LIU Zhixian, Vice President and Director-General of UNA-China and Secretary General of CANUNS pointed out the international community expected more from the East Asian Community to provide East Asian perspectives and approaches to regional and global problems.
October 17, 2015, Fudan University
Prof. PAN Guang, President of Shanghai Untied Nations Research Association
Prof. Sukehiro Hasegawa, Head of Japanese Delegation,
Prof.Hyudok Hong, President of KACUNS,
Mr. Roger A. Coate, Vice-Chair of ACUNS,
Mr. Alistair D. Edgar, Executive Director of ACUNS,
I am very pleased and honored to make some remarks at the opening ceremony of the 15th East Asian Seminar on the UN System. On behalf of CANUNS, I would like to welcome all of you coming from both abroad and within China, and to thank Shanghai United Nations Research Association for their meticulous efforts in organizing this Seminar.
This is the second time for me to attend the East Asian Seminar on the UN System. I have very fond memory of last year’s Seminar held by JAUNS in Kyoto, where prestigious diplomats, informed scholars, leading experts, experienced practitioners and some young scholars got together to exchange ideas on the work of the UN. Moreover, CANUNS, JAUNS and KACUNS, for the first time, jointly initiated a special panel with the theme of “Enhancing East Asia’s Contribution to the UN Peace Operations: Possibilities and Challenges” in this year’s ACUNS held in The Hague, which sparked much interests among fellow international participants. I am glad to see that China, Japan and ROK, as key members of the East Asian Community, are more closely connected and actively cooperated in advancing the UN’s intellectual work.
At the same time, with the eastward shift of the world’s economic center, the international community has placed more expectations on the East Asian Community to provide East Asian perspectives and proposing East Asian approaches to some regional and global issues. Against this backdrop, I think, this year’s East Asian Seminar on the UN System is of more profound significance, because NOW is a time when the necessities of strengthening global and regional governance are met with a number of possibilities for doing so. The Academia in the field of UN studies are more than ever looked upon for bridging the gap between aims and actions by providing some intellectual support. Here, I would like to share some of my preliminary thoughts with you.
In terms of necessities, the tectonic shift of power within the international community calls for reforming those unjust and improper arrangements in the global governance system. As pointed out by President Xi Jinping in his speech at the General Debate of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, “The movement toward a multi-polar world, and the rise of emerging markets and developing countries have become an irresistible trend of history”. In result, with increasing international leverage, those emerging markets and developing countries are advocating for larger representation and bigger voices in international organizations. In this context, different interests have to be balanced by rules and mechanisms; otherwise, the world will be plunged into endless wars and conflicts. Therefore, the global and regional governance systems are in urgent need to be adapted to these significant changes in the international landscape.
Another necessity of strengthening global and regional governance at the time being lies in the fact that today, more than at any time before, countries need to negotiate. Due to a high level of interconnectedness and interdependence among countries in the world, problems are not limited within borders, and challenges cannot be handled by any country alone. There are a multitude of new and tough challenges confronting the international community. The world economy has not recovered from the lingering impact of the global financial crisis. Poverty and other worldwide problems still persist. Our social media are flooded with news about youth unemployment, violent terrorism, refugee crisis, infectious diseases, global climate change, and other unsettling issues. Dialogues and consultation among different countries are required to be established and consolidated to address these common challenges and threats.
Therefore, both the internal power structure of the international community and the external challenges confronting it call for efforts in strengthening global and regional governance. Fortunately, there are some favorable conditions for the international community to make those efforts fruitful.
First of all, this year marks the 70th Anniversary of the UN, which serves as an opportunity for member states to review their past interaction with the UN, and open up new prospects in supporting the UN’s work. Many member states have reaffirmed their commitments to the purposes and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Most of the member states also actively seek to integrate the aims set out by the UN with their own national development plans. For instance, many countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UNFCCC Secretariat for this year’s Paris Climate Change Conference, in which national emission cut goals have been set out among other proposals. In addition, the newly adopted Post-2015 Development Agenda serves as a roadmap for collective action in the future global development. These newly adopted global agendas might inject some fresh impetus for the current global and regional governance systems.
Besides, nowadays, many new regional and international mechanisms keep emerging, intended to complement the UN’s role in some areas. Whether these mechanisms can play a constructive role in common development and disputes settlement depends on whether they are designed to be equitable, inclusive and transparent. With an overall architecture featuring openness, mutual assistance and win-win cooperation, these emerging global and regional mechanisms might provide an innovative platform for strengthening global and regional governance.
With above said, I believe our East Asian Seminar on the UN System will be both significant and fruitful, in the sense that there are much food for thought at this juncture. I hope each of the participants here will in a way benefit from our vigorous and candid discussion in this Seminar.
In the end, I wish the Seminar a great success and all of you a happy stay in Shanghai!