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03.12.2020 02:21Joint Nordic Statement on "Report on Alleged Human Rights Violations related to the Presidential Elections of 9 August 2020 in Belarus"

<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Joint Nordic statement for side-event on “Report on Alleged Human Rights Violations related to the Presidential Elections of 9 august 2020 in Belarus by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Benedek” – 2. December 2020</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">On behalf of the Nordic countries, I would like to initially thank Professor Wolfgang Benedek for his work as Rapporteur under the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism.I would also like to thank the numerous individuals, including human rights defenders, journalists and other media workers and members of civil society in Belarus who contributed information and testified for this extensive report. We are deeply grateful for your efforts. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">The report confirms that we were right to be concerned. Based on extensive documentation, the report concludes that there is overwhelming evidence that the presidential elections of 9 August 2020 were falsified. And that massive and systematic human rights violations were committed by the Belarusian security forces in response to peaceful demonstrations and protests. The tragic death of 31-year old Raman Bandarenka last month is yet another horrific example of the brutal reality in Belarus. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Despite numerous reported cases of human rights violations and abuses, including cases of torture and other ill-treatment, as well as sexual and gender-based violence, the security forces continue to operate with general impunity. </p> <p style="text-align: left;">We encourage Belarus to engage to follow up the recommendations of the report, to end this campaign of violence and repression, to ensure the release of all unjustly imprisoned as well as to allow for a safe return for those in forced exile and to bring to justice all perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. This is not an internal matter of concern for Belarus. Within the OSCE, participating States – including Belarus – have agreed that the commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension of the OSCE are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We welcome the recommendations Professor Benedek has offered in the report. In closing, we would like to ask Professor Benedek a question: What do you consider to be the most effective thing we, as the international community, can do in order to end the impunity of perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment? Given that we are meeting in a New York context today, could we kindly ask you to elaborate on the recommendation on the role of the UN in this regard? </p> <p style="text-align: left;">Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

16.11.2020 20:55Statement on Draft Resolution on the Human Rights Treaty Body System in the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>DRAFT RESOLUTION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS TREATY BODY SYSTEM</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Check against delivery</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Action on 13 November 2020</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>INTRODUCTION</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">by Mr. Agust Flygenring,</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Permanent Mission of Iceland to the UN</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madame Chair,</p> <p>I have the pleasure to introduce the draft resolution on the Human rights treaty body system contained in document A/C.3/75/L.39, under agenda item 72(a), tabled on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden -- the five Nordic countries -- and Belgium and Slovenia. </p> <p>This is the third time this resolution is being presented in Third Committee. There is a very encouraging number of member states on the co-sponsorship list, which we believe proves that our approach has been successful in seeking consensus and broadened support for the resolution. </p> <p>We would like to especially thank the member states who are already co-sponsors and invite all those who believe in the importance of an effective and efficient human rights treaty body system to join us, if they have not already done so. </p> <p>The text before us today is very similar to the resolution adopted two years ago by the General Assembly as resolution 73/162. Only three noticeable changes were made to the text.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, a new preamble paragraph (PP8) reads:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Recalling paragraph 41 of resolution 68/268, and in this regard welcoming the process of the consideration of the state of the human rights treaty body system and taking note of the report of the co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Morocco and Switzerland to the United Nations, to the President of the General Assembly.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As specified in a footnote to this paragraph, the report by the two co-facilitators it refers to was circulated by a letter of the President of the General Assembly at its 74<sup>th</sup> Session on 14 September 2020.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In consultations on this draft resolution, it was clear that the aforementioned process is indeed welcomed by most parties, and while differences exist on specific recommendations and conclusions, the continued work on the process enjoys wide range of support, as reflected in this resolution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The second change is the removal of OP6 from the resolution adopted two years ago. This paragraph had recalled paragraph 22 of resolution 68/268 where, in principle, the General Assembly decided that the public meetings of the treaty bodies should webcast as soon as feasible. As this has now been addressed, there was, simply put, no need to retain the previous OP6 in this year’s resolution.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The third and last noticeable amendment is that the last operative paragraph, marked as OP9 in the draft before us, has been amended to reflect the ongoing process. It retains the reference to paragraph 40 of resolution 68/268, reiterating the General Assembly’s request that the Secretary-General submits what has become a biannual report on the status of the human rights treaty body system. The paragraph omits previous reference to paragraph 41 and the process, which is as previously mentioned, under way.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ongoing pandemic has made this 75<sup>th</sup> session unprecedented for the Third Committee. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Like almost all aspects of our lives, we have had to learn how to tame our expectations and adapt to highly unusual circumstances. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore, our approach from the outset was that we should retain and reinforce the principles of resolutions 68/268 and 73/162. We thank all the delegations for constructive cooperation on this, both in informal consultation and bilateral discussions. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>By taking action on this draft resolution here and in the General Assembly with consensus, we will have managed this together. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madame Chair, I thank you.</p>

30.10.2020 19:20Statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Countries Interactive Dialogue with the President of the Human Right Council UNGA Third Committee 30 October 2020

<p>Madam Chair,</p> <p>I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Baltic countries, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland.</p> <p>We thank the President of the Human Rights Council for her presentation and for her extraordinary efforts in steering the Council in challenging times, most primarily because of the Covid 19 pandemic but also the financial constraints the Council is facing. </p> <p>Madam President, with the support of your very capable bureau representing all regions, you have fulfilled the role given to the President in the Council´s founding resolutions and carried on the efforts of our last President, from Senegal, to steer its work in a neutral and unbiased way. Any claims by some of political favoritism should be rejected as baseless attempts to discredit the Council´s important work.</p> <p>Madam Chair,</p> <p>The Human Rights Council is not without faults and shortcomings. Too often states that get elected to the Council neglect to uphold its main mission: to protect and promote universal human rights. But on the whole, the Council regularly witnesses the best we can do in this field, with reports from the Council´s Special Procedures and mechanisms casting light on key human rights topics and situations – the urgent debate on the situation in Belarus at its last session being a clear example thereof -, and with all stakeholders participating in dialogues that advance the promotion and protection of human rights and prevent human rights violations.</p> <p>However, we need to remain vigilant. The current crisis should never be taken as an excuse for undue restrictions on democracy or human rights, and we can see an effort to negate some of the important progress made both here in New York and in Geneva.&nbsp; </p> <p>Advancing the dignity and equality of all human beings, and leaving no one behind, must be our goal today and in the future. The Human Rights Council has a crucial role to play in advancing that global conversation on, and the respect for, human rights and fundamental freedoms; discussions that affect everyone and everywhere. </p> <p>Thank you.</p>

09.10.2020 22:24Statement at the General Debate of the First Committee by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN

<p style="text-align: left;">Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</p> <p style="text-align: left;">General Assembly 75th session, 9 October 2020</p> <p style="text-align: left;">First Committee – General debate</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chairman,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me join others in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your election and wish you every success during this session.&nbsp;Having delivered a statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, I would briefly like to highlight few key issues from a national perspective.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The current COVID-19 crisis is a stark reminder that global challenges call for a global response, openness, and transparency. Hopefully, this experience will guide our co-operation to counter the growing tensions, distrust, and non-compliance that increasingly define the global arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation agenda.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the&nbsp;nuclear domain, we need to safeguard some of the key multilateral and bilateral agreements that brought us out of the wasteful arms race of the Cold War, not least the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), that are both up for review.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Having postponed the&nbsp;NPT-review conference, we should make use of the time to better prepare and build bridges. The NPT treaty continues to be effective in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons while safeguarding the benefits of nuclear technology for civilian use. We need to move forward and strengthen the third pillar of the Treaty on nuclear disarmament. It is incumbent upon all of us to make an extra effort to deliver on the implementation of Article VI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The&nbsp;New START&nbsp;plays a crucial role for international stability, limiting the number of strategic nuclear weapons and, consequently, providing confidence-building measures for the benefit of all. We look forward to positive outcome of the US – Russia dialogue on strategic balance, including the extension of the New START. Furthermore, we encourage China to engage with Russia and the United States on nuclear arms control and disarmament. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Other mechanisms and agreements should be fully utilised, including&nbsp;the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, that provides a verification system fostering trust and transparency and is widely supported by the UN membership. All states, not already members, should sign and ratify the treaty, in particular those states belonging to Annex II of the CTBT. Iceland reaffirms it strong support for commencing negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty, to further cement existing non- proliferation arrangements.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is regrettable to note the continued threat that the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea poses to global security with its illegal nuclear program in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The DPRK needs to revert to responsible actions and join the CTBT and return to the NPT. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland supports the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and we urge Iran to fully comply with the agreement and fulfil their commitments in full cooperation with the IAEA.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As we commemorate the&nbsp;75th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, we should work together towards a world without the existential threat of nuclear weapons,&nbsp;pursuing nuclear disarmament based on a mutual, balanced, verifiable, and irreversible step by step approach.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Chemical Weapons Convention is currently being tested due to the re-emergence of the use of chemical weapons.&nbsp; Today, we have an on-going case with a Russian citizen poisoned in his own country - a tragic event that must be thoroughly investigated without any delay.&nbsp; The use of&nbsp;chemical weapons is utterly unacceptable by anyone anywhere.&nbsp; All such incidents need to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators of such heinous crimes held accountable. In that regard, Iceland&nbsp;firmly commends the role of the OPCW and its ongoing investigative efforts, which are guided by strong integrity, impartiality, and outstanding expertise.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When discussing the weapons of mass destruction, we must reaffirm our commitment to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which will come under review next year. The need to review its implementation is becoming increasingly urgent in the light of rapid biotechnical advances and the current pandemic situation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The urgency of arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation when it comes to weapons of mass destruction is undisputable.&nbsp; However, that must not be to the detriment of the work in field of conventional disarmament and fast emerging weapons technology. The importance of preserving, universalising, and developing treaties and initiatives in conventional weapons sphere is no less critical for the global security and sustainable development.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The illicit trade in&nbsp;small arms and light weapons&nbsp;continues to undermine peace, development, and human rights. Effective implementation of&nbsp;the Arms Trade Treaty and the Programme of Action on small arms&nbsp;is key to reversing this negative trend that significantly affects sustainable development. Iceland also welcomes the significant role these arm control instruments play in preventing gender-based violence in conflict situations. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland welcomes the successful results of the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Anti-Personnel Landmine Treaty, held in Oslo last year, where the goal of land-mine free world in 2025 was reinforced with solid implementation. Another important stride in the right direction is the attempt to address explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA), which Iceland strongly supports. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Recent months, with most societies in lockdown, have left no one in doubt about the vital significance of&nbsp;information technology and cyber stability for individuals and states alike. The weaknesses in our systems also make us more vulnerable to irresponsible behaviour, surveillance, and attacks by state and non-state actors.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We need to streamline and bring together different UN workstreams on cyber security and stability, building on existing international frameworks and norms. Furthermore, we should explore how we can best build capacity and safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms in the cyber domain.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>New challenges and frontiers in the field of disarmament, including increasing activities in outer space and lethal autonomous weapons, need to be coherently addressed, drawing on existing international law, norms, and conventions. Any translation of the growing interest in activities in outer space into arms race or, for that matter, weaponization of space is unacceptable.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We are encouraged by the work of the GGE on the lethal autonomous weapons, in particular its consensus on the 11 Guiding Principles.&nbsp; We hope for concrete results based on these principles in time for the CCW Review Conference in late 2021. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is of deep concern that many of the treaties forming the complex rules-based global disarmament architecture are under serious financial strain.&nbsp; We urge all states to fulfil their financial commitments under the relevant treaties.&nbsp; Investment in disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation cannot fail under the present conditions of uncertainty when it comes to global security. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 75th anniversary of the United Nations should be used as an opportunity to reinvigorate the UN disarmament agenda. We clearly need more resources, creative thinking, and inclusivity, not least making sure that women have an active and equal role in arms control and disarmament in line with UNSCR 1325.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me end by wishing us all a productive and constructive session.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p><strong><br /> </strong></p>

09.10.2020 16:07Joint Nordic Statement at the First Committee - 75th General debate

<p style="text-align: left;">Nordic statement delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Permanent Representative of Iceland</p> <p style="text-align: left;">9 October 2020</p> <p style="text-align: left;">First Committee – General debate</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It is an honour to address this Committee on the behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries have always been strong proponents of multilateral cooperation as the most efficient means to deal with global security challenges.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Currently the international community is being put to the test by the COVID-19 pandemic.&nbsp; This experience should be a strong reminder of the importance of seeking global solutions to our common threats. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The subject matter of this Committee, disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, is an integral part of the global security environment. We need to redouble our efforts to preserve and further strengthen the existing architecture and its individual institutions, processes, and mechanisms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>With our long standing and strong commitment to disarmament and arms control the Nordic countries stand ready to contribute actively in order to re-energize the work on the whole disarmament agenda.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Renewed impetus is of particular significance when it comes to nuclear disarmament. This year 75 years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki were victims of nuclear weapons.&nbsp; This tragic reminder should inspire us all to make extra strides towards nuclear disarmament.&nbsp; This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - the instrument that is the foundation to advance nuclear disarmament.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The forced delay of the NPT Review Conference should not diminish the pride that State Parties can take in the success of the Treaty.&nbsp; Nonetheless, we still have to fulfil our duty to take the Treaty and our commitments forward to full implementation, in particular article VI on nuclear disarmament, clearly by taking the necessary next steps.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic states have supported, initiated, and developed important and concrete actions for the furtherance of the implementation of the NPT Treaty. We attach high hopes to various initiatives, especially the Stockholm Initiative on Nuclear Disarmament and CEND.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nuclear disarmament verification is another area that is crucial to progress nuclear disarmament and arms control.&nbsp; The Nordic countries have been instrumental in advancing the work through initiatives like the Quad Partnership, IPNDV and through the UN.&nbsp; This year, a decision on nuclear disarmament verification has been tabled to keep up this important work on the Committee´s agenda. We hope for universal support for the decision.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries pledge their full and continued support for the work of International Atomic Energy Agency in its crucial role underpinning the implementation of the NPT Treaty through its safeguard agreements and additional protocols - whereby peaceful use of nuclear energy can be verified and ultimately promoted.&nbsp; The efforts for universalising the IAEA safeguards system and the additional protocol are of utmost importance.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is an integral part of the nuclear disarmament architecture.&nbsp; We strongly urge states outside the Treaty, in particular the remaining Annex II states, to sign and ratify the Treaty - thereby guaranteeing universal moratorium in nuclear testing. We also reaffirm our support for early negotiation and conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Apart from challenges to the existing institutional framework for nuclear disarmament there are other developments that create risks and challenges in the nuclear field.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The demise of the INF, triggered by the non-compliance of Russia, marked another step towards the erosion of the international arms control architecture.&nbsp; We are presently witnessing an unclear situation regarding the last bilateral arms reduction treaty, the New START.&nbsp; The Nordic countries welcome the on-going strategic stability dialogue between the United States and Russia and reaffirm our call for the extension of the New START.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Further, the Nordic countries encourage China to join substantive talks on nuclear arms control.&nbsp; We also support the inclusion of non-strategic weapons in such discussions since the distinction between strategic and non-strategic weapons is increasingly blurred. Milestone treaties should not be abandoned - particularly in light of development of new and modernised nuclear capabilities and growing rivalry.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Democratic People´s Republic of Korea continues to pose a major threat to global security. Its illegal nuclear weapon and missile programmes continue to remain in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions. We note the lack of progress in the dialogue between the US and the DPRK - thereby requiring continued strict implementation of the sanctions against the latter.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries reiterate their call on the Democratic People´s Republic of Korea to make good on its commitments, including signing and ratifying the CTBT. The complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea is the only way to sustainable peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries continue to fully support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Its coming into being remains a landmark of multilateral diplomacy.&nbsp; We urge the Iranian authorities to return to full compliance with the agreement and we expect Iran´s full cooperation with the IAEA on all its safeguards obligations.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The erosion of norms against the use of weapons of mass destruction is currently affecting the Chemical Weapons Convention. The re-emergence of chemical weapons is one of the most urgent threats to international peace and security and has to be dealt with firmly and collectively. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In recent years we have witnessed use of chemical weapons in Syria, Iraq and Malaysia and the UK, and most recently in the attempted murder of a Russian citizen in his own country.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries reaffirm their absolute condemnation of the most recent use of chemical weapon - the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned in Russia by a military chemical nerve agent of the “Novichok” group.&nbsp; We reiterate our call on Russia, as a matter of urgency, to be fully transparent and bring those responsible to justice - bearing in mind Russia´s commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We condemn the Syrian Arab Republic´s continued violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, as most recently concluded by the first report of the OPCW Investigation and Identification Team.&nbsp; Perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria must be identified and held accountable.&nbsp; We look forward to the next report of the ITT.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Any use of chemical weapons, under any circumstances, is a clear breach of international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of all chemical weapons, and can amount to the most serious crimes of international concern – war crimes and crimes against humanity.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Impunity for the breaches of the global norms against chemical weapons must not be tolerated.&nbsp; Those responsible must be held to account.&nbsp; This will be facilitated by the ability of the OPCW to identify perpetrators of such heinous crimes. As strong supporters of the OPCW, we underline our full and unequivocal confidence in the objectivity, impartiality, independence, and technical expertise of the OPCW Technical Secretariat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention is a vital pillar of the disarmament regime. With a view to the upcoming review conference next year and the global pandemic, it is timely to recommit to this important treaty and constructively attend to its implementation.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although weapons of mass destruction are dominating the disarmament dialogue in general and that for valid reasons. There are many other important disarmament and arms control issues on the agenda in this distinguished committee - issues that require our full attention, whether they fall under the umbrella of conventional weapons or new initiatives on other kind of weapons.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries note the successful outcome of the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Anti-Personnel Landmine Treaty held in Oslo last November. The strong and ambitious action plan and the road map that was agreed at the Conference needs to be implemented with strong determination in order to achieve a mine free world by 2025.&nbsp; We urge other participating states to join us in that effort and hope that more states sign up to this successful treaty that contributes so much to the humanitarian cause.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Annual Conference of the State Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty took place in August under difficult conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the work ahead, the Nordic countries underline the importance of full implementation of the treaty. Transparency and information sharing are of utmost importance in reducing the risk of diversion. Continued attention to the risks of serious acts of gender-based violence is essential.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries support the work of the GGE on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), in particular the 11 guiding principles adopted by consensus last year and consequently highlighted in the statement of the Alliance for Multilateralism.&nbsp; It will be important to advance work on these principles, especially regarding human – machine interaction, in the GGE´s work leading up to the CCW review conference next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries are firmly committed to the prevention of an arms race in outer space.&nbsp; In light of the rapid developments and growing interest by many states we want to contribute to breaking the impasse on the discussions regarding this issue. Strengthened multilateral cooperation is needed to preserve and enhance the safety, security, and sustainability in outer space activities. To this end we welcome and support the draft resolution „Reducing Space Threats Through Responsible Behaviour “.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how dependent the world has become on information and communications technology (ICT). A globally accessible, free, open, and secure cyberspace is now, more than ever, fundamental to how the world operates. Unfortunately, the increase in malicious cyber activity witnessed during the last decade has not slowed with COVID-19. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact, the year 2020 has revealed that malicious state and non-state actors will take advantage of any opportunity in cyber space - even a global pandemic. The Nordic countries welcome efforts to merge the current parallel tracks on international cybersecurity within the UN to a single Programme of Action. The establishment of such a programme would create a permanent, long-term home for these issues under the aegis of the United Nations. The progress achieved so far within the Open-Ended Working Group and the Group of Governmental Experts provides an important point of departure for further discussions. We need to further our understanding of the applicability of international law and ensure that already agreed norms are implemented to ensure the stability of cyberspace.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me just briefly mention the initiative to address explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA).&nbsp; The Nordic countries are keen to support the current efforts to develop a political declaration, which addresses the protection of the civilian population that suffer from indiscriminate use of explosive weapons within urban areas. This is a humanitarian challenge that must be addressed urgently considering the growing number and intensity of conflicts affecting populated areas.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Last but certainly not least let me turn to an issue that should be weaved into the very fabric of our work, procedures, and substance, and that is gender. Gender equality and the empowerment of women, and a gendered approach to our substantive work, should be the order of the day. The Nordic countries accept nothing less.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the outset, the Nordic countries emphasised the importance of reinvigorated multilateralism in addressing the challenges facing the international rules-based disarmament regime.&nbsp; The individual pieces of this complicated architecture that disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation instruments form, all need their special attention and new measures must be developed.&nbsp; This is, in essence, the work ahead for this Committee. Stakes are high, and we should be guided by the aim of preserving and strengthening global peace and security.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries will make every effort to contribute constructively to the important work of the First Committee and beyond. In that endeavour they will be guided by the time-tested spirit of Nordic cooperation and compassion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you.</p>

06.10.2020 19:16Statement at the General Debate of the Third Committee by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN

<p style="text-align: center;">Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>General Assembly 75<strong><sup>th</sup></strong>&nbsp;session, 7 October 2020</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Third Committee – General debate</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you, Madam Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Allow me to start by congratulating you and other members of the Bureau on your election to this very important Committee during these unprecedented circumstances.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The protection and promotion of human rights is a cornerstone in Iceland´s foreign policy. Human rights are universal and should be protected regardless of who we are, where we come from, what we believe in or whom we love. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>At the United Nations, our human rights policy has focused on gender equality, children’s rights, rights of LGBTI individuals and the strengthening of the international human rights system – and I will focus on these four topics in this national statement. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The ongoing pandemic has created many challenges and impacted almost all aspects of our lives. Vulnerable groups, including women and children, have been negatively affected by this crisis. Amidst restrictions and community lockdowns, gender-based violence and violence against children has been on the rise. Also, the social and economic consequences of COVID-19 threaten to undermine our achievements on equality. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Protection of children against violence has been a priority for the Icelandic Government.&nbsp;We have long emphasized the crucial importance to have the right services and response in place when children are believed to be victims of sexual or other serious violence. The <em>Barnahús</em> – or Children’s House – Model has been developed in Iceland over the last three decades. This&nbsp;child-friendly and multi-agency response framework to child abuse has a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to investigate cases -and provides appropriate therapeutic services for child victims. The model has now been introduced in around twenty countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is committed to defending women’s human rights and their reproductive freedom. We are concerned to see established international norms and standards increasingly being challenged, even the ones that have been collectively agreed as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are particularly concerned with renewed attempts to overturn the discourse on bodily autonomy, comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender-based violence.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The pandemic should not act as an excuse but be an encouragement in our pursuit of equality. As we celebrate the achievements made in Beijing 25 years ago, we also need to fast forward and redouble our efforts. Otherwise, we risk falling behind on our commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madam Chairperson,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In Iceland, we pride ourselves on valuing both our diversity and difference. A recent study by the OECD showed that Iceland tops the list of social acceptance for LGBTI individuals and, currently, three Government-sponsored bills are being introduced in the Icelandic Parliament to improve the legal framework for transgender and intersex people. As with gender equality, we can be proud of this. Yet, our work is nowhere completed. Despite great progress in recent years, we have a long way to go before we can say we have reached equality at home. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While continuing efforts at home, the Icelandic Government is engaging with other countries on the removal of stigmatization and institutional prejudices against LGBTI persons. Earlier this year, Iceland proudly joined the LGBTI Core Group, along with Nepal. Much work remains, as reflected in the fact that same-sex relations remain illegal in close to 70 countries. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Equality is not only a principled agenda. To believe everyone should enjoy their fundamental freedoms and dignity is also a practical one. If we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and truly “Leave No One Behind”, we must guarantee the non-discrimination and equality of all.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Madam Chairperson, a few words on the Human Rights Treaty Body Review.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2012-2014, Iceland had the pleasure of co-facilitating the process of the elaboration of Resolution 68/268 in partnership with Indonesia and Tunisia. It was the first time the General Assembly came together and addressed the treaty bodies in such a comprehensive way.&nbsp;It has been a long process and much of the work shifted to Geneva, where Iceland continues to play an active part. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Continued engagement of Member States is required to support the treaty bodies in the implementation of resolution 68/268, as demonstrated two years ago by this Committee on what became Resolution 73/162. In line with this, we look forward to working closely with other members of the Committee on this important initiative.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you, Madam Chairperson. </p>

06.10.2020 13:54Statement at the General Debate of the Second Committee by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN

<p style="text-align: left;">Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>General Assembly 75<strong><sup>th</sup></strong>&nbsp;session, 6 October 2020</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Second Committee – General debate</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>First, let me thank Ambassador Niang and the outgoing Bureau members for their excellent work, and congratulate you and the members of the new Bureau on your election and wish you every success in the unprecedented work ahead. You have our full support. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While the pandemic has further revealed just how interconnected we all are, COVID-19 is not the great equalizer as some have described. Those most vulnerable are hit the hardest. Those with no safety nets will take longer to recover from the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Although uneven and insufficient, we were making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. We saw inspiring improvements in areas such as maternal and child health, access to electricity and women’s representation in government. So as we embark on this Decade of Action, we must do all we can to protect the gains we have made and accelerate progress in areas lagging behind, such as food insecurity, deterioration of the natural environment, and persistent and pervasive inequalities. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland is no stranger to the three interconnected pillars of sustainability: environment, society, and economy. Sustainability has, in fact, been the key to our prosperity. By respecting our nature and its resources and promoting gender equality and human rights we have seen rapid and relatively inclusive socioeconomic growth. We therefore focus on sustainable development in our foreign policy and international development cooperation, including through addressing climate change, reducing gender inequalities, and securing human rights for all.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We all remain off-target to achieve SDG 5 on gender equality. We encourage other countries to join Iceland in its quest to achieve this target and improve gender equality, including universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and the fight against sexual and gender-based violence. Iceland is committed to contributing in a meaningful way as a co-leader of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on gender-based violence. We also encourage all countries to grant increased attention to groups who lack fundamental rights, such as LGBTI people and other vulnerable groups - leaving no one behind. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Since early last century Iceland has focused on recovering land quality and limiting land degradation. Degraded land is the root cause of many pressing societal challenges we are facing today, including the loss of animal habitat and the spread of disease from animals to humans. On a more positive note, land restoration offers multiple cross cutting solutions and is a connecting piece between enhanced food security, water, biodiversity, reduced climate emissions, more social stability and, ultimately, peace and security. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We continue to support the UNCCD, including through the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought. It is important to bear in mind that some of the most effective solutions are low cost, simple and nature-based, like land restoration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) provided a path, which will now help ensure that our UN development system can optimally contribute to building back better with a greener, smarter, and more equitable economy. We were pleased to see in the Secretary-General’s report on the QCPR that UNDS reforms are indeed consolidating. As we embark on the new QCPR cycle, we need to build on the progress made, address gaps, and identify areas for improvement. Overall, it is important that the new QCPR provides the UN development system with a meaningful and forward-leaning guidance for the challenging times ahead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In addition to the important QCPR process, this Committee considers many significant topics. While we weather the current storm, it is important that we also continue with the revitalization process, as the Second Committee could benefit greatly from full alignment with Agenda 2030. We risk losing perspective and focus if we continue to discuss issues that are no longer relevant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Secretary General has called COVID-19 “an opportunity to reimagine the future”.&nbsp; An opportunity to do things differently.&nbsp; It falls on all states, big and small, to work together on these pressing issues and, in this respect, my Government remains fully committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda and building back better and greener, both at home and abroad.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

29.09.2020 19:56Speech at the 75th United Nations General Assembly by H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation

<span></span> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;">75 United Nations General Assembly<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Speech by<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> H.E. Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation of Iceland</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;"><img src="https://www.stjornarradid.is/library/04-Raduneytin/Utanrikisraduneytid/Frettamyndir/unga75.jpg?proc=SmallImage" alt="Úr allsherjarþinginu í dag" /></span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;">Mr President, Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Let me start by thanking the UN Secretary-General, for his leadership in these difficult times. I also express gratitude to the dedicated staff of this organization, often working in very challenging circumstances, for their commitment and courage.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The international community comes together for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations under exceptional circumstances - amid a global crisis.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Iceland is fully committed to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have contributed to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, to the UN Response and Recovery Fund and to several other initiatives, including the development, distribution, and fair and equal access to a possible vaccine for every country.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> This crisis will have long-term implications for our economies and societies, pushing millions of peoples further behind, not least the most vulnerable. We must, therefore, redouble our collective efforts and pursue the Sustainable Development Goals with vigour.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr. President,<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The pandemic has revealed that our fate is interlinked with the successes and failures of others. This very same revelation brought the founders of this great organisation together in 1945, after having lived through the horrors of two world wars. They understood then, as we must now, that we are stronger together than apart.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> This notion is evident to a small state like Iceland, but larger states also gain from a well-functioning international rules-based order: peace, prosperity and partnerships for our people and planet. For the gravest challenges we face today can only be addressed collectively.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The current situation provides us with a perspective. Even if we still have a long way to go, we have witnessed significant achievements over the past 75 years. States have gained their independence, women have gained agency, more parents see their children grow up to become healthy adults, and millions have risen from poverty. Wild polio has recently been eradicated in Africa, a welcome sign of hope in the context of today’s challenges. By most measures, we have been living in times of unprecedented prosperity, something we now know, should not be taken for granted.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> It is critical that we fight to maintain and improve the multilateral system and oppose/question those who seek to undermine it.&nbsp; We must ensure that our institutions, actions and tools are fit for purpose – so that the system can continue to serve all of us. The Secretary-General's ongoing reform agenda has our full support.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr. President,<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The greatest challenge of our time can only be addressed through joint efforts. Climate action needs to be at the heart of our efforts as we build back better and greener after the pandemic. The Paris Agreement is the global baseline, and Iceland is fully committed to its implementation. To build back greener, we need to make full use of science, innovation, and positive financial stimulus for the full participation of the private sector.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Iceland's new climate action plan, released earlier this summer, goes even further than was agreed in Paris. Our goal is to achieve 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and full carbon neutrality by 2040.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Sustainable management of natural resources and the use of renewable energy will be instrumental if we are to combat climate change. That includes the sustainable use of our oceans, a major carbon sink, continuously threatened by climate change, pollution, and mismanagement. Here, international law, namely the Law of the Sea, provides the foundation for action that should be based firmly in science. Iceland will continue to share its expertise in these fields through our development cooperation, public-private partnerships and our capacity-building programs, run under the auspices of UNESCO.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr. President,<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> As we embark on a Decade of Action, we need to be firmly focused on advancing gender equality -&nbsp; not only as a fundamental human right - but also as critical for&nbsp; accelerated progress so that&nbsp; individuals and nations can prosper and reach their full potential.&nbsp; The slow progress on Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality is therefore deeply worrying, not least as we risk losing a generation or more of gains due to the current crisis.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> We must act now to ensure the full and equal participation of women in economic and political life, access to education, essential health services, and fight against sexual and gender-based violence. Iceland is therefore committed to contributing in a meaningful way as a co-leader of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on gender-based violence.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr. President,&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Growing nationalism, racism, religious intolerance, and homophobia will continue to undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms if we do not fight to reverse this trend. It is of major concern when the most powerful are ambivalent, even hostile, to the enjoyment of universal human rights by all. UN Members States must speak up and act when human rights are set aside or violated, and not hesitate to use the legal, economic, and political tools we have at our disposal.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> In the past year, I have had the honour to meet many brave women and men who risk their life and freedom to call out their governments for violation of human rights and fundamental freedom. It is our duty to support and protect these human rights defenders and allow their voices to be heard. We must also protect media freedom, which has come under grave threat in too many countries around the world. Human rights underpin democratic and prosperous societies – which in turn are the fundamental basis for international stability and peace.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> As a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2018 and 2019, Iceland made an effort to demonstrate that all nations, also the smallest among us, can use their voice effectively to speak out for those suppressed or silenced. The experience was both encouraging and empowering, since most UN Member States belong to that group of smaller or mid-size countries.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The Human Rights Council is not without faults and shortcomings. We have been critical of the Council’s membership, and the apparent desire by those with less than stellar human rights records to consistently undermine the integrity of the Council. We have also pushed for reform of the council and its working methods.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Member States serving on the Council should never lose sight of its main mission and purpose – to protect and promote universal human rights. They should call out violators and hold them accountable and be open to constructive criticism and cooperation, rather than seek refuge behind rhetoric of politicization.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> With this in mind, and on the basis of the experience of our recent membership of the Human Rights Council, Iceland has decided to run for a seat on the Council for the term 2025-2027.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr President&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Let me thank the Secretary-General for his leadership in calling for a global ceasefire; a call which all nations should support, not least those that hold power to influence the situation on the ground.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The ongoing efforts to find political and peaceful solutions to the crisis in Syria, Yemen, and Libya must continue with full backing of those involved. The Middle East Peace Process also needs to be reinvigorated as the current stagnation on both sides only serves to deepen existing disagreements, moving us further away from the two-state solution.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Closer to my own place of home, in Europe, the persistent unlawful violation by Russia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia continues to undermine peace and stability, and recent developments in Belarus give cause for major concern.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The Security Council carries special responsibilities for the maintenance of international peace and security on behalf of the wider UN membership. The Council, not least some of its permanent members, need to act in accordance with the UN charter, instead of being motivated by narrow political gains in a zero-sum game, undermining the credibility of this vital body.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Mr President,<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> "The UN was not created to take mankind into paradise but rather to save humanity from hell", former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld famously once said.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, we should be mindful that this organization has been a catalyst for human development and progress. And it is the most significant peace project of our times.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> The UN remains the only international body equipped to bring together different nationalities, political ideologies, and religions, for the common good.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Its shortcomings can neither serve as an excuse for disengagement nor for the promotion of national interests above the pursuit of our common wellbeing and prosperity.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Too many seek to apply the principles and values of the UN Charter selectively, tilting the balance between rights and responsibilities – in international trade, rule of law, human rights, disarmament and in preventing conflicts and atrocities.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> Our organisations and institutions should never serve or shelter those who seek to undermine the basic principles of the international rule-based order, which we have all subscribed to, including the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> It remains, that what we see is our own making. That is why, we need to use the current crisis and the 75th anniversary to reinvigorate our cooperation, build trust and make our institutions more effective and resilient, for today and tomorrow.<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> We should reconfirm our commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, international law, and the liberal international order.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> We should stand up for these principles when they are being pushed aside.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> We should make our institutions more open, transparent, and inclusive.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> <br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> We should reform, not rewrite or retreat.&nbsp;<br style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;" /> For only together we can build the future we want, and the UN we need.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 25px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 10px; font-family: 'Fira Sans'; color: #4a4a4a; font-size: 16px; line-height: 25px; background-color: #ffffff;"><a href="http://https://youtu.be/O15hDuthZ7Y">P</a><a href="https://youtu.be/O15hDuthZ7Y">re-recorded statement</a></p>

