Warning against unilateral moves, speakers called for reinvigorated multilateral responses to the contemporary challenges facing the international community, including climate change, geopolitical tensions, terrorism, poverty and inequalities, as the General Assembly today held a commemorative meeting observing the United Nations International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
There is no doubt that the United Nations has transformed the fate of mankind, saving millions of lives throughout the world, said Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garces (Ecuador), President of the General Assembly. Therefore, it is critical to end the false concept that multilateralism undermines the sovereignty of States, when in fact it bolsters sovereignty, she emphasized in her opening remarks to today's commemorative meeting.
Observing that the world is increasingly polarized as extreme nationalism and multidimensional challenges increase, including climate change and terrorism that recognizes no borders, she recalled the legacy of multilateralism and the international agreements which have made the world a better place, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. No country, however powerful, can resolve global challenges alone, she stressed, adding that the International Day will be an opportunity to assess the Organization's contribution to mankind.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that for nearly 75 years, multilateral arrangements have expanded economic and social progress, upheld human rights and helped prevent a third descent into global conflagration. Such cooperation cannot be taken for granted. Against the background of today's difficult circumstances, the United Nations must recall the urgency felt by its founders and reinvigorate its tools.
It is not enough to proclaim the virtue of multilateralism, she warned. Its added value must be proven as well. The Charter of the United Nations points the way, defending universal values and recognizing people's common future. Strengthening multilateralism means strengthening the commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a world that is safer and more just for future generations. That commitment is needed now, more than ever, from the United Nations and from leaders and citizens everywhere, she said.
More than 50 delegations participated in today's debate, with many warning against the rise of unilateralism, isolationism, authoritarianism, populism and protectionism as challenges to the rules based international order.
Jorge Arreaza, Minister of the People's Power for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, voiced profound concern over the growing trend of unilateralism and arbitrary measures that undermine the Charter and international law. Also speaking in his national capacity, he said there must be a balance of powers, where no country dominates another, and where there is respect for the diversity of political and cultural systems worldwide and coexistence. Calling for an end to double standards and unilateral pressure from the United States, he said this is not a club of friends, but a forum for everyone.
Ahmed Khaleel, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, recalling the recent bombings in Sri Lanka, underscored that no country can prevent or stop violent extremism on its own. The international community must work collectively. He also pointed out that when a country isolates itself from the global community it becomes weaker, poorer and unable to meet the aspirations of its people, referring to the 20 year crisis that gripped the world from 1919 to 1939 as proof that isolationism and ultra nationalism inevitably lead to conflict and war.
Echoing that stance, Ireland's delegate recalled that history has shown that when countries act alone in their own self interest there are often profoundly negative and even dangerous outcomes. As a small State, Ireland's economic development has benefited greatly from its membership in the European Union, whose strong and stable multilateral structures have allowed many nations to prosper. Some of us seem to need more reminding than others that the problems of today are problems without passports and simply cannot be addressed without a stable rules based order, she said.
As such, many diplomats called for increased efforts to revitalize multilateralism and make the United Nations more responsive to contemporary and emerging challenges.
Rwanda's delegate, speaking for the African Group, said that as early as the 1300s and before the period of colonization, delegations from the continent visited European capitals to advance trade relations and build alliances. African ambassadors astonished their counterparts with their mastery of various European languages and culture. Multilateralism and diplomacy are the bedrock of Africa's transformation agenda, she declared. However, multilateralism faces contemporary challenges, including climate change, terrorism, poverty and inequalities, which all require a reinvigorated multilateral system.
Timo Soini, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, noted that international treaties were being challenged, with that negative trend most pronounced in international arms control. Calling for countries to reverse the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and commit to more secure and strengthened existing arms control architecture, he stressed that partnerships are crucial, not only between States but also with and among civil society, regional organizations, non State actors and the private sector. It should be the rule of law, not the law of the rulers, he stated.
The representative of Hungary stressed that those who believe in multilateralism must stand together, adding that multilateralism will persist because it is common sense. However, the continuation of international institutions in their current form is far from certain. While the achievements of the last 74 years should be preserved, the United Nations and other institutions need to adapt and evolve. Reforms are crucial, including the full implementation of the initiatives proposed by the Secretary General.
Mexico's delegate said that with a globalized interdependent world, it is naA�ve to think States can solve problems in isolation without the support of the international community. Any supposed clash between sovereignty and multilateralism is a false dilemma, he said, noting that all States benefit, to varying degrees, from multilateralism. Let us give multilateralism the humanist quality it requires to repair lost trust, he said.
Before the meeting opened, the Assembly watched a video presentation to commemorate the International Day.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Iran, Panama, Singapore, Kuwait, China, Turkey, Cuba, Iraq, Switzerland, Syria, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Germany, Philippines, Armenia, Latvia, Pakistan, Cambodia, Russian Federation, Canada, Fiji, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Nicaragua, Mauritius, Djibouti, Afghanistan, Oman, Nepal, Norway, Belarus, Portugal, South Africa, Egypt, Gabon, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Guatemala, CAte d'Ivoire, Bolivia, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Netherlands, Cabo Verde and Burkina Faso, as well as the European Union.
