Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, hailed the work of the United Nations (UN), noting that for 75 years, the organisation has been in the vanguard of efforts to improve lives worldwide.

“In spite of some scepticism, it has provided food to millions, authorised 72 international missions to foster peace and security, worked with 140 nations to address climate change, provided vaccinations for 58 per cent of children globally, promoted international law, and protected human rights with the force of 80 treaties and declarations,” Senator Johnson Smith said.

The Minister, who was addressing a virtual high-level forum on Wednesday (June 10) to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter, said that notwithstanding the organisation’s many successes, a lot remains to be done, citing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the most pressing challenge currently.

She said that the crisis has highlighted the world’s vast domestic and global social inequalities and the urgent need for financial resources to support economic recovery.

“The pandemic has laid bare the fragility of our human existence, our interconnectivity, our vulnerabilities and resilience, but has also highlighted the fact that no country can succeed without the cooperation of others. If one member of the international family of nations remains vulnerable, then all are at risk,” she noted.

Senator Johnson Smith said that recovery from COVID-19 must be aligned with agreed developmental goals and will require active participation from multilateral institutions, including those responsible for major economic sectors, such as trade, transportation and tourism, which have all been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

“As small states, collaboration will be key to ensuring the best results for us all. Indeed, the reasons multilateralism has always been particularly important to us has been deepened by the pandemic,” she added.

The Minister said it is, therefore, important for countries to fully support the UN as well as international and regional organisations, as they develop effective responses to the various needs.

 “Let us all stand together in reinvigorating the spirit of the United Nations Charter in the journey to ‘build back better’ from the current crisis,” she said.

The UN Charter, signed at the aftermath of World War II, sets out bold aspirations of lasting peace and development, and formed the cornerstone for multilateralism and international cooperation.