New York, October 2003
General Assembly Debate of the Follow-Up to the Outcome of the Millennium Summit and
Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization (Items 60 and 10)
Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
It is with great pleasure that the Icelandic delegation congratulates you on your election as President of the General Assembly.
We thank the Secretary General for his reports on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and on the work of the organization which reflect the challenges the United Nations organization faces in a turbulent and unpredictable world and in fact together cover the entire agenda of the United Nations. In his introduction to the latter report, the Secretary General correctly pointed out that
"The United Nations is not an end in itself. Rather, it is an instrument for achieving common ends."
In the general debate at the beginning of this 58th session we heard a resounding message: Now is the time to reform the United Nations system and to ensure that it will serve contemporary and future generations in an effective and relevant manner.
Iceland welcomes and supports the proposal of the Secretary General to establish a high level panel of eminent persons to make the necessary recommendations for the future of our common organization. Now we need men and women of wisdom and experience, of vision and courage, to secure the future of the United Nations.
They will need to address, for example the following three points:
► Firstly, the role and the status of the General Assembly as the chief policy making body of the United Nations.
► Secondly, the need for a more open, better representative Security Council, reflecting the views of the member states of the United Nations, nearly sixty years after its foundation.
► Thirdly, by adopting the best in information technology, the United Nations will not only be a more efficient and open organization, it can also help in bridging the information divide in the world.
We may not realize in our daily work at the United Nations that this is an organization in constant flux. Some changes are minor adjustments; others are milestones, like the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. The United Nations must continue adjusting to an ever-changing world.
The objectives ahead are clear. What is now on the agenda is implementation. We align ourselves with the statement of the European Union on the Report on the implementation of the Millennium Declaration and in particular, that the values we seek are best guaranteed through effective multilateralism.
Let us not wait - but heed the Secretary-General's call for these urgent and timely changes and reform. In this connection I would like to refer to the words of Mr. Halldór Ásgrímsson, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, in his recent address to this assembly when he said that we must craft for ourselves a United Nations that is task oriented, representative, focused and co-ordinated.
Iceland believes that the opportunity is here, and that the moment is now.
New York, October 2003