Speech/statement | Date: 2016-09-22 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Minister Børge Brende's statement at the launch of the UN70 initiative - five recommendations for the next UN Secretary-General - in New York.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
"Welcome, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the most impossible job on this earth".
With these words, Trygve Lie, the first Secretary-General of the United Nations, greeted his successor, Dag Hammarskjöld.
There are of course many reasons why the role as Secretary-General is a very demanding position.
It was hard in the 1950s, and it is perhaps even more challenging today.
The world is now changing at an unprecedented pace. In order to stay relevant, the UN must adapt and reform.
Many of today's major challenges – terrorism, climate change, migration – are too big for any one country to handle. We can only effectively deal with these issues together.
We need more and stronger international cooperation. We need a more effective UN.
Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico and Norway have joined forces in the UN70 initiative.
Coming from all regions, you might call us a microcosm of the United Nations.
The process towards finding common ground on how we want the UN to better meet the challenges of the 21st century, has been very rewarding.
I am especially glad that so many of my foreign minister colleagues were able to make it here today. I would also like to thank IPI for hosting us.
While there is much discussion these days about who will become the next Secretary-General, it is our hope that we, with this launch, can also start talking more about what that person should do to strengthen the United Nations.
In the UN70 initiative, we have agreed on a set of five recommendations for the next Secretary General:
1) Be your own boss, be independent and listen to all member states. The Secretary-General must insist on the independence of the Secretariat. There can be no double standards when dealing with member states.
2) Be our number one diplomat. The Secretary General must use all diplomatic tools available. Be proactive. Be persistent and courageous. Never give up trying to find solutions for peace.
3) Be our chief global activist to reduce poverty and safeguard the environment. Reaching both the Sustainable Development Goals and implementing the Paris-agreement will be challenging. But it is doable. You should be both the champion and cheerleader of these agreements – and push member states to live up to their commitments.
4) Be the advocate for the world's 65 million displaced people. The Secretary-General must defend the rights of all refugees and displaced peoples. You must lead international efforts to tackle humanitarian crises better.
5) Be a leader in integrating human rights into all UN activities. The UN should place even stronger emphasis on human rights, including in its peace and development operations. The next Secretary-General should expand and more systematically apply the Human Rights Up Front- initiative.
As soon as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations is appointed, the seven countries in UN70-initiative will schedule an appointment with her or him.
We want to present our recommendations and initiate a conversation on how we best can support the Secretary General elect.
The launch here today is therefore not the end of the UN70-initative.
We will do more outreach to other countries and include more countries in follow-up seminars.