‘We Must Come Together to Urgently Reshape, Strengthen Multilateral Institutions’, Secretary-General Tells General Assembly

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the General Assembly plenary to hear an address by Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy, in New York today:

I am happy to join General Assembly President Dennis Francis in welcoming the President of Italy, Mr. Sergio Mattarella.

The Republic of Italy has long been a champion of the United Nations and international cooperation.  Throughout its rich history, Italy has played a pivotal role in facilitating dialogue, fostering understanding and forging collaboration among peoples and nations.  Its position at the heart of the Mediterranean has allowed it to serve as a cultural, economic and diplomatic crossroads between North and South.

At the United Nations, Italy has consistently demonstrated its leadership in defending peace, human rights and sustainable development — hosting many UN bodies and deploying its forces in peacekeeping missions.  Today, these shared values are under threat.

As our human family faces growing conflict, a climate crisis, growing inequalities and disruptive technologies… one thing is clear:  We are not prepared.

The Security Council is often paralysed by geopolitical divisions.  The global financial architecture is outdated, dysfunctional and unjust.  These institutions were created nearly 80 years ago, at a time when many Members of this General Assembly were under colonial rule. They do not represent today’s world — and they cannot deal with today’s new and emerging threats.

We must come together to urgently reshape and strengthen our multilateral institutions.  That means changing the composition and working methods of the United Nations Security Council to make it more inclusive and effective.  And it means strengthening and reforming an outdated, dysfunctional and unfair international financial architecture that has failed in its mission to provide a global safety net for developing countries, in particular for those drowning in debt.

The Summit of the Future in September represents a unique opportunity to update these institutions for the twenty-first century.  On peace and security, the Summit must build on the New Agenda for Peace to boost our collective security systems, ensure better representation and put prevention at the centre of our efforts.

On sustainable development, we must make significant progress on a more inclusive global financial architecture that provides far more affordable long-term finance to countries in need and works for all.  And we must bring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Stimulus to life by mobilizing at least $500 billion a year in financing for developing countries.

On emerging technologies, the Global Digital Compact must provide solutions to close the digital divide and develop effective, human-rights based governance of artificial intelligence (AI).

Italy has consistently supported our reform efforts, advocating for a more inclusive, transparent, and effective United Nations. As discussions ahead of the Summit enter a key phase, Italy’s voice is more necessary than ever to bridge divides, to build trust and to find solutions.  Italy’s priorities as G7 President — defence of the rules-based international system, dialogue with the Global South and “human-centred” AI governance — echo this vision.

The G7 has a special responsibility to be at the forefront of the reform efforts to build a more equitable and effective multilateralism. I count on Italy’s leadership of the G7 during this vital year to help steer developed countries into embracing these reforms.

Mr. Mattarella, your presence here today is a testament to the enduring friendship between Italy and the United Nations.  Thank you for your leadership and for your unwavering dedication to a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all.

Grazie mille.

For information media. Not an official record.