Underscoring that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a “tragic reminder” of how deeply connected the world is today, the UN chief upheld in a message released for Saturday, the “clear and urgent need for concrete multilateral solutions”.
In his message for the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out that this needs to go far beyond the pandemic and must be based on common action across borders, “for the good of all humanity” – starting with the equitable distribution of vaccines as a global public good.
‘Strong multilateral action, now’
The top UN official painted a picture of global transnational threats, from the climate crisis to pollution and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to the development of new technologies in the absence of agreed principles and norms.
“We need a more networked multilateralism, with stronger coordination between regional and international organizations, international financial institutions and public-private alliances”, he said. “We need an inclusive multilateralism, that draws on civil society, business, local and regional authorities and others, and shares power more broadly and fairly”.
To emerge from the pandemic safely, address the climate crisis and build stronger, safer communities and societies, the UN chief stressed the need for “strong multilateral action now”.
In marking the International Day he urged everyone to renew their commitment to “global multilateral solutions that deliver for people and planet”.
Why mark the day?
When the UN was founded in the ashes of the Second World War in 1945, its central mission was to maintain international peace and security.
One of the Organization’s purposes and principles, according to the UN Charter, is to peacefully settle disputes and prevent the scourge of war.
The International Day reaffirms this and acknowledges the use of multilateral decision-making and diplomacy to achieve peaceful conflict resolutions among nations.
While prevention remains a relatively under-publicized aspect of the UN's work, diplomacy is used to ease tensions before they result in conflict, or to act swiftly to contain and resolve its underlying causes.