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 25 April to continue its high level plenary meeting commemorating and promoting the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
MARA�A FERNANDA ESPINOSA GARCA�S (Ecuador), President of the General Assembly, said the world is increasingly polarized and fragmented, as extreme nationalism increases along with super national and multidimensional challenges, including climate change, gender inequality, geopolitical tensions and terrorism that recognizes no borders. Underscoring the legacy of multilateralism, she said the General Assembly has given birth to international agreements which have made the world a better place, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There is no doubt that the United Nations has transformed the fate of mankind, saving millions of lives throughout the world, she said, adding that the constant search for agreement and cooperation is the driving force of the Organization's daily work.
We must end the false concept that multilateralism undermines the sovereignty of States when in fact it bolsters sovereignty, she emphasized. No country, however powerful, can resolve global challenges alone. Going forward, the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace will be an opportunity to assess the Organization's contribution to mankind. The United Nations must be more effective, more transparent and more agile while also genuinely meeting the aspirations of the people of the world with an international order that is more just and fair. We must make the United Nations relevant for everyone, she said, adding that tangible progress on the Sustainable Development Goals will mean more than any statement delivered in the Assembly. With the United Nations marking its seventy fifth anniversary in two years, it will be an opportunity to strengthen its foundations.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI, Chef de Cabinet, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, said that for nearly 75 years, multilateral arrangements established after the Second World War have saved lives, expanded economic and social progress, upheld human rights and helped prevent a third descent into global conflagration. Multilateralism and diplomacy have a proven record of service to people everywhere. Such cooperation cannot be taken for granted at a time when multilateral efforts are under pressure from unresolved conflicts, runaway climate change, widening inequalities and other threats. Global challenges are increasingly interconnected, but the responses are increasingly fragmented amid a growing lack of trust in Governments, political establishments and international organizations, as well as the rising appeal of nationalist and populist voices that demonize and divide.
In that difficult context, the United Nations must recall the urgency felt by its founders and reinvigorate its tools. The principles of working together endure, but the specifics must take account of our rapidly changing world, she stressed, calling for a stronger commitment to a rules based order with an effective United Nations at its centre. Multilateralism must also be networked and inclusive, with close cooperation among international and regional organizations as well as partnerships with business, civil society, parliaments, academia, the philanthropic community and others, particularly young people. It is not enough to proclaim the virtue of multilateralism; its added value must be proven as well. The Charter of the United Nations points the way with its vision of people and countries living as good neighbours, defending universal values and recognizing their common future. Strengthening multilateralism means strengthening the commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a world that is safer and more just for future generations. That commitment is needed now, more than ever, from the United Nations and from leaders and citizens everywhere, she said.
JORGE ARREAZA, Minister of the People's Power for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement, said the world faces numerous complex emerging threats to international peace and security, demanding the international community address them through the frameworks of multilateralism and international law. Addressing the issues of weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons and human rights means there cannot be double standards in international relations. He reiterated profound concern over the growing trend of unilateralism and arbitrary measures that undermine the Charter and international law. International law, diplomacy and multilateralism are paramount. He appealed to the international community in this house of multilateralism to achieve peace, sustainable development and human rights, and to spare future generations form the scourge of war.
Speaking in his national capacity, he called for a balance of powers, where no country dominates another, and where there is respect for the diversity of political and cultural systems worldwide and coexistence. This is not a club of friends, but a forum for everyone, he said, highlighting the importance of equality of rights, self determination and non use of force. Furthermore, the United Nations should not be used for bilateral issues or to interfere in the rights of States. Mike Pence, the United States Vice President, had attempted to impose a double standard during a speech at the United Nations, he pointed out, expressing his support for Cuba and Iran, who also face unilateral pressure from the United States.
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, underscored that multilateralism is at the heart of Iran's foreign policy. He spotlighted the 14 reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which validated his country's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. His Government kept its word despite the failure of the Western signatories of the Plan of Action to deliver on promised economic dividends to the Iranian people following the United States' unlawful withdrawal from that agreement.
Listing several examples of unlawful unilateralist policies directed by the current United States Administration towards Iran and the region, he said the United States must be denied any perceived benefit from its unlawful unilateralism. Any pressure that the United States puts on others to violate international law and Security Council resolutions must also be rejected, he added.
MARIA LUISA NAVARRO, Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation of Panama, said the global agenda requires multilateral efforts. She pointed to an array of progressive United Nations efforts over the past five years, including the 2030 Agenda, all of which illustrate the value of multilateralism. However, terrorism, extremism, xenophobia, drug trafficking, migration and violations of human rights test the Organization.
The greatest challenge facing multilateralism is respecting the diversity of States, she stressed, adding that no unilateral approach can win out over the collective will. The Sustainable Development Goals also require multilateralism, while the international community must enhance the participation of women and youth in the global agenda. The United Nations is called upon to be a builder of peace and must move from dialogue to action.
AHMED KHALEEL, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Maldives, said multilateralism is under unprecedentedly intense pressure. The rise of ultra nationalism, racial and religious prejudice are being harnessed by authoritarianism, ideologies that seek to suppress the principles upon which the United Nations was founded.
