Valeriy Kuchynskiy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Repre-sentative of Ukraine at the UNO
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The UNO and current geopolitical challenges: the role and efficiency of organization in tackling global problems
By tradition, good round figure in the life of a person, country or international organization bring multitudes of guests together which solemnly congratulate persons whose anniversary is celebrated, do justice to the achievements and wish good luck for the future. It is the same in the case of the United Nations Organization: dozens of heads of states and governments, persons of royal blood, ministers and other important persons were gathering in New York to mark the 50th anniversary of UNO in 1995 and to participate in the Summit of Millennium in 2000. The next such occasion is still a long time away; therefore the regular 58th session of the General Assembly of UNO became an exception from the rules: 50 presidents, about 30 prime ministers and over 90 vice-premiers and ministers for foreign affairs of the UNO member countries took part in the general political discussion in the fall of 2003.
Has the UNO been transformed into the "club of interesting socializing" by now? Can it do its work in a proper way in the future? Has it swayed under the attempts to establish global monopolarity? These questions, especially after the known Iraqi events, gathered leaders and chief players from the states of the world in the hall for plenary meetings of the General Assembly.
The unanimous support of advantage of the multipolarity and confirmation of central role of the UNO as a unique international organization able to tackle global problems became the main result of the high level discussion. As speakers underlined, serious steps in the direction of reformation of the Organization should be taken to effectively tackle these problems. Their speeches stroke the keynote of the session.
In order to understand the topicality of these issues, we will try and analyze the existing state of affairs. The UNO was created to provide for the prognosticative ability and order in the changing world. In order to survive and preserve its weight, it also has to constantly change, adapt itself and train. The current situation in the world puts more serious questions to be solved by the international community; the said situation is far more difficult and needs far greater attention, than that in 1945 and in time of Cold War.
Beginning of the new millennium was marked by historical confirmation of the allegiance to the universal aims and principles of the UN Charter of the member states made during the Summit of Millennium in September, 2000. At the top level the leading role of the UNO in the system of international relations of the21st c., the necessity to strengthen the Organization as a mechanism of multilateral diplomacy and unique instrument of tackling the global problems of contemporaneity in the spheres of international peace and security, disarmament, socio-economic development, poverty and environmental control and observance of human rights was confirmed.
A year later-on September 11, 2001-the terrorist attack against the United States of America was carried out. The analysis of further international developments-from formation by the USA of counterterrorist coalition and to the Iraqi 2003 crisis-testifies that the "idealistic" concept of the UNO stated in the Millennium Declaration has to be practically tested.
In fact, within a short period of time the Organization failed to strengthen its positions as the center of making decisions in kind giving place to the opposite tendency when the UNO has but play role of authorizer of global decisions made by the outsiders. Secretary General of the UNO Kofi Annan in his opening speech at the 58th Session of the UNO General Assembly expressed his alarm concerning the possible making such tendency a rule.
It became most apparent in the way the UNO Security Council managed a complex of international political and security challenges. Without regard to the Security Council unanimity after 11/9 to control terrorism together (which is still valid), the first half of 2003 was marked by the considerable "crisis of unity" of the Security Council sharpened by the controversies among the USA and their closest allies over the wide spectrum of issues (Iraq, Near East, International Criminal Court).
The last developments concerning the Iraq problem showed that even the most powerful state in the world cannot tackle the situation in this country without the UNO. At the same time, it is clear that every involvement of the Organization and every concrete aid in the rebuilding of the destroyed country are to be carefully weighed up in the absolutely new way.
On the other hand, the "Iraqi crisis" became the basis for the higher efficiency of UNO actions, where approaches of five permanent members of the Security Council are in consent or at least do not contradict the interests of the USA. For example, the UNO was substantially more active implementing integrated approach to the questions of peace, security and development in Africa. In this sense African themes are a striking instance against the background of "positive stagnation" in Balkan States or Cyprian deadlock etc. The Security Council not only sent two missions to the appropriate regions in Africa but also showed its ability to operatively decide to use force, in particular in connection with the deployment of Temporary extraordinary multinational forces in Bunia in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mission of UNO in Cote d'Ivoire. Now, after the beginning of the large-scale peacemaking operation of the UNO in Liberia, the Organization is not going to stop halfway and studies the possibility to get up new peacemaking missions in various countries of the continent.
Due to reforms of mechanisms of peacemaking operations, which has been under way for several years now, the UNO can more effectively meet the new and complex challenges. The efficiency of this potential depends on the political will of the Security Council to deploy necessary forces and grant them proper mandate, as well as financial resources and suggestions of peacemaking personnel from the member states.
Without the long-awaited increase of the number of the Security Council members any reform of UNO remains unaccomplished. The majority of the member states favor the idea, that today's composition Security Council does not answer existent international realities. However, the absence of consensus concerning reforms, doubts regarding the efficiency of this organ on condition of mechanical expansion, contradictory positions as to the instruments of acceptance of the Security Council decisions etc call in question the rapid achievement of practical results.
