WikiLeaks cable: NZ response on UN reform

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

27 June, 2005
SUBJECT: NEW ZEALAND RESPONSE ON UN REFORM

This record is a partial extract of the original cable.
The full text of the original cable is not available.

Classified By: ACTING DCM KATHERINE HADDA, FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (SBU) On June 21, Charge delivered ref A, B and C
demarche points to Wen Chin Powles and Valerie Meyer, both
Deputy Directors at the United Nations, Human Rights and
Commonwealth Division (UNHC) of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Trade (MFAT). Powles and Meyer said that the
GoNZ's positions on reform of the UN and the Commission on
Human Rights are largely synchronized with the U.S. positions
though the U.S. is further along in fleshing out its
positions. MFAT also subsequently sent a copy of its recent
statement to the June 21 Informal Meeting in advance of the
General Assembly September High-level plenary. The text of
the statement is attached at para 8.

New Zealand aims generally support U.S. interests
--------------------------------------------- ----
2. (SBU) According to Powles and Meyer, the GoNZ generally
supports our UN reform interests including those of the
Peacebuilding Commission, the responsibility to protect
(where New Zealand will push for the strongest possible
language including the override of sovereignty in cases of
genocide, ethnic cleansing and similar), counterterrorism,
developmental reform, and secretariat reform.

New Zealand
seeks strengthening of disarmament and nonproliferation
provisions.

3. (C) On Security Council reform, New Zealand will oppose
any expansion of the veto power, in keeping with New
Zealand's consistant stance against UNSC vetoes since the UN
was founded. And while supportive of a Japanese role on the
Security Council, New Zealand is "not certain about a
permanent seat for Japan," said Powles. Viewing that
Security Council reform is overwhelming the U.N., Powles
commented that New Zealand "doesn't want (reform) to be
polarizing and dominating." New Zealand has been asked about
its position on Security Council reform by the governments of
Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico and South Korea,
she added.

But there are some areas of difference
--------------------------------------
4. (C) Regarding the proposed Human Rights Council, the
GoNZ shares the USG view that a smaller body is needed for
greater effectiveness, and in fact sees a still smaller
membership than the 20 members we proposed, Meyer said. She
acknowledged, however, that few countries share this desire
for a still smaller membership. GoNZ shares our concerns
that a peer review process might bog the Council down to the
detriment of its primary mission. However, Myer implied that
the GoNZ is open to the notion of peer review, even as it
would need to see more discussion on the idea. The GoNZ
seeks more equal status of the Council vis-a-vis the Security
Council and ECOSOC, and sees the Council as a "principal
organ of the United Nations" consistent with the "Three
Pillar" arrangement promoted by the Secretary General.
However, while indicating that the Council should have the
authority to investigate, censure and make recommendations,
Meyer said that sanctions and other enforcement mechanisms
should come from UNSC.
Meyer further said that the GoNZ is "supportive of keeping
the good things of the HRC, including the role of NGOs."
Finally, Meyer indicated New Zealand's supports a regular
source of budget funding as opposed to a system dependent on
voluntary contributions.

5. (SBU) On the Peace Building Commission (PBC), Powles
reported general consensus; however she noted possible
differences on how the PBC would fit into the UN framework
and it membership characteristics. She did acknowledge that
these differences might result more from a lack of detail on
the PBC rather than on our diverging views. New Zealand
favors early establishment of a Peace Building Commission,
with Powles suggesting that NZ has a more ambitious timeline
than the U.S.

6. (SBU) Climate change will continue to be a focus area
for New Zealand during the UN reform initiative. As
indicated by Powles, the GoNZ used a June 21st statement to
an informal meeting plenary to promote a strong position on
climate change, one which supports the UN Secretary's General
position. However, as she had indicated, their statement
(para 8) did not provide much detail.

7. (SBU) After the recent failure of the May
Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to reach
consensus, New Zealand is looking to see disarmament and
non-proliferation language strengthened, Powles said.
However, similar to climate change, their statement (para 8)
did not provide much detail.

