WILPF Statement on The Joint Declaration on UN/NATO Secretariat Cooperation

5 December 2008

WILPF Statement on The Joint Declaration on UN/NATO Secretariat Cooperation

In view of an announcement Wednesday, by a spokesperson for United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, that an agreement was signed weeks ago between the UN and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), WILPF urges world leaders to recall and support the UN’s foundational commitment to “maintain international peace and security… by peaceful means.”

WILPF urgently reminds the Secretary General and all UN member states that NATO countries account for 75% of global military expenditures. Such investment in armaments can hardly represent the alliance’s commitment to seeking nonviolent means for resolving conflicts within and between nations.

While WILPF commends the Secretary General for his other statements in support of disarmament, and while acknowledging his spokesperson’s proviso that the agreement “does not imply agreement with all NATO policies,” WILPF questions the significance of this proviso in light of the following:

  • First, by announcing the agreement long after its occurrence, without providing its actual text, the UN appears to be avoiding public scrutiny of the event.
  • Second, NATO’s member states represent fewer than 14% of the countries making up the UN, but largely overlap with those UN member states holding security council veto power and dominant positions in the world economy. Given this disproportionate balance of power, the agreement’s declared “framework for expanded consultation and cooperation” between the UN and NATO cannot help but be influenced by NATO’s inherent bias toward models of “security.”

Therefore, WILPF strongly urges that UN member states hold the Secretary General accountable for the semi-secretive signing of this agreement, and that they demand an open debate concerning its significance.

In particular, WILPF recommends the Secretary General take up for consideration proposals emerging from the recent Security Council debate on enhancing collective security through the regulation of armaments and reduction of military spending.

WILPF commends the government of Costa Rica for initiating this debate and welcomes its efforts to revitalize discussion of Article 26 of the UN Charter, which calls for the “establishment and maintenance of international peace and security with the least diversion for armaments of the world’s human and economic resources.”

Annelise Ebbe & Kerstin Grebäck
WILPF Presidents