WORLD LEADERS ADOPT UNITED NATIONS MILLENNIUM DECLARATION AT CONCLUSION OF EXTRAORDINARY THREE-DAY SUMMIT20000908
Resolve Action to Strengthen Peace, Development, Human Rights; To Improve UNs Ability to Act on Behalf of Humanitys Priorities
"Only through broad and sustained efforts to create a shared future, based upon our common humanity in all its diversity, can globalization be made fully inclusive and equitable", world leaders stated this afternoon as they unanimously adopted a United Nations Millennium Declaration at the conclusion of their Millennium Summit.
The main document to come out of the largest-ever gathering of world leaders, which began on 6 September in New York, the Declaration contains a statement of values, principles and objectives for the international agenda for the twenty-first century. It also sets deadlines for many collective actions.
In an address delivered at the concluding meeting of the Conference, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Summit that it had sketched out clear directions for adapting the Organization to its role in the new century. It lies in your power, and therefore is your responsibility, to reach the goals that you have defined, he declared. Only you can determine whether the United Nations rises to the challenge. For my part, I hereby re-dedicate myself, as from today, to carrying out your mandate.
The document (A/55/L.2) reaffirms Member States' faith in the United Nations and its Charter as indispensable for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world. The collective responsibility of the governments of the world to uphold human dignity, equality and equity is recognized, as is the duty of world leaders to all people, and especially children and the most vulnerable.
The leaders declare that the central challenge of today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all, acknowledging that at present both its benefits and its costs are unequally shared. The Declaration calls for global policies and measures, corresponding to the needs of developing countries and economies in transition.
Citing freedom, equality (of individuals and nations), solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility as six values fundamental to international relations for the twenty-first century, the Summit Declaration
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also identifies concrete objectives under broad headings that participants believe would lead to the desired outcomes.
Among the objectives with the declared aim of promoting peace, security and disarmament, world leaders resolve to strengthen the rule of law and ensure compliance with decisions of the International Court of Justice, to provide the United Nations with the resources it needs for conflict prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes, and to take action against the international drug problem and terrorism.
World leaders also made commitments to minimize the adverse effects of economic sanctions on innocent populations and to subject sanctions regimes to regular review, to urge constructive action on disarmament and to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. The document also calls on Member States to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and to keep all options open for this aim, including the possibility of convening an international conference to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers.
Among the steps aimed at development and poverty eradication, the Declaration contains commitments to make the right to development a reality for everyone. Concerned about the obstacles developing countries face in mobilizing the resources to finance their sustained development, the participants agree to make every effort to ensure the success of the High-level International and Intergovernmental Event on Financing for Development and of the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, both to be held next year. The document calls for adoption of a policy of duty-free and quota-free access for essentially all exports from the least developed countries and an enhanced programme of debt relief for the heavily indebted poor countries.
By the year 2015, world leaders also resolve to halve the proportion of people with income of less than one dollar a day and of those suffering from hunger and lack of safe drinking water; to ensure equal access to all levels of education for girls and boys and primary schooling for all children everywhere; to reduce maternal mortality by three quarters; and to begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases. By the year 2020, they resolve to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
On environmental protection, the Declaration states that no efforts must be spared to counter the threat of the planet being irredeemably spoiled by human activities. Therefore, the participants of the Summit resolve to adopt a new ethic of conservation and stewardship, making efforts to ensure the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol, preferably by the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 2002. The document encourages better management, conservation and sustainable development of forests and sustainable exploitation of water resources. It also presses for the full implementation of conventions on biological diversity and desertification.
To strengthen the United Nations, Summit leaders resolve to reaffirm the central position of the United Nations General Assembly; intensify efforts forGeneral Assembly Plenary - 1b - Press Release GA/9758 8th Meeting (PM) 8 September 2000
a comprehensive reform of the Security Council in all its aspects; further strengthen the Economic and Social Council and the International Court of Justice; encourage regular consultations and coordination among the Organization's principal organs; ensure greater policy coherence and urge the Secretariat to make the best use of resources, which should be provided on a timely and predictable basis.
Other commitments to advance the role of the United Nations include steps to strengthen its cooperation with national parliaments, Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization and to give opportunities to the private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society to contribute to the realization of the Organization's goals and programmes.
The Declaration also sets goals for promoting human rights, democracy and good governance; protecting the vulnerable; and meeting the special needs of Africa.
Speaking at the closing meeting of the Summit were Presidents of the Czech Republic, Eritrea, Kiribati and Somalia; the Governor-General of the Bahamas; the Prime Ministers of Grenada, Vanuatu, Guinea, Chad and Ethiopia, the Secretary of State of the Holy See; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of the Niger; the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; the Foreign Ministers of Bahrain and Guinea-Bissau; and the representatives of Palau and Tuvalu. Also addressing the Assembly were the Secretary-Generals of the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Economic Cooperation Organization; the President of the Commission of the European Community; the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross; the Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; and President of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments.
The Co-Chairpersons of the Millennium Forum -- Techeste Ahderom, President of Finland; and Sam Nujoma, President of Namibia -- as well as the Chairpersons of the four round tables - Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of Singapore; Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland; Hugo Rafael Chavez, President of Venezuela; and Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria delivered concluding remarks. Finally, the Summit observed a minute of silent prayer or meditation.
During the six meetings of the three-day Summit, 99 heads of State, three Crown Princes and 47 heads of government presented their views on the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century and the main challenges facing the peoples of the world. One hundred and eighty-seven Member States were represented. Four private round-table sessions on the key issues under discussion were also held in conjunction with the proceedings.
The General Assembly begins the regular segment of its fifty-fifth session at 10 a.m. Monday, 11 September.
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Assembly Work Programme
As the Millennium Summit met this afternoon, it was expected to conclude its work and adopt the final document of the three-day long session, the Millennium Declaration.