Text of New Zealand's Statement
-------------------------------
8. (U) Begin Text: Mr President
The High Level Event in September will be a unique
opportunity to reinvigorate the United Nations. Member
States have a wide range of national, regional and
international interests. But we believe that we all share a
fundamental interest in ensuring that the United Nations is
able effectively to meet the challenges of the twenty-first
century.

When our Leaders gather here in less than three months time
they will want to take decisions that will substantially
strengthen the UN. The draft contains many sound
recommendations and we thank you for your careful work in
drawing it together. We see it as a solid platform and we
welcome the positive momentum it is generating. There are,
however, several areas of priority importance to New Zealand
where we would like to suggest bolder language, more
definition of concepts and clearer signposts to follow up
action.

Mr President

We agree that development is a central goal in itself - as
well as vital for achieving collective security. We are
pleased to see that the draft is imbued with the "Spirit of
Monterrey", underlining the need to mobilise all resources
for development including aid, trade and domestic resources.
New Zealand supports the positive references to the need to
progress the Doha Development Round.

Along with increasing volumes of aid, it is important to
ensure that aid delivery is effective from developing
countries' points of view: New Zealand strongly supports the
emphasis on aid effectiveness present in the document.

The draft outcome document rightly emphasises the importance
of dealing with climate change. A constructive international
dialogue is urgently needed on how to take meaningful action
on climate change, and at the same time provide for future
economic growth and development aspirations. As the
Secretary-General has said, we must develop a more inclusive

SIPDIS
international framework beyond 2012. Anything less than
broad and balanced participation and action, in particular by
all of the world's major emitters, including both developed
and developing countries, will be inadequate to deal with a
challenge of this magnitude.

We are particularly pleased to see that the draft outcome
document recognises the plight of countries in special
situations, particularly small island developing states. We
hope that the Summit will add impetus for the implementation
of the Mauritius Strategy for SIDS.

We can support many of the elements of the draft outcome
document on disarmament and non-proliferation but would like
to see a number of them strengthened to better address the
security challenges in today's world. Our strong wish is for
our leaders to agree on concrete steps towards elimination of
weapons of mass destruction, as well as measures to prevent
their proliferation. The 2000 NPT outcome identified steps
that should be taken towards achieving nuclear disarmament.
Against that background we cannot support the implication
that progress on nuclear disarmament might be held hostage to
"general and complete disarmament", as suggested by the
current draft text.

New Zealand welcomes the proposals to strengthen the United
Nations' human rights machinery, but in our view they do not
go far enough to establish the protection and promotion of
human rights. It remains our view that the proposed Human
Rights Council should be a principal organ of the UN. This
would reflect the primacy of human rights in the Charter and
give the new body maximum authority in responding to emerging
or critical human rights situations. The Council should be a
smaller body than the current Commission on Human Rights in
order to expedite decision-making and facilitate consensus on
action. We are concerned by the omission from the current
draft of the Secretary-General's stricture that those elected
to the Council should undertake to abide by the highest human
rights standards.

We would also want the outcome document to provide more
clarity on the functions, mandate and powers of the Council,
and its functional relationship with other organs of the UN
system. The Council should be able to investigate, censure
and make recommendations on further action to the Security
Council and the proposed Peacebuilding Commission. The
Council's relationship with the General Assembly's Third
Committee needs to be clarified in order to avoid overlapping
functions and mandates. We are interested in the proposed
peer review mechanism but would like to see further developed
how it would work in practice.

Strengthening the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights and providing it with the requisite funds from the
regular budget of the UN must be a priority. We would also
like to see a more explicit reaffirmation in the outcome
document of the policy of mainstreaming human rights
throughout the UN system and an enhanced role for the High
Commissioner in relation to the Security Council and the
proposed Peacebuilding Commission.

