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Prevention, Development Must be Central in All Efforts Tackling Emerging Complex Threats to International Peace, Secretary‑General Tells Security Council

Prevention and development must be at the centre of all efforts to address both the quantitative and qualitative changes that were emerging in threats around the world, the Secretary‑General of the United Nations told the Security Council today, as some 60 Member States participated in an all‑day debate tackling complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security.

António Guterres said the perils of nuclear weapons were once again front and centre, with tensions higher than those during the Cold War.  Climate change was a threat multiplier and technology advances had made it easier for extremists to communicate.  Conflicts were longer, with some lasting 20 years on average, and were more complex, with armed and extremist groups linked with each other and with the worldwide threat of terrorism.  Transnational drug smugglers and human traffickers were perpetuating the chaos and preying on refugees and migrants.

The changing nature of conflict meant rethinking approaches that included integrated action, he said, stressing that prevention must be at the centre of all efforts.  Development was one of the best instruments of prevention.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would help build peaceful societies.  Respect for human rights was also essential and there was a need to invest in social cohesion so that all felt they had a stake in society. 

He also emphasized that women’s participation was crucial to success, from conflict prevention to peacemaking and sustaining peace.  Where women were in power, societies flourished, he pointed out.  Sexual violence against women, therefore, must be addressed and justice pursued for perpetrators. 

Prevention also included preventive diplomacy, he said, noting that the newly established High-level Advisory Board on Mediation had met for the first time.  The concept of human security was a useful frame of reference for that work, as it was people‑centred and holistic and emphasized the need to act early and prioritize the most vulnerable.

“Let us work together to enhance the Council’s focus on emerging situations, expand the toolbox, increase resources for prevention, and be more systematic in avoiding conflict and sustaining peace,” he said, emphasizing the need for Council unity.  Without it, he said, the parties to conflict might take more inflexible and intransigent positions, and the drivers of conflict might push situations to the point of no return.

Japan’s representative, Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, noting that in the 25 years since the end of the Cold War, there had been a rise in complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security.  That included the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the expansion of terrorism, and non‑traditional challenges such as non‑State actors and inter‑State criminal organizations. 

While the Council had been tackling those challenges, in most cases through a country or region‑specific context, he stressed that a human security approach was highly relevant when addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security.  Such an approach placed the individual at the centre, based on a cross‑sectoral understanding of insecurities.  It also entailed a broadened understanding of threats and challenges. 

In the ensuing debate, speakers emphasized the need to adjust to the changing challenges to international peace and security and welcomed the Secretary General’s reform of the Organization’s security pillar and other initiatives.  Many stressed the need to address root causes of instability and conflict, including climate change, non‑State armed groups, extremism and terrorism, as well as poverty and underdevelopment. 

Calling for creativity in the Council’s efforts, they underlined the importance of prevention, and stressed the responsibility of the 15‑member organ to address threats to international peace and security at an early stage.  Delegations also called for strengthen cooperation and coordination with other United Nations bodies and with regional and subregional organizations.  Ending impunity for serious international crimes was equally crucial, with some delegates stressing the importance of effective cooperation with the International Criminal Court.

Other speakers took issue with the way the Security Council was functioning, with Turkey’s representative pointing out that the Council had failed many times to show timely and adequate responses to emerging crises, often as the result of the use, or the threat, of veto, which disabled the Council’s effectiveness. 

India’s delegate said a non‑representative Council, designed long ago to maintain a balance of power between rival States, was unable to handle challenges which had changed beyond recognition over the decades.  “An instrument that is no longer considered legitimate and has lost its credibility cannot be our hope for salvation,” he said, adding that “speech acts”, such as the current open debate, would have little impact.

The Russian Federation’s representative said it would be useful for the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other organs of the United Nations to consider the links between peace and security and socioeconomic and environmental issues.  Integrating all factors should not come under the work of the Council, which did not have the capacity in those other areas and for which the basic responsibilities in peace and security must remain the focus. 

China’s representative stressed the importance of firmly upholding the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, saying that the Council must respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of States as well as their right to choose their own social structures.  The major organs of the United Nations should stick to their mandates while coordinating their efforts. 

Some Member States addressed specific challenges to peace and security.  The representative of Tuvalu, speaking for the Pacific small island developing States, underscored that climate change was not going away and was the most pressing contemporary security challenge.  The Secretary‑General should appoint a special representative on climate and security who could produce a report, in cooperation with scientific bodies, that identified and analysed potentially dangerous tipping points at the nexus of climate and security, he said. 

Slovenia’s delegate drew attention to water scarcity as a threat to stability, recalling the work of the Global High‑level Panel on Water and Peace chaired by the former President of her country.  Regional cooperation was vital in preventing water from becoming a cause of conflict or an amplifying risk, she stressed, citing successful practices in the Western Balkans region, as seen in the Sava River basin, which could serve as a model for water‑related cooperation.

Addressing cyber threats, Lithuania’s representative, also speaking for Latvia and Estonia, said hybrid threats and cybersecurity were priority issues for the Baltic States, noting that concerns regarding the Russian Federation’s interference in national election processes were not limited to European countries.  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had faced a politically motivated series of cyberattacks.  To cope with the strikes, the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, must cooperate. 

The Deputy Foreign Minister for Ukraine also spoke, as did representatives of Sweden, Egypt, Bolivia, United Kingdom, France, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Senegal, United States, Ethiopia, Italy, Colombia, Liechtenstein, Pakistan, Hungary, Switzerland, Norway (for the Nordic countries), South Africa, Germany, Belgium, Indonesia, Peru, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Viet Nam, Mexico, Slovakia, Ghana, Chile, Guatemala, Botswana, Netherlands, Greece, Armenia, Australia, Morocco, Lebanon, Nepal, Maldives, Portugal and Bangladesh, as well as the European Union delegation.

Representatives of the Russian Federation and Ukraine took the floor for a second and third time.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 4:20 p.m.

Opening Remarks

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary‑General of the United Nations, said there had not only been a quantitative but also a qualitative change in threats to international peace and security.  The perils of nuclear weapons were once again front and centre, with tensions higher than those during the Cold War.  Climate change was a threat multiplier.  Inequality and exclusion fed frustration and marginalization.  Threats to cybersecurity were escalating and technology advances had made it easier for extremists to communicate. 

While the number of armed conflicts had declined over the long‑term, they had surged in the Middle East and Africa, he continued, with many lasting on average more than 20 years.  Conflicts were also more complex as armed groups competed for control over State institutions, natural resources and territory.  Extremist groups left little room for diplomacy.  There was also an increased regionalization and internationalization of conflicts.  Clashes were more linked with each other and with the worldwide threat of terrorism.  Transnational drug smugglers and human traffickers perpetuated the chaos and preyed on refugees and migrants.

The changing nature of conflict meant rethinking approaches which must include integrated action, he underlined.  Such efforts must be coherent, coordinated and context‑specific, working across pillars.  Towards that aim, he had initiated three inter‑linked reform efforts focused at repositioning the United Nations development system, streamlining internal management and strengthening the Secretariat’s peace and security architecture.  He had also sought to forge closer links with regional partners. 

He stressed that prevention must be at the centre of everything, as it would avoid human suffering and even save money.  Prevention was a sound investment that brought ample and visible dividends, and development was one of the best instruments of prevention.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development would help build peaceful societies.  Respect for human rights was also essential in prevention.  There was a need to invest in social cohesion so that all felt they had a stake in society. 

As well, gender equality was closely linked with resilience, he said, stressing that women’s participation was crucial to success, from conflict prevention to peacemaking and sustaining peace.  Where women were in power, societies flourished, he pointed out.  Therefore, it was critical that sexual violence against women be addressed and justice pursued for perpetrators.

Prevention also included preventive diplomacy, he said, noting that the newly established High‑level Advisory Board on Mediation had met for the first time.  The concept of human security was a useful frame of reference for that work.  Human security was people‑centred and holistic; it stressed the need to act early and prioritize the most vulnerable.

“Let us work together to enhance the Council’s focus on emerging situations, expand the toolbox, increase resources for prevention, and be more systematic in avoiding conflict and sustaining peace,” he said, emphasizing the need for unity in the 15‑member organ.  Without that unity, the parties to conflict might take more inflexible and intransigent positions, and the drivers of conflict might push situations to the point of no return.  “But with unity, we can advance security and well‑being for all,” he underscored.

Statements

KORO BESSHO (Japan), Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, noting that in the 25 years since the end of the Cold War, some parts of the world had been enjoying the benefits of improvements in science and technology, from groundbreaking medicines to new frontiers in outer space.  However, during the same period, there had been a rise in complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the expansion of terrorism.  Peace operations were also facing non‑traditional challenges such as non‑State actors and inter‑State criminal organizations.

The Security Council had been tackling those challenges, in most cases through a country or region‑specific context, he said.  It was important for the Council to discuss those complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security in a holistic and methodological manner.  However, it needed to increase its focus on effectiveness throughout the whole conflict cycle.  At the same time, close attention must be paid to the fact that peace and security, development and human rights were closely interlinked.  It was vital for the Council to enhance cooperation with other organs, both within the United Nations system and beyond.

A human security approach was highly relevant when addressing complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security, he continued, adding that such an approach placed the individual at the centre, based on a cross‑sectoral understanding of insecurities.  It also entailed a broadened understanding of threats and challenges.  Japan had consistently provided human‑centred and comprehensive assistance through cross‑sectoral efforts with a range of partners.  As for the Secretary‑General’s ongoing initiative for the reform of the United Nations, he said that the resolution on the restructuring of the Organization’s peace and security pillar was being tabled for adoption at the General Assembly.  Although the scope of that resolution did not include Security Council reform, no reform would be complete without the reform of that 15‑member organ.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for Ukraine, associating himself with the statement to be made by the European Union, said that while criticism of the Council’s work was mostly justified, there was currently no alternative entity to safeguard international peace and security.  The Council had achieved some positive results in recent years, including its role in implementing an agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC‑EP).  With the adoption of resolution 2349 (2017), the Council demonstrated an openness to addressing some of the underlying causes in the complex crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region.  It had also been active in addressing the threat of terrorism, engaging in a number of discussions and taking landmark decisions.  Because threats to international peace and security could not effectively be addressed in isolation, he welcomed the expansion of the Council’s agenda to include challenges such as human rights, development and climate change, to name a few.  Nonetheless, among the Council’s shortcomings or even outright failures were unresolved challenges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and tragic events in the Middle East, as well as blatant violations of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction that continued with impunity.  Further, he expressed regret at the erosion of the rule of law, which was most obviously manifested in the aggressive policy of the Russian Federation towards its neighbours.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), aligning himself with the statements to be made by the European Union and the Nordic countries, said that international peace and security was increasingly hampered by the negative impacts of multidimensional poverty, climate change, transnational organized crime, food insecurity, weak governance, human rights violations and growing inequality.  The Council’s preventive role was now more important than ever before.  However, prevention was not possible without a comprehensive and holistic strategy to address the root causes and the conflict amplifiers.  While ongoing reform efforts would better position the United Nations system to enhance its joint analysis and integrated strategic planning capacities, it was also crucial to consistently integrate a gender perspective into long‑terms strategies.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said that an innovative approach, coordinated through the United Nations and focused on root causes, was needed to meet current interrelated, complex challenges to international peace and security.  In its analysis of conflicts and potential conflicts, the Secretariat must take into account the nature of each situation on a case‑by‑case basis.  The effectiveness of the Peacebuilding Commission must also be strengthened so that it could work with the Council to lay the foundation for stability in countries at risk.  Transnational challenges must be met through close coordination with regional organizations.  National ownership must be ensured in all efforts with the support of the international community, so that institutions capable of confronting all current challenges could be built.  He stressed that each organ of the United Nations must respect the mandate of the others, so that they could each adequately take on their respective responsibilities and not duplicate efforts.

PEDRO LUIS INCHAUSTE JORDÁN (Bolivia) said that the Council efforts were constantly endangered both by insufficient implementation of established mechanisms and the lack of coordination to prevent duplication of efforts.  Mediation, prevention and use of good offices, as well as use of Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter of the United Nations should be better used for peaceful settlement of disputes, with Chapter VII tools only used after other strategies had been well applied.  Unilateral actions were also imperilling the Council’s efforts to maintain peace and security.  Such action often resulted in negative consequences for entire regions by creating vacuums of authority, in which terrorist fighters could fill the void.  Robust actions must be taken to meet the terrorist threat.  Prohibition of nuclear weapons, in addition, was an important goal to meet to reduce the threat of devastating conflict.  As a pacifist country, his country would continue to advocate for the peaceful settlement of conflict to avoid the scourge of war and all its consequences, he said.

Matthew John Rycroft (United Kingdom) said that not only emerging threats but also conventional threats had been fuelled by developing transnational challenges, from internet incitement to enslavement of migrants.  All such factors must be confronted at home, in partnership, and multilaterally.  For example, at home, his country was tackling illicit financial flows that funded armed groups, terrorists and corruption, through new legislative acts.  The United Kingdom was also assisting 13 countries in meeting climate threats to reduce their vulnerability.  Multilaterally, it was supporting action of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council to address the complex and diverse challenges.  For those organs to play their full role, the reforms proposed by the Secretary‑General must be supported.  That would enable the Organization to more effectively sustain peace, meet the Sustainable Development Goals and build respect for human rights.  He pointed out that, during the current open debate, millions of people were experiencing displacement, hunger and conflict as a single reality.  Those ills should all be addressed at the same time to achieve a safer world for all.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) affirmed that Council debates in 2017 had illustrated that the complex challenges facing international peace and security must, in the context of globalization, be met by a global response.  The United Nations must use all its tools to assist States in an integrated manner that addresses deep‑rooted causes.  Terrorism must be faced by addressing all factors — economic, political, cultural and social — along with multilateral security responses and regional arrangements supported by the international community such as the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) joint force.  Those responses must be accompanied by long‑term support for development.  Climate change, often exacerbating crises, must be met by technological and financial means, starting with the immediate implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  The Council should also be in close communication with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and other mechanisms so that it could react quickly to grave violations.  All challenges, along with ever‑present threats such as nuclear proliferation and inter‑State tensions, must be addressed by every State collectively, along with the mechanisms of the United Nations.  Therefore, he voiced his country’s full support for the Secretary‑General’s efforts to increase the effectiveness of the Organization.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan), expressing full support for the Secretary‑General’s reform proposals to make the United Nations more effective, called for a comprehensive, integrated strategy in which the priority of sustaining peace ran through all efforts.  His country had seen the importance of that approach since its independence and for that reason had been at the forefront of conflict prevention, including the establishment of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, among other efforts.  Reducing the threat of military confrontation was a priority for Kazakhstan, as shown by its hosting of conferences on Syria that had helped de‑escalate areas and promote political progress.  Peacekeeping operations had to become more viable and accountable, with adequate staff and equipment.  The Organization must comprehensively adopt a threefold strategy that addressed the peace and development nexus through a regional approach that involved the entire United Nations system working as one.  His country would continue to be fully engaged in strengthening international peace and security throughout its Council membership and beyond, he pledged.

LUIS HOMERO BERMÚDEZ ÁLVAREZ (Uruguay) said that the Council should consider all aspects that could worsen conflicts, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, legal and illegal trade in other weapons, terrorism, cyberattacks, and climate change.  The international community must show greater solidarity and global governance must be strengthened.  There was not only a need for prevention but also for creativity in which greater coordination between the organs of the United Nations was indispensable.  The nexus between security, development, human rights and the humanitarian spheres was clear, but factors such as climate change, pandemics and transnational organized crime could exacerbate crises in conflict or post‑conflict situations.  In such situations there was a need to strengthen the rule of law and promote sustainable economic growth, national reconciliation, access to justice, accountability, democracy, gender equality and protection of human rights.  The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was a violation of international law. 

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said over the last years, the international community had increased initiatives to address threats to peace, including through the reform of the Organization’s peace architecture and the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, among others.  Such factors as the circulation of small arms, sexual violence, recruitment of children, and illegal exploitation of natural resources required a holistic response.  Terrorism had suffered defeats but remained a threat as illustrated in numerous attacks.  Mandates of peacekeeping missions should be better adapted to the situation on the ground, he said, noting that African countries had used their troops to combat non‑State actors.  He welcomed the initiative to reinforce the security pillar.  Senegal’s water, peace and security initiative was aiming to facilitate access to transborder sources of water.

SHEN BO (China) said that, in the desire for peace and development, it was necessary to firmly uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter.  Although new challenges kept emerging, the Charter’s principles remained valid.  Maintaining peace and security was the primary responsibility of the Council and its authority should be defended by all Member States.  The United Nations and the Council should be subjective and impartial.  The 15‑member organ must also respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of States and their right to choose their own social structures.  Noting that root causes of conflict such as poverty and under‑development had not been solved and that threats such as climate change were constantly expanding, he urged for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.  The major organs of the United Nations should follow the provisions of the Charter and stick to their mandates while coordinating their efforts. 

MICHELE J. SISON (United States) said the Council had a responsibility to respond to crises too large for one nation to deal with.  One of the Council’s most effective tools — peacekeeping operations — was a powerful mechanism, she said, noting that the United Nations deployed over 100,000 troops and police all over the world.  The missions, however, must adapt to the reality of the situation on the ground.  The quality of troops deployed should also be analysed.  Giving examples of successful peacebuilding, including in Liberia, where the United Nations had devised a peacebuilding plan in coordination with the Government and participation of civil society, she said the Council had mostly used missions after conflict had broken out.  There was a need to look at underlying challenges, such as failure to develop or lack of protection of human rights, as those factors could directly lead to instability.  In Yemen, 22 million out of 29 million were in need of humanitarian assistance and there was a risk of famine.  Famine conditions had been caused by conflict and parties more interested in personal gain.  The United Nations had the power to develop solutions to transnational problems, she said, encouraging the Secretary‑General to raise issues early on to the Council.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said that a new way of thinking, along with innovative tools, were needed to meet emerging, complex challenges in international peace and security through a comprehensive and holistic approach.  Strengthened partnerships were needed between United Nations bodies and regional organizations for that purpose.  The Secretary‑General’s vision could allow the creation of integrated capabilities with improved planning and budgeting to support operations on the ground and longer‑term efforts.  While a cross‑pillar approach was critical to address driving factors of conflicts that did not mean that the mandates of existing operations should be changed.  The Security Council should not impinge on the responsibilities of other bodies.  The Council had many responsibilities of its own to deal with, for example, principles of international law governing inter‑State relations, which were not at this point being adequately addressed.

PETR V. ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) stressed that a context‑specific approach must be highlighted, with all the particularities taken into account, and an over‑broad use of Chapter VII, as well as outside intervention, be avoided.  In that context, he rejected the blasphemous statement by the representative of Ukraine in relationship to international law, given that that representative’s Government had come into power illegitimately.  He called for full implementation of the Minsk agreements.  Factors, such as foreign intervention and economic compulsion, must be added to the list of drivers of current conflict that were being discussed.  In terms of an integrated strategy to international peace and security, it would be useful for the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other organs to consider the links between peace and security and socioeconomic and environmental issues.  However, each must focus on its own responsibilities.  Integrating all factors should not come under the work of the Council, which did not have the capacity in those other areas and for which the basic responsibilities in peace and security must remain the focus. 

SEBASTIANO CARDI (Italy), aligning with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, said that during its presidency, his country had begun to address challenges in an integrated way, including a focus on migration and the nexus that phenomenon was connected to.  Protection and empowerment of people was key to building resilient societies.  The Secretary‑General should provide early‑warning information to the Council.  In order to address all problems in a comprehensive manner, United Nations effectiveness must be improved through building synergy between all actors.  In peace and security, capacity should be built to fully realize the concept of a peace continuum, as well as the building of inclusive political processes and resilient institutions.  His country would continue to fully support reform to strengthen the Organization across the three pillars.  In the Council, the interventions today showed that members had sufficient common interest to be able to reach consensus.

The representative of Ukraine, taking the floor a second time, said that it had been reconfirmed just recently that the Russian Federation was an occupying Power and a party to the conflict in the east of Ukraine.  For that reason, the country could not discuss the conflict as an impartial actor.  It must, instead, withdraw from Crimea and Donbass and make reparations for the damage it had caused in his country.

The representative of the Russian Federation, responding to his counterpart, encouraged the representative of the Ukraine to respect the Council and common sense.  The conflict in the Ukraine was a consequence of the seizure of power that was not accepted by people in the east of Ukraine, and while there was no proof of intervention on the part of his country, there was proof of malfeasance by Ukraine, including bombardment of schools and hospitals that threatened a large-scale humanitarian disaster.  He called for the implementation of the road map that was written into the Minsk agreements to resolve the situation.

The representative of Ukraine cited the Secretary‑General who voiced his concern over Russian arms flowing into eastern Ukraine, as well as actions in Crimea.  That was adequate proof of Russian aggression against his country.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which regularly visited areas not controlled by the Government, had not noted massive troop movement in the areas under discussion.  In addition, he pointed out that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had been notified that all facilities in Crimea were working in compliance with the Agency’s regulations.

CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia) said the maintenance of international peace and security was the fundamental mandate of the Council, which had the responsibility to ensure that decisions were coherent in light of changing needs.  An integrated approach required focus on the main causes and multipliers of conflict.  Nuclear proliferation, climate change, water scarcity and cyberspace attacks required flexible diplomacy.  Prevention and peacebuilding should be the Council’s priority in the maintenance of peace.  Expeditious and bold solutions were required to ensure that the Organization could prevent conflicts.  Reform of the peace and security pillar would make it possible to adapt the United Nations to present day crises.  The Organization’s activities in Colombia were a clear example of building peace, and the success of the peace process in his country was based on a comprehensive approach, including gender equality. 

GEORG HELMUT ERNST SPARBER (Liechtenstein) said that a comprehensive approach to peace and security included rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms as well as sustainable development.  Implementation gaps in development commitments and disregard of human rights obligations were important early warning signals, he said, adding that contemporary security challenges tended to be complex, requiring tailor‑made, context‑specific solutions.  Stressing the importance of accountability in ensuring lasting peace, he added that transitional justice contributed to deterrence and allowed traumatized communities to come back together and move forward.  Noting the Council’s “half‑hearted engagement” with the International Criminal Court, he welcomed the Court’s announcement of investigations into various crimes in Libya.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said that conflicts continued to rage around the world and the longstanding internationally recognized disputes regarding Palestine, as well as Jammu and Kashmir, continued to fester.  The Palestinian and Kashmiri people continued to suffer horrific human rights violations at the hands of occupying forces, while the world continued to watch without responding to those egregious situations.  The drivers of such challenges, including political and economic injustice and terrorism and violent extremism, must be addressed.  What was needed was a shift from a culture of reaction to a culture of prevention.  There was obviously no one‑size‑fits‑all solution to conflict prevention and mitigation.  Moving a country towards durable peace began with a clear understanding of the sources and nature of conflicts, she said.

KATALIN ANNAMÁRIA BOGYAY (Hungary) said that “comprehensive”, “integrated” and “holistic” were not just buzzwords, but real calls for action and anchors for the work of the United Nations.  The only way to achieve and preserve peace was through dialogue, she said, expressing appreciation for the Secretary‑General’s dedication to start a surge in diplomacy.  Preventive processes should include intercultural and interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, hand in hand with moderate religious and community leaders and faith‑based organizations.  Further, there was no sustainable peace without respecting human rights and international humanitarian law.

JÜRG LAUBER (Switzerland) said the United Nations framework for conflict prevention was in the DNA of the 2030 Agenda and in resolutions on sustaining peace adopted by the Council and the General Assembly.  It was also anchored in the Secretary‑General’s reform agenda.  Further, the implementation of the Paris Agreement was a significant preventative step as it acknowledged the strong links between climate change and peace and security.  As respect for human rights was also key to conflict prevention, his country had launched the “Appeal of June 13” to enhance systematic cooperation within the United Nations system on human rights issues.  The appeal specifically called for intensified cooperation between the Council and human rights organs of the United Nations with a view to strengthen conflict prevention.  He also highlighted that many grievances started around issues of perceived or real exclusion and injustice; they deserved greater attention.

FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOĞLU (Turkey) said all pillars of the United Nations were facing tremendous challenges.   No single State possessed the capacity to take on the challenges alone.  The United Nations was in acute need of substantial reform to confront the challenges faced.  A primary objective was to increase the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations while prioritizing political solutions.  Crisis prevention was essential, as well as preventing the relapse of crises in post‑conflict situations.  The Secretary‑General’s “surge in peace diplomacy” initiative and his reform of the prevention pillar had underscored their importance, he said, noting that his country was a co‑chair of the Group of Friends of Mediation.  The Council had failed many times to show timely and adequate responses to emerging crises.  Often, inaction was the result of the use, or the threat, of veto.  That disabled the Council’s effectiveness.  He underlined the importance of more Council interaction with non‑Council members and other United Nations bodies.  More attention must be payed to tackling the root causes of the multiplier factors of conflicts, including terrorism, climate change, water, and human and drug trafficking. 

NIDA JAKUBONĖ (Lithuania), also speaking for Latvia and Estonia and associating herself with the statement to be made by the European Union, said that the rise in military conflicts was outstripping the international community’s ability to cope.  Hybrid threats and cybersecurity were priority issues for the Baltic States, she emphasized, noting that concerns regarding the Russian Federation’s interference in national election processes were not limited to European countries alone.  Increased societal awareness, resilience building and media and information literacy could help tackle hybrid threats.  In 2007, Estonia had faced a series of cyberattacks, and Latvia and Lithuania had also experienced such politically motivated assaults.  To cope with the strikes, the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, must cooperate; regional and subregional cooperation was key to strengthening cybersecurity in critical infrastructure.  As hybrid and cyberthreats were here to stay, conventional security was not enough, she said, urging Member States to share best practices and lessons learned in tackling them.

TORE HATTREM (Norway), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said conflicts were increasingly being caused by environmental degradation due to climate change, adding that the international community must cooperate to implement major environmental agreements.  Backing the strengthened United Nations‑World Bank partnership, he added that the Nordic countries were supporters of the Green Climate Fund and initiatives focusing on African and small island developing States.  The Nordic countries promoted the women, peace and security agenda, he said, and inclusivity started with women.  The international community must make better use of the positive contributions of young people, however.  For every dollar invested in prevention, 17 dollars were saved in post‑conflict assistance, he said, urging States to place prevention at the core of the United Nations agenda.  Security Council reform should include seats for Africa; it was also crucial to ensure small States had the opportunity to serve as elected members.

STEPHEN MAHLABADISHAGO NTSOANE (South Africa) highlighted that the nature of conflict was not the one envisaged by the creators of the United Nations.  Indeed, present‑day conflicts largely centred on the internal strife of Member States and transnational threats.  Unfortunately, while the world had changed, the Council had largely remained the same.  Contemporary challenges had brought divisions within the Council to the forefront, especially among its permanent members.  At times, such paralysis had cost human lives, he said, citing the lack of meaningful action on the situation between Israel and Palestine, as well as divisions on Syria.  While incremental improvements had been made to the Council’s working methods, such advancements did not obviate the need for comprehensive reform.  A more representative Council would allow it to be more effective in dealing with complex, contemporary challenges.  He called for a Council with a stronger voice for those closest to crises, one marked by non‑discriminatory decision‑making and collective, rather than narrow, national security interests.

CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) said that, in anticipating threats to international peace and security, the Council must have the security implications of climate change on its radar and firmly on its agenda.  In addition, it should also include a host of factors, such as the growing interconnectedness in the cyberworld.  Lasting peace in such a complex world could not be achieved through military means alone, but in combination with development policy and a strong focus on prevention.  For that purpose, resilience of societies must be strengthened; that often started with respect and promotion of human rights.  Given abhorrent violations, such as sexual violence used as a tactic of war, the Security Council must do more to integrate human rights into its deliberations.   Supporting the Secretary‑General’s reform to make the United Nations work better across institutional boundaries, he called for full use of existing arrangements, such as the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Describing multisectoral assistance for integrated Sahel initiatives provided by his country, he stressed that in all areas, comprehensive action was needed to respond to current security challenges.  His country stood ready to assume its responsibilities in that regard, he pledged.

JEROEN STEFAN G. COOREMAN (Belgium) said that the challenges for international peace and security had to be looked at through an integrated approach.  A focus on environmental security should be an integral part of a global approach to security.  Environmental challenges had led to migratory pressures and had provoked conflicts.  For that reason, climate change and ecosystem change should be analysed within the context of security.  He voiced his support for the appointing of a special representative for environmental security.  Such a person could become part of the broader reform of the peace and security pillar.  Belgium would continue to actively participate in the discussion and would anchor the global approach in its national policies.  It had accorded priority to funding the general budget of the United Nations agencies so that they could pursue a global approach.  His country had also funded a number of humanitarian funds to help in cases of natural disasters, such as the hurricanes that recently hit the Caribbean region.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) pointed out that conflicts had increased threefold in recent years with an unprecedented number of people forcibly displaced.  In that regard, he strongly supported the Secretary‑General’s call for a surge in political diplomacy and conflict prevention.  Because an inability to tackle the root causes of disputes could cause and sustain conflict, it was encouraging that the United Nations was increasingly examining conflicts in a comprehensive manner.  It was vital that the Secretary‑General’s proposals to restructure the Organization’s peace and security pillar succeed so that its engagement with the peace continuum was more effective and nimble.  Furthermore, the Council must fully uphold the principles of international law, human rights law and humanitarian law.  It must be judicious and not dictated by any particular national perspectives.  That commitment was tested by the question of Palestine.  The Council’s inaction had had devastating consequences on the ground, making solutions more complex.  Moreover, the Council could not solve international peace and security challenges singlehandedly.  Better cooperation was needed with troop‑ and police‑contributing countries in that regard.

SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said that a basic reordering of perspectives was needed, emphasizing the need to address sustainable development for all and reduce gross disparities.  The Council must put a greater focus on the globalization of terror networks.  Even on an issue as serious as designating terrorist individuals and entities, Council‑mandated sanctions committees had failed to make concrete progress.  A non‑representative Council, designed long ago to maintain a balance of power between rival States, was unable to handle challenges which had changed beyond recognition over the decades.  “An instrument that is no longer considered legitimate and has lost its credibility cannot be our hope for salvation,” he said, adding that “speech acts”, such as the current open debate, would have little impact on billions of people striving to live in peace, safety and security.

FRANCISCO TENYA (Peru), stressing the importance of the reform drive at the United Nations, said that the traditional threats to international peace and security had been compounded by new complex global challenges.  Foremost among the latter was the impact of climate change.  Migration, food and security could be affected by that, in turn breeding more transnational crimes and illicit trade.  Strengthening the international community’s commitment to multilateralism was key and broad consensus was necessary on sustaining peace through rule of law.  Instead of “burying our head in sand”, the international community must tackle the problems through a multidimensional and inclusive approach.  Expressing support for the reforms of the Secretary‑General, he said that those reforms would shape the United Nations into a coordinated and flexible body.

