Press Releases

    GA/9973
    |
    20 November 2001

    PLEDGES MADE AT 2000 MILLENNIUM SUMMIT MUST BE TRANSFORMED INTO REALITY, SPEAKERS STRESS, AS GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONSIDERS SUMMIT FOLLOW-UP

    Takes Up ‘Road Map’ to Millennium Declaration Implementation

    NEW YORK, 19 November (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning began its consideration of follow-up to the September 2000 Millennium Summit, with Namibia’s representative saying that, although the Summit had not addressed new problems or revealed new challenges hitherto unknown to mankind, it had created an opportunity for world leaders to set goals to make the world a better place.

    The Assembly’s Millenium Declaration, adopted on 8 September 2000 at the Summit, sets out an ambitious agenda in: peace, security and disarmament; development and poverty eradication; the environment; human rights; protecting the vulnerable; meeting Africa’s special needs; and strengthening the United Nations. The Assembly later requested the Secretary-General to provide a "road map" for implementation of the Declaration, which was issued in September of this year.

    Namibia’s representative added that the task now was to find the most effective way to transform the pledges made by world leaders into reality, he added. After all, the Millennium Declaration was first and foremost meant to transform the lives of those who lived on $1 dollar a day -- those who lived in conditions not fit for humans.

    The representative of India told the Assembly that the Millennium goal was to halve the number of people living in absolute poverty by 2015. To achieve that, the International Fund for Agricultural Development had determined that 30 million people must escape extreme poverty each year. However, only 10 million people had been able to do so and, according to the World Bank, the attacks of 11 September would pull 10 million people below the $1 a day line of absolute poverty. That would mean there was no movement towards the goal.

    Eradication of poverty, along with sustainable development for all, represented a consensus on a commitment to equality between North and South, said the representative of Egypt. The phenomenon of globalization exacerbated poverty and highlighted the disparity of incomes. Integration into the global economy was not a magic wand. Rather, measures must be instituted to enable the developed countries to shoulder their responsibilities and ensure the existence and credibility of true multilateral action.

    The representative of Croatia said that he was concerned to note waning commitment to a truly integrated follow-up to the Millennium Summit. He added that peace, security and disarmament must be top priorities. Without peace there would be no economic and social prosperity. Special attention must be given to conflict prevention, strengthening of peacekeeping operations and disarmament.

    Speaking on behalf of the European Union, the Belgian representative said that one must not forget the goals of the Millennium Declaration. The road leading to the Millennium objectives was a difficult one, as it was both foggy and much traveled, which was why it needed to be clearly and precisely marked. It was also a road with many forks, and it was essential not to take the wrong turn.

    The representative of Singapore said that the history of the United Nations was replete with summits and declarations. They came, they went and nothing much changed. It was, therefore, easy to become cynical about such summits and their results. If the Millennium Summit and its results were not to be tarnished with such cynicism, the international community would have to be serious about matching beautiful words with beautiful deeds. To ensure that the United Nations did not once again fail to implement agreed commitments, Member States should complement the excellent "road map" produced by the Secretariat with an objective analysis of the "roadblocks" that had prevented the implementation of previous commitments.

    The representatives of the Russian Federation, Algeria, Senegal, Hungary, Mongolia, Malaysia, Belarus, Peru, Guatemala and Bhutan also spoke.

    Background

    The General Assembly met this morning to start its consideration of the follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit.

    Before the Assembly there is a report of the Secretary-General on the road map towards the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Declaration (document A/56/326). The report contains an integrated and comprehensive overview of the current situation. It outlines potential strategies for action that are designed to meet the goals and commitments made by the 147 heads of State and government, and 189 Member States in total, who adopted the Millennium Declaration. All sections contain observations, recommendations and suggestions on the issues mentioned below.

    In section II on peace, security and disarmament, the report outlines measured that will help promote human security, including: strengthening the rule of law and taking action against transnational crime; taking action when the rule of law fails; the reform of sanctions; and making progress in disarmament in all areas, including weapons of mass destruction, landmines and small arms.

