The UN Forum meets once a year prior to the UN General Assembly. In his speech Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre took as his starting point the questions: What is the UN’s role today?
- Støre pointed out some topics that are important for Norway during this years General Assembly:
- Peaceful resolution of conflicts, as in Afghanistan and Georgia.
- The fight against poverty, and how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
- The Middle East and the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee for Assistance to the Palestinians (AHLC).
- The need for dialogue, norms and freedom of expression.
- Disarmament, UN processes and the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
- Other issues on the agenda are: Climate (The road towards Copenhagen next year and forest conservation), Financing for Development (The Major UN conference in Doha in November and December) and UN reform.
The UN will never be better than what we make it. Norway must be “impatient” with regard to achieving a more effective UN and a stronger world order. For there is no alternative to the UN.
We must oppose the concept of a “league of democracies” (McCain) as a kind of alternative to the UN. This is a bad idea. Which countries are to be called democracies? What definition is to be used?
More than ever do we need the UN and related forums where everyone takes part and communication is kept open. Because if we build an “Alliance of the West”, we will soon meet an “Alliance of the Rest”. And do we want that? The UN is irreplaceable. And a global league of democracies is no alternative.
We need the UN, and the world needs the UN. The UN is our most important tool to create a better world.
But this requires hard work.
In 1955, US Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (and US delegate to the UN) put it like this: “This organization is created to prevent you from going to hell. It isn’t created to take you to heaven!”
We must take good care of this organisation.