New York, September 26, 2023 – In an impactful address to the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States and International Organizations of the Holy See, brought attention to the pressing need for global cooperation amid growing conflicts, climate crisis, and nuclear disarmament.
Archbishop Gallagher began by emphasizing the urgency of rebuilding trust among nations to ensure global stability, peace, and prosperity. He highlighted the increasing conflicts and wars witnessed in recent years, exacerbated by the current conflict in Ukraine, which has exposed the shortcomings of the multilateral system.
The Archbishop expressed concern about the deteriorating state of dialogue within international forums, where nations often prioritize their own agendas over listening to others. He referred to this trend as ideological colonization, where powerful nations impose their worldviews and values on others, sometimes using aid as leverage.
Gallagher proposed a return to dialogue and shared responsibility as essential for conflict resolution and emphasized the importance of maintaining global multilateral forums’ universality.
The Archbishop identified key words for effective multilateralism: dialogue, shared responsibility, cooperation, and solidarity. He stressed the commitment to service and the responsibility of rulers to prioritize the needs of the most fragile in society.
Regarding nuclear disarmament, Gallagher strongly condemned the use of atomic energy for war purposes and the possession of nuclear weapons. He called for advancing discussions on the creation of an International Trust Fund to address the harms caused by nuclear use and testing and urged states to sign and ratify relevant disarmament treaties.
Gallagher also raised concerns about the ethical implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and the need for meaningful human oversight in the development and use of AI systems. He proposed the establishment of an International Organization for Artificial Intelligence to facilitate information exchange and promote ethical AI development.
The Archbishop underscored the importance of ethical AI in addressing global challenges, including the climate crisis. He urged the international community to prioritize climate discussions at the upcoming COP28 conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to avoid financing issues overshadow the goal of protecting the environment.
Gallagher called for renewed commitment to human rights, emphasizing the need to protect religious freedom and ensure equal dignity for all. He expressed concern about ongoing religious persecution and discrimination worldwide and encouraged governments to protect their citizens’ religious freedom.
The Archbishop also discussed humanitarian concerns in conflict zones like Syria, Sudan, and Nagorno-Karabakh, calling for dialogue, negotiations, and support from the international community to alleviate suffering.
In conclusion, Gallagher appealed to the international community to prioritize dialogue, cooperation, and solidarity to address global challenges and promote peace, emphasizing that peace is not only possible, but also a duty.
The Archbishop’s address linked nuclear arms, climate crisis, AI ethics, human rights, and humanitarian crises, underlining the importance of collective action in addressing these pressing global issues.
Read the full statement here.