|For information only - not an official document.|
|Press Release No: UNIS/GA/1683|
|Release Date: 8 September 2000|
| Speakers at Millennium Summit Focus on United Nations Role
In Twenty-first Century
NEW YORK, 7 September (UN Headquarters) -- As the Millennium Summit continued its work this afternoon, 30 heads of State and other high-level speakers presented their vision of the future, focusing on the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century; painting the picture of a new world order to come; and describing the burning needs facing humanity.
Poverty eradication and promotion of human rights were high on the agenda, as were the need to harness the phenomenon of globalization; overcome disparities and inequalities between the developed and the developing world; and prevent and overcome conflicts in various parts of the world.
Calling attention to the unresolved problem of disarmament, Eduard Shevardnadze, President of Georgia, said it meant that unsettled conflicts could flare into horrific conflagrations both between and within States. Newly independent States faced a protracted process towards material welfare that brought democratic values into question. Disillusioned people could not be expected to derive nourishment from ideals alone, he said.
Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, said extreme ethnic nationalism was a stain on humanity. More effort must go into halting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and by controlling the illicit trade in diamonds.
Yoshiro Mori, Prime Minister of Japan, called for a human-centred approach to world problems. As a representative of the only country to have suffered nuclear devastation, he urged all countries to free the twenty-first century from the danger of nuclear weapons. Peace on earth and freedom from want depended on universal cooperation. A strengthened United Nations was essential in that respect.
Technology must benefit both North and South, said Monie R. Captan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia. More equitable terms of trade would foster the transfer of technology. Further, the impact of the Western media on small States and different cultures must be checked, because it threatened their very existence and welfare.
Petar Stoyanov, President of Bulgaria, also noted that the economic and technical domains spilled over into the sensitive areas of culture. As developed nations bridged the digital divide and facilitated access to the Information Superhighway, the United Nations would be a major force for socioeconomic, scientific and technical development. It would also coordinate environmental protection and humanitarian cooperation on the national, regional and international level.
Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon were the Presidents of Marshall Islands, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Djibouti, Haiti, Armenia, Tunisia, Argentina, Turkey, Albania and Switzerland, as well as the Prime Ministers of Nepal, Lesotho, Jamaica, Dominica, Mauritania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Estonia.
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Foreign Ministers of Côte d’Ivoire, United Republic of Tanzania and Benin and representatives of the Solomon Islands, the Seychelles and Morocco also spoke.
Also this afternoon, the Assembly took note of the fact that Gambia had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter. [By Article 19, a Member State in arrears in the amount equal to, or exceeding, contributions due for the preceding two years, shall have no vote in the General Assembly.]
The Millennium Summit will continue its work at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
Summit Work Programme
The Millennium Summit met for its fourth session this afternoon to hear further statements by heads of State and government.
EDUARD SHEVARDNADZE, President of Georgia: The problem of disarmament remains unsolved –- although we do see the first signs of progress. The unsettled conflicts of today -– both between and within States -– could flare up into horrific conflagration tomorrow. Figures on people who suffer from hunger, tragic infirmity or illiteracy simply boggle the mind. Against the backdrop of these global shifts, my country has chosen a course towards democratic development. But what has come of it? A handful of separatists, relying on external forces, have split Georgia asunder –- exterminating thousands of innocent people in the process. For eight consecutive years, 300,000 of my compatriots have remained ousted from their homes. More than half of the population is on the verge of hunger, although their friends in the United States and other countries are helping.
Many new independent States are now facing difficulties. In Georgia, for example, we have established democratic values and gained freedom for the nation and the individual. The primacy of human rights is not in question. Yet we have not even approached a state of well-being for our people. Neither have corruption or the shadow economy been defeated. In developing democratic States, a protracted process towards material welfare calls democratic values into question. We cannot expect disillusioned people to derive their nourishment from ideals alone.
Addressing the problems we face in this Millennium is a task that individual States -– even the most powerful ones -- cannot manage alone. There is a need for a fundamental restructuring of the United Nations and Security Council to meet the challenges of the new Millennium. The Security Council must be expanded. I recall that at the General Assembly in 1992, I spoke in favour of permanent membership for Germany and Japan. One wonders why the expansion issue has not yet been resolved. At this stage, more new prospective members have appeared, and today too, a reasonable solution can be found. I firmly believe that the right to veto must be limited. The Charter of the United Nations also needs to be adapted, factoring in modern discoveries and the worst threats of the new era.
KESSAI H. NOTE, President of the Marshall Islands: The guiding principles of the United Nations Charter have continued and will continue to be tested over the years. Exploitation in many forms and varying degrees over people, land, ocean, the atmosphere and their interdependent systems continued to pose real and immediate threats to the very existence of small island developing countries like the Marshall Islands. As with other small island countries, the Marshall Islands needs to have its feet rooted on land -- dry land. Global warming and sea-level rise is threatening our very existence, and we call on the minds, hearts and spirits of this Organization to strengthen all efforts to help us prevail over these threats.
