GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTS TO STRENGTHEN UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH FOUR REGIONAL, RELATED ORGANIZATIONS
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ACTS TO STRENGTHEN UNITED NATIONS COOPERATION WITH FOUR REGIONAL, RELATED ORGANIZATIONS
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
38th & 39th Meetings (AM & PM)
General Assembly acts to strengthen United Nations cooperation
with four regional, related organizations
Aim Is to Take Advantage of Global Alliances, Partnerships
For Effective Responses to New Challenges of Twenty-First Century
Advancing efforts to ensure that the United Nations continued to promote and take advantage of global alliances and partnerships for an effective tackling of the intertwined challenges of the twenty-first century, the General Assembly today adopted four resolutions aimed at enhancing the Organization’s ability to cooperate with regional and other organizations.
The resolutions covered, respectively, cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization; the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization; the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and the International Organization of la Francophonie. All aimed to consolidate the ties of the United Nations system and the organizations towards the furtherance of shared objectives and the promotion of cooperation in resolving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems.
By all four drafts, adopted unanimously, the Assembly decided to continue its biennial consideration of cooperation issues and to include relevant items on the provisional agenda of the sixty-first session.
The resolution on the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization was introduced by the representative of the Russian Federation; on the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization by the representative of India; on the Inter-Parliamentary Union by the representative of Italy; and on the International Organization of la Francophonie by the representative of Romania.
The Assembly’s action capped a day-long joint debate, in which nearly 40 speakers urged the world body to take advantage of the expertise and on-the-ground experience of regional and local actors to assist in key areas such as promoting equitable development, in line with the Millennium Development Goals; monitoring environmental degradation and the use of natural resources; and even conflict resolution and peacebuilding, a particular concern for speakers from Africa, the Pacific island States, and the wider developing world.
Egypt’s representative said regional cooperation was the cornerstone of development. He noted that the world’s Muslims were joined through the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and said peace efforts in the Middle East could benefit from the greater involvement and strengthened cooperation between the OIC and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Pakistan’s representative said the close relationship between the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the League of Arab States had led to the prompt issuance of a joint statement by them, and statements by other States, following the publication of the Prophet Mohammed caricatures.
The representative of China said the United Nations was the world’s most representative organization, and it must strengthen and expand its cooperation with regional and other international organizations in an increasingly closer world of globalization.
Making statements on behalf of regional groups were the representative of: Ukraine, on behalf of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine); Papua New Guinea, for the Pacific Island Forum; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Belgium, for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Azerbaijan, for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); and Guinea-Bissau, for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Switzerland, Sudan, Iran, Turkey, Solomon Islands, Togo, Uganda, Tunisia, Marshall Islands, Ethiopia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Serbia, Singapore, Armenia and Chile.
Also addressing the Assembly were high-level officials of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the League of Arab States, the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
A major focus of today’s meeting was the need for coordination at all levels on issues related to nuclear matters.
The Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization addressed the Assembly and said the international reaction in response to the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it had conducted a nuclear test was a demonstration of international commitment to establishing a universal and verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test ban.
In his address, the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons underscored the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and his organization. He said the close relations helped ensure the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Ukraine’s representative made a statement in his capacity as Chair of the Preparatory Commission.
In other action today, the Assembly decided to heed the recommendation of its General Committee and enter two new items on its agenda for the current session, one on commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the other on renewing the terms of office of the ad litem judges on the Rwanda Tribunal. Both items would be considered directly in the plenary.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 25 October, when it will continue the process of electing a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the group of South American and Caribbean States.
The General Assembly met today to consider the matter of cooperation between the United Nations and other organizations, as well as to consider a report of its General Committee.
Before the Assembly was the General Committee’s second report (document AIDS/61/250/Add.1), which recommends two items to be added to the Assembly’s agenda for the sixty-first session with both to be considered directly in the plenary. One concerns the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The other is on the extension of the terms of ad litem judges of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda.
Also before the Assembly was a report by the Secretary-General on a regional-global security partnership: challenges and opportunities (document A/61/204-S/2006/590*), compiled in response to a 2005 Security Council request on the matter. In the report, the Secretary-General makes note of the growing interaction between the United Nations and partner organizations, including through annual high-level meetings with regional organizations and through the Council’s meetings with them. The World Summit Outcome had been one culmination of that growing interaction.
That development, he continues, offers the opportunity to establish a more effective partnership based on a clear division of labour reflecting the comparative advantage of each organization. A programme of action for capacity-building across the globe was another equally important opportunity. Among the challenges were to clarify the identity and role of each member of the partnership and to elaborate that programme of action for capacity-building through recommendations such as the establishment of data banks and roundtables.
Another report by the Secretary-General on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations (document A/61/256) is based on high-level meetings with the heads of world regional and intergovernmental organizations dealing with peace, security, development and economic cooperation, as called for by the 2005 World Summit Outcome. The meetings were held to strengthen direct contacts between some organizations, to collaborate in capacity-building and to create the coordinating framework for the implementation of United Nations policy and programme support.
The groups included were the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP), Council of Europe, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Organization of American States (OAS), International Organization of la Francophonie, Pacific Islands Forum, Southern African Development Community (SADC), BSEC, Economic Cooperation Organization, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
Two notes by the Secretary-General transmit relevant reports to the Assembly. One is the 2005 report of the Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Committee for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (document A/61/184). The other is the 2005 report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (document A/61/185), which also contains the Organization’s 2004 report on implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction.
Finally before the Assembly were a number of draft resolutions. By a draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the BSEC (document A/61/L.4), the Assembly would encourage that organization’s activities aimed at carrying out regional projects in the field of transport and energy infrastructure, focused on security of supply to the economies of the region. The Assembly would appeal for greater cooperation between the organization and international financial institutions in co-financing feasibility and pre-feasibility studies of projects in the Black Sea area. It would also take note of the organization’s strengthening relations with the European Union, and its cooperation with other bodies such as the World Bank and the World Tourism Organization aimed at promoting sustainable development. The Assembly would invite parties to strengthen dialogues and to coordinate activities through secretariats.
A draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (document A/61/L.5) would have the Assembly take note of the work of that organization to strengthen United Nations efforts in respect of issues such as combating corruption and taking actions against terrorism and trafficking. The Assembly would recommend that the Assembly’s consideration of the organization’s work should be scheduled to coincide with deliberations of the Sixth Committee (Legal) on the work of the International Law Commission so as to promote close interaction between the two bodies.
A draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (document A/61/L.6) would have the Assembly encourage the Union to strengthen its contribution to the Assembly’s work, and to that of the Economic and Social Council, including in the area of revitalization. The IPU was also encouraged to strengthen its role in newly-established bodies such as the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission. The Assembly would welcome the recently concluded partnership agreement between the Union and the United Nations Democracy Fund, and would look forward to growing cooperation in the realm of democracy and good governance. The Assembly would call for further development of the annual parliamentary hearing at the United Nations and for closer involvement of the Union in elaborating system-wide strategies for involving parliaments in the work of the United Nations.
And finally, by a draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie (document A/61/L.7), the Assembly would take note of the organization’s initiatives in the areas of conflict prevention, the promotion of peace and support for democracy, rule of law and human rights as set out and reaffirmed at the Ministerial Conference of la Francophonie on Conflict Prevention and Human Security (held in Canada in May).
The Assembly would also welcome the initiation of cooperation between the organization and the United Nations Peacekeeping Department, as well as the organization’s activities in implementing outcomes of United Nations Summits. Specialized agencies and others in the United Nations system would be invited to work with the la Francophonie organization and regional commissions, to identify new synergies in favour of development in areas such as the elimination of poverty and training.
TIBOR TOTH, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, said the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that it had conducted a nuclear test on 9 October had resulted in global expressions of concern and condemnation. States signatories to the Preparatory Commission had expressed their deep concern and regret over the test at a special session of the Commission on 13 October. The action of conducting the test went against the spirit of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Support for the Treaty, in the light of that action, demonstrated the international commitment to establishing a universal and verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test ban.
Continuing, he said the announcement of the test meant the global moratorium on nuclear tests that had been observed since 1998 was presumably broken. The action also brought the Commission under sharp scrutiny as to its organization, technical capabilities, work procedures and potential value for States signatories. For the past 10 years, the Commission and its Provisional Technical Secretariat had focused on promoting the entry into force and the establishment of the verification regime and there had been progress.
To date, he said, 176 States had signed the treaty and 135 had ratified it. The ratifying States included 34 of the 44 States whose ratification was required for the Treaty to enter into force. In the two years since the last report to the Assembly, 3 States had signed and 16 had ratified the Treaty. In addition to its monitoring activities, the Provisional Secretariat offered additional benefits related to research on the earth and climate. Altogether, 90 countries were hosting monitoring stations and contributing to verification capabilities. Training programmes and workshops were ongoing to support enhancement of national capabilities in implementing the Treaty. Since the June 2000 agreement between the United Nations and the Commission, joint activities between the two had intensified. The Commission should now be granted full membership in the United Nations System’s Chief Executive Board, to contribute its essential expertise in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to the work of the United Nations family.
ROGELIO PFIRTER, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), briefed the Assembly on its activities and programmes, and underscored the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and his Organization. He said both of them continued to seek support and guidance in ensuring the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
He said his organization had 180 member countries and had carried out more than 2,600 inspections at over 1000 sites in 76 countries. It had used 85 per cent of its resources to verify the destruction of chemical weapons and had certified that 15,094 metric tons -— 21 per cent of the declared worldwide stockpiles -— of Category 1 and 2 chemical weapons had been destroyed. The Organization had 12 destruction facilities operating around the world and was planning to open more in the next three years.
In the United States, despite enormous financial and technical difficulties, more than 37 per cent of the stockpiles had been destroyed. He applauded the United States for its dedication to the Convention’s purpose. He said the Russian Federation had pledged to fulfil its obligations under the Convention, and his organization had destroyed over 6 per cent of the declared chemical stockpiles. The remaining tonnage of chemical warfare agents was scheduled to be destroyed by 2012, as new destruction facilities became available.
Renewing the situation in other countries, he praised India’s elimination of 67 per cent of its declared stockpile, and said it signalled the country’s dedication to the area of multilateral disarmament. Libya had destroyed its Category 3 weapons, had begun to destroy its Category 2 stockpiles and was set to complete the elimination by 2010. Albania was expected to completely destroy its stockpiles by the end of April 2007.
He said requests by five possessor States for extensions of their destruction deadlines, some until 2012, would be considered by the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention at its eleventh session in December.
Applauding the support his organization had received from the world’s chemical industry, he said the preventative efforts of the Organization had continued, and 1,200 chemical industry inspections had been finished. He noted that over 98 per cent of the world’s chemical industry was located in States parties to the Convention. A majority of those States parties had created a national authority for domestic implementation of the Convention. However, some countries were lagging behind in implementing national requirements, which included the introduction of legislation forbidding their nationals or entities from engaging in activities proscribed by the Convention. His organization had helped more than 130 State Parties with their national efforts.
Programmes of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had been made possible by the contributions from a number of States and the European Union. The Organization was operating with zero-nominal budgetary growth and hoped to achieve the same for the 2007 budget. Fiscal discipline was achieved without affecting the Organization’s activities.
He said that, despite the progress made under the Convention, much needed to be done in the coming years. The final deadline to destroy every chemical weapon by States parties was 29 April 2012 and attaining this singular landmark was central to the Convention’s success. Requests for extensions deserved consideration but possessor States parties had to respect the Convention requirements.
