Senior Government Officials from Nations on the Front Lines of Climate Change Urge Comprehensive Action to Help with Mitigation, Adaptation Measures
Senior Government Officials from Nations on the Front Lines of Climate Change Urge Comprehensive Action to Help with Mitigation, Adaptation Measures
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
19th & 20thMeetings (AM & PM)
Senior Government Officials from Nations on the Front Lines of Climate Change
Urge Comprehensive Action to Help with Mitigation, Adaptation Measures
As Assembly Continues Annual Debate, Speakers Say Small Island States, Facing
Sea-level Rise, Weather Extremes, Must Play Key Role in Talks on New Climate Deal
Amid their efforts to mitigate and adapt to the adverse, often destructive effects of climate change, individual countries were unable to tackle the vast, far-reaching challenges alone, making it vital for the international community to develop a coordinated approach to the issue, leaders of small island developing States stressed today as the General Assembly continued its annual general debate.
Those States were among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the weather anomalies and natural disasters it caused. The leaders told the Assembly that earthquakes, lasting droughts, floods, and rising sea levels had led to a raft of negative consequences for their nations, including the loss of life and biodiversity, wrecked infrastructure and soiled agricultural land, among many others. To successfully rebuild and prepare against future damage, small island developing States called for a coordinated, inclusive international approach to help them develop and implement sustainable mitigation and adaptation strategies.
That call came on the heels of the Assembly’s two-day high-level meeting to review the status of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, which wrapped up last Saturday. At the meeting’s end, the Assembly adopted a wide-ranging outcome document through which Member States acknowledged that climate change and sea-level rise continued to pose a significant risk to small island developing States, and stressed the need to consider the possible security implications of climate change for them.
At today’s meeting, while several speakers hailed that action, they were disappointed that a consensus had not been reached on mitigation and adaptation strategies during the most recent meeting of the States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference, which took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009. Yet, at the same time, they were hopeful that a legally-binding and comprehensive climate agreement could be reached at the next conference in Cancun, Mexico this November if negotiations were conducted in a cooperative and inclusive spirit.
“We cannot afford to leave Cancun empty-handed. Concrete results must be achieved,” said Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, whose country would soon mark the sombre one-year anniversary of a devastating tsunami. Vested national interests had taken precedence over concern for a global and just solution in Copenhagen, he said, adding that much publicized “fast track” funding announced there to help meet the most vulnerable countries’ adaptation needs had become a “best kept secret.” Information on how much of the pledges had been honoured or disbursed and to whom, had been scarce. Even when made available, such information was often vague and incoherent.
A privileged few — with fortunate geographies and resource endowments — may have felt that they could afford to wait out negotiations on a legally-binding climate change agreement. However, he warned that island nations at the frontline of climate change’s destructive impacts, like Samoa, had no such luxury. He went on to say that any new climate change treaty would be ineffectual without full membership and participation of all United Nations Member States, especially those obligated to do so.
To that point, Orette Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, added that the new climate treaty should be founded on the Framework Convention and the 2007 Bali Plan of Action. As countries among the most vulnerable to global warming, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and its partners in the Alliance of Small Island States would continue to defend the long-term stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, with a cap of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels, he said.
He went on to welcome the commitment by developed countries to provide $30 billion to assist developing countries in improving mitigation and adaptation strategies over the next two years, underscoring it as an opportunity to “demonstrate that when we speak, we say what we mean and mean what we say”.
Among other issues highlighted today, speakers stressed the need to prioritize efforts to combat modern scourges such as terrorism, illicit drug and arms trade, and the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Malielegaoi, of Samoa, underscored the links between climate change, peace and security, noting that climate change threatened to intensify existing drivers of conflict in a way that could roll back development across many countries. To him, nuclear terrorism was one of the most challenging threats to international peace and security. Given that, Samoa believed that the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was their “total elimination”.
In that context, Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, urged the international community to do more to address the issue. The world was no safer today than when the United Nations was formed, he said, pointing to religious and ethnic tensions that plagued parts of Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Nuclear weapons still existed, and thus non-proliferation efforts must be strengthened.
Terrorism and extremism, both growing threats to world peace, existed beyond the borders of Afghanistan, said Zalmai Rassoul, the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. If international partners and allies wanted to win the global war on terrorism, they must look beyond the villages of Afghanistan. Such a global challenge could only be defeated by a concerted effort, and his Government was committed to cooperating with others to stamp out that scourge.
Also speaking today were the Vice-Presidents of Ecuador, Botswana, Maldives and Sudan.
The Heads of Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, Malaysia, Fiji, Lesotho, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Andorra, Vanuatu, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Croatia also spoke.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis also addressed the Assembly, as did the Foreign Ministers of San Marino, France, Algeria, Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain, Cuba, Seychelles, Antigua and Barbuda, Nicaragua, Solomon Islands, Ireland, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Central African Republic, Brunei Darussalam and Mozambique.
Ministers of Nepal and Zambia also spoke.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, 28 September, to continue its annual general debate.
The General Assembly met today to continue its annual general debate.
LENÍN MORENO GARCÉS, Vice-President of Ecuador, said, in its effort to strengthen multilateralism, his country had consistently encouraged regional integration as a logical response to an ancestral right, which never defended or closed borders between sister countries. That desire gave birth to the Union of South American Nations, in order to foster unity, eliminate inequity and promote democracy. Ecuador had fostered South-South development as a mechanism for development; one of its most important efforts had been development and reconstruction assistance in Haiti.
Ecuador placed special importance on the issue of climate change, he continued. It was among 19 countries with the greatest mega-diversity in the world. The Amazon’s Yasuni National Park — considered the most biologically diverse forest on the planet — was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1989. In addition to a great density of species of amphibians, mammals and plants, it was home to two groups of indigenous people — the Tagaeri and the Taromenanes, who had entered voluntary isolation from Western culture. The park also sat on top of Ecuador’s largest undeveloped oil reserves, which contained an estimated 840 million barrels of heavy crude oil. Three years ago, Ecuador’s Government launched the Yasuni Initiative, which pledged to leave it all underground if $660 million was donated to the trust fund — the equivalent of half the current value of the oil. Preventing drilling would avoid emitting 407 million metric tons of carbon dioxide — a leading cause of climate change — which would enter the atmosphere if the oil was used. The Yasuni initiative was the most important initiative for the country and the planet and would contribute to mitigating climate change.
Ecuador had met many of its Millennium Goals and continued its efforts towards success, he said. However, he firmly stated that the Goals neglected a major segment of the population, namely, the disabled, a group that he described as “the forgotten of the forgotten”. Also, despite Cuba’s important contributions to Latin America, its people suffered from an illegal and illegitimate blockade, and, therefore, he called on all countries to assist its people. In closing, he said the world should be one family, and he condemned all forms of colonization. The world should preach by example, and he called for the international community to make a definitive decision on disarmament of nuclear arms and production and sale of weapons of mass destruction. World governance and peace could not be separated, he said, and nature was the best teacher of peace. We were composed of the same items, he said, “we come from dust, we rise to the wind for a moment and return to mother nature.” Nevertheless, inequity was the enemy that would require an army of weapons to defeat it. Instead of an army of warriors with “weapons over their shoulders” or bullets in their knapsacks, it was weapons of equality, medicine, human rights and solidarity that would defeat inequity.
MOMPATI S. MERAFHE, Vice-President of Botswana, said Member States continued to find refuge in the United Nations Charter, and drew from the collective strength of the international community when individually faced with insurmountable challenges. Countries had to remain steadfast in their partnership for poverty eradication, pursuit of international peace and security, combating disease, promotion of youth empowerment, gender equality, promotion and protection of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, personal advancement through education, better health for all and harnessing technology for sustainable development. Botswana had abiding faith in the viability and primacy of the United Nations and faithfully fulfilled its obligations to the organization.
The review of the Millennium Development Goals accentuated the international community’s strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities, individually and collectively, and for that reason efforts must be redoubled to implement the Goals in the remaining five years. Botswana was an upper-middle-income country, but still had many development challenges in an environment of diminished international support. The global food, energy and financial crises made it evident countries such as Botswana were vulnerable; continued development assistance was needed for middle-income countries, lest their hard earned gains be reversed. The need for reform of financial, economic and political architecture was more apparent than ever before. Botswana welcomed the strengthening of the United Nations operational activities for development, improved funding for development activities and improvement in women’s rights through the creation of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.
Botswana also supported strengthening of the Peacebuilding Commission, through amending its founding resolutions and providing adequate resources. Disarmament and non-proliferation were essential for international peace and security, and his delegation welcomed progress in some areas, but was deeply concerned the Conference on Disarmament “continues to be deadlocked”. Botswana was committed to the objectives of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and also fully supported developing countries’ call for peaceful use of nuclear technology in such areas as agriculture, water management and medicine. But, such use needed to be transparent, in full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Botswana was concerned about threats to international peace and security and condemned, without reservation, any acts of terrorism. He did not believe that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the United States.
He said the erosion of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in some parts of the world urgently needed to be reversed, because it undermined the path to peace, stability and development. Botswana resolutely supported the International Criminal Court, which needed support to resolve outstanding arrest warrants against those indicted for the commission of serious crimes. He also welcomed the Rome Statute Review Conference decision to extend jurisdiction of the Court to cover the crime of aggression. On climate change, he said shared responsibility was most critical in the area of protecting the planet, and climate change has become one of humanity’s most daunting challenges. The recent devastating natural disasters demonstrated the world’s vulnerability, and the people of Botswana expressed sympathy with all victims of those disasters and extended appreciation of those who led humanitarian interventions. It also remained optimistic that the next Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change would achieve success.
MOHAMED WAHEED, Vice-President of Maldives, said several of the Millennium Development Goals remained challenges for his country to achieve. While great strides had been made in eliminating poverty, promoting education and improving mortality rates among mothers and their infants, more needed to be done with regard to the empowerment of women. His country had also been struggling to provide for its environmental and development needs. Those gains achieved had improved the lives of citizens, and contributed to an impending graduation from the United Nations list of least developed countries. While his country looked forward to its graduation, there was concern about the sudden withdrawal of some benefits afforded to least developed countries that had once sustained its development projects.
The Maldives looked forward to adopting a development strategy which placed emphasis on greater independence and economic stability through private investment and public-private partnerships. However, like many other small island States, geopolitical and socio-economic circumstances kept his country vulnerable. As a country primarily dependent on tourism and fishing, his country was severely affected by decreases in consumption in its traditional markets. He noted that the economic transition in his country complemented an ambitious political transition from autocracy to democracy. Important milestones had been achieved over the past two years, including the end of a two-year period of transition this past August. The Maldives´ transition to a democracy was accompanied by its evolution from an abuser of human rights to a staunch advocate for them, he added.
In a now interconnected global village, the need to compel tolerance, understanding and respect for human dignity was greater than ever before. In that regard, he lamented over the rising tide of “Islamophobia” in non-Muslim States. He believed that religious intolerance, negative stereotyping, racial profiling and discrimination thwarted the United Nations’ mission for peace and prosperity among all societies. He called for intensified efforts to promote a culture of tolerance and understanding. Turning to the issue of climate change, he said the effects of global warming posed an overwhelming threat to his country. In an attempt to implement adaptation measures, the Maldives had invested in water and sanitation projects, coastal defences and a low-carbon future, which emphasized renewable energy and aimed to become carbon neutral by 2020.
However, he stressed that “our actions alone cannot save us”, calling for the global community to pursue regional initiatives that complement United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes. Failure to extend emission targets beyond 2012 would leave 60 per cent of the world’s population without durable solutions to global warming effects. He had high hopes for the upcoming sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention, yet he believed that alternative solutions should exist. He called upon all nations – large and small – to cooperate in Cancun to effectively establish and promote mitigation activities.
