Image: Expo 2020 Dubai/Christopher Edralin
New York: Global commitments on implementing multilateral agreements were front and centre on Thursday, as the General Assembly President co-hosted hundreds of Parliamentarians from around the world – the largest in-person gathering at the UN in New York since last September’s High Level Week.
Building political support and inclusive responses to sustainable recovery, was the theme of the 2022 Parliamentary Hearing, a joint initiative between the President of the General Assembly and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), was
Assembly President Abdulla Shahid opened the proceedings by drawing on his 25 years of parliamentary service.
“The parliament is home, where my heart is”, he said. “Through my experiences in the Maldives’ Parliament and in the General Assembly, I have developed a strong appreciation of the synergies between the UN and parliaments around the world”.
Highlighting the shared objectives between the UN and the IPU in terms of multilateralism and global cooperation, Mr. Shahid noted that parliaments are “the platform through which UN resolutions can be turned into national legislation”.
“And national parliaments can be the mechanism through which local concerns can be conveyed to the UN and deliberated by the international community.”
This synergy is particularly important during a global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, or as countries worldwide try alleviate poverty or limit climate change.
“This is where parliaments and the UN must be in lockstep,” President Shahid added.
Leadership and collaboration
From vaccine equity and a sustainable recovery, building on the 2030 Development Agenda, to the environment and reversing inequality, the UN official said the world was in need of “leadership and collaboration”.
“Our dialogue today acknowledges those needs”, he said.
Mr. Shahid highlighted his presidential theme of hope, saying that overcoming challenges had been instilled in him when growing up.
“Throughout a long and diverse career…during my travels and exchanges I have seen what human effort and ingenuity can achieve”, he said.
“From renewable energy to the development of vaccines, the results speak for themselves. There is no lack of solutions to the international community’s challenges”.
Wanted: political will
However, he warned that political will is “sometimes in short supply”.
“This year’s hearing focuses on addressing that shortage…building political support and inclusive responses to ensure a sustainable recovery”, he said.
Mr. Shahid recalled that that at the pandemic’s peak, conversations centred around “a new normal” and “great reset” that would provide an opportunity to fundamentally change things for the better.
“We now need our actions to match the ambition of our words…to implement polices backed with sufficient resources, to demonstrate our sincerity and meet our goals”.
We will achieve greater things, together – Assmebly President
Multilateralism is vital
Only through multilateralism and global cooperation can we deliver for the world’s people, overcoming challenges and realizing the aspirations of our hearts, the Assembly President said.
“Having entered this office at a time when the world is facing multiple global crises, and with the knowledge that the global citizenry is tired, frustrated, and anxious, my Presidency of Hope is about reminding people that we can persevere, that we will achieve greater things, together”, he stressed, urging participants to provide the billions who are struggling now, with “the possibility of hope, and the assurance that a better future truly exists”.
Reflecting on the Secretary General’s Our Common Agenda report, the two-day Parliamentary Hearing will drive home a critical perspective on key actions to build economies that work for all, societies that bring people together, and environments that are sustainable for generations to come.
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