23.09.2020 19:06Statement at the UN LGBTI core group side event at the UN 75 General Assembly

<p><em>LGBTI Core Group's event "Building Back Better: How to create a virtuous circle for the inclusion for all LGBTI persons". UN 75th General Assembly. By Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson.</em></p> <p><span><img alt="" src="https://scontent-lga3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.15752-0/p280x280/120176784_653962968849234_5374448496733597102_n.jpg?_nc_cat=103&%3b_nc_sid=b96e70&%3b_nc_ohc=K72nxX_wvj8AX-2jbOZ&%3b_nc_ht=scontent-lga3-1.xx&%3btp=6&%3boh=7b850240f82d6396e8d2d0397e6e16ab&%3boe=5F8F1E43" /></span></p> <p>Let me first say how happy I am to be able to address this side-event today, organized by the UN LGBTI Core Group.</p> <p>Iceland was proud to be able to finally join the Core Group earlier this year, along with Nepal. We aim to do our very best to contribute to the work of the Group – while at the same time advancing even further the rights of LGBTI persons at home, where our work is not yet complete, despite great progress in recent years.</p> <p>I see human rights as a cornerstone of Iceland´s foreign policy.&nbsp;</p> <p>I also believe that if we are to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the ultimate goal of “Leaving No One Behind”, we must guarantee the non-discrimination and equality of all, including persons belonging to LGBTI communities around the world.&nbsp;</p> <p>We must remove all stigmatization and institutional prejudices and ensure LGBTI persons can enjoy their fundamental freedoms and dignity wherever they are.&nbsp;</p> <p>Challenges still remain. Many countries have yet to even remove legal biases against LGBTI persons – casting a long and heavy shadow on their existence.&nbsp;</p> <p>But we should not forget that we have come a long way and what we need to do now is redouble our efforts, thus creating that circle of virtue so very necessary to make it to the next level.</p> <p>In that effort the UN LGBTI Core Group will play a key role and I therefore take this opportunity to pay tribute to your work.</p> <p>Thank you for allowing me to be with you today.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

21.09.2020 14:06Prime Minister addresses the UN General Assembly commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcbUYdjwtic&%3bfeature=youtu.be">Pre-recorded statement</a>

09.09.2020 16:04Joint Nordic Statement at the Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on Implementation of Security Council Resolutions on Youth, Peace and Security by UN Peace Operations

<p><em>Joint Nordic Statement at the UN Security Council Arria Formula Meeting on September 9, 2020, on<br /> “Implementation of Security Council Resolutions on Youth, Peace and Security by UN Peace Operations” by H.E. Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN</em><br /> <br /> Your Excellencies,</p> <p>Members of the Security Council,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland,<br /> Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.</p> <p>We thank the co-hosts for arranging this timely meeting, and extend our thanks also to the young<br /> briefers for their valuable insights.</p> <p>Excellencies,</p> <p>The current pandemic has highlighted the positive role of young people in their communities. In<br /> this time of crisis, young people around the world have shown action and been a source of hope<br /> in our fight against a common threat.</p> <p>Member States and the Security Council must ensure full implementation of the youth, peace and<br /> security agenda. Security Council resolution 2535 was adopted in July, and the Nordic countries<br /> were among its 83 co-sponsors. This broad support is a clear indication of the importance placed<br /> by Member States on further strengthening the involvement of young people in prevention and<br /> peaceful resolution of conflicts.</p> <p>Excellencies,</p> <p>The new resolution calls for better coordination and increased engagement to realise the youth,<br /> peace and security agenda. To this end, we encourage UN Peace Operations to develop and<br /> implement strategies in partnership with young people.<br /> <br /> The Nordic countries have a long tradition of youth engagement. We support a range of initiatives<br /> at both the national and international level, including youth-led initiatives that support young<br /> peacebuilders in conflict contexts.</p> <p>We reiterate the need to include formulations in Security Council mandates that provide for<br /> effective participation of youth in peace and security efforts. Peace Operations must mainstream<br /> a youth perspective and ensure their participation throughout the implementation of their<br /> mandates. This requires leadership and capacity. We support the UN’s efforts to institutionalize<br /> a youth sensitive approach to programming.</p> <p>The current pandemic has made it more difficult for the staff of peace operations to meet and<br /> communicate with local populations. Even in these trying times, we need to make sure that the<br /> insights and perspectives of youth are taken into account. Only with the meaningful inclusion of<br /> young people will conflict prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts be effectual and<br /> sustainable.</p> <p>In conflict situations, young people’s leadership and participation are too often left unrecognized.<br /> The Council should give specific attention to young women and men, youth with disabilities, and<br /> indigenous youth. They deserve our full attention.</p> <p>Finally, Your Excellencies,</p> <p>Young people can play an important, positive role in their communities not only during and in the<br /> aftermath of violent conflicts – but also before. In this regard, we welcome the innovative<br /> approaches to youth engagement that some missions have undertaken, and encourage other<br /> missions to follow their example.</p> <p>The protection of young mediators, peacebuilders and human rights defenders is essential, and<br /> Member States have an especially central role in protecting and supporting them.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

04.09.2020 15:55Joint Nordic Statement at UNSC meeting on the situation in Belarus

<p><em>Issued by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, on the occasion of Arria formula meeting in United Nation Security Council&nbsp;on the human rights situation in Belarus&nbsp;</em><br /> <br /> Your excellency,<br /> <br /> Members of the Security Council,<br /> <br /> I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> We welcome today’s opportunity to discuss the human rights situation in Belarus following the presidential election of 9 August 2020.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> I would like to initially thank the briefers for their insightful and first-hand remarks about the situation.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The recent election in Belarus was neither free nor fair. Prior to the election, we witnessed with deep concern the detention of prospective candidates and irregularities related to candidate registration. Despite repeated calls, the lack of a timely, as well as unconditional, invitation to observe the presidential election led to the absence of independent international elections observers.</p> <p>The use of widespread violence against peaceful demonstrators, journalists and other media workers, in the aftermath of the election was deeply troubling. The desire of the people of Belarus to be respected and heard in free and fair elections is a legitimate demand. The situation called for the Belarusian authorities to address the legitimate protests of the people and enter into genuine and inclusive dialogue. Instead, we witnessed indiscriminate and unjustified arrests and violence against demonstrators, journalists and other media workers. We cannot stand idly by and hesitate in our criticism, when faced with such grave human rights violations and restrictions of freedoms. We will address the situation in the UN Human Rights Council.</p> <p>The Belarusian authorities must release all unlawfully detained persons, including those detained on political grounds. We are deeply alarmed by the criminal cases opened against the Coordination Council, as well as the intimidation and detention of its members. We call for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment of people under detention. All perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable. This will be crucial in order to address the post-election grievances and achieve reconciliation. We urge the Belarusian authorities to engage with the current and incoming OSCE chairpersonship in facilitating an inclusive and national dialogue in the country.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Your excellency,</p> <p>We respect the Belarusian people’s right to choose their own path. Free and independent media and a strong civil society are the fundamental ingredients to provide sustainable solutions to the crisis in Belarus. There is no reason to be afraid of genuine democratic debate. The voices of the people of Belarus need to be heard and taken into account.&nbsp;</p> <p>In closing, we support all efforts to peacefully end the crisis, and we will continue to support a democratic, independent, sovereign, prosperous and stable Belarus.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

03.09.2020 15:51Statement of the Nordic and Baltic States on the Adoption of UNGA resolution "Status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia"

<div> <p><em>Written statement submitted&nbsp;&nbsp;by the Nordic and Baltic States: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden on the adoption of UNGA resolution “Status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia, and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia”.</em></p> </div> <p>Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Poland and Romania align themselves with this statement.</p> <p>We take this opportunity to reaffirm our strong support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. It is deplorable that Russia continues to violate the commitments made in the EU-mediated Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008 and the implementing measures of 8 September 2008 by maintaining military presence in both the Abkhaz and Tskhinvali/South Ossetian regions of Georgia.</p> <p>Furthermore, the human rights situation in these occupied regions of Georgia remains a cause of serious concern. Amid the global struggle against COVID-19 pandemic and despite the UN Secretary General’s call for global ceasefire, the Russian occupation forces continue their illegal activities in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia. These include ongoing ‘borderization’, illegal detentions and kidnappings (some of them with lethal outcome), severe restrictions on freedom of movement (even denial of medical evacuation in some cases). The human rights of ethnic Georgians in those regions are being constantly violated (especially rights to permanent residence, education in their native language, property ownership).&nbsp;</p> <p>The situation on the ground is thoroughly and in depth analyzed in the UN Secretary General’s report on the implementation of the last year’s resolution on internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region /South Ossetia in Georgia.</p> <p>We concur with Secretary General’s findings that no tangible progress has been achieved regarding the voluntary, safe, dignified and unhindered return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees on the basis of international law and internationally recognized principles. Regretfully, although more than a decade has passed since the first adoption of the resolution on internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region /South Ossetia in Georgia, hundreds of thousands of IDPs continue to be deprived of their right to a safe, dignified and voluntary return to their places of origin and their property rights.&nbsp;</p> <p>The resolution in front of us clearly echoes Secretary-General’s goals and commits us all to continue working for the protection and assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced from the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions of Georgia, and to ensure that they are able to exercise their right to safe and dignified return.</p> <p>In this context, we commend the continued efforts by the Georgian Government, in close cooperation with international organizations, to put in place alternative durable solutions that provide the opportunities for IDPs to integrate locally or, in separate cases, resettle elsewhere in the country, in the absence of the option for IDPs to return to the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions of Georgia.</p> <p>Adoption of the resolution on the Cooperation with Georgia in the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council clearly demonstrated that the international community remains seized on the matter, as it emphasizes the need to address human rights and humanitarian issues faced by the persons forcefully displaced from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia in Georgia.<br /> In this context, we remain concerned that in the past several years no international human rights monitoring mechanism has been granted unrestricted access to the regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia. We therefore call for an immediate access for the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights mechanisms.&nbsp;<br /> We reiterate our support to the process of Geneva International Discussions and join the UN Secretary-General’s call to all relevant stakeholders to step up efforts to make a tangible progress on key security and humanitarian issues, to meet the pressing humanitarian concerns of the affected population, including internally displaced persons.&nbsp; We remain concerned about continued refusal by Russia and participants from Tskhinvali and Sukhumi to engage on the topic of refugees and displaced persons in the Geneva International Discussions. We would like to emphasize that this topic is at the core of the mandate of the Geneva International Discussions.</p> <p>Moreover, we emphasize the importance of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) in Ergneti and Gali and the role they can have in solving the most acute issues on the ground. Acknowledging the resumption of Ergneti IPRM on July 30, 2020, we stress the necessity for resuming the meetings in Gali without further delay or pre-conditions.&nbsp;<br /> Given the lack of progress on the ground, we call for the UN’s continuous engagement. As in previous years, we shall vote in favor of the resolution and call on all UN Member States to do the same.</p> <p><em>New York, 3rd of September 2020</em></p>

26.08.2020 15:41Joint Nordic Statement at the Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on Cyber-Attacks against Critical Infrastructure

<div> <div><em>Delivered by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann on the occasion of the Arria formula meeting of the Security Council on "Cyber-Attacks against Critical Infrastructure" 26 August 2020</em></div> <div><em>&nbsp;</em></div> <div><em></em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">I have the pleasure to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Denmark. We are grateful to the Indonesian presidency for placing this very pertinent topic on the Council’s agenda. This allows us to build on the discussions on Cyber Stability, Conflict Prevention and Capacity Building we had under the Estonian presidency in May this year.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Mr. President,</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">As we and many other countries stressed during our cyber-discussions in May, the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored just how dependent the world has become on information and communications technology (ICT). Not just in the way we communicate with each other, but in the operation of critical infrastructure vital to manage the health crisis. Consequently, a globally accessible, free, open and secure cyberspace is now, more than ever, fundamental to how the world operates.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Unfortunately, the increase in malicious cyber activity witnessed during the last decade has not slowed with COVID-19. In fact, the year 2020 has revealed that malicious state and non-state actors will take advantage of any opportunity in cyber space, even a global pandemic. Since the beginning of the crisis, we have witnessed significant phishing and malware distribution campaigns, scanning activities and distributed denial-of-service attacks targeting institutions working on defeating the pandemic. Some of these malicious cyber activities have even targeted our hospitals.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Such deplorable activities endanger the lives of our citizens at a time when these critical sectors are needed most, and jeopardizes our ability to overcome the pandemic as quickly as possible. We condemn this malicious behavior in cyberspace and express our solidarity with all countries that have fallen victim to such activities. We call upon all states to exercise due diligence and take appropriate action against malicious cyber activity originating from their territory.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Mr. President,</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The world has benefited in countless ways from the rapid development in information and telecommunication technology. However, weaknesses in our information and telecommunication systems also make our societies more vulnerable. This is particularly true for our critical infrastructure where the potential consequences of cyber-attacks are enormous. Attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya not just resulted in vast financial losses; they also affected ICT-systems at hospitals and in certain cases struck industrial control systems crippling electricity supply. Consequently, with these types of attacks being recklessly unleashed we should consider ourselves lucky we have not seen loss of lives yet.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">For this reason, upholding a strong cyber resilience throughout our societies is crucial not only to our security, but to the enjoyment of human rights, such as the right to health. This also implies the international community has a responsibility to assist in capacity building efforts in countries requesting assistance. However, such efforts cannot stand alone. We must aim to raise the cost of malicious cyber activity by collectively holding those responsible to account. . We also welcome the efforts by the Secretary-General in the area of cyber, new technologies and digitalization and support his agenda moving forward.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Once again, we draw the attention to the important milestones from the two consensus reports of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security from 2013 and 2015. With resolution 70/237, we agreed in the General Assembly that International law, including the Charter of the United Nations in its entirety, applies to States’ behavior in cyberspace, and that the same is true for international humanitarian law and international human rights law. We reiterate that efforts to promote norms and stability in cyberspace must ensure that cybersecurity underpins the protection and promotion of human rights online</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Moreover, as a complement to binding international law, the 2015 report by Group of Governmental Experts formulated 11 voluntary non-binding norms for responsible state behavior in cyber space. Where international law regulates state behavior, norms guide it. We call for stronger adherence to the norms, of which several are intended to strengthen the protection of critical infrastructure. We draw particular attention to the norm emphasizing that: “A State should not conduct or knowingly support ICT activity contrary to its obligations under international law that intentionally damages critical infrastructure or otherwise impairs the use and operation of critical infrastructure to provide services to the public.”</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">In conclusion, we stress that any cyber-attack attempting to hamper the ability of civilian critical infrastructures vital to manage health crises is in clear violation of international law, and goes against the spirit of the agreed voluntary non-binding norms. It is therefore unacceptable. All states have an important role to play in promoting and upholding a rules-based, predictable, open, free, and secure cyber space.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">I thank you Mr. President.</span></div> </div>

12.08.2020 15:21Joint Nordic Statement at the Security Council High-Level Debate on Pandemics and the Challenges of Sustaining Peace

<div> <div><em>Issued by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann on the occasion of the High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “Pandemics and the Challenges of Sustaining Peace” 12 August 2020</em></div> <div><em>&nbsp;</em></div> <div><em></em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Mr President,</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Members of the Security Council</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Today’s debate on peacebuilding and pandemics comes timely, as we are about to embark on the formal phase of the 2020 review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The impact of the pandemic constitutes an additional threat multiplier that risks reversing hard-won peacebuilding gains</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">. For many communities in conflict-affected countries, the pandemic is a catastrophe on top of a crisis. Fragile and conflict affected countries face the challenge of having to address the urgent health and humanitarian impact of COVID- 19, while continuing to implement peacebuilding efforts in increasingly complex conflict scenarios. We have also seen how the pandemic and its devastating socio-economic repercussions can deepen the root causes of fragility and conflict, such as inequality, food insecurity and the consequences of unmitigated climate change. In combination with growing human rights violations and abuses, racism and discrimination, rising incitement of hatred and violence, as well as countless examples of the spread of misinformation and disinformation about the pandemic, this risks escalating ongoing conflict and displacement, fomenting new tensions, and reversing humanitarian, development and peacebuilding progress.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">We – members of the United Nations - must therefore resolve to take immediate and coordinated action&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">to effectively mitigate the escalatory potential of the pandemic, while strengthening long-term foundations for lasting peace. Sustaining peace is one of the core tasks of the United Nations and it must be a shared responsibility that flows across the entire peace continuum and all three pillars of the United Nations’ engagement.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">We encourage especially the Security Council to leverage all the tools at its disposal to support an integrated and coordinated UN response to different phases of often complex conflicts, including prevention and peacebuilding.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">In particular, we hope to see even closer and more timely cooperation between the Security Council and the Peacebuilding Commission..</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">We welcome the recently convened&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Informal Interactive Dialogue&nbsp;</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">between the PBC and the Security Council and encourage continued engagement between these two bodies going forward. The PBC can offer valuable advice, including during the early stages of mandate formulation through to review and drawdown strategies. The impact of the ongoing pandemic on conflict dynamics has underlined the need for peace operations’ mandates to be adaptable to changing political and operational challenges through the various stages of UN missions' engagement. Member state commitment, solidarity and flexibility are essential for peace operations to deliver on their mandate. We therefore reiterate our support to the Secretary General’s&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Sustaining Peace Agenda</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">, as well as the&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Action 4 Peacekeeping Agenda</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">UN special political missions and peacekeeping operations play an important role at the country level in addressing root causes of conflict, by building capacity an fostering continued progress on peacebuilding processes</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">, thereby increasing resilience to ongoing and future crises. What we do today has bearing for the longer term. We encourage renewed commitment to integrate efforts of UN peace operations with responses by the UN Country Team and to ensure coherence between humanitarian, development, human rights and peacebuilding efforts under the stewardship of an empowered Resident Coordinator. This includes engaging all relevant actors in the design of the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks, as well as adopting a conflict sensitive approach to humanitarian and development programming. These are crucial efforts to reinforcing the link between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustaining Peace Agenda.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Human rights must not become a casualty of the pandemic.&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights must be front and center in our response.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Democracy and the rule of law must be upheld. The Secretary-General’s February 2020&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Call to Action for Human Rights&nbsp;</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">is a tool at our disposal that we must apply in order to ensure that efforts to address the ongoing crisis do not exacerbate existing inequalities and root causes of conflict, but rather contribute to strengthening resilience and sustaining peace. We welcome the recent convening of an informal exchange between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council and hope to see similar exchanges happen more frequently.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">From its onset, women have been at the frontlines of the pandemic, as responders, caregivers and leaders in their communities.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Alongside the COVID-19 crisis, a pandemic within the pandemic is happening with increased abuse and sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against women and girls. Making sure that women are included in decision making, and that a gender transformative approach is applied in all stages of peacebuilding must be our common priority. Now we have an opportunity to constructively advance the implementation of the&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Women, Peace and Security agenda&nbsp;</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">as part of the short-term and long-term response to the pandemic. To ensure effective and context specific advances on the WPS agenda on the ground, we urge the Security Council to further utilize the recommendations provided by the&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Informal Expert Group on WPS</em><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">. We also welcome the recent&nbsp;</span><em style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">brief from DPPA and UN Women on COVID-19 and conflict.&nbsp;</em><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Ensuring a holistic multi-stakeholder approach that advances inclusive and meaningful participation for women, youth, indigenous peoples and persons belonging to marginalized groups, such as minorities and persons with disabilities</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">, is key to&nbsp;</span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">sustainably addressing the long-term implications of the pandemic in conflict-affected settings, while sustaining momentum on peace processes.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Partnerships are essential</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">, both in dealing with the immediate consequences of the current pandemic in the context of sustaining peace, and in working to strengthen resilience to future crises. To this end, it is important that both the Security Council and UN peace operations harness a broad range of capacities and expertise through&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">collaborating with local peace actors as well as regional and sub-regional organizations.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">These entities have proven critical in the face of access restrictions imposed during the pandemic and provide a long-term presence, remaining well beyond mission drawdown. In a similar vein,&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">we would like to see the UN and the World Bank deepen their alignment of capacities, tools and resources,&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">in support of national governments. There is a need for integrated analysis and joint strategies. Such a reinforced UN-IFI partnership could be leveraged to reduce the risk of conflict, sustain peace and mitigate the long-term negative impacts of the pandemic, by building back better and greener from the crisis, in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">The economic fallout from the pandemic combined with the reversal of peace gains makes it as important as ever to galvanize efforts to leverage new financing and foster collaboration with new partners. We need to&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">think innovatively about ways to increase sustainable, predictable, more coherent and better coordinated financing for peacebuilding.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">On the one hand, we need to mobilize additional funding for the UN Peacebuilding Fund, which plays an important role as a catalytic and flexible tool for peacebuilding. But there is also an opportunity to&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">engage the private sector more, where relevant, in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts.&nbsp;</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Beyond funding, the private sector can also support entrepreneurial action in communities to recover better from the crisis, while mobilizing support for peacebuilding efforts. As countries emerge from the crisis, it is critical to support skills development and create opportunities for decent jobs in more resilient and less vulnerable sectors and industries.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">&nbsp;</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">In closing,&nbsp;</span><strong style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">the ongoing pandemic serves as a stark reminder of the need for global solidarity and reinvigorated multilateral cooperation, not least in support of the peacebuilding agenda</strong><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">. Our collective response will determine how fast and how well the world recovers. In recent years, the international community has made important progress towards a shared commitment to the sustaining peace agenda. The different branches of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture must now be adequately empowered to urgently do their part to translate these principles into tangible results on the ground. The only way to emerge stronger from this crisis and prevent future ones is through a cross-pillar approach, which prioritizes conflict prevention and addresses the root causes of conflict.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;"></span><span style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #3b3b3b; font-family: 'Noto Sans', sans-serif; font-size: 16px;">Thank you.</span></div> </div>

06.08.2020 10:58Joint Nordic Statement at the Security Council High-Level open debate on Terrorism and Organized Crime

<p><em>Nordic Joint Statement on Terrorism and Organized Crime, issued by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann on the occasion of the High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on "Linkages Between Terrorism and Organized Crime" August 6 2020</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>While it is still too early to fully understand and assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global terrorism landscape, the pandemic leaves the world more vulnerable to terrorism with the possibility that already existing negative dynamics are coming into play earlier than expected and with more severe consequences. Furthermore, terrorist groups have set up local and regional systems to generate and move funds through illicit and organized criminal activity. This makes it all the more important to ensure our national, regional and global counter-terrorist financing architecture is fit for purpose.</p> <p>Terrorist networks depend on external financing to run their organizations. This financing must be cut off. We must disrupt the links between organized crime and terrorism in order to identify and stop illicit financial flows to terrorist organizations and criminal networks. We encourage expansion of the existing as well as developing new initiatives to deal more effectively with the nexus between terrorism and organized crime.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>The Nordic countries fully support the important message delivered by the Secretary General in his opening remarks during last month's UN CT Week: Counter-terrorism laws and security measures cannot be an excuse to shrink civic and humanitarian space, curtail freedom of association and deny other human rights.</p> <p>We are currently faced with multiple international crises requiring humanitarian, development or security-led responses, and the COVID-19 global pandemic and its derived effects has only increased competition for Member States' scarce resources. We fully agree with the Secretary General's point during last month's UN CT Week that we must harness the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions. Terrorism does not respect national borders. It affects us all and can only be defeated collectively. Hence, the demand for a coordinated approach ensuring effective and demand-driven responses that create tangible, gender-sensitive and sustainable outcomes on the ground in Member States has never been more outspoken.</p> <p>The United Nations Headquarters in New York and the United Nations offices in Vienna must work effectively together, including by making the best possible use of their field presence - and by finding the right balance between headquarter and filed presence. We call on the UNODC and UNOCT to develop strategies to this end drawing on the specific strengths and mandates of each office.</p> <p>Similarly, as Member States we must work together, both within our countries and between authorities nd sectors as well as with other Member States. Indeed, coordination and cooperation between authorities has been identified as one key factor in countering organized crime and terrorism. Furthermore, it is important to build and improve partnerships with civil society, including humanitarian and private sector actors.</p> <p>The Global Counterterrorism Forum has developed a number of practical guidelines and best practices relevant to today's debate that can assist us in translating our shared visions and priorities into concrete partnerships. We welcome the increased UN-GCTF collaboration and we call for even further realization of potential synergies between the UN and GCTF, in particular through GCTF-inspired institutions like the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law. The training institute in Malta presents an obvious platform for addressing many gaps identified in the Secretary General's report through capacity building and experience sharing.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>A key prerequisite for promoting a rule of law-based approach is the need to move from convictions based on confessions alone to sentencing based on objectively verifiable evidence. Not only as a way of ensuring rule of law based and human rights complaint criminal justice response to terrorism but also to ensure more efficient and more comprehensive investigation and prosecution process, increasing the possibilities of exposing linkages between terrorists and individuals or networks involved in other forms of crimes. Such an approach shows that effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are indeed complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

24.07.2020 20:15Joint Nordic statement at the Security Council open debate on climate and security

<p><span><em>Delivered by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark, on the occasion of the&nbsp;High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Climate and Security,&nbsp;24 July 2020</em><br /> <br /> Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>Members of the Security Council,</span></p> <p><span>I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.</span></p> <p><span>We welcome today’s opportunity to discuss how best to provide the Security Council with comprehensive and authoritative information on climate-related security risks, and would like to highlight the following points:</span></p> <p><span>We encourage the Security Council to continue mandating peacekeeping operations and special political missions to consider climate related security risks. This should include integrating a climate lens into mediation efforts and preventive diplomacy.</span></p> <p><span>In addition, we see strong merit in mandating a regular comprehensive report by the Secretary-General on the climate-security nexus. This could serve as an important platform for dialogue between member states and the UN Secretariat. It is important to leverage the scientific findings of other ongoing processes such as the IPCC in this regard.</span></p> <p><span>We welcome the efforts undertaken by the Climate Security Mechanism to map the existing UN analytical tools, data and approaches, and encourage further action on mainstreaming climate related security risks in all UN efforts, including peacebuilding. We also encourage the Security Council to further strengthen the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission.</span></p> <p><span>In order to enable the UN to prevent the escalation of conflict, timely assessment of climate-related security risks is essential, and partnerships play a key role in this regard:</span></p> <p><span>Firstly, it is essential that peace operations engage with local communities and authorities in an inclusive matter. Local knowledge and expertise are critical for effective policy analysis and to ensure that climate change adaptation measures are designed in accordance with local needs and concerns, including those of marginalized groups, civil society, indigenous peoples, women and youth.</span></p> <p><span>Secondly, it is important that both the Security Council and peace operations engage with regional and sub-regional actors that can implement cross-border activities. Key partners include the African Union, ASEAN as well as sub-regional climate centres.</span></p> <p><span>Thirdly, it is essential that peace operations engage at the country level with both the security sector and non-traditional security actors in order to co-produce such risk assessments. This should include climate experts from the World Meteorological Organization, and national meteorological and hydrological agencies.</span></p> <p><span>Building on the above, the UN should develop multi-hazard early warning systems that take into account both climate and security risks and allow for an integrated cross-pillar response. To this end, we propose to include assessment, reporting and management of climate-related security risks in leadership evaluation frameworks and the reporting responsibilities of Resident Coordinators and mission leadership. We also propose to build on existing early warning mechanisms developed by the humanitarian community in the UN peace operations planning.</span></p> <p><span>Climate-related security risks are closely tied to both the women, peace and security and youth, peace and security agendas. Women are often disproportionately affected by climate-related security risks, but they also serve as key agents of change in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Peacebuilding efforts should capitalize on these opportunities to strengthen the role of women in conflict prevention and resolution, as well as their economic empowerment. The youth of today will face the worst effects of climate change in the future, and it is therefore critical to include youth in decision-making processes regarding climate and security.</span></p> <p><span>In conclusion, Mr. President, we would like to reiterate that we are pleased to see the climate-security nexus receiving increased attention by the Security Council. We look forwarding to engaging further on this issue in order to ensure that the Council receives adequate and timely information on climate related security risks.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

17.07.2020 20:30Joint Nordic statement at the Security Council open debate on sexual violence in conflict

<p><span><em>Statement by the Nordic Member States delivered by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark,&nbsp;on the occasion of the Security Council Open Debate on “Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict” -&nbsp;17 July 2020</em></span></p> <p><span>I deliver this statement on behalf of Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Denmark. I thank Germany and the Dominican Republic for organizing today’s open debate. Furthermore, I express sincere gratitude to SRSG Pramila Patten and her Office for their important work.</span></p> <p><span>We have seen several results on the normative side: Seven out of ten UN Security Council Resolutions adopted under the Women, Peace and Security agenda specifically describe sexual violence as a major impediment to international peace and security. Other positive developments include: The policy for “United Nations Field Missions on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”, which was adopted in January this year, and the first whole-of-mission handbook for “UN Field Missions on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”, which was launched just over a month ago.</span></p> <p><span>While much of the normative framework against sexual violence is in place, sexual violence continues to be a horrific part of conflicts around the world. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. It is high time to move from words to action. We must step up efforts at all levels – including in relation to both advocacy and funding for prevention and measures aimed at addressing conflict-related sexual violence.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>***</span></p> <p><span>Conflict-related sexual violence is a violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law. It can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, and an act of genocide.</span></p> <p><span>Sexual violence destroys lives, tears apart the social fabric of communities, creates rifts between neighbors, and preys on the differences that enrich our societies. Those who are targeted are often discriminated against due to their religious, ethnic, sexual, political or other minority status.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>***</span></p> <p><span>The COVID-19 pandemic has born witness to a ‘shadow pandemic’ in the form of a sharp rise in incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, including in conflict situations.</span></p> <p><span>To make matters worse, it is anticipated that COVID-19 will severely hamper the possibility of survivors to report sexual violence, further exacerbating the existing structural, institutional and sociocultural barriers to reporting such crimes.</span></p> <p><span>Adding to this, sexual and gender-based violence response programmes are in many cases not considered to be essential, life-saving services and prioritized as such in the context of the overall COVID-19 response.</span></p> <p><span>This needs to change. We need to ensure a prompt and comprehensive response to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. We need to work towards the establishment of specific protocols for survivors to continue to be able to access timely services, including the full range of sexual and reproductive health care services, while mitigating the risks of COVID-19 transmission. And we need to place emphasis on the development of specific mitigation plans and measures to ensure rule of law and accountability for sexual violence as part of the overall COVID-19 response. In the end, justice and accountability are not only imperative to end impunity – they are key in ensuring prevention.</span></p> <p><span>The Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire during the COVID-19 pandemic is not only a key step for addressing the ‘shadow pandemic’ of conflict-related sexual violence. It should be the starting point for promoting a transformative and feminist approach to peace and security.</span></p> <p><span>We welcome the Secretary-General’s report on conflict-related sexual violence pointing to possible ways forward.</span></p> <p><span>We must monitor and document violations of international law, and provide training and funding, where needed. Individual states have the primary responsibility to prevent and respond to sexual violence, as well as to investigate and prosecute persons implicated in such crimes. However, we need to strengthen state institutions and build capacity to combat conflict-related sexual violence. Perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence must be held to account.</span></p> <p><span>We call for systematic use of gender expertise in UN operations and would like to highlight the importance of women protection advisors. We welcome the initiatives launched in the past year, and we echo the need for resolutions, mandates and sanctions to address conflict-related sexual violence and further translating words into action.</span></p> <p><span>Eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons (SALW) is a key part of combating sexual and gender-based violence, and it should be included in all four pillars of Women, Peace and Security – participation, protection, prevention, and relief and recovery. We need to focus more on the gendered aspects of the spread of SALW, and to include more women in disarmament efforts.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>***</span></p> <p><span>Root causes of gender-based violence, such as gender-based power inequalities, gender stereotypes and gender-based discrimination must be addressed in policy and practice. Responsive measures, such as providing adequate services to survivors of gender-based violence, are crucial, as are measures to prevent the violence from happening in the first place.</span></p> <p><span>We support the Call to Action to end sexual and gender-based violence in emergencies, and we firmly believe that we can achieve better results by working together. The Oslo conference on ending sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises, held in May 2019, helped to change the way we address this issue. We must maintain momentum to make sexual and gender-based violence, prevention and response a key humanitarian priority.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>***</span></p> <p><span>We highly value the contributions of survivors and witnesses, civil society and human rights defenders, which are crucial in building a relevant and effective response without causing survivors further pain.</span></p> <p><span>Reparation and justice must go hand in hand. A comprehensive approach is a prerequisite to alleviate both the immediate and long-term impact of conflict-related sexual violence. We must strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence, including by ensuring comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as access to emergency contraception and safe termination of pregnancies. We must fight impunity, remove stigma, alleviate suffering, rectify injustices, and ultimately help people to rebuild their lives, and communities to build a sustainable peace.</span></p> <p><span>Accountability also means funding. The Nordic countries recognize that we as donors have a responsibility to promote flexible and core funding as well as build equal partnerships with civil society organizations. We appeal to other countries to step up and take on their responsibility to improve funding for CRSV interventions.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>***</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries will do our part, through our embassies, multilateral cooperation and a wide range of partnerships; including the Nordic Network of Women Mediators and the Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations equips peacekeepers.</span></p> <p><span>With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread by the minute, now is the time for action.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