The establishment and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, and its ongoing enforcement, is a monumental accomplishment in itself. Nurturing the development of peoples so that they become and continue to be self-sufficient, may be a tall order for many of us and our Organization. However, this is why we are here. To reflect the original intention of the Charter, the United Nations will need to give itself a closer look -- at its own structures and the principles governing the operation of its essential organs. I am encouraged by the discussion on the issue of permanent membership -- given the continuous emphasis that body places on the unconditional application of democratic principles.
The mending financial constraints on the work of the United Nations require some bold steps. So do the conditions under which the International Court of Justice continues to be restrained from exercising its authority. Finally, while we rightly focus on reducing the proportion of people suffering from hunger, the lack of safe water, The rapid spread of HIV/AIDS, the scourge of malaria and other major diseases, we must not forget that an educated population leads to a healthy and prosperous society.
ANTONIO MASCARENHAS MONTEIRO, President of Cape Verde: Representing a small island developing country, let me assure you that my address is filled with justified hope. The new millennium can bring freedom, development and a sense of human dignity to nations all over the world. We are also confident that the United Nations will continue to be important in building international confidence on the basis of shared responsibility.
Of special importance is the fight against poverty. For many countries, poverty is a major obstacle to achieving human dignity and implementing the basic rights of people. It is necessary to achieve synergy in international actions and provide sufficient resources to overcome poverty, as well as to achieve cohesion and coordination in the policies against poverty at the national level.
There is a growing will among people to control their own fate. A sense of justice must prevail on the planet. Asymmetries and disparities must be overcome, and the advanced States must show solidarity with the developing countries. This concerns primarily the official aid for development and debt alleviation. It is necessary to mobilize all relevant forces in this respect. Due to their specific difficulties, small island developing States deserve special treatment. Access to international markets and the acquisition of technology is needed. As for the continent of Africa, we are hoping for a recovery there, which cannot be achieved without giving that continent high priority on the global agenda.
MIGUEL DOS ANJOS DA CUNHA LISBOA TROVOADA, President of Sao Tome and Principe: The holding of the Millennium Summit is taking place at a timely moment, when the international community is facing challenges from the lack of balance in the development of States. While technological developments have allowed for progress in the material sphere, this same development has not led to any substantial improvement in the deep nature of mankind, which is characterized by selfishness. As a result, there is a somber and regrettable picture of divisions between and within nations. Human tragedy has become a normal and everyday reality, in the face of inactivity by other members of the same human family. What is lacking is a firm political will and a decisive stance by the entire international community. It is clear that a more proactive attitude is needed. Awareness is the key to supporting the goal of freedom for all.
Even though States have the responsibility for bringing about stability, the United Nations also has an important role to play. It is necessary for the United Nations to undergo some restructuring, to restore its balance and make it more in line with the geopolitical changes that have taken place since its birth. War is one of the scourges that has caused the greatest harm in Africa. It is urgent that action be taken to ensure the effective control of the sale and circulation of weapons. Without development, democracy becomes fragile. Let us hope that the spirit of the Summit will continue and that the most fragile nations will be able to live in hope, and not be sacrificed on the altar of globalization.
ISMAEL OMAR GUELLEH, President of Djibouti: The dawn of the new millennium has given us an opportunity to review our goals and set new priorities, particularly in the fight against poverty, achieving human rights and strengthening the United Nations. Today, almost half of mankind suffers from food shortages and poverty. This is unacceptable in a world that produces enough food to feed its population.
Countries with low levels of domestic investment are at a dead-end. For poor countries to develop, the terrible debt burden must be removed. Restricted access to markets and lack of modern technology exacerbate the situation. To alleviate the situation, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has proposed an increase of official aid for development for countries of sub-Saharan Africa to $20 million. Such an amount should increase domestic saving and investment, which, in turn, would attract foreign investors. At the present level of $10 million annually, official aid for development is not fulfilling its goals and is perpetuating dependence on foreign aid. It is necessary to create a more balanced international system to ensure progress. Globalization should become a positive force for all countries.
Violence is reaching crisis proportions around the world, and the proliferation of conflicts in Africa is making us look for new solutions. We must strengthen the United Nations and improve its competence in peacekeeping. The Organization must be able to appeal to its Members for well-trained and equipped contingents, ready to react rapidly in case of conflicts. Elimination of conflicts and the establishment of peace and security are urgent, if we want to eliminate poverty.
PETAR STOYANOV, President of Bulgaria: Bulgaria is actively involved in the international community’s effort to settle existing conflicts and secure lasting peace and economic prosperity in the world. This is why we support the need for an effective reform of peacekeeping operations. The Bulgarian Government’s decision to increase its financial contribution for United Nations peacekeeping operations, despite our economic difficulties, is based on this fact. We gained our peacekeeping experience mainly during the Kosovo crisis. The conflict demonstrated that problems today can only be solved through joint efforts prompted by the sharing of universal human value, rather than by temporary considerations. The implementation of a long-term strategy for economic stabilization of the region is a key factor for the restoration of peace in southeast Europe. The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe is the first ever attempt at a post-crisis rehabilitation in the context of globalization.
