Distinguished Excellencies, colleagues, dear friends,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
Let me start by thanking the organizers, the Mission of Singapore in partnership with “The Elders”, for convening this timely high-level meeting on the occasion of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter to discuss the state of multilateralism.
As we have stated on several occasions, we see the UN Charter as the cornerstone of the rules-based international system and as the framework for our response to the challenges we face. It is very comforting to see so much convergence of views around the virtual table today, given the geographical diversity of the speakers, spanning five continents. This broad coalition in support of multilateralism is particularly needed as we are on the final stretch to seek consensus around the political declaration for the UN’s 75th Anniversary.
For the EU, there is no alternative to international cooperation as framed by the UN Charter. In these times of crisis, this is more valid than ever. As the Secretary General said, multilateralism is not only a matter of confronting shared threats, like the current pandemic. It is about seizing common opportunities - and showing the added value of international cooperation.
Despite all the suffering and damage Covid19 has brought across the globe, it also offers an opportunity to come together and build back better, stronger and greener, putting people’s needs and expectations at the centre of our efforts – and we very much hope that the final text of the Declaration will reflect this ambition.
The Secretary General has also called for the need to adapt multilateralism to the changing times. Diverse and broad cross-regional coalitions coming together in various forms and formats, like the ‘Alliance for Multilateralism’ set up last year, are the concrete expression of this need to adapt and find new collaborative frameworks.
But there is also the need for a more inclusive multilateralism based on close interaction with external stakeholders, such as civil society, businesses, local and regional authorities, parliaments – just to name a few. The UN’s 75th Anniversary has been providing this much needed space to engage with the outside world and understand what brings direct and tangible benefits to our people. The shift from physical to virtual meetings has opened up unforeseen opportunities to interact with the outside world. Once we are back to normalcy we should continue to avail ourselves of these opportunities.
In this context, the Global Conversation launched by the Secretary General and conducted under the capable leadership of Under-Secretary Fabrizio Hochschild has been an important contribution in this regard. The EU fully supports continuing this outreach and closer engagement with civil society, making the UN a real platform for dialogue.
Lastly, we also need effective multilateralism. This requires a strong and reformed UN equipped with the tools to address current and future challenges, such as pandemics, conflicts, climate change, changing demography or new technologies. The past 75 years have delivered substantial progress – the EU remains fully committed to work with all of you to make the UN even stronger in the next 75 years. Thank you for your attention.