2015 Diplomatic Seminar Series

The Diplomats Seminar Series for 2015, on the theme “Diplomacy, the United Nations, and Fulfilling Nationhood through Global Citizenship”, included five presentations in Wellington:

The UNANZ Diplomats Seminar Series provides an opportunity for the representatives of foreign missions to New Zealand to explain their country’s engagement with, and perspectives on, the structure and operation of the United Nations system. This engagement may be for specific purposes, or focus on specific UN organs, agencies, programmes, and procedures – and this engagement may be successful or otherwise. In addressing individual country perspectives, the UNANZ Diplomats Seminar Series provides the interested public with the opportunity to better understand the extent to which this international body established to promote peace and security, development, and policy coordination, is meeting the diverse needs of its members.   

Listed below are two of the speeches from the series:

BRAZIL AND THE UN - Presentation by HE Eduardo Gradilone, Ambassador of Brazil
19 November 2016

Ladies and gentlemen, na mihi o te ahiahi, greetings to all.
It is sad that I have to start this talk deploring another barbaric terrorist attack that killed so many innocent people, this time in Nigeria, when we are still mourning the victims of the attacks in France and Lebanon and sending condolences to Russians and many other nationals also killed in terrorist acts. It is timely therefore to talk about the United Nations.
1. Many thanks to the United Nations Association of New Zealand, specially to Professor Dr. Graham Hassal and Mrs. Joy Dunsheath for the invitation to participate in the 2015 edition of the Association´s diplomat seminar series. This is becoming already a tradition, as the Embassy of Brazil participated in two previous occasions: one in 2013, when I was the keynote-speaker in a discussion about the “UN and the Future we Want”; and last year at the Embassy’s premises, in a presentation held in the framework of the 2014 edition of the seminar. Minister Roberto Medeiros, who worked several years at our Mission at the UN, always assists me in these presentations.
2. At the outset, I’d like to congratulate the United Nations on the occasion of its 70th anniversary, and UNANZ for celebrating it in New Zealand, starting with a memorable reception offered by the Governor-General at Government House in Wellington. Brazil concurs very much with the motto chosen to mark this auspicious event: “Strong UN, better world.” We consider that the celebration of this important milestone creates opportunity for member-States to appraise the organization’s performance in the past seven decades and work to make it stronger in the future.
3. In this year’s series, we have already had very interesting presentations from Ambassadors of countries like Mexico and Israel with their views about the UN. A diplomat from France focused more specifically on the next COP-21 on environment. The theme of this seminar – Fulfilling Nationhood through Global Citizenship – could be addressed in many ways. If we recall ideas of global governance proposed by politicians, academics, philosophers, diplomats and dreamers in the past, we would note that some had so strong components of supra-nationality that even a real “global citizenship” could be imagined for people fully dedicated to the cause of the common good of our world.
4. Even if we have to be realistic and concentrate our efforts in trying to reduce the deficiencies of current institutions of global governance and improve its effectiveness – as we have to do urgently in the case of the Security Council -, we must keep searching for better systems to manage our increasingly complex world, hoping that new technologies, the pressures of new realities and new ways of thinking could bring us new solutions and instruments to attain that goal. The academy, “think tanks” and institutions like the United Nations Association of New Zealand have an important role in this effort.
5. Let me start my presentation about Brazilian views toward the United Nations with a brief introduction to remind you of about some facts and peculiarities about Brazil. Other most well-known countries might not need that kind of introduction.
6. First, as you look in the world map, you can see that Brazil is in South America, occupying almost half of its territory, bordered by 10 countries. It has 204 million Portuguese speaking people living in an area that is around 30 times the size of New Zealand and a little bigger than Australia. I mention this not to claim any superiority, but simply for reference and also to point out that our challenges are also big, in a way that sometimes smaller and less populated countries cannot fully realize.
7. Some of the places in Brazil are familiar to you as the Amazon River and the Amazon forest, which occupies a territory bigger than Europe. Our capital Brasília – with around 2.5 million inhabitants - is in the middle of the country. In the border with Argentina we have the Iguaçu Falls. São Paulo, our biggest and most industrialised city, is located one thousand kilometres from the falls.
8. Rio de Janeiro you know well, it is where we will have the Olympic Games next year. To get there from New Zealand you take a 12 hour flight to Santiago and – starting in December - to Buenos Aires and from there you can go to several places in Brazil, including Rio.