Globalization has confronted us with challenges for which we were unprepared. It has meanwhile become clear that we cannot afford to opt or not to opt for globalization: it is a fact that we cannot ignore. Globalization has a tendency to go beyond the economic and technical domain and spill over into the sensitive areas of culture, national traditions and customs. Being convinced of the potential of the new information and communication technology, I urge the developed nations to bridge the digital divide and facilitate the access to their Information Superhighway.
The United Nations will continue to be a major factor of socio-economic, scientific and technical development, environmental protection and humanitarian cooperation. The objectives are clear: sustainable development, addressing and tackling demographic problems, reducing poverty and ensuring sources of income for all social strata. Bulgaria has been making its contribution to this end, notably by participating in the work of the Economic and Social Council and supporting United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) activities.
RENE PREVAL, President of Haiti: I thank the Secretary-General for convening the Millennium Summit and congratulate him on the depth of his report. During its 55 years of existence, the history of the international community could not have been written without constant reference to the United Nations. Even today, in the context of a constantly changing world, we still find that it is a privileged instrument for shaping the twenty-first century. Some issues are of particular concern to Haiti, because the international response to them will shape the world to come.
The need to guarantee dignified living conditions for all people is of utmost importance. Throughout the history of mankind, the capacity to create wealth has never been so great. With that capacity, there is also a need to generate a knowledge-based economy. In the new economy, access is limited to a few, constituting a new source of inequality. How can one break out of this exclusion? Another concern is the drift in politics towards finance and the economy. Constant capital flows and trade seem to belittle some nations. Are we breaking or making democracies? The immense power of the communications media seems to be in the hands of just a few. Global pandemics are devastating certain nations, particularly the poorest. The human cost of those tragedies is scandalous. The means to mitigate them exist. For many, economic factors prevail over human considerations.
States must now take into account other regional influences. Without the rule of law, globalization would be a jungle. This is the mission of the international organizations, with the United Nations at their head. We must consolidate the legitimacy of the United Nations by democratizing it and enhancing its effectiveness, ensuring that it is capable of meeting new challenges. It is necessary to take a dispassionate look at the avalanche of initiatives. Globalization is not new. Slavery and colonialism are evidence of this. What is frightening is that globalization tends to take the form of privatization of all powers.
ROBERT KOCHARIAN, President of Armenia: Armenia belongs to the part of a world which has witnessed major political and social transformation. The country and the South Caucasus region have not been immune to conflicts. So, Armenia will work for a needed regional system of security in the area.
Armenia is committed to peacefully resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We will continue working with the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group and to underscore their contribution to maintaining the ceasefire. Equally, we are ready for direct contacts with Azerbaijan in search of compromise, even though direct talks between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan would be more productive. But it is possible to advance economic cooperation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which will help bring peace to the area. We are confident that the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can only materialize on the basis of legal equality of the two parties.
The Armenian nation will carry the problems of the past century into the new Millennium. Turkey's continuing denial of the genocide of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire has only intensified our aspirations for justice. Penitence is not humiliation, but elevates individuals and nations. I am confident that a constructive dialogue with Turkey will allow us to jointly pave the way towards cooperation and good-neighbourly ties.
ZINE EL ABIDINE BEN ALI, President of Tunisia: The tragic poverty and disease among certain peoples have made us call for solidarity and cooperation among States as an absolute humanitarian and moral necessity. In this regard, we have proposed a development contract between developing and developed countries and the recycling of debts for investment in development and environmental projects. We had also proposed the creation of “a world fund for solidarity and poverty eradication” to strengthen the means for humanitarian intervention and fight poverty in the most destitute parts of the world.
A vital issue that dominates the current debate at the United Nations is human rights, which is being used as a pretext to intervene in other countries' affairs. Tunisia is determined to take part in developing a more democratic conception of international relations, within the framework of an integrated diplomacy and on the basis of the United Nations Charter, which call for respect for sovereignty, non-intervention in the internal affairs of others and the impartial treatment of all issues.
This historic occasion commands us to reaffirm our responsibilities to all peoples, and particularly to the Palestinians, to help them gain their legitimate rights and build their independent State on their national soil, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.
FERNANDO DE LA RUA, President of Argentina: There are many issues relating to the role of the United Nations in the new millennium. I will address only one of them, which is poverty elimination. It is a fundamental factor in conflict prevention, and the international community must alot great relevance to this aspect. It is essential that both developing and developed countries act together. Only on the basis of common will, shall we be able to achieve success.
New preventive measures and responsibilities are very important for the United Nations in the new millennium. We must target the root causes of conflicts. Cooperation programmes for the needy populations will contribute to generating an atmosphere of tolerance. Such measures as emergency assistance, demobilization, mine-clearance and social reconciliation will be insufficient without the implementation of long-term development policies. Developed countries should play a decisive role here, eliminating barriers, quotas and other measures that restrict trade and development.
The dispute between my country and the United Kingdom over the Malvinas and the surrounding maritime territories, is included in the programme of work of this Organization, which has requested our Governments to resume negotiations to find a just and definitive solution to the conflict. I would like to reconfirm my country’s commitment to the United Nations in the new universal order of peace and justice.
