|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixtieth General Assembly
24th & 25th Meetings (AM & PM)
DELEGATIONS STRESS NEED TO HARNESS WORLD SUMMIT ’S MOMENTUM TO IMPLEMENT CRUCIAL
DECISIONS, AS ASSEMBLY TAKES UP REPORT ON ORGANIZATION’S WORK
As the General Assembly today considered UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report on the work of the Organization, delegations called for harnessing the momentum of the recent World Summit to implement crucial decisions during the current session, including the establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission and a Human Rights Council, as well as move forward on United Nations reform.
Iceland’s representative, echoing the views of many delegates, called for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on terrorism during the current Assembly session and for the Peacebuilding Commission to be made operational by year’s end. He said the new Human Rights Council must be smaller than the present Commission on Human Rights, must be in session year round and must not include major human rights abusers as members.
Like a number of his colleagues, South Africa’s representative lamented the lack of agreement on issues related to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, and said that achieving compliance and pursuing ratifications of existing treaties were the best ways to make progress in that regard. Saying that the lack of reference to weapons of mass destruction in the Summit’s outcome document spoke volumes, Indonesia’s representative called for Member States to speedily address the deadlock on non-proliferation and disarmament matters.
On the issue of management reform, the representative of the Russian Federation called for the development of mechanisms to assess the Secretariat’s work, as laid out by Member States. He also urged that the principles of transparency and consensus be the guideposts in carrying out reform measures and that the Assembly refrain from imposing artificial deadlines, so that decisions better reflected the current international agenda.
Noting the range of tasks before the United Nations, Thailand’s representative said the resources provided must be equal to the tasks. Member States must pay contributions in full and on time. Voluntary contributions should be increased and not earmarked. She added that, in the wake of last December’s tsunami and this year’s hurricanes in the United States, more must be done to enhance prevention and strengthen disaster management capacities, particularly in developing countries.
Speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, Canada’s representative pointed to “striking omissions” in the Summit’s outcome document, especially the complete absence of agreement on disarmament, non-proliferation and the International Criminal Court; weak language on women’s rights and equality; and lack of a stronger declaration on terrorism. Stressing the need to harness the positive momentum of the Summit in the weeks ahead, he stated that work should move forward on those and other issues in such a way that no initiative was advanced at the cost of another. It was essential that the outcome document served as the foundation for the Assembly’s work, and that attempts to reopen or renegotiate core Summit decisions were rejected.
Venezuela’s delegate said the Secretary-General’s report reflected the grim reality that the Organization was submissive, complacent and seemingly applauding its own end. The United Nations faced a tremendous threat from those who saw reform as a way to exclusively serve their own interests, he said, referring specifically to the United States and its allies. He added that the Summit’s outcome document had been vitiated by the flouting of due process. Venezuela remained opposed to the document, which it considered null and void for future negotiations.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Jamaica (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Pakistan, United Kingdom (on behalf of the European Union), Colombia, Peru, Malaysia, Belarus, India, Nigeria, Haiti, Kazakhstan, China, Brazil, Turkey, Nepal and Cameroon.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 6 October, to review progress made in implementing the World Programme of Action for Youth to the Year 2000 and Beyond.
The General Assembly met this morning to debate Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report on the Organization’s work (document A/60/1).
According to that wide-ranging report, which touches on the United Nations efforts to maintain international peace and security, promote long-term development and the respect for human rights, and create civil society partnerships to increase the visibility of the Organization’s work, the past year had witnessed progress and setbacks, for both the world and the United Nations.
While there had been positive developments in the area of peace and security, such as the end of the long north-south conflict in the Sudan, democratic elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, and improvements in the relationship between India and Pakistan, vicious terrorist attacks in Egypt, Iraq, the United Kingdom and elsewhere dramatized the magnitude of the threat of terrorism. The devastating Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, which left an arc of destruction across some 12 countries in that region, confirmed a disturbing trend: that the number of natural catastrophes and the numbers of people they kill are on the rise.
The report also stresses that sadly, human rights abuses still exist in many parts of the world and notes that enormous efforts are still needed to make human rights for all. The tragedy in Darfur and the appalling suffering of the civilian population there represents one of the most flagrant violations of human rights. The report also notes that United Nation reform had been high on the Secretary-General’s agenda over the past year. Last March, he introduced to the Assembly his landmark report, “In Larger Freedom”, which contained proposals for far-reaching changes that would strengthen the Organization and make it more responsive to the challenges of the twenty-first century.
