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Chairman's Statement:
Toward Greater Security and Stability in a More Cooperative World

Lyon, France, 29 June 1996

• Opening statement
• I. Global issues
• II. Regional situations
• Halifax Summit Follow-up
• Achievements
   - System wide
   - Budgeting
   - Humanitarian relief
   - UNCTAD
   - Specialized Agencies
   - Funds and Programmes
   - Regional Economic Commissions
   - Agenda for Development


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Opening Statement

We, the Participants in the Lyon Summit, discussed the opportunities and challenges facing us as we near the 21st century. We agreed that we now have tremendous opportunities to make the most of this historic moment to achieve security and stability around the globe, although we still need to cope with the many challenges which require a wide range of international cooperation at both regional and global levels. We discussed how we could build a better international system to secure security and stability. We recognized that we must first work to reduce tensions and resolve conflicts. We also concurred that enduring security and stability is possible only when it is founded on the basic requirements of respect for human rights, establishment of democratic institutions and individual citizen's security, and realization of sustainable development and economic prosperity. In an increasingly inter-dependent and inter-active world with rapid globalization in progress, we renewed our determination to work together amongst us and in partnership with leaders of other countries to make the most of the opportunities and to meet the challenges.

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I. Global issues

Major issues need to be treated at a global level. All countries are liable to benefit from more security provided by a strengthened United Nations Organization and by progress made in the field of non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament as well as by an efficient struggle against terrorism and transnational organized crime. All countries benefit from the enhancement of democracy and fundamental freedoms throughout the world. Protection of environment, nuclear safety and new types of epidemics are common challenges that must be properly handled. All countries are interested in seizing the opportunities provided by the information technologies. In this regard, we are committed to cooperate actively among ourselves and with other partners to deal with these global issues in a spirit of efficacy and solidarity.

1. United Nations

We reaffirm our commitment to the Charter of the United Nations (UN). As many Heads of State and Government noted in the special commemorative meeting of the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Charter, the UN is called upon to play an increasing role as the 21st century approaches. We continue to regard the United Nations as the cornerstone of an international system whose success or failure is increasingly significant for human security, including development within countries and partnership among countries. We are committed to achieving early and practical results in the renewal of the UN so that, for both individuals and countries, it can more readily and effectively respond to the demands placed on it, and more clearly demonstrate its importance to the search for solutions to our globally shared problems.

In order to enable the United Nations to fully meet its challenges, we are convinced of the need to make progress towards revitalizing, strengthening and reforming the UN system. We undertake to intensify our role in the work of the high level and working groups set up by the General Assembly for this purpose in order to help ensure the balanced, timely and effective outcome of their efforts. We will work with other Members throughout the UN system to accomplish this goal.

Conscious of the risks that the present financial crisis poses to the United Nations' ability to function, we are resolved to promote in parallel and as soon as possible a long-term solution based on the adoption of a more equitable scale of contributions, on scrupulous respect by Member States for their financial obligations, and on the payment of arrears.

The United Nations is and must remain the body primarily responsible for international peace and security in accordance with the mission assigned to it in the Organization's Charter. It is important to develop its ability to act more quickly and effectively to address threats to international peace and security. It is essential, also, that Member States shoulder in full the responsibilities incumbent on them within the UN framework.

We emphasize the importance of promoting conditions conducive to peace as the surest means to prevent conflict. We support development of more flexible instruments for peace, including mediation by elder statesmen and United Nations representatives. We are encouraged by the notable successes of current peacekeeping missions in Haiti (UNMIH) and Bosnia (IFOR). We note the central responsibility that the parties themselves bear for the ending of conflict and the re-establishment of peace and stability. We favour strengthening the United Nations' capacity for rapid deployment by further developing the stand-by arrangements initiative and the rapidly deployable headquarters team, as well as other efforts to enhance the Secretariat's ability to deploy new peacekeeping operations quickly and manage existing ones effectively. We applaud the efforts of the international community to assist countries devastated by conflict as they rebuild their societies : these measures are making a decisive contribution to the establishment of lasting peace. We welcome the contribution made, in accordance with the UN Charter, by regional organizations and arrangements to international stability, and the development of their cooperation with the United Nations.

