NEW YORK, 22 JUNE 2005
STATEMENT BY H. E. Mr. JOÃO SALGUEIRO, AMBASSADOR PLENIPOTENTIARY AND EXTRAORDINARY AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE INFORMAL MEETING OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY (to exchange views on the President of the U.N. General Assembly’s draft outcome document of the High-Level plenary meeting of the General Assembly of September 2005)
In September 2003 the Secretary General declared “(…) we have come to a fork in the road. This may be a moment no less decisive than 1945 itself, when the United Nations was founded.” And he launched a challenge: “Now we must decide whether it is possible to continue on the basis agreed then, or whether radical changes are needed”. Using a bold image in a few words he was able to pass a message across the world easily understood by everyone.
The upcoming September Summit is a response to the challenge launched by the Secretary General. As Member States, we must make sure its outcome - both in its presentation and in its substance - lives up to that challenge and will send clear political messages.
We are very grateful to you Mr. President and to the facilitators for the draft outcome document you provided us with. It seems to us an excellent basis for our work ahead.
aligns itself with the statement delivered yesterday by the EU Presidency. We fully share and support the views expressed by my colleague the Permanent Representative of Luxemburg. Portugal
I would like to take this chance to lay out some more detailed inputs for the proposal to create a Peacebuilding Commission. We are, of course, quite satisfied that this proposal features prominently in the draft outcome document and that it looks as it may be one of the most concrete and tangible decisions for the Summit.
has been devoting a particular attention to this issue since former Prime Minister José Manuel Barroso, who is currently the Head of the European Commission, raised the subject in the GA General Debate in 2003. Later, he and then President of Mozambique and President of the African Union, Mr. Joaquim Chissano, published in May 2004 a joint article in the “International Herald Tribune” under the heading “A job for the UN”. Portugal
The proposal seems to gather a wide approval by the member states. We think that we should keep a high level of ambition and aim high. As the
approaches we should try to agree on as much PBC elements as possible, including its mandate, functions, membership and institutional placement. The first best option would even be the creation of this new body at the Summit , so that it can start working and making a difference as soon as possible. Summit
will continue to participate in the discussions ahead. At this stage, I would point out that we agree with several elements of the draft outcome document wording on the PBC, namely the reference to the purpose of providing sustained international attention; its advisory nature; and to the establishment of multi-year standing fund as well as a Peacebuilding Support Office. Portugal
As we move ahead, we think it is important to retain the notion that the added value of the PBC lays on bringing together all relevant actors for assistance to countries in need of international support.
The purpose of the PBC is to make a difference to each country’s development; its work will be to encourage, coordinate and support peacebuilding efforts in concrete countries.
The membership of the PBC will have to flow from this notion. Its composition will therefore vary for each country specific situation. Some members will be part of every country specific format, for their institutional or substantive relevance to all country specific situations. We are thinking, for instance, of the International Financial Institutions or, for institutional reasons, of subsets of members of the ECOSOC and the Security Council.
But for the PBC to fulfil its mandate and make a difference for each country, its membership on country specific situations will have to include, on an equal footing, those who can contribute most to the development of that country. Those will include, inter alia, the major donors to that country; the major troop contributors in case there is a peace keeping effort going on; all the key countries with a relevant political role to play; the UN agencies and programs more involved in the country; and, of course, always the country under consideration.
While remaining open and flexible to consider all different options, we wonder if the sequential reporting model addresses sufficiently the “key institutional gap” identified by the High Level Panel Report and which we are all trying to solve.
In fact, the question of “reporting” needs to be addressed against the background of the multiplicity of the recipients of the PBC work. The outcome of the PBC will include subjects that fall within the sphere of competence of different actors (e.g., SC, ECOSOC, BWI´s, UNDP, etc,..). Thus, for obvious reasons, different parts of the PBC outcome will have to go to different bodies and entities.
Naturally, at the very first stages of the peace building process, the outcome of the PBC meetings will, by and large, have to do with the SC. But even in those stages aspects of its work will have to do with the BWI´s, with Humanitarian and Development agencies and maybe even with the ECOSOC. Indeed, this is precisely the reason we are creating the PBC, to integrate all these aspects.
Conversely, at a later and more sustainable stage of development most of the outcome of the PBC will be more relevant to the ECOSOC, the Development agencies and the BWI´s, but it might be wise to retain the SC´s political attention for a while.
If the PBC was to “report”, as current UN subsidiary bodies do, it would mean that one body would have to ultimately approve its outcome, thus interfering in the mandates or competences of other bodies and non-UN entities (e.g. BWI´s) whose autonomy needs to be respected. We are creating the PBC to coordinate and give impetus to the UN efforts in peace building, not to change its institutional balance in either way.
Finally, literally transferring a case from the SC to ECOSOC could send a wrong signal of disengagement by the body responsible for international peace and security while the core purpose of the PBC is precisely to ensure a sustained integrated commitment from the International Community.
In conclusion, we agree completely with the SG assertion that different bodies should have a more prominent role over the life of an issue, and that at different times different organs may have greater or lesser relevance to the work of the Commission, depending on circumstances. But this could occur under a flexible mechanism allowing those bodies to assume naturally their different degrees of relevance according to their mandates and to the situation in the country.
also believes that the PBC could also become operational for a specific country in response to its own request. If a particular country feels it needs the assistance of the PBC, and voluntarily asks it, why should that support be denied? Portugal
When considering different possible models for the establishment of the PBC we should also start looking at their consequences in terms of modalities. If we are going to propose for approval to our Heads of State and Government a particular model we should have already considered its possible implications. The simplistic solution of agreeing a general model leaving for a latter stage the study of what it implies entails risks that should be avoided.
This is also why we believe that the
should take decisions as concrete and tangible as possible. Summit
Thank you, Mr. President.