UN Compound Beijing
4 December, 2019
Friends from Club de Madrid,
Welcome to UN Compound in China and thank you for joining us in the roundtable today.
I’m pleased to introduce honorable guests:
H.E. Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden
H.E. Mehdi Jomaa, former Prime Minister of Tunisia
H.E. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana
H.E. Han Seung-soo, former Prime Minister of Korea
H.E. Danilo Türk, former President Slovenia
H.E. Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General
And Ms. Maria Elena Aguero, Secretary General of Club de Madrid
Coinciding with COP25 which brings world leaders to Madrid to decide next crucial steps to tackle climate change and reaffirm our commitment to Paris Agreement, today’s roundtable offers a timely and valuable opportunity to reiterate why multilateralism is the only solution to global challenges.
Climate change is moving faster than we can imagine. Climate-related natural disasters become more frequent and destructive, with growing human and financial costs. The latest report of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shows that natural disasters in the region are currently responsible for economic losses of up to US$675 billion annually and affecting close to 150 million people. The most vulnerable groups are usually the one that hit the worst.
However, climate crisis is not the only challenge we face. Regional conflicts escalate, forcing thousands of people leave their homeland. Technological development is accelerating at an unprecedented pace, but sometimes outpacing policy-making and increasing inequality. Nationalism and protectionism stem from trade tensions, result in closing economies, and sabotage the trust in the governments and multilateralism.
We need strong multilateral institutions in the emerging multipolar world. We need an inclusive multilateralism, with strong partnerships, to facilitate close cooperation among international and regional organizations.
United Nations has since its creation been the cornerstone of the multilateral governance system. But the multilateral governance structures that emerged after World War II do not fit for purpose to respond to emerging challenges. The United Nations knows that it must change. Therefore, the UN Secretary-General launched the most ambitious reform in the organization’s history. It aims to give a stronger voice to those that until now have been underrepresented, and to make the organization better placed to realize the 2030 Agenda and forge stronger partnerships to respond to new challenges.
Next year marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, a critical moment to revisit our common projects and shared vision. The United Nations will take the opportunity to spark dialogues across regions and sectors to define how enhanced international cooperation can help realize a better world by 2045, the UN’s 100th birthday.
I look forward to the coming dialogue and hearing the insights from honourable guests from distinctive regional perspectives.