Structure of United Nations needs adjustment, Brunei’s Crown Prince tells General Debate
“In terms of the fundamental work of the United Nations, we see no need to undertake what our theme here describes as ‘adjustment,’ the Crown Prince and senior minister in his country’s prime minister’s office said in his remarks to the third day the 67th Assembly’s General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York, and referring to the Assembly’s theme ‘Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means.’
“It is in the structure of the organisation that we see a need for some things to be ‘adjusted.’ The reason appears clear to many of those of us who are small both physically and politically,” he added. “We see it as a twentieth century structure designed to meet twentieth century realities.”
Noting that media reports headline the “supposed defects, failures and setbacks” of the United Nations, the Crown Prince stated that the world body’s current structure appears “far too often to be the deep-seated cause of the headline news I referred to.”
“We see it as a twentieth century structure designed to meet twentieth century realities,” he said. “It is personified in the sixty-four years of suffering by the ordinary people of Palestine and in all other desperate situations in which the root causes of conflict and confrontation are still buried in the last century.”
He added, “Simply put…this must change. In our globalized world, we are all equally inter-dependent and equally responsible. But, like many other members of this Assembly, we believe that the current structure does not truly reflect this. As such, it needs adjusting so that ancient political fault lines are repaired.”
The Crown Prince pointed to the approach of regional bodies, which operate from a basis of consensus, rather than compromise and confrontation, citing the example of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “That is what we have accepted in our own region of Southeast Asia,” he said.
In terms of the work of the United Nations, the Crown Prince flagged three areas which his country finds important, and in which the world body is helping create a “world in which the people it represents can look to a better future. One of hope rather than anguish, confidence instead of fear, and trust in the place of despair.”
The three are: sustainable development, the ongoing efforts to achieve the anti-poverty goals known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the continued wide-ranging efforts of UN agencies and programmes, such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“We observe an enormous contribution by the United Nations to the welfare of future generations,” he noted. “I would therefore like to express our deep satisfaction with the work of our United Nations agencies and international bodies.”
Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.