New York, November 14 2001

(check. against delivery)


 Mr. President

Mr. Secretary General Distinguished. Delegates Colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Mr. President,

At outset, I wish to extend to you greetings from the Government and Peoples of the Republic of Vanuatu. I wish to convey to you the apologies of, my Government in not being able to be represented here at Ministerial level due to Parliament that is currently session. May I also take this opportunity to convey my Government's congratulations on your election as President of the fifty-sixth session of the General Assembly. I also pay tribute to your predecessor who has so ably played a decisive role at the helm of' the 55th Session. Likewise allow me to congratulate also the Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan, on Iris re-election to a second terra of this esteemed world body_ His assured wisdom and compassion are needed more that ever to lead this organization at this tithe of world crisis.

I have the great honor standing before you today delivering a statement on behalf of my government and the people of the Republic of Vanuatu at a time so sad that there words cannot begin to encompass the scope of these emotions. In this vein, let me express the sincere sympathy and condolences of my government and the people of Vanuatu to the victims, their families and friends of the tragedy that struck Downtown New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania. In light of these events the General Assembly has been forced to suspend most of its agenda since the. September 11 attacks, including this very Heads of. Governments general debate.

Mr. President,

It is ironic that as the world becomes more civilized we become more vulnerable to such inhuman acts of terrorism. The impacts of these terrorist activities are being felt around the globe and small states such as mine will suffer along with the rest of the international community. If any good has come out of the despicable events of 11 September it is Nations of the world over are more united than ever in condemning and collectively collaborating to eradicate these terrible acts of terrorism. My Government has taken steps to tighten security and working closely with other Pacific Islands States towards building and strengthening peace and security-in our region.

Mr. President,

Global peace and security cannot be certain in this climate of continued difference of views between major nuclear weapons states. The lack of progress of this has been the statement prevailing in the conference on Disarmament. The agreements readied during the 2000 NPT Review Conference was not realized, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not been made available to enter into force, global military expenditure continues to rise and low cost of small arms and light weapons are proliferating at an alarming rate sustaining conflicts and criminalizing societies. More committed efforts and innovative strategies are needed to meet the goals of the Millennium Declaration. Vanuatu believes that the conference on disarmament should have worked towards the goals for which it was originally established.

Mr. President,

The Third UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC III) held iii Brussels in May this year was highly successful and was able to come out with the Brussels Declaration and the Program of Action for the LCD's for the decade 2001-2010. We appreciate the views of the Secretary General that the Declaration reaffirms the collective responsibility of the international community to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity and to ensure that globalization' becomes a. positive force for all the world's people. The LDC 1.1.1 Program of Action is different from all others in that it deals with the entire of issues of development, and that the approach is based on commitments by the LDC's and their development partners. Its effective implementation is the most important task before us and United Nations role in it is vital. We believe that without coordinate involvement of the whole United Nations system there will be little for the United Nations to achieve.

Mr. President,

The Vanuatu Government, like other governments around the world, is committed to enhancing the status of women. It is well documented that women in Vanuatu are disadvantaged in almost all sectors. In 1995, Vanuatu unanimously ratified the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Accordingly, tire
 Government of Vanuatu is focusing on CEDAW as the basis for programs focusing on women's rights and development in Vanuatu.

Lack of resources has hindered Vanuatu's progress in submitting both the initial report and the first report. The Government however recognizes the importance of the reports in terms of building up and monitoring its own human resource development requirements and is thus putting greater efforts into the production of these reports. Indeed, no country can afford to waste half of its human resources.

Mr. President,

Vanuatu remains steadfast in its commitments and obligation to the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Since ratifying the Convention in 1992, the Government of Vanuatu has implemented decisions and undertaken activities that promote the advancement of children in our -society- A National Children's Committee, whose membership comprises stakeholders, has been revived and which is officially recognized as the regulatory body coordinating and supervising children's rights through out the nation.

Mr. President,

The electoral assistance provided by the United Nations in Fiji's National election has greatly facilitated democratic transition in that country, We welcome-, the new focus on supporting institution; and stimulating local. participation. We also welcome other efforts to deploy electoral assistance division to coordinate activities of foreign observers in forthcoming elections particularly in the Solomon Islands, Bangladesh and East Timor. We commend the assistance of the United Nations in empowering citizens in member states to enjoy the power of democracy.

