UN vital for survival of small States in volatile world, Singapore tells General Assembly

26 September 2016

In a world of increased uncertainty and volatility, with sluggish growth, growing xenophobia and rising nationalism and protectionism, the United Nations is essential for the survival andprosperity of small states, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told the General Assembly today.

“We are usually at the receiving end of the decisions and actions of large powers. Fortunately, the General Assembly affirms the principle that all nations large and small have an equal stake and equal right to participate in shaping the discourse on global issues, he said on the last day of the Assembly’s annual general debate.

“In an uncertain world, small States have to work much harder just to stay afloat. Small boats on a rough sea will be tossed and turned much more than a tanker with heavy ballast. For our survival and prosperity, small states have to stay open and connected to the world. But our very openness makes us vulnerable to external shocks and threats,” he said.

Mr. Balakrishnan stressed that as the world becomes more and more interdependent, no country can succeed on its own and to achieve global security and prosperity it is essential to work with each other to seek win-win outcomes with all countries benefitting from partnerships and economic cooperation in peace and stability.

He highlighted three elements as crucial for the survival and prosperity of small states: a rules-based multilateral system, international partnership and cooperation, and sustainable development.

“Ultimately, small States need the United Nations to provide the framework for building partnerships, promoting development and pursuing peace and security within a rules-based system,” he concluded, citing the significant contributions these states have already made by building consensus and finding solutions on key global issues like climate change.


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