Overall, the report notes that while the United Nations is responding imaginatively to the ever-changing needs of the international community, much remains to be done to ensure that it can be strengthened so that its work can make our world fairer and freer and more prosperous and more secure.
STAFFORD NEIL (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said there had been successes and setbacks in the last year in the United Nations. International economic cooperation, a major priority for the Group, was essential for achieving the overall goals of the United Nations. In reviewing the work of the last year, he said progress towards improving the status of women had been mixed, with further efforts required for the empowerment of women and the achievement of gender equality. Further progress was also needed on the attainment of safe water and sanitation in developing countries. It would also be necessary to pursue objectives to achieve the Millennium Goals, including in the areas of finance, trade and the transfer of technology.
The pursuit of economic development had to be a shared task, he said, and must include the removal of inequities in the international system to allow for the economic development of developing countries. The transfer of resources had to be pursued. Addressing debt would have a significant impact on resource flows. He said inter-agency cooperation was necessary to promote the Organization’s goals. The United Nations needed to focus on capacity-building and poverty alleviation more directly. While the response to natural disasters, including the tsunami and locusts in Africa had been impressive, he noted, other crises had suffered from neglect. The Secretary-General’s recommendation for increased funding for responding to natural disasters was welcome. It was necessary to work towards an early warning system for natural disasters.
He felt that problems, particularly related to the “oil-for-food” programme, had been satisfactorily addressed. In that regard, the new measures for oversight would be helpful. There should not be a rush towards new mechanisms, but a comprehensive review of existing operations to achieve efficiency and ethical conduct in the United Nations. A revised budgetary process was welcome with a shorter budgetary cycle. The steps taken towards more transparency in the appointment of officials were also welcome. Calling the financial situation of the United Nation “unsatisfactory”, he said the persisting problem of unpaid assessments was undermining programmes.
MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) welcomed the efforts towards United Nations reform, as well as the results of the World Summit. However, he noted that the Summit might have achieved more if its agenda had been more limited, if Security Council reform had not absorbed so much attention and if negotiations on the outcome document had begun earlier. In implementing the outcome document, the greatest emphasis should be given to development goals. The implementation should have four components: identification of the decisions to be followed up; submission and circulation of proposals; negotiation of outcomes by consensus -- voting should be avoided since it would open a “Pandora’s box” of divisive votes; and review of the status of implementation periodically throughout the year.
The process, he continued, should be “located” within the General Assembly, not in groups or forums outside the United Nations. And, the implementation had to be transparent and inclusive. While many of the development gaols were sound, there had been insufficient action outlined in the areas of trade, investment flows and global governance. To ensure that adequate progress was made towards development goals, it was necessary to create an effective mechanism to promote and monitor the implementation of the goals and agreements on development by States, development partners and concerned institutions. The Economic and Social Council should play an important role in the achievement of those goals. It was important, he added, that Security Council reform did not divert attention from other areas. It would be best not to press the December deadline, so as not to precipitate such a situation.
HJÁLMAR HANNESSON ( Iceland) said he welcomed the creation of a Peacebuilding Commission and a Secretariat Support Office, both of which must be up and running by year’s end. A definition of terrorism must also be agreed upon and the comprehensive convention on the matter concluded during the Assembly’s current session. In addition, the Summit mandate to establish a Human Rights Council must be implemented as soon as possible, and no later than the current session’s end. As his Foreign Minister had said, the Council must be smaller than the Commission, must be in session all year and must not include major human rights abusers as members. Reform of the Secretariat was also a priority. New skills must be brought in and a rapid renewal of staff could be required. The long-term dividends would be worth the short-term expense involved.
Continuing, he said his country would increase its assistance to developing countries to help them achieve the Millennium Development Goals. However, each country was primarily responsible for its own economic and social development, which depended on good governance and the rule of law. A developing country that created a transparent and accountable environment would attract domestic and foreign investment to foster a vibrant private sector. The liberalization of international trade was key for private sector growth. A successful conclusion of the Doha development agenda would boost the achievement of the Goals.