With regard to traditional security threats, he said the scourge of terrorism and piracy threatened countries in Asia and worldwide, and deficit in the capacity to attribute criminal accountability to the perpetrators of terrorism persisted. He stressed the need for the Assembly to finalize the draft convention on terrorism, noting that the Maldives was particularly vulnerable to threats to its maritime security. “If the international community does not increase its efforts, we fear that piracy may end up turning into an uncontrolled threat to security in the region.” He was encouraged by Security Council resolution 1887 (2009) and pleased with the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, but felt it was important for the Group to urgently establish an easily accessible legal toolkit to enable States to overcome the vacuums in their legal systems. Lastly, he called for all those involved in the Israel-Palestine peace talks to use the negotiations as an opportunity to resolve differences, as well as continued support for the Governments of Jordan and Egypt in their work on the Arab initiative.
MIZENGO P. PINDA, Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, who hailed the just-concluded Millennium Development Goals summit a success, said those Goals would not be attained without sustained economic growth and sustainable development; and for Tanzania, where the vast majority of the people depended on agriculture for their incomes and livelihoods, poverty could not be alleviated without addressing the challenges of production, productivity and markets in the agricultural sector. With that realization, Tanzania had developed a programme it called “Agriculture First”, aimed at transforming and modernizing that sector. A key component of the programme was the improvement of infrastructure - especially irrigation systems, transport and energy.
However, a major challenge remained on how to finance the huge investment gap in infrastructure, which he said would not be filled by the public sector alone, and the participation of the private sector was imperative. On the issues of good governance, and peace and security in Africa, he reaffirmed his country’s commitment to democratic good governance, rule of law and respect for human rights. A recent peaceful referendum in Zanzibar had produced a new political dispensation that provides for a government of national unity. That should stabilize Zanzibar, as Tanzania prepares for its general elections scheduled for 31 October. As in previous elections, he said, “we will do everything in our power to ensure that the elections are peaceful, free and fair.”
He was also pleased that the continent had continued to play a leading role in conflict prevention, management and resolution, as well as entrenching good governance principles. He praised the peaceful referendum in Kenya that paved the way for a new Constitution, saying it demonstrated the will of African countries to take charge of their own destiny, and commended all who continued to work for a political solution in Darfur. He also called on all parties to keep to the timetable for the referendum in southern Sudan, saying the wishes of the people of southern Sudan had to be respected. He pledged his country’s full support to the team of prominent persons, which included Tanzania’s former President, in monitoring the process. He added his country would continue to play its role in ensuring lasting peace and stability in Africa and elsewhere, noting that that role would include contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations and missions in Africa and elsewhere, including those already deployed in Darfur and Lebanon.
Specifically on the situation in Somalia, he expressed concern about the worsening political, humanitarian, social and security situation in that country which threatened the entire region and ultimately the world. He commended Uganda and Burundi for contributing peacekeeping troops in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and further thanked all those African countries that had made the commitments to provide additional troops to that Mission. He asked the international community to provide the support needed to make that deployment possible and timely. He also expressed worry about the continued increase in piracy activities in the Gulf of Eden and Indian Ocean, which was now spreading beyond the coast of Somalia. In his view, piracy could not be resolved on the seas alone, without addressing the causal factors on land. In that regard, a coordinated, coherent, comprehensive and integrated response, which incorporated political, military, financial and legal support, was indispensable.
Further, he implored the United Nations and the international community to work closely with the African Union, members of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and other neighbouring States to suppress acts of piracy, as well as apprehend and prosecute those who committed that crime. His country had recently amended its Criminal Code to allow courts to prosecute suspected pirates under universal jurisdiction, and he called on the international community to enhance the prosecution and custodial capacities of countries - such as his -that apprehended and prosecuted pirates and also accept to share with affected States post-prosecution custodial responsibilities. On refugees, he said his country had been a home for many refugees over the years. The current stability in neighbouring countries had enabled voluntary repatriation for many, which had allowed the closing of 12 refugee camps. His country had also continued with its tradition of granting citizenship to refugees who had been in the country many years. In April, for example, it naturalized 162,254 refugees who entered the country in 1972 and who were now being integrated into society. However, that was a costly exercise that placed a huge burden on poor countries such as Tanzania. He urged the international community to support integration programmes under the equitable responsibility and burden-sharing principle.
ALI OSMAN MOHAMED TAHA, Vice-President of Sudan, said despite development aid by the United Nations and the international community, the financial and economic crisis had resulted in the deterioration of the foreign debt situation and hampered the ability of developing countries to achieve their Millennium Goals. Despite Sudan’s challenges, it would continue to work towards creating an atmosphere of integrity and unity that would be the best choice for the people of South Sudan. In a brief review of developments, he outlined the positive developments in implementation of the Peace Accords, signed in 2005, and the steps made to establish peace in Darfur. He also commended the atmosphere of tranquillity and peace in the holding of public elections in Sudan last April.
Arrangements were under way for the Referendum on Sudan, concerning the options of unity or separation on the part of the South, he said. He was “keen that the brothers in the south of Sudan” would be allowed to decide without any coercion or dictation, and in an atmosphere of integrity and transparency. Sudan would also do its best to ensure that unity was the voluntary choice of citizens of the south of Sudan. He welcomed the decision of the General Assembly President to ask Sudan’s former President to chair the team of Latin nations that would observe the Referendum.
The Government had made many efforts to establish peace in Darfur, he said, and to return the vitality of the region affected in the last years by conflict, proliferation of arms and regional and international intervention. The transformation had made elections possible in all of Darfur and helped to establish democracy, encouraged new situations on the ground and encouraged the Government to set forth its new strategy for Darfur. The strategy was based on five main elements: establishment of security; consolidation of development; resettlement of displaced persons to live in dignity; internal conciliation to promote social peace; and continued negotiations to reach a political settlement by the people of Darfur under the Doha agreement. In order to achieve those goals, the Government allocated $1.9 billion to be spent over 4 years to cover development efforts and requested additional aid from the international community.
The strategy required two practical approaches. First, it required the adoption of a partnership with countries and States, first and foremost the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the United Nations. Second, it required a special effort to protect the citizens of Darfur and strengthening of regional relations to establish peace in Sudan. He appealed to Member States to participate in a forum to establish stability in that part of Sudan. He added that the International Criminal Court had become a tool to break the will of the people. Therefore, he rejected its intervention. In that regard, he called on the Security Council to reconsider its decision and withdraw its file completely from the International Criminal Court, and instead refer it to the Sudanese system of justice. He also asked that Sudan be forgiven for its debts, according to the same standards as other developing countries.
In closing, he said the economic crisis and climate change had widened the circle of hunger and increased tensions in Africa, and he reiterated Sudan’s need for humanitarian assistance to help in its fight against poverty, malaria and reaching its Goals. Regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, he asked why the Palestinian people continued to suffer, and called for the freezing of Israeli settlements. Regarding climate change, he said mitigating its effects was a mission that required an international effort.
ORETTE BRUCE GOLDING, Prime Minister of Jamaica, said the impact of climate change showed that everyone in the world “lived under the same canopy”. Diseases knew no boundaries, natural disasters did not discriminate in selecting targets, and the financial crisis in the United States ricocheted around the world, affecting millions. It was in that interconnectedness and interdependency that collective strengths and weaknesses could be found, as the playing field of the world was still not level.
Several issues required the Assembly’s special and urgent attention. Nearly 20 per cent of the world’s population enjoyed 75 per cent of the world’s income. Moreover, 15 per cent of the world population lived on less than one per cent of the world’s income. It was easy to blame those issues on past injustices, but that was only part of the story. He urged developing countries struggling with poverty and underdevelopment to accept their share of the blame and recognize that there was a lot they could and must do for themselves. Each country must adopt and pursue the appropriate economic and social policies and good governance practices.
However, the existing international financial system and multilateral trading arrangements would not enable those imbalances to be redressed. The new millennium should not be defined by the “survival of the fittest”, he said, underlining the importance of redressing the “lopsidedness” in international trade in restoring and sustaining global economic growth. Jamaica’s insistence that the Doha Round must include a development dimension to build competitiveness and capacity in weak exporting countries, as well as special and differential treatment calibrated to differing levels of development, economic size and vulnerabilities offered a win-win situation. He called for every effort to be made to conclude the Doha Round in that spirit.
The global financial crisis had exposed weaknesses in the governance of the international financial system that had become more acute with changes in the global landscape. A reform was needed to improve standards of efficiency and accountability. At the same time, while he welcomed the establishment of the Group of 20 as the locus of global economic policy planning, he urged it to institute a mechanism to engage the views of the wider developing world. Furthermore, he urged multilateral agencies to move beyond the objective of ensuring that the international payments systems were secure. Bold, new thinking which emphasized development as the primary focus of multilateral intervention, was required.
Turning to climate change, he was disappointed that the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen had failed to reach consensus on mitigation and adaptation strategies. He was, however, hopeful that the upcoming conference in Cancun, Mexico would further advance the process and eventually lead to a legally-binding and comprehensive agreement under the UNFCCC and the Bali Road Map. As countries among the most vulnerable to global warming, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and its partners in the Alliance of Small Island States would continue to defend the long-term stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations, with a cap of 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels. The commitment by developed countries to provide $30 billion to assist developing countries in improving mitigation and adaptation strategies over the next two years was an opportunity to “demonstrate that when we speak, we say what we mean and mean what we say”.
He went on to stress that the earthquake in Haiti and floods in Pakistan were stark reminders of an increasing vulnerability of many countries to natural disasters. Haiti’s reconstruction was CARICOM´s most urgent priority, he said, urging donors to take actions which followed their commitments of nearly $10 billion. He underscored the important role played by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in ensuring a sustainable future for the Haitian people.
On the issue of the “twin menace” of the illicit trade in narcotic drugs and small arms, his country had adopted a multifaceted approach to tackle crime and violence, relying on law enforcement, strategic social intervention and social transformation initiatives to create new opportunities and inspire hope. “But, we cannot do it alone,” he said. The transnational nature of organized crime required cross-border collaboration at the bilateral, regional and international levels. In that regard, he called for the conclusion of a legally-binding instrument to curtail the illicit trade in small arms, light arms and ammunition and urged the United Nations to approach the issue with urgency. In closing, he commended the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for its decision to launch an international competition for the design of the permanent memorial to honour the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
MOHD NAJIB ABDUL RAZAK, Prime Minister of Malaysia, said that a most important challenge confronting the international community was the need to collectively address the challenge of ensuring a just, equitable and durable peace for all time. That peace must be premised on a covenant of the willing and not one enforced by way of hegemony through fear and coercion. Constructive engagement through dialogue was the way to achieve such peace so as to create deeper understanding as well as appreciation for each other.
On another issue, he said the World Trade Organization remained relevant in today’s economic climate and the Doha Round must return to its original objective of ensuring free, fair and equitable trade. Further, since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals a decade ago, there had been a lack of effort on joint endeavours that would benefit humanity. The missed opportunity at the climate change conference in Copenhagen last year should be a “wake up call” and the gaps in addressing climate change issues must be bridged, as it affected lives and livelihoods today and for future generations. Turning to the Middle East, he said on 7 June 2010 the Malaysian Parliament had passed a resolution condemning the brutal Israeli attack on the humanitarian convoy headed for Gaza. His Government also understood the necessity of letting the multilateral system work and had been pleased with the findings of the Fact Finding Mission of the Human Rights Council and felt vindicated by the findings. It was now waiting for the United Nations Investigation Panel to complete its work. Malaysia wanted to see the perpetrators brought to justice and adequate compensation given for the innocent victims.
