Statement by H.E.
Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
General Assembly: Informal meeting of the plenary
to continue an
exchange of views on the recommendations contained
in the report of the
High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
New York, 31 January
My delegation would like to congratulate you on
convening this informal meeting of the General Assembly for an
exchange of views on the Report of the High Level Panel on Threats,
Challenges and Change.
The recommendations of the Report clearly involve the
streamlining and adaptation of the structure and working methods of
this Organisation. This is a theme that must be considered in the
wider context of the reform of global governance as a whole.
My delegation takes the floor, moved by the
expectations that the Holy See in these last years has placed in the
primary role of international law in promoting the peaceful
coexistence and the well being of the world’s peoples, and in the
role of the United Nations as their guarantor and driving force.
The document under examination is found at the agenda item relating
to the follow up to the Millennium Declaration rather than to the
points concerning the reform of the Charter or the strengthening of
the UN system, as it was for other recent documents. Such a position
seems to indicate that the Report is to be considered a
comprehensive and programmatic document, inclined to have a greater
impact in the long term.
With regard to the substantial outline and possible structural
changes, the Report suggests an internal restructuring exercise
involving the Security Council and the General Assembly; the
enhancement of the Secretariat as the principal interlocutor; and
the reform of ECOSOC through a slightly newer lens, that of the
linkage of development and security. My delegation finds the
treatment of this last theme particularly interesting, because it
applies not only to the relationship between conflict and poverty,
but also to the causes of terrorism, the promotion of social rights
and the struggle against poverty and unemployment as preventative
The Holy See therefore welcomes the much needed
efforts to find adequate criteria for Security Council membership
and the updating of the UN electoral system, and is confident that
the important and thorough debate of these days will help to create
and adopt the formula best suited to reflect the democratic,
representative and inclusive character of this Organisation.
Among the concrete elements to help stimulate a
rethinking of the UN, the Report contains a concept of security that
in many ways coincides with the Holy See’s views on the subject,
since it promotes concepts of foresight and prevention, and not just
those of protection and intervention. So my delegation is pleased to
join the support already expressed by many speakers here for a
further discussion on the establishment of a Peacebuilding
Commission, as it is proposed in the Report, and on its appropriate
location within the various UN bodies.
The outline of the Charter, in its purposes and
principles, or rather the primary law of the Organisation is not put
in doubt by the Report; on the contrary it remains intact. In the
past, when the Holy See addressed reform, it always recognised the
irreplaceable role of the principles which are the basis for the
UN’s functioning, such as those found in Article 2 of the Charter,
apt constantly to improve the response to the ever changing
international situation, and to lead to a legally binding framework
for the peaceful and equitable resolution of international disputes.
For this reason, the Holy See is pleased to add its
voice to those commending the Panel for taking up the question of
the use of force and the right to self-defence. In this sense, we
hope that there will be further discussion with regard to the use of
force along the lines expressed in recommendation 56 of the Report,
whose criteria of legitimacy are particularly well-conceived.
The Panel declares itself in favour of maintaining
intact Article 51 of the Charter on the right to self-defence. In
this connection, my delegation would like to restate that legitimate
defence must place particular focus on people and their safety.
Every state has a responsibility to protect its own people but, when
it is unable or unwilling to do so, that responsibility should be
taken up by the wider international community. Many times, during
recent conflicts, the Holy See has had occasion to repeat this
conviction, when “humanitarian intervention” was talked of as a kind
of legitimate defence, and such an intervention was presented as an
obligation on the international community in order to guarantee the
survival of individuals and communities in the face of the action or
inaction of a state or group of states.
It is my delegation’s belief that the proper reform
of these institutions will invest the UN with the necessary
authority, credibility and legitimacy to act more firmly for the
peace and well being of all.
Thank you, Mr President.