NEW YORK, 21 APRIL 2005
STATEMENT BY H. E. 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 thematic consultations on the report of the Secretary-General “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all” – Cluster II: “Freedom from fear”)
First I would like to thank the President of the General Assembly and the facilitators for convening and undertaking these thematic informal consultations.
The open, transparent and inclusive way the process leading to the September Summit is being conducted provides us, the Member States, with opportunities for thorough and in depth discussions. This is, I believe, the foundation for a successful final outcome.
I also wish to seize this occasion to express my appreciation for the steadfast commitment of the Secretary General to adapt the United Nations to the demands of the 21st century. Through a whole range of actions and decisions during his mandates, the Secretary General has been able to keep us all aware of the need for reform.
My delegation aligns itself with the statement delivered earlier today by Ambassador Jean-Marc Hoscheit, Permanent Representative of Luxemburg, on behalf of the European Union.
pledges to participate in the debates in a focused and structured manner, as the President of the General Assembly asked Member States to do in his letter dated Portugal 16 February 2005.
Thus, I will not repeat neither Portuguese nor European Union positions already expressed. I will just add some remarks on the proposal to establish a Peace-Building Commission, to which
attaches particular importance. If approved in September, this would be one of the major improvements introduced in the United Nations system in decades. Portugal
We are grateful for the contributions from the Secretary General to the debate and we followed closely the discussions on this subject in previous consultations. It seems that the idea of a Peace-building Commission enjoys now a broad endorsement amongst the UN membership. We are aware that some questions still have to be addressed, namely its institutional placement and membership.
To move forward we believe that we should build on the following two elements:
- First, the establishment of the Peace-Building Commission at the General Assembly Summit by Heads of State and Government. This would permit an early entry into force of the Peace-Building Commission.
- Second, the advisory nature of the Peace-Building Commission. As mainly advisory body, the Peace-Building Commission should have institutional links different from those of existing subsidiary bodies.
At this moment, I wished to be short and focused. Thus I will not further elaborate now on these issues. Delegations will find attached to the Portuguese statement that is being circulated in the room a non paper with detailed ideas, as a contribution to our discussions.
2005 is a decisive year for the United Nations.
This Organization was created sixty years ago to guarantee a world that would be more just, more secure, more developed and where all can live in dignity. These objectives remain as valid today as they were then.
Our responsibility is to take the necessary decisions now in order to adapt the organization to the realities and demands of the 21st century.
P ortuguese non paper
· Ensure an integrated approach from the International Community, combining security and development:
- to countries under stress, in particular those emerging from conflict, during the transition period to sustainable political and administrative stability and economic development;
- through the participation of the entities most able to contribute to these objectives.
· It would fulfil its mandate by undertaking the following tasks:
- Overview of the strategic planning of peace-building activities carried out by the different entities involved;
- Providing an input for the decision making of these entities;
- Monitoring progress in the implementation of peace-building activities;
- Mobilizing know how as well as sustained financial and political support for peace-building activities.
· Intergovernmental body within the United Nations;
· Would have an advisory nature and not a decision-making one:
- Its meetings would provide a summary of the participants commitments and, therefore, of the overall strategy for the country concerned;
- Those participants would implement the recommendations within their respective fields of competence.
· The Summit Declaration (in the form of a GA resolution?) would create the PBC, define its mandate and set criteria for membership.
· The capacity to activate the PBC for a country specific situation would fall on the Security Council, after consultation with ECOSOC:
- at the request of a country willing to become object of the attention of the PBC;
- at the request of ECOSOC;
- at the request of the SG;
- by the SC’s own initiative.
· The declaration of the
- State that the PBC would gather all the entities most relevant for the peace-building efforts for a given country;
- Establish the PBC as an intergovernmental body, comprising full members (states) and associates (non states);
- Affirm that the membership would vary according to the specific country under consideration;
- Define that the PBC would always comprise 5 SC states (to be chosen by the SC itself), the 5 states of the ECOSOC bureau and the country under consideration (as members) + the BWI, UNDG, HCHR and European Community (as associates) + SG;
- Set criteria for identifying further participants in each case: states (e.g., major donors to the country under consideration, major TCC’s, “key partners”, mediators) or associates (e.g., UN funds, programmes and agencies if needed in addition to UNDG; regional and sub-regional organizations; regional banks; major multilateral donors to the country under consideration);
- Decide that the specific composition of the PBC for each country would be established by the SC’s decision when activating the PBC;
- Determine that there should be a mechanism allowing the civil society, NGO’s and private sector to address the PBC;
· PBC activities, as well as the “standing fund for peace-building” would be financed through assessed contributions;
Peace-Building Support Office:
· Would provide logistic and administrative support (as currently provided by the Secretariat to UN bodies and respective subsidiary bodies and Commissions);
· Would be small in size, primarily with officials seconded by the relevant UN departments (DPA, DPKO, DESA, among others).
· The proposed model offers the following advantages:
- Allows the establishment of the PBC in September by the
. This would permit an early entry into force of the Peace-building Commission. In fact, if the only outcome of the Summit would be a general endorsement, we would risk waiting for years before this new body would begin to take action. Summit
- Allows the definition of PBC’s mandate and activation to circumvent the controversial binomium conflict prevention / post-conflict.
· The question of “reporting”:
- If the PBC was to “report”, as current UN subsidiary bodies do, it would mean that UN major bodies could have a say on non-UN entities activities (e.g. BWI). That is not possible because the spheres of competence and autonomy of all entities involved need to be respected;
- The outcome of the PBC would be “summaries” in which it will be spelled out clearly which entity is doing what in each field of action. By discussing with each other their own programmes, these entities would be able to incorporate each other programmes in their own strategies thus ensuring coherence and avoiding both duplication and empty areas;
- The PBC would also be a framework where all entities would periodically review the progress each one of them is making on implementing its own programmes;
- Transferring a case from the SC to ECOSOC would send a signal of disengagement from the body responsible for international peace and security. The core purpose of the PBC is to ensure a sustained integrated commitment from the International Community.