2005.04.07: The Report of the Secretary-General:“In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights for All”

H.E. Ambassador Kim Sam-hoon, Permanent Representative, Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly

Mr. President,

On behalf of my delegation, I would like to commend the dedication of the Secretary-General in producing his report entitled “In Larger Freedom: Towards Security, Development and Human Rights for All.”

We believe that the report will lay the groundwork for a negotiated package of decisions that world leaders will take at the High-level Plenary Meeting in September. It is now the duty of Member States to translate the recommendations in the report into actions that will enable all people to live in larger freedom, leading toward peace, prosperity and progress.

The Secretary-General rightly emphasized the importance of consensus as the basis for decisions at the High-level Plenary Meeting. The objective of those decisions should be to make this august body more flexible, effective and efficient in addressing the pressing needs of the global community. Accordingly, Member States should refrain from rushing to any decision that might divide them. Broad consensus is the only way to ensure the legitimacy and full implementation of the decisions that will come out of our serious efforts this year.

Freedom from Want

Mr. President,

We share the Secretary-General’s view that for the first time ever, the international community has the resources and knowledge necessary to realize the goal of universal freedom from want. Hence, our debate on development issues should be focused on how to faithfully carry out existing commitments based on shared responsibility and accountability, as agreed in Monterrey and Johannesburg.

As an emerging donor with unique development experience, the Republic of Korea has intensified its efforts to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries. My Government is now working out a long-term plan to increase and improve ODA within our means.

The seven clusters of public investments and policies for national development proposed by the Secretary-General should be developed in a balanced way to reduce poverty effectively. Given that 70 percent of people in extreme poverty live in rural areas, a renewed focus should be placed on rural and agricultural development.

Successful completion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations, combined with assistance in building the export competitiveness of developing states, is essential to facilitating development. In this regard, we look forward to a successful outcome at the upcoming WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong in December 2005, with the interests of developing countries, and in particular the least developed countries, duly considered.

The Republic of Korea supports the launching of a series of “quick win” development initiatives. To maximize their outcome, these initiatives should be coordinated with longer-term comprehensive development plans.

In a globalized world, health issues are assuming greater importance as the nexus between health, international security and development grows. We have deep concerns over the global community’s lack of progress in meeting the health targets of the Millennium Development Goals. My government believes that the UN should play an active role in facilitating the redoubled efforts of Member States to address health issues.

Climate change is a priority that the whole international community must tackle. As a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, the Republic of Korea has been actively involved in international efforts to reduce global warming gases. We hope that the “beyond 2012” scheme will be agreed through broad-based participation by developed and developing states alike, taking due consideration of the sustainable development goals of each country.

Freedom from Fear

Mr. President,

Any threat to one State must be treated as a threat to all, calling for a collective response by the entire international community.

In countering the proliferation of WMD, our imminent tasks are to make existing regimes more universal and effective while building our capacity to cope with newly emerging threats. The NPT regime remains indispensable in maintaining international peace and security. In this respect, we hope that the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the NPT will be appropriately addressed at the upcoming Review Conference in May.

The Republic of Korea attaches great importance to the effective verification of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. The IAEA’s verification capacity must be upgraded through universal adoption of the Additional Protocol. Stricter control over sensitive nuclear technologies and materials is also needed. However, we must ensure that NPT States Parties that fully comply with their Treaty obligations are guaranteed the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The Republic of Korea applauds the adoption of the draft International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Terrorism. We pledge our full cooperation in working towards the conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism before the end of the 60th session of the General Assembly.

The Republic of Korea supports enhancing the UN’s role in the prevention, resolution and management of conflicts through its greater cooperation and coordination with regional organizations. Similarly, UN peacekeeping operations could be made more efficient through closer cooperation with political missions deployed in the same regions, as well as by better coordination among UN offices and agencies in different countries.

As we have already expressed, we fully endorse the creation of a Peace-building Commission (PBC). However, the proposed sequential model requires further clarification as to how we would delineate the various stages in the continuum from post-conflict to development. The mandate and funding options for a PBC also call for in-depth discussion. In light of the merits of a holistic approach to institutional reform, it might be better to discuss this item under the cluster of “strengthening the UN system.”

