|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixtieth General Assembly
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
WORLD LEADERS PLEDGE WIDE-RANGING STEPS ON POVERTY, TERRORISM, HUMAN RIGHTS,
UN REFORM, AS 2005 SUMMIT CONCLUDES IN NEW YORK
World leaders wrapped up the largest summit in United Nations history tonight, pledging to give new momentum to global development goals and to strengthen the 60-year-old world body, so that it can live up to the ideals on which it was founded.
Adopting a resolution containing the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit, some 150Heads of State and Government attending the three-day gathering agreed to take action on a wide range of global issues, from boosting development in poor countries and combating terrorism, as well as to create new United Nations bodies for peacebuilding and human rights.
Opening with a strong and unambiguous commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals -- a series of ambitious targets, ranging from halving extreme poverty, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and to providing universal primary education by 2015 -- the document also highlights the leaders’ agreement to provide immediate support for “quick impact” initiatives to support anti-malaria efforts, education and health care.
Acknowledging that peace, security, development and human rights were central pillars of the United Nations, the leaders reaffirmed that “development was a central goal ... and that sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental aspects constituted a key element of the overarching framework of the United Nations activities”.
They also pledged an additional $50 billion a year to fight poverty, and reaffirmed their commitment to address the special needs of Africa, resolving to help boost foreign investment in the continent, make efforts to integrate African countries in the international trading system, and work towards durable solution to the huge external debt burden that many African countries felt impeded their development plans. All developing countries agreed to adopt national plans for achieving the Millennium Goals by 2006.
Recognizing that current developments and circumstances required that they urgently build consensus on major threats and challenges, the leaders also expressed clear and unqualified condemnation -- by all Governments, for the first time -- of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes”.
They also pledged to push for a comprehensive convention against terrorism within a year, and agreed to fashion a strategy to fight terrorism in a way that makes the international community stronger and terrorists weaker. They also pledged support for early entry into force of the Nuclear Terrorism Convention and encouraged all States to join and implement it, as well as the 12 other anti-terrorism conventions.
The leaders also stressed that they were prepared to take collective action, in a “timely and decisive manner”, through the Security Council and in accordance with the Charter, to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, when peaceful means prove inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to do it.
Pledging to enhance the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability and credibility of the United Nations, the leaders took several steps to strengthen the world body, closely mirroring the reform agenda proposed by the Secretary-General this past March in his report, “In Larger Freedom”.
The Summit decided to create a Peacebuilding Commission to help countries recovering from conflict, backed by a support office and a standing fund. The body will begin its work no later than 31 December. It also endorsed the creation of a new standing police capacity for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Taking decisive steps to strengthen the United Nations human rights machinery, the Summit agreed to dismantle the current Geneva-based Commission on Human Rights and establish a Human Rights Council during the coming year. It requested the General Assembly President to conduct open and transparent negotiations to decide on the new body’s functions, size and membership.
On one of the most talked about proposals included in the Secretary-General’s reform agenda, expansion of the Security Council, the leaders agreed that reform of the 15-nation body “was an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations in order to make it more broadly representative, efficient and transparent”. They committed themselves to “continuing our efforts to achieve a decision to this end and request the General Assembly to review progress on reform ... by the end of 2005”.
Throughout the three days of debate, delegations had expressed concerns that the document did not go far enough, among other things, in calling for concrete action on expanding the Council, eliminating Africa’s debt, and increasing the Secretary-General’s authority.
Mr. Annan himself had expressed particular disappointment that all references to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation had been dropped from the text. “We have allowed posturing to get in the way of results”, he said in his opening address to the Summit. “This is inexcusable. Weapons of mass destruction pose a grave danger to us all ... we must pick up the pieces in order to renew negotiations on this vital issue.”
After action on the document, Cuba’s representative pointed to gaps on crucial issues, such as disarmament, and the representative of Belarus said the document had not brought States together, as the Charter had intended. He called on delegates and all States to continue working together on the ideals inscribed in the Charter. The Co-Chairs stressed the importance of the multilateralism that had led to a commonly accepted statement.
Addressing the General Assembly on the final day of the 2005 World Summit were the Presidents of: Paraguay, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Republic of Moldova, Panama, Poland, Togo, Bolivia, Croatia, Suriname, Portugal, Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador, Guyana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Lebanon, Maldives, and Malawi.
Also speaking to the Assembly were the Prime Ministers of: Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Greece, Australia, Norway, Grenada, Thailand, Liechtenstein, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Canada, Armenia, Tuvalu, Timor-Leste, Guinea-Bissau, Fiji, and Niger,
Vice Presidents from Guatemala and Costa Rica, and Deputy Prime Ministers from Vanuatu, Turkmenistan, and Singapore also spoke.
The Foreign Ministers of Uzbekistan, Bahamas, Nicaragua, Chad, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Egypt, Myanmar, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Honduras also made statements.
The King of Jordan, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, the Minister of Information and Culture and Personal Representative of the President of United Arab Emirates, the Minister of National Heritage and Culture and Special Envoy of the Sultan of Oman, the Secretary of State of the Holy See, the President of the National Assembly of Cuba, the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, the Minister for Economic Affairs and Development of Mauritania, the Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority, and the representative of Yemen also addressed the Summit.
Statements were also made by representatives of the League of Arab States, European Community, Organization of Islamic Conference, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Council of Europe, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Centre for Peruvian Women “Flora Tristan”, BHI Holdings Ltd., Asian Development Bank, and the African Development Bank.
The General Assembly will reconvene Saturday, 17 September, to begin its general debate for the sixtieth session.
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its High-level Plenary, dubbed the 2005 World Summit, convened to consider the status of the Millennium Development Goals, and to take decisions on Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s agenda for reforming the United Nations
NICANOR DUARTE FRUTOS, President of Paraguay, said the Summit needed to ensure concerted action from the developed countries to eradicate inequalities. People in emerging economies needed solidarity, not charity. The poor needed equal access to the tremendous wealth and resources generated in the world today, but everyone should acknowledge that developed countries’ protectionism was like a vice that was suffocating the peoples of the developing world.
He said Paraguay had taken its destiny into its own hands, improving education, fighting trafficking in people, promoting gender equality and working towards sustained socio-economic growth. The country was also on target to meet the Millennium Goal on ending illiteracy. Much attention was also being paid to improving the health sector, and this year, the country had approved a national conservation and environmental preservation plan. It had also made great strides in its housing and sanitation sectors.
It pained Paraguay to see that the promises made by the world’s richest countries were not being fulfilled, he said. Terrorism and extremism were on the rise, small countries lacked access to world markets, and the United Nations had become beholden to bureaucratic complexities. The international community should work towards a democratic world order, which would require enhanced efforts to bring down the walls barring equal access to so-called first world markets. It would also require concrete actions to ensure equal access to and training in the use of new information and communications technologies.
KURMANBEK BAKIEV, President of Kyrgyzstan, said the Summit gave the world leaders a rare opportunity to find collective answers to global problems such as poverty, hunger, disease, terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations must advance in the face of modern realities and transform itself into an effective tool. Kyrgyzstan supported the need for reform in the Organization and the strengthening of the supporting functions of the Economic and Social Council.
The national mid-term programme of actions developed in Kyrgyzstan would be closely connected to the Millennium Development Goals, he said. The programme would help solve problems in the country, including poverty and corruption, as well as raise the standard of living. But high internal debt was a barrier to sustainable development. Kyrgyzstan would accept urgent measures on the simplification of the debt burden for developing countries. It was necessary to consider granting additional support to developing countries with reference to mountain territories.
He said his country had laid down the broad foundation for the development of a civil society and was firmly committed to getting rid of corruption by using the mechanisms accepted in international practice. It had taken the first steps. The protection of human rights and the realization of democratic principles were also priorities. In its firm adherence to international obligations on freedom of speech, assembly, mass media, the right to democracy and the right of refugees, Kyrgyzstan had shown its commitments. The people had a right to hope that it would not appear isolated in those problems and that the United Nations would render due support.
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, President of Indonesia, conveyed the commitment of the Asia-Pacific region to achieve, through the Jakarta Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty was a killer and some 8 million people, most of them in Asia and Africa, died each year because they were too poor to live. To stop that killer, the Goals must be attained. Financing must flow for development, and the exports of developing countries must gain access to markets in a rules-based international trading system. The developing countries must achieve good governance, fight corruption, make efficient use of their limited resources and carry out appropriate development strategies. For their part, developed countries must fulfil their commitment to a genuine and mutually beneficial global partnership for development.
Regarding global security, he said a reformed Security Council was needed with a membership that reflected global realities. The Asia-Pacific region, home to more than half of the human race and the cradle of ancient civilizations and religions, should have more seats on the Council. New permanent members should be chosen on the basis of a set of appropriate criteria. It was also necessary to do away with the right of veto, which often paralysed the Council. A disarmament and non-proliferation regime leading to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction was also needed. The peaceful use of nuclear energy for development must be encouraged. The international community also needed a Peacebuilding Commission that would work in with both the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council, under the General Assembly’s mandate.
He said there was also a need for consensus on the responsibility to protect people from genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. To that end, force should be used only when all other means had failed. In the fight against terrorism, it was necessary to develop effective international cooperation to deal with the threat. It was also necessary to find and deal with its root causes. Interfaith dialogue and empowering moderates could reduce violent radicalism. An empowered Economic and Social Council was needed in order to effectively review and coordinate international cooperation in development. The projected Human Rights Council should be a subsidiary body of the Assembly and must be free of politicization and double standards. United Nations reform would not be complete unless it affirmed the central role of the General Assembly as the Organization’s main organ. Indonesia would continue to support any efforts to strengthen and revitalize the effectiveness of the United Nations in facing the new challenges.
VLADIMIR VORONIN, President of the Republic of Moldova, said only through full implementation of the Millennium Declaration commitments could the necessary prerequisites for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable economic growth be ensured. Only through continued disarmament and non-proliferation and combating terrorism, aggressive separatism and transnational crime, among other things, could an effective collective security system for the twenty-first century be ensured. Only through promotion of democracy and the rule of law could the necessary conditions to live in freedom and dignity be ensured. His country supported decisions that would lead to, among other things, reform and expansion of the Security Council, a more effective Economic and Social Council, and creation of a Human Rights Council and a Peacebuilding Commission.
He said that as a country facing the difficulties of transition and unsettled internal conflict inspired and supported from abroad, the Republic of Moldova was determined to restore its national dignity, sovereignty and territorial integrity through complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops, and to seek a lasting solution to the political conflict in the eastern districts together with the responsible actors of the international community. Without the removal of external pressure, without democratization and demilitarization of Transnistria and control of the state borders, it would be impossible to settle the conflict, to stop illegal trafficking of arms, drugs and human beings, and provide stability and security for that part of the European continent.
ABDULLAH II, King of Jordan, said that five years ago world leaders had met and declared a new vision for a new age. It was clear that they had not acted too soon. Now the people of the world looked towards them. Jordan was on target with the Millennium Goals, making gains in poverty reduction, health, education, gender equality, the environment and more. It was only part of Jordan’s much larger national strategy -- a comprehensive approach towards reform and development. Regarding the prospects for peace, he said that a critical step was to ensure zero tolerance towards those who promoted extremism. Jordan had worked with the international Muslim community to oppose extremist interpretations of Islam. Yet, even as Jordan worked for peace, development must go forward. International partnership was crucial. When developed nations committed to active, increased developmental support, they advanced global progress for all. The world knew what was needed -- fair trade, increased direct assistance and debt relief. That was particularly important with regard to the key group of lower-middle and middle-income countries, which played a major role in regional and global stability. Many, like Jordan, were on the verge of reaching higher income levels. That success could only translate into real development gains if it was nourished and sustained.
He said the Summit recognized that the globe was one of shared dependence and shared opportunity. There was a strategic and moral mission and it was in the hands of the leaders to prove to the world’s people, especially the young, that international institutions worked and that global justice was real.
MARTIN TORRIJOS, President of Panama, said his country had a clear and unequivocal commitment to attaining the Millennium Goals and had implemented a host of anti-poverty policies aimed at ensuring that all the people enjoyed the same benefits and aspirations. Panama, for the first time in its history, had enacted legislation to provide prenatal care and was also working actively to ensure that women, as well as men, felt and believed they were participating in their own development.
On the work of the Summit, he said Panama was concerned that there had been little movement on the issues of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. It was also concerned that the outcome document seemed to leave the details of many of the decisions that would be taken to be wrapped up later, particularly those concerning the Organization’s human rights machinery. Nevertheless, Panama was pleased to see that the Summit would reaffirm its faith in the United Nations and reiterate its desire to ensure that the Organization and its works received the full support of all Member States.
ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI, President of Poland, said the United Nations today faced the unprecedented challenge of providing humanity with new hope to build the twenty-first century on a solid foundation of freedom, security, democracy and solidarity. Solidarity was one of the key principles of international relations, combining respect for diversity and readiness to provide assistance. The European Union had proved that it was possible to build structures and mechanisms of cooperation in a spirit of true solidarity. The principle of solidarity remained inextricably linked to that of freedom. Yet for many, freedom was still an unfulfilled dream.
Freedom, however, could not be imposed from outside, but must grow from within, he added. Democratic changes did not occur because they were masterminded elsewhere, but because people wanted them. Hopefully, the recently established Democracy Fund, which Poland supported, would offer genuine assistance for those who aspired to freedom and solidarity. Greater determination must also be demonstrated in response to such problems as violence, poverty, social exclusion, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The United Nations must pursue a far-reaching and comprehensive vision of change and play a more decisive and effective role in shaping a broad development policy that would improve life in all parts of the world.
The Polish vision of United Nations reform reflected its strong commitment to fundamental values and principles, as well as to multilateralism, which should serve as a guiding principle of the Organization’s activities, he said. The Summit’s outcome document reflected many of the ideas proposed by the Polish Government and should be perceived as a basis for further reform efforts. Regrettably, however, neither arms control nor non-proliferation issues were covered by the document. Not every summit, however, would provide revolutionary changes. Real breakthroughs came in the wake of a lengthy and gradual process of change and adaptation. Indeed, the outcome document offered many substantial recommendations. How to build practical consensus around them remained a serious challenge for the sixtieth session.
FAURE ESSOZIMNA GNASSINGBÉ, President of Togo, joined other delegations in expressing sympathy to and solidarity with the Government and people of the United States as the south-eastern Gulf Coast region recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
On the work of the Summit, he said that in spite of ongoing crises and instability in many parts of the world, the impact of the Millennium Summit had been revealed in the broad efforts and recognition by all States that sustainable development, socio-economic progress and the fight against global pandemics required solidarity throughout the entire international community.
