Resolution 1373 (2004)1
Strengthening of the United Nations
1. The Parliamentary Assembly has a long
history of constant support for the United Nations. It recalls its Resolution 1351
(2003) on the role of the United Nations
in Iraq in which it calls unilateral action a fundamental challenge to the
principles of collective security and the United Nations Charter. Likewise,
its previous recommendations concerning the United Nations (Recommendation 1367
(1998) on reform of the United Nations,
(1999) on relations with the United
Nations and Recommendation 1476
(2000) on the United Nations at the
turn of the new century) call for an enhanced role for that organisation.
2. The Assembly continues to give its full
backing to the strengthening of the United Nations, a world body of which its
members feel fully part. It underlines the necessity for the United Nations
to maintain its capacity to adapt to new challenges while remaining faithful
to the purposes and principles laid down in its charter.
3. The Assembly welcomes the forward-looking attitude of the United Nations
Secretary General, Kofi Annan, and his readiness to cast a critical eye on
his organisation in an urge to adapt it better to the requirements of todays
world. It gives its full backing to the work of the High-level Panel on Threats,
Challenges and Change set up by the Secretary General in November 2003.
4. The year 2003 has been a difficult one for the United Nations and for
those who believe in collective responses to global challenges. Confidence
in the multilateral system has been undermined by the war in Iraq, the occupation
of a sovereign state without prior authorisation by the Security Council.
None the less, the ongoing violence in Iraq and the difficulties faced by
the United States-led military occupation in the planned transfer of sovereignty
to Iraqis have prompted widespread calls for a central United Nations role
in this crucial phase.
5. The Assembly is committed to multilateralism and to a collective response
to global threats. It is more than ever convinced that a multilateral system
founded on the United Nations and its charter is the only way to meet the
complexity of todays challenges, be they soft or hard threats,
or old or new in nature.
6. As regards institutional reform, the Assembly agrees on the need for
reform of the Security Council but urges a broader approach in order to give
due weight to the other departments and agencies of the organisation, in
accordance with the spirit of the charter.
7. In order to increase its legitimacy, the Security Council must be made
more representative of the United Nations membership. At present, the
membership of the Security Council reflects the post-war world order which
held sway when it was first formed.
8. While the transparency of working procedures has been improved, decision
making in the Security Council must be rendered more effective in order to
convince its members of its efficacy. The current veto system needs to be
modified. The Assembly supports the proposal of the European Parliament to
replace it by a system of double veto (veto only relevant if
used by two permanent members) and only in the cases referred to in Chapter
VII of the United Nations Charter (threats to peace, breaches of peace and
acts of aggression). The Security Council must find mechanisms for more effective
implementation of its resolutions.
9. The Council of Europe member states which are permanent members of the
Security Council, France, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom,
should take the lead by showing flexibility as regards Security Council reform
in order to break the current deadlock.
10. The Assembly takes note of the General Assembly resolution on revitalisation
of the work of the General Assembly (A/RES/58/126) and welcomes the efforts
by its President to restore the Assembly's intended role as the premier decision-making
and political body of the United Nations.
11. The Assembly considers, however, that a genuine revitalisation necessitates
not just new rules and procedures to improve efficiency but also the introduction
of a parliamentary dimension to the work of the General Assembly, at times
called the parliament of man. The parliamentary dimension could
also improve the follow-up at national level to various United Nations conferences
12. The Assembly notes the European Parliament resolution on the relations
between the European Union and the United Nations (2003/2049, 29 January
2004) and it welcomes the proposal contained in it to jointly launch, with
regional and world parliamentary assemblies, a network of parliamentarians
to discuss major political issues related to the United Nations activity
and the challenges it faces.
13. Globalisation has had a highly uneven impact on the economies and the
societies of member states while it has failed to bring economic benefits
to all. There is therefore an urgent need for the United Nations to promote
a fairer and better economic world order. To this end the Assembly supports
proposals to set up at the United Nations an economic and social security
council, thus providing itself with a politically legitimate platform to
discuss global economic and social problems. It is also important in the
pursuit of a fairer economic order that the International Labour Organization
(ILO) enjoy the parity of effective enforcement that the World Trade Organization
(WTO) currently enjoys. Furthermore, the Assembly believes that the Bretton
Woods institutions need to be reformed and should receive direction and legitimacy
from a newly created economic and social security council.
14. The Assembly also supports the initiative of the United Nations to draft
a world charter of local self-government, being prepared by the UN Habitat
Agency. This development, together with the establishment by the UN of an
Advisory Council of Local Government is a sure sign of the intentions of
the UN to give itself a stronger local authority dimension. The Assembly
encourages the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council
of Europe to contribute to those initiatives.
15. The Assembly encourages the United Nations Secretary General to make
full use of the expertise of regional organisations, such as the Council
of Europe, in addressing global threats and in implementing the United Nations various
programmes and activities. The Council of Europes experience in specific
areas, such as building democratic security and stability, the promotion
and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, confidence-building
measures, protection of national minorities, promotion of local self-government,
promotion of equal opportunities between women and men, the fight
against racism and protection of the environment can only strengthen
and complement the United Nations response to global threats.
16. The Assembly calls on the governments of
the Council of Europe member and Observer states:
i. as regards the United Nations General Assembly
a. give their full support to the General Assembly resolution
on revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly (A/RES/58/126)
and do their utmost to implement its provisions;
b. make proposals to enhance the authority of the President of
the General Assembly by extending her/his mandate to three years and
to consider electing a political figure to this post in order to give
the General Assembly more political leverage;
c. include parliamentarians in their national delegation and
endow them with the possibility of participating actively in the work
of the General Assembly;
ii. as regards the Security Council: to adopt a genuinely constructive
attitude towards making the Security Council more representative of the
United Nations member states, as well as in rendering its decision
making more effective;
iii. as regards the United Nations agencies: to contribute to assuring
long-term financial viability for them;
iv. as regards the United Nations relations with the Bretton Woods
institutions: to improve the role the United Nations plays in global financial
decisions by setting up at the United Nations an economic and social security
v. as regards the goals set by the Millennium Declaration: to honour the
commitments they made in the year 2000 by providing the necessary financial
resources for their implementation;
vi. to make the election by member states of the
chairpersons of the organisation's principal committees conditional on
the candidates national government having ratified and implemented
the United Nations covenants for the protection of human rights;
vii. to set up at the United Nations an environmental
and energy security council, to help face challenges such as energy shortages
and global warming.
debate on 28 April 2004
(12th Sitting) (see Doc.
10120, report of the Political
Affairs Committee; rapporteur: Ms de Zulueta).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 28 April 2004 (12th Sitting).