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Statement by President Higgins following remarks by UN Secretary-General at BRICS summit

Date: Thu 31st Aug, 2023 | 13:09

“The statement made by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, at last week’s BRICS summit in Johannesburg is another important intervention. It follows his remarks made with urgency in July with regard to climate change, and will be welcomed by all those seeking to ensure that the necessary global multilateral architecture is in place to address the major collective challenges facing our vulnerable world.

As Secretary-General Guterres said:

“As the global community moves towards multipolarity, we desperately need – and I have been vigorously advocating for – a strengthened and reformed multilateral architecture based on the UN Charter and international law.

Today’s global governance structures reflect yesterday’s world.

They were largely created in the aftermath of World War II when many African countries were still ruled by colonial powers and were not even at the table.

This is particularly true of the Security Council of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions.

For multilateral institutions to remain truly universal, they must reform to reflect today’s power and economic realities, and not the power and economic realities of the post Second World War.”

When the Secretary-General of the United Nations makes interventions with the urgency with which he has made his comments over the last month, it is incumbent upon Heads of State and Heads of Government around the world to reflect upon and respond to his statements.

These two recent statements have been delivered not only with passion but with a sense of urgency, even frustration.

It is clear, as the Secretary-General has articulated, that deep consideration must be given to the architecture of our multilateral institutions to ensure that they are able to respond to the interlinked challenges of our time such as food security, migration, global poverty and ensuring sustainable peace.

In this spirit, I intend to reflect upon the Secretary-General’s remarks when I meet with my fellow European Heads of State at the Arraiolos Group of non-executive Presidents meeting which takes place in Portugal this October.”