'A Greater Solidarity among Nations.' (Excerpts from Secretary-General Javier Perez De Cuellar's Views, Reports & Statements) (Transcript)

UN Chronicle, November 1987 | Go to article overview

'A Greater Solidarity among Nations.' (Excerpts from Secretary-General Javier Perez De Cuellar's Views, Reports & Statements) (Transcript)


"A greater solidarity among nations . . .'

From the report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization, September 1987:

OVER the past year, in the midst of continuing regional strife and economic and social hardship, there have been occasions in which a greater solidarity among nations was evident in addressing serious problems with global implications, within the multilateral framework of the United Nations. This development, while limited and fragmentary, could prove of broad significance, for I believe it has its origins in what I would call the growing commonality factor in international affairs. By this I mean a commonly accepted interest in meeting successfully certain vital global challenges, including achievement of the conditions for sustained economic development, the preservation of a hospitable global environment, the elimination of the most egregious infringements of human rights, the eradication of threats to the health of societies and of individuals that respect no national borders, and, by no means least, the avoidance of nuclear destruction. Countries of disparate political orientations and economic systems have begun to deal with problems of an interdependent world with a new pragmatism in awareness of the dangers of immobility. This can provide a promising basis for broadened multilateral co-operation and increased effectiveness of the United Nations. It is as if the sails of the small boat in which all the people of the earth are gathered had caught again, in the midst of a perilous sea, a light but favourable wind.

The United Nations has been an important catalyst for consensus on global problems and, at the same time, is itself, I believe, the object of a greater commonality of view than when I last reported to the General Assembly. It remains prey to a financial crisis of very damaging dimensions. Yet, there has been a perceptible rallying to the Organization prompted, in part, by recognition that it was in serious jeopardy but, more decisively, I am convinced, by changes in the international political, economic and social situation which evidenced with persuasive clarity the need for, and the unique value of, the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.

These months sometimes seemed dominated by financial crisis and administrative reform. I believe that, in the circumstances, it is especially important to recognize the inherent strength shown by the United Nations in bringing nations together in pursuit of common objectives ranging from ending the war between Iran and Iraq to protection of the environment and combating illicit narcotics. From such recognition can come new champions and the greater support that the United Nations needs in extending the favourable trend perceptible on certain problems across a wider spectrum of issues related to the achievement of a world at peace.

In highlighting certain positive developments of the recent months, I would not wish to understimate the highly unsatisfactory state of world conditions or the magnitude of the tasks that lie ahead. Even if the favourable wind felt this year prevails, our global vessel will need skilful piloting and the assistance of dedicated oarsmen to navigate the many shoals and reach safe landfall in the next century. What developments have suggested these past months is that it can be done--that in the face of great challenges nations can, as at times in the past, work together. The result, I believe, can be fuller realization of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and, ultimately, a new chance for peace.

To the opening of the International Civil Service Commission in New York, 6 July:

Since its inception, the International Civil Service Commission has carried out studies on the conditions of service of staff of the Common System. It has done so during a period of particular economic instability and high inflation, with an increasing number of countries facing sudden and sharp fluctuations in the exchange value of their currencies. …

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