    Section III, on development and poverty eradication, focuses on sustainable development through poverty eradication, emphasizing the importance of halving the number of people who currently live on $1 a day or less. Any effort to achieve sustainable development demands a concerted effort to reduce poverty, including finding solutions to hunger, malnutrition and disease, the report states. To achieve progress, the developing countries will need the political and financial commitment of the richer country partners. The international community should continue to operate on many fronts, highlighted in the report, to reach these goals.

    Section IV, on protecting our common environment, stresses the devastating impact that our changing climate is having on Earth and the consequent necessity of a vigilant approach to conservation and stewardship. It is time to reverse the growing environmental damage that is occurring because of global warming, deforestation, the decimation of biodiversity, soil erosion and desertification, reduction in water tables and the increase of natural disasters.

    Section V, on human rights, democracy and good governance, reaffirms that fundamental human rights are the foundation of human dignity and must be protected. It outlines the power of democracy to effect change and empower citizens, and reaffirms the need to work collectively for more inclusive political processes, with genuine political participation.

    The section on protecting the vulnerable, Section VI, focuses on those groups, in particular women and children, that are forced into situations of displacement and abuse because of complex humanitarian emergencies. The changing nature of war has left these groups highly exposed, and both State and non-State actors need to respect the wealth of international laws and frameworks that exist to ensure the protection of civilians, refugees and the internally displaced. The report identifies practical measures that can be taken to provide protection to civilians, including through prosecution of violations of international criminal law, gaining access to vulnerable populations, and separating civilians and armed elements in situations of forced displacement.

    On meeting the special needs of Africa, Section VII, the report addresses the challenges posed by extreme poverty, devastating debt burdens, disease, conflict and wavering international interest. Some of those problems are general to developing countries, but Africa suffers particularly from its marginalization in the process of globalization. Africa's share in trade, investment and advances in technology have diminished further over the last decade. The report notes that African leadership has galvanized local and international support for a range of initiatives and strategies for moving forward in several areas.

    The report concludes by focusing on the strengthening the United Nations, Section VIII, arguing that the renewing the capacity of the Organization to provide a space for genuine dialogue and a catalyst for effective action calls for improved coordination among its principal organs and enhanced partnerships with other multilateral organizations and civil society.

    Also before the Assembly, was a letter from the Secretary-General to the President of the General Assembly (document A/56/422), which describes developments since he called the attention of world leaders, during the Millennium Assembly, to the urgency of addressing the problem of unemployment and underemployment of young people. In collaboration with the International Labour Organization and the World Bank, the Secretary-General had formed the Youth Employment Network and appointed, as part of this Network, high-level panel to prepare a set of policy recommendations. The letter transmits the recommendations of the Youth Employment Network and its high-level panel.

    The recommendations include specific suggestions for the heads of the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Labour Organization on a global alliance for youth employment and the four top priorities for all national action plans: employability; equal opportunities for young men and young women; entrepreneurship; and employment creation.

    Concerning decent work for young people, there is a guide to action that recommends among others: a youth employment dimension integrated into comprehensive employment strategies; strong institutional support for youth employment policies; investment in education, training and life-long learning; a bridge between the informal and the mainstream economies; and entrepreneurship and enterprise development.

    Statements

    Opening the debate, the Assembly’s President, HAN SEUNG-SOO (Republic of Korea), said in Assembly Resolution 55/162 the Secretary-General had been requested to prepare a long-term road map to the outcome of the Millennium Summit, contained in document A/56/326. That road map provided the Assembly with a useful survey of what had been done, but also with a useful guide for the future. Member States must follow a balanced approach in taking up the Millennium Declaration. Its implementation could only be effective through cooperation among and participation by all Member States, the United Nations system and civil society, among others. Organizations around the world and Member States had great expectations.

    YURI V. FEDOTOV (Russian Federation) said that he welcomed the Secretary-General’s plan to implement the Millennium Declaration. It reflected an understanding that a comprehensive strategy was needed to solve the urgent problems of the times. The Secretary-General was right to emphasize issues of maintaining international peace and security. Without neutralizing common security threats and ensuring strategic stability, it would be impossible to solve other equally urgent problems, such as poverty, human rights and the environment.

