Where is the Voice of the UN Secretary-General? A Speech, he did not give, but should have
Last Friday the Olympic Games opened in Beijing. The games are the venue for athletes from around the world to compete with each other. According to the Olympic ideal all political enmities are to be suspended while the games are being held. Thus, we should use the games as an occasion to step back and reflect, how we can end ongoing conflicts in a peaceful way.
At the beginning of 2022 two powerful countries, the US and Russia, are confronting each other in a most bellicose manner. According to the UN Charter they have one of the most important international mandates, namely as permanent members of the UN security council together with other 13 members to watch and guarantee through recommendations for appropriate action international peace and stability. China as the host of the games and as another permanent member of the council shares this special responsibility. France and the UK, the other two permanent members are actively engaged in diplomatic discussions with the governments of Russia, the Ukraine and the US, aiming to defuse the conflict. The previously held meetings between Russia, the Ukraine, Germany and France are being resumed. I welcome all of this endeavours as they are in line with the letter and the spirit of the UN Charter. Nevertheless I continue to be concerned that a military confrontation still looms on the horizon.
It is not my place as the secretary-general of the UN to take sides one way or the other. But it is my role to remind all governments involved, in particular the 5 permanent members of the security council, of their responsibility to maintain and preserve international peace and to resolve their disagreements with non-military means.
In this time and age of big global challenges such as climate change and the ongoing pandemic, it is mandatory that the 5 permanent members of the security council devote their attention and resources to solving these global challenges and not to have them distracted by antagonisms between them. They have to set a positive example for all member states.
For the coming years we need strong leadership to implement the Agenda 2030 and to reach the 17 SDGs in every country. In 2015, the Agenda 2030 was adopted as a universal agenda and thus also for the members of the security council. The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown us back. We therefore need now, and urgently, a gathering of all our forces to end the pandemic, to stop a warming of the earth’s atmosphere, to reverse sustainably poverty and hunger and to protect and renew our natural resource base.
I urge all parties involved in this conflict to soon find a lasting modus vivendi which will allow all countries, large and small to focus on the achievement of the 17 SDGs in their countries and globally. As a result of such renewed and refocussed efforts some of the conflict issues will vanish, as we succeed in creating better living conditions for the population in the conflict areas and elsewhere.
I trust that the governments engaged in finding a durable solution to this conflict will not spare any efforts and I offer the services of my organisation and mine, to muster this surely difficult, but necessary change of geopolitical politics.