Statement by H.E. Mr. Rodolfo Reyes, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations at the Debate on Agenda Item 108 of the 69th Session of the General Assembly: Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization”. New York, 7 October 2014.
I thank the Secretary-General for the Report on the work of the Organization.
24 October next year will mark the 70th anniversary of the official founding of the United Nations Organization. On the same date in 1945 the world began to recover from a bloody world war that took the life of nearly 60 million of human beings, about 2 percent of the world population.
The 51 founding Member States started an era that was already facing the challenge of the destructive power of the atomic bomb, experienced by the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki near two months before.
After seven decades of the event, humanity is literally between life and death and facing serious threats. Thousands of nuclear weapons with the capacity to extinct the human race, destructive acceleration of climate change, severe pandemics rapidly expanding, new threats and forms of aggressions against sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples are but few of the most serious hazards.
Seven thousand two hundred million inhabitants expect that the United Nations Organization assert the reason of its existence.
Cuba agrees with the Secretary-General on the priority to eliminate nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. Nothing can justify that nearly twenty-five years after the proclaimed end of the “Cold War”, human kind continues to be threaten by the existence of more than 16 000 nuclear weapons, 4 000 of them are ready for immediate use. The employment of a minimum fraction of them would have catastrophic consequences for our planet.
Hence, the importance of the historic step taken by the General Assembly when it decided to establish 26 September as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear weapons, which first commemoration was recently held with success.
The only way to ensure that humanity will never suffer again the terrible impact of nuclear weapons is the total elimination and prohibition of these weapons. To that end, the vast majority of Member States have proposed to conclude a general convention on nuclear weapons that prohibits possession, development, production, acquisition, use or threat to use nuclear weapons and provides for their destruction.
We call on the Secretary-General to contribute with his influence to the commencement of negotiations on such convention.
Climate change is unquestionable and the influence of men on its acceleration becomes clearer. The arctic ice thickness continues to decrease; the global temperature is increasing and the sea level is gradually rising. There are various phenomena related to an extreme climate and the effects of the acidification of seas and oceans is revealing. The global emissions of greenhouse effect gasses, the cause of global warming, have not stopped increasing in the last four decades.
The main cause of the world environment crisis, including climate change, continues to be the irrational and unsustainable production and consumption patterns that support the capitalist economic domination system, which generates greater poverty and inequalities.
Tackling climate change cannot be conceived if we are not intent, at least, on addressing its root causes; nor could it be conceived without a more determined struggle against poverty and inequality. We know the market will not solve any of these problems.
As emphasized by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cuba in his statement at the 2014 Climate Summit: huge efforts and clear commitments are required. It takes authentic political will of the governments of industrialized States that will definitively share the fate of the impoverished South.
It is unacceptable that the Millennium Development Goals cannot be met despite the huge existing resources and the technological revolution boosted by human beings. The necessary solutions are postponed, and we deceive ourselves if we think that only a UN agreement enshrining goals and targets for the Sustainable Development Agenda will amend injustices, inequalities and underdevelopment root causes across the planet.
The participation of all United Nations Member States is required, primarily that of industrialized countries, and among then, the powers bearing a historic debt to the peoples they have despoiled through colonial and neocolonial regimes and through the unjust system of economic and financial relations imposed on the world.
The fulfillment of a new Sustainable Development Agenda will not be possible as long as 1 percent of the richest population in the planet holds 50 percent of the world wealth, the 85 richest people own the equivalent to the economic resources of the 3 570 million poorest inhabitants, who represent half of the world population.
We will not be able to accomplish a new Sustainable Development Agenda as long as 1 out of 5 persons lives on less than 1.25 dollars a day in developing countries, and near 1 500 million people in 91 of these countries live in a status of multidimensional poverty, with concurrent deficits in health, education and life standard.
We will not be able to accomplish a new Sustainable Development Agenda as long as 842 million people - about 1 out of 8 inhabitants of the planet - suffered from chronic hunger as happened in the period from 2011 to 2013, or peoples continues to bear foreign occupation.
The resources to implement a new Sustainable Development Agenda would be available if part of the huge global military spending, which in 2013 reached the colossal figure of 1 747 trillion dollars, were used to cover the means of implementation required.
The United Nations General Assembly is responsible for mobilizing the financial resources required to overcome the said and other problems included in the Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization. The strengthening of the General Assembly and the profound reform of the Security Council so that it becomes a more democratic, transparent and inclusive Organ are not to be delayed any further.
Humanity is facing a new challenge posed by the impact and the spread of Ebola in West Africa; urgent actions are required.
Cuba responded promptly to the call made by WHO Director-General and the United Nations Secretary-General. The first group of internationalist health collaborators is already in Sierra Leone. The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, described them as “the heroes of our time” in an article published this 4th October.
The following is an excerpt of such article:
“It won’t be the producers of lethal weapons who receive this deserved honor. May the example of the Cubans heading to Africa also capture the hearts and minds of other doctors around the world, especially those who possess resources, practice a religion or have the deepest conviction to fulfill the duty of human solidarity.”
That is the spirit and political will required to overcome the challenges we have ahead. Cuba, a small and poor country, under an economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the biggest global power, shows that it can be done.
Thank you very much.