    His Government consistently supported acting against any manifestations of terrorism or extremism at the national, regional and global levels, he said. A powerful trend towards uniting efforts against terrorism was manifested in the activities of the anti-terrorist coalition. The collective struggle against terrorism had begun to bring its first results. It was important to jointly consolidate the success of the military counter-terrorist operation by speeding up the process of political settlement of the Afghan conflict, under United Nations auspices.

    A lot of work still had to be done to eradicate poverty and facilitate economic growth and sustainable development. His country was firmly committed to the noble objective of alleviating poverty on the world scale. As far as possible, Russia made a tangible and practical contribution to the fulfillment of that task, including through a significant write-off of the debt of poor countries. His Government also intended to continue facilitating efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS and other dangerous infectious diseases.

    BHAGWANT BISHNOI (India) said there was no need to elaborate further plans of action. That had been done. It was time to move to implementation, which could not be done without additional resources being made available by the wealthier countries to the poorer. The Millennium goal was to halve the number of people living in absolute poverty by 2015. To achieve that, the International Fund for Agricultural Development had determined that 30 million people must escape extreme poverty each year. However, only 10 million had been able to do so. Now, according to the World Bank, the attacks of 11 September would pull 10 million people below the $1 a day line of absolute poverty. The upshot was, there was no movement towards the goal.

    He said one area in which development goals were succeeding was in encouraging the pharmaceutical industry to make essential drugs more widely available and affordable in developing countries. Also, the establishment of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force would help promote development through a strategy supporting human resource development and institutional capacity-building. India would be a partner in that exercise.

    The events of 11 September had brought home the urgency of addressing international terrorism, he continued. The early adoption of the comprehensive convention on international terrorism would redeem the pledge made by the Millennium Declaration. An international conference to identify ways in which to eliminate nuclear danger should be convened. With regard to ending the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons, consensus should now be reached on outstanding issues, particularly the supply to non-State actors. In peacekeeping, a genuine and meaningful partnership was essential between the Security Council, the troop-contributing countries and the Secretariat. At the same time, the legitimacy and credibility of Security Council decisions would be questioned as long as its composition was not more representative of wider United Nations membership.

    ABDALLAH BAALI (Algeria) remarked on the absence of the Secretary-General or his representative to introduce the report. The reports and their recommendations were a valuable source of information, he said. He encouraged the Secretary-General to continue to provide coordination in the United Nations system to help implement the Millennium Declaration and to find innovative measures for strengthening coordination. Evaluation of progress in implementing the Millennium Declaration must be undertaken on an annual basis, among other things to note the lack of progress in some areas and to define strategies for their remedies.

    The report proposed a strategy to follow-up at the international, regional and subregional level, he continued. That approach required an in-depth examination of the regional groups. Regarding implementation of partnership for development, he said the manner in which the Conference on Financing for Development would be integrated should be emphasized. That Conference should address mobilization of resources for development programmes, increasing official development assistance (ODA), and the problem of debt for low- and intermediate-income countries.

    Regarding the specific needs of Africa, he said there was a need to integrate machinery designed to replace the New Agenda for Development in Africa, following the examination of that item in September 2002. As far as the role of the Assembly was concerned, he advocated the full exercise of the Assembly’s prerogatives and was disappointed the proposed actions contained a simple rationalization of the Assembly’s working methods. Priority should be given to strengthening the role of the Assembly and its cooperation with the main bodies, particularly with the Security Council. He welcomed the cooperation with International Monetary Fund and International Labour Organization with respect to youth unemployment. Unemployment fuelled feelings of frustration and despair among youth, prompting them to, at times, succumb to crime, violence and prostitution. The report’s recommendations were based on a new approach, namely to consider the influx of young people into the employment market as a plus, rather than a curse.

    PAPA LOUIS FALL (Senegal) said that the international community must work collectively to channel the phenomenon of globalization into a positive force for all of humanity, instead of allowing it to produce marginalization. The international community had to act in the spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility and eliminate obstacles to trade. The universal objective of reducing poverty by half by 2015 could be achieved, if the wealthy made it possible for poor people to have the minimum conditions to ensure sustained economic growth. That required a revision of ODA, which was steadily decreasing.