JOANNE ADAMSON, European Union delegation, expressed support for the Secretary‑General’s reform efforts and underscored the need to engage other stakeholders, including the private sector, in peacebuilding and sustainable development.  To break the conflict cycle, increasingly complex challenges required changing approaches.  That was not only a moral obligation, but a pragmatic imperative with huge economic advantages.  Last year, the European Union adopted a global strategy reiterating its commitment to a global order based on international law, which translated into an aspiration to address the root causes of conflict.  While addressing conflict early was necessary, staying the course was an even bigger challenge, she said, as relapsing back into conflict was common. 

Meanwhile, the Council should not shy away from examining new and emerging challenges to peace and security, including climate change, she said.  The Council must also use its unique role within the United Nations system to prevent climate change‑induced unrest.  Overall, she said its working methods must evolve.  By addressing situations earlier and in a more integrated manner, Member States could transform their approach to conflict and further empower the Council in fulfilling its core mandate.

ALEX GIACOMELLI DA SILVA (Brazil) said that the interlinkage between security and development was complex and nuanced.  Poverty and inequality might exacerbate tensions in some scenarios, but did not necessarily endanger international peace and security.  Geopolitical rivalries, militaristic approaches and the unilateral use of force were more serious sources of regional and global insecurity.  While discussing the complex dynamics that affect contemporary conflicts, care should be taken to avoid misinterpretations and generalizations.  Successful peacekeeping operations demonstrated the potential for a constructive relationship between security and development.  The recent experience of the United Nations in Haiti was a positive example, where, for thirteen years, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) contributed to a more secure and stable environment and assisted in the implementation of hundreds of initiatives that fostered peace and development at the local level.

MANAL HASSAN RADWAN (Saudi Arabia) said that contemporary challenges were complicated and interlinked.  Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land and the violence perpetrated by the terrorist settlers were clear violations of international law and one of the main reasons for the armed conflicts in that region.  The international community must work tirelessly to help the Palestinian people regain their rights.  As well, approximately twenty‑four hours ago, the capital of her country, Riyadh, had become a victim of an attempted attack by a ballistic missile randomly fired from Yemeni territory.  What the rebel militias were doing with the backing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter.  Rivers of blood were flowing in Yemen, she said, and the Council must take deterrent measures to resolve the threat posed to peace and security by the militia and Iran.

HELENA DEL CARMEN YÁNEZ LOZA (Ecuador), recalling that the United Nations was established to prevent the scourge of war, said that its founding document emphasized the glaringly obvious relationship between disarmament and development.  The 2030 Agenda had served to further highlight that link.  Calling on all relevant stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way, she said that there were a myriad of factors affecting peace and security, including climate change.  Also stressing the imperative need for the Council to refrain from mandate creep, she recalled that Article 99 of the Charter conferred on the Secretary‑General the role of alerting the Council to any threats to international peace and security.  The Secretary‑General must make use of the powers under that Article, she said, adding that gender‑mainstreaming had multiple benefits in peacebuilding.

MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan), highlighting the Council’s important role in peacekeeping and humanitarian action, said increasing its effectiveness was only possible if members were unanimous in responding to emerging threats.  Also expressing support for the Secretary‑General’s reform initiatives, she added that those reforms would strengthen the international community’s ability to prevent and resolve conflicts.  It was necessary to improve the effectiveness of the United Nations and its bodies in order to confront the challenges to development, peace and security.

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said that her country had adopted a global approach to international peace and security.  Challenges to peace and security required a positive approach, with dialogue not confrontation.  There was a need to strengthen a collective prevention of conflicts to achieve international peace and security.  Qatar had always participated in resolving conflicts peacefully, she said, welcoming the Secretary‑General’s aim to make conflict prevention into a priority.  She also welcomed regional consultations in sustaining peace in the Middle East.  The major complex challenges in that region represented a threat to international peace and security, and cooperation between countries in the Middle East and the international community was needed to eradicate those challenges.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that the objective of ensuring a peaceful and prosperous world was hardly achievable if universally recognized fundamental values, norms, and principles were overtly disregarded or misinterpreted.  At a time of brutal armed conflicts and high levels of forced displacement, more concerted action was required at all levels to end conflicts and direct greater attention to preventing future conflicts.  Welcoming the General Assembly’s adoption of a resolution on restructuring the United Nations peace and security architecture, he said that States must comply with their international obligations, particularly those relating to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the inviolability of their borders.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) renewed his country’s deep conviction that development and human rights were linked to peace and security, and noted the vision of the Secretary‑General to work towards enhancing the main pillars of security, human rights and development.  Peace required complete harmony and a coordinated effort, and there was a need to enhance the relationships between the United Nations and regional organizations.  The problems faced were extremely complex, and the cooperation of others was needed to help solve them.  Underscoring the importance to hold regional dialogues in order to exchange expertise, he said that would lead to the continued involvement of regional organizations in the peaceful settlements of conflicts.

NGUYEN PHOUNG NGA (Viet Nam) said a human‑centred and whole‑pillar approach was urgently needed to implement a comprehensive and long‑term strategy on conflict prevention and sustaining peace.  Full use must be made of existing preventative diplomacy and mediation tools, and the United Nations should coordinate enhanced partnership with regional and subregional organizations.  Peacekeeping must be coupled with peacebuilding, she continued, emphasizing the need for Security Council unity in taking decisions and collective action.  As for the situation in the East Sea, or South China Sea, she called on all parties concerned to exercise self‑restraint and settle disputes peacefully in line with international law.

JUAN SANDOVAL MENDIOLEA (Mexico) said the world was at a critical crossroad in the maintenance of peace and security.  Praising the priority the United Nations was giving to conflict prevention, he said it was necessary to find political solutions to disputes.  To do so, it was necessary to fix the fragmentation in the United Nations and enable it to wield its tools more effectively.  Supporting the Secretary‑General’s initiatives in that regard, he said the Organization must invest in peace and security “for every person in every country”.  Peacekeeping should be pursued in harmony with the other agendas of the United Nations, including the ones enshrined in “the holy triumvirate of peace and security, development and human rights”.  The threat or use of force was even more serious when it accompanied the dangers of weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear weapons, he said, calling for a robust system of global governance.

MICHAL MLYNÁR (Slovakia), associating himself with the European Union, said the Security Council should, in a more systematic and targeted manner, deal with challenges in the areas of non‑traditional and cross‑border threats, including those concerning public health, exploitation of natural resources, climate change, poverty and forced displacement.  Both the Council and the General Assembly should take greater advantage of the work of the Peacebuilding Commission.  Preventing conflict was one of the Council’s most significant responsibilities; it should enhance its preventive and mitigating role.  Security sector reform, a priority area for Slovakia, should focus on genuine national ownership and effective partnerships, among other targets.

MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana), emphasizing the need to work across the United Nations system and noting efforts to reform the Organization’s peace and security architecture, said the Council’s capacity to play a preventative and mitigating role would be enhanced by a structured dialogue on the security implications of development‑related issues.  Much could also be gained through increased collaboration between the Council and regional and subregional organizations, such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  Noting that peacebuilding and sustaining peace went hand in hand with Sustainable Development Goal 16 [promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies], she said effective strategies across the United Nations system to support that objective would ultimately lead to the effective maintenance of global peace and security.

BELEN SAPAG MUÑOZ DE LA PEÑA (Chile) said a multidimensional approach was necessary to respond to threats, including non‑State and non‑military ones.  Recalling that in January 2015, her country had convened an open debate in the Council on inclusive development, she said there was widespread agreement that security and development were mutually reinforcing.  Underscoring the importance of inclusion, she noted that the design of the transition from MINUSTAH had contained a strong element of national ownership.  Further, it was important to raise awareness regarding the Arria Formula meetings and integrate subsidiary bodies and groups of experts in the work of the Council when designing missions and transitions.  The Council must also improve interaction with regional and subregional bodies.

OMAR CASTAÑEDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said that the United Nations had striven to resolve conflict since its founding through a series of measures, including the maintenance of peace and peacebuilding, as well as promoting recovery and rebuilding.  In all of the aforementioned activities, the Council had played a critical role whenever called upon to respond to various conflicts.  His country had experienced that directly through the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala.  The exit of peacekeeping or special political missions did not mean an end to the peace process.  In response to various collective appeals for an urgent change in the way in which peace instruments available to the United Nations were used, Guatemala was optimistic about the Secretary‑General’s plan to conduct an overhaul and review of those tools.  He remained convinced that prevention and mediation should be at the forefront of the Organization’s efforts on peace and security.

CHARLES T. NTWAAGAE (Botswana) said the Council must deploy all the tools at its disposal to effectively deal with emerging threats, and the Organization must act as a whole, coordinated entity.  However, the burden for maintaining international peace and security could not be solely placed on the United Nations; regional bodies should play a critical role.  Because of their presence on the ground, such bodies were better placed to appreciate and address security challenges.  He welcomed the development of partnerships, including African Union‑European Union and African Union‑United Nations joint efforts.  He also highlighted the role of subregional entities, citing Botswana’s experience with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which included structures tasked with addressing peace and security challenges and played a key role in preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution and management, among others.  He also noted States’ collective accountability for effective border management, which could help to reduce crime and insecurity.

LISE HUBERTA JOHANNA GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands), stressing the importance of an integrated approach and early action, said that the challenges of the twenty‑first century transcended borders.  Her country had learned, sometimes the hard way, of the connection between root causes and ensuing conflict.  However, it was not enough to formulate an integrated response to conflict; the Council should also devote attention to preventing conflicts.  While the Council’s involvement with the situation in Gambia earlier in 2017 had proved timely and successful, a clear focal point was still lacking on the issue of climate and security.  Given the growing risk of climate change increasing tensions within and between nations, he underscored that it was important that there be an institutional home for the issue.

ONDINA BLOKAR DROBIČ (Slovenia) said the Council must better integrate peacekeeping with development and humanitarian efforts.  The United Nations and its Member States, regional organizations, non‑governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society must all support fragile countries, especially by enhancing their societal resilience and security architecture.  Ending impunity for serious international crimes was equally crucial, she said, stressing the importance of effective cooperation with the International Criminal Court and calling upon States that had not yet done so to ratify the Rome Statute.  Turning to water scarcity, she recalled the work of the Global High‑level Panel on Water and Peace chaired by the former President of Slovenia.  Regional cooperation was also vital to avoid water becoming a cause of conflict or amplifying risk, she pointed out, citing successful practices in the Western Balkans region, for example, in the Sava River basin, which could serve as a model for water‑related cooperation.

MARIA THEOFILI (Greece) said that a priority in tackling growing global insecurity should be taking a holistic approach to address the drivers of conflict and to focus on both prevention and long‑term stability.  Greece, considering itself a pillar of stability in a region that bordered on the Middle East and North Africa, had hosted international conferences that had aimed at promoting tolerance, pluralism and dialogue among civilizations.  It also engaged in bilateral programmes that utilized country synergies and joint activities in culture and other constructive areas, such as trade and research.  Greece had also established mechanisms of cooperation with countries in the Balkans.  As it was on the front line of migration issues, it advocated for the streamlining of migration governance that made use of existing forums and promoting global partnership.  Affirming the importance of addressing climate change as well, she pledged her country’s support to the Organization’s efforts to address all factors involved with international peace and security to shape a more peaceful world for the future.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said that terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization, but at the same time, called for the acknowledgement of evidence of extremists and terrorists targeting specific communities based on religion or ethnicity.  He called for addressing the suffering of Yazidis, Christians and other minorities, and the indiscriminate attacks and forced displacement of ethnic Armenians from certain Syrian cities.  Armenia had been providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian population, sheltering approximately 22,000 refugees and implementing policies to facilitate housing, education, health care and other integration measures.  Turning to regional issues, he said the OSCE Minsk group co‑chair countries had in October reiterated a commitment to mediating a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno‑Karabakh conflict.  They had also welcomed the resumption of high‑level dialogue between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Geneva on 16 October and a meeting of their foreign ministers on 6 December.  Armenia remained fully committed to negotiations in that regard.

DAVID GREGORY YARDLEY (Australia) said addressing increasingly complex contemporary challenges to international peace and security required a change of approach.  Of particular importance was conflict prevention, sustainable peace, women’s participation in peacebuilding and United Nations reform.  All staff within the Organization must show leadership in embedding prevention approaches across all operations and programmes.  Furthermore, efforts to support peaceful societies must be inclusive, he said, citing evidence that meaningful participation of women in peace processes led to more durable outcomes.  In that regard, he acknowledged the practical steps taken in 2017 by the Department of Political Affairs, Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Peacebuilding Support Office.  Expressing strong support for the Secretary‑General’s ambitious reform efforts, he called for the Organization to prioritize prevention and inclusive peacebuilding.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the growing number of conflicts and the resulting fallout required a review of the Organization’s response.  Indeed, the international community had not made great use of mediation and conflict tools, which were needed to achieve lasting peace.  He welcomed the Secretary‑General’s reform agenda, which he hoped would result in a more transparent and cooperative approach.  For its part, Morocco was active in addressing the impact of climate change on peace, and the world was already witnessing its effects, including migration and the erosion of coasts.  Concerning the threat of terrorism to international peace and security, he said peacekeepers could not react robustly to threats if they remained “shackled” in their current mandates.  In that vein, he expressed support for the G5 Sahel joint force and called for its full logistical and financial support, noting that multidimensional missions often lacked needed resources to support their mandate.  At the same time, resolving conflict required partnership, he said, calling for the United Nations to take the lead in coordinating efforts.

HASSAN ABBAS (Lebanon) said the notion that conflicts had become more complex should not distract from addressing root causes, including foreign occupation and aggression.  Lebanon faced many challenges, including almost daily Israeli violations of its sovereignty and the presence of more than 1.2 million refugees from Syria.  Such challenges had contributed to a significant decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) growth, higher unemployment and poverty levels and an overstretched infrastructure.  The pioneering United Nations strategic framework, signed by the United Nations system and the Government in October 2016, recognized Lebanon’s multidimensional challenges, he said, emphasizing that the United Nations must follow a “whole of Lebanon” approach which leveraged and integrated the Organization’s diverse expertise, capacities and resources while supporting Lebanon along the path to sustainable development, as per the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

NIRMAL RAJ KAFLE (Nepal) said that studies had established the hazardous consequences of climate change on people as well as on the existence of small islands.  The security and economic implications of climate change could not be ignored.  That and other natural disasters would increase the number of environmental migrants in the coming decades.  It was the common responsibility of the United Nations membership to ensure secure futures for island‑dwellers and environmental migrants.  In Nepal, snowcaps were increasingly receding in the Himalayas.  As well, his country was experiencing pressure on food security and witnessing the extinction of some rare flora and fauna.  The Council could play an important role in addressing climate change simply by sending a message of its collective commitment.  The Council members that were also major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions must lead others by example, he said.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives) recalled that, with resolution 2349 (2017), the Council had recognized that climate change had an adverse impact on security.  Now, the Council and the General Assembly must clearly articulate practical measures the Organization could take in response to climate change and other non‑traditional security threats.  Measures could include the Secretary‑General preparing regular periodic assessment reports to serve as an early warning mechanism.  Moreover, the Council and Assembly could also consider examining the feasibility of establishing a regular coordination mechanism through which all of the Organization’s principal bodies and relevant agencies could contribute to designing conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping operations.  Small States were the most vulnerable to non‑traditional and emerging security threats and it was necessary that small island developing States in particular had a seat at the Council.  However, over 72 years, only eight such States had served in that body, he recalled, expressing hope that his country would be elected for the 2019‑2020 term in order to represent those States and contribute to shaping decisions affecting the smallest members of the international system.

SAMUELU LALONIU (Tuvalu), on behalf of the Pacific small island developing States, said that climate change was the most important security challenge facing the world today, as affirmed in a seminal report by the previous Secretary‑General.  The growing attention paid to the issue in this chamber gave hope, but dangerous impacts were already occurring, with the most vulnerable bearing the largest burdens.  On the small islands, there were record‑breaking droughts and storms and extreme heat and floods had displaced more people than many conflicts.

Climate change was not going away and the situation would continue to deteriorate even if the goals of the Paris Agreement were met, he said.  The changes could be abrupt and could severely affect many systems that were currently relied on for modern life.  For those reasons, the Secretary‑General should appoint a special representative on climate and security, who could produce a report, in cooperation with scientific bodies, that identified and analysed potentially dangerous tipping points at the nexus of climate and security and address concerns that the securitization of climate change would lead to more militarization.

JOSÉ ATAÍDE AMARAL (Portugal) said addressing both the new and old threats to global peace and security required, more than ever before, a multilateral approach that also involved tackling the root causes of conflict.  Complex contemporary challenges required continuous adaptation of mechanisms, better coordination and early action to address threats at all levels.  Affirming the importance of conflict prevention, he supported the Secretary‑General’s reform proposals in that context.  The integration of a gender‑balance perspective was also a priority, as was an ever‑strengthening relationship between the General Assembly, Security Council and the rest of the United Nations system, including through the Peacebuilding Commission.  Early Council consultations on situations of imminent risk and collective action were important to break the conflict cycle.  Portugal stood ready to fully contribute to those efforts.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) said emerging challenges had the potential to further exacerbate protracted conflicts and create multiplier effects across borders.  Conflict prevention was, first and foremost, a national responsibility and the active participation of all segments of society was fundamental to mitigating the potential drivers of conflict.  Meanwhile, the United Nations had a critical role in facilitating and monitoring the implementation of internationally agreed commitments to support Member States.  However, the range of tools at its disposal needed to be deployed with sensitivity to the realities on the ground and in consultation with relevant national, civil society and humanitarian actors.  The failure to do so was evident in the “textbook case of ethnic cleansing” witnessed in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August, he said.  Furthermore, while the Council did not need to remain confined to a strict definition of its mandate, it should find ways to enhance its interface with other principal organs.

News

General Assembly Takes Action on Second Committee Reports by Adopting 41 Texts, also Passes Overhaul of United Nations Peace, Security Pillar

Increasing Official Development Assistance, Updating Bank Policies to Support 2030 Agenda among Resolutions Approved

Gearing up to implement the international community’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the General Assembly today adopted 41 resolutions and two related decisions aimed at strengthening nations’ efforts to reach agreed goals.

At the meeting’s outset, the Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a resolution on restructuring the United Nations peace and security pillar, presenting what several delegates described as “sweeping” proposals to overhaul it.

By the resolution’s terms, the Assembly took note of a Secretary‑General’s report containing five proposals, including the creation of a single political‑operational structure under Assistant Secretaries‑General with regional responsibilities, and establishment of a “Standing Principals’ Group” of the Under‑Secretaries‑General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and for Peace Operations.

Focusing then on the Second Committee, the Assembly turned to macroeconomic policy questions, adopting a resolution on international financial system and development in a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly stressed that development banks should make optimal use of their resources and balance sheets, updating their policies to support of the 2030 Agenda.

By further terms, the Assembly committed to substantially curb illicit financial flows by 2030 by combating tax evasion, transnational organized crime and corruption through strengthened national regulation and increased international cooperation and reducing opportunities for tax avoidance.

Adopting another resolution on external debt sustainability and development, the Assembly stressed creditor and debtor responsibility in avoiding build‑up of unsustainable debt to diminish the risk of crisis.  By further terms, it urged countries to direct resources freed by debt relief to sustained economic growth and internationally agreed development goals.

By a resolution on commodities, adopted in a recorded vote of 182 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the Assembly directed the international community to address factors creating structural barriers to international trade, impeding diversification and limiting access to financial services.  By other terms, it called on relevant stakeholders to address low industrialization and diversification of economies of some commodity‑dependent developing countries.

Other resolutions on macroeconomic policy questions concerned unilateral economic measures, international trade, financial inclusion, illicit financial flows and financing for development.

Focusing on special groups of countries, the Assembly adopted a draft on Follow‑up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.  By that text, the Assembly underlined the urgent need to reverse the decline in official development assistance (ODA) to least developed countries, urging nations that had not met commitments to increase their contribution and make concrete efforts towards ODA targets.

By another resolution on Development cooperation with middle‑income countries, it encouraged shareholders in multilateral development banks to develop a graduation process (from a nation’s lesser developed status) that was sequenced, phased and gradual.

Addressing sustainable development, the Assembly adopted several resolutions, including one on disaster risk reduction, emphasizing that preventing and reducing such risk would provide exponential returns and significantly curtail response costs.  It also emphasized the importance of increasing the availability of multi‑hazard early warning mechanisms in ensuring early action.

According to another draft, the Assembly called for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, adopting it in a recorded vote of 183 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Venezuela).  It also called on Governments to expand the use of renewable energy beyond the power sector to industry, heating and cooling, infrastructure and the transport sector.

Adopting a further draft on combating sand and dust storms, it recognized that such weather had inflicted substantial economic, social and environmental damage on the inhabitants of the world’s arid, semi‑arid and dry subhumid areas, underscoring the need to treat and promptly take measures to address them.

Other sustainable development resolutions spotlighted development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan, sustainable tourism development in Central America, agricultural technology, desertification, biological diversity, education, camelids and World Bee Day.

Turning to a related item, the Assembly adopted a resolution on agriculture development, food security and nutrition in a recorded vote of 185 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions. By that text, the Assembly stressed the need to increase sustainable agricultural production globally by improving markets and trading systems as well as increasing responsible public and private investment in agriculture, land management and rural development.

By further terms, it stressed that a universal, rules‑based, open, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system promoted rural development and contributed to world food security and nutrition.  It urged national, regional and international strategies to promote the participation of farmers, fishers and fish workers in their various markets.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution concerning natural resources in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Syrian Golan in a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States) with 11 abstentions, which called for Israel to cease exploitation of natural resources in those territories.

Further to the text, the Assembly called on Israel to comply with international law and cease all policies and measures to alter the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It also called on Israel to stop harming the environment, cease destruction of vital infrastructure, remove obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects, and cease efforts impeding Palestinian development.

Resolutions were also adopted on transport links, agricultural technology, small islands, global climate, harmony with nature, oil slick on Lebanese shores, human settlements, globalization, science and technology, culture, landlocked developing countries, poverty eradication, women, human resources, operational activities, South‑South cooperation and family farming.

Committee Rapporteur Theresah Chipulu Luswili Chanda introduced its reports.

Also adopted, without a vote, was a plenary resolution on a world against violence and violent extremism.  Introducing that text, Iran’s representative urged Member States to avoid associating violent extremism with any single religion or nationality, adding that the Assembly could provide a platform to address the roots of that phenomenon.

The resolution spotlighted international efforts to combat violent extremism and reaffirmed the importance of the Secretary‑General’s Plan of Action on the matter.

In other business, the Assembly took note of a report of its General Committee and several appointments to the Committee on Conferences.  Botswana, France and the Russian Federation were appointed to serve three‑year terms on the Committee beginning on 1 January 2018.  The Assembly also noted that the Asia‑Pacific Group had recommended China’s appointment to fill a vacancy on the Committee for a term of office beginning on the date of appointment and ending on 31 December 2019.

Introduction of Draft Resolution and Reports

MIROSLAV LAJČÁK (Slovakia), President of the General Assembly, introducing a draft resolution titled “Restructuring of the United Nations peace and security pillar” (document A/72/L.33), said the Organization must be able to respond to today’s challenges “in the best way it can”.  However, there were new conflicts today that were harder to identify, as in the case of online recruitment of terrorist groups.  “Different threats require different responses,” he said, calling for adjustments to the Organization’s seventy‑year‑old mechanisms.  “We must evolve,” he stressed, noting that the resolution before the Assembly today would assist in that process, as it called for a second comprehensive report on the United Nations peace and security pillar.  Thanking the facilitators, he urged Member States to adopt the text by consensus.

The representative of Colombia, speaking in explanation of position on that item, said the resolution was critical to help make the United Nations more modern and transparent.  It contained a “visionary proposal” by the Secretary‑General, who had been chosen specifically “for this important task”.  Today’s peace and security challenges required bold measures to save lives, he said, adding that the resolution marked an important step forward in transparency.  It would also provide more feedback on “what is working and what is not working on the ground” in the United Nations efforts to enhance sustainable international peace.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

The representative of the United States said the United Nations would be better able to address the needs of those on the ground with more focused, effective and efficient operations.  Any reform that was implemented must advance political solutions and enable the Organization to tailor its responses to the needs of countries in conflict or transition.  The resolution demonstrated that the Secretary‑General had wide‑reaching endorsement from Member States for his vision to make the United Nations a stronger and more relevant institution that could prevent and respond to conflicts and atrocities.

The representative of Mexico said his country had joined consensus on the resolution, as it supported the Secretary‑General in his vision to make the United Nations a stronger organization.  It was critical to have the full backing of the Assembly so that the proposal could be implemented as soon as possible.  However, it seemed contradictory that the resolution on the reform of peace and security did not include references to sustainable development or the 2015 review process.  He expressed hope that the Secretary‑General’s report would be substantive in helping the Organization move towards greater understanding and the paradigm shift that peace required.

The representative of Argentina, welcoming the Secretary‑General’s initiative to reform the United Nations peace and security pillar, said the Organization should adopt a holistic and comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, building sustainable peace and development.  The text would help decrease the fragmentation in the Organization’s work, she said, adding that the “sweeping” proposal would help the United Nations focus more closely on the root causes of conflict, ensure national ownership, enhance conflict prevention and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Voicing support for efforts to make the Peacebuilding Office a “liaison” between the various relevant organs of the United Nations, she stressed that “we must move forward”, and expressed hope that the upcoming work would reflect an active exchange of ideas between all Member States.

The representative of China voiced support for the United Nations efforts to better implement the responsibilities entrusted in it by its Charter, as well as to enhance multilateralism.  Also welcoming efforts aimed at integrating the Organization’s resources and improving its efficiency, thereby allowing it to better respond to today’s peace and security challenges, he said the restructuring of the United Nations peace and security architecture would also require greater consultation between Member States.

The representative of the Russian Federation, noting that his delegation had joined in the consensus, said the changes proposed would also impact the Organization’s political dimensions.  Voicing his delegation’s commitment to engage in all discussions going forward, he expressed full respect for the points of view of various Member States, and said the final analysis must help them reach a “mutual understanding”.  While the interlinked relationship between the United Nations three pillars underpinned the Organization’s work, that did not mean that they must be carried out in the same way.  In that regard, he expressed support for the Secretary‑General’s efforts to avoid duplication of labour as well as ensure geographical representation.

The representative of Egypt agreed that the non‑traditional challenges emerging in global peace and security issues required new ideas and a more efficient use of the United Nations toolkit.  Stressing that the Assembly and its organs were the only entities that could adopt any of the restructuring proposals — and that such an adoption must be undertaken with full respect for the mandates of all the United Nations organs without any amendments to those mandates — he warned against including controversial elements which had not been fully agreed by Member States.  In addition, he said, Egypt considered sustainable development to be a right and a standalone objective in itself, which must be achieved without any preconditions.

The representative of Brazil said the United Nations needed to be nimbler if it was to implement all initiatives under the pillars of peace and security, development and human rights.  His country supported reform of the peace and security pillar and welcomed efforts to overcome fragmentation in focusing on restructuring peacebuilding.  However, he said reform would not be complete without reference to the work methods of the Security Council.

The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Assembly had expressed strong support for the Secretary‑General and reform of the Secretariat’s peace and security pillar.  He looked forward to a detailed report of all aspects of the new pillar.  The Secretariat must act as one while taking into account specificities of all facets on the ground, as through such efforts it could improve on efforts to maintain peace.  The Secretary‑General had the authority and now full political endorsement in proceeding with the first steps of implementing his vision.  With adoption of the resolution, the Assembly had set in motion not only reform but also a good precedent for other reforms.

THERESAH CHIPULU LUSWILI CHANDA (Zambia), Rapporteur of the Second Committee, introduced that body’s reports and the draft resolutions or decisions within, noting oral revisions for some.  She began with Strengthening of the United Nations system; United Nations reform: measures and proposals (document A/72/L.33); Information and communications technologies for development (document A/72/417); Macroeconomic policy questions (document A/72/418); International trade and development (document A/72/418/Add.1); International financial system and development (document A/72/418/Add.2); External debt sustainability and development (document A/72/418/Add.3); Commodities (document A/72/418/Add.4); Financial inclusion for sustainable development (document A/72/418/Add.5); Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development (document A/72/418/Add.6); and Follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development (document A/72/419).

Turning then to reports focusing on sustainable development, she introduced Sustainable development (document A/72/420); Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (document A/72/420/Add.1); Follow‑up to and implementation of the SIDS [small islands developing States] Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (document A/72/420/Add.2); Disaster risk reduction (document A/72/420/Add.3); Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind (document A/72/420/Add.4); Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/72/420/Add.5); Sustainable development: Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/72/420/Add.6); Education for sustainable development (document A/72/420/Add.7); Harmony with Nature (document A/72/420/Add.8); Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (document A/72/420/Add.9); and Combating sand and dust storms (document A/72/420/Add.10).

Next, she introduced reports on Implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conferences on Human Settlements and on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat) (document A/72/421); Globalization and interdependence (document A/72/422); Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/72/422/Add.1); Science, technology and innovation for development (document A/72/422/Add.2); and Culture and sustainable development (document A/72/422/Add.3).

Next, she introduced reports on Development cooperation with middle‑income countries (document A/72/422/Add.4); Groups of countries in special situations (document A/72/423); Follow‑up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (document A/72/423/Add.1); Follow‑up to the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (document A/72/423/Add.2); Eradication of poverty and other development issues: report of the Second Committee (document A/72/424); Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008‑2017) (document A/72/424/Add.1); Women in development (document A/72/424/Add.2); and Human resources development (document A/72/424/Add.3).

Finally, she introduced reports on Operational activities for development (document A/72/425); Operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/72/425/Add.1); South‑South cooperation for development (document A/72/425/Add.2); Agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/72/426); Towards global partnerships (document A/72/427); Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/72/428); Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/72/479); and Programme planning (document A/72/484).

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Assembly then turned to draft resolutions in the reports, beginning with a text on information and communications technologies for development (document A/72/417), which it adopted without a vote.

By that text, the Assembly called on all stakeholders to make bridging digital divides a priority, put into effect sound strategies contributing to the development of e‑government and continue to focus on pro‑poor information and communications technology policies and applications.

Next, it took up Macroeconomic policy questions, taking note of the report and adopting a resolution on Unilateral economic measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries (document A/72/418/Add.1) in a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 48 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly would call for the elimination of such measures against those States.

It then adopted a resolution on International trade and development (document A/72/418/Add.1) in a recorded vote of 182 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly promoted a universal, rules‑based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as meaningful trade liberalization.