2. Human rights, democratic processes and humanitarian emergencies

We restate our firm commitment to the universality of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, the promotion and protection of which are a legitimate concern of the international community. We condemn all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including aggressive nationalism and the mistreatment of persons belonging to minorities.

With that in mind, we commit ourselves to ensuring that this understanding continues to guide our policies. We also reaffirm our support for the High Commissioner for Human Rights as coordinator of human rights within the United Nations system and commend his contribution in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. We will take care to ensure that women as well as men benefit fully and equally from the recognition of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which were reiterated on the occasion of the Beijing Conference, and that the rights of children be respected.

We support fully the efforts of the International Tribunals aimed at the prosecution and trial of persons indicted for serious violations of human rights in the Former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda and commit ourselves to making available to the Tribunals adequate resources for the fulfillment of their mandates. At the same time, we deeply deplore any non-cooperation with the Tribunals, in particular the failure to arrest and surrender indicted persons, and we urge all parties to fulfill their commitment to cooperate.

All over the world, we actively support the process of democratization, which is an essential guarantee of respect for human rights. We will provide assistance in the organization of free and impartial elections and in strengthening democratic institutions and standards. International assistance, including from Non-Governmental Organizations, for democratic development should also contribute to the strengthening of free media, support for the rule of law, accountable public institutions (including police training) and a broader civil society.

Humanitarian emergencies, which are frequently the outcome of political crises, are a matter of special concern to us. We commend in particular work of the ICRC, UN HCR, WFP, UNICEF and others in this field. We are firmly determined to continue to provide assistance to populations in need, and we call for the coordination and rationalization of efforts in order to provide assistance more effectively.

3. Non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament

We affirm our undertaking to conclude a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) so as to enable its signature by the outset of the 51st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, this coming September. We call upon all the members of the Conference on Disarmament to agree that the CTBT must prohibit any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion. Pending the entry into force of the CTBT, the Nuclear Weapon States should exercise utmost restraint.

Such a treaty, in our view, will be a major step in the accomplishment of a priority goal for the international community in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation and the implementation of the obligations contained in Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We reaffirm our commitment to the objectives set out in the document on Principles and Objectives for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament adopted on 11 May 1995 at the conclusion of the NPT Review and Extension Conference. We are determined to contribute to the effectiveness of the strengthened NPT review process before the next Review Conference in 2000, the first preparatory committee for which will meet in 1997.

In the same spirit, we take note of the signature by the Southeast Asian States in December 1995, in Bangkok, of the Treaty establishing a nuclear weapon free zone in Southeast Asia, and welcome the signature by China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of the protocols to the Treaty of Rarotonga establishing a nuclear weapon free zone in the South-Pacific as well as the signature on April 11, by Member States of the Organization for African Unity, of the Treaty of Pelindaba establishing a nuclear weapon free zone in Africa, and of its relevant Protocols by the United States, France, the United Kingdom and China. The establishment of these new nuclear weapon free zones and the cooperation of Nuclear Weapon States in supporting the relevant protocols helps realize the objective of creating additional such zones by the NPT Review Conference in 2000.

We further underline the importance that we attach to the early start of negotiations, based on the agreed mandate within the Conference on Disarmament, on a treaty to ban the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. We look forward to the early entry into force of the START II Treaty. We regard the ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability.

We reiterate the importance we attach to the entry into force of the Convention on Chemical Weapons. We will continue to work hard to implement the Convention on Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, including the establishment of an effective verification mechanism. We also expect the early entry into force of the Treaty on Open Skies, which represents an unprecedented confidence-building measure from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

We are increasingly concerned with the proliferation of conventional weapons and the thousands of resulting deaths and injuries, especially to civilians and particularly children. We welcome the outcome of the Review Conference on the 1980 Conventional Weapons Convention. We are pleased that this first Review Conference reached consensus on a new laser weapons protocol as well as a strengthened protocol on mines, booby-traps and other devices. We call upon all States to spare no effort in securing a global ban on the scourge represented by the proliferation and the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel landmines and welcome the moratoria and bans already adopted by a number of countries on the production, use and export of these weapons, unilateral reductions in stockpiles as well as initiatives to address this urgent problem.