AHMET NECDET SEZER, President of Turkey: Globalization offers new opportunities to mankind. But we must still be diligent to avoid making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Indeed, the international community, particularly the wealthy countries, have to respond sincerely to the strong call made by the Secretary-General, to alleviate and ultimately to eradicate what constitutes one of our greatest concerns -- global poverty. The events of the last century have taught us that we must ensure a fair distribution of the benefits of free market economies and new technologies; respect the environment as a vital common asset that we are to leave to future generations; and strengthen regional and international peace and security to the benefit of all.
Turkey is determined to be more actively engaged in a reinvigorated United Nations. We are going through a defining moment in the history of the Organization. On the other hand, we remember the many tragic moments when this great Organization had to stand as an idle spectator to the scourges of warfare and human disaster, deprivation, abject violations of basic rights, famine and calamity. The Secretary-General was right in pointing to the need to develop a "culture of prevention", along with the need to elaborate the central role of the United Nations in preventing conflicts. The United Nations ability to prevent and end conflicts must be strengthened.
In this context, I need to stress the importance of avoiding the perpetuation of stereotype resolutions that do not help resolve conflicts, and in which the realities of the subject matter are not really taken into account. Likewise, there is a definite need for reforming the Security Council in a way that will yield improved representation, transparency and accountability, and reflect the principle of sovereign equality. This Summit has the potential to make an impact on the consciousness of the international community in order to get action started -- and where there is action, to accelerate it.
REXHEP MEIDANI, President of Albania: Today's values are still being defied by dictators and authoritarian demagogues, and in some cases, fascism is still a threat in parts of Europe. One such example is the Balkans, where the entire development of the region is being kept hostage by the wars caused directly by the criminal regime in Belgrade. The current crisis in the territory of the former Yugoslav Federation started in Kosovo in 1989, and it may come to an end only after the right solution is found, including a new, free and democratic Kosovo.
Instead of the old concept of classic independence, we must apply a new concept of interdependence. Such a path does not mean the dissolution of national sovereignty, but rather the sovereign choices that nation States are making to devolve more power to local and regional authorities, or to pool their sovereignty within supranational authorities. This is also the way to make compatible the concept of national sovereignty with the concept of globalization and its sub-phenomenon -- regionalization.
With the right vision, clear international commitment and honest partnership, I strongly believe we can respond to poverty and we can beat it. Lecturing the poor countries and criticizing their own weak governance whilst providing little money to support technological advance, public health, education and other needs is admittedly cheap. But it simply does not work. The strategy must be modified. Ideological divides are being replaced by intractable technological divides. Countries should create the chance for many of the technologically-excluded regions to join the benefits of globalization. In particular, the industrialized world could make an immense impact by offering relief from the international debt of poor countries. For me, this is not only a springboard for further cultural, technical, civic and human evolution, but even for the absorption and the transfer of technology and know-how. It would be a first step to narrow the technological divide. It would also minimize the brain drain, which not only decreases a nation's pool of intellectual and democratic potential but also represents considerable financial and social losses for poor countries.
JEAN CHRETIEN, Prime Minister of Canada: I will begin by expressing Canada’s outrage at the murder of innocent, unarmed humanitarian personnel in West Timor. It is incumbent on the Indonesian Government to bring the perpetrators to justice. As we mark a new millennium, the United Nations is the world’s indispensable institution. Canada’s embrace of the United Nations reflects our common values and shared experiences. As an incredibly diverse nation, we are deeply committed to freedom, tolerance, justice and equality. In the new century, Canada’s vision is of a world in which all people enjoy the same blessings.
Extreme ethnic nationalism, in places like the Balkans or Central Africa, is a stain on our humanity. As one of the original architects of peacekeeping, and one of its foremost practitioners, we urge all Member States to be guided by the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s panel on United Nations peace operations. We must work harder to deny the agents of violence at their sources of supply by halting the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and by controlling the illicit trade in diamonds. This month, Canada will host an International Conference on War-Affected Children. I am also pleased to announce that Canada is leading the establishment of an independent International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty.
We must share the benefits of globalization. Faster, deeper and broader debt relief should be pursued vigorously through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative. We must ensure that the benefits of the information revolution are shared by all. That is why Canada endorses the creation of a United Nations Information Technology Service. The United Nations must be supported in all respects, politically and financially. All members must pay their dues. With the will and resolve, the United Nations will remain the world’s indispensable institution in the twenty-first century.
YOSHIRO MORI, Prime Minister of Japan: Japan emphasizes the importance of dealing with issues confronting the international community from a human-centred point of view, and the need to strengthen the functions of the United Nations in the new century. The United Nations must play a more active role in promoting such a human-centred approach. Based upon this recognition, Japan has to date contributed more than nine billion yen (or well over $80 million) to the “Human Security Fund”, which was established at the United Nations in March 1999. In the near future, Japan intends to make further contributions to this fund of approximately 10 billion yen (or roughly $100 million). Japan also intends to establish an international committee on human security.