14.07.2020 17:31Statement by the UN LGBTI Core Group at the 2020 HLPF

<p><span><em>High Level Political Forum (HLPF)&nbsp;<span>–&nbsp;</span>Statement by the UN LGBTI Core Group,&nbsp;July 2020</em></span></p> <p><span><strong>Delivered by&nbsp;Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations.</strong></span></p> <p><span>Chairperson,</span></p> <p><span>(I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Member States of the LGBTI Core Group.)</span></p> <p><span>The LGBTI Core Group is an informal cross regional group established in 2008. The group is co-chaired by Argentina and The Netherlands, and includes Albania, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, Uruguay, the European Union, as well as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the non-governmental organizations Human Rights Watch and OutRight Action International.</span></p> <p><span>Chairperson,<br /> </span>The High Level Political Forum is the main United Nations platform for Member States, civil society and UN entities, to discuss progress and best practices in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the ultimate goal of “Leaving No One Behind”. This principle can only be achieved if all relevant stakeholders offer support and opportunities for all, including LGBTI persons, without discrimination and without violence of any kind, in full respect of their human rights, fundamental freedoms and dignity.</p> <p><span>The theme of this year, “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development” and the review of the 17 SDGs are particularly relevant for LGBTI persons across the world. Therefore, resolute action is required to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence everywhere and to fully develop everyone’s potential, to ensure that no one is left behind.</span></p> <p><span>The ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a serious threat to human security and unprecedented challenges that affect the global community as a whole but additionally have had particular and unique effect on those who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. LGBTI persons specifically are facing increased discrimination and stigmatization, for example through the introduction of discriminatory policies or practices into emergency legislation and lockdown procedures. and are at much higher risk of violence during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a human security crisis that is widespread in scope and impact, with survival, health, safety, economic security and human rights being endangered as a result. In order to effectively respond to the impacts and consequences of the pandemic so that no one is left behind, the Human Rights and the needs of those most vulnerable and most affected, including LGBTI persons, must be addressed.</span></p> <p>Although there have been positive outcomes in the implementation of the SDGs, severe barriers for the inclusion of LGBTI individuals around the globe remain. For instance, criminalization, pathologization, social stigma and discriminatory laws and policies make the realization of the SDGs impossible. Moreover, the lack of meaningful participation and often even exclusion of LGBTI persons in governance decisions, decision-making and other political processes that affect them hinders their valuable contribution and results in ineffective policies not targeted to their particular development needs.</p> <p>The LGBTI Core Group is convinced that the achievement of the 2030 Agenda is intimately linked with the recognition of Human rights, , and the guarantee of non-discrimination and equality for all, including for persons belonging to LGBTI communities, individuals, advocates and human rights defenders in general.</p> <p>Chairperson,<br /> In this respect, the LGBTI Core Group fully supports the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and we praise his efforts to encourage all countries’ COVID-19 responses to take into account the impact of the crisis on LGBTI persons. We welcomethe release of the ASPIRE guidelines recently issued by the Independent Expert in order to prevent and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on LGBT persons.</p> <p>Furthermore, we believe that this mandate enhances the opportunities offered by the 2030 Agenda and goes hand in hand with the broader aspirations of human rights, freedoms, democracy, and peaceful and inclusive societies. To that end, we strongly encourage all Member States to cooperate with the Independent Expert’s mandate.</p> <p>Chairperson,<br /> In this decade of action and delivery for sustainable development we must put an end to the multiple and intersecting forms of violence and discrimination faced by LGBTI persons. We only have ten years ahead of us to do so. In that regard, we are committed to contributing to the HLPF discussion by highlighting the importance of implementing national policies that diligently integrate, protect and advance the human rights of LGBTI persons, thereby inclusively furthering the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.</p> <p>I thank you.</p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yDMf9ND8xsc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture"></iframe>

09.07.2020 19:55Written statement of Iceland for the 2020 HLPF general debate

<p><span><em>2020 High-Level Political Forum&nbsp;<span>–&nbsp;</span>"Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development"</em><br /> <strong>Written statement of Iceland for the general debate, recorded by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations.</strong></span></p> <p><span>Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,</span></p> <p><span>As the world tackles the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting global crisis, we are reminded of the importance of Agenda 2030 as a roadmap for building back better. Multilateral co-operation has never been as important, and the international community needs to work together.</span></p> <p><span>The yearly High-Level Political Forum leads our work on the follow-up of the Sustainable Development Goals, acting as our guide to address the needs and rights of people worldwide. This is ever more important if the upcoming decade shall be a true decade of action, aimed at opening a door to the future we need.</span></p> <p><span>The Voluntary National Reviews are a vital tool to monitor the implementation worldwide. Last year, he Prime Minister of Iceland presented our first voluntary national review at the HLPF, along with representatives from the Icelandic SDG Youth Council and a representative of the private sector.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland stays committed to the 2030 agenda and firmly behind the Paris agreement and its targets, aiming for a carbon neutral Iceland in 2040. The Climate Action Summit and the SDG Summit last year revealed that more efforts are needed. Just last month an updated holistic Climate Action Plan was introduced and now Iceland is expected to achieve a 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Iceland also remains focused on other global environmental issues, such as pollution of the marine environment and land restoration. Some of the most effective solutions are often innovative and low cost.</span></p> <p><span>Ladies and Gentlemen,</span></p> <p><span>Last year, Iceland’s Parliament agreed on a new policy for international development cooperation with a focus on addressing climate change, reducing gender inequalities and securing human rights for all. The key pillars of the policy are interlinked and aligned with the SDGs.</span></p> <p><span>Through the 2030 Agenda, UN member states have pledged to ensure that no one will be left behind. We need to accelerate action on gender equality and advancing the human rights of women and girls, creating equal opportunities for all. Women are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are in ongoing conflicts and humanitarian crises. Also, we cannot ignore the increased violence against women and girls during the pandemic. The statistics are there and tell an alarming story.</span></p> <p><span>We encourage all member states to grant special attention to groups who lack fundamental rights and pay special attention to vulnerable groups. The promise to leave no one behind also applies to LGBTI individuals, who often face serious human rights violations and are disproportionally hit by the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span>Although we see important achievements in many fields more needs to be done. For example, progress is needed in addressing various non-communicable diseases, including spinal cord injuries.</span></p> <p><span>Ladies and gentlemen,</span></p> <p><span>Iceland’s 2019 VNR report placed special emphasis on children. It is central for sustainable development and implementing the 2030 Agenda that rights of children are being promoted and protected. Although more children are attending school, we need to do more when it comes to education. My delegation is committed to sharing best practices on the VNRs and earlier this year we worked with UNICEF and other member states on a VNR lab on children and youth inclusion in the process.</span></p> <p><span>At home we continue our implementation of the SDGs. The Prime Minister’s Office leads a cross-ministerial working group, which also includes the Association of Local Authorities, the Parliament, Statistics Iceland, observers from the Youth Council for the SDGs and the local UN Association. Wide stakeholder participation is key to accelerated action and transformative pathways – the very theme of our High-Level Political Forum this year.&nbsp; Only together we will realise the decade of action.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you.</span></p> <p><span> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/aeVizGr3zNE" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture"></iframe> </span></p>

07.07.2020 16:49Joint Nordic statement at the Security Council open debate on peace operations and human rights

<p><span><em>Statement by Ambassador Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland, on behalf of the Nordic Countries for the Security Council Open Debate on Peace Operations and Human Rights,&nbsp;7 July 2020.</em><br /> <br /> I thank the German Presidency for convening this discussion in the form of an open debate, and I have the pleasure to deliver the following statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on this important topic.</span></p> <p><span>Protection and promotion of human rights is at the core of the United Nations mandate, constituting one of its three fundamental pillars. Effective integration of human rights and gender equality across, and within all the pillars of the UN is crucial for the organisation’s ability to contribute to sustaining peace and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Human rights integration into peace operations is a vital achievement, affirming that respect for human rights is a key condition and prerequisite for lasting peace.</span></p> <p><span>Human rights components should be standard in peace operations, in order to enhance their quality and effectiveness, not least in the promotion and protection of civilians. The mandates must also be matched with adequate funding in order for missions to fulfil their objectives and have the capacity to undertake these tasks. We need to integrate and mainstream human rights in all of the United Nations’ work, including in the peace and security pillar. UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy remains at the core of this.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries pursue a human rights-based foreign and security policy. Our countries are long-term supporters of UN peacekeeping, and the human rights-based approach lies at the center of our participation in international crisis management. Human rights and its gender dimensions are an integral part of the training that we provide to our peacekeepers and experts. We have also consistently supported initiatives within the UN to improve the monitoring and compliance with human rights, both in the field of training and in human rights screening. This includes the development of the concept of Human Rights Readiness and implementation of HRDDP as an important component of our commitment under the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative.</span></p> <p><span>We would like to emphasize three key elements of effective peacekeeping – which have direct bearing on the protection and promotion of human rights: training, participation of women and taking a comprehensive approach in crisis management.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Training<br /> </strong></span>Human rights, including efforts towards ensuring accountability, need to be an integral part of all military and police training, including the pre-deployment training for uniformed and non-uniformed peacekeeping personnel. A good example is specialized training courses, which focus on topics such as integrating human rights into strategic planning as well as implementing the women peace and security agenda. International cooperation offers opportunities for sharing best practices, to compare and develop training modules and materials, to exchange trainers and students as well as to create and harmonize standards. In this regard, special thanks go to the UN Integrated Training Service, ITS, for their support and guidance for UN member states.</p> <p><span><strong>Women in peacekeeping</strong><br /> The Nordic countries have a long-term commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s full enjoyment of human rights. Integrating a gender perspective in all aspects of the work of the UN, including peacekeeping, is a necessity.</span></p> <p><span>Inclusion and effective participation of women in peace processes is a prerequisite for sustainable peace. Likewise, participation of women in peacekeeping improves operational effectiveness, including through increased access to local communities. Better understanding of the challenges facing those communities strengthens the missions’ capacity to prevent and end human rights violations. It also enhances missions’ ability to implement their protection of civilians mandate, with a particular focus on protection of women and girls, women’s participation and preventing conflict related sexual violence. Women peacekeepers help build a closer relationship with women, thereby bolstering community relations and situational awareness.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries consider it essential to increase the participation of female peacekeepers – we need to ensure that the UN gets the people best qualified. As an example, we would like to cite the training of female peacekeepers through UN Women, Gender Parity courses and the efforts undertaken by the Police Division in the Department of Peace Operations to increase the number of female Police Officers in UN operations.</span></p> <p><span><strong>Comprehensive approach in crisis management</strong><br /> Peacekeeping – as all other efforts towards peace – is inherently political. It should not be carried out in a vacuum. Peacekeeping has to be an integral part of an inclusive peacebuilding process that creates ground for reconciliation, social cohesion and sustainable peace and development. Regular monitoring and analysis of the patterns of human rights violations, such as incidence and severity, should constitute a key input into missions’ early warning analysis and thereby contribute to the implementation of protection of civilians mandates.</span></p> <p><span>Human rights violations can be drivers of conflict and restoring respect for human rights will often contribute to addressing root causes and to sustaining peace. From the outset, the UN system must simultaneously aim to build the national capacity needed to address these challenges. As per the HDP Nexus thinking, peacekeeping, political processes, development cooperation and humanitarian aid should be planned and implemented hand in hand: Joint context analysis and common outcomes are vital to ensure a well-coordinated and successful use of the tools working towards sustainable peace.</span></p> <p><span>Another aspect of comprehensiveness is the need to ensure that the UN mission and the host country share the objectives of the mission and that the different elements – both civilian and military – of each mission work seamlessly together and with the local authorities and population.</span></p> <p><span>These three elements (training, participation of women and comprehensive approach) will continue to be cornerstones of the Nordic approach to effective peacekeeping and crisis management.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.&nbsp;</span></p>

02.07.2020 16:29Joint Nordic Statement on Pandemics and Security

<p><span><em>Issued by Ambassador Martin Bille Hermann, Permanent Representative of Denmark, on the occasion of the High-Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on Pandemics and Security, 2 July 2020</em></span></p> <p><span>I have the pleasure to submit this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden on the timely topic of health and security.</span></p> <p><span>The COVID-19 pandemic poses a threat to the maintenance of international peace and security. The socio-economic fallout of the crisis exacerbates the root causes as well as consequences of conflict and risks reversing hard-won development and peacebuilding gains. The expected food crisis caused by the pandemic may also aggravate conflicts. Root causes of conflict also increase the risk of pandemics. Unmitigated climate change and escalating environmental degradation, including biodiversity loss, undermine the very basis of human wellbeing. Without immediate coordinated action, this will continue to lead to pandemics, global crises, displacement and conflict. The most important thing we can do to prevent such crises is to implement the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030.</span></p> <p><span>Furthermore, vulnerabilities to cybersecurity threats have been exploited during the pandemic, with a notable increase in malicious cyber activities, particularly against medical facilities. Mis- and disinformation risk enhancing the likelihood of conflict, violence, human rights violations and mass atrocities.</span></p> <p><span>We – the United Nations – must face the crisis with determination and resolve, in solidarity and through a strong multilateral response. The Nordic Countries welcome the efforts of the United Nations and the Secretary General to address the immediate and long-term consequences of the crisis, including through the launch of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan and a new Multi-Partner Trust Fund in support of the UN’s COVID-19 response. We call on all Member States to support the important role of the UN system, and the leading role of the World Health Organisation in particular, in mobilising and coordinating the global response to the pandemic, with human rights at the forefront. This is also a unique moment for assessing the results brought about by the Secretary General’s reform agenda, including the extent to which the reforms have led to a more coherent UN system on the ground, under the strategic leadership of Resident Coordinators.</span></p> <p><span>Health and global security are closely interlinked. Pandemics risk exacerbating ongoing conflicts and sparking new ones, potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence. This, in turn, undermines our ability to fight disease. At the same time, people in conflict-affected states are particularly vulnerable to pathogens as well as the secondary effects of the pandemic. There are examples of conflict parties exploiting the uncertainty created by the pandemic to press for a military advantage, and of the pandemic leading to the disruption of ongoing peace negotiations. For those processes, where momentum is sustained, there is a risk of further marginalization and exclusion of&nbsp; already vulnerable groups as conversations shift to virtual fora. We know that for peace processes to be successful and sustainable, they need to be inclusive and transparent. We must therefore take proactive measures to ensure the full, equal and meaningful multi-stakeholder participation, especially of historically marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women and girls, in political and peace processes.</span></p> <p><span>UN special political missions and peacekeeping operations play an important role in safeguarding momentum on existing peace processes and sustaining peace, as well as in the COVID-19 response. Peace operations need to be innovative in adapting to the new reality and we support the comprehensive efforts that the UN has made in order to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers as well to support host nations in preventing the spread of the virus. At the same time, member state flexibility and solidarity is essential, if peace operations are to deliver on their mandate. The crisis also presents an opportunity to review mission mandates in light of a changing threat landscape. We therefore reiterate our support to the Secretary General’s Action 4 Peacekeeping Agenda, which we believe does exactly that.</span></p> <p><span>The direct and indirect impact of COVID-19 exposes and exacerbates pre-existing vulnerabilities and inequalities, adversely affecting particularly the least protected among us. For populations in fragile and conflict affected contexts, coping mechanisms to address and handle pandemics are often reduced, sometimes even non-existent. We must reinforce and strengthen our resolve and commitment to leaving no-one behind, and indeed reach those who are most vulnerable in the immediate response as well as in building back better and greener from the pandemic. To this end, recovery plans must be designed and implemented in a conflict sensitive, gender- and climate responsive manner, and we must ensure the full, equal and meaningful multi-stakeholder involvement of particularly women and girls in the design, implementation and evaluation of such plans. The combination of the pandemic, its socio-economic consequences, and exacerbated conflict may lead to an increase in displacement and migratory movements and consequently place those already exposed in an even more vulnerable situation. We need to step up efforts to increase protection in the regions of origin and along migratory routes.</span></p> <p><span>COVID-19 disproportionately affects women and girls everywhere, resulting in a “shadow crisis”, in the words of the Secretary General. Women are the majority of frontline health workers; women and girls bear the brunt of unpaid care work; women constitute the majority of those working in the informal sector, with low wages, no social protection and small chances of being reached by governmental support packages; and more girls than boys drop out of school. Many of these girls risk never returning to school when they reopen, often increasing their exposure to violence and harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriages, adolescent pregnancies and female genital mutilation. The crisis has also led to an increase in sexual and gender-based violence and domestic or intimate partner violence as well as reduced access to vital sexual and reproductive health services. Women and girls with disabilities face even greater risks.</span></p> <p><span>Member states must address the structural gender inequalities and discrimination that place women and girls at greater risk during crises. This requires member states to conduct systematic gender analyses of crisis response, and use sex- and gender disaggregated data. Nordic countries place great emphasis on the protection of women and girls and on upholding their rights, as well as the safeguarding of universal health care and unhindered access to sexual and reproductive health care services.</span></p> <p><span>A state of emergency like this pandemic requires extraordinary measures. However, such emergency measures must not be used as pretext or justification for weakening universal values of human rights, democracy and rule of law and must be necessary, proportionate, temporary, and non-discriminatory in nature. We are particularly concerned about negative impacts on civil society, human rights defenders, gender equality, women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights, and possible abuse of surveillance technology. We strongly support the Secretary-General’s call to put human rights at centre-stage in COVID-19 response and recovery. Addressing the crisis in all its dimensions and bolstering resilience require rapid response, good governance, legitimate leadership and a vibrant civil society.</span></p> <p><span>Viruses and bacteria know no borders. The current pandemic has demonstrated that the world has not been sufficiently prepared to meet a health crisis of this nature and magnitude.&nbsp; The only way to ensure global health security is through a global coherent approach to preparedness and response based on solidarity, reinvigorated multilateralism and renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda, with a particular focus on strengthening public health functions and institutions and promoting universal health coverage.</span></p> <p><span>At its current stage, the COVID-19 pandemic is best curtailed by having a safe and effective vaccine and, once available, by ensuring equitable global access. We therefore welcome and supports initiatives such as the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and the Coronavirus Global Response. The International Health Regulations (2005), furthermore, provide a unique legally binding framework for all member states to prevent, protect against, control and respond to the international spread of disease while avoiding unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.</span></p> <p><span>In closing, the Nordic Countries would like to reiterate our strong support for the Secretary General’s global ceasefire appeal and encourage those Member States, who have not already done so, to join us. We also strongly welcome the Security Council’s unanimous adoption of resolution S/Res/2532 in support of the appeal.</span></p>

29.06.2020 17:18Joint Nordic Statement at UNICEF Executive Board Annual Session 2020

<p><span><em>UNICEF Executive Board, June 29 2020<br /> Nordic Statement in response to ED Fore’s opening remarks</em></span></p> <p><span>Thank you, Madame President, for giving me the floor and thank you to the Executive Director for your inspiring words. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country Sweden.</span></p> <p><span>2020 marks the start of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs. Over the past months, this ambition has been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses not only a global health disaster, but also a global humanitarian and development crisis like no other, with severe impact on particularly women and children.</span></p> <p><span>[Reform]</span></p> <p><span>The pandemic underscores the paramount importance of collaborative efforts and multilateral responses to address the crisis. A more integrated, coherent, efficient and results-driven UN presence on the ground, led by the empowered UN Resident Coordinators, plays an important part in ensuring that countries recover better, greener and more equal from the current crisis.&nbsp; We encourage UNICEF to show leadership at country level and to continue to work closely with sister agencies.</span></p> <p><span>[MTR]</span></p> <p><span>The response of the UN system to the COVID-19 crisis has been swift and well-coordinated. We would like to thank UNICEF for its unwavering commitment to supporting women and children around the globe - and not only as a response to the pandemic. The results UNICEF has achieved over the past year - as the midterm review bears witness to - are life changing for millions of children around the world.</span></p> <p><span>At the same time, despite these impressive results, this is no time for complacency. While we see progress on some fronts, we also see an erosion of some gains.</span></p> <p><span>[Gender and SRHR]</span></p> <p><span>For instance, 2019 concluded a deadly decade for children in conflict, with more than 170,000 grave violations against children, including sexual- and gender-based violence, which continues to be vastly underreported.</span></p> <p><span>5.5 mio. more girls than boys are out of school today and progress for gender equality in education remains uneven, particularly in learning outcomes. Education is fundamental for human, social, and economic development and a key element to achieving lasting peace and sustainable development. Therefore, we welcome that UNICEF has identified the learning crisis as a key area for acceleration, particularly for marginalized girls.</span></p> <p><span>Girls remain far more vulnerable to HIV. In this light, we welcome UNICEFs decision to increase investments in women and girls’ health. We support UNICEF and partner countries in their efforts towards ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services and supporting women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. A vital component in this regard is comprehensive sexuality education. We expect UNICEF like all of the UN family, to take guidance from the normative frameworks on human rights and development that UN member states adopt in the General Assembly and ECOSOC.</span></p> <p><span>Finally, we welcome that UNICEF is planning to develop a new ambitious Gender Policy and Gender Action Plan, focusing on structural barriers and transformative actions, in line with recommendations by the evaluation team. The Nordic countries stand ready to assist. In a revised Plan and policy, it is paramount to ensure gender mainstreaming in both the humanitarian assistance and in the development programmes.</span></p> <p><span>[Humanitarian response]</span></p> <p><span>We therefore also welcome an increased focus on the most vulnerable, including women and girls in UNICEFs humanitarian response. Children, and particularly girls continue to be disproportionately affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, not least in regard to sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices.</span></p> <p><span>[Core]</span></p> <p><span>Let me conclude by highlighting, that flexible and predictable funding is a corner stone in UNICEFs ability to deliver on its mandate. The declining proportion of regular resources as part of UNICEF's total income is a matter of concern. Hence, we encourage Member States and UNICEF to find best practices to increase flexibility and predictability of funding and multi-year commitments.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you Madame President.</span></p>

26.06.2020 14:37Statement of WEOG Member States at Commemoration of the Signing of the Charter of the United Nations

<p><span><strong>Speech delivered by HE Mr Jörundur Valtýsson,&nbsp;Permanent Representative of Iceland, on behalf of&nbsp;the Member States of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG)</strong></span></p> <p><span><em>Commemoration of the Signing of the Charter of the United Nations - Virtual Ceremony, 26 June 2020</em><br /> <br /> Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,</span></p> <p><span>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the Western European and Other States Group.</span></p> <p><span>The United Nations Charter, forged from the ashes of the Second World War, has served us well as the legal foundation of our organisation, enshrining the fundamental principles and values that drive multilateral co-operation and the rules-based international order. It symbolises the shared hopes and aspirations of its founders to build a better future, promoting peace, universal human rights, equality, and development for all.</span></p> <p><span>The 75th Anniversary of this great organisation provides an opportunity to reflect on our past achievements. We have an overall positive story to tell. The United Nations has been a catalyst for human development, and progress, multilateral co-operation, and international law – Shaping the world as we know it and symbolizing the largest ever peace project.</span></p> <p><span>These achievements have been the work of the entire UN membership, the committed UN staff, not least UN peacekeepers, civil society, and the private sector. But there are still too many unfulfilled promises and disappointments mirrored in ongoing conflicts, refugee and humanitarian crises, climate change as well as persistent poverty, inequalities, including gender disparities and social injustice.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>Today, we are in the midst of a global crisis that has no parallels in the last 75 years, causing death and severe illness with far-reaching humanitarian, social and economic consequences, that are not likely to disappear anytime soon. The pandemic is a stark reminder that global challenges call for a global response, openness, transparency, and respect for human rights. No state, large or small, can act in isolation.</span></p> <p><span>Let me thank the Secretary-General for his leadership – Calling for unity and solidarity, pressing for a global ceasefire and mobilising the United Nations in saving lives and preparing for recovery. We need to make sure that our organisation continues to evolve, in line with the Secretary General’s reform agenda, to stay fit for purpose and true to its core values and multilingualism. In the end, it falls on all of us to work in unison with the United Nations at the helm, and build back better for a more equitable, resilient, and sustainable future.</span></p> <p><span>Agenda 2030 provides a robust blueprint for building a better future for all, addressing the needs and rights of human beings to realise their full potential in dignity and equality, safeguarding peace and prosperity, protecting our planet and taking actions against climate change. This decade needs to be a true Decade of Action, accelerating the implementation of the SDGs, ensuring that future generations will be able to prosper, leaving no one behind.</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>We should use this anniversary to raise awareness and encourage a broad transparent dialogue on how we can further strengthen multilateralism and the United Nations, involving civil society, youth, and businesses – So we can together create the future we want and the UN we need.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you.</span></p>

23.06.2020 16:00Statement of Iceland at UNRWA Virtual Ministerial Pledging Conference

<p><span><strong>Address by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson,&nbsp;Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</strong><br /> <em>23 June 2020</em></span></p> <p>Thank you Co-Chairs.</p> <p>Let me start by thanking Sweden and Jordan for co-chairing this important event in support of UNRWA and Palestinian refugees, and congratulating Commissioner General Lazzarini on assuming his new and important position.</p> <p>The severe funding shortfall of UNRWA is of serious concern. UNRWA’s services for the 5.6 million Palestinian refugees, including in the fields of health and education, are unparalleled. Also, UNRWA pays the salaries of front-line staff – both teachers and health workers – which has become ever more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.&nbsp; The need for UNRWA is dire and remains imperative until a lasting political solution is sustained in the Israel-Palestine conflict.</p> <p>On behalf of the Government of Iceland, I am pleased to announce Iceland’s commitment to renewing the current multi-year agreement beyond 2021 - thereby continuing to provide the agency with predictable and flexible funding. We encourage more donors to step up and provide UNRWA with predictable guarantees through multi-year commitments.</p> <p>Finally, I want to take this opportunity and commend the agency and its staff for their commitment and dedication to serving Palestinian refugees across UNRWA’s five fields of operations.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

22.06.2020 22:27Written statement by Iceland at UN Women Executive Board Annual Meeting 2020

<p><span>Mr President, Madame Executive Director,</span></p> <p><span>First of all, we would like to applaud all UN Women’s management and staff for its’ tireless work in the last few months, defending the hard-earned progress made on gender equality and human rights of women and girls around the world in the last decades.</span></p> <p><span>UN Women, the only UN agency with the mandate of gender equality and women’s empowerment, has acquired extensive knowledge through its 10 years of existence. We acknowledge that UN Women’s contribution has been critical in mainstreaming gender responsive measures in the COVID-19 response.</span></p> <p><span>Women already bear the brunt of violence, war, conflicts, the climate crises and now the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not inevitable, and we should not accept this as a fact of life.&nbsp; The gendered impact of the current pandemic is clear, and it will exacerbate the existing economic and social inequalities. We must ensure that gender responsive measures are included in all response and recovery decisions.</span></p> <p><span>UN Women’s triple mandate is more important than ever. Firstly, normative work on a global scale is essential in times of crisis like these, policies and legislation are needed to push gender equality forward. Secondly, UN Women’s regional and country offices have responded swiftly and adjusted programming to respond to new realities. Lastly, it is of utmost importance that gender responsive actions are successfully coordinated within the whole UN system in both immediate and long-term responses.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We welcome that UN Women is represented in the steering committee of the Multi Partner Trust Fund for its coordination role. We encourage UN Women to further strengthen its collaboration and presence within the humanitarian sector; to work closely with OCHA, WFP and to play an increased role within the IASC.</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We appreciate the update on the implementation of UN Women’s engagement with the repositioning of the UNDS. We encourage UN Women to grasp the opportunities of the reform with enhanced joint programming and enhanced coordination to strengthen and optimize its operational activities and field presence. It is concerning that UN Women is not sitting at the table at all humanitarian cluster country teams.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>It is noteworthy that on the ten-year anniversary of UN Women, the initial 500-million-dollar financial goal has finally been achieved. There is a dire need to increase regular resources and we encourage UN Women to explore all possible means to do so. Strong leadership and coordination are the key to successful resource mobilization. Competition between country offices for funding should be avoided. We would like to use this opportunity to welcome the new Chief of Resource Mobilization and Donor Relations, Ms Lisa Doughten. We are certain that with her extensive experience she will be able to lead UN Women to reach even greater financial goals. In that respect we would like to reiterate the role that National Committees can play in increasing and diversifying funding through individual giving. It is encouraging to see the stable increase of funding from national committees and we urge UN Women to continue to invest in the national committees.</span></p> <p><span>Finally, we commend UN Women for exploring further collaboration with IFI’s and we expect UN Women to show its added value with evidence mapping of the COVID-19 responses.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>The gender anniversary year of 2020 has taken a sudden and different turn than we anticipated. We are not heading to Paris this year for the launch of the Generation Equality Forum as planned but the unexpected turn of events has shown the urgent need to speed up progress towards gender equality. As previously expressed, Iceland stands by ready to actively participate in the Action Coalitions.</span></p> <p><span>Let me conclude by saying that even though we are facing great challenges during these difficult times, with disruptive economic and social consequences hitting women the hardest, the world cannot ignore the pandemic of violence against women – The statistics are too strong. We must use this momentum to push even harder than before and make this the momentum where gender equality and women’s empowerment receives the attention and funding it deserves and needs.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you, Mr President.</span></p>

22.06.2020 19:10Joint statement of the WEOG member states on the occasion of the election of PGA75

<p><span><strong>Statement by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, the Permanent Representative of Iceland, on behalf of the Member States of the WEOG on the election of the PGA – HE Mr Volkan Bozkir<br /> </strong><em>22 June 2020</em><br /> <br /> Mr President, Mr President-elect, Mr Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,</span></p> <p><span>On behalf of the Member States of the Western European and Other States Group, I would like to extend our sincere congratulations to His Excellency Mr Volkan Bozkir of Turkey on his election as President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.</span></p> <p><span>HE Mr Bozkir has a long-standing and distinguished career in public service, both as a diplomat and politician. His vast experience will contribute greatly to this important role and we look forward to working under his leadership.</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>We are facing unprecedented challenges. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a human crisis with severe health and socio-economic consequences. Everybody is affected and our resolve, as a world community, is continuously tested.</span></p> <p><span>Now, more than ever, we are reminded that key global challenges can only be addressed collectively. We need closer international cooperation – With the United Nations at its core.&nbsp; The UN membership must work together to build back better for a more resilient and sustainable future. Also, our working methods, including within the General Assembly, should keep pace and adapt in accordance with the core values of our Organization, such as multilingualism. Furthermore, the UN must open itself to the peoples of the world. Strong and consistent engagement with civil society and private sector is key in helping us make progress on our common goals.</span></p> <p><span>In these extraordinary times, we will count on the President-elect to bridge gaps and foster unity between member states, to exercise his duties whilst enhancing moral authority, integrity and credibility, and to manage and oversee an efficient and focused 75th session. We place trust in his effective, inclusive, and transparent guidance, as well as commitment to the rules-based international system, human rights for all, and to the Sustainable Development Goals as we embark on the Decade of Action.</span></p> <p><span>We welcome and seek the President-elect’s attention to vulnerable groups and people in need, with emphasis on humanitarian action, as well as his dedication to the achievement of gender equality, including gender parity, at all levels of the United Nations.</span></p> <p><span>Mr President,</span></p> <p><span>The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is an important occasion to strengthen and renew our collective commitment to international law, multilateralism, and the United Nations as the cornerstone of the international rules-based system.</span></p> <p><span>Our common values and principles, inscribed in the UN Charter, have proven their worth and are, perhaps, more important now than ever. We appreciate the emphasis placed on this unique opportunity by the President-elect. We wish him every success in his endeavours and assure him of the support of the Member States of the Western European and Other States Group.</span></p> <p><span>We would also like to express to you, Mr President, our deep appreciation for your work throughout the current session of the General Assembly, under enormously challenging and unusual circumstances. Your unwavering commitment, innovative solutions and leadership enabled us to continue the important work of the General Assembly during the ongoing pandemic.</span></p> <p><span>We commend the emphasis you placed on conflict prevention, strengthening global action to tackle climate change, promoting partnerships for advancing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as accentuating inclusion, human rights and empowerment of youth and women.</span></p> <p><span>We also, Mr President, appreciated your style and manners. You are always accessible to member states and your good wits and charisma often carried us the extra mile needed.</span></p> <p><span>We look forward to working with you during the remaining weeks of your term in office and, again, congratulate HE Mr Bozkir on his election as the President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

08.06.2020 18:18Joint Statement from Members of the Green Group on World Oceans Day 2020