We assert the importance of reinforcing international support for landmine detection and removal efforts and for assistance to victims.

We again call upon all countries to support the continuing operation of the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms which represents an important mechanism for promoting transparency and building confidence among countries, at a global and regional level, and note that Article 26 of the UN Charter calls for "the least diversion for armaments of the world's human and economic resources". Regional organizations can help promote transparency and confidence-building measures that reduce excessive stockpiling of conventional weapons. We welcome with satisfaction the arrangement launched at Wassenaar in December 1995 to promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies and will cooperate on its prompt and full implementation. We welcome the results of the first Review Conference of the Treaty on Conventional armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The States Parties on that occasion renewed their commitment to ensure the integrity of the treaty and to fulfill all of its obligations. They committed themselves to launch a process of adaptation of the treaty in order to preserve its viability in the future. We salute the cooperative resolution of the CFE flank issue.

4. Nuclear safety and security

We welcome with satisfaction the substantial progress made in the field of nuclear safety and security at the Moscow Summit in April of this year.

We have taken an important step toward enhancing international cooperation so that the use of nuclear energy is conducted all over the world consistently with fundamental principles of nuclear safety. We reaffirm our commitment, made in Moscow, to the highest internationally recognized nuclear safety level. In this regard, we underline that nuclear safety has to prevail over all other considerations. We reaffirm our commitment to all the principles laid down in the Convention on Nuclear Safety and we urge all countries to ratify this Convention, as soon as possible, and to participate in the peer review mechanisms. We stress the necessity of further progress in the establishment of relevant domestic legislation and in the enhancement of the international regime of nuclear liability as well as in the preparation of an international convention on the safety of radioactive waste management. We remain committed to assisting countries in transition in developing efficient and fully safety-oriented energy policies.

We welcome the adoption of the program for preventing and combating illicit trafficking in nuclear materials, and strongly urge other States to associate themselves with this plan following the example of Ukraine. We reaffirm the need to strengthen measures to ensure nuclear material accounting, control and physical protection. We also acknowledge the need to identify appropriate strategies for the management of fissile material no longer required for defense purposes. The latter will be discussed on the occasion of a meeting of experts which will take place in Paris in October this year. We support the efforts of the Nuclear Weapon States to ensure that sensitive nuclear material (separated plutonium and highly enriched uranium) designated as not intended for use for meeting defense requirements be placed under IAEA safeguards.

In order to ensure rapid and efficient follow-up of the decisions regarding non-proliferation issues adopted at the Moscow Summit, we have taken the following initiatives:

We call upon all States to contribute to the efficient and effective implementation of measures for the strengthened safeguards system proposed by the " Program 93+2 " for which a model protocol is being further elaborated by the open-ended committee of the AIEA-Board of Governors. This program is making an essential contribution to tighter regulation of nuclear non-proliferation. This program will help avoid a repeat of any situation where a country under full-scope safeguards could carry out undeclared nuclear activities.

5. Environment

Protecting the environment is crucial in promoting sustainable development. In view of the threats such as global warming, desertification, deforestation, depleting resources and threatened species, and unsustainable urban development, we place top priority on integrating environmental protection more completely into all of our policies. We are exploring the possibility of supplementing our national income accounts to better measure resources, such as forests, minerals and fish, and the economic value of air, water and soil quality. We welcome the great potential of the environment protection industry which can have positive effects on long term economic growth and employment.

1997 will be a pivotal year for the environment. We renew our commitment to all agreements reached at Rio, and pledge to work for a successful outcome of the 1997 special session of the United Nations General Assembly which would lead to their better implementation. We commit ourselves to strong action and anticipate in 1997:

- a successful outcome of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention;

- agreement on actions to promote sustainable management of forests, including appropriate implementing arrangements or instruments;

- the negotiation of a global, legally binding instrument on particular persistent organic pollutants (POPs);

- the speedy implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Desertification.