It is essential that the functions of the United Nations be strengthened and, in particular, that the Security Council be reformed, to further maintain the peace and security of the international community. It is clear that the Security Council of today does not fully reflect the realities of the twenty-first century. A large majority of Member States already support the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Council, as well as the inclusion of both developing and developed countries in the expanded permanent membership.
The issue of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation must not be forgotten. Japan, as the only country to have suffered nuclear devastation, earnestly desires that all countries join hands to free the twenty-first century from the fear and danger of nuclear weapons, and to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In accordance with that desire, Japan will submit at the Millennium Assembly a new draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons. In order to ensure that the twenty-first century is a more peaceful century, in which each person on this earth can be free from want, all countries must work together. Strengthening the United Nations is essential in this respect.
GIRIJA PRASAD KOIRALA, Prime Minister of Nepal: Since its inception, the United Nations has been working to uphold the peace, promote the rule of law and foster development. The challenge before the leaders of the world today is to bring peace, prosperity and justice to everyone in an interdependent and globalized world. We in Nepal believe that the United Nations can help to achieve our goal. It is this belief that keeps our faith alive in the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter. That Nepal is active in peacekeeping as well as other works of the Organization, is a clear testimony to that abiding faith.
The least developed countries (LDCs) have remained for too long in the shadow of world attention. The landlocked among them, like Nepal, are the worst off, as they continue to downslide. The development partners must help them, both with adequate resources to remove their development constraints, and with duty-free and quota-free access for their exports. Transit countries should provide better transit facilities to the landlocked countries so that they can join the global economic mainstream.
The United Nations needs comprehensive reform for it to rise up to the challenges of the twenty-first century. We must restore an optimal balance between the General Assembly and the Security Council, and strengthen the Economic and Social Council. The Organization must achieve greater coordination among its funds, programmes and activities, as well as with the Bretton Woods institutions and the World Trade Organization (WTO). States committed to democracy, human rights and good governance can make a difference. Nepal will do its part.
PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho: Even though the attainment of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa must be accompanied by economic gains and poverty reduction, most of us who have embraced democracy have not yet reaped the fruits of this change. We are unable to meet the challenges of globalization and take advantage of its opportunities for development and the relief of poverty. We are similarly unable to take advantage of the opportunities of advances in information and communication technology, which hold great prospects for rapid development. The challenge for the new century is how to close the gap between developed and developing countries.
The Economic and Social Council’s role in translating the aspirations of developing countries into reality should be strengthened. Therefore, its powers should be rethought to put it on a footing commensurate with its importance.
A policy framework regaining currency today is the one on a New Global Human Order, which has several elements. These include: the creation of a partnership between developing and developed countries based on cooperation for mutual benefit; promotion of a democratic culture and good governance; and the adoption of a gender-sensitive development strategy that is centred on people as the objects of development. Other components include the elimination of developing countries’ debt; poverty reduction; and the creation of a global development facility funded by new sources of finance, such as cuts in military spending, levies on pollution and tax on speculative capital.
PERCIVAL JAMES PATTERSON, Prime Minister of Jamaica: The world enters the new millennium without an institution that has the standing, authority and representativeness to address major global economic, social and environmental questions. This gap in the institutions of global governance must be filled quickly.
As we face the new millennium, peace and security are threatened by large-scale poverty, increasing instability in the world economy, the looming clash between resources and consumption and the prospect of poor countries being obliged to pay for the indulgences of the rich. Poverty remains the greatest challenge facing humankind and we must seize this moment to forge global partnerships against it.
There must be no gender disparity in the new digital revolution for human development and the creation of a global knowledge-based economy. It must also embrace all children, youth, the disabled, rural communities and ethnic minorities.
ROOSEVELT DOUGLAS, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Dominica: The indiscriminate destruction of our forests, rampant over-fishing of our oceans and the pollution of the air and soil take less time to occur than it will take to repair the damage. Our concern cannot be overstated since we, the small States, the most vulnerable members of this Assembly, are the ones who will bear the burden of the very real threats of climate change and environmental degradation. This issue of environmental vulnerability further compounds the economic vulnerability with which we are faced as we enter this new century. Without economic security, the stability and good governance to which we all aspire will be unattainable.
The viability of this Organization will be called into question if a few members are strong while the majority are weak and marginalized. I say this because the majority of the countries in the Caribbean are small and structurally weak, with vulnerable economies which lack the financial and human resources and the institutional capacity to compete in the global economy and to benefit from whatever trade opportunities may exist. While we are doing our part to become incorporated in this new era of globalization, we have so far been unable to identify any tangible benefits from international agreements such as those that govern the WTO.
Instead, we have witnessed an erosion of market access and export earnings from bananas. We strongly urge organizations like the WTO to recognize the unique circumstances of small, structurally weak and vulnerable States, and to make special provisions for these States in the formulation of their policies and regulations. The difficulties that my country currently faces with respect to the banana industry, and agriculture in general, has left us no alternative but to intensify our efforts to diversify the economy while standing firm with our banana farmers and moving into organic farming. The challenges of diversification come at a time when we are losing our valuable human resources to the more attractive wage markets of the North; when the unstoppable process of trade liberalization is forcing us out of traditional markets; and, in some countries, when extreme poverty demoralizes the majority of the labour force.