<span></span> <p><strong>Joint Statement from Members of the Green Group on the Occasion of World Oceans Day, 8 June 2020</strong></p> <p><strong></strong><em>On the occasion of World Oceans Day on 8 June 2020, the members of the Green Group – Cabo Verde, Costa Rica, Iceland, Singapore, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates – reaffirm and underscore their commitment to addressing the impact of climate change on the marine environment and to taking actions to preserve the sustainability of the world’s oceans.</em></p> <p>Oceans cover over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, and together represent the largest living space on the planet that is home to an estimated 2.2 million species, many of which are under threat.</p> <p>Oceans supply an abundance of living and non-living resources – from fisheries and marine biotechnology to minerals and renewable energy. With many nations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of oceans in safeguarding our food security and economic well-being is becoming more important than ever.</p> <p>Ocean currents are instrumental in transferring heat around the world, shaping Earth’s climate and weather systems. Oceans also form the largest carbon sink on the planet, holding up to 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere and absorbing about 30 % of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide.</p> <p>However, human activity is putting enormous pressure on oceans. Climate change, ocean acidification due to rising carbon level, ocean warming and deoxygenation, overfishing, IUU fishing, loss of biodiversity and habitats, land-based and ship-based pollution, plastic litter, overuse and unsustainable coastal development, sedimentation, and biological invasions are significant threats that require collective action. The adverse impacts of climate change impair the crucial ability of the ocean to act as climate regulator. Success in fighting climate change would therefore have a significant beneficial effect on the marine environment.</p> <p>The UN’s Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) include 10 targets concerning the ocean under SDG 14: Life Under Water, four of which are due in 2020. However, these targets may not be enough and increased efforts on appropriate science based protection of the oceans may help avert climate disaster.&nbsp;</p> <p>We have made great strides in putting the ocean at the centre of the environmental debate over the past few years. With a growing public interest in oceans worldwide and the realization that their preservation plays an intrinsic role in the achievement of the SDGs, in particular, SDG 14, there is great hope for more support for conservation efforts and sustainable use of the oceans.</p> <p>As we celebrate World Oceans Day today, we have seen many commitments over the past few years, but global action has been slow.&nbsp;</p> <p>To fast-track the progress, new and improved technologies and materials will be crucial to establishing a sustainable coastal and ocean economy. They will enable industries such as shipping, cruising, and aquaculture to meet increased demand more sustainably.&nbsp;</p> <p>Oceans are of special importance to each of the Green Group members.&nbsp;</p> <p>Cabo Verde has the largest area of ocean in West Africa and is a global hotspot for marine life. Illegal fishing presents a serious threat to Cabo Verde’s marine biodiversity as well as to the livelihoods of coastal fishing communities. The country is a leader in ocean conservation in the region, with plans to protect five percent of its vast marine territory by 2025. The government has already established 19 small coastal marine parks and runs several wildlife reintroduction programmes.</p> <p>Costa Rica’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts boast 970 km of coral reefs, including the largest coral reef in the Caribbean. However, more than 90 per cent are threatened by climate change and human activities. Costa Rica is making significant progress in coral reef conservation, including nursery farming of endemic coral species. On World Oceans Day 2019, President Carlos Alvarado signed a decree on the promotion of restoration and conservation initiatives for the recovery of coral ecosystems.</p> <p>Iceland has a long-standing policy on science based environmental protection and sustainable use of marine resources. In recent years, the main focus has been on increasing the value of products and services in the blue economy, on energy transition and lowering emissions in fisheries and marine transportation, and on preventing marine pollution, not least macro and micro plastics, in the ocean.</p> <p>Despite being one of the busiest maritime ports in the world, Singapore retains a variety of healthy coastal and marine habitats. Our Marine Conservation Action Plan has expanded the protection of mangrove areas, established a marine park and facilitated species conservation through habitat restoration and species recovery programmes.&nbsp; With the goal to become a Zero Waste Nation, Singapore is also adopting a circular economy approach and a comprehensive waste management system to minimise land-based sources of litter in the oceans and marine environment.</p> <p>Slovenia as maritime state is proactively committed to preserving healthy coastal and marine ecosystems in particular on the Adriatic Sea and in the broader Mediterranean region. Slovenia's marine biodiversity is amongst the world richest, with 98.5 % of marine areas under protection. Furthermore, with its active involvement in the protection of cetaceans, Slovenia is highly devoted to the conservation of ocean inhabitants that go far beyond national borders.</p> <p>The UAE’s diverse marine habitats are a mainstay of the country’s flourishing fishing and tourism industries. The UAE has designated 16 marine protected areas that account for 12 percent of its marine and coastal territory. These areas play a major role in the conservation of endangered species. Additional efforts to protect marine life include a program targeting the rehabilitation of marine and coastal habitats, as well as assessment and mapping of marine ecosystem services.</p> <p>2020 is poised to be a significant year for the world’s oceans. The decisions taken this year can determine the state of our marine ecosystems at the end of the century. The need of the hour is to balance economic growth with ocean health.</p> <p>Financing the transition to a sustainable blue economy remains a key issue.&nbsp; We need to mobilize private and public funds at a much larger scale. A “greening” of the financial system would facilitate this path. The world’s first blue bond, launched by the Seychelles in 2018, has opened the door for ocean finance, and there are opportunities to learn from the experience of green finance as investment takes hold.</p> <p>Meanwhile, we remain committed to halting and reversing the decline in the health and productivity of our ocean and its ecosystems and to protecting and restoring its resilience and ecological integrity. We must continue to explore new ways to safeguard and sustainably use our oceans – reducing our carbon footprint, promoting seafood from sustainable sources, and cutting down on plastic pollution. And collective action is the only way we can achieve our common goal.</p>

08.06.2020 16:57Remarks at Launch of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution

<p><span><em>Launch of the Group of Friends to Combat Marine Plastic Pollution - New York, 8 June 2020<br /> Remarks by Mr. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland</em></span></p> <p><span>Thank you Madame Chair. Ministers, Excellencies,</span></p> <p><span>First, I would like to thank Norway, the Maldives and Antigua and Barbuda for taking the initiative to form a Group of Friends to combat marine plastic pollution. As an island nation highly dependent on healthy oceans and sustainable use of marine resources, we very much appreciate the focus you are bringing to the issue here in New York.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland currently holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, in which the marine environment is a top priority. We hope to agree on a regional action plan to reduce marine litter in the Arctic Marine Environment, including microplastics, during our chairmanship, and to host an international symposium on the threat of plastics to Arctic marine ecosystems in Iceland - as soon as the present situation related to COVID-19 improves.</span></p> <p><span>This work was leveraged by priorities during our presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers last year. There, we prioritized the ocean and blue growth in the North and put emphasis, among other, on blue innovation and the threat of plastics to the marine environment.</span></p> <p><span>One of the main projects launched, NordMar Plastics, focuses on developing a joint methodology for measuring the extent of plastic in the marine environment, and aims at increasing awareness on the impact of plastics, for example by creating educational material for children.</span></p> <p><span>These are some examples of regional initiatives that demonstrate the importance Iceland attaches to ocean affairs, which also remain high on our agenda at the United Nations.</span></p> <p><span>I thank the hosts again for this timely event – we look forward to a fruitful and productive co-operation with all of you.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you and Happy World Oceans Day.</span></p>

05.06.2020 14:32Joint Nordic Statement at UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board Annual Session 2020

<p><span><em>UNFPA Segment, 5 June 2020 - Item 13, Annual Report of the Executive Director<br /> Statement by the Nordic Countries, delivered by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN</em><br /> <br /> Mr. President, Madame Executive Director,&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>I make this joint statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries thank UNFPA for their quick adaptation and response to the COVID-19 crisis. Today’s situation has underscored how crucial adequate funding is for ensuring continuity in UNFPA activities and timely delivery of its programmes.</span></p> <p><span>In particular, predictable core funding enables UNFPA to deliver on its mandate. Through core resources, UNFPA can also efficiently respond to new, unforeseen challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries, jointly the biggest core contributors to UNFPA, call on all Member States to provide sustainable and predictable funding to UNFPA - in accordance with our joint commitments framed in the Funding Compact.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>We are pleased with the good results reported in the mid-term review of the UNFPA strategic plan. We welcome increased focus on climate change in the future activities of UNFPA. Climate change is a threat to sustainable development, including fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Therefore, we look forward to the forthcoming UNFPA climate-change strategy.</span></p> <p><span>We also value that UNFPA is making innovation a core programme strategy and taking a more outward-looking approach on innovation. The current pressing challenges highlight the need for new partnerships and innovations, such as telemedicine and other inclusive digital developments, all within national health systems. We stress the importance of close collaboration and alignment with the UN’s system-wide innovation agenda as UNFPA embarks on this new path.</span></p> <p><span>In this exceptional time, it is particularly important to find balance between UNFPA key functions and the need to respond to emerging challenges. While a strengthened focus on responding to emerging challenges and opportunities is both needed and welcome, we strongly encourage UNFPA to maintain the focus on the core of their mandate, which also constitutes UNFPA’s comparative advantage.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries recognize and welcome the UNFPA initiatives in gender-based violence prevention and response during the pandemic. In humanitarian settings, UNFPA’s work addressing sexual and gender-based violence, and providing services to survivors of such violence, is fundamental. Furthermore, access to quality sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian and fragile contexts is vitally important. Safeguarding UNFPA’s normative and global role is for us of utmost importance in this regard.</span></p> <p><span>Respecting, protecting and enforcing women and girls’ rights is essential to reaching those furthest behind. We encourage further inclusion of the rights and needs of persons with disabilities in all UNFPA activities. In this context, we would like to highlight implementation of the United Nations Disability Inclusion Strategy, as well as the IASC Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.</span></p> <p><span>Youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education are important for boys and girls but, more so, contribute to adolescent girls’ school attendance and active participation in society, and are thus vital for realization of their rights.</span></p> <p><span>Finally, we encourage UNFPA to continuously focus on ensuring follow-up to the commitments made by states, private sector and civil society to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and to reach UNFPA’s three transformative results. This includes voluntary commitments made, not least given that they were commitments made to implement a UN-mandated Programme of Action, namely the ICPD Programme of Action.</span></p> <p><span>In closing, we would like to thank the Executive Director and UNFPA staff all over the world for their tireless and meaningful work towards achieving the three transformative results and ensuring realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

02.06.2020 16:21Statement of Iceland at informal consultations to launch review of the UN human rights treaty body system

<p><span><em>Strengthening the human rights treaty bodies<br /> Statement by Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland<br /> New York, 2 June 2020</em><br /> <br /> Mr. President, Madame High Commissioner, co-facilitators, colleagues,</span></p> <p><span>We are grateful to the co-facilitators, Ambassador Hilale and Ambassador Lauber, for convening us here today on our human rights treaty bodies, and also for their flexibility in format. We are pleased to see you taking on this important task and I promise you our full co-operation and support.</span></p> <p><span>Allow me also to thank Madam High-Commissioner and her staff for their work, as well as the treaty body members themselves and civil society that are all important stakeholders to this conversation.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland had the pleasure of co-facilitating from 2012 to 2014 the process of the elaboration of resolution 68/268 in partnership with Indonesia first and Tunisia later. The resolution is not perfect, but it was the first time the GA came together and addressed the treaty bodies in such a comprehensive way.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Many of the issues raised regarding the treaty bodies are already addressed in resolution 68/268 and a lot of work was undertaken to systematically examine their work in the previous process.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>However, implementation has been slow on some issues and inconsistent on others while recently we have seen a more unified approach by the treaty bodies. Therefore, a continued engagement of Member States is required to support the treaty bodies in the implementation of resolution 68/268.</span></p> <p><span>Additionally, a key issue raised by many Member States, as well as the treaty bodies themselves, is their communication functions. The capacity of the system is severely limited for a number of reasons and since the conclusion of the previous process many new communication procedures have come into play. This issue would therefore, in our opinion, warrant increased focus this time around.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We would therefore hope that our discussion would focus on these two issues - how to further the full implementation of resolution 68/268 and how to ensure that the communication function of the treaty bodies is fit for purpose.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Regarding the conduct of our consultations, your proposed way forward sounds sensible. We also would wish to avoid a lengthy intergovernmental process but encourage transparency and inclusiveness - and to leverage the different strengths that delegations in Geneva and New York bring to the process.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We are looking forward to working with you and all stakeholders on a successful review process that leads to a strong, efficient and effective treaty body system.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

27.05.2020 16:44Security Council: Protection of Civilians

<p><span><em>Security Council open debate, 27 May 2020. Joint Nordic statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN</em>.<br /> <br /> President,</span></p> <p><span>This statement is delivered on behalf of Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and my own country, Norway.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We thank the Secretary General for the report, and Estonia for convening this open debate. Strengthening compliance with IHL and ensuring accountability for violations must regrettably continue to be of great concern to the Council.</span></p> <p><span>The Covid-19 pandemic calls for solidarity. The Nordic countries support the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire. Gender equality and women’s rights are essential to getting through this pandemic together.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries remain deeply troubled by the inadequate respect for international humanitarian law (IHL), international human rights law and humanitarian principles shown by parties to conflicts around the world. Not only do violations during armed conflict have immediate negative impacts on individuals and their communities; they also undermine longer-term prospects of reconciliation, reintegration, development and sustainable peace.</span></p> <p><span>We welcome the practical measures and steps to increase the protection of civilians in armed conflict presented in the Secretary General’s report. We also find the resolution adopted at the 33rd international Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference in December a very useful tool for all states to ensure implementation of IHL.</span></p> <p><span>We must continue the fight against impunity for IHL and human rights violations. First, it is necessary to support national efforts to strengthen the states' own capacity to ensure justice in the wake of armed conflict. Second, the International Criminal Court (the ICC) and other global and regional mechanisms are important tools in ensuring accountability. For instance, we have seen how the ICC has made important convictions for crimes related to rape and sexual violence in armed conflict. We also welcome the recent decision to include the war crime of the intentional use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare into the ICC Statutes, also in non-international armed conflicts. We call upon all States Parties to ratify or accept the amendment as soon as possible.</span></p> <p>The obligation for states parties to the Mine Ban Treaty and the Convention on Cluster Munitions to clear contaminated areas and to destroy stockpiles are concrete and efficient contributions to protect civilians after conflict. We are deeply troubled at the effects the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated areas have had for the civilian population in many conflicts. We therefore support the development of a political declaration aiming to enhance the protection of civilians in urban warfare.We need to increase the UN’s capacity to prevent and solve conflicts. We will continue to strengthen the UN´s mediation efforts and support the UN’s broader political and peacebuilding efforts. UN Peacekeeping and political missions must have protection of civilians firmly embedded in their mandates, and operationalised on the ground as a mission-wide responsibility, ranging from preventive measures to institutional reform and direct physical protection. This year, as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR 1325, we renew our commitment to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.</p> <p>The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates protection risks for people in conflict zones. Both the Secretary General’s report and ICRC, underline how respect for IHL is key to ensure essential services and the legal protection necessary to tackle this crisis. The attacks on healthcare must end. We call for the implementation of UNSCR 2286. We support the efforts of ICRC and WHO in particular to identify best practices to protect health care and to document attacks.</p> <p>It is paramount that humanitarian organisations get safe, timely and unhindered access to populations in need everywhere. We need to ensure that sanctions or other restrictive measures, including national Covid-19-related restrictions, do not hinder the delivery of life-saving assistance. We urge the Security Council to renew UNSCR 2504 to ensure that people in need have access to humanitarian assistance and protection throughout the whole of Syria. </p> <p>Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in conflict is widespread and devastating. We support the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary General, and call for the implementation of UNSCR 2467 focusing on justice, accountability and a survivor-centred approach in the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence. At the SGBV Conference in Oslo last year, both increased funding and action was pledged. We urge all states and organisations to follow through on their commitments.</p> <p>Armed conflicts have disproportionate impact on persons with disabilities. We therefore emphasize the particular needs of persons with disabilities in humanitarian response. Member States should take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination and marginalization of persons based on disability in situations of armed conflict.</p> <p>Children are particularly vulnerable in conflicts, and we support the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict. The Secretary General’s report point to the Safe Schools Declaration as a concrete protection tool and calls on all states to endorse and implement it. As we mark the five year anniversary of the Declaration, we are encouraged that 104 states have endorsed it, the most recent being the current President of the Security Council, Estonia and Antigua and Barbuda. We are very pleased to see that endorsing states, international organizations and civil society led by Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA,) demonstrate commitment to its implementation. We thank the Secretary General for highlighting the fate of the missing and their families, and the need for increased efforts on restoration of family links. We welcome the resolution from international Red Cross and Red Crescent Conference on restoring family links and data protection.</p> <p>Armed conflicts also have significant negative consequences for the environment and for the livelihoods of conflict-affected civilian populations. The Nordic countries welcome the increased attention to the environmental impacts of armed conflicts as well as the initiatives to strengthen the legal protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts. </p> <p>Dialogue with parties to conflict is key to enhance the protection of civilians. The work done by states that have an influence is important; leading by example is crucial. We would also like to highlight the work done in conflicts by ICRC, Geneva Call and others to engage armed forces and non-state armed groups, to change their practices, to understand their obligations and to act accordingly.</p> <p>To conclude, we would like to give recognition to the practioners, humanitarian organisations and civil society that have taken the lead in some of the most successful practical initiatives and measures taken to increase compliance and protection of civilians in armed conflict.</p>

18.05.2020 14:32Remarks of Iceland at UN LGBTI Core Group special event to mark IDAHOBIT

<p><span><strong>Special event of the UN LGBTI Core Group to mark IDAHOBIT</strong><br /> <em>18 May 2020 -&nbsp;Remarks by Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN</em><br /> <br /> Thank you Jessica. Dear colleagues,</span></p> <p><span>I am so pleased to take the floor on behalf of Iceland for the first time as a member of the LGBTI Core Group.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.government.is/news/article/2020/05/15/Iceland-joins-the-UN-LGBTI-Core-Group-in-New-York/">Iceland joined the group as a member last week</a>, along with Nepal, and we look forward to working with all of you.</span></p> <p><span>Today we mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia. This is a day to remember LGBTI individuals around the world who face serious human rights violations every day.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Human rights are an integral part of Iceland’s foreign policy and we will continue to work on advancing and advocating for the rights of LGBTI individuals. In this respect, we hope to contribute to the work of the Core Group in a meaningful way and Iceland has already been active within the Equal Rights Coalition and supported the United Nations Free and Equal campaign.</span></p> <p><span>Also, last year, during our term on the Human Rights Council, LGBTI rights featured prominently on our agenda. This included continued support for the mandate of the Independent Expert on Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. I look forward to hearing you remarks here today, Mr. Victor Madrigal-Borloz.</span></p> <p><span>Domestically, the Government of Iceland has focused on legal reforms for LGBTI individuals, most recently with the 2019 law on Gender Self-Determination, which notably strengthens the rights of trans and intersex people. Iceland currently tops the OECD index on LGBTI social acceptance and has been moving up the list on the Europe Rainbow Index. We do recognize, however, that work remains to be done.</span></p> <p><span>We look forward to today’s discussions on the impact of COVID-19 on LGBTI people - A group that is disproportionally hit by the pandemic. My delegation is committed to working with the Core Group, and the wider UN membership, in advancing LGBTI rights. Human rights are universal, and LGBTI rights are human rights. No exceptions. Happy IDAHOBIT Day.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

11.05.2020 15:47We need strong global cooperation and solidarity to fight COVID-19

<div> <p>The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for multilateralism. Trying to cope with the immediate devastating effects of the virus, nations have turned toward imposing unprecedented executive measures, including closing borders. However, a virus knows no borders. All countries are affected. We must remain united in our shared humanity. The fight against this global pandemic, which is taking so many lives and challenging our societies, requires more and enhanced international cooperation and worldwide solidarity.</p> <p>Containing and countering this pandemic calls for a co-operative, transparent, science-based and coordinated global response. We are concerned by the serious threat to all countries, particularly developing and least developed countries, countries in situations of conflict and post-conflict countries, where health systems are less prepared, as well as the particular risk faced by refugees and displaced persons.</p> <p>We realise that the pandemic poses a serious threat to the essential right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. At the same time, in a situation of emergency, it is of utmost importance to maintain principles of democracy and the rule of law. We call on all governments to strictly ensure that any measures taken to counter the pandemic must be necessary and proportionate, pursue legitimate purposes, be limited in time, non-discriminatory and respectful of international law, including human rights law. Adopting a gender-responsive approach will be essential. With respect to non-discriminatory policies, we support the statement of the High Commissioner for Human rights, issued on March 6, recalling that human dignity and rights should remain at the core of the response to the crisis, and that responses should be holistic and people-centric.</p> <p>The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated just how crucial multilateral institutions are to our collective health, prosperity, and security. We fully support the World Health Organization in leading the global public health response, as well as the efforts of the wider United Nations, the World Bank Group, and other international and regional organizations as they come together in a coordinated, coherent whole to respond to the wider socio-economic impacts of the crisis.</p> <p>We strongly support the appeal by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres for an immediate global ceasefire. It is time to stop armed conflict and immediately halt fighting and devote all our energy and resources to fighting the world’s common challenge – the coronavirus. We express our gratitude to health and humanitarian workers for their indispensable role in saving lives and commit to preserve, and advocate for, the space they need to deliver on their life-saving mandate. We thank civil society leaders for their determination to protect the most vulnerable. We support efforts to urgently address the humanitarian dimension of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are ready to play our part in responding to the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 by the United Nations. We commend the UN Secretary General for launching a COVID-19 response and recovery fund for low and middle-income countries to tackle the health emergency, address social and economic consequences of the crisis and assist in the recovery and support efforts to strengthen coordination and collaboration across response efforts.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The health challenge</span>: The focus must now be on the most immediate medical, political and economic challenges raised by the pandemic. We support the United Nations’ call for shared responsibility and global solidarity in response to the impacts of COVID-19, and especially the role of WHO in the coordination of the health response to the epidemic. . We seek to ensure sufficient financing to address the pandemic, including strengthening of health systems globally. We support working towards a response that delivers universal access to treatment and vaccines, when they are ready. Fair and just distribution will be key. We propose to focus on the universal provision of an eventual treatment and a vaccine and recognize immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The financial challenge</span>: We will seek to ensure adequate financing to contain the pandemic and protect people, with particular attention to the most vulnerable. We commit, on a voluntary basis, to provide resources in support of the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan , as well as the health organisations involved in identifying and scaling up the tools needed to fight the pandemic: the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance UNITAID and the Global Fund, and call upon all countries, international organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, and individuals to contribute to these efforts We will continue to work with all stakeholders to assist those countries whose economies are most at risk due to the pandemic and to improve resilience.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The information challenge</span>: Disinformation puts peoples’ lives at risk and is an obstacle to effective public health responses. We call on all states to provide and promote accessible, timely and factual information, to continue to protect and promote access to free and independent media and to support the free exchange of reliable and accurate information. We support the efforts of the WHO and internet intermediaries to step up efforts in detecting and addressing misinformation and prioritizing trustworthy information on their platforms. We commend journalists and other media workers on their work that serves to keep societies informed credibly, to protect the health of communities and to prevent false or misleading information. We express concern at the damage which can and has been done by the spreading of false or manipulated information intended to deliberately deceive, including disinformation about the virus outbreak and response. We need to push back disinformation and propaganda. Access to reliable information and to free and independent media is crucial to foster transparency and accountability, combat misinformation and contribute to public confidence and support for government efforts to combat the pandemic. We will work with public health authorities to ensure access to timely and accurate information. We are concerned by attempts to use this crisis to put in place undue restrictions or to deny societies critical information on the spread of the disease. We must work together to amplify evidence- based messaging.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The prevention challenge</span>: We must also address the long-term consequences of this crisis. The world must prepare better for the next pandemic. We will lend our support to strengthening health systems globally, including through supporting the WHO, other UN agencies as well as other international health organizations.. The COVID pandemic should be an opportunity to strengthen the global health security system. In order to reduce the risk of future pandemics we should promote the "One Health" approach as outlined by the WHO. We support efforts by the WHO to assess gaps with a view to enhancing pandemic preparedness and response, and further stress the urgency of ensuring a healthy environment, achieving universal health coverage, and promoting effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. The multilateral system needs to adapt and reform to ‘recover better’. We call upon the WHO, IMF, WBG and all relevant UN agencies and international health organizations to further step up coordination of their actions, including with the private sector, to support emerging and developing countries in facing the health, economic, and social shocks following the COVID-19 outbreak. We support the efforts of the WHO to assess gaps in pandemic preparedness with a view to establish a global initiative on pandemic preparedness and response.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The economic challenge</span>: The continued efficient flow of medical supplies, agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders will be critical for effective crisis response, to help minimize global supply and demand shocks, and to enable timely economic recovery. We will therefore work to minimize disruptions to cross border trade and global supply chains, and taking only targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary emergency measures and only those consistent with our WTO obligations.</p> <p>As we strive to ‘recover better’ our common roadmap remains the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. We welcome the unanimous adoption of UNGA resolution 74/270 on Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the initiative of Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.</p> <p>Faced with the unprecedented challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must all join forces to contain, counter and prevent its spread. The Alliance for Multilateralism is committed to support the UN, WHO, and other international organizations in their efforts toward this end. We are only as strong as the weakest link in the global health system. Only by building a more sustainable and resilient world through enhanced international cooperation can we overcome this threat to humanity.</p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Argentine Republic, Mr. Felipe Solá</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Zohrab Mnatsakanyan</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Australia, Mrs. Marise Payne</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Austria, Mr. Alexander Schallenberg</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of Belgium, Mr. Philippe Goffin</em></p> </div> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Ekaterina Gecheva-Zaharieva</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Canada, Mr. François-Philippe Champagne</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Chile, Dr. Teodoro Ribera Neumann</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Colombia, Mrs. Claudia Blum Barberi</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Costa Rica, Mr. Rodolfo Solano</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr. Marcel Amon-Tanoh</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Dr. Gordan Grlić Radman</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Nikos Christodoulides</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Czech Republic, Mr. Tomáš Petříček</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of Denmark, Mr. Jeppe Kofod</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Miguel Vargas</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Ecuador, Dr. José Valencia Amores</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Estonia, Mr. Urmas Reinsalu</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Mr. Gedu Andargachev</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Finland, Mr. Pekka Haavisto H.E.FM of the French Republic,Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr. Heiko Maas</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Greece, Mr. Nikos Dendias</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Iceland, Mr. Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Indonesia, Ms. Retno Marsudi</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Ireland, Mr. Simon Coveney</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Italian Republic, Mr. Luigi di Maio</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Mr. Ayman Safadi</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Latvia, Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Principality of Liechtenstein, Dr. Katrin Eggenberger</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Linas Linkevičius</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, Mr. Jean Asselborn</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of the Maldives, Mr. Abdulla Shahid</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Malta, Dr. Evarist Bartolo</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the United Mexican States, Mr. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Montenegro, Mr. Srđan Darmanović</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FMof the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Nasser Bourita</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Namibia, Mrs. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Nauru, Mr. Lionel Aingimea</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Stef Blok</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Northern Mazedonia, Mr. Nikola Dimitrov</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of Norway, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide</em></p> <p><em>H.E.FM of the Republic of Paraguay, Mr. Antonio Rivas Palacios</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Peru, Mr. Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Portugal, Mr. Prof. Augusto Santos Silva</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Romania, Mr. Bogdan Aurescu</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Singapore, Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Slovak Republic, Mr Ivan Korčok</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Dr Anže Logar</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Republic of South Africa, Ms. Grace Pandor</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of Spain, Ms. Arancha Gonzales Laya</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Kingdom of Sweden, Ms. Ann Linde</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of the Swiss Confederation, Dr. Ignazio Cassis</em></p> <p><em>H.E. FM of Uruguay, Mr. Ernesto Talvi</em></p>

27.04.2020 17:38Security Council: Youth, peace and security

<p><em>Nordic joint statement issued by Norway on the occasion of the Security Council’s meeting on Youth, Peace and Security, 27 April 2020.</em></p> <p>The Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway - applaud the Dominican Republic for convening an open meeting on youth, peace and security. We appreciate your efforts to keep this important issue on the agenda of the Security Council and for facilitating written statements from non-council members. We also welcome the participation of the young civil society briefers in this new format. The voices of civil society and youth-led organisations continue to bring vital input into the work and considerations of this Council, including through the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>We thank the Secretary-General for his report on youth, peace and security. The report shows that we have made progress across several pillars supporting the meaningful participation of youth in peace and security issues. However, we emphasize the need for continued focus on the implementation of the youth, peace and security agenda to maintain momentum.</p> <p>Since the adoption of resolutions 2250 and 2419, we see more consistent reporting on youth-specific issues to the Security Council. Together with Jordan, the Nordic countries have consistently reported on the role of youth through the Group of Friends of Preventing Violent Extremism. We encourage countries to report on the contribution and situation of young people in peace and security efforts, with special attention on marginalized groups such as young women. We also welcome a measure mandating the Secretariat to regularly report on the Youth, Peace and Security agenda.</p> <p>Young women and men have both the wisdom and commitment to help pivot societies towards sustainable peace and security, and they are a positive force in this regard. However, systematic exclusion and many structural barriers for youth engagement and participation remain, even within this Council. The Secretary-General’s report offers interesting ideas for stimulating broader participation of young people in conflict resolution, mediation, peace and political processes.</p> <p>In this regard, relevant Security Council mission mandates should include language requiring the meaningful participation of youth in peace and security efforts, including in the mediation, monitoring and implementation of ceasefires as well as peace agreement negotiations. Mandates should also include age- and gender-sensitive conflict analysis.</p> <p>The Nordic countries have a long tradition of youth engagement. We support a range of initiatives at both national and international level, including youth-led initiatives that support young peacebuilders in conflict contexts. For instance, Norway and Finland are key partners of the African Union’s flagship initiative, Silencing the Guns in Africa, which aims to promote peace in conflict-affected areas. We recognise the efforts that the African Union is taking to involve African young women and men in peace processes, and highlight the importance of similar efforts made in the Middle East and Latin-America. At the global level, Sweden, among others, is a key partner in the institutionalisation of the Youth, Peace and Security agenda within the UN system.</p> <p>The safety of young people who speak up in their societies is a source of major concern. The Secretary-General’s report includes important provisions on the protection of young mediators, peacebuilders and human right defenders. We stress the importance of respecting and protecting human rights, and we reiterate that Member States have an important role in preventing abuse committed against these groups.</p> <p>The Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth plays an important role in promoting the protection of aspiring peacebuilders and human rights defenders. We hope that the framework for the effective protection of young peacebuilders is one of several deliverables that the UN Youth Strategy launched by the Office of the Envoy on Youth, will help bring about.</p> <p>Finally supporting the youth, peace and security agenda requires continued commitment across other areas, such as education. The Nordic countries will continue our consistent engagement to directly and indirectly empower young women and men as agents of change for lasting peace.</p>

22.04.2020 17:36Arria: Climate and Security risks

<p><em>Nordic statement at the UN Security Council Arria meeting on Climate and Security risks: the latest data, 22 April 2020. Delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul, Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway.</em></p> <p>On behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway, thank you to the co-host and briefers for setting the stage for our discussions.</p> <p>Let me go straight to highlighting three areas:</p> <p><strong>First</strong>, the UN system should collaborate with relevant actors to jointly develop sound climate risk analyses and forecasts, including multi-hazard Early Warning and Response Systems, with clear recommendations for action. We should build on existing mechanisms, such as the Climate and Security Mechanism.</p> <p>This will improve our understanding of climate risks, including level of exposure, the vulnerability and capacity of states and societies, and the interlinkages with displacement, inequality, gender and human rights, enabling us to act quickly and effectively.</p> <p><strong>Second</strong>, climate risk is at the core of the conflict prevention agenda. Member States, the Secretariat, the Security Council, and the leadership of UN missions and operations must factor in climate risks, and their peace and security impacts, in all conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities. The advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission on climate risks should be enhanced.</p> <p>Support to, and cooperation with, regional and sub-regional organizations, such as the African Union, should be strengthened.</p> <p><strong>Third</strong>, adaptation to climate change is greatly under-invested in fragile and conflict-affected states. Integrated responses to crisis and conflict, guided by human rights norms and principles, can break the cycle of short-term response and shift to long-term resilience. Women, civil society, and indigenous peoples are crucial change agents in this work.</p> <p>Colleagues;</p> <p>The climate-security nexus must be firmly placed on the UN’s agenda, including that of the Security Council. Climate change can lead to hard security challenges, but there are no hard security solutions.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

30.03.2020 17:33Statement on behalf of 53 countries - Call for an immediate global ceasefire

