United Nations

#DiplomaticCentennial / Ion Jinga: Romania’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on UN Security Council, priority zero

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Interview with H.E. Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations – New York, posted in Agerpres on 05.04.2018

The current priority zero for the Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN is Romania’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2020-2021. ” Only 15 states are there, five of which are permanent members. I think bringing Romania for two years at the top of the global decision-making process regarding the planet’s peace and security, alongside the great powers of the world, I think deserves any effort,” ambassador Ion Jinga said in an interview with AGERPRES.

A seat on the UN Security Council represents “the most important position any country may want in the international arena because it offers visibility, prestige, influence and ability to radiate influence in a geographic area that exceeds the extent traditionally determined by geographic size, population, economic or military might,” Jinga explained.

According to him, Romania participates in two-thirds of the UN peacekeeping missions and two special political missions. Under these missions, Romanian soldiers, police officers and gendarmes hold key positions in the command structures of the forces in the areas of intelligence, operations, communications, logistics and personnel, civil-military cooperation, which proves the recognition of their professionalism.

In his e-mail interview, Jinga also talked about current affairs on the UN agenda, such as the reform of the Security Council, “an eminently political process,” and the situation of migrants and refugees. At the same time, he also mentioned young people who want apply for internships at the Permanent Mission of Romania at the UN.

The interview is part of the editorial project #DiplomaticCentennial conducted by AGERPRES throughout the year, focusing on diplomatic relations in the context of the 100th anniversary of Romania’s Greater Union.

AGERPRES: In 2006, Romania submitted its candidacy for another non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the seat allocated to the East European Group, in 2020-2021. The official campaign to promote this candidacy was launched in June 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in the presence of Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, and the elections will take place in June 2019. How difficult the negotiations to get the seat are? What would be Romania’s priorities as a non-permanent member of the Security Council?

Ion Jinga: A seat on the UN Security Council represents “the most important position any country may want in the international arena because it offers visibility, prestige, influence and ability to radiate influence in a geographic area that exceeds the extent traditionally determined by geographic size, population, economic or military might. To be elected, a state must receive the support of at least 2/3 of the total UN members, i.e. 129 votes, so election to the Security Council requires considerable effort even when the number of candidates coincides with the number of vacated seats. It is even more difficult in competition situations, as is the case with Romania’s candidacy, where we have a counter-candidate in Estonia. Each country tries to capitalise on its own strengths, including the relationships it has developed over the years not only on its own continent but also in other parts of the world, its diplomatic network, its contribution to advancing peace and international security, including under the UN flag, development assistance, projects of interest to the interlocutors to whom they are addressed, the reputation enjoyed among other states, including respecting the engagements assumed in the campaign.

Romania is running on a long-term commitment to peace, justice and development, which is, in fact, the motto of our campaign. The priorities Romania has taken up, if elected to sit on the Security Council, are to promote the objectives and principles of the UN Charter, respect for multilateralism and international law, conflict prevention and peaceful settlement, increased efficiency of peacekeeping missions, promoting peace, promoting respect for human rights, protecting women and children in armed conflicts, improving cooperation between the Security Council and regional and sub-regional organisations in preserving international peace and security.

AGERPRES: Mr. ambassador, last year you were co-chairman of the intergovernmental negotiations regarding the reform of the UN Security Council. What view on the reform of the Security Council does Romania support and, on the other hand, in the context of the personal experience gained in this process, what are the changes that stand the greatest chance of materialisation?

Ion Jinga: The Intergovernmental Negotiations Process (IGN) on the Security Council reform is considered to be the most complex component of the overall United Nations reform system, given that this body has the primary responsibility of preserving world peace and security. In the debates, which focused on five major themes – the Council’s relationship with the General Assembly, the magnitude of the enlargement and the working methods, membership categories, the veto right, regional representation – we started up from the premise that the negotiations can only advance through an unbiased, balanced approach, characterised by transparency and pragmatism, coupled with creativity by the two co-chairs, taking into account the aspirations of the member states and avoiding the transformation of the process into a zero-sum game. The result of this one-year work is the document entitled “Elements of Commonality and Issues for Further Considerations,” which summarises both the progress made with the negotiations we have coordinated with our Tunisian colleague and the coordinates for the IGN this year.

The reform of the Security Council is an eminently political process which, depending on the depth of the changes adopted, can have major geopolitical consequences, so it cannot be summed up simply by collecting data and positions. My approach, as co-chair of the IGN, was to create confidence bridges between groups of states with somewhat different positions on certain subjects, with the aim of finding an acceptable solution for all. Since all aspects of the Security Council’s reform are interconnected, we have introduced into the negotiations a principle used by the European Union – which we knew very well since we were part of the negotiation team of Romania’s accession to the EU – “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. This little innovation translated to New York has led to a certain increase in confidence that in turn allowed us to build the skeleton of the document we were talking about. I cannot predict what this year’s developments will be, and any progress depends on the degree of support from the member countries; one of the resolutions underlying these negotiations states that any major change must enjoy the member states’ widest possible political acceptance. Romania supports the reform of the Security Council so that this body becomes more transparent and efficient, adapted to the realities of the 21st century. An important point for us is the increase in the representation of the Eastern European Group, which also includes Romania, by allocating it an additional non-permanent seat.

AGERPRES: In an interview of September 2016 you were saying, in the context of the migration crisis, that people should have more empathy with refugees and migrants, and imagine for a moment that one day we could find ourselves in their stead. Over the past and a half year since then, have you noticed any change in attitudes towards migrants and refugees in the countries of destination?

Ion Jinga: The migrants and refugees status is one of the topics that has been most discussed by the United Nations Organization as of lately. Based on the New York Declaration regarding the refugees and the migrants, of September 2016, the UN member states committed to negotiate and adopt two fundamental documents, the Global Compact for Migration and the Global Compact for Refugees, respectively. These are now subject to full negotiations in New York and Geneva. We are carefully watching the debates and negotiations in New York with respect to the Global Compact for Migration and we hope that they will materialize in the adoption of the document of December 10-11, signed in Morocco. The Compact approaches the situation of migrants from a full perspective, a 360-degree one I would say, starting from the causes that led to migration, the migrants’ track and their arrival in the countries of destination. In respect to the attitude towards migrants, the draft that is being negotiated right now confirms the positive aspect of legal migration and aims at eliminating discrimination and promoting public speeches based on concrete facts and data, in order to shape a correct perception and free from the emotional impact. The presentation of the positive aspects of migration and the need for building an objective public perception on migrants are among the topics included in the report presented by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in the beginning of this year, titled “Making migration work for all.” It would be hazardous to anticipate now the finalization of the ongoing negotiations regarding the Global Compact for Migration. We can only hope that there will be identified the best solutions to answers to expectations of transited and destination countries, to the need of stability and development of the origin countries and, first of all, to the huge hopes for a decent life that the migrants have in tomorrow and in the ones who make the decisions in their respect. At UN level there are many steps that have been taken since 2016 in what concerns this topic, and these steps are endorsed by all the states, either states of origin, transited states and states of destination.

AGERPRES: And since we talk about empathy, on February 28, the US Ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley, delivered an emotional speech after the vote of the UN Council on the request for a humanitarian truce of 30 days in Syria, while accusing Russia of delaying the vote, in the context in which Syrian army bombardments continued in Eastern Ghouta. “Maybe we don’t know the faces of these people we are talking about. Maybe we don’t know their names, or them, but they do know us. And we have disappointed all these people this week. I believe that we have unity in this,” said the US Ambassador. Is this an example of the Security Council’s incapacity to act promptly, in the current formula, when we need this the most?

