The crises that have impacted the world in 2020 show that commitment to multilateralism is more relevant than ever, Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in an address at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, underscoring the need to refom that world organisation.
The crises of 2020, such as the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent economic downturn, "clearly showed that our collective commitment to multilateralism is more relevant than ever," Plenkovic said via video link.
The current crises must not lead to isolationism in the international community but motivate readiness for cooperation in the spirit of solidarity and mutual support, and no other organisation is better placed than the United Nations for global delivery of the goals of international cooperation, he said.
That is why "we need a United Nations fit for the 21st century," Plenkovic said, calling for a reform of the organisation, including its founding document, the UN Charter, as well as of the Security Council, the most powerful body in the UN in which relations reflect the situation at the end of World War II.
"Our organisation has to maintain its core values and principles on which it has been founded but it must also reflect the realities and needs of our times," he added.
Critics often call out the UN for allegedly irrational spending, slowness to act, failure to implement its decisions and bias in adopting them.
The organisation's budget last year lacked 768 million of a total of 2.85 billion US dollars because 51 countries did not meet their financial obligations, including Brazil and the USA, Reuters has reported.
Experts underline that the financial problems are a symptom of a broader crisis of confidence in that institution.
Equality of Bosnia and Herzegovina Croats
Apart from going down in history as a year of crises, 2020 is also a year of anniversaries - the 75th anniversary of the UN and the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement, which put an end to the "bloodiest war in Europe since the Second World War," said the Croatian PM.
Meanwhile, this part of Europe "has profoundly changed for the better but some problems still prevail and merit our full attention".
Croatia believes that the anniversary of the Dayton peace agreement should be used to reflect on its achievements as well as the contemporary situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Plenkovic, calling for full equality for Croats as a constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as for the adoption of appropriate election law to prevent electoral engineering.
Plenkovic recalled the Zagreb Summit of 20 years ago and the second edition of that event, held this year online during Croatia's EU presidency, as well as the country's unequivocal support for the European perspective of Western Balkan countries.
Looking back, much has been achieved, much has changed for the better. Looking ahead, sincere reconciliation is essential to regional stability. It can be built only on truth and grounded in facts, in conjunction with finding all the remaining missing persons and rendering justice for all victims, he said.
Plenkovic also stressed in his address that he was proud that for the first time ever Croatia has a candidate for a judge at the International Court of Justice - an international law professor and vice-dean for international cooperation of the Zagreb University Faculty of Law, Maja Sersic.
"Besides her professional qualities, we believe that her election would also be important for achieving a better gender balance and fairer participation of states within the Court's composition."
Plenkovic also recalled that Croatia was dealing with the consequences of a disastrous earthquake that hit Zagreb in March and thanked world leaders for sending messages of support and offering assistance.