Delivered by: His Excellency Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Minister of State
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I want to begin by thanking Foreign Minister Lavrov for chairing this meeting. I also thank the Secretary-General for his insightful briefing.
Our sustained commitment to effective multilateralism, grounded in international law and the principles of the UN Charter, is essential to maintaining international peace and security. In turn, defending the principles of the Charter is vital to maintaining effective multilateralism. These principles, including respect for the sovereignty of all nations, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the prohibition of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state are fundamental to the ability of the UN to take effective action in accordance with the Charter.
This is critical as the world is experiencing the highest number of armed conflicts since 1945.
Forced displacement is at an all-time high.
We are struggling to keep alive the 1.5 degree goal.
Terrorism and extremism continue to evolve in a way that international efforts struggle to halt.
To address our common challenges and threats it is imperative to promote dialogue and cooperation among nations. We must double down on efforts to bring peaceful resolution to conflict and crises, from Sudan to Ukraine.
The following three issues are critical for multilateralism to have a more positive impact in people’s lives:
First, multilateralism must serve the wider UN membership. The wider UN membership is a reflection of the rights and the aspirations of eight billion people and should remain front and centre in our considerations. Yet, we have a multilateral system and mechanisms often struggling to act effectively due to polortization and competing interests. Some Member States have always had a disproportionate influence over the multilateral system, including how these systems were set up and whether or not they function in the interest of all. It is these same Member States that can prevent or realise the reforms necessary to make multilateralism more effective.
Status quo structures will not move us beyond the status quo. From the Security Council to institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, multilateral mechanisms must be reformed to improve their legitimacy and representation. Decisions need to be made with vulnerable countries not only in mind, but at the table. For example, the emerging discussions on reforming international financial institutions to better deliver for the Global South, offer an encouraging path to promote stability and improve equality worldwide.
Second, protecting global common goods must be our top priority. Facilitating the peaceful settlement of disputes, promoting human security and devising collective, even if partial, solutions for the key threats facing humanity is the best investment we can make in our people and planet. We have seen constructive initiatives in the recent past, but this type of forward-looking cooperation should be the norm, rather than the exception. The historic agreement for a new multilateral treaty on environmental conservation in the high seas and the Paris Agreement are specific examples of multilateral achievements that have propelled us forward.
And finally, multilateralism cannot merely be an intergovernmental process. The perspectives of all stakeholders, inclding women as well as youth must also help drive the conversation. During the pandemic, public-private partnerships in the UAE from Dubai Ports World to the Humanitarian City supported multilateral efforts to ensure the global distribution of medical equipment and COVID vaccines. As the incoming President of COP28, we see the inclusion of all stakeholders, especially from vulnerable countries, as a cornerstone of success. The input of women, youth, indigenous groups, science, academia and the private sector will be channeled across all outcomes.
Only by working together, we can promote and deliver peace, stability and prosperity for all nations and peoples. It is time to reform our multilateral system to ensure that we deliver on the aspirations of everyone around the world.