VACLAV HAVEL, President of the Czech Republic: The United Nations should transform itself from a large community of governments, diplomats and officials into a joint institution for each inhabitant of this planet. Such an Organization would have to rest on two pillars: an assembly of equal executive representatives of individual countries, resembling the present plenary, and the organ consisting of a group elected directly by the globes population, in which the number of delegates representing individual nations would roughly correspond to the size of the nations. These two bodies would create and guarantee global legislation. Answerable to them would be the Security Council - or its successor - which would serve as an executive organ handling, on a continuous basis, some of the crucial problems of the world.
The composition of this organ would have to be different from that of the present Security Council. The qualifications and personalities of individual members should probably carry more weight than the country they come from. The right of veto should probably not be exercised by any single member. The future United Nations should have its own permanent military and police force.
The most important thing that we should seek to advance in the era of globalization is a sense of global responsibility. Somewhere in the primeval foundations of the worlds religions we find, basically, the same set of underlying moral imperatives. It is in this set of thoughts that we should look for the source, the energy and the ethos for global renewal of a truly responsible attitude towards our Earth and all its inhabitants, as well as future generations. Without the ethos emanating from a rediscovered sense of global responsibility, any reform of the United Nations would be unthinkable, and without meaning.
ISAIAS AFWERKI, President of Eritrea: The advent of the new Millennium occurs at a crucial time. Globalization and rapid advances in information technology offer humankind vast, unprecedented opportunities to improve the quality of life. Yet this opportunity may also be fraught with undesirable consequences. It may exacerbate marginalization and induce a widening of the technological gap in our global village. The Millennium Declaration becomes an important milestone in further broadening and deepening international cooperation and solidarity in coming years.
My people have been forced to shoulder the burden of a long and costly war for almost half of the past century. Only a short time after its hard-won independence, Eritrea is at present forced once again to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The conflict impacts on the core values enshrined in the United Nations Charter and reaffirmed in the Summit Declaration.
The most daunting task facing our societies is the elimination of poverty and the creation of an enabling environment for steady and sustainable development. Multifaceted support from our development partners will be vital in overcoming these challenges. Eritrea believes that the primary focus should revolve on human resources development. This is not a simple matter of rapid skill development but includes a host of social and political measures which impact each other. We need to narrow the urban/rural gap in our own societies so as not to create pockets of affluence and privilege in a sea of rural poverty. We must evolve appropriate forms of decentralization and devolution to enhance grass-roots participation in decision-making, and to maintain cultural diversity in a framework of national unity. Interconnected goals must be seen as processes rather than quantifiable measures that can be achieved within very tight, specified time frames.
ORVILLE TURNQUEST, Governor-General of the Bahamas: Current times and conditions demand that we attempt to answer the burning question: What are the prospects for the United Nations in the twenty-first century? Because the world has advanced tremendously in the areas of science and technology, it is undeniable that the prospects are greater today to be better educated, to live healthier and to achieve a greater degree of economic well-being. Yet, we are still, for the most part, trapped in a pernicious syndrome of the haves versus the have-nots.
With the United Nations leading the way, we must somehow rescue from extreme poverty the nearly 50 per cent of the worlds population surviving on $2 a day, save the worlds 140 million unemployed people, address the inequities in the global economy, divert much of the $56 million spent annually on health care to the 90 per cent of the worlds population plagued with diarrhoea, tuberculosis, malaria, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS, address the continuing litany of environmental degradation and address the myriad of internal conflicts.
The Bahamas continues to emphasize the need for greater and more inclusive discussion of globalization and its impact on the well-being of concerned developing countries, with the United Nations given a role in resolving these issues. Will the declaration of the Summit encourage responsible stewardship of the United Nations by all, particularly the rich and powerful? Will the declaratory document be a dynamic instrument for opening new vistas for out collective efforts to better the world? The opportunity is there and it is imperative for the United Nations, with a democratic, transparent and accountable Security Council, to play the role delineated in the Charter to ensure that every human being has an opportunity to develop his or her full potential.
TEBURORO TITO, President of Kiribati: This unprecedented Summit is a great opportunity for us to come together as members of the global family to celebrate the achievements of the last millennium and to chart a new course for the new century. Twelve months ago, when Kiribati was first admitted to this global family, I expressed our faith in and support for the noble principles that this august body stands for. The Member States need to do all they can to make life better and alleviate the suffering of their peoples.
I would like to propose that the aims, objectives, organizational structures, scope and emphasis of this Organization should be updated to reflect the situations and circumstances of these times, which are very different from those of the 1940s when the United Nations was first formed. Kiribati fully supports the move to democratize and rationalize the organizational structure of the United Nations, in particular the expansion of the Security Council, the creation of the Pacific regional grouping and the inclusion of at least one representative from each regional grouping in the membership of the Security Council.
It has been my long-held observation that in our eager pursuit of economic prosperity, coupled with the rapid changes many of us are pressured to adopt, we have seriously overlooked the significance of social and cultural values. I am pleased to learn that the United Nations and regional bodies are currently developing a more suitable model of development. Let us also remember the extent of damage to our environment. Global warming, climate change and rising sea levels seriously threaten the basis of our existence. I join other small island States in pleading the cause of endangered peoples and urging all concerned to save this planet from any further damage. I sincerely believe that together we can build a better world.
ABDIKASSIM SALAD HASSAN, President of Somalia: It is gratifying to bring Somalia back to the United Nations. It took 10 years to bury the hatchet and start healing self-inflicted wounds. The goodwill, generosity and resourcefulness of Djibouti's people and Government helped avert the failure of the latest peace initiative. Over 2,500 individuals stayed together for over four months to examine the causes of the Somali conflict and explore a way out of the tragedy. Ultimately, Somali civil society found in itself the wisdom and willingness to forgive.