On the Middle East peace process, he supported direct dialogue between the parties on achieving a two-State solution, which should address the following prerequisite issues: first, Israel must heed the high expectations of the international community to end the conflict and the Quartet must persuade Israel to end the construction of new settlements; second, reconciliation efforts must bear fruit and political unity among the Palestinians was vital; and third, both parties must eschew violence and ensure the protection of civilians.
Continuing, he said it was of concern that there was an increasing trend in parts of the world to perpetuate and even fuel Islamophobia. The real issue involved was not one between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between moderates and extremists of all religions. A “Global Movement of the Moderates” from all faiths must be built to work together and marginalize the extremists who have held the world hostage with their bigotry and bias. The moral high ground that has been usurped from the centre must be urgently regained so that moderation was chosen over extremism, negotiation over confrontation, and working together over working against each other. “We must give this effort utmost priority for time is not on our side,” he said. Recent efforts in the United States to stop a Koran burning and promote the building of a multi-faith community centre near the former World Trade Tower site were commendable and clear examples of what moderates could achieve when they stood up to extremists.
JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister of Fiji, said his country had revamped its foreign policy as it modernized and liberalized its economy. Member States had to determine their own destinies, but also collaborate towards sustainable world peace, substantive justice, dignity and respect for all. Those objectives and the noble principles of the United Nations could not be implemented through predetermined political spheres of influence. International relationships needed to be expanded; rather than bloc voting, countries had to assess and decide each issue on its merit and keep an open mind. That approach would result in a more just system for all citizens. Fiji’s shift in foreign policy demonstrated it intended to become a good and engaged global citizen. It had increased ties with many countries through formal diplomatic relations and sought membership in the Non-Aligned Movement.
There was no better example of Fiji’s commitment to being a good global citizen that its longstanding contribution to peacekeeping and peacebuilding; Fijians were serving in peacekeeping missions in Iraq, southern Sudan, Liberia, Darfur and Timor-Leste. Fiji was also proud to have been among those in 2006 who voted in favour of preparations for a robust and legally-binding arms trade treaty in 2012. It also ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions and remained fully committed to international efforts against terrorism. Fiji stood firm with all international efforts aimed at peaceful resolution to the territorial and sovereignty disputes, welcoming recent resumption of direct negotiations between leaders of Israel and Palestine. Fiji was also an active member of the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee and sponsored its 2010 resolution on New Caledonia. It urged all concerned parties to accelerate progress of provisions of the Noumea Accord. Over the past year, Fiji’s Government has modernized laws to bring about gender and social parity, removing archaic rules and ensuring compliance with international conventions.
In spite of considerable domestic efforts to cooperate with the international community, Fiji and other small island developing States have had mixed results achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Those countries and their development partners needed to examine where success had been achieved and where efforts had been unsuccessful, identifying country-specific priorities to achieve the Goals. The threat of climate change, particularly sea level rise, loomed and the international community needed to work in concert as a responsible international family to mitigate its adverse effects. He called for promised fast-track funding towards climate change adaptation and mitigation measures to be delivered without delay. Fiji also pledged to assist in increased representation of Pacific island countries in the United Nations system.
As one of the founding signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Fiji had had its oceanic obligations at the core of its foreign policy, he said. One of the great challenges for Pacific small island developing States was to effectively conserve fish stocks of the Pacific Ocean, which were critical to their livelihoods and economies. Countries which over-exploit fish stocks had to be informed that the practice was unsustainable. Owners, investors and harvesters should adhere to international law and chart a path to sustain stocks for the benefit of all. Meaningful dialogue was essential within respective countries, regions and the world to achieve solutions. Sovereign States in the community of nations needed to develop and maintain relationships based on respect, dignity and equality.
PAKALITHA B. MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho, said despite the United Nations efforts to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”, unilateralism and war remained the order of the day. Further, disrespect for international law, vast economic inequity and the suppression of basic freedoms were challenges faced today, just as they were 65 years ago. In addition, it now had climate change, the effects of the financial crisis, terrorism and religious intolerance to contend with, and those had heightened the threat to world stability, international peace and security.
The lesson of the first decade of the millennium, he noted, was that mankind must turn away from the path of self-destruction; war was brutal, destructive and unacceptable. The founding fathers were right when they affirmed the centrality of the United Nations in global decision-making. The world community also must admit that great injustices were being committed and human rights trampled upon “as we stand by silently”. In that regard, he said the United Nations must reverse the injustices suffered by the people of Western Sahara, Cuba and Palestine. In addition, Zimbabwe must be freed from unilateral sanctions, and in Madagascar, external interests must not be allowed to take precedence over the desire for democracy and stability. Somalia, he said, remained a “festering wound” on the African continent, and he reiterated the Somali Government’s appeal to allow its people to join the international movement towards peace.
Climate change continued to wreak havoc, most notably on developing countries, he said. In that regard, Lesotho signed the Copenhagen Accord because it believed it represented a step forward, and he hoped the upcoming Cancun conference would lead to a legally-binding commitment towards climate change. He said the financial and economic crisis disrupted Lesotho’s strategies toward reaching its Millennium Goals by 2015, and, therefore, appealed to development partners to fulfil their commitments for official development assistance.
He said religious intolerance was closely related to terrorism; thus, religious tolerance was a pre-requisite for international peace and security and, therefore, cultivating a culture of religious tolerance must be high on the international agenda. Lesotho remained committed to a world free of nuclear weapons and continued to support international disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. Africa’s leaders had declared 2010 the Year of Peace and Security, yet had acknowledged shortcomings in terms of capacity in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. They called upon the international community to complement its efforts to resolve conflict. In closing, he said overcoming challenges required reform within the United Nations as the centre of global governance. “Let us remember that might can never be right, and can never defeat collective resolve.”
Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, stressed that the magnitude of today’s threats required holistic solutions taken through a multilateral approach. Nations of the world needed to coordinate with each other as tackling current challenges was a shared responsibility. A vibrant institution was required to meet those challenges, one which was equal to the task and could respond to the imperatives of our time. “The United Nations provides the only viable framework and legitimate authority to act globally to address issues that transcend national borders,” he declared. The Organization needed to pay heed to its ability to offer itself as a “safe place,” not just for its traditional stakeholders — Member States — but also for international organizations, the business community and civil society.
The United Nations, however, was not without its shortcomings and it was crucial that the Organization’s role be constantly refined and adapted to respond to the world’s needs. Samoa had consistently supported a Security Council expansion in both permanent and non-permanent memberships. Economic and political liberalization over the past two decades had changed the contemporary geopolitical realities and landscape, thus enlarging the 15-member body in both categories was “essential for true multilateralism and for the Council’s integrity and credibility”, he noted, adding that ongoing reform of the General Assembly was equally vital.
Climate change and its impacts held dire implications for global peace and security. It threatened to intensify existing drivers of conflict in a way that could roll back development across many countries. While a new climate change instrument was currently under negotiation, progress had been “painfully slow”, contradicting the gravity of the problem. Vested national interests had taken precedence over concern for a global and just solution. A privileged few — with fortunate geographies and resource endowments — may have felt that they could afford to wait out negotiations on a legally-binding climate change agreement. Island nations at the frontline of climate change’s destructive impacts had no such luxury.
Any new climate change treaty, he said, would be ineffectual without full membership and participation of all United Nations Member States, especially those obligated to do so. The much publicized “fast track” funding announced in Copenhagen to meet the most vulnerable countries’ adaptation needs had become a “best kept secret”. Information on how much of the pledges had been honoured, disbursed and to whom had been scarce. When available, such information was often vague and bereft of coordination. In that regard, he called for the fast track resources to be made available without delay with clear, simplified guidelines to ensure that intended recipients could access assistance.
Continuing, he urged State parties to commit to reaching an agreement in Cancun founded on the Bali Action Plan. “We cannot afford to leave Cancun empty-handed. Concrete results must be achieved,” he said. Turning to global security, he noted that terrorism was a mutual area of concern, which demanded a collective response. On other matters, he said the United Nations should continue to prioritize the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the risk of their acquisition by terrorists and other criminals. Nuclear terrorism was of the most challenging threats to international peace and security. Samoa believed that the only absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was their “total elimination”.
In that light, his country welcomed the announcement that the United States was moving towards ratification of the Pacific region’s Nuclear Free Zone Treaty. Furthermore, it welcomed the recent United States brokered initiative for direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine to advance the two-State solution. He drew attention to the upcoming one year anniversary of a tsunami which had devastated his country, noting that stability had been re-established despite the heavy loss of life, injury and destruction of property. It was through the generous support of development partners that Samoa’s reconstruction phase was progressing well.
ANTONELLA MULARONI, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs of San Marino, said reform of the United Nations was fundamental for future world stability and must remain the target of all efforts. Members had the duty to guarantee full effectiveness of United Nations activities, with a view to preserving and strengthening its essential value as a point of reference. The international community could not afford to weaken the role of the United Nations by not reaching agreement on how to improve it. Reform of the United Nations was important for San Marino, because it was the only forum where a small State could express its opinions. San Marino hoped the General Assembly, through reform, could work more efficiently and improve relations with other main bodies of the United Nations, avoiding duplication of activities and effectively implementing resolutions.
San Marino believed the Security Council should also be reformed into a more democratic, responsible, transparent and efficient body that had more balanced relations with the General Assembly and more effective cooperation with the Secretariat, she said. Those objectives could only be achieved through permanent dialogue among States and increased flexibility of respective positions. The General Assembly’s theme, the role of the United Nations in global governance, was a complex subject, because it concerned threats such as climate change, the economic crisis, food security and terrorism that increasingly affected peoples’ destinies. The crises of the last few years showed it was necessary to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach for global, coordinated action. The United Nations had the duty lead global governance, not only on account of its deeply democratic nature, but also because it enabled an approach that harmonized the interests of the entire international community.
Last year, the Group of 20 (G-20) played an essential role in preventing a global economic depression by taking coordinated and timely action, but its decision making process should be more inclusive and transparent, so its decisions could be translated into effective action at a world level. For the Group to complement the work of the United Nations, there needed to be mechanisms through which the interests, worries and aspirations of countries, especially developing ones, could be taken into account. Over the last two years, she said, San Marino had adopted anti-money-laundering and terrorist financing laws in an intensified effort to make its banking and financial practices compliant with international standards. Also, the 2 July adoption of A/RES/64/289 on United Nations system-wide coherence was a historic achievement for reform, with the fundamental element establishing United Nations Women.
She also underlined the importance of work by the international community and pressure by civil society to increase human rights protection, noting “we cannot forget that women and children are always the most vulnerable section of society in situations where rights and fundamental freedoms are violated.” The international community should work efficiently to combat the trafficking in persons, and San Marino attached the utmost importance to the adoption last July of the resolution on the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, and guaranteed its support of the initiative. The Millennium Development Goals brought slow, but uneven improvement in the fight against extreme poverty, and more structured commitment would be necessary to meet the Goals in 2015. San Marino was satisfied with the General Assembly’s high-level meeting on the Goals, which renewed the commitment and responsibility of each country.
ABBAS EL FASSI, Prime Minister of Morocco, said security, stability, development, prosperity and support for human rights and dignity made up the bedrock of the new international agenda. This meeting provided a good opportunity to reassert commitment to tackling these priorities, to reiterate determination to promote international cooperation and to lay the groundwork for a new world where safety and solidarity prevailed.
