NEW YORK, 23 FEBRUARY 2005
STATEMENT BY HE Mr. JOÃO SALGUEIRO, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS (Informal Consultations on the Report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and on the United Nations Millennium Project 2005 report)
Today’s discussion signals the merging of our debates on two very important reports – the report on Threats, Challenges and Change and the Millennium Project report.
Bringing those two important dimensions together, with a view to a successful summit in September, highlights the notion that we share a common integrated agenda and that we are pursuing the same overall objective of strengthening the United Nations and enhancing its role at the centre of an effective multilateral system able to address the challenges of the 21st century.
If we want to succeed, the underlying concept of the process should remain the ability to combine notions and concerns often considered as diverging but that, indeed, can and should be brought together.
aligns itself with the statement delivered yesterday by the Portugal in its capacity of European Union’s Presidency. I also wish to reiterate the positions expressed in my intervention to this Assembly on the 28th of January. Luxembourg
Today I would like to focus on a topic to which
attaches a particular importance - the recommendation to establish a Peace-building Commission. Portugal
This joint debate is, in our opinion, specially indicated for this discussion. The Peace-building Commission is a cross-cutting issue that embodies the notion that peace, security as well as social / economic development and institution building can and must be addressed in an integrated manner.
So much so, Mr. President, that having paid careful attention to your letter from last 16th of February, I found it particularly difficult to place my intervention under only one of the four clusters therein mentioned.
After the consultations held last month, I feel confident to draw the conclusion that there is broad agreement among the UN membership on the need for a mechanism or a body aimed at filling the “key institutional gap” identified by the High Level Panel’s report on Threats, Challenges and Change. Indeed, many countries have already expressed general support for this proposal.
Nevertheless, a significant number among them spoke of the need for further discussions on a number of specific aspects before being in a position to fully endorse the establishment of a Peace-building Commission, namely its mandate, composition, financing and institutional placement within the UN system.
Delegations stressed their doubts on the establishment of the Peace-building Commission with a single institutional connexion to the Security Council. Most countries favoured a greater involvement and / or ownership by the ECOSOC.
So it is time now to try to identify the aspects of the Peace-building Commission on which the UN membership could agree upon. At this stage, we should try to forge a broader basis for agreement using a gradualist approach that would trigger a positive dynamic.
Let me then share, Mr. President, some of our specific ideas on the Peace-building Commission.
According to the High Level Panel’s report, the Peace-building Commission “should meet in different configurations to consider both general policy issues and country-by-country strategies”.
The added value of the Peace-building Commission would stem from bringing together the authority, expertise and mandates of different institutions, giving it an ability to design coordinated and integrated strategies. This would also contribute to reinforce the efforts aimed at placing the UN at the centre of an effective multilateral system.
In its “general policy” formation, the Peace-building Commission membership should, in our view, comprise Security Council and ECOSOC representation, UN funds and programmes and the Breton Woods Institutions. WTO could also be associated as well as major donors.
In its “country-by-country” formation, the membership would vary. In addition to the above referred institutions, key partners of the country concerned would be involved as well as relevant regional and sub-regional organizations. A mechanism allowing for an input from the civil society and the private sector could also be envisaged. Of course, the country object of the attention of the Peace-building Commission would always be a member.
Several different possibilities could, in theory, be envisaged so as to bring a particular country situation to the attention of the Peace-building Commission. These options need to be discussed and will have to be widely accepted by the UN membership.
Pressing for a too ambitious role of the Peace-building Commission in its early stages of functioning should be avoided. It is important that its first cases be seen to work effectively.
The Peace-building Commission should be reasonably small in size to be effective. And the division of labour between international bodies needs to be respected as well as the decision making powers and procedures of its members and the institutional balance of the UN Charter.
The financial aspects related to the creation of such a body also deserve careful attention and discussion. The establishment of the Peace-building Commission and the Peace-building Support Office should not, and need not, cause any significant increase on budgetary expenditure. We would note, for instance, that Peace-building Support Office’s officials should be seconded from the relevant departments of the Secretariat and UN funds and programmes.
It should be stressed that an adequate early support from the international community to countries under stress is always less costly and less problematic than addressing situations in the aftermath of a renewed conflict.
The Peace-building Commission would be an “insurance policy” far more effective than allowing, as at present, more than fifty percent of the countries that have emerged from conflict to slide back into turmoil within five years.
We look forward for the Secretary-General’s recommendations in his March report. You can trust in our constructive and active engagement in the debates that will follow its release as we are committed to contributing to a successful
in September. Summit
We believe that a decision by our Heads of State and Government establishing a Peace-building Commission would be a major contribution for the success of the
, creating a tangible outcome with real impact in countries under stress and emerging from conflict. Summit
This could really become one of the most important jobs for the UN in the 21st century.
Thank you, Mr. President.