9.  Let me remind you that Rio has an important place in our history. It became the seat of the Portuguese monarchy in 1808 when the King of Portugal, escorted by British vessels, fleeing from the Napoleon troops, installed the Portuguese court in Rio. It was as if Queen Victoria had moved to New Zealand with all the institutions and apparatus of the court and decided to govern from here. Eventually, with the end of the Napoleonic wars, the king unwillingly returned to Lisbon, leaving his son Peter as a ruler, who eventually proclaimed the independence of Brazil from Portugal in 1822 as an autonomous Empire. He was succeed by his son Peter the II, who ruled the Brazilian monarchy until the end of the century, when Brazil became a Republic as all its Spanish speaking neighbours.
10. The reason why I am telling this is to show you some peculiarities about Brazil - as any country has - and also to point out that these historical facts had a fundamental role in shaping our diplomacy. It followed a continuity from that of Portugal, a country that had to develop strong diplomatic abilities to survive and counterbalance the size and strength of its powerful neighbour Spain. When the King returned to Portugal, a significant part of the royal bureaucracy – including diplomats – stayed to serve the newly proclaimed Brazilian Empire. We have, therefore, a strong heritage behind of our foreign service, and also of our foreign policy, based on centuries of Portuguese diplomatic commitment to peace, equality among States, non-intervention and respect to international law.
A peace-loving nation – a diplomat as national hero
11. Few people know that Brazil is perhaps the only country in the world to have a diplomat as a hero, the Baron of Rio Branco. In spite of being himself a monarchist, in 1902 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the new republican and remained in that position until his death in 1912. The Baron settled all of Brazil's remaining border disputes by peaceful means, including arbitration, in particular with Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and the French Guyana. For those reasons, among others, he became the patron of the Brazilian foreign service and gave name to our seventy years’ old diplomatic academy. He taught us that diplomatic skills and the principles of international law - and not armaments - have to be the weapons of a civilized world.
12. These teachings remain as the guidelines of the Brazilian foreign policy and the basis of our conduct in international relations. To work in that area we have 139 Embassies, 13 special Missions or delegations, 72 consulates and 3 representation offices around the world, all led by career diplomats. The only exception is our special mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), directed by a renowned scientist. On the slide you see a picture of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations, also known by the indigenous name of Itamaraty.
13. Brazil maintains diplomatic relations with all 193 members of the United Nations and in at least 138 of them we maintain resident embassies. We also maintain diplomatic relations with some non-member States like the Holy See, the State of Palestine and the Cook Islands. In total our foreign service has 1565 career diplomats, 839 Chancellery officers, 574 Chancellery assistants and 441 other personnel. The size of this diplomatic machinery and our government concern with the training of its members reflect our commitment to our external relations and the importance we give to global issues.
14. Surely, therefore, we have a strong commitment to the United Nations. We have no sufficient time today to enter into details, so I will talk briefly only about some aspects of our involvement with the organization.
Brazil opening the General Assembly
15. People sometimes ask me why Brazil opens every year the General Debate of the General Assembly. There are some theories about that. A former famous Brazilian Ambassador explained that in 1946, during the first preparatory meeting of the UN, held in London, the Brazilian representative, having noticed some hesitation of the American and the Soviet representatives to open the works of the agenda, requested the inscription of his name as first in the list of speakers, and from then on this non-written tradition has been kept. As a result, in 1947 foreign minister Osvaldo Aranha chaired the First Special Session of the General Assembly and the Second Session of the General Assembly. Since that year, Brazil has been the first country to speak at the General Assembly. In September 2011, President Dilma Rousseff became the first woman to open the General Debate.
16. Another theory says that it was a compensation for Brazil not being included as a permanent member of the newly created Security Council. At the Yalta Conference, in 1945, the Soviet leader Josef Stalin refused US President Franklin Roosevelt’s proposal in that regard, probably fearing that Brazil would be aligned with the policies of the United States. Some sources say that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill didn’t support the proposal either. It would have been suggested therefore that a “consolation prize” be given to Brazil, that is, to participate in the SC as a non-permanent member in the first biennium (1946-47), as it effectively happened, and to open the UNGA. Nowadays, every year before that session, the Brazilian Mission in NY consults the UN Secretariat and receives confirmation that this tradition remains acknowledged.
17. Let me remind you that this consideration towards Brazil was in part related to the important contribution that we gave for the outcome of the two wars that shaped our world in the last century. Brasil was the only Latin-American country to have effectively contributed to the Allied Powers in the First World War with its Navy's patrol of areas of the Atlantic Ocean, deployment of troops and military operations. We participated in the Versailles Peace Conference and, in 1920, joined the League of Nations with the purpose of contributing to build an international order consensually based on the principles of peace and cooperation, and at the same time capable of insuring collective security. Eventually Brazil – with Spain – withdrew from that Organization, in protest for not being included as a permanent member of its Council, as was granted to Germany.
