Month: October 2015
INTERVIEW Romania’s ambassador at UN Ion Jinga: Romania can become a significant actor in implementing 2030 Agenda
Published on 27.10. 2015 by Agerpress.
Romania’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ion Jinga, has granted an interview to AGERPRES in which he speaks of the activity and priorities of Romania at the United Nations in the context of the challenges faced by the international community, but also of Romania’s contribution to the 2030 Agenda regarding sustainable development.
AGERPRES: Ambassador, how do you view Romania’s contribution to the UN in this moment of reflection, given that this year’s December will mark 60 years since the accession to the United Nations of Romania? What are the priorities and challenges on a short—and medium-term?
Ion Jinga: I’d like to begin by defining the context: the UN is the only global international organization, the place where multilateral diplomacy exists in its “pure state.” The soundest argument for its long-term relevance is the evolution of the number of members: from 51 founding states in 1945 to 193 member states today. Candidacies were already announced for a place of non-permanent member of the Security Council until 2009, and for President of the General Assembly until 2067. The explanation for this unyielding interest for the UN is the trust the states place in the principles and values promoted by the organization. The UN membership offers prestige, honour, recognition and an international status. An intelligent use of the UN lectern for promoting national interests can leverage the influence of a country beyond the level given by its geographical size and its economic or military force. Romania expressed its wish of joining the UN as early as 1946, through the voice of its Foreign Affairs Minister Gheorghe Tatarescu, at the Paris Peace Conference. The international context of the Cold War resulted, however, in its admission on December 14, 1955, alongside 15 other states.
Over the past six decades, exceptional diplomats have contributed to elevating our country’s profile and prestige in the most complex international forum. The landmark of the Romanian diplomacy’s presence at the UN was the election of Foreign Minister Corneliu Manescu as President of the UN General Assembly in the 1967-1968 session. He was also the first representative of a East European country to hold this prestigious office. Corneliu Manescu thus repeated the performance of Nicolae Titulescu, elected President of the League of Nations Assembly in 1930. As an homage to the two great diplomats, since September 2015, their portraits open the series of Romanian Foreign Ministers who participated in annual sessions of the General Assembly after 1989, at the offices of Romania’s Mission to the UN in New York.
Romania’s priorities at the UN are circumscribed by our foreign policy goals, in accordance with the status of NATO and EU member state. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted on September 27, 2015, will be a permanent goal over the next 15 years, and an important moment will be the taking over by Romania, in the second half of 2019, of the EU Council Presidency, when Romania’s Mission to the UN, alongside its Permanent Delegation to the EU, will ensure the harmonization of the positions of the 28 missions of the EU member states.
The developments in Ukraine, in the Middle East and Northern Africa, as well as the settlement of prolonged conflicts in the region are closely monitored by Romania’s mission to the UN, as are the problems of refugees, growing acute not just in Europe, as there are 60 million refugees worldwide today. Fighting terrorism is another priority. In 2016, ten years will have passed since the adoption of the global antiterrorist strategy; it has to be updated to respond to recent changes of the nature and types of concrete terrorist threats and for a better cooperation within the UN to counter violent extremism. Moreover, this was the theme of the summit hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama on September 29 this year on the sidelines of the UN session. A list of our priorities cannot leave aside the organization’s reform, the negotiations for reforming the Security Council, the reviving of the General Assembly, and the promotion of multilateral partnerships with regional organizations. In the context of the global security agenda, the Romanian diplomacy acted continuously to promote regional and sub-regional cooperation in Central and Southeastern Europe.
October 24, 2015 was the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations, and on December 14, 2015 we will celebrate 60 years since Romania joined the organization. This double anniversary is an opportunity to reassert our country’s commitment to the UN ideals and actions.
AGERPRES: What is Romania’s role in the 2030 Agenda? What are Romania’s strong and weak points in the context of the 2030 Agenda, what should we accomplish, what will be difficult and why?
Ion Jinga: Romania was one of the 70 countries to form the working group for defining the sustainable development goals. The result consists of 17 goals and 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda. During the negotiations, which took 16 months, Romania assumed the role of leader on the topic of governance for sustainable development. No country can act alone nowadays, because the challenges are global and interconnected, and governance on an international level requires mobilizing resources, offering financial, political and technical aid, monitoring the implementation of goals. Through its contribution to the global partnership for development and its participation to the economic and financial markets, and by stimulating the private environment, Romania can become a significant actor in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Each state will base its sustainable development strategy on the new global framework, but nuances come from the national needs and realities. For instance, the goal of promoting gender equality is more relevant for African or Middle East countries, compared to Western ones, where it has been mostly achieved and where the current priority is the protection of resources, the consumption and sustainable production models. Romania exceeds the milestones of the 2030 Agenda in some cases, but we must focus on goals such as the integration of the environmental dimension in the development paradigm, the adoption of sustainable agricultural techniques, the promotion of sustainable industrialization and the encouragement of innovation, the transition to sustainable consumption and production models, the fight against climate changes.
