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Holy See and U.N. Reform

"Much Work Remains in Many Different Areas"

NEW YORK, OCT. 5, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the address of Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, delivered Monday to the General Assembly's session on the "Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization."

* * *

Madam President,

As we consider the secretary-general's report on the work of the Organization, my delegation would like to thank him, as well as his staff, for their work in the field and on this comprehensive report.

As is often said, "reform" is not an event but rather a process, and this year marks an important occasion to ensure that these processes continue. To this end, we welcome the secretary-general's efforts in continuing to press for reform. In particular, the creation of a mediation support capacity within the Department of Political Affairs is an example of how existing structures can be successfully modified to address global needs. However, despite the progress made, much work remains in many different areas.

We share the secretary-general's views on the importance of conflict prevention and responsibility to protect. At the same time, we would like to stress the need to interconnect more explicitly and more effectively the areas of security and development. The present lack of progress in the fields of development aid and trade reform threatens everyone's security and well being. By contrast, the fulfillment of the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals] promises economic progress, the alleviation of poverty, a reduction in terrorism and increased social harmony.

At recent conferences and meetings on disarmament, my delegation has expressed its deep concern for the stagnation of the multilateral negotiations on disarmament and nonproliferation. The whole U.N. system should grasp the opportunity to acknowledge the links between disarmament, development and humanitarian concerns, and commit itself to strategies and programs to reduce the demand for arms and armed violence.

In the area of humanitarian assistance, the establishment of the Central Emergency Response Fund and the innovative cluster coordination system are important modifications to the existing humanitarian assistance system. My delegation looks forward to closely following their developments. In coordinating humanitarian relief, the United Nations should continue to play a leading role in balancing the autonomy of civil society actors with the need to provide effective aid to the most vulnerable.

My delegation agrees with the report that a great deal of progress has been achieved in the fields of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. Nevertheless, while the pandemic seems to be under control in certain countries, many other countries appear to be almost helpless in tackling the spread of HIV/AIDS. We would do well to face this issue with more focused initiatives, learning, for example, from the specific action taken in the field of foreign debt with the highly indebted poorest countries (HIPCs). The concentration of our financial, logistical and human resources would enable the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS to put an end to this scourge and consolidate the hope that humankind will overcome the pandemic worldwide.

Madam President, while greater action is needed to ensure that all the commitments of 2005 are fulfilled, it is important to understand the breadth of the commitments that were made. The World Summit Outcome Document was a carefully negotiated and well-crafted document that sought to balance strongly held views. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that when implementing this document, we ensure that respect for this delicate balance be maintained. To this end, it is important to reaffirm that "ensuring access to reproductive health by 2015," as referenced in Paragraph 24, was seen by our leaders as a means of achieving the target of reducing maternal mortality rather than being a target in and of itself.

Finally, it is our sincere hope that this session of the General Assembly will continue to move from commitments to action, and the United Nations can continue the process of transforming itself into an institution ready for the challenges of the 21st century.

Thank you, Madam President.

[Original text in English; adapted]

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