UNITED NATIONS - Amid rising unilateralism threatening multilateralism, Pakistan Friday underscored the role of the United Nations as the best vehicle for creating a peaceful world order.

“A rules-based order with the UN at its core remains an abiding and fundamental element of my country’s foreign policy,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council.

Speaking in a debate on the role of multilateralism, the Pakistani envoy said that UN Charter principles of sovereign equality of States, non-interference and peaceful settlement of disputes were critical. As true multilateralism means that decision-making bodies must be fully representative of the aspirations of all member states — small, medium and large — Pakistan embraces Security Council reform for those purposes.

“There is no better vehicle than the United Nations to achieve the goals of advancing modern civilisation to a new and higher level; assure a life of dignity for all people; and create a just and peaceful world order,” Ambassador Lodhi added.

The Pakistani envoy, praising the accomplishments fostered by the United Nations in the pursuit of internationally-shared goals for the common good, said that today such multilateralism is under assault.

“Driven by forces of illiberalism and protectionism, jingoism is gaining ascendency over reason, intolerance over acceptance and bigotry over humanity,” she stated.

Nonetheless, listing the complex challenges faced by the world, she said that consensus-building and compromise were being viewed by some, not as virtues of strength, but as signs of weakness; pursuit of narrow national aims being promoted as the sole determinant of world affairs; long-standing legal norms being eroded; UN resolutions and its binding decisions flouted with impunity; force being threatened all too frequently, and political brinkmanship and power-plays being threatened to turn strategic interests into clashing ambitions.

“These trends are not just regressive; they expose a rules-based international order to new dangers,” Ambassador Lodhi said. Stressing the need for international cooperation, she said during the last seven decades the UN promoted the international community’s shared goals of peace, security and development. “From the crystallisation of the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, to its application in the struggle against colonialism and foreign occupation; from the ideal of the dignity and worth of an individual to the progressive development of instruments to promote and protect fundamental human rights, the UN has left an indelible mark in virtually all walks of international life,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“The 2030 Development Agenda, Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustaining Peace Agenda are recent affirmations of this collective approach for the common good and our shared destiny.”

Opening the debate, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in just days the world will observe the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, “a colossal tragedy and a frightening harbinger of bloody decades to follow”. While the global structures established seventy years ago have a proven track record of saving lives, generating economic and social progress and preventing war, multilateralism today is under immense stress.

Warning that trust is declining within and among nations, the UN chief added that people are losing faith in political institutions and seem less able to cooperate, even as complex global challenges are on the rise.