We have a National Strategy for sustainable development for the 2013 — 2020 — 2030 horizons, with a range of elements included in the U.N. Agenda: the climate changes and clean energy, transport, sustainable production and consumption, the conservation and management of natural resources, public health, social inclusion, demography and migration, poverty, education and professional training, scientific research, technological development. The effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda entails the coordination of the efforts of various institutions on a local, national, regional and global level. The promotion of dialogue, cooperation and coordination of this multitude of institutional players — the so-called “governance for sustainable development” — puts a major challenge to all countries.
AGERPRES: How is Romania perceived at the UN?
Ion Jinga: Romania has a solid reputation at the United Nations, built over 60 years. The Romanian diplomacy traditionally promotes the essential role of multilateralism in providing stability, development and cooperation at a global and regional level and the United Nations represents a central element of such an approach. I would note among the performances that Romania was a non-permanent member of the Security Council four times (1962, 1976-77, 1990-91, 2004-2005), it chaired the General Assembly (the 1967-1968 session), it was a vice president of the General Assembly (2013-2014) and chaired the Human Rights Council (2007-2008).
In the current context characterised by the multiplication and inter-connection of the challenges facing the international community, the United Nations returns to the forefront as the only resort for negotiation, mediation, compromise and consensus on files of global breadth. In the EU priorities at the 70th session of the General Assembly it is underscored: “The United Nations is today more relevant and more necessary than ever. The multitude of challenges to the international order destabilises the global system, that is why there is need that the U.N. be more efficient and placed at the centre of the multilateral system”.
The respect Romania enjoys in the UN system is also given by its presence with troops and police and civil staff in ten of the 17 UN peacekeeping missions, with an announcement having been made for 2016 to beef up the allotted resources. 12 percent of the UN. protection personnel is made up of Romanians, with the SPP [the Dignitaries Protection Service] having a very good image here. In 2015, Romania chaired the 2nd Main Committee of the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We hold positions of a chairman and vice chairman in the Commission for Sustainable Development and the Commission for Population and Development respectively, we are a focus of the East European Group for candidacies and a facilitator on the administration of justice at the United Nations. The credibility that Romania enjoys has led to the setting up of the Emergency Transit Centre for Refugees in Timisoara and the SPP Excellence Centre for training the U.N. protection personnel.
Romania is actively involved in promoting the equal chances and capitalizing on women’s capacity, with President Klaus Iohannis being one of the promoters of the HeforShe solidarity movement placed under the UN aegis and including ten heads of states, ten presidents of major international companies and ten chancellors of renowned universities. Recently, [Romanian] Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu presented at the UN together with Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo the common initiative of setting up an International Court against Terrorism, with the Romanian top diplomat arguing that terrorism is a global threat which should be fought against with the instruments of law too: international justice and the international criminal law. We have several ambitious projects that might consolidate our influence on an international level.
AGERPRES: What is your opinion of the role played by the news media in the war against terror? Is this war of ideologies that President Obama was speaking of actually a war of the information circulated in the public space?
Ion Jinga: One of the pillars on which the terrorist organisations rely today is the propaganda war, manipulation by means of the media, by means of the social networks included, which is a formidable weapon. The radical actions of the terrorist groups are disseminated via the social media, contributing to drawing new followers from among the deprived and ignorant. The military fight and the efforts for stemming the flow of foreign fighters is but part of the solution, since there is a type of terrorism that has the capability of regenerating itself. Understanding the pre-eminently conservative culture characteristic of the concerned areas, as well as its impact on the online space dominated by hyper-communication and immediate access to any type of information represent the other side of the solution. We witness a war of the information, but the international press, in order to win it must understand the sources of the extremist propaganda, so as to be able to dismantle the myths on which it is built. In this confrontation, the role of the media becomes increasingly important. The journalists not only communicate the information via the news channels, many times risking their lives; they are also genuine missionaries in service of the truth, so that the trenches dug by words might be more efficient than the physical ones for the defence of human freedom and dignity. AGERPRES
Reflections by HE Dr Ion Jinga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, New York, published in Huffington Post on 20.10.2015.
Motto: “Women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer“. British writer Charlotte Brontë in the novel “Jane Eyre”, 1847.
