|For information only - not an official document.|
|21 September 2000|
| Globalization Just New Name for Old Unjust System,General Assembly Told,
As General Debate Continues
NEW YORK, 20 September (UN Headquarters) -- Calling globalization “the latest buzzword”, Theo-Ben Gurirab, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia told the General Assembly’s general debate this morning that it was merely a new name for an old, cruel and unjust system that had long been willy-nilly imposed upon the peoples of the Third World.
It was important to ensure that the United Nations had adequate resources for its current and future peacekeeping activities, he added, pointing out that while most countries had to pay their dues, they had a minimal say in peacekeeping decisions, which were usually taken by the permanent members of the Security Council. He hoped that when the peacekeeping scale of assessment was reviewed, the Council would also review its current decision-making procedures.
The representative of Azerbaijan said the South Caucasus region had seen aggression, the seizure of territory, aggressive separatism and terrorism. The main destabilizing factor was aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces had carried out “ethnic cleansing” and ousted one million people from their homes. No peace and security in the region could be achieved without the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Kyrgyzstan’s representative said the invasion of her country by international terrorists in 1999 and August of this year showed that terrorist organizations intended to commit crimes in the Central Asian States. Efforts by Kyrgyzstan and its neighbours would not be successful against them, without the normalization of the situation in Afghanistan.
She also called for greater international attention to the preservation of mountainous ecosystems and the development of the mountain countries and regions and sought support for Tajikistan’s initiative for 2003 as the Year of Fresh Water.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Eduard Kukan, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lesotho, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane, and the Minister of State and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, Hor Namhong, as well as Hersey Kyota, the representative of Palau, addressed the Assembly.
The Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m.
Assembly Work Programme
The fifty-fifth regular session of the General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate. It was expected to hear from the representatives of Slovakia, Azerbaijan, Namibia, Singapore, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Palau and Cambodia.
EDUARD KUKAN, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, observed that globalization was frequently criticized, while, at other times, it was accepted uncritically. The economic boom it engendered had another aspect, that of large social differences. In addition, the environment also suffered from the industrial boom. To deal with those problems, as well as the trans-regional nature of organized crime, terrorism and armed conflicts, required the most global institution at the world’s disposal: the United Nations.
The Millennium Summit, he continued, drew the attention of the world to what the United Nations considered the most urgent problems. The Secretary-General’s report, ‘We the Peoples: the Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century’, concerned the reform of the Organization. Within the overall United Nations reform, that of the Security Council was crucial. However, the Open-Ended Working Group of the Security Council had studied the matter for the past seven years with results that were not encouraging. Regarding enlargement of the Security Council, Slovakia believed that the total number of members should not exceed 25, and hoped that members of the Group of Eastern European States were not omitted from any enlargement.
United Nations peacekeeping operations had evolved from traditional military functions to the greater need for multi-disciplinary approaches, including interim administration and post-conflict peace-building, he said. He added that Slovakia welcomed the Brahimi Report as an important step toward meaningful reform of the United Nations peacekeeping activities. Moreover, recent experience had confirmed that good intentions of deploying peacekeeping operations must be supported with clearly defined and achievable mandates and appropriate resources, both human and financial. Qualitative improvements in modernizing and streamlining the responsible departmental units in the Secretariat would enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their outputs.
The situation in the Balkans proved that problems can only be effectively addressed, and crises and tension in the region eliminated, when all the countries involved are maximally engaged, and when they were willing to collaborate, search for compromise and overlook historical feuds he said. Slovakia hoped that the elections in the Republic of Yugoslavia would be held in a peaceful atmosphere and corresponding to the rule of law and democracy with neither party resorting to violence. He closed by affirming the Slovak Republic’s support for international law, the execution of international treaties in good faith and the early establishment of the International Criminal Court.
ELDAR G. KOULIEV (Azerbaijan) said that the United Nations had to more fully use its capacities to assist States in foreseeing possible negative consequences of globalization and of the increasing interdependency of States. Azerbaijan was making its contribution to the development of the process of globalization. It served as an effective link in the development of East-West and North-South cooperation. His country was actively participating in the projects for the development and transportation of hydrocarbon resources of the Caspian Sea to the international markets as well as in the project of restoration of the Great Silk Route, both of which were of global importance. Azerbaijan, together with a number of Great Silk Route countries, was working on the new landmark project, SilkSat, to provide the countries of the Great Silk Route with a global satellite telecommunication system in addition to existing communication lines.
The south Caucasus had become a region where aggression, the seizure of territory, aggressive separatism and terrorism had found their explicit manifestation, he said. The main destabilizing factor in the Caucasus had been the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces had occupied 20% of territories in Azerbaijan, carried out “ethnic cleansing” and ousted one million Azerbaijanis from their homes. The Security Council had adopted four resolutions, which affirmed the sovereignty of Azerbaijan and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian forces from all occupied territories. However, from 1993 to the present, those resolutions had remained dead letters. Since 1992, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been engaged in brokering the settlement of the conflict, but it had not been successful. No peace and security in the region could be achieved without the settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and without removal of external pressure, including a foreign military presence.