Obtaining full implementation of article VII by all States parties was another challenge, he said, urging that key provisions, including systematic declarations, industry monitoring and regulatory measures to track chemicals of concern, had to be implemented by every State party.
He observed that only 15 United Nations Member States had failed to endorse the Convention. Some States were taking steps to become members, but there was a small group of Member States, which were reluctant to join, citing regional conflicts. Not joining the Convention was unacceptable and illegal under international law. He said one remaining State reluctant to join was the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a disturbing fact, given the concern that that country could have chemical weapons stockpiles.
He appealed to some key countries in the Middle East to become party to the Convention, and mentioned one upcoming avenue for dialogue between reluctant States and the Organization in Rome next week, at a workshop on the universality of the Convention in the Mediterranean Basin. He congratulated Israel, Lebanon and Syria for accepting the invitation to attend the workshop, and said he hoped to have other opportunities to continue the dialogue with Egypt.
He said his organization would continue its assistance and support to States parties, on capacity building and economical and technological development. Continued training on emergency assistance would also continue.
Introduction of Drafts
VITALY I. CHURKIN (Russian Federation), introducing a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/61/L.4), said that one of the best ways to effectively address the threats and challenges of the day was to increase cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional groups and organizations, focusing on the advantages of both. The reach and breadth of the United Nations was well known, and regional and subregional organizations often had a clearer picture of what was happening on the ground and they often had better equipment and even their own financing mechanisms.
The Russian Federation, he said, would like to see deepened cooperation between the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as groups such as the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, and Economic Community of West African States. He also called for more cooperation with bodies, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), when mechanisms for crisis reaction were being set up. Still, Russia believed that the potential for mutual advantageous cooperation between the United Nations and mechanisms established within the Commonwealth of Independence States had far from been exhausted, and indeed should be enhanced.
He said Russia also believed that cooperation should be enhanced between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which was working at the regional level to “build a Europe without any dividing lines,” by protecting and promoting human rights, encouraging human rights education, and promoting cultural diversity. Under Russia’s chairmanship, he continued, the Council had also expanded its active involvement in regional and global anti-terrorism efforts, including working with civil society in that area.
He said his delegation would shortly introduce another draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe. On cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), of which Russia was the current Chair, he said the relevant draft under consideration stressed, among other things, the priorities of the work of that organization. The text would give impetus to further cooperation between the two important organizations.
TARIQ ANWAR ( India) introduced a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (document A/61/L.5). He said that his country, which was president of that organization for the year, would stress the need for it to expand its activities. He cited, in particular; promotion, teaching and advising on matters related to international law and education; the offering of fellowships to Asian and African students for higher learning in the international law field and the publication of books devoted to international law.
ALDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) introduced a draft resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU (document A/61/L.6). He said the text had been based largely on the Secretary-General’s relevant report, and highlighted the current important role world Parliaments were playing in international affairs, as well as in the work of the United Nations. He hoped the text could be adopted by consensus.
MIHNEA MOTOC ( Romania), on behalf of the International Organization of la Francophonie, then introduced a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and that organization (document A/61/l.7). He said that his delegation supported the text on the BSEC, but would stress that political and economic development in that region was being hampered by lingering conflicts. While the potential for the Black Sea Basin region was huge, it could not participate fully in the international community while dealing with political and economic instability. Therefore, international cooperation with organizations in the region and the wider international community would be welcomed.
He said that, speaking as chair of the latest Conference of Heads of State of la Francophonie, the current text had already received strong support, even beyond the French-speaking world. It reflected the importance of regional cooperation and cultural and linguistic diversity. It also stressed the importance of enhancing cooperation between the United Nation in areas of democracy, security, equitable development and other areas of interest, including placing new communication technologies at the service of development and education.
VOLODYMYR KHANDOGY (Ukraine), speaking for the countries of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development -- GUAM (Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), expressed support for cooperation between the United Nations, to OSCE and the BSEC (BSEC). He said the GUAM countries believed that peacekeeping was an integral part of the partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, and it remained crucially important that the international community, in particular the OSCE and the United Nations, took steps to settle protracted conflicts in Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan.
He called for the implementation of resolutions by the Security Council and the decisions of the OSCE, to settle conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He said the GUAM countries attached great importance to stronger cooperation between the United Nations and OSCE, and welcomed growth in cooperation between the United Nations and the BSEC. The GUAM States remained ready to take an active part in the promotion of energy projects in the Black-Sea Caspian region within the framework of economic cooperation organization.
ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea), speaking for the Pacific Islands Forum, said cooperative activities between the United Nations and the Forum had been gaining momentum in recent years. However, there was still room for strengthening that relationship and shoring up the partnership even further, particularly by expanding cooperation with regional partners such as the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme and the Forum Fisheries Agency. He stressed that certain Pacific nations, such as the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, had minimal or no United Nations presence on the ground, which made it difficult for those nations to get the support necessary for making progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development commitments.
He noted the proactive engagement of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other agencies, and as the Secretary-General’s decision to establish a United Nations presence in those countries as well as an expanded presence in the Solomon Islands. “Our people”, he said, “must see activities on the ground that give practical effect to the Pacific leaders’ vision of a region that is respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values and for its defence of human rights.”
He said the undertaking of programmes that improved the livelihoods of the people of the region was a litmus test for the validity of such partnerships; his delegation would shortly submit a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Forum for action by the Assembly.
MARGARET HUGHES FERRARI, ( Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking for the Countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), called on the United Nations and the international community to assist Haiti in its development efforts. She said the Caribbean countries continued to utilize a variety of approaches for interaction between the United Nations and the region. They sought support of the United Nations and its specialized agencies in a number of priority areas, including the further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action.
