Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland
to the United Nations
informal Plenary Session of the General Assembly
on the report on the Millenium Project and the report of the High-level Panel on Threates, Challenges and Change New York, 23 February, 2005
Like others before me I would like to begin by complimenting you for your able leadership in steering these informal consultations. Iceland has already expressed its preliminary views on both reports, which allows me to be brief today.
We commend the High Level Panel’s over-arching and illuminating analysis of security threats in our time, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, poverty, disease and transnational crime. We support strongly the presentation of the close interplay between democracy, human rights, good governance and development as crucial elements in a joint approach to threats to our security.
The successful establishment by the High Level Panel of paradigms and definitions through which to address threats to global security is of immense value. It is to be hoped that these, including the elements of a definition of terrorism, can become cornerstones of a common conceptual approach to our shared responsibility.
The proposals relating to the structure of UN institutions provide a basis for real progress. The establishment of a Peacebuilding Commission would at last give institutional support to what is one of the most important roles of the UN – the building and preservation of peace.
On the subject of the Security Council enlargement, we must grasp the chance to make the Security Council itself more representative while increasing its efficiency and effectiveness. Iceland has repeatedly said that certain countries should be given permanent seats on the Security Council. It is therefore evident that Iceland is not in favour of model B. Iceland has also already expressed some concerns that both models proposed have negative implications for access by smaller states to the Security Council, particularly through the reorganisation of regional groups.
Smaller states make up around half of the UN member states. I would like to reiterate that the participation of smaller states is an important aspect of the legitimacy of the Security Council.
Iceland supports the view that the Human Rights machinery of the UN needs a thorough overhaul and greater support.
The two reports provide high-quality input into the report which Secretary-General Annan will deliver to us in March. This could be a blue-print for the most far-reaching reform of the international security system since the establishment of the United Nations.
The scale of the challenge which we face this year is clear. It is also an opportunity. But like all opportunities, this is one that can be missed. It can be missed despite the painstaking work of the High Level Panel and the Millenium Project. It can be missed despite the commitment and determination of the Secretary General.
It is up to us, the member states, to build constructively on this input to realign the UN and the international system to create a more secure world. Iceland is ready to make its contribution in a process which will inevitably involve give and take from each and every member of the UN.
Thank you Mr. President