28 OCTOBER 200358th SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS (Items 55, 57, 58 and 59: Revitalization of the General Assembly; United Nations Reform; Restructuring and Revitalization of the United Nations in the Economic and Social Fields; Strengthening of the United Nations System)
STATEMENT BY HE Mr. GONÇALO DE SANTA CLARA GOMES, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF
PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE
I entirely subscribe to the speech made by
on behalf of the EU. It covers all the main points raised by you, Mr. President, in your non paper and by other delegations in the informal consultations. I think our suggestions should be the object of a constructive dialogue with a view to strengthen the UN system. Italy
I will only touch on two points:
The revitalization of the GA is of immense political importance and fundamental for the development of strategies in order to achieve the goals set by the Charter. The Assembly is the cornerstone of the Organization: it is not always fully realized that it is the main source of the legitimacy of the UN. This is a role more than symbolic; continued neglect of this organ is damaging to the whole UN. The EU points out several priorities in this matter that we must explore.
But there is one point I would stress here: the need for our debates to be more interactive. Several things can and should be done but let me add a simple – and apparently minor - one: let us hold most of our debates in another room. When last year, as Vice President, I was called to chair meetings I had the sensation - that you may feel now – that this room looks more than half empty and is too big to encourage true dialogue. Why not meet regularly, when we do not expect large audiences, in another room?
Another point mentioned in the speech of the EU is the need to address the issue of ECOSOC’s interaction with the Security Council, for example on post-conflict issues. This touches on the way both organs could work better and, more than that, how they could answer a fundamental goal of the international system: conflict prevention. At present not much is done, even in the case of countries where we all feel that the complexity of the social situation, the insufficiencies of the State, and economic failure should be recognized and addressed together. It is particularly shocking in the case of countries in post-conflict situations where a peace-keeping operation is phased out and the country, sometimes still very vulnerable, is left alone.
We consider that in these pre and post conflict situations there are three needs that the International Community must address: reinforcing the internal security system; building up national institutions and making the State stronger and capable of doing its job; and, finally, creating a viable economy.
The SC, hard pressed with the urgent and pressing needs of a large agenda, has not, in our view, been paying sufficient attention to all of these needs. And it lacks, if I may say so, the competence or the interest to join in these situations economic assistance to State building and to security needs. ECOSOC has a greater sensibility to certain aspects but is not equipped to work in conflict prevention with full efficiency.
That is why the Portuguese PM, in his intervention in the General Assembly debate, proposed the creation of a new institutional mechanism, a new Commission, with a mandate to routinely monitor cases of conflict prevention and to promote conditions for peace and development. In conjunction with the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council , which would both preserve their respective areas of competence, and under a mandate given by them, this commission could identify and deal with the most pressing needs. It would also draw up, for countries at risk (and that is the case in most post-conflict situations as in other clearly defined situations) integrated strategies allying the objectives of security, reinforcement of institutions (namely in the justice and administration sectors) and economic and social development.
To create conditions for development, obviously, this commission would need to be closely linked with the Bretton Woods institutions and with the United Nations agencies.
International and donor aid will be more forthcoming if an integrated strategy is adopted with this kind of support. In terms of the UN budget, we think existing resources should be sufficient to cover the functioning of this Commission.