Oct 24, 2015 News
Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge
I am pleased to join with the UN family in Guyana to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. Since its founding on October 24, 1945, the United Nations has continuously evolved to meet the needs of its membership and the challenges of a changing world.
Unlike the League of Nations which regrettably met an early demise due to disunity among its members, the United Nations has strived over the years to bring its members together to achieve its purposes.
In the 70th year of its existence, it is opportune to examine the relevance of the United Nations especially for nations like Guyana; those that are small and vulnerable with an abiding faith in the fraternity of the UN to promote and protect the interests of all.
Of critical importance is the role of the UN in the maintenance of peace and security and respect for international law. On September 29, 2015, His Excellency President David Granger made a passionate plea during the High Level Debate of the 70th Session of the UNGA for the UN to give real meaning to Resolution A/RES/49/31 on the protection and security of small states.
This plea came against the backdrop of Venezuela’s spurious decrees claiming Guyana’s territory, the most recent being on May 26, 2015 – Guyana’s 49th Independence Anniversary, when that Government issued Decree No. 1.787 which in a most disgusting and unlawful way sought to make Guyana a much diminished and land-locked state.
Now more than ever, the UN is needed to protect small and vulnerable states from those who selectively forget international law and believe that a show of force for political gains illustrates leadership. Latin America and the Caribbean has been a zone of peace and Guyana will work tirelessly with the UN and other member states to ensure that the region remains so.
The United Nations Development Agenda also has an important role to play in the preservation of peace and security. The UN has over the past two decades increased momentum on the development front through its Summits and Conferences which have galvanised the international community to action and spawned many partnerships. These fora have provided impetus to several development goals including the Millennium Development Goals and the UN 2030 Development Agenda which focus on sustainable development with the overarching goal of poverty eradication.
It is Guyana’s view that peace, security and development cannot prosper if there is no respect for international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states large or small.
Further, sustainable economic development of small states cannot be accomplished without the assistance of international institutions like the UN. Guyana faces similar vulnerabilities as those of other small states such as size, income volatility, limited diversification of economy, climate change, and limited resilience to economic shocks, which all hinder growth.
The UN is well placed to assist States to overcome such constraints.
Guyana remains committed to the United Nations as its best hope to promote and maintain peace and security, to safeguard its territorial integrity and help in creating an enabling environment for development.
Thus as we mark the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations, Guyana recommits itself to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to the peace and security of all states on the basis of sovereign equality.
From the UN Secretary General
National flags are a mark of pride and patriotism in every country around the world. But there is only one flag that belongs to all of us. That blue flag of the United Nations was a banner of hope for me growing up in wartime Korea.
Seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity.
Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry and shelters those driven from their homes.
The United Nations vaccinates children who would otherwise die from preventable diseases. The United Nations defends human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
Our peacekeepers are on the frontlines of conflict; our mediators bring warriors to the peace table; our relief workers brave treacherous environments to deliver life-saving assistance.
The United Nations works for the entire human family of seven billion people, and cares for the earth, our one and only home.
And it is the diverse and talented staff of the United Nations who help bring the Charter to life.
The 70th anniversary is a moment to recognize their dedication – and to honour the many who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The world faces many crises, and the limits of collective international action are painfully clear. Yet no single country or organization can address today’s challenges alone.
The timeless values of the UN Charter must remain our guide. Our shared duty is to “unite our strength” to serve “we the peoples”.
To mark this anniversary, monuments and buildings across the world are being illuminated in UN blue. As we shine a light on this milestone anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to a better and brighter future for all.
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