Multilateralism key to confronting global challenges highlevel UN meeting concludes

Convened and chaired by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the two-day meeting at UN Headquarters in New York examined such challenges to international peace and security as terrorism, poverty, intra- and inter-state conflicts, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), organized crime and human rights violations.Among the meeting’s conclusions, participants recognized that terrorism represents a major challenge to international peace and security, and underscored the central role played by the United Nations in coordinating global efforts against the scourge and in setting the framework for worldwide action.It also confirmed that multilateral cooperation was key in dealing with disarmament and non-proliferation issues, particularly with regard to WMDs. Regional organizations could make a significant contribution towards achieving and promoting the implementation and strengthening of key treaties and other legal regimes.Participating organizations reiterated their commitment that human rights should not be undermined in counter-terrorism efforts. Rather than a trade-off between human rights and security, respect for civil liberties constituted a basic element in ensuring security. They also voiced concern about discrimination against peoples or cultures despite remarkable progress achieved in the dialogue among civilizations.Turning to armed conflict, the participants expressed particular concern about ensuring the protection of civilians during times of war, and noted that cooperation to prevent the outbreak of fighting was a fundamental element to counter the challenges to international peace and security. They also agreed that success in countering the problems caused by poverty and deprivation through a successful development agenda could translate into progress in other areas.Some of the organizations in attendance included the African Union, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Commission, League of Arab States, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the international police organization INTERPOL and several UN agencies, including the nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

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