The UN Summit this September will be an event of critical importance. It will provide us with a unique opportunity to take decisive steps towards the implementation of the Millennium Declaration, in particular the MDGs, and strengthen our collective capacity to counter the multifaceted security situation of today.
The UN, as the only universal organisation covering all aspects of common challenges, must play a leading role in development and security, not just as a normative body, but also as an operative and the foremost co-ordinating body.
The importance of the UN's leading role was most recently demonstrated during the Tsunami catastrophy. The effective co-ordination by OCHA and other UN agencies was paramount in mounting effective relief.
The Charter of the United Nations continues to provide a sound legal and policy basis for collective response to threats and challenges, and will serve us well when we strive to modernize and adapt the United Nations to the challenges of the new century. The purposes and principles of the Charter, however, will lead us nowhere unless they are matched with political will and necessary resources from the Member States.
The High-level Panel Report and the Millennium Project Report analyse the issues from different perspectives. Together they provide a balanced approach to security and development issues and give us a good basis for our deliberations. The various Member States have different perspectives and priorities, as is well known. As far as possible we must accommodate each other’s security concerns and security needs.
We recognize that many developing countries are suspicious towards a tendency of donors to focus more on their own security than on the needs of developing countries. We do, however, feel that this concern cuts both ways. We must recognise that the security situation of today is multifaceted, and without mutual recognition of threats there can be no collective security.
Strengthening the rule of law is key to both security and development. It is an important prerequisite for creating conditions for sustained economic growth, and an essential factor in efforts to achieve the MDGs. The rule of law is also fundamental in conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding.
Development must be based on rights, not charity. The goal of development is to give all human beings a life in dignity. Development means empowering each and every individual, ensuring each person’s ability to participate in political decision-making as well as their right to voice dissent.
The goal of our work on security is to create freedom from fear, not just for states, but for all their citizens as well. 11 years after the disaster in Rwanda we cannot shy away from discussing the responsibility to protect. The Security Council in particular has the responsibility to act with authority, efficiency, and without hesitance in situations of mass atrocity. The Security Council is fully empowered under the Charter to address the full range of security threats with which States are concerned. The responsibility to protect must be coupled with a responsibility to prevent. Clearly, we need to build greater consensus around the need for collective action and early diplomatic response, which can prevent the need for military intervention.
Security Council reform is necessary to increase the effectiveness and the legitimacy of the Council, and to enhance its capacity and willingness to act in the face of threats. We believe that involvement in decision-making of those members that contribute most to the UN financially, militarily and diplomatically should be increased. A decision on Security Council reform should be made this year, but the process should not be allowed to block progress in other important areas of UN reform.
The General Assembly, too, needs reform. Repetitive resolutions, and resolutions that bring no added value should be removed from the Assembly’s agenda.
The ECOSOC could become an arena for monitoring progress in the achievement of the MDGs. Its role in operational coordination and in promoting partnerships could be strengthened, and its work program rationalized.
The international community must agree on a more consistent and coherent approach to peacebuilding, focusing on creating the key institutions, functions and capacities of a well-functioning state. The proposal to establish a new Peacebuilding Commission could be a step in the right direction. However, the mandate, organisation and function of the Commission must be clarified. We agree with the Panel’s recommendation that countries that contribute significantly to UN activities should be represented on the Commission.
The 2005 Summit represents a unique opportunity for creating an institutional mechanism between the UN and the IFIs. A central part of peacebuilding is mobilizing and managing the resources needed to underpin a peace process. We need inter-agency and maybe intergovernmental mechanisms to ensure that the UN and the World Bank more effectively are able to work out between themselves, and on an equal footing, the best way to move ahead in any given country.
A decrease in poverty increases the outlook for stability and progress. Increased market access and debt relief are critical for development, Norway is firmly convinced that also significantly increased levels of ODA will be necessary in assisting countries in reaching the MDGs. If donor countries deliver on their promise to provide 0,7% of Gross Domestic Income in international aid – the financing gap would disappear.
We need the UN as a leader in global development efforts. Wide-ranging reform is needed to achieve that. The UN must participate in the new aid practices, supporting and adjusting to the changes taking place in the field, harmonising UN efforts with those of other donors, sacrificing some immediate visibility for longer-term success, and first and foremost align with recipient countries’ own national programs. The UN should also have a particular responsibility in monitoring and reporting on progress and compliance, of both donor as well as recipient countries’ obligations. In this context we should also consider the possibility of making better use of ECOSOC and its apparatus of functional commissions in making such an assessment.
The Secretary-General’s coordination mechanisms, particularly UNDG but also ECHA, have brought us a step forward. UNDG has proven that it plays an important role in the concerted efforts to make the UN development system better coordinated and effective. We should however start moving from coordination towards joint programs and towards joint overall management of UN Country Teams. We should strengthen these mechanisms further and improve their links to a strengthened Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator system.
Sound policies and governance is a prerequisite for any country to reach the MDGs. Norway fully shares the view that countries with sound policies and governance should not be prevented from reaching the MDGs because of lack of resources. Donors should move away from contributing to multiple projects in these countries and towards supporting broader sector-wide programs and providing budget support. For countries with weaker governance structures or that find themselves in complex post-conflict situations, other aid modalities are needed. In many cases this will imply more direct involvement of the UN in the execution of programmes.
It will continue to be a Norwegian priority to assist the least developed countries, and the poorest and most excluded populations in any given country. In every country there is an enormous potential for progress and development by simply resolving to significantly empower women. Norway is convinced that important progress would be made if countries took further action in guaranteeing women’s human rights and ensuring their equal access to resources and opportunities. Another important contribution to development would be to take decisive steps towards increasing women’s representation in political offices and elsewhere.
The debate on common threats and challenges has shown that there are differences in approaches and concerns among the Member States. We will give the SG our full support to make the recommendations in his March report that he finds best, based on his sound judgement, and which best respond to the challenges confronting us.
For the sake of efficiency and to generate a momentum from this debate that can carry over to the High-level Meeting, our view is that the Secretary-General should go ahead with the recommendations that are within his purview to implement. We should focus the inter-governmental negotiations on the more demanding issues.
I thank you Mr. President.