The health of our planet, its people, institutions, and the global economy are at serious risk, and such deep challenges cannot be tackled in isolation, Robert Rae, Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations, told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate on Tuesday.
Noting that we are at the halfway point in the global effort to ensure achievement of the of the Sustainable Development Goals, Mr. Rae said: “The consensus this past week was clear: we are far behind where we need to be to meet the commitments we have made to our populations and to one another.”
Canadians are also experiencing climate and environmental crises, he continued, recalling that his country experienced the most destructive forest fires in its history this summer.
“[All these challengers] are not a window into our future, but rather a testimony to our present,” cautioned Mr. Rae, emphasizing that the response to these challenges must not be complacent, divided or nostalgic.
“It is not a question of pointing fingers or looking for panaceas, but rather of taking concrete measures to help address, both in Canada and around the world, the challenges we face together,” insisted the Representative.
Talking about migration crisis including the Darien Gap migration, Rohingya displacement in Bangladesh, Afghanistan refugees and Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, and the conflict in Sudan, Mr. Rae expressed shock in how many people are forcibly displaced around the world, underscoring the need to see these issue in a ‘broader, global light.’
Gender equality, democracy
Turning to women’s empowerment, Mr. Rae stated: “Gender equality is a not an issue to be bartered against perceptions of progress, nor is it a “nice to have” or something to be qualified.”
Calling attention to the importance of upholding the values of free and democratic societies, he noted: “We have seen, and continue to realize, extent to which democracies are under threat through various means of foreign interference.”
He further added that we can get closer to equality, and to justice, by building open, inclusive societies, and by promoting and protecting human rights for all and upholding the rule of law.
War in Ukraine
Mr. Rae reminded the Assembly that the UN Charter clearly commits all States to end the scourge of war and as such, Russia’s aggressions against Ukraine violated the Organization’s founding document. Asserting that Russia should be held accountable for its actions, he added: “We welcome the indictments by the International Criminal Court against President Putin and his Commissioner for Children’s Rights. Because no one is above the law."
“Canada will continue to explore every measure to support Ukraine as it continues to defend itself, its people, its identity, its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he concluded.
Full statement available here.