Friday 24 April 2020 was International Multilateralism Day; at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde, and the Global Challenges Foundation, Luxembourg participated in the celebrations by being represented by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, who delivered a speech by videoconference.
The videoconference focused on the future of the United Nations, under the title "The future we want - the UN we need". It took place in the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, as the world is plagued by transnational threats such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented health crisis whose economic and social repercussions affect the whole world.
In his speech, Minister Asselborn highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a global public health crisis. It is a much more fundamental systemic crisis, as it interacts with the climate crisis, hunger and poverty in the world, conflicts and the dangerous trend of erosion of human rights, 'Rule of law and international order based on rules'.
In this context, the head of Luxembourg diplomacy quoted the permanent representatives of Qatar and Sweden to the United Nations, who are responsible for facilitating intergovernmental negotiations on the declaration for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations: "We are faced with a common threat that knows no borders. Never before have we needed multilateralism and international cooperation so much. Let us seize this opportunity and strengthen our cooperation and the leadership role of the United Nations.”
Minister Asselborn paid tribute to the United Nations personnel and officials who lost their lives in the service of peace and security, including the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Swedish Dag Hammarskjöld.
Jean Asselborn warned that "the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to exacerbate conflict and therefore poses a real threat to peace and security." In this regard, he regretted that the United Nations Security Council has not yet been able to tackle concretely the response to the pandemic.
In the context of the 75th anniversary of the UN, the head of Luxembourg diplomacy stressed that "the time has come to work together to strengthen the United Nations we have today in order to achieve the United Nations we need for tomorrow ". Jean Asselborn pleaded in particular to support the World Health Organization and to strengthen the United Nations system in the areas of human rights and development.
To conclude, Minister Asselborn launched an appeal to "commit once again to the vision of the Charter of the United Nations and find new ways to mobilise the good will of all, member states, public entities but also the sector private sector, in order to generate the resources we need to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.