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The United Nations in the New Global Landscape

November 5, 2015

Jan Eliasson, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and former diplomat for the Swedish government, conducted a discussion on the role of the UN in the current global environment, moderated by Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Ambassador of the Foreign Policy Institute.

Secretary Eliasson asserted the need for greater cooperation between different sectors to further the UN’s goals. Citing the current crisis in Syria, he remarked on the issues in ensuring peace and security for the population as well as the effects in the immediate region and the rest of the world due to refugee migration and the attendant rise in right-wing, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

In his discussion with Ambassador Tahir-Kheli, Secretary Eliasson cited the obstacles facing the UN in strong action. On the specific case of Syria, he commended the increase in regional cooperation among the nations in the Middle East as an important stepping stone in successful resolution of the crisis. He also called for a global approach to the issue of migration in the face of refugee crises in various parts of the world including Syria, Pakistan, Myanmar and Kenya.

Secretary Eliasson also answered a variety of questions from the audience on the need for greater cooperation on combating climate change, post-conflict reconstruction needs in Syria, UN economic programs in developing nations, the role of Syrians in conflict resolution in their state, how to implement horizontal approaches in decision-making organizations, effective use of resources and the function of UN bodies such as the Human Rights Council.

Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, at the Washington DC campus, November 5, 2015