Gabon the institutions entrusted with implementing those principles.

Gabon welcomes and supports the initiative for
significant reform within the United Nations system. There is no contradiction
between holding a deep commitment to the UN’s founding principles, and being a
forceful advocate for change in the institutions entrusted with implementing
those principles. Indeed, a commitment to those founding principles is itself a
major argument for reform, especially in relation to those procedures and
institutions that have regrettably shown themselves not adequate to their
tasks.

Any approach to UN reform must recognize the
integrated nature of the UN system as a whole. At the same time, no single
issue can take precedence or hold reform on other tracks hostage. Security
Council reform, in particular, has attracted considerable attention and is
clearly overdue. However a single issue, however important, cannot be allowed
to over shadow other areas in which immediate and concrete change is urgently
required.  

Gabon is a country which believes deeply in the
founding principles of the United Nations. But it is also a country that has
been disadvantaged by some of the UN’s shortcomings. The discriminatory
attitude to developing countries in many parts of the UN system is an anomaly
needing urgent attention in its own right, but also a symptom of wider failings
in the system. Only if the UN is able to address fairly the disadvantaged
minorities within its own walls, does it stand any chance of advancing the
needs of such groups in the world at large. A significant test of the
effectiveness of any process of reform, therefore, must be the extent to which
the United Nations genuinely becomes an organization of all its members.

For these reasons Gabon has a sincere and profound
interest in the success of the reform initiative, and is keen to work together
with member states to achieve real results, both to restore and bolster the
credibility of institution and to bring real benefit to the citizens of member
states.

 

UNSC
Reform

The question of the reform of the UNSC is as old as
the UN itself. Member States have consistently
voiced concerns over permanent representation on the Council and the power of
the veto, by which point global geopolitical realities had clearly shifted since
1945. Discussion about reforming the UN Security Council began with the 1993 establishment of the Open-ended Working Group on the Question of
Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security
Council and Other Matters related to the Security Council.

After more than a decade of the
Working Group, Member States decided in September 2007 to move discussions to
an Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) process. The delegation of Gabon echoes
the decision 62/557 of 2008, which laid out the parameters of the IGN, the
five key issues under consideration in these negotiations are: 1) categories of
membership to the Council (i.e. permanent, non-permanent, or a third option),
2) the question of the veto, 3) regional representation, 4) size of an enlarged
council and working methods, and 5) the relationship between the Council and
the General Assembly.

Gabon sternly believes it is
vital to ensure that multilateralism guaranteed collective security and
inclusion.  Africa represents the largest geographic group at the United
Nations and issues relating to the continent remain the bulk of the Council’s
agenda.  Any future Security Council reform must ensure that Africa has a
permanent seat. That is part and parcel of the aspirations for genuine democracy
of global political and economic governance.

Gabon’s
and the African Common Position stand to enlarge the Security Council in both
the permanent and non-permanent categories, improve on its working methods and
accord the new permanent members the same prerogatives and privileges as those
of the current permanent members, including the right to veto. Gabon believes
that an equitable representation mandates the increase in the Security Council’s
membership from fifteen to twenty-six with the eleven additional seats to be
distributed as follows where two permanent seats and two (additional) non-permanent
seats are for African States, two permanent seats and one non-permanent seat is
for Asian States, one non-permanent seat is Eastern European States, one
permanent seat and one non-permanent seat is for Latin American and Caribbean
States, and one permanent seat is for Western European and other States.

We would
like the special committee to evaluate the ways the veto is being used to
obstruct action against threats to international peace and security, and the
instruments available, such as Uniting for Peace with extended authorization,
to circumvent this blockade created in the council by political motivations.

The lack of representation at the Council is a
cancer that eats away at every institution within the UN system. Power is
shifting, but not in the Security Council, where the victors of a war fought 70
years ago determine every important decision. We cannot let this effort
at reform has fall foul of power politics.

