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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 21924

New Australian Contribution to UN Bodies

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/09/2005

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 21924

I am pleased to announce a contribution of $3 million over three years to the new Standing Fund for the Peacebuilding Commission which has been created by the UN Summit in New York this week.

Australia warmly welcomes the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission as a major outcome of the UN Summit. It will enable the UN to play a stronger and better coordinated role in assisting fragile states in post-conflict situations. The aim of the Commission is to bring together the relevant actors, marshal resources and develop best practice for the reconstruction and institution-building necessary for recovery from conflict.

Its creation fills a gap in the UN system, which has until now lacked a body to deal specifically with the issue of state failure and post-conflict recovery.

Australia has significant expertise in this area based on its experience in East Timor and in Solomon Islands. We look forward to sharing this knowledge with the new Commission.

Australia also welcomes the Summit's resolve to strengthen the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The High Commissioner has called for the Office's regular budget to be doubled over the next five years. In recognition of the valuable work performed by the office, Australia will increase its voluntary contribution to the OHCHR from $270,000 to $650,000 this financial year.

Australia also supports proposals to elevate the consideration of human rights issues within the UN system, notably by creating a Human Rights Council to replace the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). While the Summit resolved to create the Council, details of its operations were left to be decided by the current UN General Assembly Session. Australia considers that any new body should retain the strengths of CHR such as the special procedures and the involvement of civil society. It will however be important to ensure that the Council has the ability to deal effectively with egregious human rights abuses. This has been a major weakness of CHR.

Australia will continue to work towards these objectives in negotiations on the modalities of the Council's operations.

Transcript 21924