Stating that no country can prevent or stop violent extremism on its own, he pointed to the bombings in Sri Lanka and called on the international community to work collectively. Stressing that when a country isolates itself from the global community it becomes weaker, poorer and unable to meet the aspirations of its people, he pointed to the twenty year crisis that gripped the world from 1919 to 1939 as proof that isolationism and ultra nationalism inevitably lead to conflict and war.
TIMO SOINI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, aligning himself with the statement to be made by the European Union, said the United Nations Charter represents the most important multilateral treaty regulating the relations between States. The entire United Nations system stands as a comprehensive framework of multilateralism covering virtually all aspects of international life including peace, security and development. Rules based international order is the best possible alternative for the great powers in the face of global challenges, including climate change, cybercrime, terrorism, conflicts, humanitarian crises and migration.
No country is able to address them alone, he continued. The role of the United Nations is being questioned and international treaties challenged, with this negative trend most pronounced in international arms control. Thus, it is crucial to reverse the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and secure and strengthen existing arms control architecture. He called for new multilateral rules and regulations to harness the opportunities and tackle the challenges presented by new technologies such as digitalization and artificial intelligence. Partnerships are crucial, not only between States but also with and among civil society, regional organizations, non State actors and the private sector, he said, calling for the rule of law, not the law of the rulers.
VALENTINE RUGWABIZA (Rwanda), speaking for the African Group, said that centuries before the colonization of Africa, royal, diplomatic and trade delegations from Africa arrived in European capitals to advance trade relations and build alliances. Records show African ambassadors visiting European courts as early as the 1300s, at times astonishing their European counterparts with their mastery of various European languages and culture. These early instances of African diplomacy, while predating the modern nation State system, clearly show that multilateralism and diplomacy have long been essential tools to advance and defend the interests of the continent's countries.
Citing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which creates a single continental market, she said regional organizations can demonstrate how multilateralism continues to be relevant and beneficial. Multilateralism and diplomacy are the bedrock of Africa's transformation agenda, she declared. However, multilateralism is at a crossroads, with contemporary challenges, including climate change, terrorism, poverty and inequalities, which all require a reinvigorated multilateral system. A stronger United Nations, reflecting the realities of the contemporary world, will allow it to meet the challenges in the international system today and in the years ahead.
JOA�O VALE DE ALMEIDA, Head of Delegation of the European Union, said that these are challenging times for supporters of the rules based international order and there has never been more attention given to the state of multilateralism. The General Debate in 2018 showed overwhelming support for not only maintaining but further strengthening the multilateral system. The European Union and its member States see no alternative to a functioning rules based international order with a revitalized United Nations at its core.
The European Union and the United Nations have been and will remain the champions of dialogue, cooperation and multilateral diplomacy, he said. International agreements like the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Iran nuclear deal all demonstrate collective leadership, vision and ambition. They all deserve continued support. Europe's commitment to multilateralism is derived from shared values and the strong conviction that today's global challenges can only be tackled collectively.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said it is important to renew a commitment to the rules based multilateral system, which is not perfect but has brought peace and development for seven decades. While the multilateral rules based system is crucial to his small State, it is a fallacy that it does not benefit the super Powers as well. Pointing to the resurgence of nationalism, isolationism and xenophobia, he said it is clear such global challenges surpass the ability of any one nation to resolve them. Climate change, pandemics, terrorism and new technologies require the multilateral rules based system rather than retreating from it. Agreements signed must be respected and the international rule of law strengthened. Challenges to multilateralism provide an opportunity to reinforce it.
KATALIN BOGYAY (Hungary), associating herself with the European Union, said that the shifting geopolitical landscape, along with questions regarding the ongoing changes in the established multilateral order, dominate discussions. Stressing that those who believe in multilateralism must stand together, she underscored that multilateralism will persist because it is common sense. However, the continuation of international institutions in their current form is far from certain. While the achievements of the last 74 years should be preserved, institutions need to adapt and evolve. Reforms are crucial, including the full implementation of the initiatives proposed by the Secretary General.
BADER ABDULLAH N. M. ALMUNAYEKH (Kuwait) noted the world is facing multiple transnational threats to peace and security. No one is safe from the scourges of terrorism, conflict and natural crises, all of which require united efforts at an international scale. Multilateralism is therefore a foundation of the global system, with the United Nations Charter as its cornerstone. The international community must put an end to violence and animosity, build cordial relations between States and respect their sovereignty. He pointed to the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 as proof of the effectiveness of international efforts, Security Council resolutions and the power of the United Nations to correct a violation of international law. Unilateral measures imposed by some States illustrate the importance of multilateral diplomacy at the regional and international levels.
WU HAITAO (China) said that the rise of protectionism and unilateralism has placed global governance systems and multilateral mechanisms under attack. The world needs multilateralism more than ever before. Countries should uphold the spirit of consultation, follow the rules and procedures, and solve problems through collective efforts. All parties should work together in seeking common ground, with a view to increasing strategic mutual trusts and building a global partnership. The independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries should be respected and the representation and voice of the developing and small and medium sized countries should be enhanced in international affairs.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOGLU (Turkey) said people are losing faith in international institutions, including the United Nations. Instead, such institutions are being seen as ineffective and weak. However, without the multilateral system and respect for international rules, there is a risk of returning to relations based solely on power. We have to emphasize that multilateralism is not a threat to sovereignty, he stressed. Rather, it is the only way to safeguard national interests in an interdependent world. Citing the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees as recent successes for multilateralism, he said Turkey supports the intergovernmental process for revitalizing and strengthening the General Assembly.
