Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to start with words of gratitude to President Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan for the hospitality. It is a great pleasure to be here, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in the famed Great Silk Road city of Samarkand.
This Summit takes place at a critical moment. Today’s global peace and security environment is more volatile than in at least the last 30 years.
New crises are erupting even as our established conflict management capacities become dangerously overstretched or are crippled by geopolitical tensions.
We are feeling the strain of the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. And climate change exacerbates risks and creates new sources of stress, particularly in conflict environments.
Perhaps the most perilous aspect of this seemingly chaotic environment is that it feeds on itself, breeding more instability and mistrust in a vicious cycle. And the risk of catastrophic miscalculation or escalation only grows.
In the face of these challenges, a multilateral system based on cooperation and the rule of law remains indispensable if we are to build more peaceful societies.
This vision is at the core of the Secretary-General’s report on “Our Common Agenda”, which includes the drafting of a New Agenda for Peace. The report offers a far-reaching vision for sustainable peace, development and human rights.
Among the key proposals in “Our Common Agenda” is strengthening United Nations partnerships with regional and subregional organizations.
This is integral to the UN Secretary-General’s vision for a networked multilateralism. It is also essential for our preventive engagements and conflict resolution efforts worldwide.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a leading player in facilitating the exchange on regional peace and security in Eurasia.
One important area of joint action is in countering violent extremism and international terrorism. The United Nations and the SCO continue to mobilize efforts, in particular, through joint capacity building exercises and regular dialogue.
The situation in Afghanistan remains a major concern for the region. The Afghan people require support and concerted action. The SCO States have already assumed great responsibility in this regard.
And I would like to commend Uzbekistan for its leading role for supporting humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan.
The International Conference on Afghanistan held in Tashkent on 25-26 July provided further evidence of the recognition that peace and security are essential for ensuring stability and prosperity in the region.
In this context, strengthening transport and economic connectivity – among the priorities of Uzbekistan’s Chairmanship of the SCO – can also play a vital role in promoting sustainable development and peaceful cooperation.
It was, therefore, particularly encouraging to see the General Assembly adopt a resolution on “Strengthening Connectivity between Central and South Asia” in July.
The difficulties we face today are undoubtedly significant. But they are not insurmountable.
It is no coincidence that we are meeting in Samarkand, a historical melting pot of cultures, ideas and knowledge.
I believe that a spirit of solidarity and cooperation will continue to guide our two organizations as we work to advance peace and security, sustainable development and human rights.
I’d like to extend to all of you congratulations on a successful Summit.