UNGA Remarks on Y2K Cooperation by U.S. Delegate Sim Farar

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


15 December 1999 Text: UNGA Remarks on Y2K Cooperation by U.S. Delegate Sim Farar (As Millennium Nears, coordination still important for Y2K) (1460)

United Nations -- Urging all nations to continue sharing information in their efforts to correct Y2K related computer problems and to prepare for contingencies, the United States said December 15 that the International Y2K Cooperation Center and "Reliefweb" should be used for any computer problems arising from the date change.

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), U.S. delegate Sim Farar said that "despite cooperation and significant information sharing that has been accomplished to date there is still important work left to do -- including preparing to handle whatever situations may arise after the rollover."

"January 1st has not yet arrived. Now is the time for all to focus on last-minute contingency planning to minimize the effects of possible disruptions," said Farar, a California businessman who was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the U.S. delegation to the 54th assembly.

After a series of remarks by UN members, the General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution on "global implications of the year 2000 date conversion problem of computers." In the resolution, the General Assembly urged all nations to continue efforts to solve the Y2K problems, use such measures as virus scanning against the potential risk of malicious software, and participate in national and regional mechanisms for service restoration in the event of service outages attributable to the year 2000 problem.

Farar also encouraged nations to work on how best to respond to requests for technical assistance should there be severe difficulties as the result of Y2K, as well as on how the Y2K cooperation can translate into successful cooperation on information technology challenges in the future, particularly in developing countries.

Following is the USUN text of Farar's remarks:

(begin text)

December 9, 1999

Statement by the Honorable Sim Farar, United States Representative to the 54th United Nations General Assembly, on Agenda Item 45: Global Implications of the Year 2000 Problem, in Plenary, December 15, 1999

Mr. President, the United States is pleased to be a part of a major international effort to respond to potential Y2K problems. We recognize the importance of global cooperation on this issue. With the rollover a scant 16 days away, there is still work that we all must focus on for now and after January first. The United Nations has an exceptional track record on this issue dating back to last year when Ambassador Kamal, former chair of the Working Group on Informatics, took a leadership role in bringing all the Member States here last December for the first worldwide meeting of National Y2K Coordinators. The progress made since that December 11 meeting has been carried out, in large part, through the effort of the regional coordinators. Bulgaria, Chile, Gambia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, and the Philippines are to be congratulated for their role in guiding regional actions to address Y2K. Other mechanisms, under the rubric of international organizations, have contributed in a major way in dealing with this challenge that faces us all. The International Maritime Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Telecommunications Union and others have proved useful in addressing specific, sector-related, Y2K problems. The U.N. humanitarian organizations also have made great progress over the last year in preparing for possible Y2K emergencies.

Additionally, regional organizations such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the G-8 Economics, the European Union, and the Organization of American States have played key roles in supporting these international efforts. Wherever possible, the United States has sought to join with its regional counterparts to participate in Y2K remediation and response planning activities. By working together, the world has shared the burden of addressing this vexing challenge. As we stand on the threshold of the date change, the importance of regional cooperation cannot be overstated. Our neighbors will be the first to feel the effects of any Y2K difficulties we may experience, as we will be the first to notice any problems they may suffer. In responding to these situations, it is neighbors who will be able to respond fastest by virtue of proximity.

Despite cooperation and significant information sharing that has been accomplished to date, there is still important work left to do -- including preparing to handle whatever situations may arise after the rollover. January 1st has not yet arrived. Now is the time for all to focus on last minute contingency planning to minimize the effects of possible disruptions. It is also the time to continue to forward information to the proper international sector organizations, so as to have the most current data available. The United States looks forward to its continued cooperation with members of this Assembly to assist other nations, and ourselves, in final preparations. All nations should continue to work within the international and regional mechanisms available to them as we all strive to be as prepared as possible for whatever may occur. While national endeavors are of prime importance, cross-border assistance efforts help us to recognize the globalized nature of this problem. In addition, it is important for all of us to encourage the private sector to continue its role in the international arena on maintaining the emphasis on contingency planning and pre-positioning response capabilities. The private sector has played an important role in remediation and information sharing which are so vital to our efforts. And, the private sector has a very important role in any recovery efforts that may be necessary in the early part of next year.

As we move closer to the rollover, we need to continue our forward thinking approach and consider how best to respond to requests for technical assistance should there be severe difficulties. The International Y2K Cooperation Center, created with funding from the World Bank at the request of the delegates to the first U.N. meeting last December, has agreed to serve as a coordinating mechanism to ensure that the response to requests for technical assistance is timely and well choreographed. This will minimize duplication of efforts and ensure quick assistance. The United States encourages all Member States to take advantage of the coordinating mechanism that the IYCC affords us and to provide regular status reports to the IYCC in the format agreed to by most Y2K coordinators. Efficient, timely, and organized responses to requests for technical assistance will not only help to showcase the good work we have done up to this point, but, more importantly, will also limit the disruptions felt worldwide. The same is true for humanitarian assistance. We must be able to respond to any needs that may arise as a result of Y2K. Through already established mechanisms, the U.N. and all members of the international community must be committed to provide appropriate assistance, if and when it is required. In addition, we must be sure that humanitarian agencies are aware of credible reports of Y2K related emergencies. As with any humanitarian emergency, and in keeping with U.N. General Assembly resolution A/RES/51/194 of February 1997, the United States urges all governments, NGO's and IO's to share reports on Y2K emergencies with Reliefweb, the UN's premier disaster reporting web site. In similar fashion, all humanitarian agencies should monitor the site as well, which can be found at relieficeb.int/.

We, as a world body, have done a lot of work regarding this enormous issue. It might prove useful for us to think about what this means for the future. i.e., after Y2K. The close cooperation and coordination efforts that have occurred during the past two years might well translate into successful endeavors for dealing with the information technology challenges of the future, particularly in developing countries, and for combating threats to information security as well as promoting e-commerce. We have seen the benefits of working well together, and it would be a testament to the good work we have done on Y2K if we were to take the momentum and drive of this endeavor and focus it on the new Information Technology issues that are now emerging.

Mr. President, I want to state strongly the United States' commitment to dealing with Y2K as part of the international community. We would like to praise Ambassador Percy Mangoaela for following Ambassador Kamal in his efforts to focus activity on the first challenge of the next century. We strongly encourage all countries to continue their open policies of information sharing, their efforts to remediate any problems, and their thoughtfulness in preparing for contingencies. We are fully committed to the draft resolution currently on the table and we look forward to our continued cooperation on Y2K with all the members of this body. Thank you.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)

-- Roland (nottelling@nowhere.com), December 16, 1999




Interesting find.

I followed the link, and came across these stats on WTO forces. Because the page refers to "Warsaw Pact" without an acronym, then what does WTO stand for here? Surely the World Trade Organization does not have military forces, so can anyone clarify for me who the UN/State Department might be referring to in this text? Just curious...


"Arms Control and Disarmament The U.S. Commitment"

followed a link on that page, which gave me this url and I copied text here:


1976 -- June DATA EXCHANGE In order to establish an agreed data base, the WTO provides manpower figures on its forces. It claims it has 815,000 ground force personnel and 182,000 air force personnel. NATO's estimate for WTO ground forces is 956,000, and for its air force manpower, 224,000. This data discrepancy is never resolved and plagues the MBFR talks until their end.

-- Hokie (nn@va.com), December 16, 1999.


WTO in that discussion of force levels referes to the "Warsaw Treaty Organization", commonly called the Warsaw Pact in the West.

-- Bryan (BryanL@aol.com), December 17, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