Statement by H.E.Mr. Patrick Leclercq, Minister of State of the Principality of Monaco, at the General Debate of the 58th Session of the General Assembly

25 Septembre 2004 à New York

Video in English

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Heads of delegation,

Let me first congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption to the Presidency of the Fifty-eighth session of the General Assembly. Your election offers a well timed testimony of the sovereign equality of States, principle to which the representative of the Principality of Monaco can only attach particular. significance. I wish to assure you and the members of the Bureau of my delegation's support for your high mission at the service of the international community.

I also wish to congratulate the Secretary-General for his tireless efforts to promote the ideals enshrined in the Charter of our Organization taking into account with courage and lucidity the challenges of our time. The tragic circumstances of the odious attack perpetrated last month in Baghdad call on us to pay special tribute to all United Nations personnel and salute with respect and sorrow the memory of those who, through the sacrifice of their lives, have demonstrated the strength and grandeur of their commitment to the values that only our Organization can legitimately embody.

By joining the United Nations, ten years ago, the Principality pledged to fully abide by the obligations pending upon all Member States and to participate, in a manner that is proportionate to its means, in promoting the values that bring us together. We are all the more dedicated to this attachment as it is vital for a small State like Monaco that everyone be bound by the same rule of law and be treated with equal dignity and equal right to respect.

Undoubtedly, the discrepancy between the ambitions we display collectively and the actual situations we observe around us and which unfortunately many among us suffer, remains considerable and at times glaring. Undoubtedly also, it would be vain to ignore the profound differences that can exist between States both in their characteristics and in their weight in international affairs. But it is of utmost importance that there be a place, a forum in which we are all compelled to confront our actions and conduct with the principles that are supposed to guide our actions, compelled therefore to examine our conscience, compelled in short to be accountable as members of the international community to the collective demands of that community.

That is why it is so important to strive to make our Organization more effective so that respect for our principles and objectives take precedence over the apparent facility of selfjustified action, so that a common approach, based on dialogue, take precedence over unilateral action. The Principality of Monaco therefore supports by principle but also by reason all initiatives aimed at strengthening our collective mechanisms and, in particular, those of the Secretary General in the implementation of the Millennium Declaration as introduced at the opening of this present session.

In the same spirit, it attaches particular importance to the effective implementation of the General Assembly resolution that provides for follow-up to texts emanating from the major conferences and meetings in the economic and social fields held under United Nations auspices.

Indeed, what purpose would be served by these vast gatherings in which each participant displays magnanimity and generosity if the resulting commitments are not followed up or do not include the resources to monitor their implementation? The authority of the United Nations and the confidence placed in it would be both diminished at a time when precisely the Organization has broadened the range of its activities to address effectively the problems of our time from the global perspective of its ongoing responsibility to insure peace, security and development. Would not the frustrations of civil society, today an active participant in all the debates related to its concerns, lead it to be tempted to take over through channels of its own, impregnated with a spirit of confrontation?

Mr. President,

Whilst participating in the many activities pursued in this Organisation, a small country like the Principality of Monaco must assess the reasonable limits of the contribution it can make to the action of the international community. We have thus focused our efforts on the fields of sustainable development and humanitarian action as we feel that our experience allows us, beyond our human and material limitations, to make ourselves useful particularly since we can count on very dynamic Monegasque N.G.Os., benefiting from a generous local support to which I am grateful to express our appreciation.

Education, health, childhood protection, development aid and protection of the environment are Monaco's priorities in this respect, promoting action field, more particularly in Africa where we have doubled our aid since the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as well as in the Mediterranean region. Those initiatives are complemented by an active participation in the fora in which these situations are addressed.

The Principality focuses on specific projects - schools, occupational training centers, healthcare establishments, investments in local communities that promote economic activity in villages with the implementation of micro-credit programs - all projects aimed at directly improving the living conditions of their beneficiaries.

In the environmental field, where the Principality has long distinguished itself, especially in the protection of the marine environment since one of its Sovereigns, Prince Albert Ist; helped to found oceanography in the late nineteenth century, our experience has lead us to be selected to participate to the Governing Council of UNEP. The Principality has also been the source of many initiatives related first with protecting its immediate environment, the Mediterranean Sea, but of use, in broader terms, for monitoring elsewhere pollution and preserving biodiversity with a long-term perspective of support for sustainable development.

Resolutely committed to participating in the efforts of the international community to rise to the most recent challenges with which it has been confronted, Monaco has ratified the twelve main international instruments relating to terrorism, putting into place the appropriate administrative structures and, furthermore, it has been the first State to ratify the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which will enter into force in the next few days, on 29 September. It is also preparing to host, next month, the Fifth International Summit on Transnational Crime organized by the United Nations and the Council of Europe, which will bring together representatives of governments and the private sector. In the same spirit, the Principality joins in all the relevant institutions to fight drugs and human trafficking and the illegal financial flows they both engender or sustain.

Need I also reaffirm the obvious commitment to peace and security of a country as sensitive to its environment as Monaco, even if, having no armed forces, it is unable to participate in collective actions under the flag of the United Nations. It is in the humanitarian field that it consistently makes its contribution by assisting civilian populations, victims of combat and of the upheavals and atrocities that too often today characterize armed conflicts, as can be seen particularly in Africa. In a symbolic solidarity, the Principality celebrates the International Day of Peace on 21 September and associates itself with the Olympic Truce, given its involvement in the Olympic Movement as symbolized in the long standing participation of Crown Prince Albert to the International Olympic Committee. We thus welcome the inclusion of a new item in the agenda of this session, entitled "International Year for Physical Education and Sport" whose goal is to highlight what has always been our motivation, the outstanding role of sport in developing relations between peoples by promoting mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue, factors that both contribute to peace and development.

Mr. President,

As I conclude this statement, I hope I have succeeded in communicating the profound attachment of the Principality of Monaco to the world Organization which it joined 10 years ago at His Serene Highness Prince Rainier III's initiative, Who was convinced His country would gain at one and the same time its most effective international profile, a protection in an uncertain world and an opportunity to usefully demonstrate its solidarity. Since Monaco is naturally open to the outside world, it has easily found its place among you.

Our Principality is grateful for what the United Nations has given it and is striving in return and to the extent of its capacity to help the Organization achieve its objectives with the conviction that what the international community needs are reliable Member States. And reliability is not a question of size but of will. It is this will that inspires and guides us.