Hoppa yfir valmynd
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Informal meeting of the plenary on the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes

Fifty-ninth Session of the United Nations
General Assembly

New York, January 31, 2005

Mr. President,

Thank you for convening this timely meeting. The number of speakers in this stage of consultation on the report of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change highlights the importance of this matter.

As is the case with most other delegations we are still in the process of studying the analysis and recommendations of the report. Today, I would however like to make brief preliminary remarks.

We believe that we now have a historic opportunity to undertake meaningful and long awaited reform. That would in no small way be a reinforcement of the idea of multilateralism and, if genuine and farsighted, will equip the UN to deal more effectively with threats to global security.

The Panel’s report gives us, the UN member states, a comprehensive basis for making the right decisions on UN reform. We do appreciate that meaningful change will take time to implement. But key decisions for the future can and must be taken rapidly to initiate the process.


We welcome the clear link that is made between development and security in the report, which underlines further the need to address these two issues in tandem. Many speakers in this debate have said that there will be no security without development and there will be no development without security. We concur.


We subscribe to the High-Level Panel’s analysis of the threats we are faced with. They are clear and present, they are growing, and they are much too serious and complex for any one nation to face alone.


Our decisions in September must include simultaneous action. Please allow me, Mr. President, to highlight the following:


  1. For many years we have spoken for a more representative and more legitimate Security Council. However, the effectiveness of the Council must not be compromised and comprehensive reform of the Council must place emphasis on improved working methods, not only the composition. We have to ensure that smaller countries have a reasonable opportunity to take part and that emphasis on the composition of the Security Council will not hold hostage progress in other important areas.


  1. Revitalization of the General Assembly is one of the key elements of a successful reform. We welcome the proposals by the panel to better conceptualize and shorten the agenda. We believe, however, that further efforts are needed, not least from us the Member States.


  1. The international community must agree on a more consistent and coherent approach to peacebuilding, with a focus on building key institutions, functions and capacities of a well-functioning state. The proposal to establish a Peacebuilding Commission is innovative and deserves further consideration including on its placement and structure.

  2. The United Nations must not fail to protect innocent civilians. When the responsibilities of a state towards its people are manifestly ignored, the international community cannot remain inactive.  The international community, including the Security Council, must react emphatically to major violations of human rights. The ability and the determination to act will impact directly on the credibility of the United Nations.

  3. We need to strengthen international cooperation based on adherence to and, if necessary, development of new legally binding commitments to prevent the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, to combat terrorism, and to fight organized crime. We welcome the proposal by the panel to develop a comprehensive strategy to fight against terrorism and to achieve consensus on an overall definition of terrorism.


Mr. President, 


The UN Summit in September 2005 and the comprehensive report from the High-Level Panel provide us with the opportunity and tools to take decisive action.  Wide-ranging reform of the United Nations is essential if it is to play the leading role in addressing the major threats to our security for the future.  If effective reform does not happen then there is a serious danger that the UN will drift towards irrelevance and that problems will be addressed in other fora or bilaterally.  Iceland is determined to participate constructively and decisively with you and other delegations in making good use of this opportunity.


Thank you Mr. President. 


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