Traditional Somali methods of peacemaking and bridge-building were used to select 645 delegates, who drafted a national charter. The people themselves selected a 245-member Parliament, which elected its officers, including a president, in a manner that was free, fair and very transparent. The newly elected officials were overwhelmingly well received in both Mogadishu and Baidoa. The next step is the appointment of a Prime Minister, who will articulate the form of the national Government. All that remains is to bring on board those who did not participate in the process that won the people's support through openness, goodwill and dialogue.
Somalia's association with the United Nations has been troubled in recent years. The collapse of the Somali State and the ensuing civil strife created serious difficulties. Somalia regrets the loss of life in the humanitarian effort on its behalf. It extends condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the line of duty there. The new Somalia arises from the people's will. It is capable of responding to the needs of a renewed United Nations.
KEITH C. MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Grenada: Severe poverty, crippling debt servicing, diseases, including HIV/AIDS, disrespect for human life and disregard for natural environment continue to threaten human progress. Debt forgiveness is not a financial loss to the global economy. It provides an opportunity for the economic stimulation of the depressed and stagnant parts of the worlds economy. It is a necessary prerequisite to the furtherance of globalization and economic development. Grenada requests lending countries, financial institutions and funding agencies to proclaim complete debt forgiveness and also advocates the establishment of a disaster relief fund to facilitate quick responses to natural disaster emergencies.
A cartel of high-tax nations, compromising the richest countries, has launched a destructive high-powered attack on low-tax countries, accusing us of anti-competitive tax practices. Threats, imperialistic pressures and abuse of power in multilateral organizations are being used to force many small States to give up our fiscal sovereignty. They have threatened various sanctions, sought to block access to capital funds in multilateral organizations, and to impose financial protection and total ostracism. This is fiscal imperialism and tramples on the principle of sovereignty. It undermines freedom of competition, global investment and liberalization.
I cannot leave this forum without paying tribute to the Government and people of the Republic of China on Taiwan for the assistance given to Grenada in agriculture, fishing, health care, education, culture and infrastructure. This is why the Government of Grenada continues to advocate full membership of the Republic of China on Taiwan in the United Nations.
BARAK SOPE MAAUTAMATE, Prime Minister of Vanuatu: The Pacific region and its development needs deserve due consideration in the new millennium. It covers the largest area of ocean, huge marine resources, dynamic and diverse cultural and traditional values and a young and growing population. An earlier proposal for a separate Pacific Grouping within the United Nations warrants serious consideration. The United Nations and related institutions based in the Pacific region, and their decision-making processes in relation to development programmes for our islands, should be fully reviewed in the context of priorities established by the countries of the region. Some powerful countries are using regional institutions and programmes to promote their own interests in our region. We must not allow this trend to continue.
We have repeatedly expressed serious concerns over certain decisions by the United Nations or its organs that were not consistent with the purposes and intentions of the Charter. However, nothing was done to right the wrong. When errors are identified, it becomes our responsibility to rectify them. In this context, Vanuatu -- as Chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, which is committed to promoting and safeguarding Melanesian identity, values, traditions and rights -- calls on the United Nations to review the political and legal basis of its own undertakings in the 1950s and 1960s in relation to the fundamental rights of our Melanesian brothers and sisters in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in West Papua.
The United Nations cannot and must not, in this new millennium, continue to turn a blind eye on its own past failures, which has led to three long, agonizing decades of injustice, tragedy and guerrilla warfare in West Papua. It is morally, politically and legally wrong to do so. The Organization has competent bodies, such as the Special Committee on decolonization or the International Court of Justice, which should look into the matter. The Netherlands - the former colonial Power - should recognize its share of the responsibility in helping to resolve the situation of West Papua in a peaceful and transparent manner.
LAMINE SIDIMÉ, Prime Minister of Guinea: At the beginning of my statement I would like to inform the Assembly about serious events which have occurred in Guinea over the past 48 hours. My country has just been attacked by troops from Liberia and Sierra Leone. As I speak, fighting is going on. Guinea will be taking up this matter with the Security Council and other relevant international bodies. We condemn this act of aggression.
We are duty-bound to keep the vision of the founders of the United Nations to achieve a better world. However, after all the upheavals that have taken place since 1945, the time has come to readjust the structures of the Organization. We plead for more humanity and less exclusion within the United Nations. All countries, including African ones, need to be equitably represented in the Security Council. Sufficient resources should be given to the Organization for it to be able to intervene in the fight against poverty and carry out other life-saving missions.
All the achievements of humanity must be used to help improve the lot of the poorest countries of the world. Guinea was one of the first countries to join the United Nations. We belong to the number of least developed nations, yet we are meeting all our international and humanitarian obligations and bearing the burden of over 800,000 refugees. Despite professions of good faith, African problems are not high on the international agenda. That said, there is hope and I wish us success in our work.
Nagoum Yamassoum, Prime Minister of Chad: The Millennium Summit gives us the opportunity to review the past century and look at the perspectives for the next. The picture emerging over the more than 50 years of United Nations existence is very dark. The millennium which is coming to an end has been the hardest in the history of mankind. Our world in the new millennium has an enemy with a new name: poverty. Those who have the greatest need for care are the most numerous, the developing countries. We the leaders have our share of responsibility, because we are not meeting all the expectations of our people. But will is not enough when our own resources do not enable us to respond to the legitimate expectations of our own citizens. While we cannot overcome the scourges of poverty, we can try to reduce or mitigate their effects. Todays world has the intellectual means to do so. The only thing missing is the will. In that connection, bolder measures must be taken to cancel debt. Private investments are necessary if Africa is not to stand on the sidelines.
It has been unanimously accepted that democracy and poverty do not live well together. The many conflicts now rending Africa are unacceptable. Chad appeals to all belligerents to pull themselves together and recall the countless women and children who suffer every day because of the violence. We also appeal to the United Nations and the Organization for African Unity (OAU) to act more firmly to put an end to ruinous and murderous wars in Africa.