2015 proves to be iconic, a year of celebration and of a new beginning. On 24th October, the United Nations Organization celebrates 70 years of its existence. As Ambassador of Romania to the UN, I am proud to say that my country is also celebrating 60 years since it has joined the Organization. At the 70th anniversary of the UN, Heads of State and Government made a political commitment that will guide our actions for the next 15 years on the three dimensions of the sustainable development – economic, social and environmental: Agenda 2030, which brings a new vision on ending poverty and “leaving no one behind”. In fact, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development just cannot leave behind half of the world’s population. One of the 17 sustainable development goals – Goal no. 5 – is “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls”.
In 2015 we celebrate 20 years since the adoption of a landmark document for the empowerment and rights of women and girls from all over the world: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. On September 27th, in New York, China and UN Women co-hosted the high-level “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, an event in conjunction with the UN Summit on the Agenda 2030 and as part of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration.
On that occasion, over 70 world leaders made concrete commitments and firm pledges to overcome gender equality gaps by 2030. One of them is the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis. He is also one of the 10 (Heads of State) x 10 (CEOs) x 10 (Presidents of University) IMPACT Champions of the UN Women solidarity movement for gender equality, He4She. Thus, men in power act to empower women in their countries.
On October 7-9, the Utah Valley University hosted the 4th edition of the International Women of the Mountains Conference, a stimulating debate in the context of the 2030 Agenda, on education, economic issues and health, but also on human trafficking and exploitation of women and children, with panelists coming from five continents.
I was honored to be one of the speakers, as Romania has been a longstanding supporter of the Mountain Partnership (one-third of its surface is covered by mountains) and the Romanian Government made successful efforts in order to empower women. Our most recent General Action Plan on Gender Equality (2014-2017) specifically encourages the balanced participation of women and men in decision-making, by promoting affirmative measures to increase the number of women in leadership and accelerate the building of a new gender-sensitive generation.
On October 13th, the Spanish Presidency of the Security Council organized an open debate celebrating 15 years since the adoption of its Resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security. Women’s active participation in peace processes has proved to be absolutely relevant for making conflict resolution and peacebuilding more effective.
In Romania, the first female officer in the armed forces was the second lieutenant Ecaterina Teodoroiu, who died heroically in the WW1, and in WW2 one of the first women-pilot in the world, Smaranda Braescu, fought as a reconnaissance pilot.
Women in military uniform as a full-time profession began to appear in my country in 1973. We have now women with the rank of general and there is an increased number of military female staff participating in international missions. Romanian Female Engagement Teams were assigned to engage Afghan women and girls in the Zabul Province, in order to empower them into their own societies.
The commander of the South Region within the UN Mission in Haiti is Romanian chief superintendent Raluca Domuța. She was awarded the International Female Police Peacekeeper for 2015. This is is an excellent example of the added value of gender component in the UN peacekeeping and special political missions.
Romania has co-sponsored the Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, adopted by consensus on October 13th, thus joining the call for more determined action by all stakeholders in order to move forward the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Gender equality is a necessity of contemporary societies and the progress made on women’s rights, over the past two decades, is remarkable. Women now occupy leadership positions in education, sciences, and public life. They excel in many domains thanks to their skills and abilities. We cherish all their achievements which have tremendously transformed for the better the world we live in.
But there is still work to do. In the 21st Century, no one should be excluded, regardless of the gender. Women empowerment is a new religion. It is not only the natural think to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Reflections by HE Dr Ion Jinga, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, New York, published in Huffington Post on 05.10.2015.
Motto: “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for”. Mahatma Gandhi
Friday October 2nd, in New York and worldwide was celebrated the International Day of Non-Violence. It is marked on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. Almost 68 years after Gandhi’s assassination, his legacy as a prophet of non-violence is more actual than ever.
On September 29th, President Barack Obama hosted the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism, at the United Nations in New York. The Summit was attended by representatives from more than 100 nations, Romania included, more than 20 multilateral institutions, some 120 civil society groups from around the world and partners from the private sector. Its agenda included a reflection upon lessons learned in fighting terrorism, a focus on comprehensive and integrative approaches to defeating ISIL, how to confront the false ideologies espoused by the group and how to address social, political and economic drivers of violent extremism.
In his remarks, President Barack Obama underlined that: “This is not a conventional battle. This is a long-term campaign, not only against this particular network, but against its ideology. Ultimately, it is not going to be enough to defeat ISIL in the battlefield. We have to prevent it from radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others to violence in the first place. And this means defeating their ideology. Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they’re defeated by better ideas — a more attractive and compelling vision. We will ultimately prevail because we are guided by a stronger, better vision: a commitment to the security, opportunity and dignity of every human being.”
His words were echoed by the British Prime Minister David Cameron: “We need to win this propaganda war far more effectively than we have to date. I believe in freedom of speech, but freedom to hate is not the same thing”.