18. Brazil also participated with the Allied Forces in the Second World War. In total, we sent more than 25,000 troops in five operations in Italy. The projected photo taken in the War Museum in Wellington show the number of people mobilised during the war, separated by countries. Our Air Force fighters used the motto “Senta a Pua”, or “Hit them Hard”, whereas the “Brazilian Expeditionary Force” became famous for its performance and for its peculiar logo of a smoking snake with the legend of a war cry saying “The snake will smoke”. In the beginning of the conflict Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas said that: “It’s easier for a snake to smoke than Brazil entering the war”. On the picture you can see the tombs of the Brazilian soldiers at the Votive Monument and cemetery in Pistoia, Italy. Every year there is a touching ceremony in memory of our fellowmen who lost their lives defending democracy and democratic values.
19. Moving to more specific issues related to the UN, and taking into account that conditions of life in our planet have to be our first priority, let me remind you that Brazil hosted maybe the two most important international conferences on environment: the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Rio 92) and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20), in 2012. Rio 92 consolidated the concept of sustainable development as the simultaneous and balanced promotion of environmental protection, social inclusion and economic growth. At this conference, Brazil took an ambitious posture in the discussions and had a determining role in the adoption of key documents, such as the Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Declaration of Principles on Forests and the Convention on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification.
20. In Rio+20, 192 countries adopted the document “The Future we Want” with a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Last month, at the opening of the UN General Assembly, Brazil pledged an ambitious plan of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 37% below levels of 2005 by 2025, and 43% by 2030. Brazil was the first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the Paris climate talks.
Brazil´s participation in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
21. Peace is another survival issue and also a condition for proper and fruitful international relations. Brazil is proud to have helped South America to become one of the most peaceful regions in the world. So let me say something about Brazil´s participation in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) of the UN. The commission was created in 2005 and was chaired by Brazil in 2014. Its mission is to assist countries emerging from conflict in their transition between war and a lasting peace. We use to say that whereas the Security Council can be compared to the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital -- which acts in emergencies and crises that threaten world peace -- the Peacebuilding Commission functions as a sort of rehabilitation centre, focused not only on aspects of security, but also attentive to the institutional, social and economic development of countries in post-conflict situations. The following countries are on the PBC agenda: Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and the Central African Republic. Brazil is the Chair of the Guinea Bissau Configuration in the Commission.
Brazil´s participation in peace keeping operations
22. This leads me to refer to our participation in peace keeping operations. With a long history of contribution, Brazil has participated in 33 United Nations peacekeeping operations and deployed over 32,000 troops. Currently, Brazil contributes with military observers and police officers in three continents. Last September, we hosted the 21st Conference of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres, which was attended by Colonel Hugh McAslan and his team from New Zealand.
23. Our main participations are:
HAITI (Minustah)
24. It is our most significant engagement in this area, being Brazil the largest contributor of troops and in charge of its military command since 2004. We have deployed more than 11,000 soldiers and officers in that country, maintaining there now around 1,400 troops. Haiti shows us that the Security Council must act taking into account that security and development are interrelated concepts.
{Brazil has sustained that mandates for MINUSTAH, in parallel to peacekeeping and peace consolidation actions, should include activities aimed at reconstruction. The contribution provided by military engineers has been of particular significance as, while engaging in tasks such as the construction of bridges and the repair of roads, more mobility was provided to the Mission, while at the same time these actions helped the Haitians in their development efforts.}
Beyond our role in MINUSTAH, Brazil continues to be one of Haiti’s largest partners in the promotion of social development. Let me remind you about the Match of Peace taken place there in 2004, when our football national team – then with similar reputation as that of your All Blacks in rugby – played against an Haitian soccer team, an event that was particularly helpful in creating channels of communication and channels for understanding among different political forces in that country.  