On the whole the recent crisis of trust to the Organization and its efficiency in tackling urgent problems, which was especially felt in the first half of the last year, stipulated the process of reconsideration by the member states of the role of UNO in the new century. The current discussion of this question brought about no consensus or practical suggestions, however once again it stated the common understanding of the necessity of substantial changes leading to strengthening of the Organization as an effective instrument of modern multilateral relations.
To get over the dead stop the Secretary General Kofi Annan created the Group of prominent high-ranking officials, which were supposed to: analyze modern problems of peace and security; review collective contribution into tackling these problems; assess the functioning of the
main organs of the UNO and their cooperation; develop suggestions concerning the ways of strengthening of UNO through the reformation of its establishments and processes. On the basis of these suggestions the Secretary General is going to put forward recommendations to the General Assembly before its 59th session this coming September.
The 58th session endorsed the resolution calling for activation of work of the General Assembly, which became not a determining, but a positive step in the direction of reformation of the UNO. The document points to higher efficiency of this organ suggesting the thematic orientation of general debates, rescheduling of work of main committees with sessions held in two stages during a calendar year, preparation of more laconic and targeted resolutions, reduction of the volume of documents submitted for consideration of the General Assembly, reduction of daily agenda of the General Assembly etc.
Certainly, it is the small-steps tactics, but the very consensus is more valuable bringing together all UNO members-the biggest and the smallest countries, the richest and poorest interests of which are usually diametrically opposite. This result may look intermediate; however it is the sign of healthy Organization, its capacity to be effective, and it gives hope that these trends will be subsequently developed.
The improvement of UNO's coordination role in attainment of goals set by the Declaration of millennium is the best chance to revive the authority of organization. A number of important agreements has been reached intended to strengthen the role of the General Assembly and ECOSOC in the coordinated and effective realization of decisions of summits and conferences in social and economic branches, including the provisions of the Monterey consensus and Johannesburg plan of actions. The considerable progress has been achieved due to the strategies in which the effort of the member states and international establishments, including those of the UNO, combine with the efforts of private sector, NGOs, funds of academic establishments, cultural organizations and other elements of civil society.
Recently a number of social and economic forums were held, including those on the top and high level with special sessions dedicated to the problems of women, children, and social development, AIDS, as well as World assembly on aging, World summit on steady development, International conference for development financing. These forums helped to shift the accent in the UNO activities and its response to new global challenges. Many delegates of the 58th session in their speeches within the framework of the general political discussion underlined the necessity of carrying on this positive impulse from these forums and implementation of the decisions adopted.
The growing role of the UNO in designing general approaches to tackle the important global social and economic issues needs increase of the role of Economic and Social Council, which was also stressed by the speakers. The annual dialog of ECOSOC with Bretton Woods establishments and WTO became one of the most promising innovations.
Another successful example of UNO's response to global challenges is its activity in the field of AIDS control. The
26th special session of General Assembly on AIDS, conducted on initiative of Ukraine in 2001, backed concerted actions at national, regional and global levels. Ukraine is a participant of the Global fund for AIDS, TB and malaria control which was created in response to the motion introduced by the Secretary General; during its short life the fund promoted over 150 aid programs in more than 90 countries. Due to it over half a million patients and infected persons get proper treatment, and the same number of children orphaned by AIDS can go to school. 40 countries of the world helped to donate $4.7bn for the Fund Programs in 2001-2008.
One-day plenary meeting on subsequent actions intended to implement the decisions of the 26th special session and Declaration about continuation of AIDS control, which preceded the general political discussion at the 58th session of the General Assembly, confirmed the world leaders' support for the joint pandemic control. The high level and number of participants prove the extraordinary actuality of this problem: over 130 speakers including 16 heads of states and governments and about 80 ministers of foreign affairs or health care; they delivered speeches to the packed hall till 2:00 AM.
The Organization still has a number of humanitarian problems on its agenda linked to migration of hundreds of millions of people, and aging of habitants of our planet. The UNO is to monitor the causes of international migration more actively and get ready for the shift in correlation between seniors and young persons in the most regions of the world.
Promotion of human rights is one of fundamental directions of activity of the UNO intended to implement statutory requirements of securing justice and peace in the whole world. Today a substantial progress was achieved in integration of the whole system of UNO in the field of human rights. For example, human rights experts work for peacemaking missions. One of the key aspects of humanitarian emergency actions consists in protection of refugees and displaced persons inside the country.
The UN operates a Commission on Human Rights of which Ukraine is a member during 2003-2005. However, today the efficiency of this organ is low, as elections, character of debates and decision making are motivated by politicos and blocs. Double standards are applied to tackle human rights issues in some countries, and decision making depends not on objective reasons, but on the influence of the particular state.
Such is the overview of the situation in the UNO. The permanent mission of Ukraine concentrates its efforts on the advocacy of the interests and explanation of position of our state on the matters outlined above, and also on
providing for proper participation in the work of the UN organs and strengthening of economic benefits from Ukraine's activity in the UNO.
