In closing remarks, ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI, President of the General Assembly, said he was pleased that the theme for this year’s general debate -– “Effective Responses to Global Crises: Strengthening Multilateralism and Dialogue among Civilizations for International Peace, Security and Development” -– had catalysed important policy discussion. Throughout the debate, the Assembly had heard a clear call for dialogue and a willingness to act together.
“I am heartened that, inside this hall -– as well as outside -– in the various meetings and events on the sidelines, there was a renewed commitment to promoting an effective and inclusive multilateralism,” Mr. Treki said, adding that he would work with Member States to advance that objective.
Indeed, there had been clear calls to promote greater coherence and understanding among regional and political groupings, he explained, as well as dialogue among faiths, cultures and civilizations -– a course that had to be followed to fully tap opportunities. The General Assembly was uniquely placed to forge collective strategies for the common good.
On the issue of climate change, he recalled the widely shared concern about its impacts on present and future generations, and the powerful testimonies from small island States, whose very survival was threatened. It was an issue that had sent ripple effects across the global economy, in areas of health and safety, food production, peace and security and realization of the Millennium Development Goals. At the same time, there was a readiness to agree on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to make the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen a success.
In the area of conflict prevention, he recounted that he had heard calls for more collective actions to settle disputes, and that, in some areas –- Afghanistan, Cyprus, Haiti, Iraq and Liberia among them -– there had been concrete steps towards sustainable political solutions. Of utmost concern, however, was the situation in the Middle East, including on the long-standing issue of Palestine, which was at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
While calling the situation in Gaza “unsustainable”, he said he was encouraged by United States efforts to promote a just, lasting and comprehensive solution, which would require a more effective role for the United Nations. On that point, he said there had been broad support for the Organization’s role in peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mediation and protection of civilians.
Turning to disarmament, he had noted wide concern at the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and passionate calls for a nuclear-weapon-free world. Encouraged by States’ willingness to engage constructively ahead of and during the upcoming Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he urged working together to ensure equal security for all.
Similarly, there had been broad agreement on the need for a collective response to the unprecedented global financial crisis, he said, having noted suggestions to strengthen the international economic system, including the Bretton Woods institutions, to make them more inclusive and transparent. The Assembly would continue to follow up on the High-level Conference on the Economic and Financial Crisis and Its Impact on Development, held in June.
As for the Millennium Development Goals, he said speakers had rightly noted that, at the current rate, it would take more than 100 years to achieve them. Drastic measures were needed ahead of next year’s tenth anniversary of the Millennium Declaration.
Turning lastly to United Nations reform, he said he had heard urgent calls for comprehensively reforming the Security Council, making it more democratic, open and, hence, more legitimate. Many delegates had emphasized the need to review the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council, and to continue the revitalization of the General Assembly.
“Through multilateralism and dialogue, we can collectively achieve all these goals,” he said, assuring delegates of his intention to conduct such work with transparency, fairness and respect for the General Assembly’s central role in the United Nations. “I look forward to working with you all in this spirit as we face our common challenges,” he concluded.