Nearly 70 years ago, the first meetings of the General Assembly and the Security Council took place in London. They marked the point when the world came together to turn its back on war and to seek to institutionalise the conditions for peace. By that process, from the ashes of the Second World War, embarked upon a shared quest for peace, development and human dignity. And they succeeded where the League of Nations had failed.
From 51 members at its inception to 193 now, the United Nations has become a powerful and universally-recognised expression of our worlds collective will to find solutions to the most difficult challenges we face. It is the cornerstone of the rules-based international system; and an affirmation of the value we attach to human dignity and hope.
Despite the historic work delivered under the Millennium Development Goals, over a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. Insecurity, extremism and conflict in the Middle East and same parts in Africa have driven millions of people to abandon their homes, creating a humanitarian emergency on an unprecedented scale. And the humanitarian disaster that we are witnessing in and of itself should be enough reason to take on ISIL. This has been a major discussion topic in conjunction with the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
And many millions more still live under regimes in which they have no say about how they are governed, and in which human rights and fundamental freedoms are denied. At the same time, the rules-based international system that keeps the peace between nations is being undermined by states willing to violate the territorial integrity of others, or to breach the most fundamental prohibitions on weapons of mass destruction.
Today, pressures from Russia continue to bear upon Ukraine. There can be no lasting security without respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. And it is precisely to exercise and defend these very rights and values that the people of Ukraine have made their voice heard in support of European integration. These principles have been built up over 70 years to avoid a repeat of the terrible conflicts of the 20th century that inflicted such grave suffering on Europe, particularly on Russia.
Alongside these challenges, the world faces the longer term threats of climate change, global pandemics and anti-microbial resistance. Climate change could prompt increased morbidity and mortality from disease or pandemics.– threats that we must tackle effectively now, if we are not to put the lives of future generations at risk. We also need to exert pressure in support of peace. it is in Syria and Iraq, in the crucible of human civilisation, that our collective values and our will to act are being most immediately challenged.
Humanitarian response, alone, is not adequate. We share a responsibility to act to end the bloody civil war and create an inclusive political process, and to work together to crush ISIL and banish its twisted ideology from the face of the earth. ISL threats to peace and security demand international coalitions and international action. We need to win the battle of hearts and minds around the world. We all oppose the aggressive ambitions of such organizations as ISIL, al-Qaida, and groups that initiate or that are imitating them or affiliated with them. We all oppose the atrocities that they commit, and we all want to end the suffering that they continue to inflict.
This is a long-term struggle that will be won with a comprehensive approach in concert with state and nongovernmental actors across the globe—which is exactly what the Leadership Summit hosted by President Obama, highlighting the international community’s efforts to counter ISIL, addressed. The President has made clear that ISIL poses a threat to the the international community, and that we will use all instruments of power to defeat it. He has also made clear that this fight will not be won quickly, solely through military means, or by the United States alone.
We’ve adopted this strategy.
- We’re strongly engaged in implementing it. We welcome the large number of nations that have joined as international actors in the counter-ISIL coalition and the Global Counterterrorism Forum and other regional organizations:
- We’ve been able to counter some foreign fighters and kept them from traveling, but still too many have been able to travel and still been able to reach the destination. We’ve been able to slow down and stop some elements of the financing, but still there’s too much money that still is able to reach terrorist activities and actors; But obviously, more needs to be done; Remarks at à International Peace and Security and Countering Terrorism Sep 30, 2015.
But obviously, more needs to be done. It is only by working together that the global community can set itself up for success. In other respect the defeat of ISIL, on its own, will not bring peace to Syria. An inclusive political settlement is the only sustainable way to end the suffering of the Syrian people. We must redouble our efforts to build a political process under Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, and to hold to account those who have committed crimes during the conflict.
Positive movement on this agenda is a crucial test for the UN. Progress at the Security Council has been blocked for too long. All parties must now put narrow interests aside and cooperate for the good of the Syrian people and to re-assert the values of this organisation. which is really the relevance of the new sustainable-development agenda. And this agenda really does break some new ground, because it states upfront that there can be no peace without sustainable development, and no sustainable development without peace. These things are very linked. And so, in looking at how to then advance the cause of inclusive and sustainable development, it says you need peaceful and inclusive societies, and they should be founded on the rule of law and people being able to have voice, governments being accountable and responsive to citizens.
The crisis in Syria and to that we could add the crises in Yemen, Somalia and Libya – cannot be neglected. We need to act now to prevent future threats to global security from arising. Each country must, of course, follow its own path to prosperity. But as we help the poorest countries overcome conflict, poverty and instability and to move up the development curve, it is in all our interests that that development is sustainable over the long term, as the foundation for all sustainable development is peace and security, in order to support good governance, strong institutions and economic development.
The Syrian civil war cannot be found in a military alliance with Assad. It can only be found through a broadly supported diplomatic initiative aimed at a negotiated political transition – a transition that has been accepted by the Security Council, accepted by participants of the Perm 5 – consistent with the Geneva Communique, which would unite all Syrians who reject dictatorship and terrorism and want to build a stable and united society.
In this sense, and in any other special powers, we need a common recognition that strong, transparent and effective institutions, open economies and open societies, the rule of law, and freedom from corruption are the conditions that will allow development to flourish over the long term, and so reduce the drivers that fuel conflict.
70th years after the first General Assembly, the United Nations stands, battered by the waves of international crises, but unbowed, proudly at the heart of the international order and significant for peace-building community in the face of new threats and security challenges. Over seven decades, it has played a critical role in addressing almost every challenge we have faced. And crucial to its future success will be further evolution, embracing change, maintaining relevance in this 21st Century.
update Oct 12th EU-FAC Conclusion on Syria.
The EU reiterates its full support to the UN-led efforts and the work of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to build this political track. The EU emphasizes the need to accelerate the work of the entire international community on the political track in the framework of the UN-led process.
The EU is already actively contributing to the UN initiatives and will increase its diplomatic work in support of the UN-led efforts, including the UN Special Envoy’s proposal for intra-Syrian working groups. The EU-FAC underlines the urgency for the moderate political opposition and associated armed groups to unite behind a common approach in order to present an alternative to the Syrian people.
The recent Russian military attacks that go beyond Dae’sh and other UN-designated terrorist groups, as well as on the moderate opposition, are of deep concern, and must cease immediately. So too must the Russian violations of the sovereign airspace of neighbouring countries.
The Russian military escalation risks prolonging the conflict, undermining a political process, aggravating the humanitarian situation and increasing radicalization.