Ion Jinga: The intervention of the US’s permanent representative took place in the context of negotiations regarding the Resolution 2401 (2018), adopted by the Security Council on 24.02.2018. Ambassador Nikki Haley is someone that I have a special appreciation for, both as a professional and as a human being, and I admire her for her inspiration that helps her express what very many of us feel in certain moments, and the Syrian people’s drama is hard to put into words. In the respective case, the Security Council met in successive sessions that lasted for three days, for there existed the certainty that none of the permanent members were going to use their right of veto. In the end, the resolution was adopted by consensus, in a situation when every second of delay could have meant new victims. The efficiency of the Security Council resides in the adoption with celerity of some resolutions but, especially, in their implementation. From this perspective, the unity of the Council members must exist both in adopting a resolution and in transposing it into practice.

There is a lot of criticism among the UN member states regarding the use of the right of veto, as well as the attempts to limit it being used in the sense of allowing the adoption of some resolutions on humanitarian situations, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other atrocities. As I mentioned earlier, the right to veto matter is on the agenda of the Security Council reform process.

AGERPRES: In how many peacekeeping and political missions of the UN is Romania involved right now, with troops and police officers? By which is Romania remarking itself during these UN missions?

Ion Jinga: In the beginning of 2018, Romania was effectively participating with manpower from the Ministry of National Defence and the Protection and Guard Service (SPP) in ten peacekeeping missions (Cyprus, DR of the Congo, Central African Republic, India-Pakistan, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Mali, Sudan, Southern Sudan) and two special political missions (Afghanistan, Libya), under the UN flag.

Basically, we are involved in two thirds of the UN peacekeeping missions (there are 15 in total) and in two of the eight special political missions. In manpower terms, Romania ranks 71st among 123 states which contribute with troops and police officers to the missions carried out under the UN aegis. In all these missions, the Romanian military, police officers and gendarmes occupy key positions in the command structures of the forces, in the intelligence, operations, communications, logistics and personnel, civilian-military cooperation fields. Last year, Romania held the highest position that a military can have in the UN mission in Afghanistan, which represented a recognition of the professionalism of the Romanian military. In 2015, a woman officer received the title of International Female Police Peacekeeper, as a recognition of the exceptional results she had during her participation in the UN Mission of Stabilization in Haiti. I would also remind here that UN wanting to increase the role of women in uniform in the peacekeeping missions became an operational objective, with a 15% target for the end of this year.

Our country already has a 27-year long tradition of contribution with blue caps, starting in 1991, when the first Romanian military were deployed in Iraq and Kuwait, and now it participates in several of the most risky missions. There are also a series of additional military capabilities that Romania contributed to the UN for deployment in the operation theatres, starting in 2016; an infantry company, a military transport aircraft, a detachment for neutralizing explosive devices, an increased number of military observers. According to the commitment made at the Summit on peacekeeping missions, in New York, September 2015, our country is going to provide UN with four military transport helicopters, which are to be evaluated and certified in 2019, as well as with a Set Up Police Unit. It is also important to remind that, among all member states, Romania is ranking 1st in terms of the number of police officers sent in UN missions. And, finally, the Application School for Officers of the Romanian Gendarmerie is annually organizing, starting in 2013, in French, the International Superior Contest dedicated to officers from the internal security and defence structures in Romania and other states. Up to now there have been 14 graduate promotions of officers from 26 European, African and Asian states.

Last but not least, we are the only country that provides, through the Protection and Guard Service (SPP), close protection units for the high UN dignitaries going to the conflict areas. Starting in 2009, in Bucharest operates a joint centre of UN-SPP for training UN protection officers operating in the high risk areas. More than 200 UN officers graduated this training programme in English.

AGERPRES: Romania will hold in the first six months of 2019 the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, other six months before and after, it will be a member of the trio of the EU Presidency and will become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021. Therefore, for three years and a half Bucharest will be at the top of the European and world decision-makers. You stated in an interview that “the reverberations of such a position could project the international prominence of Romania for the next decade.” What does Romania have to do in this 3 years and a half period to develop this international prominence? Is this a crossroad moment for the Romanian diplomacy?

Ion Jinga: I hope your optimism regarding the obtaining by Romania of a seat of non-permanent member on the Security Council be auspicious. Yet I find it early to display the certainty of success. We compete next to Estonia (I’m not against Estonia) for the single seat of non-permanent member allocated to the East-European Group in the Security Council. Estonia, a friend country and a partner Romania is collaborating tightly in numerous European projects, is a EU, NATO member, develops a sustained, intelligent campaign which it allocated important political and diplomatic resources to, and has never been a member of this UN body so far. Both countries promote their candidacies transparently and in fair play. In other words, we have a remarkable opponent, that knows to use its cards. If we make it to get the vote of at least two-thirds of the UN member countries, then we could talk about capitalising these prestigious mandates for Romania’s international stature. Until then, we talk of a team work which if successful, will turn into a victory of a great team called Romania.

AGERPRES: This year’s events dedicated to the Great Union’s Centennial are overlapping, at the Permanent Representation of Romania to the UN with the promotion of our country’s candidacy for a new mandate of non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2020-2021. As you have recalled on the occasion of one of these events, Romania is a charter member of the League of Nations, back in 1919. Is this context beneficial to Romania’s move?

Ion Jinga: Romania’s Mission to the UN is deeply committed to promote, in the UN milieus and not only, the national project dedicated to the celebration of the Great Union’s Centennial. The already organised events in New York and the ones which are to be held in the next months could offer us a plus of visibility, from the perspective of the country’s candidacy to the Security Council included, yet without any direct connection. Romania is a founding member of the League of Nations, and this is an argument we use to show that our commitment in favour of the multilateral diplomacy as a tool to promoting international peace and security is a long shot one, being a calling card that grows the guarantee that the approach for the Security Council is not conjectural, but is grounded on a 100-year continuity in our foreign policy.

AGERPRES: Mr. ambassador, you are, starting with this year the chairman of the ambassadors Group of the member countries of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) to the UN, after you used to be deputy-chairman of this group in 2015-2017. Could you give us examples of concrete situations when the OIF member countries have acted as a unitary block within the UN? What is the stakes of this position for the Romanian diplomacy?

Ion Jinga: I’ve been honoured to having been elected as president of the Francophone ambassadors to the UN, New York and i believe that this is firstly as recognition of Romania’s remarkable contribution to the promotion of the values of La Francophonie: modernity, democracy, rule of law, human rights’ observance, respect for other cultures. The francophone states have several specific common interests at the UN, such as a better enforcement of the multilingualism principle (the UN has six official languages – English, French, Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Arabian, the first two being the working languages of the organisation), for the recruiting, the public procurement processes included, and also for the staff sent in UN missions in Francophone countries. I have led a reunion on this topic on 7 March 2018 attended by the UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres. Romania has a significant presence with military and police officers in several UN peacekeeping missions in Francophone countries. Moreover, staged are several meetings with UN or governmental high officials who come to present their objectives and ask for the support of the UN Francophone group, events that I chair. In addition, a Francophone solidarity exists when adopting certain important resolutions of the General Assembly, or in matter of candidacies in the UN system, Francophone candidates (countries or persons) having the opportunity to come present their programmes in front of the Group and ask fort support, that could be decisive given that the OIF counts for 84 members.

AGERPRES: The PSD president Liviu Dragnea has asked the Romanian Foreign Affairs minister to come with an activity assessment of each diplomatic mission’s head. Clearly, Romania’s Permanent Representation to the UN is not an ordinary diplomatic mission from the assessment criteria viewpoint. How do you expect to be your activity’s assessment? And looking ahead, which are for you the three main targets in 2018 in your position?

