We are now - more than ever in the history of mankind - in a mutual state of dependence. The common theme in some of the most pressing problems societies across the globe face is that they are for the most part they are problems that do not respect national borders.
The slow progress of implementing the SDGs over the past years is troubling. Our attention and our resources have been strained by the accelerating climate crisis, the COVID pandemic, and Russian aggression in Ukraine with its worldwide consequences.
Of course, we are reminded that the founding impetus of the UN, to spare the people of the world from the horrors of territorial warfare between states, is under dire threat by a permanent member of the security council. Let's be mindful that if there is a risk of a breakdown in this most sacred duty of the international system; all other worthy goals and ambitions are likely to break down as well.
President, Iceland supports the global governance reforms proposed by the Secretary-General in “Our Common Agenda” and the subsequent policy briefs. This process offers us an opportunity to adapt the United Nations to the existing and emerging challenges.
This is not an easy task, and there is a real risk of failure.
Maintaining the relevance and importance of an organization throughout many decades is difficult. It falls to both the organization itself, but more crucially to its member states, to avoid the pitfalls that put in jeopardy all organizations as they age; that they take on a life of their own, increasingly independent from their original aims.
The United Nations must not only be capable of reform but be open to transformative change and reinvention if the times require it. We will need to be creative, innovative, and willing to look critically at how things are done.
The global community needs a robust “New Agenda for Peace” and it needs to be urgently implemented.
President, a realistic, but ambitious, Pact for the Future would be a major step forward for the global community and could be instrumental in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Iceland will support and engage constructively in this unique endeavour to make the United Nations not only fit for purpose - but fit for the future.
Failure is not an option.