SC: Upholding Multilateralism and the UN-centered international system

Statement by Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide, on 'Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centered international system', 7 May 2021.

I would like to join others in thanking you, Foreign Minister Wang, for calling and presiding over this important meeting, and the President of the General Assembly, Mr Volkan Bozkir for your intervention.

The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are keystones of modern international relations.

75 years ago, Australia’s Ambassador Norman Makin - the first president of the Security Council - opened the very first Council meeting with the hope that - and I quote - ‘the Security Council will be a great power for good in the world, and bring that freedom from fear which is necessary before we can hope for progress and welfare in all lands.’

Freedom from fear. That is what it is about. Not just for states - but for individuals in their daily lives.

Norway is convinced that respect for and protection of human rights is a prerequisite for durable international peace and security.


It is vital in this day and age that we reiterate our common commitment to non-aggression, and to the principles of justice and international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law.

We must safeguard and strengthen the international order that has served us so well for 75 years. We are dependent on, and best served by, a predictable, rules-based international order, which makes the world safer and more stable. We are also best served by a world order where small and large states cooperate to find common solutions, where major powers are prevented from acting unilaterally, and where right prevails over might. In fact, the very hallmark of multilateralism is to commit beyond one’s own self-interest.


Absence of inclusive democracy, marginalisation of minorities, authoritarian rule and repression: These are the root causes of violent conflict. Conflicts have become increasingly protracted in nature, have a devastating effect on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and pose a threat to international peace and security. Myanmar and Tigray are among the most recent examples.

The Security Council has played a key role for 75 years. It has prevented, de-escalated and resolved conflicts. Some peacekeeping operations mandated by the Council have been successful, illustrated by the UN being awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. Some have failed, and we must learn from those failures.

Our focus should always be on achieving concrete results for people affected by conflict.

The protection of civilians, including children, must remain at the core of our efforts. We must combat sexual and gender-based violence in conflict. Sexual violence is not a side-effect of armed conflict. It’s a weapon of war, and impunity for this crime has to end.

We need to turn commitments into compliance, and resolutions into results.

The inclusion of women in peace efforts will be crucial to our success. No society can truly succeed without the active involvement of women.


We must build on the legacy of the United Nations to confront new challenges, including inter-ethnic or inter-religious conflicts, pandemics and cybercrime, climate-related conflicts, and the rise of non-state armed actors. These are all pressing issues.

Climate change has been recognised as a ‘threat multiplier’ that will aggravate existing conflicts, and can also lead to new ones. It is vital that the Council has access to fact-based information on climate-related security risks in specific country contexts when it takes its decisions.

A threat that deserves wider attention is piracy, robbery at sea, and related maritime crime. The Security Council can and should authorise more robust action to make the world's oceans safe and secure for maritime commerce.


We need to create a more inclusive multilateralism, drawing on the contributions of civil society, business, academia and other sectors. 

And we must recognise, once again, that no state alone, no matter how powerful, can resolve all the challenges that are before us.