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European nations avow UN centrality in overcoming global obstacles

European nations avow UN centrality in overcoming global obstacles

Amb. Tine Mørch Smith of Norway
European nations have underlined the crucial role of the United Nations in prevailing over key global challenges, urging continued reform of the Organization to ensure its efficiency at the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

“The UN is not designed to comfort different leaders in their own convictions – it is the place to confront and surpass differences,” Norwegian Ambassador to the UN, Tine Mørch Smith, stressed today.

She spoke out against moves by some nations to promote extreme views, emphasizing that the global problems are too large to be sidetracked by attempts to incite conflict.

“We must never forget we are a global community by virtue of the shared risks that stand before us, the shared threats that challenge us and the shared values that bind us together.”

The Norwegian official asserted that for the UN to remain relevant, it must continuously reform and adapt as the global environment changes, calling for a continuous push to reform the world body.

Witold Sobkow, Poland’s Ambassador to the Organization, highlighted the need for Security Council reform today.

“We need to take into account changes in the international system brought about after the end of the Cold War, and at the same time, preserve the Council’s cohesion and the feasibility of the decision-making process,” he said.

Mr. Sobkow appealed for an additional non-permanent seat for the Eastern European Group.

The Council comprises five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10 in 1965.

Alexandru Cujba, Moldova’s Ambassador to the UN, pointed out that reform of the world body could potentially save significant resources, “which can be redirected to priority areas where the Organization’s support is most needed.”

He joined Mr. Sobkow in pushing for the allocation of an extra non-permanent seat to the Eastern European Group.

Denmark’s Ambassador to the UN, Carsten Staur, told the Assembly yesterday that the best way to deal with challenges ranging from the future of Sudan, the Middle East peace process, natural disasters and climate change is “through an effective and strong multilateral system – through a strong UN system.”

The UN’s ability to deal with this century’s issues must be enhanced, he said, pointing to the need to press ahead with schemes such as “Delivering as One.”

That programme was launched in 2007 to respond to global challenges and test how the UN can provide more coordinate development assistance in the nations which volunteered to become pilot cases: Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Viet Nam.

Also yesterday, Sweden urged Member States to assume its share of responsibility to ensure the UN achieves “its full potential.”

The Scandinavian nation’s Permanent Representative, Marten Grunditz, drew attention to the world body’s “crucial role in the efforts of the international community to contribute to secure, stable and democratic development in Afghanistan.”

Together with the European Union (EU) and other partners, the UN has demonstrated “continued strong resolve in assisting the Afghan people in building a more peaceful and democratic society.”

Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor highlighted the role of the Assembly in “forming the global response to the challenges placed before us by the contemporary world.”

Addressing the debate on Monday, she noted that obstacles including terrorism and climate change are being increasingly global in scope.

“In the same way, contemporary social and economic relationships have long grown far beyond the narrow national frameworks, and through the flow of people, goods, services and capital, are creating an unbreakable global network of mutual relations and influence,” Ms. Kosor emphasized.

Sergei Aleinik, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus, told the Assembly that particular attention should be paid in the economic sphere, noting that the largest developed countries spend trillions of dollars supporting their own economies while financing for poorer nations remains low.