EMYR JONES PARRY ( United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said he would focus his statement on how the decisions taken by the 2005 World Summit would better equip the United Nations to face the challenges of the twenty-first century. The agreement to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, he said, would make a major contribution to a better coordinated international response to the needs of countries emerging from conflict. It would also help prevent conflicts from re-igniting and encourage countries to make the transition from violent instability to peaceful, sustained development. The Union was committed to seeing the Commission up and running by the end of the year.
While he welcomed the Summit’s clear condemnation of terrorism and its decision to work towards the conclusion of a comprehensive international convention on the scourge, it was regrettable that no action had been taken on matters pertaining to non-proliferation and disarmament. Turning to development issues, he said that the European Union would reach the internationally agreed target of 0.7 per cent for official development assistance (ODA) by 2015 as part of an overall scaling up of finances to ensure the attainment of the Millennium Goals. Aware that the sub-Saharan region was currently not on track to meet the Goals, he added that as much as 50 per cent of the Union’s contribution was earmarked for Africa.
However, he stressed, boosting aid alone would not be enough, and the real engine for making poverty history would be the developing countries themselves. Their efforts to, among other things, make better use of aid and to promote and ensure good governance should be at the top of their national development strategies and programmes. They must also foster a positive environment for economic growth and the growth of the private sector. The Union would also continue to support the wider implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African-driven initiative that was beginning to bear fruit. As for trade, he said that the international community must deliver real gains through the completion of the Doha trade round, and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) upcoming Hong Kong ministerial meeting was an opportunity not to be missed.
Turning next to environmental issues, he welcomed the Summit’s recognition of the need to meet the commitments and obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and looked forward to exploring the possibility of a more coherent framework to deal with environment matters within the United Nations system. On human rights, he said that, over the past 50 years, the Organization had built up a sturdy framework for the application and promotion of global human rights law. The Union would work to ensure the implementation, during the current session, of the Summit’s decisions to establish a new Human Rights Council and to enhance the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
As for Secretariat and management reform, he welcomed the Summit’s decision on the review of mandates, and said that the Secretary-General needed the authority and flexibility to carry out his managerial responsibility and to re-deploy resources from lower to higher priority areas. Finally he urged the adoption of an appropriate 2006-2007 budget, particularly given the need to take a decision during this session on the urgent renovation of the Headquarters building.
MARÍA ANGELA HOLGUÍN CUÉLLAR ( Colombia) said the Secretary-General’s report illustrated the Organization’s enormous responsibilities, as well as its great contributions to peace and security. She wished to highlight the work of the United Nations in her country. Her Government had made significant advances in reducing violence, though it still had a long way to go. Paragraphs 27, 149 and 156 of the report inaccurately stated that the situation in Colombia had not improved, and that there were two million displaced people. Official figures showed only 1.5 million displaced persons. Colombia had a comprehensive assistance programme for the displaced, and was aware of what it needed to do to help them further. The policy of return was a Government priority, making Colombia one of the few countries to incorporate the guiding principles on displacement into its national legislation.
She said the report’s assessment that violence had increased against the indigenous population in particular was incorrect. Between 2003 and 2004, attacks against indigenous populations had declined by 59 per cent and since 2004, by a further 55 per cent. The Secretariat should review the data and assertions of the paragraphs listed above, and recognize the positive improvements the country had made in recent years. The 2004 report of the International Narcotics Control Board mentioned the significant achievements made in Colombia in the area of illicit drugs. For the third straight year, the total area of cocaine crops had been reduced, and there had been an increase in drug seizures and detainment of drug traffickers. Unfortunately, the Secretary-General’s report did not mention those facts.
She said the Organization must recognize that terrorism and drug trafficking were increasingly linked, as stated by the Secretary-General in his report. In fighting transnational organized crime, including illicit drugs, the international community was fighting the financial sources of terrorism. Many countries could redirect the funds they channelled against terrorism, crime and narcotics towards development. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was making important strides in establishing international standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing through direct technical assistance. The Office was also visionary in developing programmes of alternative crops to help in the complete eradication of illicit drugs. Likewise, the efforts of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate should also be recognized.
