As we celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the United Nations, we acknowledge the profound foresight of the founding members in establishing an organization that was mandated to secure a more just and peaceful world.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. the Hon Kenneth Baugh
Today, the UN must respond to a new global dynamic and competing interests and challenges from a vastly expanded membership, while maintaining its purpose to bring all nations of the world together to work for peace and development, based on the principles of justice, human dignity and the well-being of all peoples.
Ten years ago, Jamaica was one of the countries which participated in negotiations under the auspices of the UN to find solutions to rid the world of the most dehumanizing conditions afflicting a large portion of mankind. The crucial need for global collaboration on development motivated the commitments in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically the eradication of poverty and HIV/AIDS. This collaboration received new impetus as was manifested in the recent MDG Summit at the UN Headquarters, where the Hon. Bruce Golding presented Jamaica’s position and issued a call for the redoubling of efforts to achieve the targets established in 2000.
Progress has been uneven in many States and it is feared that at the current pace many countries may not meet the deadline for achieving the MDGs. Limited financial resources, heavy debt burdens, restricted trade opportunities and HIV/AIDS have been identified as major inhibiting factors.
Beyond these constraints, many developing countries have suffered devastating natural disasters. These have disrupted economic growth, damaged production, destroyed social infrastructure and dislocated populations. They have caused economic losses amounting to years of GDP.
The UN’s work in highlighting the link between development and disarmament is even more relevant today. Jamaica’s concern is not just about nuclear weapons. It is also about the proliferation of guns, small arms and ammunition which endanger the lives of ordinary citizens, undermine the rule of law and threaten social instability. Jamaica will continue to press that those who manufacture these weapons must exercise greater controls and support anti-proliferation efforts.
Amid the seemingly endless regional conflicts, peace-keeping has become an overriding concern of the United Nations. In the process, the activities of peacekeepers have emerged as the most visible role associated with the world organization. Today over 120 thousand men and women are deployed across the globe in 26 UN Missions. Though small, Jamaica too has worked effectively as part of the UN Peacekeeping contingents in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The UN, however, is much more than a peacekeeper and forum for conflict resolution. The UN and its family of agencies are engaged in a vast array of work that touches every aspect of people’s lives around the world. Here in Jamaica we have seen the benefits of the cooperative relationship which we share with respective UN agencies.
As the UN continues to enlarge its membership, it has also embarked on important reforms and changes within the organization to consolidate its work and to bring greater efficiency to its operations. The most recent of such development was the new entity, UN Women, to increase effectiveness and better serve Member States in the search for gender equity and advancement of the role of women in securing the fundamental objectives of peace, security, development and respect for human rights.
We are cognizant of the distance that we, the UN Member States have to go and the gaps which exist between commitment and action. Notwithstanding, the UN must continue to respond by forging new paths that can deliver real results for all people, especially the most vulnerable.
The future of our community of nations rests on the action we take in making the UN stronger and more effective. We must emerge from these challenging times with a clear vision and the courage and unrelenting commitment to build a world of peace, of justice and equity which we can inhabit together in harmony.