Charting a Course for Global Unity

by Diplomatist Bureau - 8 March, 2024, 12:00 116 Views 0 Comment

Perspectives from the 47th Sapru House Lecture


The 47th Sapru House Lecture, delivered by H.E. Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, on the theme “Multilateralism for Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability” resonated profoundly within the halls of the Indian Council of World Affairs.

Mr. Francis commenced his address by expressing his sincere gratitude to Ambassador Singh for extending the invitation and providing a gracious introduction, highlighting the significance of addressing the renowned think tank.

Acknowledging the historical precedence set by India through Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit’s appointment as the first female President of the United Nations General Assembly seven decades ago, Mr. Francis emphasised the honour and responsibility of following in her pioneering footsteps. With an acute awareness of the challenges posed by contemporary global dynamics, particularly evident in recent conflicts and humanitarian crises, Mr. Francis underscored the imperative of revitalizing solidarity and trust in multilateralism.

Against the backdrop of escalating violence in conflict zones such as Gaza and the Middle East, Mr. Francis stressed the pivotal role of peace as the linchpin for global stability and progress. He lauded India’s humanitarian efforts and advocacy for peace in various regions, affirming the UN’s commitment to upholding principles enshrined in the UN Charter, including sovereign equality and peaceful dispute resolution.

Transitioning to the theme of prosperity, Mr. Francis lamented the persistent disparities hindering progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), exacerbated by the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While acknowledging the challenges, he lauded India’s commendable efforts in championing sustainable development through flagship programs and digital innovation, emphasizing the need for global financial reform and debt sustainability to accelerate SDG implementation.

Highlighting the imperative of gender equality and women’s empowerment, Mr. Francis reiterated his commitment to mainstreaming a gender perspective across UN priorities, echoing India’s pivotal role in advancing women’s rights and leadership. He commemorated Hansa Mehta’s historic contribution to revising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, underscoring India’s steadfast commitment to human rights and inclusive development.

In addressing sustainability, Mr. Francis underscored the urgent need for collective action to mitigate climate change, avert natural disasters, and foster resilience in vulnerable communities. Commending India’s leadership in vaccine distribution and sustainable recovery efforts, he emphasized the imperative of ample financing and innovative solutions to achieve global sustainability goals.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Francis reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism in addressing complex global challenges, calling for bold reforms to modernize and strengthen the multilateral system. He commended India’s exemplary leadership in multilateral affairs, citing its historic presidency of the G20 and steadfast partnership with the UN in advancing shared goals of peace, prosperity, and sustainability.


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