A top priority, she said, was crime and security, because of the use of small arms and light weapons in illegal activities throughout the Caribbean, as well as narcotic drugs and money laundering. As a result, it was necessary to retain the offices of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the region. The Community hoped that pleas to the United Nations would not go unheard. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) continued to provide technical support to CARICOM and the region intended to enhance cooperation with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The region also enjoyed continued collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and United Nations Environment Programme.
She said collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization in food security led to the development of preventive measures against the Avian Flu and a three-year project had been developed. Another effective relationship was between the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the CARICOM-Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS. The region also looked forward to developing similar partnerships with other relevant agencies to address non-communicable diseases.
JOHAN VERBEKE ( Belgium), Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, said he reiterated the commitment for close cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization, which was demonstrated through participation in Security Council debates, and the attendance of many United Nations high-level representatives at OSCE meetings and seminars. On 16 March 2006, the Permanent Council of the OSCE declared its readiness to continue its role as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, as enhanced under the outcome document of the 2005 World Summit and Security Council resolution 1631 (2005).
He said the Permanent Council of the OSCE called on the Secretary-General to take steps to strengthen cooperation in this regard; in order to underpin the close cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations, a resolution of the General Assembly on their relations would be welcome. It had not been possible at the 59th and 60th Sessions: Belgium remained strongly committed to such a resolution in the current Session.
ILGAR MAMMADOV (Azerbaijan), speaking for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said a draft text on cooperation between the United Nations and the OIC had already been distributed among United Nations Member States and that his delegation would shortly begin informal consultations on that resolution. It highlighted the efforts of the OIC leadership in strengthening the Conference’s role in conflict prevention, confidence-building, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation among its Member States, as well as in conflict situations involving Muslim communities.
He said the text also stressed the need for continued cooperation between the two organizations in post-conflict resolution and conflict prevention, among others. It encouraged the United Nations system to continue to expand cooperation with the OIC’s specialized and subsidiary bodies, particularly in the implementation of the Conference’s 10-year Programme of Action. That Programme focused on the most prominent challenges facing the Muslim world today, including combating terrorism, poverty alleviation in Africa, higher education and access to and increased use of science and technology and new communication technologies.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said his Government attached great importance to cooperation with a number of organizations, including the OSCE. Their joint mission recently to the fire-affected areas of Azerbaijan could be highlighted as an important area of such cooperation. The close cooperation between the United Nations Environment Programme and the OSCE in preparation of the assessment mission deserved particular mention. He also emphasized Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the Council of Europe, particularly in areas such as protection of human rights, and environmental and humanitarian issues.
ALFREDO LOPES CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau), speaking for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, said the regional organizations were vital for planning and implementing Community projects. As a result, coordination and cooperation was continually growing between the Community and the United Nations system, and implementation was ever more effective. Joint activities with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, for example, had focused on practical areas, such as training and trade-related activities, particularly in Africa, so as to enable Community member States to merge into the global economy. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization was also involved in carrying out Community-based agricultural programmes and projects.
He said the role of the regional organizations was particularly crucial in the context of the regional nature of modern conflicts: the regional groups should be more robustly utilized in all peace-related and conflict-resolution efforts. Secretariats among regional groups were already being coordinated more closely, but those efforts must be accelerated, particularly in areas where conflicts were being addressed. The responsibility for peace, stability and development was a shared one; all concerned had a role to play and the Community accepted its own.
ANDREAS GROSS ( Switzerland) laid out his view on how the United Nations could introduce a parliamentary dimension similar to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He acknowledged that big political will was necessary in order to implement such changes, but said that a parliamentary unit of the United Nations –- a second “sister” chamber to the General Assembly -- could better serve the people.
The United Nations could annually address the existing transnational parliamentary bodies of world regions, and by doing so would stimulate the creation of such bodies that existed also in Latin America, Asia and Africa. It would let members take advantage of the openness, the critics and the straightforwardness of parliamentary debates on global concerns, which produced more innovations and creativity than other debates.
Tough debate, he asserted, was the most important condition in order to produce wise decisions. Furthermore, a parliamentary dimension that was integrated into the structures of the United Nations and one that interacted on the basis of especially designed procedures, might accord legitimacy that be provided only by elected members of parliament.
Mr. ABDALHALEEN (The Sudan) said that the experiences of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) were excellent examples of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. The African Union had a host of “young” institutions that needed to be supported and strengthened, particularly its Peace and Security Council.
He also said that African organizations working in areas of conflict prevention and humanitarian relief, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration training and expertise on the ground, needed support. He said the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the North and South in his country had been an example of international cooperation in the area of conflict resolution and peacebuilding, particularly with the United Nations. He urged the international community to also support the Darfur Peace Agreement, which had been signed last May, particularly towards ensuring that all parties involved became signatories as soon as possible.
JAVAD AMIN-MANSOUR ( Iran) said he firmly believed that the consideration and adoption of the proposed draft resolution on the cooperation between the BSEC and the United Nations during the current session of the General Assembly was necessary. The organization, which was granted observer status in 1993, was made up of the membership of 10 countries in Central, Southern and Western Asia, with more than 400 million people, and was developing initiatives and programmes in economic, social, environmental and other areas.
He expressed hope that the trade agreement among its member States would be signed by the end of the year; it would mark a turning point in the organization. It would strengthen cooperation between members and other regional and international organizations. In addition, a Department of Human Resources and Sustainable Development was established in the secretariat of the organization and there was cooperation with the United Nations, particularly in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
IHAB AWAD ( Egypt) said he would be introducing a draft on cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. The aim would be to increase and strengthen the effectiveness of programmes and projects being jointly carried out between the League and the specialized agencies, funds and programmes, as well as with other parts of the United Nations system. The focus was on the protection of all rights and on capacity-building in general and in areas such as energy, rural development, combating desertification and improving trade.