Ion Jinga: The assessment of the diplomatic missions’ activities is carried whenever deemed as necessary, by the people in charge with it. It is not my place to anticipate the outcome of the assessment you are referring to. I can only tell you that the team I am leading does whatever it depends on it for the interests, the reputation and the image of Romania to the United Nations be promoted and defended professionally, with dedication and unconditioned loyalty to the country. In the past two years and a half since I took over the position of Romania’s Permanent Representative to the UN, New York I was elected chairman of the Commission for Social Development (2015-2016), chairman of the Group of government experts for the negotiation of the UN Report on military spending transparency – MILEX (2016-2017; MILEX has only been summoned once in 2011, when the German ambassador chaired), co-president of the intergovernmental negotiations Process regarding the Security Council’s reform (2016-2017; first ambassador from Eastern Europe appointed to this position), president of the Commission for Population and Development (2017-2018; a first for Romania), chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission (2018; also a first for Romania’s diplomacy; Peacebuilding Commission is one of the most important UN commissions), president of the Francophone ambassadors’ Group (2018, once again a first for us in New York). Between brackets, the UN General Assembly’s President granted me on 7 September 2017 the “Diploma of Honour for the remarkable contribution to the success of the activity of the 71st Session of the General Assembly.” I’d add that in the said period all of the elections organised in New York for UN structures with Romania having candidates to, were won. There are also the missions in the UN intervention areas, for instance this March I’ve been in Chad in my capacity of president of the Peacebuilding Commission to attend the Ministerial Conference of the states within the Sahel region and see UN financed projects. It was a very useful experience, because one cannot have the legitimacy to talk about problems the countries and the population in a certain region are confronted with, if they don’t know the reality on the spot. This visit made me respect the more the resilience of those people, who have the same right with us to a decent life. We are all born equals, but evolve differently due to some factors that are sometimes completely independent from our individual skills and effort. Seeing the dry desert and the unimaginable effort each plant, animal and human being make to survive, I was thinking of how blessed Romania is.

As for the targets of Romania’s Mission to the UN and implicitly the mission’s head’s in 2018, they circumscribe the mandate set each year by the leadership of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and approved by the President of Romania for the respective session of the General Assembly. Being Romania’s diplomatic voice to the UN, our goal is firstly to display our country’s stance and promote Romania’s objectives within the UN, in New York. The wide range of topics we address, as well as the increasing responsibility assumed by Romania internationally are found in priorities such as the growth of the UN efficiency in tackling the threats at the international peace and stability, the maintaining of the Security Council as a main symbol and forum of the international cooperation for peace, the use of the preventive diplomacy and the peaceful resolving of the disputes, the continuation of the UN reform process, the implementation of Agenda 2030 for durable development, the promotion of dialogue and of a tighter cooperation between the UN and the regional and subregional organisations.

In this period, priority zero to us is Romania’s candidacy for a seat of non-permanent member on the UN Security Council in 2020-2021. Only 15 states are there, of which five are permanent members. Let’s bring Romania for two years to the top of the world decision as regards the planet’s peace and security, along the big powers of the world, I guess it is worth any effort.

AGERPRES: Mr. Ambassador, on the web page of Romania’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations you have a welcome word to the virtual visitors that ends in the suggestion to contact the mission by e-mail for comments, questions, suggestions. What are the most surprising messages you’ve received this way?

Ion Jinga: I maintain this suggestion, because it is very important for us to have a feedback from the ones interested in Romania’s activity to the UN. Most of the messages received are from young people to wish to attend various internships at the Permanent Mission of Romania at the UN, which is pleasing us because regularly they are well prepared, enthusiastic and willing to have the chance to see how the multilateral diplomacy is basically concluded. Moreover, there are delegations of young people who visit the UN seat and to meet us so we share from the diplomatic life’s backstage. One of the questions they ask is: “How can a state become a UN Security Council’s permanent member?” It is a question many countries do ask for over 25 years, as part of the reform process of the Security Council. Maybe someday the answer will come from exactly those who have asked the question on the website page of Romania’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.AGERPRES(RO – author: Florin Stefan, editor: Mariana Ionescu; EN – authors: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, Cristina Zaharia, Maria Voican, editor: Maria Voican)


Prevention: A New Religion at the United Nations

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Thoughts by Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations – New York, posted in Nine O’Clock on March 7, 2018.

The costs of wars and conflicts today are estimated at 10 trillion USD globally. The international community spent 235 billion USD over the past 10 years on humanitarian responses, peacekeeping and refuges costs, out of which 45 billion USD only last year. More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflicts. Nearly half of all people living in extreme poverty reside in countries affected by conflict and fragility, and unless concerted action is taken by 2030, this figure is expected to rise to 80% by 2035. Using the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “poverty is the worst form of violence”.

The international community too often responded only after a crisis started, and the UN was traditionally known for conflict response, rather than conflict prevention. The General Assembly created in 2005 (resolution 60/180) the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), an intergovernmental advisory body whose main purposes are “to bring together all relevant actors to marshal resources and to advise on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict peacebuilding and recovery”.

With the number of violent conflicts almost tripled in the last ten years, it was high time for a new approach and in 2016 the paradigm shifted from post-conflict peacebuilding to prevention. The Security Council and the General Assembly adopted twin resolutions on the review of the UN peacebuilding architecture (2282/2016) and 70/262), which introduced the concept of sustaining peace, “broadly understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of a society, which encompasses activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving forward towards recovery, reconstruction and development”.

In the new philosophy, prevention becomes a cross-cutting priority and is seen as the broad set of activities that address root causes of conflict. Classical prevention activities – such as mediation, preventive diplomacy, cooperation and dialogue – intertwines now with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with the human rights dimension.

The PBC was tasked “to bring international attention to sustaining peace…; to promote an integrated, strategic and coherent approach to peacebuilding, noting that security, development and human rights are closely linked and mutually reinforcing; to serve a bridging role among the principal organs and relevant entities of the United Nations…; to serve as a platform to convene all relevant actors… in order to develop and share good practices in peacebuilding”.

But prevention not only saves lives, it is also cost-effective. An UN-World Bank joint study released in Washington DC on 6 March 2018 (“Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict”) estimates that effective prevention would save from 5 to 70 billion USD per year for the affected countries and the international community combined. The study may become a revolutionary tool for a new collaborative approach, because it connects the development reform proposed by the UN Secretary General with the sustaining peace agenda.

A significant number of conflicts are located in Africa. Contrary to some stereotypes, Africa is not poor. Whilst many people in African countries live in poverty, the continent is rich in terms of human potential and natural resources. According to statistics, in 2015 countries in Africa exported 232 billion USD worth of minerals and oil to the rest of the world. Africa’s potential mineral reserves are estimated to dozens trillion USD. What African countries need is conditions to value this richness for their own development. Peace, stability and democracy are essential ingredients in this respect, but whereas there are many incentives for fueling conflicts, incentives for prevention are too few. Building sustaining peace requires transparency, inclusion, participation and consultation of all political and social actors in the respective countries, but also development incentives. At the same time, peacebuilding activities at all stages must respect national sovereignty and be based on local ownership.

From an economic perspective, on short-term the peacebuilding efforts are mainly focused on humanitarian aid and institutional funding. But on long-term, sustaining peace needs the existence of enterprises and business opportunities, employment and economic growth. Because the main economic challenge of peacebuilding is to generate an environment favorable to sustainable development, engaging more strategically with the private sector is key in shaping and implementing the peacebuilding priorities. Communication also plays a role and it would be wise to invite the media to become a partner in rising awareness on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, whenever possible.

On 5 March 2018, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres briefed the General Assembly on his report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, noting that “if the financial cost of conflict is unsustainable, the human cost is unbearable”. His vision is that sustaining peace is becoming a responsibility of the entire UN system and therefore a more integrated approach of activities undertaken under the three main pillars of the UN is necessary.