Togo, within its limited means, was implementing plans and programmes aimed at ensuring that the vision adopted by world leaders five years ago was realized for its people, he said, stressing that attainment of the Millennium Goals must go hand in hand with United Nations reform. That must start with reform of the Security Council. That organ, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security, must be made more representative of current geopolitical realities. It was crucial that the developing world, particularly Africa, have broader representation on the Council.
EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ VELTZÉ, President of Bolivia, said the Millennium Development Goals were ambitious but totally legitimate. Bolivia shared the urgent need to build a society based on freedom from misery and debt, as well as the right to free trade. Cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking required the establishment of joint policies that provided affected areas with renewed hope. At the Summit of the Americas in 2002, the presidents of the region had agreed to open up their markets to alternative crops. That policy, if implemented, would cover other regions, as well, and would be an important way to reduce misery. Democracy must also guarantee the right of peoples to live without fear. Bolivia would be present in all efforts at the United Nations to fight terrorism, which was the expression of intolerance.
In its 60 years, the United Nations had fulfilled the goals of its founders, he said. Throughout six decades of tension and threats, there had also been an expansion of dialogue. The Organization, however, did not represent current realities. Its structure contained leftovers from past eras. It needed to change, yet its essence could not be lost. Bolivia would participate in initiatives to extend the Security Council and to strengthen the Economic and Social Council, which would play a crucial rule in achieving the Millennium Goals, including the eradication of hunger, a scourge for many nations.
He said that his Government supported the consolidation of institutions that were fundamental to freedom, namely the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. Bolivia was also determined to strengthen its own institutions. Having recently undergone a difficult period in its history, Bolivia was currently renewing its democratic institutions and was determined to make progress in achieving the Goals.
STJEPAN MESIĆ, President of Croatia, said that the world which founded the United Nations was united much more than the present world. It was united by the common goal of opposition to the ideology and practice of fascism and Nazism, and it was a world determined to prevent aggressive wars and the likes of the Holocaust. While the United Nations had been successful in preventing a new world war, it had failed to save humankind from a string of cruel and bloody wars. Progress on such issues as development, and overcoming the ever larger gap between the developed and underdeveloped, terrorism, and healing the consequences of wars had been incomplete and partial. Progress had been achieved but no issue had been dealt with conclusively.
There was no alternative to reforming the United Nations, he continued. The structure of the key agencies of the United Nations reflected the world at the end of the Second World War. The concept of reform must proceed from current reality and consider the foreseeable trend of future development.
He said the majority in the Organization was against war and for peace, against the use of force and for negotiation and the peaceful settlement of disputes, against poverty and for global development and prosperity, against all forms of terrorism and for the security of States and citizens, against discrimination and intolerance and for equality and recognition of diversity, against sacrificing the environment for fast profit and for the preservation of the plant and animal world. The United Nations must become qualified to achieve those goals and must never become a screen providing legitimacy to any policy clearly opposed to the mood of the majority.
RUNALDO RONALD VENETIAAN, President of Suriname, said the Plenary should be a testimony to the international community’s resolve to collectively respond to its many challenges. It should also mark the beginning of an era of concerted actions towards meeting commitments made at major conferences. That would require a reformed Organization that could deal effectively with those challenges. While the outcome document outlined measures to follow up on a number of commitments made over the past 60 years, action was still needed to deal with several major issues.
He said Suriname remained committed to achieving the Millennium Goals and had made progress in reaching them, especially in the areas of education and environment, but it had faced problems in other areas. Like other developing countries, it had encountered some serious obstacles, including unfair trade and high debt levels. With a few exceptions, developed countries had not yet met their commitments to providing official development assistance (ODA). The Caribbean Community, in particular, had experienced a significant decrease in ODA. Those developed countries that had not yet established a timetable to begin contributing 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to ODA should do so, starting with significant increases by next year.
There could be no development without security, and no security without development, and neither could there be sustainable development if human rights were not respected, he said. Reform of the Organization’s human rights machinery was long overdue. The creation of a Human Rights Council was generally acceptable, but the open-ended working group should embark on a wide-ranging discussion of what the Council’s function, mandate and composition would be. There had been setbacks in the areas of disarmament and non-proliferation, and it was regrettable that such an important issue was not mentioned in the outcome document. The world situation could only improve if States lived up to their commitments.
JORGE SAMPAIO, President of Portugal, said his generation had been charged with a responsibility that could not be put off; responding to global challenges that increasingly demanded collective answers. For millions of people, life was no more than a day-to-day struggle for survival. It was the duty of the United Nations to point the way to meeting those expectations. In no other time had there been such progress in life expectancy, health, education and the quality of life than in the past 60 years, yet millions of human beings were still living in abject poverty.
He said that achieving the Millennium Development Goals was a moral obligation. Peace, development and the protection of human rights on a global scale were the foundation of the ambition of the founders of the United Nations. The Millennium Summit was a turning point, which systemized a global partnership of cooperation for development with clearly defined targets. Achieving those goals was within the world’s grasp. Portugal supported debt cancellation and applied particular importance to good governance. Also, there could be no sustainable development without security and the United Nations had an important role to play in the fight against international terrorism. It was also urgent to relaunch discussions on disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The time was now ripe to make individuals the focus of concern, he said, reiterating Portugal’s commitment to multilateralism, to the United Nations and to an international order in which the collective interest was not systematically sacrificed to expediency and to self-centered interests. Strengthening the United Nations is an essential task if the twenty-first century was to be one of peace, progress as well as respect and dignity for all human beings.
LEONEL FERNANDEZ REYNA, President of the Dominican Republic, said his Government had created a Presidential Commission on the Millennium Goals, charged with continuously monitoring progress towards attaining those targets and supporting the various relevant ministries and agencies. That Commission also aimed to maintain a dialogue with civil society in an effort to harness civic and private sector goodwill, as well as information exchange, towards attaining the Goals.
At the same time, he said, a cost analysis had shockingly revealed that the Dominican Republic, a country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $21 billion, needed some $30 billion over the course of the next 10 years to achieve the Goals. “How are we going to obtain these resources?”, he asked, pointing out the country’s many fiscal restraints and inherited economic crises. It was obvious that the Government could not generate the funds at home and would have to appeal to the international financial community, foreign investors and developed countries for assistance. A “debt swap” programme aimed at supporting overall efforts to meet the Goals was one possible solution.
He stressed that currently, nothing had slowed the rapid development of the world economy more than spiralling fuel prices. The Dominican Republic feared an economic recession unless something was done to address that matter urgently. Such a recession would be catastrophic for small emerging economies. International trade could be paralysed, jobs would be lost, rising inflation would harm already vulnerable sectors, and panic would have a serious impact around the world. A summit of world leaders to consider solutions to that serious problem was urgently needed.
BOUNNHANG VORACHITH, Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said that five years after the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, progress towards achieving the agreed time-bound targets and goals had been mixed, largely due to the uneven distribution of regional and global wealth. In Africa, most countries had sunk deeper into poverty. In Asia and the Pacific, where there was the promise that some countries would sustain current economic growth, the region was still home to two thirds of the world’s poor, and accounted for about 700 million people living in extreme poverty. The region was also home to 14 of the world’s most vulnerable countries, small islands, and landlocked States.
He said that his country’s long-term development goal was to be delisted as a least developed country by 2020. To that end, the Government had adopted the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy, a localized plan, emphasizing overall development in agriculture and forestry, education, health and socio-economic infrastructure. The country had made strides in such key areas as the advancement and empowerment of women, poverty reduction, gradual but important increases in educational opportunities, and reduction in child and maternal mortality.
But despite those successes, he said, the challenges facing landlocked countries like his own were considerable and required coherent and concrete action on the part of the international community, particularly a recommitment to the implementation of the Brussels Action Plan for Least Developed Countries. The support of the United Nations itself was also critical and the Organization’s efforts in that regard should be directed towards specific development priorities. Hopefully, the United Nations reform process would be carried out in a comprehensive manner in order to ensure that the Organization was made more relevant and capable of meeting its noble goals, particularly that of ensuring the eradication of poverty in all regions of the world.
KOSTAS KARAMANLIS, Prime Minister of Greece, said much had happened since the Millennium Summit. Considerable progress had been achieved in poverty eradication and hunger, the Millennium Development Goals had been established and the Monterrey Consensus adopted. Greece had increased its development assistance with particular emphasis on Africa. Despite that progress, however, much remained to be done. Extreme poverty and hunger were the disgrace of the current century and the international community must persevere in its goal to eliminate them.
Five years ago, world leaders had proclaimed their collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level, he said. A normative framework had been established with decades of jurisprudence from treaty bodies and international tribunals. But, there was still a dangerous lack of enforcement and implementation at the global level. Arbitrary enforcement must be reduced.
Significant events had taken place since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals, he said. The terrorist attacks in New York and elsewhere had brought about new global threats and challenges. The outcome document provided an opportunity to build on basic principles, such as the obligation to refrain from the use of force in violation the United Nations Charter, and the authority of the Security Council to take action in restoring international peace and security. The United Nations, while built for a different era, was still the only global institution of humanity, endowed with the unique legitimacy to respond to new challenges. The outcome document was a good beginning on the long path to necessary reforms. It was a strong political call encompassing most suggested ideas.
JOHN HOWARD, Prime Minister of Australia, said that while his country continued to support the United Nations, it was important for countries to differentiate between issues that the world body could address and those that needed to be addressed on a national level. Australia supported the measures taken against terrorism, as well as a comprehensive convention on terrorism, and had signed the Nuclear Terrorism Convention. But, it was disappointed that more had not been accomplished regarding disarmament and non-proliferation, especially because of the threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction.
Although Australia had committed to doubling its overseas aid to $4 billion by 2010, it believed that aid must be accompanied by good governance and private sector growth for poverty to be alleviated, he said. Since trade barriers in developed countries cost poor countries more than twice the amount of the aid they received, the lowering of trade barriers and the elimination of subsidies would also be necessary to reduce poverty. He welcomed President Bush’s announcement that the United States would eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other trade barriers if other countries would as well.
Stressing that security was a prerequisite to development, he looked forward to sharing what Australia had learned as the leader of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. Although he welcomed leaders’ embrace of the “responsibility to protect”, he was concerned that the new Human Rights Council was not powerful enough to respond effectively to human rights abuses. Australia would make an additional contribution to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He had hoped for more progress on management reforms in the United Nations, particularly in view of the Volcker report, and also urged Security Council expansion, including permanent membership for Japan.
KJELL MAGNE BONDEVIK, Prime Minister of Norway, said that five years ago, the international community had agreed on the Millennium Goals. The world expected leaders to make poverty history. The Assembly could and must do so. It would come about through increased support for the efforts of developing countries, the involvement of women in society, reduced barriers to trade and the promotion of investment and social development, as well as the mobilization of business and civil society and the management of the earth. Development also required good governance and called for determined efforts to fight corruption. Good governance was about democracy and human rights, freedom of expression, freedom to seek information and freedom from discrimination. Human rights must be fully integrated into all United Nations activities.
When a human being needed protection, it was the international community’s duty to help, he said. One of the achievements of the Summit was the leaders’ readiness to take collective action, through the Security Council, to protect. That would happen only when peaceful means were found to be inadequate and if national authorities failed to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Preventing and ending armed conflicts, stabilizing or rebuilding failed or failing States were huge tasks, and the Peacebuilding Commission and Democracy Fund would make the United Nations better able to take on such challenges. Norway had announced a $15 million contribution to the Fund and the same amount to the humanitarian fund.
But the United Nations needed the commitment of Member States, he said. Nations needed a new partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations. Member States must take collective measures to maintain peace and security, and to prevent and remove threats to humanity. One of the most urgent priorities was disarmament and non-proliferation. It was also critical to stop international terrorism, for which a broad approach was needed. Those tasks, entrusted to the United Nations in 1945, were just as relevant today. The peoples of the United Nations needed more than ever a strong Organization to fulfil them.
KEITH C. MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Grenada, said that national and global challenges unforeseen 60 years ago called for new and innovative ways to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. Development, human rights, peace and security were dependent on each other and initiatives taken in those areas were commendable. Grenada supported fully the proposal to effect positive changes within the Secretariat and all other organs of the United Nations. Change must come, but with increased effectiveness.
Welcoming decisions taken in the area of development, he commended those developed countries that had committed themselves to meeting the 0.7 per cent ODA target to reduce poverty and improve health, education and trade. However, it was difficult to understand the decisions taken by the European Union concerning the reform of the sugar and banana markets, which would virtually destroy the Caribbean banana and sugar industries and wreak havoc on their vulnerable farming communities. T hose policies were contrary to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals for the small economies of the Caribbean.
Regarding the situation in Grenada, he said that on 7 September 2004, the island had been devastated by Hurricane Ivan. With the assistance of many friendly countries and multinational agencies, it had been able to commence its recovery. Ten months later, on 14 July 2005, another hurricane, Emily, had hit Grenada, wiping out the post-Ivan gains and further undermining the country’s infrastructure. Prior to the hurricanes, the economy had been on a path of positive economic growth driven by advances in the tourism, agricultural, transportation and communications sectors. The subsequent setback in economic and social progress pointed to the vulnerability of small States to natural disasters. It was now unlikely that Grenada would achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In that connection, efforts to improve the Central Emergency Revolving Fund to strengthen the effectiveness of United Nations humanitarian responses and mechanisms for the use of emergency stand-by capacity were commendable. However, the economic and fiscal situation remained a major challenge, and Grenada applauded the efforts of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in calling on the international community and donor agencies to provide more grant financing and technical assistance to support the country’s reconstruction and rebuilding efforts.
THAKSIN SHINAWATRA, Prime Minister of Thailand, said the modern globalized world demanded a United Nations that was dynamic in outlook, flexible in structure and firm in its commitment to the enduring ideals for which it was created. The world today was characterized by the pre-eminence of a single political and economic system of democracy and capitalism, which were two sides of the same coin. Capitalism, with its hallmark of free competition, provided the best opportunity for people to pursue their dreams. Free competition, however, must also be fair. Unfortunately, not everyone was equally fit to run in the race of free competition.
In Asia, Latin America and Africa, poverty alleviation must remain at the top of the agenda as a way to reduce injustice, conflict, resentment and radicalism, he said. The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would depend on the ability of the international community to deliver a fairer system of world trade and would not happen through ODA alone. It was also imperative that the United Nations be kept a global citizen-centred Organization in its outlook, action and responsibilities. The United Nations could not be truly united as long as its Members were divided on the basis of domestic interests and political gains.
