UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa said she strongly believes that national sovereignty can co-exist with the principles of multilateralism, without which problems like migration and climate change cannot be addressed.
She said that the countries can defend their national interest, but at the same time they can remain open and generous to understand the need for collective action on certain key issues.
"We live in a paradox. On the one hand, we see certain voices that are reclaiming national sovereignty and looking at national interest as if these principles could not co-exist with multilateralism," Espinosa told PTI in an interview here.
"I am a strong believer that both can coexist. You can defend your national interest and at the same time be open and generous to understand that there is a need for collective action on certain key issues," she said.
She asked as to how one can solve the issue of migration without having a multilateral approach.
"Can you address the issue of climate change without addressing it from a collective responsibility perspective. It's impossible," she said.
Espinosa said her call is that "we can really look at both issues and converge, defend national interest and belong to the international community in a responsible way."
She further added that it was very encouraging to listen to world leaders, at the high-level week of the 73rd session of the General Assembly last month, praise multilateralism and the usefulness of the United Nations as a unique organisation that can address and solve the major global challenges.
"The United Nations is irreplaceable," she said.
Guterres had stressed that while individual leaders have the duty to advance the well-being of their people, they also have the responsibility to promote and support a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system.
President Donald Trump, who addressed world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly session, said the US rejects the ideology of "globalism" and embraces the doctrine of "patriotism" and will always choose independence over global governance.
Espinosa, Ecuador's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was in June elected President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, becoming only the fourth female president of the 193-member organization in its 73-year history.
She underscored that there is need to follow Pandit's path and legacy, stressing that it will be an overarching strategy in her tenure to bring more women leaders to the United Nations.
Espinosa noted that a high-level event on women in politics and women in power will be organised prior to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March next year to send a bold message about how important it is to fully empower women if nations are to achieve the 2030 Agenda and if "we have to build more peaceful societies in general. You cannot just leave behind half of the world's population.
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