Position Paper for General Assembly Third Committee
Ever since the State of Qatar joined the United Nations in 1971, it has constantly advocated international peace, human rights and sustainable development. These constitutive goals, defined by the United Nations Charter, can only be achieved within the UN framework. This conviction arises from Qatar being confronted with the complex situation in the Middle East. Thus Qatar supports the UN by reasonable means, demonstrating its status as a trustworthy partner. Hence the State of Qatar looks forward to the upcoming session feeling that it is time to speak up for the following topics, concerning social, humanitarian and technological issues: Advancing Technology to Progress Peace and Development; The Implementation of a Global Standard of Education; and Implementing the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.
I. Advancing Technology to Progress Peace and Development
“It is not a coincidence that the most impoverished regions are the ones suffering the most protracted conflicts […]” stated H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. Member States are progressively stressing the importance of technology in order to break through this vicious circle of underdevelopment and conflict. Adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), states committed themselves to make the benefits of technology available for all people. Five Years later, in the World Summit Outcome 2005, the UN reaffirmed that technology and science are important means to ensure development and peace. Qatar is looking forward to cooperating with other states on developing further instruments facilitating fair sharing of modern technologies’ benefits and thus enhancing the process of Advancing Technology to Progress Peace and Development.
Based on the Agenda for Development and the Agenda 21 the UN have undertaken huge efforts to accomplish full implementation of MDG Number Eight, which is strongly interlinked with the discussed topic. In order to guarantee fruitful cooperation the State of Qatar endorses its commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, aiming at setting up fair and non-restrictive market-access, confirming the importance of global partnerships and the significance of multilateral cooperation to support developing countries. Furthermore, Qatar highly supports the distribution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as stipulated in the Geneva Plan of Action, the Tunis Commitment and the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society. These technologies give us the opportunity to connect people from all parts of the world and to improve their lives profoundly. Thus Qatar is enhancing its researches in this field, willing to fight technological illiteracy. Moreover, Qatar realizes the necessity of combining technological progress in developing countries with environmental protection. Hence Qatar stresses the importance of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). It is Qatar’s aim to contribute to the fight against climate change, by conveying natural gas and solar energy in order to charge the local and global energy demand. These targets have been codified in the Qatar National Vision 2030. Being part of the Group of 77, Qatar sees the need of strong South-South-Cooperation (A/RES/60/1), when talking about technological progress. Therefore H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani founded the South Fund for Development and Human Circumstances. Finally the State of Qatar wants to express the momentousness of and its dedication to capacity building as a prerequisite of strengthening the role of technology, as stated in Chapter 37 of the Agenda 21.
The State of Qatar is awake to the crucial role boundless access to technology plays in terms of promoting development and peace. Qatar is convinced that the UN have developed instruments qualified to lead us to accomplishing our objectives. Yet there is not enough financial aid to implement them successfully. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the developed world remains faithful to its commitments concerning Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development. Moreover, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani pointed out that we need a “[…] comprehensive educational plan […]” to guarantee sustainable capacity building and thus further independence of developing countries. Furthermore, we need fair and free access to expertise and therefore we need to discuss alternatives to the “[…] increasing restrictions […] developed countries impose on utilizing the different spheres of human knowledge and technology development, under the pretext of protecting intellectual prosperity”. The State of Qatar calls upon all Member States to support the improvement of private-public partnerships and multilateral relations, especially South-South-Cooperation.
II. The Implementation of a Global Standard of Education
Promoting universal and equal education is one of the main goals of the UN. It is essential to building peace, enhancing dialogue between cultures and developing a healthy economy. Education plays a crucial role for implementing and attaining the MDGs adopted by the Millennium Summit 2000. Hence Qatar highly appreciates the decision of this high body to discuss The Implementation of a Global Standard of Education.
Recalling measures already taken by the UN, among which the Education for All Initiative (EFA) and the Dakar Framework for Action are of utmost importance, the State of Qatar wants to emphasize the urgency of meeting our EFA objectives. Thus Qatar highly welcomes the efforts that have been undertaken within the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) and the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), reiterating its support of A/RES/59/237 and A/RES/59/113B. Coordinated by the UNESCO, national, regional and international organizations have managed to establish networks of monetary funding and expertise gathering in order to enable governments to provide education for all men and women at all ages. This is shown by the improvements achieved in many developing countries. Qatar is guided by the conviction, that “[...] the sharing of knowledge, ideas and values is the noblest way to transcend barriers […]”, as stated by H.H. Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education and chairperson of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Hence Qatar is honored to have contributed to these efforts on a national level by implementing the Education for a New Era Initiative in Qatar, as well as on an international level by financing projects in crisis-affected areas and hosting international conferences, such as the World Innovation Summit for Education. Being fully aware of the consequences of the global financial crisis, Qatar welcomes that Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the Monterrey Consensus, since especially developing countries are in need of substantial international aid.
Nevertheless, we must be aware of the fact that there is only little time left and that there is still a lot of work to be done especially in times of the Financial Crisis. Therefore, the State of Qatar urges all Member States to meet their assurances, as the ongoing decline of Official Development Assistance (ODA) may derogate the fruitful work we have done so far. Moreover, Qatar feels that it is necessary to enforce our efforts in ensuring education in situations of crisis and emergency as it is mentioned in the Dakar Framework for Action. “Greater priority should be given to protecting education in areas of conflicts, because students and staff were increasingly the targets of violence attack”, stated H.E. Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Qatar invites all States to create an executive working plan, helping to ensure “[…] that the right to education [is] respected by all parties of conflict” as he elaborated.
III. Implementing the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development
The horrible ravages of war and armed conflicts in the developing countries have always been one of the major concerns of all peace-loving nations. To decrease the number of conflicts, the UN have proven to be the most important organization. The State of Qatar firmly believes that the decision of this body to discuss Implementing the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development will contribute to solve conflicts and to improve living standards for many people.
Several issues have already been addressed by plans of action and resolutions to solve conflicts and to reduce their inhuman costs. Among these, the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, the World Summit 2005 and regional declarations have enhanced the situation of people living in conflict areas. The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which was signed by Qatar in 2006, has been taken into account in A/RES/63/52 and A/RES/63/23. H.E. Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stated Qatar’s firm conviction, that “[…] each State has the responsibility to protect its citizens and individuals subject to its jurisdiction from acts of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” Nevertheless, the importance of the existing instruments for the purpose of supporting those states and governments which ask for help is undeniable, if they are used wisely. This has given the international community the possibility to avert further aggravation in conflictaffected areas. Qatar feels obligated to support all measures which improve the situation of civilians in armed conflicts. Finally Qatar emphasizes the importance of post-conflict reconstruction of infrastructure, economy and social welfare and therefore welcomes the activities of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.
In order to decrease the number and intensity of armed conflicts and to improve the humanitarian situation in conflict areas there are no new solutions needed. Instead, all national, regional or international organizations should focus their efforts on the immediate implementation of resolutions adopted by the Security Council. H.E. Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser declared that “We stress,[…] that parties to armed conflicts, State and non-State actors alike, bear the responsibility to fully comply with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions[…].“ Thus trust and unanimity within the international community are crucial to provide sufficient solutions and stability to fragile areas. Therefore, regional organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council play a very important role. Financial aid has to be appointed faster and more effective to improve and accelerate the reconstruction of war-torn areas. The State of Qatar calls upon all nations to support the United Nations in their efforts to create a world of security, stability and prosperity.