Regional coordination, he said, was the cornerstone of development and he called for a strengthening of dialogue to avoid conflict and to strengthen cooperation at both subregional and regional levels. He said peace would never be attained without development. Since the African continent was the only one that would not reach the Millennium Development Goals, the Secretary-General should submit specific recommendations on how the United Nations system could expedite the building of Africa’s capacity in the area of peacekeeping and how African ownership could be strengthened in making and building peace. Cooperation should be channelled through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the Economic Commission for Africa should be utilized in the peace process for the Middle East and for implementing the spread of technology.
He said the world’s Muslims were joined through the OIC and a key focus for the organization was to initiate numerous projects related to promoting tolerance. He said Egypt was a major contributor of troops to the United Nations, so, its experience made it deserving of a bigger role in settling conflicts. Peace efforts in the Middle East could also benefit from the greater involvement and strengthened cooperation between the OIC and the IPU, which already was a staple of dialogue at the United Nations. The Secretary-General should continue to report, not just on efforts directly related to cooperation, but on steps being taken to give a greater role to regional groups in the United Nations machinery. There should be regular meetings of regional groups and relevant parts of the United Nations system.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said globalization was making the world smaller and making concerted action among, and between, all nations more important than ever. Therefore, the United Nations, as the world’s most representative Organization, was now faced with strengthening and expansion of its cooperation with regional and other international organizations to promote world peace and security and the common development of all mankind. He spoke of cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Consultative Organization, which was the only intergovernmental legal consultative group in the two regions. Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, he said that organization continued its work as a forum for the exchange of information and for cooperation in global legal matters among African and Asian countries. It helped them in engaging in international legal practices, while promoting the gradual development and codification of international law. Over the years, the group had also closely followed the work of the Assembly’s Sixth Committee (Legal); including on the law of the sea; global cooperation in combating trafficking in women and children, and on the elaboration of international instruments on anti-corruption and counter-terrorism.
He said that, as Asian and African countries had registered solid political, economic and social progress in recent years, those countries would continue to broaden and widen their participation in international legal affairs: they would take a more effective part in the process of democratization and the rule of law governing international relations.
When the General Assembly resumed its meeting this afternoon, KERİM URAS ( Turkey) encouraged deeper cooperation and relations between the United Nations and the BSEC, as well as with other relevant international and regional organizations, in particular international financial institutions. He said the Organization represented 350 million people in the territories of the Black Sea, the Balkans and the Caucasus and the region was rapidly becoming Europe’s major transport and energy transfer corridor.
The Organization helped inject stability in the region through deepened economic cooperation, with new mechanisms and instruments that supported significant progress in such areas of cooperation as trade, transport and science, among others. Following the mandate given to the organization in 2002, it had expanded beyond the traditional areas of regional economic cooperation. Furthermore, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals required enhanced cooperation and result-orientated collaboration between international and national goals.
COLLIN BECK (Solomon Islands), associating his statement with that of Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group of States, said that the 2005 Summit outcome document provided an excellent basis for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, but there was more of a focus given to security, with very little emphasis in that document on cooperation for development. Insecurity would follow if development was ignored.
Listing some of the cooperative initiatives named in the report, he said his country appreciated the workshops and training opportunities they provided, but more attention needed to be directed toward cooperation in renewable energy, telecommunications, trade and other development needs. His country remained committed to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, but would like that arrangement too to be more focussed on development.
KATI OHARA KORGA ( Togo) welcomed increased cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, from that body’s transformation from the Organization of African Unity through the creation of its subsidiary organizations, such as the Peace and Security Council. He also welcomed the enhanced cooperation that had driven wider implementation of the NEPAD. At the same time, he said, close cooperation was also needed in the sphere of disarmament and peacekeeping. That was why the creation of the Lome Regional Centre for Peace and Security in Africa had proved so valuable. That Centre, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, acted in cooperation with regional and subregional organizations of the continent to find solutions to the challenges that faced, and even destabilized, African States, including conflict and the proliferation of illicit small arms.
Sadly, the Centre seemed to have been cast adrift -- left to its own devices -- largely because of a continuing reduction of voluntary donations to its special fund, he continued. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to put in place a mechanism to get to the bottom of the matter and looked forward to that contact group’s initial assessment. Meanwhile, the Centre pressed ahead to the best of its ability in the areas of peace and security, arms control and disarmament and cooperation with regional organizations and civil society. Togo would continue to lend its support to the Lome Centre, including the allocation of some $40,000 to cover such basic needs as heat, electricity and hot water. He encouraged the international community to reaffirm the relevance of the Centre’s mandate and urged Member States to consider allocating funds from the United Nations budget to allow the Centre to more effectively carry out its mandate in the service of peace in Africa.
FRANCIS BUTAGIRA ( Uganda) said the African Union was now a dynamic organization spearheading the development of Africa under well defined structures, such as the Peace and Security Council and NEPAD. The Peace and Security Council showed that Africa was taking ownership of security issues and it had pioneered the concept of intervention in cases of genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. It had declared categorically that sovereignty could not be invoked with regard to these crimes, which had been echoed by the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
The Security Council could delegate some of its functions to the African Union under the principle of subsidiarity, he said, as the Union was better placed to handle some of the conflicts. He pointed to a number of successes as evidence of that statement, such as the work of Economic Community of West African States, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development’s (IGAD) efforts with regard to the Sudan civil war and the initiative on Burundi, chaired by Uganda. He also observed, though, that the African Union mission in Darfur was doing as much as it could with limited financial resources and the Security Council’s help was needed in that case and regarding the partial lifting of the arms embargo in Somalia to allow IGAD to deploy forces to stabilize the Transitional Government.
