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30 June 2008 / 06:02

As the United Nations proudly celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, I wish to join the other Members of our international family in paying tribute to the Organization which has served us so well over these many years.

As so many others before me have testified, the accomplishments of the United Nations during its 50 years of existence have been many and significant. With the ending of the cold war, there is now a promise of even greater achievements.

Yet, although now free from the tensions of East-West rivalry, we are still hostage to many threats to our peace and security. This crucial time is characterized by, first, globalization and liberalization of the world economy, dominated by transnational corporations and one over-powering ideology; second, unacceptably high unemployment and underemployment, even in a period of economic growth, referred to as “jobless growth” and “jobless recovery”; third, increasing poverty and widening gaps, in developed and developing countries, between the haves and the have-nots — the included and the excluded — and between the rich North and the poor South; fourth, chronic budget and balance-of-payments deficit problems for many Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, leading to the dismantling of the welfare State and cuts in welfare benefits in the North, as well as cuts in aid to the South — the phenomenon now termed “donor fatigue” or “aid fatigue”; fifth, social, including family, disintegration; sixth, strife and conflicts based on race, ethnicity, tribe, culture and religion, leading to a marked increase in refugees; and, seventh, demagogy and confusion, leading politically, to the dangerous rise of the extreme right, the religious right, national chauvinists, xenophobists and neofacists and, socially, to racism and racist attacks.

Cumulatively, these factors pose a grave threat to international and individual peace and security. Consequently, there is an urgent necessity for a new global human order as an adjunct to the United Nations Agenda for Development. A new global human order must have as its goal human development, which means meeting the basic needs of the people, attaining cultural uplift and providing a clean and safe environment.

To attain a new global human order, it is necessary to establish a sound and just system of global governance based on a genuine North-South partnership and interdependence for mutual benefit; a democratic culture of representative, consultative and participatory democracy and a lean and clean administration; a development strategy free from external domination and diktat; the application of science and technology for increased production and productivity; a global development facility, funded by pollution taxes, cuts in military expenditure — the peace dividend — a mere 3 per cent reduction of which could realize $460 billion in the five-year period from 1995-2000, and a tax of 0.5 per cent on speculative capital-exchange movements, which could yield $1,500 billion annually; and the administration of a development fund by a democratized and reformed United Nations for allocation without undue conditions to the developed and developing countries alike — with such assistance, more job opportunities could be created by a works programme, as was done under the Roosevelt New Deal Administration during the Depression of the 1930s, and we could have a shorter work week and a lower pensionable age, while for the developing countries, aid could be given in the form of debt cancellation, long-term rescheduling of debt, soft loans and grants.

Third-world debt is strangling our reconstruction and human development efforts. Although we paid more than $1.3 trillion between 1982 and 1990, our countries were 61 per cent deeper in debt in 1990 than they were in 1982. During the same period there was a net South-to-North outflow of $418 billion — not including outflows such as royalties, dividends, repatriated profits, underpaid raw materials and so on — a sum equal to six Marshall Plans, the Plan which provided aid to Europe at the end of the Second World War. At the same time, our third-world countries lose about $500 billion annually in unfair non-equivalent international trade, a sum equal to 10 times the official development assistance from the developed countries.

This unjust economic order must be replaced by a just new global human order for international and individual security and peace. The human development paradigm must be established on a basis of empowerment of our peoples, accountability, productivity and sustainability. Economic growth must be linked to equity, with social justice and ecological preservation.

Let us together resolve, on this historic occasion, to strengthen the United Nations, which was created not only to preserve us from the scourge of war but also to allow our peoples to live in larger freedom. Let us move forward in unity with a new global human order.