He called on the international community to increase its involvement and work on the settlement of all disputes that strained relations between neighbouring States and hampered the integration of their economies, particularly in Africa. For its part, to foster healthier relations in its Maghreb region, his Government had submitted an autonomy initiative in 2007 with the goal to end the artificial dispute over the recovery, by Morocco, of its southern provinces. That bold, innovative initiative had received the support of the Security Council and the international community. They had also commended the steps taken by Morocco to facilitate a settlement. He called on other partners to seize the historic opportunity and engage in substantive negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General and his personal envoy.
Achieving peace in the Middle East was not an impossible goal, but one that could only be solved with a two-State solution. The international community was called upon to support the direct negotiation process, which was a good opportunity to strive to achieve a final settlement in compliance with international laws and relevant United Nations resolutions. An active participant in the process, Morocco recognized that talks must address the issues of establishing a fully sovereign Palestinian state, with Al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. For negotiations to succeed, unilateral actions must be avoided and settlement building must end. As president of the Al-Quds Committee, he said the city must remain a symbol of coexistence between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
Given the combination of crises and climate change consequences that had delayed the attainment of most of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in Africa, he proposed that the United Nations General Assembly hold a high-level dialogue on investment in Africa. Similarly, globalization challenges required urgent reform of the current global economic governance structure and further mobilization to build a new, equitable, balanced and efficient environmental order. Regarding human rights, Morocco had launched major projects and had achieved substantial progress. Towards expanding the scope of individual and collective freedoms and promoting the rights of its citizens, especially those of women, children and people with special needs, Morocco’s commitment to human rights had been recognized when in March it was chosen as a co-facilitator, at the General Assembly level, of the review process of the Human Rights Council.
The world still had a long way to go before States and peoples learned to accept diversity, he said. It was of utmost importance that the United Nations Organization became the standard bearer of a culture of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding that served as a catalyst for a new form of cooperation; one based on solidarity and dedicated to achieving the dignity and well-being of all people
SAM CONDOR, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saint Kitts and Nevis, said Governments grappling with global problems today were doing so as the established centres of power shifted, pushing them to reconcile the pursuit of statecraft and national interests within the context of rapidly changing relations between and among States. In addition, the economic and financial crisis had undermined confidence in financial markets, increasing poverty across the world and reducing confidence in governance methods. In pursuing national agendas, “we ought to be mindful of the common interests and the links that merge our societies”, he said. Against that backdrop, commensurate emphasis must be placed on making the United Nations more involved with regional organizations, enabling them to implement people-centric agendas.
He said the Organization should play a more pragmatic role in strengthening relations and expanding collaboration among States, regional integration systems and international financial institutions. Indeed, the United Nations must remain a vital nexus, fostering the necessary partnerships and, to that end, States must make it more representative, allowing developing countries, as well as smaller economies, a more visible presence on the global stage. With improved partnerships, the Organization could bring global business communities, civil society and States together in a more structured way. His Government recognized the United Nations reach in helping build capacity amid challenges, including “brain drain”, which robbed developing countries of invaluable human capital.
He encouraged States to embrace the idea of a “multipronged” partnership as a way to enhance development and strengthen global accountability, he said, thanking the Government and people of Taiwan for their continued development assistance over several decades. He also urged parties in the dispute settlement case before the World Trade Organization, which involved Antigua and Barbuda, to quickly arrive at a negotiation settlement that was fair and just to that country. On climate change, he said the regularity and ferocity of natural disasters was a particular concern for the small island developing States. Coordinated approaches should be developed jointly with financial institutions and insurance companies, among other stakeholders. Enhanced disaster preparedness and mitigation measures must be built into national development strategies. His country was committed to such an approach through capacity-building and the creation of internal mechanisms to ensure effective response.
Turning to global health, while he applauded the Assembly’s adoption of a resolution on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, he noted one issue that required more attention: interpersonal violence and its implications for development, health, security and governance. Data showed that such violence accounted for 4,300 deaths a day — one every 20 seconds — and he requested that a text on that matter be tabled on the Assembly’s 2011 agenda. As for efforts to develop human resources, Saint Kitts and Nevis was preparing its youth in math, science and entrepreneurial skills, among other disciplines, to equip them for opportunities created through policies and legislation. Applauding the creation of UN Women, he said women’s occupation of high offices and decision-making roles had been the norm in his country and the Government was ready to share its experience in that regard. In closing, he urged delegates to “do the things that ought to be done” to position the United Nations for delivering its best.
BERNARD KOUCHNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Affairs of France, said his country’s goal was to be a major actor in building a global order organized and regulated around a stronger, more representative United Nations that was able to meet the century’s great challenges. For 25 years, he had walked the Organization’s corridors and, recalling the many people around the world suffering in hope, said: “We have responsibilities as citizens, diplomats and political leaders to meet their expectations.” A litany of generous intentions had been made against the very real backdrop of reduced budgets and tense socioeconomic situations, but there was indeed a way to correct the large imbalances that undermined societies. “We’re all here, the nations of the world, represented in the General Assembly and we only have to decide together to act,” he stressed.
Amid such disorder, the greatest risk would be to lapse into routine, he said, but reminded delegations that the Assembly had a record of being revolutionary, and recalled its boldness in 1988 when it had adopted resolutions on humanitarian assistance. Those texts allowed, for the first time, free access of humanitarian workers to affected regions. Another resolution, adopted in 1991, had opened the door for the military to protect civilians from an oppressor State, a concept that evolved into the responsibility to protect. “Who could have imagined turning international law upside down in that way,” he asked. While the results had not been completely what had expected, obstacles had been overcome.
The first shared responsibility was development, he said, noting that France’s €9 billion annual commitment to development assistance made his country among the largest providers. More must be done to help children dying of malaria and families stricken by HIV/AIDS. On the environment, emissions must be reduced, commitments implemented and effective institutions established. Moreover, tens of billions of dollars annually must be found. “The solutions are there,” he said, citing innovative financing ideas like an airline ticket tax. A mere levy of 0.005 per cent — one-one hundredth of a euro on a 1,000 euro transaction — could raise €30 to 40 billion annually, almost one quarter of official development assistance (ODA). Even half that amount could send all children to school. Such a tax would add to official development commitments, not substitute for them.
As for peace and security, he discussed the Arab-Israeli conflict, saying that amid ongoing efforts, it was also important to work on the Lebanese and Syrian tracks to ensure that opportunities presented today not be lost. The best security guarantee for Israel would be a new United Nations Member State whose creation many had urged: Palestine. All regional States had a critical role to play in achieving such an end, including peace throughout the wider Middle East. Most important was that Israelis and Arabs took strategic decisions to end the conflict.
“I deeply love those men and women who make the United Nations live,” he said, paying tribute to all those who took daily risks for the world’s greater peace and development. “The fight is noble.” Human rights were the bedrock on which the Organization was built. He wondered what had become of the responsibility to protect, when murders were committed in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in regions where peacekeeping operations had been deployed. “We can no longer just count the victims,” he said, adding that the International Criminal Court was among the greatest successes. France would always support impartial, international justice as the only way to combat impunity.
MOURAD MEDELCI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said that the world continued to suffer the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The measures that had been adopted to address that crisis, so far, had made his country believe that best path for preventing such crises lay in rethinking global economic governance, in order to create a system that left no room for market speculation. Turning to the issue of development assistance, he said it was important for the international community to respect its commitments regarding such assistance, particularly to African countries. The international community should provide financial assistance to those countries to enable them to achieve development targets. Some possibilities that could help achieve that goal included implementing a debt moratorium for developing countries, and allowing easier access to the markets of developed countries for products from developing countries.
On climate change, he said that, possibly because of that phenomenon, the world had witnessed natural disasters that had plunged Pakistan, the Russian Federation and other countries into mourning. The situation called for the restructuring of international priorities. Because of its commitment to solidarity and humanitarianism, Algeria was launching an appeal focusing on ways to strengthen the universal management of natural disasters.
Countries like Algeria, which did not have nuclear weapons, had a right to ask nuclear-weapon countries to work towards nuclear disarmament, he continued. In order to rise to the multiple challenges in the area of nuclear international peace, it was necessary that the Conference on Disarmament make the most of the international context generated by the last Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference. Algeria continued to be committed to the relaunching of the work of the Conference on Disarmament. The contents of the work programme that had been adopted by the Conference were still valid and should form the basis for its resumed work. Algeria also believed that challenges in the area of peace and security were also linked to exacerbation of terrorism, hostage taking, arms and drug trafficking. Further, Algeria invited the international community to take action to prevent satellite images from being misused. New international laws were needed to address that issue. His country had also originated several initiatives aimed at promoting regional cooperation, including cooperation among States in the Maghreb. In that regard, it had launched economic and social programmes that were Maghreb-wide, in order to encourage regional cooperation.
He reiterated the call to the international community to ensure fairness and coherence with regard to efforts to end conflicts. A definitive solution to the Middle East conflict lay in the implementation of the Arab Peace initiative. Algeria expressed its friendship and support to the Palestinian people and called for an immediate halt to settlement building and for the adoption of a peace agreement that included a return of land to the Palestinians based on the pre-1967 border and the return of refugees. Noting that there were still non-autonomous States, he said that Algeria was willing to provide full support to United Nations efforts to resolve the Western Sahara conflict. His country believed that there was a need to take into account the human rights dimension of that conflict, which meant that the Human Rights Council should be involved. Algeria also rejected the imposition of extraterritorial laws against developing countries. In that regard, he called for an end to the economic, commercial and other embargoes that had been imposed against Cuba for more than half a century.
RUSLAN KAZAKBAEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan, said 2010 marked a year of profound change and serious challenge for his country. In April, his people, having overthrown a corrupt Government, had chosen the way towards democratic renewal. Destabilization in the South, when extremist groups sought revenge, had provoked bloody clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Those third forces had “played an ethnic card” by exploiting the precarious confluence of poverty, high unemployment and unequal access to economic and financial resources that had been ignored by the former Government. The new Government had stabilized the situation with international help, and on 27 June, a new Constitution was adopted at the national referendum level. Today, he could declare that all political, economic and organizational conditions had been met for the conduct of elections on 10 October. AState based on rule of law and human rights could be established.
Vowing to analyse the causes of the recent conflict, he said a State Commission had been formed and an investigation launched by Kyrgyz, Uzbek and other analysts. In addition, an International Independent Commission, comprised of European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and United Nations representatives, had begun its work. Those responsible for the clashes must be named and ways must be found to seek inter-ethnic consent in society. A commitment to national unity would remain the priority. To that end, the Government had sought various forms of cooperation to stabilize the situation. He appreciated the work done by the OSCE consultative group in that regard. Also, he was grateful for the pledges made to the United Nations emergency humanitarian appeal and the support provided on a bilateral basis. His country had received 40 per cent of commitments made in the appeal and, for its part, was focusing on post-conflict reconstruction in the South. Timely implementation of pledges announced in July was extremely important, he added.
He agreed on the need to enhance the United Nations role in humanitarian situations and welcomed the creation of an anti-terror strategy for the Central Asian region. Terrorists attempting to reach Kyrgyzstan by mountain were a testament to the threat posed to States that bordered Afghanistan. Drug lords, among others, were a concern and those elements should be eliminated. With that in mind, a State drug-control agency, liquidated a year ago, had recently been restored. He urged strengthening the activities of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre, under the aegis of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), saying that the action plan developed by the European Union and Central Asian countries was key to fighting illegal drug trafficking.
Indeed, peacekeeping and reconciliation in Afghanistan was a special concern, he observed, with elections suggesting optimism for strengthening civil society. Support for Afghan institutions would help reduce threats in the Central Asian region. Kyrgyzstan backed international reconstruction projects in that country and would contribute to anti-terrorist efforts. Turning to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, he said Kyrgyzstan had been designated as a repository for a regional nuclear-weapon-free zone and he requested support for its establishment. As for peacekeeping, Kyrgyzstan was the only regional country that had contributed some 30 keepers to Africa and the Caribbean and it stood ready to increase that presence. His country also wished to participate in the Security Council and its committees. The United Nations must answer people’s expectations and he reminded the Assembly about that duty.
