Your own election to the Presidency
of this 58th Session of the UNGA is a source of great pride and satisfaction
to Jamaica and the entire Caribbean.
I am confident that your combination of long political experience, outstanding diplomatic skills and commitment to global comity will enable all of us to benefit from your guiding hand at a time when the United Nations, the very cornerstone for global security and economic cooperation, faces its most severe test and the Charter itself is exposed to its greatest challenge.
We wish to commend the Secretary-General for his work during a very difficult year and in trying circumstances for the United Nations.
It may eventually prove to
be a fortunate quirk of history, that by virtue of the rotation system,
a distinguished representative of the Caribbean now occupies the chair.
For by virtue of our history, location and size, we who fashioned the
Caribbean Community thirty years ago, recognised that we would never be
able to acquire the economic power or military might to stand alone. Multilateralism
affords us the only source of protection.
The International Situation
Mr. President, the international situation today is filled with uncertainty and fear. There is a prevailing climate of distrust and insecurity.
Mankind faces the danger of terrorism, nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.
We witness outbreaks of war and violence and a worrying escalation of confrontation and conflict.
There are new doctrines and policies which threaten peace everywhere. The pillars of international law and respect for sovereign rights are being steadily eroded.
Injustice and abuses of human rights still remain manifest.
These are real concerns which
underscore the need to strengthen multilateralism, to restore confidence
in the United Nations system, to buttress its centrality in decisions
which affect us all, and enhance its capacity to enforce.
The multilateral process will collapse unless the international community asserts a strong collective will to review the structures, mandates and procedures in the global system.
In relation to efforts to strengthen multilateralism, I emphasize four requirements:
First, multilateralism must be equitable. This is critical for its credibility. It should promote policies, which provide full opportunity for all States to benefit from the global system and which take into account the needs, aspirations and welfare of the global community. It should be non-discriminatory and proceed from the principle that the lives of human beings cannot be differentiated on the basis of race, nationality or religion.
Second, multilateralism must be democratic. This is critical for its acceptability. Its decision-making should be based on a fully inclusive process, in which all States have a voice: where dialogue and equal participation are encouraged and promoted.
Third, multilateralism must
be principled. This is critical for its legitimacy. It must be based on
common rules and standards, devised and enforced by the international
community, without selective application or double standards.
Adequate resources must be provided where necessary.
In order to promote the interests
of all States, The United Nations and the Multilateral Institutions must
facilitate the creation of new opportunities for economic development
through the expansion of trade and investment flows as well as technical
To strengthen multilateralism, we need reform and rebuilding to improve the work of the United Nations in areas such as development co-operation, humanitarian affairs and disarmament.
No one dares to dispute, not even the five Permanent Members, the compelling urgency to alter the design and function of the Security Council, if it is to fulfil the mandate conferred by the Charter of 1945, but in the realities of the world today. The case for expansion of membership is irrefutable. So also is the need to redesign decision-making to correspond with the principle of the sovereign equality of states.
Let me make it clear: The reform must extend beyond composition and geographical balance. We are certain to fall into a dangerous abyss, unless and until the Security Council is so constituted as to remove the absence of even a pretence at democracy in the global state and to deter arrogant deviation from the most basic elements of the rule of international law. The time has come to cut the talk and walk the walk.
In 2001, from this Podium, I called for a United Nation's Renaissance. Unless we undertake it now, only those who believe in a resurrection will be hanging around. We could not claim then that we were not responsible for its demise nor exonerate ourselves from the condemnation of history.
With regard to the General
Assembly, what is needed is a resuscitation and use of the powers of the
General Assembly and the assertion of its role as the principal organ
of the United Nations.
INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ISSUES
The critical problems facing us concerning war and peace are compounded by the proliferation of weapons of all kinds. Military expenditure globally now amounts to over US $800 billion annually. Experience has shown however, that military power and massive investment in weapons do not bring security and lasting peace.
Lasting Peace cannot be imposed
by the force of arms. Instead, it breeds a climate of insecurity and feeds
violence, war and terrorism with increasing destructive capacity.
It is tragic and painful to witness the continued cycle of violence, carnage and the massive destruction of property in the Middle East. No solution can result from the continued military subjugation of the Palestinians or violence against the Israelis. A political settlement has to be found to provide security for the Israeli people, to establish an independent state for the Palestinians and to make suitable; arrangements for the security of all states in the region.
We cannot begin to speak on the situation in Iraq without noting the atmosphere of fear, disorder and insecurity which now prevails in that country.
We deplore the recent bombings
of the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad and the United Nations Office, which
resulted in the death of UN officials, including that of the Special Representative
of the Secretary-General in Iraq, as well as the bombing of the Shiite
Mr. President, the situation in Africa has not been given the level of attention, which is needed, particularly from the Security Council. The continued turmoil within parts of the continent shows the need for stabilization through conciliation and dialogue between contending parties to end further fighting and bloodshed. We commend the role being played by regional organizations like ECOWAS and by African statesmen to mediate and bring peace to those areas of current. concern. But more should be done.
