5 March 2011
Statement by H.E. Mr. Eshagh Alhabib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nation
during the Meeting of the Group of 77 and China
and the Secretary General of The United Nations
(5 March 2011 – New York)
in the name of God the Merciful the Compassionate
Your Excellency Mr. Minister,
His Excellency Mr. Secretary General,
In the beginning, I would like to appreciate Chairmanship of the Group 77 and China for organizing this important session, which I hope serves to strengthening the dialogue between the Secretary-General and developing countries. I also thank the Secretary General for taking his time to listen to the observations and expectations of the Group- as the largest stakeholder in the Organization.
The UN’s first Secretary-General once called his position as the most difficult job in the world. It has also been said that “a Secretary-General is like a Supreme Court justice–you never know what you’re going to get”. Great expectations in an environment filled with extremely diverse interests and challenges are the specifics of running the UN.
The world is still feeling the aftershocks of the global financial and economic crisis. Millions have been pushed into extreme poverty. Hard-won gains towards the MDGs are at risk while unemployment rates remain high. The multiple crises in particular the economic and financial crisis have exposed the weaknesses in global economic governance. There is an urgent need to reaffirm the central role of the United Nations in global economic governance.
Taking into account the universal membership, legitimacy and mandate of the United Nations and the fact that resolving the complex multifaceted crises the world is confronting with today is beyond might of any single power or group of countries, UN is more relevant than ever. There should be no complacency, however. The UN is in urgent need of a member states’-led reform.
How the reform should be conducted and its coverage is open to debate. Nevertheless, the principles are clear. The trio of inclusiveness, transparency and effectiveness are inextricably interlinked essentials to strengthen the central role of the UN in the global governance. Promoting one at the expense of the others will be detrimental to the UN existence. An inclusive body with little effectiveness is as deficient as an exclusive one that is effective. It is however, unfair to simply call UN ineffective when member states, specially bigger and more powerful ones prefer to take important global issues out of UN to smaller groupings or deprive UN from financial resources it desperately needs to perform its mandates.
In this context, inviting the Secretary General to the meetings of the G20 as observer – as mentioned by him in his statement – is not what we mean by strengthening the central role of the UN in the global governance.
In improving the UN, it is important to reflect on the new realities including the changes in the structure of the world economic and political power, but more important is making the UN deliver in critical areas such as promotion of economic growth, ending global poverty and hunger, tackling environment degradation, combating drugs, enhancing health and so on and so forth. The UN is yet to become a point of reference for poorer and weaker countries, than a tool of choice in the hand of more powerful ones to legitimize their acts and to promote their wills and values. Here, the role of the Secretary–General as the UN “chief administrative officer” in upholding Charter-based principals and values of the UN is prominent.
Unfortunately, the over-reliance of the UN to the richer part of the world, financially speaking, has had its implications. They are busy with introducing new concepts and initiatives to the UN and pushing for their instant approval. In most of the cases they are well-financed and in times the Secretariat, unfortunately, takes them as granted. At the same time, those ideals of developing countries and internationally agreed mandates which are less favored by developed countries receive little attention if any by the Secretariat. The experience with strengthening the South-South Unit and the story of Development Account are worth mentioning in this regard. It is not easy to annoy or overlook the financial providers, but it has had important repercussions on the neutral performance of the UN. Of course, it is a responsibility of member states to make the UN work for all equally and impartially, but UN itself should occasionally come clear that it works based on principles and not interests.
Thank you very much.