CONGO (Monusco)
25. In 2012, Brazilian General Santos Cruz was appointed as Force commander of the UN Mission for Stabilization in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), presently the largest UN peacekeeping mission, with more than 25 thousand members.
LEBANON (Unifil)
26. Brazil also contributes to the efforts of UN peacekeeping in Lebanon with a frigate of the Brazilian Navy, in the framework of the Maritime Task Force (MTF) of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Brazilian flagship vessel integrates the MTF since November 2011, with about 270 sailors, including the commander of the naval component of UNIFIL, who is a Brazilian Rear Admiral.
27. In brief, Brazil participated in peacekeeping operations in Africa (Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Liberia, Uganda, Sudan), Latin America and the Caribbean (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti), Asia (Cambodia, East Timor) and Europe (Cyprus, Croatia). Brazil sent formed military units in six operations: Suez (UNEF I), Angola (UNAVEM III), Mozambique (ONUMOZ), East Timor (UNTAET / UNMISET), Haiti (MINUSTAH) and Lebanon (UNIFIL - Maritime Task Force). I will not talk about that, but Brazil has recently proposed that more clarity be given to the conceptual distinction between Special Political Missions (SPM) with duties described as “light peacekeeping”.
Disarmament – recent humanitarian emphasis
28. If we are talking about peace, we have to talk about disarmament. As members of the New Agenda Coalition, Brazil - together with New Zealand - has been working in international fora, including the UN, in favour of building international consensus for nuclear disarmament. Brazil advocates urgent multilateral negotiations for a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons and to provide measures for transparent, verifiable and irreversible destruction of existing stockpiles.
29. The recent emphasis on the humanitarian approach to nuclear disarmament brought attention to the catastrophic consequences of the use of nuclear weapons and its incompatibility with international humanitarian law. On the one hand, it exposed the contradiction between advocacy of nuclear non-proliferation and praise of nuclear weapons as indispensable to guarantee security. On the other, it revealed the perversity of diverting huge amounts of money and resources to the maintenance and modernization of nuclear arsenals.
30. Brazil participated actively in the three conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna. We signed the Humanitarian Pledge of 2014 and subscribed the joint statements issued at the 9th Review Conference of NPT Parties in 2015 and in the last three sessions of the First Committee of the General Assembly.
Responsibility WHILE protecting
31. Social concerns are also behind a relatively recent contribution made by Brazil in the conceptual field to the work of the UN, in the context of humanitarian law. In the General Assembly of 2011, we proposed that the principle of responsibility to protect (R2P) be complemented with the notion of responsibility while protecting (RwP). Pursuing that idea, Brazil took the initiative of launching a debate in February 2012 on the principles that should be observed to avoid the undue use of force in the exceptional situations in which recourse to it is authorized. We emphasized the need of permanent monitoring of the mandate conferred by the Security Council as well as the adoption of parameters for the strengthening of accountability.
32. The parameters we propose are the following: 1) prevention is the best solution; 2) the international community has to employ all available peaceful means for the protection of civilians; 3) the use of force in the exercise of the responsibility to protect must be an exceptional case, limited in time and in strict accordance with the mandate conferred by the Security Council and the international law; 4) the use of force must not cause more damage than it is supposed to avoid, like Hippocrates oath (“First, do no harm”); 5) procedures to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the mandate should be established; and, finally, 6) those authorized to use force on behalf of the international community must be accountable before the Council.
Privacy on the Internet
33. Another recent Brazilian contribution to the UN that I want to highlight today is our joint effort with Germany to include in the UN agenda the concern to privacy in the digital era. In December 2013, the General Assembly adopted resolution 68/167, which expresses deep concern at the negative impact that surveillance and interception of communications may have on human rights. The General Assembly affirmed that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online, and it called upon all States to respect and protect the right to privacy in digital communication.
Resolution against corruption
34. It is also strongly dependent on States cooperation the fight against corruption. Those who follow Brazilian news know how this fight has become the most important issue of our current internal political agenda. So let me remind you that the sixth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption taken place in Russia in the first week of this month passed a resolution submitted by Brazil on the use of civil and administrative proceedings against corruption. It will promote cooperation amongst Brazil and other countries for fighting corruption because it allows Brazilian institutions, like the Attorney-General's Office (AGU), the Comptroller-General Office (CGU), and the Public Prosecution Office, to file civil actions directly in foreign courts for the recovery of assets embezzled by corruption. Currently international cooperation does not include the obligation to assist and cooperate with information on civil and administrative proceedings. The United Nations Convention against Corruption has been attended by 177 State Parties and is the most important international legal instrument to prevent and combat corruption.
