Remarks by H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly

16 May 2022


Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,

I congratulate WION for hosting the Global Summit 2022. This summit remains a significant platform for interactive multi-stakeholder discussions. It takes place at a critical time, as our world faces many interlinked challenges, which demand our urgent action.

COVID-19 confronts us with its multidimensional impacts.

Conflicts, including the military aggression in Ukraine, undermines global security while compounding global humanitarian issues.

Longstanding issues of peace and security remain unresolved across the globe. Conflicts rage on in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Mali, Afghanistan, and Libya, among others. Thousands of lives continue to be lost and entire generations face bleak futures, filled with bloodshed and poverty.

Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction continue to proliferate, posing an existential danger to human civilization.

Terrorism and violent extremism continue to menace our lives.

Reflecting a breakdown in global trust, states are increasing military budgets. As outlined in a concerning report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in recent years, total global military expenditure rose to almost two trillion USD, despite the economic shocks of a global pandemic.

Meanwhile, the climate crisis is upon us. As extreme weather events, wildfires, droughts, and natural disasters increase in frequency, we have awoken to a new reality. Climate change is not an abstract threat looming in the distance – but is the lived reality of many of the globe’s communities. It causes and compounds humanitarian issues, including famine and displacement, while detrimentally affecting peace and security.  

Altogether, the challenges ahead are daunting. Yet, I remain hopeful – because we still have powerful tools at our disposal. Tools that include diplomacy, multilateralism, and the resilience of the human spirit.


As we emerge from a generational pandemic, we must seize this watershed moment to come together as an international community and strengthen our bonds of friendship and cooperation. As reaffirmed during last year’s declaration to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, multilateralism is not an option but a necessity.

That is why, I have consistently called for the revitalization the General Assembly, and the reform of the Security Council, through the IGN process.

I welcome the recent adoption by the General Assembly of a landmark resolution requiring the Assembly to meet every time a veto is used in the Security Council. This is an important development in our efforts to make the Security Council more accountable in discharging its mandate.


Preventing conflict and sustaining peace is central to the work of the United Nations. Nevertheless, there remains a clear gap between our desire for peace, and our willingness to finance it. This must change.

Recently, I convened a high-level meeting to advance, explore and consider options for ensuring adequate, predictable, and sustained financing for peacebuilding. I am encouraged by Member States’ commitments to address gaps in peacebuilding financing, but much needs to be done to translate those commitment into concrete actions


Reinvigorating multilateralism requires a full-scale mobilization. We cannot neglect the talents of half of our population. There is both a moral and practical obligation upon us to break barriers preventing women from contributing their full potential, and assuming more leadership roles, in solving global challenges.

This understanding has continued to inform my ongoing efforts to mainstream gender equality into all aspects of the United Nations’ work.

In a similar regard, we must also pay more attention to our youth. They will reap the rewards or bear the burdens of our action or inaction. It is our responsibility to shape a multilateral order that benefits them, and to listen to and involve them in our efforts to shape that system.


Yes, we face many challenges that are increasingly complex and interconnected.

Yes, our window of opportunity for effective action is fast closing.

Yet, if we act now; if we finally and truly embrace the spirit of multilateralism enshrined in the charter and come together as a global community – we can solve all challenges, and we can secure a brighter future.

Thank you.