I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.
We would like to congratulate you, Mr Secretary-General, on taking up your new mandate. Your presentation today has once again reaffirmed your strong leadership tackling the global challenges of our time and we look forward to working closely with you the coming five years. The implementation of the Our Common Agenda report will be at the forefront of this work. We remain fully committed to your efforts to reinvigorate multilateral cooperation, with the UN at its core. This is of particular importance at this point in time, where the rules-based multilateral order and longstanding international norms are being put under strain.
The key test will be our ability to move from words to action on climate and the environment. COP26 brought some progress, but we must quickly and substantially raise the level of ambition. The Stockholm+50 meeting in June, hosted by Kenya and Sweden, is a unique opportunity for urgent action for a prosperous planet. We want Stockholm+50 to be a milestone towards the Summit of the Future and a platform to raise ambitions ahead of COP27.
The pandemic has put health at the centre of our attention. The uneven distribution of vaccines is a major concern. Limiting the spread of covid needs to go hand in hand with a long-term focus on resilient health systems and societies, including through the One Health approach. We cannot wait for the next major disease to reinforce the international system for preparedness and response. Strong leadership by the UN is essential. Recovering from the current crisis, we need to invest in green and healthy transition, social welfare and jobs.
Covid has laid bare gaps in gender equality and access to services in sexual and reproductive health and rights, affecting millions of women and girls. We appreciate the feminist vision of Our Common Agenda, emphasizing the active and equal participation of all. We’ve come far in developing the normative framework on Women, Peace and Security. It is now time to strengthen implementation by increasing ownership and accountability.
We repeat our full support for the Secretary-General’s Call to Action on Human Rights, for stronger protection for human rights defenders and engagement with civil society. Respect for human rights, the rule of law, and strong democracies are not only goals in themselves but fundamental for sustainable peace and development.
The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of digital connectivity, and fair and inclusive digitalization, based on universal human rights. The Nordic countries have been steadfast supporters of your Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and we look forward to further strengthening this work as part of implementing Our Common Agenda.
274 million people globally now need humanitarian assistance – a new record. We must reduce earmarking, scale up anticipatory action, and prioritise better. We must also expand the donor base, not least to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, to which all Nordic countries are proud to contribute.
We lend our full support to the Secretary-General’s call for a New Agenda for Peace. Global risks such as climate change create further instability and increase existing needs. More investment in conflict prevention is needed. We welcome the proposition to strengthen the Peacebuilding Commission and the emphasis on sustainable funding for peacebuilding.
We must continue our efforts to deliver in full on the UN reform process. We remain concerned over the financial situation of the UN and support the Pledge to Pay initiative.
To conclude Mr President,
The Nordic countries will continue to be steadfast partners of a strong United Nations, its Secretary-General, and its staff around the world.
Finally, two questions from us:
Reflecting on your first five years as Secretary-General, how can the United Nations diplomatic toolbox be strengthened?
What are your expectations of Stockholm+50 in terms of implementation of Our Common Agenda?