Political commitment vital for world peace: UNGA chief

Maria Fernanda Espinosa says UN has a facilitating and bridging role

Shabbir Mir January 22, 2019
UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD: United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Maria Fernanda Espinosa has said the UN has no magic wand to quickly resolve the conflicts the world over and that political commitment of the member states is more important to make global peace a reality.

“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 on Tuesday.

Espinosa 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 the UN in contemporary world order' at the Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI).

The UNGA president said that in the conflict-hit Yemen and Sudan alone some 18,000 children had died of hunger. She regretted that national interests of member states sometimes overshadow the UN's fundamental interests.

"It hurts. The question is put on the 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, the UN has seen positive developments in shape of agreements and ceasefire in Yemen that required immense commitment of all stakeholders.

UNGA president praises Pakistan's peacekeepers

The UNGA president reiterated her stance on Kashmir issue and said peaceful dialogue is important to find 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, also 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 "speak well of the country's commitment to multilateralism".

She said global collective action is required to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change in countries including in Pakistan that is vulnerable to heavy monsoons, floods and droughts.

No other solution: Dialogue a must to settle Kashmir dispute: Espinosa

ISSI Director General Aizaz Chaudhry, who is a former diplomat, highlighted 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 as well as former ambassadors, scholars and experts on foreign policy attended the event.

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