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UN2K: Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid





New York, 8 September 2000


Mr. President,

Heads of State and Government,

Royal Highnesses,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we gather here at the dawn of the new millennium, we do so to reflect on the rapidly changing world, to discuss the emerging challenges facing us, and to collectively seek lasting solutions to them. Principally, we need to defuse tensions that exist in international relations and to cope with the myriad of problems caused by conflicts and wars, under­development and poverty as well as inter-dependence and globalization.

This extraordinary gathering of leaders from so many countries has been convened to deliberate and decide on the parameters of our collective vision for the 21st century On this solemn occasion, therefore, let us rededicate ourselves to the vision of the United Nations Charter and to the strengthening of the Organization. In these endeavors, the Secretary-General's t entitled, "We the peoples: the role of the United Nations in the 21st century", contains numerous proposals and recommendations on a wide range of issues of interest and concern to all member states and merits our serious consideration.

Mr. President,

The achievements and multitude of activities undertaken by the Organization are to be found in the numerous decisions, programs and measures that are being continually formulated and implemented by its various organs related institutions. Its over-arching goal has been, and must continue to be, the enhancement of the welfare and well­ of humanity as a whole.

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The United Nations has in the past played a decisive in the world-wide process of decolonization, transforming political landscape of the world, and bringing the much cherished freedom and independence to the enslaved peoples Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was instrumental in bringing about the demise of the universally despised apartheid South Africa.

In fostering partnership with the specialized agencies, United Nations has established guidelines to deal with new emerging problems such as environment, population and human rights. It has responded to the need for humanitarian assistance and provided protection for refugees. It has achieved noteworthy success in eradicating disease and hunger. And, it has raised global consciousness for economic and social imperatives and for achieving equality for women.

Although the role of the Organization was indispensable in limiting the expansion of conflicts by providing a forum for dialogue and negotiations and by contributing to the peaceful settlement of disputes in various regions of the world - national, ethnic and religious strife has regrettably escalated into violence and war with their horrible toll in the loss of lives and material devastation. These are some of the major obstacles to peace and security. There is, thus, a clear need to strengthen global and regional mechanisms for conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

Peacekeeping, which was a United Nations invention, has proven to be an inescapable necessity in the midst of numerous inter and intra-state conflicts. Without the inter­position of these forces, the theaters of conflicts would have resulted in far greater danger to the wider peace. They have all yielded new insights which can be most useful as the United Nations will be called upon to deal with similar situations in the future.

Disarmament, with the least diversion for armaments of the world's resources, is one of the primary objectives enshrined in the Charter. Consequently, the General Assembly has, over the years, formulated principles and defined the issues relating to disarmament. Although the implementation of these principles into concrete plans of action has remained an elusive goal, the role of the General Assembly in charting the future direction of disarmament and in mobilizing world public opinion should continue to be of cardinal importance.

In the post-Cold War era, new attitudes and approaches emerged, bringing fresh impetus to the long dormant disarmament scene. We were all united in the resolve to bring into force the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. We are all equally determined with the phenomenon of international arms transfers mobilize modern technology in the cause of disarmament and for peaceful purposes. The vast growth in the arsenals of conventional weapons also require our urgent consideration. Above all, the elimination of nuclear armaments to which all member states are committed must be expedited under multilateral auspices.

Under the aegis of the General Assembly, various aspects international law affecting many areas of human activity have codified. Yet, supremacy of law and equality of all states law has continued to elude us.

The close cooperation between the General Assembly, Security Council and the Secretary-General testify to the strengthening of institutions embodied in the Organization to the complementarity in the workings of its different s. Still, the question of revitalization and reform of the United Nations should be pursued with a sense of urgency. In complex and challenging times, the prospects for the United Nations will, I believe, depend to a major degree on her the Organization can be effectively adapted to the complexities in the emerging world order.

The challenge before us, therefore, is how to collectively on an effective system of global governance to manage the massive changes that are transforming the shape and substance international relations in the millennium. We can only succeed if nations will rise above parochial concerns and focus their attention on common long-term interests that bind us. Above all, multilateralism has to be reasserted and strengthened and, in this context, the United Nations recognized as the only universal institution capable of achieving common acceptance by the world community to better reflect and serve the nations and peoples of the world today and in the future. Consequently, its role must be firmly rooted in the principles and purposes of the Charter and on the precepts of sovereign equality, common interests and benefits, shared responsibility, pluralism, tolerance and inclusiveness. In short, a joint commitment to international cooperation must become the norm in the 21't century.

We also need to restore global morality and a far-sighted vision of one global neighborhood. International solidarity has become an imperative; in its absence, we might not survive this millennium. We need a global order based on justice, democracy, development, human rights and international law which have become potent values. These can only be dealt with by common and concerted action. There is little doubt in my mind that nations will increasingly turn to the United Nations as a modality to achieve peace and security, progress and prosperity.

If these noble objectives are to be realized, then dialogue among nations is indispensable. it is only through dialogue that differences can be resolved peacefully. Our own experience in Indonesia has shown that it is only through dialogue lasting solutions can be found. Dialogue can provide a human face regardless of ethnicity, cultural differences or historical backgrounds and pave the way for the promotion of common values and a commitment for a global culture of peace and harmony.