<strong>Statement on behalf of 53 countries in their national capacity and as members of the Group of Friends of Women, Peace and Security, the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict and/or the Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians</strong><br /> <br /> We welcome and fully support the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We echo the Secretary-General that it is, “time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.”<br /> <br /> As the global COVID-19 pandemic spreads, we are concerned about the plight of women, children, and all civilians caught in armed conflicts and other humanitarian crises, including the displaced and marginalized, older persons, persons with disabilities, and the wounded, sick, and detainees. These populations are already impacted disproportionately by armed conflict. An immediate global ceasefire would markedly reduce these impacts, allow for much-needed humanitarian assistance and protection, and hopefully diminish the spread of COVID-19.<br /> <br /> We fully support the efforts of the United Nations, including the World Health Organization, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, and other specialized agencies, funds, and programs in responding to COVID-19. Their efforts are helping to ensure vulnerable civilians living in conflict-affected countries are protected. Furthermore, we extend our thanks and support to the humanitarian and healthcare workers on the frontlines of the response.<br /> <br /> We stand together with all those affected by COVID-19, including civilians and vulnerable populations caught in armed conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world.<br /> <br /> 1. Andorra<br /> 2. Argentina<br /> 3. Australia<br /> 4. Austria<br /> 5. Belgium<br /> 6. Brazil<br /> 7. Canada<br /> 8. Chile<br /> 9. Colombia<br /> 10. Costa Rica<br /> 11. Cote d’Ivoire<br /> 12. Croatia<br /> 13. Czech Republic<br /> 14. Denmark<br /> 15. El Salvador<br /> 16. Estonia<br /> 17. Finland<br /> 18. France<br /> 19. Germany<br /> 20. Guinea<br /> 21. Hungary<br /> 22. Iceland<br /> 23. Indonesia<br /> 24. Ireland<br /> 25. Italy<br /> 26. Jamaica<br /> 27. Japan<br /> 28. Jordan<br /> 29. Republic of Korea<br /> 30. Kuwait<br /> 31. Liechtenstein<br /> 32. Lithuania<br /> 33. Luxembourg<br /> 34. Mali<br /> 35. Mexico<br /> 36. Montenegro<br /> 37. Namibia<br /> 38. The Netherlands<br /> 39. New Zealand<br /> 40. Norway<br /> 41. Philippines<br /> 42. Poland<br /> 43. Portugal<br /> 44. Qatar<br /> 45. San Marino<br /> 46. Slovakia<br /> 47. Slovenia<br /> 48. South Africa<br /> 49. Spain<br /> 50. Sweden<br /> 51. Switzerland<br /> 52. United Arab Emirates<br /> 53. Uruguay

09.03.2020 16:33EoP at Adoption of the CSW64 Political Declaration

<p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Delivered by Ambassador Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative of Switzerland</em></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">I <span style="font-size: 12pt;">am delivering this explanation of position on behalf of Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, and my own country Switzerland.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2020 is a pivotal year for the accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the 10<sup>th</sup> anniversary of UN Women as well as a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, including SDG 5 on gender equality.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">In the Beijing Declaration we all agreed that “women’s rights are human rights”. We are reassured that the Political Declaration before us reaffirms the Beijing Declaration and acknowledges the human rights of all women and girls. We are also satisfied that it reaffirms the mutually reinforcing relationship between the Beijing Declaration, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as other outcomes and follow ups of other relevant UN conferences and summits. Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is a crosscutting issue and indispensable to progress across all the SDGs and targets, and we are glad that this notion is reflected in the Political Declaration.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We value the Declaration’s commitment to tackle existing challenges such as violence against all women and girls as well as the Declaration’s recognition of the importance of the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls in different areas, including in conflict prevention and resolution. At the same time, we regret that no agreement could be found to honor this year’s anniversary of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the Political Declaration.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We furthermore deplore that there was opposition to reference the relevant work done by human rights defenders for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, despite the fact that their important contributions have been acknowledged in CSW agreed conclusions in previous years.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We furthermore regret that the consensus on the importance of ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights could not be maintained.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Finally, we wish to thank the co-facilitators from Australia, Jo Feldman, and Algeria, Ahlem Charikhi, for their constructive facilitation leading to a solid outcome document.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">We regret that the 64<sup>th</sup> session of the CSW had to be scaled down and postponed respectively, and the absence of the important voices of civil society organizations with their relevant expertise and experience from the ground is particularly disappointing. At the same time we welcome today’s procedural meeting to ensure the adoption of the Political Declaration which reaffirms our continued commitment to gender equality and hopefully sends a strong signal to all women and girls worldwide.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;"><strong><a href="https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=E%2fCN.6%2f2020%2fL.1&%3bLanguage=E&%3bDeviceType=Mobile">Political declaration on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women</a></strong></span></p>

10.02.2020 14:35Address at Informal meeting on the intergovernmental negotiations for the review process of the ECOSOC and HLPF

<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Informal meeting on the intergovernmental negotiations&nbsp;</strong><strong>for the review process of the ECOSOC and HLPF – 10 February 2020</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Address by Mr. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Co-facilitators, Excellencies,</p> <p>First, let me start by thanking and congratulating the Permanent Representatives of Georgia and Benin for taking on this important role as co-facilitators and for providing the opportunity today to discuss the review process of the ECOSOC and HLPF in a transparent and inclusive way. Iceland fully supports your proposed way ahead and you can count on our constructive participation.</p> <p>Co-facilitators,</p> <p>In this process, we believe, there are opportunities for further streamlining our work in order to make the best possible use of Member State’s time and resources. It is always possible to find ways to improve our effectiveness and create better synergies in the work of the UN. We welcome the ongoing work of the PGA and the ECOSOC President to reduce overlaps between the two bodies, and the process to enhance synergies and coherence, as discussed in resolution 72/305.</p> <p>The ECOSOC plays a key role in integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development and the HLPF leads our work on the follow up of the Sustainable Development Goals and the full implementation of Agenda 2030 - an ever more important role at the start of the decade of action. The review process needs to equip the ECOSOC and the HLPF with the necessary tools for us to accelerate our ambitious actions by 2030. This is one of the critical issues we believe needs to be addressed in this review process.</p> <p>The best possible outcome of the review of the resolutions on ECOSOC and HLPF would be to further strengthen the two bodies. Resolution 67/290 reaffirms the commitment to strengthen the ECOSOC and a stronger HLPF will also improve the work of the ECOSOC. The HLPF also needs to continue to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development.</p> <p>On the VNR process, it remains important to include all relevant stakeholders at national, regional and global levels in the thematic reviews. When Iceland presented its VNR last year, the Prime Minister of Iceland was joined by representatives from civil society, the private sector and representatives of the Icelandic SDG youth council. This process provided an opportunity to reach out to the different stakeholders, engage them in the work of the UN and reflect on the implementation of Agenda 2030.</p> <p>We believe in this kind of broader participation and engagement and wish to see it further encouraged in accordance with resolution 70/299. Here, there are several SDG-related platforms that have been created in recent years and could be drawn upon in the thematic reviews. Also, it is worth mentioning that within the Group of Friends of VNRs and the review of the HLPF, led by Mexico, constructive discussions have taken place and ideas brought forward that could hopefully prove useful in the upcoming work.</p> <p>Thank you again for convening us and all the best in the work ahead. </p>

05.02.2020 14:38Statement of Iceland at Preparatory Meeting for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference 5 February 2020

<p><strong>Statement by Mr. Jón Erlingur Jónasson, Director-General, Directorate for Bilateral and Regional Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs</strong></p> <p><span><strong>Preparatory Meeting for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference&nbsp;</strong></span><strong>New York, 5 February 2020</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen </p> <p>Iceland is of the view that in our consultations we should honor the agreements we have and the many mechanisms and processes that already exist. </p> <p>The UNCLOS is the cornerstone of all activities concerning the oceans. The declaration should call for wider implementation of UNCLOS and related instruments. It is important to recognize the capacity of the current regime to address current challenges. &nbsp;We should recognize the ongoing BBNJ-process, but may not in any way prejudge its outcome.</p> <p>Regarding the first question, on important areas of action, the declaration should recognize that science based and sustainable management systems is the best conservation measure available. We have this demonstrated all over the world where innovative actions have been taken in fisheries management on a national and regional basis, all built on environmental science and monitoring data. </p> <p>On your second question, we would like to see a call for, and recognition of, how Blue bioeconomy can be a major and growing economic sector in the future if we sustainably manage our ocean resources. We need this positive driver to rationalize and increase further investments and actions in conservation. The benefits of healthy oceans are enormous for the climate, food security and poverty eradication. This must be strongly highlighted in the declaration.</p> <p>Furthermore, what we harvest must all be used, so practices of circular economy must be highlighted. In Iceland we have some good examples where we aim to utilize 100% of the byproducts of the traditional cod fish processing, into for example mineral supplements and cosmetics. We have experienced in some cases that the byproducts have higher value than the fish fillet itself.</p> <p>On question three, we believe that more collaboration and partnerships across all sectors, environmental, social and economic, can push the international community to better leverage synergies in their work. The declaration should recognize the importance of increased cooperation and collaboration between global, regional and sectoral bodies. </p> <p>On question four, what are the challenges? We believe that lack of investments and political will are high on that list. We are not using all our current science and innovations and available resources as we should. Yes, we need more science and innovations, smartest, newest technologies and innovations available, but that should not be an excuse for lack of action today. </p> <p>The declaration must put this upfront and call for more immediate action and resources to the ocean sector, both in developed and developing countries. We need strong political declaration to change our course, to start a new era or rather a paradigm shift of how we treat the oceans.</p>

04.02.2020 14:45Statement of Iceland at Preparatory Meeting for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference 4 February 2020

<p><strong>Statement by Mr. Jón Erlingur Jónasson, Director-General, Directorate for Bilateral and Regional Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs</strong></p> <p><strong>Preparatory Meeting for the 2020 UN Ocean Conference</strong></p> <p><strong>New York, 4 February 2020</strong></p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen </p> <p>My delegation supports the themes suggested for the interactive dialogues, as they address adequately the targets under the SDG 14 and present a good balance between conservation and sustainable use. We especially want to recognize number eight (8) - Leveraging interlinkages between SDG 14 and other Goals towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.</p> <p>The linkages to climate change have been frequently mentioned today as well as with biodiversity. Both highest on the global agenda this year, also called the super year for action.</p> <p>It is imperative for all of us, individually and collectively, to keep our oceans clean and the marine environment healthy. By harnessing the potentials of the oceans and seas, we provide great potentials for innovation and green growth in many sectors and contribute to poverty eradication and sustained economic growth. </p> <p>The linkages to other SDGs cannot be overstated for planetary survival and to human wellbeing, here I like to highlight the importance in terms of food security and poverty eradication.</p> <p>The only way to build up resilience in ocean management is to increase our understanding of how the ocean ecosystem works and interacts with other systems. Where other systems can be environment, social or economic. </p> <p>Every ocean management system that is based on science and our best available knowledge is going into the right direction and increasing resilience will in the long run secure sustainable management, food security and economic development.</p> <p>Finally allow me to inform you that during Iceland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the Arctic marine environment will be one of three main priority themes. In April 2020 we will be organizing an international symposium on the threat of plastics to Arctic marine ecosystems and we hope to agree on a regional action plan on marine litter during our chairmanship. We are also planning a Ministerial meeting on the Arctic Ocean and will be running numerous oceans related projects, for example on the Blue BioEconomy and Arctic Marine Tourism.</p> <p>In closing, we look forward an active and constructive participation throughout this process.</p>

22.01.2020 14:47Nordic joint statement on the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization

<p><strong>Nordic joint statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul on the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization, 22 January 2020.</strong></p> <div> <p><em>Check against delivery</em></p> <p>President,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. We welcome the new format of today’s debate. It is positive both for efficiency, and the relevance of our discussions.</p> <p>I wish to also convey our gratitude to the Secretary-General for outlining, and engaging with Member States on priorities for 2020. You can count on the full support of the Nordic countries. And, to thank the Secretary-General for summarising the vast range of activities in the ‘report on the work of the organization’. &nbsp;It is a solid demonstration of the continued relevance, and far reach of the work of the UN.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>As Nordics, we firmly believe that we have everything to gain from a rules based international order, where international law, including human rights law, is upheld. Such an order has the United Nations at its core.</p> <p>We will continue to play our part.</p> <p>The Secretary-General has outlined what is at stake if we do not.</p> <p>Without effective multilateralism we will not achieve Agenda 2030. Or solve challenges like climate change, marine pollution, loss of biodiversity, irregular migration or new security threats. This is why Nordic countries are unwavering in our support to the United Nations. We see this as an investment in the UN - and in multilateralism.</p> <p>We remain concerned that last year the UN faced a severe liquidity crisis. It affected the Organization’s daily operations negatively, and has been a source of serious concern for UN Staff and Member States. &nbsp;</p> <p>This underlines the importance of countries meeting their financial obligations. We encourage all to pay, in full, on time, and without conditions.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>The Nordic countries are steadfast supporters of the Secretary-General’s leadership on UN reform and we welcome the focus on this aspect in the report. As we enter the Decade of Action, we need strong, and efficient UN country teams to assist countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda.</p> <p>We know that real impact will require a culture of change, at all levels. We have agreed on ambitious reforms, we now need to see their implementation at country level. And we must hear from stakeholders: what has worked and what hasn’t. Learning from their experiences as we move forward. Particularly on how reforms have strengthened linkages between peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development efforts.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>Along with highlighting the importance of the UN’s normative role, and of Leaving No One Behind; UN engagement should contribute to reduce inequalities, promoting human rights, and international norms and standards. Gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls has a multiplier effect for achieving: sustained and inclusive growth, poverty eradication, and sustainable development.</p> <p>On this note, we commend also the Secretary-General’s efforts towards, and commitment to, gender equality in the UN System.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>For 2020 and beyond, we couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed by the SG towards breaking silos, and bring the pillars of the UNs work together.</p> <p>For my part, as President of ECOSOC, I have been actively engaged with other bodies, from the Security Council, to the Peace Building Commission, and the Human Rights Council.</p> <p>Regular interaction between the PGA and the President of ECOSOC is also more important now, than ever, with new common mandates from the GA. Such as the Youth Plenary and a meeting on LDCs. I highly value our joint efforts to implement the decade for action and delivery. &nbsp;</p> <p>We know that progress on achieving Agenda 2030 in no small part rests with our ability to mobilise resources. This is why Financing for Development is front and centre of my ECOSOC Presidency. More also needs to be done towards the UN working better with civil society, and the business sector. These relationships will be vital for Agenda 2030 implementation.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>The Nordic countries strongly support the SGs emphasis on prevention, mediation and peacemaking. We stress that UN peacekeeping must remain an adequate, and relevant instrument in the maintenance of international peace and security. Efforts must be made to implement the Action for Peacekeeping initiative (A4P) on the ground. We look forward to the upcoming review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and we hope it will contribute to further strengthen the UN’s role and capacities in preventing conflict, and building and sustaining peace.&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>For the Nordic countries it is indisputable that UN system wide coherence must prioritise human rights.</p> <p>In this respect, we echo the concerns of the SG that there are: &nbsp;“worrying trends of shrinking democratic and civic space, often affecting human rights defenders, health workers and journalists first”</p> <p>There are clear links between a lack of respect for human rights, and other challenges facing the international community. If we fail in our obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, we are unlikely to succeed in our efforts to promote sustainable development and peace. We would like to see a greater focus on this aspect in 2020.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>The Secretary-General convened us last year to deliver “plans not speeches” for concrete climate action. These plans now need to be realised. We urge the Secretary-General to keep political pressure on all of us ahead of COP26.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>We have touched on only a few issues today, but there are so many others in the report, and covered by the Secretary-General this morning. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UN this year, please be assured, the Nordic countries stand ready to be consistent partners of a strong UN; and of the Secretary-General, in all areas and efforts.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div>

09.01.2020 16:56Joint Nordic Statement on Upholding the United Nations Charter

<p>President,</p> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.</p> <p>We thank Vietnam for organizing this debate.</p> <p>The Nordic countries are staunch supporters of the rules-based international order. The United Nations with the Charter at its core remains as important today - as ever.</p> <p>We speak with one voice in support of multilateralism, peaceful resolution of conflicts, the fight against poverty and respect for human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>Let me highlight three achievements that we the peoples of the UN have accomplished under the framework of the Charter.</p> <p>Special political missions and envoys have played a crucial role to reduce tension. In many instances they have prevented, and shown the way out of conflict through creative and persistent diplomacy.</p> <p>Peacekeeping operations have proved critical in halting violence and creating an enabling environment for peace. &nbsp;</p> <p>Close coordination and cooperation with national and regional actors in the field, will continue to be vital. Regional organizations, such as the African Union, and sub-regional organizations, like ECOWAS, are instrumental in both preventing and removing threats to peace.</p> <p>And - this Security Council still has unique legitimacy and powers in upholding the respect for international law. And when its members are united, its role is unrivalled.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>The international architecture, of organisations and norms, that we have built together since 1945 constitutes an unparalleled success.</p> <p>However, today we see a worrying tendency that the multilateral system is under pressure. As are the rules and norms that underpin it.</p> <p>The recent dramatic escalation in the Middle East is deeply concerning to us all. It is of crucial importance that all parties exercise maximum restraint, re-start dialogue, and engage in peaceful means to resolve their differences. The international community must make every effort to contribute to a long term political solution to the current situation.</p> <p>More broadly, we are facing major global challenges like climate change, irregular migration, terrorism, humanitarian crisis, and conflict, that no State can solve alone.</p> <p>As we embark on the 75th anniversary of the UN, the Nordic countries call for a renewed mobilization in support of multilateralism. The celebration of the UN this year is an important opportunity to reconfirm the benefits of international cooperation and what it means to people in our everyday life. This will continue to be at the core of the Nordic countries’ multilateral efforts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>Our work as members of the United Nations is not only about halting conflicts, but also about sustaining peace and creating conditions for sustainable development.</p> <p>We know that when women participate and shape peace and reconciliation processes, we are more likely to achieve sustainable peace.</p> <p>We fully support efforts to reform the UN system, to allow a more holistic approach towards peace and security, development and human rights.</p> <p>The Nordic countries will continue to advocate for the need to invest in a strong, effective and accountable UN. We remain consistent partners in our common efforts to uphold the rules-based international order. It brings predictability and creates the necessary conditions for tackling the most pressing global issues of today.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

10.12.2019 17:57General Assembly - Oceans and the Law of the Sea

<p><span><em>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</em><br /> <strong>General Assembly, 74th session, 10 December 2019<br /> Agenda item 74<span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'FiraGO Book', sans-serif;" lang="EN-US">&nbsp;–&nbsp;</span>Oceans and the Law of the Sea</strong><br /> <br /> Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>Surrounded by the sea, Icelanders have based their existence to a great extent on ocean-related activities throughout history. Sustainable use of living marine resources is the basis of our prosperity. Robust and healthy marine ecosystems are central in our foreign policy and we have prioritized ocean affairs in Iceland’s chairmanships in the Arctic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers this past year.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland places great emphasis on, and are pleased to co-sponsor, the two annual oceans resolutions under discussion today. As always, they deal with pertinent issues that are of importance to all nations. My Government welcomes the decision to address sea level rise in next year’s meeting of the Informal Consultative Process. This issue is of great concern and a matter of emergency, especially to many small island states that are particularly exposed to the consequences of climate change. Meanwhile, we deeply regret that we were not able to reach consensus on stronger language on climate change in the resolutions. The impacts of climate change are less visible in the ocean than on land, but they are no less profound. Indeed, climate change is also an ocean change.</span></p> <p><span>In that regard, we welcome the latest Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere. The report outlines climate-related risks and challenges at present and for the future. Sea ice is receding – rapidly in the north. This has resulted in shifts in species composition, abundance and biomass production of ecosystems, affecting fisheries and livelihoods. Ocean acidification is a real and serious threat to marine life. Science tells us that we must act quickly to halt current trends. An important element is to bring climate aspects into the ocean agenda.</span></p> <p><span>Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>Iceland is committed to doing its part and is working to reach the Paris Agreement goals by 2030. We aim at carbon neutrality by 2040. We aim at further support to low-income countries, including through increased funding for the Green Climate Fund. Iceland participated actively in the preparation and the execution of the Climate Action Summit in September, with a focus on nature-based solutions.</span></p> <p><span>During Iceland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the Arctic Marine Environment will be one of three main priority areas. In April 2020 we will be organising an international<br /> symposium on the threat of plastics to Arctic marine ecosystems and we hope to agree on a regional action plan on marine litter during our chairmanship. We are also planning a Ministerial meeting on the Arctic Oceans and will be running numerous oceans related projects, for example on the Blue BioEconomy and Arctic Marine Tourism.</span></p> <p><span>And our work on the oceans during our Chairmanship of the Arctic Council is leveraged by our priorities during Iceland’s Presidency in the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. We prioritized the ocean and blue growth in the North and put emphasis, among other, on blue innovation and innovation ecosystems in ports, energy transformation in ships and plastics in the marine environment.</span></p> <p><span>Further, Iceland is strongly committed to the WTO negotiations on prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, in line with our Agenda 2030 commitments. We are disappointed that the 2019 deadline was not achieved and remain hopeful that the matter may be brought to a satisfactory conclusion by mid-2020.</span></p> <p><span>Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>Oceans are of fundamental importance to all States. Without a clean, healthy, productive ocean, Agenda 2030 will be impossible to attain. The effective implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and its implementing agreements, will have a critical impact on progress in this regard.</span></p> <p><span>It is Iceland’s firm position that UNCLOS sets out the legal framework, within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. The management of high seas fisheries through a regional approach, in line with the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, has proven a firm basis for sustainable management.</span></p> <p><span>Iceland is an active participant in the ongoing negotiations of the new Implementing Agreement under UNCLOS on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond National Jurisdiction. We are cognisant of the importance, complexity and sensitivity of this endeavour and thank Ambassador Rena Lee from Singapore and her outstanding colleagues in her national team and in DOALOS for their able leadership.</span></p> <p><span>This is important work as we are negotiating a Convention which will last for decades to come. The new BBNJ institutional structure needs to be adapted to the existing regional and sectoral bodies, in a careful and dedicated manner, so that these bodies are not undermined in their respective fields of expertise and decision making. We should focus on the quality of the BBNJ instrument rather than speed in the negotiations. We also reiterate our view that consensus is both a prerequisite for developing the BBNJ instrument and for universal participation in it.</span></p> <p><span>Ocean science must take centre stage in the debate on oceans and sustainable development. All policies for the conservation and sustainable management of the oceans should be based on sound scientific research. This year’s Informal Consultative Process shed light on this important cross-cutting topic, which will feed into the UN Decade on Ocean Science 2021-2030. We welcome that this theme will also feature prominently at the UN Ocean Conference, to be held in Lisbon next year, which will provide good opportunities to build partnerships and share best practices.</span></p> <p><span>Mr. President</span></p> <p><span>Turning to a particular issue dealt with in the omnibus resolution, we welcome the positive steps taken regarding the ongoing issue of medical insurance coverage of members of the Commission for the Limits of the Continental Shelf. The importance of the work of the Commission cannot be overstated and Iceland wishes to ensure that the needs of its members are met to the greatest extent possible.</span></p> <p><span>We are therefore extremely concerned by the chronic underfunding of the Voluntary Trust Fund for the purpose of defraying the cost of participation of the CLCS members from developing States in the meetings of the Commission. Iceland will continue to make contributions to the trust fund, and we encourage other Member States to do so as well.</span></p> <p><span>Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>Before I conclude, I would like to express our gratitude to the two skilled facilitators who sailed the resolutions to a safe harbour, Mr. Andreas Kravik from Norway, and Ms. Natalie Morris-Sharma from Singapore. We would also like to thank the Director of DOALOS, Ms. Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, for her steadfast stewardship and wish her all the best in her retirement.</span></p> <p><span>In conclusion, allow me to reiterate our unwavering commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans. Iceland looks forward to another active year of ocean affairs in 2020.</span></p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

10.12.2019 13:09Closing remarks at event on climate resilience in the Arctic

<p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Climate resilience in the Arctic and the High North;&nbsp;</strong><strong>integrating climate action in policy making</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Closing remarks of Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the UN</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>9 December 2019, Permanent Mission of Finland</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Friends of the Arctic,</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">First of all, I would like to thank my colleagues at the Mission of Finland for organising today’s event in co-operation with the Mission of Norway and my mission. We have had excellent discussions and an opportunity to gain better insights into what we are doing, or need to be doing, to integrate climate action into policy making.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The topic of today’s event highlights the biggest challenge of the Arctic and, in the Arctic, we sometimes say that we are witnessing the effects of climate change from a front seat row. And as we know, front seat rows usually come at a high price.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Recently, it attracted international attention when we, in Iceland, bid farewell to one of our glaciers called Ok. It had been shrinking for decades and now it is gone. Others will follow and, unlike in Las Vegas, what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. It is all interlinked&nbsp; - Melting glaciers and ice caps in the North can result in higher sea levels in the South.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Climate change does not respect boundaries or mandates of different regional and international organisations. Therefore, it is important for the international community to identify ways to co-operate and create synergies in regional co-operation and international fora.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">At the same time, we need to see more science-based decision-making across the multilateral system and I would briefly like to tell you what Iceland is doing for our Chairmanship of the Arctic Council, which we took over in May this year. We were fortunate to receive the Chairmanship gavel from Finland, which have shown foresight and leadership when it comes to Arctic affairs.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The slogan of our Chairmanship of the Arctic Council "Together Towards a Sustainable Arctic" frames our responsibility for the region. We are focusing on increased cooperation between different actors, including states, indigenous groups, private companies, academia and NGOs. Under the overarching theme of sustainable development Iceland emphasizes the importance of looking equally into all its three aspects:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li style="text-align: left;">First, the environment, where we are looking specifically at green energy solutions and healthy oceans,</li> <li style="text-align: left;">Second, the economy, with an emphasis on the Blue BioEconomy, </li> <li style="text-align: left;">And, third the people and societal aspects, such as building resilience, engaging the Arctic youth and promoting gender equality, access to health and economic opportunities.</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This work, and close to some 100 ongoing projects in the various working groups of the Arctic Council, are based on science and contribute to the sustainability of this volatile region – a region that is confronting a pace of change not experienced in modern times. Therefore, both on the opportunities and challenges side of the coin, science-based and sustainable solutions are key to the future and prosperity of the region.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Needless to say, climate actions need to begin at home. Domestically, Iceland has agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, in cooperation with other European countries, by 40% by 2030 and the Government aims for a carbon neutrality by 2040. We are moving in the right direction and are committed to continue our regional and international work in this field – in the Arctic Council, but also in Nordic co-operation which Iceland has also chaired in 2019, and at the United Nations where climate action is amongst priority policy fields for Iceland.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The task is, indeed, daunting. Much more needs to be done and more resources allocated, but if we listen to science and strive for sustainability in all its three pillars in our policy making, we can accomplish what we have set out to do.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">To conclude, I would like to thank the members of the panel for offering useful insights into the work taking place to strengthen climate resilience in the Arctic. It is valuable to have had a chance to discuss these issues with representatives from UNEP and the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre, and three MPs from Finland, Iceland and Norway. Thank you for taking the time to join us here today. Lastly, thank you Ambassador Salovaara, Jukka, and your team for hosting us here today, and for your hospitality.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

09.12.2019 16:12Statement of Iceland at High Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

<p><span><em>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</em><br /> <strong>9 December 2019 – High Level Conference on the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)</strong><br /> <br /> Mr./Madame Chair,</span></p> <p><span>Iceland remains a proud supporter of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) as outlined in our newly approved international development cooperation policy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We firmly believe in CERF´s instrumental role in enabling the delivery of time-critical and life-saving humanitarian assistance to millions of beneficiaries across the world.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>One of the most important aspects of the Fund, in our view, is its emphasis on addressing under-funded and sudden onset emergencies. The Fund´s impressive allocation model makes it, arguably, one of the most efficient humanitarian response mechanism to date.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>In a world of competing humanitarian emergencies, many of which are of protracted nature, the competition for life-saving resources is as real as ever. Here, CERF plays a vital role in ensuring that as few as possible are left behind.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland is entering into its second multi-year framework agreement with CERF. The new agreement enters into force in 2020 and will be valid for four years, or until 2023. Our annual allocation of at least 50 million Icelandic Krona (or roughly 400 thousand USD) will be predictable and dispersed at the beginning of each year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We encourage other Member States to follow suite and provide predictable funding to CERF - to ensure that the Fund can sustain its critical and life-saving function.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you.</span></p>

05.12.2019 19:17Joint Nordic Statement on Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Decade 2014-2024

<p style="text-align: center;"><span>High-Level Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action for the Decade 2014-2024 </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>5 December 2019</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Nordic Joint Statement </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>Delivered by</span></p> <div> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte, of Norway </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> </div> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Excellencies, colleagues,</span></p> <p><span>I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. </span></p> <p><span>Landlocked developing countries are among the most vulnerable countries in the world. One third of their population still live in extreme poverty. The mortality rate of children under 5 years of age stands at 6%. Landlocked Developing Countries are also highly vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change such as drought, desertification and loss of biodiversity.</span></p> <p><span>Landlocked developing countries face a unique combination of obstacles, ones related to geographical location, transport, infrastructure, border-crossings, commodity-dependency and low productivity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>However, these obstacles are not insurmountable. And the Vienna program of action is a recipe for overcoming them. Indeed, good progress has already been made. </span></p> <p><span>The export sector as a whole has become more diversified. The average proportion of the population in landlocked developing countries with access to electricity has increased from 49 to 56%. And in Africa some trade corridors, including the Trans-Kalahari corridor, have achieved the objectives set out in the Vienna program of action on improving transit conditions. </span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries recognize the challenges that come with being landlocked. We are partners in overcoming these obstacles. We have some of the highest levels of ODA in the world, reaching the UN target of 0,7% of GNI in the case of Denmark and 1% for Norway and Sweden. </span></p> <p><span>Our ODA is targeted towards the most vulnerable states. My own country, Norway, has for example increased the percentage of our aid to the least developed countries from 48% in 2016 to 53% in 2018. A significant proportion of this aid goes to landlocked states. </span></p> <p><span>We call also on other countries to increase their financing to landlocked developing states. In particular in the areas of climate risk mitigation and disaster risk reduction and response, which need more adequate financing. On both these issues landlocked developing countries are hit hard by effects of crises they have no little or no role in creating. While we work together as a global community to reduce the threats of climate change, </span><span>we must also show solidarity with those hit the hardest by the impacts and</span><span> support them in building resilience.</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries welcome progress in attracting private investments and developing public-private partnerships in many landlocked developing states. Important steps have also been taken in generating additional national funds for development efforts. </span></p> <p><span>Trade facilitation programs can play an important role in assisting landlocked developing states in increasing their level of trade and are of great importance to the Nordic countries. My own country </span><span>Norway is the biggest single donor to the Trade Facilitation Support Program of the World Bank.</span></p> <p><span>In closing, colleagues, landlocked developing states face numerous challenges, but none that cannot be overcome with the right policies and partnerships. We, the Nordic countries, will remain steadfast partners to landlocked developing countries. </span></p> <p><span>Thank you. </span></p>

25.11.2019 20:26Joint Nordic Statement to the General Assembly on the Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council

<p class="ingress">Nordic joint statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council, 25 November 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.</p> <p>We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Ambassador Braun of Luxembourg and Ambassador Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates for leading the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform (or IGN) last session.</p> <p>Particularly for their work on the revision of the “Elements Paper”, which has been built on, and improved, for the last three sessions.</p> <p>While this work is certainly gradual - and far from text-based negotiations we have frequently called for- the fact that we can all come together around one document is progress that should be recognised as a basis for moving forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>On the substance of the matter at hand, the Nordic Countries seek a more transparent, accountable, and representative Security Council.</p> <p>One better equipped to address current global challenges. And which better reflects current global realities, not least in its representation.</p> <p>This means a balanced expansion of the Council, including increased representation of developing countries, greater possibilities for small states to serve as elected members; and certainly ensuring that Africa takes its rightful place in the Council, through an expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa, redressing the historical injustice done to the African continent.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>These are all consistent positions of the Nordic countries.</p> <p>Ones which we are happy to reiterate in this format of the General Assembly Plenary.</p> <p>But, we would like to see this GA plenary debate become the primary place for general statements about the IGN. We want to empower the Co-Chairs to move right into substance as we begin our informal meetings of the IGN, rather than starting with another general discussion.</p> <p>The IGN process needs to create the space for more genuine dialogue between Member States, and interaction on each other’s positions and proposals.</p> <p>The Nordics stand ready to enter this phase of negotiation, and will support all efforts of the Co-Chairs to get us there. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>We welcome the clear guidance for our work this session provided by the General Assembly Decision 73/554. This decision outlines only two documents as the basis of our work; commonly known as the “Elements Paper” and the “Framework Document”.</p> <p>We welcome the continued recognition of the Framework Document.</p> <p>It remains an important resource to inform our work. As the most up to date reflection of the direct positions and proposals of Member States.</p> <p>I spoke earlier on the progress represented by the Elements Paper, but we also see that it has more space for improvement.</p> <p>Particularly through expanding on the more difficult issues of: Categories of Membership, the Question of the Veto, and Regional Representation.</p> <p>Meanwhile, we see that the remaining two issues of: Working Methods, and the Relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly, have been comprehensively covered.</p> <p>The IGN must stick to its mandated focus on a future, expanded, Council. Rather than making our already difficult task more so, by straying into ongoing work of improving the <span style="text-decoration: underline;">current</span> Council. This work is already being undertaken in the Informal Working Group in the Council itself, and through the GA revitalization process.</p> <p>That said, one major issue that straddles both the current and future Council is effectiveness.</p> <p>It must be recognised that in instances today where the Council fails to live up to its Charter obligations, a main source of this inability to act is the veto.</p> <p>This must be given careful consideration in our deliberations concerning an enlarged Council.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>We look forward to the appointment of the co-chairs the IGN process for the 74<sup>th</sup> Session. They certainly have a challenging job ahead of them. Given the work already undertaken in this process’ ten-year history, it is not an easy task to chart a path for further progress. Especially if our current parameters of engagement remain unchanged.</p> <p>In this light, perhaps it is time for us to also examine the working methods of IGN itself. To weigh the merits of proposals such as: greater transparency in the process, or even just ensuring better institutional memory between Co-Chairs. As we have done between successive Offices of the President of the General Assembly.</p> <p>These small changes could help our process in the long run.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>Ahead of the UN’s 75<sup>th</sup> anniversary, we all understand the gravity of this topic. Both of the monumental change it could bring about, but also the risks for the United Nations if we do not succeed.</p> <p>We know African countries- among others- cannot be kept in the waiting room forever.</p> <p>It is in the best interest of the Security Council that the continent is ensured equitable representation.</p> <p>That includes permanent representation.</p> <p>The Nordic Countries stand ready for a constructive dialogue this session, with all Member States and groups of States. And we will lend every effort to support the Co-Chairs towards continued progress this session. &nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div>