The report also underlines the PBC’s unique role in advancing intergovernmental coherence thorough its cross-pillar mandate. The PBC platform has already been used for constructive discussions on Burkina Faso, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Somalia and Sri Lanka. With the support of the international community in Liberia, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants proceeded peacefully because the process included women, youth, civil society and the private sector. In Colombia, assisted by the UN, the government successfully engaged with the private sector and civil society in healing the wounds of a long-term internal conflict and restored the path to recovery and development. The next test case for this holistic approach may be the Sahel region, where there is a clear need to address both the security and the development facets of the crisis.

The work plan of the Peacebuilding Commission, which in 2018 is chaired by Romania, reflects priorities mentioned before: regional approach, partnerships, sustaining peace, synergies, communication. With prevention becoming a new religion at the United Nations, the paradigm shift requires that instead of spending on conflict, we spend on peace. The United Nations is the natural place to do so.

Wild Carpathia

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Thoughts by Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, New York, published in Huffington Post on 21.06.2017.

The first-ever United Nations Summit on Oceans, which took place in New York on 5-9 June, has reached a global agreement to reverse the decline of the ocean’s health, with more than 1,300 pledged actions for protecting the ocean and the adoption of a 14-point Call for Action to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.

A blog I wrote on 26 April, “S.O.S. The World of Blue”, was a pleading in favor of global awareness on the oceans problem. As the President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, remarked during the conference: “When it comes to the ocean, it’s the common heritage of humankind. There’s no North-South, East-West when it comes to the ocean. If the ocean is dying, it’s dying on all of us”.

These words are equally true when it comes to “the green gold” of the Blue Planet: forests. Oceans mitigate climate change by capturing one third of the carbon dioxide released by human activities; forests are another huge bank for the carbon released into the atmosphere, as they tied up 45% of the carbon stored on land. Half of the oxygen we breathe comes from oceans; the other half is produced on land by forests, which are the “lungs” of our Earth. The Amazonian forests alone produce 20% of the oxygen that keeps us alive.

Similar to oceans which provide food security to over three billion humans, forests provide food, income and source of energy to 1.6 billion people. And like oceans, forests are an essential part of our spiritual heritage and cultural identity. In a nutshell, what oceans represent for 37% of the world population who lives in coastal communities, forests represent for another 25% of the Earth’s population.

As a child, I learnt from my grandparents who lived in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains that “the forest is Romanian’s brother”. This metaphor comes from the remote Middle Age and encapsulates perfectly the essence of our history. As inhabitants of a country whose social, cultural and economic fabric was closely linked to forests, and whose defense when outnumbered by foreign invaders consisted in retreats into the huge wild Carpathian forests, followed by deadly counter-attacks against the enemy – a strategy that kept my ancestors always free – Romanians are genetically connected to mountains and forests.

Similar to oceans which humans have put at risk of irreversible damage, we are losing now the greatest biological treasure represented by forests. Rainforests once covered 14% of the Earth’s land surface, while today they cover a mere 6%. If not protected, the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.

Half of the world’s 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in forests. Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to deforestation. As the forest species disappear, so do many possible cures for diseases. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of them are found in the rainforests.

Therefore, like for oceans, rising awareness about the fatal consequences of deforestation is crucial to our future. On 27 April 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030, which includes 6 global forest goals and 26 associated targets aimed at halting deforestation and forest degradation. To boost implementation of these goals and targets, on 1-5 May 2017 the UN organized in New York the United Nations Forum on Forests.

Forests cover 30% of the planet land, or almost four billion ha. Seven million ha are in Romania, which represents 29% of the national territory; 60% of our forests are located in the Carpathian Mountains. According to World Wide Fund for Nature, out of the 320,000 ha of virgin forests still existing in Europe, 250,000 ha are located in Romania. The new Romanian Forest Code stipulates that virgin and quasi-virgin forests shall be strictly protected.

Most of our 30 national parks are located in forest land, with 2.6 million hectares of forests (11% of the Romanian territory) being included in the European Union Natura 2000 Network. In 2015, eleven European countries started the project Beech Forests – Joint Natural Heritage of Europe, for the inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe”. 39% of the forest area in this project is located in my country.

The beauty, majesty, and timelessness of nature in its pure form in these parts of Romania are indescribable. An enthusiastic British team succeeded to present a glimpse of them in a documentary film called Wild Carpathia, and on 27 June I will have the privilege to host, at the United Nations in New York, the screening of its fourth episode: “Seasons of Change”.

Before being appointed to the United Nations, I was the ambassador of Romania to the United Kingdom and I have witnessed the making over the series of this documentary film. I remember the message HRH The Prince of Wales has sent at the launching of Wild Carpathia – Wild Forever, in 2013: “Romania is one of the last places in Europe where wild expanses on a meaningful scale still exist. In fact, the Romanian Carpathians contain the largest remaining area of virgin forest in Central and Southern Europe. These forests are a feast of biodiversity, exceptionally rich in fauna and flora. This makes the Romanian Carpathians a priceless natural treasure in a continent that has long since destroyed most of its wildernesses. What you still possess in Romania has become extremely rare. Many European countries have little or no primary forest left”.

His Royal Highness’ passionate commitment and determination in preserving, for the generations to come, of the nature, traditions and fabulous heritage of my country brought him unconditional admiration and gratitude. A video message from The Prince of Wales in 2016, at the launching of Wild Carpathia – Seasons of Change, will precede the film screening at the UN.

Wild Carpathia is an exquisite documentary about the wilderness of the Carpathian Mountains, amazing landscapes, raw history and simple life. Above all, it gives a unique insight into the beauty and rich culture of Romania through the changing seasons and tells us that is a time for change in our behaviour in relation to Mother Earth. Wild Carpathia is also a portal to paradise. It captures the majesty of a unique eco-system and shows why it deserves to be preserved in all its glory for the benefit of future generations.

And what a better place to present it than the United Nations?


S.O.S. The World Of Blue

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Thoughts by Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, New York, published in Huffington Post on 26/04/2017

Oceans and seas are key to sustaining life on our planet. They connect people, markets and livelihoods, provide food security to over three billion humans and generate 350 million jobs. Oceans are essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication, particularly for people living in coastal communities who represent 37% of the global population. Coastal and marine resources contribute an estimated 28 trillion USD to the global economy each year. The sustainable use and preservation of marine and coastal ecosystems is essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda, in particular for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDC).

Oceans and seas mitigate climate change by capturing one third of the carbon dioxide released by human activities since the beginning of the industrial revolution, while half of the oxygen we breathe comes from their waters. Oceans also represent a fabulous hub of biodiversity, the natural habitat of more than 200,000 species. Finally, the World of Blue forms an essential part of our heritage and culture.

Yet, we humans who so much depend on oceans and seas, have put them at risk of irreversible damage. From marine pollution to increasing water temperatures and sea-level rise, from ocean acidification to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the negative implications of human activity put the planetary ocean in deep trouble.

Indeed, if not stopped, by 2050 pollution will leave more plastic in the oceans than fish. Ocean acidification is occurring because too much carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere, and it is responsible for the destruction of coral reefs and of calciferous plankton, which are at the base of the oceans’ food chain. In the Caribbean Sea – a paradise area where the nature is still well-preserved – I have seen dead corals lying under the sea like artifacts from an ancient world. This phenomenon has a drastic impact on the upper levels of marine species, which provide food and jobs for local people.

The importance of fisheries as a source of food and employment to so many people has been recognized by the UN. Still, irrational overfishing, often stimulated by harmful subsidies, continues to contribute to depleting fish resources. According to a 2016 report of the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 31% of global fish stocks are already at biologically unsustainable levels. IUU fishing is estimated between 11 and 26 million tons annually, with a value of 10 to 23 billion USD. The poor management of fisheries is considered responsible for the loss of 80 billion USD in economic potential every year.

