Informal meeting with Secretary-General-designate

Joint statement on behalf of Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Norway and Ghana at the informal meeting with the Secretary-General-designate António Guterres, given by Ghana's Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, 19 October 2016.

I will speak on behalf of Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Norway and my own country Ghana. We are seven countries that have come together as a cross- regional group for more than a year to develop reform ideas that we think are valuable for this crucial time of transition.

First, our countries would like to extend our sincere congratulations on your appointment as Secretary-General of the United Nations. We are confident that in you, the UN will get a Secretary General that will provide the organization with firm leadership, and that can champion and uphold the purpose and principles of the UN Charter.

We also wish to thank the President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson and his predecessor Mogens Lykketoft for their work in securing a process that marks a major historic shift towards an open and inclusive selection and appointment of the Secretary General. 

Colombia, Ethiopia,Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Norway and Ghana are staunch supporters of the UN. For us, the UN is an essential part of the multilateral order. We need to defend, adjust and promote the UN as the world is facing more challenges than ever.

Since the summer of 2015, our countries have discussed UN policy and reform ideas at political level and working level, in Accra, Addis Ababa, Amman, Bogotá, Jakarta, Mexico City, Oslo, New York and Geneva. We have agreed on an agenda for global leadership with five general recommendations. We thank you for this excellent occasion to share these recommendations with you and with the rest of the member states;

  • First; Be your own boss, be independent and listen to all member states. You must insist on the independence of the Secretariat. There can be no double standards when dealing with member states.
  • Second; Be our number one diplomat. You must use all diplomatic tools available. Be proactive. Be persistent and courageous. Never give up trying to find solutions for peace. The whole UN system must be geared towards sustaining peace.
  • Third; 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.
  • Forth; Be the advocate for the world's 65 million displaced people and promote a stronger, more coherent approach to achieve durable solutions to major refugee and migratory flows. You must defend the rights of all refugees and displaced peoples. You must lead international efforts to tackle humanitarian crises better. As the former head of UNHCR, you know what is needed.
  • Fifth; Be a leader in integrating human rights into all UN activities. Ensure the promotion of gender equality as part of the human rights culture in the UN system. The UN should place even stronger emphasis on human rights, including in its peace and development operations. You should expand and more systematically apply the Human Rights Up Front initiative.

Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, Mexico, Norway and Ghana, look forward to close and fruitful cooperation with you in the future. We hope that we can continue the dialogue in the months to come.  I can assure you that you can rely on our countries’ support in implementing reform efforts, and in making tough decisions.

Read more about our five recommendations to the next Secretary-General here.