Statement by H.E. Thomas MBOMBA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, at a UNSC Meeting on Maintenance of International Peace and Security: “Effective multilateralism through the Defense of the Principles of the UN Charter”

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April 24, 2023

Mr. President, Your Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov,

Let me begin by congratulating you and the delegation of Russia for your Presidency of the Security Council for the month of April. We also welcome the participation in this meeting of the Secretary-General, H.E Antonio Guterres, and thank him for his insightful remarks. As I make these remarks, let me also indicate that we associate ourselves with the statement that would be delivered later by the representative of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

Mr. President,

The multilateral system that was fashioned out of the ashes of the Second World War has no doubt been the cornerstone, with some exceptions, for relative peace, security, and development across the world. Adherence to the principles in the UN Charter, including the sovereign equality of States and the prohibition of the use of force, has been an underpinning pillar for global stability. We are, however, not oblivious to the many challenges that threaten our multilateral system. From the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to the risks of nuclear conflict, terrorism, violent conflict, pandemics, climate change, cyber-attacks, disinformation, migration crises, and food and energy insecurity, the world has never faced a more profound crisis since the Cold War. Structural impairments, including the debilitating impact of the veto system in the Security Council, the chronic lack of financing for development, a rise in geopolitical competition, and a decline in international cooperation have hobbled our efforts to renew global institutions and deepen multilateralism.

In the face of an easy willingness to reject or undermine shared normative values and principles for collaboration and collective action, we risk relapsing into a neo-Hobbesian State of Nature (SoN). It is not too late to seek a way out of the increasingly confrontational politics, zero-sum games, and egoistic, chaotic, and brutish tendencies of recent years. It is in the interest of all States, whether small or mighty, to safeguard the multilateral system since the agreed international rules and institutions allow all voices to be heard and the ability to influence the international order in less costly and more sustainable ways. Ghana, therefore, welcomes the focus of today’s debate which provides us with an opportunity to deliberate on ways that we can defend the UN Charter and promote it towards an effective multilateral system.

Mr. President,

In considering how we can enhance an effective rule-based multilateral system through the defense of the UN Charter, Ghana would share five (5) main points.

First, while it is important to reaffirm our respective commitments to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, it is equally pertinent that we embark on practical steps to enhance our responsiveness to the demands of the Charter. In this regard, we urge the prioritization of an enhanced inclusive and multi-stakeholder approach that enables all actors to adhere to the norms and values in the Charter. This, in our view, should be devoid of politicization as well as any form of selectivity in application. We cannot over-emphasise the importance for Member States to embrace a principled approach, underpinned by a common understanding and good faith interpretation, in the application of the provisions of the Charter. We must also prioritise the will of the “peoples of the world” if we are to achieve a smooth transition to a fair and equitable global world order. The cynicism which some countries display in twisting the principles or bending them to their will may bring short term tactical advantage; history shows those gains are ephemeral.

Secondly, a candid recognition of the realities of our time should spur us all to embrace deliberate diplomatic actions to build mutual trust consistent with the Diplomatic Convention. As my compatriot, Kofi Annan, once said “our futures, our prosperity and security, are wrapped up together more than ever before. No country, no matter how wealthy or powerful, can any longer stand on its own”. This reality should lead us to build bridges, not burn them, and lay solid foundations for dialogue and consensus, including using dialogue to objectively discuss the strategic intentions of countries. This remains critical for avoiding misjudgments and unhealthy competition, especially among major military powers. Within this context, it is also important that we address the structural impairment in the multilateral system through a faithful and genuine effort in the ongoing reform initiatives in the UN System, including the revitalization of the General Assembly and the reform of the Security Council. As an African Member State, we have stated our positions and justified our arguments. Those who support a strengthened multilateral system have a responsibility to reciprocate, and work constructively and urgently, in good faith, to address with us the historical injustice done the African continent, which is also one of the weakness in the multilateral structure

Thirdly, the multilateral system should be turbo-charged through an effective implementation of our objects with regional arrangements that share similar objectives. We must therefore enhance implementation of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, especially around ‘regional prevention’. The United Nations has its strength but, when it is unable to act, the strength of regional actors must be embraced. For instance, we cannot attempt any legitimate resolution of the crisis of terrorism on the African continent without the collaboration of institutions of the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities, such as ECOWAS as well as the Accra Initiative, in the Sahel. It is also only fair, that when such regional bodies stand up and offer to act, their burden should be shared with the principal body that owes that primary duty.

Fourthly, prevailing global challenges are so interconnected and multidimensional that we need to enhance collaboration and joint consultation among different institutions and drive coherence to avoid negative and adverse consequences from global policies. This requires, we believe, an enhancement of consultations with institutions and processes outside the UN system such as the Bretton Woods Institutions, but also, as appropriate, with relevant civil society organizations and responsible private sector actors to adequately address the pressing needs of the peoples of the world, especially those of the developing world. This is important because when there are global crises, such as the prevailing financial and food crises, we should know that further down the road there would be greater manifestations of socio-political instability, diminished capacity for conflict management, and further conflicts.

Lastly, we believe that the Secretary-General’s report on Our Common Agenda, including the New Agenda for Peace, provides us with a forward looking vision for reinvigorated, inclusive, and effective multilateralism to tackle contemporary global challenges. The initiatives can lay the ground for effective multilateralism if they prioritize investment in interventions aimed at addressing existing and emerging risks, including those associated with nuclear weapons and the disproportionate threat to countries in the global south. Furthermore, enhancing the convening power of the UN in tackling the multifaceted crises, including climate threats, gender inequality in all its forms, and involving women and youth in peace processes are all germane to strengthening the responsiveness of the multilateral system.

In conclusion, Mr. President, Ghana believes that the tools available in the UN Charter remain indispensable in addressing existing and emerging challenges of our time. What is required is to strategically harness and effectively deploy these tools, including Chapter VI on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes. Ultimately, the demonstration of stronger political will by all Member States, including this Council, is essential if we are to make meaningful progress in the defense of the UN Charter.

I thank you.

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