He asked the United Nations, through the Office of the Special Adviser for Africa and the Economic and Social Council, to continue to extend assistance to development efforts under NEPAD and sought close work between the African Union and the Peacebuilding Commission to address post-conflict development and rehabilitation. The High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development had also offered an opportunity for cooperation on economic development issues and he sought a follow-up dialogue in the near future, given the fact that immigrants from Africa had played a significant role in development of the world economy.
In conclusion, he sought regular informal discussions or dialogue between the African Union and the United Nations, particularly informal sessions of the Peace and Security Council with the United Nations Security Council.
JALEL SNOUSSI ( Tunisia) said full cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations was becoming more and more necessary and the outcome of the 2005 World Summit had stressed the need to enhance and strengthen such cooperation in various fields. Tunisia, for its part, welcomed expanded cooperation between the world body and, in particular, the League of Arab States in the area of economic and social development.
Tunisia would further encourage broader and better-structured cooperation with the African Union, he said. That important African peace and development organization did not currently have the resources to implement all its important duties, he said, adding that the attention of all African nations, as well as the wider international community, needed to be focused on boosting the capacity of the African Union, particularly towards achieving its stated goal of ridding the African continent of conflict by 2015.
ALFRED CAPELLE (Marshall Islands) aligned his country with the statement made by the representative of Papua New Guinea on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Group and urged the General Assembly to strengthen the relationship between the United Nations and the Pacific Island Forum. Due to their remote geographical location, Forum Member States, including the Marshall Islands, were subject to the impact of sea-level rise and climate change. The geography also created hurdles for economic development, education and poverty reduction and the health impacts of nuclear weapon testing. Regional coordination was critical to meet these challenges.
Furthermore, close cooperation with the UNDP and other United Nations agencies with the Pacific Island Forum ensured coordination of the Millennium Development Goals and the implementation of the Pacific Plan. Also of note, he said, United Nations workshops, policy studies and demonstration projects had enhanced regional understandings of conflict prevention, ethical elections, gender issues, communication technology and poverty reduction.
MULUGETA ZEWDIE ( Ethiopia) expressed his views on the cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, which was addressed by the reports of the Secretary-General. The African Union cooperated with the United Nations and other organizations so that Africa could achieve the Millennium Development Goals, implement the programmes of NEPAD and free the continent of conflicts. However, he said, half the world’s conflicts and peacekeeping efforts were in Africa and, as a result, sub-Saharan Africa remained behind in achieving those goals.
Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union was more imperative today than ever before, he said, if the United Nations wanted Africa to reach the Millennium Development Goals. During the 2005 World Summit, a 10-year capacity-building plan was forged. In that regard, increased assistance to peacekeeping operations and the strengthening of the African Standby Force was of great importance. In particular, he supported cooperation between the United Nations and other organizations to implement the Programme of Action in small arms.
CHO HYUN ( Republic of Korea) said that while issues such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, development, climate change and environmental degradation were universal challenges, they affected different geographical regions in distinct ways. Accordingly, regional organizations were often well suited to provide location-specific approaches and remedies that could reinforce global efforts to address such challenges. To that end, the United Nations should continue to strengthen its relevant cooperation -- with a view to enhancing its own capacities, as well as that of its partnering organizations -- towards achieving more synergistic outcomes.
Turning to the work of several East Asian regional organizations and arrangements, he emphasized the expanding partnership between ASEAN and UNDP, which, among other things, aimed to narrow the development gap within South-East Asian countries and countries in other regions, as well as to integrate ASEAN more broadly into other multilateral organizations, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO). His delegation also felt that cooperation with the IPU was also important, as it was an important link between the world’s citizens, as represented by their parliaments, and the United Nations. Moreover, national Parliaments played a vital role as the institutions primarily responsible for adapting and translating global norms and agreements into domestic laws.
TAHIRA ASIF ( Pakistan) said his country was pleased the United Nations was reviewing its cooperation with regional and other organizations, because those groups had specific niches and regional approaches that were complementary to the United Nations. One specific working relationship that had been successful in the Middle East, he added, was the one between the United Nations and OIC, a group that had taken significant measures in fostering peace, promoting social and economic development, combating ethnic and racial intolerance and seeking and end to the causes of injustice and instability in the Middle East.
An example of the gains obtained through that cooperation was the joint statement issued by the Secretaries-General of the United Nations, OIC and League of Arab States, together with representatives of various countries, following the publication of the Prophet Mohammed caricatures. A lot of work remained to be done in expanding and diversifying relations, he added, but he urged both the United Nations and the OIC to turn their attention to conflict resolution in the Muslim world, including Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir. He also encouraged closer relationships between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization and the South Asian Association for Cooperation, two organizations that promoted socio-economic development and progress in South Asia.
JIRO KODERA ( Japan) expressed support for cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) and said that the work of codification, in particular, would be greatly advanced by strengthening the interaction. In addressing regional issues, it was essential to ensure the ownership of the countries and organizations in that region. He commended efforts made by subregional organizations, such as the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC) and Economic Community of West African States and the role that the African Union played in Darfur.
Regarding the IPU, Japan, as the co-sponsor of the draft resolution introduced by the Representative of Italy this morning, hoped that that organization would continue to play an important role in worldwide parliamentary dialogue. He called for strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and national and regional parliaments, in particular through the IPU, in order to further the Millennium Development Goals.
SLAVKO KRULJEVIC ( Serbia) said cooperation among the United Nations and the OSCE and the Council of Europe was important, because they jointly dealt with issues that were closely connected, including the promotion of security, development of democracy and the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. As a State Member of the United Nations, OSCE and the Council of Europe, Serbia supported efforts to boost cooperation among those groups, to help address challenging issues in the Balkan region. Indeed, his country –- as well as many others throughout that still-transitioning region -– were burdened by large numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons.