It is important to ensure adherence to environmental agreements. International crime in areas such as illegal trade in CFCs, endangered species and hazardous waste is of particular concern. We will assess compliance with international environmental agreements and consider options for enhancing compliance.

We want to see greater effectiveness on the part of the international institutions responsible for the environment and sustainable development. In particular, we want to see the political role of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) confirmed among UN institutions: the CSD should serve as a high-level political forum, working with the UN's economic agencies and the Bretton Woods financial institutions, invested with the task of promoting the implementation of Agenda 21 at the global, regional and national level, of identifying emerging issues and gaps in it, and ensuring a common understanding of the concept of sustainable development.

We need a more precise distribution of roles between the CSD and UNEP. UNEP should be clearly confirmed in its catalytic role as the environment voice of the UN, responsible for environmental policy development and scientific analysis and monitoring assessment. We support present efforts to restructure UNEP and its governing bodies.

People should be the focus of our policies. Human health is sometimes being jeopardized by the deterioration of the environment. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, we endorse measures based on sound science and the precautionary principle.

6. The information society

We welcome the Chair's conclusion of the Information Society and Development Conference in Midrand (South Africa) which represents an important step to ensuring that all countries benefit from technological change.

Information and communication technologies and services offer a significant contribution towards the promotion of sustainable development in all countries. They have important potential to meet basic human needs, develop human resources, promote economic growth, encourage participatory democracy and a free media. They should promote cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as dynamic competition.

We look forward to a rapid conclusion to the negotiations being conducted in the relevant multilateral fora. We encourage full cooperation among countries, existing international and non-governmental organizations for the promotion of projects demonstrating their use of information and communication technology. We are committed to fostering partnership between the public and the private actor.

We call for a cooperative approach which will promote universal access to such technologies. We stress the importance of an adequate protection of intellectual property rights. We are prepared to reflect on ethical and criminal issues raised by worldwide communication networks. We will support public and private efforts to increase the use of information and communication technologies for development and encourage international organizations to assess the appropriate role which they can play.

7. The "human frontier science program"

We applaud the results of the "Human Frontier Science Program" since its launch in Venice in 1987, and we await with interest the outcome of the intergovernmental Conference on further progress on this subject in Autumn 1996.

8. Infectous diseases

Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, cholera, ebola, and antibiotic resistant strains of tuberculosis and pneumonia pose an unacceptable threat to people of all nations, disproportionately affecting the populations of the poorest nations. We endorse the creation and implementation of mechanisms to aid in the prevention, detection, surveillance and response to the emergence and re-emergence of communicable diseases. We reiterate our call for the extension of all forms of cooperation in the realms of research, prevention, accessible and affordable health care services and diagnostics in the treatment and control of these diseases.

We draw attention to the measures already undertaken in each of our countries to encourage the scientific community in its search for remedies to these diseases. We pledge to pursue this effort at the national level, while at the same time promoting international cooperation among research teams in this field.

Moreover, we will continue to extend various kinds of assistance programs, in particular for the benefit of the countries hardest hit by HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases . We also encourage cooperation among those of us who jointly conduct cooperative projects with Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean by transferring our expertise in regard to surveillance, prevention, research, diagnosis, and treatment of these diseases. We will continue to work to ensure the availability of safe and effective treatments for these all-too-often fatal diseases.

We strongly support the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, as well as the joint United-Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) to coordinate international efforts to stem the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

9. Drugs

Drugs represent a serious threat for our younger generations' future, our citizens' health and the integrity of our societies. We are determined to intensify our efforts in order to fight against any kind of drug trafficking and all forms of criminality in connection with it, including money laundering. We therefore urge all States to fully comply with their obligations under international conventions dealing with drugs abuse and illicit traffic in psychotropic substances, and are ready to strengthen our cooperation with all countries involved in this fight against drugs. We fully support the efforts exerted by the United Nations and we expect from the special session of the General Assembly dealing with this problem that it should help us to give more coherence and efficiency to the whole set of actions aiming at freeing the world from this scourge.