ANA SILVIA RODRA�GUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the Non Aligned Movement, said the time has come to put an end to manipulation, politicization and indecent double standards on issues of global significance, including human rights. She voiced her strong rejection of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for 60 years, calling it a flagrant violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. Turning to her country's achievements, she pointed to international cooperation projects designed to aid third world countries, including medical consultations for over 1.5 billion people. While Latin America and the Caribbean face constant threats, she underscored that unwavering solidarity with Venezuela is a right of Cuba as a sovereign State and also a duty, and that no threat of reprisal, ultimatum or blackmail by the current United States Government will divert its internationalist stance.
YASER ABDULRAZAAQ WAHIB WAHIB (Iraq), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, called the United Nations the embodiment of multilateralism. Today's meeting is a clear message to all extremists in the world that development and peace can only be achieved through diplomacy, not isolationism. He called on all Member States to put aside their differences, engage in dialogue and focus on building relations based on the United Nations Charter and respect for national sovereignty.
GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) said countries face the choice of acting collectively or acting alone in their own self interest. History has shown the latter is likely to have profoundly negative and even dangerous outcomes. As a small State, Ireland's economic development has benefited greatly from its membership in the European Union, whose strong and stable multilateral structures have allowed many nations to prosper. Some of us seem to need more reminding than others that the problems of today are problems without passports and simply cannot be addressed without a stable rules based order, she said. Emphasizing that shared institutions must reflect the world as it is, as well as demonstrate their value, she said the Security Council must be reformed in order to properly represent Africa and other regions. Noting that Council resolutions are binding on all nations but often ignored, she said all Member States must stand by their commitments, be creative in their cooperation and better connect with citizens.
JARG LAUBER (Switzerland), calling the United Nations Charter a common denominator that unites the world, pointed to the International Declaration of Human Rights and the Paris Agreement on climate change as landmark achievements. Multilingual and multilateral architecture and systems are more relevant than ever. Noting Geneva is the second headquarters of the United Nations, he said his country has long been committed to peace and cooperation. The United Nations must be well suited to its mandate and able to confront crises, while promoting its three pillars of peace and security, development and human rights. The alternative to multilateralism is simply an abyss, he said.
JUAN RAMA�N DE LA FUENTE RAMIREZ (Mexico) said multilateral fora exist to find common solutions to international issues. As well, multilateralism is profoundly democratic and inclusive. With a globalized interdependent world, it is naA�ve to think States can solve problems in isolation without the support of the international community. Any supposed clash between sovereignty and multilateralism is a false dilemma; all States benefit, to varying degrees, from multilateralism. Therefore, the fact that a meeting was required on the issue is disconcerting. The international community should not normalize selective or conditional compliance with agreements forged by the collective, and must avoid fostering confrontation or promoting hate speech. Let us give multilateralism the humanist quality it requires to repair lost trust, he said.
WAEL AL KHALIL (Syria), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said a culture of peace can only come about through respect for international law and the United Nations Charter. However, some powerful States are attempting to dominate the Organization for their purposes, creating colossal and tragic challenges for humanity. Pointing to the disregard for Security Council resolutions, he said multilateralism is coming under attack to the greatest degree since the founding of the United Nations.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said the choice of 24 April for the International Day harkens back to the historic moment seven decades ago when the Bandung Conference of African and Asian States resolved to build a world order based on the sovereign equality of all nations, equity, justice, freedoms and enduring peace. Although some States today have opted for unilateralism and the dismantling of multilateral agreements, partnership and cooperation are essential, he said, adding that there is no better or proven platform than the United Nations. Support for reforming the Organization must be strengthened with the goal of making it closer to the people.
CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET-FERNANDEZ (Costa Rica) said multilateralism is crucial to defending his country's sovereignty without weapons. The multilateralism system allows States to pursue dialogue even in the most difficult moments of history. Among its many benefits, multilateralism ensures sustainable development is within the reach of all. The international community must remain watchful and not allow the petty interests of some forces to weaken the international system. Noting that unilateral measures threaten stability and progress on human issues, he said the world must instead strengthen multilateralism and declare it to be a global public good. The United Nations should be more multilingual and put human beings at the very heart of its efforts.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) said it is very important to defend multilateralism, with the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for cooperation. Rules based multilateral solutions are better, fairer and longer lasting than unilateral ones. Multilateralism also bolsters State sovereignty, as demonstrated by the European Union. However, the rules based order faces several threats. Among them is the Security Council's failure on 23 April to adopt a resolution on sexual violence in conflict that referred to sexual and reproductive health and rights because the United States Administration said it would no longer stick to commitments made by its predecessor. If that becomes a general practice, there will be problems, he said. He also highlighted the United States' withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; the Russian Federation's violation of the Budapest Memorandum with its invasion of Ukraine and its disregard for the Chemical Weapons Convention; and China's ignoring of international law in the South China Sea, as well as its violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in regards to its treatment of minorities. We must push back and reverse the trend, he said, calling for a strong alliance that would defend multilateralism and make it more efficient and representative, including through Security Council reform.
