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Other Statements of the 52nd General Assembly

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Chornobyl Pledging ConferenceNew York, November 20, 1997 Talking Points of H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United NationsNew York,

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Chornobyl Pledging Conference
    New York, November 20, 1997

  • Talking Points of H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations
    New York, October 31, 1997

  • Statement by the President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations /ECOSOC/ H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Occasion of World Food Day, 1997
    New York, October 21, 1997

  • Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, UN Reform: Measures and Proposals
    New York, October 17, 1997

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, Chornobyl Pledging Conference

Mr. Chairman, Minister Kostenko, Mr. de Larosiere,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me on behalf of President Havel express thanks to the Government of the United States for organizing this Conference and for the invitation extended to him and express his regret that he is not able to attend today's Conference personally.

The Chornobyl catastrophe has been one of the most disastrous events in the history of peaceful use of nuclear energy. The negative consequences of the failure of both human factor and technology have been born by local citizens for more than one decade and resulted in their bad health condition, contaminated environment, radiation risk. Among all these negatives is one additional aspect of the disaster: it made international community aware that the safety of the nuclear facility is not only a matter of the country where the particular facility is located but of all possibly affected countries over the world. It made the international community focused on the improvement of global safety culture with the clear aim to protect the population against an eventual repetition of such an experience.

The Czech Republic has been following the development in the Chornobyl tragedy with great attention and concern. We understand that the scope of the disaster, where the situation of the sarcophagus is the most risky element, exceeds financial capacity of one country. Hence, the international solidarity is necessary. Since 1991 the Czech Republic provided Ukraine with the assistance in health care for children and adults affected by radiation with total budget of 250 thousands USD. This year a 200 thousands USD bilateral project started to provide technical assistance to modernize Ukraine's existing power plants. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs submitted to the Government for its approval an additional project of technical assistance prepared in co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency aimed at nuclear safety of WWER reactors in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the economic situation of our country, recently negatively affected by enormous water floods when, as you know, thirty percent of the territory of the state was flooded, prevented us from embarking upon broader financial participation in other projects of technical assistance. Despite that we decided to attend this Conference in order to show our willingness to seek within the framework of current budget cycle financial resources which could be directed to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund in the near future.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Talking Points of H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations

Mr. President,

Let me speak briefly on paragraphs concerning the governance of funds and programmes and financing of development and technical cooperation.

As to the recommendation contained in para. 162 of the SG report, we see the proposal for the integration of governing boards of UNDP/UNFPA and UNICEF as a logical continuation of the effort to bring these three agencies with related missions to a closer cooperation and coordination. The integration of governing boards oversight will provide effective means for producing coordinated action of separate development-oriented programs. Such a coordination would be further enhanced by the proposal for holding joint meetings of executive boards, which would enable countries serving on their governing councils to view the operations of all the agencies comprehensively.

As to the SG´s proposal for appropriating core resources in multi-year tranches, as contained in para. 169, it is understandably aimed at making cashflow for development more predictable by reducing the dependence on annually pledged voluntary contributions. However, it may not guarantee the steady inflow of money in case that obligations of the countries are not honored.

There is also a question whether the new system of multi-year commitments would not actually discourage some countries with annual appropriation cycle from making such commitments, especially if they could be held accountable when not meeting them.

Since these commitments would be voluntary, we can support this proposal. But we wished to bring to your attention the aspects we are concerned about.

In conclusion, I´d like to add that the Czech Republic agrees with those who suggest there should be a broader and fairer sharing of the financial burden of core resources, sharing based on today´s economic reality.

Thank you, Mr. President

Talking Points of H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, President of the ECOSOC

Mr. President,

in addition to stressing our general support for a swift action on all recommendations of the economic and social cluster let me, with your kind permission, return shortly to para. 135 regarding the ECOSOC subsidiary machinery.

The need for reform of the ECOSOC subsidiary structure has been felt for a long time. Based on the GA resolution 50/227, informal consultations were already commenced many months ago focussing on an overall review of the working modalities, mandates, composition and results of the four specified functional commissions of ECOSOC and several rounds of informal talks were actually held. However, ECOSOC did not conclude it's work on this issue this summer in order not to preempt the UN reform package discussion in this General Assembly. But now, regrettably, we can see the enthusiasm of some delegations fading away, taking along even the humble proposals of resolution 50/227.

There are some reasons why we should not be sentimental about these commissions.

Did you know Mr. President, and one of the vice-presidents of ECOSOC can confirm this, that at the very beginning it was rather difficult and time consuming just to reach the chairpersons of these commissions to request the reports about their activities?

Isn't it a serious warning when we see that the ECOSOC subsidiary bodies have problems in attracting enough candidates for vacancies? It can be interpreted as a signal that countries and their delegations consider some of these bodies as not efficient enough, at the least. The question can be also posted in a different way - how can this or that functional body work properly when not comprising full membership?

Mr. President,

it seems to be quite natural to consolidate the first two mentioned Committees into the CSD as proposed in the SG's report. Other special expert bodies, which there are plenty of in the ECOSOC machinery, should be re-linked and restructured similarly - either within the ECOSOC machinery or towards UNCTAD. It was correctly noted by the ECOSOC members that while discussing the four specific functional commissions of ECOSOC we should also have in mind all others so as to deal with them in comprehensive manner. Nevertheless, this approach should not be an excuse for prolonging negotiations and postponing the decision on proposals which have already been put on the table.

As for the possible consolidation of Commission on Criminal Justice and Commission on Narcotic Drugs, potential yield of this merger should not be devaluated by unintended shift of some important problems to the sidelines of interest because of lack of time, resources or focus.

Mr. President,

a positive decision of this Assembly on the recommendations in this cluster would be concurrent with the restructuring of the ECOSOC secretariat which is being done in order to enhance its capabilities and provide more focussed support to the Council. We hope that we shall be able to see the synergic effects of both these changes in the near future.

