Hospitals & Asylums    





General Debate HA-19-9-06


1. Every year in September, the leaders of the world gather for two weeks in New York for the general debate, normally called the World Summit, which kicks off the United Nations General Assembly session. The 2006 debate begins on 19 September, and over the course of ten days, more than 80 Heads of State and Government will address the Assembly. Some of the themes to be debated include the issue of Darfur, the Middle East conflict, HIV/AIDS, climate change and development, as well as the selection of the next Secretary-General. 


2. Sheikha HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA ( Bahrain), President of the General Assembly said that the world faced changes that were unprecedented in their speed, scope and scale.  All were increasingly exposed to sharp social and economic inequalities.  The world was afflicted by violent armed conflicts, hunger and disease, international terrorism, organized crime and the proliferation of all types of weapons.  While the world had been brought closer together by the forces of globalization, it was divided by ethnic strife and a growing technological gap.  The enjoyment of human rights was still an unrealized dream for millions of people…Development should continue to be the central goal of the United Nations. Together, we have an urgent moral imperative to eradicate abject poverty.


3. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain was unanimously elected President of the sixty-first session of the United Nations General Assembly on 8 June 2006, taking over from Jan Eliasson of Sweden when the Assembly opened on 12 September. She is the first female to hold such position since 1969, when Angie Elisabeth Brooks of Liberia was appointed to the presidency, and one of only three women to ever serve as Assembly President-the first was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit of India in 1953.


4. Jan Eliasson was unanimously elected President of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2005.  Mr. Eliasson has had a long and illustrious career in Swedish politics and international diplomacy, dedicating much of his international career to strengthening the role of the United Nations.  He took over the presidency from Jean Ping of Gabon when the Assembly opened on 13 September and has led its work during the session when UN reform is at the centre of debate.


5. The United Nations needs to engage not only with Governments but with people.  Security and development are interdependent and that neither can be long sustained without respect for human rights and the rule of law.  The Global Compact, to which the international business community has responded with such enthusiasm that it is now the world’s leading corporate citizenship initiative, involving more that 2,400 companies in nearly 90 countries.


6. The Outcome document of the 2005 World Summit was the moving force behind negotiations at the sixtieth session of the General Assembly. Representing a consensus agreement by all 191 Member States of the United Nations on all major issues on the agenda, the document outlined very clear goals for the Organization, including the establishment of a peacebuilding commission and a human rights council, as well as management and secretariat reform, and reiterated support for worldwide efforts on development and humanitarian relief.


7. On 20 December 2005, the General Assembly and the Security Council jointly established the Peacebuilding Commission, designed to prevent post-conflict countries from slipping back into violence and conflict. “This resolution would, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, create a mechanism which ensures that for countries emerging from conflict, post-conflict does not mean post-engagement of the international community”, said Assembly President Jan Eliasson. He pointed out that 50 per cent of conflicts of the past 20 years have recurred within five years of peace agreements.


8. Concerning the Human Rights Council, one of the goals was to create a body that would not just address situations where human rights violations were taking place, but establish a dialogue of cooperation between all Member States to prevent such violations from taking place at all. One key function of the Council, which would be a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, would be a periodic review, where each country’s compliance to human rights obligations would be examined. This would encourage all countries to honour human rights, “no matter if they are big or small, rich or poor”.


9. The world must advance the causes of security, development and human rights together, otherwise none will succeed.  The cause of larger freedom can only be advanced by broad, deep and sustained global cooperation among States. The world needs strong and capable States, effective partnerships with civil society and the private sector, and agile and effective regional and global intergovernmental institutions to mobilize and coordinate collective action.


10. The last 25 years have seen the most dramatic reduction in extreme poverty the world has ever experienced. Yet dozens of countries have become poorer. More than a billion people still live on less than a dollar a day. Each year, 3 million people die from HIV/AIDS and 11 million children die before reaching their fifth birthday.  There is a shared vision of development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from halving extreme poverty to putting all children into primary school and stemming the spread of infectious diseases by 2015. The MDGs can be met by 2015—but only if all involved break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate and scale up action now.  Today’s is the first generation with the resources and technology to make the right to development a reality for everyone and to free the entire human race from want. 


11. A “global partnership for development”—one of the MDGs reaffirmed in 2002 at the International Conference on Financing for Development at Monterrey, Mexico, and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa is integral to the achievement of the Goals.  That partnership is grounded in mutual responsibility and accountability—developing countries must strengthen governance, combat corruption, promote private sector-led growth and maximize domestic resources to fund national development strategies, while developed countries must support these efforts through increased development assistance, a new development-oriented trade round, and wider and deeper debt relief. Each developed country that has not already done so should establish a timetable to achieve the 0.7-per-cent target of gross national income for official development assistance no later than 2015, starting with significant increases no later than 2006, and reaching 0.5 per cent by 2009.


12. In the Millennium Declaration, Member States said they would spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. And over the last six decades, an impressive treaty-based normative framework has been advanced.  But without implementation, these declarations ring hollow. Without action, promises are meaningless.  The international community should embrace the “responsibility to protect” as a basis for collective action and democracy against genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and other violations of human rights. 


13. At the 59th General Assembly the Secretary-General told Member State delegations that “the rule of law is at risk around the world” and called upon the international community to do everything within their power to restore respect for the fundamental principles of law. As violence and disaster swayed in many countries across the globe, he said, “every nation that proclaims the rule of law at home must respect it abroad, and every nation that insists on it abroad must enforce it at home”.  Countries will only overcome the “three great challenges” of development, security and human rights if they take action together, globally and coordinated through the United Nations.


14. At the Millennium Summit you have said that your first priority is the eradication of extreme poverty. You have set specific targets related to that goal, and you have prescribed measures for achieving them. If the measures are really taken, we all know the targets can be reached.  You have also called for a more equitable world economy, where all countries have a fair chance to compete, and where those who have more will do more for those who have less.  The United Nations should provide the leadership within the community of multilateral organizations to help the poorer nations develop the capacity to profit from globalization and the knowledge revolution. Global developments reiterate the universal validity of the need to respect human rights and personal freedoms of individuals as basic prerequisites to the freedom of nations. 


1. Rutsch, Horst; Witcher, Pureterrah; Pont, Amy.  UN Chronicle Interview with Shiekha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, “Working for a Safer, More Peaceful, More Prosperous World”. Is. 3 2006

2. Rutsch, Horst; Kang, Nancy; Srivastava, Paritosh. UN Chronicle Interview: Jan Eliasson. Is. 3 2005

3. Annan, Koffi. From the Secretary-General at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum: A New Mindset for the United Nations. Is. 4 2005

4. Talwar, Namrita; Hagen, Jonas; Bolton, Sally; DeLong, Arthur; Lloyd, Jane. UN Chronicle. General Assembly: The World Summit, A Moving Force. Is. 4 2005

5. Annan, Koffi. In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All. Is. 1 2005

6. Talwar, Namrita. UN Chronicle. No-one is above the law: 59th General Assembly High Level Debate. Is. 4 2004

7. UN Chroncile. Reclaiming the Future: The Millennium Summit. Is 3. 2000