Following that, the Assembly adopted a text on International financial system and development (document A/72/418/Add.2) in a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly resolved to strengthen the coherence and consistency of multilateral financial, investment, trade and development policy and environment institutions and platforms.

Next, it adopted, without a vote, a resolution on External debt sustainability and development (document A/72/418/Add.3), by which it stressed the responsibilities of creditor and debtor nations in avoiding the build‑up of unsustainable debt to diminish the risk of crisis.  By further terms, it urged countries to direct resources freed by debt relief to sustained economic growth and internationally agreed development goals.

The Assembly then adopted a draft on Commodities (document A/72/418/Add.4) in a recorded vote of 182 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By that draft, the Assembly would have the international community address factors that created structural barriers to international trade, impeded diversification and limited access to financial services, particularly for developing countries.

By other terms, it called on relevant stakeholders to address the issue of the low industrialization and diversification of the economies of some commodity‑dependent developing countries.

Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a text on Financial inclusion for sustainable development (document A/72/418/Add.5), by which it encouraged Member States to adopt and pursue national financial inclusion and gender‑responsive strategies to end structural barriers to women’s equal access to economic resources.

It then adopted, without a vote, a resolution on Promotion of international cooperation to combat illicit financial flows in order to foster sustainable development (document A/72/418/Add.6).  By that draft, the Assembly expressed concern that cryptocurrencies were increasingly being used for illicit activities.  It called for greater international cooperation and sustained dialogue to combat illicit financial flows and strengthen good practices on assets return.

The representative of Nigeria said efforts by his country and Norway had led to the establishment of the interlink between achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and combating illicit financial flows, which had been endorsed in numerous fora including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  While his delegation had expected a more robust outcome, the adopted resolution was sufficient, he said, and appealed to Member States to further request a report by the Secretary‑General on how the issue was central to achieving the 2030 Agenda.  The Assembly setting up an intergovernmental body would be key to coordinating relevant mandates, he said, adding that most developing countries supported that idea.  The African Union’s annual theme would in 2018 be “Winning the fight against corruption:  A sustainable path to Africa’s Transformation”.  Nigeria stood ready to contribute toward holding the high‑level conference on illicit financial flows and asset recovery which would be convened by the President of the seventy‑third General Assembly.  Urging Member States to share information to combat illicit financial flows, he underscored that returning stolen assets had a more positive impact than focusing on conditionalities hindering developing countries’ progress.

Following that, the Assembly adopted a draft, without a vote, on Follow‑up to and implementation of the outcomes of the International Conferences on Financing for Development (document A/72/419).

Turning to sustainable development, the Assembly adopted a resolution on Oil slick on Lebanese shores (document A/72/420) in a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 9 abstentions (Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Tonga, Vanuatu).  By that text, it noted that the oil slick damage to Lebanon amounted to $856.4 million in 2014, and the Assembly requested the Government of Israel to provide compensation to Lebanon for the damage and to other countries directly affected by the oil slick, such as Syria.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a text on International Year of Camelids, 2024 (document A/72/420), by which it encouraged all Member States, the United Nations system and other actors to take advantage of the International Year to promote awareness among the public of the economic and cultural importance of camelids.

Following that, it adopted, without a vote, a resolution on World Bee Day (document A/72/420), by which the Assembly decided to designate 20 May as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats that they face and their contribution to sustainable development.

Next, the Assembly adopted a draft, without a vote, on strengthening the links between all modes of transport to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (document A/72/420).  By that text, it called for efforts to promote regional and interregional economic cooperation, including by improving the planning of transportation infrastructure and mobility, enhancing connectivity and facilitating trade and investment.

It then adopted, without a vote, a text on international cooperation and coordination for the human and ecological rehabilitation and economic development of the Semipalatinsk region of Kazakhstan (document A/72/420).  By that text, the Assembly urged the international community to assist Kazakhstan in implementing special programmes and projects to treat and care for the affected population, as well as efforts to ensure economic growth and sustainable development in the Semipalatinsk region.

Following that, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution on sustainable tourism and sustainable development in Central America (document A/72/420), by which it stressed the need to promote the further development of sustainable tourism and strengthen the development of ecotourism, maintaining the culture and environmental integrity of indigenous and local communities.

Next, it adopted a draft on Agricultural technology for sustainable development (document A/72/420) in a recorded vote of 152 in favour to 1 against (Syria), with 29 abstentions.  By that text, the Assembly urged stakeholders to strengthen efforts to improve the development of sustainable agricultural technologies and their transfer and dissemination to developing countries.

The representative of Slovenia said that after three years of effort, the resolution on World Bee Day had received its final endorsement.  In the last three years, since the beginning of the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeeper’s Association in 2014, his country had been intensively notifying States around the world on a political as well as an expert level.  In the frame of the official procedures, the initiative had been unanimously adopted by the Conference of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations at its fortieth session in Rome in July.  After that endorsement, it was transmitted to the Assembly, and on 17 November the resolution was adopted by the Second Committee.  Global food security was a key social issue and an important priority in the development of agriculture.  A third of all food produced in the world depends on pollination, and bees had an important role to play in the preservation of ecological balance and biodiversity.  They were also good bioindicators of environmental conditions.

The Assembly then adopted a text, in a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 48 against, with 4 abstentions (Liberia, New Zealand, Norway, Turkey), on Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development and of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (document A/72/420/Add.1).

Next, the Assembly adopted a draft, without a vote, on follow‑up to and implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (document A/72/420/Add.2).

Following that, it adopted, without a vote, a text on Disaster risk reduction (document A/72/420/Add.3), by which the Assembly emphasized that preventing and reducing such risk would provide exponential returns and significantly curtail response costs.  It also emphasized the importance of increasing the availability of and access to multi‑hazard early warning mechanisms in ensuring early action.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft on Protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind (document A/72/420/Add.4).  By that text, it emphasized that mitigation of and adaptation to climate change represented an immediate and urgent global priority.  It also urged Member States to strengthen mechanisms and provide adequate resources towards achieving the full and equal participation of women in decision‑making at all levels on environmental issues.

Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a text on Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (document A/72/420/Add.5).

Following that, it adopted a draft, without a vote, on implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (document A/72/420/Add.6), by which the Assembly called on Governments and all stakeholders to take appropriate measures to mainstream consideration of socioeconomic impacts and benefits of conserving and sustainably using biodiversity and its components, as well as ecosystems providing essential services, into relevant programmes and policies at all levels.

The Assembly then adopted a text, without a vote, on Education for sustainable development in the framework of the 2030 Agenda (document A/72/420/Add.7).  By that draft, it called on the international community to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels — early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and distance education, including technical and vocational training — so that all people had access to lifelong learning opportunities that help them exploit opportunities to participate fully in society and contribute to sustainable development.

Following that, it adopted, without a vote, a text on Harmony with Nature (document A/72/420/Add.8), by which the Assembly decided to continue observing International Mother Earth Day annually.  It also called for holistic and integrated approaches to sustainable development in its three dimensions that guided humanity to live in harmony with nature and led to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the planet’s ecosystems.

Next, it adopted a draft on Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all (document A/72/420/Add.9) in a recorded vote of 183 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Venezuela).  By that text, the Assembly called for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.  It also called on Governments to expand the use of renewable energy beyond the power sector to industry, heating and cooling, construction and infrastructure, and in particular the transport sector.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft on Combating sand and dust storms (document A/72/420/Add.10), by which it recognized that that meteorological phenomenon had inflicted substantial economic, social and environmental damage on the inhabitants of the world’s arid, semi‑arid and dry subhumid areas, underscoring the need to treat them and take measures to address those challenges.

Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft on Implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conferences on Human Settlements and on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and strengthening of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN‑Habitat) (document A/72/421).

It then adopted a text on the Role of the United Nations in promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence (document A/72/422/Add.1) in a recorded vote of 184 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions.  By that draft, the Assembly underlined that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda depended on means of implementation, particularly finance, international trade, technology and capacity‑building, calling for sincere and effective follow‑up on global commitments.

The Assembly then took note of the Second Committee’s report on “Promoting development in the context of globalization and interdependence”.

Following that, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a draft on Science, technology and innovation for development (document A/72/422/Add.2), by which it called for strengthened support to those areas, particularly in developing countries.  It would also proclaim 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements to enhance global awareness of and education in the basic sciences.

Next, it adopted, in a recorded vote of 185 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, a text on Culture and sustainable development (document A/72/422/Add.3).  By that draft, the Assembly encouraged all relevant stakeholders to cooperate in supporting developing country efforts to develop, strengthen and consolidate cultural industries, tourism and related microenterprises.

It then adopted, without a vote, a text on Development cooperation with middle‑income countries (document A/72/422/Add.4), by which the Assembly encouraged shareholders in multilateral development banks to develop a graduation process (from a nation’s lesser developed status) that was sequenced, phased and gradual.

The Assembly then took note of the Second Committee’s report on “Groups of countries in special situations”.

Following that, it turned to a draft on Follow-up to the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (document A/72/423/Add.1), adopting it without a vote.  By that text, the Assembly underlined the urgent need to reverse the decline in official development assistance (ODA) to least developed countries, urging nations that had not met commitments to increase their ODA and make concrete efforts towards the ODA targets.

Next, it adopted, without a vote, a draft on Follow-up to the Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (document A/72/423/Add.2).  By that text, the Assembly stressed that cooperation on fundamental transit policies, laws and regulations between landlocked developing countries and their neighbours was crucial for the effective and integrated solution of cross‑border trade and transit transport problems.

The Assembly then took note of the Committee’s report on “Eradication of poverty and other development issues”.

It then adopted, without a vote, a draft on Implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty (2008‑2017) (document A/72/424/Add.1).  By that text, the Assembly emphasized the importance of structural transformation leading to inclusive and sustainable industrialization for employment creation and poverty reduction.

Following that, it adopted, without a vote, a draft on Women in development (document A/72/424/Add.2), by which the Assembly emphasized the need to link policies on economic, social and environmental development to ensure that all people, in particular women and children living in poverty and in vulnerable situations, benefited from inclusive economic growth and development.

The representative of Sudan, explaining his delegation’s position on the “women and development” resolution, said it had joined the consensus.  However, he expressed concern over the wording of some of the resolution’s paragraphs, including false criticisms of particular national legal systems, and disassociated himself from that text.

Next, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a text on Human resources development (document A/72/424/Add.3), taking note of the report on the same topic.  By that text, it called on the international community to place human resources development at the core of economic and social development as educated, skilled, healthy, capable, productive and adaptable workforces were the foundation for achieving sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and development.

The Assembly then turned to a draft on Operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document A/72/425/Add.1), adopting it without a vote.  By that text, it took note of the Secretary‑General’s report on “Repositioning the United Nations development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda: ensuring a better future for all”.

The Assembly then took note of the Second Committee’s report “Operational activities for development”.

Following that, the Assembly adopted, without a vote, a text on South‑South cooperation for development (document A/72/425/Add.2), by which it stressed that such assistance was not a substitute for, but rather a complement to, North‑South cooperation.  It also called on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other relevant organizations to assist developing countries in implementing projects of South‑South cooperation.

Next, the Assembly adopted, in a recorded vote of 185 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, a draft on Agriculture development, food security and nutrition (document A/72/426).  By that text, it stressed the need to increase sustainable agricultural production globally by improving markets and trading systems as well as increasing responsible public and private investment in sustainable agriculture, land management and rural development.

By further terms, the Assembly stressed that a universal, rules‑based, open, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system promoted agriculture and rural development in developing countries and contributed to world food security and nutrition.  It urged national, regional and international strategies to promote the participation of farmers, fishers and fish workers in community, national, regional and international markets.

It then adopted, without a vote, a draft on the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (document A/72/426), by which the Assembly proclaimed 2019‑2028 the Decade of Family Farming, and called on FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to lead implementation of the initiative.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision to postpone discussion of the agenda item on “Towards global partnerships” until the General Assembly’s seventy‑third session.

Following that, it adopted, in a recorded vote of 163 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 11 abstentions, a text on Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (document A/72/428).  By that draft, the Assembly called on Israel to cease exploitation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Syrian Golan.

Further to the text, the Assembly called on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law and cease all policies and measures aimed at the alteration of the character and status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  It also called on Israel to halt all actions harming the environment, cease destruction of vital infrastructure, remove obstacles to the implementation of critical environmental projects, cease efforts impeding Palestinian development and export of discovered oil and natural gas reserves.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision to approve the Second Committee’s programme of work for its seventy‑third session.

Finally, it took note of a report on programme planning.

The Assembly then took up a draft resolution titled “A world against violence and violent extremism” (document A/72/L.32).

The representative of Iran, introducing that text, said it was a follow‑up to Assembly resolutions 68/127 and 70/109, both of which had been adopted by consensus.  That unity demonstrated the pressing need to act to combat violent extremism, especially through the principles of tolerance and moderation.  Calling for collective international action in that regard — especially in the wake of the atrocities committed over the last few years by extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, including by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh) — he stressed that “dialogue, moderation and tolerance are the most effective antidote to violent extremism”.  Urging Member States to avoid associating violent extremism with any particular religion or nationality, he said doing so “played right into the terrorists’ hands” and further spread extremist ideology.  Noting that the Assembly could provide a strong platform to help address the roots of that phenomenon, he said the text also reaffirmed measures taken at the international level such as the Assembly’s high‑level 2016 meeting on the topic, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) 2016 conference on youth and the Internet.  It also spotlighted the Secretary‑General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and requested him to report on the implementation of the present resolution at the Assembly’s seventy‑fourth session.

The Assembly then adopted that draft resolution without a vote.

Speaking following the adoption, the representative of Canada said her delegation strongly condemned all violent extremism, including violence committed on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The rights of all people must be respected, she stressed, noting that the Secretary‑General’s Plan of Action recognized the important link between social exclusion and violent extremism.  All States — especially the resolution’s main sponsor — should comply with their international obligations to protect human rights.

The representative of Israel said her delegation had joined in the consensus, but voiced concern not with “the message but the messenger”.  Iran, the text’s main sponsor, was in fact the “nerve‑centre” of violent extremism and terrorist incitement around the globe, as well as its main sponsor.  Iran’s proxies butchered innocent people and violated human rights, she said, adding that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Iran were hanged from cranes, journalists were arrested, girls as young as 12 were married off and prisoners were tortured.  In Syria, Iran’s continued support for the Assad regime had allowed it to use chemical weapons against its own people, and next door in Lebanon it had helped Hizbullah increase its weapons arsenal.  With the adoption of the present text, it was critical for the international community to focus on Iran’s own actions, she stressed, noting that that country had already violated the very resolution it was sponsoring.

The representative of Saudi Arabia said his country had joined consensus on the resolution based on its belief in a comprehensive effort to combat violence and extremism.  It supported all efforts aimed at fighting violent extremism, but must address contradictions concerning security.  It was clear that Iran, the sponsor of the resolution, was also the main sponsor of violence and violent extremism across the world.  Iran had worked to destroy Yemen and was continuing to do so through violations of international law.  Several of its militias had wreaked havoc in Syria and Lebanon, and it was supporting extremist groups with weapons and other prohibited items.  He condemned Iranian support for those groups, stressing the need to prevent and counter all forms of violent extremism.

The representative of the United States noted that the Assembly had on 19 December adopted a resolution condemning Iran for continuing to violate international law and voicing concern over the targeting of minority religious communities.  Yet, 24 hours later, Iran was sponsoring a resolution against violence and extremism.  It had often acted in clear violation of its international obligations, which ran counter to the spirit of the resolution.  Her country had joined consensus on the resolution, as it believed in a comprehensive effort to counter extremism.  While Iran urged countries to unite against violence, its Government actively fomented violence across the Middle East.  Its support for Hizbullah had expanded the group’s arsenal, directly challenging Lebanese sovereignty and threatening Israel.  Iran abused its own people, supported political opponents of other Member States and imprisoned journalists and tourists on trumped up charges.

The representative of the Russian Federation said her country had joined consensus, as it believed in the resolution’s potential.  It viewed extremism as separate from terrorism, although it was a breeding ground for it.  Efforts to counter violent extremism must be based on international law and the United Nations Charter.  That was important when vague terms were being used to put forth dubious concepts.  She noted that extremist propaganda could, without violence, lead to undermining of the rule of law, destabilization of society and mass violations of human rights.

The representative of the European Union delegation rejected any form of discrimination, including on the grounds of sex, race, colour, language, genetic features, religion, membership in a minority group or sexual orientation or any other.  All nations must respect international human rights, promote good governance and uphold the rule of law.  She therefore urged all States — including the resolution’s main sponsor — to respect the rights of all their people, including ethnic, sexual and religious minorities.

Right of Reply

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Iran responded to the statement delivered by the delegate of the “Israeli regime”, who had levied baseless allegations and lies against his country.  Israel’s anger over the resolution adopted today was understandable, as it was an occupying entity that had created an apartheid system in the territories it controlled.  The representative of Israel had clearly deemed the resolution to be “against itself”, he said, noting that it pursued one of the most extreme policies in the modern world and denied the people living under its occupation their most basic rights.  In contrast, Iran had done everything in its power to combat violent extremism.

Responding to the representative of the United States, he said that country had for almost a year pursued a new policy which included levying baseless allegations and lies against Iran.  It was also working to advance the interests of the Israeli regime in the Middle East and was taking advantage of some regional countries by creating a “local bogeyman”.  It was not a coincidence that the United States had gone into high gear in its false allegations against Iran following the massive condemnation it received on its decision to recognize Al‑Quds [Jerusalem] as Israel’s capital.  The United States Government’s regime change project inflicted severe suffering across the Middle East, he said, adding that that country supported, armed and trained known terrorist groups in Syria.  The United States’ own past aggressions and interventions in the region had created fertile ground for recruitment by those advocating the violent takfirist ideology.

Turning to the representative of Saudi Arabia, he said that that country was a main sponsor of violent extremism worldwide, having lavishly financed the export of its fanatical ideology to poorer nations over the last three decades.  Saudi Arabia remained a critical support base for Al‑Qaida, the Taliban and other terrorist groups, and it supported any group that would fight the Government in Syria.  Noting that ISIL/Daesh was a product of Saudi support and financing, he said that country’s ideology propagated hatred and sought to spread it abroad.

News

Speakers Critical of Criteria for Graduation to Middle-Income Status, as Second Committee Takes Up Globalization, Interdependence

Middle-income countries had initially reaped globalization’s benefits, but were now suffering from the so-called “megatrends” of labour market shifts, rapid technological advances and climate change, speakers said today as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up globalization and interdependence.

Countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) had witnessed globalization both as an impetus to growth and threat to survival, said the representative of Barbados, speaking on the group’s behalf.  Small island States contributed little to climate change but were most vulnerable to its impacts, as underscored by destruction wrought in recent hurricanes.  Making it difficult for CARICOM members to rebuild following a disaster was their inability to access concessional financing, he said, as many were middle-income countries.  It was “unthinkable” that States reduced to abject poverty within hours due to a hurricane were barred from accessing funding needed to rebuild, forcing them to borrow at market rates.

Similarly, the representative of Maldives said graduating from least developed status to middle-income had failed to protect it from exogenous shocks or equip the country with additional instruments to bounce back.  Graduation meant the country was no longer eligible for official development assistance (ODA), concessional financing or export markets.  Just six days after the General Assembly graduated the Maldives, in December 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami hit the country, he said.  The damage it caused after just a few minutes came to more than 62 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).  The short- and long-term financial and economic impact on the Maldives took years to recover.

El Salvador’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), also expressed concern over graduation criteria for countries eligible to receive ODA and trade benefits.  Those criteria, based on a skewed approach to development, which only used per capital income of countries to measure development, failed to reflect deep inequalities in his region.  He stressed the importance of implementing multidimensional methodologies Governments had agreed on to measure a country’s level of development and define adequate criteria to allocate ODA.  Those methodologies must go beyond per capita income in a balanced and integrated fashion, recognizing diverse needs and challenges of each country in CELAC.

Presenting the Secretary-General’s reports were Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, on fulfilling the promise of globalization: advancing sustainable development in an interconnected world (document A/72/301); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Director of Technology and Logistics, Shamika Sirimanne, on science, technology and innovation for development (document A/72/257); and Department of Economic and Social Affairs Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Dawn Holland, on development cooperation with middle-income countries (document A/72/329).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) New York Liaison Office Director, Marie Paule Roudil, introduced the report of the UNESCO Director-General on culture and sustainable development (document A/72/336).

Also speaking were the representatives of Ecuador (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Singapore (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Bangladesh (for the Group of Least Developed Countries), Armenia (for the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries), India, China, Philippines, Belarus, Cuba, Guatemala, South Africa, Chile, Namibia, Honduras, Iraq, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Botswana, Thailand, Rwanda, Nepal and Ukraine.  Representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as well as the Holy See also spoke.

During an afternoon session, the Second Committee took up information and communications technologies (ICT) for development, with speakers highlighting the continuing digital divide and need for international investment in capacity‑building and improved Internet access, especially in developing countries.

Noting that more than half the world’s population was still offline, Ms. Sirimanne, said 84 per cent of the population had Internet connectivity in Europe, as opposed to only 18 per cent in Africa.  Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels (document A/72/64), she added that International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates had shown that women were 12 per cent less likely to use the Internet globally, compared to 25 per cent in Africa.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, Ecuador’s delegate emphasized the need to bridge the digital divide between countries as well as between men and women.  There were 90 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people in developed countries as compared to 41 in developing countries and less than 20 in the least developed States.  Such figures were cause for concern, he added, calling for international cooperation in improving affordability, capacity-building, multilingualism, investment and appropriate financing.

The representative of India said ICT had tremendous power to change lives, while noting that the digital divide could expand existing inequalities.  His country was implementing a range of programmes focused on empowering vulnerable sections of the population and those living in remote areas.  E-services on offer included tele-education, tele-medicine and agricultural information services that provided crop prices, weather forecasts and new farming techniques.

Also speaking were the representatives of Thailand (for ASEAN), Trinidad and Tobago (for CARICOM), Bangladesh (for the Group of Least Developed Countries), Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Philippines, Singapore, Iran, Cuba, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Kenya, Nepal, China, Togo, Brazil, Mexico, Bahrain, Vanuatu, South Africa, Russian Federation, Nigeria and Ethiopia.  Representative of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also spoke.

The Committee will meet again on Monday, 16 October, at 10 a.m. to take up agriculture development, food security and nutrition.

Introduction of Reports

LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on fulfilling the promise of globalization: advancing sustainable development in an interconnected world (document A/72/301).  He noted that globalization had exerted a significant influence on global wealth and sustainable development, but came with challenges and risks, often caused by imbalances in the distribution of benefits and costs.  To ensure that globalization supported inclusive economic growth, it was essential to analyse the current system as well as emerging trends to devise policy solutions addressing them.  Three large and sustained global shifts with wide impact and the power to shape the future — so-called “megatrends” — were impacting globalization.  First, global shifts in production had spurred deep changes in labour markets in both developed and developing countries.  Second, the rapid advance of technological change had made knowledge and information exchange using information and communications technology (ICT) and networks increasingly important.  Finally, a growing body of evidence pointed to globalization as a contributing factor to climate change and environmental degradation.

SHAMIKA SIRIMANNE, Director of the Technology and Logistics Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on science, technology and innovation for development (document A/72/257).  She said the report analysed the technological megatrends of the fourth industrial revolution and illustrated the benefits, such as enhanced early warning systems, big data to monitor disease outbreaks, improvements to farming conditions, artificial intelligence (AI) for diagnosing cancer, mobile payment systems to improve financial services and more.  Despite those benefits, she cautioned that technology could exacerbate existing economic and social divides, particularly in the labour and employment sectors.  The Commission on Science and Technology for Development examined how science, technology and innovation could achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including through food security and smart cities.  Throughout multi-stakeholder consultations, States agreed that greater assessment would be necessary to evaluate the development potential of new and emerging technology.  UNCTAD would continue that work while addressing concerns about the gender dimension of development, financing for innovation, and regional and international cooperation.  She highlighted collaboration with China in furthering training and seminars for innovative technologies, and encouraged other States to join in similar efforts.  Capacity-building would be essential in supporting the deployment of technology and innovation.  To that end, the Conference would continue to develop a broadened framework of policy reviews that integrated the Sustainable Development Goals into science, technology and innovation policymaking and implementation.

MARIE PAULE ROUDIL, Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Liaison Office in New York, introduced the report of the UNESCO Director-General on culture and sustainable development (document A/72/336).  She stressed that the international community could not achieve its goals of sustainable cities, quality education, economic growth, sustainable consumption and production as well as environmental sustainability and inclusive, peaceful societies without integrating culture into development policies.  Cultural and creative industries were among the most dynamic sectors in the world economy, generating $2.25 billion in revenue and 29.5 million jobs worldwide.  Member States had invested in the field, embraced the potential of digital technologies and forged new partnerships with United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), high-level experts, academia, the private sector and civil society.  Safeguarding cultural heritage and promoting the diversity of cultural expression, while fostering values and behaviours reflecting non-violence and building tolerance played an instrumental role in the social cohesion of societies and peacebuilding.

DAWN HOLLAND, Senior Economic Affairs Officer in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on development cooperation with middle-income countries (document A/72/329).  Noting that those countries faced significant challenges to development, including high inequality, issues relating to the environment and consequences from climate change, she said national efforts should be enhanced through improved and more focused cooperation.  Economic growth in those States slowed noticeably since 2011 and many may be caught in a “middle-income trap” resulting in a protracted period of subdued growth rates.  Public debt increased from 2015 to 2017 as stagnating or contracting output in major economies and lower commodity revenues led to higher fiscal deficits.  Since the global financial crisis, there had been a decline in labour productivity growth, which undermined national efforts for sustainable development.  If that trend continued, 6.5 per cent of the world’s population would still live in extreme poverty by 2030.  Policy options to address those challenges included more proactive fiscal policy measures, strategies to diversify production, support to innovation and improved trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).  Country classifications based solely on per capita income, she continued, did not effectively reflect the complex nature of development challenges, thus comprehensive strategies should refer to a broader set of multidimensional measures of economic, social and environmental progress.  Adequate provision of development finance would also remain crucial.

Questions and Answers

The representative of Nigeria asked whether mechanisms were in place to ensure that the benefits of globalization were more evenly distributed, so that economic growth could be translated into lifting households out of poverty.  He also questioned how the United Nations system was prepared to help developing countries catch up with rapid technological development and effectively use science and technology to improve employment, trade and sustainable development.  In addition, he asked what strategies were put in place to improve their capacities in monitoring progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A representative of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs said the 2030 Agenda itself noted that many issues of development were related to globalization, science and technology.  Benefits from those areas began at the national level by putting in place appropriate policy and legal frameworks.  The United Nations was actively involved in that process, engaging with Governments to develop them.  Globally, there was increased recognition that a more sustained dialogue on globalization’s benefits as driven by science and technology was needed.

Ms. SIRIMANNE added that the United Nations was engaged in policy discussions with Governments, in both developed and developing countries.  Sustainable development ministries were involved, but they tended to be lower down and such discussions could not occur in isolation.  Discussions were focused on science and technology as well as education to prepare for emerging technology.

Ms. ROUDIL, noting that engineering and science were part of the UNESCO mandate, said engineering was becoming a top priority.  Her organization had launched a specific initiative to support development of education in engineering, especially for women and girls at both secondary and higher levels of education.

Statements

HENRY JONATHAN VIERA SALAZAR (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the 2015 intergovernmental agreements had laid the frameworks for engaging on economic, social and environmental issues in a balanced, equitable and sustainable manner.  “This is not the time to question what was agreed but time for implementation”, he said.  The fast pace of globalization had been facilitated by the rapid developments in ICT.  Technology transfer and diffusion on concessional and preferential terms from developed countries were needed to address the adverse impacts of climate change and development of developing countries.  Those issues could be addressed with coordinated and coherent action at the global level, he said, mentioning the 2030 Agenda in that regard. 

He said the United Nations was the only global body to strengthen international cooperation for promoting development in the context of globalization and for the implementation of the internationally agreed development goals.  The Organization should promote greater coordination with relevant international financial and economic institutions to ensure coherence with the United Nations development agenda.  He reiterated the urgent need to ensure that the diverse development needs of middle-income countries were appropriately addressed, as 73 per cent of the world’s poor lived in those States.  To cope with inequality at the country level, he said there was a need to put job creation at the centre of economic policies.

JOSEPH TEO CHOON HENG (Singapore) spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and aligned himself with the Group of 77.  He expressed concern that isolationist and protectionist voices were gaining force, while noting that complex global challenges, such as terrorism, cybersecurity, pandemics and climate change required global solutions.  Multilateralism was critical in addressing those threats, he stated.  His region’s commitment to community-building processes was demonstrated in economic, political-security and sociocultural areas.  Efforts were undertaken to cooperate with external partners on the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025.  The United Nations, together with international organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), must ensure that the global economic framework remained conducive for sustained and inclusive economic growth, particularly in developing countries.  In that regard, he said ASEAN valued continued partnerships to secure conditions for peaceful and sustainable economic development.  The ASEAN-United Nations Plan of Action for 2016‑2020 and the annual regional dialogue would prove to be important platforms for exchanging insights and best practices.  He also welcomed the support of the Organization in efforts to narrow the development gap.

SHANCHITA HAQUE (Bangladesh), speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associating herself with the Group of 77, said there were significant science, technology and innovation gaps between the least developed nations and the rest of the world.  Noting inequalities in patent filing and the number of scientific articles published by the least developed countries, she highlighted obstacles related to limited data and low spending on research and technology.  She said those countries were isolated from global research networks and lacked the technical expertise and skills necessary to contribute in research and development initiatives, which were often contingent on the availability of and access to technology.

Stressing that technology could contribute to sustainable development, including the eradication of poverty, she recalled efforts by States to contribute to the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.  She urged other States and donors to contribute to that fund, and to enhance public investment in research and development while improving coordination at all levels.  In that regard, she called for greater public‑private partnerships and support from the international community, particularly through a robust framework for technology transfer, knowledge sharing and official development assistance (ODA).

HECTOR ENRIQUE JAIME CALDERÓN (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said technology transfer, capacity-building and dissemination of innovations and knowledge were important drivers of development and economic growth, which could significantly reduce the existing technology gap between and within countries.  However, he expressed concern with the current graduation criteria for the list of countries eligible to receive ODA and trade benefits applied by various international organizations. Those criteria, based on a skewed approach to development, which only used per capital income of countries to measure development, did not reflect the integrated character of sustainable development or existing deep inequalities in his region.

