The United Nations remains an essential forum to address universal economic, political and technological changes, the General Assembly President said today, while stressing that the world body must implement urgent reforms to be able to effectively deal with new challenges.
In a lecture at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said that urgent reforms in the Security Council were particularly important.
“The legitimacy of the United Nations’ mission will be undermined in the absence of an efficient, inclusive and representative Security Council,” he stated. “Timely reform is urgent if the United Nations is to respond to 21st century realities.”
“However, to attain real progress, reform must be fully driven and defined by the Member States,” he said, adding that other international organizations will also need to implement reforms to reflect the changes in political realities in the past years.
During his lecture, Mr. Al-Nasser highlighted the UN’s role in tackling economic issues by putting forward initiatives that support sustainable development, which is the only way to bring economic justice to societies where there is a widening gap between rich and poor.
“I strongly believe that only sustainable development will take us where we need to go. Emphasizing the interdependence of economic, social and environmental factors, the sustainable development approach offers comprehensive, long-term, enduring solutions,” he said.
He also noted that at a time of dynamic changes in technology, the UN’s priority is to ensure that everyone has access to new communication tools and that they do not put individuals’ rights in danger.
“We have a world where immediacy is the postulate of our lives. To the extent that sometimes we live events before they happen – through rumours or ‘news’ going viral on the Internet and through social media,” he said, adding that the UN seeks to “implement justice in the digital arena and to prevent division in the world between the digital haves and the have-nots.
Mr. Al-Nasser stressed that immediacy in communication has both advantages and disadvantages and Member States must learn how to work together to reap the benefits of technology.
“The challenge is how to understand the implications of qualitative change and their full potential for solving crises and increasing the opportunities to work together,” he said.