On 14 September the 65th session of the General Assembly will commence work for a period of one year. The session is of particular importance for Switzerland as it is being presided over by former Federal Councillor Joseph Deiss. His election as President on 11 June is an important sign of international recognition of Switzerland’s commitment to the UN and Switzerland has a key interest in ensuring the success of this presidency.
Switzerland’s priorities for the 65th session are as follows:
- Improving the working methods of the Security Council: Switzerland will pursue its commitment to achieving greater transparency, greater respect for the rule of law and a closer involvement of non-members of the Council with the latter’s work.
- Sanctions: Switzerland will continue to work towards establishing procedural guarantees in line with international standards for individuals affected by sanctions in the context of the sanctions imposed on Al-Qaida and the Taliban.
- Non-proliferation and disarmament: Switzerland will work in favour of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It will underline the incompatibility of the use of nuclear weapons with international humanitarian law. In the field of conventional weapons, Switzerland will make its traditional contribution to the fight against the illegal trade in small arms and light weapons.
- Development: as regards the next high-level meeting on Millennium Development Goals, Switzerland’s action will centre on the following three points: i) efforts must be intensified, particularly in qualitative terms, to accelerate the implementation of these goals by 2015; ii) the coherence and efficacy of the activities of UN agencies and programmes must be stepped up; iii) aid provided by the UN to developing countries must favour sustainable economic, social and environmental development.
- Environment: Switzerland will work towards a successful conclusion of the UN Conference in Cancun. It believes that all the major CO2 emitting countries must take part in the new climate regime beginning in 2012.
With regard to the International Conference on biodiversity in Nagoya in October 2010, Switzerland will work towards achieving the adoption of a new global strategic plan, with measurable sectoral objectives. It will also advocate the adoption of an international system guaranteeing access and equitable sharing of genetic resources.
Switzerland is an active participant in the preparatory work for the Rio + 20 conference in 2012 on sustainable development, which aims to achieve sustainable economic development with greater respect for the environment (green economy).
- Human rights: Switzerland will make an active contribution to the next review of the functioning of the Council of Human Rights, an institution based in Geneva. In particular, it will strive to ensure that this review allows the Council to be able to react more quickly and effectively to violations of human rights. Switzerland will advocate the reinforcement and independence of special procedures and the smooth functioning of the periodic universal review.
Given the wide range of topics dealt with by the United Nations, this list of priorities does not claim to be exhaustive. Switzerland will pursue its close collaboration with the United Nations in all its activities. Strengthening Geneva’s international role is an integral part of this. With its universal scope and unique legitimacy, the UN is an obvious arena in which Switzerland seeks to achieve its foreign policy goals and to promote its national interests.
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