I would like to thank the Vietnamese presidency for organizing this open debate. At the beginning of the year 2020, it is indeed of great importance that all of us, Member States of the United Nations, respect our Charter, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Despite its age, it retains its full relevance. Its role has not diminished, quite the contrary! The number of crises and conflicts in the world is of great concern. It is estimated that 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance this year. The world needs our action.
While the Charter is neither a magic wand nor a panacea, it remains a powerful tool for conflict prevention and peacekeeping, provided that Member States implement it in its entirety. Peace and security are also dependent on development and respect for human rights. It would be mistaken to disregard them for security reasons. For the security and prosperity of small and medium-sized states, including Switzerland and the vast majority of UN member states, an effective rules-based multilateral system remains essential. Respect for international law, and notably the prohibition of the use of force and the peaceful settlement of disputes are of vital importance in order to prevent escalations.
The similarities between the Charter and Switzerland's Federal Constitution are striking. Both promote inclusive prosperity, sustainable development and respect for human rights. Switzerland is a young member state, fully engaged in the search for and implementation of multilateral solutions. Today more than ever, young people inspire us to assume our responsibility to resolve crises peacefully and to protect natural resources for future generations. But what kind of United Nations will young people need? We welcome the reflection launched by the Secretary-General on this question. It is crucial that all segments of society express their views, and it is our duty to listen to them. In Geneva and elsewhere in Switzerland, activities will take place this year to raise awareness of the Charter, to anchor it more firmly in people's daily lives and to remind us of the Charter’s political relevance in the 21st century.
The Charter also provides the basis for action by the Security Council, including its obligations to the General Assembly. These include, inter alia, the duty to ensure adequate interaction of the Security Council with the General Assembly under Article 24 of the Charter. This is regularly reminded by the interregional ACT group coordinated by Switzerland which advocates for the accountability, coherence and transparency of the Council.
What unites us is more important than what divides us. The Charter remains the common denominator, our starting point for strengthening multilateralism, in a spirit of inclusion and dialogue. At a time when the Secretary General stresses that geopolitical tensions are at their highest level, Switzerland joins his call for re-starting dialogue and renewing international cooperation.
The 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its Charter is thus an opportunity to recall that multilateral bodies and international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law, are essential to ensuring international peace and security. It is more crucial than ever that the Security Council fully assumes the responsibilities bestowed upon it by the Charter.
I thank you.