Israel 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.
As the draft Outcome Document recognizes, reform in the United Nations system must be concrete, ambitious, and take account of the interconnected nature of the threats and opportunities facing our world.
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.
Israel 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 Israel 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 a organization of all its members.
For these reasons Israel 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.
In particular, Israel would like to make the following comments on specific items under discussion:
Israel shares the concern reflected in the draft Outcome Document about the slow and uneven implementation of the global development agenda. In particular, we are very concerned about the extent of poverty and hunger in the world, especially in Africa, the scope of the AIDS epidemic, illiteracy, and the status of women.
Israel believes that cooperation between emerging nations and the developed nations must be intensified, and is committed, through its Center for International Cooperation, MASHAV, to taking an active part in the world effort in the realm of social development. In this context, Israel is preparing detailed plans for millennium goals that include poverty eradication, education, leadership quality and the empowerment of women, and ensuring the food supply.
Regarding the challenges facing us in the realm of sustainable development and the environment, Israel is committed to continuing to implement the Kyoto Protocol, the promotion of Agenda 21, by, inter alia, developing alternative energy sources and participating in UN talks to formulate a long-term strategy to prevent global warming.
HIV/AIDS and other health issues
Israel agrees that a global initiative is of essence in order to strengthen the national health systems in developing countries. An emphasis should be given to programs such as training of public health personnel in the domains of epidemiology, infectious diseases and infection control, as well in psycho-socio interventions with children at risk as a result of AIDS.
Training community workers and nurses in granting them with skills in the field of early childhood development, from birth to 3 years, is also an important tool in reducing child mortality.
Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women
Israel has always placed high importance on the empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming in all walks of life. As such, Israel welcomes the goals outlined in the Outcome Document, which represent a concise summary of the results of the Beijing Summit and the relevant Millenium Development Goals. Israel’s experience in these subjects clearly shows that total and unconditional equality of men and women – as well as affirmative action where necessary – contribute greatly to a society’s strength and security. Israel has further endeavored to share this experience with other, mostly developing, nations.
Since 1961, Israel’s international cooperation program has been contributing to the empowerment of women in the developing world. In the last 5 years alone, 4,000 women from 147 countries have been trained in different fields of socio-economic development, emphasizing gender equality in the development process. All training activities address issues on the international agenda, which are of current concern to women, such as poverty alleviation, education, environment, migration, the girl-child, health, economic participation and conflict resolution. The main goal of the international cooperation program of Israel, in the field of gender issues, is to strengthen capacity-building and leadership of women’s organizations and networks, placing the focus on women’s empowerment as a critical factor in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
To read the full article, please visit the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israel+and+the+UN/UN+reform/United%20Nations%20Reforms%20-%20Position%20Paper%20of%20the%20Government%20of%20Israel%20-%20July%202005