The test today, therefore, was one of leadership, he said. The international community must be prepared to trade disunity for unity, narrow interests for shared responsibility and a bitter past in favour of a better future. Leadership must include the ability to respond promptly to those in immediate need. The Assembly’s revitalization, the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council, as well as the establishment of the Human Rights Council, the Peacebuilding Commission and the Democracy Fund might be acceptable reform proposals, but reform of that magnitude must be accompanied by a major overhaul of management. As the problems of the world became increasingly complex, so must the tasks and responsibilities of the United Nations. Reform was a process. As the outcome document was endorsed, that process would begin. Its success depended on the continued support of all players and the management ability of the Organization’s leadership to see it through.
OTMAR HASLER, Prime Minister of Liechtenstein, said the United Nations clearly needed new tools to address new threats and welcomed that the fact that the original purpose of the Summit -- the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals -- had found a central place in the outcome document. Liechtenstein had hoped for far-reaching and bold decisions to be ready for common agreement at the Summit, particularly in the area of institutional change.
Efforts to strengthen the various arms of the United Nations system were needed to tackle institutional imbalances, he said. Putting the General Assembly back into a central position in the multilateral system was essential. Liechtenstein was encouraged by efforts to make the Security Council more representative, accountable and transparent. In addition, the Peacebuilding Commission would close an institutional gap. It had the potential to dramatically improve the Organization’s performance in the area of conflict prevention by helping countries through the transition to long-term recovery and in preventing relapse into conflict.
He expressed support for the early work on a Human Rights Council, saying he was pleased that the Summit recognized the responsibility of the international community to protect civilian populations when Governments failed to do so. More advances in the area of terrorism and the use of force would have been necessary and it was deplorable that that the Summit had failed to reach any agreement in the areas of disarmament and impunity, including the role of the International Criminal Court.
RALPH EVERADA GONSALVES, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, noted that at the current critical juncture in the history of the United Nations, it could not be business as usual. Tired diplomatic postures and ritual incantations were not what the present challenging times demanded. The high-level meeting needed to work on a three-fold agenda: to advance in practical terms the development agenda around the Millennium Development Goals; to strengthen the role of the United Nations in the management of socio-economic, security and political issues; and to redress systemic problems in international trade, finance and global decision-making.
He said the rich countries were failing woefully to meet their own solemnly declared ODA targets. Aid was often delivered in a one-sided and discretionary way and was frequently insulting to the dignity of donors and recipients alike. At the same time, developing countries that failed to embrace active constitutionalism, good governance and political hygiene had little right to complain about donor indifference. Everyone had to get their act together and come to the table with clean hands. It was because of the dominant neo-liberal economic arrangements, the ravages of nature and poor governance in many developing countries that the development goals had been retarded.
Due to its small size, limited resources, huge dependence on exports and the awesome impact of natural disasters, his country was particularly vulnerable, he said. That vulnerability was further stretched by the threat to its banana industry as a consequence of the changing market regime and altered market conditions in Europe, as well as the massive increase in the price of oil internationally. Member States must heed the plight of poor banana farmers and workers in the Caribbean. The international community had an obligation to assist the Caribbean Community, including by reducing the level of government indebtedness, and creating a single market economy in the region to promote growth and assistance.
While he was pleased to see the adoption of the outcome document, it was profoundly disappointing that there had been a derailing of the satisfactory arrangements previously agreed upon by the Organization over the past few months for achieving a more secure world. People the world over were waiting on the United Nations to produce tangible results.
PAUL MARTIN, Prime Minister of Canada, said the international response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina reminded the world that there were connections between people that had nothing to do with a common language, race or creed, and everything to do with what it meant to be a human being. It was one world. Security, development and human rights were the three pillars of human freedom. They were responsibilities the world must take seriously. Canada could not conceive of a world succeeding without the United Nations, but the United Nations needed reform. The first pillar, security, represented the protection of life, so discussions of Security Council reform were imperative. Too often, permanent members used the veto to prevent effective action. Darfur was the latest example.
He said the second pillar, economic development, did not have a good record. Money and development would only go together if donor and recipient countries would take responsibilities to heart. Donor countries must do more. More consistent policies were needed. Developing countries needed to do more as well. True development would not take place until local populations had the confidence to invest their own energy and resources into making a better future for themselves. Turning to the third pillar, respect for human rights, he said reform efforts on security and development would ultimately fail unless they were grounded in respect for individuals. The Commission on Human Rights had a serious credibility problem. What was needed was a standing body at a higher level in the United Nations system.
The world needed new approaches to global challenges, he said. The United Nations was at a crossroads. In order to achieve effective reform, it must thoroughly reform its administration, its management methods, and introduce verification mechanisms with more clout. Empty rhetoric must make way for new and pragmatic multilateralism measured by concrete results. Leaders could not serve their own countries unless they rose above narrow national interests. Courage and vision could build a United Nations for the future. A United Nations that served all the world’s people was the best way to serve everyone.
ANDRANIK MARGARYAN, Prime Minister of Armenia, said terrorism remained humanity’s biggest scourge. Attacks against the United States, as well as in Beslan, Madrid, London and other parts of the world, proved that States should unite to combat that evil. Armenia also welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to prevent possible future acts of genocide, and in that regard underlined the importance of including the responsibility to protect populations against war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the Summit’s outcome document.
He urged the international community to redouble its efforts to prevent possible genocides, recalling that Armenians had survived the twentieth century’s first genocide and knew well its horrible consequences. One of the guarantees for peace and stability in the region would be the peaceful settlement of local conflicts. Armenia was committed to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where the people of the region had used the right of self-determination just as some countries attending the Summit had done. Armenia was confident that it could secure good neighbourly relations in the region only in conditions of mutual respect, in an atmosphere of tolerance and with the will to recognize historic truths.
Armenia attached special importance to regional cooperation to encourage mutual confidence, he said. Unfortunately, that process was impeded by a blockade imposed on the country, as well as by the unwillingness of some countries in the region to engage in such cooperation. Regarding the work of the Summit, Armenia supported United Nations reform, particularly efforts to enhance the role of the General Assembly, to create a new Human Rights Council and to improve the effectiveness of the Security Council.
MAATIA TOAFA, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Labour of Tuvalu, said the Assembly was confronted by enormous challenges and must collectively agree on actions to address them. The Millennium Development Goals set an ambitious pathway towards eradicating poverty, one that should lead to ensuring long-term sustainable development, peace and security worldwide. Much had been achieved, but much more needed to be done. Poverty in many regions was discouragingly high. There was also a need to improve access to sexual and reproductive health. In many least developed countries, including Tuvalu, the Millennium Goals were off the mark, sidetracked by restricted access to financial and technical assistance, the absence of human and infrastructural capacity, and lack of attention and coordination.
He said Tuvalu supported the Secretary-General’s report on the importance of global security, but leaders could not allow unilateralist political agendas to divert attention from other security issues and the main task of eradicating poverty. Global security must be advanced through a multilateral and multidimensional approach. Attention must also be focused on sustainable development. Tuvalu supported the call for United Nations reform, as well as the establishment of a Human Rights Council.
Long-term security and sustainable development were closely linked to issues of climate change, he said, noting that small island developing States like Tuvalu faced a number of unique challenges. Tuvalu was making every effort to ensure its own sustainable development, but there were global issues beyond its control, for which Tuvalu needed a supporting hand. There was also a very strong need for a physical United Nations presence in isolated small island developing States. The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals would not be possible without the full participation of all development partners. He urged recognition of contributions by the Republic of China ( Taiwan) to international development and noted its economic and democratic reforms. N Tuvalu supported its inclusion as a partner in joint collaborative efforts and as a United Nations Member.
MARI ALKATIRI, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, said that, although his was a new nation that had embarked on the journey towards achieving the Millennium Goals later than others, Timor-Leste would walk alongside its friends in achieving that objective. In the three short years of its independence, Timor-Leste had made significant strides in that regard. Improving health, education, gender equality and good governance remained priorities. The Government had also prioritized social sector enhancement and provided special protections for children and the family.
He said that after reviewing the Government’s efforts in each of those areas, Timor-Leste was also committed to ensuring the efficient use of resources. A Petroleum Fund had been established and charged with managing and guarding against mismanagement and corruption of revenues from oil and gas. In addition, measures to improve the justice system, ensure judicial access and punish impunity had also been undertaken. Timor-Leste was aware that in order to reach the Millennium Goals, it must have the capacity to execute relevant programmes. To that end, institution-building was most important.
CARLOS GOMES JR., Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, said much work remained in implementing the decisions taken in the last decade. The outcome document, fruit of concerted efforts under the guidance of the outgoing General Assembly President, offered some courageous solutions that were within reach, and it was essential that the international community do its utmost to save human lives everywhere. It must spare no effort to guarantee the full enjoyment of human rights, good governance, environmental protection and the rational use of resources for sustainable development. Being aware of the complexity facing most developing countries, international assistance was indispensable, given their lack of adequate resources. The Summit could lead to specific decisions to eliminate or reduce poverty, fight disease and ensure gender equality.
On development, he stressed the need for determined international action. With the recent holding of presidential elections, Guinea-Bissau was currently at the point of concluding a process to return the country to constitutional normalcy. The Standing Commission of the People’s National Assembly had set a date, 1 October 2005, to inaugurate the President-elect. Guinea-Bissau would do everything possible to establish an effective partnership with the international community. National authorities had developed a Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, which would serve as the basis for a round table to take place at the end of the year. The country counted on the support of all development partners to ensure its success.
RICARDO ALARCON DE QUESADA, President of the People’s Power National Assembly of Cuba, said the international community was summoned to review progress on the Millennium Development Goals. That aim, however, had been completely distorted. The objectives -- eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, making primary education accessible to everyone, encouraging gender equality, reducing infant mortality, combating HIV/AIDS, guaranteeing environmental stability and developing global partnership for development -- were modest. Very little has been done to achieve those goals and in many areas there has been setbacks. The Assembly must take urgent actions to move forward.
Leaders bore witness to an unforgivable sham, he said, adding that the objectives of the Summit were hostage to tortuous manipulation. Those who fancied themselves as the world’s owners did not even remember their commitments and hypocritical fanfare. They tried to impose alleged reforms on the United Nations, which were only intended to subjugate the Organization and transform it into an instrument of their global dictatorship. They would have war and hegemony become norms that the whole world should abide by. They tore the United Nations Charter to shreds, sought to reduce the Secretariat and insulted the Assembly and the world it represented, all because of a phony war on terrorism that had massacred entire populations. That policy protected a convicted and confessed terrorist like Luis Posada Carriles.
He said that greed, selfishness and irrationality would visit catastrophes upon those who refused to accept the possibility of a different world born of solidarity and justice, without hunger, free of oppression and discrimination, and without wars or genocidal blockades. The powerful could not pretend not to believe it, but poor nations had a right to development and would continue to fight for it. They would continue to strive for it beyond the General Assembly’s walls. In spite of the blockade, the harassment and threats, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas loomed large as an example of solidarity among peoples, returning hope to many. The Alternative, a new dawn, would spread to the world from the South.
EDUARDO STEIN, Vice-President of Guatemala, said the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in his country was a true source of pride, coinciding fully with the goals set by the 1996 peace agreements. But, while progress had been made in such areas as child health and institution building, much more remained to be done. Almost 10 years after the conclusion of the peace agreements, Guatemala still faced challenges with regard to consolidating the rule of law and deepening democracy. Building on the progress already achieved, the Government was implementing programmes to reactive the economy with an emphasis on social service and job creation. It was also exerting considerable effort to advance rural development, including through the adoption of an agenda for indigenous peoples, and promoting the advancement of women.
Developing countries needed access to markets, he stressed. They also needed public and private financing to complement domestic efforts. The Millennium Declaration referred to strengthening the United Nations. Guatemala reaffirmed its full backing for the Organization, whose presence was indispensable in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century. In light of its own experience, Guatemala also supported the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission and a Human Rights Council. Each State had the responsibility to protect its own people, which was why Guatemala endorsed the concept of the responsibility to protect.
On United Nations reform, he emphasized the need for the General Assembly to play a central role as the Organization’s chief policymaking body. The Economic and Social Council must also be strengthened and the Security Council expanded by a limited number of new members, both permanent and non-permanent. Regrettably, no progress had been made during the Summit in the area of nuclear-non-proliferation and disarmament.
SALMAN BIN HAMAD AL-KHALIFA, Crown Prince and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force of Bahrain, agreed with the Secretary-General’s report on the direct link between development, security and human rights. In spite of the achievements of the United Nations, it continued to face such challenges as poverty, hunger, disease, weapons of mass destruction and the spread of civil wars and terrorism. To avoid conflicts and disagreements within countries, religious beliefs should be raised above politics and kept beyond day-to-day disagreements based on changing interests, without misusing religious beliefs or racial diversity for political ends. While politics were in constant motion, beliefs and race were inherited and unchanging.
Turning to Security Council reform, he said the organ should be expanded and its working methods revised to enhance its transparency. Also, development required the establishment of a just multilateral trading system, worthy of the vital role of international commerce. In addition, Bahrain called for commitment to the Doha Development Round.
ANGELO SODANO, Secretary of State of the Holy See, said the United Nations was more necessary than ever in ensuring peace and prosperity for all humankind. But, like any other body, the 60-year-old Organization was showing wear and tear and was in need of revitalization. The Holy See was in favour of establishing a Peacebuilding Commission focused on the roots of conflict, as well as building and maintaining a culture of peace, particularly in regions riven by ethnic strife. The Summit should also consider closely the concept of the use of force.
He went on to call for increased efforts to ensure the full implementation of the global financing for development agenda, as well as consideration of new and innovative initiatives to spur socio-economic development. The Holy See would continue to support all plans to reaffirm and restore the historical role of the United Nations in ensuring peace and social development for all.
SATO KILMAN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vanuatu, said Hurricane Katrina was a stark reminder of the increasing vulnerability of today’s global environment, whereby nature respected no boundaries. That should be a reminder to all of the harsh experiences and critical development challenges confronting many of the island countries.
Addressing the Millennium Development Goals, he said limited progress in their implementation must be attributed to the lack of financial support from the international donor community. There was also disturbing evidence of deterioration in human security. Bold decisions must be taken, in which the United Nations must continue to play a central role. However, reforms were essential in making the Organization more representative and effective. All must have a fair opportunity to participate in the work and decision-making of the United Nations.
Justice and human rights must not be based entirely on Western concepts, but should also take diversity into consideration, he said. Democratic principles vigorously pursued by some must be cultivated carefully. The big players must advocate friendships; intimidation was not the solution. Stronger nations must show transparent and genuine leadership to engender majority support for universal goals for the common good of all humanity.
ELYOR GANIEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, said that five years ago, the Millennium Summit had defined the Development Goals aimed at a comprehensive improvement of human life. As Member States summarized the initial results of implementation, they had to admit that there had been sluggishness in addressing the Goals and fulfilling the accepted obligations, as well as a lack of necessary attention to the needs and realities of developing nations. The international community must pay serious attention to the Secretary-General’s proposals, and support them with concrete actions.
