7 September 2011
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Statement by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
Joint Meeting of the Permanent Council and
the Forum for Security Co-operation
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Hofburg Conference Centre, Vienna
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Secretary General Zannier
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is a privilege to address this distinguished gathering. I thank the Chairs of the Permanent Council and the Forum for Security Co-operation for the organization of this important meeting. I have had the pleasure of speaking here in my national capacities and I appreciate the opportunity to continue this tradition now as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
I extend my warm congratulations to Mr. Zannier on his appointment. He is an old friend of the United Nations, and we look forward to working with him in his new function as OSCE Secretary General.
The United Nations and the OSCE share common values, principles and objectives. The OSCE is a key partner for our Organization. The large United Nations family in Geneva which covers all issues on our shared agenda already enjoys strong relations with the OSCE in a number of areas. We wish to strengthen those relations.
When speaking at the Astana Summit in December last year, the Secretary-General of United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, laid out a four-point agenda for our cooperation. The four pillars of this agenda are peace, fundamental freedoms and human rights, sustainable development, and arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Today, I will outline avenues for strengthening our cooperation in those four areas, from the particular vantage point of the United Nations system in Geneva.
We share with the OSCE a broad understanding of the concept of security in all its aspects: military, political, economic, social and environmental. Emerging challenges such as cyber attacks, transnational crime, terrorism, illicit trafficking in small arms and light weapons, drugs and human beings and energy security – among others – continue to broaden the concept.
The best guarantee of global security is conflict prevention. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has added emphasis and resources to the United Nations’ efforts in preventive diplomacy. Last year alone, the United Nations supported 34 mediation, facilitation and dialogue efforts in situations of potential or imminent conflict. In addition to the current 15 peacekeeping missions, the United Nations maintains 12 political and peacebuilding missions, which also serve for a conflict prevention response. In Kyrgyzstan, the United Nations and the OSCE worked together, quickly and flexibly, to ease the crisis. In the Caucasus, we are engaged with the European Union in the Geneva International Discussions which are supported logistically by my Office.
I believe that we need to pool the experience and expertise of our organizations to a greater extent in conflict prevention through further information-sharing, strategic discussions and coordination of efforts on the ground. The “Tripartite Process” which we have hosted jointly with the Council of Europe since 1993 could be considered as a vehicle.
We come together only a few days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. More than any other event over the past decade, these terrorist attacks transformed our world. Less than two weeks ago, the United Nations House in the Nigerian capital of Abuja was the subject of a car bomb attack that took the lives of 23 people. It was a stark reminder that terrorism remains a potent force, also in areas where we may not expect it. Therefore, we must enhance counter-terrorism cooperation.
The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy is the international community’s common strategic and operational framework for addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism; preventing and combating terrorism; taking measures to build state capacity to fight terrorism; strengthening the role of the United Nations in combating terrorism; and ensuring the respect of human rights while countering terrorism.
Later this month, on 19 September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene a Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation in the margins of the General Assembly. The role of regional organizations in counter-terrorism cooperation will be one of the themes to be discussed.
Many States have yet to implement fully all terrorism-related Security Council Resolutions. Regional organizations have a role to play in helping countries develop capacity. Here, the anti-terrorism work of the OSCE – with facilitation of implementation of international legal instruments, strengthened border management and organization of contacts between anti-terrorism practitioners – has produced good results. This is an area where we need to concentrate further collective efforts.
As with peace and security generally, we must focus on prevention in our fight against terrorism. It must begin by denying terrorists access to the means to carry out attacks, in particular with weapons of mass destruction and their components. With Resolution 1540, the Security Council already decided that all States should refrain from providing any form of support to non-State actors in relation to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. We need to work together to devise ways to address this threat of nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism effectively.
In the information age, the Internet opens unique possibilities for connecting people and for spreading knowledge. Our reliance on electronic means of communication also brings vulnerability. Cyber attacks are becoming ever-more frequent and sophisticated and pose serious threats to our information infrastructure. Last month, it was revealed that the United Nations, together with several Governments, appeared to have been the target of an intrusion. We are now investigating this information.