He believed that the representation of the States of Asia, Africa and Latin America in the Security Council should reflect modern political realities. One additional non-permanent seat should be allocated to the Eastern European regional group because of the unprecedented doubling in the membership of the group. The International Criminal Court should become an effective organ to exercise justice on the behalf of the international community. Should the Court become hostage to the interests of different groups of States and the practice of double standards, perpetrators would go unpunished. Azerbaijan was interested in taking an active part in combating international terrorism, organized crime and illegal drug trafficking. He drew attention to a proposal from Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova, on the establishment of an International Anti-Terrorism Center.
THEO-BEN GURIRAB, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Namibia, said the Millennium Declaration was destined to take its place alongside the Charter of the United Nations as one of the most seminal documents of all time. The Co-Chairperson of the Millennium Assembly, Namibian President Sam Nujoma, had said, however, that the Declaration in itself would not put bread on the tables, stop wars and erase poverty. Member States could not afford to go home and continue business as usual.
There was a creeping but steady derogation of the Assembly’s functions and powers, he said. The office of the President of the Assembly was the main target of that unacceptable denigration. He suggested, among other things, an early planning meeting involving the Assembly’s President, the Chairman of the Fifth Committee and the Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) to review the situation and to act on what had already been agreed upon, including the provision of adequate resources. “The President of the General Assembly should not be subjected to the whims of faceless bureaucrats, as if he/she is asking for personal favors,” he said.
Globalization, the latest buzzword, was merely a new name for an old, cruel and unjust system that was willy-nilly imposed upon the peoples of the third-world in the past. It was, in the case of Africa, at least 500 years old. Globalization was the reformation of what used to be called capitalist imperialism, he said. If, perchance, globalization was to be effective, then the third-world, which constituted by far the majority of the globe, must infuse it with its own vision, sense of equity and the hard lessons it had learned from history. The third-world would have to redesign the basic paradigm of globalization.
In the South, unconscionable and destructive wars against one another were being fought under the pretext of security or alleged historical reasons, he said. In the process, convenient troubled waters were created for outsiders to fish in. “We really have nobody to blame but ourselves,” he said. There was a need for regrouping and concentration on development, poverty eradication, regional cooperation and integration. The Havana South Summit had given an impetus to push ahead in unity and solidarity for common survival. “The people are tired of wars; they want food security and life-saving human progress,” he concluded.
S. JAYAKUMAR. Mister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, said that managing the public expectations of the United Nations was a key to success. To resolutely implement the Summit’s results, it was necessary to accurately identify them and also to engage in a realistic assessment of what is and is not possible. The United Nations had suffered throughout its history from the inflated rhetoric of its supporters and critics. The United Nations was neither intended to, nor capable of, effecting a fundamental change in the nature of international relation; the United Nations provided an additional but important instrument for national and international diplomacy.
The twentieth century had seen a creative tension between two apparently contradictory sets of ideals; the sovereignty of nation-States and the progressive elaboration of international law and organization, he said. The paradoxical experience was that neither absolute sovereignty, nor absolute international law and organization, could triumph over the other, but that each needed the other to remedy its own inherent limitations. The real question was how to strike an appropriate balance between the two to move forward.
The candid debate that leaders had at the Summit roundtables saw a common acknowledgement that both the North and the South must find collective solutions to the problems of development, he said. The issue for the United Nations was to help developing countries acquire the capabilities to deal with the pressures of globalization and “plug in”. Difficult domestic structural changes would be necessary to ensure that policies and institutions met international best practices. Those standards were today mostly Western but could, and ought, to be internationally negotiated. It was imperative that developed countries avoid a sterile “one size fits all” prescription.
There was a growing consensus that it was important to ensure that the United Nations had adequate resources for current and future peacekeeping activities, he said. He supported the discussions but pointed out that, while most countries had to pay their dues, they had a minimal say in peacekeeping decisions, which were usually taken by the Security Council permanent members. He expressed the hope that when the peacekeeping scale of assessment was reviewed, the Security Council would also review its current decision-making procedures.
ELMIRA IBRAIMOVA, (Kyrgyzstan) said that the invasions of international terrorists into the southern part of the Kyrgyzstan in 1999 and in August of this year, showed that terrorist organizations intended to perpetrate their criminal activities by using the states of Central Asia. The struggle against terrorism should be an international concern. The growing regional and global authority of the Shanghai Forum was connected with the provision of security in the region.
In the framework of the Shanghai Forum was the Bishkek Group of law-enforcement bodies and special services, which coordinated actions in preventing and confronting international terrorism. However, the efforts undertaken by Kyrgyzstan, and other States of Central Asia, would not be successful without the normalization of the situation in Afghanistan.
The establishment of a uniform transport system was especially important for Central Asia, she said, which was located far from large sea routes. Kyrgyzstan worked for the development and realization of large regionally important projects, such as the creation of a uniform transport system with access to external markets, and the creation of modern communications systems. Transport would flow from China and the countries of South East Asia to Russia and Europe, via Central Asia. This would optimize the global system by reducing the distance and time of transportation, and should become a powerful impetus for economic development. Projects such as TRACEKA (Transport Corridor Europe -– Caucasus -– Asia) had already begun. With regard to telecommunications, SilkSat had been created in order to prevent the threat of information breakdown between countries.