He said the Secretary-General’s recommendations on reforming and renewing the activities of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretariat, as well as the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission, were well-timed. The latter proposal was especially urgent in light of a deepening tendency towards expanding conflict zones on the planet. Another worrisome tendency was the inability of the international community to take practical measures regarding conflict prevention and to deal with the reasons that led to conflicts and crisis.
It was also important to address the current contradictions with regards to reforming the Security Council, he said. That organ must truly reflect a fair geographical and regional representation of Member States, and become more balanced and just. Any decision on that long-delayed issue must increase the role and efficiency of the highest United Nations body, and not thrust it further into failure and standoff. There was need to transform the Human Rights Commission into a Human Rights Council, because such action might be used for the selective purposes of certain influential Powers and groups as a tool to advance the interests of certain countries at the expense of others.
Turning to terrorism, he said the proposals on preventive measures within the United Nations framework were timely and essential with regards to people and organizations that provoked extremism and terrorism. Member States did not have the right to be slow, as had been the case with the establishment of a single United Nations structure on the fight against terrorism. Another important issue in ensuring regional peace and addressing social and economic problems was to accelerate the processes of establishing a Central Asian Common Market, which would guarantee the rational and effective use of the huge potential and resources of Central Asia.
FREDERICK A. MITCHELL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Public Service of the Bahamas, said he was encouraged by the emphasis on development and development cooperation in the outcome document. The full implementation of the outcomes of major United Nations summits and conferences should be the priority of the international community. A substantial increase in resources would be required to achieve global development goals within the agreed time frames, and those who had not yet done so were urged to commit to the target of 0.7 per cent of GNP to ODA
As a small island developing State, the Bahamas welcomed the renewal of the commitment to the goals of sustainable development through the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, he said. There was a need to address climate change at the global level. Strengthening the voice and participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making and norm setting was also of critical importance. The Bahamas would welcome any initiative to find pragmatic, innovative ways to ensure the effective, permanent representation of developing countries, particularly small developing countries, in international economic, trade and financial institutions, including the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization.
He said that the Government of the Bahamas also strongly welcomed the historic recognition of the risks to small island developing and coastal States, inherent in the transport of radioactive materials by sea and called on all States involved in such trans-shipments to desist.
NORMAN JOSE CALDERA CARDENAL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said United Nations reform was not about reform for reform’s sake, or adding and subtracting members from specific bodies. It was about changes that yielded tangible results. Otherwise, the process would waste a precious opportunity to bring the United Nations into the age of information and globalization.
Reform of the Security Council, in both the permanent and non-permanent membership, was critical to revitalizing the world body, he said. A reformed Council must hear -- and be heard by -- voices from the developing world, and it must aim to ensure that its decisions were implemented equitably.
He said that while the search for consensus on that and other issues was essential, it should not slow down the process of updating the Organization. With incidents of terrorism on the rise, natural disasters growing more frequent and devastating, and poverty deepening in many parts of the world, it was necessary to ensure that the United Nations was prepared to undertake its mandated duties. Multilateralism still worked and the reform process would test the international community’s commitment to that principle.
ALLAM-MI AHMAD, Minister for Foreign Affairs and African Integration of Chad, said his country had for decades called for answers to such issues as trade, indebtedness and the need to expand ODA. Real partnership between the rich and poor countries, based on mutual respect, was needed. In 2003, Chad had adopted a national poverty reduction strategy, the goals of which dovetailed with the Millennium Development Goals. Having endured the horror of war for decades, Chad knew well the need to achieve peace and development.
Chad also recognized the need to fight looming threats such as terrorism, he continued. There was also the question of Darfur, a crisis that might spread and become a firestorm engulfing the entire subregion. Chad had called on the international community numerous times to do something about that conflict and had welcomed refugees on its own territory, resulting in food shortages and the deterioration of infrastructure. The full financial weight of that effort was being borne by Chad’s own meagre resources and the international community should come to the country’s aid.
Turning to United Nations reform, he said the issue of Security Council expansion was of particular concern. Africa was fully entitled to a permanent seat on the Council, side by side with the other continents.
ELMAR MAMMADYAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, said that the active involvement of all segments of society, particularly the youth, was crucial to the implementation of national development agendas and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In the outcome document, Member States had acknowledged a shared responsibility for each other’s security. The Summit was also a landmark event for discussions on United Nations reform. Azerbaijan, like many other countries, was concerned about the decline in the prestige of the General Assembly and its diminishing profile in the Organization’s activities. The Assembly must take bold measures to strengthen its role and authority. A review of its agenda and improvement of its working methods was another way to enhance its standing.
Reform of the Security Council should not be limited to its enlargement, but should also encompass greater transparency and accountability, as well as better access and participation for non-Council members in its work, he said. Regarding global responses to security threats, Azerbaijan made a valuable contribution to regional security through cooperation in drug interdiction, counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, preventing illegal migration and other types of criminal activities, as well as its participation in peacekeeping missions. And just yesterday, Azerbaijan had signed the Convention on Nuclear Terrorism.
RAMESH NATH PANDEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, said terrorism posed a serious threat to democracy, the rule of law and the very soul of humanity. It knew no logic, language or religion and, therefore, no country or region was totally immune from it. No selective standards could be applied in the fight, just as there could be no delineation of “good” or “bad” terrorism. Violence could never be used as an instrument of political change.
Nepal had been suffering senseless terror for more than a decade now, he said. Ongoing terrorist activity had seriously undermined the country’s socio-economic development as the perpetrators continued to propagate violence in the name of an outdated, rejected and failed ideology –- totalitarianism. Nevertheless, the Government was committed to resolving the problems confronting the country and had been making sincere efforts to restore peace and security, rebuild destroyed infrastructure and re-energize democratic institutions.
He said Nepal believed firmly that the United Nations was best positioned to take up the challenges of the day. The world body’s strength lay in its universality, neutrality and impartiality. All sovereign nations looked up to the Organization as the best hope for a shared destiny. Member States should, therefore, endeavour to reshape it and make it more vibrant and dynamic.
KNOWLSON GIFT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, said his country was particularly concerned with the many issues on the international trade agenda and the disturbing lack of momentum toward the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round.
In the context of the sterling efforts by many developing countries to take ownership of their development responsibilities and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, he welcomed the initiative to reduce the debt burden of the most economically disadvantaged and commended those developed countries that had achieved ODA donor targets, as well as those which sought innovative means to supplement development financing shortfalls. Trinidad and Tobago had striven to achieve its own national development plan and provide assistance to others in the region and beyond, to the extent permitted by resources and circumstances.
There could be no security without development and no development without security, he said. Discontent would continue to be bred and fuelled in societies where the benefits of global economic growth did not touch the majority, and in a world where cultures and civilizations were marginalized on the basis of difference.
ROSEMARY BANKS, Chairperson of the Delegation of New Zealand, said that while her country would have preferred a more ambitious result from the Summit, it provided a solid basis from which to move forward. In the spirit of Monterrey, a sensible balance had been struck between the shared responsibilities of developed and developing countries to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development. New Zealand had increased its ODA this year by 23 per cent. The spread of HIV/AIDS called for increased commitment through development programmes.
In welcoming the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, she said the challenge was to have it up and running by the end of the year. Regarding the agreement on a shared responsibility to protect, the principle of non-intervention could not be used to shield genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. There should also be agreement on the Secretary-General’s counter-terrorism strategy and the United Nations must maintain the momentum to meet its commitment to establish a new Human Rights Council during the current Assembly.
She added that the impossibility of agreeing on language regarding disarmament and non-proliferation was of deep concern to New Zealand and to many other countries.
NASSER AL-KIDWA, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Observer for Palestine, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said he carried the pain and hopes of his people and their trust in the commitment of the United Nations to solving their cause, which had been before the General Assembly for 58 years. Palestine faced two historic tasks: achieving independence and peace; and the development and building of state institutions. The first priority would be to end the occupation and achieve freedom. The way to end occupation was found in the Road Map, which had been endorsed by the Security Council. The goal was the achievement of peace on the basis of a two-State solution: Palestine and Israel, based on the Armistice Line of 1949.
He said there was now an opportunity to relaunch the peace process; an opportunity provided in the aftermath of the disengagement in the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, which had been dealt with positively, despite its unilateral nature. It was incumbent upon Israel to turn that unilateral withdrawal into a positive step in a real way. All outstanding major issues must be resolved, otherwise Gaza would remain a huge prison. The Sharm el Sheikh understandings must also be implemented. Israel must withdraw to its pre-28 September 2000 positions, release prisoners and create an atmosphere of hope and trust. However, no serious revival of the peace process would be achieved without the complete cessation of all settlement activities, the construction of the wall and an end to the continued dissection of the West Bank.
East Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine, he said. Its encirclement by the separation wall, its isolation and the denial of access by Palestinians to their holy places would only destroy the foundations of peace. Partnership was key to success, and the best way to achieve progress would be to proceed immediately into final status negotiations to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way that guaranteed the establishment of the State of Palestine on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a resolution of the plight of the refugees in accordance with resolution 194.
Palestine had made much progress, as well as important accomplishments in the reform and development of its governmental and financial institutions, he said. Palestine also needed a strong and reformed United Nations. The world was at a crossroads, particularly in the Middle East. It was time to achieve real and effective progress towards peace, stability, security, construction and co-existence or face a return to the vicious cycle of terrorism and violence.
ALVARO URIBE, President of Colombia, said Colombia had reaffirmed its commitment to the United Nations and to an open and inclusive multilateralism. For Colombia, the ongoing process of reform must have as its main objective the strengthening of States and the creation of national capacities that would allow countries to respond in an effective manner to the needs of its population. The Millennium Development Goals were achievable as long as everyone made concessions. Developing countries would be able to meet the Goals when they would be able to compete and have free market access. That would be possible through the elimination of subsidies.
He said Colombia believed the Assembly must be diligent in achieving the Millennium Development Goals to guarantee the democratic legitimacy that comes from security, public freedoms, independence of institutions, transparency and social cohesion. Colombia had incorporated the Millennium Development Goals into the National Development Plan and into a project which will guarantee the achievement of the Goals by 2015. Colombia believed those United Nations organs entrusted with development should be strengthened and must become true forums to discuss the issues facing developing countries.
The success of the United Nations would be clear when it was able to withdraw from those countries that had asked for its help, the President said. Its failure occurred when it remained in place for decades and took over a State’s responsibilities. The role of the States cannot be replaced by the Organization. The creation of a Human Rights Council must be directed with a view to cooperating with States and building national capacity in each country. In this new Council, the punitive approach that had politicized the matter and had weakened the capacity of the United Nations to contribute and support States must not prevail. Consensus must guide decision-making in the reform process. Everyone must participate in the process, respecting the principle of sovereign equality and guided by the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter.
ELIAS ANTONIO SACA GONZÁLEZ, President of El Salvador, said the Summit outcome document would provide a basis for the ongoing process of change in the United Nations, although it did not meet the expectations of many, and discussions must continue until consensus was reached. Adding that implementation of commitments made would require resources and political resolve, he said the United Nations was the ideal institution to coordinate and harmonize international cooperation, especially in achievement of the Millennium Goals.
Stressing that democracy did not belong to any single country or region, but was a universal right, he said his country supported the establishment of a democracy fund. He added that the most suitable mechanism to deal with external threats to peace and security was one couched in global consensus, welcoming the proposal to set up a Peacebuilding Commission, which would develop close links between security and development.
After many years of deadly conflict, peace had come to El Salvador in 1992, he said, allowing people to forge a peaceful, democratic society, and proceed with development. Emphasizing that development must be one of the fundamental objectives of the United Nations, he underscored the importance of a global alliance for development, which would take into account economic and social differences between regions. Innovative sources of financing for development were vital, including the cancellation of debt. All national efforts to develop and achieve the Millennium Goals must be supplemented by solidarity and cooperation within the international community.
BHARRAT JAGDEO, President of Guyana, said international development goals had been a major benchmark for development. Despite serious financial and human constraints, Guyana had made appreciable progress towards the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals. Through a progressive poverty-reduction strategy and the allocation of budgetary resources to the social sector, the poor in society had been reached. The country’s hard-won gains, however, were now threatened by forces well beyond its control. If implemented, the European Commission’s proposals to reduce the price of sugar exports would deal a devastating blow to the industry, forcing a large number of people who depend on it for their livelihood into extreme poverty. Guyana’s economy would lose some $40 million per year, a sum that negated the $8 million debt relief which was expected to flow from the recent Group of Eight decisions.
He said that, while the realization of the Millennium Development Goals provided the necessary framework for national development, adequate socio-economic progress could not be achieved in the absence of a more comprehensive framework that encompassed significant development and investment flows, wider debt relief, more equitable trade and economic cooperation, as well as the transfer of science and technology for development purposes. Threats to State security had been greatly magnified by the spread of terrorism, transboundary crime, disease and arms and drug-trafficking. Most developing countries were ill-equipped to defend themselves from those encroachments.
“Contemporary circumstances have brought us to a watershed”, he said. The multiplication of threats to the world’s existence, whatever their genesis, represented as foreboding a scenario as any the scourge of war could conjure up. The world had to contain those dangers by strengthening the United Nations to perform its functions. United Nations reform had been examined for more than a decade. Action must be taken at the current Assembly to make the Organization more democratic in its decision-making and more effective in the discharge of its many mandates. Particularly urgent was the need to reform the Council. The records of the Working Group set up for that purpose showed that widespread agreement had been reached on the Council’s expansion in both categories of membership to provide greater balance in representation and greater credibility to the Council’s activities. That window of opportunity, if not grasped, might remain indefinitely closed.
AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH, President of Sierra Leone, said a number of initiatives that had been proposed for identifying obstacles to progress and determining appropriate strategies to address them were encouraging, including those of the Africa Commission chaired by Tony Blair of the United Kingdom. Many had already been endorsed by the donor community, including by the Group of 8 and multilateral financial institutions. Implementation should be accelerated in financing for infrastructure development, agriculture and capacity-building in the public sector. The partnership between the donor community and recipient countries should also be restructured for greater flexibility. Efforts should also be made by the six of 22 donors who have not pledged to achieve the 0.7 per cent GNP for ODA, since their GNP added up to roughly half the global total.
He outlined steps his country had taken towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals, even within limited capacity. Democratic institutions had been strengthened, including the judicial and public accountability mechanisms within the anti-corruption commission. The Government had been decentralized to give local communities a greater role in government and maintaining accountability. Transparency of public fund expenditures was being increased by financial restructuring and tracking. A poverty reduction policy was in place and security institutions were being strengthened. Working with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT), the armed forces had assumed responsibility for State security.