Mr President

We are pleased that the proposal for the Peacebuilding
Commission has broad and increasing support. New Zealand
fully supports the role and mandate of the PBC as broadly
described in the current draft. It reflects well what is
required to fill the institutional gap. However, we believe
the draft can and should go further. It is within our reach
to agree on the structure of the PBC so that Leaders can
formally establish it in September.

On details, we would make three points. First, on size, we
believe the optimal number for core membership would be no
more than 20, with balanced participation from both the
Security Council and ECOSOC (say, five from each) plus
representation by key donors, Troop Contributing Countries,
regional partners and International Financial Institutions on
the basis proposed in the Secretary-General's explanatory
note. We also support the Secretary-General's recommendation
that national authorities and relevant regional actors should
be involved in the Peacebuilding Commission's
country-specific sub-groups and would like to see this
reflected in the outcome document.

Second, on mandate, we fully support the proposal that Member
States should be able to apply to the PBC and the Standing
Fund for assistance in reducing the risk of either new or
recurring conflict.

Thirdly, given the advisory nature of the PBC, we query the
need for sequential reporting. In our view, the strength of
the PBC should be its ability to coordinate and provide
transition. To do this, it should have the flexibility to
report to either the Security Council or ECOSOC, and to the
GA and the HR Council according to need.

We support the establishment of a Standing Fund allowing UN
agencies to fill the funding gap immediately after conflict
ends and before bilateral assistance arrives. We also fully
support the Secretary-General's proposal to establish a small
Peacebuilding Support Office.

As the Secretary-General says, terrorism is a threat to all
that the United Nations stands for. We support his proposal
to implement a UN counter-terrorism strategy. This strategy
must be comprehensive, taking into account the underlying
factors which fuel and generate support for terrorism. We
support the call to conclude a comprehensive convention on
terrorism during the 60th session of the GA.

Mr President

We welcome the draft language on responsibility to protect.
We agree that the primary responsibility to protect civilians
lies with individual Member States. However, where States
are unable or unwilling to protect their population from
genocide, large scale violations of international
humanitarian law or ethnic cleansing, we believe strongly
that the international community has the responsibility to
take collective action. We would emphasise that this
responsibility is about protecting civilians within the
parameters of international law, and specifically within the
provisions of the UN Charter.

We look forward to Leaders in September fully embracing the
responsibility to protect and would support language in the
Leaders' declaration making clear the elements comprising the
responsibility to protect.

Mr President

For a fully effective Secretariat we must urgently strengthen
the Secretary-General's ability to manage resources flexibly,
and ensure that the Organisation can attract the highest
calibre of staff. We are pleased to see the management
reform measures that are being put in place. Leaders should
agree to provide the Secretary-General with the necessary
flexibility and authority to carry out his responsibilities,
whilst requiring a full system of accountability, integrity
and transparency.

We fully endorse the urgent need to review mandates that are
older than five years and identify resources for shifting to
other priorities. We should not shy away from the
possibility that some activities have outlived their
usefulness, or could be delivered in a different way.

There is scope for this part of the draft to map out a
clearer agenda for ongoing updating of mandates, and of
management practices, and to better distinguish between
action that is already under way and what now needs to
happen. Without repeating them, I would nevertheless like to
associate New Zealand with the points on management reform
made by Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the United
Kingdom. I also echo the point just made by Norway on the
need for progress on gender balance in the UN system.

Mr President

We strongly support the draft language on concluding
negotiations on a protocol expanding legal protection for UN
and associated personnel during UNGA60. Attacks against
personnel continue and New Zealand looks forward to early
agreement on this issue. Discussions on the scope of the
Protocol have brought us to a point where conclusion of a new
legal instrument, which materially broadens the Protocol, is
within reach.

Finally Mr President

New Zealand has been a loyal advocate and supporter of the
United Nations since 1945. We sincerely want to see the
organisation emerge in better shape from the current
initiative. We are ready and willing to play our part in the
work that still lies ahead. End Text

Swindells

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