Wednesday, 22 May 2013
UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK, February 11, 2010: -- Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves today chided the Ad Hoc Working Group charged with following up on last year's Conference on the Financial and Economic Crisis for its lack of urgency and undue deference to other United Nations organs.
The Permanent Representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations, whose role as co-facilitator for the June 2009 UN Conference and its contentious negotiations was widely praised by Member States, lamented the "comparative inertia" of the Working Group over the last six months.
"Any definition of a crisis necessarily includes the element of time," said Gonsalves. "This temporal aspect is what separates a crisis from an ongoing or perpetual state of difficulty or distress. A crisis is a point or period in time of instability, difficulty or danger. Any response to such a crisis must therefore be similarly grounded in elements of timeliness - urgency, rapidity, and immediacy."
"To date, the United Nations is guilty of a decided lack of urgency in its response to the most severe global and economic crisis since the establishment of this body," he said.
Ambassador Gonsalves also lamented the fact that the Working Group was still discussing procedural matters - such as which issues should be discussed, and in what order - rather than confronting the crisis itself.
"We cannot be proud of the fact that it has taken us six and one half months to hold our first meeting to follow up on the issues on the Outcome Document, or that this first meeting is still confined to discussing what should be discussed, rather than the critical substantive matters confronting most, if not all, of our member states," he said.
"The mandate of [the applicable resolutions] is that this Ad Hoc Working Group "follow up on the issues contained" in the outcome of the Conference. As such, an exclusion of any issue that exists in the Outcome Document is an unacceptable deviation from our clear mandate," said Gonsalves.
The Vincentian envoy also took issue with the explanation offered for the limited recent activity by a co-chair of the Working Group - namely that other UN bodies were discussing various aspects of the crisis, and that the working group did not want to "duplicate" those deliberations.
"[M]y delegation has scoured the Outcome Document and can find little mandate for the implied deference to ECOSOC and the Second Committee," said Gonsalves. "This working group was created to act as a form of crisis response, and thus cannot simply sit on its hands in deference to the business-as-usual deliberations of other pre-existing bodies."
"Indeed, in as much as the Outcome Document assigned certain tasks to ECOSOC and other bodies, it is also the mandate of this working group to follow-up on the implementation of those tasks," he said. "'Duplication' cannot be shorthand for the avoidance of any issue contained in the Outcome, which we are duty-bound to follow-up in its entirety."
Calling once again for "regular, substantive and action-oriented meetings . . . with new energy and purpose," Ambassador Gonsalves said "it would be an unfortunate indictment of both this Working Group and UN's ability to 'achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic. . .character,' as stated in our Charter, if we detain ourselves unnecessarily with procedural fiddling while our national economies burn and disintegrate."
To read Ambassador Gonsalves' statement to the Ad Hoc Working Group, click HERE