For many SIDS and LDC, the word “Ocean” is synonymous to “Life”. As Peter Thomson, the first President of the UN General Assembly from the Pacific Islands region (PGA 2016-2017), who has had a lifelong involvement in the field of development, recently noted: “Human-induced problems have human-produced solutions. Thus it is that the time has come for us to act, to remedy the woes we have put upon the Ocean, to reverse the cycle of decline our cumulative habits have imposed upon the marine environment… So much of our culture, leisure and well-being derives from our joy in the beauty and bounty of the Ocean. Are we really prepared to surrender to the inexorable dead zones advancing along our shores, to greedy oil slicks decimating wildlife and ecosystems, to a cascading farewell for so many species forever, to the magical myriads of color and life-forms of the world’s coral reefs turning into ashen memorials of what was once so wonderful?

These reflections are grounded in a bitter reality and the answer is in our hands. Recognizing that humanity’s current path is unsustainable, in September 2015 the world leaders unanimously adopted in New York the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Now we have got momentum and there is a global awareness on the need for action. We must transpose political commitments into concrete implementation. A turning point may be the first United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development – The Ocean Conference, which will take place at the UN Headquarters from 5-9 June this year.

Leaders of governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector and the scientific and academic communities are expected to attend this event that may prove crucial for the process of reversing the cycle of decline of oceans and seas. As a riparian state to the Black Sea and host of the UNESCO protected Danube Delta, Romania is particularly interested in protecting biodiversity and in the sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. The SDG 14 sets seven targets aiming to address, by 2020, 2025 and 2030, marine pollution, protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, ocean acidification, overfishing, conservation of at least 10% of coastal and marine areas, elimination of certain subsidies including those that contribute to IUU fishing, and the increase of economic benefits to SIDS from the sustainable use of marine resources.

The Ocean Conference must be one of commitments, solutions and partnerships. It will be co-chaired by Fiji and Sweden, while its preparatory process is co-facilitated by the UN Ambassadors of Portugal and Singapore, four countries whose history is intertwined with the oceans. An intergovernmental declaration entitled “Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action”, to be adopted as a political document of the conference, is under negotiation these days at the UN.

It is up to the Member States to make this declaration action oriented, grounded in science and empowered through finance and technology. In doing so, we may find inspiration in the Vision Statement of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres: “Now that we know what, we must work on how. With clear priorities, tangible benchmarks and the power to mobilize all stakeholders, promoting national ownership and ensuring no-one is left behind. With the horizon of 2030 the focus is on action and the watchword is implementation, implementation, implementation.”

Finally, whether our countries have coastlines or not, whether we are rich or poor, young or old, the World of Blue is part of our life and the future of our mankind depends on it. As the 35th US President John J. Kennedy once said: “We all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”

INTERVIU VIDEO Ambasadorul român la ONU: Aici e greu să joci altfel decât cu cărțile pe masă; transparența e esențială

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Reportaj Agerpres 22.12.2016

Prezența unei țări, inclusiv a României, în Consiliul de Securitate al Organizației Națiunilor Unite oferă vizibilitate și potențează capacitatea unei țări de a radia influență în zona sa geografică adiacentă, a afirmat reprezentantul român la ONU, ambasadorul Ion Jinga, într-un interviu pentru AGERPRES.

Potrivit ambasadorului, pentru ca un stat să fie ales ca membru nepermanent în Consiliul de Securitate, e nevoie de o strategie bine închegată, o echipă unită și multă transparență.

Ion Jinga a adăugat că România este candidat pentru un loc de membru nepermanent în consiliul de securitate, pentru un mandat de doi ani, perioada 2020-2021, cu alegeri în anul 2019, cel mai probabil în iunie 2019.

Jinga a mai explicat că problema migrației trebuie tratată la sursă: ca să nu mai avem refugiați trebuie să rezolvăm problema conflictelor în țările de unde refugiații vin, să rezolvăm problema dezvoltării, și aici ajungem automat la problematica sărăciei.

AGERPRES: Ați fost ales co-președinte al procesului de negociere interguvernamentală privind reforma Consiliului de Securitate. Ce înseamnă această poziție pentru România și pentru ONU?
Ion Jinga: Vorbim de un proces care a demarat în 1992, atunci au apărut primele discuții mai serioase cu privire la necesitatea ajustării, reformării Consiliului de Securitate, din perspectiva metodelor de lucru, dar, în primul rând, din perspectiva creșterii sale numerice. A fost chiar și o rezoluție prin 1993, a fost un proiect de rezoluție, care nu a reușit să treacă din motive care țin de pozițiile diferite, uneori divergente ale țărilor membre. Subiectul a revenit în actualitate prin 1998, apoi în 2005 a fost iarăși un puseu cu câteva serii de proiecte în acest sens.

Pe scurt, este un proiect care durează de vreo 25 de ani. S-a creat la un moment dat un grup de lucru deschis pentru a gândi reforma Consiliului de Securitate, ulterior s-a ajuns la o concluzie și a fost adoptată, în acest sens, o rezoluție a Adunării Generale a ONU, privind crearea unui forum dedicat negocierii reformei Consiliului de Securitate. Acest forum se numește ‘Procesul interguvernamental de negociere a reformei Consiliului de Securitate’ și este condus de unul sau doi reprezentanți numiți de către Președintele Adunării Generale a ONU.

De altfel, de multe ori, cel care a condus direct acest proces a fost chiar președintele Adunării Generale. Anul acesta, pentru sesiunea 71 a Adunării Generale, președintele a decis să numească doi co-președinți. Aceste numiri se fac în nume personal, nu au la bază nici locația geografică, nici echilibrul regional, sunt oameni pe care îi alege președintele Adunării Generale pentru că el consideră că persoanele respective ar putea contribui la avansarea procesului.

În situația de față, este vorba de ambasadorul României și de ambasadorul Tunisiei, deci doi co-președinți provenind din două arii geografice și de cultură diferite, ceea ce asigură o bună complementaritate și cred că în acest moment procesul se află într-o fază de trecere, poate, de la etapa discuțiilor, de la etapa prezentării pozițiilor, la ceva mai concret.

În forma sa actuală, Consiliul de Securitate a fost conceput acum 71 de ani, când a fost constituită ONU și de atunci a suferit o singură modificare sau reformă majoră, în 1965 când numărul de membri nepermanenți a crescut de la 6 la 10, iar numărul de membri permanenți a rămas neschimbat.

În momentul de față, avem 5 membri permanenți și 10 nepermanenți, deci un Consiliu de Securitate cu 15 membri. Ei bine, în 1945 când a fost creată ONU, ea numără 50 de membri. Astăzi vorbim de 193, vorbim de alte realități geopolitice și există o presiune considerabilă pentru ajustare, pentru adaptare după cum există și anumite rezerve.

Tocmai pentru că avem de-a face cu o largă varietate de poziții și de interese care nu țin doar de poziționarea marilor actori, a actorilor globali dacă vreți, ci și a diferitelor grupuri de interese, grupuri regionale. Este un proces deosebit de complex.

Până la urmă sunt o serie de poziții care, la prima vedere par ireconciliabile, fiecare vorbește despre dorința de a avansa procesul, dar când ajungem în etapa unei variante de compromis, există tendința ca fiecare să spună că a făcut deja compromisuri și că e rândul celorlalți. Rostul celor doi co-președinți, acum, ar fi să găsească o cale inovativă, o formulă care să acomodeze marile interese.

V-am spus o realitate foarte dură. Sunt discuții, sunt negocieri care durează de foarte mult timp. Acum suntem în faza de consultări cu principalele grupuri, cu marii actori. Și, încet-încet, încercăm să decelăm ceea ce ne-ar aduna și ne-ar așeza la aceeași masă, să dăm deoparte punctele de divergență.