On the United Nations, he said the outcome document provided a basis for reform with welcome elements proposed, such as the Peacebuilding Commission, the Human Rights Council and a concluded international instrument against terrorism. The elements on Secretariat reform were also welcome, including the agreement on developing a capacity-building programme within the African Union. The decisions already agreed on should be implemented rapidly and negotiations on outstanding issues should also resume quickly. A reinvigorated United Nations could play a crucial role in addressing the problems of human insecurity and underdevelopment, which had only gotten worse in the five years since the Millennium Declaration, especially in their newest manifestations of terrorism and extreme poverty.
YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of Uganda, said the Goals were good minimum targets for the human race. Uganda would not only achieve them, but would surpass them. Despite the vicious terrorism campaign orchestrated against Ugandans by some of their neighbours throughout the 1990s, as well as the mistake of under-spending on defence, Uganda’s rating was now 0.508 out of 1; it had just entered the mid-level performance group, having graduated from the Low Human Development Index (HDI) group of countries. Uganda had performed beyond the targets in the following areas: provision of safe drinking water; primary school enrolment; combating HIV/AIDS; and reducing poverty levels from 56 per cent in 1992 to 34 per cent in 2000.
He said that most of his country’s success had been attained in the face of opposition, indifference or distracting, superficial “heckling” by several external partners. Export success had occurred in such diverse fields as flowers, fish processing, dairy, and the revival of the textile industry. Where aid was available, it should not be accompanied by excessive meddling by the providers. Moreover, it should be recalled that Uganda had given more aid to the countries of the North by selling them cheap, unprocessed raw materials for the past 100 years. Underdeveloped countries had primary responsibility for their future, and thus endogenous bottlenecks to Uganda’s growth and transformation must be eliminated.
Sustainable implementation of the Millennium Development Goals without structural transformation was unsustainable, he said. The backward economic structure of the Third World must change. Look at China, for example. Commodity prices for steel, copper, cement, petroleum and other products had risen because of the changes taking place in China. The millions of Chinese that demanded better houses, cars, television, and so forth had created a bigger market for Uganda’s raw materials. An overfed and profligate little aristocracy of the world in Western Europe, North America and Japan had previously treated those materials with disdain. Uganda was now able to produce steel competitively because of the Chinese phenomenon. India was similarly being transformed. What would happen if black Africa were to rapidly transform from the doldrums of their agricultural economies to the vibrant world of industry and modernized services? he asked.
JOSEPH J. URUSEMAL, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, said the recent spate of devastations caused by natural disasters brought into sharp focus the extreme vulnerabilities facing low-lying coastal areas and small island developing States. They further highlighted the daunting challenges posed by extreme weather events on their abilities to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to pursue sustainable development. He was convinced that if all Member States approached the critical problem of climate change and global warming in a concerted effort, what no engineering feat could arrest would be mitigated by the political will of States carrying out their obligations under the relevant climate change conventions and protocols. He appealed to countries that had not done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without delay.
He said the United Nations Millennium Declaration remained as relevant today as five years ago when it was adopted. Unfortunately, his country faced an uphill battle in meeting and implementing the Millennium Development Goals. Although Oceania had been identified as one of the regions that were worst off in meeting those Goals, it had not been helped by the international community. He said that for too long the islands of the Pacific had been overlooked, and they, therefore, appealed for proportionate development assistance. There was need for the physical presence of the United Nations system within their national borders. The United Nations system should be involved directly in their development process and in their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
His Government applauded the United Nations and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for their commitment to ensure that information and communication technologies (ICT) were placed at the service of mankind. Access to reliable and affordable ICT was critical in the nation-building efforts of small island States, such as the Federated States of Micronesia, whose population was spread out over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean. It was for that reason that his Government strongly supported the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action endorsed by the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society and looked forward to the convening of the second phase in Tunisia at the end of this year.
ANOTE TONG, President of Kiribati, said a more effective and meaningful partnership between developed and developing countries was necessary to reach sustainable development -- which was fundamental to achieving international peace and security. This Pacific Ocean nation was committed to the Millennium Declaration and the country was on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, as the Goals have been integrated into the nation’s National Development Strategies.
He said investment in the country’s abundant fisheries resources within its Exclusive Economic Zone would help achieve sustainable development and reduce reliance on international aid. He was encouraged by ongoing negotiations with the European Union for an Economic Partnership Agreement that would provide investment in the fisheries sector.
He supported the comprehensive reform of the United Nations to align itself with the challenges and realities of today’s changing world, as well as the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Security Council. He believed that Member States who were major contributors to United Nations programmes, especially to the maintenance of global peace and security, should be given permanent membership. He urged that the same deadline that had been set for other components of reform, such as the creation of the Human Rights Council, be applied to Security Council reform to maintain the momentum of the process. Kiribati also remained committed to the international fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime and signed the thirteenth Counter-Terrorism Convention on 15 September.
CHARLES GYUDE BRYANT, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, said that with the critical assistance of the United Nations and donor countries, the Transitional Government had made definite gains in implementing its mandate. The guns were silent, and the disarmament and demobilization process had been a resounding success. Rehabilitation and reintegration were ongoing, and the people were returning to their communities. Government authority had been extended throughout the country, and elections were on schedule for 11 October. Although there was a shortfall in funding for the critical elements of reintegration and security sector reform, those processes were also under way. The success of those critical elements would be sustainable peace and stability, not only for Liberia, but also for the entire West African subregion.
He cited a renewed sense of hope in the emergence of democratic and stable post-conflict countries in his region, but the challenges of rebuilding communities and directing people, particularly youths, away from deviant social behaviours, remained daunting. Globally, Member States must commit themselves now, more than ever, to respect human rights and the dignity of all persons, irrespective of a country’s size and global standing. That approach could minimize the polarization of international politics, especially since recent history had witnessed the exploitation of the poor, not only by rich nations, but also by rich individuals in poor countries in support of terrorism. That was why his Government fully supported United Nations reform.
Even as Liberia emerged from a prolonged period of strife, it remained committed to the Organization, as a founding Member, and committed to the ideals that had fostered its establishment, he said. The success of Liberia’s transition thus far had demonstrated how much could be achieved by the international community through the United Nations. He thanked the Secretary-General, whose inspired leadership had rallied the international community to Liberia’s cause. He counted on him and the international community as his Government strove to peacefully attain the last component of its two-year mandate, namely, the holding of free, fair and transparent elections and, thereafter, to undertake the overwhelming post-conflict reconstruction agenda that awaited the democratically-elected Government in a conflict-free Liberia.
EMILE LAHOUD, President of Lebanon, noting the global reach of “terror”, said the international community must examine the core roots of that plague, and not just fight its symptoms. A politically secure world would become reality only through a multilateral world order based on respect for the rule of international law, human rights, and a non-discretionary implementation of global resolutions.
He said his country welcomed the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission, and hoped that Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s considerations for the use of force -- to be weighed by the Security Council -- would be adopted. As for the Council itself, it must be made more inclusive and more representative of the current make-up of the United Nations, and its mechanisms more encompassing.
In keeping with the Millennium Goals, Lebanon had set up two institutions –- the Fund for Social and Economic Development, and the Project for Domestic Development. The Government had released its first report on development goals for the Millennium in 2003, and would publish a follow-up in 2007. The report observed substantial progress in the fight against poverty, efforts to make primary education accessible to all, greater gender equality, and a drastic decrease in infant and maternal mortalities.
MAUMOON ABDUL GAYOOM, President of the Maldives, said his short speech would be a 999 call because his people were facing an unprecedented crisis since the tsunami of last December.
He said the Maldives Country Report for 2005 had shown that the goal of halving poverty and universalizing education had been achieved. The country was on track to reach other Millennium Goals and had just been graduated from the list of least developed countries when the tsunami hit. Within six days, economic losses were estimated to be 62 per cent of the GDP. Tourism had been the engine of economic growth for three decades; nine months after the tragedy, there was no sign of recovery. Livelihoods had not been restored and surging oil prices were draining foreign exchanges revenues. For the first time ever, the Maldives was in need of significant budgetary support.
The Maldives was the only country to have faced a nationwide disaster from the tsunami, he said. The people were grateful for all those who had assisted in the relief phase. But the time frame for withdrawal of least developed country benefits must be reviewed and even a graduated transition would not be enough. The graduation must be deferred and more doors must be opened to small States who were in the frontlines of most crises afflicting the world, including environmental degradation, international lawlessness and energy crises.
In ending, he said the unprecedented setback of the tsunami had not daunted the country’s will to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The national view was that when a goal became elusive, the target was not changed nor the vision abandoned, but only action speeded to meet the challenge.
BINGU WA MUTHARIKA, President of Malawi, said his country had learned several lessons that were vital in reaching the Millennium Goals by 2015. First, the Goals had assumed that goods, services, food and incomes needed to meet them were readily available and could be produced in poor African countries, and what was needed was merely to reorganize distribution structures. The reality was that no goods and services were available and countries could not meet the Goals without first creating new wealth. Above all, the United Nations had ignored the need to set up new production structures in sub-Saharan Africa to supply goods and services needed to meet the Goals.
Second, the Goals had assumed that institutional capacity was available in all poor countries, he said. They had underestimated the challenges sub-Saharan countries faced in putting together a system of good governance that would have kick-starting macroeconomic growth, as well as the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS. Third, the Organization had underestimated the flight of capital and erosion of growth due to external debt servicing, and had assumed the existence of a fair and equitable global trading system that would boost the exports of poor countries. It had ignored the reluctance by industrialized countries to conclude the Doha Round of trade negotiations that would have enabled African countries to have greater access to global markets for their products. Poor countries could not benefit from globalization if industrialized nations were not cooperative.
LAISENIA QARASE, Prime Minister of Fiji, said that completion of the journey required collective will, sacrifices and compromises, as well as a renewed commitment of support both for the United Nations and to each other. The United Nations should go forward in a spirit of renewal and reform, generating real hope, purpose and prosperity for the entire world. There should be no pause in its endeavours to establish and maintain international peace, security and stability. That remained the Organization’s primary role, and he supported all measures to strengthen it. He hailed the proposal for a Peacebuilding Commission. Fiji, itself, had almost been torn apart in 2000 by civil unrest. But, the economy was quickly restored and the task undertaken to bring its diverse communities together. The ongoing challenge for the country was to strengthen the foundation for unity and harmony.
He said he was also fully dedicated to a Security Council membership that reflected current geopolitical realities. He supported the inclusion of India and Japan to join the United States and China as permanent representatives from the Pacific and Asian region. He looked forward to the moment when peace fully reigned in the Middle East, and he commended those countries that were helping that global cause. For the Pacific Ocean region, it was his fervent hope that the Korean people, as a whole, would find lasting harmony. On the future of Taiwan, he recognized that that was a domestic issue, and he supported its resolution through dialogue and mutual agreement. With respect to globalization, countries like Fiji, undergoing profound transition, should not be held to unrealistic standards; it needed time to evolve, adapt and adhere.
The special interests of the indigenous people, including their right of ownership to natural resources, must be protected, he said. He strongly endorsed the intention to bring to the Assembly a final draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. Also of overriding concern was market access and remunerative prices for exports, especially for small and vulnerable States. There must be real recognition of the economic disparities and unequal conditions, which made a mockery of free trade. Termination of quotas and the reduction in assured commodity prices, without accompanying financial assistance and trade support measures, threatened Fiji’s economic growth and sustainability. Unrealistic and inequitable world trade policies made it much harder for countries like his to eliminate poverty. He thanked those developed States that were prepared to support developing nations in cushioning the impact of World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance.
HAMA AMADOU, Prime Minister of the Niger, said his country was facing an acute food crisis and, while he thanked the United Nations and other international institutions for their recent influx of international aid to the Niger, he was critical of rich nations for their overall failure to provide enough aid to developing nations in a timely manner. The world community needed to acknowledge that many countries were far from achieving the Millennium Development Goals including the Niger. “ Niger is condemned to living in the most abject poverty and despair. How is my country to achieve these Millennium Development Goals?”
Mentioning Niger’s efforts to put an end to abject poverty in his country, he said that the Niger had worked to strengthen relations with international financial intuitions and that it had a good standing reputation for enacting reform and maintaining good governance. Progress had been made in democratic reform, economic reform, and freedom, in an effort to end the vicious circle of poverty, he added.
He said that the Niger needed considerable steady funding from outside resources, beyond cancellation of debt. It would need some $900 million a year, according to the Sachs report, and was receiving only $120 million, he noted. Even worse, aid was declining and the conditions imposed by financial institutions were unacceptable, such as loans being dependent on the raising of contributions. Rich countries needed to be sure that the fight against poverty was linked to issues of security. Calling for an expedited process in the delivery of aid, he observed that the many pledges made by the rich countries must be delivered very quickly, if the Niger was to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. For its part, the Niger would continue actions to achieve democratic reform and good governance.
LINETH SABORIO CHAVERRI, Vice-President of Costa Rica, reaffirmed her country’s unconditional commitment to the Organization’s principles, and renewed its commitment to general disarmament and sustainable development. She affirmed Costa Rica’s faith in the Security Council as the only legitimate mechanism for confronting threats to peace. The Council should be reformed to increase the number of non-permanent members and change its working methods. The veto right should be eliminated in matters of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and massive violations of human rights. While such reforms were not included in the outcome document, they should be reconsidered in the coming months.
She endorsed transforming the Human Rights Commission into a Human Rights Council, yet said the outcome document should have clearly spelled out its mandate and structure. Those must also be agreed upon in the coming months. The budget of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should be increased and its monitoring mechanisms strengthened.
She said the International Court of Justice was the best forum for resolving controversies. All countries should unconditionally accept its jurisdiction. Besides addressing that, the outcome document should have also reaffirmed existing commitments on disarmament, non-proliferation and small weapons. A high commissioner against terrorism should be created as an independent and permanent part of the Secretariat. The Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism should be concluded, preferably by the end of the year. Developed nations should meet their commitments to eliminate trade barriers and devote 0.7 per cent of GNP to development assistance. Development must also be environmentally sustainable. Creating the necessary conditions for human development should be as much of a priority on our agenda as ensuring lasting peace and eradicating terrorism.
RASHID MEREDOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, said he supported the Secretary-General’s initiative to create a United Nations Regional Centre for Central Asia on Preventative Diplomacy, with headquarters in Ashgabat. The Centre was a significant international initiative that would strengthen security, fight against terrorism and illegal drug trafficking, and contribute to sustainable development in the Central Asian region. He said that Turkmenistan had become an active participant in the United Nations’ initiative to create an international coalition against terrorism.