CHEIKH EL AVIA OULD MOHAMED KHOUNA, Prime Minister of Mauritania: Since its creation, the United Nations has been responding to the aspirations of the peoples for freedom and peace. It has played an essential role in promoting sustainable development in all its dimensions. Now more than ever, the breadth of the challenges facing the world requires international solidarity.
The world has become a global village as a result of the technical revolution, but we face major challenges which are hindering development and increasing poverty for much of the world population. Our collective responsibility is to cooperate in overcoming those problems. The international community must find an urgent solution to the problem of indebtedness of developing countries, and we welcome international initiatives in this respect.
The reform and restructuring of the bodies of the United Nations are very important. We place great hope in the results of the efforts of the working group of the General Assembly, which is entrusted with studying the question of enlarging the Security Council and increasing representation in it. It is necessary to increase the number of permanent members of the Security Council by admitting both developing and industrialized countries, in conformity with the principles of democracy, transparency and justice. The composition of the Council must reflect the universal character of our organization under Article 24 of the Charter.
JAMES F. MITCHELL, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Having access to the markets of developed countries is the key to long-term economic development for poor countries. Small island States, such as our own, with an enviable record of good governance and human rights, have seen the mighty in the banana trade using the international rules -- crafted by them -- to impede our economic growth. Similarly, the verdicts that have been imposed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries on our financial services, without acknowledging our right to be heard, demonstrate total disrespect. Where is the fairness in free trade?
Each successive generation of youth must be provided with a ray of hope, and in the twenty-first century our world’s leaders must provide meaningful change to enhance the quality of life for the world’s people. Development, no matter what we build, is about people and the quality of their lives. Only when the fruits of this objective are being realized will globalization be accepted as a practical policy creating equity of opportunities for human development.
The challenges of the twenty-first century lie in the battles against poverty and HIV. The development of human capital is the main priority for small nation-States such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The United Nations has to find a way to maintain continuous focus on the equitable distribution of the world’s wealth. Unilateral impositions by the strong and the wealthy on the small, vulnerable and poor will not produce the stability, security and peace that are fundamental to attaining the quality of life to which we all aspire.
MART LAAR, Prime Minister of Estonia: The Secretary-General’s Millennium Report focused on the eradication of poverty and on making the world a more equal place. This is important. This can be done by alleviating debt and by providing more development assistance. However, what is crucial is that the Member States of the United Nations commit themselves to good governance and open markets. Small countries, such as Estonia, can provide an important example on how to manage economic restructuring. We have been able to show that opening up our markets to outside competition, cutting and indeed eliminating tariffs, privatizing our economy and making the government accountable to the people bring tangible benefits. The UNDP has provided perhaps the best illustration of the efficiency of our approach. In two years, Estonia has moved 30 places up in the Human Development Index, and we belong today to the category of countries demonstrating high human development.
The Internet may not be a cure for all ills, indeed we have to be very careful not to overestimate the importance of the Internet or to underestimate its shortcomings. However, a prerequisite for the spread of the Internet and of the World Wide Web is total and unfettered access. We have committed ourselves to promoting information technology through a nationwide programme guaranteeing each and every schoolgirl and schoolboy free access to the Internet. Today, the Estonian Government carries out its sessions via computer and Estonia has risen to be among the 20 most computerized nations in the world.
The peacekeeping system of the United Nations has to be adapted to the challenges of today. The term “peacekeeping” itself is no longer appropriate, at a time when what is needed more than keeping the peace is establishing a peaceful environment. Whether this task is delegated to other organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), or whether it is the United Nations itself carrying out these tasks, we have to be able to face the new peacekeeping challenges of this new Millennium. Estonia favours giving the United Nations a stronger mandate to establish and preserve the peace.
Adolf Ogi, President of the Switzerland: Time did not stop with the end of the cold war. History continues. As we enter a new millennium we are writing a new page in our history. It is an opportunity to move forward and it must be seized. The twentieth century was a century of great discoveries, as well as the most horrendous tragedies. What we bequeath to future generations will depend on our common will. Switzerland shares the same values as the United Nations, namely peace, stability, democracy and the observance of human rights. This is why Switzerland plans to enhance its relations with the United Nations. Today, Switzerland has observer status only, but peace is the business of us all. The people of Switzerland will decide in 2002 whether it should join the United Nations.
In one century, the face of war has changed. More and more war takes place within, rather than between States. The players and objectives are all new. Frequently, conflict is local, inter-ethnic or simply the work of terrorists. The effects go beyond national borders and leave lasting marks on populations. It becomes increasingly difficult to observe international humanitarian law. We cannot remain passive in the face of tragedy. We must develop new tools and new structures within the United Nations. We must seek and punish those who are guilty of war. We must also heal the wounds of history.
