Robertson sees UN leading fight against terrorism
OUTGOING foreign affairs minister, Paul Robertson, believes that the current US-led military strikes against the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan must, in the end, give way to a UN-led campaign against international terrorism and an international programme for the development and peaceful stability of Afghanistan and its neighbours.
According to Robertson, even while the UN grapples with the complex concept of humanitarian intervention, international terrorism has emerged in recent times as the most urgent threat to world peace.
He told last week's opening of a three-day United Nations exhibition at the Chinese Benevolent Association in Kingston that the role of the UN in peace-keeping and peace-making is related to the theme of the UN exhibition, "Information & Communication Technology for Development (ICT)".
"We all accept that development is a prerequisite for peace to which end the United Nations Development Programme and a range of other UN agencies were created. ICT, in our globalised world, is an essential instrument of development," the minister said.
Robertson said that UN Day, celebrated on October 24 annually, "is an appropriate occasion to recognise the efforts of the UN and its agencies in mobilising human and material resources in support of universal and equitable access to information and communication technologies".
"The recognition of the UN's centrality to the global quest for peace and the secretary-general's visionary leadership is, without doubt, a source of encouragement to the UN family and those states which are committed to multilateralism in the pursuit of equitable and lasting solution to problems of peace and development," Robertson said.
In this regard he said, the government of Jamaica welcomed the proposals by UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan at the Millennium Assembly to establish the UN Information Technology Service and the Health International Network.
Gillian Lindsay-Nanton, the UNDP resident representative and resident co-ordinator of the UN Systems in Jamaica, said that the UN has long recognised the need for timely and relevant information as a fundamental element in human development and has called for universal access to information and communication services as a basic development need.
"While ICT is not a panacea for all development problems, the UN recognised that policies which encourage innovation, access to technology, and the development of advanced skills, can have a dramatic impact on a country's social and economic development," Lindsay-Nanton said.
The exhibition, Lindsay-Nanton said, focuses attention on the way UN agencies are working with Jamaicans to create and utilise existing technologies to improve their lives, create greater social freedoms, develop a wider range of choices and increase productive livelihoods.
The exhibition was aimed at encouraging participation in the search for, and pursuing of sustainable development using ICT, she said.
But, Lindsay-Nanton noted, development requires that the foundations for peace and co-operation among citizens be solidly in place. "Without peace, the gains made in the development process cannot be consolidated she said.