While rich nations continue to spend millions of dollars on weapons, the poor are fighting empty-handed against a real, yet invisible enemy, the AIDS virus. If only one quarter of the expenditure on weapons were spent on AIDS, the pandemic would already have been eliminated.
The United Nations is an irreplaceable tool to calm conflicts and to reconcile mankind with itself. To do this it must be restructured to meet the purpose for which it was created, that is peacekeeping. A preventive strategy must be put in place. The soldiers of peace must be given efficient means to impose peace. There must be clear resolution for peace. Chad is also in favour of reform of the Security Council. The new millennium must be different from the last.
ANGELO SODANO, Secretary of State of the Holy See: It is the fervent hope of the Holy See that, at the dawn of the new millennium, the United Nations will contribute to the building of a new civilization for the benefit of all mankind. The first duty of the United Nations is to preserve and promote peace throughout the world. In the name of the Pope, I pay tribute to all the United Nations has already done in this field, and I pay homage to the memory of the soldiers and civil personnel who have died in the course of peacekeeping operations.
The second duty of the United Nations is the promotion of development. How can we not draw attention to the fact that the majority of the worlds scourges affect Africa in the first place, and how can we not ask that Africa be given special attention? The third duty of the United Nations is the promotion of human rights. Pope John Paul II expresses his support for the World Conference against Racism, to take place next year in South Africa. He encourages every initiative aimed at preventing the spread of racism and intolerance.
A fourth duty of the United Nations is that of guaranteeing the equality of all its Members. I wish to recall the position of the Holy See with regard to sanctions imposed by the Organization to oblige a State to carry out its international obligations. A precise process of evaluation and revision should be put in place in each case, as well as procedures to ensure that these measures will not weigh above all on innocent segments of the population.
SABO NASSIROU, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Niger: Millions of individuals in the world still lack the bare minimum. Studies carried out nationally in my country show that 63 per cent of the population live in poverty, and 34 per cent in extreme poverty. The great majority of the poor in Niger live in a rural environment. Only one child out of three goes to school, and only 50 per cent of the population has access to drinking water. This situation is exacerbated by the high rate of population growth.
It is easy to see that the social sectors most affected are those of education, health, drinking water and hygiene. The most vulnerable groups are women and children. On the whole, all this contributes to weakening the national economy. In response to this situation, we have produced a national plan to combat such ills. We have acceded to the new strategic framework to combat poverty proposed by the Bretton Woods institutions.
Free and transparent elections last November led to a greater institutional legitimacy and stability in the country. Niger has started a participatory process of elaborating a new strategy for combating poverty. We are now giving priority to the search for better economic management and human development. The Government has just launched a plan of economic and social development for 2000-2004.
YERODIA ABDOULAYE NDOMBASI, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo: It is true that there is an unease among nations. That unease is reflected in the constant hesitation and vacillation that now afflicts thinking people. Civilization does not of itself dispel this unease. Even here at the United Nations we see this hesitation, alongside the infernal drive of those who do not respect national frontiers.
Our country can testify to a situation in which for two years hordes of apparently civilized people have trampled underfoot the concepts of national sovereignty, borders and respect for wealth. Those people are in this room and have been in our country for two years, and nobody has forced them to leave. With the Democratic Republic of the Congos limited means we must put an end to violations of the principles both of the United Nations and the OAU. They challenge our national sovereignty and seek to grab our national wealth. How can we ensure that the United Nations will implement its own resolutions? We will not wait 40 years as in the case of Palestine. If, in the meantime, our patriotism demands that we put an end to the violation of principles that brought us here, the United Nations still has time to implement our proclamation that we will not go into the third millennium as an occupied nation.
Wars end through direct talks. War is profitable for those who occupy our country and empty our subsoil of gold and precious minerals. This unease among nations will continue. Our job is to make sure that the United Nations works efficiently without going around in circles. We are ready to defend our rights.
SHAIKH MOHAMMED BIN MUBARAK AL-KHALIFA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain: Our gathering here should be an opportunity to identify the future priorities of the new century, and in particular the issue of maintaining international peace and security. We must strive for peaceful and amicable solutions to all regional and international conflicts, if only to avoid the negative effects of such conflicts on world progress and prosperity. The conflict and wars witnessed by the Middle East region for over half a century have proved, by draining the resources of States and peoples and hindering development projects, the necessity and importance of such solutions.
Today, while efforts are continuing to search for a solution of this conflict, we hope that the efforts of the co-sponsors of the peace process, and those of the United States in particular, will succeed in achieving a just, comprehensive and durable peace that would ensure the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in the establishment of their own independent State, with Jerusalem as its capital. The negotiations and contacts between the parties to the peace process have proved that Jerusalem is the key to peace, because of its distinguished status for both Arabs and Muslims. Withdrawal from the occupied Syrian territories is an important component of comprehensive, just and durable peace.
Looking to the future of humanity, and safeguarding that future from other dangers such as weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, should also be one of the priorities of the new century. Guaranteeing respect for human rights while ensuring that such rights are not exploited as a political pretext for interfering in the internal affairs of other States, promoting dialogue and mutual enrichment among civilizations and establishing regional and international cooperation based on partnership and mutual interest, should also be among these priorities.
MAMADU IAIA DJALO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau: The spirit of shared responsibility that drives our Organization and inspires our work is a precious acquisition that we must preserve, reinforce and adapt to the new times. It is imperative that the capacity of the United Nations to play an ever more demanding role in international relations be strengthened.
In this respect, we attribute great importance to the revitalization of the General Assembly and the rationalization of its agenda. We also urge reform of the Security Council, which should include an increase in the number of permanent and non-permanent members, resulting in greater representativity for that body. We encourage the principles of transparency and democracy in its work.
