Welcome to the United Nations

Message to the XVIII Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Delivered by Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo

25 Oct 2019 - 10:13

I am honoured to greet this 18th Summit of Heads and State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement.  I congratulate Azerbaijan on assuming the chairmanship of NAM and look forward to working together. 

The Non-Aligned Movement has made immense contributions to the work of the United Nations.  NAM members represent two-thirds of the UN membership and contribute 80 per cent of UN peacekeepers.  Through the years, the concerns and views of Non-Aligned Movement countries have shaped our agenda, from peace and security to sustainable development and human rights.

You gather at a time of unease and uncertainty around the world.  A great many people are losing faith in a process of globalization that is leaving them behind. We see a growing deficit of trust in governments, political establishments, government and the media, and the rising appeal of nationalist and populist voices.  

At the same time, we are witnessing the multiplication of conflicts that are increasingly interlinked, and which are also intertwined with the newer threats of global terrorism and international criminality.

Over the decades, international cooperation has saved lives, advanced human rights, prevented conflicts, and expanded economic and social progress.

Yet across the world today, we are seeing greater scepticism about multilateralism and increasing calls for isolationism and closed borders.  The norms that have defined international cooperation for the last 75 years are under pressure.  We are falling short in the face of unresolved conflicts, runaway climate change, widening inequalities and other threats.  

We face a paradox: global challenges are more connected, but our responses are growing more fragmented.  This is very dangerous at a time when collective action is essential.

But it is not enough to proclaim the virtue of multilateralism.  We must prove the value of international cooperation by addressing the real problems people face, and doing so in a way that they understand and in which they can participate.

We need a networked multilateralism, with close cooperation among international and regional organizations, and important groups such as the NAM.

We also need to work towards an inclusive multilateralism, with strong partnerships with parliaments, the business community, civil society, academics and others.

I applaud your long-standing focus on the challenge of disarmament and non-proliferation.  I have put forward a new disarmament agenda to advance global peace.  The United Nations will continue working with Member States to make progress, including in the context of the 2020 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the cornerstone of the disarmament and non-proliferation regime.

Let us never forget that development is critical for stable and prosperous societies.  It is also a fundamental instrument for conflict prevention.  We have a vital tool for addressing some of the roots of instability: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our shared blueprint for a fair globalization.

Yet four years since the Agenda’s adoption, we are far from where we need to be – in reducing inequality, in addressing the climate crisis, in tackling global hunger, in achieving gender equality and in expanding opportunity for young people. We must step up our efforts with greater ambition and financing.

We also know how climate change is an accelerator of insecurity.  As we have seen in the Sahel region and elsewhere, the competition for resources is often an additional factor of instability.  It is no coincidence that the countries most vulnerable to climate change are often those most vulnerable to conflict and fragility.

If our world is to avoid the climate cliff, we must build on the achievements of last month’s Climate Action Summit, heed the call of science and cut greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030, reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. 

Finally, in all we do, the initiative, energy and ideas of young people will be critical.  I commend your efforts to expand opportunities for youth and engage them as partners in preventing conflict, sustaining peace and ensuring justice.

As the movement towards a multipolar world continues, strong multilateral institutions are ever more critical.

Let us pledge to keep working to reap the benefits of multilateralism – particularly as a central vehicle to maintain international peace and security, foster friendly relations among states and ensure human dignity for all.

Thank you.