Nu este deloc simplu, sunt așteptări mari, sunt presiuni mari, dar sunt presiuni pe diferite tendințe. Ceea ce încercăm noi să facem acum este să identificăm un posibil “road map”, un plan de bătaie pentru următoarele opt luni până la sfârșitul lunii iulie 2017 și, în măsura în care discuțiile și negocierile în plen vor permite acest lucru, să venim și cu o eventuală soluție concretă, care să permită continuarea procesului. Însă, nu cred că se poate vorbi de finalizarea acestui proces în decurs de un an, după ce timp de 25 de ani a trenat.

Există, însă, un mare orizont de așteptare și, aș spune că prin această poziție pe care o ocupă reprezentantul României la ONU, la New York, aducem, sper, un plus de vizibilitate, de greutate specifică a României în cadrul Națiunilor Unite, un plus de notorietate, care se poate translata la un moment dat în sprijin, în alianțe, în formule care să permită consolidarea în continuare a prezenței României la ONU.

AGERPRES: Există o direcție unanim acceptată privind reforma Consiliului de Securitate?
Ion Jinga: Sunt cinci teme majore în momentul de față pe agenda acestor negocieri. Mergem de la relația dintre Consiliul de Securitate și Adunarea Generală, dimensiunea Consiliului de Securitate și metodele de lucru, trecând prin reprezentarea geografică în Consiliul de Securitate, categoriile de membri, vorbim de membri permanenți și membri nepermanenți și dreptul de veto. Sigur că cele mai contencioase sunt cele legate de categoriile de membri și de dreptul de veto, pe care în acest moment îl au cei 5 membri permanenți.

S-au făcut unele progrese în ceea ce privește cooperarea dintre Consiliul de Securitate și Adunarea Generală, au fost abordate câteva aspecte legate de metodele de lucru ale Consiliului de Securitate, și oarecum și de eventuala lui dimensiune. E o plajă acceptată de undeva, între 21 de membri și 26-27 de membri.

Trebuie văzut și care formulă este fezabilă, din punct de vedere practic. Există un număr mare de țări, peste 80, care s-au pronunțat pentru includerea faptului că membrii nepermanenți, cei care sunt aleși pentru doi ani, să exercite cel puțin o dată în timpul unui mandat de doi ani președinția Consiliului de Securitate.

Ori, această președinție se schimbă la fiecare lună, ceea ce înseamnă că la 24 de luni, în doi ani, ar trebui ca fiecare membru nepermanent să dețină o dată această poziție de mare prestigiu.
Aici ajungem imediat la dimensiunea numerică a Consiliului de Securitate. Câți membri ar permite să se facă această rotație? Ce artificii sau formule intermediare ar putea fi identificate?

Când ajungem la dreptul de veto, care e poate cea mai sensibilă latură a acestui proces, sunt țări care spun să se renunțe la dreptul de veto pentru toată lumea. N-aș comenta eu cât de fezabilă este o astfel de alternativă.

Alții spun că, dacă nu se renunță la dreptul de veto, atunci noii membri permanenți să aibă și ei drept de veto, și aici discutăm dacă vor fi admiși în final noi membri permanenți, câți vor fi și, dacă se va ajunge la o extindere a dreptului de veto, câte țări vor avea drept de veto, pentru că ne imaginăm cum ar arăta un Consiliu de Securitate în care 10-12 țări ar avea drept de veto.

Sunt alte tendințe care vorbesc despre restrângerea voluntară a dreptului de veto în condiții în care pe agenda Consiliului de Securitate sunt chestiuni legate de genocid, atrocități, crime în masă.

În același timp, dacă vorbim de categoriile de membri, există o tendință puternică de susținere a extinderii Consiliului de Securitate, cu ambele categorii de membri, și permanenți și nepermanenți.

Dar sunt alții care spun “nu, democratic este să alegem membri în Consiliul de Securitate, nu doar membrii nepermanenți”. Există și o variantă intermediară, care vorbește de o perioadă de tranziție, cu mandate prelungite, care pot fi de la patru la opt ani, cu posibilitatea de realegere. Pe toate variantele se discută de drept de veto sau nu.

Se vorbește după aceea despre respectarea unui echilibru regional. De exemplu, Africa nu are niciun membru permanent. Africa este un continent cu 54 de țări și pentru tot continentul african sunt doar trei membri nepermanenți în Consiliul de Securitate. Aici, în continentul african, intră și zona țărilor arabe. Prietenii noștri africani vorbesc de o nedreptate istorică, că nu au primit o reprezentare mai mare în Consiliul de Securitate. De văzut în ce măsură acest lucru este acceptat la nivelul tuturor celor 193 de țări.

Pe de altă parte, apartenența la Consiliul de Securitate presupune în primul rând nu drepturi, ci obligații. E vorba de capacitatea țărilor respective de a contribui la promovarea păcii și securității la nivel mondial. Acesta este rolul Consiliului de Securitate. Este garantul păcii și securității. Țările membre în Consiliul de Securitate sunt țări capabile să asigure pacea, nu doar pe teritoriul lor, ci și în zone adiacente și la nivel global. Iar membrii permanenți sunt, în același timp, și mari contributori la bugetul Națiunilor Unite, în termeni de asistență pentru dezvoltare, în misiunile de menținere a păcii.

Vorbim de un proces extrem de complex unde fiecare element, fiecare detaliu poate fi esențial și unde echilibrul este cuvântul de ordine.

V-am spus aceste lucruri ca să clarific de ce este important acest proces și de ce el poate fi important și pentru România. Dincolo de vizibilitate, de alura pe care ți-o poate da o astfel de poziție, până la urmă, de exemplu, dacă într-o formulă extinsă a Consiliului de Securitate grupul est-european din care face parte și România ar primi un loc suplimentar de membru nepermanent, perioada în care România și celelalte țări din grupul său geografic ar putea accede ca membru nepermanent s-ar reduce la jumătate. Prezența unei țări în Consiliul de Securitate reprezintă o încununare și un apogeu pentru politica externă a țării respective.

AGERPRES: Deci România ar trebui să aibă drept scop participarea în Consiliul de Securitate?
Ion Jinga: În calitate de co-președinte, eu nu pot reprezenta poziția României, rolul meu este de honest broker, o persoană care să fie capabilă să construiască un consens. Pentru acest lucru ai nevoie de încrederea țărilor membre și nu poți să o câștigi dacă promovezi interesul național. Vorbim de o construcție și nu de un interes particular.

Revenind la întrebarea dumneavoastră, cred că prezența unei țări, inclusiv a României, în Consiliul de Securitate oferă vizibilitate, greutate specifică la nivel global, oferă capacitatea de a radia influență în zona sa geografică adiacentă și nu numai. Oferă pentru o țara ca România, de exemplu, consolidarea profilului în interiorul Uniunii Europene, ne-ar crește prestigiul, influența în arealul geografic din care facem parte sau cu care ne învecinăm. Mă gândesc nu doar la Uniunea Europeană, dar și la zona Balcanilor, la Europa de est extinsă, la Orientul Mijlociu, la Africa de Nord. Pe de altă parte, mă gândesc la țări unde România este prezentă în misiuni de menținere a păcii.

Iar România este candidat pentru un loc de membru nepermanent în consiliul de securitate, pentru un mandat de doi ani, perioada 2020-2021, cu alegeri în anul 2019, cel mai probabil în iunie 2019.

AGERPRES: Practic aproape concomitent cu perioada în care România va deține președinția prin rotație Consiliului Uniunii Europene.
Ion Jinga: Da, ați remarcat corect. România va avea președinția semestrială a Consiliului UE în primul semestru din 2019. La sfârșitul lunii iunie ne vom încheia președinția la Consiliul UE. În eventualitatea fastă ca România să obțină acest loc de membru nepermanent în Consiliul de Securitate, momentul încheierii președinției României la Consiliul UE ar coincide cu alegerile pentru Consiliul de Securitate. Să ne imaginăm ce ar însemna pentru România și pentru diplomația românească prelungirea unui mandat de 6 luni la nivel european cu unul de doi ani la nivel global. Cred că ar plasa România pe o orbită de influență internațională cu reverberații care se pot întinde pe un deceniu după aceea.

