Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
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YK:n 46. yleiskokous, ministeri Väyrysen puhe


Mr. President,

It is a true pleasure for me to see you, Mr. President, presiding over our deliberations. We trust that under your able guidance as well as with the experienced contribution of our able Secretary-General, Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, this General Assembly will proceed smoothly and successfully.

It is heartening to recognize the significant increase in the membership of the United Nations this year. We warmly welcome amongst us the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands as well as the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Finland salutes in particular her Baltic neighbours. We are now re-establishing relations and entering into close cooperation with them, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Mr. President,

The fact that the Baltic states regain their rightful place among independent nations reflects the vastness of change now under way in Europe and the whole world. Until now some of the most striking consequences of this process have been experienced in Europe. However, the development is worldwide and extends everywhere. The divided world, which emerged after World War II, is now giving way to a new order.

The power structures born after World War II were founded on the final outcome of the war and the military strength of the respective countries. The United Nations was established to forestall the causes of future wars.

Soon after the war, however, the antagonism between East and West began to grow. The military alliances were established. The Soviet Union and the United States developed into military super-powers. The power struggle between East and West was extended all over the world, and it was entwined as an essential part in all major regional crises.

Alongside military antagonism and the arms race, nations have been competing in the economic and technological fields. The nature of this competition has markedly changed during the last decades. We have moved into an era of high technology and worldwide integration. This creates growing interdependence between nations, but also increases differences. Economically and technologically strong nations are able to further increase their advance and thus their
international influence.

The old world order is passing into history, and a new one is emerging. In Europe, this has led from confrontation to co-operation. A new comprehensive European architecture is currently being worked out.

In order to cope with the emerging new conflicts and to safeguard a peaceful and democratic change the Conference of Security and Co-operation in Europe will have to be strengthened. The basic principles of the CSCE are solid, but the working methods and operational capabilities need to be further improved. We hope and expect that the CSCE follow-up meeting and the summit to be held next year in Helsinki will break new ground in this respect.

Tragically, in Yugoslavia, political ferment has led to increasing violence with potentially unsettling consequences for the whole Europe. Finland supports the efforts of the CSCE and the European Community to stop the cycle of violence and to help find a political solution in Jugoslavia. The support of the United Nations for these efforts is also vital.

Elsewhere in the world the new realities have facilitated the settlement of several regional conflicts. Namibia was set free. Apartheid is all but finished. Conflicts in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Central America and Western Sahara are being wound down. Even in the intractable Middle East there is a glimmer of hope.

The best example of the strengthened role of the United Nations is the liberation of Kuwait and the restoration of its independence. The Charter of the United Nations withstood a violent challenge to its authority. The Security Council acted promptly and effectively. The United Nations is and must continue to be actively engaged in alleviating the suffering caused by the Gulf War. This is true of humanitarian and other assistance, peace-keeping as well as the elimination of Iraq's remaining weapons of mass destruction. Respect for international law and collective security remains the basis in protecting the security of all
states - especially the smaller ones.

Side by side with these positive trends some global worries have to be tackled. On one hand, the Eastern and Central European countries, striving toward democracy, respect of human rights and market economy, must be given economic support. On the other hand, the economic and social problems of the developing countries continue undiminished. Poverty is still increasing in many of them, and the development prospects seem bleak. The economically advanced nations have to help solving the worldwide problem of development in a true spirit of global partnership.

Mr. President,

Time has also come to unravel the conflict that exists between the economy of man and that of nature. The tasks involved are not contradictory; improved technology in less developed countries can help to achieve both a higher material standard of living and an ecologically more sound society. Yet, humanity must face the hard truth; the present trend leads us into an inextricable dilemma. A continuously growing population, struggling towards increasing material
wealth, results inevitably in depletion of natural resources, changes in the climate and serious damage to nature. We are endangering our own welfare and that of our children. If the present trends continue, Mr. President, the very existence of mankind will be in question.

The combined effect of environmental destruction, population growth and climate change can be rapid and irreversible. Mankind cannot afford to wait. The world has little time to change its ways. Therefore, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development must become a turning point, the
beginning of a process towards sustainable development.