Freedom to Live in Dignity

Mr. President,

My Government greatly appreciates the Secretary-General’s serious efforts to highlight the significance of human rights in today’s world, giving them equal standing with security and development. It is high time for us to come up with more effective ways to protect and promote human rights. In this vein, we fully back the initiative to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

As a founding member of the Community of Democracies, the Republic of Korea renders strong support to the ideas of establishing and strengthening democratic institutions. My Government looks forward to intensive discussions on the detailed operational modalities and monitoring mechanisms of the proposed Democracy Fund.

In our view, the responsibility to protect should receive our serious consideration. We must explore ways to deter and prevent massive or systematic violations of international human rights or humanitarian law in failing or failed states. While the sovereignty of a state should be fully respected, this should no longer be an excuse for the international community to shirk its responsibility to prevent massive human catastrophes. We earnestly hope that the General Assembly engages in a thorough debate to elaborate this emerging yet crucial concept.

We also concur with the view of the Secretary-General that Member States must cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court and other war crimes tribunals. This includes apprehending accused persons and surrendering them to these bodies upon request.

Strengthening the UN

Mr. President,

My Government is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, holistic reform of the UN in order to enable it to respond more effectively to the new challenges of the 21st century.

The position of the Republic of Korea on the Security Council reform is well known: we support an expansion of elected seats, not permanent seats, and support an improved version of Model B as a basis for negotiations among member states, with a view to reaching a broad consensus. Any successful reform must make the Security Council more broadly and equitably representative, effective, efficient, democratic, accountable and transparent. We believe that Model A would seriously undermine these essential goals.

First, the addition of permanent seats runs counter to the principle of broad and equitable representation because it would critically reduce the opportunities for middle and small states to be represented in the Security Council.

Second, an expansion of six permanent seats would pose formidable impediments to the effective functioning of the Security Council. The six new permanent seats, together with the existing five permanent members, would constitute almost half of the Security Council membership. The parochial interests of these 11 countries could complicate the Council’s decision-making process.

Third, it is very unlikely that the creation of another category of permanent seats would enhance the transparency of the Security Council’s work.

Fourth, history teaches us that there is no accountability without periodic elections. Given the tremendous difficulty of attempting to correct a fait accompli in Security Council structure, we have serious doubts about the viability of any review mechanism. Periodic elections are the only legitimate means to ensure the accountability of the Security Council members. An expansion of permanent seats runs directly contrary to the goals of a more democratic and accountable Security Council.

Last but not least, we would like to dispel the misapprehension that Security Council members represent the interests of the regions from which they come. The truth is that Security Council members have mostly represented their own national interests.

On 31 March, a group of countries proposed a plan of action regarding Security Council reform. We have strong reservations about this approach. The process is not likely to meet with success, but will create serious divisions among the general membership, thereby casting a shadow on the prospects of the Summit in September.

We know that Security Council reform is very important in terms of both the future of the UN and the long-term national interests of many countries. We have not yet exhausted all opportunities to pull together various and divergent views on this matter and negotiate among member states in the spirit of flexibility and compromise. We do not support any artificial deadlines or a rush to decision on Security Council reform. We urge all member states to engage actively and constructively in deliberations and negotiations to evolve a broad consensus on Security Council reform.

Mr. President,

With regard to the proposal to set up a Human Rights Council, we also recognize the growing need to reform the UN mechanism to deal with human rights. However, given its significant implications, we are still reviewing the proposal in detail and will make comments at a later date.

ECOSOC’s role in coordinating economic and social bodies, particularly in implementing the outcomes of major UN conferences and summits, should be reinforced. In the meantime, the idea of expanding the Bureau of the ECOSOC and establishing an Executive Committee warrants careful consideration.

We welcome the initiative to enhance the competence and accountability of the Secretariat. My delegation is eager to see more detailed plans for rejuvenating the Secretariat, including long-term projections and strategies. Regarding a one-time staff buyout, my delegation can go along with it only if it can be implemented without additional resources.

In closing, Mr. President, I am confident that under your able guidance, we will achieve substantive outcomes for the major event in September. My delegation reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the ongoing efforts to revitalize the United Nations, and we pledge our active participation in the discussions ahead.

Thank you.