He said the United Nations needed rational reform, but only to strengthen and broaden its role in the world. The reforms should include strengthening the role of the General Assembly as the main consultative and representative body of the United Nations. Another important aspect of reform would be improving the work and structure of the Security Council, and its optimal composition should be adopted based on a broad agreement. He also supported the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission. He added that the Millennium Development Goals could be successfully implemented only if every country assumed responsibility and made a common effort.
S. JAYAKUMAR, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, said that it was not the best of times for the United Nations. The Organization was under attack from many directions. But, that was cause for comfort, not despair. Tension between the interests of nations was inherent in the nature of the system. Debate over the United Nations’ role was a sign of continued engagement with relevant issues. The real problem was that too much was demanded from the United Nations. The validity of the Organization’s principles did not absolve its Members of national responsibilities. The United Nations was only one diplomatic instrument. No State would ever leave its vital interests hostage to multilateralism. At the same time, only the United Nations has a global mandate.
Change must be continual, he said. The outcome document contained many excellent ideas, but it needed some organizing principle. There were three core issues in the document: management, human rights and peacebuilding. Management reforms directly confronted the interests of Members against those of the Organization. The demands of the United Nations were growing, but resources were finite. More effective use of available resources was imperative, if development and other goals were to be achieved. People must be empowered with economic, social, political and civil rights. All but a handful of what were asserted to be rights were still essentially concepts. It was the function of the United Nations to enforce agreed norms and expand the consensus on what constituted agreed norms.
Stability and the ability to govern were fundamental prerequisites for development. Instability in one State could have an effect far beyond its borders, limiting development prospects for many. The proposed Peacebuilding Commission was an idea worthy of support, but States should be prepared to expect changes in structure and function over time. Singapore believed there should be an expansion of the Security Council to reflect contemporary geopolitical realities, but new permanent members should not have the veto, because that would make it more difficult for the Security Council to be an instrument of world peace. States should continue to explore compromises on the reform of the Security Council, but they should not lose interest in other relevant issues. Reform was a process, not an event.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said the international community must view economic development as a human commitment that all must subscribe to, not a means of exerting pressure to achieve other objectives. Any successful efforts to achieve comprehensive development would remain hostage to the world’s ability to achieve peace and stability and consolidate the principles of international legitimacy, justice and equality. Consolidating such principles meant rejecting the use of force, and settling global problems by peaceful means.
Egypt supported reform of the Human Rights Commission and establishment of the Human Rights Council, he said. Reform of the Commission should address the content of its work, rather than limit itself to surface cosmetics, to avoid politicization and double standards. Other organizational reforms should aim to restore balance between the main organs, empowering the General Assembly, and making the Security Council more transparent, credible, and representative. Reform should also allow the Economic and Social Council a greater role in drawing up economic and social policies and carrying out implementation follow-up. Further, the International Court of Justice should be strengthened, and the proposed Peacebuilding Commission should assist countries to reach stability without undermining their national sovereignty.
U NYAN WIN, Minster for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar, said that the twenty-first century was a combination of unprecedented opportunity with the advent of major advances in technology and information, coupled with an era of progressing dangers to humankind. Listing a number of current issues that his country must deal with, in order of priority, he said that combating terrorism and transnational crime, dealing with weapons of mass destruction and nuclear disarmament focusing on sustainable development, and combating the AIDS and Avian Flu pandemics were Myanmar’s foremost challenges.
Turning to the topic of Millennium Development Goals, he said that Myanmar had achieved significant progress in reaching the Goals. Poverty had been reduced through the designation of 24 special development zones, primary enrolment for education would reach 99.9 per cent by 2015, and diseases like leprosy and polio had been eliminated, while HIV/AIDS and malaria had been designated diseases of national concern.
Focusing on the issue of international aid assistance, he said that a consolidated effort was imperative to achieve the Goals and that the United Nations was the best entity to assist with that task. The United Nations needed to be reformed to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and to strengthen capacity to overcome the threats of the twenty-first century.
ABDULLAH BIN ZAYED AL NAHYAN, Minister of Information and Culture of the United Arab Emirates, said that the Millennium Declaration was a road map for international efforts aimed at achieving prosperity and dignity, according to the principles of equality, justice and fairness. The meeting was an opportunity to develop a collective vision on how to effectively address the present challenges and the resulting new dimensions of collective security. He affirmed the central role of the United Nations and stressed the importance of its Charter, which was the main reference for building international relations based on respect, freedom, equality, tolerance and joint responsibility. He re-emphasized the importance of strengthening the United Nations and the reform of its principal organs to meet its growing responsibilities and to strengthen its role.
He said that the benefits of progress in the economic, social and humanitarian fields, however, had reached only a very small group of the world population, while a high percentage of people globally continued to suffer from poverty, hunger, serious diseases, unemployment, illiteracy, displacement and the negative effects of armed conflicts and foreign occupation. Added to that mix was the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and transnational crime, drug trafficking and the violations of human rights -– which greatly threatened international peace and security, and impeded sustainable development. Development was the most important issue of our time, since it was the way to eliminate poverty and hunger, and achieve security and stability. The international challenges should be addressed through a clear vision of collective security, based on the consideration that the development and welfare of a people were the main concerns for the implementation of all summit outcomes.
Flowing from that conviction, he said he shared the belief that international efforts towards development would not be fruitful without the maintenance of international peace and security, the achievement of justice and equality for all, the respect for cultural diversity, and the right of a people to self-determination and the end of foreign occupation, wherever it existed. That included the occupation by Iran of the three islands which belonged to the United Arab Emirates -- Greater Tanub, Lesser Tanub and Abu Musa -- for which his country had sought a peaceful solution through either bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice. Also very important was a comprehensive and just settlement of the Middle East question, as well as efforts to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and the prevention of the proliferation of mass destruction weapons. He urged the international community to support the Iraqi Government in its efforts to build a stabilized and united country.
SAYYID HAITHAM BIN TARIQ AL-SAID, Minister of Heritage and Culture of Oman, said he hoped the Summit would agree on implementable, practical and collective recommendations on the financing of development and the implementation of the programmes and strategies approved by the United Nations in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. There could be no security without development and no development without security. The importance of the Summit rested on four principal pillars: economic development, social development, conservation of natural resources and protection of the environment. Developing countries must have more freedom to promote their development programmes. His country had made progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals: it had managed to end the gender disparity at all education levels; it took measures to spread literacy among youth; it had reduced the mortality rate for children; it was among those countries interested in social welfare; and it had made progress with environmental sustainability.
He said the country was concerned with poverty, the spread of epidemics and the consequences of natural disasters afflicting people throughout the world. Humanitarian responsibility dictated that developed countries give developing countries the opportunity to share in the fruits of the world economy, by reviewing their policies in order to cancel their debts and offer economic support. The continued good performance of the world economy was conditional on the improvement of the world economic environment. His country hoped for better cooperation among the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the WTO, so they would be able to help countries face the challenges of sustainable economic development, financial balance and stability. It was time for the international community to take practical steps to assist those countries and regions, especially on the African continent.
His country had promoted the climate for trade liberalization by continued economic cooperation with its friends and sister countries, he said. There had also been an effective contribution to the expansion of Gulf investments. It had agreed with the Secretary-General that the absence of a comprehensive international convention to combat terrorism had weakened efforts to fight terrorism. It was high time to implement an international strategy based on cooperation and exchange of information between countries. His country also called for practical steps to make the Middle East a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction.
There was no doubt the United Nations, all its subsidiary bodies and related international institutions needed development and modernization to enable them to better serve the interests of States and adapt to new developments in the international arena, he said. He wanted to see the United Nations succeed in the process of reform. It had become essential to create the right balance between the functions and mandates of the principal organs of the United Nations, improve procedures and reduce the items on the agenda to better reflect the current challenges facing the international community. Those measures should not negatively affect the ability of the United Nations to deal with important matters. The United Nations should have a central role in designing international economic policies.
ABDELWAHEB ABDALLAH, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, on behalf of its President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, said that achieving the Goals required joint efforts by the international community -– Governments and organizations alike. He welcomed the steps by many developed nations to earmark 0.7 per cent of their GDP until 2015 towards achieving those objectives. Similar steps should be taken for medium-income developing countries, in order to provide them with the necessary means to boost their development efforts and bolster their economic and social programmes. The poverty, destitution, famine and other scourges confronting many regions of the world, particularly in Africa, required far-reaching and urgent treatment of their root causes, through a movement of solidarity involving the various components of the international community.
He said that the time had come to urgently provide the financial resources needed to enable the World Solidarity Fund to launch the tasks for which the United Nations had been established. That Tunisian initiative, adopted by the General Assembly, had as its aim the eradication of poverty, exclusion and marginalization, in accordance with the Millennium Summit policy guidelines. The call his country launched in 1998 for the convening of the World Summit on Information Society was part of its determination to establish a world knowledge society, thereby offering all equal opportunity to have access to scientific and technological progress. That would help narrow the digital and developmental divide between developed and developing nations. Tunisia, which was hosting the second phase of that Summit in November, was looking forward to the enormous and high-level participation of Governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
Changes in the international scene required the establishment of common grounds for reforming the United Nations system and restructuring its organs, especially expansion of the Security Council and a reinforced role for the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Hopefully, the current meeting would result in adoption of consensual practical measures that would sustain development programmes globally and strengthen the foundations of collective security, particularly in terms of combating terrorism and tackling its root causes, as well as reducing armaments and the spread of mass destruction weapons. Only such consensus would consecrate the pivotal role that the prestigious Organization was called on to play in those vital areas, and enable it to continue working for the realization of the lofty objectives that underpinned its creation 60 years ago.
RAYMOND RAMAZANI BAYA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said his country was emerging from a long armed conflict that had split the country, shattered its economy and destroyed its infrastructure. The Government had been restoring the country and State authority throughout its national territory, above all by preparing for the first general elections in 40 years. Even with all those challenges to be faced, the Millennium Development Goals had been worked into the country’s development strategy, and the result was not negligible.
He said peace and security had been restored for a large part of the territory. The international community had played a big role in improving the economic and security situation. The pace had been way too slow for the enormity of the challenges, but the progress had been concrete. Efforts must now speed up to make a greater impact on urgent issues, such as HIV/AIDS and crippling poverty.
Reaffirming the Monterrey outcome, he said he welcomed the outright cancellation of debt for the poorest 18 countries and hoped the same assistance would be extended to others. The initiative led by France to raise development money through a surcharge on airline tickets was innovative and commendable. The people of the African Great Lakes region were grateful to the international community for helping their countries stand on their feet. The reform of the United Nations would make the process of assistance even more effective.
SIOSIUA T’UTOIKAMANU, Minister of Finance of Tonga, said his country had achieved some of the Millennium Development Goals, such as universal primary education and gender equality through the provision of free primary school. Tonga’s performance on the human development index and the human poverty index reflected a high level of expenditure in health and education, stagnant population growth and sustained high levels of investment in the social sector. The United Nations Human Development Report 2005 ranked Tonga at 54 among 177 countries, he said. One of the areas where the country needed to make more progress was the participation of women in decision-making both at the local and national level.
He said small island developing States, including Tonga, faced many unique challenges because of their small populations, remoteness, narrow resource endowment and vulnerability to external shocks, including international market fluctuations and natural disasters. The development of regional alliances, such as the Pacific Plan, as well as the Mauritius Strategy adopted at the International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, held in January 2005, played a crucial role in addressing those unique challenges.
While they recognized that their Governments should take responsibility for their development efforts, they were also cognizant of the fact that domestic financial resources on its own would not be sufficient to finance their respective national development programmes. Tonga welcomed the renewed commitment of donor countries to meet the target of 0.7 per cent in official development assistance. Tonga recognized that the ODA, while necessary, would have to be complemented by foreign direct investment and development partnership.
RABBIE L. NAMALIU, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea, said the Millennium Goals must be nationalized and localized in order to achieve them by 2015. While it was important to ensure those global Goals were met, the international community should also focus on their sustainability beyond 2015. His country had adopted a Medium-Term Development Strategy this year to provide a road map for implementation of the Goals, which would tie them into national development, and allow funding through the national budgetary process.
Development and security were intertwined and must continue to underpin the international peace and security paradigm, he said. Papua New Guinea would continue to assist the global process by acceding and continuing to comply with international treaties on tourism and measures to combat that scourge. However, issues relating to surveillance and other critical practical measures to combat terrorism must be addressed, along with their high operational costs.
MUSTAFA OSMAN ISMAIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, expressed concern about the modest success in implementing the Millennium Goals, noting that the economic and social conditions in least developed countries had continued to deteriorate. What the Summit decided to do to help those countries would illustrate its commitment for development and poverty reduction.
He said the international community must build strategies and adopt policies to satisfy the needs of developing countries to build their capacities and raise their economic conditions. Stressing that collective security would be mere illusions unless those needs were met, he said Africa was still suffering from debt, poverty and disease, as well as imbalances in the international economic and trading systems.
As for United Nations reform, his country supported the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission affiliated with the Economic and Social Council, where States emerging from conflict were fairly represented. The Commission should carry out its duties neutrally, based on the purpose for which it was established. The Sudan also supported setting up a permanent peacebuilding fund, which would assist States after concluding peace agreements with such urgent needs as mine removal, resettlement of refugees and displaced persons. His country also supported all proposals to reform human rights institutions, including that of setting up a Human Rights Council.
Mohammed Ould El ABed, Minister for Economic Affairs and Development of Mauritania, said the deep political crisis that ensued in his country after 1991 choked off its freedom, and prevented his country from making progress on the Millennium Development Goals. The aspect of no change at the ballot box was a serious threat to the country, he said. But, after a change occurred in 2005, a bloodless change in Government, an unprecedented national consensus was adopted that created favourable conditions for the rule of law and guarantee of democracy, allowing some progress to be made on the Goals.
Turning to the issue of international aid for Mauritania, he said that solidarity and a partnership for rich and poor countries were needed in order to achieve development. Mauritania’s achievement of the Goals would require a long and arduous road, because prior to 3 August 2005, before the change in leadership, public policy had a limited impact on reducing poverty. Because of that paralysis, only a few Goals could realistically be achieved. Now a strong emphasis would be placed on achieving the Goals, particularly focusing on achieving good governance and the scrupulous management of resources to speed up and implement the Goals. But, the speed at which the Goals were achieved, he said, was based on the ability to speed up aid to his country to finance development and build a democratic society. That would usher in a new democratic era and new hope for people of Mauritania.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM, Foreign Minister of Libya, said that international solidarity was the only way to establish an equitable global economic system in achieving sustainable development, and equal partnership between North and South. The international community must live up to its commitments in various United Nations conferences to optimally harness the planet’s resources, end conflicts, eliminate poverty, illiteracy and dangerous diseases, and ensure potable water. International cooperation was also needed to eradicate terrorism and transnational organized crime, eliminate weapons of mass destruction, ensure human rights, and guarantee the rule of law.
