Nations addressing the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate today spoke out against unilateralism as the world tackles its most pressing challenges, including the current global economic turmoil and climate change.
“In times of crisis, unilateral tendencies unfortunately tend to occur,” Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, said on the third day of the event.
Although it is important that the world’s major economies gather to discuss problems, these forums cannot take the place of multilateral mechanisms, he stressed.
Intergovernmental bodies, Mr. Asselborn said, must be based on “trust between the citizen and the state; trust between States themselves, whether they are from the North or the South, rich or poor; and confidence of States in the United Nations, which is our common good.”
Mongolia’s President Elbegdorj Tsakhia said that this multilateralism must be “effective, proactive and commensurate” to today’s obstacles.
But he warned that it cannot fall victim to the marginalization of developing countries, highlighting how the UN is uniquely situated to be the home base for this new multilateralism given its “impartiality and universal legitimacy.”
Also promoting the UN as the seat of effective multilateralism today was Ramdien Sardjoe, Vice-President of Suriname.
“The growing interdependence in today’s world only strengthens the understanding that current challenges transcend national borders and therefore require concerted action and responses from the international community,” he pointed out, adding that the world body is still the “central forum for addressing global issues.”
The world body, President Paul Biya of Cameroon told heads of State and government today, can also serve as the “crucible of the dialogue of civilizations.”
This dialogue should not overlook difference, but instead should celebrate diversity “so as to foster knowledge and mutual understanding among peoples.”
Multilateralism, underscored the President of Viet Nam, is also vital in the security realm.
Nguyen Minh Triet said that it is apparent that “policies and measures of imposition and unilateral use of force to address international security and political issues could only result in more tension, confrontation and impasse.”
For its part, Swaziland is encouraged by the momentum generated by world leaders to start a new chapter in the work of the UN by “approaching global matters collective,” the country’s King said.
“It is imperative that the UN takes the lead in all issues that affect mankind,” King Mswati III underscored, pressing for Security Council reform.