Human security involves the struggle against poverty and inequality, as well. This is one of our priorities. The fruits of globalization must be for the benefit all. The United Nations has an essential role to play in meeting this objective and it is the sole organization with a global view of these challenges. Switzerland wishes to take up these challenges with the United Nations and supports the idea of a summit on new information technology in Geneva. The resolutions adopted at these meetings are one thing, but it is more important that they be implemented. We propose the establishment of a structure that resembles the Security Council in the area of civil society.
SOMSAVAT LENGSAVAD, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao People's Democratic Republic: The Millennium Summit is highly important in identifying problems, so that appropriate measures can be taken to achieve the ultimate goal of all nations. In the past half century, the world has recorded unprecedented economic achievements thanks to the rapid advancement of science and technology. Unfortunately, the gap between the developed and developing countries is further widening. In this respect, we highly value the United Nations Millennium Declaration, which foresees a visionary solution to the urgent and complex issue of poverty eradication.
An issue of concern for the majority of countries in the world, especially for weak nations, is the concept of “humanitarian intervention”. It is imperative that respect for the national sovereignty of independent States and non-interference in internal affairs be strictly observed. Another issue of concern is that of nuclear weapons. The nuclear and non-nuclear weapon States must work together and pave the way towards building a world free from nuclear weapons. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic together with the Association of South-East Asian Nations countries (ASEAN), has agreed to make South-East Asia a zone free of nuclear weapons. It is now in the last stage of the ratification process of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
It is imperative to reform the United Nations and, in particular, the Security Council. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic maintains a firm position in favor of the expansion of both categories of permanent and non-permanent membership of the Council, including both developed and industrialized countries. No less important, let us resolve to ensure that the United Nations is given the necessary resources, so it can live up to its enormous tasks in development assistance. Our common and daunting task is to ensure that this globalized world will be beneficial for all, not just for some.
MONIE R. CAPTAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia: Today, there is the disparity of bigness. Bigness as it relates to wealth, technology, and military power. A bigness so overwhelming that its wealth, technological advancement and military strength could, with ease, reduce poverty, eradicate disease, educate youths, provide basic social services, combat aids and malaria, care for refugees and provide security. Yet this bigness has been used to sustain disparities between the North and the South.
Removing the disparities, even if willed, would indeed require a miracle. What options exist? The first step could be to end the debt burden acquired out of loans given in the pursuit of influence in the cold war and not in the interest of the borrower. We must also intercede for the transfer of technology. A technology that liberates only the North and not the South is indeed a mixed blessing; it is a gun that has been used to both liberate and kill. We must have more equitable terms of trade, and confront the impact of the Western media on small States and different cultures, an impact which is so profound that it threatens their very existence and welfare.
If we must succeed in preserving the integrity of the United Nations, then we must reject the inequitable representation of the world's people as reflected by the present structure of the Security Council; reject the undemocratic processes of decision-making in the Security Council; and reject the continuous violation of the United Nations Charter by the powerful. If we fail to make these rejections a reality in this millennium, then let us agree that all the talk of moral imperatives and human rights is but mere political expediency.
CHARLES GOMIS, Minister for External Relations of Côte d’Ivoire: Developing countries in general, and countries of Africa in particular, wish that this Summit would kindle the will to eradicate poverty and ensure human rights. We are pleased that the Secretary-General attached great importance to the situation in Africa in his report. Most of the problems of the developing countries are due to poverty and misery. Those countries have little weight in international decision-making or in finance and trade.
A just and equitable management of world affairs would help to reduce the gap between the developed and the developing countries. The United Nations must cease to be a purely administrative institution, and become a centre of morality and justice for the family of nations. It has a duty to encourage active solidarity by promoting values, attitudes and initiatives of solidarity capable of improving State relations. The ideas in the Secretary-General’s report must be quickly implemented. But for that, the Organization must have adequate resources. We must take into account the new realities in the world, and the nations newly present on the international scene must be duly represented.
Côte d’Ivoire now has a new Constitution, broadly inspired by the principles of the Charter. It will allow for progress and democracy in the country. The general elections to be held soon will ensure democracy and restore normalcy to the country. We appreciate the assistance we received in the electoral process in Côte d’Ivoire.
Jakaya M. Kikwete, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania: Tanzania considers the Millennium Summit to be the new foundation for a renewed international commitment to the ideals, promise and vision of the twenty-first century. In its 55 years of history, the United Nations has lived its mission and vision. Our Organization was created essentially for the maintenance of world peace and security after the catastrophic experiences of two world wars. The United Nations has been able to intervene and resolve a number of wars and conflicts that have threatened global and regional peace and security. While the United Nations has scored noticeable success in the area of peace and security, much more work needs to be done in the field of prevention and resolution of conflicts and wars. The existence of huge arsenals of nuclear weapons poses a major potential threat to world peace and security.
The United Nations needs to deal with the problem of the illicit traffic and proliferation of small arms. The United Nations must also continue to promote the observance of fundamental human rights and to be more involved in matters relating to social and economic development. Tackling the problems of poverty, especially in Africa and the LDCs, needs to be given top priority. More must be done to fight HIV/AIDS.
