Statement by Ambassador
J. Enkhsaikhan of Mongolia
in the plenary on the Report of the Secretary-General
of the Work of the Organization
New York, October 6, 1999
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his report on the work of the Organization entitled ďPreventing War and Disaster: A Growing Global ChallengeĒ. We believe that the report is concise and highlights the major activities of the Organization during the past year. To some extent it is analytical; it is thought-provoking and addresses many of the challenges that lie ahead in the next century. The report constitutes a good basis for our debate.
Since most of the questions raised in the report would be separately discussed here in the plenary and in the main committees, today I would like to touch upon the following.
The Mongolian delegation supports the Secretary-Generalís emphasis on the question of transition from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention in his introduction to the report. As underlined in the report, the cost to the international community of the seven major wars in the 1990s, excluding Kosovo, and excluding the costs to the countries actually at war, was $199 billion. This does not reflect the losses of human lives nor human sufferings. According to the Carnegie Commission, most of these costs could have been saved if greater attention had been paid to prevention. I shall not dwell on the question as to how this enormous sum could have been used for the purposes of development, health care, education, etc. Therefore, understandably, the Secretary-General in his report focuses on prevention of both natural and man-made disasters, especially wars and armed conflicts.
The reportís section on strategies for prevention justly points out that single-cause explanations of either war or natural disasters are too simplistic. Therefore the prevention strategy requires a multidimensional approach and similar cooperation. The report makes a strong case for developing such a multidimensional approach, which my delegation fully supports. Similarly, my delegation welcomes the changing approach of the Security Council from reaction to prevention. It is in this light that recently the Council has had several open debates on such issues as post-conflict peace-building, on the situation in Africa and others. The response of the membership of the United Nations has been positive and supportive. We believe that this approach should be pursued, developed and enriched.
The general debate has clearly demonstrated that the role of the United Nations in reacting to international emergencies should be clearly defined. The question of the so-called humanitarian intervention raises many delicate, debatable and pertinent questions. They include questions of State sovereignty, of moral imperative to act forcefully in the face of gross violations of human rights and many others. My delegation fully agrees with the Secretary-General when he states that enforcement actions without Security Council authorization threaten the very core of the international security system founded on the Charter of the United Nations.
Another question that was justly raised during the general debate and has also found due reflection in the Secretary-Generalís report is the inconsistency of the international community when responding to humanitarian emergencies. This question has been justly raised in many fora, including very recently in the Security Council, when it considered the progress report on the situation in Africa. We agree with the Secretary-General that the principles of multilateralism and humanitarian ethics should be applied equally based on the criterion of human need.
The report clearly shows the shift in the nature of peacekeeping, which is acquiring a multidimensional character in keeping with the evolving holistic concept of or approach to security. The role of the United Nations and its PKO functions would, according to the very sense of the report, continue to increase. That is why Mongolia, bearing in mind its obligation as a member of the international community and its commitment under the Charter, has signed last week with the United Nations a memorandum of understanding on standby arrangements, whereby it would participate in future UN operations, contributing staff officers, military observers and medical officers.
Turning to the question of relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, the Secretary-General points to the following three lessons that he has drawn from recent experience, namely: the regional security operations must be mandated by the Security Council if the legal basis of the international security system is to be maintained; security policies that work in one region may not in others; and todayís complex humanitarian emergencies require equally complex multidisciplinary responses and that to be effective, these responses need adequate human and financial backing. We fully agree with such a conclusion.
The Secretary-Generalís report clearly demonstrates that it is the small and medium States that are objects of conflict situations. It is these States that mostly need development assistance or humanitarian aid. Therefore it would not be an exaggeration to say that the United Nations is a very important and perhaps an indispensable institution for them. It is for this reason these States are genuinely interested in strengthening the role of the United Nations and its effectiveness at the beginning of the next millennium. Therefore, it is through this prism that these States see the reform of the United Nations, the roles that the General Assembly, the Security Council, the International Court of Justice and other vital organs of the United Nations are called upon to play. In this vein my delegation, like many others, is looking forward to the Secretary-Generalís report on the Millennium Assembly.
The United Nations is as good as its members are. Therefore every nation, big and small alike, should make its contribution. Mongolia is trying to play an active role in areas where it could make a difference, however modest, where it could contribute most and meaningfully. I have already referred to our commitment to PKOs. There are several areas where Mongolia is active, including in non-proliferation and confidence-building. Situated between two nuclear powers and having been involved in the past in their dispute, Mongolia has declared itself nuclear-weapon-free and is working for institutionalizing its status. This would make Mongolia not only nuclear-weapon-free but also more predictable, contributing thus to further confidence-building and regional stability.
One of the issues that is attracting growing attention lately is the notion of human security. Many delegations have made references to human security, which is a much broader notion than national security. The latter today is obviously inadequate in the face of the new security realities and thus cannot fully meet the new security challenges. This human security notion seems to be in line with what the Secretary-General has referred to in his last yearís report as ďthe holistic approach to securityĒ. The concept focuses on individuals rather than on States; it focuses on the threats to physical survival of the individual, to his/her daily life and to the dignity of human beings. It includes poverty, environmental problems, transnational crimes, questions relating to refugees, questions of infectious diseases etc. The general debate has clearly shown that most of the problems that States face today are concerned, directly or indirectly, in one form or another, with human security.
On the other hand, we should be careful not to unduly widen the scope of the concept, which could have implications that could in practice defeat the very purpose of security. Therefore my delegation believes that it would be useful if the Secretary-General, by appointing a group of experts, could undertake a comprehensive study of this newly emerging security concept. In the past such studies have proven to be useful in conceptualizing the problem and defining the ways and means of addressing it. Thus in 1975 the United Nations has undertaken an important study that was instrumental in defining the concept of establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. Besides the input by experts, input of States would be necessary for making such a study truly valuable. Thus Mongoliaís national security concept, adopted as State policy since 1994, defines Mongoliaís security in broad terms and, besides the traditional concept, includes such notions as economic security, security of the citizensí rights and freedoms, of the populationís health and its gene pool, and ecological security.
My delegation would like to briefly turn to the part of the Secretary-Generalís report on cooperation for development. Last year, when commenting on the Secretary-Generalís report, my delegation specifically pointed to the inherent handicap that the land-locked developing countries have due to lack of access to the sea and thus to world markets. The whatever competitive advantage these countries have, they are rendered nil by prohibitively high transit transportation costs. In some cases transit transportation costs make up almost 40 per cent of the total costs. Though we understand well the need to keep the Secretary-Generalís report short and concise, however it is really regrettable that the report this year again does not make specific reference to this important, and for nearly 30 States, most of them least developed, vital question. My delegation expresses the hope that the next report would touch upon this question.
Mr. President, My delegation did not touch upon many other questions, including specific questions pertaining to international security, development and financing. We shall address them in due course in the appropriate fora.
In conclusion, my delegation would like to reiterate its full support for the Secretary-Generalís activities aimed at reforming the United Nations and making it more efficient and relevant in the next millennium.