United Nations, Sep 21 (PTI) As the United Nations marks its 75th anniversary amidst the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for improved world governance, underlining that there is a surplus of multilateral challenges today but a deficit of solutions.
Addressing the UN General Assembly ceremony, marking the world body's 75th anniversary, Guterres said the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities.
'We can only address them together. Today we have a surplus of multilateral challenges and a deficit of multilateral solutions,” he said.
The special commemoration of the landmark 75 years of the world organisation will be largely virtual as world leaders did not travel to New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the world and that has in over six months infected more than 30 million people and will soon reach a grim milestone of over a million deaths.
The special UNGA event to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN kick-starts the high-level General Assembly session.
For the week-long General Debate, Heads of State and Government and Ministers will deliver their speeches through pre-recorded video statements, a first in the 75-year history of the world organisation.
On this occasion, the 193 UN Member States adopted by consensus a political Declaration commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
Looking back, Guterres said the world has seen historic accomplishments including peace treaties and peacekeeping, decolonisation, human rights standards – and mechanisms to uphold them, triumph over apartheid, eradication of diseases, steady reduction of hunger and landmark agreements to protect the environment and the planet - most recently, unanimous agreement on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change provide an inspiring vision for the 21st Century.
However, the UN chief said there is still much to be done, particularly in the area of gender equality.
Guterres said 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action, gender inequality remains the greatest single challenge to human rights around the world.
He listed a looming climate calamity, collapsing biodiversity, rising poverty, spreading hatred, escalating geopolitical tensions, nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert and transformative technologies that have exposed new threats as new global challenges nations must confront.
To combat these challenges, Guterres said there is a need for more — and more effective — multilateralism 'with vision, ambition and impact'.
“National sovereignty — a pillar of the United Nations Charter — goes hand-in-hand with enhanced international cooperation based on common values and shared responsibilities in pursuit of progress for all. No one wants a world government – but we must work together to improve world governance,” he said.
Guterres added that in an interconnected world, “we need a networked multilateralism, in which the UN family, international financial institutions, regional organisations, trading blocs and others work together more closely and effectively.” He also stressed on the need for an inclusive multilateralism, drawing on civil society, cities, businesses, local authorities and young people. Guterres told the General Assembly that the UN Secretariat marked the 75th anniversary with a global conversation that reached more than a million people around the world, with a special focus on the voices of youth.
Sharing their fears and hopes for the future, the respondents said international cooperation is vital to deal with today’s challenges, with the pandemic making such solidarity more urgent and underlining the need for improved health systems and basic services for all.
Guterres said people are also fearful about the climate crisis, poverty, inequality, corruption and systemic racial and gender discrimination. “They see the UN as a vehicle to make the world a better place. And they count on us to meet today’s tests. That responsibility lies above all with Member States,” the UN chief said, adding that Member States established the world body and have a duty to 'embrace it, nourish it and provide it with the tools to make a difference'.
'We owe this to ‘we the peoples’. We owe it to the peacekeepers, diplomats, humanitarian personnel, and others who sacrificed their lives advancing common values,” Guterres said. PTI YAS PMS AKJ PMS