SHAIKH KHALID BIN AHMED BIN MOHAMED AL KHALIFA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, said that most important among the challenges facing the world was the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015. Huge and outstanding efforts had been exerted towards that end and Bahrain had had a leading position. Those had included the field of social welfare, provision of free and quality basic education, health care, improvement of child and maternal health, empowerment of women, gender equality, the expansion of the social safety net for the poorest of the population, the “insurance against unemployment” scheme, and expansion of the scope of vocational training aimed at enhancing Bahrain’s human resources.
In 2008, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa launched Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 constituting a historic turning point and a gateway to economic reform, he continued. Launched in conjunction with political reform, it laid down the future tracks of the national economy until 2030, and aimed to ensure the transformation of the economy from one based on oil revenues to a competitive and productive economy, planned by the Government, but led by a vibrant private sector. The outcome had been a growing middle class that enjoyed a high standard of living, due to increased productivity and well-remunerated jobs. The Vision aims to establish a society based on the principles of sustainability, competitiveness and equity.
Describing the Arab-Israeli conflict as one of the most important issues confronting the international community, he noted that it had been stuck for decades now, as failure followed on the steps of hope, and as frustration at the constant regression of the peace process overshadowed optimism. Yet, his country persevered hoping for a just, durable and comprehensive peace that restored rights to their legitimate owners and opened doors for mutual acceptance as neighbours, friends and partners with all the respect and commitment required. Bahrain valued the historic commitment and tireless efforts of United States President Barack Obama, who had given impetus to the peace process in the Middle East and renewed hope by launching resumed direct negotiations between Palestine and Israel. Those efforts required the unfailing commitment and support of all parties to take the necessary measures towards the attainment of peace, and to refrain from placing hurdles in its path. They needed to take steps towards coexistence among all through enhanced communication and outreach, to offer each party the opportunity to convince the other to coexist and become a partner.
Bahrain looked forward to a peaceful and prosperous Iraq capable of discarding any foreign intervention in its domestic affairs and faithful to its Arab-Islamic identity, inclusive of all ethnic and cultural affiliations, he continued. The country was also keenly interested in the stability and prosperity of the people of Iran and looked forward to the role that Iran could play to eliminate the “ghost of discord” around its nuclear programme. The settlement of the question of the United Arab Emirates islands occupied by Iran, be it through direct negotiations or by referral to the International Court of Justice, would also constitute a vital step forward towards laying the foundations for regional cohesion. That would generate the stability necessary for development in the interest of all peoples of the region.
BRUNO RODRÍGUEZ PARRILLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, said, while the General Assembly deliberated, strong and influential powers in the United States and Israel were preparing a military attack on Iran. At the same time, the Security Council had moved to adopt sanctions against that country, which together with unilateral sanctions illegally imposed by a group of States, sought to suffocate the Iranian economy. The recent biased report of the Director-General of the IAEA only increased tension and provided a pretext for escalated hostilities. Should such aggression materialize, it would be a crime against the Iranian people and would constitute an attack on international peace and law and detonate a nuclear conflict. Its impacts on the environment and world stability would be incalculable.
He wondered who could guarantee the contrary and on what basis. How could it be argued that the current path would remove the threat of conflagration in the Middle East? In the Security Council, the main country responsible for the crisis had imposed its own designs. Wars against Iraq and Afghanistan showed that no one Government could be entrusted to decide when all diplomatic steps to prevent war had been exhausted. For its part, the United Nations should be radically reformed, the Assembly’s “faculties” be reinstated and the Security Council be founded anew. The Secretary-General and all high representatives of international organizations, including the Agency, should respect States’ will. The danger posed by nuclear weapons would be solved only with their total elimination. The existence of a “club of the privileged” and countries of the South being denied the right to peaceful nuclear energy use should cease, he said, urging the United States, the main nuclear Power, to stop opposing the negotiation of legally binding agreements to rid the world of such threats. The Non-Aligned Movement’s proposal for a plan of action to create nuclear-weapon-free zones had gone unheeded. Such a zone must be achieved in the Middle East, which would remove the threat of conflict in that region.
In other areas, floods, droughts and extreme temperatures were reminders of climate risks, and he cautioned against narrow political agendas that could prevent the adoption of a binding agreement at the upcoming Climate Change Convention conference. Developed countries should accept more ambitious goals for cutting emissions. Moreover, it would be irresponsible to ignore the claims of non-governmental organizations that had met in Cochabamba five months ago to defend Mother Earth. Urging solidarity with Venezuela, he said victory in parliamentary elections had shown support for that country’s President. He also stressed that pledges for international assistance to Haiti must be realized.
As for relations with the United States, he said that country understood that Cuba was willing to live in a climate of peace and sovereign equality. Ties based on international law would enable those parties to solve their differences. However, the agenda for dialogue, presented to the United States on 14 July 2009, had not yet received a response. That Government would not rectify one of the most universally rejected elements of its policies towards Cuba — its commercial and financial blockade — which had been the object of 18 resolutions that called for its elimination. Financial transactions in United States dollars linked to Cuba were confiscated and banks undertaking them were penalized. Also, there was continuous violation of Cuba’s radio-electric spectrum, while millions in federal funds had been used to destabilize Cuba. A military base in Guantanamo had become a base of torture, while the United States migration policy encouraged illegal immigration. Cuba’s inclusion on the “spurious” list of nations that sponsored terrorism was deeply immoral. He called for the five anti-terrorist Cubans to be freed, which would be a sign of the United States’ will to combat terrorism in its hemisphere.
JEAN-PAUL ADAM, Minister of Foreign Affair of Seychelles, said that although his country had made great progress toward achieving their Millennium Development Goals, it was still “pedalling furiously” to not lose any ground. However, he asked the Assembly what the next step in 2015 would be and how the world community would proceed from that point, since efforts to achieve sustainable development for all could not just end in five years. Furthermore, middle-income countries such as Seychelles faced unique challenges, including accessing affordable financing to ensure they did “not fall back on what they have achieved”. His country would, in this regard, be establishing with the United Nations systems new commitments towards Millennium “Plus” targets.
Because of Member State’s diversity in size and population, he continued, the “one-size-fits-all” approach to development had not worked. Even with the United Nations different development categories to ensure those most in need receive support, resources were still stretched. He urged that development categories not become a “means to punish those who succeed in development”. International development architecture had ensured reliable funding and provisions for middle-income small island development States, in particular in regards to climate change. Such States risked getting lost between categories, and he called for a system-wide review of how the various agencies and organs were actually supporting small island developing States.
He then turned to recent developments in his country, notably a restructuring of “old” debt through “new” foreign direct investment, mostly coming from Gulf States, Africa and Asia. A renewable energy project was also being undertaken with the support of the United Arab Emirates Government, which he said was an example of how a small island could access affordable financing to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. He pointed out that these South-South dynamics were often overlooked, while time was spent on ideological debates which, in his view, “further obscure the true objectives of development”.
Calling for the international community to “move beyond what we have already tried”, he spoke of the ongoing situation in Somalia and expressed his country’s solidarity with its people and the Transitional Federal Government. He observed that the situation in Somalia was hampering the conditions for development in the region, and that terrorism and piracy continued to spread. He also urged the strengthening of efforts by the international community to tackle transnational crimes that led to instability, and stated his country’s and his region’s determination to work with all partners towards this end. “We are all part of the United Nations because we believe that we must work together to achieve development,” he reminded the Assembly, and urged more innovative financing, as well as a strengthening of collaborative efforts in the process of moving forward together.
MICHAEL T. SOMARE, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, said amid efforts to forge ahead to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, his country was reaching for its goals already. Papua New Guinea had adapted and localized the Millennium Goals by establishing 15 targets and 67 indicators within its medium-term development strategy for the 2005-2010 period. He urged donor partners to abide by the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. Developed countries should raise their ODA to 0.7 per cent of the gross national income. He was disappointed that the eighth “MDG on Global Partnership for Development” appeared to attract little serious interest from developed countries. In addition, the Doha Development Round remained an unfinished affair, he said.
Turning to security, he said the world was no safer today than when the United Nations was formed, with religious and ethnic tensions rippling across parts of Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The international community must do more to address those issues. Nuclear weapons still existed, and non-proliferation efforts should be strengthened.
Another scourge was climate change, whose consequences taxed budgetary resources and undermined development plans, he said, stressing his country’s commitment to reducing emissions through its programme of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, more commonly known as REDD plus, and through its adoption of an action plan for climate-compatible development.
Improving the efficiency of the United Nations must also be addressed, he said, commending the United Nations Secretary-General for the ongoing administrative and institutional reforms. Security Council expansion was logical and would allow for representation from certain additional developed and developing countries alike. He supported Germany and Japan’s inclusion as permanent members in any expanded Security Council.
SUKHBAATAR BATBOLD, Prime Minister of Mongolia, stated that experience has shown that the State could deliberately intervene in the economy to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development in what was emerging as a new concept of a “developmental State”. The United Nations was the right place to nurture such concepts, which could have a huge impact on the developmental policies and prospects of its Member States. While the United Nations was a unique forum to synthesize solutions to global problems, he noted, however, that there were challenges that had found or were seeking to find their solutions outside the United Nations. “What has emerged as obvious from our deliberations is the fact that for the United Nations to reaffirm its central role in global governance, it has to be efficient.”
In particular, he said, revitalization of the General Assembly should be further pursued, the role of the Economic and Social Council in global economic decision-making should be enhanced, and the number of permanent and non-permanent seats in the Security Council increased, ensuring fair representation of both developing and developed countries.
He said his Government had recommitted itself to the acceleration of poverty reduction, gender equality and sustainable development — the three Goals where the country was lagging behind. Poverty reduction would focus more on gender equality. Mongolia presented its National Voluntary Presentation on gender equality and the empowerment of women at the United Nations Economic and Social Council and would continue to improve its legislative framework in that regard. But, as a landlocked developing country, it experienced a higher cost of moving goods across borders, which put the nation at a competitive disadvantage and discouraged foreign investment.
Regarding climate change, he said that in less than 20 years, more than 70 per cent of Mongolian territory had been affected by desertification. Yet, adaptation and mitigation techniques suitable for scaling up had not been fully identified or introduced. Moreover, “the strategies and programmes in place have failed to yield the desired results.”
Turning to the multilateral disarmament agenda, he welcomed the outcome of the Nuclear Security Summit and noted that his country declared its territory as “nuclear-weapon-free”. Mongolia also welcomed the increasing role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in contributing to freedom from fear and want. Mongolia’s 2009-2014 Country Programme Framework, which it had signed last year with the Agency, added development of nuclear energy infrastructure and the country’s uranium reserves as a priority area of cooperation.
He welcomed the second review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, noting also that Mongolia had taken deliberate steps to enhance its participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions. In terms of promoting democratic consolidation, Mongolia was a party to all major international human rights instruments, and was implementing an independent national human rights action programme, which it had adopted in 2003. But, the implementation of human rights commitments was “hampered largely by two gaps: the knowledge gap and the capacity gap”, he acknowledged. “Human development is at the heart of the policies and activities of my Government,” he stated. National wealth would be distributed to each and every citizen of Mongolia through a newly established Human Development Fund in the form of regular allowances, as well as through health care, education and housing benefits.