AGERPRRES: Președinția Consiliului UE este rotativă, iar membrii nepermanenți în Consiliul de Securitate sunt aleși. Asta presupune și o campanie pentru România.
Ion Jinga: Fără îndoială. Unul dintre cei cinci ambasadori ai țărilor membre permanente în Consiliul de Securitate îmi spunea, nu cu mult timp în urmă, că cel mai important avantaj al statutului de membru permanent nu este dreptul de veto, ci faptul că nu trebuie să facă campanie pentru a fi aleși.

Cele zece locuri de membru nepermanent în Consiliul de Securitate sunt distribuite pe regiuni geografice. Grupul est-european, din care face parte și România, are un astfel de loc. Grupul vest-european, de exemplu, are două locuri de membru nepermanent. Dacă pentru locul respectiv candidează o singură țară din grupul regional respectiv, atunci candidatura nu este concurențială. Campania însă trebuie făcută pentru că ai nevoie de cel puțin două treimi din voturile tuturor membrilor din Adunarea Generală, adică 129 din 193 de membri.

Dacă candidatura este concurențială, și în cazul nostru este concurențială, atunci datele ecuației sunt mult mai complexe, pentru că tu trebuie să convingi că tu ești mai bun decât cel care candidează cu tine și fiecare țară are atuurile, avantajele și prietenii ei la ONU. Este un efort considerabil care implică resurse umane, resurse financiare, implică multă determinare, inteligență și foarte multă diplomație și e un efort de echipă.

O astfel de campanie durează câțiva ani. Sunt țări care au desfășurat campanii pe perioade de patru ani și jumătate. Altele, 3 ani. O campanie sub 2 ani are șanse mai mici de succes și toată lumea se mișcă. Trebuie, repet, să îți convingi partenerii, oamenii cu care te vezi zi de zi pe culoare, în sala Adunării Generale că tu meriți încrederea lor mai mult decât ceilalți sau celălalt, pentru că în Consiliul de Securitate nu te reprezinți doar pe tine, ci reprezinți toate țările membre ONU și ești responsabil de deciziile care se iau în materie de pace și securitate la nivel global.

Vorbeam de resurse. Nu aș vrea să sperii pe nimeni, pentru că nu cred că se pune problema de a aloca astfel de resurse. Dar sumele reale cheltuite într-o astfel de luptă de un stat într-o astfel de campanie se încadrează între 200-300 milioane de dolari și 2 milioane de dolari sau euro. Însă mai mult decât despre bani, este vorba de forța, capacitatea unei țări, a unei echipe de campanie de a promova imaginea unui contributor, unui partener de încredere, a unei țări capabile să promoveze interesul colectiv și obiectivele ONU.

Contează foarte mult relațiile bilaterale, contează și relațiile personale într-o astfel de ecuație, pentru că decizia se ia la ONU și cei care votează sunt ambasadorii la ONU. Sigur, se votează pe baza unor instrucțiuni de acasă, dar vorbim de un vot secret. Sunt țări care au intrat în Consiliul de Securitate ca membri nepermanenți, dar au contribuit cu 200 de milioane de dolari la soluționarea crizei refugiaților sirieni. Sunt țări care salvează zilnic sute, mii de refugiați în zona Mediteranei.

Sunt țări care, prin forța diplomaților lor, depășesc forța geografică, politică și militară. De altfel, statutul de membru nepermanent în Consiliul de Securitate face să crească de câteva ori influența unei țări.

Aici este foarte greu să joci altfel decât cu cărțile pe masă, iar transparența este un element esențial care dă credibilitate. Oamenii te văd și te judecă. Și dacă nu poți să îi convingi, poți primi promisiuni că vor vota pentru tine, dar să se întâmple altfel.

De altfel, este aproape o constantă — în jur de 30-40 de voturi, în momente importante în cadrul votului din Adunarea Generală pentru membrii nepermanenți în Consiliul de Securitate, nu se confirmă.

Un ambasador dintr-o țară vest-europeană, în campanie pentru Consiliul de Securitate, mi-a povestit că l-a întrebat ministrul de externe câte voturi poate obține. Și el a spus că între 60 și 160.

Ca să reduci factorul, trebuie să construiești o strategie bazată pe constanță, pe obiective clar definite, să ai o echipă care are coeziune internă. Nu faci o echipă cu șase luni înainte de vot. O echipă se formează cu cel puțin doi-trei ani înainte. Ai nevoie de oameni care să fie văzuți în mod constant în diferitele foruri de discuție și de negociere. Ai nevoie de vizibilitate și, din acest punct de vedere, noi încercăm o construcție care să plaseze România pe o orbită de influență.

Rămâne să se facă o confirmare în vara viitoare, dar dacă lucrurile rămân așa cum le-am stabilit noi, în 2018-2019, România va fi membră în ECOSOC, Consiliul Economic și Social, un organ principal al ONU, un organ unde se discută, unde se negociază, unde se alocă fondurile destinate dezvoltării și, în general, dimensiunea economică, dimensiunea de mediu. Poate vom reuși să obținem și un post de vicepreședinte acolo, iarăși ne-ar crește vizibilitatea.

România candidează, cu șanse bune, spun eu, pentru a prelua președinția Comisiei pentru Populație și Dezvoltare în 2018. România mai candidează cu șanse bune pentru a prelua președinția Comisiei I Dezarmare în perioada iunie 2018—iunie 2019. În momentul de față, România asigură președinția Grupul Experților Interguvernamentali pentru Asigurarea Transparenței Cheltuielilor Militare.

Sunt diverse alte formate în care participăm. O dată pe lună au loc dezbateri deschise în Consiliul de Securitate, unde pot interveni toate țările membre, nu doar membrii Consiliului. Aproape fără excepție, am intervenții în Consiliul de Securitate. Ultima a fost (…) despre legătura dintre apă, pace și securitate.

Un raport al Forumului Economic Mondial plasează lipsa de securitate a accesului la apă drept primul risc pentru următorul deceniu pentru întreaga umanitate. Peste 3,7 milioane de oameni trăiesc în bazine hidrografice unde consumul de apă depășește capacitatea de regenerare naturală și, dacă această tendință continuă până în 2015, există posibilitatea ca două treimi din populația globului să sufere de lipsă de apă.

AGERPRES: Problema apei este, într-adevăr, una fundamentală, dar pentru publicul din România poate părea ceva general și îndepărtat geografic. Criza refugiaților, însă, poate fi legată de lipsa apei și nivelul condițiilor de trai în țările de proveniență. Ce rol ar putea avea România și ce experiență internațională poate să implementeze în sprjinul ONU cu privire la rezolvarea crizei refugiaților sau a îmbunătățirii condițiilor din țările de origine?
Ion Jinga: Migrație și refugiați există de când lumea. Dar niciodată, însă, de la al doilea război mondial încoace, nu a exista un asemenea exod de populație. Migrația poate să existe în interiorul țării sau vorbim de migrație internațională când se depășește frontierele.

În momentul în care migrația este declanșată de încălcarea gravă a drepturilor omului, de conflicte, de terorism, oamenii respectivi capătă statut de refugiați. Avem, în momentul de față, peste 21 de milioane de refugiați.

Avem peste 60 de milioane de migranți care au plecat din motive care țin fie de conflict, fie de lipsa accesului la resurse, inclusiv la apa. Și la nivelul mapamondului sunt peste 250 de milioane de oameni care într-un fel sau altul au migrat.

Există acum în Europa un aflux de refugiați care ne face să devenim mai sensibili și mai conștienți de acest fenomen. Fenomenul există însă de multă vreme în alte părți ale globului. La nivel european știu că se manifestă o oarecare rezervă, noi nu ne-am mai confruntat cu astfel de probleme. Cred că situația acestor oameni trebuie tratată cu empatie. Hai să ne imaginăm pentru o secundă că într-o zi ne-am putea afla în situația lor.

