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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations
H.E. LAURO L. BAJA, JR.
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations
"U.N. and Regional Organizations: Partners for Peace"
United Nations Security Council
New York, 17 October 2005
We are honored, Mr. Foreign Minister, by your presence here and your presiding over this important meeting. We congratulate the Romanian Mission, led by Ambassador Motoc, for its initiative in developing the theme of our debate. We are also grateful to the representatives of regional organizations whose presentations enrich our insights of the cooperation between the UN and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.
By this time the importance and usefulness of cooperation between the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, and regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security has been sufficiently acknowledged. The UN and regional organizations are and should be partners in this endeavor. The challenge before us is to look for opportunities and areas to enhance this partnership.
There are some operational guidelines we must bear in mind. The first obvious consideration is that no two regional organizations can be that similar which will admit of a uniform standard for cooperation, for partnership. Regional organizations embody regional norms. The simplest way to understand, thereby making cooperation more effective, a regional organization is to study its charter or, in the absence of such a document, the instruments establishing the regional grouping. Regional organizations have emerged from particular regional developments, as reflected in the preambles of regional charters or instruments.
The second obvious consideration to bear in mind is that a regional organization, in most cases, can be no more than the sum total of the political orientation, the level of economic development, the cultural and religious diversity of its members. These factors are important equations on the competence and degree of cooperation of regional organizations to interact and cooperate with the United Nations, particularly with the Security Council in its discharge of its mandate of maintaining international peace and security.
The search for appropriate modalities for the cooperation between the regional organizations and the United Nations should aim to promote a speedy and effective response to situations likely to threaten regional or even international peace and security. Such modalities should optimize the resources of concerned regional organizations and the various components of the UN system, based on their comparative advantages. This will ensure complementarity of efforts and eliminate duplication. This doctrinal concept should be true whether cooperation/partnership is in conflict prevention, peacekeeping or post-conflict peace-building.
There are fertile areas which the UN and regional organizations could cultivate in the maintenance of international peace and security. In the area of conflict prevention, the UN could stimulate the use of regional mechanisms or arrangements in the pacific settlement of local disputes. Such stimulation could come in the form of confidence building measures and technical assistance for capacity building of such mechanisms. In ASEAN, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation provides a High Council available to members for settlement of disputes. The UN could also enhance its support and assistance to regional seminars such as the UN-ASEAN Conference on Conflict Prevention, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building in Southeast Asia. The next conference is scheduled to be held in the first half of 2006. It is relevant to mention that as borne by ASEAN experience, a parallel track undertaken by the academic sector of civil society or by regional think tanks has been useful. The ASEAN Regional Forum, ARF, the regional process initiated by ASEAN to engage its Dialogue Partners and other interested countries in the Asia-Pacific region for confidence building and cooperation activities on political and security matters should attract the attention of the UN on its conflict prevention efforts.
In the areas of peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building, it is essential to establish a dedicated communication procedure to exchange information on these areas. This will enable the identification of activities which are likely to disturb regional peace and serve as a device for early warning and monitoring to prevent their escalation into hostilities. Such communications procedures/processes could also be a repertoire for best practices for other regions to address successfully similar situations. This will also give the opportunity to develop an integrated operational response towards a negotiated political settlement.
During the recent ASEAN-UN Summit held on 13 September 2005, ASEAN Leaders and the Secretary-General reviewed and discussed broad areas of cooperation which included energy security, debt relief, health, disaster management and peace and security. On peace and security, they committed themselves to enhance cooperative efforts to combat international terrorism at national, regional and international levels. It cannot be overemphasized that cooperation between the UN, particularly the Security Council, and regional organizations to combat a common enemy – terrorism – should be further enhanced.
The United Nations should also encourage dialogue and cooperation among regional organizations. ASEAN Foreign Ministers, for example, have consultations with their counterparts from other regional organizations – such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Rio Group – at the margins of the annual session of the General Assembly in New York.
Finally, Mr. President, we welcome and support the resolution drafted by your delegation, which among others, would request the Secretary-General to include in his reporting to the Security Council assessments of progress on the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
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