State Secretary of the Holy See Pietro Parolin urged world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Saturday to work together for peace, “born of encounter and dialogue” not weapons or fear.
Quoting Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, he said, “it is necessary to pass from the strategies of political, economic and military power to a plan for global peace: No to a world divided among conflicting powers; Yes, to a world united among peoples and civilizations that respect each other’,” he said,
Noting that “the great challenges of our time are all global,” he noted that while problems are more interconnected, solutions are increasingly fragmented – fueling tensions, divisions, uncertainty, and instability.
To move forward, the papal envoy upheld the need to recover our “shared identity as a single human family”.
He said that at the UN we are called to work together to implement the Charter and respond to challenges faced by humanity.
Reputation in question
However, the UN’s progress over the past century in reducing global armed conflict has been questioned in recent years, said the Cardinal, observing a “perennial logic of self-interest,” seeking to extend economic, ideological and military influence.
Yet, the Holy See strongly believes in multilateralism and the UN’s “irreplaceable role”.
“For that reason, Pope Francis…speaks repeatedly in support of this Organization, while at the same time encouraging a process of renewal and calling on Governments to heed the plea of those countries and peoples, who suffer most from the consequences of its current limitations,” said the Cardinal.
The General Assembly’s focus to revitalize its work reflects “a healthy instinct, for, as time passes, all institutions need to examine themselves,” continued the papal envoy.
Pope Francis has described the UN’s crisis of credibility as “ideological colonization”, arising from its “apparent impotence in times of crisis” and an agenda that frequently shifts focus “to matters that by their divisive nature do not strictly belong to the aims of the Organization,”
“The revitalization process must restore focus to those common aims outlined in the UN Charter: peace and security, human rights, and development,” said Cardinal Parolin.
He then spoke about the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, including food and fuel price increases; displacement surges; nuclear security concerns; and the vulnerability of short-sighted energy policies.
“As always in times of crisis, it is the poorest among us who suffer the most”.
The war had not only undermined the nuclear nonproliferation regime, but also presented the danger of nuclear devastation – either through escalation or accident.
The papal envoy also drew attention to the issue of a nuclear-weapon State at war with one that renounced its arsenal for security guarantees, saying that it would discourage other States that possess nuclear weapons from following suit, “complicating the path toward a world free of nuclear weapons”.
Mixed migration also needs to be addressed through the Global Compact for Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration, Global Compact on Refugees, and the fulfilment of international obligations to generate conditions for people to live in peace, security and dignity in their countries of origin.
“The framework of international laws and agreements providing protection to refugees and upholding the human rights of migrants, regardless of status, is under significant strain,” he acknowledged.
“Mixed flows are notoriously difficult to manage,” and without updating international protection systems and relevant legal instruments “the current chaos that continues to result in countless acts of violence, abuse and increasing loss of life will only get worse,” warned the Cardinal.
Meanwhile, the world continues to be “gravely affected” by climate change, indicating “clear signs of our failure” to address it – despite overwhelming scientific evidence.
It is now up to each State Party to key international agreements honour the obligations incumbent upon them and to implement such agreements,’ the papal envoy said, advocating for political will at the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP 27) in Egypt to take decisive and transformative decisions to protect the environment through stronger mitigation measures, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance.