New York, September 26th, 2003

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I congratulate you on your election as President of this Assembly. As the Foreign Minister of St. Lucia, a member of the Latin American and Caribbean community, you can be assured of the full cooperation of the delegation of Chile.

The events of 11 September 2001, the crisis of Irak, the conflict in the Middle East and the attack on the United Nations in Baghdad all pose enormous challenges for the international community. Tensions have arisen over the way in which we have responded to some of these crises, but opportunities have also been created for joint action in new areas. We must confront these challenges with seriousness of purpose and with a collective approach.

The Secretary-General has expressed his concern at the differing perceptions of the "new and old" threats and the urgent need to develop a programme of security aimed at building a common destiny.

The United Nations will be what its Member States wish it to be. The success of the Organization will be the success of its Members and its failure will be the responsibility of none other than its Member States.

The United Nations can and must play a vital role in building a common destiny based on universally shared principles and values.

The renewal of the United Nations is therefore an urgent task that must be approached from a lofty political and ethical perspective and not from the bureaucratic standpoint that has led to stagnation, empty rhetoric and frustration of the desire for change.

Mr. President,

        According to our Charter, faith in human rights must be one of the core values of every society and culture. It is essential for us to vigorously promote the universality of this value.

We note with concern how the progress made by mankind in promoting these values is accompanied by reversals that frustrate the sense of ethics that we wish to impart to the global community.

The work of the United Nations must continue to be a guarantee for the promotion and protection of human rights and for the strengthening of a culture that guides the conscience of each individual, each people and each nation.

Democracy is consistent with the Purposes and Principles of this Organization.

In our region, we have made progress towards the inculcation of these values. The historic Santiago Commitment to Democracy of 1991 culminated in the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter and has been complemented by the Declaration of Santiago on Democracy and Public Trust: A New Commitment to Good Governance for the Americas, which was adopted at the thirty-third General Assembly of the Organization of American States, held in Chile in June of this year. In that instrument, we reaffirmed the vital role of multilateral cooperation in promoting democratic governance. This effort is an example of how international cooperation can help to strengthen the universal value of democracy.

Chile's commitment to democracy goes beyond our region. We and other countries are part of the Community of Democracies, an initiative aimed at promoting and strengthening this system of co-existence throughout the world. We hope to work in the United Nations in pursuit of these objectives.

Mr. President,

International peace and security continue to be key concerns of our Organization. The sacrifice of the distinguished Brazilian and Latin American, Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Representative of the Secretary-General in Baghdad, and of his colleagues, reaffirms our commitment to working on behalf of peace.

The United Nations must play a more substantive role in the future of Iraq. We must work to ensure the rapid restoration of sovereignty to the Iraqi people so that they can freely build their future. Chile stands ready to continue to work in the Security Council with an approach that will permit progress to be made towards the consensus that is needed to improve the conditions of security and to establish a clear timetable for political transition in that country.

Mr. President,

Security must guarantee people a life free from threats. Human security thus emerges as a distinctive feature and a prerequisite for a world without fear.

We share the ideas of the Secretary-General for the elaboration of a programme of common security that will permit us to overcome the differences that have arisen in dealing with the increasing fears of our global community.

Globalization has created new opportunities for the peoples of the world, but it has also created imbalances as a result of unequal access to the advantages that it offers. The equity perspective must therefore be a key component of this programme of security.

Development in the globalized world can no longer be sustained only in terms of technological innovation and economic growth. Progress must be aimed at ensuring that technological development is placed at the service of integration and collective prosperity.

In this spirit, we look forward to broad participation in the Global Biotechnology Forum, to be held in the Chilean city of Concepcion, in March 2004, and to an outcome that will help to further strengthen international cooperation in one of the most dynamic fields of science and technology.

Mr. President,

Our political and economic multilateral institutions were created in a different historical period. We must now demonstrate our capacity to adapt them to better respond to the challenges of the XXI century.

Our main concern today must be how to overcome our immobility and embark upon a process of renewal. The method used thus far has not yielded the desired results. It is therefore necessary to explore new alternatives.

We warmly welcome the initiative of the Secretary-General to establish a group of eminent personalities to elaborate a proposal for submission to the Organization.

It is essential to address the weaknesses of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council. We must also reflect on what new functions could be entrusted to the Trusteeship Council.

We must strengthen the dialogue between these organs and extend it to other international organizations, including the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization and regional organizations.

In order to go forward in this process of renewal, we must prove that we are capable of now using the full potential of the Charter, which has not been fully exploited

Mr. President,

The Security Council has recently undergone a testing period. We have had difficulty in discharging the responsibilities entrusted by the Charter to this vital organ for the maintenance of international peace and security. We advocate its renewal in order to achieve an appropriate balance between representativity and effectiveness.

Reform must give consideration to the addition of new members, both permanent and non-permanent and include a review of the veto.

The process can be complemented by mechanisms to permit more active participation by countries that are not members of the Council, within the framework of the Charter.

It is also necessary to more efficiently involve the principal organs on issues that affect international peace and security. This must be approached in a coordinated manner through the effective application of the Charter, as provided for in Article 15 thereof.

It is necessary too to more actively associate regional organizations and arrangements in efforts to maintain peace and security by applying Chapter VIII of the Charter. The region of the Americas has an institutional structure and various coordination mechanisms that can be used to contribute to the fulfillment of the Purposes of the United Nations. The experience of the OAS is pertinent in this regard.

The General Assembly must undertake a process of renewal in order to play its role effectively as the principal deliberative, normative and representative organ of the United Nations.

The Assembly has a profusion of items and resolutions, most of which remain unimplemented, thereby affecting the effectiveness and credibility of the system as a whole. We must have the political will to implement what we decide. In short, we must strengthen the capacity of the Assembly for assuming political leadership.

At the same time, we must promote the establishment of regional agendas that facilitate agreements and global consensus.

Mr. President,

The United Nations must play a key role in the promotion of equitable development by increasing the Organization's capacity to influence the design and implementation of national and international public policies in the economic and social spheres.

The process of renewal of ECOSOC must be aimed at repositioning this organ. This requires the streamlining of its agenda, methods of work, and membership, and strengthening its relationship with the Security Council, as provided for in Article 65 of the Charter, by assuming a role in the prevention and containment of threats originating in social problems.

We must seek to ensure that the search for consensus does not prevent this forum from reaching the necessary substantive agreements that the United Nations is required to reach for the achievement of its Purposes and Principles. Mr. President,

From the south of the world, Chile will continue to assume its responsability for making a contribution to the international community.

The United Nations is a unique and indispensable forum for fashioning a world of peace and development for all.

Its core values must inspire efforts for a renewal that will permit the Organization to rise to the challenges of the century upon which we have just embarked in the building of our common destiny.

Thank you very much.