20.11.2019 21:06Joint Nordic Statement on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

<p>Joint Nordic Statement by Iceland’s Minister for Social Affairs and Children, H.E. Ásmundur Einar Daðason</p> <p><em>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 20 November 2019</em></p> <p>Mr / Madame President,</p> <p>I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland.</p> <p>Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – An unprecedented promise of nations to the children of the world.</p> <p>There has been significant progress since the adoption of the Convention in 1989. It has galvanized change and progress for children around the world.</p> <p>Important steps have been taken towards increased equality and children’s rights.&nbsp;More children are attending school and getting education, which provides the best safeguard against exclusion and lack of prospects. As seen with the recent school strikes for the climate around the world, children are also taking a lead and having a say in matters that affect their lives and future.</p> <p>Mr. / Madame President,</p> <p>We will continue to ensure that the principles of the convention are being implemented and that the human rights of children are being promoted and protected. It is central for sustainable development and implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Nordic countries stress the crucial role of UNICEF and the UN in promoting the Convention of the Rights of the Child.</p> <p>But there is work still to be done. We must all commit further to make sure that we leave no child behind. Particular attention must be paid to those children in the most vulnerable positions.</p> <p>Mr. / Madame President,</p> <p>The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights instrument globally. In fact, one member of the Nordic family, Sweden, was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention. The Nordic countries are proud to have made the general principles, rights and obligations of the Convention a part of our legislations. </p> <p>The principles of the Convention need to become a reality for all children, in various situations and needs. The best interests of children must always be our focus when we are deciding matters that concern them. The aim of the Nordic countries is that all children, in all their diversity, shall have a safe and secure childhood.</p> <p>Mr. / Madame President, </p> <p>The Convention of the Rights of the Child is the first international human rights instrument to address the protection of children from violence. The Nordic countries have emphasized the crucial importance to have the right services and responses in place when children are believed to be victims of sexual violence or other serious violence. In all Nordic countries the Barnahus model, or Children’s House, has been implemented, where children can receive all the services they need in one place.</p> <p>Mr. / Madame President,</p> <p>To celebrate the 30<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the convention, the Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to enhance its focus on children’s rights. Our aim is to make the Nordic region the best place for children to grow up in.</p> <p>Children have a right to be heard and earlier today I enjoyed the role of being a keynote listener instead of keynote speaker. Children need to be listened to and involved in decisions that affect them.</p> <p>In January, children from the Nordic countries will gather in Copenhagen to discuss children’s rights focusing on their participation and involvement. The Nordic Children’s Forum will bring children together with relevant governmental actors from all over the region, and further develop Nordic co-operation on children’s rights.</p> <p>Mr. / Madame President,</p> <p>We cannot afford to be complacent. We need to strengthen our efforts to ensure that all children are safe, healthy and able to reach out for their dreams.</p> <p>I thank you. </p>

19.11.2019 17:22Joint Nordic Statement to the Security Council on the Role of Reconciliation in Maintaining International Peace and Security

<span></span> <p class="ingress">Nordic joint statement by Ambassador Mona Juul on the role of reconciliation in maintaining international peace and security, 19 November 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. We wish to thank the United Kingdom for calling this important open debate.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>In the transition to lasting peace, relationships must be rebuilt. And victims’ rights must be at the centre of any peace process.</p> <p>The peace agreement in Colombia has established a new standard for dealing with victims’ rights, transitional justice, and truth. The broad participation at the negotiation table, inclusive of victims and women, was essential. This led to the establishment of the Truth Commission, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace and the Commission of Missing Persons, which are now fully operational.&nbsp;</p> <p>Especially in war-torn and polarized societies, the voices and leadership of civic, social and religious leaders are critical to ensuring that a dynamic of reconciliation and dialogue is created.</p> <p>A clear example of this was in South Africa, whose reconciliation process has served as an inspiration in many peacebuilding efforts since.</p> <p>Inter-religious or intra-religious dialogues may prove indispensable and useful policy tools that help to foster social cohesion and sustainable peace. Religious actors can provide a gateway to understanding and working with different local communities.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President,</p> <p>In any conflict, reconciliation efforts must include, and be owned by, the affected communities and their people. But the United Nations has powerful tools at its disposal to assist parties to bring about reconciliation. I would like to highlight five ways we can maximise this role:</p> <p><strong>First,</strong> the UN Security Council must stay engaged long enough, not only to foster, but also to sustain peace. It must make full use of the tools at its disposal to promote reconciliation, including in a phase where the outbreak of hostilities may be imminent.</p> <p><strong>Second,</strong> this Council must continue to develop its partnerships with regional organizations, including the African Union. Regional actors are often the best placed to support lasting reconciliation.</p> <p><strong>Third,</strong> the Peacebuilding Commission has an important role to play in sustaining peace, and its role and resources should be better utilised.</p> <p><strong>Fourth,</strong> The UN must assist in addressing the root causes of conflict. The promotion of economic and social development should, where possible, be connected to efforts to sustain peace.</p> <p><strong>Fifth,</strong> we support the Secretary-General’s call for a surge in peace diplomacy. And we welcome the recently enacted UN reforms to this end. We must draw on the strengths of: UN country teams, the Mediation Support Unit, UN Peacekeeping Operations and Special Political Missions. The UN system should now be better positioned to take a holistic approach. Linking the promotion of: security, development and human rights.</p> <p>In all these efforts, empowerment of women is key. Excluding half the population from peacemaking simply does not work. Engaging with young people is also crucial if we are to build strong and resilient societies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, the Nordic countries would like to stress that all of this is only possible if UN Member States ensure that the UN is given the adequate resources, and the support it needs to play an effective role in peace efforts.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div>

15.11.2019 17:25Statement to the Third Committee by Helen S. von Ernst, Second Secretary

<p><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Statement by Helen Inga S. von Ernst </span></p> <p><em><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></em><span>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 15 November 2019</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Third Committee </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p><span>Across all regions, countries and sectors, women are paid less than men.</span></p> <p><span>According to the Global Wage Report 2018, the global gender pay gap is estimated at 20%. </span></p> <p><span>Despite international and national efforts to address this challenge, progress on narrowing the gender pay gap has been slow. </span></p> <p><span>While the principle of equal remuneration for women and men for work of equal value has been widely endorsed in ILO conventions, CEDAW and CESCR and other instruments - applying it in practice has proven difficult. </span></p> <p><span>In order to celebrate efforts of stakeholders to achieve equal pay for work of equal value and urge further action, Australia, Canada, Germany, Panama, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, and my own country Iceland, all members of the Equal Pay International Coalition, have joined together in presenting the draft resolution on the International Equal Pay Day contained in document A/C.3/74/L.49, under agenda item 70. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p><span>We are pleased that this resolution establishes September 18th as International Equal Pay Day to be observed each year beginning in 2020. The International Day will ensure celebration of progress achieved and to support the fight for equal pay.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>All Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system, other international organizations and civil society, including non‑governmental organizations and the private sector, are invited to observe the International Equal Pay Day and the resolution also invites, </span><span>UN Women and ILO, in collaboration with all relevant organisation, to work together to facilitate the observance of the International Equal Pay Day. </span></p> <p><span>We are pleased that the resolution also recalls our commitment to achieving equal pay for work of equal value, as outlined in target 8.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the human rights framework that underpins the fundamental rights nature of equal pay. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. / Madam Chair,</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We would like to thank all the delegations for their constructive participation and collaboration, both in the informal consultation and through bilateral discussions. </span></p> <p><span>We would like to thank all the 93 delegations that have already co-sponsored the draft resolution. We invite all those who share our view on</span><span> the importance of efforts to urge further action to achieve equal pay for work of equal value </span><em><span>to join us as co-sponsors.</span></em><span> </span></p> <p><span>Mr. / Madam Chair,</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We take this opportunity to reaffirm once again our strong commitment to Equal Pay and we look forward to working with all partners to celebrate the first International Equal Pay Day on 18 September 2020. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you Mr./ Madam Chair.</span></p>

15.11.2019 15:03Joint Nordic Statement to the Third Committee on Adoption of the UNHCR Omnibus Resolution

<p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span>Statement by Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic countries)</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span>Adoption of the UNHCR Omnibus resolution in the 3<sup>rd</sup> Committee, 15 Nov 2019</span></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you, Mr. President.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The </span><span>resolution on the “Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” -&nbsp; the “</span><span>UNHCR Omnibus resolution” - is traditionally facilitated by one of the Nordic countries. This year, it has been Denmark’s privilege to facilitate the negotiations on the resolution in Geneva and present it to the Third Committee here in New York. I am honoured to give this statement today on behalf of the five Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Denmark.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees - the UNHCR - is humanitarian and of an entirely non-political character. Similarly, the resolution, which deals with the mandate of the Office, is a humanitarian, non-political text. It supports</span><span> UNHCR in continuing to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance, and to seek durable solutions for the persons within its mandate. The resolution deals with the common ground that enables UNHCR to work in the interest of us all – and most essentially for the benefit of those forcibly displaced.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>This year’s text includes language on the implementation of the Global Compact for Refugees - the GCR - and on the first ever Global Refugee Forum to be held in Geneva on 17-18 December 2019. </span><span>The support to and implementation of the GCR will enable the international community to have a more effective, collective response to forced displacement - one of the most central global challenges today.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>I wish to thank all Member States for their constructive engagement in negotiations in Geneva, where we were able to reach agreements on many difficult topics. I can ensure you that the the concerns of <em>all</em> member states were given full and due consideration in order to arrive at a draft that could rec</span><span>eive the broadest possible support – in the best interest of UNHCR and the people that it serves so well.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President, </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The text in front of us today was the outcome of extensive negotiations in Geneva and I am pleased to confirm that it enjoys strong and solid support from a large majority of Member States, cross-regionally.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Therefore, we deeply regret that one Member State has called this resolution for a vote. </span><span>The UNHCR deserves the solid backing that a consensus text provides.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>As the facilitator of this resolution, and on behalf of the Nordic countries, I strongly encourage all Member States of the United Nations to support this resolution and to vote in favour of its adoption today by the Third Committee. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

07.11.2019 20:31Statement to the Third Committee by Ragnar Þorvarðarson, First Secretary

<p>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, Third Committee, 7 November 2019</p> <p><em>Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees</em></p> <p>Thank you, Mr. Chair,</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Burkina Faso, Mali, Malta and my own country Iceland.</p> <p>With the number of displaced persons on the rise, in our own countries as well as globally, we see the importance of increased participation in the work of the programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. We commend the UNHCR for its efforts in responding to humanitarian needs in complex and protracted situations worldwide.</p> <p>We put this resolution forward today, taking note of the decision made by the Economic and Social Council from 23 July and 15 October of this year, concerning the enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.</p> <p>With this procedural resolution, the United Nations General Assembly decides to formally enlarge the Executive Committee from 102 states to 106 states, in accordance with the interest of our four countries, Burkina Faso, Iceland, Mali and Malta, to join as full members of the Executive Committee.</p> <p>Following that, the before mentioned countries request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional members at a meeting of its management segment in 2020.</p> <p>To conclude, I would like to highlight that as firm believers in multilateral approach to international affairs, we consider membership of the Executive Committee to be the appropriate track to follow. We look forward to a continued constructive partnership with the UNHCR as full members of the Executive Committee.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

05.11.2019 21:34Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee on Report of the International Law Commission, Cluster III

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20ILC%20cluster3.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - ILC cluster3.pdf</a>

04.11.2019 21:48General Assembly - Joint Nordic Statement on the Report of the International Criminal Court

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/ICC%20plenary%20debate%20-%20Nordic%20Statement.pdf">ICC plenary debate - Nordic Statement.pdf</a>

01.11.2019 20:06Joint Nordic Baltic Statement Delivered by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson to the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Statement by Iceland on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Delivered by Jörundur Valtýsson, the Permanent Representative of Iceland&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; to the United Nations </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em><span>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></em><span>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 1 November 2019</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Third Committee&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Dialogue with the President of the Human Rights Council </span></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We would like to thank the President of the Human Rights Council for being with us here today, as a concrete way of bridging the human rights agendas in Geneva and New York. </span><span>The Nordic-Baltic countries believe it is important to ensure cooperation, complementarity, </span><span>and coherence</span><span>, between the Human Rights Council in Geneva and what takes place here in New York, particularly in the Third Committee.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We genuinely believe in the interconnection and mutual reinforcement of the three pillars of the UN, and that the enforcement of human rights prevent conflict. We therefore welcome this dialogue.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The Nordic and Baltic countries are strong supporters of multilateral co-operation and the United Nations in general. The Human Rights Council, in particular, is one of the most important fora, providing the stage for a fundamental conversation on the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, equality, democracy and the rule of law, that affects every one of us and the citizens of the countries we come from.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Two of the eight Nordic and Baltic countries are currently members of the Human Rights Council. Others have already served on the Council or may have aspirations to do so. While there is always a question whether the Human Rights Council could be more efficient and effective, and while a valid argument certainly exists that aspects of its work should be reformed, we have not lent our voices to the chorus of disapproval.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In fact, Mr. Seck, we are of the opinion that the Human Rights Council has, in 2019, during your Presidency, been proving itself to be a crucial forum. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Let us examine some facts.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The Council has in 2019 passed some very important resolutions, including on the human rights situation in Venezuela, in Yemen, in Iran, in Myanmar and in the Philippines. The Human Rights Council also saw various other topics addressed through joint statements, including the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. It has also passed important resolutions on Environmental Human Rights Defenders and Violence against Women. It is of utmost importance that these important resolutions and decisions are mirrored, built upon and respected in the discussions in the Third and Fifth Committee.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In July, we also witnessed the extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, with stronger support than when the mandate was initially created, three years ago. We were all supporters of this mandate and were pleased to see it receive such an overwhelming backing by the Council´s member states. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We believe all these examples are evidence to the fact that the Human Rights Council is actually doing what it should be doing - addressing the most important human rights situations currently facing us and calling for accountability and passing strong resolutions. Thereby, the Council demonstrates that it is, indeed, the primary forum for a dialogue on universal human rights.&nbsp; </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Of course, there are aspects that could and should be improved. Some of that is up to us – the member states of the United Nations. With reference to the recent elections to the Council here in New York we must, for instance, continue to strive to ensure that all elected members of the Council are fulfilling the duty of “upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”, as set out in the founding resolution of the Human Rights Council.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President, we would like to ask you, what can we do to continue to improve the work of the Council and ensure its efficiency in the future?</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p>

01.11.2019 18:02Statement by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson at the General Debate on the Report of the Human Rights Council

<p style="text-align: justify;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></em><span>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 1 November 2019</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; General debate on the Report of the Human Rights Council</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President,</span></p> <p><span>Iceland thanks the President of the Human Rights Council for his presentation of the report from the Human Rights Council, which invites us to reflect upon the functioning and work of the Human Rights Council. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Iceland is a strong supporter of multilateral co-operation and the United Nations. We believe that the Human Rights Council is one of the most important fora, providing a platform for important conversations on human rights, respect for fundamental freedoms, diversity and difference - discussions that affect everyone, everywhere. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>It has therefore been our pleasure and our privilege to serve on the Human Rights Council for the very first time. Our work on the Council has been based on established priorities that include, specifically, gender equality and women’s rights, the rights of the LGBTI community and the rights of the child.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President, </span></p> <p><span>Reflecting on the Human Rights Council’s work over the past year, we have passed some important resolutions, including </span><span>on the human rights situation in Yemen, Myanmar, Iran, Venezuela and in the Philippines. Furthermore, important resolutions on Violence against Women and Environmental Human Rights Defenders were passed. Moreover, we were particularly pleased to see the strong support of the Council’s member states to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We were also pleased to see the Council approve </span><span>a resolution put forward by Iceland, along with seven other states of the Equal Pay International Coalition, on the principle of equal pay for equal work – a priority for us in line with our focus on gender equality. The resolution aimed at&nbsp;tackling the root causes and other factors influencing equal pay as well as the gender pay gap, in line with Sustainable Development Goals number 5 and 8, especially target 8.5, calling for equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>I am happy to note that the General Assembly, in this Third Committee Session, will consider a follow-up resolution, namely, to identify 18 September each year as an International Equal Pay day. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President, </span></p> <p><span>It is important to keep in mind the strengths of the Human Rights Council. Our focus should be on what works well, but at the same time find mutual ground on how we can further improve and strengthen the work of the Council. All changes should add value to the Council’s work and be in line with its current mandate. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The Human Rights Council has been </span><span>addressing some of the key questions currently facing all of us. It has been functioning, as it should, as the primary arena for debating and advancing human rights at the national and international level.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>However, we need to remain vigilant. These are treacherous times for human rights, and we can see an effort to negate some of the important progress made both here in New York and in Geneva. </span><span>We are particularly worried that previous milestones with regard to women’s rights and reproductive freedom are under threat in far too many places. Iceland is committed to continue defending women’s human rights.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. President, </span></p> <p><span>We believe that human rights express the fundamental purpose of the United Nations. Advancing the dignity and equality of all human beings, and to leave no one behind, must be our goal today and for our future. By those means only, we can attain peace, security and sustainable development for all societies, and accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030.&nbsp; </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>I take this opportunity to thank the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Seck, for his professional and transparent leadership over the past year. It has been a pleasure for Iceland to work with the President and serve on the Bureau as Vice-President of the Council.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>You can continue to count on Iceland’s support and commitment to the work of the Council and we look forward to hearing from other speakers today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>

01.11.2019 03:05Joint Statement on Report of the HRC to the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: justify;"><span>Mr Chair,</span></p> <p><span>I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.</span></p> <p><span>We take this opportunity to reconfirm our strong support for the Human Rights Council as the preeminent United Nations forum for consideration, discussion and action on human rights.&nbsp; In light of increasing attacks against the international human rights system in general and the Human Rights Council in particular, it is all the more important that United Nations Member States safeguard the integrity of this Council. We welcome the important steps taken at the last session of the Council in addressing the human rights situations, including in Venezuela and Myanmar, and welcome the operationalisation of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to strengthen accountability.&nbsp; “We also welcome the critical role of the HRC in providing the International community with reliable, unbiased, evidence-based reports on issues of common concern.”</span></p> <p><span>We acknowledge that while being a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, a large majority of the Council’s decisions is taken autonomously and is immediately implemented. At the same time, we value the report of the President of the Human Rights Council to the plenary of the General Assembly and his interactive engagement with the Third Committee, in particular on recommendations from the Council to the General Assembly. Because of the important work of the Human Rights Council, the Third and the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly must act comprehensively and quickly upon the decisions coming out of the Council where that is necessary. </span>It is however the responsibility of the plenary of the General Assembly to take action on the report of the Council, its addendum and its recommendations. It is not for the Committees to reopen these decisions. </p> <p><span>Mr Chair,</span></p> <p><span>We also take this opportunity to emphasise that members of the Human Rights Council should “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” as mandated by General Assembly resolution 60/251. There is room for improvement of human rights records in each and every State. However, tolerance of, acquiescence to, or the commission of “gross and systemic violations” is always reprehensible. </span></p> <p><span>Such behaviour must not be tolerated, and is particularly inexcusable when displayed or condoned by a Member of the Human Rights Council. No State that commits or permits gross human rights violations should be allowed a seat at the table. We as Member </span><span>States have to live up to our responsibility when electing the membership of the Council. We call on all States to renew their commitment and adapt their election practice accordingly, even in situations where regional groups present clean slates for elections. And we call on States running for the Council to issue standing invitations to all Special Procedures, as an expression of their will to fully cooperate with the Council, </span><span>as mandated by General Assembly resolution 60/251.</span></p> <p><span>Mr Chair,</span></p> <p><span>Our seven countries are deeply concerned by the shrinking space for and the increasing hostility and violence against civil society and human rights defenders.&nbsp; Without these key actors the Human Rights Council would have little-to-no visibility of the lived experiences of individual rights holders in any country.&nbsp; Human rights defenders from every corner of the world keep us informed and engaged. They remind us of our duty to act, and of the cost of our inaction. As pressure on human rights increases, so does the pressure on human rights defenders<em>. </em></span><span>This underscores the central importance of the work done by civil society partners. We truly applaud those who tirelessly fight and risk their lives in order to promote the rights of others – of women, minorities and members of marginalised groups.</span></p> <p><span>We reject reprisals against human rights activists and defenders, including when these reprisals arise out of participation in the Human Rights Council, contributions to its Universal Periodic Review, or engagement with the Council’s Special Procedure Mandates.</span></p> <p><span>We are also deeply concerned by harassment, intimidation and obstructiveness by States towards Special Procedure Mandate Holders. The Special Procedures must be even-handed, fair and operate in line with their mandates. But a Mandate Holder is an independent voice.&nbsp; It is their job to shine a spotlight on human rights abuses and violations, research and report on worrying trends and encouraging new norms, and share their expertise and best practice with the global community.&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span>We call upon all States to work constructively with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.&nbsp; To grant access where required, to consider their recommendations in good faith, and to engage respectfully even when common ground is difficult to find.</span></p> <p><span>And we are deeply concerned by the increasing number of attacks against journalists, including killings. We call upon all States to promote </span><span>the safety of journalists and to combat impunity for those who commit attacks. We demand the highest standards of transparency and integrity of criminal investigations into crimes against journalist and ask the United Nations to step in should investigations fall short of such standards.</span></p> <p><span>I thank you.</span></p>

31.10.2019 21:32Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee on Report of the International Law Commission, Cluster II

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20ILC%20cluster2.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - ILC cluster2.pdf</a>

31.10.2019 20:13Joint Nordic Statement to the Third Committee

<span></span> <p><strong>Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner for Refugees&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em>Statement by Denmark on behalf of the Nordic Countries&nbsp;<span>(Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden)</span></em></p> <p><em>30 October 2019</em></p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries. </p> <p>While we warmly welcome the annual report of the High Commissioner for Refugees, we express regret that we are witnessing record levels of forced displacement and that durable solutions are few and far between.</p> <p>In these challenging times, you can rest assured of the Nordic countries deep commitment to UNHCR and its mandate to offer protection and seek durable solutions for those – who through no fault of their own – are forced to flee.</p> <p>The Nordic countries remain among the strongest supporters of UNHCR, also in financial terms. You can continue to count on us, not least when it comes to un-earmarked funding. We believe that un-earmarked funding is crucial to allow UNHCR to respond flexibly and efficiently to both protracted and emerging forced displacement situations.</p> <p>Given the Nordic countries strong support for UNHCR, it has been the privilege of Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden to facilitate the negotiations of the UNHCR Omnibus resolution for five decades. The resolution supports the humanitarian and non-political mandate of UNHCR.</p> <p>Let me now turn to the Global Compact on Refugees; Nordic countries believe the GCR represents a unique opportunity for the international community to ensure a much-needed improvement in the response to large forced displacement situations and we remain firmly committed to its implementation. &nbsp;There is a need to step up with crucial additional development funding for host countries with the aim of translating the principle of burden- and responsibility sharing into action - to the benefit of both refugees and host communities.</p> <p>Nordic countries thus look forward to contribute substantially in various ways at the Global Refugee Forum this December.</p> <p>Chair, High Commissioner, Distinguished delegates</p> <p>Nordic countries &nbsp;welcome UNHCR’s continuing efforts towards being fit for the tasks that face the organization. This includes the ongoing regionalization of the bureaus, which will help bring decision-making closer to affected populations. We support these efforts – and also see them in light of the Grand Bargain, the UN Development Reform and – not least – as part and parcel of a successful implementation of the GCR.</p> <p>High Commissioner, as you highlight in your report, towards the end of 2018, 41,3 million were internally displaced. This is indeed a worrying trend. In this light, we want to emphasize the crucial importance of the Secretary General’s establishment of a High-level panel for Internal Displacement.</p> <p>As regards protection, we support UNHCR’s important work to prevent and mitigate SGBV which disproportionately affects women and girls. We also recognize that men and boys as well as LGBTI individuals can be survivors of SGBV. We underline that access to sexual and reproductive health services, remains an integral part of an appropriate response to SGBV.</p> <p>We are pleased that the inclusion of persons with disabilities from the start of a comprehensive refugee response is well recognized in the GCR<strong>.</strong></p> <p>We would like to ask the High Commissioner a general question and a more specific question:</p> <p>First:</p> <ul> <li>How can member states best ensure a good outcome of the Global Refugee Forum, including an Age, Gender and Diversity sensitive approach?</li> </ul> <p>Second;</p> <ul> <li>How does UNHCR see the establishment of the High Level Panel on internal displacement and how will UNHCR engage?</li> </ul> <p><span style="background-color: white; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'EB Garamond';">I thank you.</span></p>

30.10.2019 21:35General Assembly - Joint Nordic Statement on the Report of the International Court of Justice

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/ICJ%20plenary%20debate%20-%20Nordic%20Statement.pdf">ICJ plenary debate - Nordic Statement.pdf</a>

29.10.2019 16:09Joint Statement on Xinjiang by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations

<p>Statement delivered by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN at the Third Committee session on the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I have the honour to read this statement on Xinjiang on behalf of a group 23 countries including:</p> <p>Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United States of America and of course the United Kingdom.</p> <p>We share the concerns raised by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in their August 2018 Concluding Observations on China regarding credible reports of mass detention; efforts to restrict cultural and religious practices; mass surveillance disproportionately targeting ethnic Uighurs; and other human rights violations and abuses in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.</p> <p>We call on the Chinese government to uphold its national laws and international obligations and commitments to respect human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, in Xinjiang and across China. The Chinese government should urgently implement CERD’s eight recommendations related to Xinjiang, including by refraining from the arbitrary detention of Uighurs and members of other Muslim communities. In view of these concerns, we call on all countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement.</p> <p>Furthermore, we call on the Chinese government to allow the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Procedures immediate unfettered, meaningful access to Xinjiang.</p> <p>Mr. Chair, I’ll close with a question: What measures should the Chinese government undertake to address the concerns raised in CERD’s Concluding Observations regarding restrictions on the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to freely participate in cultural life?</p>

29.10.2019 14:59Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries by Norway´s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide

<p>Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries by Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide in the Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security in the Security Council, 29 October 2019.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Madame President,</p> <p>Members of the Security Council, Excellencies,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I am speaking today on behalf of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. I would like to thank South Africa for initiating this debate and for bringing women peacebuilders to this room.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To understand conflicts, we need to understand how they affect both women and men. To solve conflicts, we need to mobilize women.</p> <p>Women and men have exactly the same right to take part in decisions concerning their future. As Nobel Laureate Leyma Gbowee simply put it; Women are not observers to conflict. Why should we be observers to peace? And we know that inclusive peace processes, including both men and women, have better odds to create lasting peace.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nordic countries welcome the emphasis in the Secretary General’s report, on women’s meaningful participation to prevent conflict and sustain peace. It is now critical to ensure concrete and practical follow up. We will do our part, both nationally and in multilaterally.</p> <p>The launch of the Global Alliance of Women Mediators in September was a milestone. The network not only highlights the large number of women with substantial and different experience in the field of peace and security. &nbsp;It also shows their commitment to participate in and lead processes.</p> <p>We encourage other countries to join Commitment 2025 on Women’s Inclusion in Peace Processes, which was launched during the UN’s High-Level Week in September. And we urge the Security Council to ensure that the situation and roles of women are reflected in the Security Council’s resolutions and mission mandates.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Inclusion is also about including different women; rural and urban, young and elderly women, differently abled, indigenous women and women of different sexual orientation.</p> <p>We are concerned about the widespread violence and repression women peacebuilders and human rights defenders face, and the persistent impunity for such violence. These women’s rights and security are essential to democracy and peace.</p> <p>Supporting women on the frontlines working for peace is essential. &nbsp;I would like to highlight the work of the International Civil Society Action Network, the Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. &nbsp;</p> <p>Research continues to link gender-based violence and gender inequality to how vulnerable a society is to civil war and conflict.</p> <p>More needs to be done to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.</p> <p>We must counter attacks on women’s full and equal enjoyment of human rights, ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights and strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence.</p> <p>We strongly support the mandate of the Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, and welcome the International Fund for Survivors of Conflict Related Sexual Violence, under the lead of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In my national capacity as Norway’s Foreign Minister, I would like to announce that we will support this fund.</p> <p>I also draw your attention to the recently launched Women, Peace and Security Index. It measures women’s situation globally by three key dimensions – inclusion, justice, and security.</p> <p>Furthermore, the handbook on prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence for use in UN operations is forthcoming.</p> <p>We spend much time discussing resolutions. Now we should spend at least an equal amount of time on fully implementing them!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>South Africa, supported by the NGO Working Group and others, did secure language on the full implementation of former resolutions. And while we want to see stronger commitments to safeguard and enable women human rights defenders and peacebuilders, their key role is recognized as well as the states’ responsibilities towards them.</p> <p>We co-sponsored the resolution and congratulate South Africa and the Security Council om a consensus vote.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President, in conclusion,</p> <p>The Nordic countries call on the Security Council to preserve and build on the cross-regional consensus that has been the trademark of this agenda.</p> <p>Around this table, there should be full agreement on this simple fact:</p> <p>Women’s participation is needed to achieve sustainable peace.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

28.10.2019 21:29Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee on Report of the International Law Commission, Cluster I

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20ILC%20cluster1.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - ILC cluster1.pdf</a>

25.10.2019 19:27Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee on UN Programme of Assistance

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Programme%20of%20Assistance.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Programme of Assistance.pdf</a>

25.10.2019 15:17Statement by Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights to the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children </span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span>25 October 2019</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Madame Chair, </span></p> <p><span>We thank the Special Rapporteur for her interesting presentation and we convey our support to her mandate and work. </span></p> <p><span>We welcome the focus on your report on workers who are victims of trafficking and other forms of severe exploitation when seeking access to remedies. We agree with the rapporteur that the human rights of persons who are victims of trafficking should be at the centre of all efforts to prevent and combat trafficking and that states must take further actions to combat trafficking in persons. </span></p> <p><span>In this context, I would like to mention that the Icelandic Ministry of Justice issued its Emphases in Actions to Combat Human Trafficking and Other Forms of Exploitation in March this year that will serve as the new action plan on this issue.&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span>The new action plan includes numerous points that are to be implemented to combat human trafficking and labor exploitation, and include the revision of current legislation, regulations and administrative directives on how to identify the victims of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. The actions are furthermore designed to provide assistance and protection to the victims.</span></p> <p><span>Madame Chair, </span></p> <p><span>In the Special Rapporteur‘s report she mentions that lack of awareness among workers of their rights, coupled with bureaucratic and resource-intensive procedures, seriously limits workers’ trust in, and the likelihood that&nbsp; they&nbsp; will&nbsp; raise&nbsp; complaints&nbsp; on&nbsp; labour&nbsp; abuses&nbsp; through,&nbsp; mechanisms&nbsp; whose procedures and results are uncertain.</span></p> <p><span>In that regard, the special rapporteur recommends states to design and implement an awareness-raising campaign on workers’ rights. Could the special rapporteur elaborate further on the contents of such an awareness-raising campaign and important elements contained therein, in particular taking into account gender-related factors. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

25.10.2019 14:53Joint Nordic Statement at an Arria Formula Meeting

<p style="text-align: center;">Arria Formula Meeting: </p> <p style="text-align: center;">Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation in (post-) conflict situations: integrating a comprehensive approach to trafficking in persons into the Women, Peace and Security agenda of the Security Council</p> <p style="text-align: center;">25 October 2019</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Nordic joint statement</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Delivered by </p> <p style="text-align: center;">Odd-Inge Kvalheim, Deputy Permanent Representative </p> <p style="text-align: center;">of Norway to the United Nations</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries:</p> <p>Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country Norway</p> <p>We would like to recognise and applaud the efforts made to integrate the issue of trafficking in the Council’s consideration of the broader Women, Peace and Security agenda.</p> <p>Resolution 2467 (twenty-four sixty-seven) of April this year, was an important step forward in this regard. With its specific integration of the issue of trafficking.</p> <p>We recognize the dual nature of human trafficking as both a cause and consequence of conflict and instability. A clear link also exists between trafficking in persons and sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.</p> <p>When people flee their homes, their vulnerability increases. Girls and women are particularly at risk. But men and boys are affected too.</p> <p>In a situation in which there is an acute need for sexual and reproductive health care and services, they are often in limited supply.</p> <p>We need to consider holistic, contextual and survivor-centred responses. And develop combined tools from the security and the development communities to address the convergence of armed conflict and trafficking in persons.</p> <p>We recognize the role law enforcement authorities play in fighting trafficking, but need to ensure these have proper sensitisation and specialisation to deal with these crimes.</p> <p>We recognize SRSG Patten’s leadership in this respect, and welcome her efforts to ensure a ‘whole UN’ approach.</p> <p>I hope you will also permit me briefly to add in my national capacity: that for our part, Norway has taken steps to highlight trafficking front and centre in our national action plan on WPS.</p> <p>While also strengthening domestic efforts to combat modern slavery.</p> <p>We also commit to supporting the Dennis Mukwege and Nadia Murad Fund. And to supporting local women’s organisations, including through the Women, Peace and Humanitarian Fund.</p> <p>But most of all we recognise the need for more international action in this area.</p> <p>In this respect, we were pleased to host in Oslo earlier this year the international conference on “Ending Sexual and Gender-Based</p> <p>Violence in Humanitarian Crises” to mobilise international political and financial support.</p> <p>And we look forward to the London conference in November, that will surely take us another step further.</p> <p>Thank you again to the co-hosts for bringing us together today on this important issue.</p>

