Open debate on Strengthening collective security through general regulation and reduction of armaments
(New York, November 19, 2008)
Statement by Ambassador Claudia Blum, Permanent Representative of Colombia
Allow me to congratulate you on your work as President of the Security Council for the month of November. My delegation appreciates the convening of this debate on "strengthening collective security through general regulation and reduction of armaments". The presence of Mr. President and Nobel Peace Laureate, doctor Oscar Arias, and his authoritative statement in the morning session, add special pertinence and significance to the discussion proposed.
For Colombia, it is clear the close link that exists between security and development. The democratic security policy implemented by President Alvaro Uribe's Government is founded in offering equal protection to all citizens, and creating the conditions for them to enjoy their rights and liberties. Through it, a virtuous circle has been generated, in which the strengthening of the rule of law creates conditions for the promotion of development and economic prosperity. In turn, this economic prosperity contributes to the strengthening of the participation of citizens and democracy.
While it has bore fruit, the democratic security policy has also demanded great efforts. This includes military spending, which has been adapted to the challenges required to achieve the set out objectives. During this process, Colombia has had a clear north: we conceive military spending fundamentally as an investment in the defense of our citizens' lives and well-being.
My country shares the concern about the need to spare resources in military spending, in order to allocate them to development programs, without detriment to the security and defense needs of the States, and bearing in mind their specific needs. In this regard, we uphold our commitment to the issue of disarmament and development, and to the implementation of the General Assembly resolutions on this issue.
The participation of Colombia as a United Nations Member Country is guided by the irrevocable commitment to multilateralism and the rule of law. We share the principles and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We highlight the visionary nature of article 26, which considers the competence of the Security Council to formulate plans for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments. The goal of promoting the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security, with the least diversion for armaments of human and economic resources remains fully valid.
Colombia considers, on the other hand, that any new initiative concerning control and regulations of armaments must be discussed and agreed upon within the United Nations General Assembly. Only through the commitment of all Member States of the Organization, a successful outcome could be achieved in this area.
Today, the issue of security has a multidimensional reach. In the contemporary world, there exist factors that go beyond the traditional threats to security. In this perspective, we find coincidence with the concept paper circulated by Costa Rica, in regards to the important role that corresponds to cooperation between the United Nations and the regional organizations in preserving collective security.
I would like to highlight in this regard, the function and work of the Organization of American States in generating reciprocal measures of confidence among the countries of our region. It has been the case of several initiatives, including, inter alia, the promotion of measures of transparency, such as the publication of Defense Books, which compile national policies in that area.
In addition, the OAS promotes the clearance of anti personnel mines; and it watches for the maintenance of commitments of the Treaty of Tlatelolco and the Non- Proliferation Treaty. By virtue of these treaties, the first nuclear-weapon free-zone was created in Latin America and the Caribbean; in a densely populated territory. The OAS also promotes cooperation in our region through multilateral peace efforts, and in the joint fight against international terrorism.
The non controlled spread and inappropriate use of small arms and light weapons cause great harm, both in terms of human lives ,and because of their negative impact on the conditions for security and development. The illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects ties up significant resources that could be invested in development. Therefore, advancing the establishment of effective controls to confront this illicit trade should be a top priority for the international community.
Colombia attaches great importance to the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light weapons in all its aspects. It is a fundamental global instrument and a point of reference for the adoption of measures to combat this crime.
We consider it necessary to continue working in this area within the multilateral framework, and progressing in the adoption of new commitments, as well as in the implementation of those already in place, with the aim if concluding legally binding instruments in this field. The broad participation of States in the implementation of the Programme of Actions is an essential requirement for this endeavour.
My delegation actively participates at all levels in the initiatives that contribute to a coordinated and effective action against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. A more resolute advance in this area would become a fundamental contribution to collective security.
The strengthening of collective security through regulation and the general reduction of armaments , as well as other initiatives to be submitted with the same purpose, merit careful consideration by the United Nations and its different principal organs.
The changes that have taken place in the world since the nineties, have generated conditions for a new consensus on the topic of security. It is necessary, in that perspective, to intensify the efforts and the will for joint action, as the only way to save future generations from the scourges that threaten peace , security and development.
Thank you, Mr. President.