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Deva leads debate on UN summit in European Parliament

"Mr President,

I was privileged to have co-chaired the European Parliament delegation to the UN with my much more distinguished colleague Michel Rocard, the former prime minister of France.

We need a United Nations which reflects the shared values of ordinary people and which delivers to them leadership, inspiration and hope for the future.

Today we live in a global village. The consequences of the tsunami in Indonesia, the floods in New Orleans and the bombings in London becomes local - affecting my village, my reality, my home and my friends.

People no longer believe that "one size fits all".

They no longer believe that a powerful centre, be it the UN in New York, the Commission in Brussels or even a federal government in Washington DC, can do better than they can.

I believe in unity through diversity; not one-size-fits-all. Empowerment at the smallest local level, not centralising at the largest level, is the way forward.

How can the UN exist in this brave new world and still be relevant?

The UN has no direct democratic legitimacy, nor even indirect legitimacy. In many member-states there is no real democracy at all. So the UN must not behave as if it has legislative power or is a world government.

I believe the best thing to have happened to the UN in hindsight is that suddenly the United States has become serious about its reform.

I am pleased to report that the development committee of the Parliament was the first to commit money through the budget to achieve the "Quick Impacts" of the Millennium Development Goals.

"Business as usual" is no longer an option.

Chairman Ping and the Secretary-General have established, after much hard work, the framework for reform. This must be concluded by December 2005.

Excellent work is already done by the UN's specialised agencies, such as WHO, UNDP, ICAO and IMO, but there is still scope for an in-depth review to ensure best value for money and the highest quality of management.

These organisation deliver but the UN 'process' itself in New York does not.

We should reduce the 'process' in New York and empower to increase the focus on 'outputs' of the UN agencies.

We need to draw upon best practice in governments and large corporations to create an efficient, accountable structure which will deliver best value for money.

A long-range planning group should be established to predict crisis situations well in advance.

Poverty, disease, conflict and despair are all too often the result of national governance without the necessary skills, experience and attitude. Aid money should go to those who can demonstrate the capacity to use it wisely.

The UN must also set an example. People who have nothing to eat should not see UN workers driving around in shiny new vehicles and living in the best hotels and air-conditioned offices.

An effective system of international justice is needed to bring to justice those who commit grave crimes against humanity.

UN peacekeepers must be better trained. We must create a highly trained cadre of officers and senior NCOs able to take charge and train troops at short notice.

Peacekeeping forces must have a Chapter VII resolution authorising them to use force, and the contributing countries must realise that if they are to be a credible force they must be willing to take casualties.

Substantial agreement has been reached on the Millennium Development Goals and increased overseas development aid with debt relief; a peace-building commission and fund; a democracy fund; a natural disaster and coordination system; targeted sanctions against human rights violations and astrengthened human rights Commission; management reforms of the secretariat with one-time staff buyouts; greater flexibility for the Secretary-General and a UN parliamentary assembly to which the Secretary-General would report and be accountable.

This is positive work. Let's take it forward with vigour and determination."

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