Government of the Federated States of Micronesia





New York, September 6, 2000

Check Against Delivery

Presidents of the 54h and 55h General Assembly,
Secretary General,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Representatives and delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen:

Today I am compelled to express more briefly than usual to the distinguished Presidents of the 54th and 55th General Assemblies my congratulations and respect. Please be assured that I do so only in light of the shortness of time allotted for me to address this historic assembly. I thank you also, Mr. Secretary-General, for your inspiration and energetic leadership along with that of President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, in organizing this summit. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Honorable lonatana lonatana, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, and the people of Tuvalu for their Nation's admittance yesterday as a new member of this august body.

Mr. President,

Within recent years, this organization has had several occasions to celebrate historic milestones and to consider the future of our global community. Nevertheless, surely a thousand year milestone provides a unique opportunity to focus on this organization and each of our roles in it - an opportunity that deserves our most thoughtful attention.

My small-island nation, situated in the Western Pacific region, has a particular interest in the advent of the New Millennium. While our people, and our traditions and cultures existed on more than 600 of our islands throughout the last millennium, it was only in its closing moments that we secured our constitutional union and emerged into nationhood. Thus, at the dawn of this new millennium, for the first time in all history, we proudly look beyond our borders to take our place in the world, and in this community of nations.

Mr. President, it is well that the overall theme of this summit focuses on the role of the United Nations in the twenty-first century, rather than on the entire new millennium ahead. For it is the behaviour of mankind within the next hundred years, rather than the next thousand, that will determine our future on this planet. Despite the efforts of the past thousand years, we still find ourselves today in a world where a fortunate few enjoy most of the blessings of the earth's resources, and the fruits of modem development.

At the dawn of this new millennium we find much excitement over the rich promise of "globalization." But, for more than half of the peoples of the world who remain in need and who live under the constant threat of devastating diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV-Aids, it remains open to serious question whether globalization holds any real promise of release from the cycle of poverty. In fact, there are strong suspicions that globalization could widen the gap between developed and underdeveloped nations.

We appeal to the United Nations that if human security is to be achieved, and the gap between the developed and underdeveloped nations is to be minimized, new and more relevant mechanisms for evaluating social and developmental needs, such as the vulnerability index, must be applied.

Within the last several hundred years, the onset of industrialization and technological advance has created a multi-national appetite for luxury and consumption that seems unquenchable. But compelling scientific evidence tells us today that this headlong pursuit, if not moderated within the twenty-first century, threatens the lives of all our descendants and the very habitability of the planet that we so recklessly continue to abuse.

In my small-island nation, for example, we grow increasingly alarmed over the glacial progress of the world community toward taking even minimal first steps to confront the indisputable threats posed by human-induced global warming and its consequent sea-level rise.

And so, it is clear that this body, the United Nations, already has a full and compelling agenda for the coming century. Up to this point I venture to say that in its work the United Nations has placed issues of military security at the top of its priorities. But, the world is still dangerously unsettled today, and the UN's efforts at peacemaking and peacekeeping have had mixed success at best. The time has come to recognize that other components of the United Nations agenda-sustainable economic development and poverty eradication, social development, good governance and human rights - are as central to the achievement of long term security as controlling military aggression when it arises.

All nations of the world, developed and developing, must approach these crucial problem areas with far greater commitment to timely progress than exists today if, during the Twenty-First Century, the world is to be made a more secure place for all its peoples.

If, by the end of this century we are still warring amongst ourselves, it will mean more than just that this body has failed its purpose. It will mean that we have tailed our deeper responsibility to reverse the inequitable imbalances within our global society.

I am well aware that I say nothing new here. Appeals for new commitment and political will have been made for years, and thus far, the answer has been, "not yet awhile." If it is naïve to hope that concrete actions might flow during this century from the words expressed at this summit, then the prospect of a viable future for humankind during succeeding centuries is surely in question.

I choose to take encouragement from the emergence of great processes sponsored by the United Nations during the last decade, including the agenda for environment and development, the framework convention on climate change, the biodiversity convention, and summits held on human rights and social development, to name only a few. All these, however, must acquire a sense of urgency not now present, if the United Nations is to remain truly our best hope for the future.

Mr. President, the Secretary-General surely put it well in describing our opportunity here as one for a "moral recommitment to the purposes and principles laid down in the Charter." Nothing less is required if we are to achieve the "new political momentum" of which he spoke, "for the international cooperation and solidarity that the peoples of the world increasingly demand." With respect, I would go further and say that a moral recommitment must include the determination for action with unaccustomed speed, across the entire spectrum of this body's agenda.

Only with such determination can the new century indeed become the century of globalization in the best meaning of that term-a century that would mark a great turning point, at the end of which all Nations could say, "we did our part to secure the future."

Thank you, Mr. President.