NEW YORK, 7 SEPTEMBER 2005
STATEMENT BY H. E. Mr. JAIME GAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE ASSEMBLY OF THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC, TO THE SECOND WORLD CONFERENCE OF SPEAKERS OF PARLIAMENTS OF MEMBER STATES OF THE INTER-PARLIAMENTARY UNION (IPU) (held at U.N. Headquarters, 7-9 September)
- Five years ago, at the beginning of the new Millennium, the Speakers of Parliaments gathered in this room for the first time in order to express the need to strengthen international cooperation and the central role of the United Nations in fighting against the main challenges addressed to international community.
- The First World Conference of Speakers of National Parliaments, which resulted from a timely initiative of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, aimed at calling the attention to the need of a more active contribution given by the Parliaments to life and international cooperation, with the purpose of reinforcing the “democratic dimension” of the decision-making process of the international organisations.
- This Conference also represented the opportunity to make the national Parliaments co-responsible for the pursuit and achievement of the “Millennium Development Goals”, which established specific landmarks to substantially reduce extreme poverty and inequality in the world until 2015. Ambitious goals were assumed with clear deadlines, because this time we should make a difference.
- Today, five years after the “Millennium Summit”, we meet again in the UN headquarters in New York in order to examine the course already followed and the undertaken policies and actions. 2005 is a crucial year for the future of each one of us. This is the opportunity to identify problems, find solutions and solemnly renew the commitments assumed by the international community.
- The Millennium Development Goals can only be achieved if all efforts are coordinated, within the scope of the international organisations, in the sphere of multilateral and bilateral cooperation between countries and, at national level, with the determined and opportune adopting of the necessary legislation and the appropriate programmes.
- In this year’s
, the international community has the opportunity to restate with courage and conviction the central role of the United Nations, the honouring of international law and the commitment to the goals of the Millennium Declaration. In this view, we would like to reaffirm our support to the report presented by the Secretary-General KOFI ANNAN “In larger freedom” and to the important work which has been developed by the President of the General Assembly Jean PING, in what regards the listing of specific measures to be taken. Summit
- The achievement of the Goals we proposed until 2015 requires the adopting of measures in the area of Development Aid, strengthening of Peace and International Security and Respect for Human Rights and also in what concerns the necessary reform of the United Nations Organization.
- Millions of people from all continents are still deprived of the minimum living conditions: they undergo serious food shortage, lack minimum health conditions or access to education. There is a serious and deep gap between poor and rich areas which has increased in the last years.
shares with the other EU countries the determination to provide the necessary conditions for the Goals achievement as regards development. In this view, in May 2005 the EU countries decided to increase 0.56% of the GDP in "Development Public Aid" until 2010 in order to reach the objective of 0.7% in 2015. Portugal
- We also support the Secretary-General’s proposals in the area of International Security, as only a safer, more peaceful and stable world, where rights and human dignity are respected, may devote the necessary resources to economic and human development. Today, there are numerous risks to the populations’ security and health, resulting from military conflicts, terrorism or natural disasters and sanitary crises. The recent natural and human catastrophe caused by the “Katrina” hurricane in
, Mississippi and Louisiana is an example, in its most cruel and painful way, of how serious and urgent the problems originated by climate changes should be to all of us. From this pulpit, on behalf of the Portuguese Parliament, I would like to convey a special word of solidarity towards all victims and their families, as well as the state and federal authorities of the Alabama . United States
Reinforcing peace and security in the world also requires a serious commitment by the international community in what concerns disarmament and non-proliferation. The risks arising from the proliferation of nuclear weapons should make us enhance all efforts towards a strengthening of legal instruments of proliferation prevention, namely regarding nuclear matters. I would also like to encourage the proposal concerning the setting up of a “Peacebuilding Commission”, a body which may have a decisive role in stabilizing the countries in situation of conflict. We hope that it will begin to operate soon.
- The promotion of Human Rights, Democracy and the principles of the rule of law is bond to the Development issues. The foreseen strengthening of the post of High Commissioner for Human Rights and the establishment of a new “Council of Human Rights” may be an important contribution to their protection and promotion.
- The world of the 21st century and the diversity and seriousness of problems we are facing, need a participant, strong and active UN. There are no alternatives to multilateralism and courage is needed to reform the UN system in order to grant more transparency, efficiency and democraticity. We hope there is the necessary political will, so that the process of UN reforms, which will be under discussion in the coming days, may see some measures taken to this end. The reform of the Security Council is one of the issues under debate, from which we expect an increase of transparency and authority in its decisions. An enlarged Security Council, which reflects with higher legitimacy the geographic balance of the present world, will no doubt have the efficiency of its decisions reinforced.
- The multilateral system of the 21st century, which must be stronger and more efficient, should be based on a wide and multidisciplinary cooperation between international organisations, governmental bodies, NGOs, civil society and the private sector. To this end, the International Organisations must know how to broaden the wealth of the different world cultures, reflecting namely the real language diversity worldwide as regards the number of their speakers.
- The construction of a new “strategic partnership” between the UN and the IPU will doubtless be a decisive contribution to this new dynamic and the achievement of the Goals that we assumed at the Millennium Summit.
- Parliaments, as bodies of plural expression of the people’s will, shall have a fundamental role in following-up the major issues of international life and their "adequacy" and debate on a national basis. Parliaments, as the centre of legislative power and supervision of government activities, cannot live separate from the major issues of international agendas. On the contrary, they must take a more active role in the relations between states and in the different international fora. They will no doubt play a different role from that of the governmental bodies. They will be more open to the strategic debate and the control of the major options and orientations assumed by countries. They will be more attentive to the global efficiency of effective multilateralism that we wish to raise.
- A more active role of the parliamentary bodies in the functioning of the International Organisations will also offer them in a more vivid way the “democratic culture” that they often lack. These will come closer to the public opinion, its critical judgement and its renewing contribution.
- A stronger parliamentary dimension of cooperation between countries is a fundamental instrument for the life of international organisations in the 21st century, for an international system based on law, freedom and development. In short, an instrument for a world community with the ability to fulfil the Millennium Goals and to reconstruct the central role of the United Nations in regulating the major challenges of our times.