U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer recently gave an address to the Institute of Peace in Washington, DC, setting out U.S. goals and priorities before the opening of the 66th United Nations' General Assembly in New York.
"We will work with the international community on the next steps for assistance to the transition in Libya. We will address the mounting humanitarian crisis on the Horn of Africa, and we will discuss peace and security in Sudan and South Sudan. We will devote high-level attention to the urgent global public health challenges posed by non-communicable diseases. And on the sidelines of the General Assembly, we will co-host with Brazil the first head of state-level meeting of the Open Government Partnership. This new partnership will bring countries together to strengthen governance through transparency and citizen empowerment."
The formal agenda for this year's General Assembly will take place against a backdrop of global and historic challenges. Assistant Secretary Brimmer said that many of the threats we face are shared by the global community, and their solutions will require global cooperation.
"Nuclear proliferation endangers the security of us all, regardless of nationality. If not checked, the impact of climate change will further accelerate across the globe. Attacks on freedom and universal human rights anywhere stain our collective conscience. Terrorism and transnational crime do not respect national borders. Pandemic disease requires no passport to move quickly from one country to another. We know all too well that conflict and instability, even when they fall within a single country halfway around the world, can unleash these and other dangers."
Assistant Secretary Brimmer said that the most valuable role the United Nation plays is preventive diplomacy -- in staunching conflicts before they start or worsen. "From the 'good offices' of the Secretary-General to the dispatch of special envoys, high-level United Nations involvement has saved countless lives by preventing violence or halting its escalation," she concluded. "Though many of these 'quiet diplomacy' efforts by necessity go unheralded, the human and financial costs of violent conflict make these among the smartest investments the international community can make in our shared security."