BALDWIN SPENCER, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda, said that among the most enduring lessons over the past 65 years had been the wisdom and supremacy of multilateralism. Even where multilateralism had failed to secure lasting solutions to some of the world’s problems, it had laid a foundation upon which bilateral understanding could be built. For example, the conflict in the Middle East had long eluded the international community. That was why he was hopeful that at latest efforts being brokered by the United States Administration. If there was to be lasting peace, there must be two States. There must be direct negotiations and Israel must heed the international community’s unanimous call to extend the moratorium on disputed settlements.
He said that global governance related, not only to concerns about peace, security and political self-determination, but also to goals of eliminating hunger, disease and ignorance, administering a stable international financial system and preserving the environment. The United Nations, with its near-universal membership, was the only global body with the legitimacy and operational structures able to undertake the task of forging the necessary political and economic consensus to effectively tackle those challenges.
The consequences of climate change facing his country and others included the loss of agricultural land and infrastructure, losses in biodiversity, saltwater intrusion and the devastation of wetland habitats and human settlements, he said. Abundant financing to address those problems had been promised, but had yet to arrive. Emissions promises had also been broken. For its part, Antigua and Barbuda had pledged to reduce emissions by 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. He called on all countries, developed and developing, to similarly pledge real emissions reduction targets. The tragic consequences of natural disasters in Haiti, Chile and Pakistan only reaffirmed the need to ensure that addressing the humanitarian aspects of emergencies remained a United Nations priority.
He said that the Latin America and the Caribbean region was taking bold steps to overcome economic and social vulnerabilities by forging partnerships and creating an economic union by 2011. Economic challenges in the hemisphere were too many and their implications were too grave for the region to exclude any one country. Cuba would always remain a vibrant participant in any regional economic community, and he called on the United States to immediately end its embargo against Cuba. He also condemned anti-democratic moves, such as the recent coup in Honduras, calling on the unconditional return of former President Manuel Zelaya.
In a review of the Millennium Development Goals, he said a renewed emphasis on trade was a critical pillar, and it was essential that all participants in the global trading system adhere to international agreements. If not, people of small developing countries would put no faith in the global system. Trade was an engine of growth, and the Doha Round should be wrapped up to ensure a balanced outcome. For Antigua and Barbuda and other countries, debt relief was another top priority, as was addressing economy recovery after the current global crisis. He called on the Group of 7 (G-7), the G-20, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in their bilateral and multilateral commitments to the Caribbean, to give a more favourable response to the New Arrangement to Borrow, with a focus on the G-20 agreement of 2 April.
He called on the General Assembly session to develop modalities that would enable the United Nations to resolve conflicts, promote peace and stability, foster a more prosperous world through balanced growth, encourage all Member States to pursue a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world for children and create a world free of nuclear weapons.
JAUME BARTUMEU CASSANY, Head of Government of Andorra, stated the United Nations was the forum representing a prime source of hope for countries and individuals. Citizens had greater capacity to alert, motivate and drive forward political leaders, but the world faced great evils. Resulting from that presently were the food and economic crises, which had compounded the situation of the most vulnerable. Andorra had committed to cutting in half by 2015 the number of individuals suffering from hunger and malnutrition, delivering on Millennium Development Goal 1. Climate change was apparent in the natural disasters that had taken place in Haiti and Pakistan, showing how devastating it could be in jeopardizing the poorest nations. Andorra was undertaking several activities aimed at combating climate change.
Nations should rethink financial systems to be more sound and ethical, he urged. World leaders could surely agree on what populations and territories needed. Andorra’s commitment to recommendations made by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), expressed during the G-20 Toronto meeting, had served to boost confidence in his country’s financial sector. In addition, Andorra was undertaking efforts to address tax fraud and reduce the use of financial derivatives.
He underscored the value of tolerance and the need to work together to protect international peace and security. Andorra did not have an army, yet the nation had lived in peace for more than 70 years. To show its commitment to disarmament, it would ratify the Convention on Cluster Ammunitions. Human rights protection was a founding principle of the United Nations, and he stressed the importance of the Human Rights Council in that regard. Next November, Andorra would be subjected to the Human Rights Council’s periodic review. In addition, his country, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, would engage with its National of Andorra for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to raise awareness of that important text.
Among the country’s other areas of focus, it was prioritizing violence against women and advancing new gender priorities, he said, adding that Andorra recognized the role of women in development as essential for widespread, economically sustainable development. Unfortunately, progress was still lacking in that regard.
He added that the widespread economic crisis was also cultural in nature. It was important to remember cultural diversity, as well as knowledge and respect of cultures. In response to natural disasters, Andorra, in accordance with its national budget, had always stepped up with voluntary, or extraordinary, contributions, as needed.
EDWARD NIPAKE NATAPEI TUTAFANUA’ARIKI, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, speaking on behalf of both his Government and as Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, said his country was steadfast in its belief that the United Nations was uniquely suited to the pursuit and coordination of global initiatives. It had hosted the forty-first annual Pacific Islands Forum last month, during which Pacific leaders had noted that transnational crime, particularly the proliferation of small arms, light weapons, and illicit drug flows, remained a threat to stability. Consequently, the Forum strengthened cooperation in counter-terrorism measures and emphasized national efforts and regional cooperation to combat transnational organized crime.
He noted that, two years ago in Cairns, Australia, Pacific Forum members at the highest level had reaffirmed support for ongoing action by the Forum secretariat and stakeholders to raise awareness of the seriousness of sexual and gender-based violence. The Forum remained committed to collective arrangements to assist regional Governments recovering from conflicts, including the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. The Pacific region, while known as a region of oceanic isolation and smallness, was only one of the few in the world to have experienced nuclear weapons testing. Therefore, advancing the cause of nuclear non-proliferation remained critical. Notwithstanding the size of their member countries, respective Forum members valued and were proud of their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping efforts.
Moving on to issues of the Millennium Development Goals, he said he remained concerned about the pace of progress, but noted the Port Vila Declaration on Accelerating Progress on the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which recognized that the Goals were extremely important, as well as the special circumstances of the Pacific region. There, climate change remained the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples and, thus, concerted efforts on national, regional and international levels were being made.
Vanuatu had celebrated 30 years of political freedom in July, he said, adding that 2010 also marked the end of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. Questioning progress on some important self-determination processes, he said “It is disturbing to think that we may be ‘legitimizing’ practices that contravened the very principles this Organization has been founded on.” He urged the United Nations to strengthen its efforts towards the full decolonization of territories which were still under the control of administrative Powers. He was encouraged to see emerging nations such as Kosovo take up their position in the midst of independent nations of the world.
Touching on other topics, he mentioned the mechanisms and criteria for assessing graduation eligibility for least developed countries, which, he said, must not be isolated from the inherent vulnerabilities of those countries. Vanuatu believed all players were interested in seeing positive political progress in Fiji. Towards genuine and renewed commitment to foster relations in the Pacific region, he called upon international and regional diplomatic approaches not to polarize the region and to give dialogue and engagement a “more credible opportunity”. He expressed gratitude to the development partners for their support in building the economies of island countries of the Pacific.
TILLMAN THOMAS, Prime Minister of Grenada, stated that in times of conflict, strife, natural disasters and other humanitarian matters, the United Nations had been the first place to turn to. “Any weakening of its authority and effectiveness cannot be in our best interest,” he asserted. The recent advances made in the United Nations system-wide coherence deserved special commendation, as did the formation of UN Women. Grenada hoped its candidacy to that body’s Executive Board would win support. But, equally, “the United Nations had to recognize its inherent imperatives of democracy”. Continued failure to meaningfully reform the Security Council would deny the body its political legitimacy, he continued, calling for a Security Council seat for small island developing States.
Climate change, he stated, must remain at the top of the global diplomatic and negotiating agenda. It was already undermining small economies, “ruining their societies and threatening their very existence”. The $30 billion in “Fast Start” funding had reached only a small percentage of developing countries, and just a fraction of promised funds had been released. “Clearly this has to be corrected,” particularly for small island developing States.
Although Grenada had made progress on the Millennium Development Goals, there was much more to be done to achieve the Goals in the remaining five years, he noted. If countries were to eliminate poverty, there had to be a comprehensive review of the criteria for determining middle-income status. “A country of 37 per cent poverty and debt-to-GDP ratio of over 100 per cent, as is the case of Granada, cannot be ready to sail the high seas of development financing autonomy.” Concerning health, Grenada registered its strong support for a United Nations high-level meeting on non-communicable diseases, the main cause of mortality in its region.
In support of justice, Grenada, he said, urged the United States “to do what is right and completely lift the harsh economic measures against the people of Cuba, if only on humanitarian grounds”. Furthermore, in the spirit of fair trade, the nation called on the United States to honour the recent decision in favour of Antigua and Barbuda in the World Trade Organization. In closing, he recognized the critical role of the United Nations in almost every facet of global affairs. There would be no international peace and stability if people had no food or clothing, and no security if nations were not free to determine their own destiny. “The world would certainly be a better place if we shared our world’s resources to assist the more vulnerable among us,” he stated.
KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, said the United Nations must continue to provide a voice for all States and must be the centre of all discussions and decisions geared towards meeting the demands of its membership. Global governance meant more than just agreement on a body of rules, laws or practices placing the United Nations at the centre. It meant leaders and institutions were held more accountable for their actions to deliver a better quality of life for all. She called for the establishment of predictable and regular channels to facilitate dialogue between the G-20 nations and United Nations Member States, which constituted “the G-192”.
She urged the international community to do more to deal with the economic plight of its most vulnerable members. There was also an urgent need to provide the necessary assistance to developing countries to meet the Millennium Goals. Trinidad and Tobago had recently made its own efforts, by creating a Ministry of the People to deal with poverty and hunger elimination. The country’s Children’s Life Fund also provided funding and critical support for youngsters needing life-saving surgery. Children must not die because they could not afford health care. The prevention of non-communicable diseases was another area to be tackled, and she urged States to participate in next year’s high-level meeting on the topic.
The scourges of climate change and natural disasters also needed a concerted effort to achieve results, she said. Long-term strategies were being devised to reduce the incidence of flooding in her country. She called upon able States to contribute to the Central Emergency Relief Fund to better aid those affected by those and other crises. Illegal arms and drug trafficking were other topics that needed prompt attention and sustained support. In addition, the international community should support the establishment of UN Women, and Trinidad and Tobago would introduce in the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) a resolution on women, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation.
One decade into the new millennium, the international community had made strides in communications technology, but there were too many fences of politics, ideology, religion, ethnicity, culture and traditions, she said. The world should promote conversations between nations and people to replace aggression and threats with dialogues, founded on mutual respect that would ensure the survival of the human race and the planet.
JADRANKA KOSOR, Prime Minister of Croatia, opened by saying that the accelerated development of the contemporary world, and especially the challenges and threats to which it was exposed, required concerted action, joint responsibility and new solidarity. In that vein, the subject proposed as the theme of the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session — reaffirming global governance and the role of the United Nations — should remind all delegations the role of the Assembly in forming broad, coordinated and inclusive responses to shared challenges.
Specifically, she referred to the Millennium Development Goals and their implementation, and noted that they were additionally important because of their strong link with priorities related to the process of Croatia’s accession to the European Union. She noted Croatia’s shift from a recipient to a provider of international aid. Along with the contribution of deploying peacekeeping troops, police and military experts to 14 missions lead by the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union, Croatia was also ready to share its experience with States emerging from armed conflicts by offering expert advice and other services in the field of security and defence sector reform.
She emphasized how support for building peace in countries coming out of armed conflicts was one of the most important and complex challenges before the United Nations. Thus, Croatia strongly supported the work of the Peacebuilding Commission. Joint action at a global level was important to find responses to many challenges, particularly towards identifying deterrents to the use of nuclear weapons. Making a contribution to efforts at preventing nuclear proliferation, Croatia had organized a regional workshop on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004). At the same time, she reminded the Assembly that the illegal trade in small arms was “taking lives with merciless speed”.
