Where global solutions are shaped for you | The Director-General | Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

1 July 2016
Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

Welcome Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

Meeting of the Council of Socialist International

Palais des Nations, Room XVII
Friday, 1 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great privilege and pleasure to welcome you all to the Palais des Nations. I very much appreciate that this year again you have chosen to meet at the heart of International Geneva.

Addressing current international crises, defending and securing democracy, defeating inequality in the world economy – the list of the global challenges you have chosen to tackle in the course of these two days is also at the centre of the United Nations agenda.

These challenges are not new, but finding solutions becomes increasingly difficult as they cannot be contained to only certain countries or territories in the world that is now more interconnected than ever. Climate change, terrorism or armed conflicts are examples of such challenges that transcend borders and continents.

The aging Westphalian model of governance focusing on States as the only actors in international relations is itself being put to the test. The role of the State is being challenged by new actors in civil society, private sector and academia. The contribution of these stakeholders at the decision making table is now more needed than ever to identify comprehensive and holistic answers to today’s complex and interconnected realities. These multistakeholder partnership models that are being developed at different governance levels will not only strengthen informed decision making processes, but will also help alleviate the deficit of trust towards those in power that we are experiencing today. There needs to be a mind shift in learning to deal with issues in a strategic and inclusive manner, connecting the global and the local, and emphasizing prevention for long term impact.

This mind shift is already taking place as demonstrated last year, with the adoption of a historic roadmap for humanity by all Member States of the United Nations. This collective roadmap consisting of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Agenda for Financing Sustainable Development, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Agreement is oura collective plan of action towards a sustainable world for our future generations. These policy frameworks have been agreed following an unprecedented engagement from international and regional organizations, parliaments, civil society, academia, the private sector and many other actors, including up to 10 million people online, in a truly inclusive process.

Reflecting the spirit of inclusiveness, in which this roadmap was developed, the new agenda places the interdependence of all actors at the heart of its achievement, and requires horizontal thinking and working together across issues in the implementation phase.

The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 goals and 169 targets is a clear manifestation of the understanding that has evolved over the last several decades of the United Nations’ existence that the three pillars - peace, development and human rights – are deeply interconnected. People, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership – the five “P”s, constitute the nucleus of our collective efforts to achieve the future we want without leaving anyone behind. This Agenda is a roadmap for all 7 billion of us, and everyone has a role to play in making it a reality.

Now, that the “what” has been agreed upon by everybody, we need to shift the focus on the “how” and to develop new ways of working through inclusive partnerships, horizontal and cross cutting cooperation. The 2030 Agenda is an opportunity to adjust our national, regional and international systems and structures to the new way of doing business. Business as usual is no longer possible. For example, there is dire need of breaking silos between different national ministries for countries to begin operating in a more integrated way. A stronger focus on the “whole of government” approach is needed more than ever to implement the Sustainable Development Goals successfully. The same holds true for the international cooperation system, which replicates the same silos and fragmentation. We need to become much better at all levels to work horizontally, across issues, thus re-enforcing a sense of shared responsibility for our common future.

Parliamentarians clearly have a very important part to play in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They are the crucial links between international agreements, national decisions and local constituencies. Parliaments can and should help ‘domesticate’ the policy frameworks adopted at international level.

Strengthening the collaboration between the United Nations and Parliaments worldwide is one of my objectives here in Geneva, where we are working closely with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean.

We must, together, restore the trust that people, in particular young people, have lost in all levels of governance structures, by increasing accountability and promoting transparency and the rule of law. We need to be more serious about building a world where the universal values of solidarity, dignity, equity and justice are respected – by everybody, everywhere. Only by doing so will we be able to counter and reverse the deep sense of injustice and the serious trust deficit that we are experiencing across the board today.

As a worldwide organization, the Socialist International unites 153 social democratic, socialist and labor parties widely represented in parliaments worldwide. In addition, a third of your parties are currently represented in governments. These parties constitute a major political force in democracies around the world. Your words and actions have an important impact on your constituencies.

Here in Geneva – the operational hub of the international system - we are continuously exploring new ways to enable and promote collaboration between different actors. This includes structures to facilitate exchanges between States, civil society, parliamentarians, the private sector, researchers, practitioners and think tanks. We are working to further improve collaboration across the network of International Geneva, which consists of over 50 entities of the UN system, 110 international entities, 400 NGOs and 250 Permanent diplomatic Missions and other delegations. This network contributes collectively towards global “peace, rights and well-being”. In an ongoing mapping that my office is conducting, more than 250 organizations across Geneva have highlighted their expertise on the different Sustainable Development Goals.

We still need to make much more progress in injecting the United Nations into the work of parliaments, connecting global and local levels, multiplying global messages and mobilizing support for global action with a strong local impact. I hope that your meeting here will help to further reinforce these links.

I wish you a very successful meeting.

Thank you very much for being here.