Multilateralism is not optional but the only answer to global problems, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his annual report released on August 14.
"This year's report highlights the importance of multilateralism as the only path to address global challenges and shows the progress made over the last year in maintaining peace and security, protecting human rights and promoting sustainable development," said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, during a noon briefing on August 14.
It also "underlines the importance of building partnerships with [UN] Member States, regional and international organizations and civil society to find solutions to global problems that no nation alone can resolve," Dujarric added.
"As today's problems grow ever more global, multilateralism is more important than ever," said Guterres in the Introduction to the Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization for 2018.
"I started my tenure calling for 2017 to be a year of peace, yet peace remains elusive. Conflicts have deepened, with grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law; inequality has risen, intolerance has spread, discrimination against women remains entrenched, and the impacts of climate change continue to accelerate," said the UN chief.
"To address these issues, we need unity and courage in setting the world on track towards a better future," the UN chief stressed, crediting the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals for generating coordinated efforts by UN Member States and civil society to "alleviate poverty and build peaceful, prosperous and inclusive societies."
The Work of the Organization, the second part of the report, focuses on the promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development, maintenance of international peace and security, development of Africa, promotion and protection of human rights, effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts, promotion of justice and international law, and disarmament, as well as drug control, crime prevention and combating terrorism.
"A significant endeavor in the past year has been my reform effort that aims at making the organization more effective, nimble, field-focused and efficient to serve member states and their populations," the UN chief said at the beginning of the third section on Strengthening the Organization. "This is the first time that the United Nations has embarked on a reform agenda of this scale."
These efforts include repositioning the UN development system, enhancing coherence of peace and security activities and management reform.
The UN is also taking concrete steps to eradicate sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment, protect whistleblowers, manage enterprise risk, leverage technology and innovation, make budgets a tool for greater accountability and continue its commitment to the duty of care for its people, the report said.
"As we look to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in 2020, we must continue to innovate as ongoing events and problems shift beneath our feet," the UN chief said in the Conclusion. "Peace, inclusive and sustainable development, and human rights are intrinsically intertwined and prevention permeates every path to success."
"The United Nations continues to offer a platform where Member States, regional organizations and civil society can find solutions to global problems that no nation acting alone can resolve," Guterres concluded. "Working together multilaterally is not optional; it is the only answer."
(Reporting from New York)
Copyedited by Laurence Coulton
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