    Even if the tremblings of progress had been seen here and there, that was not enough, he continued. Senegal welcomed efforts by Kofi Annan to place Africa in the firmament of the world agenda and also welcomed the formation of the New Partnership for African Development, which was very important as it was conceived by Africans themselves for Africa. The international community could not shy away from the prevention and settlement of conflicts, the management of post conflict situations, and the traffic in small arms and light weapons. Cooperation between the United Nations, the OAU and the Arab League must be strengthened, and the Security Council must continue to play its part by paying particular attention to peace in Africa and post-conflict building.

    The solidarity and the support of the international community were essential if Africa was to deal with the spread of HIV/AIDS, which continued to ravage a number of countries and undermine development efforts. Senegal appealed to donor countries to provide sufficient financial resources and stressed that the same attention should be paid to malaria, which each year claimed the lives of more than a million people in Africa, most of them children.

    AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said he would address using the report to achieve a major objective of the Charter, that of achieving world peace and security. The past months had seen events that had claimed the lives of many innocent people. There would be no stability without sustainable development for all, in a way that addressed the root causes of many crimes, such as transnational organized crimes, the pinnacle of which was terrorism. The International Criminal Court would go a long way towards implementing the rule of law at the international level. An international conference should be convened for devising an integrated plan to address terrorism with the comprehensive convention in hand.

    He said the eradication of poverty, along with sustainable development for all, represented a consensus on a commitment to equality between North and South. It was important to ensure the genuine participation of those in the developing world in implementing instruments and measures. The phenomenon of globalization exacerbated poverty and highlighted the disparity of incomes. Integration into the global economy was not a magic wand. Rather, measures must be instituted to enable the developed countries to shoulder their responsibilities and ensure the existence and credibility of true multilateral action. There was no further need to analyze poverty. Rather, it should be addressed from a multidisciplinary approach that would include financial and economic elements, such as trading terms that would ensure development.

    Finally, he said the growing globalization of the crisis in the health sector must be urgently addressed. The HIV/AIDS epidemic had given rise to exploitative diseases, such as tuberculosis, which arose once the physical system had collapsed. It was gratifying that the special United Nations Fund to fight HIV/AIDS had received $1.5 billion. On two final points, he said that maintaining peace and security was not an abstract objective that could be achieved without a belief in the common human destiny of all mankind. And, the best and most comprehensive declarations could not be implemented without the political will to achieve justice for all human society.

    IVAN SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said he was concerned to note waning commitment to a truly integrated follow-up to the Millennium Summit. Full and constant cooperation of Member States and the Secretariat in the fulfilment of the goals was essential. Peace, security and disarmament should be top priorities. Without peace there would be no economic and social prosperity. Special attention should be given to conflict prevention, strengthening of peacekeeping operations and disarmament.

    Insufficient work was done in the field of disarmament, he said. In the fields of chemical and biological weapons in particular, as well as nuclear weapons, processes were stalled. In the field of human rights law, such developments as acceptance of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as broader acceptance of United Nations' norms by Member States, would hopefully lead to the globalization of human rights and a universally recognized international code in that area. Governments must provide the conditions for their universal acceptance.

    He said some encouraging developments in the sphere of international criminal justice had been achieved over the year, such as the growing number of States adhering to the International Criminal Court Statute. While Croatia would continue to support the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, it had a compelling interest in the establishment of a truly global and credible international criminal court. The spirit of cooperation and solidarity that had emerged after the 11 September attacks should not only reflect the fight against terrorism, but also eradication of poverty and achieving other social and economic goals. He hoped that the International Conference on Financing for Development in Mexico would keep the Millennium Declaration’s commitment on track.

    JEAN DE RUYT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union would like the Millennium Declaration to be the touchstone for any practical steps taken by the United Nations and its specialized agencies, and by all governments. That called for more discipline from all governments. Rationalization, which was on the agenda for the General Assembly, must ensue as the logical consequence. It was also important to agree on the parameters for determining the progress made, including at a national level. The Millennium Declaration offered the opportunity to make multifaceted action more effective and coherent, with a view to realizing the objectives that governments had set themselves, particularly in the area of development and human rights.

