A Global Landscape of Digital Opportunities

By Wahid, Abdurrahman | Presidents & Prime Ministers, September 2000 | Go to article overview

A Global Landscape of Digital Opportunities


Wahid, Abdurrahman, Presidents & Prime Ministers


The achievements and multitude of activities undertaken by the organization are to be found in the numerous decisions, programs and measures that are being continually formulated and implemented by its various related institutions. Its over-arching goal has been, and must continue to be, the enhancement of the welfare and well of humanity as a whole.

The United Nations has in the past played a decisive role in the worldwide process of decolonization, transforming the political landscape of the world, and bringing much cherished freedom and independence to the enslaved peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America. It was instrumental in bringing about the demise of the universally-despised apartheid South Africa.

In fostering partnership with the specialized agencies, United Nations has established guidelines to deal with new emerging problems such as environment, population and human rights. It has responded to the need for humanitarian assistance and provided protection for refugees. It has achieved noteworthy success in eradicating disease and hunger. And, it has raised global consciousness for economic and social imperatives and for achieving equality for women.

Although the role of the organization was indispensable in limiting the expansion of conflicts by providing a forum for dialogue and negotiations and by contributing to the peaceful settlement of disputes in various regions of the world - national, ethnic and religious strife has regrettably escalated into violence and war with their horrible toll in the loss of lives and material devastation. These are some of the major obstacles to peace and security. There is a clear need to strengthen global and regional mechanisms for conflict prevention and conflict resolution.

Peacekeeping, which was a United Nations invention, has proven to be an inescapable necessity in the midst of numerous inter and intrastate conflicts. Without the interposition of these forces, the theaters of conflicts would have resulted in far greater danger to the wider peace. They have all yielded new insights that can be most useful as the United Nations will be called upon to deal with similar situations in the future.

Disarmament, with the least diversion for armaments of the world's resources, is one of the primary objectives enshrined in the Charter. Consequently, the General Assembly has, over the years, formulated principles and defined the issues relating to disarmament. Although the implementation of these principles into concrete plans of action has remained an elusive goal, the role of the General Assembly in charting the future direction of disarmament and in mobilizing world public opinion should continue to be of cardinal importance.

In the post-Cold War era, new attitudes and approaches emerged, bringing fresh impetus to the long dormant disarmament scene. We were all united in the resolve to bring into force the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The vast growths in the arsenals of conventional weapons also require our urgent consideration. Above all, the elimination of nuclear armaments to which all member states are committed must be expedited under multilateral auspices.

Under the aegis of the General Assembly, various aspects of international law affecting many areas of human activity have been codified. Yet, supremacy of law and equality of all states law has continued to elude us.

The question of revitalization and reform of the United Nations should be pursued with a sense of urgency. In complex and challenging times, the prospects for the United Nations will, I believe, depend on whether the organization can be effectively adapted to the complexities in the emerging world order.

The challenge before us, therefore, is how to collectively create an effective system of global governance to manage the massive changes that are transforming the shape and substance of international relations in the new millennium. …

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