Underlining important common objectives and agenda priorities the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) share, the President of the 58th UN General Assembly Session, Saint Lucia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julian Hunte, has identified development and prosperity as continuing challenges facing countries and regions early in the 21st century.
“Increasingly, states are recognizing, by bitter experience, the relationship between poverty worldwide and issues such as inequity in the global economic system,” Hunte told a session of the OAS Permanent Council today. He also referred to the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, conflicts within nations and environmental degradation.
Minister Hunte, the first UN General Assembly President to ever address an OAS Permanent Council meeting, lamented the failure of globalization and free trade to deliver on the promise of prosperity to especially small developing nations. “The conventional wisdom was that the economy of all states would be greatly improved,” he said. “Yet, the reality for many in the developing world, including in our hemisphere, is that their economic and social situation continues to deteriorate, and poverty continues to rise.”
Hunte also lauded developing nations for championing their own cause, and noted how they have garnered tremendous support on the issues affecting them.
He also described rising terrorism as “a disturbing trend,” saying multilateral cooperation has a crucial role in fighting the threat. He cited direct threats targeting UN agencies and staff.
In his wide-ranging presentation to the OAS member state representatives, Hunte underscored important synergies between the work of the OAS and the work of the UN, praising the OAS for its pioneering initiatives on key global agenda issues, among them important instruments such as the Treaty of Tlatelolco that established the world’s first nuclear-free zone. He noted as well the OAS’ ground-breaking anti-corruption convention.
Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Salvador Rodezno of Honduras welcomed the UN dignitary, explaining that the visit stemmed from an initiative by the preceding Council Chairman, Haiti’s Permanent Representative to the OAS Ambassador Raymond Valcin, to invite the UN General Assembly President to share ideas related to issues on the hemispheric agenda.