Time for the Security Council to Really Step Up and Tackle Big Global Issues Together – Let’s Do This!

Rules-based multilateralism is not a simple or appealing phrase, a top European Union (EU) official told the Security Council on Thursday, “but our job is to bring it alive”.

Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that without “global cooperation based on agreed rules” we risk “the law of the jungle, where problems don’t get solved”. 

“Every day we see the cost of the absence of multilateral action: reduced access to vaccines, insufficient climate action, peace and security crises that fester”, he said.  

Prevention, peace building 

According to the EU envoy, the world’s “biggest changes” stem from new technologies, which can be both disruptive and empowering.  

Emerging technologies must reflect the values of the Declaration of Human Rights or a “nightmarish scenario” will follow, he warned. 

“We all know that conflict prevention and peace building are key”, said Mr. Borrell, urging States to work with countries at risk “before conflict erupts”. 

COVID impact 

Now, in the second year of the COVID pandemic, the world must learn how human health and security are linked with that of the planet, said the High Representative.  

“Where politics gave us stalemates and divisions, science and cooperation gave us the exit strategy: vaccines. The EU is a staunch promoter of vaccine multilateralism”, with the UN-led equitable vaccine distribution initiative COVAX at its centre, he said.  

Beyond the pandemic 

Climate change and biodiversity loss have reached existential levels, the EU envoy pointed out.  

He called UN Summits in Kunming and Glasgow, later this year, “a real test of the multilateral system”, underscoring the need that they produce “real outcomes, in line with the scale and urgency of the problem”.  

To give impetus to the success of the Summits, he hoped the Council would pass a resolution on the increasingly evident link between climate change and growing insecurity. 

‘Paralysed by vetoes’ 

The Security Council continues to be “paralysed by vetoes and political infighting”, said Mr. Borrell, reminding the Ambassadors that theirs is “a serious responsibility, politically, even morally”.  

On matters of peace and security, there is no other organization the EU can turn to, he said, calling for it “to match its belated but unanimous support for…a global ceasefire with a full commitment to its implementation”. 

Working with Iran 

Turning to the Iranian nuclear agreement, Mr. Borrell said the EU was working “on a non-stop basis” to revive the deal “in all its aspects”.   

While making progress, he acknowledged that discussions are “intense and slow”, saying that there is still “a lot of work to be done”. 

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Security Council meets on Cooperation between the UN and the European Union in maintaining international peace and security. On screen is Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Castigating Belarus 

The High Representative painted a grim picture of subjugation in Belarus, from “massive repression of peaceful protestors” to the “scandalous” forced landing of a civilian plane traveling between two European capitals to arrest a journalist.   

Meeting the “major attack” with a “firm and principled” response, he said, the EU has closed its air space to Belarus airlines and is adopting a new package of sanctions, while also devising a three billion euros package of economic support for “a democratic Belarus”.  

Council instrumentalizes Ukraine 

Mr. Borrell said that Ukraine was being “instrumentalized” by the Security Council for political purposes. 

Noting that while unanimously supporting the Minsk Agreement to end the war in the eastern Ukraine, he said, very little implementation has been done, and urged the Ambassadors to step up their responsibility to deconflict the region. 

“The European Union will not rest until all countries of the region will be inside of the European Union”, the EU representative said. 

To this end, the EU is supporting reconciliation and reforms as “the best antidote to nationalist rhetoric”. 

Multilateralism, said Mr. Borrell, is “the most effective tool for tackling the most serious and complex global challenges”.  

“My plea is for pragmatism, solidarity and humanity. The multilateral system must deliver common goods as defined by international law, norms and agreements”, he said.



  1. Isn’t it challenging to truly bring rules-based multilateralism alive in today’s complex global landscape?

    1. It can indeed be challenging, but as Mr. Borrell highlighted, the importance lies in global cooperation and agreed rules to prevent chaos and address pressing issues. Let’s work together to make rules-based multilateralism a reality.

  2. Josep Borrell’s insights truly highlight the importance of global cooperation and rules-based multilateralism in addressing the pressing issues we face today. It’s time for all nations to come together and take meaningful action to build a better future for all.

  3. Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, emphasizes the urgent need for global cooperation in tackling big global issues. He points out the dangers of the absence of multilateral action, such as limited access to vaccines and escalating security crises. It is crucial that all nations prioritize conflict prevention and peace building to ensure a secure and peaceful world for all.

  4. Josep Borrell makes a compelling argument for the importance of global cooperation and rules-based multilateralism. Without collaboration, we are at risk of facing serious challenges with insufficient solutions. It is crucial for countries to work together to prevent conflicts and build peace before it’s too late.

  5. Josep Borrell’s statement resonates deeply with the current global challenges we face. It’s imperative for countries to come together and prioritize multilateral action to address pressing issues like vaccine distribution and climate change. Without global cooperation, we risk descending into chaotic situations where conflicts go unresolved. I agree with Mr. Borrell that prevention and peace building are vital components for sustainable progress. It’s time for decisive action to secure a better future for us all.

  6. Isn’t it time for all countries to prioritize global cooperation and multilateral action to address these critical global issues?

    1. It’s crucial for all nations to come together and prioritize global cooperation and multilateral action to effectively tackle these critical global issues. Let’s unite and work towards a brighter future!

  7. Josep Borrell’s remarks underline the critical need for global cooperation and adherence to agreed rules to address ongoing challenges like vaccine access, climate action, and peace and security crises. His emphasis on prevention and peace building as essential components in addressing conflicts before they escalate is a poignant reminder of the importance of proactive measures in ensuring global stability and security.

  8. How can countries effectively ensure global cooperation based on agreed rules without compromising their individual interests?

    1. In order to ensure global cooperation based on agreed rules without compromising individual interests, countries need to prioritize diplomacy and negotiation. Finding common ground and mutually beneficial solutions can bridge the gap between national priorities and international cooperation, leading to effective collaboration on big global issues.

  9. Is there a specific plan outlined in the article for how the Security Council will address the global issues mentioned, or is it more of a general call to action?

  10. Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, emphasizes the importance of global cooperation based on agreed rules to prevent the law of the jungle where problems go unsolved. He highlights the consequences of the absence of multilateral action like limited vaccine access, insufficient climate action, and ongoing peace and security crises.

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