Reform of the UN
35. Probably some of you would expect that in this presentation I would talk about the reform of the United Nations. Much has been done in the last decade by the UN to accompany the pace of a fast moving world. This is especially true in what respects two of the three main pillars of the organization: the pillar of development, where the decisions of Rio+20 were reinforced by the adoption of the 2030 Development Agenda; and the pillar of human rights, that has been reinforced by the establishment of the Human Rights Council and the institution of the universal periodical review. It’s up to us now to be inventive and engage seriously in the most important remaining task, which is to update the third and last pillar of peace and security.
36. In this regard, there is wide recognition of the fact that the main forum for discussion and decisions related to peace and security – the Security Council – has been failing its mission. We think that the recurrent attempts to use coercive measures like unilateral sanctions and military force have undermined the positive role that should be played by the United Nations. In places like Libya and Syria, military interventions carried out without Security Council authorization have led to the aggravation of the conflict and the creation of more problems.
37. We believe that now is time to act. The celebration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations should be the occasion for the correction of what is not working properly and the adoption of necessary structural changes. The most important institution of international governance in peace and security needs to be updated to recover its legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness. This is an urgent task and only by doing so in a timely manner the UN can avoid irrelevance.
38. Brazil is the country that, along with Japan, most times has been elected as non-permanent member of the Security Council. Together also with Germany and India we form the G-4 Group, which works together to move ahead this process and is engaged in the intergovernmental negotiations for that purpose that is taking place in the context of the General Assembly. We believe that the only way to ensure a more efficient and democratic Security Council is through an expansion that includes new permanent members.
39. A much awaited reform of the Council may renew hopes for an international order based upon the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter, for which Brazil has been a longstanding advocate. Brazil has never been conformed to see the UN as a simple reflection of the realities of world power and has always sought to update its potential for transformation.
A special word about the Middle East
40. Let me say something now about the Middle East. In the first years of the United Nation, Brazil – a country where Jews, Christians, Muslims and other creeds followers live together in peace - , played an important role in supporting self-determination in the Middle East. It was an auspicious occasion that the 2nd General Assembly in 1947, presided over by the Brazilian Ambassador and former Chancellor Oswaldo Aranha, approved the establishment of two independent States: a Jewish State (Israel) and an Arab State. The State of Israel flourished and built a modern and vibrant society. The Arab state did not become a reality. Wars ensued. Many years later, in the 67th General Assembly (2012), in the light of the obstacles to the admission of Palestine as a full Member of the United Nations, Brazil supported that Palestine be accorded non-member observer State status in the UN.
41. We strongly advocate the two-State solution and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state, geographically cohesive and economically viable, living in peace with the State of Israel. We all can see very clearly that the situation of the Middle East has serious implications outside the region, being one of the sources of the unrest that leads to creation of terrorist groups and barbaric episodes like the Paris attacks of last week.
42. And we cannot be blind to the situation of people who are fleeing from similar horrors. Regarding Syria, Brazil and the United Nations has signed an agreement in October 2015 to expand and accelerate the issuance of humanitarian visas to Syrian refugees, which amounted to 8,000 between 2013 and 2014. It is estimated that at least 8,000 humanitarian visas for Syrians will be issued in the next two years. Brazil has been also contributing financially in donor conferences to ease the suffering of the refugees from that country.
43. I know that my presentation was superficial and did not cover all that could be said about the involvement of Brazil with the UN and our ideas on how to improve it. My colleagues in New York, anyway, would be in better condition to do that. But I hope to have been able to give you enough information so that you can have now a better idea of what we are and what we stand for regarding the workings and the future of Organization.
44. Let me conclude showing the panel War and Peace of Brazilian painter Portinari that has just been restored and re-inaugurated at the UN. I hope that it could strengthen our will to create a better world for our sons and future generations.

