Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Godfrey Smith's address to the
United Nations General Assembly
23 September, 2005 - Belmopan
We congratulate you on the assumption of the Presidency of the General
Your extensive experience in multilateral affairs will undoubtedly be an
invaluable asset to our work.
A Platform for Action
The 2005 World Summit has clearly demonstrated that, in five years, we
have not given poverty eradication the highest priority in our
In too many countries, it is clear that the Millennium Development Goals
will not be realized; in some, the situation is worse than five years
How then do we assure the marginalized people of our world that we are
serious about achieving the MDGs by 2015?
The only way is by showing that there is a global political will to use
the Outcome as a platform for action.
A New Security Consensus
In his report In Larger Freedom, Kofi Annan stressed that the priority
objectives of the UN over the coming years should be to secure for
people "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear".
What is often not recognized is that a person that is not free from want
can only live in fear.
The greatest evil, the most effective and consuming terrorism of our
age, is the terrorism of abject poverty.
It is a poverty in which millions of people live in terror because they
know that sooner, not later, they might die from hunger or preventable
Everyday in our region of Central America and the Caribbean, our people
face threats to their human security: AIDS, arms and drug-trafficking,
trafficking in persons, crushing poverty and inequality.
A new security approach is required to contain these threats.
We must promote the humanization of security, rather than embarking on
efforts to militarize globalisation.
We must focus on stopping the deaths that occur every day, most often
from preventable causes.
Global security cannot be built on a minefield of poverty and disease.
Prioritising human security does not mean neglecting national
sovereignty and state security.
As part of our national security strategy we remain committed to
fostering a culture of peace and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Pacific Settlement of disputes
In the Middle East, we are encouraged by the Israeli withdrawal from the
Gaza Strip. We join others in calling upon the Government of Israel to
continue the withdrawal from all Palestinian territories.
We look forward to the implementation of its commitments in accordance
with the Road Map that will lead to the realization of two independent
states, Palestine and Israel, coexisting side by side in peace and
The 23 million people on Taiwan also deserve to live in peace and
security. We encourage the United Nations to take up the plea of Taiwan
to participate in this world body.
Belize continues to be plagued by an anachronistic claim to its
territory from our neighbor Guatemala. But earlier this month, Belize
and Guatemala signed a new Agreement at the Organization of American
Under this new agreement, if we are unable to resolve the dispute by
negotiations, the Secretary-General of the OAS can recommend that we
submit our differences to an international juridical body.
We therefore hope that we can ensure the early final resolution of this
dispute so that we can cooperate more effectively to combat our common
problems of poverty and under-development.
We all recognize that there can be no security without development. The
World Summit Outcome maintains the vision of development elaborated in
the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus, the Johannesburg
Plan of Implementation and other outcomes, including the Mauritius
If we are to make measurable progress in development, we must urgently
implement the global partnership for development.
That global partnership involves getting development issues into the
forefront of trade negotiations.
Without a deeper commitment from developed countries for more just trade
regimes, the future of the sugar and banana industries, for countries
like Belize, hangs in the balance.
We must therefore spare no effort to ensure that the latest Doha
Development round concludes on terms favorable to developing countries.
As a coastal nation with a significant population in low lying areas, my
country emphasizes the need for new action to ensure environmental
sustainability, particularly as it relates to climate change.
We agree with the Secretary-General that:
"one of the greatest environmental and development challenges in the
twenty-first century will be that of controlling and coping with climate
The increased temperatures occasioned by climate change are likely to
lead to greater frequency of life-threatening weather systems.
The most vulnerable to these changes are small island developing states
(SIDS) and coastal nations like Belize.
It is incumbent upon the international community to improve the
framework for action to cope with climate change.
The Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an opportunity to
forge wider and more inclusive cooperation to address this grave
So much that we hope to achieve depends on a United Nations that is
effective and credible.
Some recent reports point to systemic problems throughout the
organization. These provide evidence of an organization that is flawed,
not one that is irrelevant.
Belize continues to view the United Nations as an indispensable
organization. It is the only global organization that has the capacity
to meaningfully foster peace, security and development for the peoples
of the world.
But the United Nations must reinvent itself to meet the needs of today's
geopolitics and unique global challenges.
The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council must be
revitalized and strengthened.
Similarly, the Security Council must be reformed to make it more
accountable, inclusive and representative of the United Nation's current
The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights
Council are important, but we must define ways in which these bodies can
reinforce the work of the other principal organs of the United Nations.
In the five years since the year 2000, our collective lack of political
will has resulted in the loss of millions of children, women and men to
hunger, disease, HIV/AIDS and other preventable causes.
But we can halt and reverse this trend. We must give a reformed United
Nations, as the ultimate expression of multilateralism, the means to
carry out its mandate:
"to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems
of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character."
Our world is besieged by these problems. We can carry out this mandate
by implementing all the commitments we have made since the year 2000.
Or, we can ignore them and condemn many millions more to live in misery
or die in pain. The choice is ours.