Multilateralism the only way forward, General Assembly President says

23 September 2009

Multilateralism is the only practical method for tackling major international problems and the United Nations offers the most legitimate forum for ensuring countries take meaningful global action, the President of the General Assembly said today as he urged UN Member States to work more closely with the world body.

Ali Treki told the opening of the annual General Debate in the 192-member Assembly that today’s multiple challenges – including climate change, disarmament, extreme poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the food and energy crises – demonstrate the need for greater international cooperation among countries.

“Multilateralism is the way forward to address global, common-shared problems and it is also the only way to ensure effective and collective action,” he told dozens of world leaders who have gathered at UN Headquarters in New York.

Dr. Treki said the international community has learned from experience that transnational threats and other crises cannot be solved through unilateral actions, which “can only exacerbate conflicts and delay the search for more sustainable solutions.”

Describing the UN as “the embodiment of multilateralism,” he said it was “therefore the most legitimate forum for ensuring concerted global action.”

Dr. Treki singled out the General Assembly for its “global membership and universal legitimacy unmatched by any other organization” and vowed to work with Member States to build on existing efforts to revitalize the forum and make the 15-member Security Council more representative.

He also pledged to cooperate with Member States to ensure the strongest possible international response to such global crises as climate change, the struggle to obtain enduring peace and sustainable development across Africa, and the battle to help countries emerging from conflict consolidate peace.

The President also stressed the importance of promoting and protecting human rights, and ensuring that the UN mechanisms that deal with the issue have the resources, respect and credibility to carry out their work.

“I will work with Member States to reaffirm our collective commitment to universality, non-selectivity, and the indivisible, inter-dependent and inter-related nature of all human rights: civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development.”

In a wide-ranging address, Dr. Treki also discussed the situation in the Middle East, the importance of the rule of law worldwide, and efforts to achieve the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

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