MRS. MARIA SOLEDAD ALVEAR
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF CHILE
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY 57TH SESSION
13 SEPTEMBER 2002, NEW YORK
On behalf of my country, I wish to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. You can of course count on the full cooperation of the delegation of Chile for the success of your stewardship.
The Government of Chile takes this opportunity to welcome the accession to membership of the United Nations of the Swiss Confederation and of Timor Leste. The presence of Switzerland strengthens its historical identification with the founding principles of this Organization. The upcoming presence of Timor Leste symbolizes the collaboration of the United Nations in the creation of a viable and democratic State. We are proud to have contributed to that mission.
One year ago, this city suffered a reprehensible terrorist attack that left an indelible stain on the conscience of mankind.
September 11, 2001 marks a turning point in our contemporary history. This episode brought us face to face with new dimensions of our human vulnerability, with a fragility that globalizes insecurity. The attack perpetrated a few miles from this place showed us with frightful cruelty that human coexistence in this world urgently requires new approaches and new instruments.
It is now necessary for Governments and societies to forge positive responses and to work together in order to resolutely confront the problem of terrorism. The re-evaluation of multilateralism in a globalized world is an imperative. Chile wishes to renew its commitment to this goal.
The Secretary-General noted during the Millennium Assembly that human aspirations fall into broad categories, universal values, which are the fundamental purposes of the United Nations and which are yet to be realized. He referred to the need to overcome poverty and fear. In other words, the challenge is for our peoples to be able to live in a safer world.
We firmly believe that at this period of history, we have to exert all efforts to seek a safer world, a challenge that should unite societies and cultures. United Nations, as Secretary-General has indicated yesterday, provides a unique legitimacy to contribute to an effective security system. The compliance with the resolutions of the Security Council is an inevitable responsibility for world peace and the future of this organization.
New Dimensions of Security
The attacks of 11 September last year gave rise to a debate on the new threats to security that has been marked by such important concepts as globalization, the State and society.
We realized that the only way in which the international community can combat terrorism is by building consensus on the social virtues inherent in democracy, namely, diversity and tolerance. This approach will certainly contribute to the security of our societies and also make it possible to reflect on the causes of violence from a comprehensive perspective.
The changes that we have undergone in recent years have created new challenges and responsibilities for the world, which we must assume and confront as a global society. Indeed, risks have now become global and know no frontiers. Both States and ordinary men and women in every part of the world now exist in a new environment of uncertainty.
In this environment, traditional notions of security - formulated around threats to State actors - have been overtaken.
A safer world requires that we build consensus and develop new approaches that take account of the multi-dimensional nature of the threats and place people at the center of its concerns.
With this new attitude towards security, we must promote throughout the world a comprehensive approach to dealing with these new threats so that we can achieve a world free from fear and poverty.
Against this backdrop of change, the concept of human security has emerged. We would like people to be the focus of all multilateral deliberations. This was the priority that Chile advocated a decade ago with its initiative for the convening of a Summit on Social Development. And this same concern today inspires our participation in the Human Security Network, which Chile has coordinated this year.
Human security is associated firstly with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as with public order at the State level, which in turn requires strict respect for the rule of law. Human security not only takes the form of the absence of traditional conflicts but is also reflected in integration, cooperation and understanding between the different actors in a society. It is this social environment that must be strengthened through innovative and effective strategies.
Chile's candidacy for a seat on the Security Council for the period 2003 -2004, which has the support of our regional group of Latin American and the Caribbean, and we wish once again to express our appreciation for that support, seeks to strengthen the multilateral approach to crisis that threaten international peace and security, and also to place human security at the center of the concerns of this principal organ of the United Nations.
Democracy and Human Rights
Respect for human rights is a fundamental requirement in the search for a world free from fear, a safer world, a world of hope.
Human rights are a source of political and social legitimacy in the contemporary international system and provide guidelines for its actions. The promotion and protection of these rights are premised on the individual being subject to rights, whose enjoyment must be guaranteed by the State.
Chile, as a member of the Commission on Human Rights, will participate in initiatives to strengthen the fundamental and unique role of this organ in considering the various dimensions of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Democracy is recognized as having universal value. This is expressed mainly through free elections and alternation in power and the strengthening of democracy requires integrity, transparency and good governance. This is the proper path towards a democracy that better integrates, protects and gives meaning to a society.
Chile constructively supports and promotes the spread of the values of democracy and democratic thinking throughout the world. In our region, democracy is a fundamental value. The adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter represents a step forward in the continuing effort to further refine and strengthen democracy. In this connection, we welcome the establishment of the Community of Democracies as a concerted attempt to make universal the values inherent in democracy.
The cultural dimension, as an expression of a modern vision, must be part of our efforts to build a safer world.
Inter-cultural dialogue and respect for diversity are fundamental elements of civilized relations between nations.
Chile has a positive approach to cultural diversity as a means of enriching our human horizons.
We firmly believe that inter-cultural dialogue contributes to the strengthening of the universal values of human dignity.