Efforts to establish peace and stability cannot be disassociated from efforts towards the economic and social development of the less fortunate. These efforts should be undertaken as a coherent and united global action, based on a structural transformation of the economies of developing countries, in particular the least developed ones. This position should, obviously, be based on our own efforts -- on the capacity to reorient development policies in the direction of greater rationalization and efficiency, and on the search for definite solutions to the conflicts that still plague the world. My country is dedicated to the search for the right answers, particularly in our subregion.
HERSEY KYOTA, of Palau: The Republic of Palau firmly believes and hopes that the United Nations will strive to embrace the remaining non-member countries around the world, and in achieving that, we the peoples can together forge a stronger international will. The standards for membership in this august body must be revised and made more inclusive. There are a number of international actors which play a vital role in regional and global developments, yet are denied participation in this body. At least one such actor, Taiwan, also meets the criteria set for standard, traditional definitions of the State, yet still has no recognition from the United Nations. That is simply untenable, and compromises the inclusive objectives of the United Nations.
While the membership of the United Nations has increased from 51 Member States at inception to 189 today, the membership of the Security Council has grown by only 10 members, none of whom are permanent. There needs to be real reform of the Security Council with a view to expanding genuine participation in that body. Palau foresees that a significant step towards this goal would be welcoming Japan as a new member of the Council.
My country strongly believes every country must unequivocally demonstrate rigorous political commitment to address one alarming environmental phenomenon - - climate change. The Republic of Palau, in recent years, has witnessed a devastating portent of this global phenomenon. A particular sense of urgency in our differentiated responsibilities lies in implementation of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
PANAPASI NELESONE, Delegation Chairman, speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister of Tuvalu: As the youngest Member of this great family of independent nations, Tuvalu places the highest value on the work of the United Nations. The high spirit, goodwill and commitment of Member States during the Summit has given Tuvalu the highest expectations for the success of the United Nations in promoting peace and prosperity for all mankind. Without peace, there is no development and no progress.
Like many of our island brothers and sisters in the Pacific and other regions, Tuvalus severe capacity limitations and extreme environmental and economic vulnerability pose the most serious threat to our survival. Tuvalu therefore strongly supports the full development and adoption of the environmental vulnerability index (EVI), which would better reflect the capacity limitations of small island developing States. In the same vein, the consequences of global warming and climate change are also of great concern to Tuvalu. In accordance with the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, Tuvalu therefore urges Member States to take heed of the pleas from small island States to combat these threats more aggressively, before it is too late. To that end, we fully support the need to further promote frameworks such as the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) as a means of promoting and ensuring the security and survival of our people.
In joining the United Nations, Tuvalu could not help but notice the extent to which strong champions of democracy, human rights and the development of prosperity, such as the Republic of China, are being excluded from the United Nations. Tuvalu strongly believes that the United Nations cannot be universally representative of the democratic peoples of the world until the representation of the Republic of China is properly addressed. Tuvalu also supports ending the conflict in Papua New Guinea.
AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji): The United Nations will be all the richer at the end of today with the wisdom, commitment, thoughts and ideas we have heard expressed here. The Summit has offered a remarkable opportunity to appraise what has been accomplished, as well as to look for ways to work towards getting tangible results on the issues affecting mankind. As family is the bedrock of social and political institutions, it is up to each of us here to ensure that the United Nations family remains intact, strong and robust.
We are confident that these goals are attainable through the proposed reforms within the Organization, now being engineered by the Secretary-General. The United Nations has enabled smaller, developing and least developed countries, such as my own, to contribute to world peace in our own -- albeit small -- way. Whilst there have been measurable benefits from membership of the Organization, it also has the positive scope to deliver much more equitable changes.
Fiji has contributed troops and civilian police to peacekeeping missions for over two decades, and has in the process paid the ultimate price of 35 lives lost in the maintenance of peace. The laudable vision of the Secretary-General in "We the Peoples" is a torch that will guide the Organization and embellish its steps for a holistic and collective journey into the twenty-first century.
Ahmed Esmat Abdel Meguid, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States: The Millennium Summit is of overriding historical importance for the future of international relations. It is an opportunity to learn the lessons of the past, and to benefit both from United Nations achievements and United Nations shortcomings. This will give the Organization new momentum for the future.
The United Nations must abandon double standards and come up with peaceful solutions to the maintenance of peace and security, guarantee a dialogue among nations and combat problems such as disease, environmental degradation and terrorism. The developing countries should be helped to reduce their foreign debt. Throughout its history, the United Nations has achieved enormous successes, including the solution of various conflicts throughout the world. We believe that the faithful, total implementation of resolutions already adopted is the only way to restore peace to the Middle East. This would be brought about by the total withdrawal by Israel from all occupied areas, and by the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.
I pay tribute to the role played by the United Nations in shepherding the resolution which calls for disarmament in the region, particularly nuclear disarmament. The United Nations is the forum where efforts are made to seek to fulfil the aspirations of all humankind. The Arab League is trying to strengthen its links with the United Nations. I hope the Summit will lead to a better future for humanity, so that Member States can renew total commitment to the resolutions and Charter of the United Nations.
ROMANO PRODI, President of the European Commission: This Summit embodies the commitment of the worlds political leaders to strengthening the foundations of a United Nations renewed and reshaped to fit the needs of a new century. To cope with global issues, we need global solutions based on global cooperation. The United Nations is uniquely placed to mobilize common action. As a European, I am keenly aware how much the map of Europe alone has changed with the end of the cold war and the further development of the European Union. Much has changed in other parts of the world too.
This Summit is taking place at a time of unprecedented hope, but also of unprecedented challenges -- some old, some new. An age-old problem that is still with us is the gap between rich and poor countries. This is unjust and unsustainable. The challenges of globalization are, by contrast, entirely new. I see globalization as an opportunity to be exploited. This is why I would welcome a new World Trade Organization (WTO) trade round, which would help give people all over the world a share in the benefits of globalization. In the international arena there is no alternative to strong multilateral institutions based on impeccable democratic legitimacy.
