GA: UNSG Priorities for 2023

Nordic Statement at the presentation of the priorities of the UN Secretary-General, 6 February 2023.

The statement was delivered by the Ambassador of Denmark

Mr. Secretary-General,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Denmark.

Thank you for your presentation on your priorities for the coming year. The year we left behind was a consequential one. The world was witness to Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine, on the UN Charter and on multilateralism itself. Russia’s invasion was and is a grave violation of international law. As a global community, we must defend the rule of law and ensure accountability. This applies to all violations, everywhere.

The war in Ukraine has had far-reaching global consequences. We have seen a food-, energy-, debt- and cost-of-living crisis. We commend the efforts of the Secretary-General and his Global Crisis Response Group to address these effects.

2023 will be a crucial year to reinvigorate multilateralism and deliver on our commitments. The main focus this year will the SDG Summit. It is crucial that we can demonstrate renewed commitment and comprehensive policies to leave no one behind.

A successful SDG Summit is also critical or the success of the Summit of the Future next year. The 2030 Agenda and Our Common Agenda are twin agendas and must be treated as such. Both agendas include significant commitments on sustainable development, climate action, financing for development, gender equality, global health, human rights, education, civic space and the rights of future generations.

One of the key pillars of the 2030 Agenda is to leave no one behind. The LDC5 Conference next month will be a critically important opportunity to confirm our political commitment to addressing the unique challenges faced by the least developed countries. 2023 will also see the first UN water conference in 46 years. The conference marks an opportunity for action that cannot be missed – this is the moment to galvanize action and political will to ensure a water secure future for all.

In order to ensure the success of both the 2030 Agenda and Our Common Agenda, it is critical to ensure the meaningful inclusion of non-state actors, including civil society and the private sector, as well as the meaningful participation of women and youth and marginalized groups.

There is no development without peace and no peace without development. We must prioritize conflict prevention and sustaining peace. The New Agenda for Peace will be critical to effectively and comprehensively address the complex and interdependent challenges to peace and security, such as the effects of climate change and non-traditional security threats emanating from technological innovation. We need to update and enhance a comprehensive UN approach for conflict prevention and peacebuilding.

We also need to leverage the potential of the Peacebuilding Commission by enhancing its advisory role, making it more result-oriented and transparent, and strengthening its cooperation with other UN entities and CSOs – and we need to increase peacebuilding financing.

UN reform and implementation of the QCPR will be essential to achieve these goals. The UN must work in an efficient and result-oriented manner, focused on the nexus across the pillars of development, peace and security, humanitarian issues and human rights.

2023 also marks the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, and we must continue to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights across the UN system.

Last year we saw progress for the planet with the adoption of the new post-2020 framework for biodiversity and the start of negotiations for an international plastic treaty. Meanwhile, we remain deeply concerned about the growing greenhouse gas emission gap. We urgently need increased climate ambition and climate action. We would like to thank the Secretary-General for his powerful messages on these issues and we look forward to the Climate Ambition Summit in September.

As always, the Nordic countries stand ready to engage actively and constructively on all of these issues.

Thank you.