SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING CRISIS-MANAGEMENT SEMINAR, CITES COORDINATION, FLEXIBILITY AS KEY ELEMENTS FOR UNITED NATIONS-EUROPEAN UNION COOPERATION

26 September 2008
SG/SM/11833

SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING CRISIS-MANAGEMENT SEMINAR, CITES COORDINATION, FLEXIBILITY AS KEY ELEMENTS FOR UNITED NATIONS-EUROPEAN UNION COOPERATION

26 September 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11833
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING CRISIS-MANAGEMENT SEMINAR, CITES COORDINATION,


FLEXIBILITY AS KEY ELEMENTS FOR UNITED NATIONS-EUROPEAN UNION COOPERATION


Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the seminar on United Nations-European Union Cooperation in Crisis Management and Security, in New York today, 26 September:


It is a pleasure to join you today.  I am grateful to the French presidency of the European Union for this opportunity to exchange views on a subject that is critical to international peace and security.


I should start by noting that cooperation between our organizations goes well beyond crisis management.  We work together on an enormous range of policy and operational issues -- from climate change, HIV/AIDS, gender and migration to emergency relief, development and peacebuilding.


This legacy of coordination provides a sound basis on which to strengthen our cooperation on crisis management and security challenges.  Few could have imagined how swift such cooperation has progressed, in particular over the past five years.


Today, the United Nations and European Union are working together to prevent and mediate crises, to support fragile peace settlements and to promote long-term peacebuilding in almost all continents.  This experience has brought important lessons.


First, crisis management activities are deeply interdependent.  The success of United Nations activities depends on the political and operational support provided by the European Union and its Member States.  In turn, the European Union relies on the United Nations presence in the field and rightfully seeks the legitimacy conferred by the Security Council.


Second, effective responses require close coordination.  Experiences in Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and the Middle East show that our collective impact is far greater when we go beyond simply operating side by side, and engage in a more coordinated fashion.  In so doing, we share knowledge, reduce duplication and make better use of scarce resources.


Third, there are no hard-and-fast models of cooperation.  Each crisis is unique.  We have to tailor our responses to the needs and constraints of each situation.  The varied forms of our current efforts, from mediation to elections to parallel or joint operations, prove that flexibility is and must remain a hallmark.


As organizations, the United Nations and the European Union embody a belief in the power of multilateralism.  Our organizations share a commitment to collective approaches, to shared norms and values, and to multilateral frameworks.  But our institutions are under strain.


So we also share a responsibility to show that multilateralism works -- that it delivers results and can address the crises of today and tomorrow.  We must also show that our organizations are not tools of the most powerful.


If we are not effective, or are seen as compromised, competing visions based on more traditional balance of power concepts could take hold.  Unilateral action could increase.


I see three ways to strengthen our cooperation, work in a truly holistic manner and thereby uphold this responsibility.


First, our efforts must be coherent.  In specific instances, a division of labour may be desirable, based on the strengths and added value of each organization.


Second, we need better information-sharing, both to keep situations from turning into crises and, once a crisis has erupted, to clarify common objectives.


Third, multilateralism means inclusiveness.  United Nations-European Union cooperation must not be a private club.  It should reach out to other regional and subregional organizations, as well as to international financial institutions and civil society actors, to build the global networks required to address today’s crises.


We have made good progress to date.  The coordination mechanisms we have put in place are allowing us to respond rapidly, efficiently and effectively.  I look forward to working with you to strengthen those mechanisms and to better serve the people who turn to our organizations for help.


Thank you very much.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.