ANDREY I. DENISOV ( Russian Federation) said the Summit’s outcome document was a generally acceptable basis for the ongoing enhancement of the United Nations, so that the Organization could play its role as the world’s central multilateral institution. While world leaders at the Summit had taken several concrete decisions, much remained to be done in the areas of poverty and hunger eradication, ensuring universal education and combating illiteracy. While a broad agenda had been adopted, and Russia supported the reaffirmation of the Millennium Goals, it would nevertheless urge the integration of economic and social principles into that agenda.
He also agreed on the need to increase global efforts to combat terrorism and believed as well that the United Nations and the Security Council should become the “headquarters” of the worldwide effort against the scourge. He also agreed with the Secretary-General that every effort should be made to elaborate, during the current session, a comprehensive anti-terrorism convention, as well as a consolidated system-wide strategy against terrorist networks and their financing.
The Organization’s arsenal of human rights mechanisms needed to be enhanced, he said, noting that Russia supported the establishment of the new Human Rights Council. But, he joined others in stressing the vital need to set up an open-ended working group to begin discussing the mandate, membership and other issues surrounding the creation of that body during the current session. On disarmament issues, he said the lack of any non-proliferation plank in the outcome document was a graphic description of the worldwide divergence of views on the matter. Nevertheless, that should not stop Member States from pressing ahead, particularly since the time had come to build confidence on the matter of the weaponization of outer space.
Turning next to management reform, he said that the United Nations needed real instruments to assess the work of the Secretariat as outlined by Member States. Russia would be participating actively to ensure the collective implementation of the decisions taken on the reform of the Organization, and would urge that the principles of transparency and consensus be the guideposts, rather than the haste of setting of artificial deadlines. That would be the best way to ensure that the decisions better reflected the current international agenda.
OSWALDO DE RIVERO ( Peru) said that because of editing and publishing deadlines, the Secretary-General’s report did not include any judgments on the results on the greatest gathering of world leaders at United Nations Headquarters. For that reason, the Assembly was right to refer analytically to the results of the Summit. Media reports were correct in saying the Summit had fallen short of expectations. Why had that happened? The reform proposals were extremely ambitious in a world that was becoming more global but also more fragmented over such issues as international security, achieving development and, especially, the relationship between human rights and the State. That cultural fragmentation could also be seen at the heart of the Organization.
Where the outcome document fell below all expectations was with regard to the Millennium Goals, as proved by the issuance of the 2005 Human Development Report, almost at the end of negotiations. The Report said that the main Goals were not being met and called for a programme of action to achieve them. In spite of that, the outcome document did not establish a course of action to reactivate the Millennium Goals. The chief goal of halving poverty was only a minimalist one, more about damage control than working towards development, which involved technological revolution, the creation of a middle class and the rule of law.
The United Nations was not easy to reform, least of all through ambitious proposals involving revolutionary changes, he said. Reform must be evolutionary, not revolutionary. Failure would give ammunition to the enemies of the United Nations.
DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) said the World Summit had underscored the need for reforms within the United Nations so that it could meet current challenges. The Assembly’s current session should focus on achieving the Millennium Goals. His country was pleased that the outcome document particularly focused on the needs of Africa. However, it was important that the new commitments did not mean that goals set previously at United Nations conferences and summits could be ignored. The outcome document should not “create a loophole for those who would choose to have selective amnesia about the commitments we have long made”. Gender equality and women’s empowerment were essential for the achievement of the Goals. As such, it was unfortunate that the outcome document did not more strongly reaffirm the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the Assembly’s twenty-third special session.
He welcomed the decision to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, which should be made operational as quickly as possible. The Human Rights Council should also be set up by the current General Assembly. In order for the new Council to be effective, it would have to avoid the selectivity and double standards that had damaged the effectiveness of the Commission on Human Rights. He regretted the setbacks suffered and the lack of progress made on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation. However, he said that trying to achieve compliance with and ratification of existing treaties were the best methods of attempting to achieve some progress. He welcomed the conclusion of the Open-ended Working Group on illicit small arms and light weapons, as well as action on anti-personnel landmines. Regional organizations had shown their effectiveness in promoting United Nations goals, he added. However, it was unfortunate that the United Nations had not decided to provide assistance to those organizations.