UN
Peacekeeping

The volatile and challenging
atmosphere surrounding peace operations on the continent creates the need for
greater cooperation between the United Nations and regional mechanisms.
Deployment of the 15 existing peacekeeping missions in the internationally
community mandated under chapters VI-VIII of the United Nations Charter has
fallen short on metrics of effectiveness and human rights protection. The
effectiveness has been compromised by the lack of finance mechanisms, targeted
mandates, co-ordination between parallel actors and the ill-training of the
blue helmets. These soldiers have also been found perpetrating heinous
acts of human rights violations, primarily, sexual abuses. These have become
systemic due a lack of monitoring mechanisms for UN peacekeeping operations.

Gabon, with its capacity, has been
an avid contributor to peacekeeping operations such as MINUSCA mandated
to protect civilians and support transition processes in the Central African
Republic. The Security Council authorized on 10 April 2014 deployed
this– with the protection of civilians as its utmost priority. Its other initial tasks
included support for the transition process; facilitating humanitarian
assistance; promotion and protection of human rights; support for justice and
the rule of law; and disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and
repatriation (DDR) processes. The Central African Republic
Peacekeeping regime is evident is necessary to maintain sustained interaction
between the UN and the Regional Organizations in order to build particularly
the operational capacities of the organizations. To this end, the UN, the
developed countries and the other regional groupings, should continue to give
logistic and financial support to the speeding up of the establishment of an
African Standby Force.

The focus on peacekeeping must also stress the element
of multidimensional missions involving conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and
post-conflict peacebuilding to prevent relapse of conflict. There is need to
promote closer cooperation and coordination between the General Assembly, the
Security Council, ECOSOC, the major Funds and Programmes, the UN Specialised
Agencies, the Member States and the Regional Organisations throughout the cycle
of the conflict. Gabon suggests the use of de-confliction arrangements to
ensure co-ordination of parallel actors in a region. This would guarantee a
harmonious transition from conflict management to long-term reconstruction
until the danger of instability or the threat of resumption of the conflict has
diminished.

It is important to lay down clear rules for the
deployment of UN peacekeeping operations to avoid arbitrary use of the right of
veto that may delay or obstruct such deployment when the need for deploying
peacekeeping forces arises. Jus Cogens, peremptory norms that protect the veil
of international peace and security, must always be the test for the legality
and effectiveness of such missions.

 

 

The
United Nations and Human Rights

The protection of civilians against human rights
violations is one of the five fundamental pillars of the protection of
civilians in armed conflict, whereby we strive to improve the situation on the
ground and to enforce international law. The multidimensional task of
protecting civilians encompasses all of the Security Council’s areas of
jurisdiction. Gabon is party to the various treaties and conventions on human rights
law and humanitarian law and we believe that responsibility for the protection
of civilians, both in peacetime and in armed conflict, falls primarily to
States themselves.

Gabon, once the most stable and barely discussed
nations in Africa, is now front and center in all global news outlets and
teetering on the edge of civil war. While we commend the readiness of the AU, with the support of the countries of
the region and partners concerned, to assist the parties in Gabon in their
search for a rapid settlement to the post-election
situation that prevails in their country, for far too long have
countries interfered in internal jurisdictions as if its backyard.

In times of armed conflict, all parties, including
non-State armed groups, have the obligation to protect civilian populations. In
our view, every indiscriminate attack against civilians in the a conflict
constitutes a violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.
When all parties to an armed conflict neglect to protect civilians, then it
falls to the Security Council and the international community to fill the gap
in a systematic way through relevant dialogue and consultations.

Since the General Assembly and the Security Council
are often far from the scenes of conflicts and may not be in a position to
undertake effectively a proper appreciation of the nature and development of
conflict situations, it is imperative that Regional Organisations, in areas of
proximity to conflicts, are empowered to take actions in this regard. The
African Union agrees with the Panel that the intervention of Regional
Organisations should be with the approval of the Security Council; although such
approval could be granted  in
circumstances requiring urgent action. In such cases, the UN should assume
responsibility for financing such operations.  