Thank you. Kia ora.

Two faces of one reality- Israel at the UN
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Members of the United Nations Association of New Zealand, Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the invitation to speak here tonight. I welcome this opportunity to share with you Israel's views concerning the multilateral system and our place in it. I believe that once I conclude my remarks our position will be quite clear to all of you. But before I begin allow me a few personal remarks.
Twice in my long years in the diplomatic service I had the chance to be involved in the U.N system: Back in 1979, I was very new 2nd secretary at the General Assembly in NY and later between 1993 and 1997 as Ambassador in El Salvador. The first encounter brought me face to face with the political reality Israel has to live with all around the U.N system- Harsh and violently anti-Israeli speeches followed by numerous anti-Israeli resolutions. For three months I was posted to the third committee, the birthplace of the notorious Zionism-racism resolution, and the stage upon nations big and small engaged in virulent propaganda against my country. Those 3 months have left their mark in me for years to come. In 1993, I had the opportunity to witness first- hand the positive side of the U.N.
Following the end of the civil war in El Salvador, the special mission of the organization in that country, ONUSAL, gave ample evidence that when the circumstances permit, the UN is and can be an engine for positive developments. True, the success could not have been achieved without the cooperation of the authorities of that nation, but it took the realization on the part of the leaders of ONUSAL that discretion and patience on their part was an essential ingredient in ensuring the success of their mandate.
So back to this place and to our time, I guess the message I want to share with you is that Israel's position is composed of the two experiences. On the one hand we shall not stop pointing out the ridiculous reality of the UN where Israel is the subject of numerous negative resolutions, but at the same time we will not turn our back on our responsibility as a member of the International community that wishes to contribute and leave its mark on the affairs of our global reality. In short, as far as Israel is concerned the UN system is a complex environment in which we try to navigate between on the one hand a stormy ocean of highly critical and sometimes openly hostile reality and our commitment to play a positive role as a member of the community of nations and the U.N
Historically, we cannot turn our back to History. We shall never forget that it was on the 29th of November 1947, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution that gave an international backing to the aspirations of the Jewish people to establish a state of their own. Back then, the reaction of most of the Jewish community in the Homeland was of happiness. Surely, with such a positive beginning, there were ample reasons to expect warm relations between the UN and Israel, especially following our admission to the organization on 11 May 1949 by a vote of 37 to 12.
Unfortunately, since then our situation has deteriorated and the U.N has become a forum where Israel bashing has become a common phenomenon. The negative reality of singling out Israel spans the width and length of the system. It is a product of the automatic majority that is enjoyed by Israel’s foes. Every year 20 resolutions are presented at the UNGA and basically waste time and resources of the organization. Let it be said in no uncertain terms that the political reality of the UN has frustrated all attempts to cancel or even limit the number of anti- Israeli resolutions and worse- decrease the number of bodies that deal exclusively with the Palestinians.
Each year we go through the same exercise at the Plenary and in the committees. If that was not enough, over the years the anti-Israeli practices have also found their way into the different specialized agencies. Yes, one of the numerous conflicts the world is dealing with is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. However, no other has mastered such resources or saw the establishments of so many organs devoted first and foremost to criticize my country. Furthermore, over the years we have seen repeated attempts by our Palestinian neighbours to side-step the normal venue to reach an agreement, i.e- direct negotiations and try to pre-determine and impose a so called solution by all manners of initiatives at the U.N. At the same time, due to the numerical configuration we see how terrible abuses of Human rights around our part of the world go on and not a voice of criticism is uttered. Israeli actions in self-defense are hastily condemned and all manner of commissions are established to support an a-priori indictment of my country.  