10. Transnational organized crime

In Halifax we asked an experts group to review how to counter the rapid development of transnational organized crime, which is one of our main concerns. While not entirely new, this phenomenon threatens the nations, industrialized and developing countries.

Therefore we commit ourselves to:

- Mobilize our full resources and influence to combat this danger.

- Support and enhance existing institutions that deal with transnational organized crime, including the United Nations, Interpol, and World Customs Organization.

- Encourage all States to adhere to and fully implement existing conventions, treaties and arrangements dealing with transnational organized crime.

- Resist the enormous threat posed by narcotic traffickers, by implementing the UN conventions against drugs, and intensifying efforts to put traffickers behind bars and prevent them from laundering their money.

- Share information and expertise to detect, investigate and prosecute criminals.

- Increase operational cooperation among relevant agencies.

- Deny the use of our territories to transnational organized crime.

- Take all possible steps, particularly extradition, to bring fugitives to justice.

- Provide the broadest possible mutual legal assistance.

- Deprive criminals of their illicit profits by adopting appropriate legislation and implementing recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

- Adopt the necessary legislative and regulatory measures to combat corruption.

Consequently, with a view to achieving these goals:

We welcome the work of the Senior Experts Group on Transnational Organized Crime.

We endorse the 40 recommendations they have prepared.

We commend these recommendations to all States.

We ask the Senior Experts Group to ensure the active follow-up of the implementation of these recommendations and to report on their progress and developments in this field to the next Summit.

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II. Regional Situations

1. We note with satisfaction the important contributions to peace, stability and prosperity which regional and inter-regional organizations and fora have made in all the regions of the world and firmly encourage them to pursue their task while respecting the integrity and the sovereignty of their Member States. We will continue supporting all efforts of these organizations and all inter-regional initiatives aimed at developing and reinforcing cooperation between the different regions of the world in the areas of political, economic and cultural matters.

In this connection, we take note of the OSCE's work on a common security model for further consideration at the Lisbon Summit and of continuing efforts to resolve peacefully disputes within the CIS. We welcome the intensification of intra-regional cooperation, particularly in Europe between the European Union and the States of Central and Eastern Europe, in the Americas within the Organization of American States and in the Asia-Pacific region through the move toward enlargement of ASEAN and within the ASEAN Regional Forum. We also commend recent initiatives aimed at renewing the transatlantic relationship between the EU and North America and at developing relations between EU and Russia, as well as the first Asian-European Meeting (ASEM) held in Bangkok this year. We welcome the development of the new partnership between EU and Mediterranean countries in the political, economic and human dimension fields.

2. We actively support the process of economic and political transition under way for over five years in Central and Eastern Europe. We welcome the progress accomplished by these countries toward the establishment of the rule of law and the establishment of a market economy. We welcome the prospect of enlargement of the EU to Central European countries and the Baltic States and encourage these and other States to take full advantage of the possibilities of integration offered to them. We support the efforts to develop good neighborly relations and we encourage the different initiatives that support stability in Southeastern Europe.

3. We welcome the enormous achievements attained in the Middle East peace process over the past several years. These include landmark agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, serious negotiations between Israel and Syria, and greater ties between Israel and her Arab neighbors. We also welcome increased economic cooperation in the region and trust that the Arab League will soon terminate its boycott of Israel. We are strongly committed to the full implementation of all agreements reached, and we will continue to provide our full support to those who take risks for peace.

The conclusion, on 28 September 1995, of the interim Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the Gaza Strip and West bank, as provided for in the 1993 Declaration of Principles, was a fundamental step forward in the Middle East Peace Process. We welcome the opening, on 5 May 1996, of the negotiations on permanent status. We look forward to the resumption of these negotiations.

We welcome the election of a Palestinian Council, and of its Executive Authority. We urge the Palestinian authority, under its Head, Mr. Yassir Arafat, to promote the development of democratic institutions, the rule of law, transparency of public administration and respect for human rights.

