New York (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Emerging nations have called on the United Nations to take greater responsibility and strengthen efforts in coping with economic crises and a wide spectrum of global challenges.
Scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presented their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the General Assembly's general debate, which ended on Monday in New York.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called on countries in the UN to boost international efforts to tackle the global economic crisis, stressing that a balance must be found to stimulate growth while at the same time controlling public spending without resorting to extreme austerity measures.
"The grave economic crisis that began in 2008 has taken on new and worrisome contours," she said. "The choice of orthodox fiscal policies has worsened the recessions in the developed economies, with repercussions for emerging countries."
"There will be no effective response to the economic crisis without strengthened coordination efforts between UN members and multilateral bodies such as the G20 [Group of 20], the IMF [International Monetary Fund] and the World Bank," she said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi supported the UN in enhancing its authority, efficiency and ability to address new threats and challenges. "Facing growing global challenges, the international community should strengthen coordination and cooperation, establish a fair, equitable, flexible and effective system of global governance, properly address various global issues and promote the common well-being of mankind," he stated.
Yang stressed the need to ensure that international relations were based strictly on the principle of non-interference in one another's affairs.
"Mutual respect and equality are basic norms governing international relations. All countries, large or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community," he said.
India's Foreign Minister, S.M. Krishna, who delivered a speech on the last day of general debate on Monday, called for a universal rejection of terror and piracy, describing terrorism as one of the most potent threats to international peace.
"The international community must adopt a 'zero-tolerance' approach toward terrorism and focus on efforts to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, including its insidious network of epicentres, training facilities and financing," Krishna underlined.
India believed that most in need of reform at the world body was its 15-member Security Council, which he declared should see both its permanent and non-permanent membership extended.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged member states to help bridge the divisions in the Security Council over the ongoing Syrian conflict and promote a return to an agreement outlining the steps for a peaceful transition in the Middle Eastern country.
"We have consistently called for consolidated efforts of the international community to compel the [Syrian] government and its opponents to immediately cease violence and come to the negotiating table," Lavrov said.
South African President Jacob Zuma called for making the Security Council more democratic, with an expansion of seats and greater representation for Africa. "Given its mandate, the council has to be legitimate, democratic and transparent. Its current composition has a propensity for deadlock and paralysis even in the face of crisis," Zuma said, noting that the UN remained unrepresentative and undemocratic in both its composition and decision-making.