Abdulla Shahid (General Assembly President) at the Fifth Thematic Consultation on 'Our Common Agenda' Report
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Remarks by Abdullah Shahid, President of the General Assembly, at the Fifth Thematic Consultation on 'Our Common Agenda' Report: "Enhancing international cooperation".

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Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Thank you for joining today for the fifth and final thematic consultation on Our Common Agenda, which is being held under the theme of "Enhancing International Cooperation".

We meet at a historic inflection point. As affirmed in the Political Declaration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, "our world is not yet the world that our founders envisaged 75 years ago. It is plagued by growing inequality, poverty, hunger, armed conflicts, terrorism, insecurity, climate change and pandemics."

It is up to us whether we choose to give in to those forces or if we return to a strong multilateralism; one based on the principles of diplomacy and international cooperation, and best placed to meet the challenges of our time peacefully and effectively.

We need resolute leadership that will help us change course and embark on a better path. A path where we recommit to the highest ideals of multilateralism and rediscover our common bonds of humanity.

To that end, strengthening the United Nations is critical. As I remarked during the second thematic cluster consultations, Member States, Observers, and all stakeholders must collaborate, to revitalize this great organization. We must ensure that it is better equipped and fit for purpose to help address today's challenges.

The Secretary-General has already outlined his vision of a "UN 2.0", that includes better data, analytics, communication, and digital innovation.

I look forward to hearing Member State's views on how we can bring those visions to reality.

Excellencies,

As we strengthen international cooperation to meet our common objectives, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must remain our guiding compass.

We must embrace the interlinks between sustainable development, peace, and human rights. Through strengthening the three pillars of the organization, we can build stable and resilient communities that are better equipped to uphold peace and attain prosperity.

Achieving this requires the full commitment of the membership, and more frequent consultations and engagements with all stakeholders. This includes local and regional governments, parliaments, the private sector, regional organizations, financial institutions, youth, academia, development agencies, and other key actors in different spheres.

With their assistance and engagement, we can shape context-specific policy responses.

For instance, as a former member of parliament, including as a Speaker, I appreciate the value of parliamentary diplomacy. And I understand the importance of legislatures in designing policies and budgets to effectively implement UN agreements.

Similarly, civil society brings an important perspective to the work of the General Assembly, through their knowledge of local communities and their ability to react quickly. 

While the COVID-pandemic resulted in their temporary exclusion from the General Assembly, I am pleased that the Secretariat is working to change that, so that we are once again better positioned to learn from our partners in civil society organizations and apply their insights into the work of global multilateralism.

That is why, in alignment with my priorities, I established, early on in my Presidency, internal guidelines for my team to enhance CSO participation during the 76th session. It is also why, last November, I welcomed approximately 200 CSO representatives into the GA Hall for the first time since the start of the pandemic, for a Town-Hall Meeting. 

Excellencies, 

Today's topic of consultation, on enhancing global cooperation, looks to the future. Let us not forget that no group has as much stake in that future as the youth.

After all, it is they who will inherit the world we shape. We owe it to them to listen to them and include them in matters that affect them.

And, especially during these difficult times, we owe it to them to preserve intact the foundations of our multilateral order, so that they too can enjoy the dividends of peace and try to build a brighter future for the generations that follow.

Those foundations are enshrined in the ideals articulated in the Charter of the United Nations. They rest on the knowledge that global problems require global solutions, and that multilateralism and diplomacy are needed to secure the continued well-being of humanity. 

Excellencies, 

I take this opportunity to thank Member States for their engagement in these thematic discussions throughout the consultation process.

While today's consultations will serve as the final in the series, Our Common Agenda continues. I remain committed to working with Member States as we take up the next steps in the process.

I am confident that by working together and taking concrete actions, we can deliver on behalf of our global constituents.

I thank you.