Interventions: Statements of the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See

61st session of the UN General Assembly

Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit:
Report of the Secretary-General (A/61/836)

New York, 17 April 2007

Madam President,

The Holy See welcomes this opportunity to consider publicly, in a plenary of the General Assembly, the recent Report of the Secretary-General in the light of the recommendations of the High-level Panel on UN system-wide Coherence made last November.

Over the last sixty years, in spite of the shortcomings of which we are all aware, the UN has grown from a mechanism for keeping the peace into a multifaceted organ for the promotion of peace, development and human rights on a scale unknown in history. It is internationally recognized, effective in many areas of its mandates, and rightly retains much of its prestige among ordinary people.

Along side this, we must also admit that there is a universally acknowledged need for ongoing reform and greater coherence, but neither of these elements, whether as processes or goals, has been achieved satisfactorily, in spite of numerous attempts to do so.

Even recent attempts to reform the UN have not been all that we could have wished for. The Human Rights Council, the UN’s new human rights machinery – a vital part of the UN’s mandate and an important source of its global moral impact – still leaves much to be desired, due not only to inherited and subsequent inefficiencies but also to an apparent disintegration of international political will that would replace mere self-interest with the dispassionate and effective application of truly people-centred human rights policies. Many parts of the UN do deliver such policies to the great benefit of many individuals and groups, but much could be improved.

Secondly, my delegation views positively the employment of the pilot schemes under way to test the “One United Nations” approach in developing countries where many branches of the UN currently work side by side. The peoples of the countries which host most UN development initiatives urgently need a more efficient and coordinated UN on the ground.

Thirdly, the UN’s environmental machinery has been a Cinderella for too long and, as the world faces unprecedented changes in climate coupled with demands for energy and the need for sustainable development, the Holy See would strongly support an independent and authoritative assessment of the current UN system of environmental governance. Such an assessment would be extremely timely in the present circumstances.

Finally, my delegation will continue to follow carefully the question of coherence regarding humanitarian assistance. On those occasions when many lives can be saved or lost by the quality of organization brought to bear, the UN can play an essential role in coordinating such assistance as maybe quickly available, although this will surely be made swifter and more effective when done in collaboration with those on the ground who know the terrain.

Thank you, Madam President.


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