The United Nations is addressing cyber-security in particular through the International Telecommunication Union and its Global Cyber-security Agenda. By virtue of the global scope and implications, it is a challenge that requires a truly international response at political and technical levels. I commend the efforts of the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship in placing cyber-security on the political agenda. The OSCE, as a security community with experience in information-exchange on security, is well placed to serve as a model for other regions in tackling cyber-security. I see this as a potential area of cooperation.
The “Arab Spring” has clearly shown that insecurity grows where human rights and dignity are not respected. The developments in North Africa and the Middle East have been driven by several factors: a deficit of democracy and meaningful participation in decision-making, disappointed expectations, lack of good governance and poverty.
Speaking at the International Conference in Support of the New Libya in Paris last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the international community has to come together with an effective, well-coordinated programme of action. He emphasized that the three principles of national ownership, a speedy response and effective coordination will govern the United Nations’ work in relation to Libya.
The experience of regional organizations, also beyond the immediate regional context, is of value. The OSCE’s knowledge in facilitating political dialogue, building accountable institutions, advancing the rule of law, monitoring electoral processes, promoting national reconciliation and protecting human rights can provide practical tools for the international response.
At the Paris meeting, the Secretary-General also announced his intention to invite all Member States to a high-level meeting on Libya on 20 September, in the margins of the General Assembly. Strong participation of all Member States will be important.
The promotion and protection of human rights is a vital aspect of the work of the United Nations in Geneva, which is home to the Human Rights Council. The Council with its Universal Period Review, together with the independent thematic mandate holders and the Treaty Bodies form a firm foundation for advancing respect for fundamental freedoms.
The links with the OSCE institutions in the human rights area are already well-developed. I encourage all Member States to make full use of the United Nations human rights machinery to bolster social stability and sustainable peace.
As I mentioned earlier, the events over the past nine months have been driven also by limited economic opportunities and social inequalities. The Millennium Development Goals provide the foundation for sustainable development for all, and the OSCE’s support is critical.
Five years before the 2015 deadline, progress towards realization of the Goals remains uneven – across regions and individual Goals. Continuing economic insecurity – with the European debt crisis and volatile global stock markets – has the potential to divert both resources and political attention from the development agenda. The United Nations and the OSCE must continue to partner in consolidating and extending development gains in the wider region.
This also includes an ongoing focus on environmental sustainability and climate change. The United Nations Climate Change Summit in South Africa in December and the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil in June 2012 will be key events to advance our development agenda. We want the OSCE to be part of that effort.
Lastly, let me turn to the fourth point on the United Nations’ agenda for closer cooperation with the OSCE, namely arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.
The stockpiles of nuclear weapons, the prospect of their proliferation and nuclear terrorism are among the gravest threats to security. The international community has made significant strides over the past year, with a successful NPT Review Conference and the signing by the Russian Federation and the US of a new START Treaty.
The OSCE’s efforts to regulate the transfer of conventional arms, improve military transparency and build confidence among States constitute a complement to global efforts.
Despite this momentum, Member countries of the world’s single multilateral negotiating forum – the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva – remain unable to move ahead. As Secretary-General of the Conference and the Personal Representative of the United Nations to the Conference, I am deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate but at the same time urge the Member countries not to let frustration dominate expectations and commitments.
In July when I addressed the United Nations General Assembly on this issue, I emphasized the need to consider the political and procedural issues that currently obstruct the work of the Conference. Politically, there is no agreement on what priority should be given to the different agenda items. Procedurally, the Rules of Procedure, the membership and the agenda are based on an international environment dating back to the Cold War and should be revisited and reviewed. Political flexibility needs to be shown. I am convinced that we need to continue – with patience and persistence – to ensure that a transformed Conference on Disarmament can again play its mandated essential role in international security.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The purpose of our collaboration is to maximize our impact, based on our comparative advantages and our specialized expertise. We have a shared interest in ensuring that our combined efforts achieve the greatest outcome possible.
I firmly believe that there is scope for a continued strengthening of our cooperation. In our world of transformations, the challenges we face continue to evolve. Our cooperation must also evolve to keep pace for an effective response. The United Nations stands ready as your partner in this endeavour.
I thank you for your attention.