Fréchette calls for international commitment to face new threats collectively

Fréchette calls for international commitment to face new threats collectively

Louise Fréchette
The United Nations Charter has served humanity well but, as new threats arise, the international community must devise a common approach to conquer emerging challenges, UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette said.

Opening the University of Ottawa's new School of Political Studies yesterday, she called for an international response to problems that transcend borders.

"How can States protect themselves against international terrorism and stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction? And what is the responsibility of the international community confronted by massive violations of human rights within a State? What role should be assigned to military force and when is the use of force permissible? Who should decide and who should authorize?" she asked.

Canada announced the formation of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty at the UN's Millennium Summit in September 2000. The summit also worked out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which aim to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.

To attain the MDGs, the international community needed effective measures to eliminate poverty, hunger, environmental degradation and communicable diseases and to provide safe drinking water. In the Millennium Declaration the rich countries had promised to help poor countries achieve these goals and they should honour those pledges, she said.

"The cause of development and the cause of peace are one," Ms. Fréchette said.

She also called for reform of all principal UN organs to take into account relations in today's world, giving developing countries a greater voice in international decision-making.

"Nations that truly believe in collective solutions to common problems must not be scared off by the difficulties besetting multilateralism," she said. "Nor must they allow themselves to believe that the best days of the UN are past. The UN is doing better than people think and it is changing with the times."