In that respect, he said cooperation between the OSCE and the Council of Europe, along with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, had been particularly important. In Kosovo and Metohija, in particular, human rights and humanitarian issues required adequate cooperation among international organizations. He said that the OSCE had played an important role, along with other organizations, following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, chiefly in the areas of confidence and institution-building by actively supporting the reform process initiated by the Governments of South-Eastern Europe. He added that cooperation of the OSCE missions in the region, covering the return of refugees and expelled persons to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, was very important and further expansion of cooperation between the United Nations, the OSCE and its offices in the field would contribute to better protection for minorities, faster refugee returns and quicker resolution of the issue of missing persons.
KEVIN CHEOK ( Singapore) said that since the establishment of ASEAN in 1967, the organization had shared a fruitful relationship with the United Nations, in particular with UNDP, and looked forward to deepening that connection. However, in recent years both ASEAN and the United Nations had become aware of the increasing problem of transboundary dangers, such as terrorism and tsunamis and possible pandemics, such as the avian flu and environmental concerns.
Over the last 10 years, ASEAN had worked to solve the daunting problem of haze, a severe form of air pollution caused by illegally burning vegetation and forests that affected many South Asian countries, including Singapore. Satellite photographs showed that most of the hot spots were in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia. Recently, member countries had ratified a treaty for the abolishment of haze, and Indonesia pledged to sign the treaty. That was an encouraging move and Singapore commended Indonesia for its commitment. It was heartening that Indonesia had acknowledged their responsibility and taken the lead to address the problem. In addition, it was also critical to take action to prevent future fires. He hoped the international community would respond with assistance to help address a dreadful problem that affected millions of lives.
ARMEN MARTIROSYAN (Armenia) said, in the beginning of 2006, his Government had started, with the assistance of Council of Europe experts, a two-year process to amend 67 laws; including the Law on the Constitutional Court, which now gave private citizens the right to file complaints; the Law of Police Service; the Criminal Code and the Law on the Ombudsperson. Armenia had signed and verified 49 Council of Europe Conventions and was in the process of doing the same for 11 more. Improving Armenia’s laws in line with Council of Europe Conventions and monitoring their implementation was an important area of cooperation. Armenia attached great importance to cooperating on human, political, environmental and economic aspects of security and stability with the OSCE. The OSCE Office in Yerevan was assisting Armenia with three large-scale projects, including in rocket fuel disposal, police training and economic development.
In the last two years, the Council of Europe and the OSCE had been instrumental in establishing democracy and the rule of law in Armenia, he continued. However, the same organizations were astonishingly tolerant to growing levels of warmongering and militaristic pronouncements from certain high-level officials in the conflict-torn South Caucasus. The OSCE Minsk Group’s ongoing negotiations to resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict was a vital area of cooperation. Its monitoring of the ceasefire had contributed greatly to the region’s relative stability and could result in a durable, lasting solution. Any discussion in the United Nations on the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict should be based on the Minsk Group process, in order to make conflict-resolution effective and efficient.
ALFREDO LABBE ( Chile) said cooperation between the United Nations system and the IPU was of fundamental importance, because it enabled the Member States to learn the views of the legislative world, particularly in such areas as the promotion of democracy, maintenance of peace and security and the rule of law. Therefore, parliamentarians should not only be aware of what went on at the United Nations, but should regularly provide reports and presentations to the Assembly. The partnership should be a two-way road, ensuring open communication and mutual support.
Indeed, work in such areas as disarmament, promotion and protection of human rights and United Nations reform, required meeting with the world’s lawmakers for the good of all. With all that in mind, he welcomed the draft resolutions under consideration on cooperation between the United Nations and the IPU. His delegation urged the Assembly to adopt the text by consensus.
WAFIK KAMIL, Secretary-General of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization, said his organization was a common platform and forum bringing together the Asian-African States to strengthen their participation in the development of international law and to enable them to realize goals and aspirations. Founded in 1956 by seven members, the organization now had a membership of 48 States representing two-thirds of the world population. A permanent home had opened this year in New Delhi and the long-term agenda covered issues from the Law of the Sea and the Middle East to cooperation against trafficking, the International Law Commission and terrorism.
Enumerating initiatives in such areas as environmental law and a May meeting of experts on human rights in Islam that had been held in Kuala Lumpur, he said the organization’s contribution in bringing together the countries of the two continents and coordinating the position of developing countries in codification conferences under the auspices of the United Nations was well recognized. The organization shared a mutually supportive relationship with the International Law Commission and it was the organization’s statutory obligation to follow up on the Commission’s work. Relationships with other inter-governmental organizations and with entities of the United Nations had also been formalized, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Environment Programme and World Intellectual Property Organization. Dialogues were ongoing for the conduct of training programmes and workshops in several areas of international law.
Concluding, he said the high-level dialogue held at the United Nations this fall on the subject of international migration had been coincidentally addressed earlier in the year at the organization’s annual session. The Global Forum on international migration that would be held next year in Belgium would be an opportunity to exchange best ideas and practices on the issue. As the head of an international legal body, he emphasized the need for full respect, enhancement and implementation of the rule of law everywhere, to keep the international community within the boundaries of a civilized world.
TERRY DAVIS (Council of Europe) said that the top priority for his organization was the fight against terrorism. Cooperation between the United Nations and the Council of Europe, although it already existed, needed to be strengthened in order to fight this terrible scourge. The Council of Europe adopted conventions that allowed Member States to improve their cooperation and diminish the capacity of terrorists to enlist new recruits and strike whenever and wherever they chose. Those new treaties established as criminal offences several acts that might lead to terrorism. The Council had strengthened cooperation with law enforcement to help the victims of terrorism.
However, he said, Europeans rejected the false choice between freedom and security and had learned that as a result of experiences on their native soil. From those lessons, they learned that the fight of an ideological conflict could not be won by force alone and members must remain faithful to fundamental ideas and values. The fight could not be won with secret prisons or people kept in legal limbo and deprived of safeguards. Those methods were not only morally wrong, but they were dangerous, because they had just what the terrorists wanted. They want to level the field between good and evil. “We cannot let this happen, we must not let this happen and we will not let it happen,” he said.