24.10.2019 19:32Statement to the Third Committee by Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights

<p><span>Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Victor Madrigal-Borloz</span></p> <p><em>24 October 2019</em></p> <p><strong>Statement by Iceland</strong></p> <p>I thank you Mr. Chair,</p> <p>We align ourselves to the statement made by Sweden on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries. </p> <p>As a member of the Human Rights Council Iceland this summer voted to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert and like many others, we were gratified to see the strong and increasing support for the mandate in that vote. </p> <p>However, much work remains, which is reflected in the fact that same-sex relations remain illegal in close to 70 countries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair</p> <p>Iceland firmly believes that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and we pride ourselves on valuing greatly both diversity and difference. Indeed, a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2017 showed that Iceland tops the list of social acceptance for LGBTI individuals. </p> <p>Earlier this year, Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament, passed an ambitious law on gender autonomy – gender recognition. </p> <p>There is still work to be done, however, to ensure full legal equality of rights. I would therefore like thank Mr. Madrigal Borloz for his visit to Iceland in September of this year, for the public lecture he gave in Reykjavík and for the meetings he took with important interlocutors. His visit has allowed us to deepen the discussion on an important topic.</p> <p>To conclude, I would like to ask the Independent Expert how he feels Iceland, and others, can best support efforts to ensure decriminalization of same sex relations globally.</p> <p>I thank you.</p>

24.10.2019 15:09Statement by Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights to the Third Committee

<p><strong><span>Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions</span></strong></p> <p><strong><span>24 October 2019</span></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><span>Statement by Iceland</span></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you Mr. Chairman,</span></p> <p><span>We thank the Special Rapporteur for her presence here today and would like to express our appreciation for her work and support for her mandate. The Special Rapporteur has an immensely important role and is executing it in a courageous manner, acting as a forceful advocate for international human rights law and respect for the norms inherent in human rights law.</span></p> <p><span>We thank the Special Rapporteur for her focus on the death penalty. Iceland is opposed to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and supports efforts for a moratorium and ultimately the abolishion of capital punishment.</span></p> <p><span>Unfortunately, as the Special Rapporteur´s work has made clear, we continue to see intentional state killings of human rights defenders, journalists and dissidents. Yet the Special Rapporteur’s report on the investigation of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, makes for particularly chilling reading. </span></p> <p><span>The Special Rapporteur finds that Mr. Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated extrajudicial execution, for which the State of Saudi Arabia is responsible. This unlawful killing must of course be condemned in the strongest possible terms.</span></p> <p><span>Special Rapporteur Callamard, you&nbsp;highlight in your report how the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Khashoggi violates a core tenet of the United Nations, the protection of freedom of expression. It would be of interest to us to hear your views in how this horrible event could help ensure that freedom of expression is better safeguarded in the future?</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

23.10.2019 18:10Statement to the Third Committee by Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights

<p>Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Islamic Republic of Iran</p> <p><em>23 October 2019</em></p> <p><strong>Statement by Iceland</strong></p> <p>Thank you Mr. Chairman,</p> <p>Iceland thanks the Special Rapporteur for his latest report. </p> <p>We value greatly the report´s focus on the human rights situation of religious and ethnic minorities. My delegation is concerned over the ongoing systematic discrimination and harassment of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran – including the Kurdish people as well as adherents to the Baha’i faith who continue to be prohibited from working in the public sector and many private enterprises.</p> <p>Women´s human rights and gender equality are a priority for Iceland and we are therefore troubled that authorities would arrest women protesting against the compulsory use of the hijab. The rights of women human rights defenders must be protected and respected. </p> <p>The right to freedom of expression and opinion is a fundamental right and we are concerned that journalists and media workers continue to suffer intimidation both inside and outside Iran, as well being under the constant threat of arrest.</p> <p>Mr. Chairman,</p> <p>Iceland is opposed to the use of the death penalty and call an<strong> all</strong> states to end this gruesome practice. With regard to Iran, we find the practice of capital punishment particularly abhorrent, where the crime committed often seems far from warranting such consequence. </p> <p>In particular, we find particularly objectionable that children continue to receive death sentences. The report of the Special Rapporteur notes that in 2018 there were seven reported cases of executions of children who had been convicted for a criminal offense and that there are currently an estimated 90 individuals on death row who were all under the age of 18 at the time of their alleged offences. Death penalty for crimes committed by minors is explicitly prohibited in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Iran has ratified."</p> <p><em>Mr. Special Rapporteur,</em><em> in your report you urgently recommend amending legislation on which executions of child offenders are based. Could you please elaborate further on what would be the most urgent and achievable step, and what role there could be for international partners, to end capital punishment for children in Iran? </em></p> <p>I thank you.</p>

23.10.2019 15:04Joint Nordic Statement to the Disarmament and International Security Committee

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Statement by the Nordic Countries</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>The 74nd Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>Disarmament and International Security Committee</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>New York, 23 October 2019</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr Chairperson,</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>It is an honour for me to address this Committee on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr Chairperson,</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Advancing <strong>gender equality</strong> as a crosscutting theme throughout the entire spectrum of disarmament and arms control is a key priority for the Nordic countries. The advantages of full and equal participation of <strong>women</strong> in disarmament and arms control are abundantly clear. The arms control community in this room can do its part by advocating for improved gender balance throughout the various activities debated during the First Committee. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the <strong>Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention</strong>, which has established norms that are widely respected and adhered to, also by States which have not ratified the Convention. The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention is perhaps the most successful multilateral disarmament treaty in recent times. Since it was adopted in Oslo in 1997, 164 states parties have joined, nearly 53 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed, and vast areas have been successfully cleared and released to local communities. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>However, established international norms are under pressure and it is our responsibility to protect them. In recent years, we have witnessed new and widespread use of landmines of an improvised nature. Many of these are produced and used as tools of war and terror by non-state actors. The priorities of the Norwegian presidency this year are protection of affected communities and groups who are particularly vulnerable, including IDPs and refugees. There is a need to further gender mainstream all aspects of mine action and to push for increased progress in clearance so that more affected countries can declare themselves mine-free. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>States parties, Observers and civil society will meet at the Fourth Review Conference in Oslo from 25 to 29 November. We request the support of all participants to secure a strong outcome in Oslo.</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr Chairperson,</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Poorly regulated <strong>small arms and their ammunition</strong> are key enablers of violent conflict. The Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, which the Nordic countries fully support, highlights the importance of a comprehensive approach to addressing arms and ammunition. We welcome the convening of a group of governmental experts in early 2020 on problems arising from the accumulation of conventional ammunition stockpiles in surplus. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The Nordic countries are longtime supporters of work in SALW control in several countries and regions. We also support a number of research institutes and civil society organizations and contribute to the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation (UNSCAR). We are grateful that the SALIENT-fund will officially be launched tomorrow and we call on all countries in a position to do so, to support this valuable life-saving tool. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The <strong>Arms Trade Treaty</strong> remains a high priority for the Nordic countries. Already in its first five years, it has proven its value in promoting a more responsible and transparent legal trade, and in improving action to counter the illegal spread of arms and ammunition. The focus of the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the ATT on gender aspects, including gender-based violence, as well as the continued attention to risks of diversion, are welcome and valuable.&nbsp; The number of States Parties continues to grow: last year marked the milestone of 100 ratifications. Yet a number of the largest arms exporters and importers remain outside the Treaty. We will continue dialogue with them and other countries, and also continue our strong support for the practical implementation of the Treaty, including through the ATT Voluntary Trust Fund.</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr Chairperson,</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>We remain strongly committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its Protocols. The Group of Governmental Experts on <strong>Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems</strong> (LAWS) has been an extremely valuable venue for international work on this multifaceted and exceptionally complex arms control topic. Progress has indeed been made, including on the now 11 Guiding Principles. Strict adherence to International Law, and in particular International Humanitarian Law, is and must continue to be the cornerstone of all weapons use. High Contracting Parties should seize the opportunity to consider and clarify the normative and operational framework for LAWS. This should be done in the Geneva GGE, which we see as the appropriate forum for this topic. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The ATT, the CCW and other important multilateral conventions cannot function without adequate resources. We call on States Parties, which have not yet done so, to pay their assessed contributions and arrears in full and without delay. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The <strong>Convention on Cluster Munitions</strong> has succeeded in reducing human suffering caused by this weapon. We remain deeply concerned about the reported use of cluster munitions, which gravely affects civilian populations. The Nordic countries engage actively on a global level to alleviate the humanitarian consequences of cluster munitions. </span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Thank you, Mr Chairperson.</span></p>

22.10.2019 19:28Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries to the Sixth Committee on the Law of Transboundary Aquifers

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Transboundary%20Acquifiers.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Transboundary Acquifiers.pdf</a>

22.10.2019 19:23Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Prevention%20of%20Transboundary%20Harm.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Prevention of Transboundary Harm.pdf</a>

22.10.2019 18:26Statement by Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights to the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: left;">Interactive Dialogue with Chair of the former Fact-Finding Mission&nbsp;on Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman</p> <p><span><em>22 October 2019</em></span></p> <p><strong>Statement by Iceland </strong></p> <p>Thank you, Mr./Mrs. Chairperson,</p> <p>We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Darusman and his colleagues on the Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which has now ended its mandate, for their valuable work. </p> <p>We continue to be shocked by developments in Myanmar and the final report of the Fact-Finding Mission only serves to confirm fears that genocide and crimes against humanity may have been committed by the Myanmar Security Forces. </p> <p>We thank the Fact-Finding Mission for addressing specifically sexual and gender-based violence, and gendered effects of the ethnic conflict, in a separate report issued in August. That report demonstrates that ethnic women and girls are doubly victimized: as women and girls and as members of ethnic minority communities. However, the Mission found further that men and boys have also been victims of sexual and gender-based violence by security forces, and so have people from the transgender community, in particular transgender Rohingya.</p> <p>We are deeply disappointed by the complete lack of cooperation with the Mission´s work by the Government of Myanmar. Indeed, as the report makes clear, the Government of Myanmar appears utterly unwilling to end impunity for human rights violations, especially those committed by security forces. </p> <p>The need for accountability is compelling and urgent, however, and the international community must therefore maintain its focus on this issue. While we welcome the fact that the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, which was established by this Council through resolution 39/2, is now operational much more needs to be done still to ensure accountability; either by national or international courts. </p> <p>I thank you.</p>

22.10.2019 16:52Statement by Mr. Davíð Logi Sigurðsson, Director for Human Rights to the Third Committee

<p>UNGA 74, Third Committee</p> <p><em>22 October 2019</em></p> <p><strong>Statement by Iceland</strong></p> <p>Thank you Mr. Chairman,</p> <p>Human Rights are a corner-stone of Iceland’s foreign policy. Iceland is committed to the principle that everyone is born with and possesses the same rights, regardless of where they live, their gender or race, or their religious, cultural or ethnic background. We are committed to strengthening the universality of human rights and to protecting the plurality of voices in civil society who speak up for those rights.</p> <p>It has therefore been our pleasure and our privilege, for the past fifteen months, to serve on the Human Rights Council for the very first time. Our work on the Council has been based on established priorities that include, specifically, gender equality and women’s rights, the rights of the LGBTI community and the rights of the child.</p> <p>In this context I want to highlight the Equal Pay resolution we put forward in the Council this summer, along with seven other like-minded nations, on the principle of equal pay for equal work – a priority for us in line with our focus on gender equality. The resolution aimed at&nbsp;tackling the root causes and other factors influencing equal pay as well as the gender pay gap, in line with Sustainable Development Goals number 5 and 8, especially target 8.5, calling for equal pay for work of equal value by 2030.&nbsp;</p> <p>I am happy to note that the General Assembly will consider a follow-up resolution, namely to identify 18 September each year as an international Equal Pay day this Third Committee session. We look for your support to this important initiative.</p> <p>As a member of the Human Rights Council, Iceland was also pleased to see the Council approve its resolution this summer on the human rights situation in the Philippines and we look forward to receiving a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on that topic before the 44<sup>th</sup> session of the Council next June.</p> <p>Mr. Chairman,</p> <p>As we near the midpoint of the 2030 agenda, we are alarmed to see established international norms and standards that have been collectively agreed, including in the SDGs, being challenged.</p> <p>We are particularly worried that previous milestones with regard to women’s human rights and reproductive freedom are under threat in far too many places. As we saw at this years’ meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women, there have been increased efforts to roll back advances made with regards to bodily autonomy, comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender-based violence. Iceland is committed to defending women´s human rights. We cannot let their rights be eroded, or we will never achieve the SDGs.</p> <p>Mr. Chairman,</p> <p>I want to conclude by expressing our deep concern for the consequences of the latest developments in the bloody conflict in Syria; a tragedy that has now lasted more than seven years and that has not just seen thousands of lives lost but also caused such a terrible erosion of the human rights of ordinary people.</p> <p>Turkey´s recent military operation in north-east Syria threatens to destabilize the region and it without a doubt deepens the humanitarian crisis in Syria, with extensive civilian suffering and increased risk of further displacements.</p> <p>We recognize and appreciate Turkey´s important role in hosting millions of Syrian refugees displaced after years of conflict. However, we must also call on Turkey to act in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law and to cease fully their current military campaign. As a first step, the current ceasefire must be upheld and extended and we also call for dialogue for Turkish withdrawal and for Kurds’ and other minorities right to remain.</p> <p>I thank you.</p>

21.10.2019 19:31Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries to the Sixth Committee on UNCITRAL

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20UNCITRAL.pdf">6C Nordic Statement - UNCITRAL.pdf</a>

21.10.2019 19:11Joint Nordic Baltic Statement to the Third Committee

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>UN General Assembly Third Committee – 74th session</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. David Kaye</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span>21 New York, October 2019</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Statement by Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><span>I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of </span><span>the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Lithuania</span><span>. </span></p> <p><span>We would like to express our gratitude and thank the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive report and today’s presentation.</span></p> <p><span>The freedom of opinion and expression, both online and offline, is intrinsically linked to other human rights and fundamental freedoms. </span><span>Fr</span><span>eedom of expression is indispensable for good governance, informed decision-making, democracy, free and fair electoral processes and government accountability.</span><span> Regrettably, it is under continuous attacks. International community is witness to</span><span> the rising dangers to the freedom of opinion and expression around the world through deteriorating security situations, repressive media climates, and </span><span>shrinking space for civil society</span><span>, </span><span>journalists, media workers, and human rights defenders</span></p> <p><span>Mr. Special Rapporteur, we share your concerns that digital technologies are being used for various types of unlawful surveillance, which together with the lack of adequate legislation and effective safeguards, can contribute to serious human rights violations. </span></p> <p><span>As human rights should not differ in the digital space, it is essential, as you recommend in your report, to establish and adopt co-regulatory initiatives that would include human rights-based standards of conduct for the private surveillance industry.</span></p> <p><span>Mr. Special Rapporteur, in your opinion <em>how could we encourage the proactive approach of private entities in promoting and protecting human rights in their activities?</em></span></p> <p><span>In conclusion, we would like to reiterate firm commitment of the Nordic and Baltic countries to the promotion and protection of the human rights including freedom of expression - both online and offline, and strengthening of the international commitments in this respect. We reassure you of our support for your mandate and the work carried out in ensuring digital technologies are used for promotion of the freedom of opinion and expression, as opposite of censorship or repressions. </span></p> <p><span>Mr. Special Rapporteur, we wish you success in carrying out your important mandate. </span></p> <p><span>Thank you. </span></p>

21.10.2019 15:44Statement on behalf of Group of States on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

<span></span> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; color: black;"><a href="http://statements.unmeetings.org/media2/21999409/netherlands-on-behalf-off.pdf">http://statements.unmeetings.org/media2/21999409/netherlands-on-behalf-off.pdf</a></span></p>

18.10.2019 15:01Statement to the Third Committee on Reprisals

<p>Mr. Chair, </p> <p > <br /> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as on behalf of Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay and Vanuatu. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Civil society and human rights defenders play a crucial role in supporting our work at the United Nations and the healthy functioning of democratic institutions. They not only enrich our process of&nbsp; decision-making, but their contributions also ensure that the impact of the decisions we make here at the UN reach those furthest behind, in line with our existing obligations and commitments, in particular under the UN Charter and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Acts of intimidation and reprisals against those who cooperate, seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the UN undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the UN as a whole, including the human rights system. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome the Secretary-General’s report and share his alarm about the growing number of reprisals, which take many forms. We share in particular the concern that women human rights defenders are disproportionately exposed to gender-specific barriers, threats and violence, and are alarmed at the number of attacks against journalists and media workers. We strongly condemn any act of intimidation and reprisal, whether online or offline, against individuals and groups who cooperate, seek to cooperate, or have cooperated with the UN. In this respect, we urge States to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts by raising awareness and by investigating and ensuring accountability and effective remedy for such acts, whether perpetrated by State or non-State actors as well as to inform the Secretary-General and the Human Rights Council accordingly. W<span>e must be determined to do all we can to enable them to work and live in safety and without fear of any kind of intimidation or violence. In this regard, we welcome the positive steps taken by those States who have responded to acts of reprisals against persons and groups in their respective countries. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We welcome the adoption of Human Rights Council resolution 42/28, which invites the General Assembly to remain seized of all work in this area. We are convinced that the exploration of all avenues of action is crucial. We highly appreciate the work of Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Mr. Andrew Gilmour, who has lead the UN efforts to put an end to this condemnable practice. We strongly believe that this mandate ensures a more systematised, coordinated response to the deeply worrying issue of intimidation and reprisals, including against human rights defenders, and will help to put an end to impunity for these attacks. We encourage Member States to cooperate with the Assistant Secretary-General and assist him to fulfill his mandate. We place special emphasis on raising awareness and on the dissemination of best practices. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. Chair, </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Notwithstanding the primary obligation of States to prevent and address reprisals, and to uphold the highest standard of human rights promotion and protection, the UN system also has a duty to prevent and respond to alleged cases of intimidation and reprisals against those who provide information or seek to engage with it, and to ensure accountability when these acts occur. In this respect, we encourage all UN bodies, mechanisms and agencies to strengthen the collective response to reprisals and continue to give detailed consideration to such cases brought to their attention, and to take immediate steps, including by submitting them to the Assistant Secretary-General Gilmour and to the Secretary-General as contributions for his annual report. We would also welcome more frequent reporting on the issue of reprisals and follow-up by Assistant Secretary-General Gilmour, including here in New York, thereby increasing awareness, accountability and ensuring a more timely response.&nbsp; </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr Chair</p> <p>Civil society and human rights defenders are important parts of vibrant societies which encourage openness, transparency and dialogue between people and those in power.&nbsp; The UN, as a global community, must be an example of best practice and ensure all civil society organisations and human rights defenders who wish to engage with the UN system are able to do so without fear of reprisal or intimidation.&nbsp; This will send a message that we value their contribution and will continue to mitigate the risks they face and provide them with opportunities to engage meaningfully with the UN system.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you, Mr. Chair</p>

15.10.2019 19:16Joint Nordic Statement to the Sixth Committee on Diplomatic Protection

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Diplomatic%20Protection%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Diplomatic Protection.pdf</a>

14.10.2019 19:28Statement to the First Committee by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson

<p><span>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,</span></p> <p><span>Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</span></p> <p><span>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 14 October 2019</span></p> <p><span>First Committee – General debate</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Mr. Chairman,</span></p> <p><span>Let me join others in congratulating you on assuming the chairmanship of the first committee and wish you, and all of us every, success during this session.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Iceland fully aligns itself with the statement made by Sweden on behalf of the Nordic countries but let me also highlight a few key issues from a national perspective. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We are meeting at a critical juncture when some of the key arms control and disarmament agreements, which have been the bedrock of the disarmament and non-proliferation effort since the end of the Cold War, are being put to the test by non-compliance and new security challenges. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The INF-treaty has run its course due to Russia’s non-compliance, chemical weapons are still being used and illicit small arms are readily available in all major conflict areas. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The international security situation could, indeed, be more conducive to disarmament, but our key priority must be to recommit to the UN arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation agenda and use our time to build trust and increase transparency where it is most needed. We should learn from past mistakes to avoid the wasteful arms race of the past. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>This is particularly relevant in the nuclear domain where some of the key instruments that brought us peace and stability are up for review, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>In the coming months, our priority must be to ensure that the NPT Review Conference will be successful. The NPT treaty has been effective in reducing the global stockpile of nuclear weapons while safeguarding the benefits of nuclear technology for civilian use. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The New START treaty needs to be extended as it plays a crucial role for global security, limiting the number of strategic nuclear weapons while providing important sets of confidence-building measures that benefit all. We encourage Russia and the United States to reach an early agreement. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We should not be discouraged from supporting other mechanisms. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is one of the most widely supported international agreements although key signatures are still lacking. Its verification system is an important source of trust and transparency. To begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty would be another important factor in underpinning the non- proliferation arrangements.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Our common goal should be a world without nuclear weapons. The total elimination of nuclear weapons needs to be based on a mutual, balanced, verifiable and irreversible step by step approach. Also, the use of chemical weapons should be echoes from a distant past - not regular news. We need to support the work of the OPCW in investigating attacks in order to hold perpetrators responsible. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Furthermore, conventional arms, not least small arms and light weapons, have been coined the true weapons of mass destruction, with over a half million people killed every year. We need to make full use of the Arms Trade Treaty to stop the illegal trade of such weapons that seem to be readily available in all major conflict areas.</span><span> </span><span>Also, the Arms Trade Treaty´s unique capacity to address gender-based violence should be urgently implemented. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. Chairman, </span></p> <p><span>Information technology continues to transform our everyday life and has greatly benefitted our societies. However, it is also making us more vulnerable to irresponsible behaviour of states and non-state actors – ranging from direct attacks to indirect surveillance and propaganda. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>We need to firmly communicate that international laws and norms apply to state behaviour in cyberspace. The Open-Ended Working Group should focus on building awareness of existing international frameworks and norms and explore how we can best build capacity and safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms in the cyber domain.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Mr. Chair,</span></p> <p><span>We need to re-energise the disarmament agenda with more resources and creative thinking. We also need to take concrete steps to make sure that women have an active and equal role in this effort in line with UNSCR 1325 as we prepare for the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of this important resolution in 2020.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Let me end by wishing us all a productive and constructive session.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Thank you. </span></p>

11.10.2019 18:50Sixth Committee Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Responsibility%20of%20States%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Responsibility of States.pdf</a>

10.10.2019 16:17Statement to the Third Committee by Helen S. von Ernst, Second Secretary

<span></span> <p><span style="height: 82px; width: 309px;"><img alt="" width="309" height="82" src="file:///C:/Users/berglindl/AppData/Local/Packages/oice_16_974fa576_32c1d314_43e/AC/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.png" /></span></p> <p><span></span><span style="font-size: 13pt; font-family: 'FiraGO SemiBold', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO SemiBold', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">Statement by Helen S. von Ernst,</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO SemiBold', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Second Secretary </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO ExtraLight', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></em><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO Book', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">General Assembly 74<span style="font-size: 13px;"><sup>th</sup></span>&nbsp;session, 10 October 2019</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO Book', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Third Committee - </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'FiraGO Book', sans-serif; color: #003d85;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Item 66: Promotion and protection of the rights of children </span></p> <div style="padding: 0cm 0cm 1pt; border-top: none; border-right: none; border-bottom-width: 1.5pt; border-bottom-style: solid; border-left: none;"> <p style="padding: 0cm; border: none; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></p> </div> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Mr. / Madam Chair, </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">This year we celebrate the 30<sup>th</sup> anniversary of a landmark achievement. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was an unprecedented promise of nations to the children of the world. We pledged not only to proclaim children’s rights but to uphold them and be accountable for them. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">The CRC is a global instrument that has galvanized change around the world</span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">. Since the adoption of the Convention, we have seen immense improvements in the life of children globally – but there is work still to be done. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Mr. / Madame Chair</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">The current Icelandic government puts a special emphasis on children’s affairs. As a result, the Ministry for Social Affairs and Children recently initiated work on a <strong>future policy</strong> for advancing children’s issues within Icelandic society. Among other things, the Government aims to review the Child Protection Act, the social framework for children‘s affairs, and services for children countrywide. One of the main goals is to place the child and its family at the centre of all services. The work is coordinated jointly between the Ministry, Parliament and Municipalities. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Mr. / Madame Chair</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Protection of children against violence has been a priority for the Icelandic Government. </span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">The Ministry of Social Affairs is currently working on implementing proposals on an “information centre for tackling violence against children” made to coordinate research and statistics for sharing between government agencies and NGOs in order to enhance prevention of violence against children. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Iceland has also emphasized the crucial importance to have the right services and response in place when children are believed to be victims of sexual violence or other serious violence. The Barnahus-model, or the Children‘s House, has been developed in Iceland over the last three decades, where children can receive all services they need in one place. Barnahus is a </span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">child-friendly and multi-agency response to child abuse, a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to investigate cases and provide appropriate therapeutic services for child victims. We are happy to see that Barnahus has opened in around 20 countries. </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">In many parts of the world, including in Iceland, children and youth have recently protested government inaction on the climate crisis. This solidarity is a strong indication of children’s concern for the situation created by past generations, and those in power have a duty to listen to what they have to say.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">The Icelandic government finds it of crucial importance to include young people in decision-making. Recently, the Icelandic government approved a proposal from the Minister of Social Affairs and Children </span><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">aimed at increasing participation of children in government policy formulation and having major decision-making and legislative proposals reviewed based on their impact on the position and rights of children.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">We also </span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">have a Youth Council operating for the SDGs - a platform for youth </span><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">to express their voice to policy makers</span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #212121;">. Young people </span><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">have the right to have their views heard and child participation is crucial for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="background: white; font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. / Madame Chair, </span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Promoting&nbsp;and&nbsp;protecting&nbsp;children's&nbsp;rights is central for sustainable development. </span><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We – the international community – need to continue to make universal progress in children’s human rights and protection efforts and thereby accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">Investing in children&nbsp;throughout&nbsp;their&nbsp;journey&nbsp;to&nbsp;adulthood is&nbsp;a moral&nbsp;duty&nbsp;and&nbsp;an&nbsp;essential&nbsp;investment&nbsp;in&nbsp;a&nbsp;better present and future for all of us.</span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

10.10.2019 16:02Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries at the Sixth Committee Thematic Debate on the Rule of Law

&nbsp;<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Rule%20of%20Law%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Rule of Law.pdf</a><span></span><span></span><span></span>

08.10.2019 18:27Statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries to the Sixth Committee on Measures to Eliminate Internal Terrorism

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/6C%20Nordic%20Statement%20-%20Measures%20to%20eliminate%20international%20terrorism%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">6C Nordic Statement - Measures to eliminate international terrorism.pdf</a>

07.10.2019 20:57Statement to the Second Committee by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson

<p>Statement by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson, Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations</p> <p><em>General Assembly 74<sup>th</sup> session, 7 October 2019</em></p> <p><strong>Second Committee – General debate</strong></p> <div> <p>Mr Chair,</p> </div> <p>First, let me congratulate you and the members of the bureau on your election and wish you every success in the work ahead.</p> <p>The SDG Summit last month revealed that more efforts are needed. At the same time, we see important achievements in many fields, including in gender equality, reducing child mortality and fighting communicable diseases. It falls on all states, big and small, to work together on these pressing issues and, in this respect, my Government remains fully committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda, both at home and abroad. </p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>One of the biggest threats of our times is climate change. It affects all aspects of the 2030 Agenda. From North to South we are all experiencing, one way or another, the negative effects of climate change. Iceland is committed to fulfilling the targets set in the Paris Agreement. The Government aims for a carbon neutral Iceland in 2040 and, collectively with other European states, a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.</p> <p>Also, earlier this year, Iceland’s Parliament agreed on a new policy for international development cooperation with a particular focus on addressing climate change, reducing gender inequalities and securing human rights for all. The key pillars of the policy are interlinked and aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals. </p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>Iceland is no stranger to the three interconnected pillars of sustainability; the environment, society and the economy. Sustainability has been the key to our prosperity and, indeed, our survival for a long time - and that is not going to change. </p> <p>We need to take care of our green and blue planet. It is an intriguing fact that the oceans cover over 70% of the earth’s surface and are directly affected by climate change. Indeed, climate change is also an ocean change. Therefore, sustainable management of the oceans are vital to the world. </p> <p>Mr Chairman,</p> <p>Since early last century Iceland has focused on recovering land quality and limiting land degradation. Further cooperation and joint action are needed to further deliver on SDG 15 aimed at combatting desertification and restoring degraded land and soil. </p> <p>We continue to support the UNCCD, including through the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought. It is important to bear in mind that some of the most effective solutions are low cost, simple and nature-based like land restoration.</p> <p>Degraded land is the root cause of many pressing societal challenges we are facing today. Land restoration offers multiple cross cutting solutions and is a connecting piece between enhanced food security, water, biodiversity, reduced climate emissions, more social stability and, ultimately, peace and security. We must also keep in mind that women around the world bear the brunt of the effects of climate change. </p> <p>When it comes to the societal aspect of sustainable development,<strong> </strong>respect for human rights and gender equality are both specific and cross-cutting issues. We encourage other countries to focus on increasing gender equality and empowering women. We also encourage all countries to grant increased attention to groups who lack fundamental rights, such as LGBTI people and other vulnerable groups.</p> <p>Mr. Chair,</p> <p>Last month, we gathered to discuss the importance of universal health coverage. Iceland continues to emphasise quality basic health care accessible and affordable to all, the health and nutrition of mothers and children, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.</p> <p>Also, equal access for all to quality education has positive effects on society. Therefore, in our international development cooperation, increased emphasis is placed on quality basic education, improving access to education and reducing dropout rates. This we do with a special focus on girls, which also contributes to efforts in eradicating poverty.</p> <p>Building economies<strong> </strong>by working with the private sector in creating work opportunities and increasing investment is an important path to a sustainable economic growth. We are also committed to sharing our knowledge of renewable energy, fisheries, land restoration and gender equality, including through our United Nations Training Programmes in Iceland. </p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>In July, our Prime Minister presented Iceland’s first Voluntary National Review, including some 65 priority targets in implementing the SDGs. My government remains fully committed to Agenda 2030 – and making sure that no one is left behind.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

07.10.2019 16:51Statement by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson on The Advancement of Women

<span></span> &nbsp; <p><em>GA74 – Third Committee – Advancement of Women</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. /Madam Chair, </p> <p>As this is the first time I take the floor in this Committee, let me start by congratulating you and other members of the Bureau with your election to this very important Committee. You can rest assured that the Icelandic Delegation will work with the Bureau in the spirit of cooperation throughout this session.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year we celebrate the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of CEDAW - a driving force for transformative change in almost all societies of the world. Although we are immensely pleased that CEDAW is close to reaching universal membership, we believe it can only reach its full potential as an effective tool when states have demonstrated the full political will to adhere to the Convention – a will that is currently discounted by reservations. We remain concerned regarding the high numbers of reservations and encourage concerned States parties to constantly review their reservations and consider lifting them. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This year is also an important preparatory year for the international community. We have important upcoming anniversaries, including Beijing + 25 and UNSCR 1325, that create a momentum to review both our progress and challenges, as well as an opportunity to strengthen our political efforts for the full and effective implementation of these commitments. In this regard, Iceland looks forward to participating in the Generation Equality Forum convened by UN Women and co-chaired by Mexico and France. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Madam Chair, </p> <p>Iceland has ranked at the top of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index for ten consecutive years. Although we have seen achievements, we are aware of the numerous remaining challenges to fully close the gender gap. We have seen that gender equality does not come about of its own accord but needs a set of targeted social infrastructure investments and innovative policy tools. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>An example of such a tool is an equal pay law that entered to force in Iceland last year. The new legislation makes Iceland the first country in the world to require employers to obtain certification on the basis of an equal pay management requirement standard which helps employers to analyse their pay structures, identify potential discrimination and correct it. By doing so, the legal obligation transfers the responsibility of ensuring equal pay from the employee to the employer. By these means, Iceland has pledged to eliminate the gender pay gap by 2022. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Currently, previous victories on women’s human rights and reproductive freedom are under threat in far too many places. As we saw at the Commission on the Status of Women this year, there have been increased efforts to roll back advances made with regards to bodily autonomy, comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender-based violence. We are concerned about the increased politicisation of women’s human rights - and are committed to defending them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>This increased politicisation comes at the same time as the #MeToo movement continues to expose the systematic harassment, violence and everyday sexism that women across various layers of our societies are subjected to. Violence against women is a violation of human rights and an unacceptable reality of many women. Iceland is committed to dismantle the structural nature of harassment and violence and continues to work towards increased accountability and lasting solutions.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. / Madame Chair, </p> <p>Achieving gender equality and realizing women and girls’ rights are key to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. In this milestone year for gender equality, Iceland reaffirms its steadfast commitment to the advancement of the rights of all women and girls. It is our common responsibility to address the challenges that prevent progress on gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s and girls’ human rights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>

01.10.2019 19:45Statement by Esther Hallsdóttir, Iceland´s Youth Delegate to the United Nations