I share this vision. And, again, as President Obama noted: “Poverty does not cause terrorism. But when people are impoverished and hopeless and feel humiliated by injustice and corruption, this can fuel resentments that terrorists exploit. Which is why sustainable development is part of countering violent extremism. So the real path to lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; I believe it is more democracy”.
Justice is part of democracy. Together with freedom speech, freedom of religion and strong civil societies, it has to play a part in countering terrorism and violent extremism. Fighting the impunity of terrorism with the tools of international law, under the aegis of the United Nations, is part of Romania’s approach and my country has a long and consolidated tradition in promoting the UN multilateral diplomacy and the UN legal instruments.
Speaking in front of the UN General Assembly on September 29th, President of Romania Klaus Iohannis sent an unequivocal message: “The consolidation of international justice and the need to put an end to impunity should trigger a reinforced legal approach towards international terrorism. Terrorism is a sum of crimes against individuals and societies. Romania believes that the international community should do more in combating terrorism with the tools of law, including international criminal law. It is with that purpose in mind that Romania and Spain triggered a process of reflection on the possible creation of an International Court for the Crime of Terrorism”.
Same day, Foreign Ministers of Romania and Spain co-hosted a debate on the topic “Towards an International Court against Terrorism (ICT) – Ideas and Challenges”, in the margins of the UNGA ministerial week. The debate reflected how to fight against terrorism with the means of international criminal law, and not only with the military force. The topic is both complex and sensitive: how to tackle the definition of terrorism, how to define jurisdiction, how to convince states to cooperate. All these elements were open for debate. It was underlined that the ICT added value would culminate to its preventative effect on perpetrators and the question of victims of terrorism came central: there is too much impunity for crimes of terrorism and too many victims not receiving justice nowadays. Hence, the discussion on the ICT was timely.
Terrorism attacks the core sovereignty of a country and therefore the issue of countering terrorism and violent extremism brought the whole of the UN together. More than half of the UN Security Council resolutions adopted over the past year focused on this topic and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was resolute in upholding the human rights in the fight against terrorism. Terrorist groups constitute a direct violation of the UN Charter and a great impediment to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Political will and support from the civil society are essential for the continuation of the Romanian-Spanish initiative but one thing is clear: terrorism is a grave challenge and the international justice could be one of the greatest force at the disposal of mankind to counter it. It could be mightier than the mightiest weapon. As the great Romanian legal expert Vespasian Pella wrote in 1950: “Without an international court, indicted people would always feel convicted not as a result of guilt, but of defeat”.
Excelenței Sale Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambasador Extraordinar și Plenipotențiar, Reprezentantul permanent al României pe lângă Organizaţia Naţiunilor Unite
Permiteți-ne să ne exprimăm, pe această cale, profunda apreciere față de interesul și implicarea dumneavoastră în proiectele Filialei Marea Britanie a Ligii Studenților Români din Străinătate pe parcusul mandatului dumneavoastră anterior de Ambasador al României la Londra. Datorită dumneavoastră, Echipa LSRS UK s-a bucurat mereu de susținerea Ambasadei României la Londra în cadrul unor proiecte de impact, ce au reușit să creeze legături solide între românii din Marea Britanie, atât pe plan profesional, cât și pe cel studențesc. Conferința Studenților, Profesorilor și Cercetătorilor Români din UK si Evenimentele de SpeedNetworking sunt doar două asfel de exemple de inițiativă comună ce au devenit tradiție, iar vizitele și întâlnirile cu studenții români sunt încă un semn de atenție specială pe care ați acordat-o comunității noastre de studenți. Iar pentru toate acestea vă purtăm un profund respect. Considerăm că fiecare român aflat în Marea Britanie este un „ambasador“ al propriei țări, de aceea am apreciat răbdarea și înțelegerea cu care v-ați implicat în fiecare comunitate a diasporei, încercând să promovați o imagine reală, dar totodată pozitivă a României. În timpul mandatului de ambasador, ați dat dovadă de atudinea unui om care își cunoaște țara și respectă fiecare membru al ei, apărându-ne imaginea în contextul european. Prin prisma activităților desfășurate împreună, putem declara cu sinceritate că v-ați remarcat prin profesionalism și o neîncetată pozitivitate, oferindu-ne motive să fim mândrii că ne reprezentați. Sperăm că împreună am reușit să construim o comunitate mai unită și vom încerca să păstrăm acest parteneriat de succes și cu viitorul ambasador, ducând munca noastră comună pe mai departe. În final, vă mulțumim încă o dată pentru ajutorul acordat, vă felicităm pentru cel mai lung mandat în capitala Angliei după 1990 și vă urăm din suflet succes în funcția de reprezentant al țării noastre la ONU. Cu deosebită considerație, Echipa LSRS UK reprezentată prin:
Ioan – Vlad Miftodi, Coordonator
Andrei Ioan Stan, Membru de onoare