The speaker at October’s breakfast meeting was New York Rotarian, and German Ambassador, Dr. Wolfgang Trautwein. The Ambassador candidly admitted that before being reassigned to New York, he knew about Rotary but did realize how engaged and committed Rotarians were. As such, he expressed how grateful he was to be invited as a full member in the Rotary Club of New York and that he expects to continue being a Rotarian even when assigned to another part of the world.
For the last two years, the German Mission has graciously provided the ideal venue for the Rotary Club of New York’s monthly breakfast meeting at the German House for which we are all very grateful. At this month’s meeting, Dr. Trautwein generously donated the revenue from the breakfast meeting to the Rotary Club of New York’s Foundation.
Fellow Rotarian and Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, Dr. Wolfgang Trautwein (Second from right) attended school in Düsseldorf and read law at the University of Saarbrucken and University College in London earning a PhD in law. In 1976, he joined the German Foreign Service. In 1983 he served in Tel Aviv. In 1992-97 he was head of the Legal and Consular Affairs Division as Consul General in London. In 2001- 2003 he headed the North Africa and Near–East Affairs Department in Berlin. Since August 2003, he has served in New York as Deputy Representative to the UN for Germany.
Also pictured from left to right are RCNY President Bill Currie, Sylvan Barnet, and Joe Klee
Dr. Trautwein informed us that while many New Yorkers were spending their summer vacations and long weekends at the beach or in the mountains, the UN community was very busy preparing for the Summit and producing the Outcome Document that was presented in July.
(Click here to download a copy of the Outcome Document)
The document is 40 pages long and has 178 paragraphs. There are five main chapters:
· Values and Principles
· Peace and Collective Security
· Human Rights and the Rule of Law
· Strengthening the United Nations
The 2005 Summit was scheduled five years ago at the 2000 Millennium Summit to provide an opportunity to review the progress of the Millennium Development Goals. However, since the 2000 Summit, three significant events have occurred that may affect the priorities that were established in 2000. They are the 2001 World Trade Center Attack, the Iraq War, and the December 2004 where the Secretary General initiated “A More Secure World: In Larger Freedom – Reform of the UN System.
Unfortunately, the ambassador noted that the Outcome Document is primarily declaratory and not action oriented that the Secretary-General had asked for. It declares the positions of the UN but does not recommend the actions needed. Nevertheless, it does signify that the goals of the UN are on the right track.
The Development chapter pertains to the main objective of the Summit. Two-thirds of the member-states (the direct recipients) asked for affirmation of the development of the global partnerships and a recommitment to the Johannesburg and Monterey Agendas. The statements in this chapter are also highly reflective of the US, Japan and EU positions. This is essential since these countries provide most of the financial support for the agenda.
The Peace and Collective Security Chapter was a major success. The member-states agreed to create the Peace Building Commission. It has been asked for by nearly all member-states. It is expected that this new commission will provide the organizational structure to provide for the reconstruction of physical and governmental infrastructure and facilities of a country after a successful UN military operation. Some of the details as to whom the commission is responsible still need to be determined. There is a clear time-frame mandate for this commission to be operational by the end of the year. Dr. Trautwein is certain the Commission will be established on time since most members see this as in everyone’s interest.
A major success in the Human Rights chapter is the formation of the Human Rights Council. It will replace the ineffective and often criticized Human Rights Commission. It may take a year or two to get the Council functioning but this is also a much needed reform that can be expected to succeed. There is no mandatory time frame, but it should be completed by next year.
Regarding the Reform of the Secretariat and Strengthening the UN chapter, the Ambassador pointed out that UN reform has been an ongoing process since the UN’s creation in 1945. Organizational reform is always needed; however, progress is being made and will continue to be made. It must be remembered that this large, complex, international organization that has 191 very diverse members. Therefore, one can never expect the same streamlining and efficiency that is conducted in State capitals.
A major disappointment of the Summit is that no progress in reforming the Security Council reform has been achieved. As stated on the German Government’s Web Page:
“Any reform of the United Nations which did not involve adapting the [Security] Council to the geopolitical realities of the 21st century would be incomplete. As long as key regions and contributors to the United Nations system are not adequately represented, the Security Council runs the risk of losing some of its legitimacy and authority”.
The second area of disappointment is that there was no progress on Non-Proliferation and Arms Disarmament. There is no mention of this topic in the Outcome Document. This issue should be addressed but no progress is expected during this year, he noted.
There are two major agenda items for the in 2006-07 that will require considerable attention. In December of 2006, the Secretary–Genera’s ten year term will be completed and the search for a new Secretary-General will begin in the middle of 2006. Regional rotation protocol indicates that an Asian should be selected, but there may be some discussion to consider an Eastern European for the position for the first time.
The second issue is that in 2007, member-states’ dues will be reassessed. Japan, the second largest contributor is clearly indicating its contribution should be reduced. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/gaab3689.doc.htm
While in 1997, the United States contribution was lowered from 25 to the present ceiling of 22 percent, Germany and Japan currently contribute approximately 9% and 20% respectively. Currently, permanent Security Council Members contributions are Britain 5.5%, France 6.5%, Russia 1.2%, and China 1.5 %. This reassessment debate could be a major hurdle in January of 2007.