ARIEL RODELAS PENARANDA (Philippines) said multilateralism gives a voice to the small; counsels patience against provocations until the facts are in; weighs options for practicality and sustainability; and imparts to actions a credibility often rightly denied to unilateral decisions. As one of the 50 founding members of the United Nations, the Philippines vigorously promotes the multilateral process. At the United Nations, States have a forum for talking before fighting or submitting without being heard. The Organization offers an opportunity to thresh out differences and work on shared priorities. It is a venue where the universal values of equality, tolerance and human dignity are unchallenged assumptions.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said that 24 April marks the darkest page in Armenia's history, as 104 years ago its people faced the ultimate crime of genocide. Today, his country is committed to advancing the human rights agenda, in particular the prevention of crimes against humanity and mass atrocities and has been at the forefront of international efforts to prevent and counter identity based hate crimes, including the crime of genocide. Multilateral institutions offer platforms where Member States, regional organizations and civil society can discuss and agree on solutions to global problems that no nation acting alone can solve. Collectively, more needs to be done to reverse the alarming trend in the decline of commitment to multilateralism.
ANDREJS PILDEGOVICS (Latvia), associating himself with the European Union, said that since regaining independence and accession to the United Nations in 1991, his country has always been a staunch supporter of international law and promoter of the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. One of the Organization's achievements has been to develop and strengthen international law, including the adoption of many treaties, such as the Arms Trade Treaty, currently presided by Latvia. The United Nations must become more effective, more transparent and more flexible so it can support the people on the ground. Too often resources are spent on managing and responding to crises. The Organization has failed to act when its Member States cannot agree on a collective response. Conflict prevention has the rightful place at the centre of the United Nations agenda.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said global economic distress and nationalistic passions have found refuge in a populist discourse that seeks to turn resentment and frustration into a rejection of the international order. Global challenges require global responses; the only alternative to a rules based global order is global disorder. The fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter must be ensured for all. Yet, the inalienable right to self determination is denied to millions, including the Kashmiri and Palestinian people. There is a growing tendency to erode norms of State sovereignty and territorial integrity and legal sanction for these illegal acts is sometimes sought from within the Charter itself. However, its principles should not become tools for a powerful few. The international community must stand united against any undermining of the sanctity of the Charter. To be true to it, the United Nations must represent all Member States � small, medium and large.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement and the statement to be delivered by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noting that his country has prospered from globalization, stressed that global trade should not be hindered by unilateral sanctions imposed for political objectives. Special preferential treatment should be extended to developing countries, with support given to the sharing of information and technologies. Global efforts should focus on sustainable development, he said, adding that only by working in solidarity can the global community address the most difficult challenges.
GENNADY V. KUZMIN (Russian Federation) noted that the United Nations Charter prohibits the use of force in international affairs without the support of the Security Council, unless in cases of self defence. The Russian Federation, along with like minded countries, calls for the strengthening of international relations based on international law and the Charter. This Organization remains the only universal global forum for open, continuous and honest dialogue. The global political landscape is changing and the political influence of the developing world is growing, he said, emphasizing the need to create a polycentric peace system with increased responsibility from the international community. Efforts by States to bolster such foundations are hindered by some players, whose toolkit includes unilateral steps taken in circumvention of international law and ripping up existing agreements. Examples of this can be seen in the bombing of the former Yugoslavia, the occupation of Iraq and attempts to overthrow the legal Governments of Syria and Venezuela.
RICHARD ARBEITER (Canada) recounted the story of both his father, born in a displaced person's camp following the Second World War, and his father's parents who were stateless people and had lost most of their family in the war. My father and his family were fortunate enough to build a life in Canada as multilateralism matured, he said, noting that over successive generations they witnessed institutions take shape, treaties come into force and global standards set. Those rules were not exclusively about international peace and security but also sought to improve quality of life across the planet. While such gains have been undeniably impressive, the system is not perfect and the benefits of multilateralism have not been evenly distributed. Nor have the rules been applied equally. Multilateralism must now evolve as new challenges emerge and old ones persist. The principle has never been a static one, he said, adding that Canada remains committed to the United Nations and the global rules based system.
SATYENDRA PRASAD (Fiji), pointing to efforts by Pacific island States to secure a treaty for the high seas, said multilateralism must work in order to restore the world's oceans and make them sustainable. As a small island developing State from the Pacific region, Fiji often finds its voice goes unheard, and it is not alone in dealing with that problem. Multilateralism is important for Fiji to ensure that international fleets extract fewer marine resources from its water and to ensure that Fijians in the tourism industry do not suffer the impact of impact of climate induced disasters. Nothing will restore faith in multilateralism than a powerful boost in the way the United Nations system delivers, he said.
ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) said that challenges facing the world are intensifying and multilateralism is the only way to address these problems. The law of the jungle is challenging the international order, especially in the Arab world, she said, warning against a blockade imposed against her country for two years. Qatar has played a leading role in bolstering the United Nations three main pillars � development, human rights and peace � and has contributed financial resources to its regular budget in support of the Organization's reform and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) quoting the Qur'an, said: O mankind, indeed we have created you male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know one another. This verse attests to the fact that his country's tolerant Islamic faith entrenches the value of diversity and promotes peace and dialogue between societies. The verse is the compass that guides Saudi Arabia in its international relations. The world is witnessing more and more conflicts, risks and security challenges such as continued occupation, marginalization and persecution. This contributes to the spread of extremism, hate speech and terrorist threats. Close cooperation and effective coordination must be ensured, as well as the enhancement of multilateral diplomacy in order to promote the values of peace and tolerance. However, multilateralism must not be confused with interference in State affairs. In that regard, he rejected the earlier statement by the Permanent Representative of Germany referencing Saudi Arabia, stressing that the statement constitutes a flagrant interference in his country's internal affairs.
SANJAY RANA (India) said multilateralism is in crisis today perhaps at a time when we most need it. Citing an unfair trading system, increasing equality and the crisis in multilateral security architecture, he pointed to the new challenges of emerging technologies as potential threats to future generations. With the 2030 Agenda deadline fast approaching, the time for effective climate change is running out. International cooperation and coordination are fundamental to addressing it, he said, along with the pressing issues of migration and financing for development. He noted that while Member States have differing opinions on the multilateral system, the majority believe that reform is the only way forward. On that theme, he stressed that reform of the Security Council is perhaps the most important yet stagnating of General Assembly processes, with Africa deserving a central and leading role in a newly expanded body. Nonetheless, the crisis in multilateralism presents an opportunity for the international community to reinvigorate efforts.
AMRITH ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, thanked the Assembly President and all the delegations that expressed their condolences for the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, following the recent terrorist attacks. It is the common responsibility of all Member States to strengthen the international order based on the rule of law. Threats to multilateralism often emanate from politically motivated fear mongering. The fear of globalization has fed into a suspicion of multilateralism and has fuelled protectionism, populism and unilateralism. He called on the international community to work together to allay those fears and address frustrations in meaningful ways that allow the dividends of multilateralism to reach all peoples at all levels.
MARTA�N GARCA�A MORITA�N (Argentina) reaffirmed his country's steadfast support for the United Nations at a time when multilateralism is at a crossroad. Unilateralism is gaining ground, he warned, stressing that the international community has yet to finish its work in several areas. Limitations facing the international community must not lead us to turn our back on addressing these challenges, he said, emphasizing the importance of enhancing international cooperation and undertaking necessary reforms at international organizations. Multilateralism is essential to international peace and security. The General Assembly must take into account the political aspect of its mandate. Tackling impunity is crucial as there is no peace without justice, he said, stressing that States must cooperate with the International Criminal Court under the Rome Statute.
JAIME HERMIDA CASTILLO (Nicaragua), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said that peace and multilateralism are closely intertwined and are fundamental principles of the Movement. Nicaragua is a peace loving country that defends the sovereignty and self determination of its people. This is reflected in its international relations and its commitment to multilateralism. The emotions and culture of war, violence, interference and intervention must be banished and replaced with a mentality and culture of peace as well as a real commitment to international peace and security. He advocated for the peaceful settlement of disputes and the non interference in the domestic affairs of States. He also underscored that Nicaragua rejects the use of unilateral coercive economic measures.
Mr. NAYECK (Mauritius), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that, at a time when multilateralism is increasingly under attack, Member States have an opportunity to reaffirm their strong commitment to United Nations ideals and its primary role in maintaining international law and promoting peace. Given the challenges of climate change, poverty, rising inequality, migration, as well as weapons proliferation, deteriorating oceans and cybercrime, no country � regardless of size and power � can address them alone. Calling for unity against terrorism in the wake of recent senseless killing in places of worship, he reaffirmed that virtually all problems faced by Governments require collective action. Member States must therefore reinvigorate multilateralism through the promises of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
MOHAMED SIAD DOUALEH (Djibouti), stressing the centrality of the rules based international order, said that States patiently constructed such an architecture 74 years ago through the United Nations Charter, which created the Organization and codified rules for peace and security. However, multilateralism is in crisis and under attack, he said, pointing to tensions leading to paralysis in disarmament and withdrawals from multilateral frameworks. Lack of follow up to implementation is often in the literature criticizing the United Nations. The Organization needs to show its relevance and efficiency in preventing conflict and terrorism. Diplomatic tools must be refined to address the evolving challenges facing Africa.
ADELA RAZ (Afghanistan) said that international terrorism, extremism and discrimination have increased in different parts of the world, along with the challenges of climate change, long term conflicts, migration, and other regional and international tensions. For international peace and security to prevail, these need to be reversed. The mechanism with which to achieve that is multilateralism. She pointed out that the Afghani people know from experience that no challenge is too difficult to address through international cooperation. Afghanistan's own transition to a democratic and pluralistic society is a testament to this reality. The convergence of many countries played an essential role in helping her country start a new chapter in its history.
