Remarks by the High Representative for UNAOC
At the Nizami Ganjavi 26th High-level Meeting
“Shaping the Future : Rebooting Multilateralism”

20 September 2023 – 9:00 am, New York

Distinguished guests,

It is always a great honor to be addressing such a remarkable gathering of prominent figures to listen and learn from their wisdom.

Listen to each other and learn from each other, are key elements in any constructive dialogue.

Dialogue builds understanding , trust and respect.

Sadly today, there is a shortage of dialogue and a surplus of monologue.

It is a paradox to mention monologue when less than a mile from here, world leaders are delivering public statements and behind closed doors.

But are they listening to each other with open hearts and minds?

I think not.

Geopolitical divisions are growing wider. Old conflicts are re-escalating and new conflicts are erupting everywhere.

Deep-rooted inequalities are fraying our societies.

Gender equality is in reverse mode and human rights is suffering a set-back in many parts of the world.

Toxic hate, xenophobia and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief including antisemitism, Islamophobia and Christinophobia are mainstreamed and spreading at a pace never seen before enabled by the fast-growing new technologies.

Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements are gaining both strength and traction.

They have become the fastest growing security threat in many countries.

In short, the global landscape as we see it today reminds us of difficult times that prevailed during the Cold war era, if not worse.

But back then, it was a bipolar world…seen through the narrow lens of 2 super powers.

But now we are transitioning into a multipolar world. Multipolarity is not necessarily a blue print for the balance of power or a guarantee for peace.

A Multipolar world can be a complex and dynamic international system with multiple centers of power, complex alliances and shifting alliances which can lead to both opportunities and challenges.

Multipolarity requires strong global governance and effective networked multilateral institutions.

Equally we need to restore universal humanistic values that are embedded in the UN Charter.

His Holiness Pope Francis spoke about the “globalisation of indifference” in his apostolic exhortation titled “Evangelii Gaudium” or (The Joy of Gospel). He called instead for the globalization of solidarity and compassion.

We need a new narrative to address the current global context. One that is people-centered focusing on the vulnerable.

We need to rebuild trust and restore solidarity.

We need to invest in social cohesion through inclusion and protection of human rights and human dignity.

We need to enhance global citizenship education.

After this high-level week is over, we reflect and ask ourselves whether world leaders can muster political will and walk the talk.

Distinguished colleagues,

I started my remarks by invoking the value of listening to and learning from the wisdom of others.

Today, the 20th of September marks the death of Dag Hammarskjold, the second Secretary General of the United Nations. Sixty-three years after his death , Dag Hammarskjold’s wisdom still inspires all of us within the UN and beyond. He was a compassionate human being before being a skilled diplomat and a brave leader.

I wish to conclude by quoting Dag Hammarskjold: “The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.”

I thank you and I look forward to the panel discussions.