UN the only place to solve global challenges, German Chancellor tells Assembly
Strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations is crucial to the world’s common future because it is the sole forum where meaningful joint agreements can be struck to meet global challenges, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate tonight.
But time is running out for the Organization to demonstrate tangible results on its process of reform, Ms. Merkel said, warning that changes are needed for it to better deal with the many crises worldwide.
“In my view, there is absolutely no doubt – the United Nations is the place where binding joint responses can be found to global challenges,” she said in a wide-ranging speech at UN Headquarters in New York.
Calling for greater UN reform, the Chancellor said the most important case was the Security Council, which must have international legitimacy if it is to respond successfully to crises and conflicts.
“However, the present composition of the Security Council no longer reflects the world today,” she said, reiterating Germany’s preparedness to become a permanent member of the Council.
Ms. Merkel praised the results of some UN reforms, including the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission to help countries emerging from conflict avoid slipping back into chaos or war and the report of the High-Level Panel on Development.
All major problems cannot be solved unilaterally, she stressed, calling for unity of purpose among the world’s countries to deal with such challenges.
Criticizing Iran’s nuclear activities, Ms. Merkel described them as a clear breach of the demands of the UN and its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“Let’s not fool ourselves. If Iran were to acquire the nuclear bomb, the consequences would be disastrous – first and foremost, for the existence of Israel; secondly, for the entire region; and ultimately for all of us in Europe and the world who attach any importance to the values of liberty, democracy and human dignity. That is why we have to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.”
Turning to climate change, Ms. Merkel said unity of purpose was also vital and she urged participants at the major summit in Bali, Indonesia, in December to agree on a clear road map so that a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions can be developed.
The world must halve global emissions by the middle of this century, she said, calling for a common understanding between nations on the scale of emissions reduction, fair national contributions and the mechanisms needed to protect both the environment and sustainable economic growth.
Monaco’s Prince Albert II devoted a large part of his address to climate change and wider environmental issues as well.
He called on affluent nations to help developing countries find new financial resources and modes of consumption so that they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and still achieve sustainable economic growth.
“To meet this challenge, we must work together to find solutions to existing problems. Individual announcements or actions will never solve this problem. The threat is global,” he said.
Prince Albert also noted that he had created a personal foundation last year to fund individual environmental projects that highlight innovation.