KHUNYING LAXANACHANTORN LAOHAPHAN (Thailand) said she was committed to the “accountability pact” the Secretary-General had asked States at the Summit to uphold with regard to implementing the outcome, particularly in relation to helping countries achieve the Goals by 2015. A review of the Secretary-General’s report revealed the enormous tasks the United Nations was asked to perform, from maintaining peace and security to promoting human rights, meeting humanitarian commitments and shaping the international legal order. With natural disasters in any country proving as threatening as man-made ones, the United Nations would be called upon increasingly. Resources must be equal to the task, with Member States’ contributions paid in full and on time. Voluntary contributions should be increased and not earmarked if possible.
In the wake of last December’s tsunami, she said more must be done to enhance prevention and strengthen disaster management capacities, including recovery, rehabilitation and development-building in the post-disaster situation. The Summit’s outcome document had called for supporting the efforts of developing countries to respond to natural disasters and to mitigate their impacts. Towards that end, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) must be strengthened. Relevant agencies and programmes must be coordinated to maximize efficiency and avoid overlaps. The Central Emergency Revolving Fund must be improved, along with the mechanism for use of emergency standby capacities under United Nations auspices.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia), calling for the full implementation of conference and Summit outcomes, said financing for development must flow to developing countries. In addition, the exports of those countries must be given access to markets based on a universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable international trading system. A solution must be found for the problem of debt affecting developing countries, and international cooperation through partnership on sustainable development must be enhanced. Citing the growing frequency of natural disasters, he made mention of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, Bill Clinton, who would maintain sustained global attention to the process of rehabilitation and reconstruction in the affected areas. He added that stronger efforts must be made to encourage all countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
He said his country and Timor-Leste had reached out to each other so as to bring closure to a difficult episode in their shared history. A Commission of Truth and Friendship had begun work this year, and just last month an agreement had been signed with the Free Aceh Movement. Under monitoring mechanisms involving the European Union and the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), progress was being made in decommissioning the Movement’s armed wing and in the withdrawal of non-organic Indonesian armed forces from the Aceh province.
He said the lack of reference to weapons of mass destruction in the Summit’s outcome document spoke volumes. Member States must speedily address the deadlock on non-proliferation and disarmament matters. The root causes of terrorism must also be addressed, including through the use of interfaith dialogue and cooperation to empower moderates. United Nations reform must be undertaken, but without affecting the priorities of developing countries and creating imbalances in geographical representation.
HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said that while he welcomed efforts to secure world peace, he was most concerned about economic development, for which insufficient progress had been made in the past year. The greatest challenges facing developing countries were poverty eradication and financing for development. In that regard, he noted that developed countries were far from achieving 0.7 per cent target for development assistance. A growing challenge that would increasingly impede development was the rising price of oil, which would disproportionately harm developing countries. The international community should anticipate and take steps to alleviate that looming burden.
The number and size of United Nations peacekeeping operations had increased, and it was necessary for Member States to provide more political and financial support for such operations, he said. The Peacebuilding Commission, which would be a welcome addition to efforts to deal with post-conflict situations, should be placed under the aegis of the General Assembly. Malaysia condemned terrorism but maintained that there was a distinction between terrorism and the right of people fighting for self-determination. Terrorism must be fought by addressing its root causes, and should not be associated with any particular race or religion. The Assembly, he added, should be at the forefront of the reform process, as it was the most representative body within the United Nations. It should also be involved in the establishment of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission, and in the reform of the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Secretariat.
EUGENY YUSHKEVICH ( Belarus) said he questioned whether the world could say it had made progress when human slavery still existed. It would be impossible to effectively address that problem unless the demand for human trafficking was eliminated. There should be an international effort involving the United Nations to stop that scourge.
He welcomed the United States’ initiative to lead a multilateral effort to respond quickly to prevent the spread of avian flu when the threat arose, he said. That and other problems could not be addressed in a unipolar world in which there was a notion of good countries and evil countries. There must be a much greater acceptance of the diverse paths, cultures and beliefs of countries. It was unacceptable that countries that wanted to follow their own paths of development were proclaimed to be rogue States. Disregard for a diversity of approaches to development was futile.
His country regretted the politicization of a number of United Nations activities, for example its efforts in the area of human rights, he said. Such politicization impeded progress. Human rights had to be combated in the context of poverty and other problems. The proposed Human Rights Council must operate with transparency. It was already in danger of becoming a select club that would only reinforce the unfair labelling of certain States, and threatened to become a forum for merely settling old accounts. In establishing such an entity, it was necessary to maintain generally recognized principles to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation.