We welcome all donors' efforts including the meeting in Paris on 9 January of the Conference on Economic Assistance which reaffirmed the international community's support for the Palestinian economy, and urge donors to fulfill pledges made. We recognize the importance of economic growth and prosperity to underpinning peace and note the need for increased regional economic cooperation and development. We welcome steps toward facilitating economic activities in the West Bank and Gaza. We welcome the steps taken by the Government of Israel to ease the closure in the West Bank and Gaza. Recognizing that Israel has legitimate security needs, we look forward to the complete lifting of the closure. We acknowledge the important contribution of multilateral negotiations in all their aspects to the peace process. We also welcome the establishment of economic institutions and facilities which have grown out of the multilateral working groups.

We take note of the significant deepening and broadening of peace between the Israeli and Jordanian peoples and the importance of helping to extend the material benefits of peace.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit, 13 March 1996, gave all the leaders of the world the opportunity to reaffirm their condemnation of terrorism and their desire to pursue a comprehensive peace, to support regional stability and to fight terrorism, whatever the motive and whoever the perpetrators. We urge the international community to continue to uphold the logic of the " peace-makers ". We believe that terrorist threats will also be curbed by the elimination of isolation and poverty, especially in the Palestinian territories, by the progressive restoration of confidence and by the successful outcome of the peace negotiations.

We note the preeminence of the theme of security in Israel's recent election campaign. We are convinced that the security of all people of the region can eventually be achieved only through comprehensive, equitable and lasting peace.

The resumption of negotiations between Syria and Israel, at the end of December 1995, formed part of a peace dynamic which must be preserved. We are working to create a climate which will facilitate the resumption of the negotiations. We urge all the parties to resume their bilateral negotiations as soon as possible. We also invite Syria and Lebanon to join the on-going multilateral negotiations.

We urge all parties to adhere to the 26 April 1996 Understanding which restored calm along the Lebanese-Israeli border. We call upon the Consultative Group that will be assisting in the reconstruction needs of Lebanon to accelerate its work.

At a time when the Middle East Peace Process requires a renewed impetus, we urge all the parties to fulfill their obligations, including agreements already signed, and to continue their efforts in favour of a comprehensive peace on the basis of the Madrid process, the principle of land for peace and other principles enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

As we did last year, we call upon the Government of Iran to play a constructive role in regional and world affairs, and to desist from material and political support for extremist groups that are seeking to destroy the peace process in the Middle East and to destabilize the region. We further call upon the Iranian Government to reject terrorism and notably to desist from endorsing the continued threats to the life of Mr. Salman Rushdie and other people associated with his work. We call on all States to avoid any collaboration with Iran which might contribute to the acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability.

We reaffirm our determination to enforce full implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions concerning Iraq and Libya only full compliance with which could result in the lifting of all sanctions. We welcome the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the UN on the implementation of Security Council resolution 986.

4. We urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to develop the dialogue and cooperation with the Republic of Korea (ROK), this being the only means of achieving permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula and ensuring a more stable and more secure future for the Korean People. In this context, we support the initiatives taken with a view to initiating a process aimed at achieving a permanent peace agreement on the Korean Peninsula to replace the current Armistice Agreement, including the proposal of the US and the Republic of Korea on 16 April 1996 to convene a four-part meeting. We welcome the efforts being made within the "Agreed Framework" of 21 October 1994, in re-orienting the DPRK nuclear program in order to comply with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We call upon the DPRK to meet in full its commitments under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA and to make full disclosure of the facts concerning the history of its nuclear program. We call on the international community to join us in providing political and financial support for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO).

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Halifax Summit Follow-up
Review of UN Reforms in the Economic and Social Fields

1. At the Halifax Summit, we decided to promote and deepen the United Nations reform process in the economic and social field. In order to strengthen the United Nations and make it more effective in carrying out Charter objectives, the Communiqué set out a number of objectives, which we have worked actively to achieve in cooperation with the whole membership of the UN organizations. In this regard, we acknowledge with satisfaction that the principle of reform of UN economic and social institutions is now widely supported in all parts of the world, recognizing also that savings achieved through greater efficiency should be reinvested in appropriate programs.