LEONIDAS CHRYSANTHOPOULOU, Secretary-General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, said that his organization had been effective in fostering closer cooperation among its Member States, thus bringing about peace and stability in the Black Sea region for a period of 14 years. Ministers of countries not maintaining diplomatic relations among themselves could, at the margins of ministerial meetings, discuss the bilateral problems that separated them. Member States used BSEC as a forum for cooperation in culture, energy, transport, trade, economic development, the environment, tourism, agriculture, combating organized crime, terrorism, small and medium enterprises and emergency relief.
He said that BSEC had created an inter-governmental Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and had its own parliament. It also had a trade and development bank, a business council, as well as a think thank, called the International Centre for Black Sea Studies. Some examples of agreements undertaken by the BSEC included those on combating organized crime and on cooperation in emergency situations. A Project Development Fund had also been established in October 2002 to facilitate projects with high development impact. At a meeting in Sochi, Russian Federation, BSEC ministers of transport had agreed to construct a 700-kilometre ring highway around the Black Sea, to be called the “Road of the Argonauts”. A second project would build infrastructure for better connecting Black Sea ports.
He said that once Bulgaria and Romania acceded to the European Union next year, the European Union would have reached even the Black Sea. As such, a framework of cooperation must soon be developed to enhance relations between BSEC and the European Union. As for relations with the United Nations, BSEC had signed cooperation agreements with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; the United Nations Environment Programme; the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. It also has relations with the World Trade Organization and the World Bank.
While BSEC was not directly involved in peacekeeping and conflict prevention, it would continue to use economic cooperation as a “soft” security measure, thus fulfilling the Security Council’s call for more cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations in maintaining peace and security.
YAHYA A. MAHMASSANI, Observer for the League of Arab States, said the League and its agencies wished to intensify cooperation with the United Nations system in all spheres of its work. Thus far, the Arab League and the United Nations had worked together in convening several high-level international meetings dealing with, among other things, the need to establish a culture of dialogue among cultures and religions, supervising elections in the Comoros and the importance of respect for cities of religious and cultural heritage.
The League was also working with the United Nations to bring about peace and stability in Somalia, he said, and was working with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia on matters related to rehabilitating occupied Arab Territories, among others. The league also wanted to work cooperatively towards the implementation of Unite Nations resolutions, particularly towards settling the question of Palestine and all tracks of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
ANDERS B. JOHNSSON, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on cooperation between the two organizations attested to a dynamic and substantive partnership between them. Last year, leaders of Parliaments from all over the world met at United Nations headquarters to declare their support for a strong and effective United Nations. They pledged to assist in implementing decisions, taken at the United Nations, by ratifying instruments, translating those commitments into national legislation, approving the necessary budgets and exercising oversight of the executive.
He said the parliamentarians also stated their wish to make the United Nations accountable to the people it served throughout the world. He noted that the terms of the declaration of the World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments were echoed in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, which called for strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and national and regional parliaments, in particular through the IPU, to further all aspects of the Millennium Declaration Goals and promote United Nations reform. He said the forthcoming parliamentary hearing, which will take place at United Nations headquarters, would look at conflict prevention and peacebuilding. The IPU had begun a series of consultations with offices and different departments and representatives of the United Nations membership to pinpoint areas for future parliamentary action. The Union was ready to find ways to ensure parliamentary support for some of the major cross-cutting issues, such as health, employment, environmental protection, migration, violence against children, rights of persons with disabilities and gender mainstreaming.
ABDUL WAHAB, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said that the OIC represented 57 countries and was diverse in all respects; economically, politically and culturally. The significant demographic strength and resource potential of the OIC member States had led to a pronounced new orientation at the OIC, as reflected in the 10-Year Programme of Action. The Programme assessed the most prominent challenges facing the Muslim world today and outlined pragmatic and objective strategies to address them effectively.
The OIC was devising programmes to increase its capacity in diverse areas, such as peacebuilding, the promotion of human rights, good governance, accountability and transparency. He added that poverty alleviation, socio-economic development of the least developed countries -- especially in Africa -- education, scientific and technological development all remained high-priority areas for the OIC.
He noted that cooperation between the OIC and the United Nations was increasing. The desire of both organizations was to continue to cooperate closely in the political, economic, social, humanitarian, cultural and scientific fields to find solutions to global problems. An important area of collaboration was already taking place in the area of humanitarian work. For example, right after the tsunami disaster in Asia, the OIC had significantly contributed to relief efforts in that region.
YURII ONISCHENKO (Ukraine), speaking as chair of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organizations (CTBTO), said this had been a trying time for the CTBTO, particularly the announcement by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea of its intention to test a nuclear device and its subsequent claim to have successfully carried out such a test. That announcement had sparked the outcry of the international community, and the Security Council’s subsequent unanimous adoption of resolution 1718 (2006) this past Saturday had sent a strong message that the DPRK should arrest its programme.
He went on to say that his delegation was proud that the CTBTO had been one of the first organizations to respond to Pyongyang’s announcement and he reiterated its call on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to refrain from such tests and to exercise maximum restraint. He also called on States in the region to exercise such restraint. The recent events had renewed and increased international attention to the importance of the CTBT and to the notion that nuclear proliferation was one of the main challenges of the day. Ukraine, for its part, was committed to the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and continued to support efforts to ensure denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones in Central and South-Eastern Europe.
Action on Drafts
The draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (document A/61/L.4) was adopted without a vote, as was the text on cooperation between the United Nations and the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (document A/61/L.5).
The Assembly then adopted a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (document A/61/L.6) and a draft resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organization of la Francophonie (document A/61/l.7), both without vote.
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