NIRUPAM SEN ( India) said that while the negotiations on the Summit’s outcome document had revealed the need for transparency and open-mindedness, one could not overlook the lack of agreement on broad issues related to trade and important aspects of development. For example, the international community could not talk about ensuring sustainable development without discussing the transfer of resources and environmentally friendly technology. He joined others in calling for a clear political direction for the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Hong Kong. India would welcome United Nations efforts to generate more resources and create coalitions of the willing that would support joint initiatives in the areas of agriculture, water management and public health.
The Summit’s outcome, he said, had charged the Organization with developing a strong anti-terrorism strategy. The idea was to elaborate an international legal instrument that would facilitate judicial cooperation, mutual assistance and extradition. The Assembly had to deal with the matter in a multilateral, comprehensive manner or else the Security Council would continue to employ a series of half-measures, governed by the “political imperatives of the moment”. The Assembly had the central role in codifying international law, he added.
It was clear, he said, that while the debate on Security Council reform had energized the overall Summit negotiations, lack of progress on the matter had drained some of the colour and vigour from the outcome. For any real progress to occur, it would be necessary to address the question of the distribution of economic power, as well as political power, of which, in the United Nations, the Security Council was the locus. So reforming the 15-nation Council was vital in order to overcome the marginalization of developing countries. India would continue to work towards the broadest possible agreement on expanding the Council’s permanent and non-permanent membership, to respect deadlines and to bring the reform process to an early and successful conclusion.
AMINU B. WALI ( Nigeria) said the efforts of the Security Council and the Secretary-General in maintaining international peace and security were commendable, as was the fact that regional organizations had become essential partners in those efforts. Gatherings such as the high-level meetings between the United Nations and those organizations in July should be continued.
He reaffirmed Nigeria’s condemnation of international terrorism, pledging its full cooperation in combating that menace in all its forms and calling for the conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism. The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons continued to pose a serious concern, particularly in developing countries, where it contributed to conflicts and political instability. Multilateral instruments to address non-compliance with nuclear non-proliferation commitments and ambivalent commitment to disarmament should be revitalized as soon as possible.
The Millennium Goals must be part of a larger development agenda that took into account the needs of developing countries and sought to reduce poverty and inequality, he said. Nigeria reaffirmed its support for the priority given in the outcome document to the special needs of Africa. With a new crop of leaders committed to transforming African societies, the social and economic circumstances of African peoples would be progressively improved. He added that he supported the Secretary-General’s proposals to strengthen the Secretariat’s capacity and hoped those efforts would be sustained. He was ready to discuss the various reform initiatives with other Member States. To that end, it was essential that the requested reports were submitted to the Assembly early through the normal process so as to build on the momentum generated by the Summit.
GILBERT LAURIN (Canada), also speaking on behalf of Australia and New Zealand, said he was pleased with many of the achievements of the Summit, including cooperation to address global health threats, the reaffirmation of the Monterrey Consensus and strong commitments toward achieving the Millennium Goals, among others. Progress towards establishing the Peacebuilding Commission and creating a Human Rights Council was also encouraging, as was the agreement on strong language regarding the responsibility to protect.
There were also striking omissions, especially the complete absence of agreement on disarmament, non-proliferation and the International Criminal Court; weak language on women’s rights and equality; and lack of a stronger declaration on terrorism. He said he supported progress on administrative and management reform and urged the Secretary-General to make proposals this fall on key issues identified for action. Those included a review of human resources and financial regulations, a review of long-term mandates, and measures to enhance ethical conduct and strengthen independent oversight.
It was necessary to harness the positive momentum of the Summit in the weeks ahead, he added. It was particularly important to finalize the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission so that it could begin its work no later than 1 January 2006. The Assembly President should move quickly toward establishing an effective and credible Human Rights Council that provided for the input and participation of civil society groups. Work should move forward on those and other summit issues in such a way that no initiative was advanced at the cost of another. It was essential that the outcome document served as the foundation for the Assembly’s work, and that attempts to reopen or renegotiate core Summit decisions were rejected.
LÉO MÉRORÉS ( Haiti) said the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had had a significant impact on the security situation in his country. In February 2006, a democratic Government would be established. Progress had been made towards establishing a climate for elections at the end of the year. The country would continue to work towards the establishment of democratic institutions with the help of the international community.