2. The reform process is only just beginning but concrete results are already visible, notably where the impact of globalization of the world economy and budget constraints were felt most strongly. The following provides a non-comprehensive summary of achievements since the Halifax Summit. At the present time, no organs, specialized agencies, Funds or Programmes can claim to be bypassed by the reform process which is just as perceptible on the fringes of the system as at its core.

3. We will continue and reinforce our efforts to improve the functioning of the UN in the economic and social fields and its impact on development. We will continue to work in partnership with other members to complete processes underway, including Agenda for Development, and initiate further processes as required. In addition, the effective implementation of results achieved to date will be a priority.

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Achievements

System wide

Negotiations on UN revitalization and strengthening in the economic and social fields reflect the general reform agenda. The recent agreement on the revision of resolution 48/162 is a welcome stage in the reform process and is a good omen for the finalization of the Agenda for Development. Numerous elements of progress can be identified.

ECOSOC's important policy coordination role is recognized, and its work will be facilitated by a more active bureau. ECOSOC's substantive session will be shortened and measures will be taken to improve its preparation. Short periodic sessions close to the timing of the Bretton Woods Institutions Provisional Committee and Development Committee meetings will be held to improve high level debate and coordination.

The mandates, compositions, functions and working methods of all the functional commissions of ECOSOC, the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), the Committee for Development Planning (CDP) and the regional commissions are to be reviewed with a view to improving their effectiveness. The World Food Council has been discontinued and its functions absorbed by the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The joint meetings of the Administrative Committee on Coordination and Committee for Programme and Coordination were deemed of limited value and will be discontinued. The discussions on the funding of operational activities will be transferred to the governing bodies of the Funds and Programmes concerned (UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP).

The Secretary-General has set up an Efficiency Board chaired by the Under-Secretary-General for Administration, to advise him on the implementation of his programme to promote greater efficiency.

The Office of Internal Oversight Services has identified areas of overlap and duplication and made it possible to achieve substantial savings. Its capacity has been increased. The Office is currently seeking to extend its work to the Funds and Programmes.

At the initiative of the Secretary-General and under the direction of the Coordinator of Development Activities, three inter-agency task forces were set up, to work in the framework of the Administrative Coordinating Committee (ACC). These task forces will deal with the following themes: 1) creation of an environment suited to sustainable development (steered by the World Bank); 2) growth of job creation (steered by the ILO); 3) provision of basic social services (steered by the UNFPA).

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Budgeting

UN institutions have adopted budgets with a zero, or in some cases negative, growth rate in real terms. Maximizing the use of increasingly scarce resources, they ensured continuation of their development programmes (new activities are funded by reallocations). Agreement is now taking shape among most of these institutions on reducing overheads and improving the presentation of their budgets.

- United Nations: for the biennium 1996-97 a budget of US$ 2,608 million was adopted, which is significantly less than the final approved expenditures for 1994-95 and represents negative nominal growth. Expenditure and personnel reductions are envisaged.

- FAO: the programme-budget for the 1996-97 biennium has undergone considerable change (savings were made amounting to US$ 57 million) in order to make the organization more efficient while reducing operating costs. Savings were made, for the most part, thanks to efficiency gains and in non-technical units programmes.

- WHO: its budget increase is modest (2,5 %), well below the demands of its Secretariat (14%).

- ILO: in anticipation of the cuts announced for the 1996-97 biennium, additional savings (US$ 21 million) were made; the budget will be made more transparent.

- IFAD: 1996 is the third consecutive year of budget cuts in nominal and real terms and this has led the Organization to review its missions and internal operation.

- WFP: streamlining efforts are continuing (closure of 20 national offices that are no longer needed).

- UNDP: the 1996-97 biennium budget is down 11% in real terms compared to 1994-95; reductions in overhead costs are designed to protect its programmes. Decision procedures for programmes have been made more efficient.

