I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, the associated countries of Cyprus, Malta and Turkey and Iceland, EFTA country belonging to the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
First of all, let me say how pleased I am that these Resolutions have been brought together under a single agenda item on the general topic of cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations. By bringing together these Resolutions, which deal with each organization individually, we shall be able to hold a single, comprehensive debate on the subject, rather than a number of specific debates, which would prevent us from working out an overall United Nations policy. This is a step forward, a move towards revitalizing the General Assembly.
The subject of cooperation with regional organizations, Mr. President, is cropping up more and more in the various United Nations bodies. In an increasing number of its operations on the ground, the United Nations is calling on the services of the relevant regional organization or organizations, amongst other things because in certain areas these organizations are able to provide expertise to complement that of the UN.
I should like to thank the Secretary-General for the individual reports, which he has carefully drawn up on cooperation between the United Nations and the organizations concerned. These reports give us an overall view of how relations are developing, highlighting strengths, but also weaknesses. They are undoubtedly the ideal way of helping us to improve our cooperation programmes.
Allow me to digress briefly, Mr. President, to dwell on those regional organizations, which have been working especially closely with the United Nations in recent years.
As regards the Organization of African Unity, the Secretary-General’s report rightly points out that the programme of cooperation between the UN and the OAU is an ambitious one. We are pleased that that the programme has not only been followed up, but that its scope has also been broadened and defined more accurately. Given that over a third of the countries in Africa are currently involved in armed conflict or have been recently, it is extremely encouraging to see that consultations between the two organizations are now a matter of routine. What is more, the OAU is itself in the process of transforming itself into the African Union, a development warmly welcomed by the European Union.
Coordination between the UN and the OAU on conflict prevention and linkage of their action on conflict resolution is beginning to take shape. This is a considerable achievement, although there is still much to be done, especially in the operational field. The two joint peacekeeping operations, which they are currently engaged in, give grounds for guarded optimism. In any case, the UN should capitalize on these two experiments and give the OAU more systematic support to build up its capability to respond to political/military crises.
Africa has given fresh impetus to the development of the continent with its “New Partnership for African Development” and we are glad of it. This is not just an African approach to solving African problems, but also an initiative with clear objectives, which recognizes that democracy, openness, good governance, the rule of law and human rights are fundamental components of development. Africa remains a top Union priority: we are its largest donor and its most important trading partner. The strategic partnership between Europe and Africa was reaffirmed and consolidated in April 2000 at the Africa-Europe summit in Cairo. The European Union is gratified by the success of the Africa-Europe mid-term ministerial conference, organized following the summit, which was held in Brussels in October 2001 under the auspices of the OAU and the European Union. It is also pleased that progress has been made on implementing the Cairo Action Plan, and will do its bit to see that the momentum can be continued within the existing mechanisms in the run-up to the next Africa Europe summit, scheduled for 2003.
Considering the implication and investment of the Member States of the European Union in the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, you will understand the importance we attach to its cooperation with the United Nations. The OSCE has traditionally taken a pragmatic approach to relations with the international organizations working in its field. Early this week, there was a ministerial meeting of the OSCE Member States to consider, amongst other things, progress on the Platform for Cooperative Security, adopted in Lisbon in 1996, which is designed to secure closer cooperation between the OSCE and other international organizations on the ground. As far as the United Nations is concerned, this year we have once again found ourselves working together more closely and energetically. I could quote the example of cooperation in the Balkans, Georgia or Tajikistan, where conflict-prevention, early warning, crisis management and rehabilitation measures have been carried to a successful conclusion.
At that same Ministerial meeting, the OSCE adopted a decision on combating terrorism aimed, inter alia, at ensuring implementation of the United Nations’ decisions in that area. It also undertook to intensify and develop its collaboration with the United Nations in combating terrorism. In addition, the two organizations can optimize the synergies existing in other spheres of action, such as human rights or the enhancement of democratic values in general. The OSCE and the United Nations maintain practical and effective collaboration, the continuity of which will be ensured by the two Member States, which will preside over the OSCE in 2002 and 2003.
The European Union attaches great importance to enhanced cooperation between the UN and national parliaments through the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It welcomes the initiatives taken by the two organizations to allow parliaments to contribute to major events organized by the UN and the action taken by parliaments, under IPU leadership, to support or supplement the work of the UN.