A daunting amount still remains to be done, and collaboration is the key to success. The European Union is committed to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, to which the European Union is the largest single contributor. In May 2001, it will be hosting the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Brussels. Social development goes hand in hand with human rights. The Union, in its efforts to enhance respect for human rights, has been working to promote the abolition of the death penalty, and has called for a moratorium on executions. The European Community is fully aware of the challenges facing the United Nations, and it stands ready to play its part in meeting them.
AZEDDINE LARAKI, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference: The notion of dialogue among civilizations, if pursued in a constructive spirit with mutual respect, should take us a long way towards the attainment of the noble objectives of peace and prosperity for all. With regard to globalization, we must ensure that it promotes equity, guarantees equality of opportunity, enforces transparency and fosters confidence and mutual respect among all peoples and nations in the world. Towards this goal, it is indispensable that an environment of freedom and justice prevail in the world. Every human being deserves to breathe the air of freedom and to be empowered to exercise his or her role in constructive developmental undertakings for the benefit of all.
This calls for the end to foreign occupation and the exercise of the right of self-determination in places that remain deprived of it, particularly in Palestine and Kashmir. Until such time as people are released from bondage, all of humanity remains in a state of shame. It is incumbent upon the United Nations to help redeem these members of human society from their long-suffered predicaments so that they may regain their dignity and self-respect and join forces with the rest of us, as free and equal partners in the development tasks that lie ahead.
DON McKINNON, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat: Today it would be difficult to find a person amongst the 1.2 billion who live on less than $1 a day who would say this Organization should be garlanded with success. We must, however, pay tribute to all the United Nations has done so far. But success by the United Nations, as in other international organizations, must begin with clear and unambiguous and workable political decisions and the will to implement them.
The Commonwealth wants to make things better for all those living in poverty, for those who do not know peace, for those who do not know where tomorrows food is coming from, for those who have no place to live or cannot contemplate education for their children, and for those who watch family and friends die without access to health care. Todays global neighbourhood means we all have an interest in helping our neighbour. It is costly for us to have neighbours who are unwell, uneducated or unable to work, because ultimately the costs of rescuing them climb even higher and become ours to meet.
It is essential to choose who should govern you. Only those who support sound democratic institutions, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, and who provide rights for their citizens, will be able to deliver to citizens what they are entitled to and expect. The Commonwealths commitment to democracy is exemplified in the current suspension of countries from the councils of the organization because democratically elected governments have been overthrown. We will continue to work hard to encourage the practice of good governance, education and conflict resolution. If we work together in this millennium to better the world, moving in the same direction with less discord amongst each other, we will improve upon the last century.
ABDOLRAHIM GAVAHI, Secretary-General of the Economic Cooperation Organization: The Economic Cooperation Organization is purely an economic organization, seeking to promote multidimensional regional cooperation for the accelerated socio-economic well-being of its members. Having been granted observer status in the forty-eighth United Nations General Assembly session, our joint endeavours with United Nations specialized agencies have contributed significantly in promoting the objective of all-round socio-economic development.
The Teheran Declaration issued by our leaders at the dawn of the new millennium, reaffirms our collective commitment to a prosperous region. It addresses all-important issues that concern us in the priority areas of trade, transport and communications, energy and environment, health, drug control, etc. The Declaration welcomes the initiative of Muhammad Khatami, President of Iran, for a Dialogue among Civilizations, for which the United Nations has designated 2001 as the Year of Dialogue among Civilizations.
JAKOB KELLENBERGER, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC): The ICRC unfortunately sees a number of disturbing trends in current conflicts -- the increasing number of civilian victims, mainly women and children; the regular flouting of international humanitarian law, with new perpetrators who are sometimes difficult to identify; the easier access to cheaper and more sophisticated weaponry; the increase in violence related to extreme poverty; the increasing danger to humanitarian workers, of which we are sadly reminded this week by the assassinations in West Timor; and finally, humanitarian activities often suffer from a lack of coordination, imprecise mandates and vague principles of action.
An extensive body of international law, in particular the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, sets out rules aimed at alleviating the suffering engendered by international and non-international armed conflicts. Respect for these rules, as well as their dissemination, has been encouraged by the High Contracting Parties, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, the National Societies and their Federation, and the ICRC. But much more needs to be done in this area. The efforts of the United Nations in helping develop and promote international humanitarian law, in particular steps taken to protect civilians, are highly appreciated; better implementation of existing law remains one of my main concerns.
Today's - and no doubt tomorrow's - humanitarian challenges cannot be met without a strong commitment to improved coordination between the relevant actors. With the goal of better protection and assistance of victims, we feel that each actor should concentrate on its core field competences. There is no contradiction between ICRC's commitment to coordination and its equal commitment to the independence of its strictly humanitarian action, based on the principles of impartiality and neutrality. My strong hope is that the community of States will invest more in the prevention of armed conflicts, and, should a conflict erupt despite all efforts, make it clear to all parties involved that they are expected to respect the rules of international humanitarian law.
CARLO MARULLO DI CONDOJANNI, Grand Chancellor of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta: Much will depend on the way the new biotechnologies applied to agriculture are used. These technologies must not be a new mine, to be exploited by the few rich and powerful countries. They must be placed in the service of mankind, while at the same time respecting the fundamental rules of nature -- that is, without unhinging ecosystems and without denying the poorer countries easy access to production systems. This may improve, if not solve, an age-old and chronic problem which cannot be tolerated any longer by those who care about the future of mankind.
As we approach the new millennium, it is important that people should enjoy effective justice. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta supports the Secretary-General's invitation to all nations to sign and ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in order to hold responsible those guilty of crimes against humanity.
NAJMA HEPTULLA, President of the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments: The first-ever Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments took place in this Hall from 30 August to 1 September in cooperation with the United Nations. Some 150 Presidents of Chambers from 140 countries took part in that event. The Conference truly reflected the commitment of representatives of the peoples, the Parliaments, to their joint work with the United Nations.