The United Nations has always been an advocate of the poor and the weak in their search for meaningful development. The plight of the poor must be addressed now more than ever before. The United Nations has to promote measures to encourage increased technical assistance and greater flows of resources and investments from developed to developing countries. There is also an urgent need for comprehensive debt relief measures. We expect the United Nations to continue to call upon the developed countries to provide unhindered market access for goods from developing countries. Developed countries should make technology available to developing countries on a concessional and grant basis, with the aim of bridging the technological gap. The United Nations is as relevant today as it was 55 years ago, but to perform its mission, its structure and resources have to be strengthened. We share the view that the expansion of the Security Council should include both developed and developing countries.
ANTOINE KOLAWOLE IDJI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Benin: The international community must pool its efforts to define its common destiny and shape its goals for the future. The Organization should become an effective instrument in helping the peoples of the world meet their aspirations. Paradoxically, despite its many achievements, the international community has not been able to free itself of the terrifying menace –- the potential of massive destruction -- accumulated by some countries, which could annihilate the whole of humankind.
The Organization’s initiatives in support of countries newly arrived on the international scene are still fragile. Since 1997, the Organization has started an internal process of reform to meet these new challenges. The results of these efforts are encouraging, and confirm the need to continue them. However, the most strenuous efforts failed to shrink poverty in the developing countries. Thus, the credibility of the Organization will continue to be questioned in this respect.
There is a need to act rapidly to fill the vast and unjust gap between the technically advanced countries and those that are not. In the twenty-first century, the United Nations should base its actions on collective responsibility and solidarity between governments, civil society and the private sector. It is vital to increase such efforts at the national, regional and international levels.
Jeremiah Manele (Solomon Islands): The maintenance of international peace and security must remain a major role for the United Nations in the new century. The crisis of the past 20 months in the Solomon Islands has tested the stability of a young country. To resolve the crisis, the Government has launched a national peace plan and programme of action. A ceasefire agreement was signed on 3 August of this year, providing an environment conducive to peace talks, which are currently under way. My Government is committed to securing peace.
The Solomon Islands calls upon development partners to assume a more active role in helping establish peace. The Solomon Islands needs your assistance. While access to information technology is necessary, the process must begin with infrastructure development, namely a reliable energy sector. The need for intellectual capacity to harness the opportunities of the information age is a key prerequisite for bridging the digital divide. The Solomon Islands joins those who earlier on stressed the importance of promoting a sustainable environment. We must not grow indifferent to the needs of the most vulnerable member nations
Member States capable of playing a greater role in the Security Council should be accorded membership. We have just departed from a century defined by a culture of violence and intolerance. Let this new century be defined by peace and prosperity for all.
CLAUDE MOREL (Seychelles): The reform process would be inadequate if the Security Council were not transformed into a democratic and representative organ. After seven years of debate, it is imperative to bridge positions and make progress. Of equal importance, the reform process should encompass the enhancement of the General Assembly as the supreme policy-making organ of the United Nations. It is only through the reinforcement of its role and mandate that the international community can successfully tackle some of the most pressing issues facing humanity, not least the process of globalization.
Globalization has accentuated the North-South divide and exposed the smaller and most vulnerable economies to marginalization. The key to redressing the unequal impact is to strengthen multilateral action and reinforce the United Nations system in its commitment to international cooperation for development. There should be closer collaboration between the United Nations system and the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO in addressing the crucial question of development. Next year's International Conference on Financing for Development will be a test case of international solidarity. This partnership should be extended in the area of international trade, since, in the long term, we developing countries can only finance our development needs by gaining greater market access and better prices for our exports.
Developed nations have a responsibility to engage with developing countries in dealing with the major global economic, social and environmental challenges. That responsibility should include, among others, accepting the vulnerabilities and special needs of small islands and accepting that climate change is a direct consequence of the unsustainable development policies of the North. They should also accept that debt and debt-servicing burdens are a principal cause of economic stagnation and underdevelopment and elaborate a comprehensive strategy to promote increased access for developing nations to science and technology.
MOULAY RACHID (Morocco): A confluence of ideas is emerging on managing the critical issues facing humanity, such as war, misery and exclusion. The new frontier for humanity in the new millennium is to create a world society based on global security. That means making a commitment to ensure that no child dies from starvation, that no immigrant suffers discrimination anywhere, and that sanctions do not penalize the innocent. The commitment implies good governance, which succeeds only through democracy and a coherent United Nations system to macromanage world problems.
The impetus from the Summit should propel the United Nations into a new era of impartiality and equality. The number of nations since the last review has increased by a third. It is time for the Security Council to reflect that change. Also, the Organization should reflect technological democracy through the promotion of equal access. Justice and equity demand more divisive action on regional imbalances, through measures such as greater coordination of the Bretton Woods institutions. Next year’s special session on a world partnership for development provides a good incentive now to study the constraints on donors and the apathy of investors.
A planetary patriotism should now be fostered among the world’s people, prompting recognition of the need for an immediate development strategy for the African continent. A high-level United Nations mechanism should be established to implement the strategy.
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