International terrorism is
a negation of the values that make possible civilized co-existence and
living together, in which there must be space for our global diversity.
As the Heads of State and Government noted in the Summit of the Americas, terrorism is a violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and an attack on democracy itself.
Terrorism is the greatest risk facing the global community in building a safer world, and political commitment is needed for joint and effective action to eradicate it, within the framework of international law. Inter-cultural dialogue is essential for developing a global strategy to combat terrorism.
The United Nations plays a key role as a leading organization in the fight against terrorism. The work of the Security Council and of its Counter-Terrorism Committee, established pursuant to Council resolution 1373 (2001), and the elaboration of a general convention on international terrorism are efforts that we support and to which we will continue to contribute.
Last May, we submitted an initial report to the Committee, which is an indication of our commitment in this area.
With regard to the drafting of a global convention on international terrorism, we believe that the inevitable difficulties being encountered at the conceptual level should not distract us from our key objective, namely, the eradication of terrorism. This is why we are in favor of the early completion of the work of the Committee of the General Assembly that is working on this matter. At the regional level, a Convention on Terrorism has been adopted and we will continue to intensify our cooperation through the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE) as well as within Mercosur.
The elaboration of domestic laws, through implementation of the plan of action of the CounterTerrorism Committee, and accession to the relevant conventions and their effective implementation by States parties are steps that countries must take internally, in parallel with and complementary to international efforts.
The risks and threats to
global security, which are beyond the effective control of States, highlight
the nature of globalization in our world today.
Indeed, the characteristics of globalization can be seen in such phenomena as the globalization of markets, the intensification of social relations and the broadening of cultural exchanges and communications. At the same time, however, risks have also become global and the imbalances resulting from the unequal distribution of wealth have increased, thereby accentuating the trend towards the marginalization and exclusion of communities, countries and regions.
We believe in the benefits of economic and political globalization. But we also believe that globalization requires good governance, a systematic and shared effort by the international community to establish the rules of the new international system. We believe that there should be greater participation in this effort and ongoing consultations with our citizens and our civil societies.
The United Nation system
is an indispensable forum for addressing these problems. Our Organization
is faced with the task of rising to the challenges of this new era of
our history. The Charter of the United Nations, the rich practice of the
Organization, United Nations resolutions, and the work of its Secretary-General
provide us with the ethical and humanistic bases for carrying forward
Just as we argued that the process of globalization in which we are now engaged requires clear rules in order for its benefits to reach all of mankind, we also believe that the economic growth and prosperity of countries require freedom, democracy and security in this global world.
Chile had adopted a model that assigns to the market and to the private sector a key role in its development project, within a framework of democracy and solidarity. We are convinced that active participation in international trade is a positive means of achieving growth, increasing employment, innovating in technology and being effective in the allocation of resources.
Based on our commitment to development with equity, we have opened up our economy, our communications, and our culture and we are satisfied with the results achieved.
Based on our experience, we believe that globalization can be a source of opportunities for all nations, particularly for small and remote countries such as ours, which are far from the major consumer centers and international flows.
But, in order for the efforts of nations such as ours to be rewarded, international trade must be fair, with clear and predictable rules of the game, and without measures that distort trade. Subsidies and lax implementation of anti-dumping measures are obstacles to the achievement of this aspiration. In this connection, I wish to place special emphasis on the urgent need for liberalization of the trade in agricultural products. Many developing countries, Chile included, are highly competitive in this sector, but their benefits are lost because of protectionism in the developed countries.
We made the following argument forcefully in Doha and in Monterrey: in order for there to be growth, there must be access to markets.
President Ricardo Lagos stated in Monterrey: "If trade barriers are eliminated, the developing countries have the potential to earn 130 billion dollars ... more than twice the 50 billion that we proposed as a target for the Millennium Summit".
Also, on the subject of financing, I cannot but draw attention to the Monterrey Consensus: establishment of a new framework for dealing with the difficult task of devising fair and balanced mechanisms for refinancing the development of the poorest countries, promoting indispensable internal reforms, administering finances, and participating in trade under better conditions of access. We hope that we will see concrete results in the near future.
This is why we urge the United Nations to continue its efforts to promote the integrated activities of the various political, economic and financial multilateral agencies that are helping to achieve more development, equity and safety in our world.
We reiterate that, in order to achieve these objectives, our priority should be to design a framework for free trade that is fair and equitable. Chile will continue to support all initiatives aimed at achieving this objective.
As the multilateral system continues to develop culturally, socially and politically, Chile will continue to promote the mainstreaming of the gender perspective into the various activities of the international system and its sub-systems. We also support the creation of opportunities for participation in the organizations of civil society.
This more developed, more equitable and safer world to which we aspire also requires that we establish international standards for the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups. Chile will continue to promote the conclusion of agreements that contribute to the elaboration and refining of public policies in this field.