KHALIFA ALI ISSA AL HARTHY (Oman) said that global problems have grown and the number of challenges facing humanity has also increased at the political, economic and even social level. Problems have had a global impact, which proves that solutions cannot be found in one State or another. Instead, solutions require a joint international effort. Multilateralism and diplomacy can help promote the three pillars of the United Nations, he said, underscoring that the international Organization is the most representative of the aspirations and hopes of humanity around the world. Foreign policy must be based on cooperation and understanding among States.
AMRIT BAHADUR RAI (Nepal), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, cited global challenges that do not respect national boundaries, including the adverse effect of climate change and warfare in cyberspace. These global challenges require global responses. Only multilateralism can rise to such challenges. It is sine qua non to sustainable development, providing voices to small and developing States. The United Nations is the epitome of multilateralism. Diplomacy must be given every chance to prevent conflict. The international community must embrace diplomacy, with a stronger and effective United Nations at the core, as they share their interwoven destiny in this interconnected world.
MARI SKARE (Norway) said no State can tackle the challenges arising from climate change, security, sustainable development, clean oceans and free trade on its own. She noted that some States prefer bilateral solutions over multilateral cooperation which, in most cases, makes it more difficult for smaller States to take care of their interests. In addition, the benefits of globalization are unevenly distributed, fuelling discontent. Her Government takes action on multilateralism in part by annually contributing 1 per cent of its gross national income to official development assistance (ODA). Efforts are also under way to promote the sustainable use of oceans, global health, education and humanitarian assistance. Norway is launching a cross-regional initiative reaching out to Nordic and African Member States and remains firmly committed to the United Nations Charter because we are multilateralists, she said.
VALENTIN RYBAKOV (Belarus) said that the inclusion in the international calendar of this Day is a clear indication of the fact that Member States are willing to cooperate to promote the principles of multilateralism. There are also challenges that are facing the entire international community, including the crisis of trust which is accompanied by the open flaunting of the norms of international law and interference in internal affairs. He expressed concern at attempts to drag the United Nations into initiatives aimed at discrediting the legal authority of States, both in the General Assembly and in other forums. A critical look at the current situation is necessary, he said.
FRANCISCO DUARTE LOPES (Portugal), associating himself with the European Union, said that no country can address threats on its own. Only by building bridges and broadening dialogue can meaningful solutions be reached. Portugal's commitment to multilateralism is shown by its presence in six United Nations operations: Mali, Darfur, Colombia, South Sudan, Haiti and the Central African Republic. In addition, during the last negotiation on the scale of assessments for United Nations peacekeeping operations, Portugal voluntarily relinquished the discount to which it was entitled.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said the centrality of the United Nations to his country's international relations strategy is based on a strong belief in a rules based system of global governance. The multilateral system should set norms and standards that are universally applied, without exception, and its normative framework should serve humanity, not the parochial interests of a few. No single country, no matter how powerful or wealthy, can seek to assume for itself the global unilateral monopoly on seeking solutions to all the world's problems, he said. The challenge today is to transform global politics from power based hierarchy to a rules based system of international society.
MOHAMED FATHI AHMED EDREES (Egypt), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, said that a strong and effective multilateral diplomacy is needed to address all the challenges that the international community is facing. However, multilateral diplomacy is being criticized because it has been unable to achieve tangible impacts on the ground in many areas. As well, some resolutions, including binding Security Council resolutions, are not being respected because the United Nations has not succeeded in settling crises that have been going on for years. It is important to reform and increase the membership of the Security Council and address the problems caused by the recurrent use of the veto. Reviews of sanctions systems should also be carried out to prevent any unintentional consequences and to see that they are achieving the goal for which they were adopted.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), associating himself with the African Group, said that today's meeting is happening at the backdrop of many global challenges, such as the migration crisis and the rise of extremism, all of which weaken multilateralism. This breakdown of multilateralism goes hand in hand with the rise of unilateralism and nationalism. Yet, the United Nations remains the best way to address these challenges, with its achievements including the adoption of international agreements, such as the 2030 Agenda and the Global Migration Compact, which speak volumes of its ability to address global challenges. Together, States will conquer threats of terrorism and meet the challenge of climate change and transnational crimes. Peace is only possible if we work together, he said. Thus, it is essential to reform the Organization and bring it closer to the people. A strong, effective and committed United Nations is needed, he said, welcoming reforms undertaken by the Secretary General, including efforts to consolidate partnerships between the Organization and regional organizations.
YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said that his Government will become the next Chair of the Non Aligned Movement and will spare no effort towards further promoting multilateralism, the rules based international order, the culture of peace, and dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures. Its capital, Baku, will host the next summit of the Movement under the theme of Upholding Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world. He also added that all States must strictly comply with their international obligations, particularly those relating to respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the inviolability of their internationally recognized borders.
AMAL MUDALLALI (Lebanon) said cooperation among Arab countries and international partners to end 15 years of civil war in her country is a testament to what can be achieved through multilateralism and diplomacy. For a small State such as Lebanon, international law is not some obscure concept, but a means of protection. Calling for re energized multilateralism and preventative diplomacy, she said that can only come about by building trust through inclusivity and greater engagement with youth, women, the private sector and civil society. Let diplomacy be our first response and not the last resort, she said.
