Top United Nations officials stressed today that solutions to current world challenges can only be achieved if countries practice solidarity among themselves, calling on States to establish partnerships and dialogue to make progress on issues such as climate change, poverty and conflict prevention.
“Solidarity must be the foundation for global solutions,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message marking International Human Solidarity Day, observed annually on 20 December. “In a world of common challenges, no nation can succeed on its own, but by working together in common cause, we can build a safer, more prosperous future for all.”
In his message, Mr. Ban recalled calling on world leaders at the General Assembly debate in September to pay greater attention to five imperatives: achieving sustainable development, preventing conflict, stopping human rights abuses, mitigating the impact of natural disasters, and engaging the talents of women and young people. Without solidarity, Mr. Ban stressed, none of these can be achieved.
“This will not happen by itself. Nor will it happen with business as usual. Our times demand something different. We need big thinking, bold action and efforts to connect the dots among global challenges,” he said.
General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser echoed Mr. Ban’s remarks, highlighting that the current economic crisis, a constantly changing political sphere, and extreme weather conditions all threaten to slow down development if they are not tackled in a concerted manner by States.
“Common challenges require common responses. It is my wholehearted belief that solidarity, cooperation, and partnership between Member States, the UN system and civil society are the cornerstone of efforts to move forward,” Mr. Al-Nasser said.
Mr. Al-Nasser also emphasized the importance of solidarity between developed and developing countries and said the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June will be “a distinct opportunity to reinvigorate the international community’s commitment to achieving its sustainable development goals, as well as reaching global consensus on the eradication of poverty and global inequality. It is our chance to ensure that the benefits of sustainable development are extended to people of all countries.”
Virginia Dandan, the UN expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, said solidarity should be seen not as mere rhetoric or act of charity, but as an effective way to respond to threats, drawing strength from partners and expressing a common humanity.
“Solidarity should, and must be a positive force in the lives of people and of nations, and must therefore be protected from exploitation and corruption,” she said, adding that world leaders should see it as a key factor for progress.
“Our common future is at risk and our common present is under grave threat and yet, world leaders continue the illusion that the crowds and their loud clamour for justice and fair distribution of resources, will eventually tire and go away in due time,” she said.
“Their shortsightedness comes with the inability to see the chain that links together climate change, food crises, water scarcity, energy shortages, population pressure and displacement. These global challenges require multilateral global responses.”