Joint Nordic Statement at the 51st Plenary meeting - Debate on the Report of the Secretary General on the work of the Organization
Nordic Joint Statement
Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Sweden.
Since we met at this time last year, the world has faced unprecedented crises. We commend you, Secretary-General, for your leadership since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. We, the Nordic countries, pay tribute to you and your UN colleagues around the world, whose efforts and determination over the past year have shown the enduring relevance and strength of the United Nations as a force for peace, development and human rights. We welcome your readiness to serve for a second term as Secretary-General and your commitment to transparency and inclusivity in this process.
In times of crises, when much is at stake, our commitment to our core values and principles becomes even more important. As Nordics, we do not waver in our conviction that a rules-based international order and respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, is fundamental for achieving peace and prosperity. Such an order will always have the United Nations at its core.
This was also reaffirmed in the UN75 Political Declaration, adopted unanimously in September. The Declaration, together with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, now serve as our Common Agenda towards building back better and greener. It represents the strongest commitment for a reinvigorated and inclusive multilateralism that this body has produced in recent times. We look forward to your recommendations on its implementation. You can count on our strong commitment and our full political support in moving this agenda forward.
The most immediate opportunity to showcase that multilateralism delivers is in the global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. Our priority must be to ensure universal, equitable and affordable global access to safe and effective vaccines. COVAX is the best tool to do this. We have joined and invested in COVAX and remain committed to ensuring its success.
With the pandemic, the Decade of Action got off to a rough start. It is imperative that we get back on track in implementing the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Addressing the disproportionate and devastating socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on women and girls globally must also be a priority. We should build the foundation for a renewed social contract with equal opportunities for all.
The climate catastrophe and our collapsing ecosystems remain top priorities, requiring urgent action, including at the important CoPs in Kunming and Glasgow this year. We support the Secretary-General’s call to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050. The High-Level Dialogues on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought in April and SDG7 in September will be key milestones towards achieving these ambitions at COP26. We also look forward to the High-Level meeting, Stockholm+50, to take place in Sweden in June 2022, to address some of the key political challenges of our time, including redefining our relationship with nature and promoting sustainable consumption and production.
The Nordic countries strongly support the SG’s continued emphasis on prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. We agree with the Secretary-General that we need to see a “collective new push for peace and reconciliation”. The recent review of the Peacebuilding Architecture will facilitate further advancements in building and sustaining peace. We now need to increase our efforts to ensure implementation, including adequate, long-term, and sustainable financing. We thank the SG for hosting the Peacebuilding Fund Replenishment Conference two days ago. We reiterate our call for increased and meaningful participation of women in peace processes and mediation efforts.
Gender equality is fundamental across UN’s three pillars. Mainstreaming gender equality and implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda requires a whole-of-UN approach and a closer linkage between the General Assembly and the Security Council. We are fully committed to the efforts made through the Generation Equality Forum to achieve transformative and immediate progress towards gender equality.
The pandemic has put further strain on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We strongly welcome the Secretary General’s Call to Action on Human Rights and call for stronger protection for human rights defenders as well as engagement with civil society. There must be accountability for human rights violations or abuses committed during this crisis, and for undermining of democratic principles or the rule of law. We urge the Secretary-General – in the spirit of the Call to Action – to promote a sufficient budget for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
We remain concerned over the financial situation of the UN, which the Secretary-General has repeatedly highlighted to member states. Recurrent liquidity crises seriously affect the Organization’s ability to deliver on the mandates decided by Member States. We encourage all member states to pay in full, on time, and without conditions.
The Nordic countries remain steadfast supporters of the Secretary-General’s reform efforts. They need to continue, not least to strengthen the linkages between peacebuilding, humanitarian, human rights and development efforts.
To conclude, rest assured that the Nordic countries will continue to be steadfast partners of a strong United Nations, its Secretary-General, and its staff around the world.