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Speech by Amb. Valenzuela on EU-US cooperation in a reformed UN
Sumario: Speech by Amb. Valenzuela on EU-US cooperation in a reformed UN (1 June 2005: Washington, DC)
Speech by Ambassador Fernando M. Valenzuela, Head of the European Commission Delegation to the United Nations, "EU-US cooperation in a reformed UN", at the European Institute, Washington, DC
EU-US co-operation in a reformed UN
- As we have heard from many of this morning's speakers, the urgency of fulfilling the ambitions and commitments of the Millennium Declaration has increased steadily since we adopted it in 2000. Events on both sides of the Atlantic and thinking in our capitals since that time have underlined the inextricable links between reducing poverty, increasing security and spreading the foundations for democratic, rights-based societies. In Europe and America the belief that the UN system needs a
radical overhaul is a commonplace. My remarks are based on the simple but vital premise that if the EU and the US can devote their substantial concerted diplomatic power and resources to the September Summit over the next three months, they will reap the benefits of its success for decades to come.
- It is in the EU's "collective DNA" that states working together can achieve things that go far beyond what even the most powerful country can achieve on its own. For the US - the world's most powerful nation - weighing the costs and benefits of working with others has not always produced such clear conclusions. But if the US is still what Madeleine Albright called "the indispensable nation", I would contend that common transatlantic interests in the world still also form "the indispensable
- Ever since the UN was established, co-operation between Europe and the United States has stood at the heart of the world order, providing the horse-power for economic growth, the political ballast for global institutions, most of the financial support for development in poor countries, and from time to time the military security that kept the peace.
- If America recognises that she cannot cope alone with the threats to her prosperity and security - drugs, organised crime, terrorism, epidemic disease, terror technology, collapsing and already failed states, dispossession and alienation - then it should be clear that Europe is still America's natural partner in fashioning responses to these threats, and that the United Nations is the natural forum through which to channel our combined energies.
Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance
- For our part, the EU has already expressed, through commitments as well as rhetoric, its determination to do its utmost to secure a successful outcome to the Summit. The collective development assistance targets fixed by the EU last week will ensure that additional funding of $25 billion will be available for the world's poorest countries as from 2010. And the long promised goal of 0.7% of GNI will be delivered by the EU as a whole by 2015. We hope that these commitments will inspire
our developed country partners to increase their own investments in development.
- Investing in development is about much more than reducing poverty. Kofi Annan's Report underlines, eloquently and rightly, that the challenge of combating disease, illiteracy and deprivation is inseparable from that of updating our collective security system so that we can better prevent terrorism, seriously halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and more quickly bring peace to zones of conflict.
- The EU and US agree that trade liberalisation, including by preferential market access for the Least Developed Countries, and aid for trade are indispensable elements of the global development agenda and of national efforts. While multilateral trade policy is for the WTO, better coherence in global economic policy making and in particular increased and improved aid for trade are necessary to ensure that the development potential of the WTO Doha round it realised
- The EU and US agree on the need to manage environmental challenges, but have not always seen eye to eye on the best way to do so - most famously climate change. But I am hopeful that as we already start to look beyond 2012, beyond Kyoto targets, and the scientific evidence of the need for decisive action mounts up, we shall see more of the contribution which can and must be made by the US and by other countries not yet active in the efforts against climate change. There is a growing
constituency here making the link between the environmental and the security dividends that could flow from reducing this country's dependence on oil - whether through emissions reducing technologies or state-led regulation. But environmental challenges are more than climate change - biodiversity, desertification, deforestation and sustainable consumption and production patterns are equally challenging issues that we should address together. The EU for its part will continue to press for better
multilateral responses to environmental problems. We think that strengthened environmental governance, through the creation of a consolidated UN Environmental Organisation should now be considered, if we are effectively to deal with this most global of challenges.
Peacekeeping/peacebuilding and terrorism
- Moving now to matters which are at the institutional centre of today's UN reform debate, the EU welcomes that Kofi Annan has placed human rights and the rule of law right alongside development and security as one of the three shared foundations of a renewed UN system. The EU and US have a clear common interest in confronting together the institutional challenge of replacing the discredited Commission on Human Rights, a body as old as the UN itself, with a new Human Rights
Council which is serious, effective and legitimate. The granting of greater power and resources to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will also be essential if we are genuinely to move from an era of lawmaking to one of implementation and action. We also support the notion of a new Fund to help assist countries in establishing and consolidating their democracies.
- The EU and US must also work together to give effect to the emerging norm of a "responsibility to protect" populations at risk of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. From the haunting spectre of the Rwandan genocide eleven years ago to the situation in Darfur today, we have a duty to substitute reliance on all too elusive 'political will' with clear principles on which prompt and decisive action must be based.
- As by far the world's two largest donors of humanitarian aid, where the EU and US continue to use the principles and practices of good humanitarian donorship as the basis for their work in the field, the benefits for the worlds most vulnerable are both concrete and immense. Action in relation to the Indian Ocean tsunami is a testament to this, as is the recent joint EC-US mission to Liberia and Guinea. This co-operation in a multi-lateral context at the UN works very well in the
policy discussions taking place.
- The EU and the US have had their differences regarding civil-military co-operation in humanitarian operations. We consider it essential to maintain a clear distinction between humanitarian and military activities so as to avoid an erosion of the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence. This distinction is also necessary in protecting aid workers at a time when they are increasingly coming under attack. We will continue our frank and open dialogue with the US on these
questions in the same mutual spirit of respect and seek practical solutions in the field where necessary.
- Mr Guéhenno and Mr Rupérez will speak in a moment on the subjects of peacekeeping and countering terrorism. I shall confine myself to a brief mention of the proposed UN Peace Building Commission, which the EU believes would fulfil a vital function in bridging the gap between efforts required in the immediate aftermath of conflicts and the long-term sustainable development of rebuilt, stabilised states. The EU has longstanding, worldwide and sustained experience with peacebuilding,
and the European Commission in particular is looking forward to participating fully in the work of an eventual PBC, as a major actor in this field.
- We in Europe know beyond question that most of the things we want from the UN are more likely to be achieved if we can work with America. This knowledge stretches from quintessential global challenges like better environmental management to regional issues like the Middle East. But it is almost equally the case that most of the things that America wants are easier to accomplish if Europe is a partner. From common aims in the fight against HIV/AIDS, from concerted action on Lebanon to
the preparation of the forthcoming international conference on Iraq, the past year has provided many examples of productive EU-US cooperation, each time made with or through the UN.
- In 1961, Kennedy addressed the United Nations in the aftermath of the murder of its Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold. He said then "to permit each great power to decide...its own case would entrench the Cold War in the headquarters of peace. As one of the great powers, we reject it. We prefer world law, in the age of self determination". The EU shares Kennedy's conviction. And we also know that we need the US to join with us in that conviction if the United Nations is to remain an
organisation worthy of our dedication and respect.
- Ref: SP05-420EN
- Fuente UE: Comisión Europea
- Foro NU:
- Fecha: 1/6/2005
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