Multilateralism in response to global challenges

Update: 10:52 | 24/09/2019
TGVN. The high-level general debate of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) will take place from 25 to 30 September in New York, USA. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh will lead the Vietnamese delegation to attend the event.
multilateralism in response to global challenges 42 years of United Nations membership, Vietnam sets sail
multilateralism in response to global challenges Viet Nam’s membership in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2020-2021

Over 75 years of development, the United Nations (UN) has become the most widespread global organisation with the participation of almost all sovereign nations on the planet. The UN has expanded its roles and activities in all aspects, strived to implement its goals and objectives, which have brought about great and positive impacts on international situation and each nation.

multilateralism in response to global challenges
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke at a general debate of the UNGA. (Photo: UN)

Greater challenges, bigger responsibilities

Entering the 75th year since its establishment, the UN has been facing many great challenges while bearing bigger responsibilities. Nevertheless, the UN still plays the role of the most important multilateral institution, which is expected by countries, especially small and medium ones, to promote multilateral cooperation, thereby ensuring their rights and voices, contributing to the humanity’s collective efforts in response to global challenges.

At the ECOSOC's high-level political forum on sustainable development, the UN's General Report on the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDG) 2019 shows that some goals in ensuring global access to energy, health, poverty reduction have made progress but have not reached the required pace; while for the first time the number of people suffering from famine has risen again in decades; results of implementation of goals in gender equality, education and health have not been widespread; the implementation of goals in sustainable environment has been worrying when ODA pledge is decreasing dramatically.

In that spirit, the UN Secretary General’s Report at the 74th session (September 2019) on the organisation’s overall work emphasized and upheld multilateralism, the important role of the UN, promotion of new technologies application, effective using of financial resources,… to meet the common concerns of mankind.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 74th Plenary Session of the UNGA on 17 September (local time), UNGA President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande called for countries to act in accordance with this year general debate’s theme which is “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”. The 74th UNGA is an opportunity for countries to promote global cooperation, tackle challenges and narrow differences.

This year meeting’s priorities include promoting peace, security and conflict prevention; strengthening cooperation to achieve sustainable development goals, especially poverty eradication, quality education and climate action.

At the meeting, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres emphasized the importance of persuading people to see that the UN is relevant to all people and realize that multilateralism will bring about practical solutions to global challenges.

“The Assembly is a unique and indispensable forum where the world can come together to advance on sensitive and important issues”, Guterres said.

multilateralism in response to global challenges
A meeting of UNGA. (Photo: UN)

Vietnam - a responsible and an active member

Since joining the UN in 1977, Vietnam has been a responsible member which actively contributed to all areas of activities, as well as one of pioneering countries in promoting peace, progress, cooperation and development in the world, with specific contributions to the process of developing and implementing UN's international treaties to build a fair, transparent and effective global multilateral institution that meets the common expectation of the mankind. Vietnam's contributions have left a profound impression which is highly recorded and appreciated by the international community, especially in the activities of the General Assembly, the Security Council (SC), the Human Rights Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and other UN agencies.

From 51 member states at the time of establishment, the UN now has 193 members and has become a comprehensive system of 6 main agencies, many supporting bodies, 20 professional organisations and 5 social-economic committees that located in many areas, dozens of funds and programs, which operate in all areas from conflict resolution and prevention, disarmament and non-proliferation, counterterrorism, protection of refugees, environment protection and sustainable development, to promotion of democracy, human rights, gender equality, economic and social development,..

For more than 40 years of joining the UN, Vietnam has contributed and participated in a number of important UN agencies such as ECOSOC, SC. At the end of 2016, Vietnam for the first time had a representative who participated in and was elected as the second Vice President of the International Law Commission (ILC). Vietnam has actively taken part in all three UN's operation pillars: Peace and Security, Development, and Human Rights.

In 2007, Vietnam was elected as non-permanent member of the SC for the 2008-2009 term. This was the first time Vietnam has participated in the UN's most important agency in international peace and security. In the term, one of Vietnam's oustanding achievements would be the fact that the SC passed the Vietnam-proposed 1889 Resolution on Women, Peace and Security, with a focus on the need of women and girls in post-conflict situation as well as the increase of women's participation in all stages of peace process. In addition, Vietnam launched the initiative to organize extensive consultations with UN members outside the SC on the SC's Annual Report at the General Assembly.

In June 2019, the UNGA elected Vietnam as UNSC's member of the term 2020-2021 with the highest number of votes in the 75 years of the UN (192/193 votes), which shows that other countries attached great importance to Vietnam's role, position and prestige, especially its ability to contribute to the world's common affairs. At the UN, SC is the leading body in protecting world peace and security. By joining the SC, Vietnam will participate in the most important global mechanism in the field of protecting peace and security, which contributes to resolving conflicts around the world.

In a press interview after Vietnam's election to the SC, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed: "Vietnam's highest priority during its term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for 2020-2021 would be promoting multilateralism and compliance with international law in addressing global challenges regarding peace and security. This is the highest goal that Vietnam wishes to contribute to the UNSC".

According to Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam wants to leverage its past experience to resolve issues of great concern, such as post-conflict reconstruction, women and children in conflicts or dealing with unexploded ordnance.

"Participating in the UN means that we seek to contribute to our part to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and the world at large that is conducive to the country's own development", the Deputy PM emphasized.

The high-level general debate of 74th Session of the UNGA draws the highest number of heads of state in the world. At this year's session, 143 heads of state and government leaders are expected to participate in the discussions.

In addition to the general debate, there are other high-level events such as the Climate Change Summit, the UN high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage, High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, High-level event to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

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Quang Chinh