 We can be
proud of the important normative framework that the Council and the
international community have developed over the past decade around the
responsibility of States in protecting civilians, especially through
resolutions 1674 (2006), 1888 (2009), 1894 (2009), 1906 (2009), 1970 (2011) and
1973 (2011). However it must be said that, despite those efforts on the part of
the Security Council and the international community, civilian populations
continue to suffer attacks in armed conflict. Given that reality, what is at
stake for the Council is to use all means to make our normative framework more
effective at preventing violence and to bring to justice those who violate
human rights.

 In that
context, we must also give equal focus both to essential political action on
the underlying causes of conflict and to promoting and enforcing the rule of
law. We must just as diligently pursue efforts to put an end to impunity for
those guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide
against civilian populations. Doing everything possible to ensure that the
perpetrators of such crimes are arrested and tried has more than a deterrent function.
It is also a matter of enacting justice for the victims.

 The
international community has at its disposal various mechanisms by which to
conduct independent, reliable fact-finding investigations. The Council’s
experience in Darfur, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire has been a rich learning
experience and suggests new means to fight impunity. In that context, States
stand to gain from taking greater advantage of the expertise of the
International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission. We must also note the important
work of international criminal tribunals, mixed tribunals and traditional
justice mechanisms, the admirable work of the Human Rights Council and the
Office ofthe High Commissioner for Human Rights in facilitating fact- finding
in various crises, the significant contributions of peacekeeping missions in
gathering information on grave violations, especially those against women and
children

The delegation of Gabon stands with the metric of
consent and impartiality when it comes to military interventions; consent
upheld by recognizing the legitimate collective agency of a local government and
impartiality upheld by only allowing UNSC sanctioned intervention under chapter
VI, VII and VIII of the UN Charter. Moreover, human rights violations in such
actions against acts of aggression against international peace and security are
now growing prevalent. A compromise on jus Cogens such the non-degradable right
to life and right to health such as that in Libya or Iraq render such
interventions questionable. Gabon calls for monitoring mechanisms like the use of
reports by neutral external bodies such as the amnesty international to
evaluate the spillovers of such interventions on human rights.

UN
Financing

The United Nations and all its
agencies and funds spend about $30 billion each year, or about $4 for each of
the world’s inhabitants. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced financial
difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all
areas, even as new mandates have arisen. Many member states have not paid their
full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of
December 31, 2010, members’ arrears to the Regular Budget topped $348 million,
of which the US owed 80%.

Many proposals for UN reform call
for better budgeting, better financial oversight and more efficient use of
funds.  The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly wrestles with the
different priorities of member states and clashes over the level of dues that
members must pay.  Some reformers suggest that the UN should seek Alternative Financing (not just
dues and voluntary contributions) to fund its programs. A global tax on
currency or financial transactions, a carbon tax or taxes on the arms-trade
might provide such revenue. But states are jealous of their taxing powers and
not keen to transfer such authority to the UN.

Dues from member states have supported the United Nations since its
founding. But increasingly in recent years, states have failed to pay. At the
same time, states have been contributing less to UN voluntary agencies and
multilateral aid programs. All across the board, the funding system based on
nation states has been unraveling, due in part to declining national finances
under neoliberal reforms. Since 1994, discussions on this subject have drawn
increasing interest and support, although the obstinacy of the US has blocked
all discussion in inter-governmental fora.

Alternative
financing schemes such as global taxes to improve the UN financial situation and
their dual role as policy instruments and as revenue sources for international
programs and institutions must be evaluated by the committee to look for
consensus amongst countries with significant spending that could be a subject
of such taxation.

Gabon
believes in the use of country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) managed by OCHA (Office
for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) whereby donors pool their
contributions into single, unearmarked funds to support local humanitarian
efforts. Established when a new emergency occurs or when an existing crisis
deteriorates, these funds support the highest-priority projects of the best-placed
responders (including international and national NGOs and UN agencies) through
an inclusive and transparent process that supports priorities set out in
Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs).

Crisis
Management involves back-up fund to draw on. We suggest the instrumentality of The
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UN’s global emergency response fund to
deliver funding quickly to humanitarian responders and bring greater balance to
emergency assistance Since 2006, donors to CERF have provided over US$5 billion
worth of life-saving assistance to 100 countries and territories