    One must not forget that the goals of the Millennium Declaration were ambitious, he continued. The road leading to the Millennium objectives was a difficult one, as it was both foggy and much travelled, which was why it needed to be clearly and precisely marked. It was also a road with many forks, and it was essential not to take the wrong turn. That was why the Union wanted to have, at regular intervals –- and, in fact, every five years -- a report that was no longer merely factual, such as the guidance reports, but political. That would engender the taking of stock of the situation and making the decisions necessary.

    The Secretary-General's report proposed submitting "thematic" reports each year on current topics, for example, topics that had been dealt with at major United Nations conferences. The Union was in favour of the suggestion, on the clear understanding that it must aim to ensure coherence between those conferences and the general objectives of the Millennium Declaration. Also, it must not lead to duplication with any monitoring process that might be decided at those conferences. Such integrated monitoring would have to be put in place gradually, while safeguarding both the integrity of the Millennium Declaration and the specific achievements of the major conferences. From that viewpoint, also, some rationalization of the proceedings of the General Assembly and its commissions would be necessary.

    ISTVAN POSTA (Hungary) said through the system of annual progress reports and the quinquennial comprehensive reports, the international community would be able to follow what had been accomplished and to give new impetus to implementation. Increased effort would be required to ensure the 11 September events did not have a negative impact on development objectives. A coherent and coordinated answer was required from Member States and the United Nations. The first steps, thereto, had already been taken by the specialized agencies.

    He stressed the importance of the goal formulated in the road map to develop and implement strategies that would give young people everywhere a real chance to find decent and productive work. Elaboration of national strategies had been proposed to Member States. It was a common responsibility to explore imaginative approaches in creating opportunities for the young generation, and he welcomed joint efforts by the United Nations, the ILO and the World Bank in the framework of the United Nations high-level policy Network on Youth Employment. His country had offered its financial support and expertise for the Network’s activities, to be carried out in 10 countries as proposed by the Panel.

    JARGALSAIKHANY ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia) said that, in addition to the difficulties associated with transition, its land-locked location and ecological conditions posed a most fundamental challenge to Mongolia's economic security, thus making it a prime case of economic vulnerability. To attain the goals of the Millennium Declaration, however, Mongolia needed to accelerate its economic development. Because the economy depended heavily on a few export commodities, it remained highly vulnerable to external shocks and harsh terms of trade. Trade was an important engine of growth and a means of developing cooperation among nations, but the land-locked countries had a structural disadvantage and thus could not equally benefit from trade liberalization. For that reason, the Millennium Declaration recognized the special needs and problems of the 30 land-locked developing countries.

    Poverty was one of the critical issues that Mongolia faced today, he continued. Thirty-six per cent of the population lived in poverty -- a phenomenon that, unfortunately, accompanied the process of transition. The Government had implemented the 1994-2000 Nation Poverty Alleviation Programme with the support of the international community. The primary goal had been to halt the growth of poverty in the country. To that end, more than 13,000 small-scale projects had been undertaken, with the active participation of civil society. The national survey conducted in 2000 had shown that the level of poverty had not increased, despite the continued economic hardships.

    Mongolia was resolved to fully implement the Millennium Declaration goals, he said. Domestic resources to meet those goals were limited, especially in light of growing concerns about the world economic downturn, which was further exacerbated by the terrorist attacks of 11 September. He had no doubt, however, that the continued support and assistance of the international community would be crucial in Mongolia's efforts to achieve the Millennium Declaration goals. Regarding Mongolia's national economic reforms, he said that substantial efforts had been made in fostering a market economy, achieving macroeconomic stability, advancing privatization and improving the infrastructure.

    MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) said the Millennium Summit had not addressed new problems or revealed new challenges hitherto unknown to mankind. What it did, however, was have world leaders set goals to make the world better, through the removal of political and economic barriers that divided the world into "haves" and "have nots". World leaders had rekindled the hope and trust of millions that poverty and deprivation was not their destiny. The commitments made at the Summit were the first step in the process of implementing the goals set in the Millennium Declaration. The task, therefore, was to find the most effective way to transform the pledges made by world leaders into reality. After all, the Millennium Declaration was first and foremost meant to transform the lives of those who lived on $1 a day -– those who lived in conditions not fit for humans.

