"Diplomacy is on the defensive, undermined by those who believe in violence. Diversity is under assault by extremists who insist that their way is the only way. Disarmament is viewed as a distant dream, sabotaged by profiteers of perpetual warfare. But leadership is precisely about finding the seeds of hope and nurturing them into something bigger."
It had been a terrible year for the principles enshrined in the Charter, he said, citing many challenges in such places as the Central African Republic, Gaza, Ukraine, South Sudan, Mali and the Sahel, Somalia, Nigeria, Iraq and Syria. The world's "fasten seat belt" light was illuminated. Turbulence was testing the multilateral system, national institutions and people's lives. Human rights provided one touchstone for global response. The Human Rights Up Front initiative aimed to place human rights at the centre of thinking and efforts in the field.
The unity of the Security Council was crucial, he said, citing some successes such as the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons programmes; agreement on a peacekeeping operation for the Central African Republic; and timely support for a peace framework in the Great Lakes region of Africa. In contrast, disunity about Syria had resulted in grave human suffering and loss of the body's credibility.