Urging all States to build on the progress achieved by the recent United Nations Summit meeting, the President of the General Assembly today outlined concrete plans to move the negotiation process forward.
“The extent to which we – all of us in this Assembly – can muster a spirit of urgency and common purpose in the coming days and weeks will ultimately determine whether the World Summit goes down in history as a missed opportunity for the UN, or – as I hope – as the start of the most substantial reform programme in the history of the Organization,” Jan Eliasson said at the conclusion of the general debate.
He pledged to meet with all concerned to discuss follow-up to the Summit's recommendations. "Taking into account the views expressed, I intend to write to all Member States before the end of next week outlining the proposed way forward," he said. "Shortly thereafter, I plan to convene an open meeting to involve all Member States in the final consolidation of the proposed programme of work."
He exhorted those present to "work efficiently, with civility, discipline and a readiness to compromise for the greater good" and pledged to conduct the negotiations in a fair and open manner.
Also during the Assembly's afternoon meeting, Foreign Minister Rita Kieber-Beck of Liechtenstein said institutional change should be the centre of focus for the UN over the next few months, both through the creation of new bodies and the adaptation of existing ones, while Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, called for those developed countries which had not yet pledged to raise their official development assistance (ODA) to do so swiftly, with 2 per cent of that assistance devoted to helping landlocked developing countries to reach their development goals.
The World Summit last week clearly demonstrated that, in the five years since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to raise the living standards of the poor were approved, poverty eradication has not been given the highest priority in the international agenda, Foreign Minister Godfrey Smith of Belize said. The only way to prove to the marginalized people of the world that there was a serious resolve to achieve the MDGs by 2015 was by showing the global political will to use the Summit's Outcome document as a platform for action.
"We look forward with eager expectations to yet another success in UN peacekeeping experiments in Sierra Leone," Foreign Minister Momodu Koroma said, anticipating the UN peacekeeping mission there withdrawing by December to be replaced by a smaller advisory UN entity. He added that if the "soothing statements" of the World Summit were matched by action, this year's General Assembly would be a landmark for the UN and the world.
Strengthening the mechanisms to protect human rights was a priority for Côte d'Ivoire Foreign Minister Mamadou Bamba, who said it was imperative to end such practices as impunity and trafficking of children in his region.
Foreign Minister of Chad Allam-Mi Ahmad said it was necessary to build a new international community based on justice, since "the world had already moved to the future," with new challenges such as terrorism and HIV/AIDS.
"The elimination of poverty heads the list of Benin's priorities," Foreign Minister Rogatien Biaou said, expressing hope that his West African country would find partners to help strengthen its own development efforts.
New Zealand Ambassador Rosemary Banks said Member States needed to re-tool the Organization's machinery with the blueprint provided by the World Summit and the Peacebuilding Commission, in particular, should be up and running by December.
Micronesia's Deputy Foreign Minister Lorin Robert noted that his 15-year-old country had graduated from the UN's trusteeship regime and expected a great deal from the international organization, including the world body's sustained engagement in development and the sharing of technologies for renewable and alternative sources of energy.
African leaders had demonstrated political will but lacked the resources to resolve the continent's crises, Swazi Ambassador Phesheya Mbongeni Dlamini said. For this reason, Swaziland was appealing to the international community to increase its support for the African Union (AU) so as to enhance the continental organization's capacity and improve its response mechanisms.
The Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the UN, Ambassador Alisher Vohidov, urged the international community to "pay serious attention to the question of creating a Central Asian Common Market that would be capable of ensuring rational and effective utilization of the rich potential and resources of the region." He added that the question of demilitarization of the region was also crucial significance and noted that its countries were united in their efforts to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
Referring to the breakaway area of Dnestr or Transnistria, Ambassador Vsevolod Grigore of Moldova said his country's economic development was being adversely affected. "The triangle of development, peace and freedom is of direct relevance to the Republic of Moldova, as our young democracy struggles with the difficulties of transition, suffers for more than 13 years from a protracted unsolved conflict, inspired and supported from abroad, and sees the fundamental freedoms of a significant part of its citizens violated by an aggressive separatist regime."
Ambassador Crispin Gregoire of the Caribbean island of Dominica said although trade has been the engine of economic growth and development, multinational corporations from the United States and allied Latin American countries were challenging the preferential access for bananas from Caribbean States to markets in the European Union (EU). A fair resolution of that trade impasse would avert a future of persistent poverty for banana farmers and workers in the Caribbean and the failure to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said.
Cameroonian Ambassador Martin Belinga Eboutou said that his country, in aiming to reach the MDGs, had intensified its fight against corruption and was making the management of public funds more efficient and transparent.
He noted, nonetheless, that Sub-Saharan Africa was the only area of the world which, with just 10 years to go to achieve the MDGs, was seriously lagging behind, with an average annual economic growth rate of just 3 per cent.