After intense debate, we unanimously adopted a Declaration which sets out the main challenges facing our societies and expresses our political resolve to overcome them. It also contains recommendations on the role of parliaments in a reformed multilateral cooperation system. Parliaments stand firmly behind the United Nations, and this support is both political and practical. We are committed to offering the necessary political backing to the United Nations as the cornerstone of the international cooperation system. We are also committed to allocating the resources which the United Nations and other intergovernmental institutions need to accomplish their noble mission.
No doubt, it is for you, governments, to negotiate at the United Nations. Surely, our main role as legislators is to translate into legislative and budgetary provisions the agreements reached internationally. Yet it is in the wider interest of all that we be involved in the process in its early stages, and not exclusively in the implementation stage. Intergovernmental organizations would also become more accountable and transparent if we were better informed about their actions.
TECHESTE AHDEROM, Co-Chair of the Millennium Forum: Last May, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations from around the world gathered in this great Hall to consult on humanitys common future and about the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century. The meeting was called the Millennium Forum, and it was one of the most diverse and significant gatherings of civil society organizations ever held. The Forum was significant for its attempt to accelerate the process among non-governmental organizations of networking and coalition-building across issue areas. Despite our great diversity, we successfully agreed on a powerfully worded Declaration and Agenda for Action. It offers a bold vision for humanitys future and outlines a series of concrete steps that the United Nations, governments and civil society themselves can take to address the global problems facing humanity today.
We in civil society stand ready to work with you and your governments in strong new partnerships. Civil society also stands ready to hold you to your commitments. Throughout history, most great social movements have begun not with governments but with ordinary people. The Secretary-General has said that civil society participation in and partnership with the United Nations is not an option but a necessity. Among the highlights of the Declaration, it urges governments to make serious commitments to restructure the global financial architectures, based on principles of equity.
Summaries of Deliberations by Chairs of Four Summit Round Tables
GOH CHOK TONG, Prime Minister of Singapore: My personal observation is that the round table for leaders was a success. The discussion focused mainly on globalization, with fewer people making statements on peace and security and other issues. It was pointed out that the negative effects of globalization have to be moderated. Individual countries have national institutions to regulate domestic markets, but there are no such international bodies. Several leaders also argued that international financial institutions favour rich, developed countries.
The debt burden was discussed, and leaders urged debt relief. Some urged development assistance. According to one suggestion, the United Nations could provide training on how to negotiate trade agreements and take advantage of them. Others said that help to poor countries could take the shape of payment of their dues to the United Nations. Another proposal was to create an economic security council within the United Nations to monitor the global market and make recommendations on how to overcome situations which threaten the economic security of countries. Some suggestions were also made on how to prevent abuses of power.
There was a discussion on whether new institutions should be created to deal with the problems of globalization. Some questioned, though, if there were enough resources for creating such bodies. The question was asked how to follow up on the round table discussion. Careful monitoring of the implementation of the Millennium Declaration was suggested. I propose that such round tables be institutionalized, for they give a chance to world leaders to exchange important views.
ALEXANDER KWASNIEWSKI, President of Poland: Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of presiding over the second round table of the Summit. More than 30 leaders took part in the fascinating debate. We seemed to share the same view concerning the nature of challenges facing the world at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Of course, it is much more difficult to find agreed solutions to those problems. However, there was an agreement that the United Nations should play a part in providing such solutions.
Speakers at the round table noted that many countries are faced with tremendous developmental problems as the gap between countries continues to increase. The benefits of globalization should be more evenly spread. Technology provides great opportunities, but first fundamental needs for food, health and education have to be met. It was also pointed out that it is necessary to address such negative aspects as drug trafficking, money laundering and transnational crime.
Solidarity at the global level has, first and foremost, to be translated into solidarity with Africa. The special circumstances of the continent need to be addressed. A new partnership for Africa was called for, which would require a fundamental change in attitude. There was rejection of the welfare approach, and emphasis on root causes of problems. The question of fighting poverty was high on the agenda. Leaders confirmed their commitment to the goal of reducing the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015.
Among the priorities participants also mentioned was the need for debt relief and official development assistance. One of the participants said that it was necessary to move from words to deeds in that respect. Also discussed was the problem of the global spread of such diseases as HIV/AIDS and malaria. There was wide support for the proposals contained in the Secretary-Generals report. Many speakers stressed that stable development was not possible without human rights protection and democracy; the leaders stressed the link between poverty alleviation and environmental protection. International legally binding instruments were called for in that respect.
Ensuring security, preventing deadly conflicts and ensuring peace remain a high priority for the United Nations. Conflict prevention, peacemaking and peace-building are of utmost importance. Some participants pointed out the need to critically assess the question of sanctions. Also discussed was the need to ensure democracy in international relations and greater coherence in international actions. All in all, the discussion left me with an optimistic impression. There was a meeting of minds and a readiness to translate into action what had been agreed to. The round table served as a useful forum for the exchange of views. Many of us would like this format to be followed in the future.
HUGO RAFAEL CHAVEZ FRIAS, President of Venezuela: To stand in the spirit of solidarity and creativity, I will outline the recommendations set in train in round table three. All concurred in all of the round tables that the experiment of the round table is still being given impetus. They should be an ongoing, frequent and interactive experience. Out of a whirlwind of ideas, creative approaches can come.
We also agreed on one question: how to meet the targets and goals, such as halving poverty by 2015 and ensuring that all children, girls and boys, receive equal education. How do we achieve this without the promise remaining a dead letter? First, we agree with round table one in proposing that it is necessary to set up a development council or a board with the authority of the Security Council. It should not be just another expert group, but a proper council that can adopt decisions to reduce the rates of poverty and misery and raise living standards among the poorest. It is not simply a question of bombs but of hunger, famine and wretched poverty.