    Concerning peace and security, he said that the number of conflicts had declined, while peace agreements had increased. But that did no necessarily translate into the end of conflict. Immense suffering as a result of ongoing armed conflict still prevailed. It was important to examine the causes in the context of the role of the Security Council in the maintenance of peace and security. Namibia supported the goals of the United Nations in resolving armed conflict. Indeed, the world community must move from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention. For now, however, it was vital to adopt an effective strategy to resolve the conflicts that were bleeding Africa to death. The problem was not a lack of fact-finding missions or confidence-building missions. The major constraint was that there was a selective approach in the implementation of the findings of the Security Council.

    He had studied the goals and strategies proposed in meeting Africa's special needs. It was one thing -- and very good, indeed -- for Africa to democratize. But, it was quite another to stand by African countries thereafter. Democratization was not an end in itself. That was vital, for too often countries had plunged back into civil strife following the conclusion of successful elections. The strategies proposed by the Secretary-General for capacity-building were essential, but that support should also be long term.

    YAHAYA ABDUL JABAR (Malaysia) said the targets of the Declaration were not new, but the lack of political will had led to the absence of follow-up on commitments. The map now provided by the Secretary-General would help implement the Declaration’s commitments. Adherence to international law was an important pillar of the new world order of the new century. Universal acceptance of treaties was of the utmost importance. Malaysia would be depositing three instruments of ratification and acceptance to treaties and conventions at the present session of the Assembly. Also, a revitalized and strengthened International Court of Justice would reduce tensions and promote peace, particularly between neighbouring States.

    He called for a global reduction of both conventional and nuclear arms, because global military spending had increased from approximately $762 million in 1998 to $800 million in 2000, despite the end of the cold war. Also, an international conference should be convened to identify ways of eliminating nuclear dangers. Malaysia had destroyed its stockpiled anti-personnel landmines, to become the first Asian country to fulfil its obligations under article 4 of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (Ottawa Convention). In peacekeeping, improved coordination with regional organizations should not lead to an abdication of responsibility by the Security Council.

    Recalling that the Millennium Declaration had highlighted eight development goals and 18 targets, representing a partnership between developed and developing countries, he said the goals could not be met without financial resources. The developed countries should implement the agreed-upon ODA target prior to the Conference on Financing for Development, which would be a benchmark to assess the seriousness of developed countries in honouring the commitment. Also, they should recognize a distinction between ODA and humanitarian assistance.

    KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said that the history of the United Nations was replete with summits and declarations. They came, they went, and nothing much changed. It was, therefore, easy to become cynical about such summits and their results. If the Millennium Summit and its results were not to be tarnished with such cynicism, the international community would have to be serious about matching beautiful words with beautiful deeds. To ensure that the United Nations did not once again fail to implement agreed commitments, Member States should complement the excellent "road map" produced by the Secretariat with an objective analysis of the "roadblocks" that had prevented the implementation of previous commitments.

    The first structural roadblock was that, despite the talk of belonging to one global village, the international community did still not think of humanity as one, and States put national interests far ahead of collective interests. For example, in order to achieve the goal of halving by 2015 the number of those who lived on less than $1 a day, the compliance of all countries was needed. The way around the roadblock would be to acknowledge that sometimes global interests served national interests. If the world’s central problems, such as terrorism and poverty, were to be effectively addressed, countries would have to work together.

    The second structural roadblock was that international relations were driven by considerations of power, not by considerations of ideals, reason, or even logic. For example, one key goal of the Millennium Summit was to minimize the effect of sanctions on innocent populations. The report of the Security Council working group on sanctions continued to be long overdue. That could be because the interests of some of the powerful did not lie in the completion of the work of the working group, or in the setting up of a permanent sanctions mechanism. There was no easy way around that roadblock, but perhaps the situation might change if the powerful were to see that it was in their own interest to help the weak and vulnerable.

    SERGEI S. LING (Belarus) said efforts to implement the Millennium Declaration must continue. The rapid pace of development in the world was making implementation all the more necessary. At the Millennium Summit, heads of State had set forth the tasks to be tackled in the future. The 11 September events had forced the international community to make adjustments to the programme of action. Combating international terrorism was a priority. At the same time, the items that had been before the United Nations before the attacks had not become any less urgent.