Additional resources are needed
to assist in ensuring that societies disrupted by conflict can be re-established
and stabilized. The obstacles to eliminating poverty and disease can be
overcome by providing material assistance, as we are convinced that Africa
has the indigenous resources, the human potential and the leadership to
prevail over adversity.
Mr. President, within the global economy, the pattern continues of a widening gap between developed and developing countries.
Wealth is increasing but poverty is also growing in critical areas of the world. Although we continue to raise our voices constantly to warn of the dangers of this global trend, our partners in the developed world have given little indication of a change in policies to reverse it. We are continually told that prosperity will come with policies of liberalisation, a minimalist state and deregulation.
In turn these will unleash
free enterprise to take advantage of economic opportunities leading to
development and growth. But it has become obvious that this model does
not Succeed everywhere, particularly in the developing world.
As you know so well, the countries of CARICOM have been for a long time, a region where democracy flourishes and the rule of law prevails. The strengthening of civil and political rights in our countries has been our passion since we gained our freedom.
We know that no country is above improvement in any of these areas, but there is a fashion in the industrial world - including countries, new converts to these values - to imply that their adoption is the solution to all the problems of development. Were that so, Mr. President, Jamaica and all our countries of the Caribbean would have been havens of prosperity.
What much of the developing
world needs must go beyond sermons about the precepts of democracy, obeying
the rule of law and securing respect for human rights. The help we need
is in preserving these rights from erosion by the instabilities that derive
from under-development and from the steady deterioration in the global
political environment.In the international community, these same values
are being systematically discarded and destroyed - as if our world society
deserves less than our own national communities.
As current Chairman of the
Caribbean Community, I assert that for us in the Caribbean, the future
of our democracies lies in the strengthening of our economies; in a more
favourable trading environment for our products; in more rapid and effective
debt relief; in the protection of legitimate areas of economic progress
like our financial services industry; in tailoring globalisation and the
dogma of liberalisation to the needs of small economies. Our future lies,
in short, in escaping the trap of poverty. That some are poorer does not
make us less poor than we are; that some are less developed than we are
does not alter our state of under-development.
Trade and competitiveness are not everything. In developing countries there are weaknesses in production capacity and deficiencies at the micro-level, which can be helped through programmes of development co-operation. Regrettably, in recent years, donor resources for such co-operation have been shrinking. Where commitments have been given, there have just been too many broken promises. But we still remain hopeful that the pledges of Monterrey and the targets of Johannesburg will be taken seriously as commitments to be implemented. The achievements of the Millennium Development Goals critically depend on the functioning of partnerships within Goal 8 of the Programme - Partnerships for Development.
Partnership should not be used
as a vehicle for the imposition of conditionalities to promote bilateral
political objectives. In our view, true partnership must respect the concept
of ownership by recipients and the national priorities as determined by
them. This makes it extremely important that the whole issue of development
policies and development co-operation be monitored closely within the
international system. Decisions affecting development are being taken
in different arenas, forums and agencies. Increasingly, there is the need
tar ensure coherence in policies and programmes.
THE BARBADOS PROGRAMME OF ACTION
Of particular importance to CARICOM states is the need for special attention for the problems of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the issue of vulnerability and its effect on development prospects. We insist that in ensuring that in all international economic arrangements, special provision be made to accommodate the interests of the SIDS. We call on the donor community to support this effort when the International Conference to review the Barbados Programme of Action meets in 2004.
TRADE DEVELOPMENT AND GLOBALISATION
We in Jamaica and CARICOM fully
recognize that globalization has the potential to advance human development
throughout the world. But this is not automatic. For globalization has
also increased our vulnerability, insecurity and the possibility of marginalization.
In the aftermath of Cancun, we in the global community need to accept that:
• Trade rules must be asymmetrical
in recognition of the diversity in levels of development and size of economies;
The world community must recognize
these princes to ensure that the global trade architecture brings rneaningful
benefits for all.
Globalisation may bring a more
integrated world but there will always remain significant variations in
national systems, cultures and national priorities. There is no single
sustainable model for political development or economic success. We live
in a diverse world where different ideas, cultural norms and standards
exist. These should be respected within the framework of agreed principles
within the United Nations. In a world of such diversity and pluralism
there should be tolerance, understanding, non-discrimination, self-determination
and respect for equal rights for all.
The United Nations should continue
to promote respect for diversity while promoting the common principles
and ideals, which form the foundation for international law and order
and international co-operation. This provides the only key for the pursuit
of enduring peace and real development in the global village to which
we all belong.