ISLAMABAD: United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Tuesday said that the United Nations (UN) had no magic wand to quickly resolve the conflicts world over and stressed that political commitment of member states was more important to make global peace a reality.
The 193-member assembly president was responding to a question as to why the UN could not succeed in resolving the burning issues of Kashmir and Yemen, at a public talk on ‘Role and Relevance of UN in Contemporary World Order’, at the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI).
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who has over 20 years of multilateral experience in international negotiations, peace, security and human rights, said, “The UN is not an organisation with some superpowers.”
“Sometimes all the burden is put on the UN. In fact, the world body is a reflection of the complexities of crossroads and paradox of our times. We cannot do magic,” she said.
She said that in the conflict-hit Yemen alone, some 80,000 children below the age of five died of hunger, regretting that national interests of member states sometimes overshadowed the UN’s fundamental interests.
“It hurts. The question is put on UN, but where are the actors of this conflict that need to sit together and find a solution. It should be understood that the UN has a facilitating and bridging role, which it is playing proactively,” she said.
Despite difficulties, she said that the UN had seen positive developments in the shape of agreements and ceasefire in Yemen that required an immense commitment of all stakeholders.
The UNGA president reiterated her stance on Kashmir issue and said that peaceful dialogue was important to find a sustainable solution to every conflict.
When asked to comment on the UN’s ineffectiveness to fulfil its promise on Kashmir in 70 years, she said, “It is not about the UN’s promise but about the international commitment, and also the possibility of the actors to play a role.”
Espinosa, who is the first woman to become permanent representative of Ecuador to the UN in 2008, urged provision of opportunities to women and youth to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ Agenda 2030.
She lauded Pakistan’s contribution to global peace through its peacekeeping troops, stationed in different conflict-hit parts of the world, which, she said, spoke well of the country’s commitment to multilateralism.
She stressed that a global collective action was required to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in countries including in Pakistan that was vulnerable to heavy monsoons, floods and droughts.
ISSI Director-General Ambassador (r) Aizaz Chaudhry highlighted the importance of the UN’s role in future of multilateralism and also in the wake of anti-globalism trends.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi attended the event along with former ambassadors, scholars and experts on foreign policy.