The European Union fully endorses the declarations of the Millennium Assembly and the Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments on the need for closer relations between the UN and the IPU. It is grateful to the Secretary-General for the interesting recommendations contained in his report on cooperation between the two organizations. The European Union regrets that, despite clear consensus amongst its members, the General Assembly has not been able to take the decision to grant the IPU a different status. It hopes that in the near future, the General Assembly will take practical measures to strengthen cooperation between the two organizations, including by grant the IPU the status it deserves.
The European Union is pleased that cooperation between the United Nations and the International Organisation de la Francophonie has continued to deepen over the last year. This cooperation now covers a growing number of areas of activity of mutual interest to both organizations. It is marked by a healthy awareness of their respective comparative advantages and by a constant desire for complementarity in the political and economic, social and cultural arenas.
The Union was pleased that the Bamako Symposium held in November 2000 on the Practices of Democracy involved the UN in its proceedings. The Union welcomed this cooperation in promoting democracy, and particularly welcomed the fact that a range of measures were adopted in March 2001 with a view to strengthening cooperation between the International Organisation de la Francophonie and the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat.
The United Nations and the Council of Europe have many values in common, including the promotion of human rights, pluralist democracy and stability. Cooperation between these organizations makes sense when you consider the expertise acquired by the Council of Europe in areas such as human rights, democratic institutions and the rule of law. As you know, the Member States of the European Union also invest enormously in the work of the Council of Europe and we therefore regard such cooperation with great enthusiasm.
This cooperation has been demonstrated through a number of fruitful initiatives. Allow me to mention the efforts made by the Council in assisting Member States in ratifying and implementing the Rome Statute; the Council of Europe’s contribution to the organization of the General Assembly Special Session on Children next year; or indeed the role which it played in UNMIK’s capacity building programme and particularly its contribution to the preparations for and observation of the elections in Kosovo three weeks ago. In the light of these past experiences, the European Union is convinced that this cooperation should be intensified and developed to the greatest possible extent.
We are very pleased to note that cooperation between the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference has continued this year. By participating in one another’s work, both organizations have been able to intensify their cooperation in areas of mutual interest. High-level meetings held periodically between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the organization of the Islamic Conference should be continued.
This is also how the European Union sees cooperation between the United Nations and the League of Arab States. We are happy to note that the two organizations have remained in close contact on many questions covering a number of themes, whether they be political, economic or cultural. It is therefore of the first importance that the League of Arab States should intensify its relations and contacts yet further and improve its mechanism for consultation with United Nations’ specialized programmes and agencies. Contacts between the United Nations and the League should also continue at a high level with regard to exchanges of views and information on regional questions of mutual interest.
The European Union is most grateful to the Secretary General of the United Nations for arranging the Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty last month, in his capacity as the depositary of the Treaty. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization has given firm support to the United Nations’ efforts, in particular in the field of international security, arms control and disarmament. The European Union therefore welcomes the adoption of a partnership agreement between the Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO and the United Nations, and the conclusion of cooperation agreements with United Nations’ specialized agencies and programmes.
Mr. President, allow me to address the important work, both past and future, of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The European Union has always attached the greatest importance to the activities of that organization, particularly given the risk that such arms might fall into the hands of terrorists. It welcomes the decision taken by the OPCW in May 2001 to approve the text of an agreement on relations between that organization and the United Nations, an agreement which the General Assembly approve last September. The European Union hopes that mutually beneficial cooperation will be established between the two organizations for our mutual good.
The European Union encourages the United Nations Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum to take the necessary steps to promote and extend cooperation between their secretariats in areas of mutual interest. This cooperation should also of course extend to the United Nations’ specialized agencies and programmes, with which the Pacific Islands Forum and its associated institutions should initiate, maintain and increase their consultations and programmes.
We welcome the role played by the Economic Cooperation Organization in the economic development of its Member States, and also the practical examples of cooperation between the Organization and the United Nations, which it provides. In the light of their common objective, which is to promote international cooperation by addressing problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian nature, both organizations must pursue and deepen this cooperation, not only in areas where collaboration is already effective but also in those which might profit from regional stability and from cooperation between Member States of the Organization.
It is our duty to intensify our dialogue with regional organizations, and to explore areas where they constitute the ideal complement to the activities of the United Nations. Regular exchanges of views and information can only enrich the work of the United Nations.
Thank you, Mr. President.