LAURA CHINCHILLA MIRANDA, President of Costa Rica, said that the “intense, stimulating, but still uncertain” political and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa testified to the universal force of democracy as an aspiration, of free expression as an incentive, and of respect for human dignity as the most urgent demand. From its deepest collective roots, Costa Rica fully identified with democracy, peace and human rights. However, the disrespect of those values had plunged most of Central America into intense conflicts for almost four decades.
She said her country had contributed decisively to the Esquipulas Peace Accords, which opened the door to reconciliation, but since then, progress had been slow and erratic. Fifteen years ago, the countries of the region had agreed to the Framework Treaty on Democratic Security. However, insufficient progress had been made in securing a region of peace, liberty, democracy and development. Central America had become victim of a new and terrible aggression in the form of transnational organized crime, falling prey to a “malevolent geopolitics” as a result of its location between the world’s largest centres of production and demand. Costa Rica insisted that the international community — in particular the greatest consumers of drugs and suppliers of arms that materialized the violence — assume complete responsibility for their actions without further delay.
The conference on security in Central America, attended by the Presidents of the region from Mexico to Colombia, “marks a turning point of hope”, she went on. There, parties had been able to coordinate strategies, and had agreed that there should be a comprehensive approach to violence that included the strengthening of institutions and the rule of law, as well as direct action against crime. They had also been able to get the attention of the international community and obtain certain promises. It had yet to be seen if the strategies would transform into efficient actions, or if there was enough will from external partners to drive the work forward. Resources should not be mere aid, she stressed, noting that “preventive diplomacy” had been called for by the Secretary-General. “I insist before the world that we cannot wait any longer to act in order to avoid a major tragedy in our region,” she said. “It is already too late. Later may be tragic.”
Preventive diplomacy, she said, required political will, and the world had approached a juncture in which that will would be put to the test: the next arms trade treaty, which Costa Rica had actively supported, must produce a “robust, comprehensive and demanding instrument, capable of controlling the flow of the machines of death that provoke all types of conflicts”. Last October, Nicaraguan troops and civilians had invaded and occupied parts of Costa Rica, in clear violation of its sovereignty, border treaties and international law. Thanks in part to urgent orders from the International Court of Justice, they had been forced to leave the country; however, while waiting for the final ruling, Nicaragua had continued its provocations and now threatened other actions. Costa Rica requested “rapid and timely action” from the United Nations and from the multilateral system in general in order to prevent possible aggressions.
During the past year, Costa Rica had been supported in becoming a member of the Human Rights Council, she noted. Now, along with other members, it was pushing forward the “United Nations Declaration on Education on Human Rights” initiative, which the Council had approved, and which would soon be presented to the Assembly. Additionally, Costa Rica recognized the responsibility to protect as a guide for action in cases where other actions were unable to deter the worst aggressions against humanity. She hoped that the concept, like human security, would be very clearly outlined within the United Nations.
She said her country also supported changes to help the Organization become more efficient, pertinent and relevant, including via improvements to the working methods of the Security Council by means of the “Small Five”, and for a more representative composition of the Organization, according to the guidelines of “United for Consensus”. As a middle-income country that had achieved high levels of development — but, which still had vulnerabilities related to poverty and other factors — Costa Rica still required international assistance. In particular, it needed the help of donor countries and the United Nations, especially the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Its relative success should not be penalized, but rather stimulated.
Costa Rica had focused on sustainable development through robust social and environmental policies, she said. It had clean energy and an economic model low on carbon consumption, with the goal of becoming one of the first carbon-neutral countries in the world. It had faith in the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting and Rio+20. However, the lack of progress during the preparatory negotiations was worrying.