ODA was still required in the CELAC region to reduce inequality and structural gaps as well as generate and strengthen its capacity to achieve sustainable development, he said.  In that regard, he called for developed countries to fulfil their commitment to allocate 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) to ODA and for international organizations to address the diverse and specific development needs of CELAC countries.  He stressed the need and importance of implementing multidimensional methodologies agreed on between Governments to measure a country’s level of development and define adequate criteria to allocate ODA.  Those methodologies must go beyond per capita income in a balanced and integrated fashion, recognizing diverse needs and challenges of each and every country in Latin America and the Caribbean.

MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia), speaking on behalf of the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said his Group had adopted a ministerial declaration regarding the unique challenges faced by middle-income nations and said the classification of developing States should be redefined.  Advancing towards criteria that went beyond per capita income was key to understanding the challenges that such countries faced.  He said a whole category of States were left behind from coordinated assistance and urged that the United Nations elaborate a comprehensive strategy aimed at facilitating sustainable development with those countries.  He called for an open dialogue for innovative approaches that encouraged “graduation” policies which were sequenced, phased, and gradual and resulted in tailored solutions.  In that regard, he welcomed the call to build on the experience of the Committee for Development Policy, but expressed concern that access to concessional finance reduced countries’ income growth. 

He stressed the importance of addressing structural gaps and stated that improvements in macroeconomic indicators did not reflect an improvement in efforts to eradicate poverty, given that inequality remained pervasive in countries with high economic growth.  Targeted and differentiated strategies in cooperation for development were needed and he called for assistance to overcome the effects of climate change.  The quadrennial comprehensive policy review would present an opportunity to transform the development system and build capacity to address development challenges of middle-income countries.  The needs of those countries must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, including through enhanced technological assistance.

KEITH HAMILTON LLEWELLYN MARSHALL (Barbados) spoke on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associated himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States.  He said CARICOM members experienced in varying degrees the impact of globalization: both impetus to growth and challenges to their very survival.  The “megatrends” disproportionally affected small island developing States and underscored the need for restructuring the mode of interaction of the international community with those vulnerable States.  The destruction wrought by recent hurricanes underscored that small island States contributed little to climate change but were most vulnerable to its impacts.  Now was not the time to renege on commitments made in the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but to redouble efforts to prevent further degradation of the environment.

RENUKA CHOWDHURY (India) said the rising power of digital technologies and social media was transforming the way Governments and businesses worked.  The global economic and financial integration had, on occasion, led to dramatic collapses.  Emerging areas such as cybersecurity and global geospatial information management had cross-cutting impacts.  More, not less, effective multilateralism was needed, therefore, to manage opportunities and challenges faced collectively.  The realization of the interdependence and the collective nature of peace, prosperity and security for all had been reflected in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.  Their implementation would lead to a better future for all.  India continued to play its part in strengthening the multilateral successes on addressing climate change and meeting sustainable development challenges, including through South-South cooperation.

TANG TIANXI (China) said globalization had promoted an increased flow of goods and economic growth, but had also produced governance dilemmas and inequalities.  Countries should strengthen cooperation in response to globalization’s challenges in producing more balanced results.  They must also embrace innovative concepts for development, promote structural reform and create new jobs.  The international community should remain an open world economy through interconnectivity and investments in trade, opposing all forms of protectionism.  It was necessary to reform international trade rules, with each country enjoying equal rights and opportunities.  Emerging markets in developing countries should have increased representation and a stronger voice in the international trading system.  China had benefited from globalization, as evidenced by its rapid economic growth.  Looking ahead, the country was willing to work with all parties in bringing in a new industrial and digital revolution.

MARIA ANGELA PONCE (Philippines), associating herself with ASEAN, the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries and the Group of 77, said her nation was among the 109 middle-income States with specific challenges and diversified income, growth drivers and governance structures.  While the Philippines had achieved high growth, poverty and inequality were also high, and underemployment was a problem.  In supporting recognition of a middle-income countries category within the United Nations, “we do not seek to take away resources from other groups of countries”, she said, but rather sought to create positive synergies for developing States.  Recognizing the low level of innovation in the Philippines, the national development plan increased science, technology and innovation use in agriculture, industry and services, and also ensured that culture was built into policy formulation.

TAMARA KHARASHUN (Belarus), associating herself with the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, said the problems facing those States could only be solved through the exchange of best practices, strengthened coordination and targeted support from the development system.  So far, work on addressing the needs of middle-income States was ad hoc and lacked a unified approach to provide comprehensive support, which differed from others categories of developing countries.  She highlighted the outcomes of a ministerial meeting on that issue, and expressed hope that a resolution would be adopted to outline a long-term strategy of support to middle-income countries.  That resolution, she continued, should address the classification of States, as income alone would not adequately reflect the needs of middle-income countries.  The World Bank’s criteria for loan allocation often showed a “rosy picture” which did not reflect reality.  In response to those challenges, she called for improved indicators on economic and social progress.

JUAN MIGUEL GONZÁLEZ PEÑA (Cuba), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CARICOM, said a transparent, open, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral system, maximizing benefits of globalization while minimizing its costs, was imperative for implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Globalization under neoliberal precepts, however, exacerbated existing inequalities and the North‑South development gap continued to grow.  Underscoring the need for a New International Economic Order, he advocated a multidimensional, more comprehensive and complete methodology for classifying the level of development, particularly for middle‑income countries.  That methodology should go beyond gross national product (GNP) and levels of per capita income while considering their characteristics and special challenges.  While struggling under the criminal blockade by the United States, his country had shown important achievement in development, he said.

DAVID MULET LIND (Guatemala) associated himself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries.  He said the criteria and categorization of States based on per capita income and economic growth did reflect the challenges faced by middle-income countries.  In that regard, he called for greater support to the multidimensional measurement for poverty and development.  One-third of global gross domestic product (GDP) and 73 per cent of people living in poverty worldwide were living in those countries, he stated.  Thus, the international community must create a more fair and accountable development system.  He stressed the urgency of such work, and called for increased action to reform the international system.  To that end, he would welcome a resolution for middle-income countries.

Ms. RABOHALE (South Africa) said existing levels of inequality were not only morally unacceptable but economically, politically and socially detrimental.  There was a growing debate about whether globalization and new technologies had exacerbated or improved the situation, especially in developing countries.  She expressed concern about dwindling international cooperation in supporting developing States which depended on developed countries honouring their global commitments.  A prominent feature of globalization was science, technology and innovation, but greater strides were needed to bridge the technological gap between the global North and South.  She called for the international community to promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms.  Globalization had allowed for significant economic growth for many countries and had lifted millions out of poverty, but had simultaneously contributed to immense inequality between and among States.  That was particularly relevant for so-called “middle-income countries”, where the majority of the world’s poor now resided.

PATRICIO AGUIRRE VACCHIERI (Chile), associating himself with Group of 77, CELAC and the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries, called for an adjustment of the classification of countries based solely on per capita income, as it was contradictory with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.  A solely economic approach without other dimensions of development would not allow for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, he stated.  Graduation from classifications should not be taken solely by the crossing of an income line without considering other variables.  He expressed support to the draft resolution on middle-income countries, and said the text would have a clear mandate with multidimensional criteria to support all Member States.  He expressed hope that the United Nations development system would enhance monitoring for countries that had moved to higher levels of development, and called on the donor community to enhance focus and support.

ELTON KHOETAGE HOESEB (Namibia) said his country had benefited from globalization and positive growth over many years, but was also heavily affected by the global economic slowdown and supposedly low growth in large neighbouring economies.  Externally, it had to contend with the impact of the commodity price crash.  Simultaneously, climate change brought severe drought over the past three years, affecting the agricultural sector as well as wet industries and the construction supply chain.  Liquidity came under pressure due to weak market confidence and consequently a tight cash flow situation.  He cautioned against the arbitrary classification of countries based on income alone, which was the current approach developed by international financial institutions and adopted by the United Nations.  That had caused Namibia, like other upper middle-income nations, to be unfairly deprived of access to concessional funding essential for development.

YOLANNIE CERRATO (Honduras) associated herself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries.  Stressing that reduction or elimination of poverty was a global strategic imperative, she called for a multidimensional approach to address those challenges.  The classification of countries based on income or GDP per capita differed with the complex economic and social reality, she said.  The current classification by income did not allow for the necessary priorities or resources for development, and incorrectly presupposed that middle-income countries overcame levels of poverty and inequality.  Thus, she urged for criteria that looked beyond income and addressed the special needs of individual countries.  Efforts should include open dialogue on innovative approaches to the graduation policy which should be set sequentially and gradually.  To that end, she welcomed efforts to adopt a resolution which would address the needs of middle-income countries.

Mr. SAFAH (Iraq), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the dangerous aggression from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) led to the destruction of building his country’s capacity, and that the country further suffered from decreased oil prices.  Science, technology and innovation could play a crucial role in development and allowed countries to gain capacity from innovations in economic, social and environmental areas and technology transfer.  He noted the importance of UNESCO and highlighted a 2005 agreement on cultural diversification to which his country acceded.  He said that the international community did not address the difference between development and cultural polices at the international level.  Noting that ISIL had destroyed a 1,000‑year‑old civilization in Iraq, he commended the support given by the General Assembly and called on the international community to provide greater development assistance to rebuild his country’s infrastructure and protect its cultural heritage.  To that end, he urged all countries who were party to UNESCO to honour their commitments, and enhance efforts to prevent conflict and combat terrorism.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the middle-income category was a paradox, with some of the largest and most diversified economies in the world and some of the smallest in terms of GDP, relying on just one or two industries.  The Maldives was among the first to graduate from least developed status to middle-income, but that did not protect it from exogenous shocks or equip the country with any additional instruments to bounce back from them.  When a small island State, with a small and extremely dependent economy, with just one or two industries was graduated from least developed countries category, the country became more vulnerable.  That was because with graduation the country was no longer eligible for ODA and had no access to concessional financing or export markets.  Those challenges made newly graduated small economies more vulnerable than they were in the least developed category.  Just six days after the General Assembly graduated the Maldives in December 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami hit the country.  The damage it caused in just a few minutes was more than 62 per cent of the country’s GDP.  The short- and long-term financial and economic impact on the Maldives took several years to recover, which was what a natural hazard would do to a small economy.

ROLANDO CASTRO CORDOBA (Costa Rica) associated himself with the Group of 77, CELAC and the Like-minded Group of Supporters of Middle-Income Countries.  He said the international community must revisit criteria for the reclassification of countries and their access to resources.  Sustainable development reports, analyses of structural gaps and the global poverty index were all important in that regard, but greater efforts would be needed to create adequate indicators and evaluate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.  He said the international community must recognize the complex realities of different countries, and called for open dialogues on the innovative and multidimensional approaches for development.  He said that broadening the international community’s vision would entail creating more focused and efficient solutions that addressed the specific needs of each country.  He also noted the challenges presented by climate change and natural hazards, stating that the international community must be prepared to address new and emerging challenges.  He urged for greater international cooperation in strengthening the multidimensional vision for development in relation to the reform efforts of the Secretary-General.  He also stressed the importance of fostering global partnerships, transferring technology and knowledge, broadening access to ODA and data sharing.

LEULESEGED TADESE ABEBE (Ethiopia) noted that globalization had contributed to global poverty reduction and economic growth, but its benefits had clearly not been shared by all.  Hence, popular discontent, driven by rising inequality and loss of jobs, had brought an enormous stress on multilateralism and governance institutions.  In making globalization deliver for all, the United Nations had a critical role in supporting countries to better cope with its risks and in assisting States and other stakeholders find global solutions respecting national diversity.  National efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda should be complemented by a fair and development-friendly international economic and financial architecture, giving more voice to developing countries.  International cooperation was also essential in addressing the widening technological divide through technology transfer and capacity-building to support efforts of developing countries.

TLHALEFO BATSILE MADISA (Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that as 73 per cent of the world’s poorest and 70 per cent of the world’s population lived in middle-income countries, they deserved special consideration.  Such countries faced a mammoth task in sustaining the gains from previous decades against the rising costs of living, food and energy and decline in commodity prices, among other things.  Many had experienced economic deceleration or even recession in recent years.  United Nations development cooperation with middle-income countries should therefore be strengthened, he said, subscribing to the notion that country classification based on per capita income criteria was deficient.

PUNNAPA PARDUNGYOTEE (Thailand) said globalization had brought numerous benefits and opportunities, with countries becoming more interconnected, economies prospering and new technologies and innovations being introduced.  However, it had also resulted in numerous challenges, such as an imbalanced distribution of wealth, socioeconomic inequality and more challenging employment opportunities due to the production and labour market shift, rapidly changing technological advancement and digital divides as well as climate change.  Middle-income countries had benefited from globalization, but now faced socioeconomic inequalities undermining the possibility of achieving long-term sustainable and inclusive growth.  To break away from the middle-income trap, they needed to keep up with more developed economies in competing in the high value-added market.  At the national level, efforts must be put in place to address inequality and bridge physical and digital divides, providing equal access to knowledge as well as employment and income-earning opportunities.

Ms. BAKURAMUTSA (Rwanda), associating herself with the Group of 77, said she recognized globalization as impactful in permitting developed and developing countries to harness beneficial collaborations and create higher standards of living for all.  Her country promoted a long-lasting strategic vision for economic development through regional cooperation and trade with a conducive system of policies and incentives for investment.  Greater equitable economic integration for developing countries and increased trade and cross-border capital flows would help mitigate the risks of globalization.  Culture could be an enabler and driver of economic, social and environmental dimensions for sustainable development.  She said that in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda had focused on reconciliation and the building of a unified nation.  Her country established a community court system called “gacaca” which brought about restorative justice and reconciliation at the grassroots level.  Her country also promoted “umuganda” to nurture a shared national identity through public community work, such as infrastructure development and environmental protection.

BHARAT RAJ PAUDYAL (Nepal), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said globalization had improved economic and living conditions in both developed and developing States.  However, distribution of its benefits had been uneven, with inequalities widening and technological advancement asymmetrical.  Technology had thrown the uneducated and technologically illiterate into irrelevance, as they failed to fit into economies.  Countries in special situations, such as least developed countries, were vulnerable to economic shocks triggered by globalization.  They were also at the brunt of global problems like climate change, terrorism and transnational crime.  Connectivity of roads and other transport were critical for least developed countries that were landlocked or islands.  A fair and level playing field was needed in trade and better financing solutions as well as technology transfer were needed to make globalization work for all.

The representative of Ukraine, noting that his country was a proud provider of global innovations and well-educated experts in a number of critical fields, highlighted the Ukrainian science park experts whose work had led to innovations in water, energy and cyber technologies and solutions for countries of the global South and least developed countries in Africa.  To that end, he expressed support to the Secretary-General’s report on technological capabilities to accelerate the means of education and training.  Similarly, he encouraged greater international efforts to support education through scientific scholarships, training courses, and research and development grants.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said the benefits of globalization were mostly concentrated in developed countries and in wealthier regions.  International economic interdependence was strengthened by globalization and was affected by climate change.  He expressed concern that a “globalization of indifference” negatively affected those who had been excluded from the global economic system, including the poor and marginalized, migrants and refugees.  That trend also extended to those affected by environmental degradation.  He said the international community must work interdependently with an attitude of solidarity to build pathways for responsible cooperation.  “Technological progress and international solidary can indeed reduce the negative impacts of globalization, but without a change of heart, without a new attitude towards our common home and our fellow dwellers in that home, the hope for integral human development for all will remain just a dream rather than reality,” he said.

AMBER BARTH, International Labour Organization (ILO), pointed to the perception that globalization had not realized its potential and had even deepened inequalities.  Part of the globalization backlash was explained by labour markets, where fear reigned that migrants would take over existing jobs.  Considering technology’s reorganization of the labour market, one of the challenges would be to reduce income inequality.  Stagnant real wages and declining wage share had social and economic causes.  Disparity between real wages meant many families were not receiving their fair share.  In fixing globalization, the international community must develop more sustainable growth policies to ensure the employment market met the expectations of working people in attaining decent jobs.  The ILO would work with partners in the United Nations and Member States to ensure fairness for all.

HIROKO MURAKI GOTTLIEB, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), highlighted global shifts in production markets, rapid technological change and climate change.  She expressed support to various global agreements as enablers for solving global challenges, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which provided a platform for technology, science and innovation.  She also highlighted the importance of the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement in furthering climate finance, technology transfer and capacity-building for sustainable development.  Noting other examples of events and initiatives that supported science, technology and innovation, she expressed her organization’s continued commitment to fulfil the promise of globalization through multi‑stakeholder engagement.

Introduction of Reports

Ms. SIRIMANNE introduced the Secretary-General’s report on the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels (document A/72/64).  She said the report addressed trends in access to ICT, as well as the digital divide, the impact of new and emerging technologies and recent governance developments.  Gaps between countries persisted, despite technological advancements.  Those gaps were apparent in higher broadcast speeds and lower costs of technology in developed States than in developing countries.  Estimates from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) demonstrated that more than half of the world’s population was still offline.  In Europe, 84 per cent of the population had Internet connection, as opposed to only 18 per cent in Africa.  Women were 12 per cent less likely to use the Internet globally, as opposed to 25 per cent in Africa.  Similar digital divides could be seen across youth, rural and urban areas.  In response, she said investment would be critical; however, the international community must also strengthen governance and access to the benefits.  In regards to e-commerce, she said that significant progress was made, particularly in helping businesses and small entrepreneurial ventures connect with global markets.  The rapid pace of change would bring uncertainty and risk to labour and employment markets, she continued.  In response to such risks, UNCTAD recently launched rapid assessments of e-commerce readiness which evaluated the preparedness of developing and least developed countries.  UNCTAD also launched an “e-trade for all” initiative to improve the ability of least developed countries to use and benefit from e-commerce.  In that regard, she called upon the international community to expand support to the digital economy and invited countries to collaborate around the benefits and costs of digitalization.

Interactive Discussion

The representative of Nigeria, noting the disparities between the developed world and Africa, asked for greater clarity on ICT access and affordability, as well as information on the existing gender divide.  In response, Ms. SIRIMANNE reiterated that the gender divide was widening. Despite concerns, she noted that good practices could be seen Africa, especially in terms of small- and medium‑sized enterprises engaged in e-commerce, many of which were run by women.  She encouraged States to learn from those experiences and the report in order to upscale those experiences across the continent.  Regarding access and affordability, she reiterated that massive investments would be necessary in connectivity and other forms of gaps, such as skills and capacity-building and in legal and regulatory environments.

The representative of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, emphasized the need to bridge digital divides between countries, as well as between men and women.  There were 90 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people in developed countries as compared with 41 in developing countries and less than 20 in the least developed States.  Such figures were cause for concern given the rapid pace of technological advancements, he said, calling for enabling policy environments, and international cooperation in improving affordability, capacity-building, multilingualism, investment, and appropriate financing. 

Calling for the full and effective implementation of the outcomes of the Geneva and Tunis phases of the World Summit on the Information Society, he added that in an increasingly interdependent world, it was important to strengthen representation and participation from developing countries in Internet governance.  Underscoring the importance of ensuring that the use of technologies should be fully compatible with the purposes and principles of the United Nations charter, he added that the Technology Bank had the potential to foster productive capacity, structural transformation and sustainable development.

NONTAWAT CHANDRTRI (Thailand) spoke on behalf of ASEAN and aligned himself with the Group of 77.   He noted that both the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda underscored the pivotal role of ICT, which constituted one of the most important means of implementation.  Such technologies had profound impacts on accelerating socioeconomic development, strengthening connectivity within the bloc as well as with the global community.  In particular, they represented a key driver of the economic and social transformation of ASEAN, expediting economic growth and enabling better integration with the world market.  Guided by the ASEAN Information and Communications Technology Masterplan, the bloc was currently transforming into a digital economy.  The current Masterplan was aimed at adopting and embedding such technology in all sectors of the economy and fostering growth and innovation.  Alongside hardware, software and network upgrades, it focused on connecting every individual and community regardless of location, facilitating faster access to services and creating new and better ways of doing business.  However, he noted the persistence of the digital divide within the region.  On growing cyberthreats in the region, he said some steps the bloc had taken towards the goal of a safe and secure cyberspace included the inaugural ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity and a workshop on strengthening and enhancing cybersecurity regional cooperation.

PENNELOPE ALTHEA BECKLES (Trinidad and Tobago), speaking for CARICOM, and associating herself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, said small island developing States faced many challenges.  Those included limited resources, dependence on external markets and fragile natural environments.  Accelerated technological change, combined with competitive pressures of globalization, had expanded the digital divide between the global North and South.  Underscoring the relevance of the 2030 Agenda principle, “leave no one behind”, she said the Caribbean Community had increased its focus on information and communications technologies.

The work of the “Caribbean Single ICT Space” aimed to enhance the attractiveness of the regional environment for investment and provide fertile ground for digital production, commerce, entrepreneurship and innovation, she said, adding that “the 2030 Agenda requires the transfer of technology, resources, investment to developing countries, including small island developing States”.  The Community was mindful that the dynamism within the ICT sector had brought about new security and rights-based challenges, including on cybersecurity and Internet governance.   “We live in an interesting and dynamic age, full of countless opportunities,” she noted. 

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh) spoke on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and aligned himself with the Group of 77.  He said most of the least connected nations were those in his Group, with fewer than one in 10 people connected to the Internet.  The cost of connection in relation to average household income was also higher in his Group than in other countries.  To harness maximum benefits from ICT, he recommended, among other things, that policies to ensure ICT services, including broadband technologies, needed to be coupled with modern infrastructure and service delivery systems and that the full participation of women needed to be ensured.  A more robust international cooperation was required for least developed countries to address the challenges they faced, including through South-South and triangular cooperation.

The representative of Maldives, speaking for the Alliance of Small Island States, said that for small island States, the deployment of ICTs represented an unprecedented opportunity to address long-standing challenges, including in the area of disaster risk management.  In that context, fresh data and statistics were essential.  He therefore called for enhanced support and technical assistance from the international community in strengthening data collection and analysis.

Small island developing States also required help to leverage the use of ICTs in the area of financial services, he said.  In general, their citizens had very low access to such services due to such geography, isolation, dispersed populations, a high level of poverty and extremely high transaction costs, to name a few.  Linking financial services with communication technologies could bring such critical services to rural populations.

SWAPAN DASGUPTA (India) said that while ICTs had tremendous power to change lives, a digital divide could expand existing inequalities.  In India, the Government was implementing a range of programmes involving ICTs, including its Digital India programme that focused on empowering vulnerable sections of the population and those living in remote areas.  E-services included tele‑education, tele-medicine and agricultural information services that provided crop prices, weather forecasts and new farming techniques.  India’s deployment of ICTs to push financial inclusion was a success, with more than 300 million new bank accounts opened for vulnerable sections.  In addition, India continued to work with other developing countries in facilitating capacity-building in the use of ICTs for development.

Ms. PONCE (Philippines), associating herself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, said that while her country had increased its ICT infrastructure and service coverage, it continued to fall behind its peers in terms of the affordability and speed of Internet access.  It was clear that faster and cheaper Internet was required, she said.  The newly-created Department of Information and Communications was developing a national broadband plan that would address gaps in the broadband environment.  It would also lay down approaches to engage stakeholders to bring out universal broadband access in the Philippines.

GUO WEIMIN (Singapore), associating himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and ASEAN, noted that as digitalization continued to transform the very nature of work, it also posed both challenges and opportunities for achieving Goal 8 on decent jobs and economic growth.  To shape positive change, Governments must take an active role in establishing an enabling environment to prepare business and workers to prosper.   Setting rules that gave incumbent players a fair chance to adapt and compete was one means, as Singapore had done in regard to the new point-to-point transport industry.  Governments should also help workers acquire the skills they need, along the lines of his country’s “Skills Future” programme.  In addition, Governments should help businesses evolve, with initiatives like his country’s “SMEs Go Digital Programme”.  Becoming a “smart nation” involved not just adopting more advanced or complex technology, but using technology to solve society’s problems and making people’s lives better, he stressed.

The representative of Iran, associating himself with the Group of 77, said that many developing countries lacked affordable access to ICTs.  The international community should support developing countries’ efforts for harnessing technology to bridge the digital divide.  He called for enabling policy environments at all levels, including improved affordability, education, capacity-building and technology transfer through international cooperation.  Similarly, States should refrain from adopting measures that denied or restricted the transfer of advanced ICTs “know-how”, including technologies, and means and investment in required infrastructure.  Such efforts would only “postpone international efforts to bridge the digital divide”, he stressed.  His country had implemented policies that narrowed the digital divide at the national level through domestic programmes providing easy access to ICTs and digital-based resources.  In Iran’s sixth development plan, one‑fifth of all new job opportunities per year would come from the ICT sector.  The private sector would also continue to play a significant role, along with youth and the new generation of entrepreneurs.

The representative of Cuba, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Alliance of Small Island States, described deep inequalities in connectivity which resulted from the current unjust global development model.  While the necessary resources existed to bridge those gaps, changing the status quo required political will and commitment from all developed countries on financing, investment, training, infrastructure creation, knowledge dissemination and the transfer of technology and intellectual property.  “ICTs should be used to enhance people’s capacities for economic and social development, to promote peace and knowledge, to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and social exclusion” based on the strict respect for the Charter, he said.  Establishing a New World Information and Communication Order was a pressing need for developing countries to successfully assume the commitments agreed at the World Summit on the Information Society and to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda.  Voicing deep concern at the covert and illegal use of computer systems by individuals, organizations and States to attack other countries and potentially generate international conflicts, he said the only way to face such threats was through cooperation among all States.

The representative of Indonesia, associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said ICTs could be key enablers for development.  They could also provide new solutions to development challenges.  However, “we must be aiming at digital dividends, not digital divides,” he said.  ICTs must be adopted as an integral part of national sustainable development strategies.  As well, fostering international cooperation was crucial in order to make ICTs more affordable and accessible.  He went on to recommend preventative measures against the abusive use of ICTs.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates, associating herself with the Group of 77, said that her country’s Council of Ministers communicated with all of society through mass and social media and furthered opportunities with the private sector and entrepreneurs.  A council for the fourth industrial revolution had been established, seeking to build relations between public and private institutions for technological diplomacy.  Such efforts reflected the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to modernity, openness, tolerance and the participation of all people in ICTs.  However, there was a need to bolster collective work against cyberterrorism, and she urged States to expose misleading ideas used by terrorist and extremist groups.  On a national level, numerous social media campaigns were continuing to expose extremist messages and the deceit by ISIL.  In addition, her country also participated in numerous forums and meetings that addressed the future of the Internet and emphasized the importance of international cooperation for ICTs for development.  In that regard, the United Arab Emirates also sought to strengthen multilateral cooperation and the creation of effective laws and regulations.

The representative of Qatar, associating himself with the Group of 77, said ICTs were crucial in achieving the 2030 Agenda and urged for greater dissemination of knowledge, technologies and capacity-building.  In that regard, his country had established an enabling ICT infrastructure, and had launched an annual study to calculate domestic progress relating to ICTs.  His country was actively involved in technological research and promoted education and science as essential components for the development of inclusive and peaceful societies.  Cybercrime and piracy were interlinked with organized crime, and he urged States to work together to combat and penalize those crimes.  As well, due to “illegitimate” unilateral measures undertaken against it, Qatar faced many obstacles in its efforts to fight cybercrime.  ICTs could be used for illicit purposes to violate laws, and in that regard, he called upon the international community to create a common strategy to fight those crimes.

ISMAIL RAUSHAN ZAHIR (Maldives), associating himself with the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of 77, said that, as a small State comprising 1,190 small islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Maldives prioritized the harnessing of ICTs as part of its development strategy.  The dispersed nature of its population posed unique challenges, with the cost of providing and maintaining socioeconomic services in Maldives often four to five times higher than in other small island developing States.  In that context, the Government was undertaking several awareness-raising and capacity-building programmes, and had created an enabling environment for the private sector.  Those efforts had resulted in more widespread and affordable access to services.  New technologies were also being used in more traditional sectors, including fisheries and tourism, allowing the country’s output to be more efficient and productive. 

The representative of Saudi Arabia, associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country was carrying out major projects that focused on strategies to improve ICT infrastructure.  Everyone must have connectivity to broadband, he stressed, noting that the Government’s partnership with the private sector had helped provide broadband to 90 per cent of people in cities and 60 per cent in rural areas.  Saudi Arabia was proud to serve all faithful Muslims worldwide, most notably during their pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina.  Some 13,000 mobile stations had provided services to over a million users and 700 million phone calls were supported during the one-week hajj.  He also underscored that cyberspace and data protection required “true international partnership” as well as a regulatory framework to provide digital protection to all countries.

The representative of Senegal said humankind must all be able to take advantage of ICTs and participate in creating a future for the benefit of all people.  Innovation and new technologies and information were a significant asset for sustainable development.  Many African countries found themselves in a situation of a “technological deficit”, with no access to knowledge and, consequently, the global market.  All countries, particularly developed ones, must aim efforts to bridge the digital divide between developing and developed countries.  ICT could make a substantial contribution to sustainable development and improve the lives of millions by creating important synergies among various sectors. 

The representative of Kenya pointed out that many developing countries and especially least developed countries still lagged behind in the use of ICTs, with challenges ranging from the persistent digital divide to connectivity and access.  The United Nations should fast track the operationalization of the Technology Bank as elaborated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  Outlining his Government’s investments in establishing an environment conducive to a thriving ICT sector, he said each of Kenya’s 47 counties was connected to fibre optic technology.  The country’s universities were providing higher learning in the areas of science and technology, and the Government was creating a dedicated institute in that field with the help of development partners.  Kenya’s education network, known as “KENET”, enabled the sharing of research infrastructure and services, including Internet bandwidth and supercomputing.  Additionally, it had had extraordinary success with its mobile money payments system, known as “MPesa”.

The representative of Nepal, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, said the fast pace of ICT development had a profound impact on business and public services and offered huge potential for developing countries.  It was critical to achieve the benchmark to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet to least developed countries by 2020.  Noting the establishment of the Technology Bank, he urged support for it to ensure its effective operationalization.  He also encouraged the adoption of policies and strategies to ensure the availability, affordability and accessibility to ICT services coupled with modern infrastructure and service delivery systems.  Recalling the 2015 Nepal earthquake, he said ICTs could minimize loss during disasters through early warning systems, information dissemination, and post‑disaster rescue and recovery campaigns.

 The representative of China, associating himself with the Group of 77, said greater attention should be given to recognize the significance of ICTs for economic and social development.  States should reinforce capacity-building and strengthen efforts to bridge the digital divide at all levels.  Additional attention should be given to address the needs of developing countries through enhanced infrastructure and skills training.  There should be greater partnerships for development through strengthened North-South and South-South cooperation, as well as knowledge sharing, technology transfer and technological training.  His country had implemented a national strategy for innovation, a national ICT strategy and an international strategy for cooperation on cyberspace.  China would continue to promote synchronized ICTs thorough urbanization and agricultural modernization, while promoting international cooperation for common development.

