During the Eleventh Emergency Special Session marking one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ambassador Beresford-Hill addressed the General Assembly, drawing attention to the stark contrasts that confront the international community if it were not possible to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
He reminded the delegates that a continuation of war, together with ongoing conflicts in 26 countries, the impact of climate change and the natural disasters that have recently impacted Pakistan, Turkie and Syria, plus drought and water shortages throughout the world, are combining to set back the sustainability agenda in unprecedented ways. He contrasted the Secretary General’s vision of a world order based on the UN Charter, highlighting peace, justice, human rights and solidarity, with a Hobbsian perspective of life that is ‘cruel, brutish and short’. He reminded the Assembly of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical ‘Pacem in Terris’ and his admonition that ‘we should recognize and support each other’s rights’ as essential to ‘a well ordered society’. ‘The past twelve months’, the Ambassador remarked, ‘have seen a total breakdown in this social contract’ along with a ‘breakdown in the wider context of international civil discourse.’
The Ambassador referenced the work being done both in Ukraine, as well as along its borders, by the Sovereign Order of Malta as well as the contributions of the ‘armies of humanitarian and aid agencies’ in the region, while he called on nations that have not done so, to ‘turn their swords into ploughshares’ and use every means at their disposal to find a peaceful solution to the war so that the world can focus on healing and on sustainability.