The high level of transparency shown by Ukraine was instrumental in neutralization of consequences of accusation of our country of violation of the "Iraqi" sanctions of the Security Council; early in 2003 it was a grand issue in the UN domain. Meanwhile, sending of our military contingent to Iraq gave a long-awaited substantial impulse to the improvement of our relations with the USA, and the first positive signals in relation to it also sounded in the UNO.
The last May International conference of UNO in Kyiv and Public forum for promotion of peace in the Near East became noticeable political events. They became the concrete contribution of Ukraine into the settlement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a logical continuation of "Ukrainian suggestions within the context of international diplomatic efforts intended for the peaceful settlement of the Near-East conflict" and promotion of Ukrainian propositions on granting "good services" to the conflicting sides conducting peaceful negotiations. Moreover, this conference was the first high level international forum on which the Quartet Actions Plan was highly praised.
The UN members supported the initiative of Ukraine concerning the introduction of International Day of UNO Peacemakers; the first celebration on May 29, 2003 became a noticeable event in the New York headquarters and was appreciated by the member states representatives and UN Secretariat.
Ukraine continues to be in the lead of coordination of deepening cooperation within the framework of UNO among the GUUAM members. Due to active efforts of our state and Georgia the 58th session of the General Assembly approved without voting the resolution granting GUUAM the status of observer in this organ.
Ukraine stepped up its activity in the economic sector of UNO, in particular within the framework of ECOSOC; the new impetus was given by the vice-chairmanship of the Permanent representative of Ukraine at UNO. It gave excellent chances to influence the decision making.
The actualization of UN Chornobyl
agenda is the key concern in the field of ecology. Creation of the International Chornobyl Research and Information Network became the first result of implementation of the "UN Chornobyl Strategy". Marking the 17th anniversary of the tragedy together with the NGO "World Information Transfer" the 12th international conference "Health and environment: global partners for global decisions" was held with the participation of high UN officials; together with the Permanent Missions of Russian Federation and Byelorussia a traditional Chornobyl charity market was held which was conducted at the UN Headquarters and covered by the UN and local Ukrainian mass media.
Due to the efforts of delegations of Ukraine, Russian Federation and Byelorussia this year the new Chornobyl resolution of the GA UN was authored by 48 delegations, including the majority of the EU countries. Unfortunately, it becomes ever more difficult to convince the delegations of a number of countries, especially the EU and USA, to retain the consideration of Chornobyl issues as a separate point on the agenda, but due to the persistent work of Ukrainian delegation such status will stand up to the 60th session of the GA UN.
The commemoration of the victims of the Famine Terror in Ukraine in 1932-33 during the 58th session became the major achievement of the Permanent Mission.
The common statement of the UN members on the Famine Terror in 1932-33 as an official document of the 58th session of the GA UN was signed by 36 states, including Russia, the USA, Canada, Argentina, CIS countries, except for Armenia. Due to the uncompromising position of some members (which, in particular, considered that UNO was not fit for consideration of historical events) the EU did not sign the document limiting itself to the letter expressing support at the level of the Permanent representative of the delegations of EU countries and its new members. Such letters were received from
the delegations of Australia, Serbia and Montenegro and Israel that is on the whole the Common statement was supported by another 28 countries.
This statement became the first UN document acknowledging and condemning the actions and policy of the totalitarian regime which led to Famine Terror. The word Holodomor was entered into the UNO lexicon as a name for the tragedy of Ukrainian people.
To acquaintance the delegations of the UN members and public with the Holodomor tragedy the Permanent Mission and the World Congress of Ukrainians, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America and other public organizations organized the Week in the Memory of Holodomor Victims in New York (November 10-15). The International conference in the Colombian University with participation of leading Ukrainian and American historians, scientists, public men, representatives of diplomatic corps was held in its framework. In the UN Headquarters the memorial exhibition was opened dedicated to Holodomor and Dr. James E. Mace lectured on the Famine Terror, as well as documentary after the "Harvest of Sorrow" of R. Conquest was demonstrated, and memorial concert took place. The service at the St Patrick's Cathedral in New York attended by about 5,000 persons became the key event of the Week. During the service the special personal messages of President of Ukraine L. Kuchma and President of the USA G. Bush were read.
Memorial celebrations honoring the victims of Holodomor conducted both in the UNO and elsewhere in New York were widely covered by local mass media and resonated in Ukraine. Due to persistent work of Ukrainian delegation the world over the frightful events of the 30s of the last century stopped being the blank spot in history.
As well as each of 191 UN members, Ukraine believes that in future its hopes expressed on the world most representative forum will be heard and will meet effective response. Fully realizing that the strength of Organization consists in close cooperation of its members, organs and establishments, our country makes every effort to tackle the most urgent problems now.
Taking floor in the general political discussion at the 58th to the session of the GA UN President of Ukraine L. Kuchma underlined that there is no and there can not be any alternative to the UNO as a unique global organization. And today the member states demonstrate their ability to operate concertedly and responsibly under conditions of difficult challenges and global threats.
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