Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of Iceland, stressed the importance of safeguarding and strengthening multilateral cooperation in his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, 29 September 2020.
The annual High Level Week of the United Nations General Assembly this year takes place under the cloud of the Covid-19 pandemic. Only New York-based diplomats have participated in person in the meetings of the General Assembly and statements by dignitaries were all given remotely, via a statement taped and played in the main room of the General Assembly.
Seventy-five years have passed since the founding of the United Nations and the Minister for Foreign Affairs took the opportunity to outline Iceland´s support for the organization and its mission.
"The pandemic has revealed that our fate is interlinked with the successes and failures of others. This very same revelation brought the founders of this great organisation together in 1945, after having lived through the horrors of two world wars. They understood then, as we must now, that we are stronger together than apart," he said, adding: "This notion is evident to a small state like Iceland, but larger states also gain from a well-functioning international rules-based order: peace, prosperity and partnerships for our people and planet. For the gravest challenges we face today can only be addressed collectively."
Foreign Minister Thórdarson discussed climate change, sustainable fisheries and the importance of the international law of the sea. He also underlined Iceland´s priority focus on gender equality and human rights, referencing Iceland´s recent half-term on the United Nations Human Rights Council. While announcing Iceland´s intention to seek a full three-year term on the Council, in the period 2025-2027, he stressed that UN member states serving on the Council should never lose sight of its main mission and purpose – to protect and promote universal human rights.
The address given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation can be found here and the video of the Minister´s statement can be viewed below.