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Humanitarian Relief

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the WFP and the UNHCR in order to coordinate their action programmes. Similar agreements were signed between UNICEF and the UNHCR and are under negotiation between UNICEF and the WFP. As requested at the 1995 ECOSOC substantive session, the DHA will submit a report at the next ECOSOC session on the capacities and performance of relevant UN emergency humanitarian relief agencies in order to improve their coordination.

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UNCTAD

The outcome of UNCTAD IX lays a solid foundation for the reform of UNCTAD. UNCTAD's work was reorganized around key priorities (trade-investment and development issues - those in which UNCTAD has a comparative advantage over other international organizations). Its work programme focuses on assistance to the poorest countries to promote their integration into the world trading system, in addition to WTO action. A significant priority effort in the direction of the Least Developed Countries has been agreed. The intergovernmental machinery was scaled down and improved (a single annual session of the Trade and Development Council; the number of commissions was cut to three; specialization of experts groups; cutting to 55 the total number of meeting days). All this builds on improvements plans presented earlier by UNCTAD's Secretary-General that will reduce the number of Secretariat divisions from 9 to 4 and improve cooperation and coordination with the WTO.

UNCTAD IX clarified UNCTAD's complementarity to WTO. Both organizations have agreed to improve their mutual coordination and cooperation (joint half-yearly meetings, improved working relations at all levels) so as to facilitate their work in the trade and development fields. Moreover, UNCTAD and UNIDO signed a joint communiqué intended to promote mutual cooperation on the basis of their existing mandates (yearly joint meetings, complementarity between programmes).

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Specialized Agencies

- FAO: a review the Organization's priorities is underway, following approval of a reduced budget for the 1996/97 biennium.

- UNESCO: a strategy document was adopted to reorient over the next 6 years the programmes of the organization. An ad hoc working group was set up to assess operation of the General Conference.

- WHO: the Executive Board decided to review the WHO mandate; related reforms (e.g. revision of the organizational chart, efficient human resources management) are planned.

- UNIDO: Budget cuts and personnel reductions are underway. Staff has reduced by 17 per cent since Halifax (50 per cent since 1993). Several management levels have been abolished, the number of divisions cut from 8 to 6 and improved coordination was set up between departments. A recent external audit advocated further reforms (additional reductions in administrative personnel, better targeting of interventions, scaling-down of administrative procedures, abolition of certain social benefits, etc.). Moreover, UNIDO is close to an agreement intended to promote its cooperation with WTO.

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Funds and Programmes

- UNICEF: the organization has completed its work on revising its mandate and is moving to adapt its administration.

- WFP: on 1 January 1996, the former governing body (Committee on Food Aid Policies and Programmes - CFA) was transformed into a downsized efficient Executive Board. The WFP launched a revision of its action programmes, in order to put an end to overlaps with other institutions.

- UNEP : UNEP is now revising its governing structure, with a view to ensuring greater political oversight.

- UNDP : the pivotal role ascribed to the UNDP in development operational activities within the United Nations system became a reality (e.g. the December 1995 agreement between the UNDP and the World Bank implementing joint development activities; the Special Initiative for Africa steered by the UNDP). The Executive Board reformed UNDP working methods with a view to improving effectiveness.

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Regional Economic Commissions

There are active review and prioritization exercises underway. ECOSOC will review the Regional Commissions with a view to improving their effectiveness.

- ESCAP: an external audit is in process to assess the impact of budget cuts on current programming. A revision of all work programmes and of the Commission's structure is planned in 1996.

- ECA: the Executive Secretary plans to carry out an in-depth restructuring of the Commission which includes a 10-20% cut in posts and a radical change of the priorities of the action programme.

- ECLAC: the Commission has set up an intergovernmental committee to set clear priorities and determine strategic directions.

- ECE: a full review of the operation of the Commission and a rigorous choice of priority activities are in progress.

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Agenda for Development

Part one (background and objectives) has been largely agreed. Negotiations on Part two (ways and means) and Part three (institutional adaptation) are in progress.

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Source: Lyon G7 Summit, June 29, 1996


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