The review of the Millennium Goals found that the goal of reducing poverty by 2015 would not be achieved without serious adjustments by Member States, he said. Developed countries had to increase their commitments and developing countries had to do more to achieve the Goals. Haiti welcomed the Group of Eight’s recent commitment to relieve the debt of developing countries. He appealed to developed countries to also relieve the debt of countries, like Haiti, that were not on the Group of Eight’s debt relief list. The debt burden had a suffocating effect on his country’s development, inhibiting the building of infrastructure and other projects. Debt relief would give countries an opportunity to undertake a host of development projects.
The Security Council ought to reflect the realities of the twenty-first century and include developing countries -- from Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere —- as permanent members, he said. The discussion of the Council’s expansion and reform should not eclipse discussions of the revitalization of other parts of the United Nations, including the Economic and Social Council, and of the importance of creating a Peacebuilding Commission.
YERZHAN KH. KAZYKHANOV ( Kazakhstan) stressed the urgent need to deal with the global challenges of disarmament and non-proliferation. The 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference failed to move the international community closer to the goal of the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. The lack of recommendations on the issue of non-proliferation in the World Summit’s outcome document was even more disturbing.
He said that his county had already achieved the Millennium Goals in the areas of universal education, poverty eradication, and gender promotion. The special needs of landlocked developing countries should be given special consideration, as outlined in the Almaty Programme of Action. The Summit’s outcome document had supported that Programme, calling for provisions on improved transit transport capacity for landlocked countries and their access to world markets.
Focusing on United Nations reform, he strongly supported strengthening the Organization’s democratic institutions and human rights machinery in a way that ensured compliance with the principles of non-interference and sovereign equality of States. Priority in the reform process should be given to strengthening the Assembly, which needed to be recognized as the main deliberative, decision-making body of the United Nations. In addition, the enlargement of the Security Council should be based on equitable geographical representation.
ZHANG YISHAN ( China) said the most important task before the Assembly was to implement the Summit’s outcome, which required cooperation from all sides. Development ought to occupy the central position of that work. Maximum effort was needed to meet the needs of developing countries, especially in Africa. The Peacebuilding Commission, whose establishment was a major achievement of the Summit, ought to be set up as soon as possible to help with post-conflict development.
The reform of the Secretariat would make the United Nations more efficient, he noted. It was important that efforts to achieve such reform ensured that the rights of Member States were safeguarded. There had been great disagreement over the size and composition of the Human Rights Council because of the politicization of issues and double standards. It would be important to resolve those disagreements, as well as those on other issues in the outcome document.
Despite progress in the past year in the area of peace and security, he noted a number of hotspots around the world, such as Iraq, which needed an acceptable constitution and assistance for reconstruction. The United Nations should assist in the holding of elections and in achieving national reconciliation in that country.
The current generation was the first to have the capabilities to eradicate extreme poverty, and as such, there was no excuse for the presence of over one billion people still in such poverty. There was a need to further reform the international economic system so that it was fairer for developing countries, and to reduce the debt burden. Developing countries should pool their efforts, strengthen South-South cooperation, and adjust their positions vis-à-vis globalization in order to further their own developments.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG ( Brazil) said the results of the Summit were not as far-reaching as most Member States had expected, but the outcome document served as a minimum platform for continued efforts to reform and strengthen the Organization. He stressed the need for a substantial increase in ODA, as well as innovative sources for financing development. More must also be done to promote cooperation among developing countries themselves. Cooperation in science and technology must also be encouraged. Brazil was considering organizing a Brazil-Africa Technological Forum to promote such projects.
He said terrorism was a threat that affected the entire international community. Hopefully, agreement would be reached on a comprehensive convention against terrorism, even if the precise definition continued to elude Member States. The Peacebuilding Commission must be operational by the end of the year. Also, the Human Rights Council should be established on the basis of universality, dialogue and non-selectivity. It should not be so small, however, that it might compromise the ability to ensure a balanced and adequate representation of all legal systems and the presence of developing countries.
Besides revitalizing the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, early reform of the Security Council was essential, and must include expansion of permanent and non-permanent seats, with developing countries from Africa, Latin America and Asia included in both categories, he stated. To create a more efficient, effective and accountable Secretariat, staff recruitment should pay due regard to equitable geographical distribution. Procurement policies should, in a balanced way, incorporate suppliers from all regions, especially developing countries. To strengthen oversight of the Organization, the operational independence of the Office of Internal Oversight Services must also be ensured.
