In Santiago, General Assembly President calls for new culture of global relations

Assembly President Srgjan Kerim and ECLAC Executive Secretary Alícia Bárcena

31 July 2008 – The President of the General Assembly has called for creating a new culture of international relations to address today’s global challenges, ranging from economic development and reducing poverty to dealing with rising food and energy prices.

“To face up to today’s emergencies and deal with tomorrow’s challenges, we need to reshape the existing international architecture and adapt to the needs of the world of the 21st century,” Srgjan Kerim told a conference on the role of the UN in a globalized world, held yesterday at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.

Mr. Kerim, who is currently on a three-nation tour that will also take him to Argentina and Brazil, stressed that the role of the Organization continues to be highly relevant, because it is through the UN that global rules and norms of interaction are harmonized and coordinated.

In addition, the world body has a unique convening power that allows for a range of actors to be actively involved in developing solutions to global problems, the President told the gathering of government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of UN agencies, funds and programmes.

He also outlined the priorities of the current Assembly session, which include responding to climate change, achieving the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and promoting the global counter-terrorism strategy.

Among the other participants in the conference were ECLAC Executive Secretary Alícia Bárcena, UN Resident Coordinator Enrique Ganuza, and the Permanent Representative of Chile to the UN, Heraldo Muñoz.

In her remarks to the forum, Ms. Bárcena noted Mr. Kerim’s effective work and “silent diplomacy” at the UN, having successfully dealt with several contentious issues during his tenure as President of the 192-member Assembly’s current session.

While in Santiago yesterday, Mr. Kerim also met with Chile’s acting Minister of External Relations, Alberto Van Klaveren, and other high-level officials, with whom he discussed a number of issues including UN reform, climate change and financing for development.

In meetings with representatives of ECLAC and the UN Country Team, the President focused on the opportunities and challenges for the UN system in middle-income countries, and on the reform processes being discussed by the Assembly, particularly system-wide coherence and management reform.


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General Assembly President and Chilean leader hold talks in Santiago

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