Southeast Asian Leaders Laud UN’s Role in Tackling Global Challenges, But Seek Some Internal Reforms

    At the closing session of the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, leaders and senior officials of Southeast Asian countries stressed the need for multilateralism and the important role of the United Nations in addressing most of the most pressing global challenges today.

    “The U.N. remains the only truly universal and international organization. There is no alternative to the U.N.,” Singapore’s Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said at the assembly’s closing session on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

    He urged the United Nations to “take a strong stand” on issues such as sustainable development, food and water security, and climate change, among other pressing global concerns. At the same time, the Singaporean official stressed the importance of collaboration between the United Nations and other international groups such as the G-20 and G-8, which he said the global body should consider as “complementary parts of the international system, not as mutually exclusive competitors.”

    Representatives of Thailand and Vietnam voiced similar opinions of the U.N.’s role in solving development challenges around the world.

    Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has also acknowledged the U.N.’s role but called for internal reforms to make sure the organization addresses new and emerging challenges.

    “That is the only way the United Nations can remain relevant, the only way to ensure that multilateralism will flourish,” he said at an earlier session of the General Assembly. “Through reform, we must ensure that the United Nations and its decision-making processes are more effective, efficient, transparent and inclusive.”

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    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.