Mr. President,

We recognize the efforts of the United Nations in bridging the gap between human rights norms and their implementation. Despite some progress, challenges remain in ensuring universal respect for human rights. The Republic of Vanuatu is a party to nearly all core human rights treaties. We feel there is continuing need for human and institutional capacity building in developing cour1tries iii order to ensure implementation of human rights conventions and treaties signed by theta. This is an area where the United Nations should follow a need-based approach, slake a realistic assessment of the existing mechanism and target-those countries needing infrastructure support.

Mr. President,

The Fast Timorese people, which have already elected their constitutive Assembly, will democratically elect their President and will soon exercise full sovereignty on their entire territory is a big leap of such positive development. This goes to affirm the outstanding commitment of the C24 in deliberating on the right of people to self-determination. However, there are those who are still waiting to exercise this right. I am pleased to note to this august session of the General Debate the report of the Secretary General on the work of the organization with special mention to West Papua. The Secretary General intends to enhance our efforts to assist Indonesia as it seeks to establish a democratic society and in addressing the wide range of complex issues facing that country. The Secretary General also made a strong point on the efforts of the Indonesian authority to further the promotion of human rights acid find peaceful resolutions to the problems in West Papua, Aceh and Maluku, During the thirty-second Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, Forum Leaders expressed continuing concern about violence and loss of life in the Indonesian province of West Papua. The Forum also called on the Indonesian Authorities to ensure that voices of all parties in West Papua are heard in order to achieve a peaceful resolution. Our leaders welcomed the recent presentation of special autonomy proposals to Indonesia's National Assembly whilst urging all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in West Papua.

I am extremely pleased to inform you that the Government of Vanuatu has agreed to host the C24 seminar in Vanuatu in May of next year. We look forward to this important meeting.

Mr. President,

The Republic of Vanuatu wishes to join others in expressing our appreciation to the Secretary General for his comprehensive report on the implementation of the recommendations of the special committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the panel on the United Nations Peace Operations as contained in document A/55/977, dated lst June 2001. Vanuatu is a new supporter to the United Nations peacekeeping role in East Timor and Bosnia and has contributed civilian police to these UN peacekeeping initiatives. The Vanuatu Government remains to future peacekeeping engagements. Vanuatu has also monitored the peace process on Bougainville alongside the UN.

Mr. President,

One of the more pressing issues before us is of the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. The United Nations has now scheduled a World Summit Oil Sustainable Development to be geld held Johannesburg South Africa in September of next year.

The Pacific Islands Forums communiqué had reflected on the climate change in seeking the International communities awareness of our low lying islands in the Pacific and reiterating priority to the Kyoto Protocol as a significant step forward for global action in combating climate change. Although signed by many of the industrial countries including the United States, the Kyoto Protocol has not yet been ratified by any of them. We are very concerned that the United States Senate has actually voted against ratification. Our Forum Leaders noted the concerns expressed by most members over the United States intention not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol we call arid urge the United States to reconsider its position and ratify the Kyoto Protocol as soon as possible.

Mr. President,

While the incidence of 141V and AIDS is not as high in the Pacific as in soiree other regions, it is nevertheless a major issue for both developing and developed countries within our region. There is every potential for the epidemic to grow, particularly with the mobility of populations in the Pacific. Vanuatu's delegation is of the firm view that prevention should be the mainstay of combating HIV/AIDS in our region.

The relatively low number of reported HIV/AIDS cases in a number of our countries should not give rise to complacency. Once the disease takes hold care and treatment would be extremely difficult to afford. On this note Vanuatu welcomes the establishment of a global fund to combat IIIV/AIDS and we wish to express our appreciation to those governments, foundations and individuals which have already expressed support. Meanwhile international strategies and plans for resource mobilization must keep in. mind the competing priorities of, and the constraints faced by smaller States like Vanuatu.

 In conclusion, Mr. President, the Vanuatu delegation reaffirms its support and conviction about the crucial role that the United Nations has in ensuring that the world becomes a much safer place to live in.

I thank you for your attention.