New York is hosting the 75th anniversary session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which is an unusual event in many ways.
Due to the pandemic, traditional general political discussions were held online, in the form of pre-submitted video messages. The unusual form of discussion in the unusually empty hall of the UN General Assembly, with the participation of one representative of each member state, did not diminish the severity and significance of the issues raised by world leaders in this difficult period for the entire world community.
The underlying theme of the speeches of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the jubilee meeting on Sept. 21 and during the general discussion on Sept. 23 was the need to unite the efforts and political will of all nation states at this dramatic turning point in the history of mankind.
In his speech at the general debate, the Kazakh President, a professional diplomat of an exceptionally high experience, with a deep understanding and vision of world problems, highlighted the concerning development of new alarming trends in the modern world.
The decline in the level of trust between states in the context of a pandemic, the growth of trade protectionism and political nationalism, the weakening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, international terrorism, the catastrophic consequences of the global climate change… These and other global challenges threaten the well-being of millions of people.
The Kazakh President called on his fellow leaders of states to comprehend the root causes of these problems, and then make a coordinated effort to overcome these issues by strengthening the global governance system and clamping down on the growing “global dysfunction” in the world. This should all be done in the interest of building a more balanced and just world in the name of the people.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made a number of specific proposals to this end on behalf of Kazakhstan. Among them are practical measures to restore the world economy, resuscitate a strong global health system, restore an atmosphere of trust between UN member states, and consistently strengthen multilateral institutions.
Particular attention should be paid to ensuring biological safety in the world. The Kazakh President proposed the development of a system of control over biological weapons and establishing a special international body accountable to the UN Security Council. He also noted the need to strengthen the international regime for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to provide security guarantees to each state that does not possess nuclear weapons.
As a diplomat who had an opportunity to raise the flag of an independent Kazakhstan in the United Nations 28 years ago, I was especially attracted to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s words calling on world leaders to reaffirm their commitment to the main goals and principles of the UN Charter, to build a world community based on international law, to strengthen cooperation between countries on the principle of multilateralism, and to support the efforts of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to increase the effectiveness of the main global governance organization on the planet.
Based on my many years of experience as the first permanent representative of Kazakhstan to the UN as well as my high respect for this unique international institution, I fully share the conviction of the Kazakh President that the UN is the only universal and sufficiently representative international organization, there is no alternative.
The author is Akmaral Arystanbekova, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, the First Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the UN, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.