GA: The work of the Organization

Nordic joint statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul on the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, 22 January 2020.

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I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. We welcome the new format of today’s debate. It is positive both for efficiency, and the relevance of our discussions.

I wish to also convey our gratitude to the Secretary-General for outlining, and engaging with Member States on priorities for 2020. You can count on the full support of the Nordic countries. And, to thank the Secretary-General for summarising the vast range of activities in the ‘report on the work of the organization’.  It is a solid demonstration of the continued relevance, and far reach of the work of the UN.


As Nordics, we firmly believe that we have everything to gain from a rules based international order, where international law, including human rights law, is upheld. Such an order has the United Nations at its core.

We will continue to play our part.

The Secretary-General has outlined what is at stake if we do not.

Without effective multilateralism we will not achieve Agenda 2030. Or solve challenges like climate change, marine pollution, loss of biodiversity, irregular migration or new security threats. This is why Nordic countries are unwavering in our support to the United Nations. We see this as an investment in the UN - and in multilateralism.

We remain concerned that last year the UN faced a severe liquidity crisis. It affected the Organization’s daily operations negatively, and has been a source of serious concern for UN Staff and Member States.  

This underlines the importance of countries meeting their financial obligations. We encourage all to pay, in full, on time, and without conditions.


The Nordic countries are steadfast supporters of the Secretary-General’s leadership on UN reform and we welcome the focus on this aspect in the report. As we enter the Decade of Action, we need strong, and efficient UN country teams to assist countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

We know that real impact will require a culture of change, at all levels. We have agreed on ambitious reforms, we now need to see their implementation at country level. And we must hear from stakeholders: what has worked and what hasn’t. Learning from their experiences as we move forward. Particularly on how reforms have strengthened linkages between peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development efforts.


Along with highlighting the importance of the UN’s normative role, and of Leaving No One Behind; UN engagement should contribute to reduce inequalities, promoting human rights, and international norms and standards. Gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls has a multiplier effect for achieving: sustained and inclusive growth, poverty eradication, and sustainable development.

On this note, we commend also the Secretary-General’s efforts towards, and commitment to, gender equality in the UN System.


For 2020 and beyond, we couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed by the SG towards breaking silos, and bring the pillars of the UNs work together.

For my part, as President of ECOSOC, I have been actively engaged with other bodies, from the Security Council, to the Peace Building Commission, and the Human Rights Council.

Regular interaction between the PGA and the President of ECOSOC is also more important now, than ever, with new common mandates from the GA. Such as the Youth Plenary and a meeting on LDCs. I highly value our joint efforts to implement the decade for action and delivery.  

We know that progress on achieving Agenda 2030 in no small part rests with our ability to mobilise resources. This is why Financing for Development is front and centre of my ECOSOC Presidency. More also needs to be done towards the UN working better with civil society, and the business sector. These relationships will be vital for Agenda 2030 implementation.


The Nordic countries strongly support the SGs emphasis on prevention, mediation and peacemaking. We stress that UN peacekeeping must remain an adequate, and relevant instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security. Efforts must be made to implement the Action for Peacekeeping initiative (A4P) on the ground. We look forward to the upcoming review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and we hope it will contribute to further strengthen the UN’s role and capacities in preventing conflict, and building and sustaining peace. 


For the Nordic countries it is indisputable that UN system wide coherence must prioritise human rights.

In this respect, we echo the concerns of the SG that there are:  “worrying trends of shrinking democratic and civic space, often affecting human rights defenders, health workers and journalists first”

There are clear links between a lack of respect for human rights, and other challenges facing the international community. If we fail in our obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, we are unlikely to succeed in our efforts to promote sustainable development and peace. We would like to see a greater focus on this aspect in 2020.


The Secretary-General convened us last year to deliver “plans not speeches” for concrete climate action. These plans now need to be realised. We urge the Secretary-General to keep political pressure on all of us ahead of COP26.


We have touched on only a few issues today, but there are so many others in the report, and covered by the Secretary-General this morning. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UN this year, please be assured, the Nordic countries stand ready to be consistent partners of a strong UN; and of the Secretary-General, in all areas and efforts.

Thank you.