H.E. LEO A. FALCAM
PRESIDENT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
MILLENIUM SUMMIT OF THE
New York, September 6, 2000
Check Against Delivery
Presidents of the 54h and 55h General Assembly,
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.
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
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
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
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.