General Debate of 65th GA of UN

I was looking forward to see what the world leaders were planning to discuss at the 65th session of the General Assembly and I must admit, I was not impressed. First of all there are three main themes, peace (with discussions about war and terrorism), climate change, and the economy (global economy, financial crisis and things like this).

The first thing I noticed is that education was not a popular subject. Among the main speakers, Guido Westerwelle of Germany talks about the importance of educating our young for the way the future will look like and Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, talked about the role of humanity in exploring this world an activity that is encouraged by God. George Yeo, Foreign Minister of Singapore had the most convincing discussion about this subject saying that the key to development is education ("With education, individuals are able to acquire the information and knowledge they need to add value to the world"). A better understanding of the world will lead to responsibility from individuals. Also, increasing spending on research is mandatory is we want to continue our existence on this planet.
In present, the educational level of the average individual is below what we would expect. President Obama pledged for a free Internet, and George Yeo said that "by taking full advantage of globalisation and information technology, we can now spread education into remote corners of the world". We are still dominated by instincts and violence and in many cases these are preferred to things like dialogue and diplomacy because they offer quick solutions for the strong to dominate the weak. We need to reform the educational system in order to meet the demands of the future. This important subject is not very well addressed by the world leaders, even if it is goal number 2 of the MDGs. To say the truth, having a goal like "by 2015, all children can complete a full course of primary schooling, girls and boys" is something that should have been made (and it was possible) a few centuries ago.

About climate change, nearly all the leaders had something to say that sadly seemed copy/pasted from one to the other, it's all empty talk just to say "I done that". The island nations made public their concerns that if sea levels rise, they risk to cease to exist as states. The funny and also sad part is to see President Obama talking about this subject, knowing perfectly that his country did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. I expected to see some projects started by different states for reducing the reliance on fossil fuels, things like this, practical things. I am sure most states started to adopt methods of producing clean energy, but none of the representatives gave examples.
Practically there is nothing said about the supposedly 2013 solar flares, leading me to think that all the talk about this event was for nothing. It is true that the directions our world will take are not decided at these debates, but talking a little more on the subject would do good.

We now arrive at one of the favorite themes of these talks, terrorism and war. The thing that caught my attention was something that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "is it right to fight a classic war against terrorists"? As we all know, Iran faces some terrorist activities also, primarily sponsored by the CIA, but then again this kind of things are normal coming from America, just think of South America. We also have Islamic fundamentalists sponsored by Iran which again is normal considering the threat Israel poses and the distorted opinions of some high ranking Iranian leaders about the world. But what about Israel? It is believed that this state has nuclear weapons, they never did confirm or deny this, also, Israel is not a Party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while Iran is a party to this. Ahmadinejad also, in his address at the 65th session of the General Debate rejected the need for nuclear weapons and pledged for a nuclear weapons free world.
Abdullah Gul, of Turkey talked about a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East as it was envisioned by the UN council resolution 687/1998.


Read the rest of the article in Awil-um Magazine (August-September 2010)

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