Delivered By: H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I would like to first thank China for organizing this important meeting, and to express my gratitude to the Secretary-General and Mr. Gustavo Zlauvinen for their invaluable briefings.
A press item covering the 1945 San Francisco Conference reported that the delegates had signed, and I quote, “a charter written for a world of power, tempered by a little reason.”
The architects of the United Nations needed only to look around them for insight into the ruin wrought by unrestrained power. The story of short-sighted ideological and hegemonic pursuits had echoed across human history, each time with greater dissonance.
So, in an act of necessary but extraordinary ambition, they committed to building something better.
They envisioned an international order in which peoples express their right to self-determination through equally sovereign states that resolve their differences with dialogue and without the threat of wars of aggression.
They sought to temper power by binding together, in common security and prosperity, those who may wield it and those who may suffer it.
Since then, with pragmatism, creativity, and leadership, and despite many challenges to these lofty ideals, the system has held. This achievement in itself should give us some comfort in this moment of rising polarization and fragmentation.
As the bold vision of an open, cooperative, and inclusive world order is vindicated by the scale of our global challenges, we cannot entertain abandoning it – whether through revisionism or retrenchment.
Instead, the UAE firmly believes that this must be a moment of renewal for the international system.
Our cooperation is necessary if we are indeed to address the world’s most urgent threats, and the crises on this Council’s agenda will not relent in their demands for our collective efforts.
As we grow ever more reliant on each other, our first and only truly global multilateral system is still our last best hope. However, it cannot remain frozen in time; it must adapt to a world with more countries, an increasingly diverse set of influential actors, a shifting balance of power, an expanding role for regional institutions, and the growing risk of tensions between major powers.
It is to the credit of this inclusive system that it now relies on a much wider circle of members and stakeholders than it did at its creation. These include some 80 countries that secured independence during de-colonization, as well as the engagement of private sector and philanthropic actors, and local and global networks of youth and women and civil society.
But to fully reap the benefits of that progress, institutional responsibility must also expand.
For example, for a long time, the multilateral system has been divided between so-called norm-makers and takers. However, wider ownership of the system could ensure greater investment in its success. Countries historically limited to merely norm-taking have the capacity to play a more active role in setting and upholding the agenda.
Collectively, we must fashion a more inclusive system of norm-setting and decision-making to allow the views of all to shape our inextricably bound future.
In doing so, as others have said, we must be pragmatic, incremental, and results-oriented.
We should prioritize those common challenges that genuinely concern all of us and that can only be resolved if we work together — climate change, pandemics, food and water insecurity, poverty, gender inequality, energy supply, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
We should actively seek out our partnerships, especially with those with whom we may not always agree. We cannot sacrifice crucial agreement for complete agreement.
Broadening responsibility also means systematically empowering regional organizations to solve regional problems.
They are often better placed to find sustainable solutions as they bring nuanced understanding and the greater willingness to compromise. The Council should creatively and intentionally leverage the tools at its disposal to support those organizations and reinforce their efforts with the financial support needed for those changes and not only lip service.
More than anything, this is a time and a place for determined leadership.
The issues on our agenda are not zero-sum games. In the long-term, cooperation leads to better outcomes for all. But self-interest begets self-interest and that must inform the efforts to reverse its corrosive effects.
We need leadership that can overcome the binary approach to coalition-building. The “us vs them” lens may clarify current divides but at the risk of obscuring the urgency of long-term challenges.
We all have a stake in the preservation and success of the multilateral system. But the stakes are clearly not equal; for some, including those caught in geostrategic crossfire, what is at stake is their very survival.
Cognizant of that fact, the most effective of our predecessors in these chairs, tried to manage their differences and disagreements in a way that allows the UN to remain responsive to those who need it the most.
The world looks to this chamber, to summon that spirit once again, and, in the process, usher in the necessary renewal of this open, cooperative, and inclusive world order.
Thank you, Mr. President, for this timely discussion.