8 June 2011
Diplomatic Club of Geneva
Remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
Event organized by
the Diplomatic Club of Geneva
in honour of the Director-General
Mesdames et Messieurs,
C’est un grand plaisir pour moi d’être avec vous ce soir. Je dois avouer avoir été particulièrement touché par l’organisation de cette soirée par le Club Diplomatique de Genève. Je suis très heureux de m’exprimer devant un auditoire aussi distingué.
Dans un environnement où communication et compréhension des différences culturelles sont essentielles, je considère les soirées comme celles-ci particulièrement importantes.
As pointed out by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations is facing unprecedented global challenges: climate change, nuclear safety, disarmament, global health and the eradication of diseases. It is our responsibility to lead on the great collective issues of the day. Strong efforts are constantly being made to address these challenges. The United Nations is present in the field to support people when natural disasters occur such as last year’s floods in Pakistan, or after the earthquake that hit Haiti in January 2010. People count on the United Nations to promote peace, including in Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and also during the recent Arab Spring protest movements. The United Nations have been speaking out and will keep doing so.
I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the City and the Canton of Geneva for their support in our daily tasks. Let me also express my deepest gratitude for Switzerland’s continued commitment to ensuring the fulfilment of the mandates of the international organizations. Nothing could be achieved without its help and dedicated support.
Before coming to Geneva, I met with the United Nations Secretary-General who tasked me with enhancing the city’s role as a multilateral hub. Let me tell you that I am committed to doing my utmost to push forward this extremely substantive agenda.
I wish to build on the success of outreach events like last year’s World Environment Day as well as public events such as the Geneva Lecture Series to make the work of the United Nations more accessible to the broader community.
Here, in the Diplomatic Club, I cannot avoid speaking about such an important issue as disarmament. We must be proud of the fact that there is the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, which represents a unique and single body of multilaral diplomacy in the disarmament area. The Conference on Disarmament has proved its credibility, drafting a number of vitally important treaties and agreements that have become part of international relations. Therefore, we must be careful about the CD – not take hasty decisions as far as the future of this forum is concerned.
The frustration among Member countries of the CD over the lack of progress is growing. It is true that the CD is in a stalemate. However, even though there is a deadlock in the CD, this body is not dead. The Conference does work. Deliberations and discussions that almost all the delegations are actively involved in continue.
The lack of substantive negotiations in the Conference has caused serious concerns and doubts over the perspectives of the process of disarmament. The ability of the CD to address this issue is questioned by the international community.
My view as Secretary-General of the CD is that we under no circumstances should lose optimism. The frustration cannot and should not overshadow the broad vision of the importance of the CD. In the present extremely difficult situation, we need time and patience. Diplomacy is always patience. Patience is equal to wisdom. Wise people are usually patient. Let’s be more understandable of the difficulties that the CD has to face due to the well-known geopolitical problems.
I see the Geneva Diplomatic Club playing a key function in strengthening these links. Its role in establishing bridges and facilitating connections between the local and international communities is really commendable, so I would like to express my appreciation for its efforts to bring together key figures from different sectors. I believe that developing and enhancing such networks are very much essential.
Je ne peux conclure mon propos sans vous exprimer ma joie d’avoir été nommé Membre du Comité d’Honneur du Club Diplomatique de Genève. C’est pour moi un grand honneur.
Permettez-moi de vous renouveler tous mes remerciements pour cette soirée. Je me réjouis à l’idée d’échanger avec vous et de mieux appréhender, grâce à vous, la « Genève internationale » et la « Genève locale ».