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UN stresses multilateralism at 75th anniversary of founding Charter

His Excellency (Prof.) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

By Harrison Arubu

United Nations, June 26, 2020

Top officials of the United Nations on Friday, stressed the importance of the UN Charter and Multilateralism in the pursuit of global peace and security.

In separate messages to mark the 75th anniversary of the Charter, the leaders noted that the challenges confronting the world today could better be addressed through cooperation among nations.

They include, Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres; President of the General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande; and President of the Security Council for June, Amb. Jean-Yves Adrian.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the UN is founded on the principle of international cooperation to secure world peace and development.

The principle is enshrined in the UN Charter, signed by delegates from 50 countries on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco, United States, following the Second World War.

The Charter provided a detailed description of the duties and powers of the UN, which is being criticised as losing its relevance and efficacy.

It calls on the organisation to maintain international peace and security; promote social progress and better standards of life; strengthen international law; and promote human rights.

In his message, Guterres said the Charter had brought “rules and hope to a world in ruins”.

“It remains our touchstone for a world mired in a pandemic, torn by discrimination, endangered by climate change and scarred by poverty, inequality and war.

“Gone were the genocidal Nazi regime and their allies; in came the prospect of human rights.

“Out went the rampant nationalism and precarious balance of power that produced two catastrophic world wars; in came the promise of collective security and the peaceful resolution of disputes,” he said.

NAN reports that the UN has repeatedly come under criticism for alleged inefficiency and inefficacy in the face of spiraling global conflicts.

Perhaps, Guterres acknowledged this by calling for “reimagination of multilateralism” to give the UN “teeth to function as the founders intended”.

However, he said there was “much to encourage us and drive us onward”, citing the general level of solidarity shown in responding to the COViD-19 pandemic.

Guterres also pointed at the global embrace of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as another reason to believe in the UN.

President of the General Assembly, Muhammad-Bande, who also highlighted the impact of the UN over the years, said the world needed the organisation more than ever before.

He said, “As we work towards the future we want, and the UN we need, we must be results-focused.

“Now more than ever, we need a strong UN development system and effective collaboration between the UN and international financial institutions.

“In pursuit of inclusive multilateralism, we must continue to create space for civil society and ensure the full participation of voices that have gone unheard for too long: those of women, youth, indigenous persons and people with disabilities.”

The General Assembly president noted that this was a period of “reckoning for our shared planet and shared future”, and a time for action, ambition and partnership”.

Contributing, President of the Security Council, Adrian, described the UN charter as the cornerstone of multilateralism.

He said the best way to commemorate the anniversary was to “reaffirm the spirit of the Charter and recommit ourselves to the founding aspiration of the UN”.

On her part, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Amb. Mona Juul, said the COVID-19 pandemic had further underscored the need for a stronger international collaboration.

She promised to continue to engage to ensure that ECOSOC remained “as relevant today and in the future, as it was when first envisioned in the Charter 75 years ago”.

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