She said that mountain ecosystems should be added to the Secretary-General's list of ecosystem concerns. Her country called upon States to give further attention to problems of the preservation of mountainous ecosystems and to the development of mountain countries and regions. She hoped the international community would support the initiative of Tajikistan in making the year 2003 the Year of Fresh Water. Kyrgyzstan faced problems in handling natural calamities and their consequences, especially in its mountainous regions. Her country was interested in further strengthening the international capacity for dealing with accidents, and increasing the coordination of rescue services of various countries.
MOTSOAHAE THOMAS THABANE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lesotho, said information technology and globalization were turning possibilities into fact, as the use of computers and computer-dependent systems had resulted in improvements in basic health conditions and increases in life expectancy, efficiency and productivity. The challenge was to eliminate disparities and bring the poor countries into the digital age. Education was key to that goal.
Africa’s development prospects continued to be hampered by unsustainable debt-servicing obligations, he continued. According importance to the debt problems of developing countries would be a vital contribution to the realization of the goal of halving, by 2015, the proportion of people whose income was less than one dollar a day. The Government of Lesotho had adopted poverty reduction as its highest development priority. Furthermore, southern Africa had made modest but encouraging progress with respect to South-South cooperation by accelerating the entry into force of a protocol which encompasses deeper economic cooperation, cross border investment and trade, free movement of factors of production, and free movement of goods and services.
Lesotho supported the convening of the United Nations Conference on Illicit Trade in Small Arms, and believed its outcome should be a global action plan with specific timetables, he said. The proliferation of armed conflicts in Africa continued to hamper efforts to achieve progress in economic and social development. The lack of political will to find lasting solutions to ongoing conflicts, and the emergence of new ones, continued to effectively cripple the productive activities of countries, as well as erode the poor social infrastructure that existed in many countries. There should be strong political will from Africans themselves, and resources from the international community, to reinforce democratic government, deter attempts to overthrow it and even to reinstate it where it had been overthrown by illegal means.
HERSEY KYOTA (Palau) stated that this was an era where the production of food was at an all-time high. Advanced technology in food production was readily available and could be successfully applied to areas that traditionally were not suitable for agriculture and farming. Similarly, medical research and information should be shared universally, especially with regard to HIV/AIDS. The development of tools for its prevention and control, including diagnostics, drugs and vaccines must be made available and affordable to the many developing countries seriously plagued by this disease. The global community must work collectively toward the eradication of this horrible disease.
Global warming, a complicated phenomenon, divided scientists as to its causes and effects, he said. Some believed that the emission of greenhouse gases and human and industrial activities were responsible for climate change and global warming, while others felt the changes occurred naturally without permanent effects. Palau, as a small island country in the Pacific, had experienced a rise in sea level, unexpected weather patterns and an extreme rise in sea water temperature, all of which were indications of global warming and climate change. He called upon the international community to work individually and collectively towards the real solutions to global warming.
Since its inception many important organs and bodies within the United Nations had been created and others had been reorganized, he said. However, one very important organ within the United Nations system, the Security Council, had remained virtually unchanged. Palau believed the Security Council should be reorganized and restructured to increase both permanent and non-permanent membership. His country also expressed the view that any increase in the permanent membership of the Security Council should reflect a Member State’s contribution to international peace and security.
HOR NAMHONG, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, said the political platform for economic development, launched by his Government, was paving the way for a solid foundation of long-term economic growth and sustainable development. His Government, at present, was making great efforts towards the reinforcement of democratic pluralism and the rule of law.
Turning to the Security Council, he said Cambodia believed that it was very important for the Council to reflect the real situation in today’s world. That could be achieved by expanding the permanent and non-permanent membership of the Council to include more developing countries and those countries that had made concrete contributions to United Nations operations. Only through overall reform and enlargement would the Security Council be able to maintain its effectiveness and legitimacy in this new millennium. In this regard, Cambodia strongly supported Japan and India’s permanent membership of this core body of the United Nations.
In spite of the consequences of the financial crisis of 1997 and 1998, Asia was on the road to recovery, he said. The thirty-third Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers Meeting held last July bore witness once more to the exemplary solidarity between ASEAN member States and their determination to integrate their economies and to further advance their multiform cooperation. He called upon all Member States of the United Nations to unite in their efforts and provide resources to make sure that the benefits of globalization were distributed more equally throughout the international community, and to maximize the positive impact of this phenomenon, in order to enable least developed countries to follow the trend of globalization.
Cambodia appreciated the initiative taken by some nations in agreeing to solve the intolerable debt burden of least developed countries, he said. However, the results were currently far from sufficient. That is why he called for this initiative to be adopted by other members of the international community which would enable more poor countries to benefit. It was necessary to have a new order of international relations to face the rapid phenomenon of globalization, and to reduce the ever increasing and unjust gap between rich and poor countries. It was not a matter of generosity, but a matter of human security, as well as the security for the entire international community.
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