Finland hopes that the ongoing negotiations on global framework conventions on climate change and biodiversity can be concluded in time for UNCED. Another process of global negotiations that, we hope, will be initiated by UNCED, is the framework convention on forestry. The livelihood of my own country is to a great extent derived from forestry and forest resources. They grow slowly, but can be squandered quickly. I speak with conviction when I emphasize the
importance of forests as a part of global resource management.

As a matter of fact, there is one cure for many global environmental problems: forestation and reforestation. Forests provide fuelwood. Forests prevent desertification, floods and erosion. Forests protect cultivated land and they shelter flora and fauna. Forests temper extreme changes in the climate and slow down more permanent changes. Forests absorb carbon dioxide.

All these concerns, which have emerged during recent decades, present a real challenge to mankind. We have to capture the same sense of solidarity and common responsibility which inspired the birth of nation-states. We have to incorporate in our political systems a new, global level. Our world needs a new architecture for human interaction, effective decision-making processes and effective structures for cooperation.

The new world architecture should take into account the current realities. The responsibility for both development and the environment should be born by nations according to the ratio of their power and wealth. The strongest economic powers, which also profit most by worldwide integration, should bear the greatest responsibility for helping those countries, which do not have sufficient possibilities to succeed in this competition. Burden-sharing in financing, be it development aid or environmental investments, should be based not only on capacities in terms of the gross national product but also in terms of current account surpluses of national economies. Furthermore, we have to consider whether the share of financing for the environment could be based on the use of non-renewable natural resources and the damage caused to nature. Those countries which profit most, should pay the largest share of the costs involved.

If we look at the state and future of mankind, we are bound to conclude that the architecture of global decision-making, and the United Nations as an important part of it, needs to be reviewed creatively.

Finland welcomes the proposal by the Secretary-General in his report on the work of the Organization that a well-organized process of analysis and consultation be initiated in which Governments can outline their priorities for the achievement of their desired objectives for the Organization.

The reforms in the economic and social fields call for a new kind of division of responsibilities. This can be done without changing the democratic nature of the world organization. Already now many donor countries are seriously reconsidering their priorities in resource allocation. If reforms are not decided upon soon, there is a risk of stagnation in the ability of the UN development activities to fulfill their role due to the shortage of secured funding. And still, there clearly is a broad-based interest among the Member States to maintain the UN in the forefront of development activities.

Against this background the Nordic countries have undertaken a study called the "Nordic UN project". It reflects the desire of these countries, which account for about one third of the development financing, to make the UN system more transparent, responsive and accountable.

Regarding humanitarian assistance, the structures and coordination within the United Nations are to be clarified and strengthened systemwide. In order to improve the ability of the United Nations to rapidly alleviate humanitarian emergencies and environmental catastrophies, the concept of so called Green Helmets is worth of closer study.

Mr. President,

The capacity of the United Nations to maintain and restore international peace and security is a continuing concern to Finland. The clandestine pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and massive transfers of conventional arms are objects of valid and growing concern. These sources of present and future instability need to be addressed by the international community through strengthening non-proliferation arrangements and through novel approaches.
Finland supports increased transparency in international arms transfers. Establishment of a universal and non-discriminatory register of such transfers under United Nations management is the pragmatic way to begin.

Finland has consistently supported the United Nations peace-keeping activities. We have long been a major troop-contributing country. We support the extension of United Nations peace-keeping into new fields, including that of prevention of conflicts. We attach particular importance to supporting the role of the United Nations in context of peace-making and peace enforcement. The new and more effective role of the United Nations in this area is currently being studied among the Nordic countries, and we are actively engaged in formulating concrete proposals in this regard.

Mr. President,

The United Nations was born to prevent war. That primary responsibility remains. However, five decades ago there was no idea of how extensive the present and future problems of development and environment would become. When the Charter of the United Nations was formulated, nobody knew which role
economic and technological developments would play and which effects they would have internationally. Now, as the Organization is approaching its fiftieth anniversary, there is ample reason for a thorough review of the challenges the United Nations is facing, and of the adequacy of its structures and mechanisms, including the Charter, to respond to them. We need a new world architecture.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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