European Union External Action

EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: Our Common Agenda

New York, 26/10/2021 - 01:05, UNIQUE ID: 211025_22
Statements on behalf of the EU

25 October 2021, New York – Statement by H.E. Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations at the 76th United Nations General Assembly Plenary Meeting on the Secretary-General’s Report: Our Common Agenda

 - As delivered -

 

Thank you, Mr President, for having convened this meeting, which is an important occasion to exchange views with the Secretary-General and the membership on ‘Our Common Agenda’.

 

 

On behalf of the EU and its Member States, with the candidate countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and Georgia aligning with this statement, I would like to express our appreciation once again, Mr Secretary-General, for putting together a very substantial report, including an excellent analysis on where global governance is failing, and very operational recommendations with a view to rebuilding trust on all levels and to revitalising multilateralism.

 

We support you in taking forward the recommendations that fall under your direct purview and stand ready to actively engage – in an inclusive manner with partners in and outside this Hall – on those that require the endorsement of the membership.

 

There is a strong sense in the membership that this report is not “just another UN report”, Mr Secretary-General, but one that provides all of us with the opportunity to engage in shaping “the UN we need, for the future we want” -and “we” not only meaning UN Member States, but “we the people”, as enshrined in the UN Charter and echoed in the UN75 Declaration. In moving forward we should work for the peoples and with the peoples.

 

While we are still assessing the full scope of all the recommendations, we can already lend our support to many of the proposals, starting with the strong focus you put on bridging the global inequalities gap in all its dimensions. We fully agree with you, Mr Secretary-General, that the best way to do reduce these inequalities is by accelerating the implementation of the Agenda 2030, which remains our roadmap and where the pandemic has put us further behind.

 

We also fully share the need to rebuild trust between and amongst countries, institutions and people and in this regard echo our strong support for a renewed social contract anchored in human rights.

 

As regards Human Rights, we fully subscribe to its centrality and universality in all its dimensions, and acknowledge them being treated as a cross-cutting theme across the report. We insist that all 3 pillars are being treated equally. We welcome the report’s focus on new areas, such as human rights in the digital space, which we see as complementary to the traditional human rights components.

 

We also note with appreciation the focus on gender equality, and welcome that the report puts human rights and empowerment of ALL women and girls right at the centre, including strong proposals on promoting gender equality and parity, inclusion, and the eradication of all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence.

 

We also fully support the proposals to improve delivery on our ‘Global Commons’, starting with:

 

    •  the triple planetary emergency: We fully support the ambition on net zero emissions, on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, the post 2020-biodiversity framework as well as the proposed solidarity package to support developing countries. The 2 COPs in Kunming and Glasgow will soon test our collective commitment and the EU will approach both meetings with high ambition.

 

    • On health: The pandemic has demonstrated the clear need for improved prevention, preparedness and international governance and an empowered WHO. We have proposed an International Treaty on Pandemic Preparedness and Response. We also support a Global Vaccination Plan, as well as proposals to accelerate the production of and improve access to health technologies in low- and middle-income countries as another means to overcome the global inequalities gap. Further proposals by the High-Level Independent Panel also deserve closer consideration.

 

    • On the digital agenda, we registered with strong interest the proposal for a Digital Compact, for overcoming the digital divide and for a Global Code of Conduct including on disinformation. The EU stands ready to engage on all these proposals with priority.

 

On Peace and Security, the report suggests a New Agenda for Peace. We believe this is highly needed amidst growing instability and volatility, and new multidimensional challenges and threats, such as cyber-attacks, disinformation, or access to outer space. The focus on efforts to reducing strategic risks and strengthening prevention and peace building, including through increased and sustainable financial resources, also has our strong support. As we discussed on Friday, the entire report, including its analysis on inequalities and the call to rebuild the social contract and to improve respect for human rights, climate change etc., are all relevant to the construction of peace.

 

Mediation and making good use of your ‘good offices’, Mr Secretary-General, are also important elements in that mix, and we would have liked to see even more attention to this in the report as part of a peace and security chapter that displays the high level of ambition it deserves and as shown for the other two pillars.

 

We also stand ready to engage fully together with all relevant stakeholders in the preparations for the various Summits, most notably the ‘Summit for the Future’. In this regard, we express our strong support to putting youth and future generations right and centre as it is their future we are determining with our decisions. The proposals for upgrading the office of the Youth Envoy to a full-fledged Youth Office and setting up an Envoy for Future Generations also deserve our positive consideration.

 

The inclusive consultation processes launched in preparing our Common Agenda and that led up to the adoption of the SDGs can serve as models in the follow up and preparing the Summit of the Future.

 

We consider the strengthening of the Youth dimension as a key element of shaping a more inclusive and networked multilateralism, ensuring all voices of society are being heard. In that regard, we also support the strong focus on partnership and the proposal for establishing civil society focal points in all UN entities. This is the right way for a more inclusive UN, which we have been strongly advocating for, which should also include the private sector.

 

So Mr Secretary-General, we are committed to engaging in the discussion to come, even though positions may vary and not everyone agrees to every recommendation. We fully support a short and concise procedural GA Resolution, which does just that: initiating the necessary follow-up process and empowering the President to provide the necessary space for discussing regularly - based on updates received by the Secretary-General – and in an inclusive manner. Over and above this resolution, we are eager to hear from you how you intend to organise and structure our onward discussions with a view to operationalizing the report.

 

Mr President, Mr Secretary-General, thank you for your attention.

 

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