Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson
Permanent Representative of Iceland
to the United Nations
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS OF THE PLENARY
ON THE PREPARATION FOR THE 2005 SUMMIT
New York, 22 June 2005
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
First of all let me congratulate the President of the General Assembly and the facilitators for a well constructed draft outcome document. It provides a good basis for a decision, but it needs more ambition in certain areas and it has to be more action oriented. I will not speak at length as I understand this session to have a very practical purpose of indicating exactly where member states see a need for changes to the present draft – without becoming a drafting session. Allow me therefore to take up the following points only.
Development: Iceland supports the integrated approach grounded in the Monterrey consensus. We support the reaffirmation in the outcome document that each country takes primary responsibility for its own economic and social development. We recognize the role that ODA can play as well as the successful overhaul of the world trade regime through conclusion of the Doha round. We also agree that a key element for successful long term development is good governance and the rule of law. Iceland supports the emphasis on the needs of Africa, which should be urgently addressed. We also support the need for special attention to Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC’s) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Environmental sustainability: We fundamentally rely on ecological systems and resources for our existence and development. We must guard against the physical degradation of the environment and the depletion of living natural resources which must be harvested responsibly and sustainably. In relation to marine resources, it is the firm position of Iceland that sustainable and responsible harvesting is best managed by coastal states with a direct stake in the future of the resources. It should also be recalled that marine resources are one of the principal sources of protein in many developing countries and it is thus essential to manage them sustainably in order to safeguard and expand this vital source of food. When discussing issues like marine fisheries in the context of “environmental priorities” this should not be forgotten.
The importance of access to energy is mentioned in the Secretary-General's report but does not seem to be adaquately reflected in your draft outcome document. We believe that it will not be possible to reduce poverty effectively unless radical measures are taken to improve access to energy. Around 2 billion people at present do not have access to electricity. Measures that should be considered include more efficient use of energy resources, the development of new technologies and increasing the share of renewable energy resources. Attention should be paid to the development of new energy carriers, such as hydrogen, which could help developing countries leap-frog their way into the modern industrial economy. Technological innovation in the energy sector deserves the backing of the international community, not least because it can help countries mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Peacebuilding Commission: We welcome strongly the proposal to establish a Peacebuilding Commission. We believe that we still have time to work further on the necessary modalities for the operation of the Commission with the aim to take a decision at the Summit and we welcome the work done by Denmark and Tanzania. We should ensure that we have as clear a set of modalities as possible by the summit. Iceland also welcomes the establishment of a Peacebuilding Support Office in the Secretariat.
The Human Rights machinery of the UN: We support the proposal to elevate the Commission on Human Rights into a standing Human Rights Council. Ideally it should be a Charter body, but the priority should be to get it up and running. We should be careful though to make sure that we create something better and we welcome the efforts made by Switzerland to facilitate the discussions on the creation of the Council.
Responsibility to protect: One of the clearest messages which the Secretary General has given us is that the "Responsibility to protect" extends to all of us and that it is a responsibility that cannot be ignored. The responsibility to protect entails a sense of urgency. We believe that the wording in the outcome document should include this concept of urgency and we fully support the views expressed by the representative of Canada yesterday on the elements to be reflected in the leaders’ declaration.
I would also, Mr. President, simply like to state our total agreement with what my U.K colleague said a few minutes ago about your recognition, in your draft outcome document, of the need for gender equality.
Terrorism: If the struggle against terrorism is to be successful it is essential for us to have a clear definition. The Secretary-General endorsed the clear definition proposed by the High Level Panel, which Iceland supports. He specifically urged us to set aside debates on state terrorism, which is already regulated by international law.
Disarmament and non-proliferation: The draft on Disarmament and non-proliferation lacks ambition. We need to be more precise on deadlines. We should stress our support for the continued maintenance of the integrity and authority of the NPT in all its aspects and turn goals and commitments into action.
Management: Iceland supports the proposals for increasing efficiency in the Secretariat, but believes that there is still room for making them more ambitious and precise. It is our obligation to use this unique opportunity to make a meaningful reform of UN management.
The issue of General Assembly revitalization has been on our agenda for quite a while. Iceland welcomes your draft resolution text and we support its early adoption in a separate decision before the Summit with a view to enhancing the role of the GA within the UN.
Security Council: Finally Mr. Chairman, I would like to support the outcome document’s endorsement of comprehensive reform of the Security Council. Iceland has already made its support for the proposals of the G4 known. The Icelandic position on the working methods of the Council is also well known and we fully support the views expressed by Singapore yesterday on the issue.
In conclusion, Mr. President
You have provided us with a very useful draft that has brought us closer to a successful Summit. Iceland will lend its active support aiming at making the UN an organisation which can continue to be at the nexus of the multilateral system.