The interdependence of States and the benefits of joint action must be recognized and reaffirmed, the General Assembly heard today, as speakers debated the value of multilateralism in addressing pressing global challenges, ranging from inequality to climate change.
Never in history had moving away from diplomacy led to progress in the promotion of universal values, said Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium, declaring that doing so would be an act of “cowardly abandon”. On the fourth day of the Assembly’s annual general debate, he described multilateralism as a robust and reliable driving force for creating a better world, emphasizing the necessity of coordination and consensus. Globalization had generated doubts and fears, yet multilateralism was not to blame, he said, emphasizing that although multilateralism was complicated and could create difficulties, international and regional organizations and action must be strengthened.
Reinforcing that sentiment, Margot Wallström, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs stressed: “This is the moment for multilateralism, not unilateralism”, warning that unless countries grasped that chance, they would “face the consequences”. Today, “going it alone” was not an option, she said, adding that Member States had the responsibility to act coherently and flexibly.
Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania said protectionist approaches were challenging the existing international global order without proposing anything credible to replace it. However, no country, however big, rich or powerful, could face or solve problems alone, he cautioned. In that context, one of the pillars of Albania’s foreign policy was the development of regional cooperation and the transformation of the Western Balkans into an area of free movement for people, goods, capital and ideas, he said.
In a similar vein, Prime Minister Allen Michael Chastanet of Saint Lucia said multilateral discussions were needed to address inequality and other issues. If States indulged their differences, inequity would persist as the driving force in the international system and people would struggle to survive, he cautioned, emphasizing that the global reality increasingly called for integrating economies, the environment and people.
Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said his country had risen to become one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, describing its “rags to riches” path as a textbook example of the power of free trade. He urged the international community to open its markets and allow poor countries to trade freely with all consumers. Free trade also meant forming international relationships and promoting interaction among all peoples, regardless of colour or religion. Since the markets of the world’s richest countries remained closed to the poorest, it was incumbent upon the international community to support developing nations, he emphasized.
Samura M. W. Kamara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, speaking on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, stressed the need to strengthen the role of mediation in the settlement of disputes, highlighting the gains realized through preventive diplomacy. Mediation remained a powerful tool for preventing and settling armed conflicts and must be fully utilized. Mediation efforts had proven very fruitful for Sierra Leone in terms of timely cessation of hostilities, credible ceasefire agreements and the deployment of peacekeeping missions, he said.
Throughout the day, speakers also highlighted the devastating havoc that climate change was wreaking on theiRead More