Croatia strongly condemned terrorism and was wholly dedicated to preventing this threat. As a member of NATO and future member of the European Union, Croatia advocated peace and stability in southeast Europe. That was the reason why it also promoted a clear Euro-Atlantic perspective for all States in its neighbouring region. In that spirit, Croatia and Slovenia last year agreed on a solution to their long-running border dispute. She welcomed the General Assembly decision to adopt by acclamation the Resolution on Kosovo. Croatia advocated the accepted concept of responsibility for the protection of civilians against genocide.
ZALMAI RASSOUL, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, said that after 65 years, the United Nations remained as relevant today as ever before. But commitment was needed to overcome the tragedies of hunger, war and poverty. Afghanistan remained deeply committed to meeting the Millennium Goals, amid enormous challenges. Terrorism and extremism existed beyond its borders of Afghanistan, which were continuously infiltrated by armed adversaries. In the region, terrorism was a growing threat to world peace. If international partners and allies wanted to win the global war on terrorism, they must look beyond the villages of Afghanistan. That global challenge could only be defeated by a concerted effort. His Government was committed to cooperating with others to stamp out that scourge.
He said he recognized that development depended on achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan. A national body comprised of women, civil society and government had been established and was working towards peacebuilding. Despite successes, obstacles remained to achieve a better life for the Afghan people. Building on commitments made on London and Kabul, he was convinced terrorism and extremism would be eliminated. As demonstrated by the recent parliamentary elections, the people of Afghanistan were steadfast in their commitment to democracy. Afghanistan was also committed to working with its neighbours to combat drug trafficking. Natural disasters emphasized the need for a concerted response. Flooding in Pakistan put enormous strains on his country and others.
Regional business development initiatives, including a gas line and electricity projects, were helping to bolster economic development in the area, he said. His country stood ready to intensify cooperation with neighbours on economic, political and criminal issues. The Afghan people would never forget the international community or the partnerships that ensured peace and stability in Afghanistan.
SAMUEL SANTOS LOPEZ, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said the cause of the deep crises facing the world today was the present system of economic and political relations established by global capitalism and efforts to make that model the universal paradigm. Nicaragua knew first hand the pain of war and did not accept war as the obligatory language among peoples. The invasion of Iraq under false pretexts had not offered peace or stability, while the war in Afghanistan had become a dead-end for its occupiers. There was a close link between disarmament and development, and Nicaragua’s commitment to security included the promotion of human development, which was equal to sustainable development. Sadly, the global financial crisis had had little or no effect on global military spending.
For total disarmament, a climate of trust must be the only option for real and lasting world peace, he said. Nicaragua supported the inalienable right of parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to use nuclear energy for indiscriminate peaceful purposes, and because of that, demanded that Iran not be “cornered” because of that choice. “We generally need more decisive action which affirms multilateralism as the new paradigm,” he said, one that listened to the poor and really democratized the world order, beginning with the United Nations. Calling the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA) the vanguard of such change, he said Nicaragua joined Puerto Rico in upholding the banners of independence that had been violated, and Cuba, against which a criminal blockade had been set.
On climate change, recent Copenhagen talks “left us with a sense of having wasted our time”, he said, citing a lack of commitment by those who blocked solutions to address the critical state of Mother Earth. Nicaragua continued to promote its commitments on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Those which had caused the damage should accept greater responsibility. As the first to have signed the Universal Declaration on the General Well-being of Mother Earth and Humanity, he urged others to sign that document. Moving on, he said States should not accept the imposition of economic models based on exploitation of riches. Nicaragua was pursuing an alternative model of economic sovereignty that would allow for recovering its capacity to determine its own development path. Each country’s development strategy was its own responsibility, and foreign aid must be in line with national plans, strategies and goals.
As for the “hair-raising” reality of 10.9 million children under age five who died in the developing world each year, he said hunger and malnutrition-related diseases caused 60 per cent of those deaths. The cost of those problems was estimated at $20 to $30 billion per year. “This intolerable situation has to stop,” he said. Transnational organized crime had become a permanent national security threat and he reiterated that his Government would combat all forms of terrorism whatever the source. Among the processes hampering change was the suppression of information with a view to perpetuating ignorance — “converting a smile into a smirk and words into noise,” he said. Social transformations were taking place in some countries as a result of revolutionary political forces, as was the case with the Frente Sandinista. Nicaragua proclaimed its right to live in peace, and combat poverty, hunger and malnutrition generated by imposition of an economic and political model alien to its own.
PETER SHANEL AGOVAKA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands, said that, under its new foreign policy, his country would establish relations with “all six regions of the United Nations” and stood ready to enhance the United Nations presence in its capital, renewing the call to upgrade the United Nations sub-office in Honiara. Solomon Islands also appreciated the Political Affairs Office and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their roles in coordinating approximately 400 local and international observers who monitored last month’s general election. “A number of electoral reform recommendations were made, and will be acted on by my Government with the view of improving our national electoral system,” he said.
Stating that each country had to define for itself the form of democracy it wanted to adopt, he noted that Solomon Islands continued to advocate for genuine dialogue and engagement with Fiji over confrontation and sanctions, and supported Fiji’s efforts to determine its destiny. He also called for the lifting of the 49 year old economic embargo on Cuba, saying, “Such embargo belongs to a different time and era.”
Although the country’s seven year relationship with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands had brought political and financial stability, Solomon Islands remained committed to addressing issues of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, as well as the underlying causes of the conflict that remained unresolved, he said. Solomon Islands also supported all peace initiatives, including proposals to normalize relations between the entire Arab region and Israel. Additionally, it saw the total elimination of all nuclear weapons as the only absolute guarantee to creating a safe and secure world.
Emphasizing the need for a legally binding agreement on climate change, he said: “It is critical that we must have a clear path of stabilizing green house gas emissions. Solomon Islands supports the small islands developing States (SIDS) call to reduce temperature rise below 1.5 °C and to bring down green house gas concentration to well below 350 parts per million.” In May of this year, Solomon Islands were among eight Pacific Small Islands Developing States that set up the Nauru Agreement and agreed to coordinate the management of their tuna resources. The country also offered to host the establishment of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) regional marine scientific centre.
MICHEÁL MARTIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, commended the establishment of UN Women as part of the greater process to reform the Organization, bringing gender equality to women worldwide. He also saluted the “Delivering as One” programme as proof that a greater coherence in the United Nations development activities brought clear and tangible benefits. However, more reforms were needed, notably with the Security Council transforming to reflect twenty-first century realities and to function with increased transparency. Furthermore, the apportioning of expenses of the Organization needed to reflect the capacity to pay and he looked forward to the review of the existing Scale methodology.
Turning to the issues of poverty and hunger, he recalled Ireland’s Hunger Task Force report two years ago which called for a more concerted, comprehensive approach toward ending world hunger. Last week, he had hosted, with the United States Secretary of State, a meeting of international leaders to build a partnership focusing on the first 1,000 days of life. The Secretary-General’s Scaling-Up Nutrition Initiative would receive his country’s full support as well.
In regards to the Middle East peace process, he reminded the Assembly that Ireland’s experience in the Northern Ireland peace process showed that political progress could only be achieved through dialogue. “Maximum restraint for the duration of these talks, which are intended to be — and should be — completed within 12 months, would be a small price for lasting peace,” he stated, and he echoed the sentiment of regret his colleague, the European Union High Representative, expressed that Israel had decided not to extend the moratorium on settlements. A witness to the “appalling humanitarian plight of the people of Gaza” during his visit in February of this year, he heralded the dignity and resilience of the people there, living in conditions that were “quite simply unacceptable”. Even with the delivery of humanitarian and consumer goods, the need for normal commercial activity to resume was essential to Gaza’s recovery.
He then urged Iran to engage constructively and comply with the clear requirements established in various resolutions, including Resolution 1929 (2010), regarding its nuclear programme. He was also proud of his country’s contribution in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference this past May, in particular in the facilitation of a process in implementing in the 1995 resolution of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. Furthermore, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, negotiated in Dublin in May 2008, had entered into force August this year. On the issue of the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi in “ Burma,” he called for her release, as well as the release of all political prisoners in Burma and for the launching of a “genuine, inclusive national dialogue”, as well as the establishment of conditions in which free and fair elections could take place.
In the area of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, he spoke of Ireland’s long history of commitment to peacekeeping missions and of the honour of Ireland’s Permanent Representative as co-facilitator, along with South Africa and Mexico, reviewing and reporting on the Organization’s peacebuilding architecture, which he hoped would revitalize and give renewed focus and impact to the Commission. He then said, in conclusion, that the peace process of Northern Ireland stood as an example of “what can be achieved with patience, imagination and strong international support”. This year, he stated, major steps had been taken towards fulfilling the vision of the Good Friday Agreement, signed 12 years ago, with the devolution of a policing and justice power to a locally elected Minister accountable to the Assembly. Ireland would continue to support the principles and values upon which the United Nations had been founded and he looked forward to participating in international endeavours towards a peaceful and prosperous and secure world.
MAMADOU TANGARA, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad of Gambia, said recent upheavals and crises in the international arena had thrown into sharp focus what the United Nations could and must do to coordinate global responses and solutions to global issues. For that reason, the theme of the Assembly’s current session — reaffirming the central role of the United Nations in global governance — was very apt and timely. Part of the discussion should focus on organization-wide reform because without it, the United Nations could not be of relevance in the twenty-first century.
He noted that the Security Council should “change for the better”, and, in the absence of action to implement serious reform, the 15 member body’s legitimacy would be called into question. “It is therefore high time to stop consigning Africa to a fate of second class membership in the United Nations through its perpetual exclusion from the important decision-making in the Security Council,” he said. For many years, he had called for a greater voice for developing countries in international and financial matters, and today, he renewed that call “with deep urgency”.
Developing countries believed the Economic and Social Council should be the leading platform for the discussion and formulation of global policies in the economic and social fields. At the height of ongoing economic crisis, he said that attempts were made “to undermine the voice of developing countries and expose them to situations of greater vulnerability.” Gambia had maintained its focus on attaining the Millennium Development Goals. However, in the “last stretch” before the 2015 deadline, the critical need for greater international solidarity and partnership could not be overemphasized. Touching on other topics, he mentioned the role the United Nations could play in promoting good governance; the fact that the Human Rights Charter and other instruments provided sufficient grounds for dialogue; and the role international criminal law could play in global governance.
It went without saying that Africa was the perpetual target of exploitation and a specimen or subject of marginalization. Africa was isolated in global trade, technology and cooperation, and African leaders were targeted and humiliated in unfair proportions. As the case of Africa showed, global governance had to go beyond political systems “to embrace exposing and neutralizing strategies employed to subdue fragile States”. Good governance needed to permeate the finance structures, in order to render them more effective. There were regional structures in almost every corner of the globe. The United Nations had to recognize these structures and work closely with them to quell unrest wherever it erupted, he added.
Stressing that all sovereign States that had a legitimate Government based on the will and consent of their people be admitted to the United Nations, he plead the case of “Taiwan, which contributes immensely to the international community through trade, investment, air transport, finance, telecommunications technology and environmental protection in the spirit of international cooperation, and therefore we call on the United Nations to find a proper way to accept Taiwan’s participation in all its specialized bodies and agencies.”
MANUEL SALVADOR DOS RAMOS, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications of S āo Tomé and Príncipe, said the defence of multilateralism was of vital importance in seeking solutions based on the United Nations Charter. The role of the United Nations in preventing conflicts, promoting peace and supporting development should be bolstered. He echoed the concerns expressed by the President of Malawi and of the African Union in that regard.