Does anyone expect the people of Israel to applaud the reality of the UN when this is the reality in which we have to operate?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Insofar as the political chapter is concerned Israel has every justification to view the UN with Jaundiced eye. Have we given up on the UN? Certainly not. We believe that the organization can play an important role, even in our region. There is no doubt that some of the peace-keeping forces along the borders are needed although some of their missions may require additional fine-tuning. But at the end of the day, Israel is probably the only nation that finds itself in continuous battle against hostile initiatives across the spectrum of the specialized agencies such as ITU, UPU, ILO and others.
But, as I said at the outset, Israel is not giving up on the United Nations and will continue to project its relevance to the UN agenda.
During the 69th GA, our determination to increase Israel’s involvement in the global agenda of the UN manifested itself in different ways: Active participation in the working group on determining the goals for sustainable development, promotion of an Israeli draft resolution at the UNODC, unprecedented Israeli contribution to the struggle against Ebola, hosting meetings in Israel etc.
This year in the framework of the 70th GA we have every intention to deepen our dialogue with the UN and its agencies in the topics for which Israel has already achieved recognition as well as widening the scope of our activities to such areas as agriculture, food security, gender, entrepreneurship, health, climate and environment, space and others. Let’s take a closer look at our involvement:
Israeli Resolution in the GA
•    This year we will strive to promote Israeli authored resolutions concerning agricultural technologies for development and for the 5th time we shall present our bi-yearly draft on “agricultural technologies for development”.
Post 2015 development agenda- Israel took part in a working group  on putting together recommendations for the Secretary General.
•    Israel participated in shaping the global agenda in such goals as food security, education, economic and industrial development, conservation of biological diversity and the fight against desertification, ocean protection among others.
•    Efforts are undertaken to include in the national agenda of Israel the ends and means that Israel will promote in the framework of the negotiations to determine the new development agenda as well as ensuring a high level participation.
Environmental conventions
•    Climate: promote joining the “umbrella group” as full members.
•    Israeli delegation to Paris headed by the Minister for environmental protection
•    Governmental declaration on a National voluntary effort to reduce Greenhouse gases
•    Israel will strive to maintain the chair of the science and technology committee
•    Deepening cooperation including possible inclusion of an Israeli in the secretariat
•    High level participation in the meeting last month in Ankara
Ramsar convention on wetlands
•    We became full members in the European group.
Animals Convention
•    Israel hosted a scientific meeting with participants from around the world.
Boards and specialized Agencies
Since the beginning of this decade Israel has been taking active role in several agencies. In 2012 we were on the board of UNDP and a year later we became a member of the board of UNICEF for the first time after 40 years. On the whole, Israel has been active in the boards of a number of agencies such as UNOPS, UNFPA, and UNWOMEN.  In 2015 Israel was also a member of the board of UNWOMEN. Throughout our proactive approach we became a relevant factor in the work of the agencies left our mark on their activities worldwide both as acting on behalf of WEOG as well as as on a bilateral basis. Our emphasis is on promoting gender themes in the work of the agencies, volunteerism, people with disabilities, population and development issues etc.
We are committed to deepen our involvement in the work of International organizations and specialized agencies in the coming year and I would like to share with you some of our plans.
1.    WIPO (patents)- we are planning to hold a seminar in Israel on employment and will continue with our efforts to incorporate Israeli jurists in the organization.
2.    I.L.O
•    Sending Graduate students in labour studies to a study tour of the organization HQ
•    Holding of joint seminars in Israel
•    Involvement in flagship projects in third countries