Mr President,

As we enter the 21 " Century, the challenges faced in the economic sphere are no less formidable. But so too, the opportunities are enormous. This is largely due to the phenomenon of globalization, currently the dominating force of the global economy. Driven by the liberalization of trade and finance and propelled by the information revolution, rapid globalization has left no country untouched by its pervasive reach. Yet, despite its tremendous potential and promise to provide prosperity for all, globalization is at present, largely characterized by uncertainties and risks. Following the dictates of competition and efficiency, the market allocates resources to e most profitable and most productive sectors, countries and regions. But, the majority of humankind lives in countries and areas that are still in the process of development and thus are often at a disadvantage when competing with the strong, developed economies. As a result, they run the risk of being bypassed and marginalized from the mainstream of the globalized economy.

If this dilemma is not successfully redressed, it could further exacerbate existing imbalances and further polarize the world of affluent "haves" and the greater majority of "have-­nots". In addition, with the advent of the information revolution and the breakneck speed of new technological innovations such as information and communications technologies, the widening economic and digital divides are certain to be further accelerated.

Nevertheless, there is also no doubt that those countries and people who have achieved the necessary capacities can take full advantage of the tremendous opportunities being offered by globalization and also the emerging digital opportunities that the new economy affords. As a country that has both reaped the benefits of globalization and has also been a victim of its attendant risks, Indonesia knows only too well that the great challenge facing the international community in transforming globalization into an effective instrument of development will be a formidable one. Central to that process would be the need to build or strengthen the human capacities and infrastructure of the developing countries.

By and large, the developing countries lost out in the industrial revolution This should not be allowed to happen this time around. Thus, since globalization, liberalization and market forces cannot alone bring equitable opportunities for all, combat poverty or close the economic gap, they must be balanced through the revitalization of multilateralism. This is critical to the future of the vast majority of humankind.

The great challenge therefore facing this Millennium Summit is to determine how the economic gaps can be narrowed and how to harness the power and promise of globalization and information and communications technologies in the service of development and the eradication of poverty. We must not rest till we have set in motion the processes that will unlock the vast potential of globalization and these technologies for purposes. In short, we must seek to transform the digital into a global landscape of digital opportunities. This, I believe, is a vision and goal worthy of the Millennium Summit. And this is an objective that my Government and people are committed to.

In meeting the challenge of imparting a human face globalization there are many principles at stake. Firstly, we ensure inclusiveness, participation and ownership are operative. Development is a fundamental right. Secondly, progress in meeting our major challenges can only be achieved multilateralism, which has been in sharp decline, is revived r to balance the surge of globalization, thereby ensuring unity for all. Doors must be opened. I sincerely believe e international community must take the lead in this able endeavour.

Let me briefly turn to some ways and means to implement these important principles particularly at the global level. Indeed, there is the need to create a conducive environment for the rapid promotion of development and the dedication of poverty. While we have harped on this in the Past, there is still a dire need for governance at both the national and international levels, transparency in the financial, monetary trading systems and we must resolve the major imbalances associated with indebtedness and environmental degradation.

To achieve this, there can be no alternative to a dialogue with our development partners and other stakeholders. This has become more urgent than ever. But it cannot be dialogue for dialogue's sake. Essentially, such dialogue must be anchored in mutual interests and benefits, shared responsibilities, and genuine interdependence. In addition, in this era of interdependence and integration of countries, markets, ideas and society, there is a need to forge viable partnerships between governments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector, including multinational corporations. This has become of paramount importance. I sincerely believe that only in this way can we effectively move forward in this 211t century.

For these reasons, and given its universal membership, the United Nations is uniquely placed to play a major role in fostering such cooperation and partnerships. It has proven itself capable, as recently as the substantive session of the ECOSOC this past July, of promoting such partnerships and participation by facilitating multiple interactions across a broad spectrum of stakeholders in development. I hope that this successful integrated formula can be built upon in the future.

I would like to compliment the Secretary-General for his initiatives outlined in the Millennium Report including a Health InterNetwork, a United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), a disaster response initiative, "First on the Ground" and a global policy network on youth employment, ugh such initiatives I am convinced that the relevance and effectiveness of the United Nations will be further enhanced is journey into the 21st century will be successfully shaped.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Indonesia shares the aspiration generated by the new millennium for a world of freedom from want, freedom from fear and the renewal of the ed Nations to become a capable, efficient and effective instrument in the service of all humanity Hence, this Millenium Summit should manifest a new resolve and set in ion the process of strengthening the United Nations. Perhaps this Summit will have to be followed by others at periodic intervals where opportunities are given to leaders from arts of the world to continue the process. The aim would o review agendas, stake our directions and entrust the Organization with the tasks to be accomplished.

We now see an unprecedented opportunity to change the ways in which increasing interdependence and globalization et. This opportunity may be fragile, but it is present in a not seen since the United Nations was created. It must not be lost. We must seize it and live up to our common responsibilities in determining the future of humanity.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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