Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer of Bureau of International Organization Affairs today said the United States is pursuing reforms to help make UN more effective, efficient and transparent.
At the Sister to Sister Foundation luncheon, Ms. Brimmer said global public health challenges have become an issue for all countries, large and small, rich and poor.
“As the 66th UN General Assembly opens today, there remains much work to be done, to help the United Nations adapt structures built in 1945, to better address the challenges of 2011, and beyond. The world has changed faster than the United Nations has, and we all face a difficult budget climate.” -Ms. Brimmer
She highlighted that United States and its partners will work to address pressing challenges. She said the United States has long worked through the World Health Organization, to provide technical support and guidance on responding to infectious disease outbreaks, and pandemic threats.
“But there is a growing, urgent need for international collaboration to address the global public health emergency posed by non-communicable diseases, including cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and, yes, cardiovascular disease.” -Ms. Brimmer
She elaborated that global health is only one of many areas where the United States views robust engagement across the UN system, as key to achieving shared solutions to common global challenges.
“Our multilateral engagement also includes efforts to promote universal values. Since joining the Human Rights Council in 2009, we have seen a dramatic improvement in that body’s effectiveness.” -Ms. Brimmer
She underscored that value is also clear the role UN has played on many of the world’s most difficult challenges to international peace and security. UN peacekeepers help prevent conflict and protect civilians around the globe. Security Council sanctions on Iran have had a significant effect on that regime, including by hampering its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. She added that UN counterterrorism sanctions have isolated terrorists and frozen their assets and those of their supporters.
“We reject the calls being made from some corners that the United States to step back from our multilateral commitment, to withhold our UN assessments or withdraw from some UN bodies. It is neither in the U.S. interest or the world’s interest for America to step back from our committed multilateral engagement, and we will not cede our global leadership role by restricting our engagement with the United Nations.” -Ms. Brimmer
Ms. Brimmer emphasized that if the world is to address global health challenges like non-communicable diseases, promote international peace and security, and advance universal values as an alternative to extremism, robust U.S. engagement in the United Nations is more essential than it has ever been.