Thank you Mr. President.

Statement by the President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations /ECOSOC/ H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, on the Occasion of World Food Day, 1997

H.E. Mr. Rene Preval, President of Haiti, H.E. Mr. Hennadiy Udovenko, President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations and H.E. Mr. Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; distinguished delegates,

It is an honour for me to address you on the occasion of this seventeenth World Food Day Observance, which this year focuses on the theme "Investing in Food Security", a matter of great concern to the whole world.

There can be no doubt that the issue of investment in Food Security is one of the most fundamental facing our society. The struggle to secure adequate food for the family, the community, the nation, is as old as human civilization. People have always sought to improve their well-being by cultivating their land, and then to produce a surplus to fund growth and development in society.

On this World Food Day, as we celebrate the 52nd anniversary of the foundation of FAO, I am proud to recall that the Czechoslovakia was among the founding members who gathered in Quebec City on October 16, 1945. As we look back now on the advances which have been made in the area of food and agriculture, we can appreciate how much FAO has achieved in more than 50 years of its existence.

Today we know that the world is capable of producing enough food for all its citizens. However the sad truth is that not everyone has access to the food they need to lead a healthy life. FAO tells us that, today, more than 800 million people remain chronically undernourished. The phenomenon is largely attributable to poverty which means that the needy are unable to purchase the food they need, while att the same time they lack the appropriate means to grow enough food locally.

In view of this I greatly appreciated the initiative of FAO´s Director General in convening the World Food Summit last November to examine the whole question of world food security. For I believe that if this crucial issue is not addressed today, it will become the dominating concern of the 21st century. I should also like to thank the FAO Director-General for submitting to ECOSOC a report on the World Food Summit and its follow-up.

The basic question is how can it be morally acceptable in today´s world that so many people are unable to meet their basic needs for food in order to survive. The report of the World Food Summit sounded a clear warning to society on the eve of the third millennium: we must invest in food security if we wish to eliminate the dehumanization that more than 800 million people face every day.

Investment in food security can and will take many forms, because each region of the world has its own particular challenges and priorities.

In sub-Saharan Africa, resources are badly needed for irrigation, water management and other areas of primary production.

In my own sub-region, comprising the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and the CIS whose economies are in transition, the priorities are different. For us it means looking at institutional arrangements for land reform, at developing the private sector; at broadening primary food production and the infrastructure required for storage, distribution and marketing to meet the demands of food production and food access.

In Asia, investment is needed in agricultural research for crop intensification, in the rehabilitation of irrigation systems and in sustainable development. In Latin America, investment in agrarian reform remains a priority, while in the Caribbean, reducing dependence on just a few commodities and broadening opportunitics for trade will be areas for future investment.

So this year´s World Food Day Observance draws our attention to the critical role investment must play in ensuring agricultural productivity and food security. Only a broad mobilization of all sectors of civil society will ensure that universal food security is achieved.

It is to be hoped that when the World Food Summit - the last of the recent great global gatherings under UN auspices - is behind us, we can channel our energies to the practical tasks that lie ahead. We must act in unison at every level - globally, regionally, sub-regionally, nationally and locally - if we are to make an serious contribution towards achieving food security for us and for the future generations.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Galuska, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations, UN Reform: Measures and Proposals

Mr. President,

Since we are speaking here for the first time, let me start with expressing my delegation's appreciation of the able manner in which you are conducting this important discussion.

The Czech Republic is a staunch supporter of the SG' s Plan for Reform and was among the first to express its formal support to the package by joining the Declaration of the Group of 16 heads of states and governments. We believe that the UN has to reform and modernize promptly and profoundly, otherwise it could slip into irrelevance. Those who would loose the most would be small states like ours and developing countries.

Listening to our debate, we are becoming increasingly puzzled. What is our potential to achieve positive results on the first part of the reform package? Or, as our chairman expressed the question eloquently, "what will be GA's action on SG´s actions?"

Are we going to ask the SG to stop the implementation of some actions which some member states don´t like, or to modify them? Should we seek consensus among ourselves on such a move?

We are definitely not in favor of such an idea.

We can discuss actions one by one, as some of us wish to do, express our support or our concern, listen to the explanations of the Secretariat, make recommendations, but - first of all - we believe that the implementation of actions falls within the responsibility of SG and we respect his right. This discussion itself and the SG´s receptiveness to it, should be our goal, not a finalizing resolution that could be derived from it.

While it is clear that actions with financial implications should be dealt with in accordance with rule 153 of the Rules of Procedure, we are of the opinion that our consent to them should be rather formal and prompt with regard to their overall positive impact .

SG´s proposal, based on a thorough analysis and a deep knowledge of the Organization, should be given a chance to prove itself. We can evaluate it after some time and, if something doesn´t work as expected, suggest modifications. As said by the SG, "the reform is not an event, it´s a whole process," and our understanding is that the process needs to be started.

We should trust the SG when he says that his measures are bold but not suicidal. No one in this room has a definitive answer to all the questions on future impact of the suggested actions. A sensible risk is a respected tool of every innovator, be it in private industry or international affairs. We are of the opinion, that the international community expects us to trust and support our chosen representative in his first year of tenure. This organization does not have 185 secretaries general.

Let me then conclude by an appeal to switch our attention to the SG´s recommendations, where we are expected to bring some additional input and reach a consensus.

In view of our President´s appeal we would like to state that we support the idea presented in the first recommendation of the package. The SG should be given a chance to appoint the Deputy Secretary General in his own right, guided by his political instincts and personal preferences. In the General Assembly our delegation will support measures to allocate funds for creating the new post and it's necessary administration.

Thank you Mr. President.