Problema refugiaților are două soluții: una temporară, la destinație. Sunt țări la granița Europei care adăpostesc peste un milion de refugiați, însă pentru ei trebuie găsită o soluție permanentă. Pentru acești oameni trebuie găsită o soluție. Nu este vina lor că în țările de unde vin este conflict, este o amenințare teroristă, este foamete.

Deci trebuie găsite soluții, chiar dacă temporare. Însă, în același timp, problema trebuie tratată la sursă, la origine: ca să nu mai avem refugiați trebuie să rezolvăm problema conflictelor în țările de unde refugiații vin, să rezolvăm problema dezvoltării, și aici ajungem automat la problematica sărăciei. Este un obiectiv fundamental al Agendei 2030 pentru Dezvoltare Durabilă să eradicăm la un orizont de 15 ani sărăcia extremă.

În același timp, este vorba despre respectarea drepturilor omului, de garantarea accesului la educație — în zone de conflict riscăm să pierdem o generație de tineri care nu mai merg la școală. Ce fac acești copii care mâine vor fi adulți? Toată educația lor se face pe stradă, cu arma în mână, cu pietre sau ascunzându-se să nu fie prinși de teroriști.

Ce vor face ei mâine?

Migrația și problematica refugiaților trebuie tratată cu maximă atenție, mai curând la sursa fenomenului.

Sărăcia, așa cum a spus Barack Obama, nu generează terorism, dar sărăcia, frustrarea, absența oricărei perspective pentru viitor creează breșe pentru ideologia teroristă și pentru radicalizare. Acolo trebuie să acționăm. Țările respective trebuie ajutate, pornind de la educație, de la dezvoltare, de la oprirea conflictelor. Aici rolul ONU este esențial. Este singura organizație globală care are capacitatea, resursele și legitimitatea să intervină în aceste situații.

Trafficking In Persons: A Growing Challenge For Humanity

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Thoughts by H.E. Dr. Ion Jinga, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations – New York, published in Huffington Post on 22.12.2016

On 20 December 2016, the Spanish Presidency of the Security Council has organized a ministerial level open debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security. Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations”. The debate, chaired by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, took place only a few days before Spain will end a remarkable accomplished two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes and the world’s second largest criminal enterprise, after drug trafficking. But unlike drugs, here the commodity of crime is human beings who are sold and bought without any consideration for human dignity. Today, there are more human slaves in the world than ever before in history: an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children.

Trafficking in persons is a topic that, unfortunately, has become a cruel reality for many people because of their simple presence in a conflict area.

During the open debate, I was deeply moved by the testimony of Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a survivor of Daesh human trafficking, who on 16 September 2016 was appointed the UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. It is the first time a survivor of human trafficking has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador.

Worldwide conflicts are becoming more connected to terrorist activities, while human trafficking plays a growing role in the operation of terrorist organizations, generating revenue and being an instrument for vanquishing those who oppose them.

Linkages between conflict and trafficking in persons, particularly of women and children, have been identified by the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, and the case of horrendous crimes perpetrated by Daesh against Yazidi women and girls gained the deep sympathy of the entire world.

Both in conflict and non-conflict situations, prevention is key even though we might not be able to make use of the same instruments. An enhanced role may be played by the peacekeeping personnel deployed in UN operations. Pre-deployment training of the blue helmets on the specificity of trafficking in persons will contribute to increasing their knowledge about the phenomenon, in order to identify and fight against it. In fact, all persons having access to conflict areas, including representatives of civil society organizations or humanitarian actors, should be trained in this regard. For instance, prior to deployment in UN peacekeeping operations, the Romanian personnel receives a special training on how to identify and protect victims of human trafficking.

Assistance to victims requires addressing their needs on a case by case model. An interdisciplinary approach is necessary to ensure that they have access to medical, psycho-social assistance and legal aid, for a successful rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Evidence proves the existence of a complex nexus between trafficking in persons, organized crime, corruption, armed conflict and terrorism. This requires a further mapping effort. Joining forces becomes increasingly important, because combating successfully the scourge of trafficking in persons cannot be achieved only at national level, especially in cases of conflict situation. Cooperation at regional and international levels to complement national efforts is therefore needed, as well as the exchange of information among relevant authorities from states that are a source, transit or destination for victims of trafficking. This cooperation is also essential in identifying those responsible for the trafficking, with a view to hold the perpetrators accountable. Alongside the UN, the INTERPOL and the International Organization for Migration, civil society, private sector and media have to be major partners.

Combating trafficking in human beings is an ongoing battle, and the focus must be on protecting the victims. Necessary legislative and other measures to prevent, investigate, punish and provide reparation for acts relating to human trafficking need to continue to be enforced. The UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its additional Protocol, as well as the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, are part of this legal backbone.

But in our efforts we should also use the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (target 8.7), which provides a clear mandate to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking.

Exchanging best practices may equally be part of the solution. In Romania, we have the Anti-trafficking National Agency with the main role to coordinate, evaluate and monitor the activities of authorities dealing with human trafficking, as well as the protection and assistance of victims. Partnerships with civil society are important too, because preventing and tackling this scourge require a multidisciplinary approach. The Agency currently cooperates with more than 60 partners.

Within the Romanian National Police there is a dedicated Unit for fighting against trafficking in persons, with 15 regional teams comprising specialized officers available at county level and totaling around 250 operational staff. The Police Border Department has 400 police officers detached to the EU Agency FRONTEX, who work in European Border and Coast Guard Teams to fight trafficking in persons and drug trafficking. Currently, 22 Romanian debriefing experts contribute to identify victims of trafficking among the immigrants.

The key words are Prevention, Protection (of victims), Prosecutions (of criminals) and Partnerships. The fight against trafficking in human beings must be part of our collective sense of humanity.


“ONU se adaptează noilor realităţi” – interviu cu Ion Jinga, ambasadorul României la ONU

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Sursa: rfi, 19 decembrie 2016

220px-HE_Dr_Ion_JingaCriza siriană se reflectă într-un mod negativ asupra Organizaţiei Naţiunilor Unite, criticată tot mai des pentru paralizia de care a dat dovadă în acest context. Ambasadorul României la ONU, Ion Jinga, subliniază însă în interviul pe care ni l-a acordat la RFI că ONU rămîne, în ciuda tuturor criticilor formulate, singurul cadru legitim de dezbatere a problemelor umanităţii.

Cotidianul Le Monde cu data de 20 decembrie îşi deschide ediţia cu titlul următor: “ONU – cinci ani de neputinţă în faţa haosului sirian.” Eixistă însă un plan de reformă a organizaţiei, de natură să adapteze acest complicat mecanism problemelor şi crizelor contemporane, consideră Ion Jinga.

Ambasadorul României pe lîngă Organizaţia Naţiunilor Unite, Ion Jinga, ne vorbeşte pe larg despre tradiţiile diplomaţiei româneşti, despre prezenţa României la ONU şi despre iniţiativele româneşti în acest context. Sunt evocate şi alte subiecte importante precum  reforma instituţiei care este un proces lung (nu întotdeauna vizibil). Ion Jinga ne evocă şi personalitatea noului secretar general al Organizaţiei, Antonio Guterres.

Ion Jinga a intrat în diplomaţie în 1992 şi a acumulat o vastă experienţă ca ambasador al României în Belgia şi apoi în Marea Britanie.

La microfonul lui Matei Vişniec, ambasadorul României la ONU, Ion Jinga, ne mai vorbeşte despre ataşamentul său francofon, cu atît mai mult cu cît limba franceză este una din limbile de lucru ale organizaţiei.

Interviul poate fi ascultat aici.