The international community must also take decisive action to resolve external debt, and open up international markets to developing country products, he said. Developed countries must realize ratios agreed upon as ODA, and end coercive measures on some developing countries. He urged creditors to cancel poor country debt, intensify international efforts to eradicate agricultural pests, introduce low-cost water desalination plants, and expand efforts to combat desertification, reclaim lands and render them suitable for agriculture.
Sixty years had elapsed since the United Nations was founded, he added, but the Organization had not yet succeeded in alleviating suffering from wars, poverty, diseases and ignorance. The victorious countries that had written the Charter had given themselves rights and privileges that had marginalized the General Assembly and rendered the Security Council inequitable and unbalanced. States deemed “friends” had received support, even when wrong, allowing them to enjoy impunity and escape condemnation. Other States had been unjustly punished by sanctions because their policies were not considered harmonious with privileged countries in the Council. It was imperative for all to seek reform of the Organization.
ABDULLAHI SHEIKH ISMAIL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia, noted that international conflicts were replacing inter-State confrontations in the post-cold-war era, and that a fresh approach was needed to ensure regional and international stability. Poverty and underdevelopment could not be disassociated from increased international tension and conflict affecting political stability in various parts of the world, poisoning normal relationships between nations. There could be no human security unless such interconnectedness was properly considered in policy and decision-making. Stressing that United Nations reform was vital in facing those new challenges, he said the Organization must become more democratic, transparent, and efficient in responding to international concerns.
Turning to developments in his own country, he said the conflict that had raged there for the past 14 years was basically due to failed international response. Civil war had led to a total collapse of national institutions and infrastructures with drastic consequences and grave implications for regional stability, as well as international peace and security. Now, after various efforts to stabilize the country, a Transitional Federal Government had been established, and new institutions were operating. However, direct dialogue would be the key instrument in promoting inter-institutional cooperation, without sacrificing the aspirations of any particular group. The international community should fully support Somalia’s efforts in that respect, to ensure it did not fall into the hands of international terrorism or those promoting chaos and lawlessness.
MARIO FORTIN MIDENCE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras, said, while his country valued the United Nations and felt protected by its multilateralism, he was concerned that it had not been able to achieve a higher understanding to meet the challenges of the present time through the Organization. Speaking about the outcomes of the sixtieth General Assembly meeting, he said that it was disappointing that participants in the Assembly could not come out with more regarding Security Council reforms, and he regretted that work was not completed in time in relation to reforming the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Turning the focus to his own country, he said that Honduras was following the course chartered by its national consensus to reduce poverty, to build a more effective democracy, and that GDP had surpassed the Goals. Indicators in education improvements were also encouraging, but they had not yet reached the levels hoped for by the Government. Expressing his frustration with the high prices of oil, he said that the increases had heavily undermined his country’s fight against poverty. Extreme increases in fuel were an affront to the poor and caused them to become more impoverished. The United Nations must seek a mechanism to deal with those increases to prevent that from happening again.
ABDULLAH-MOHAMED AL-SAIDI ( Yemen) said it was imperative to take another look at the state of international relations, so that it could be based in the future on confidence and cooperation. It was crucial, therefore, to focus on the converging views surrounding United Nations reform, while avoiding divisions. While the reform project would allow for a broadening of some bodies and the creation of others, all must be undertaken with the aim of strengthening the credibility and transparency of the Organization and its effectiveness in maintaining and building peace. His country emphasized the importance of implementing the Millennium Development Goals, the Monterrey Consensus and the outcome of the Johannesburg Summit to free mankind from poverty and illness. But, those objectives could not be achieved without equity in trade relations.
He said that trade barriers clashed with the objectives of the WTO, and they undermined the realization of the Millennium Goals. At the same time, developed countries should stick to their commitments in providing support and the necessary investments to help build capacities in the least developed countries. His own had undertaken some financial, administrative and legal reforms with the involvement of non-governmental organizations and civil society partners, which were essential to economic progress in Yemen. In cooperation with donors and international specialized organizations, his country had also established a second five-year plan to curb poverty through quick-impact projects, professional training, the provision of health services and the building of roads, so that those services could be extended to all parts of the country. He commended the resolution of the Group of 8 to provide debt relief to African countries, but the Group should also take into account of middle-income countries.
Summaries were then presented of the four round tables held during the Summit.
Round Table 1
FRANCES LISSON ( Australia) said that participants had expressed optimism for the future of the United Nations, despite some ambivalent comments on the outcome document. Most felt the document had excluded many anticipated issues, and had not gone far enough in others. That had been mainly due to the politics of expectation, which were higher and wider-ranging than what had appeared in the document. A major source of disappointment had been the document’s treatment of disarmament and the risks of nuclear proliferation. However, the overall sense was that the outcome document represented a general balance of issues, containing clear benefits that were achievable, through proposals on the Democracy Fund, the Human Rights Council and the responsibility to protect.
Round Table 2
ANDRZEJ TOWPIK ( Poland) said that participants had reacted positively to the Summit, but had stressed that United Nations reform was needed in approaching contemporary problems. Reform was needed not only in the international system, but in converting commitments to action at the national level. Strong support was shown for enhancing efforts at development, including those to make the Millennium Goals an operational reality at the country level. Development and poverty eradication remained one of the most important pillars of the United Nations, they noted, and the international community must not be lacking in energy as it attempted to realize those Goals by 2015. Participants also supported initiatives on strengthening human rights and promoting democracy. The launching of the Democracy Fund and the intention to establish a Human Rights Council must be consolidated and objectives on those issues should be reinforced.
In addition, participants stressed the importance of trade for development and achievement of the Millennium Goals. Conclusion of the Doha Round should address key development dimensions, such as the elimination of subsidies, wider market access, and increased mobility of workers. Education was highlighted as an integral component of development, with speakers noting the $5.6 billion financial gap in meeting the basic education goal. Participants also reiterated their condemnation of terrorism as one of the greatest threats to international peace and security, and agreed that the international community should take concrete steps to uphold and promote human rights, noting that development, democracy, human rights and security complemented each other.
Round Table 3
Reporting on Round Table 3, WINSTON BALDWIN SPENCER, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said there had been an inspiring exchange of views on a broad canvas of issues. The leaders had expressed both enthusiasm and frustration. While much remained to be done to rid the world of want and fear, the discussion underscored that the steps taken so far had been significant. The Summit, after all, was not the proverbial silver bullet, but the launch of a process, and the indication was that there was a collective willingness for change. Many innovations had focused on development, in the context of the importance of the Millennium Development Goals. Examples were provided of how the Goals were systematically used by national institutions to assess and guide public policies in the economic and social fields. Some leaders spoke of the adoption of new targets, for example, on domestic violence, and strengthening global partnerships was supported.
He said that the leaders had also underlined the need for coherence in trade policy and aid, as well as the need to assess the impact of aid policies. Some neutrally reinforcing deficits had been highlighting in the context of achieving the Goals, namely, the deficit of resources and limited implementation. The unique challenges facing landlocked and small island States were also addressed, with several speakers underscoring communication technologies to help achieve the Goals. The importance of improving developing countries’ access to information communication technologies was also underscored. Concerns were expressed about the global environment, especially the vulnerability of small island States, which covered wide geographic swaths. It was considered necessary to ensure environmental sustainability, take resolute action on climate change beyond the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, as well as concrete measures on desertification. All were key global challenges.
Participants also noted that the quality and effectiveness of aid were important and that ODA should be equally provided to all countries in need, he said. Also of concern was addressing the debt problem of middle-income countries, and the conditionality attached to debt relief. In addition, the need for coherence of aid and trade policies was underlined, as was the need to ensure that aid, trade and debt relief led to a net result that was positive to development. It was also emphasized that the Group of 8 should live up to its commitment to double aid to Africa by 2010, so that Africa could stand as a solid counterpart to its development partners. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was deemed to be a good homemade initiative deserving of strong external support. Speakers were most interested in making international trade a real engine for development, and early completion of the Doha Round of trade talks was stressed.
Round Table 4
OLUSEGUN OBASANJO, President of Nigeria, said that the shared assessment of the Summit had been that it was a success. Not an unqualified success, in the sense that all 191 Member States could go home and claim that they had achieved everything they had wanted, but a success in reaffirming everyone’s faith in the multilateral system. The groundwork had also been prepared for significant changes and reforms on which the General Assembly must actively engage to give effective meaning in a legislative and operational sense.
He said that the outcome document clearly emphasized the vital role of the United Nations in the present century, particularly its broad recognition of the interconnection between security and development. The text had also stressed the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission, the establishment of the principle of the responsibility to protect, and the emerging will to give shape to a Human Rights Council. Of course, gaps and omissions remained. Those included reform of the Security Council, which no longer represented the realities of 2005, and a failure to include measures for further non-proliferation and disarmament. There was also a sense of disappointment when judged against the higher expectations on a broad range of issues, including the concept of impunity and the role of the International Criminal Court. It was clear from the discussion, however, that significant breakthroughs had been achieved in several key areas.
For example, the language on “right to protect” crystallized a commitment to make sure there was no repeat of Rwanda, Darfur, and other terrible events, which had characterized the past decade, he said. Participants had also reiterated their condemnation of terrorism as one of the greatest threats to international peace and security. They had also emphasized, among other things, the importance of redoubling efforts towards a global convention against terrorism. Several speakers had appreciated the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission, which would be especially useful for post-conflict situations in Africa and elsewhere. Also welcomed had been the emphasis in the outcome text on the importance of the rule of law and good governance. Important concepts, such as the interlinkages between development, democracy and human rights, were also stressed. He had been impressed by the strong commitment to development. There was an overall view that the Summit had achieved progress in the area of sustainable development, including the strong commitment by all countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Action on Text
Next, GORAN PERSSON, Sweden’s Prime Minister, introduced the draft outcome document (A/60/L.1), entitled “2005 World Summit Outcome”.
Speaking before the vote, Venezuela’s representative said the decision that had been taken and might be endorsed in a few minutes would be “grim and dark”. It had been conceived in darkness and brought from the shadows to be approved here in violation of the most elemental, democratic principles governing sound democracies around the world. What began as a broad debate had awakened hopes, but then, preparation of the document had been confined to a small group of
32 people, and then to an even smaller group of 15. Many comments made from many sides had been eliminated by a yet smaller group. The procedure had been “grotesque” and had not even allowed him to express opinion on those points of the document with which he agreed. Nor had it been possible for many other delegations to express their opinions. Instead of promoting a democratic discussion, the document had been brought here, where its adoption would be insisted upon. And, some of its points would lead to serious consequences.
Citing some omissions, he said there was no reference in the text to State terrorism. Thus, it seemed that terrorism was only “condemnable” if individuals or groups committed it, as if there were no real proven risk of State terrorism. There was no distinction in the document between terrorist action and legitimate action by States seeking to protect their sovereignty. In other words, an attempt was being made to tie the hands of countries wanting to defend themselves. He also had questions about the membership of the organizational committee of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, as well as about the fund -– such as how it would be administered, its size and its objective. As for the nuclear weapons threat, the big Powers had mass destruction weapons capable of destroying all life on the planet many times over, yet there was not even the slightest mention of that threat in the text.
Adoption of Text
The Summit then adopted the resolution.
Explanations of Position after Vote
The representative of the United States said his country had voted in favour of adopting the outcome document under the understanding that reference to the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and use of the phrase “reproductive health” in paragraphs 57g and 58c did not create any rights and could not be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement or promotion of abortion.
The representative of Cuba pointed to gross irregularities in negotiations for the outcome document, which had been replete with secrecy, exclusion and discrimination. Such behaviour was compounded by omissions in the document, which contained no references to nuclear disarmament or general and complete disarmament –- long-held aspirations of the United Nations. Nor had participants agreed that concrete measures be included on the Millennium Goals, which were far from being close to meeting their target dates. The document also failed to make any references to the environment, international trade and other issues of interest to the United Nations, which represented an unforgivable regression.
Moreover, he continued, the United States and its closest allies had insisted on last-minute submissions of over 700 amendments, without considering that they endangered the results of the Summit. Those amendments diluted and distorted the essential unity that was needed to save millions of people suffering from hunger and ill health in many parts of the world. In addition, concepts had been included such as “the responsibility to protect” that could be used as a pretext for aggression. The Summit had been rife with selfishness, arrogance and lies, with aggressive, threatening and insulting statements.
The representative of Belarus said the applause following adoption of the document was a sign of sadness and the statements by Venezuela and Cuba were proof of that condition. The Charter began with the words, “We the peoples of the United Nations”. The document just adopted had not brought people together. Had it consolidated views and developed instruments the community of nations could use for development? Did it bear out the ideals inscribed in the Charter and in the Millennium Declaration? All States and delegations must continue to work to bring all States together on those ideals.
Statements by Summit Co-Chairs
EL HADJ OMAR BONGO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon and Summit Co-chair, said the document adopted was an accomplishment to be proud of. It symbolized the building of a world that was multilateral and effective. That was the essence of the United Nations itself. Many in the world looked to the multilateral operations of the United Nations and saw that as their only hope for the world’s future. The effort must continue to revitalize the Organization and the Council.
GORAN PERSSON, Prime Minister of Sweden and a Summit Co-chair, said the intent of the United Nations Charter had been borne out by the fact that so many had turned out for the Summit. The document reaffirmed the commitment to achieving the goals that had been set at the Millennium Summit. But the process made it clear that efforts must be redoubled on crucial challenges confronting the world. Greenhouse gases must be reduced, and there has to be a stop to human interference in the climate. The comprehensive terrorist instrument must be finalized. And while agreement on all issues had not been achieved, the outcome document had found agreement on setting up a foundation for lasting peace through the decision to set up a Human Rights Council and doubling the budget for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Continuing, he said that failure to address the issue of nuclear weapons in the document was a signal that States must redouble their efforts in multilateral ways. The Secretariat reforms must also be pursued. Most importantly, the leaders who had taken part in the Summit must keep in mind that diplomacy was composed of two parts, words and deeds. The words exchanges over those past days had expressed many high intentions. On some issues, views had differed and, on others, there had been concurrence. That was the nature of relations at the United Nations and that was the kind of organization the world wanted. But when the Summit came to an end, it would be time for leaders to act. They must remain true to their word through deeds for many years to come.
AMRE MOUSSA, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said that
60 years of coordination and cooperation had contributed to making the United Nations a free and non-discriminatory Organization. The Summit outcome document stressed the need to reach agreements on such issues as international and national security, human rights, and the strengthening of the United Nations. The League supported a collective endeavour in resolving such issues, and strengthening the role of the United Nations would offer new prospects in that respect at the regional and international levels.