The representative of Togo, associating himself with the Group of 77, said there was “no doubt” that science and innovation had an increasing role in development and prosperity.  It provided “modern life tools” to fight climate change, eliminate poverty and achieve food security.  As such, it was critical to remove the barriers to technology at the international level and pay attention to local needs.  Science technology and innovation must be beneficial to the poor, women, children, the disabled, marginalized, and to regions affected by humanitarian crisis and terrorism.  He noted his Government’s recent reforms and initiatives undertaken including the use of cell phones to distribute State subsidies to farmers.  Several programmes had been set up to extend the Internet to most of the population.  He reiterated his call for enhanced international cooperation and the sharing of ICT.

PHILIP FOX-DRUMMOND GOUGH (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the importance of ICTs went beyond the areas spotlighted in the 2030 Agenda.  Indeed, they were also a powerful and transformative tool to foster economic growth, social inclusion and environmentally-friendly solutions, enabling advances in the three dimensions of sustainable development.  “This potential will only be fully materialized if it serves humanity as a whole,” he said, calling for efforts to bridge the digital divide both between Member States and within countries.  While Brazil upheld an applied multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, distinct issues might require specific frameworks, taking into account the differentiated roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.  Welcoming progress achieved at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), he said he hoped that States could jointly advance the implementation of the concept of enhanced cooperation, with the aim of improving mechanisms to address international public policies related to the Internet. 

The representative of Mexico said States needed to strengthen public policy in order to respond in a more rapid way to challenges and opportunities brought by the latest technological revolution.  While technology had brought forth much progress, the inequality gap among people also had been broadened.  Technological advance had brought about significant advances in health and agricultural sectors.  However, challenges in labour, unemployment and capacity remained.  In addition, it was estimated that 2 billion jobs would be lost to automation by 2030.  “We are entering the most disruptive period of our history,” she said, noting her country’s response to the challenges.  Noting that Mexico had hosted events on how technological change and automation impacted sustainable development, she urged the United Nations and its agencies, as well as regional and international forums, the private sector, academia, and scientists to collaborate on a broad narrative on the exponential technological changes. 

The representative of Bahrain said her country carried out a comprehensive reform of the ICT sector and fulfilled more than 300 indicators in terms of Government-provided services to the population.  Her Government encouraged technological innovation through various events and initiatives, and strengthened its role in the fourth industrial revolution by promoting the exchange of knowledge and information.  She said that some electronic service companies, such as Amazon, recently announced that they would set up networks in Bahrain.  That development would make the country a regional gateway for cloud computing and would facilitate greater regional trade and e-commerce.

SYLVAIN KALSAKAU (Vanuatu) associated himself with the Group of 77, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Group of Least Developed Countries.  He said his Government prioritized ICT infrastructure investment and connectivity as part of its sustainable development plan.  The domestic telecommunications sector was liberalized in 2008 with around 15 per cent of the population accessing telecommunications services.  Today, 93 per cent of the population had Internet access.  Despite progress, his country lacked the speed and clout that other countries harnessed in terms of ICTs.  He urged a multifaceted approach to bridge the digital divide between developing and developed countries.  His Government supported the ITU Connect 2020 Agenda for an information society which would accelerate social, economic and environmentally sustainable growth and development for all.  On the national level, Vanuatu would create a conducive environment through policies and legal frameworks that foster ICT and telecommunication development in conjunction with the private sector and through public-private partnerships.

The representative of South Africa, associating himself with the Group of 77, said the spread of ICTs was now faster than ever before, with more people having access to internet, mobile phones and related devices.  Nevertheless, data revealed a substantial digital divide in ICT access and use.  Voicing particular concern over that divide between developing countries – especially least developed countries – and other nations in terms of access to household access to ICTs, he said Africa remained the least connected region.  More efforts were needed, including through investments in infrastructure, services, skills development and content.  It was, therefore, important that developing countries, especially in Africa, were provided with coordinated support through the transfer of technology, technical assistance and capacity-building that was tailor-made to the diverse needs of each country.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that while ICT offered great opportunities, the digital divide and limited access continued to play a negative role in sustainable development.  In that context, he underscored the need to focus on building relevant infrastructure, providing high-quality training to technology professionals and promoting the use of e-government services.  Universal broadband technology must be utilized and implemented.  The Russian Federation had worked to expand access to broadband.  Its mobile access to broadband was the cheapest in the world and its cost was expected to decrease further.  The Russian Federation encouraged international cooperation in the research of cloud computing and AI.  Governments must promote partnerships in the telecommunications sector.  ICT also faced major challenges including a rise in threats of terrorism.  He called on Member States to deepen cooperation to develop laws and rules acceptable to all and build a secure and well-protected network.

ALADE AKINREMI BOLAJI (Nigeria) said ICT access in Africa had improved immensely, and increased productivity and innovation in the public and private sectors.  His country facilitated universal availability and cost-effective access to communications infrastructure and promoted the utilization of ICTs in all spheres of life.  His Government also achieved cutting-edge global ICT standards, and encouraged the rapid ICT penetration among all socioeconomic levels.  In doing so, Nigeria would increase the current coverage of active mobile broadband subscription from 20.95 per cent to 50 per cent by 2020.  His country promoted and encouraged local production of ICT hardware and software to reduce import dependence and generate foreign exchange.  Noting the disparity between the availability and use of emerging ICTs, he urged for the international community to give “pride of place” to the education curriculum and thereby bridge the digital divide.  He additionally called for digital inclusion and financial access by lowering the cost of ICT devices, traffic, applications, technician and educator training, software, maintenance and infrastructures.

YONATHAN GUEBREMEDHIN SIMON (Ethiopia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Least Developed Countries, underscored that more than 800 million people in least developed nations remained offline.  “Despite progress, Africa is the least connected continent,” he said, noting lingering challenges in infrastructure investment, skills and content.  It was important to enhance international cooperation and promote more public-private partnerships aimed at bridging the digital divide.  Developing countries must also provide support, including technological transfer and capacity-building.  In Ethiopia, the primary objective of using ICT was as an enabler for poverty reduction and economic growth.  He noted that ICT community centres had been opened in rural areas and also created employment for young people.  It was vital to ensure access to affordable and reliable technologies.

URSULA WYNHOVEN, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), highlighted the report, “Fast Forward Progress-Leveraging Tech to Achieve the Global Goals” and shared lessons from the discussions that had generated the report.  “Leaving no one behind means we cannot leave anyone offline,” she said, also adding that women faced more barriers to acquiring digital skills.  ICTs could be life‑changing and life-saving for women, children, workers and refugees.  Vigilance was necessary to ensure that the benefits were not confined to the privileged few.

DINO CORELL, International Labour Organization (ILO), said that the digital economy, innovation, AI, robotization and 3D printing among others would contribute to structural changes within industries and labour markets.  Digital transformation would address youth unemployment, which currently affected two out of every five young women and men worldwide, who were unemployed or working but living in poverty.  Noting the priority areas of the Global Initiative for Decent Jobs for Youth (DJY), he said the ILO had in 2016 launched a “digital skills for decent jobs for youth” campaign.  The initiative aimed to mobilize investments to equip 5 million youth with digital skills globally by 2030, realize the potential of the digital economy and promote an enabling environment for entrepreneurship.

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Second Committee Must Focus on Overarching Objective of Tackling Poverty, Structural Needs, Delegates Say as General Debate Begins

Eradication of poverty and adherence to financial commitments were crucial in improving the global economic infrastructure, speakers told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, as it began its general debate.

Delivering the keynote address, Columbia University Economics Professor Arvind Panagariya said that able leadership and implementation of good policies were essential in achieving global economic objectives.  Speaking on the theme “A Road to Rapid Economic Transformation”, he stated that “without the capability to implement good policies, policies themselves would not be successful”.

Although progress had been made by agreeing on global economic objectives, as best summarized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals, the pathways to achieving the multiplicity of objectives remained in dispute, he said.  The international community must focus on rapid economic growth to transform the global economy.

Only China, Taiwan [Province of China], Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea had grown at 8 to 10 per cent income over two decades or more, he continued.  Noting lessons from those high-growth economies which had rapidly transformed themselves from traditional to modern economies, he identified six common features, including rapid expansion of merchandise exports; labour-intensive manufacturing during early phases of growth; swift growth in services; movement of the workforce from agricultural activities into manufacturing and services; rapid urbanization; and rise in wages.

Trade openness would work, he stated.  However, progress would depend on governance and policy packages allowing low barriers to trade, ensuring adequate infrastructure, supporting trade facilitation, providing complementary factor-market policies, resisting subsidies for products not based on natural cost advantage and promoting open foreign direct investment (FDI) policies.  Citing common concerns and challenges related to automation and rising protectionism, he urged countries to take advantage of prospects to pursue manufacturing and export-based strategies in the increasingly large global market.

Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, likewise noted that a shared vision for humanity had emerged since the 2030 Agenda.  Adding that development would require integrated and cross-sectoral approaches and a better understanding of the issues at hand, he said the rate of progress had been far slower than what would be required to meet the targets laid out by 2030.

The potential for growth had not yet been realized due to weak investment and low productivity growth, compounded by high levels of economic uncertainty, he said.  Average incomes declined in several regions over the last year and extreme weather events highlighted the need to address environmental impacts due to climate change.  All countries must foster a more inclusive, sustainable globalization process.  Leaders must work together to understand the benefits of globalization, and the international community must take concrete action on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to ensure positive results.

Science, technology and innovation were at the heart of accelerating progress towards sustainable development, he said, adding that the speed of technological change could have a sweeping impact across all the Goals.  Nevertheless, devising effective ways to mitigate the challenges of those technologies would be critical.  The future could not be predicted, but it could be invented.

The representative from Haiti, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), added that operational activities of the United Nations development system should bear in mind the need for capacity-building in least developed countries so they could alleviate extreme poverty and hunger.  Urbanization must be an engine for development, as it had the ability to change and improve living conditions.

In a similar vein, the representative from Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it was clear that the pace of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation must be accelerated.  Global economic governance in an increasingly interconnected world was of critical importance for the success of national efforts.  The work of the Committee must focus on the overarching objective of poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, the representative from Bangladesh said that least developed countries continued to be plagued by multiple structural challenges.  Under the current growth trajectory, some 38 per cent of those States would still be facing extreme poverty by 2030.

Least developed countries in conflict and post-conflict situations, as well as those experiencing fragility, remained unable to provide basic State services for their citizens, she said.  Adding that the special needs of those countries would require greater recognition, she called for the establishment of a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder resilience-building mechanism that would enable responses at the national, regional and global levels.

Speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, the representative from Egypt noted that out of 800 million people living below the poverty line, 400 million were Africans.  Greater efforts would be needed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa, as progress remained hampered by the unequal global environment that was “unfavourable” and “agnostic” to his continent’s financing for development needs.

Many speakers also highlighted critical investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, transport, energy, agriculture, water and sanitation for all, among others.

Also speaking were representatives of the Philippines (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Nauru (for the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States), Solomon Islands (for the Pacific Island Forum countries), Maldives (for the Alliance of Small Island States), Zambia (for the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Nicaragua, Malaysia, Norway, Canada (also for Australia and New Zealand), Costa Rica, Bhutan, Iran, Indonesia, Panama, United States, Botswana, Lebanon, Thailand, India, Viet Nam, Israel, Russian Federation, Myanmar, Peru, Cuba, Syria, Malawi, Malta, Tajikistan, Monaco, Republic of Korea, Colombia, Guatemala, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Kyrgyzstan, as well as a representative of the European Union delegation.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 3 October, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), Chair of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), said that despite the good progress reported by countries and their partners, it was evident that the world was facing a challenging period for sustainable development and poverty eradication.  The current global situation offered new and exciting opportunities for collaboration and human advancement, yet many of those opportunities were compounded by risks.  It was imperative to work towards fulfilling the promise of a fair and inclusive globalization, yet many complex changes accompanied that phenomenon.  Without inclusive, ambitious policies to tackle the existing challenges, inequalities would grow and become increasingly entrenched.  That was especially true of the exclusion of women, he said, highlighting that greater gender equality had been repeatedly demonstrated to have multiplier effects on poverty reduction.  Nevertheless, women and girls remained disadvantaged in various dimensions in all countries.

There was a need for awareness-raising, knowledge exchange and capacity-building with respect to information and communications technology (ICT) for development and the benefits of the digital economy, he stressed.  Yet, despite their potential, science, technology and innovation could not solve the problem of climate change in the absence of huge economic and social shifts.  To achieve a healthy planet, the world must harness the full power of breakthroughs that had been made in ecosystems management, sustainable transportation and clean and renewable energies, among others.  Throughout the session, the Committee would consider a wide range of agenda items on poverty, macroeconomic policy questions, financing for development, sustainable development issues, urban development, countries in special situations, agriculture, globalization and interdependence and ICT.

LIU ZHENMIN, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a global vision had emerged.  That historic Agenda set out a shared vision of humanity and demanded new ways of working together, which would require integrated and cross-sectoral approaches and a better understanding of the issues.  However, the rate of progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was thus far slower than what would be required to meet the targets laid out by 2030.  The world economic situation and prospects were showing a rebound and the general economic sentiment had improved, however the potential for growth had not yet been realized due to weak investment and low productivity growth, compounded by high levels of economic uncertainty.  Average incomes declined in several regions over the last year and extreme weather events highlighted the need to address environmental impacts due to climate change.

He said that all countries must foster a globalization process that was more inclusive, sustainable and that left no one behind.  Leaders must work to understand the benefits of globalization, while minimizing its negative impacts.  The international community needed to take concrete and accelerated action on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda to ensure better results on the ground.  Tax avoidance and illicit financial flows needed to be limited, while the benefits of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation must be fully realized.  Countries should reorient incentives through financial regulation and policymaking to ensure private finance was aligned with sustainable development.  New evidence-based tools, strengthened domestic institutions and broadened multi-stakeholder partnerships were also of great importance.  Science, technology and innovation were at the heart of accelerating progress towards sustainable development, he said, adding that the speed of technological change could have a sweeping impact across all the Goals.  Nevertheless, devising effective ways to mitigate the challenges of those technologies would be critical.  The future could not be predicted, but it could be invented, he said.  The importance of capacity development for achieving the future development goals was evident, and in that context he noted that Member States had made it clear that they needed the support of the United Nations system on building capacities in data collection and disaggregation.  This was particularly true for the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States.

Keynote Address

ARVIND PANAGARIYA, Professor of Economics at Columbia University, stated that able leadership was critical in implementing development policies, and without the capability to implement good policies, the policies themselves would not be successful.  The global economic objectives were best summarized in the Sustainable Development Goals, however disagreements remained on the pathways to achieving them.  Rapid economic growth was the most important instrument to attaining the Goals.  That growth occurred through a direct “pull up” effect, such as increased employment, higher income and enhanced access to education and health.  The next significant tool was indirect revenue, which constituted the financing of large-scale anti-poverty programmes, public education and health, investment in environmental sustainability, and spending on defence and security.  Referencing India throughout the 1950s, he suggested that low levels of income hampered the redistribution of income, and resulted in inadequate resources for effective administrative machinery, and governance problems in the public sector.

Only China, Taiwan [Province of China], Japan, Singapore and the Republic of Korea had grown at 8 to 10 per cent income over two decades or more, he continued.  Those States and provinces had rapidly transformed themselves from traditional to modern economies, thereby eliminating poverty in practically all aspects.  India continued on the same path over the last 14 years, resulting in a growth rate of 7.8 per cent.  There were six features that were common to those economic transformations: rapid expansion of merchandise exports; labour-intensive manufacturing during early phases of growth; swift growth in services; movement of the workforce from agricultural activities into manufacturing and services; rapid urbanization; and rise in wages.

Trade openness would work, he argued, because countries specialized in and exported products that they produced cheaply, and they imported goods that were largely more expensive for them to produce locally.  Similarly, an exporter would compete against and learn from others, leading to continuous improvement in productivity through upgrades in technology, management practices, product quality, and cost-cutting measures. The large export market would additionally allow countries to: exploit economies of scale; provide exporters access to the highest-quality inputs to achieve higher quality products; and facilitate high levels of imports and exposure to foreign products and processes.  To that end, governance and policy packages should allow low barriers to trade, ensure adequate infrastructure, support trade facilitation, provide complementary factor-market policies, resist subsidies for products that were not based on natural cost advantage and promote open foreign direct investment policies.

Regarding challenges, he stated that automation should not be considered a threat, as countries would have a 15 year window to pursue manufacturing and exports-based strategies.  Historically, automation had led to readjustments that created new jobs fields.  Similarly, rising protectionism should be avoided as the large global market, which may expand and shrink, was less consequential than whether countries were active in the world exports market.

When the floor opened for discussion, the representative of Algeria asked whether economics should be considered a science, queried about austerity and inflation in response to internal public debt and requested clarity on global trade’s impact on investment and economic governance.

The representative from the United Republic of Tanzania asked how the international community might “save” global trade.

Mr. PANAGARIYA, responding to Algeria’s representative, stated that economics was social science, and the practice of its principles through policy-making was an art form.  Regarding austerity and inflation, he said that such measures could be useful in the short term, however not on a sustained basis as it would lead to the accumulation of debt and result in crisis.  On global economic governance and the Economic and Social Council’s role, he suggested that the multiplicities of instruments were necessary to addressing the array of global objectives, and the complexity of the modern world.  Responding to the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, he said that much progress had been made in global trade governance, although concerns remained around the World Trade Organization (WTO).  He suggested that greater attention be given to the appointment of judges to the appellate body, and that developing States pressured countries that “drag their feet”.

Statements

DIEGO MOREJÓN PAZMIÑO (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it was clear that the pace of the 2030 Agenda’s implementation must be accelerated.  Global economic governance in an increasingly interconnected world was of critical importance for the success of national efforts aimed at achieving sustainable development.  The Group reiterated its belief that the work of the session must focus on the overarching objective of poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions and the pursuit of sustainable development in a balanced, coordinated and integrated manner.  He recalled the importance of the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation and highlighted the significance of assessing progress, identifying challenges to implementing the financing for development outcomes, addressing new and emerging topics of relevance to implementing the Addis Agenda and providing policy recommendations for action by the international community regarding the support of developed countries to developing countries.

Investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including transport, energy, water and sanitation for all was a prerequisite for achieving many development objectives, he continued.  Trade was still recognized as an engine for growth and sustainable development, despite a regression of 10 per cent in 2016.  He reaffirmed the central role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in today’s global economy that provided the multilateral framework of rules governing international trade relations, served as an essential mechanism for preventing and resolving trade disputes and a forum for addressing trade-related issues.  Sovereign debt matters should concern both developed and developing countries, he stressed.  The Group reaffirmed that international development cooperation and official development assistance (ODA) were essential for sustainable development.  It was important to address the diverse needs and challenges faced by countries in special situations, he said, adding that South-South cooperation was a compliment to, rather than a substitute for, North-South cooperation.

TEODORO LOPEZ LOCSIN, Jr., (Philippines) spoke on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and associated himself with the Group of 77.  He highlighted that the Group’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $2.55 trillion, with a year-on-year real GDP growth rate of 4.7 per cent, despite the challenging global environment.  ASEAN placed great importance on inclusive, innovation-led growth, and in that context, leaders had reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda, which should be implemented in a mutually-reinforcing manner to building an inclusive and people-oriented, people-centred community for the benefit of all.  Sustainable development was a regional and global priority, and there were clear complementarities between the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the 2030 Agenda.  Pursuit of those plans would allow for the identification of comprehensive solutions to address regional challenges, including poverty eradication, disaster management and climate change.

The Group of 77 looked forward to a joint study between the ASEAN Secretariat and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on the complementarities and ongoing efforts to promote sustainable development cooperation across the region.  He recalled that an ASEAN — United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) symposium on financing for the Sustainable Development Goals had been held in August, with the aim of raising awareness, support and buy-in among citizens.  The Group was pleased by the outcome documents that would be signed, adopted or noted in November at the thirty-first ASEAN summit which directly supported the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly on nutrition, health risk reduction and management, climate change, gender equality and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

ASTRIDE NAZAIRE (Haiti), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77, said that capacity-building would be critical for any efforts aimed at sustainable development and for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.  In that context, mobilization of financial resources for capacity-building, as well as technology transfer, were of utmost importance.  CARICOM believed it was vital to help developing countries achieve long term viability for their debt as well as to ensure financial inclusion.  In that regard, the Community had launched an appeal to the United Nations development system, requesting them to go beyond a simple awareness of the situation with respect to concessional financing.  Among the major challenges in the region was so-called de-risking that had upset traditional banking relationships and could have larger implications.  The lack of services offered by banks affected not only the Caribbean region, but could also pose a bigger threat to global financial security.

She highlighted that CARICOM recognized the need for urgent action to strengthen the integrity of the financial system and correct the false perception that the Caribbean region was high risk.  Operational activities of the United Nations development system should bear in mind the need for capacity-building in least developed countries so they could alleviate extreme poverty and hunger.  Urbanization must be an engine for development as it had the ability to change and improve living conditions.  CARICOM strongly supported the United Nations reform effort currently underway and welcomed the leadership of the Secretary-General in that regard.  Further, it welcomed the recent resolution calling for the strengthening of cooperation between CARICOM and the United Nations system, as such assistance would be a key element towards peace, security and sustainable development for the region.  Climate change was one of the most significant challenges small island developing States faced, particularly in the Caribbean region, which was still reeling from the damage done by Hurricane Irma and Maria.

MAHJABEEN KHALED HOSSAIN (Bangladesh) spoke on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries and associated herself with the Group of 77.  She noted that least developed countries continued to be plagued by multiple structural challenges, and that under the current growth trajectory, some 38 per cent of those States would still be facing extreme poverty by 2030.  Least developed countries in conflict and post-conflict situations as well as those experiencing fragility were unable to provide basic State services for their citizens.  She expressed concern about the various studies conducted by the United Nations that showed that those States remained far behind in the achievement of their development goals.  The special needs of those countries required greater recognition, she stressed, urging a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder resilience building mechanism be established, which would enable measures to be established at the national, regional and global levels to respond to various global crises.  There were visible efforts made by least developed countries to align existing policies with the 2030 Agenda, although the international community must provide support for those efforts.

The widespread, unprecedented impacts of climate change disproportionately burdened the poorest countries, she said.  ODA continued to be the largest and most critical source of development assistance for the most vulnerable countries, she noted, calling upon development partners to fulfil their internationally-agreed targets.  The least developed countries looked forward to greater foreign direct investment (FDI) as a means to address capacity-building deficits and achieve full production.  Orderly, safe and responsible migration was of great importance, including through the implementation of migration policies.  She welcomed the establishment of the technology bank for the least developed countries, although there must be greater efforts to mobilize resources for its sustainable function.  She went on to note that several least developed States had recently met the criteria for graduation, although the existing process related to advancement and smooth transition should be strengthened so that recently-graduated countries would not face uncertainties in achieving their development objectives.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (El Salvador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that the structural challenges of the international economy and reform of the international system must take place in a way that considered the challenges of developing countries.  The Community was committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions in a balanced and integrated way.  Regional and global efforts sought common solutions for the benefit of all people, leaving no one behind; although to do so, adequate financial and non-financial resources were needed.  He advocated for efforts to obtain a supportive environment for sustainable development and for overcoming challenges posed by inadequate financing for development.  Developed countries must comply with their ODA commitments, he said, while noting with concern that countries’ access to concessional financing dropped as economies grew.  CELAC advocated for the identification of alternative financing and recognized the importance of increasing international support for triangular cooperation.

Continuing, he said that CELAC recognized the need to foster international tax cooperation, strengthen regulatory tax frameworks and support for intergovernmental initiatives to combat tax evasion and avoidance, corruption and money laundering.  The Community called on the United Nations system to develop transparent measurement criteria for sustainability that went beyond per capita income, and whereby poverty and structural gaps were recognized in all forms and dimensions.  The mandates of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes must tackle the interrelated nature of the Goals.  He reaffirmed the Community’s commitment to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women to ensure they enjoyed their fundamental freedoms and human rights.  He reaffirmed the Community’s commitment to the implementation of public policies that ensured a universal, inclusive, quality education for young people and reiterated the commitment to the CELAC plan for food and nutrition security and the eradication of hunger by 2025.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) spoke on behalf of the Group of African States and associated himself with the Group of the 77.  Stressing that the eradication of poverty remained the greatest challenge to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, he noted that out of 800 million people living below the poverty line, 400 million were Africans.  Greater efforts would be needed to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa, as progress remained hampered by the unequal global environment that was “unfavourable” and “agnostic” to his continent’s financing for development needs.  He highlighted the importance of combating illicit financial flows with the establishment of strong international cooperation which could prevent the drainage of African assets, and identify and return assets to the countries of origin.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 and its implementation plan focused on financial and infrastructure gaps, he said.  Integrated infrastructure development and modern technology would help in the swift transformation of African economies.  He called for assistance to enhance innovation and access to technology, and to that end, expressed appreciation for the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.  Noting the pursuit of a continental free trade area, he sought support of partners in multilateral trade and agricultural sectors.  He also referenced the effect of climate change, which had been devastating and curtailed development prospects.  To that end, he supported the outcome documents from the October 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), and expressed optimism that reform processes would enhance cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and other stakeholders to overcome sustainable development challenges.  In closing, he reiterated that Africa should remain at the centre of global partnership for development.

RENNIER GADABU (Nauru) spoke on behalf of the Group of Pacific Small Island Developing States, and associated himself with the statement to be delivered by the Alliance of Small Island States and Group of 77.  He noted that reforms to the United Nations development system were taking place as part of a broader reform effort which would bring shifts to the management paradigm and the peace and security architecture.  All those would have implications on the work of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), and in that context, steps must be taken to ensure that those reforms supported, rather than undermined, the colossal undertaking that would be necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  Further, the international community must be attuned to the interlinkages between areas that had traditionally been separated, such as the security implications of climate change.

It was critical that the Committee maintain its universality and commitment to the most vulnerable, which included the small island developing States, which possessed unique vulnerabilities that made it a “special case” for sustainable development, he said.  There needed to be a critical look at the eligibility criteria for accessing to financing for development and technical assistance provided to those States, he said, highlighting that classification per income often excluded them from preferential treatment, despite significant vulnerabilities.  The worsening impacts of climate change had led to tragic consequences in recent months, including a staggering number of lives lost.  With those types of extreme weather events becoming increasingly common, it was important that the Committee be attuned to that dangerous, new reality and the need to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in the places most at risk.

ROBERT SISILO (Solomon Islands), speaking on behalf of the Pacific Island Forum countries, said its endorsement of the 2030 Pacific road map demonstrated the region’s serious approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and meeting its international commitments.  Noting that its member States continued to count on the support of the United Nations and other partners, he stressed that climate change had political and socioeconomic implications for peace and security, and affected countries such as small island developing States more than others due to their constrained capacity to respond.

Members of the Pacific Islands Forum faced challenges including such existential threats as rising sea levels, intensification of natural hazards, economic problems exacerbated by declining fish stocks and the deterioration of the ocean’s health, he continued.  “These crucial matters require our utmost attention to ensure that no one is left behind,” he stressed, urging the United Nations system to increase its focus on and assistance to small island developing States and calling on international financial institutions to facilitate those nations with greater access to concessional financing and climate funds.

ALI NASEER MOHAMED (Maldives), speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, underlined the importance of continued space and recognition for the voices of countries in special situations in the Committee’s work.  Indeed, small island developing States were a special case for sustainable development and they continued to face unique challenges due to their remote locations, highly dispersed populations, distance to markets, diseconomies of scale, susceptibility to external shocks and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.  Recalling that those issues were now recognized in various international agreements including the small island developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, he stressed that such nations required clear and coordinated support from across the United Nations system now more than ever.

“The multitude of overlapping challenges [small island developing States] face is most visible in devastating hurricanes” that had destroyed many such islands in the Caribbean in recent weeks, he said.  Those extreme weather events were made more frequent and intense by climate change, and the inherent vulnerabilities and limited capacity of islands to bounce back were two key issues requiring more consideration.  In that regard, he reiterated the call for the international financial institutions to enhance access to concessional financing, taking in account small island developing States’ specific challenges and vulnerabilities, including the impact of climate change on their economies.  Among other things, he also called for the participation of those States in the decision-making and norm-setting processes that affected them.

JOANNE ADAMSON, of the European Union delegation, said many citizens on her continent and elsewhere felt left behind by economic recovery and were apprehensive about globalization.  Strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, which relied on multilateral cooperation and a rules-based order, was vital in addressing the root causes of large movements of refugees and migrants.  The international community had continued to present its internal and external responses to shape globalization in line with shared interests and values.  The 2030 Agenda was the reference point for efforts the international community must take.

Climate change continued to constitute among the greatest and most pressing challenges in the common effort to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty, she said.  The 2015 Paris Agreement was the cornerstone of global efforts to tackle climate change and effectively implement the 2030 Agenda.  It was necessary to fully implement the Paris Agreement on climate change in a timely manner and emphasize protecting the environment against further degradation.  The Union would work with all partners who shared the conviction that the Agreement was essential in protecting the planet as well as economic growth and future jobs.

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, citing “evident progress” in the implementation of global development agendas, said his group of States nevertheless continued to see mixed results on key socioeconomic indicators.  They had experienced a decline in annual GDP growth from 6.9 per cent in 2013 to 2.6 per cent in 2016, and most people in those countries still lived in extreme poverty.  In addition, the share of global merchandise exports coming from landlocked developing countries fell from 0.96 per cent in 2015 to 0.88 per cent in 2016 and many such countries had persistent trade deficits and most remained vulnerable due to volatile commodity prices and slow economic growth.  Infrastructure deficits also remained high and the group still lagged behind the rest of the world on energy, with at least two-thirds of its population relying on the traditional use of biomass for cooking.

Calling for efforts to close technological gaps to better enable poverty eradication and inequality reduction, he went on to outline the negative impact of climate change, desertification and land degradation on many landlocked developing countries, which remained among the most water-stressed in the world.  Despite all those significant needs, ODA flows to landlocked developing countries had decreased from $26.1 billion in 2014 to $24.8 billion in 2015.  At the Committee’s present session, Member States must work to advance collective solutions to building the capabilities of landlocked developing countries, generating sustainable livelihoods, contributing to food security, increasing incomes and improving the quality of life in those nations.  Addressing the high trade costs they faced was another important issue, he said, underlining the importance of implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in that regard.  Finally, while South-South cooperation continued to be critical, he warned that it should not be a substitute to North-South and triangular cooperation.

MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) said that to achieve a just world order, her nation advocated for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and an end of the economic measures imposed against the country.  Endemic poverty and inequality were more pronounced than ever, especially among vulnerable and marginalized groups, and those living under colonial occupation or foreign intervention.  All countries must meet their development commitments, and representatives must work together in the Committee to overcome challenges.  Reiterating Nicaragua’s commitment to financing for development, she underscored the importance of partnerships to facilitate access to financial and technological resources.  The country achieved a “privileged” macroeconomic situation with sustained economic growth, characterized by a GDP growth of 5.1 per cent.  Nicaragua, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), ranked third in terms of fastest economic growth in the Latin American and Caribbean region.  Additionally, the country reduced extreme poverty by nearly half due in part to a consolidated partnership between the Government, private sector and international cooperation.  She called for increased actions to combat climate change, and urged developed countries to undertake leadership roles to address unsustainable consumption patterns, and meet international commitments.  Nicaragua would continue to advocate for climate justice and compensation, appeal for enhanced disaster risk reduction, and to that end, she encouraged donors to provide support.  She also reiterated solidarity with the State of Palestine and their struggle for freedom, and urged for full inclusion of that matter in the Committee’s agenda.

KENNEDY MAYONG ONON (Malaysia) said his country had taken several steps to implement the Sustainable Development Goals at the national level in a systematic and measurable manner.  It had established a multi-stakeholder, participatory governance structure spearheaded by the National Sustainable Development Goal Council, which was chaired by the Prime Minister.  That was followed by national symposiums and forums to promote participation of various stakeholders.  Malaysia had then conducted studies on data readiness and gap analysis.  It had also carried out a mapping exercise involving non-governmental organizations and the private sector to align the Goals with the Eleventh Malaysia Plan initiatives.  Finally, his country had drawn up a national goals road map to guide implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

TORE HATTREM (Norway) said the international community must increase collective efforts to prevent conflicts and wars, and build basic social and economic infrastructure to reach the most vulnerable.  Sustainable transformation would hinge on the ability to address climate change and save the oceans.  To that end, Norway supported the establishment of the new Climate Action Team under the Secretary-General, and welcomed the appointment of a Special Envoy for the Ocean.  The universality of the 2030 Agenda would be its greatest strength, and Norway remained committed to accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals domestically and through international cooperation.  Similarly, the United Nations must do its part, and his country welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts to reposition the development system to enhance collaboration, accountability and transparency.  Funding, he continued, could be both a driver of change and an impediment.  He welcomed the proposed funding compact to improve the quality and predictability of funding for the development system, as well as the increase of funding modalities to provide incentives.  Norway’s ODA contribution would remain around 1 per cent of its GDP, above the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent. Likewise, he called for strengthened efforts to mobilize domestic resources for development and address illicit financial flows.

MARC-ANDRE BLANCHARD (Canada), also speaking for Australia and New Zealand, stressed the need to promote gender equality as well as women and girls’ empowerment in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Promoting gender equality was among the most effective ways of eliminating poverty, creating lasting peace, promoting inclusive prosperity and achieving sustainable development.  An estimated $28 trillion was missing from global GDP (about $74 trillion) because no country present in the room had successfully achieved gender equality.  Thus, world economic output was less than three quarters of what it could be.

He said that Canada, Australia and New Zealand were committed to implementing the Goals domestically, while working with international partners to achieve them around the world.  Most of the focus of domestic implementation was directed towards indigenous peoples, who often ranked among the furthest behind.  A major preoccupation would be satisfying human needs for greater equality and decent work for all.  That implied a need to enact policies expanding opportunities for business, creating good, well-paying jobs for workers and delivering meaningful economic growth benefiting all citizens, not only the wealthiest.  Canada, Australia and New Zealand would continue to pursue a progressive trade agenda promoting meaningful trade liberalization, ensuring the benefits of trade were enjoyed broadly across societies.

DIEGO PADILLA (Costa Rica) underscored the importance of linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and noted that macroeconomic indicators and poverty reduction did not reflect the capacity of persons to overcome the latter.  With a view to align implementation strategies, Costa Rica would cosponsor a resolution to adopt a decade of family farming for 2019‑28, and seek alignment of global, regional and international commitments.  He stressed the importance of international benchmarks to promote good governance and enforce adequate redistribution of wealth.  Likewise, he reiterated the belief that transparent governance, and the detection and prevention of illicit financial flows was essential to ensure accountability and adherence to international norms.  Costa Rica promoted an ambitious environmental vision and shared their experience in forest conservation and renewable energy.  The commitments made in the Paris Agreement should be reflected in the language of the Committee, he stated.  Costa Rica supported the repositioning of the United Nations system to include a multidimensional vision of development, and a restructuring of the classification of countries, particularly in response to the needs of middle-income States.  Developing countries must have high‑quality disaggregated, evidence‑based data to monitor progress on sustainable development.  He reaffirmed the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation to enhance public and private investment.

DOMA TSHERING (Bhutan) stressed the importance of strengthening global partnerships and means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, including ODA.  While pleased it had graduated from the least developed country category, Bhutan wished to ensure it continued to develop in a sure and sustained manner.  The country needed to focus on the Goals, which could be game-changers and had the potential to bring about transformative change.  Development of a robust private sector, including small and medium enterprises, structural transformation of the economy and building a strong and resilient infrastructure would put her country in a position to achieve other Goals.  She appealed to development partners to support Bhutan in those areas, welcoming progress towards establishment of the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.

ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), associating himself with the Group of 77, called for more effective international assistance and solidarity in support of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries.  The United Nations should play a critical coordinating role in that regard, he said, adding that it must be fit for purpose and ready to support the needs and priorities of those countries.  As sustainable development and peace could only flourish together — and as incidents of conflict and extremism had increased in recent years — he said it was critical to address the diverse needs and challenges of countries and regions, including the Middle East, to achieve sustainable development.  Addressing poverty there was a vital requirement for regional stability and prosperity, he stressed, adding that upholding a universal, rules-based, open non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system that contributed to growth and sustained development was also necessary, particularly for developing countries.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that while progress had been made in implementing the 2030 Agenda, many targets still lagged — and often with detrimental impacts.  While the 2030 Agenda set broad and ambitious goals, each was important and all were interdependent.  “The success or failure of one will impact the other,” he said.  Citing such examples as persistent poverty and the impacts of climate change, he said the “beyond-border” nature of those challenges and the fact that resources to address them were scattered globally meant that solidarity, collaboration and coordination were needed to create long-lasting solutions.  In that context, the Committee should play a key role in strengthening and revitalizing global partnerships for the Agenda’s implementation; ensuring coherency in its implementation as well as those of the Addis Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and others; and ensuring sufficient capacity and resources were made available, including through the fulfilment of ODA commitments.

LAURA FLORES (Panama) stressed that a strengthened multilateral development system would greatly help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  International cooperation was vital in that process in the areas of financial resources as well as capacity and best practises.  There was a need to tackle the needs and challenges of developing countries, including middle-income nations.  The global community must recognize middle-income counties as subjects of cooperation in fulfilling the Goals and achieving the 2030 Agenda.  She emphasized the need to boost South-South cooperation without replacing North-South cooperation.  Adding that implementing the Paris Agreement was imperative to achieving the Goals, she said multilateral efforts must continue.  The international community must also continue to work towards transparency of the international financial system as well as the eradication of illicit financial flows.

Ms. CURRIE (United States) said the United States supported the vision for reform of the United Nations system and pledged to be partners in championing those reforms for greater peace and harmony in the world.  The Committee could not be excused from that reform, “we have too many words and not enough action, too much politicization and not enough results,” she stated.  The delegates must strive to limit overlap, have fewer reports and have more effective outcomes.  Change in the Committee should not be negotiable, she continued.  Additional effort should be given to increase the impact and efficiency of the Committee by streamlining the agenda and consolidating the discussions to ensure each issue was discussed once.  Calling upon all representatives to respect deadlines, she said her country would not negotiate draft resolutions after the close of the Committee or beyond normal business hours.  “The United States will have no choice but to engage less in drawn out negotiations,” she stressed.  To that end, Committee resolutions should align with the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Agenda, while striving to formulate concrete solutions to challenges.  The key to success was to communicate early and often, she said.

TLHALEFO MADISA (Botswana), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, pointed out that as the United Nations underwent reforms, some 700 million people still lived in extreme poverty and 200 million were unemployed.  Those statistics were compounded by situations of famine, extreme climate events, armed conflict and the rise of violent extremism, among other challenges.  Urging the Committee to work to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, he said climate change often manifested as a decline in agricultural production, increasing food insecurity and water stress, and reaffirmed Botswana’s commitment to combating those challenges through the Paris Agreement.  Meanwhile, landlocked developing countries required the attention of the international community, including through the implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024.  Technical assistance, capacity-building and financial support would also be needed to address the impacts of the geographical constraints faced by those countries, as well as their lack of territorial access to the ocean, he said.

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) said the 2030 Agenda’s implementation would stretch the financial, institutional and human capacities of most developing States — including middle-income countries.  Noting that the United Nations development system would be critical in providing support, he outlined Lebanon’s national sustainable development efforts, including the recent establishment of a committee to lead and coordinate efforts on the 2030 Agenda.  Noting that his country would present its first voluntary national contribution at the high-level political forum in 2018, he said efforts were underway to identify and analyse gaps in relation to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Lebanon.  Peacebuilding, development and humanitarian efforts — as well as peacekeeping activities — had been running in Lebanon simultaneously for decades, with the humanitarian dimension becoming more visible due to the influx of over 1.2 million refugees from Syria.  Those numbers compounded Lebanon’s own economic, social, environmental and security challenges, he said, calling for enhanced coherence between the United Nations development and humanitarian activities in his country.

VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) aligned himself with the Group of 77 and China and ASEAN, saying efforts were needed to work faster and better to ensure balanced progress in all economic, social, and environmental dimensions.  Thailand believed in a people-centred approach to all national development efforts, and to that end applied a “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” to ensure domestic alignment with the core principles of the 2030 Agenda.  Following a concept of “Pracharath” to foster partnerships among the public and private sectors, Thailand supported efforts to conduct sustainable businesses.  The Global Compact Network in Thailand assisted Thai companies, while local communities were empowered to localize the Sustainable Development Goals and find local solutions.  Thailand also supported the follow-up and review process, and was among the 43 countries that presented their Voluntary National Reviews at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.  To address inequality, Thailand implemented “Thailand 4.0” to enhance human resource development, as well as a universal health coverage scheme and an education-for-all scheme.  On environmental protection, he noted France’s initiative to support the Global Pact for the Environment and said Thailand would continue to strengthen disaster risk reduction and early warning systems.  Stressing the importance of partnerships, he welcomed the outcome of the Second Financing for Development Forum to expedite implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.  He commended the role of the Office of South-South Cooperation in promoting the exchange of best practices, welcomed the Secretary-General’s management reform initiatives and supported the development system review.

ASHISH SINHA (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, noted that the world had witnessed a series of natural disasters over the past few weeks. Hurricanes had battered the Caribbean and parts of the United States and an earthquake had struck Mexico.  While hurricanes had brought the focus back to anthropogenic factors of climate change, those crises had highlighted the need for attention to the resilience of communities and to disaster risk reduction. He also observed that the global economy had witnessed unprecedented levels of economic growth and technological advancement over the last century, which had transformed the social and economic lives of millions.  Yet, about 800 million people still lived in extreme poverty and an equal number continued to suffer from hunger.  The international community must ensure that resources meant for development programmes were not diverted to other efforts, which would have a deleterious effect in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing States.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Group of 77, China and ASEAN, cited progress made in implementing the 2030 Agenda and stressed that “the Second Committee needs to seize this momentum and focus its discussions on concrete actions for impact on the ground”.  On climate change, she said some countries — including Viet Nam — were facing extreme risks, especially around coastlines and in mountainous areas.  Stakeholders should work together to enhance preparedness and build resilience, while providing tailored development solutions that addressed multi-crisis risks and provided long-term, integrated solutions.  The role of trade was critical for countries to lift themselves out of poverty and retain progress, she said, calling on all Member States to recommit to promoting a universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non‑discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system.  “We need to address imbalances, discrimination and inequities” in that system, she stressed, calling on nations to prevent trade restrictions and distortions in world markets.  She also called for the provision of technical assistance and capacity development in science, technology and innovation, and to prevent countries — including Viet Nam — from falling into the middle-income trap.

ANAT FISHER-TSIN (Israel), urging the Committee to use its current session to evaluate progress and renew commitments to the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, expressed her delegation’s full commitment to those instruments.  “We are working on several fronts and with many stakeholders to ensure that we are on the right path and making progress” toward achieving the 17 Goals, she said.  Israel had prioritized the advancement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, efforts to nurture young minds and the encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation.  It was also committed to promoting agricultural technology for sustainable development and achieving a world free of hunger, she said, adding that it would present its resolution on those issues to the Committee during the present session.

SERGEY B. KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said that his Government had systematically increased its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including through numerous environmental and research programmes.  It had written off more than $20 billion of Africa’s debt.  Free trade zones could result in significant partnerships and open a “new page” in globalization, he said, citing broad Eurasian partnerships and the One Belt, One Road initiative.  The international community must reject the use of unilateral financial and trade restrictions to pressure foreign policy opponents.  “Any sanction bypassing Security Council resolutions are counterproductive,” he stated.  He called for greater attention to deal with accumulated Government and private sector debt and encouraged the establishment of new models for business, trade, logistics and production as well as enhanced information security.  He reiterated the Russian Federation’s commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 70 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030 as well as other efforts to operationalize the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  He called for greater focus on human resources, particularly through the establishment of a Russian international cluster on scientific research which would form a system to support start-ups, and form a network of research laboratories.  All countries should pool efforts and overcome imbalances to ensure sustainable global growth. 

DAW HMWAY HMWAY KHYNE (Myanmar), associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the ASEAN and the Group of Least Developed Countries, voiced concern about uneven progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda as well as the prevalence of inequalities.  Least developed countries including Myanmar remained far below many of the Sustainable Development Goal targets, and poverty was still widespread among them.  Calling for an integrated approach to eradicating poverty across the economic, social and environmental dimensions — as well as a strong commitment to global partnerships — she said the fulfilment of ODA commitments remained crucial for all developing countries.  Welcoming the adoption of the global indicator framework, she recalled that her country with the support of UNDP had recently published a report titled “Measuring Myanmar’s Starting Point for the Sustainable Development Goals”, which included baseline data for 60 per cent of the Goals’ indicators.  The country also continued to pursue efforts towards peace and stability — which were fundamental to sustainable development — including by hosting two milestone Union Peace Conferences and boosting investments in education, healthcare and infrastructure.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said his country was taking action to ensure all citizens had access to services such as clean water and sanitation.  Peru was committed to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and had created a multisectoral working group to ensure a low‑carbon economy, which would help incorporate climate adaptation measures into national policies.  He noted that the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States as well as the earthquake in Mexico had reminded the international community that natural disasters knew no borders.  Peru was not immune to such climactic hazards and was working to promote disaster risk reduction for all.

ANAYANSI RODRÍGUEZ CAMEJO (Cuba) observed that global inequality and social polarization had persisted and even worsened two years after adopting the 2030 Agenda.  Opulence and concentration of income and wealth in developed countries stood in sad contrast to the poverty experienced by many people in developing countries.  What was lacking was the political will and true commitment of the most powerful States to fulfil their international commitments.  She emphasized the importance of a different international financial architecture, elimination of the technological and knowledge monopoly and change in the current international economic order.  Today’s industrialized countries must accept their historical debt and exercise the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”.  The international community could no longer postpone realization of the right to development.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, said that the responsibility for development fell on national Governments and that fighting terrorism and extremism was a joint national and regional responsibility. Terrorism was exploited and exported and it continued to hamper economic, social, infrastructural, and cultural development. To that end, he called for an end to activities that threatened the Syrian people and adversely affected the country’s education and health sectors.  Such measures against the Syrian people were “tantamount to terrorism” and exacerbated the internally displaced persons and refugee crises.  The Israeli occupation adversely affected development and numerous General Assembly resolutions called for an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab land.  Syria was working on a post-conflict era approach to development, including a National Post-Conflict Plan and a National Management Reform Project.   Syria was taking special measures to adhere to the Paris Agreement.  Some countries continued to flout the national sovereignty of others, he said, stressing that sustainable development could not be achieved without peace and vice versa.

NECTON D. MHURA (Malawi) said the journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals was still in its infancy.  Many issues required further deliberation, including trade, financing for development, information technology and climate change.  Now more than ever, all cylinders must be firing at full capacity if the international community was to meet the 2030 deadline and enhance the lives of those left behind.  It was essential to create the right mix of policies so that institutions — local, regional and global — were reformed to match the evolving and shifting global landscape.  At the macroeconomic level, Malawi shared the view that international trade was an engine for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.  Trade was not a panacea for development but must be synchronized with other enabling policies and structures to deliver on development and poverty reduction.  Empirical evidence suggested that trade, complemented by appropriate domestic policies and a supportive external environment, had been among the most powerful catalysts for economic transformation in poor countries.

CARMELO INGUANEZ (Malta) said his country remained steadfast in its commitment to the 2030 Agenda and reiterated the importance of national ownership to ensure full and effective implementation.  He supported the revitalization of the Second Committee and commended reform efforts of the Secretary‑General.  Malta had launched a national strategic plan for poverty reduction and social inclusion for 2014 to 2024.  His country remained a net importer of food due to the lack of sufficient local production and it prioritized the diversification of the agricultural sector and invested in research on fodder crops.  Another major challenge in Malta was a lack of water which had led to unsustainable practices of groundwater abstraction.  To address that issue, the Government invested in innovative means and new water technology.  Malta had put in place initiatives to reduce overfishing and promote the conservation of marine biodiversity.  The sustainability of fish stocks remained at the centre of Government policy.  Targets included a commitment to keep 30 per cent of its jurisdictional waters as marine protected areas and contributions towards the good governance of the oceans.  In regards to international trade and development, Malta encouraged Governments to promote responsible business conduct, particularly as global value chains represent the bulk of trade flows.  In closing, he stated that Malta would deliver a voluntary national review at the 2018 high‑level political forum.

MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) said that to address technological and infrastructural gaps and capacity constraints, developed countries should take responsibility for financing for development and, to that end, he urged all countries to fulfil their commitments.  He expressed support to the Secretary‑General’s reform of the United Nations system with respect to the 2030 Agenda.  However, any reform should be within the mandates of the Member States by the quadrennial comprehensive policy review.  Speaking on sustainable development, he said that Tajikistan had championed the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018‑2028 In 2018, his country would host an event in New York to commemorate International Water Day, and hold a conference on water for sustainable development.  In closing, he reiterated his Government’s readiness to work with other delegations in the Committee on internationally agreed goals.

ISABELLE F. PICCO (Monaco) stated that the public sector could not be solely responsible for sustainable development and that progress would depend on participation from all sectors.  The technological and industrial revolution would give businesses and civil society significant power to promote and harness change.  As such, it would be vital to recognize the joint responsibility of the public and private sectors, and civil society.  There was a growing trend of distrust between sectors, she stated, and the international community must seek ways to improve governance frameworks and ensure inclusive and collective solutions through partnerships.  The Government had undertaken initiatives to improve energy and climate plans, promote sustainable cities and engage the international community.  Efforts were also undertaken to modernize infrastructure and maintain economic diversity.  That included establishing an “industry observatory” and supporting non‑governmental organizations in creating local plans for sustainable development.  In research and development, Monaco promoted clean technology.  It had developed the world’s largest solar‑powered boat and established a “Solar Impulse” command centre.  Furthermore, Monaco hosted its first auto show dedicated to innovation and clean energy, and established an incubator for innovative projects.  His country had also invested in economic growth and cooperation, and to that end allocated more than 1.1 per cent of its GDP to ODA.

HAHN CHOONGHEE (Republic of Korea) said United Nations reform efforts should break down silos and strengthen the nexus between peace and security, human rights and development, while also focusing on improving the funding architecture in a way that incentivized collaboration among agencies, the private sector, international financial institutions, vertical funds and other diverse stakeholders.  The United Nations development system should also improve its overall effectiveness and transparency and enhance value-for-money, accountability and transparency.  Emphasizing the importance of the 2030 Agenda’s follow-up and review process, as well as the means of implementation, he noted that his country had ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and stressed that “we must not lose momentum in implementing it”.  Among other things, he drew attention to efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction, and to ensure urbanization was sustainable.

MARÍA EMMA MEJÍA VÉLEZ (Colombia) said macroeconomic matters were vitally important to the well-being of millions who continued to live in poverty.  The Committee had before it some of the main challenges facing humanity, including the eradication of poverty and combating climate change.  However, the international community must be more committed to financing for development if those issues were to be addressed.  The Committee must give added value to its discussions, thinking big and concentrating on efforts that could have a true impact for future generations.  It must focus on efficiency in actions and results, maximize resources to ensure coordination of agencies and respond to priorities of States.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala) said the past few years had been critical in repositioning the United Nations development system to support countries facing development challenges.  The international community must ensure that financing for development was more efficient in implementing development programmes in middle-income countries.  The lack of reliable and disaggregated data continued to be an impediment in following up progress made and implementing national policies.  Addressing challenges to financing for development would be vital in reforming the development system.  The global community must also adopt graduation policies to ensure a better response to the opportunities and challenges of middle-income countries.  Guatemala, for its part, had been active in reducing illicit financial flows and developing a law to counter money-laundering.

EL HACEN ELEYATT (Mauritania) said that his country had made significant progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals through enhanced policies and approaches to manage public business.  That had resulted in increased investments and amended legislation to provide legal safeguards in a more transparent framework.  Mauritania endeavoured to establish numerous national development programmes.  To enable access for young people, the Government financed microprojects and encouraged productive enterprises and employment.  Women had greater access to senior employment positions, and took major roles in society and State, with elected women receiving access to training programmes to improve performance and productivity.  The Government did its utmost to facilitate women’s access to financing through a national development fund.  Mauritania had made significant progress in health that had resulted in a decrease in women and children’s mortality rates, as well as deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.  The Government also reformed the judiciary to encourage greater transparency.  Due to its geographical location, Mauritania suffered from climate change and in response, adopted an approach to integrate environmental and sustainable economic development issues.  The country would continue to work with its neighbours to address climate change; however, it requested additional support to help fulfil their commitments.

ISATA KABIA (Sierra Leone), associating herself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the African Group, said millions of people in least developed States continued to live in extreme poverty and the international community’s focus should remain on freeing humanity from those shackles “as a matter of urgency”.  Sierra Leone had linked its “Third Poverty Reduction Strategy” and “Agenda for Prosperity” to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, with the aim of achieving middle-income status by 2035.  Like many other fragile and post-conflict countries, Sierra Leone had worked to consolidate its hard-won peace despite not being fully able to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Noting the need for adequate sources for conflict-affected countries — especially for a long-term, stable and predictable flow of financing — she said the continued role of international development cooperation and ODA “cannot be overemphasized”.

MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) said that her country had presented a report in 2017 on the Sustainable Development Goals, and was honouring its commitments at the national level.  Under the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024, attention was given to transform Kyrgyzstan through large-scale projects, including infrastructural and energy projects.  The country’s national strategy for sustainable development would include indicators and reflect remaining challenges.  The national “Taza Koom Project” sought to transform Kyrgyzstan with a people-centred, modern governance model.  Climate change had significant impact on all sectors.  As numerous uranium plants were located along waterways, she expressed concern over the risk of river pollution which could result in a major humanitarian and environmental disaster in Central Asia.  The General Assembly had recognized that danger in various resolutions; however, efforts would be needed to recondition the uranium facilities.  She also expressed alarm at the swift melting of glaciers in the region and environmental threats that impact biodiversity, such as threats relating to the decrease of snow leopards.

News

States Must Step Up Efforts to Check Spread of Deadly Weapons as Non-State Actors Exploit Rapid Technological Advances, Speakers Tell Security Council

In tackling drones, 3D printing, the dark web and other emerging threats hindering non-proliferation efforts, States must bolster their efforts as well as technological advances in order to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction and keep them out of the hands of terrorists and other non-State actors, delegates told the Security Council today.

Briefing the Council on those and other new concerns and responses, Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said many of the technologies, goods and raw materials required to produce weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems were available through legitimate producers.  She also emphasized the importance of international cooperation and dialogue with the private sector in eradicating illicit trafficking routes.

Despite the gains of the last decade, much still remained to be done, she continued.  Joint non-proliferation efforts must identify actions by which to grapple with threats arising from globalization, which had facilitated the exploitation and use of weapons of mass destruction, she said, noting that terrorists groups had evolved into cyberspace and, alongside other non-State actors, exploited loopholes to access the technology they needed.  The international community must prosecute all those responsible for supporting terrorist actions, she said, stressing that overcoming such challenges hinged upon cooperation among security agencies, including the sharing of information.

Agreeing, Joseph Ballard, Senior Officer for the Office of Strategy and Policy at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said the rising threat posed by non-State actors, the pace of economic development and the evolution of science and technology were all shaping the future of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  Moreover, the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors was no longer a threat, but a chilling reality.

The focus must shift to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons and to adjusting programmes and resources as needs arose.  Preventing non-State actors from acquiring dual-use materials, equipment and technologies was of critical importance to maintaining the global norm against the use of chemical weapons and in favour of international peace and security, he said.  Outlining recent efforts, he said OPCW had tested a mechanism designed to respond to a chemical terrorist attack.  “OPCW is committed to playing our part, in close cooperation with this Council and with the range of stakeholders that are so critical to our collective goals,” he added.

When the floor opened, many speakers highlighted the continuing relevance of Council resolution 1540 (2004) in calling for actions to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.  Many underlined the urgent need to shift strategies in order to effectively address new and emerging dangers, as some recalled that Council resolution 2325 (2016) called for strengthening efforts to implement 1540 (2004).

Such efforts were more relevant now than ever before, speakers emphasized.  Panama’s representative said his country’s national efforts included halting the financing of terrorism, regulating dual-use materials and participating in a World Customs Organization programme to monitor the use of shipping containers for illicit trafficking.

Yet, States must be able to meet non-proliferation obligations without jeopardizing the development of commercial, industry and technology markets.  Mexico, home to one of the world’s largest chemical industries, enforced strict export-control standards that dovetailed with national non-proliferation responsibilities, that country’s representative said.

The re-emergence of chemical weapons was another pressing issue as many speakers expressed alarm over reports that they had been used in Iraq and Syria.  More must be done to hold perpetrators accountable and to eliminate chemical those weapons permanently, delegates stressed.

The representative of the United States underlined the need for greater controls over chemical materials, saying that exchanging expertise was important in that regard.  Additionally, the global nuclear security architecture required strengthening, and there was need to address critical gaps in the smuggling of radioactive and other nuclear materials.  Underlining the binding nature of resolution 1540 (2004), she said the use of chemical weapons by the Government of Syria was “troubling”, urging all States to increase pressure to make President Bashar al-Assad stop.

Syria’s representative said that the worst violations of resolution 1540 (2004) were the assistance, support and training provided to terrorist groups by some Western States.  Condemning the use of all weapons of mass destruction, he pointed out that Syria had ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, ended its chemical weapons programme in record time and had cooperated fully with inquiries carried out since 2014.  Rejecting allegations that its military forces had used chemical weapons, he said Syria had constantly warned the Security Council about the danger of terrorist groups acquiring weapons of mass destruction and had clearly identified the countries supplying them.

Some speakers noted that combating current threats required more than existing tools could handle, with the Russian Federation’s representative describing resolution 1540 (2004) as “insufficient” in light of today’s global threats.  As for the inquiries in Syria, he vowed that his country would continue to conduct impartial investigations into the allegations of chemical weapons use.  Given the ever greater threat posed by chemical or biological warfare, especially in the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and other such groups, the Russian Federation’s proposed initiative to develop an international convention to combat chemical and biological terrorism would set out provisions criminalizing activities under its purview and implement the principle of “extradite or prosecute”, he said.

China’s representative said it was critical to seek a system of common global security based on fairness while also working to eliminate the driving forces of terrorism, but emphasized that “unilateralism, double standards and discriminatory practices” were contrary to such efforts.  All States were entitled to enjoy the fruits of nuclear technology, he said, warning that confrontation and the emphasis on sanctions could further exacerbate the risk of proliferation.

Delegates raised other looming threats alongside suggestions about how to deal with them, as many speakers recalled today’s newspaper headlines about a massive cyberattack in Ukraine, the United Kingdom and other countries.  Sweden’s representative pointed out the risks associated with intangible transfers of technology, whereby sensitive know-how could be transferred through research, industry or social media.

Senegal’s delegate, meanwhile, said that cybersecurity threats could be serious if targeted at nuclear power stations or other relevant infrastructure.  To quash such dire threats, Senegal recommended a prevention-oriented strategy to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands.

Egypt’s representative recommended the creation of a new mechanism to coordinate United Nations counter-terrorism strategies.

Kazakhstan’s delegate suggested that the United Nations establish a tracking mechanism on sensitive technologies.

Many speakers expressed support for the work of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), with some calling for more robust action.  Encapsulating a common thread heard throughout the day-long meeting, the United Kingdom’s representative said the cost of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorists would be too high to bear.

Also delivering statements were representative of Bolivia, Ukraine, Uruguay, France, Italy, Ethiopia, Japan, Montenegro, Chile, Peru, Israel, Pakistan, Estonia, Poland, Norway (for the Nordic countries), Brazil, Turkey, Belgium, Morocco, South Africa, Austria, Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Bangladesh, Botswana, Venezuela (for the Non-Aligned Movement), Netherlands, Colombia, Indonesia, Paraguay, Germany, Spain, Cuba, Argentina, India, Armenia, Canada, Greece, Namibia, Nigeria, Slovenia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia and Iran, as well as the Holy See, European Union and the International Criminal Police Organization.

Taking the floor a second time was Turkey’s delegate, who spoke in response to a statement by the representative of Syria.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m., was suspended at 1:07 p.m., reconvened at 2:08 p.m. and ended at 5:08 p.m.

Briefings

IZUMI NAKAMITSU, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that despite substantial progress in minimizing risks involving terrorism and the use of weapons of mass destruction, emerging threats were a great concern.  Joint efforts to prevent their proliferation must identify actions by which to grapple with threats arising from globalization, which had eased the exploitation and use of such weapons, she said, noting that terrorists groups had evolved into cyberspace and, alongside other non-State actors, exploited loopholes to access the technology they needed.

Emerging new areas of concern included the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”), 3D printing and the dark web, she continued, emphasizing that many of the technologies, goods and raw materials required to produce weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems were available through legitimate producers.  She underlined the importance of international cooperation and dialogue with the private sector in tackling illicit trafficking routes so as to prevent terrorist actions.

