Source: unic.org
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The leader of Switzerland today highlighted the centrality of the United Nations and the responsibilities of its Member States in meeting global challenges, ranging from promoting development to fighting climate change, as she addressed the annual high-level segment of the General Assembly.

“We must avoid making the United Nations an immutable 'historic monument' but rather turn it into a dynamic organization,” President Doris Leuthard said, adding that it is the “only organization in the world with the legitimacy to represent all nations and all peoples.”

The UN is also the only body in the world “capable of narrowing difference and restoring a balance between nations,” but she underlined that each Member State must also meet its responsibilities and “place its national interests second to the common good.”

She pointed out that nearly 1 billion people are still hungry, while the world will see its population grow and make do with fewer resources in the future.

“We know that dropping sacks of rice from helicopters is not enough,” Ms. Leuthard said. “We must help people to grow it.”

Although large sums of money flow to countries when disasters strike, “but who is still concerned three years later?” she asked.

On climate change, binding objectives for reducing carbon dioxide emissions must be defined as quickly as possible, the President said.

“Simply waiting for the industrialized countries to invest in the South will not lead anywhere,” she said, urging all countries to take necessary actions.

Ms. Leuthard also welcomed the creation of UN Women, or the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, which will oversee all of the world body's programmes aimed at promoting women's rights and their full participation in global affairs.

“Gender equality must at last become a reality,” she said.

Women and girls, she noted, have been the victims of poverty more than others, as well as targets of violence in armed conflicts.

“It is high time to make full use of their potential in mediation and reconstruction in countries affected by conflict.”