BAKI ILKIN ( Turkey) said the deliberate targeting and killing of civilians and non-combatants, as well as military and security personnel, could not be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance. “Terrorism is a means of oppression which humiliates the individual and obstructs the development of humanity”, he stated. All acts of terrorism should be condemned as criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances and motivations. Turkey was ready to work with other nations to conclude a comprehensive convention on terrorism during the current session of the Assembly.
MADHU RAMAN ACHARYA ( Nepal) said many of the issues highlighted in the Secretary-General’s report were reflected in the Summit’s outcome document. And though that document was not “100 per cent perfect”, it correctly reflected humanity’s hopes and aspirations for peace, security and development, and reiterated the commitment of the world’s nations to achieve those goals in a time-bound manner. While he appreciated the Secretary-General’s continued interest in the difficult situation in the country, he would clarify that the particular reference to “constitutional rule” in the report “did not reflect reality”.
He said that Nepal’s King had been custodian of the Constitution since 1990, and that that document was “alive and well” in the country. The steps taken by the King this past February had been guided by his constitutional obligation to ensure the security and integrity of the nation, and to create an atmosphere for re-energizing multiparty democracy and rule of law, which had been obstructed by ongoing violence, terrorism and corruption. He added that Nepal was committed to the protection and promotion of human rights, and welcomed the recent setting up of a relevant United Nations-backed office there. Nepal also welcomed the humanitarian assistance provided by the international community to internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Turning to the Summit’s decision to establish a Peacebuilding Commission, he urged that its membership be based on the principle of equitable geographic representation and that its working methods be clear. He also believed that the package of reforms reflected in the Secretary-General’s report and agreed by the Assembly would strengthen the United Nations to face the challenges of the new century.
FERMIN TORO JIMENEZ ( Venezuela) said the Organization faced a tremendous threat from those who saw reform as a way to exclusively serve their own interests, referring specifically to the United States and its allies. As part of a new neocolonial order, he said, they were trying to redistribute spheres of influence and restore imperial hegemony. The world imbalance that already existed was being made worse by new mechanisms of interference and the oppression of Member States, all under the pretext of combating terror.
He said the outcome document had been vitiated by the flouting of due process. Venezuela remained opposed to the document, which it considered null and void for future negotiations. The Secretary-General’s report reflected the grim reality of the planet’s situation and also of the United Nations. It was overwhelmingly sad to see the Organization complacent and seemingly applauding its own ignominious situation on the way to its end.
He said Venezuela’s efforts to end poverty had been extensive, despite efforts to undermine the country through non-governmental organizations supported by the United States. As for achieving the Millennium Goals, he said the Secretary-General’s report used biased, dollar-linked ways of measuring poverty. It did not accurately quantify the outcome of public policies, and failed to assess the socio-political realities of Venezuela and other countries. He said events after December 2001, including the April 2002 coup and the 2003 oil shock, were fundamental hindrances to achieving the Goals. The period 2002-2003 was the equivalent of a tsunami for his country.
MARTIN BELINGA-EBOUTOU ( Cameroon) welcomed the electoral assistance given by the United Nations to African countries. The holding of credible elections was a critical element in the building of peace and the prevention of conflicts. He emphasized the need to increase the capacity of peacekeeping operations to provide election support. There was a need for African contingents and rapid response divisions in the peacekeeping operations. Africa’s participation in such operations was a necessity.
He stressed the need for international support for NEPAD. His delegation would offer suggestions on how best to mobilize such support. He also highlighted the need to write off debt to promote growth. There should be an opportunity for developing countries to participate more widely in world trade. He welcomed the fact that the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank had recently forgiven the debt of some of the most indebted developing countries. The same ought to be done for other countries. Cameroon hoped that a meeting in London this weekend would achieve progress in that regard.
He welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts, in conjunction with those of the International Court of Justice, to bring an end to the conflict between Cameroon and Nigeria. Cameroon reiterated its proposal that Member States be informed of the Court’s decisions. That was important for international peace and security because disputes were not resolved until the Court’s decisions were carried out. The failure to carry out such decisions could threaten peace and security.
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