Touching on a number of conflicts, he said that the consensus established until now around the question of Western Sahara should urge the parties involved to continue on the path of dialogue aimed at a peaceful settlement of that conflict. Global security was vital for the sustainable development of countries, and the international community needed to be cautious and aware of the risks that the spread of the Palestinian conflict caused for the entire Middle Eastern region and to international peace. Sāo Tomé and Príncipe welcomed the resumption of dialogue and encouraged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue on that course in hopes of peaceful coexistence.
He said that his country, with its vast sea borders, faced other risks, such as transnational crime, piracy, and drug trafficking. Thus, it would continue to give particular attention to regional integration organizations to which it belonged and to conflict prevention, management, and resolution mechanisms to ensure security and peace in Central Africa.
Regarding the Millennium Development Goals, he noted that the results in the field of education and health were encouraging, particularly in reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. His country had made significant progress, but much remained to be done. Concerning climate change, Sao Tome and Principe considered it a collective responsibility to take measures to address the adverse effects of climate change, while it welcomed political willingness of Member States to build the necessary consensus on the various themes discussed at the Copenhagen Summit. He was concerned at attempts to use nuclear energy for non-peaceful purposes. Climate change caused imbalances in the microclimate of the country, with dramatic consequences on domestic production, which threatened food security. He counted on the invaluable collaboration and availability expressed so far in that regard by the international community in general and by United Nations specialized bodies.
He called on United Nations member countries, and on the specialized agencies, to find ways to make possible Taiwan’s greater participation in their work and mechanisms, such as in the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. He believed that Taiwan’s participation in those two forums would strengthen both mechanisms and better serve common interests. He reaffirmed his country’s readiness to contribute to the realization of the noble principles and objectives that were at the root of the creation of the United Nations.
ANTOINE GAMBI, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, and of the Francophonie of the Central African Republic, observing that this was a particularly difficult time in the world, stressed the need for a new approach that focused on the security of individuals and on conflict settlement through peaceful means, which was clearly the most successful way to maintain security. Turning to climate change, the planet’s survival was threatened with the advancement of desert land, the degradation of ecological systems, shortened winters, and floods, to name a few. “Faced with this danger, we cannot wonder about who does what,” he stated. Instead, it was time to take action and urgent measures, and he called for implementation of the conclusions of the Bali conference. Copenhagen, he pointed out, had been a showcase of State selfishness in the area of international cooperation. He dared to hope that in Cancun, appropriate answers would be found to those serious questions.
He said that the HIV/AIDS and malaria health crises represented grave threats to the survival of humanity, especially in Africa, and he called for renewed commitment to the 2001 General Assembly Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. Maternal and infant mortality also needed the same attention. Highlighting those serious health challenges at such forums underscored the need for help, and he called for extensive mobilization of resources to successfully meet those challenges. Turning to the Millennium Goals, and specifically to the first objective of reducing hunger by 50 per cent, he said that implementation through international cooperation would be successful if it was based on support for the development of sustainable agriculture. His country was rich in natural resources, and it could have succeeded in that area if it had not been landlocked and without enough financial support for agricultural development. With significant rainfall, there were 15 million hectares of cultivatable land, yet only 600 were being utilized, and while there were 16 million pastoral lands, only 2 million cattle grazed. Yet despite the country’s needs and food insecurity, assistance had “drastically” declined in the last 20 years.
Implementing pillar four of its national strategy — the strengthening of human resources, especially in health and education — had showed unsatisfactory results, he noted. Literacy rates for adults were at 57 per cent and the net rate for primary education was at 55 per cent. The Central African Republic was most affected by HIV, even with concerted efforts to control the health crisis. If his country was to implement the Goals into its development plan, it deserved support from its partners.
His country’s elections in 2005 had been heralded by the international community, he recalled. However, it was necessary to “face the facts” that the 2010 elections had difficulties. A constitutional amendment had been voted to extend the President’s term and that of the National Assembly until new elections in January 2011. The Central African Republic was still facing security issues in the northeast because of Darfur, and in the southeast, owing to the Uganda rebellion. That situation had led to the flight of internally displaced persons and refugees from the countryside to the cities. He called for the disarmament of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and as a post-conflict country, requested special consideration because of the LRA’s activities.
He informed the Assembly that his country’s defence forces would be relieving international forces, but they were desperately short of equipment. He announced that his country would launch an appeal to the international community to strengthen those forces. He meanwhile thanked those whose commitment, courage and determination were assisting his country as it emerged from crisis into peace and sustainable development.
MOHAMED BOLKIAH, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, discussed what his country viewed as the most important aspect of the United Nations work: that of its agencies, their experts and, above all, their volunteers in the field. This year’s debate underscored the importance of their work and asked States to recognize the Organization’s central role in global governance. “I have no difficulty in doing this,” he said. While achieving security and development was, of course, each State’s responsibility, many global challenges were simply beyond any one nation or region. They were international in the full sense of the word and required help and expertise, exactly what United Nations agencies offered.
In Brunei Darussalam, such support was taking place through the UNDP, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for which he expressed gratitude. Those agencies met people directly, listened and discussed. They taught, trained and encouraged. They worked closely with local authorities, which Brunei Darussalam had seen first hand during last year’s H1N1 health crisis. For a small nation like Brunei Darussalam, such problems could have “closed us down,” but they did not. His people had understood they were not alone and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines provided confidence in an extremely worrying time. With that, he reaffirmed his nation’s respect for United Nations agencies. Without them, the concept of global governance would be at best just an idea.
OLDEMIRO BALOI, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, stated that the nation was moving steadily towards strengthening its democratic institutions, for which it had undertaken a comprehensive public sector reform and decentralization process of the Public Administration. Mozambique’s main goal was to eradicate poverty, which necessitated capacity-building on such matters as climate change, energy and food security. “Mozambique and many other countries from sub-Saharan Africa are being ravaged by cyclical natural disasters,” which reduced land productivity. Yet, those countries did not have the requisite financial resources to mitigate the impact of climate change. In addressing those challenges, concrete steps were needed to strengthen the central role of the United Nations in global governance.
He said that the General Assembly, as the Organization’s most representative and legitimate body, should be well-resourced with the necessary authority to assume its responsibilities, on behalf of the international community. As for the Security Council, it was widely agreed that its reform should be made a priority. A more balanced representation in the Council would be “more fair and democratic”, ensuring its ability to serve the security needs of the international community. “It is no longer acceptable that a continent that represents almost 30 per cent of the whole United Nations membership — and whose concerns constitute more than 60 per cent of the Council’s agenda — is not represented in the category of permanent member,” he asserted. He meanwhile acknowledged the progress made by the General Assembly on system-wide coherence and commended the establishment of UN Women. In light of his nation’s strong belief in “Delivering as One”, he called on the United Nations to support all countries that voluntarily embarked on that process.
As concerned the maintenance of international peace and security, Mozambique was committed to continue sharing its experience in the peaceful resolution of conflicts, particularly with southern Africa, which he noted, had improved in that regard. Mozambique remained concerned, however, about the volatile situation in the Middle East, where conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continued to deprive the Palestinian people of the realization of all their fundamental human rights. In the same vein, Mozambique reiterated its support to the right of self-determination for the people of Sahara.
BHIM BAHADUR RAWAL, Minister for Home Affairs of Nepal, said that the recent summit on the Millennium Development Goals had “rekindled our hope” of a different world in 2015. Recognizing the complex and multiple challenges to international peace and security, he stressed that development, peace and security were inextricably linked. He then urged that making the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) operational and the early conclusion of a fissile material cut-off treaty be priorities in the work of the international community.
Turning to the reform of the Organization he called for a systematic and holistic approach, including the expansion of the Security Council with membership that reflected current realities, as well as the institution of transparency in its working methods. Furthermore, the role of the Economic and Social Council should be enhanced in its work of promoting global economic relations and advancing the development agenda and, in that regard, he welcomed the Development Cooperation Forum and Annual Ministerial review.
Nepal had, he stated, “extended unflinching support to all major [United Nations] initiatives”, and in 2008 celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the Organization. He pointed out that currently there were 5,000 Nepalese peacekeepers working in 13 different peacekeeping missions around the world. He proudly noted that Nepal had put forward the candidacy of Kul Chandra Gautam, adviser to the Prime Minister of Nepal on the Peace Process and International Affairs, as President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.
As a least developed country, Nepal was affected disproportionately by the realities of climate change, he said. Landlocked, and with the Himalayas as a source of fresh water for more than 1 billion people living in South Asia, Nepal was highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Global warming had caused melting snow, and about two dozen glacial lakes risked bursting, causing huge loss of lives and property. Contributing the least to climate change, yet being impacted disproportionately, Nepal was implementing afforestation programmes, the use of alternative energy sources, as well as hydropower generation. However, there was an “an urgent need to make progress on climate negotiation through ambitious and comprehensive” outcome in Cancun later this year.
International responses to the special needs and concerns of least developed countries, including the Brussels Programme of Action, had been of “limited success”, he said. Impacts from the global food, energy, economic and financial crises, on top of the adverse impacts of climate change, impeded the development of Nepal and other least developed countries. In order to overcome the challenges, a renewed and scaled-up global partnership was needed, including the fulfilment of all ODA commitments, enhanced provision of duty- and quota-free market access and an early conclusion of the Doha Round, to name a few. Debt relief, increased flow of foreign direct investment and technology transfer, among others, were also critically important to ensure resources for financing sustainable development.
He then spoke of the “arduous transition from a 10-year long conflict” through the ongoing and complex peace process in Nepal and the “remarkable progress” since signing the Comprehensive Peace Accord in November 2006. Today, Nepal was a federal democratic republic, with a 601-member Constituent Assembly that was one of the most inclusive assemblies, and where women constituted one third of its total members. Regarding the integration and rehabilitation of the former Moaist combatants, he announced an agreement between the Government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to complete the process within four months. Offering appreciation and thanks to both national stakeholders and international support, specifically the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), he affirmed his country’s commitment to the work of the United Nations.
KALOMBO MWANSA, Special Envoy of the President and Minister of Defence of Zambia, said the General Assembly session was an opportunity for Member States to engage in a dialogue to find solutions to current challenges, in order to contribute to the socio-economic development and well-being of all people. The session’s theme reaffirmed the United Nations role and the need for that role to broaden its scope to cope with current global challenges. To reach the Millennium Development Goals, international partners must honour their commitments and ensure that the 2015 targets were realized. For its part, Zambia had adopted measures to boost agriculture sectors, and had invested in research and irrigation methods. However, the global challenge of combating land loss and ecosystem degradation required that all stakeholders step up efforts and meet the Millennium Goals and other internationally agreed development goals.
He applauded the recent advances in the area of arms control and disarmament, but he lamented Zambia’s continuing battle to control the inflow of small arms and light weapons. The illicit weapons trade was retarding social and economic development, and he thus called for the establishment of a strong and legally binding arms trade treaty. He reaffirmed his support of reforming the United Nations, particularly the Security Council. Africa was without permanent seats and yet it constituted the second-largest membership in the United Nations.
Zambia had addressed a number of issues, including integrating women in all sectors of society in decision-making positions concerning development, he said, adding that it had also addressed the issues of refugees. Sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and the embargo on Cuba only hurt neighbouring States and their economies, and he thus urged that the sanctions and embargoes be lifted on both countries. Zambia, to strengthen its own efforts to consolidate democratic governance, was in the process of enacting a new constitution.
As the world reaffirmed the role of the United Nations in global governance, he said States should not be complacent in the face of great suffering and hardship. “Let that be the force that drives us to action, where all nations will work together in meeting the goals and aspirations of all people.”
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