3.    WHO
•    Incorporate the model of information management of the leading Israeli Health Fund into the training framework of the organization in developing countries
•    Cooperation in Africa
•    Cooperation with the office in the Ukraine
•    Identifying a flagship project in order to deepen the relations with the agency
4.    UNAIDS
•    Feasibility check of the 2nd stage of the "vertical transmission" project
•    Identifying new projects where we can contribute our experience in treating affected foreign workers.
The list of projects goes on and on. Let me just add that we have every intention to be active in many bodies and certainly share our experience. At the same time we cannot ignore ongoing efforts on the part of our adversaries in our region to politicize the work of many agencies. Such negative initiatives can be found in most if not all them. Israel will combat these attempts which, in the end of the day, harm the professional work of the organizations.
Israel intends to deepen its professional cooperation with UNEP and ITU. We hosted a meeting towards Habitat summit two months ago. Israel is increasing its cooperation with WFP and FAO on such matters as food security as well as technologies for development which aim to increase productivity with minimum resources.
Israel has a very fruitful cooperation with the UNODC including an agreement for collaboration with Israel's Agency for International cooperation, Mashav in such areas as fighting human trafficking, violence against women, Police and community among others. This month a new meeting on counter-terrorism will take place in Israel and we will continue to lead the project of establishing public defense office in Liberia. In the field of narcotics Israel will strive to enhance its cooperation with other nations and we will work to have an Israeli draft resolution adopted. We will continue to take part in scientific consultations on drug prevention among others.
Now is probably a good an opportunity as ever to underline the decision adopted in the 4th committee which permitted Israel, along with 5 other nations to be admitted to the Committee on Peaceful Uses in Outer Space. In this respect we will strive to continue the work of Israeli experts in the main committees of COPUS and will encourage the Public as well as the Private sectors to strengthen their ties to the "Spider" program concerning natural disasters.
Notwithstanding the growing influence of Iran in UNIDO, we will continue our engagement. We hope the Director General will visit Israel next year in order to extend the agreement with MAshav. We will continue to support the implementation of the project of agricultural entrepreneurship in South Sudan. We shall continue to encourage the participation of the executive of the organization to take part in professional events such as Watec and Agritech which take place in Israel.
In the social area Israel will be involved in the negotiations around 70 draft resolutions in the 3rd committee. We will be involved in matters concerning gender and we expect to hold an event as well as be present with a high level delegation in the meeting of the committee on the status of women.
We intend to continue our involvement in matters concerning disabilities and just like last year when we organized 2 events we intend to hold one to mark the International Autism Day and 2 more events. We are proud to be among a limited number of member-states which are working to promote equality for LGBT in the UN system. Also on our agenda are matters relating to the aged and support for civil society organizations in Israel to be accredited by the UN.
Our commitment to the UN system is expressed by the different campaigns to elect highly adequate Israelis to different positions as well as our candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Security Council for 2019-20.
We encourage Israelis to apply for positions in the system. We are delighted to have an Israeli officer work as a senior analyst in the DPKO in NY and the selection of an Israeli expert on counter-terrorism to UNDOC. Lastly we are satisfied that a member of our mission was elected as vice chairperson of the 5th committee.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The story of Israel's involvement in the UN is not a simple one. Almost since the beginning of our membership we have been submitted to a continuous wave of challenges and hostile initiatives. The virulent speeches, the repeated attempts to exclude us from the international arena are still remembered. The low point was of course the resolution declaring Zionism a form of Racism. Though that resolution was later erased, the mere fact that it could be brought to the most relevant forum is a testimony to the political warfare conducted against Israel in the UN and its different organizations and agencies. Nevertheless, we will not give in to these attempts.
Looking into the future, Israel is taking part in the Youth Delegate Project for the 2nd consecutive year. Close to home, our Embassy has been collaborating closely with the annual UN YOUTH MODEL and will continue to do so in the future. We believe that through this program young New Zealanders will have the opportunity for a deeper understanding of Israel and its position.
 I hope that this afternoon I succeeded in presenting to you the true reality of Israel in the UN. We shall strive to be a relevant and a contributing member of the International community while at the same time stand firm against those who try to cast us aside.
Thank you very much

A couple of Photos from the South African Embassy

Follow us

Twitter Facebook

Quick Links

Correspondence: UNANZ's latest correspondence with Members of Parliament regarding current events and concerns

New Additions: Recent additions to Web site

NZ-UN: New Zealand's activites at the United Nations. 

Youth Association: The Youth branch of UNANZ, open to students and everyone under 25 years of age. 

United Nations Volunteers: UNANZ gets a lot of enquires about New Zealanders wanting to Volunteer overseas with the United Nations. Find out more here.