Statement by H. E. Stafford Neil
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
at the Open-Ended Informal Consultations of the Plenary on
The Report of the Secretary General
CLUSTER IV - Strengthening the UN
New York May 2, 2005
A. Opening Remarks
1. Alignment with NAM Statement
2. Stress the importance of balance in the functioning of various organs giving due
weight to the responsibilities to be discharged. Architecture should reflect the areas of priority and emphasis.
Balance means -
· Curtailing increasing dominance of Security Council vis-a-vis other organs.
· Strengthening other organs to give emphasis to different mandates under the Charter especially economic co-operation.
3. Mention the importance of inclusiveness and democracy as principles in guiding how the institutions are structured, organized and operated.
· See Article 2 of the Charter setting out Purposes of the UN
B. General Assembly
The most important body as the chief deliberative and policy-making organ in the system.
· Needs more activism and revitalization to reverse marginalization resulting from:
(a) tendencies towards ineffectiveness as policy-making organ as reflected in S/G’s analysis (p.p 159). Consensus process has become an end in itself leading to insubstantial decisions, the lowest common denominator.
(b) Reorganization of agenda to focus on substantive issues of the day (p.p. 161)
(c ) Inaction by Member States (p.p. 164). Failure of Member States to take initiative to exercise the rights and prerogatives as members of the Assembly.
(d) Another factor not mentioned by the Secretary-General is the proliferation of international conferences and summits setting norms and policies in different areas. Reference points for international policy are no longer General Assembly resolutions.
· No need for any formal change in Charter. Provisions give it scope to exercise leadership in the system as voice of international community, although decisions not binding.
· Important role of the Presidency – need to respect his authority, status and standing as principal representative of the UN.
C. Security Council
1. Need for change in expansion of membership.
· Controversial but should be done.
· Look at the two options. Still reflecting and agonizing over how to proceed.
2. Membership not the only issue (as it may appear from S/G’s report)
· Considerable dissatisfaction with Council operations.
· Undemocratic process of decision-making. Lack of accountability and respect for views of membership as required under Article 24 of Charter.
· Over reaching its jurisdiction: Now becoming a debating forum on
general policy issues
- Thematic debates and relationship with GA. Encroaching on role of GA as the Organ to deliberate and determine norms and policies on general matters of international co-operation.
- Increasing tendency legislate for the wider community (using Chapter VII) which also undermines the authority of the GA.
Concern over where this will end.
· The question of the veto. Widespread dissatisfaction. Contravenes the principle of sovereign equality of states. Should be abolished or restricted.
· These are things which need as much attention as issue of membership.
D. PEACE BUILDING COMMISSION
General support under appropriate operational guidelines
Need for reform and strengthening. S/G’s recommendations useful and constructive. We can build on them (refer to pp 175-180)
1. Annual Ministerial Level Assessment on Progress toward agreed development goals. (pp 175)
- Useful idea and will focus on how commitments are being implemented especially with regard to goal but for it to be fruitful it should be outcome oriented.
2. To review of trends in Economic Co-operation and use of ECOSOC as high level development co-operation forum. (pp 176).
· Yes, but it would have to be annual and again should result in
guidelines on operational activities in the system.
3. To address Economic and Social Threats and Crisis (pp. 177)
- Council convening timely meetings throughout the year in response to critical developments but we should go beyond this – it should also meet at the request of Member States to bring country-specific crises.
4. Dealing with Economic and Social Dimensions of Conflict. (pp. 178)
- Working with proposed Peace-building commission and Security Council in preventitive strategies.
5. Increased role in the formulation of Norms and Policies in the International Economic System (pp 179)
- Working together with other agencies promoting co-ordination and coherence (pp. 179).
- Great scope for that to be achieved in context of Spring meetings which can develop into important vehicle for policy co-ordination.
· Agree therefore with S/G that more flexible structure is needed for meetings.
- Not to be restricted by current annual calendar of segments and substantive sessions and should involve also reviewing question of venue.
· Operating these arrangements would need some mechanism for leadership initiatives to be taken and for engagement with the institutions dealing with finance and trade on an intersessional basis. This suggestion in (pp 186) could be considered but whether Executive Group or Enhanced Bureau – it must be representative.
F. Human Rights Council
1. A major new initiative. We have doubts.
· Question of whether being proposed is what is really needed. Not necessarily machinery at fault.
- More important change is needed in culture that had developed and eliminating practices which undermines effectiveness. More positive and constructive approach needed in promotion of human rights.
- Too politicized, confrontational and adversarial in current CHR proceedings.
· Secretary-General approach is to recommend a new Council to give it greater authority and higher status. As set out by the SG would be smaller, have a higher voting requirement for membership and it would be a principal organ.
· Not clear of how this makes for more effectiveness or credibility. S/G feels it will make it more focused. Yes, only if membership consists of only like-minded.
· Limitation on membership. Not recommended.
- Would lead to greater problems that now exists.
- Any new machinery would need to be rooted in positive engagement with Member States, inclusiveness and democratic participation.
G. The Secretariat
- Several questions arise especially with respect to existing reviews, reforms in process. Need for rationalization.
- must maintain the authority of the General Assembly in relation to management of the system.
Overall architecture to reflect a proper balance in UN responsibilities and priorities
· Must reflect diversity of membership and based on democratic participation.
· UN must work for the interests of all its members and not become instrument of any one or any group of states.