    He considered the Secretary-General’s report extremely interesting and relevant, particularly in light of the fact that his country was completing a domestic programme for implementation of the programme. Only a constant exchange of views between States would make implementation possible. It might be useful for certain States to establish machinery for such exchange, and for monitoring implementation of the Declaration. Practical steps towards effective implementation were necessary, particularly under the conditions of globalization, he said.

    OSWALDO DE RIVERO (Peru) said the implementation guide to the Declaration that was contained in the Secretary-General’s report was useful. His country had been implementing the Declaration. It had completed the submission of the instrument for the International Criminal Court and had joined the 12 sectoral instruments on terrorism. It had complied with its obligations on the Ottawa Convention by destroying landmines and reducing arms in Latin America. It had pursued human rights in context of the worldwide importance it had assumed, as indicated by the statements of many governments last week.

    He said the recommendations on development should more clearly and seriously reflect the international effort to be made for implementing the Declaration commitments. For example, the goal of $50 billion had been set out, but much more would be needed to eradicate poverty. The recent result of the meeting in Doha, Qatar should be seen as an event that offered both hope and doubt. The outcome of the Uruguay rounds set the standard for measuring the difference. More than 10 years after commencement of trade talks emanating from the Uruguay rounds, countries were still trying to implement their commitments. Trade could not be maintained in an unstable economic environment. It was vital, therefore, to create a stable financial system in which the Doha decisions could be implemented.

    In that regard, he said, the suggested strategies should be more specific. They should address the large gap between formulation of strategies and their implementation, along with gaps in setting out the role of actors in implementation, including of the United Nations system. The recommendations should recognize that more financial support would be needed to eradicate poverty than had been projected and that countries must translate international commitments into national legislation. The indicators for poverty should be applied to other areas of the Declaration. Indicators, however, should not be distorted by a lack of definition. Alternative development should be stressed, in a context of shared responsibility. Finally, distribution of ODA should be based on two criteria: the extent of poverty in each country; and the extent to which countries were committed to fighting poverty.

    GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said that when the heads of State and government had met in New York last year, their global objective was to achieve a better world. As of today, it could not be affirmed that progress had been made; rather, the reverse that was the case. The global economy showed clear signs of a recession, and the events that had occurred on 11 September had injected a note of uncertainty into all activities. The report before the General Assembly was a step in the right direction. His delegation, however, observed that in requesting, in its resolution 55/162, a "road map‚" the General Assembly may have erred, for the Millennium Declaration itself constituted such a map.

    A merit of the document was that it recalled the transnational character of virtually all the activities within the reach of human endeavor. That was because the goals invariably involved commitments to be assumed at the country-level and others to be adopted at the global, regional or subregional level. The document might be somewhat defective, though, in addressing the means of implementing the strategies proposed. In particular, the enumeration of "strategies" for reducing poverty appeared weak, in light of the wealth of commitments and plans of action already adopted.

    Another point in the report that could perhaps be open to criticism was in dealing with Chapter VIII of the Declaration. The report shunned the most thorny issues relating to the strengthening of the United Nations. That left a gap, since a prerequisite to the fulfillment of many of the goals set out in the Declaration was the improvement of the system by which the Organization was governed.

    SONAM TOBDEN RAGBYE (Bhutan) said positive attitudes and a firm political will were needed to resolve conflicts, some of which had persisted for decades. Some conflicts had even lost, or were beginning to lose, their relevance, especially in the context of an increasingly interdependent world. Globalization was leading to a global village, and a more far-sighted approach might now be possible, with economic and social development taking centre-stage.

    In the after effects of 11 September, the overall picture of the world economy, was grim, particularly for developing countries, he said. Since resource constraints had been a major hurdle in implementing the development goals, the developed countries and the Bretton Woods institutions, including the regional financial banks, would have to revamp their activities. He attached particular importance to alleviating hunger and poverty, and effectively tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis. Saving the environment from impending disaster closely followed.

    The Conference on Financing for Development would be an important and crucial forum where the political will of the international community for financing the objectives of the Millennium Declaration would come to the fore. Official development assistance had to be substantially increased, with emphasis to the least developed countries. He was confident that -- with growing cooperation, the process of globalization and a visible increase in the will to unite for a common cause within the United Nations -- the international community could meet the challenges ahead.

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