Stressing that reform of national and international policies were two sides of the same coin, he said that international relations were the underpinning of national relations. The United Nations must play a leadership role and support for any reforms proposed in the outcome document. The role of the General Assembly was vital, since it was the legislative body “par excellence” in the Organization, and it must ensure follow-up of any subsidiary bodies that were created in the future.
Negotiations that had led to the outcome document suggested that the world should be guided collectively, he said. Desired reform must be integrated and global, or imbalance would be created in the architecture of the international system. The eradication of poverty could not be achieved without sustainable development, which could not be achieved without peace. Reform of the United Nations must be a principal step in reform of the entire international system.
On behalf of the European Community, BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, member of the European Commission, said the Community had been pleased to have been able to contribute to the outcome, although not everything had been attained. Nevertheless, a solid foundation had been laid as leaders sought to rebuild the United Nations and make it capable of meeting the current challenges in the fields of development, security and human rights. When it came to development assistance, the European Union had led the world, from the outset, including with setting an intermediate goal for itself of 0.56 per cent ODA by 2010. Hopefully, other donors would follow that lead. Trade was also key to development, and the Community remained firmly committed to making a success of the WTO negotiations, including by eliminating export subsidies. Hopefully, others would follow with similar commitments, on export as well as domestic subsidies.
She said that there had not been enough focus on the environment, which must be taken seriously. Work should continue towards creating a strong, functional, action-oriented United Nations environmental organization. She supported United States President Bush’s initiative concerning the looming danger of avian flu. Agreement on a Peacebuilding Commission had been another key development, and work must begin in that regard by the end of the year. Other important outcomes had included the thrust towards people-centred security, and putting human rights on the same level as development and peace and security had underscored that. The Human Rights Commission had lost its ability to act effectively on behalf of the victims, so forming a smaller Human Rights Council would help the United Nations become a real driving force behind human protection. She had been disappointed at the meagre outcome in that respect. For its part, the European Community would do everything possible to ensure that the United Nations was a lean, fit and energetic Organization for the twenty-first century.
EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said five years after the Millennium Summit, many had realized that commitments had fallen short, particularly in the Muslim world that was seeing growing injustice. At a time when old questions about the right of peoples to self-determination were being settled, Muslims were subjected to deprivation of their rights and to defamation. The transformation of the human rights mechanism as set out in the document adopted must address the phenomenon of Muslim-bashing.
He said the Organization of the Islamic Conference represented 57 Muslim countries and it rejected terrorism. But, the global war against terror so far had not yielded results, because the focus had been on the wrong target. Until the root causes of terrorism were addressed, there was no tackling it.
The sanctity of life was a basic tenet of Islam, he affirmed. Violation of that teaching was heresy. The only way to get that message across was through transcultural dialogue. Democratizing of the United Nations system, particularly in Council reform, should take in the modern realities of the Muslim presence. The Economic and Social Council should also be transformed to address the modern realities about Muslims.
ANDERS B. JOHNSSON, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), said parliamentarians wanted to see United Nations reform proposals debated and Governments acting on them now, rather than in five or 10 years’ time. They wanted comprehensive reforms, which must recognize the intrinsic link among democracy, security, development and human rights. He called on States, including their parliaments, to demonstrate leadership and political will in providing the United Nations with more efficient mechanisms, appropriate human and financial resources, and real management reform.
Parliaments wanted to ensure that they were well informed of international negotiations, that they could debate what was being negotiated, and that they could question ministers and influence negotiating positions they were advancing on behalf of their people, he said. Once negotiations had concluded, parliaments must ratify agreements and ensure their implementation, which meant adopting or amending legislation, voting on budgets, and holding Governments to account in implementation.
He added that parliaments should increase their international work in partnership with the IPU, rather than creating a parliamentary assembly at the United Nations or elsewhere. They wanted the IPU to facilitate the provision of more and better information to national parliaments on United Nations activities, stage more parliamentary hearings and specialized meetings at the organizations, and cooperate more closely with official regional parliamentary assemblies and organizations. Parliaments and the IPU sought to strengthen the United Nations, and assist in implementing decisions, as well as holding the Organization accountable to the people it served.
ZHANG DEGUANG, Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, said the United Nations continued to play an irreplaceable role in modern international affairs. The principles enshrined in its Charter remained an indisputable cornerstone of international relations. Protecting the central role and high authority of the United Nations remained a common responsibility and task of the international community. He said the United Nations must carry out rational and necessary reforms to respond more effectively to new situations, new challenges and threats emerging in the globalizing world. A broader consensus must be observed in that effort.
He said that four years ago in the city of Shanghai, leaders of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan announced the birth of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization for regional cooperation. The organization had made efforts to strengthen good neighbourliness, mutual trust and friendship among its members. It also contributed to effective cooperation on economy, trade, transport, energy, tourism, environmental protection and humanitarian affairs. Furthermore, its members combated terrorism, separatism and extremism, and protected peace, security and stability in the region. A recent summit of the organization outlined strategic plans aimed at further developing the organization. Following the admission of Mongolia as an observer State, the organization had also admitted Pakistan, Iran and India as new observers. He said the organization was granted an observer status at the United Nations General Assembly last December.
ACHIM STEINER, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), said the Union welcomed the outcome document for its comprehensive treatment of nearly all of the major issues currently on the multilateral agenda. Yet, like many who had spoken before him, he was disappointed that the text had not gone further. On the one hand, it reiterated the essential importance of sustainable development and addressed the crucial role of conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in eradicating poverty and achieving the Goals, but it failed to appreciate how much still needed to be done to achieve environmental sustainability and all of the other Millennium Development Goals. Fifteen of the 24 essential services provided by ecosystems –- ranging from food production to water quality and availability, disease management and climate regulation -– were being used unsustainably and persistently eroded.
He called for an urgent response to that situation; the United Nations, civil society and the private sector must nurture and maintain the environmental foundation of sustainable livelihoods. Rather than being a “tax on development”, investing in environmental sustainability should be seen as an effective and efficient means to achieve development. To cite just one concrete example, replacing traditional biomass fuels used by the poor yielded multiple benefits in terms of time saved for women and children, improved health through reduced indoor air pollution, reduced environmental damage from cutting fuel wood, and improved soil quality from increased dung available for fertilizer. He announced the Conservation for Poverty Reduction Initiative, which was a worldwide $300 million plan of action engaging more than 100 partner organizations. Its target was the improved livelihood security in 20 countries for 50 million people.
TERRY DAVIS, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said the Council supported multilateralism as the vehicle Governments and international agencies could use to protect people in today’s interdependent world from armed conflicts, global pandemics, natural disasters, international terrorism and other challenges. At its summit in May, the Heads of State or Government of the 46 member States of the Council encouraged the European body to increase its cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies as a way to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Such cooperation would also help improve all people’s opportunity to live in a balanced, healthy environment. The Council had called on national parliaments to help maintain the political momentum on the Goals and make sure that European Governments lived up to their commitments.
On the issue of United Nations reform, the Council favours a more representative composition in the Security Council to increase its legitimacy, he said. The European Council also supported a more effective decision-making process for the Security Council and the introduction of mechanisms that would let the Security Council implement its decisions more effectively. The Council was also a fervent supporter of the introduction of a parliamentary dimension to the work of the General Assembly, and it supported the creation of a United Nations Human Rights Council. He hoped the Human Rights Council would cooperate with regional organizations, and he welcomed the decision to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
FLORENCE MUGASHA, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said one third of the 1.8 billion people it represented lived on less than a dollar a day. The Secretariat also represented nearly two thirds of the world’s HIV/AIDS cases and maternal deaths, as well as more than half of the world’s uneducated children. For that reason, the Commonwealth had more than an interest in the Millennium Goals; it had responsibility to achieve them. Its limited success in doing so should shock into action those who could do more. She applauded the Group of 8’s debt forgiveness, which should be duplicated elsewhere until the Goals were securely achieved, even exceeded. Poverty should not be merely cut in half, but eradicated.
She said 11 of the 53 Secretariat members had made significant progress in reaching the Goals, but some were losing ground. The Secretariat would redouble its efforts to rebuild democratic institutions, champion human rights and promote policies favouring gender balance. She said it would also continue to stand up for small States on the margins of global debate who found themselves on the receiving end of decisions. That effort included making sure they received better treatment in the area of international trade. She said multilateralism was the only way to resolve common problems, and that global challenges required global responses. She welcomed the proposed strengthening of the Organization’s peacebuilding, human rights, and anti-terrorism initiatives, as well as its special attention to development and democracy. The Organization remained a vital partner for the Commonwealth.
HARUHIKO KURODA, Asian Development Bank, said today was a moment of great opportunity and great uncertainty. The actions that followed the pivotal Summit would determine whether the world achieved the Goals. With two thirds of the world’s poor in Asia and the Pacific, it was abundantly clear that the region held the key to solving the global poverty challenge. At the same time, no other developing region had been more successful in creating economic growth and alleviating absolute poverty. But, achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 would still require massive investments in services and infrastructure to meet basic human needs. The scale of deprivation in Asia and the Pacific was daunting. The region had more people with inadequate nutrition, more living in slums, and more without access to water and sanitation than any other developing region.
He felt there was enough time to achieve the Goals by 2015, provided efforts were considerably intensified. Sustained, rapid and broad-based growth was fundamental. Growth would not be sustained if environmental obligations were neglected. Growth would also not be sustained if Asia’s huge needs for investment in infrastructure, productivity and technology, and human capital remained unmet. The task was urgent and immense. The Bank was committed to fighting poverty in all its dimensions. Its country operations supported the Goals’ achievement and emphasized cooperation with its development partners. Only through collective efforts would it be possible to succeed. The Paris Declaration, adopted at the High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness early in 2005, was an excellent framework for such partnership. Also highly valued was the partnership with the United Nations agencies. The momentum generated now should be translated into action in the remaining years to 2015. Working together, it was possible to create a future of shared prosperity, stability and peace. He looked forward to the Summit’s outcome in setting a clear path towards that goal.
DONALD KABERUKA, President of the African Development Bank, said the prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa had improved considerably in recent years. Conflicts were waning, thanks to the African Union. Democratic reforms and improved governance were taking root. Sound macroeconomic policies were being implemented, along with reforms to accelerate economic growth. Many countries were now developing their “second-generation” poverty reduction strategies. The NEPAD initiative was not only advancing regional cooperation and integration, but also promoting sound principles through the African Peer Review Mechanism.
The heightened international resolve to support Africa was encouraging, he continued, and enumerated initiatives such as the Group of 8 pledge to double aid and cancel debt, among others. But full implementation of pledges was imperative, he said. And the December Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations in Hong Kong must be successfully concluded, particularly with respect to removing distorting agricultural subsidies and other barriers hindering Africa’s exports. The Bank had been established specifically to address development challenges. It had provided resources and support to regional countries and was positioning itself to be the premier results-oriented institution for improving the lives of millions of Africans. The outcome document before the Summit called for greater support for the Bank, to close the infrastructure gap. The Bank would do that in partnership with other institutions to build its capacities and establish a concrete framework to deliver on the Group of 8 initiative concerning debt. The key issue on that would be additionality, and strengthening the Bank’s long-term capacity to finance development.
GUY RYDER, General Secretary, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, said that poverty and hunger remained the lot of billions, a situation that was unconscionable and unsustainable. It was time for world leadership to work together to implement the commitments made at global summits throughout the years. Global solidarity should be fostered, in order to advance the commonly shared global objectives and lend support to the achievement of national development priorities. “Wake up to poverty”, he urged. Urgent solutions must be found. The right policies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals were possible, within reach, and they must be adopted, in order to bring about a virtuous cycle of growth with equity. An enabling global policy environment was needed, as called for in Millennium Goal Eight. Also required was respect for workers’ rights and human rights, in general.
He stressed that a strong focus on a decent work agenda was a way out of poverty. Decent work carried out in respect for fundamental workers’ rights provided empowerment for men and women, which was necessary to improving their living standards, increasing their participation in decision-making, and ultimately allowing them to work their way out of poverty. The United Nations system provided the social pillar of the multilateral system, and as such, that must be strengthened, and not weakened. The revitalization of the Economic and Social Council, a new Human Rights Council, a new Peacebuilding Commission, along with other proposals, required and deserved the support of all Member States. Tough as negotiations could be on those issues, they could not be shelved. Those elements that were dropped at the Summit talks should be picked up by the sixtieth Assembly session, and Member States should rise above narrow self-interests.
VIRGINIA VARGAS, Founding Director and Executive Board Member of the Centre for Peruvian Women “Flora Tristan”, echoing the disenchanted voices of the world social movement, said the world was ethically unacceptable, and economically and environmentally unsustainable. Other worlds were possible, but radical change that would place men and women at the centre of development was needed. Urgent change would only be possible if anti-democratic forces were dismantled, and a life free from want could only occur if the development mindset that put economic before human development was altered. The central problem was the tremendous inequity in the distribution of wealth, legitimized by an unjust world order.
Debt was ethically untenable for the world’s people, and that life without fear was impossible without general disarmament and changes in the way conflicts were resolved, she said. How could people live in freedom in such conditions, when environmental degradation, hunger and instability were depleting resources for future generations? Living in freedom was only possible when human rights were placed at the heart of the structure and policies of the United Nations, when States were governed by all citizens, rather than religious interests. The United Nations must rise to the challenges of the new millennium. Democratic reform must be open to all movements.
BAMANGA TUKUR, Group Chairman of BHI Holdings, a business organization, said the Summit had been a milestone in government and civil society cooperation, coming in the wake of the Group of 8 agreement in Scotland and other initiatives such as NEPAD. In today’s global society, business and development were intertwined, and issues such as health and education impacted on them both. For that reason, private sector capacity for business needed to be strengthened.
Business was good for development and vice versa, he said. Business was the key to opening the door for a better life for people. Businesses, therefore, were taking progressive steps to facilitate the implementation of development efforts. They were promoting human rights and fair labour standards. They were taking steps to protect the environment and end corruption. Businesses contributed to societies and they needed political stability, good governance, clear property rights and a fair tax structure to flourish. The African round table over which he presided was the largest business group in his region. It supported the outcome of the Summit document at a new dawn for Africa.
Assembly President and Summit Co-Chair JAN ELIASSON ( Sweden) deeply regretted that the outcome document had been adopted before civil society representatives had a chance to speak. The meeting had been seriously delayed, owing to the length of the interventions. World leaders were leaving, one by one, at a time when a very important document was to be adopted. Civil society’s statements deserved a full Hall. The Summit was being broadcast live around the world on the United Nations webcast, and civil society’s messages were absolutely crucial. That was the end of the biggest Summit ever, and the document that had been passed, was extremely welcome, he said, thanking all participants and United Nations staff.
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