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Un Secretary-General: High Level Panel On Threats, Challenges And Change

Volume 669: debated on Thursday 24 February 2005

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My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Jack Straw) will today lay before Parliament a Command Paper on the recent report by the UN Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change (CM 6449). Copies will be placed in the Library of the House and will be available from the Printed Paper Office. A copy will also be available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk.

The UK has welcomed the report. The panel has done an excellent job in laying the foundations for a new consensus on collective security to take the United Nations into the 21st century. The report has a simple but fundamental premise; that we all share responsibility for each other's security. It argues that the threats we face today are interlinked; poverty, disease and environmental degradation, including climate change, as well as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It also argues that the challenges of security and sustainable development are interlinked: neither is possible without the other.

The report includes an important recommendation for a new Peacebuilding Commission, to mobilise and co-ordinate international support for countries suffering from conflict; important proposals on the key threats of proliferation and terrorism; and endorses a collective international "responsibility to protect", that is to act against genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law. The report also addresses the question of Security Council membership: a Security Council that better reflects today's world will be better able to deal with today's threats.

Britain will play a leading role in taking forward work on the panel's recommendations. On 10 February the Foreign Secretary launched a public debate on the issue, and the Government, in association with the United Nations Association, will hold a series of events around the country to ensure that people can contribute their views on how the UN should be dealing with threats to international peace and security. We hope that as many stakeholders as possible will give us their views, either at the regional events or by e-mailing us directly via the FCO website.