October 24, Kingston, Jamaica: As the United Nations celebrates seventy years of existence, Jamaica is pleased to join the international community in observing United Nations Day 2015.
The UN is a unique multilateral organisation in which all countries, large and small, developed and developing, have a voice and can participate as equals to resolve the enormous challenges of our time. It is indisputable that over the last seven decades, the United Nations has remained an essential forum for the conduct of multilateral affairs. It is the only institution with unquestioned legitimacy to marshal the international community around the promotion of international peace and security, fundamental human rights and freedoms, economic and social development and prosperity.
Its expansion from 50 members at inception to 193 in 2015 provides ample evidence of not only its relevance, but also the faith and confidence of the international community in its capacity to address the challenges that confront us. Born out of the noble ideal to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, the UN has done remarkably well in preventing a third world war. UN peacekeeping missions across the globe have contributed to making the world a safer and more secure place.
The UN has provided much-needed humanitarian assistance to countries in the aftermath of natural hazards and populations in conflict situations. The work of the UN in combating organized crime, addressing the world drug problem, curbing the illicit traffic in small arms and light weapons and stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons is worthy of note.
The UN, through the Human Rights Council and the various treaty bodies, continues to play a pivotal role in ensuring that fundamental rights and freedoms are respected. It is noteworthy that all States have ratified at least one, and eighty percent of States have ratified four or more, of the core human rights treaties, a signal of the universality of respect for human rights. The erection earlier this year of a Permanent Memorial at UN Headquarters, New York, in honour of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, an initiative pioneered by Jamaica and other members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as well as the African Group, serves as testimony to the work of the Organisation in championing human rights.
As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Jamaica has special reason to celebrate the United Nations and attaches particular importance to the work of the United Nations in social and economic development. The UN has sought to ensure that the needs of the poor and marginalised are addressed. Its effectiveness in spearheading the paradigm shift towards sustainable development over the last few decades, to ensure that the interests of future generations are safeguarded, is significant.
From Agenda 21, to the Millennium Development Goals, and now the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN has demonstrated its commitment to securing “The Future we want”. By defining an agenda for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships, the international community has sought to ensure that people are placed at the center of the development process, no one is left behind and that our stewardship of the planet is characterized by respect for its resources. These are the ingredients that will make for a world free of extreme poverty, where prosperity can be achieved and sustained.
In carrying out its mandate, the UN has counted on a cadre of international public servants, whose professionalism and dedication stand out for commendation. Among them are many Jamaican nationals, who have provided distinguished service locally, at the offices of the UN Headquarters and its agencies overseas and as diplomatic representatives of the Government of Jamaica. Under the theme “The UN we serve, serves us”, we use the occasion of this seventieth anniversary to pay special tribute to them and to express our pride in their accomplishments.
We acknowledge that in some respects, the UN has not met its own lofty expectations. Nevertheless, the 70th anniversary affords us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the aims and objectives of the Organisation. The entire sustainable development framework, inclusive of the upcoming 21st Meeting of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), provides a test of our collective commitment to this end.
It is Jamaica’s hope and expectation that COP21 will agree on an ambitious, legally binding agreement which will ensure the sustainability of planet earth. At this defining moment, now more than ever, the United Nations must reform and re-position itself to respond more effectively to the multidimensional challenges of the 21st century. We must unite in the common purpose to forge global solutions to our common problems. We must commit to making the coming decades ones of extraordinary progress, and the UN an organization which is fit for purpose. Happy United Nations Day!–OnPointPress.net–