Secondly, regional groups must be institutionalized. Groups at the regional level must meet frequently so that they can table recommendations and offer guidelines to settle difficulties. Thirdly, we must consider that South- South dialogue be given fresh impetus. We also need a new North-South dialogue. It must not be a matter of lip service. We want to meet the claims and aspirations of our people now. Fourthly, we cannot go into the new century with the chart we used in 1945. The Security Council must be a democratic institution. We must also do away with the veto. And we want a reaction. If people do not pay attention to what we are saying, and nothing happens, we are going to need another summit. But I am sure that will not happen. People will listen.
In closing, I wish to say that the United Nations Charter begins with wonderful expressions of democracy. It does not say, we the heads of government but we the peoples. Let us take this up again.
ABDELAZIZ BOUTEFLIKA, President of Algeria: The Millennium Summit is an exceptional event. The fourth round table was an excellent opportunity to exchange views on globalization, peace and security and the role of the United Nations. In todays new world, national interests need to be defined in broader terms. Globalization is here to stay and offers both opportunity and the risk of exclusion. We need to establish a set of rules to guide globalization. The United Nations has a crucial role, to transform itself into a positive force, and to make development a positive force. Our job is to develop an integrated response at the national, regional and global levels.
At the national level we need to give priority to education. We must develop strategies for common action at the regional level to open up economic space, reduce conflict, and make progress. At the global level, the Secretary- Generals report has pointed the way. We need to open up markets, to create a world covenant with the private sector for it to increase investment in Africa and other low-income regions, to mitigate debt and increase official development assistance, and stimulate growth in the poor countries. To combat poverty, national efforts are needed. But the consistent support of the international community is likewise crucial. Education must be central to international concerns. Debt relief is necessary. Excessive conditionalities are counterproductive. When we look to the future, education and increased investments are the key. The African countries need investment in manufactured and semi-finished products. We must build national infrastructures to attract private investment. This is the condition for success of industrial development. We are in favour of conferences of countries of the South, the theme of which would be revisiting globalization.
The round table concluded that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) needs to be reformed. On peace and security, troop-contributing countries must be more involved in negotiations and follow-up in the work of the Security Council. The present composition of the Council is no longer reflected in todays realities. While much of the work done in the Security Council involves Africa, Africa has no permanent seat. We must take into account the underlying causes of conflict.
On the subject of terrorism, there can be no democracy as long as there is terrorism. It is a worldwide scourge. We recommend that a fund be established, or that a study on the funding of international terrorism be undertaken. The eradication of terrorism is a condition for the strengthening of the democratic process. Also, the General Assembly needs to remain actively involved in the question and must consider ways to combat this scourge. It should undertake studies on this subject in as objective a manner as possible on sources of financing, particularly countries which are bridgeheads for terrorists. On the problem of debt, the past has been revisited. One delegation rejected the idea of wiping out debt. A more moderate proposal was to ask how debt had been accumulated. This might be possible in a South-South framework, in which the United Nations could be a partner.
Action on Declaration
The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the United Nations Millennium Declaration, contained in draft resolution A/55/L.2.
Closing Statement by Secretary-General
The SECRETARY-GENERAL: The remarkable convergence of views has been striking. Eradication of extreme poverty has been identified as a priority, and specific targets have been set for prescribed measures. Many said the potential benefits of globalization are understood but people have yet to feel them. It is agreed that part of the solution lies in sovereign States giving priority to the needs of their people, especially the poorest. States, however, must work with the private sector and civil society to solve the problems of globalization.
A more equitable world economy has been called for, one where those who have more do more for those who have less. Speaker after speaker has stressed the urgent need to release poor countries from the burden of debt. New approaches for doing this include arbitration or mediation, to balance the interests of creditors and debtors. Continued conflict has been declared intolerable. The capacity and response for assisting vulnerable communities needs strengthening. The importance of international law has been reaffirmed. More than 80 States took action on international legal instruments during the Summit, especially on protecting children from the abuses that shame all mankind.
High priority has been placed on Africa's special needs and the need for more effective international institutions. Nearly everyone called for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council. Improving the effectiveness of the Organization was of concern. Delegates wanted results. Ultimately, they are the United Nations. It is in their power and their responsibility to reach the goals they set. They will determine whether the United Nations rises to the challenge. The whole United Nations staff is dedicated to carrying out the mandate.
Closing Statements by Co-Chairpersons of Summit
TARJA HALONEN, President of Finland: This Summit has been a great success, with the Declaration giving guidance for future actions. The clear message has been that the world and the peoples need the United Nations. We must also strengthen ties with the world outside the Organization. Input from civil society is very important. I do hope that round table discussions will be used in the future, for this is the way to create the political will to do what needs to be done. I have a feeling we made a new spirit for the new Millennium. Thank you.
SAM NUJOMA, President of Namibia: We have come to the close of the Millennium Summit. Over the past three days, an unprecedented number of heads of State have gathered and reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations for world peace, development and human security in the twenty-first century. I
extend my deepest gratitude to Co-Chairperson Tarja Halonen for her leadership and cooperation. The chairs of the four interactive round tables also did outstanding work. I want to extend my deepest appreciation to all of them. Their summaries highlighted the range of challenges facing the United Nations. The Secretary- Generals report and the Millennium Declaration have given us proposals and ideas for action. I congratulate the new President of the fifty-fifth session and call upon him to ensure the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and pay particular attention to paragraph 31. Many speakers have reaffirmed the centrality of the General Assembly as the chief policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations. They have further reiterated the necessity to reform the Security Council.
We have adopted a historic Declaration with a vision for the future. The Declaration in itself will not put bread on the tables, stop wars, and erase poverty. We can therefore not afford to go home and continue business as usual. We have the mandate and responsibility to undertake steps to help the people help themselves. We must act now by translating commitment into action. It is time to combine vision with increased resources for the United Nations. We must fulfil our promises of a better, more peaceful, just world for all. The time to act is now.
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