She went on to underscore the critical importance of ensuring accountability, saying the international community must prosecute all those responsible for supporting such actions.  Cooperation among security agencies, including the sharing of information, was vital to overcoming those challenges, she said, pointing out that, despite the gains made over the last decade, much still remained to be done.  She encouraged the Council to use today’s debate as an opportunity to be proactive and to devise effective solutions to the existing and related challenges.

JOSEPH BALLARD, Senior Officer, Office of Strategy and Policy, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OCPW), said the rising threat posed by non-State actors, the pace of economic development and the evolution of science and technology were all shaping the future of the global disarmament and non-proliferation regimes.  Moreover, the use of chemical weapons by non-State actors was no longer a threat, but a chilling reality.  The focus must shift to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons and to adjusting programmes and resources as needs arose, he said.  Preventing non-State actors from acquiring dual-use materials, equipment and technologies was of critical importance to maintaining the global norm against the use of chemical weapons and in favour of international peace and security.  To that end, OPCW dedicated considerable resources to helping States parties fulfil their obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction.  That was not an easy task, as recognized by the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), he said.

The OPCW also worked with States parties through its open-ended working group on terrorism to coordinate the sharing of best practices in terms of national implementation, which tied into Council resolution 2325 (2016).  That text encouraged Member States to review their implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) in light of new and evolving security risks, he noted.  Among other OPCW activities, a recent review of resolution 1540 (2004) had identified transboundary movements of dual-use materials and technologies as a key area.  The agency had therefore signed a memorandum of understanding with the World Customs Organization with the aim of reinforcing its efforts and enhancing the security of the global supply chain, he said, emphasizing that working with the global chemical industry was now more important than ever before.  As for the improving coordination within the United Nations system, he cited the activities of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and various other inter-agencies, saying that a mechanism designed to respond to a chemical terrorist attack had recently been tested and would be enhanced by the newly established OPCW Rapid Response and Assistance Mission.  “OPCW is committed to play our part, in close cooperation with this Council and with the range of stakeholders that are so critical to our collective goals,” he added.

Statements

SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLÍZ (Bolivia), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, saying that the focus of today’s discussion should be the responsibility of all States to implement resolution 1540 (2004) in order to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-State actors.  The range of legislation and enforcement provisions was broad and must also cover any parties acting in any way as accomplices.  The key to successful implementation was international collaboration, including bilateral and regional cooperation, he said, stressing the need for constant vigilance, particularly in light of rapid advances in technology and commerce.  He underlined, in addition, that resolution 2325 (2016) called for greater attention to the financing of proliferation, and to accounting for and securing related materials, national export and transhipment controls as well as the need for stronger enforcement of all existing measures.

VOLODYMYR LESCHENKO (Ukraine), associating himself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union delegation, noted that despite measures by Member States to reduce proliferation risks, challenges in that area were growing more sophisticated.  Several cases of chemical weapons use had been confirmed, particularly in Syria, Iraq and Malaysia, he noted, condemning the use of any weapon of mass destruction as a war crime and a crime against humanity.  It was crucial to find practical ways to ensure that international legal non-proliferation norms did not remain only on paper, but were properly enforced and fully respected.  As such, it was an important and urgent task to intensify effective interactions among States and to build synergies among all stakeholders involved.  In that regard, Ukraine commended Spain’s contribution to strengthening the role of resolution 1540 (2004) and to establishing the resolution’s Group of Friends in 2016, he said, adding that his country attached particular importance to the Global Partnership Initiative as a proper format for strengthening capacities for resisting proliferation threats and challenges.

OLOF SKOOG (Sweden), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004) and with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Nordic countries, emphasized the need to be alert to the threat of non-State actors seeking to procure and use weapons of mass destruction.  Sweden remained strongly committed to strengthening multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, including nuclear disarmament, and resolution 1540 (2004) was an important complement, he said.  The country had recently made a special contribution of $60,000 to the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to bolster implementation of the resolution.  In addition, Sweden was contributing to global efforts supporting the resolution’s objectives through the Swedish Radiation Safety Agency’s nuclear security cooperation programme as well as engagement with the Group of Seven Global Partnership Programme.  He said it was also important to highlight risks associated with intangible transfers of technology, whereby sensitive know-how may be transferred through research, industry or social media.

ISIDOR MARCEL SENE (Senegal) called today’s news headlines a “grim reminder” of the ever-present risk of non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, also drawing attention to cybersecurity threats that could be serious if targeted at nuclear power stations or other relevant infrastructure.  Urging all States to fulfil the commitments enshrined in resolution 1540 (2004) “to the letter”, he emphasized the need for an accurate tally of all the world’s nuclear weapons in order to ensure their destruction and strengthen cooperation on border controls, financial flows and legal assistance.  Crafting a prevention-oriented strategy to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the wrong hands could also include the following measures:  implementing a five-year voluntary action plan for resolution 1540 (2004); boosting cooperation among relevant domestic offices; and rolling out a system covering the entire life-cycle of nuclear materials.  He concluded by drawing attention to the African Union’s efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004), emphasizing that international assistance — including through match-making between States requesting assistance and those able to provide it — also remained critical.

ELIZABETH LEE (United States), associating herself with the statement to be delivered by the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said her delegation was concerned about significant gaps in the current implementation of the resolution, particularly with regard to chemical and biological security, and to control over delivery systems.  Emphasizing the need to “work smarter” in the future, she recalled the recent horror of chemical weapons use in the Middle East and the use of the deadly nerve agent VX in Malaysia.  There was need for greater controls over such materials, she said, stressing that the exchange of expertise was important in that regard.  Underlining that resolution 1540 (2004) was binding on Member States, she described the use of chemical weapons by the Government of Syria as “troubling” and urged all States to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to end such actions.  The global nuclear security architecture also needed strengthening, including by addressing critical gaps in the smuggling of radioactive and other nuclear materials, she said, recalling that the United States had provided training and technical assistance to border officials around the world.

ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said his country was firmly committed to complete global nuclear disarmament and was therefore in favour of developing a legally binding global instrument to that end.  Expressing concern that “devastating consequences for all humanity” would result from non-State actors gaining access to weapons of mass destruction, he said the recent use of chemical weapons in the Middle East and Asia had revealed the pressing nature of that threat.  Voicing support for the efforts by the OPCW Fact Finding Mechanism in Syria and the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) to bring the perpetrators of the use of such weapons in Khan Shaykoun to justice, he urged similar investigations in Iraq.  Resolution 1540 (2004) required the ongoing support of all States, which must take appropriate national steps to bolster import and export controls over materials that could be used to develop nuclear weapons, he said, calling also for measures to prevent their acquisition by non-State groups.

BORIS S. LUKSHIN  (Russian Federation) said full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) was a pressing global challenge, noting that the text remained the sole international document joining all countries in the development of national systems to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of non-State actors.  Warning that terrorist groups participating in today’s many conflicts had access to the technology needed to use such weapons, he said the threat of chemical and biological warfare — especially at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) militants or similar groups — was becoming ever greater.  The Russian Federation supported strengthening the counter-terrorism component of resolution 1540 (2004), he said, calling for objective, professional, unpoliticized and impartial investigations into all allegations of chemical and biological agent use.  It was also wholly unacceptable to help any non-State actors to gain access to weapons of mass destruction or related materials or components, he emphasized.

Expressing concern that the machinery of resolution 1540 (2004) was “insufficient” in light of today’s global threats, he drew attention to the Russian Federation’s proposed initiative to develop an international convention to combat acts of chemical and biological terrorism.  Such an instrument would, among other things, set out provisions criminalizing activities falling under its purview and implement the principle of “extradite or prosecute”.  Emphasizing the need to strengthen the national and regional components of resolution 1540 (2004)’s implementation, he cited several summits organized by his country to that end, and welcomed China’s plan to organize a similar meeting in August.

In response to the United States statement, he stressed that there was no threat to specialists from that country investigating incidents in Syria, and vowed that the Russian Federation would continue to conduct impartial investigations into the allegations of chemical weapons use.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said emerging threats posed new challenges, as with ISIL/Da’esh in the Middle East.  A new mechanism must be established to coordinate United Nations counter-terrorism strategies, he said, adding that regional and subregional organizations must bolster cooperation.  Campaigns to raise awareness must bring to light issues such as transparency, and closer coordination was also needed between the relevant organizations and the 1540 Committee’s Panel of Experts.  Egypt had submitted four reports on its implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), he noted, expressing support for the creation of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear bombs, in the Middle East.

MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom), emphasizing the need to transform resolution 1540 (2004) into reality, said the 1540 Committee must improve technical assistance to States, and the Council must make every effort to encourage the submission of national reports.  The challenges at hand were far too great for the 15 Council members alone, he said, adding that every country had a role to play and that the Council must embrace their help.  Condemning all use of chemical weapons, he expressed great concern about recent allegations, saying he looked forward to seeing the results of the OPCW-JIM’s inquiries on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.  Action was needed because the cost of such weapons falling into the hands of terrorists would be too high to bear, he warned.

KAIRAT UMAROV (Kazakhstan) said his country was taking steps to monitor and address concerns about weapons of mass destruction and sensitive technologies, adding that its efforts extended throughout the region.  Resolutions 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2016) showed the way, he said, expressing confidence that outreach and funding drives could help States to implement those important measures.  Because evolving threats called for new approaches, the United Nations could establish a tracking mechanism on sensitive technologies, he said.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) described resolution 1540 (2004) as a pillar of non-proliferation efforts, while warning that developments in Asia, including a chemical weapon attack in Malaysia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s expanded nuclear programme, constituted a growing concerns, alongside the use of toxic weapons in Syria.  Preventing their spread must entail mobilizing joint actions, he said, adding that States must intensify efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004), including by securing sensitive goods.  France had modernized its legal framework, including by criminalizing activities linked to non-State actors and their access to weapons of mass destruction, he said, adding that a bill had been submitted with the aim of funding those and other efforts.  Because the sum of individual actions was not enough, States must further cement cooperation with each other, he said, emphasizing that ongoing challenges must also be overcome through cooperation with IAEA and other such organizations, among other efforts.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) associated himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union delegation and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004).  Noting that rapid advances in science and technology were making it harder for States to control dangerous materials, he called for increased attention to the “intangible transfer of technology” — reflected in both resolution 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2016) — urging Member States to implement the provisions of both texts while also enhancing border controls and improving coordination with the 1540 Committee.  The delivery of technical assistance remained the key element in strengthening national implementation efforts, he said, commending the 1540 Committee’s efforts to help States “that need it most”.  Pointing out that 2016 had seen significant steps forward in efforts to prevent non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, he said “now we must build on that momentum”.

MAHLET HAILU GUADEY (Ethiopia), associating herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, noted with concern the continued risk of proliferating weapons of mass destruction, including recent reports of their use by non-State actors in the Middle East.  Since addressing that risk would require a complete ban on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, Ethiopia favoured developing a legally binding instrument that would ban the development, transfer and use of nuclear weapons, she said.  Preventing non-State actors from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction would require a range of national legislation as well as coordinated domestic measures on the part of Member States.  Regional measures could complement such efforts, she said, calling for enhanced cooperation between the 1540 Committee and regional and subregional organizations such as the African Union.  In particular, the 1540 Committee should enhance cooperation efforts within the framework of the Common African Defence and Security Policy, she said, emphasizing also the crucial need to enhance the exchange of information as well as best practices.

KORO BESSHO (Japan), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), echoed the need to remain vigilant against the menace of proliferation.  The threat posed by the activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s activities had reached a new level, presenting a clear challenge to the global non-proliferation regime, he noted, strongly urging that country to refrain from developing weapons of mass destruction and to comply faithfully with all relevant international commitments.  The threat was also evident in Syria, where such weapons had actually been used, he said, underlining the responsibility of all States to protect themselves and their peoples.  Proliferation activities must be prevented “whenever and wherever they are attempted”, and special vigilance was needed to prevent people from unwittingly becoming involved in such activities.  State capacity-building was also critical, he said, cautioning that proliferation could occur “through the weakest link”.

LIU JIEYI (China) said it was critical to seek a system of common global security based on fairness while also working to eliminate the driving forces of terrorism.  However, “unilateralism, double standards and discriminatory practices” were contrary to such efforts, he emphasized.  All States were entitled to enjoy the fruits of nuclear technology, he said, warning that confrontation and the emphasis on sanctions could further exacerbate the risk of proliferation.  In that regard, it was important to seek political and diplomatic solutions to global “hotspot” issues and to address the root causes of global insecurity.  Calling upon States to abandon “cold war mentality”, he underlined that national Governments bore primary responsibility for non-proliferation, and that all capacity-building, information-exchange and mutual learning initiatives must ensure respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.  China called for a multipronged approach to the comprehensive and effective implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), and urged the 1540 Committee to abide strictly by its mandate.

SRDJAN DARMANOVIC (Montenegro), associating himself with the statements to be delivered by the European Union delegation and on behalf of the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), condemned the repeated violations of Council resolutions by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Allegations of the presence and use of chemical weapons increased the risk of weapons of mass destruction falling into the hands of terrorist groups, he warned, voicing support for immediate action to ensure the implementation of a global agenda set out in relevant Council resolutions.  Montenegro had adopted an early strategy for that purpose, with a focus on effective enforcement of laws, and established domestic controls that took into account matters requiring particular vigilance, such as intangible technology transfers.  Affirming that small States without nuclear capacities were an important part of the security architecture, he said his country stood ready to cooperate with partners at all levels in what must be a universal effort.

LAURA ELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama) described the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and resolution 1540 (2004) as unique legally binding multilateral instruments.  Advocating for security for all, she said it was imperative to combat the threat of weapons of mass destruction.  Half a century after the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (Treaty of Tlatelolco), Panama hoped ongoing negotiations for a ban on nuclear weapons would be successful.  Aware of developing trends of new technologies, Panama was tackling those and related challenges through such efforts as halting the financing of terrorism, regulating dual-use materials and participating in a World Customs Organization programme to monitor the use of shipping containers for illicit trafficking.  Condemning the production of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, she described their humanitarian impact as unacceptable and unquantifiable.  Nuclear disarmament should be a global imperative, she said, pointing out that reaching that goal would free up funding for development-related challenges.

ALFREDO LABBE (Chile) said today’s debate was timely given the current important discussions on a legally binding treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.  Describing strategic controls as the key to preventing sensitive technologies from falling into the hands of non-State actors, who often attacked the weaknesses of commercial distribution chains, she said that strengthening national capacities through cooperation was particularly important in that effort.  Chile had recently co-organized training for contact points in the region, he said, expressing hope that recent efforts by the OPCW would deter those who intended to use chemical weapons in the future.

JUAN JOSÉ GÓMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico) said a balance must be struck between States meeting their non-proliferation obligations and avoiding obstacles that would advance commercial, technology and industry achievements.  Hosting some of the world’s largest chemical industries, Mexico had established a national export control regime for dual-use materials that ensured its non-proliferation obligations.  Yet, such efforts would be in vain if national capacities lacked real-time knowledge-sharing and cooperation with other States.  Resolution 1540 (2004) and its recent review had underlined the need to expand efforts, he said, noting that industry leaders had taken their own initiatives towards those objectives.

GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) emphasized that there was a real threat of non-State actors acquiring such arms.  Resolutions 1540 (2004) and 2325 (2106) required full implementation, including by rolling out national legislation on trade in related materials and weapons.  Peru had aligned its legislation with such principles in air and maritime fields.  In addition, regional and subregional cooperation was also essential, he said, noting that Peru had participated in a regional industry conference.  The Security Council must take accurate and coherent action and civil society must be involved in the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).

DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel), aligning himself with the Friends of Resolution 1540, said that prevention of proliferation was a priority for his country.  Israel’s citizens lived under constant threat that had increased in the context of failing States, the recklessness of others and the actual use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime and Da’esh.  Iran’s development of ballistic missiles also increased the threat, particularly to Israel, which it had named as a target.  Such a direct threat by one Member State to another could not be tolerated, he stressed, adding that information had recently come to light that last December Iran had tested a nuclear-capable missile targeted at a bullseye shaped like the Star of David.  He called on the international community to take clear action to counter State-sponsored proliferation, along with all availability of dangerous weapons to terrorists.

MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) noted that some States were neither willing to give up their large inventories of nuclear weapons nor their modernization programmes, and were pursuing non-proliferation with “messianic zeal” while ignoring the fact that disarmament and non-proliferation were organically linked.  The granting of discriminatory waivers to some was another challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules.  Such special arrangements carried obvious proliferation risks and opened up the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful uses to military purposes.  Her Government had been a consistent supporter of resolution 1540 (2004) objectives and had submitted five national implementation reports.  In particular, the last report submitted in May had noted its readiness to offer assistance to interested States for capacity-building, technical assistance and training in areas such as regulatory infrastructure in export controls, among others.  She called for the Nuclear Suppliers Group to establish and adhere to more transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria to ensure the equal treatment of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty applicants for the Group’s membership.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said that despite the Council’s adoption of texts on the non-proliferation of dangerous weapons, the situation had not changed.  The arms trade continued, including sales of weapons to countries involved in conflict.  He reiterated Pope Francis’ plea to end that trade, to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to reduce the world’s reliance on armed force in the conduct of international affairs.  Meanwhile, assistance to States and cooperation among them must increase to combat proliferation.  The establishment of zones free of the worst weapons would be a big step in the right direction.  Non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament were critical to achieve both peace and development goals.  In addition, political solutions were needed to halt the involvement of non-State actors in conflicts.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), aligning himself with the European Union, affirmed the severity of the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their availability to non-State actors.  Prevention efforts needed to be redoubled at the national, regional and global levels.  The key was universal implementation of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation agreements, as well as the strengthening of existing instruments and regimes.  In addition, he welcomed immediate commencement and early conclusion of negotiation of a treating banning the production of fissile material.  Noting his country’s contributions to a number of global and regional non-proliferation initiatives, he reaffirmed Estonia’s commitment to continue to implement resolution 1540 (2004) in an effective manner, which entailed legal enforcement and export controls.

JOÃO PEDRO VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of the European Union delegation, stressed that the international community must continue addressing the root causes of instability as well as strengthen and uphold multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements.  He also called for the full support of multilateral institutions, especially those dealing with verification and compliance.  Export control lists and regimes also played an important role in stemming proliferation.  In line with its Global Strategy, issued in 2016, the European Union would use every means at its disposal to assist in resolving proliferation crises, as it had successfully done on the Iranian nuclear programme. 

Resolution 1540 (2004) remained a central pillar of international non-proliferation architecture, he stated, noting that the 2016 Comprehensive Review had reaffirmed its centrality, importance and authority.  In May, as a follow-up to the adoption and comprehensive review of resolution 2325 (2016), the European Union Council had adopted a decision supporting implementation of the resolution.  The new decision was an ambitious funding scheme designed to help implement the outcome of the comprehensive review.  It would ask the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs to perform the role of implementing partner for the project extending over a three-year period and worth more than €2.6 million.  By that decision, the European Union would support cooperation and capacity-building, paying special attention to the role of industry, supporting relevant initiatives. 

BOGUSŁAW WINID (Poland), associating himself with the Group of Friends of resolution 1540 (2004), observed that although OPCW was not an anti-terrorist organization, it had the potential to counter the threat of the misuse of toxic chemicals by non-State actors.  The full implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention provisions by its States parties could strengthen that posture against terrorism.  Recalling the Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution 2325 (2016), which Poland had co-sponsored, he stressed that States must pay attention to enforcement measures, particularly those relating to biological, chemical and nuclear weapons as well as national export and trans-shipment controls.  He encouraged the remaining 16 States to submit their initial resolution 1540 (2004) implementation reports, and called on States who had not yet done so to accede to the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

GEIR O. PEDERSEN (Norway), speaking for the Nordic countries including Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, said that the rapid pace of technological development must be taken into account; technological advances could assist implementation efforts but might also lead to new threats.  States with necessary legislation and enforcement measures in place were better placed to benefit from such ongoing advances.  The resolution’s full implementation would therefore also contribute to social and economic progress.  The 2016 comprehensive review had shown considerable progress in both outreach and implementation.  Member States’ initial reporting had clearly improved but progress was uneven, he noted, calling for adequate enforcement measures and domestic legislation to address challenges. 

Since its adoption, he added, the resolution had become more firmly anchored within the United Nations system and was complemented by work under relevant multilateral treaties.  Over the last decade, a broader international architecture of initiatives and partnerships had emerged to fight terrorism related to weapons of mass destruction.  It was of great importance that all such efforts be mutually supportive.  The Nordic countries were active in that broader partnership, contributing financially to the Secretariat’s work on the resolution.  At the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the individual Nordic countries had made national pledges, such as working towards minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium in the civilian sector and enhancing the nuclear detection architecture.  Other examples of relevant cooperation projects included training chemists from developing countries and assisting States in building capacity to prevent and counter biological threats.

MAURO VIEIRA (Brazil) said resolution 1540 (2004)’s implementation required ongoing efforts at the national, regional and international levels and called on countries in a position to do so to assist those with implementation needs.  In spite of the resolution’s importance, international bans on chemical and biological weapons were insufficient.  Indeed, nuclear disarmament was a critical part of any reasonable system designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of non-State actors.  An international conference — open to all States — was currently under way with a General Assembly mandate to draft a treaty prohibiting all nuclear weapons.  The international community had frequently faced the rationale that security and stability concerns stood in the way of complete nuclear disarmament.  However, that was a “false dichotomy”.  The risk posed by non-State actors was just one example of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.  “There are no right hands for wrong weapons,” he stressed, quoting former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and voicing hope that the international community would finally make progress towards a world free of all nuclear weapons.

MAKBULE BAŞAK YALÇIN (Turkey), associating herself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said Turkey’s updated national matrix showed its meticulous implementation of that resolution, including an “all-encompassing national legislation” and the country’s membership in international legal instruments on non-proliferation and counter-terrorism.  While noting that her Government was working to reinforce its transit inspections as a priority, she said it was unfair to levy the burden of such control on transit countries alone; a genuine, fair responsibility sharing arrangement with source countries was needed.  As a country that had never pursued weapons of mass destruction, Turkey firmly opposed the development, production, stockpiling and use of such weapons by States and non-State actors alike.  The repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria could not be considered in isolation as it was fully consistent with the regime’s chemical weapons programmes.  Recalling that the use of toxic chemicals, most recently in Khan Shaykoun in April, was a “brutal reminder” that such attacks would continue unless the perpetrators were held accountable, she called on the Council to take measures in accordance with its relevant resolutions.

PASCAL BUFFIN (Belgium), associating himself with the European Union delegation, said there was no doubt terrorists were actively trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction.  The vigilance and cooperation of the entire international community was needed to stop them.  Recalling the use of gas on his country’s territory during the First World War, he emphasized the importance of OPCW’s efforts, particularly in ending the use of chemical weapons by Syria and Da’esh.  He also welcomed the peer review approach to preventing the proliferation of biological agents.  In all areas, he added, multilateral initiatives must be supported, best practices disseminated and all sectors of society brought into efforts to prevent proliferation.

ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL (Morocco) said there was an “endless spiral” of terrorist attacks by groups that were constantly taking advantage of the latest technology and strategies.  Prevention efforts must stay a step ahead of them to keep them from obtaining weapons of mass destruction.  The implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), however, was a challenge for many countries, particularly those in Africa, he said.  It was also difficult to monitor the effectiveness of measures undertaken as reports represented them, he said, suggesting that the 1540 Committee help countries to assess their state of implementation, noting that Morocco would be hosting an event to help African countries enhance the evaluation of their implementation measures.

DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said progress towards a world free of nuclear weapons continued to lag behind the prohibition of chemical and biological weapons.  South Africa joined the vast majority of the international community in advocating for efforts to ensure that nuclear weapons were never used again under any circumstances, he said.  In that context, the Conference to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons was a “bold and positive step” that would help to stigmatize and delegitimize such weapons on a global scale.  While echoing concerns about the threat posed by non-State actors, he nevertheless underlined that efforts to deal with such challenges must avoid imposing unwarranted restrictions on the inalienable right of Member States — and developing countries in particular — to use nuclear materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes.  He also drew attention to South Africa’s efforts to implement global control regimes, including by strengthening national legislation and through cooperation with international organizations, regional actors, civil society groups and the private sector.

PHILIPP CHARWATH (Austria) said his country considered export controls an important tool for preventing proliferation and was an active participant in the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.  On the national level, Austria had legislation in place to implement its international non-proliferation commitments effectively.  Urging the redoubling of efforts to prevent the occurrence of a nuclear terrorist attack, he also called for reinforcement of existing nuclear non-proliferation regimes.  A major obstacle was the continued existence of nuclear weapons, he said, emphasizing that as long as a number of States possessed such weapons, others would be tempted to develop or otherwise obtain them as well.  Real progress on nuclear disarmament was therefore crucial in the context of today’s discussion, he said.

JORGE SKINNER-KLÉE (Guatemala), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004) and the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that the face and methods of terrorism had changed in recent years.  The preventive and cooperative nature of resolution 1540 (2004) meant that it aimed to strengthen commitment to non-proliferation without affecting peaceful uses of nuclear energy, he said.  As such, it provided a platform for cooperation, but would be counter-productive if its implementation turned into a coercive imposition of sanctions.  Implementation, therefore, must be adapted to the reality of the threats it aimed to prevent.  The recent review process and the adoption of resolution 2325 (2016) had achieved that delicate balance, he said, emphasizing that balanced implementation would only be possible if all States had the resources to play a role.

LOUAY FALOUH (Syria) said the worst violations of resolution 1540 (2004) were the assistance, support and training of terrorist groups to the point of giving them toxic chemicals to use against military personnel as well as civilians.  Certain countries had raised topics outside today’s agenda in order to impede the Council’s efforts and prevent it from holding a true and serious debate on the resolution.  The same countries opposed efforts to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone in order to protect Israel, he said, describing that country as an occupying Power that continued to support terrorist groups — Al Nusrah Front in particular — and possessed a biological and chemical weapons arsenal.  Syria had constantly warned of the danger posed by terrorist groups — including Al Nusrah, ISIL/Da’esh and Al-Qaida — acquiring weapons of mass destruction by sending messages to various Security Council subsidiary bodies, he said, adding that the documented information pointed out countries providing chemical weapons to terrorist groups.

He went on to recall intelligence reports to the effect that Turkey had provided such chemicals to groups in Syria and facilitated their distribution, which constituted serious violations of resolution 1540 (2004).  Syria was still waiting for that information to be reflected in reports on chemical weapons and their use by terrorist groups, he said.  Today’s accusations against Syria were part of a “political blackmail war” that systematically accompanied every success of the Syrian army and its allies in the war against terrorism.  Syria condemned the use of chemical weapons and any use of weapons of mass destruction, having ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention and ended its chemical weapons programme “in record time”, he emphasized.  Damascus had always rejected allegations by certain Western Administrations that its military forces had used chemical and toxic weapons, he said.  However, Syria had cooperated with inquiries carried out since 2014 and had provided any and all information needed to ensure the impartiality of those investigations.

CHO TAE-YUL (Republic of Korea), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said chemical attacks on civilians in Syria and Iraq underlined the urgent threat of non-State actors using weapons of mass destruction.  In order to meet emerging challenges, a multi-layered prevention mechanism that was as tech-savvy and capable of crossing borders as the non-State actors would be needed, he said, emphasizing also that national, regional and global export-control regimes must include the sharing of information on dual-use items and new proliferation techniques.  Public and private sector focal points must be mobilized more actively, as had been done during the Republic of Korea’s hosting of the Pacific regional Wiesbaden conference on industry outreach.  In addition, national capacity must be built through “tailor-made matchmaking” of partners.  He concluded nu underlining the importance of implementing all measures to stem the threat posed by the proliferation activities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the risk of non-State actors acquiring dangerous weapons demanded a concerted international response.  Viet Nam was in full compliance with its obligations under numerous international non-proliferation instruments thanks to appropriate legislation and effective action, he said.  At the same time, progress must be made on international disarmament, including a ban on nuclear weapons and the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones.  In addition, developing countries must be helped to implement international instruments, she said, underlining the need for large-scale cooperation by all States to ensure complete fulfilment of the non-proliferation and disarmament agendas.

MASUD BIN MOMEN (Bangladesh), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, given the severity of the threat posed by non-State actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, there was a need for greater sharing of best practices in order to build upon implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).  Noting the rapid advances in modern technology, he called for enhancing the knowledge base relating to emerging risks and for making that information available to Member States.

CHARLES NTWAAGA (Botswana), associating himself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that growing international terrorism and the rising willingness of terrorist group to use weapons of mass destruction should challenge the international community to ensure that such groups do not gain access to those devastating weapons.  Further implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) required deepening international cooperation strengthening international mechanisms, he said, expressing support, in that light, for negotiations towards a ban on nuclear weapons.  While outlining Botswana’s anti-terrorism measures and efforts to prevent sensitive materials from reaching non-State actors, he underlined the inherent right of sovereign States to the peaceful use of nuclear and other dual-use technologies.

RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, noted that at the Movement’s recent Summit on Margarita Island, its member States had reiterated their ongoing concern about the complicated disarmament and security situation.  They had called for efforts to be stepped up in resolving the current stalemate in nuclear non-proliferation.  They had also underscored the importance of carrying out parallel efforts towards non-proliferation and disarmament.  Member countries which were parties to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on Their Destruction (Biological Weapons Convention) acknowledged that its lack of verification systems continued to pose a challenge to its effectiveness.

He went on to note that the most effective way to prevent terrorists’ procuring weapons of mass destruction was the total elimination of such weapons.  That question was of particular concern since terrorists had used chemical weapons in the past, including in member countries of the Movement.  He urged countries to  adopt national measures when appropriate to prevent terrorists from procuring such weapons and their delivery systems.  The adoption of resolution 1540 (2004) and others underscored that no action by the Council should undermine the Charter, existing multilateral treaties established in those areas or the role of the General Assembly.  He cautioned against the Council’s recurring practice of defining legislation requirements to implement its decisions.  It was important that the question of non-State actors acquiring weapons be considered inclusively, taking into account the perspectives of all Member States.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), stressed that reaching full, worldwide implementation of the resolution by 2021 required tremendous work by Member States, international and regional organizations, and industry.  Considerable coordination was needed to ensure efficient and effective implementation and prevent overlap or competition.  National action plans were a great instrument to help Member States approach implementation in a comprehensive manner, helping them improve the effectiveness and efficiency of technical assistance.  In addition, nuclear security was critical, he noted, stressing that the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was indispensable and deserved the international community’s full support.

EMMANUEL ROUX, International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), said that in 2010, the agency had launched a strategy in support of its 190 member countries that included the collection and sharing of intelligence, analysing data and building capacity, all entailing training courses in a wide range of areas.  INTERPOL could also provide investigative and operational support to member countries on request, in the form of teams that would respond to terrorist incidents and initiatives that would support the international law-enforcement community.  Given the need for a multidisciplinary, inter-agency approach to preventing the proliferation of dangerous weapons, INTERPOL worked globally to connect its worldwide network of member countries and maintain close partnerships with multiple other international agencies, he said.

CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia) said national efforts to implement resolution 1540 (2004) were of critical importance, but emphasized that they must be accompanied by international cooperation in strengthening security measures at all levels of the creation and transfer of dangerous materials, and have strong controls with which all stakeholders would comply.  Enforcing border controls, as well as identifying and tracking the final users, was particularly necessary, he added.  Modern standards stipulated by the World Customs Organization must be instituted universally, he said, stressing that his country was moving forward in all relevant areas of strategic trade.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had instituted comprehensive measures to counter the development, acquisition, manufacture, possession, transport, transfer or use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their delivery systems.  Underlining the 1540 Committee’s role in “match-making” and extending extra support to those countries that lacked capacity, he pointed out that 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals had direct relevance to nuclear science and technology.  It was therefore crucial that the discourse of weapons of mass destruction did not impinge on States’ inalienable right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  Additionally, action to avert the acquisition of such weapons by non-State groups must flow from multilaterally-negotiated instruments and the Council must be “principled and clear” as it tackled threats to global peace.  “Let us be on the right side of history” in protecting humankind from the threat of nuclear explosions, he stressed, urging reluctant States to heed the calls for a ban on — and total elimination of — all nuclear weapons.

JULIO CÉSAR ARRIOLA RAMÍREZ (Paraguay), recounting the visit by the 1540 Committee to Paraguay, said that the Committee had observed his country’s efforts to adapt to international standards in the fight against terrorism and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors, particularly in border areas.  A new follow-up mission had been planned to hold meetings with legislative and judicial branches of the Government.  Stressing that the fight against terrorism must contribute to maintaining international peace and stability within the framework of rule of law and respecting fundamental individual freedoms, he called upon Member States to transfer resources currently allocated to the modernization of their arsenals into the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular the Goal to curb illicit arms flows.

THOMAS SCHIEB (Germany), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), underscored the repeated use of chemical weapons in Syria by both the Syrian regime and ISIL — as well as the latter’s use of such weapons in Iraq.  Holding the perpetrators of those heinous acts accountable remained a major challenge.  As preventing non-State actors from accessing such weapons or their precursors was the most effective way to avert their use, his country had offered a specialized facility to assist international efforts to remove and destroy the remaining stock of chemical weapons precursors in Libya.  It also played an active role in the Group of Seven efforts to strengthen the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.  In addition, Germany was pushing for a treaty to end fissile material production and had initiated the Wiesbaden Process, which sought to increase private sector engagement in the context of resolution 1540 (2004).

ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain), speaking for the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540, pledged the efforts of all 51 members of the Group to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in all its forms.  In that context, he condemned in the strongest terms the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Furthermore, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Iraq and Malaysia undermined the hard-won taboo against those atrocious weapons.  He strongly condemned the use of the weapons by ISIL and Malaysia and urged Syria to fully cooperate with OPCW. 

He voiced support for the full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) as set out in resolution 2325 (2016).  Prioritization of activities was essential.  The chemical and biological sectors required more attention, particularly in relation to securing materials.  It was also critical for States to criminalize all forms of financing of proliferation activities, even those that occurred through negligence.  Best practices in legislation, enforcement and domestic controls should be shared, and reporting should be increased and augmented.  He stressed the importance of assistance in capacity-building to implement the resolution and welcomed increased cooperation between the United Nations and other relevant international and regional organizations.

ANA SILVIA RODRÍGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the only effective way to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, including by terrorists, was their total elimination in a transparent and verifiable manner.  Her country neither possessed nor planned to acquire nuclear weapons.  Furthermore, it had participated actively in negotiations under way in the General Assembly on a convention to prohibit nuclear weapons with a view to their total elimination.  With regards to the Biological Weapons Convention, she called for the resumption without delay of negotiations for a legally binding protocol on verification.  The fight against terrorism must be based on the effective implementation of the United Nations global strategy and the Charter.  Actions taken by the Council must not undermine existing multilateral treaties on weapons of mass destruction nor the role of the General Assembly.

MARÍA PAULA MAC LOUGHLIN (Argentina) noted that the use of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors had highlighted the need for Member States to step up disarmament efforts.  Since the adoption of resolution 1540 (2004), Argentina had tackled implementation by balancing disarmament efforts with the peaceful use of technology.  Since presenting its first national report, as well as successive updates, her country had shown unwavering commitment to the resolution, becoming a member of the Proliferation Security Initiative.  Argentina had also provided assistance within the resolution’s framework, including training activities and with African countries in the area of South-South cooperation.  It was crucial to guarantee that dual-use materials were protected and beyond the hands of terrorists.

TANMAYA LAL (India), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, expressed concern over the possibility of “collusion” in assisting terror networks and non-State actors in accessing weapons of mass destruction.  Fully conscious of India’s responsibilities as a country with advanced nuclear technologies, he outlined its participation in the many international nuclear summits and agreements, including the Missile Technology Control Regime.  As well, his Government planned to host an international workshop in cooperation with the United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs and the 1540 Committee.  Clandestine proliferation networks that had been unmasked revealed non-State actors could exploit weak links in global supply chains and export controls and undermine international security.  All States must therefore assume their responsibly to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by non-State actors.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said capacity-building and the strengthening of international setup at the national level were the necessary prerequisites to address the existing and emerging threats associated with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the risks of their falling in to the hands of terrorists and non-State actors.  Describing a broad range of national legislation to those ends, he encouraged the 1540 Committee to continue its cooperation with relevant international and regional organizations based on comparative advantages and best practices developed on the ground.  He also pointed to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Global Initiative to Combat Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, in particular, as important platforms for the promotion of relevant cooperation.

MICHAEL BONSER (Canada), associating himself with the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), announced funding for the Stimson Center to implement a 1540 Assistance Support Initiative.  Among other things, the initiative would create a new website with a comprehensive list of assistance providers.  His country was also providing new funding for several other projects related to the resolution, including continued support for the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) regional 1540 coordinator.  Domestically, Canada was strengthening its counter-proliferation capabilities by increasing funding and amending legislation to better control brokering activities and exports related to weapons of mass destruction.  Internationally, under Canada’s chairmanship, the Nuclear Security Contact Group was working to identify and address new and emerging challenges to nuclear security.  In addition, Canada would chair the High-Level Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty Expert Preparatory Group to prepare the way to negotiate a treaty to end fissile material production for nuclear weapons.

DIONYSIOS KALAMVERZOS (Greece), associating himself with the European Union, said the world was confronted with a multitude of challenges, from economic development issues to the spread of weapons of mass destruction.  Technological advances and instability had only worsened that landscape.  Addressing root causes of instability, supporting multilateral agreements and institutions and the full implementation of Council resolutions were part of the solution to tackling those challenges.

NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, welcomed deeper cooperation among Member States to build capacity that would prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and other illegal armed groups.  He reaffirmed, however, the sovereign right of Member States to the development of advanced technologies in the nuclear, chemical, biological and pharmaceutical sectors to achieve industrial development.  In the area of weaponry, his country continued to participate in disarmament activities with a view to achieving a world free of weapons of mass destruction and the complete prohibition of their acquisition, development, stockpiling, transferring and modernization.

TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that resolution 1540 (2004) had been the second Council resolution to invoke Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter outside a country-specific context.  That filled a gap in international law by addressing the unacceptable risk of non-State actors obtaining and using weapons of mass destruction.  The emergence of extremist groups had introduced a sense of urgency in the international community’s need to take stock of the implementation of resolution 1540 (2004).  No State was immune from the threat and consequences of weapons of mass destruction attack by such groups.  “This should serve as a clarion call for us to vigorously confront one of the key security challenges of our time,” he said, citing a “yawning compliance gap” on the part of many Member States with limited resources and technical capabilities.  Expressing concern about the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament on the part of the nuclear-weapon States, he called on them to fulfil their relevant legal obligations and spotlighted multilateralism as the core platform for negotiations in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540, said that his country’s efforts to implement the resolution included the submission of four reports to the Committee, the development of regional counter-terrorism initiatives in the Western Balkans and participation in the IAEA Board of Governors.  His Government attached great importance to nuclear security and was working with other countries in that area.  As cyber terrorism was directly related to the matter at hand, Slovenia was also reviewing its national legislation and policies in that area.  The county, he pledged, would continue to implement the resolution as well as the recommendations of the comprehensive review and he called on all Member States to do the same.

KIM IN RYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) condemned and rejected remarks by his counterparts from the United States, Japan, United Kingdom and France, saying they had called his country’s self-defensive deterrent measures into question.  Recalling that those “hostile forces” had spread a story about use of chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction in order to create an atmosphere of international criticism against his country, he said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as a responsible nuclear-weapon State, would observe all its commitments to nuclear non-proliferation.  The root of the situation on the Korean Peninsula rested in the hostile United States policy and manoeuvres — including the military exercises conducted in March and April —intended to provoke war, he said.

Turning to recent discussions about sanctions imposing on his country, he said it was a fatal miscalculation if countries which had had a hand in the frame-up of the “sanctions resolution” would even think they could delay or hold in check the eye-opening development of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear forces even for a moment.  “No matter what others say, whatever sanctions, pressure and military attack may follow, we will not flinch from the road to build up nuclear forces which was chosen to defend the sovereignty of the country and the rights to national existence,” he stressed.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s self-reliant nuclear force served as a guarantee and an absolute strength for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of Resolution 1540 (2004), said the threat posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons and materials, as well as technologies related to weapons of mass destruction, were of serious concern to the Government of Georgia, partly because the country’s neighbouring regions were at high risk for proliferation.  Several attempts to smuggle nuclear and other radioactive materials through Georgia’s occupied regions had been recorded in recent years, he noted.  However, in the absence of an international presence in those regions, it had become virtually impossible to conduct any kind of verification activities on the ground, which had raised the risk of proliferation.  The Government had formed a national chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear council which, in consultation with others, had elaborated a threat reduction strategy and national action plan for 2015-19.  A new legislative base for regulating Georgia’s strategic export control in full compliance with European standards had also been developed.  In addition, Georgia had formed, with Morocco and the Philippines, the United Nations Group of Friends of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Risk Mitigation and Security Governance.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said that countering dangerous proliferation of weapons was among the priority areas of his country’s bilateral relations and international cooperation.  It had long supported a world free from weapons of mass destruction, including by universalizing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the establishment of zones free of weapons of mass destruction.  Border control was particularly important in countering proliferation, but despite strong efforts in that area, Azerbaijan was hobbled by continued military occupation of its territories, he said.  That had created conditions suitable to the cross-border activities of terrorists and other criminal groups.  Efforts to counter such activities must observe strict respect for international law, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, he stressed.  Primary attention should also be given to countering the practices of States that instigated, supported and directed non-State actors who might seek to acquire dangerous weapons.

KENNEDY MAYONG ONON (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said his country continued to meet its international obligations by further enhancing the enforcement of effective measures to improve domestic controls and preventing the proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery, including by establishing appropriate controls over related materials.  He also outlined recent amendments to national export, transhipment, transit and brokering procedures — including of arms and related materials — such as the Strategic Trade Act that levied severe penalties for the misuse of those items.

JAVAD SAFAEI (Iran), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that his country had suffered chemical attacks by Iraq, yet the Council had remained silent.  As for comments by Israel’s representative, he rejected them as unsubstantiated allegations aimed at advancing “an Iranophobic agenda” and at covering up and justifying its own aggressive and unlawful policies and practices against the entire region.  The Israeli regime continued to flout Council resolutions and international instruments governing weapons of mass destruction, while remaining the only obstacle blocking the establishment of a Middle East zone free from those armaments.  The regime’s possession of nuclear weapons made it the most serious threat to the security of all States in the region and to non-proliferation principles, he said, emphasizing that, as such, the Council had a responsibility to address that threat effectively.  In addition, evidence showed that Israeli agents had tended to Da’esh operatives active on the Syrian territory, he said.

Iran, situated in an unstable and volatile region, was entitled to build a credible conventional capability to deter and defend against any aggression, he affirmed.  “Iran won’t start a war,” he emphasized.  “We don’t intend to attack any country, but if we come under attack, it is our legitimate right, under the Charter of the United Nations, to be able to use our national conventional defence capabilities to counter any aggression against our national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”  He recalled that his country had always warned against the expansion of terrorism in the region while basing its policies on cooperation with regional countries and the international community in order to uproot terrorism in the region and around the world.

The representative of Turkey took the floor a second time, refuting allegations by his counterpart from Syria.  The use of chemical weapons flouted international law and perpetrators must be held accountable, he stressed.

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Speeches: Trans-Africa Security: Combating Illicit Trafficking and Organized Crime in Africa

Good morning.

It is an honor to join you today at this year’s Senior Leaders Seminar hosted by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS). Let me first thank ACSS for their leadership over the years in fostering critical partnerships with African nations on combating today’s transnational security threats.

Let me also thank all of you for your commitment in participating in this important program. Having studied myself at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, I believe that these peer-based learning seminars are very important, not only to assess, evaluate, and discuss the broad array of security challenges facing the continent and international community, but towards developing and harnessing more effective strategies and cross-border responses.

As you have no doubt heard throughout the week in your seminar, the United States remains a strong partner in helping safeguard communities against the threats posed by illicit trafficking networks and is keen to elevate our partnership with all of your governments.

In this regard, the U.S. Department of State is similarly committed to strengthen international cooperation in support of our U.S. law enforcement and security agencies, and the capacities of our allies and partners in Africa to disrupt and dismantle transnational organized criminals.

Converging Threats: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism Pave Illicit Trafficking Corridor

Today’s reality is one in which we live in a world where there is no region, no country and no community who remain untouched by the destabilizing effects and corruptive influence of transnational organized crime and violent terrorism.

Their impact is truly global and their real threat centers in some cases in their convergence. In particular, we must recognize that trans-regional illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, humans, and other illicit trade goods and services, are fueling greater insecurity and instability across Africa, and in other parts of the world.

While the world’s attention has in recent months been focused on the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, or the efforts by North Korea and others on the weaponization of nuclear missiles, the threats posed by transnational organized criminals remain very real in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and globally.

This is especially true as it relates to the increasing links between cross-border narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational organized crime across Africa that imperil not only the rule of law, economic development efforts, the promotion of trade and investment, but helps to fuel greater instability and insecurity.

In fact, according to General Thomas D. Waldhauser, U.S. Marine Corps, AFRICOM Commander, “parts of Africa remain a battleground between ideologies, interests, and values: [where] prosperity, and peace are often pitted against extremism, oppression, and conflict. The strategic environment includes instability that allows violent extremist organizations to grow and recruit disenfranchised populations.”

This strategic environment today that General Waldhauser underscores is also impacted by other transregional threats that further complicate security in Africa including issues related to the webs of corruption and cross-border criminality, and related converging threats.

Convergence: I often talk a lot about convergence, and this is something that I encourage you to examine more closely moving forward – and to view today’s transnational security threats through a prism of “convergence crime”.

Because the reality on the ground is that we can no longer simply focus on one component of a threat. In a world of converging threats – where various threats collide to form a more potent mix of insecurity globally; each is individually dangerous but whose sum represents a far greater threat across borders.

Thus, we need to see the threat environment more holistically – how, for example, corruption and complicit facilitators enable the illicit space for criminals and terrorist groups alike to thrive, and to exploit weaknesses in our borders and institutions that imperil our security.

And because as illicit trade operates in the shadow of the global economy, increasingly sophisticated traffickers are diversifying their portfolios in everything from narcotics, people, arms, and wildlife to counterfeits including fake medicines, and illicit tobacco and alcohol goods.

On the governance front, the proceeds of drug trafficking and other forms of illicit trafficking are fueling a dramatic increase in corruption among the very institutions responsible for fighting crime.

The collusion and complicity of some government officials with criminal networks have helped carve out an illicit trafficking corridor that stretches from the West African coast to the Horn of Africa, from North Africa south to the Gulf of Guinea.

Through these illicit trafficking routes, criminals and terrorists alike are moving people and products. From the coca and opium poppy fields of Colombia and Southeast Asia to the coasts of West Africa and its hashish plantations, drug cartels and other criminal networks navigate an illicit superhighway that serves illicit markets across the continent and around the globe. Along across these illicit routes, bad actors and networks are corrupting critical institutions and enforcement systems that exacerbate everyone’s security.

They employ the latest technological advances and use commercial jets, fishing vessels, and container ships to move drugs, people, small arms, crude oil, cigarettes, counterfeit and pirated goods, and toxic waste through the region, generating massive profits.

How massive are these profits? As I will point out shortly in my slides on the recent research of the OECD Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, the illegal markets in Africa, and globally, are booming with staggering levels of illicit wealth in the global economy. Hundreds of millions of USD every year enable criminals and other threat networks to corrupt the regional economies and the global financial system.

At a time when many are heralding the rise of some of the world’s fastest-growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, these criminal entrepreneurs are undermining that economic development and growth by financing flourishing illicit markets, turning many vulnerable communities into a corridor of insecurity and instability, and siphoning the real potential of the legitimate economy.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Financial Integrity (GFI), and other international organizations, generally estimate that the illicit trade in arms, drugs, and people, and other forms of “convergence crime” generate approximately between 8–15 percent of GDP, or several USD trillions to include corrupt proceeds and illicit financial flows.

Cocaine trafficking remains among the most lucrative illicit activities. In April 2017, the UNODC reported that developing markets are fueling a resurgence of cocaine trafficking through West Africa. UNODC further added that seizures on the Atlantic island of Cabo Verde, in the Gambia, Nigeria, and Ghana had contributed to a 78 percent increase in cocaine seizures from 2009-2014 compared to the previous reporting period.

Smugglers and traffickers who intake the cocaine from the Americas will typically transport drugs and other contraband overland across the Sahel and North Africa, before crossing into destination markets in Europe and these new developing markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

West Africa has also become a major transit point for heroin destined for the United States.

Illicit markets are growing across Africa to meet global demand for arms, counterfeits, cigarettes, natural resources, diamonds and other precious minerals, wildlife, illegally-harvested timber, illegal fishing, stolen luxury cars, and other illicit commodities.

The Crime-Terror Continuum: Regional Spillover Effects

Unfortunately, what happens in Africa does not stay in Africa.

A convergence of actors is further paving the corridor of illicit trafficking and crime-terror continuum across Africa – including North Africa – as criminal insurgencies are becoming players themselves in illicit markets and using the proceeds to finance their terror campaigns, secure their training camps, establish safe havens, and export violence to other regions. Violent extremist and terrorist groups draw on public anger towards corruption as a means to radicalize, recruit new members, and deepen sectarian division.

We only have to look at some of the current regional hot spots to clearly comprehend how certain crime-terror dynamics continue to contribute to insecurity and instability that have a ripple effect across borders.

Today’s thriving illegal economy is so lucrative that terrorists are increasingly turning to criminal activities to fund their violent campaigns such as those that we are witnessing today by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, and others.

In Mali, as drugs are trafficked through the country, the Sahel, and Maghreb, AQIM and its sympathizers are manipulating socio-economic conditions to further advance an illegal economy that allows them to tax the drugs through the territory that they control and finance their terror campaigns.

Libya also continues to be challenged with violence and insecurity. AQIM and ISIS are attempting to forge alliances with violent extremist networks in Libya and across the Maghreb, Sahel, and West Africa, and are involved in smuggling and trafficking in persons. Organized crime networks exploit a currency black market, irregular migration and illicit trade across borders to enrich themselves and militias that defy law and order.

Nigerian organized criminal networks remain a major player in moving cocaine and heroin worldwide, and have begun to produce and traffic methamphetamine to and around Southeast Asia. In addition to drug trafficking, some of these criminal organizations also engage in other forms of trafficking and fraud targeting citizens of the United States, Europe, and globally.

Widespread corruption in Nigeria further facilitates criminal activity, and, combined with Nigeria’s central location along major trafficking routes, enables criminal groups to flourish and make Nigeria an important trafficking hub.

Nigeria is also confronting a terrorist insurgency led by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa, which remains the cause of the insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin.

Maritime crime has also captured the attention of the regional states and international community. The reported number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea and the level of violence associated with those acts remain a concern.

The Economic Communities of West and Central African States, the Gulf of Guinea Commission, and their member states should be commended for the continued commitment to implement the June 2013 Yaoundé Summit. The signed Gulf of Guinea Code of Conduct (GGC) covers not only armed robbery at sea and piracy, but also other illicit maritime activity such as illegal fishing, maritime pollution, and human and drug trafficking. The Yaounde Code of Conduct, along with the updates to the Djibouti Code of Conduct to cover other transnational maritime crime, and the newly adopted Lomé Charter, provide excellent frameworks for African states to adopt strategies and implement programs to counter transnational crime in the maritime domain.

In recent years, INL has partnered with the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, AFRICOM, and our African partners on maritime security and regional threat mitigation strategies and to build the capacities and capabilities to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal networks.

U.S. Diplomatic Efforts and International Cooperation in Africa

The United States strongly supports the great strides many African countries have made to improve security, good governance, rule of law, and sustainable economic development.

As President Donald J. Trump highlighted in new Executive Order on Transnational Criminal Organizations (E.O. TCO), the United States will continue to assist our partners to strengthen their security footprint and capabilities to combat today’s threat networks.

In support of the President’s E.O. TCO, the United States is committed to strengthen and sustain our resolve and capabilities to protect the homeland and break the corruptive power of transnational criminal networks, attack their financial underpinnings, strip them of their illicit wealth, and sever their access to the financial system.

The United States and its partners continually recognize the importance of net-centric partnerships to confront converging threats and the lethal nexus of organized crime, corruption, and terrorism along global illicit pathways and financial hubs.

For example, targeted financial actions like the 2011 311 finding against LCB can have a major impact, strengthening deterrence and showing that the international community is keeping close watch on Hizballah’s global financial architecture. Through years of cooperation with the Lebanese banking sector and the Lebanese Central Bank, the country has significantly improved its capacity to detect the kinds of behavior that led the United States to designate LCB six years ago.

Let me now share how the Department of State helps fight transnational crime, and in particular the organization I work for, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

INL training efforts help countries build effective rule of law institutions, strengthening criminal justice systems, and strengthening their police, courts, and anti-crime efforts—everything from anti-corruption money laundering, cybercrime, and intellectual property theft to trafficking in goods, people, weapons, drugs, or endangered wildlife.

In coordination with partners in sub-Saharan and North Africa, INL develops and executes foreign assistance programming to promote civilian security and criminal justice sector reform in support of U.S. policy objectives. INL programs improve access to justice, promote stability and democratic reform, professionalize law enforcement entities, support local justice sector officials, and strengthen correction systems.

INL’s sub-Saharan and North Africa projects support partner governments’ efforts to respond effectively to the growing demand for peace and security. INL’s four main objectives are to assist African partners in combating transnational organized crime, drug trafficking, and terrorism, and their effects; support post-conflict stabilization operations and security sector reform; strengthen criminal justice systems to be accountable to the public and to respect human rights; and promote regional cooperation. INL implements its Africa program through a comprehensive range of bilateral and regional initiatives designed to maximize positive change in host countries and regions.

Let me highlight a few examples of these bilateral INL projects across Africa on criminal justice reform, anti-crime, and in support of counter-terrorism efforts:

Deployment of Resident Legal Advisors (RLAs) and Senior Legal Advisors: U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) prosecutors embedded in U.S. Embassies to support justice sector development and capacity building: Some countries hosting RLAs include Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, and others.

Kenya: Build the capacity of vetted units within the National Police Service and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission investigations unit to investigate and prosecute high-level and government-wide corruption

Tanzania: enhance the criminal justice system in Tanzania to successfully prosecute wildlife crimes.

Benin: Build capacity of Benin’s law enforcement and judicial sectors to investigate and prosecute cases involving transnational organized crime, particularly drug trafficking; support to Benin’s border security agency; training of Formed Police Units (FPUs) for peacekeeping deployment; support to the Office Central de Répression du Trafic Illicite de Drogue et des Précurseurs

Ghana: Training police-prosecutors, creating a counternarcotics unit, training police SWAT unit; training FPUs for peacekeeping deployment; and improving the investigations and administration of justice related to maritime crimes, cyber-crime, and border-related crimes

Nigeria: Advise and support the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Justice and security dialogues project with law enforcement and civil society; international police education and training; curriculum reform; forensics support; Embedding advisors to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

South Africa: Senior law enforcement advisor support to professionalize law enforcement and fundamental police operations; building investigative and enforcement capacities to combat wildlife trafficking

Finally, INL also administers the Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program (TOCRP) which offers rewards up to $5 million for information, leads, and tips that help hobble transnational criminal organizations involved in activities beyond drug trafficking, such as human trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in arms, counterfeits and pirated goods, and other illicit trade areas.

Our embassies and/or our INL offices would be happy to share further information on INL bilateral and regional programming in specific countries in Africa as requested.

Let me say also few words on several regional initiatives that INL supports:

The West Africa Regional Security Initiative (WARSI)

WARSI funds assist the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members to establish and sustain effective, professional, and accountable criminal justice and civilian security sectors. Technical assistance facilitates partner-country efforts to counter transnational threats including illicit trafficking and to strengthen conflict mitigation and state legitimacy. WARSI focuses on security sector reform (SSR) in countries with more foundational assistance needs and criminal justice sector reform to counter transnational organized crime (TOC) in countries with more stable institutions. Counter-TOC assistance is more advanced, and often includes training specialized units, such as counter narcotics task forces.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is a multi-faceted, multi-year U.S. strategy aimed at developing resilient institutions that are capable of preventing and responding to terrorism in a holistic, long term manner. INL TSCTP programs in Africa work to counter and prevent violent extremism by empowering partner countries to (1) provide effective and accountable security and justice services to enhance citizen cooperation with and trust in law enforcement and (2) develop the institutional foundation for counterterrorism and related capabilities, including border security and prison security and reintegration efforts. In doing so, INL focuses on enhancing and institutionalizing cooperation among TSCTP countries so that they increasingly learn with and from each other. Partner countries include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia.

The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism

The Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism (PREACT) is the U.S. government’s multi-year, multi-sector initiative to build the long-term capabilities of East African partners to contain, disrupt, and marginalize terrorist networks in the region. INL’s PREACT funds empower East African criminal justice institutions to confront complex challenges posed by cross-border terrorism. INL’s active PREACT partners include Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.

Security Governance Initiative

The Security Governance Initiative (SGI) is a multi-year effort between the United States and partner countries to improve security sector governance and capacity to address threats. SGI partners with countries to undertake strategic and institutional reforms required to tackle key security challenges. Together with six current partners – Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Tunisia – SGI focuses on shared security priorities and enhance security sector management. SGI is managed by the State Department’s Africa Bureau but leverages expertise and experience from across the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the National Counterterrorism Center. Coordination and collaboration both within the U.S. government and with partner countries is a hallmark of SGI. INL’s activities undertaken as part of SGI seek to develop, support, and strengthen criminal justice institutions and capabilities to ensure citizen security and promote the rule of law, including sound policies, institutional structures, systems, processes, and effective management methods so that governments can efficiently and effectively deliver security and justice in a sustainable manner.

Regional Anti-Wildlife Trafficking Efforts

As many of you are aware, the United States continues to partner with the international community to combat the illegal wildlife trade.

INL is part of a whole of government approach to combating wildlife trafficking. We work closely with other parts of the Department and other agencies to support the global fight against wildlife trafficking through assistance to multiple countries in Africa. Under the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking (CWT), INL builds the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes and develops regional cooperation mechanisms.

Activities can include training, mentoring, and equipment provision for park rangers, police, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, and civil society entities to address the multiple dimensions of poaching and wildlife trafficking. Our first projects began in Kenya and South Africa, followed by Namibia and Tanzania. Future projects will cover larger areas of central and southern Africa, and address both source and transit countries.

Regional Law Enforcement Training

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not highlight INL’s International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana. The ILEA program delivers courses on a wide range of law enforcement topics, and builds regional law enforcement networks to detect, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations regardless of their means of operation and income.

Since inception in 2001, ILEA Gaborone has trained thousands of mid- and senior-level criminal justice officers in specialized skills on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics operations, forensic accounting, customs interdiction, various forms of trafficking, document fraud, and illegal immigration. The program also engages with senior officials on the factors that facilitate these criminal networks, addressing public corruption, discussing modern community-oriented policing models, and cooperative international security networks that hinder illicit networks from flourishing.

As an outbranch of the successful ILEA network, INL opened the West Africa Regional Training Center (RTC) in Accra, Ghana, in January 2013. The RTC has convened hundreds of law enforcement, security, and judicial officials from multiple countries in West Africa and the Sahel, creating relationships across the region, and building knowledge and skills on topics ranging from investigative analysis to anti-corruption to counternarcotics.

We continue to explore future areas of assistance to include strengthening capabilities to preserve crime scenes for complex investigations, create strong case packages, and build more effective, evidence-based trials.

Conclusion: Partnerships for Sustainable Security

In closing, I want to again extend the appreciation on behalf of the U.S. Department of State for your commitment to work across borders, improve coordination and information-sharing, and leverage our respective capabilities and capacities to defeat our common adversaries.

We must continue to leverage all national economic, intelligence, and diplomatic powers to make it riskier, harder, and costlier for threat networks to do business within Africa, and externally.

Illicit trafficking remains the lifeblood of the numerous bad actors and networks, creating vulnerabilities for nations.

We must crackdown on corruption at all levels and cut off the ability of kleptocrats, criminals, and terrorists to enjoy the fruits of illicit enterprise and that enable the financial capacity to execute their operations.

By combating corruption, we can also shut the door and keep violent extremists from exploiting their grievances to wage jihad. We must prevent narco-corruption from destroying countries like Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.

In addition to our law enforcement and security cooperation, we also need to address underlying causes that are contributing to today’s conflicts and insecurity in Africa: food and water security, poverty, economic integration and development, and other socio-economic areas that empower communities and nurture growth markets, investment frontiers, and resiliency.

With careful, targeted assistance, and smart diplomatic engagement, together we can advance our common objectives and strategic interests.

If we do not act decisively, the region will remain an exporter of terror and a provider of safe havens where terrorists from other conflicts all over the world find refuge, illicit trafficking will continue to expand, arms and weapons will dangerously proliferate, women, men, and children will be trafficked, and drugs and illicit enterprise will corrode the rule of law and the gains of globalization.

We can only tackle these threats effectively if we work together and jointly synchronize our full spectrum capabilities and capacities. We must stay connected and continue to harness our network of networks at every level – local, regional, and global to win our fight against convergence crime.

If we do this, we can create hope, stability, opportunity, and an enduring peace.

Thank you.