respect it abroad, and that every nation insisting on it abroad must enforce it at home. Yet, in many places governments and individuals continued to violate the rule of law, often without penalty, but with deadly ramifications for the weak and vulnerable. The situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, continued to be dangerous as a result of the unprecedented injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people throughout Israel’s 38-year occupation, which had brutally denied them their inalienable rights, including the right to self-determination. There was no instrument of international law or noble legal action that Israel had not violated in terms of both its policies and actions as a State and occupying Power. All its practices had been carried out with impunity and in blatant contempt and disregard for international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
Underscoring the importance of drawing a distinction between terrorism and the right of peoples to resist occupation and to defend themselves against an occupying Power, she said resistance was a legitimate right of an oppressed and occupied people. It should not, in any way, be compared or confused with condemnable acts of terror. While the report correctly stated that terrorism was a threat to all that the United Nations stood for, it also stated that it was time to “set aside the debate on so-called State terrorism”. Those two points seemed not only to contradict each other, but dangerously excluded one form of terrorism: State terrorism carried out by a State army in implementation of formal State policies. How could the debate on any manifestation of terrorism be set aside while the international community was still seeking to establish a common understanding on the definition of terrorism?
Statement in Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Mexico said that he considered it unfortunate that there had been a partial assessment, an assessment made out of context by the Permanent Representative of India, regarding the work of non-permanent members of the Security Council during the adoption of resolution 1441 (2002).
The General Assembly President, JEAN PING (Gabon), said that a total of 83 delegations and six senior officials addressed the Assembly in the course of its three-day discussion of the Secretary-General’s report, “In Larger Freedom”. He had sought to devise a work plan that was open, inclusive and transparent. He, meanwhile, had been pleased that speakers had reaffirmed the central role of the General Assembly in the formulation of suitable solutions to advance implementation of the goals of the Millennium Summit and United Nations reform. Thematic consultations would begin on 19 April.
He said that the large number of speakers, either representing groups of States or in national capacities, as well as the wealth and relevance of their comments and proposals, confirmed the great store set by Member States in preparation for the September summit. The statements had also reflected the will of all to ensure that that meeting led to tangible and balanced results, taking into account the concerns and interest of all Member States. Many delegations had stated that the meeting had, as its purpose, an assessment of implementation of the Millennium Declaration, as well as coordinated implementation of the outcomes of major conferences and summits.
It had also been highlighted that the summit would take place during the celebration of the Organization’s sixtieth anniversary, and in an international context where urgent challenges had demanded immediate United Nations reform. The need to strengthen multilateralism had also been reaffirmed. The time had come, it had been said, to take decisions that must be taken, in order to adapt the United Nations to the realities of the twenty-first century, bearing in mind the consequences that a failure would have for the Organization. It had also been emphasized that, throughout preparations for the summit, all rash action must be avoided. Member States must remain pragmatic and allowed to build on areas where agreements could be achieved, keeping in mind that reform was an ongoing process.
He noted that some delegations had considered that the report was not balanced enough and had not reflected the views expressed during discussion of the High-Level Panel’s report and that of the Millennium Project. It had also been stated that the report contained new concepts requiring further discussion.
* *** *