I wish to underscore our political commitment to achieving a comprehensive convention that protects and promotes the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
The road of integration, the recognition of dignity and equality of opportunities are also basic precepts of a safer society.
We are convinced of the need to commit ourselves as an international community to more active policies for the protection of the environment. Few issues on the international agenda affect all of us as much as this one and, paradoxically, few generate as many disputes.
The Johannesburg Summit confirms my belief that we must work towards consensus on basic concepts.
In this regard, we cannot distinguish between priority commitments to the current generation and secondary commitments to the generation of our children or to the generations not yet born, but which have the same right as we do to enjoy a quality of life that is similar to or better than ours.
The right to live in a socially tolerant environment is an ethical imperative of the present. Consequently, we must give priority to a global environmental agenda that focuses on developing legal rules and which provides better quality protection for the oceans, the climate, the atmosphere and the ozone layer. I am sure that we have before us an environmental agenda that is full of pending issues, many of them legitimate, no doubt. But we cannot ignore the deficiencies that persist in our protection of the seas or in the development of a system of accountability that covers this and other major global commons, and, lastly, in the need to erect bridges of dialogue between a model of development that is increasingly globalized and an environment that is increasingly vulnerable.
Given the direct impact this issue has over development, UNIDO and the Government of Chile will sponsor the World Biotechnology Forum that will take place in the city of Concepcion on December 2003.
With regard to the political dimension that emphasizes security, human rights, democracy and the fight against terrorism, I wish to refer to some areas of the world that are of most concern to the international community.
Latin America is a region in which democracy is the norm, even though it is true that in some cases it is fragile. The nations of our continent have learnt how difficult it is to build and sustain democratic institutions based on universal principles and values. We have various regional and sub regional mechanisms that compel us to fulfill this obligation. The Rio Group is without doubt the most important of these. However, the political stability that we have achieved with so much effort and which we hope to consolidate may now be threatened.
The world is aware of the economic crisis currently being experienced by our region. It is a paradoxical situation. Latin America responded adequately to the challenge and adopted many of the structural economic reforms that were asked of it, which led to a degree of liberalization without precedent in its entire history. However, the developed world is sending contradictory signals that test the faith of those of us who view globalization and the system of free trade as the basis for the development of our peoples.
Thus, those of us who believe that globalization must be based on the principles of competitiveness without exclusions see our products regularly facing restrictions that are very difficult to explain, which casts doubts on the desire to move towards a globalization without compartmentalization. Evidently, a part of the Latin-American crisis is our own responsibility. But another important part of the instability being experienced in our region is attributable to the developed world. The developed world has transmitted to us, through various actions, its owns crises of belief in an economic model in which we put all of our faith and energies, but with respect to which there is still mistrust and fear on the part of the principal actors of the economic system.
Because of its gravity, I must refer to a conflict that affects the entire international community. Chile, Mr. President, wishes to express its deep concern at the grave situation that exists in the region of the Middle-East, following the impasse in the peace negotiations aimed at finding a solution to the crisis between Palestinians and Israelis. The continuing escalation in violence that began in the region on 28 September 2001 continues to cause numerous victims and very heavy material damage and threatens to spread throughout the region, thereby posing a serious danger to international peace and security.
The Government of Chile wishes to reiterate the need for the strict implementation of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and recourse to constructive negotiation, with a view to achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace for all the parties involved in the conflict. My country considers that it is essential to find a balanced formula in the search for political solutions that will lead to the creation of a viable Palestinian State and to coexistence with the State of Israel within secure and internationally recognized borders.
A world in which Palestinians and Israelis can live together will be symbolic of a safer world.
We share the sense of urgency on the part of the international community for the Government of Iraq to abide by the resolutions of the Security Council, so as to contribute to regional and global security.
We are convinced that in this globalized world it is essential for us to act in accordance with the principles and values promoted by the United Nations.
In Africa we now see signs of hope. Chile wishes to express its firm support for the African continent on its decision to create modern instruments of regional organization, such the African Union and the New Partnership for Development of Africa. We hope that these initiatives, which Africans themselves have referred to, as the "African renaissance" will generate in the international community a response commensurate with these efforts. This is a challenge for the twenty-first century, in which the United Nations must be present.
Chile, a small nation that looks out unto the world from the south, has developed important links of international solidarity in the most diverse localities. In Latin America, as part of the Inter-American system; in its association with the European Union; and as a member of the Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In the choice of open multilateralism, we join in facing the challenge of today, which is to work towards a safer world, towards a world free from fear and poverty. We will encounter obstacles which we must confront with a shared political will. This is the responsibility of all the countries represented here today in this General Assembly.
Let us advance towards global human security. Let us combat terrorism, poverty and misery in the search for a more democratic and more tolerant society. In this challenge, Mr. President, Chile is convinced that multilateralism can and must contribute to overcoming the insecurities currently being experienced in the world. The United Nations provides such a forum to the international community. It is a forum that can and must seek consensual solutions to the inescapable problems now plaguing mankind.
Thank you Mr. President.