MAHA YAQOOT JUMA YAQOOT HARQOOS (United Arab Emirates) said that commemorating the International Day is an opportunity to stress that people still believe in the purposes and the principles of the Charter. The United Nations is an embodiment of multilateralism and is the main tool used by Member States to overcome international challenges that are complex and multipronged. It plays an important role in promoting dialogue and understanding among countries, regardless of cultural and religious differences. It also has a role in building peaceful and tolerant societies. She stressed the importance of building trust in the United Nations so that the Organization can carry out the tasks that it has been entrusted with in a transparent and responsible way.
RENA� ALFONSO RUIDA�AZ PA�REZ (Chile) said his country invests in multilateralism as a way of prevention. As Chile is hosting the twenty fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Santiago this coming December, he invited Member States to participate. Diplomacy is deeply installed in the depths of Chile's national vision, he said, stressing that reforms must be implemented at the United Nations.
OMAR CASTAA�EDA SOLARES (Guatemala) said current global challenges such as security, development, human rights and climate change should be addressed through dialogue and agreement in the international system. Multilateralism has been the cornerstone of conflict resolution. Through it, the international community has been able to forge positions that benefit humanity. He reiterated the importance of multilateralism and international law to promote the common aim of achieving international peace sustained through diplomacy.
TIEMOKO MORIKO (CAte d'Ivoire), associating himself with the African Group, noted that the world has undergone political, economic and social transformations towards shared prosperity. However, new challenges to the maintenance of international peace and security have emerged. The most pressing challenges include climate change, poverty, youth unemployment, terrorism and violent extremism, he said, underscoring the essential role of the United Nations in addressing these problems. He called on all States to uphold the Charter and devise responses based on that fundamental document. Member States have always been able to overcome challenges based on the Charter.
SACHA SERGIO LLORENTTY SOLA�Z (Bolivia), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, noted that Bolivia is in a region that is a zone of peace where the strengthening of multilateralism is a fundamental part of relations among States. Multilateralism is a rules based system based on the principles of equality among States, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as non interference in internal affairs. Under the pretext of justice, democracy and human rights, military offences have been launched, applying regime change policies driven by the need to access control or exploit natural resources. Such actions violate international law.
GEORG HELMUT ERNST SPARBER (Liechtenstein) said that, one year before the United Nations seventy fifth anniversary, the greatest peace project in the history of humankind may well be facing its most challenging times. The rule of power seems to be chipping away at the rule of law, with power itself becoming a feature of the few rather than the many. As members of the United Nations, we all have our grievances with this Organization, he said. However, all Member States joined it in order to partake in the pursuit of the high ambitions enshrined in the Charter. The United Nations should do better in listening to the people it represents, including young people, women, grass roots organizations and victims of violence. Spotlighting the work of the Security Council � which ought to act on behalf of all of us � he said there must be more accountability for that organ's performance, or lack thereof, in particular in light of the increasing use of the veto. Noting that the General Assembly is not a venue to lament the failure of other bodies � but rather the United Nations central policymaking organ � he said it should take issue whenever there is a failure to implement the Charter's vision.
MOHD SUHAIMI AHMAD TAJUDDIN (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non Aligned Movement, expressed concern over the rise of unilateralism, isolationism and protectionism. Multilateralism is indeed at a crossroads, he said, calling for unity among all States to strengthen multilateralism. The United Nations remains at the forefront of protecting human rights and maintaining international peace and security. To preserve stability, the world demands the sharing of universal values through dialogue. All Member States should uphold the principles enshrined in the Charter.
LISE GREGOIRE VAN HAAREN (Netherlands) said that the commitment to multilateralism should be renewed in order to discuss challenges and seek new ways to strengthen the multilateral system. Citizens expect solutions to cross border problems like climate change, irregular migration and terrorism. They are also calling for free and fair trade, sustainable development and respect for human rights. The United Nations has been instrumental in a number of these matters, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. However, it has not been able to affect change in other matters, the most striking example being the conflict in Syria. This is not the fault of the Organization, but the fault of Member States not being able to find agreement, she stressed. The United Nations has been able to do a lot of good work, and as it celebrates its seventy fifth birthday in 2020, Member States should enable it to deliver the results that citizens demand.
MIRYAM DJAMILA SENA VIEIRA (Cabo Verde) said that her country's Constitution proclaims respect for the United Nations Charter, with an aim of developing friendly relations among nations based on the principles of equal rights of peoples and of sovereignty of all its Member States. A small State, Cabo Verde, since its independence has chosen to put diplomacy and multilateralism � global and regional � at the core of its foreign policy by promoting international cooperation and building sound partnerships. The United Nations is the natural centre for the global multilateralism from which the great world agendas have been shaped.
Mr. SINKA (Burkina Faso), associating himself with the African Group, said that his country is pleased to see the holding of the first commemoration of the International Day marking multilateralism and diplomacy. Multilateralism is the bedrock needed to achieve sustainable development for all and for lasting peace in the world. Each country must have the same opportunities to take part in debates and have access to information in the official languages of the United Nations. While commending the reforms undertaken by the Secretary General, he stressed that reforms will only be complete with the reform of the Security Council and the reconfiguration of the international financial architecture.
Source: United Nations