<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Mr./Madame Chair,&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">The fact that I am here today, speaking on behalf of young people in Iceland, marks an important milestone towards true and meaningful youth inclusion in my country. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">I am deeply honored to be here as Iceland’s first Youth Delegate to the United Nations.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">In Iceland, we have witnessed increased political will towards youth inclusion in the last few years. Decision-makers are finally realising the necessity of youth’s participation, consultation and expertise.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">However</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">, there is progress to be made in many areas. For example, we have yet to establish a national youth policy, and current laws need to be revised as they, for example, hinder youth under the age of 18 from taking their elected seats on boards of organizations and from participating in our democracy.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">In addition, youth involvement is too often only tokenistic. The appearance is given of youth inclusion, yet our voices are not truly heard or we are not given the opportunity to express our opinions. Such pretension can have adverse effects as it can discourage youth from engaging further. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Young people’s participation should not be seen as only a box to check. We are not a public relations strategy or a hollow photo opportunity. On the contrary, we contribute to society and drive social progress.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">For the last year, young people have showcased their leadership through their prominence in addressing the most urgent issue the world faces today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">In Iceland, children and young people have joined millions across the globe and participated in school-strikes for the climate every Friday for the last months.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">The unity of young people presents a clear appeal to world leaders. The climate crisis can neither be solved by single individuals nor nations, but we must all accept our responsibility. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Young people are calling upon leaders to commit to international cooperation, to choose openness over isolation, to act in solidarity and to not forget the importance of involving youth.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">In the context of youth rights, we must address the fact that within the already marginalised group of young people, individuals are facing multiple discrimination based on various grounds.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Although Iceland is frequently ranked as the world’s most gender-equal country, we still have not managed to achieve gender equality.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">During the #MeToo movement, Icelandic women had countless stories to tell of sexual violence and harassment. With young women at the forefront, a light was shed on the magnitude of gender based violence still present in our society. Each and every story represents an attempt to discourage women, to belittle them and to restrain them.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">On a global scale, one in every three women experience sexual or domestic violence, millions of girls are out of school and every minute, 23 girls are married while still a child.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">We are also facing an enraging backlash in the respect of women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Rights that women have fought for fiercely are now being threatened by people that don’t believe that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their lives, and their bodies.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Let me state this clearly; countries that aspire to be defenders of human rights, to be the leaders of the free world, should be ardent supporters of women’s human rights, and thereby, their sexual and reproductive health and rights.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Mr. / Madame Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; color: black;">Young women are pushing back and will not be subjugated any longer. Youth is pushing back and will not be ignored any longer. We have grown tired of waiting for others to listen and we are taking the lead.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: black;">With the vision of a just and righteous society, in a sustainable global community, we are here, to make changes.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

23.09.2019 21:04Statement of Iceland at HLM on Universal Health Coverage

<p><span><strong>United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage</strong><br /> Statement delivered by&nbsp;Mr. Jón Erlingur Jónasson, Director-General,&nbsp;Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland</span></p> <p><span><em>23 September 2019</em><br /> &nbsp;<br /> Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Today’s High-Level Meeting plays a part in accelerating the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health. Providing universal health coverage is a crucial aspect of sustainable development and an important driver of equity.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> In June, Iceland’s Parliament approved an ambitious new Health Care Policy until 2030. The policy is evidence based and fully aligned with the SDGs in order to accelerate Iceland’s implementation of the Global Goals.<br /> <br /> Mr. President,<br /> <br /> Discussing prosperity for all, I would like to bring your attention to the issue of neurological disorders that affect up to a billion people worldwide, according to numbers from the WHO.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> My government continues to promote cooperation on research and raise awareness through our Geneva-based Special Envoy in the field of neurological and spinal cord injuries. According to the WHO, people with spinal cord injuries are more likely to die prematurely, and they have lower school enrolment and economic participation.<br /> <br /> We have seen important medical breakthroughs in the field of non-communicable deceases and are optimistic that with collective efforts we can see such a breakthrough for patients suffering from spinal cord injuries.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Finally, Mr. President,&nbsp;<br /> <br /> I also take the opportunity at this venue to highlight the importance of inclusive development through promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights. SRHR are crucial not only for women and girls’ well-being and development but for society as a whole. This is an important health issue as it concerns our future.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Thank you.</span></p>

10.09.2019 14:46Statement by Ambassador Jörundur Valtýsson at a side event: Reaffirming the Commitment to Multilateralism

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">“Reaffirming the commitment to Multilateralism through the strengthening of international system and institutions on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations”</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Tuesday, September 10, 2019</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Madame Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President, Secretary General, dear colleagues.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The 75th anniversary marks an important milestone for the United Nations. It represents an opportunity not only to reflect on our past but also to look to the future and reaffirm our collective commitment to multilateralism.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I would like to thank the organizers of this event for giving us the opportunity to have this dialogue. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The bedrock of Iceland´s independence and success has been the international rule-based order with its open market, free-trade, multilateral institutions, liberal democracy and international co-operation.&nbsp;This foundation should never be taken for granted and we need to stand by our convictions and principles while looking for ways to improve, reform and strengthen the system.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I would like to commend the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly for their leadership in this regard and their efforts in launching the 75th anniversary preparations.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland was honored to co-facilitate, along with Singapore this spring, the modalities resolution for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the UN. This framework resolution lays the groundwork for stocktaking and reflection on „the Future We Want, the UN We Need “.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Here, we have an opportunity to showcase the achievements of the UN while also looking to the future. Activities are expected to take place at the international, regional and national level, and include all segments of society. This will create a unique momentum for multilateralism and the United Nations.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We look forward to multi-stakeholder participation, not least from civil society and youth, to make the commemoration meaningful and relevant to all people. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you.</span></p>

09.07.2019 14:47Joint Nordic Statement to the UN Security Council on the nexus between terrorism and organised crime

<span></span> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">President,</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">I speak on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. We commend our colleagues from Peru for including this matter on the Security Council agenda. Both terrorism and organized crime threaten international peace and security.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Networks like ISIL and al-Qaida continue to depend on external financing to run their organisations, recruit fighters, buy weapons, spread propaganda and move across borders. This financing must be cut off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">In order to identify and stop illicit financial flows to terrorist organisations and criminal networks, we must disrupt the links between organised crime and terrorism. We must combine measures targeting the profits from crime with measures targeting financial flows to terrorists. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Terrorist groups and organised crime networks often flourish where governance and state presence is weak. In these spaces, terrorist and organised criminal networks both use similar approaches to develop and run illicit economies. They seek to develop and exploit territories that are beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies, where they can safely recruit members and raise funds.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Traditional sources of financing of illicit activity have typically included drug trafficking and kidnapping for ransom. Examples of newer sources include illicit exploitation and taxation of gold, oil and other natural resources. Both terrorist organisations and criminal networks use violence, illicit sources of revenue and political ideology to achieve social, financial and political goals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">International cooperation is crucial in combating these developments. We need effective coordination. The UN Headquarters in New York and the UN Offices in Vienna must work more effectively together, including by making the best possible use of existing presences in the field. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">As we strive to disrupt illicit financial flows and terrorist financing, we must also <span style="color: black;">make sure that our efforts do not create barriers for legitimate flows and financial inclusion. </span></span><span style="color: black; font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Palatino Linotype', serif;">To ensure this and find best solutions, we need cross-sectoral cooperation among humanitarian, financial and counter-terrorism experts.</span></p> <p><span style="color: black; font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="color: black; font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt;">We welcome the 2018 Addendum </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt;">to the Madrid Guiding Principles to prevent violent extremism and radicalisation in prisons. We also welcome The </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Hague Good Practices on the Nexus between Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism developed by the Global Counterterrorism Forum. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans'; letter-spacing: -0.05pt;">We must address the role that prisons play in dealing with terrorist and violent extremist offenders, as well as with those in risk of being radicalized while in prison. ISIL in particular have consciously targeted people with a criminal past to offer them a narrative to joining terrorism.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Policies to address terrorism and organized crime should be part of a broader strategy to reduce vulnerability. We must strengthen security sector reform and the rule of law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">We encourage expanding and developing initiatives to deal more effectively with the nexus between terrorism and organised crime. The aspects of these global security challenges are closely connected. They must be addressed both within the security pillar, and as part of advancing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Only then can we truly disrupt the links between terrorism and organises crime. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">Thank you.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Open Sans';">&nbsp;</span></p>

25.06.2019 15:51Statement by Jónas G. Allansson delivered at the UNRWA Pledging Conference

<span></span> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">Mr./Madam Chair,</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">At the outset allow me to express Iceland’s sincere appreciation for the work of UNRWA’s staff, operating in increasingly difficult contexts, and use this opportunity to recognize Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl, for his leadership and dedication as the head of the Agency. We acknowledge with deep appreciation you and your staff</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">’s</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;"> fundraising efforts and cost-saving measures during UNRWA’s most severe institutional and funding crisis. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">Iceland has been a regular contributor to UNRWA since 1964, providing both funds and complementary staff. We further strengthened our support for UNRWA with the signing of a four-year framework agreement in 2018. In doing so, we committed to providing predictable multi-year funding, in line with our World Humanitarian Summit commitments. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">Iceland greatly values the work of UNRWA and acknowledges that the agency contributes significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, notably in education and health for Palestine refugees. As highlighted by the Palestinian youth leaders earlier. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, UN Member States pledged to “leave no one behind” and UNRWA is playing its part to ensure the achievement of this commitment. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">UNRWA has managed to provide vital services to Palestine refugees despite an increasingly difficult operating context. This is largely due to UNRWA being a competent, resilient and resolute agency, as highlighted in the most recent performance assessment of UNRWA. Iceland was particularly pleased to see that MOPAN, a network comprised of 18 countries that assesses the effectiveness of major multilateral organizations, found the agency is indeed achieving results in both the humanitarian and development domain despite the funding crisis and external challenges. A clear sign of a well-managed organization. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">The Icelandic Government is pleased to continue to do its part to preserve regional stability and ensure that Palestine refugees can access relief and social services. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">Thank you Mr./Madam Chair. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; color: #2e2e2e;">&nbsp;</span></p>

18.06.2019 18:25Statement by Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir at the UN Women Executive Board Annual Session

<span></span> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank Madame President, </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me begin by thanking Madame Phumzile for her comprehensive opening statement, highlighting key results achieved during the first year of implementing the new Strategic Plan despite the global push-back. I also want to warmly welcome Anita Bhatia and my countrywoman Hanna Kristjansdottir to their new roles at UN Women. We also welcome the role of Edward Wagani in engaging men and boys, which Iceland attaches great importance to. We wish you all the best and look forward to engaging with you all. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We indeed have an exciting year ahead of us with many milestones and opportunities to take stock of where we stand in terms of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and how to accelerate the achievement of the many commitments we have made. UN Women plays a key role in this regard. Iceland acknowledges this through financial and political support to UN Women. Last year, Iceland had the highest per-capita contribution to UN Women. We are of course proud of this fact. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In an increasingly complex environment for the achievement of gender equality, it is extremely important that UN Women performs at its highest level. The most recent MOPAN highlights that UN Women has indeed made significant improvements since its first assessment in 2014 and that the organization has made important contributions to improving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. As a relatively young organization, we urge you to continue improving and to focus particularly on the finalization of country typology, with clear rationale for scale and allocation of country presence. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Last but not least, we would like to express our appreciation to the dedicated UN Women personnel and to thank you, Madame Executive Director, for your leadership and dedication to gender quality and the empowerment of all women and girls, leaving no one behind. UN Women can count on Iceland´s continuing support. </span></p> <p class="BodyA"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Madame President.</span></p>

11.06.2019 19:40Statement by Thor G. Thorarinsson at the 12th session of the Conference of State Parties to the CRPD

<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr./Madam President. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Last year in our statement we outlined the many legislative measures we have undertaken, both in the lead up to our ratification of the Convention, and new laws passed to meet the commitments we have undertaken in the Convention, in particular that relate to equality and discrimination and access to the labour market.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Most recently, the Icelandic parliament passed new laws relating to the social services offered by municipalities, as well as services for those with special needs requiring long-term support. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr./Madam President, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities but in our changing world we have realized that the we need to change the game. We need to continue to innovative, change our existing assumptions and services so as to truly achieve the aspiration and goals of the Convention and Agenda 2030.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In Iceland, we have been doing just that. For example, now all decision-making must directly involve users; while cases relating to children with special needs and their families are also be handled in accordance with the UN convention on children’s rights. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Further innovations include giving organizations representing persons with disabilities a voice when it comes to formulating policy, as well as asking these organizations and individual service users for their advice and involvement. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In addition it is my pleasure to inform the conference that in Icelandic legislation there is now a stipulated right for all persons with disabilities to live independently with necessary support of their own choosing. That means they can decide themselves, how, by whom, and when the services are implemented. That regards also those who are unable to express themselves. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Finally, Mr./Madam President,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Just this last May the Icelandic parliament agreed to incorporate the Convention into national law and the adjustment of Icelandic legislation to the convention should be completed in December 2020. With this, we continue on our path towards full implementation on the CRPD. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 18pt;">&nbsp;</span></p>

11.06.2019 16:16Statement by Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir at the UNICEF Executive Board 2019 Annual Session

<span></span> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you Mr./Madam President, </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me begin by thanking Ms. Henrietta Fore for her introductory remarks and for the thorough presentation of her annual report. Iceland highly values its partnership with UNICEF. You are one of three core UN partners in our newly adopted development cooperation policy and we are not alone in our commitment to UNICEF, with close to 140 governments contributing to the organization last year. We believe your emphasis on leaving no one and no child behind, and to reach the most vulnerable first, contributes to this level of trust. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Another aspect contributing to donors’ confidence in UNICEF is its approach to systems strengthening and multisystem approaches, working horizontally and vertically across sectors and regions. We have seen this firsthand in our collaboration with UNICEF in Mozambique in the WASH sector. While our main goal with this programme is to contribute to the reduction of open defacation and to improve access to safe and sustainable drinking water, other cross-cutting issues have been considered as well. These include nutrition and gender, incorporating a training on the importance of dietary </span><span style="color: windowtext; font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">diversity for children in all WASH community outreach and ensuring that school latrines are inclusive and gender sensitive. We imagine it would have certainly been much easier to implement the programme through a siloed </span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">approach, but the UNICEF programme staff work with district officials from WASH, education, health and nutrition departments, promoting an integrated approach between these traditionally siloed entities. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It was disheartening to learn that despite more children entering primary school worldwide, nearly 60% of primary-school aged children are failing to meet minimum learning standards. According to the 2019 Financing for Sustainable Development Report, education has indeed become less of a priority for development partners, with the share of education falling from just under 9% of total official development assistance in 2010 to 7% in 2017. We are however pleased to see that 2018 saw a renewed global commitment to children’s education and look forward to UNICEF’s upcoming education strategy. We sincerely hope UNICEF will place <em>increasing</em> importance on quality and early learning in the decade to come. This includes advocating that governments spend a larger proportion of their budget on education and that they prioritize the most marginalized. </span></p> <p class="BodyA" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="BodyA"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Last but not least, we would like to express our appreciation to the dedicated UNICEF staff that often operate in challenging circumstances. You and they can count on Iceland´s continuing support. </span></p>

06.06.2019 19:52Statement by Norway on behalf of the Nordic Countries on the working methods of the Security Council

<span></span> <p>Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway by Ambassador Mari Skåre on the Working methods of the Security Council, 6 June 2019.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>I deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>Improving the Security Council’s working methods enhances the council’s ability to take meaningful action in an efficient, results-oriented and accountable way.</p> <p>We commend Kuwait’s efforts in chairing the Informal Working Group on Documentation to this end. We welcome progress achieved and support the initiatives taken to ensure the full implementation of revised Note 507.</p> <p>Permanent and elected members share Charter obligations to maintain international peace and security. They should have equal means to shoulder this responsibility. That includes a balanced division of labor in areas such as penholdership and chairing of subsidiary bodies. Better inclusion of newly elected members into the Council’s affairs is also important.</p> <p>The Office of the Ombudsperson is central in safeguarding due process. The Nordic countries urge the Secretary-General to ensure that the capacity of the Office is strengthened. Necessary arrangements must be made “to ensure its continued ability to carry out its mandate in an independent, effective and timely manner”, as stated in resolution 2368 (from 2017). We also recommend that the Council consider creating an Ombudsperson for other sanctions regimes.</p> <p>The Nordic countries would also like to acknowledge the valuable role of the Security Council Report. Each year, Finland has arranged a Hitting the Ground Running retreat for the Council and the newly elected members, in close cooperation with the Security Council Report and Professor Ed Luck from Columbia University. The informal discussions have proven useful and important.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>The past few years, it has been made abundantly clear that the continued use of the veto, or the threat of its use, gravely hampers the Council’s ability to respond to global crises. Therefore, the Nordic countries strongly support all measures to limit the use of the veto. That includes the ACT group’s Code of Conduct against mass atrocity crimes, as well as the French-Mexican initiative to restrain the use of the veto. We encourage member states that have not yet supported these initiatives to do so without delay.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>We recall that article 24 of the Charter enshrines the Council’s responsibility to act on behalf of the entire United Nations membership. We call for broader engagement in that regard. The Council should also find a role in the decision-making process for concerned states on issues discussed by the Council. They should also be involved in informal consultations, in accordance with article 31 of the Charter. Interaction with the broader membership should be improved and enhanced. The Council needs to talk with countries, not only about them.</p> <p>The Council must also be open to voices from outside of this Chamber. The practice of inviting civil society briefers should be maintained, in order for the Council to broaden its understanding of the issues on the agenda.</p> <p>The Council should also improve its ability to address problems at all stages of a conflict cycle. More attention needs to be given to the prevention of conflict. Informal situational awareness briefings by the Secretariat is a format that should be fully utilized. Recent progress regarding the role of the Peacebuilding Commission as an advisory body to the Council should be harnessed and developed further.</p> <p>President,</p> <p>A relevant and strong UN requires an efficient, transparent and inclusive Security Council to meet today’s challenges to international peace and security, and to improve global governance.</p> <p>I can assure you of the Nordic countries’ full support in the important work of improving the working methods of this Council.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

23.05.2019 19:59Statement by Norway on behalf of the Nordic Countries in the Open Depate on Protection of civilians in armed conflict

<span></span> <p class="ingress">Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway by Ambassador Mari Skåre in the Open Debate on Protection of civilians in armed conflict, 23 May 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I take the floor on behalf of the Nordic countries, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.</p> <p>20 years after the first Security Council Debate on Protection of Civilians, civilians are still in the line of fire in armed conflicts across the world, not least due to the rise in urban conflict, the proliferation of non-state armed groups and asymmetric warfare.</p> <p>I thank you, President, for convening this open debate on an issue that regrettably must continue to be of great concern to the Council.</p> <p>Let me state the obvious. The civilian population is not a legitimate target. Attacks directed against civilian objects such as schools and hospitals must end and schools and hospitals must not be used for military purposes.</p> <p>We are exasperated at the inadequate respect for international humanitarian law, international human rights law and humanitarian principles shown by many parties to conflicts around the world. And yet, we can and must take heed of the multiple ways in which we have progressed over the last 20 years.</p> <p>The resolution 2286 of this Council and the following recommendations by the Secretary General are examples of concrete progress on how to enhance protection of civilians. We welcome the report by the Secretary General to this Council with further practical measures.</p> <p>Sexual and gender based violence in conflict has received due attention as the heinous crime that it is – in the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, in landmark convictions by the International Criminal Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda as well as in multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, recently through the new resolution 2467. The Special Representative of the Secretary General monitors, reports and raises awareness of sexual violence in conflict.</p> <p>Protection of civilians has become firmly embedded in mandates and activities of UN peacekeeping operations.</p> <p>Despite this, it is an underreported crime, there is lack of support to victims and perpetrators go unpunished.</p> <p>Norway, Iraq, Somalia, UAE, ICRC and OCHA are hosting a conference today and tomorrow precisely to improve coordination and mobilize greater resources in the humanitarian response to sexual and gender-based violence. In these efforts, we must listen to those affected. Persons with disabilities are particularly at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse. Women’s participation and rights must be a priority.</p> <p>The developments mentioned are no small feats. Still, they are not sufficient. We can and must do better.</p> <p>First and most obviously, we must increase the UN’s capacity to prevent and solve conflicts. We must continue to strengthen the UN´s mediation efforts and support UN’s broader political and peacebuilding efforts as well as the situational awareness of peacekeeping operations. In this regard, we welcome the DPO´s revised peacekeeping intelligence policy.</p> <p>Second, we need to enhance respect for international humanitarian law, international human rights law and humanitarian principles. For example, those responsible for violations and abuses of international law against the rohingya in Myanmar must be held accountable.</p> <p>We must support national efforts and capacity to pursue justice and reparations in the wake of armed conflict. Innovative initiatives such as the Safe Schools Declaration plays an important role in strengthening the protection of civilians and civilian objects. The Safe Schools Declaration has now been signed by 89 countries, and we appreciate Spain hosting the third safe schools conference next week.</p> <p>Third, the Security Council needs to maintain the issue of medical care on its agenda and strongly underline the seriousness of attacks on medical care and denial of access, as suggested by the recommendations from the Arria-meeting on Protecting Medical Care in armed conflict held in December last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Council should, to a greater degree, consider issues relating to the protection of medical care in country resolutions and mission mandates.</p> <p>We must constantly stand up and say that medical care as well as civilians is not a target.</p> <p>Once more, I would like to pay tribute to the leadership of Indonesia in organizing this debate, which serves to strengthen the Council’s resolve in safeguarding civilians in armed conflict.</p> <p>Thank you!</p> </div>

07.05.2019 20:01Statement by Norway on behalf of the Nordic Countries in the Open Debate on Investing in Peace

<span></span> <p class="ingress">Statement by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul in the Open Debate on Investing in peace: delivering quality training and capacity building to improve safety and security and performance of UN peacekeepers, 7 May 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.</p> <p>We welcome Indonesia’s initiative to hold this timely debate. We fully agree that quality training and capacity-building are crucial for improving the safety, security and performance of peacekeepers.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>I will make three points, based on our experience and the current challenges facing UN peacekeeping.</p> <p>First,</p> <p>The Nordic countries cooperate to provide a wide range of training courses that are vital to the effective implementation of peacekeeping mandates. These courses are open to all UN member states, which means that a wide range of valuable perspectives are brought into the discussions. The Nordic countries are also supporting the review and updating of UN police training architecture in line with the Strategic Guidance Framework for International Police Peacekeeping.</p> <p>Second,</p> <p>We strongly support the emphasis on innovative approaches to make training more effective. The in-mission training carried out by the Nordic Mobile Training Team in Mali is one example. The team from Finland and Sweden trained more than 400 soldiers and officers from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt and Liberia during a five-week period in Timbuktu. The training focused on strategies to cope with the demanding security environment in the mission area, such as counter-attack tactics, medical first aid, escorting and patrolling.</p> <p>This was a pilot project. We found it to be of great value to the mission. But we also saw the need for the well-coordinated preparation on the part of all those involved prior to the training period. We are therefore looking forward to learning from the project and sharing best practices, including with other countries that have provided or received this training.</p> <p>Third,</p> <p>If we are to improve the safety, security and performance of peacekeepers, training should focus on crisis management. This includes casualty evacuation and medical evacuation. It should also focus on the protection of civilians. Situational awareness is vital, as is good conduct and a gender-sensitive approach. We are convinced that if peacekeepers take a gender-sensitive approach, this will enhance their capacity to engage with local communities in promoting reconciliation and peace.</p> <p>Special efforts must be made to ensure that women are included in all training activities. Moreover, those who have been trained must actually be deployed. A greater number of women peacekeepers will result in more effective implementation of mandates.</p> <p>Relevant training also needs to focus on the work to prevent, investigate and prosecute serious crimes committed against peacekeepers.</p> <p>The Nordic countries are longstanding and consistent supporters of UN peacekeeping. Engagement in training and capacity-building will remain integral elements of our support.</p> <p>Thank you, Mr. President.</p> </div>

30.04.2019 15:38General Statement of Iceland by Þórður Ægir Óskarsson to the 3rd Preparatory Committee for the 2020 NPT Review Conference

<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr Chairman</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I join others in congratulating you on assuming the chairmanship of this final preparatory committee meeting of the 2020 Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and wish you every success in your leadership of this important gathering.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland fully aligns itself with the statement made by Norway on behalf of the Nordic countries and the statement made by Belgium on behalf of the Group of States.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I will use this opportunity to make few comments in my national capacity.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. Chair,</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is no exaggeration that we are meeting at a critical juncture when some of the key agreements that have underpinned the global disarmament efforts since the end of the Cold War are being put test by glaring examples of non-compliance and new security challenges.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">At this stage we should be preparing the celebration of the 50<sup>th</sup> Anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the most successful treaty in this history of nuclear arms control and disarmament in general along with the Chemical Weapons Convention.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Instead we face the critical challenge of preserving the integrity and the global validity of this major treaty.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland is strongly committed to work towards the objective of eliminating nuclear weapons and the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of our policy when it comes to nuclear disarmament.&nbsp; A demise or weakening of this important treaty is wholly unacceptable to Iceland.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The rogue behaviour of the DPRK is the single most immediate threat to the non-proliferation regime and in that undermines the security of the global community.&nbsp; We harbour the hope that the DPRK will return to compliance to its international obligations, including return to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Arrangements and welcome the strong diplomatic efforts by the United States in that regard.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Another threat to the non-proliferation efforts is the looming demise of the INF treaty, due to expire in three months.&nbsp; Iceland reiterates its call to Russia to return to full compliance as the treaty is an important part of the rule-based order in global arms control.&nbsp; It is also important for global security that Russia and The United States extend the New Start Treaty.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland supports the continuation of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), an important contribution to the rule-based non-proliferation regime.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In referring to these three immediate challenges to global non-proliferations it is important to note the special responsibility of the nuclear states when it comes to the disarmament aspects of the Treaty.&nbsp; There, a solid movement is needed in order to preserve the relevance of the NPT.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This slow progress in the disarmament pillar should; however, not discourage us from seeking to strengthen other supporting mechanism such as the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and in particular the successful Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which success would be carved in stone with joining and ratification of all Annex II states.&nbsp; To begin negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty would be another important factor in underpinning the non- proliferation arrangements</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">However, apart from disarmament aspect and the difficulties regarding the proliferation pillar, there are positive stories to take from the implementation of the Treaty.&nbsp; The success in the peaceful application of nuclear technology and the increasing acceptance of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and the Additional Protocol are stand outs. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In the face adversity it is important to bring out how the Non-Proliferation Treaty is serving our publics everyday through the peaceful uses and the safeguards.&nbsp; This is a treaty truly serving the global community.&nbsp; More needs to be done!</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland believes that one very important step in this regard would be much stronger effort to ensure that women have an active and equal role in this disarmament efforts in line with Security Council Resolution 1325.&nbsp; Hopefully that will be realised when it comes to the 2020 NPT Revie Conference.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland is not alone in the view that there is an urgent need to apply more energy, more creative thinking and even more resources to the disarmament and arms control efforts, not only when it comes to weapons of mass destruction but also on conventional weapons, emerging technologies and hybrid threat.&nbsp; There the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention are there absolutely first in line. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">On that note I implore all of us to make this preparatory committee meeting constructive and successful.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

29.04.2019 18:45Joint Nordic Statement at the General Debate of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference

<span> <header> <div class="container"> <h1 class="padded--xsmall">NPT: General Debate</h1> </div> </header> <section> <div class="container"> <p class="ingress"> Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul at the general debate of the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <div class="article-content"> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>I have the privilege to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country, Norway.</p> <p>Mr Cair,</p> <p>Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Our message is clear: We call for continued global commitment to the treaty, and a willingness to rebuild trust after years of polarisation.</p> <p>This will require a concerted effort and clear political engagement on the part of both nuclear and non-nuclear-weapons states.</p> <p>We all have a responsibility to work hard to find common ground. We must focus on what unites us, rather than on what divides us. A case in point is the work on nuclear disarmament verification, and we welcome the fact that the UN Group of Governmental Experts has agreed on a consensus report.</p> <p>The Nordic countries cooperate closely on disarmament and non-proliferation, despite our different relationships with the EU and NATO.</p> <p>History has taught us that sustainable security can only be achieved through close cooperation. In our efforts to uphold and strengthen the NPT, this is a lesson well worth remembering.</p> <p>We therefore also welcome the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Disarmament, and we join his call for all states to work together for a world without nuclear weapons.</p> <p>Preparing for a successful 2020 NPT Review Conference is an overarching priority. The treaty has proved to be resilient and effective.</p> <p>Over the past five decades, the global stockpile of nuclear weapons has been substantially reduced, the proliferation of nuclear weapons has been curtailed, and the benefits of civilian applications of nuclear energy and technology have been shared globally.</p> <p>The NPT has been a resounding success. We have to make sure it will also be the case in the future.</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>The global security environment is becoming increasingly challenging. This heightens the need for international rules-based cooperation. We need to focus on our common interests to effectively pursue nuclear disarmament, and to close the remaining nuclear proliferation loopholes.</p> <p>We encourage the nuclear-weapons states to actively engage in arms control efforts, with the United States and Russia, possessing the largest arsenals, taking the lead by reviving a constructive dialogue.</p> <p>We regret Russia’s non-compliance with the INF treaty and strongly encourage Russia to return to full compliance before the treaty is terminated in August. At the same time, we strongly encourage the US and Russia to extend the New START treaty and to seek further reciprocal reductions in strategic and non-strategic, deployed and non-deployed warheads.</p> <p>We welcome the diplomatic dialogue between the US and the DPRK. The only sustainable solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula is political.</p> <p>The DPRK’s nuclear and missiles programmes violate a series of UN Security Council resolutions and pose a serious challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Nuclear disarmament by the DPRK is essential.</p> <p>The Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) is a landmark non-proliferation achievement, which was endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council through resolution 2231.</p> <p>Therefore, we regret the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA, which has put the agreement into jeopardy. We urge the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA and call on Iran to maintain its full cooperation with the IAEA. At the same time, Iran’s ballistic missile activity remains a significant concern.</p> <p>Failure to address these challenges could seriously undermine the global disarmament and non-proliferation regime of which the NPT is the cornerstone.</p> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>The obligations under the NPT, and commitments made at review conferences, remain as valid as ever. We call for the implementation of all commitments, including those related to Article VI.</p> <p>A forward-looking agenda covering all three pillars of the NPT is needed for the 2020 Review Conference. This agenda should include the following points:</p> <ul> <li>Strengthening the global norm against nuclear testing by promoting the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.</li> <li>Developing an effectively verifiable treaty that bans the production of fissile material.</li> <li>Developing credible multilateral solutions to verify future nuclear disarmament.</li> <li>Pursuing measures to reduce the risk of accidental use of nuclear weapons.</li> <li>Strengthening confidence-building measures, including efforts to enhance transparency on the part of nuclear-weapon states.</li> <li>Strengthening negative security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states.</li> <li>Addressing the issue of non-strategic nuclear weapons.</li> <li>Working towards universal acceptance of the IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and its Additional Protocol as the global safeguards standard.</li> <li>Making the most of peaceful applications of nuclear technologies in advancing efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.</li> <li>Promoting political support and practical capacity-building to ensure diverse and more equal participation in efforts to fully implement all pillars of the NPT.</li> </ul> <p>Mr Chair,</p> <p>For the past 50 years, the NPT has served the international community well. Yet for all its success, its future cannot be taken for granted.</p> <p>Above all, NPT states parties must uphold the common goal of a world free of nuclear weapons.</p> <p>Everything possible must be done to avert the risk of nuclear war and, in the words of the treaty itself, ’the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind’ in the event of a calamity of this kind.</p> <p>We, the Nordic countries, reaffirm our commitment &nbsp;to doing our part.</p> <p>Thank you, Mr Chair.</p> </div> </div> </section></span>

23.04.2019 16:18Statement by Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir at the Pleding Conference on Women, Peace and Security

<span></span> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement at the pledging conference</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Women, Peace and Security</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">April 23, 2019</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Chair</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I would like to thank our co-hosts Germany, United-Kingdom and UN-Women for organizing this session in the lead up to 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 and Germany for its clear leadership in highlighting the central importance of women for maintenance of peace and security during its presidency of the Security Council in April. Including the adoption of the Security Council resolution 2467 this afternoon. However, we regret that there was no consensus to include the crucial rights of survivors of sexual and reproductive health and rights. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Resolution 1325 was a clear recognition by the international community that women and girls are affected differently by conflict and that women have a vital contribution to make to the achievement of sustainable peace. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This should be self-evident today in the year 2019 but there is still a long way to go as the systematic use of sexual and gender-based violence in conflict is an almost daily occurrence and security and peacebuilding, from the field to the negotiation table, continues to be dominated by men. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The most appropriate way to commemorate the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 is making sure that we all, the UN and its member states, continue to strengthen implementation of relevant resolutions with measurable results.&nbsp; </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In 2008, Iceland adopted its first National Action Plan on the implementation of 1325 and our third national plan was adopted last year for the period of 2018-2022. The new plan contains several clearly defined goals, that we pledge to implement. Let me use this opportunity to highlight three key deliverables today. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Firstly, raising awareness and understanding of the importance of 1325 among Icelandic policy makers and those working on security and humanitarian issues in the field. Our goal for 2020 is to make sure that all key parties will have received appropriate training. This includes mainstreaming 1325 into all relevant strategic papers and policies, such as on development cooperation, humanitarian assistance, security and defence. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Secondly, increase meaningful participation of women and their subsequent impact on peace and reconstruction. We are committed to ensuring that women are more equally represented in our missions and humanitarian effort abroad as well in key positions at home, or no less than 40%, before 2020. This includes providing training and support in Iceland for women from conflict areas. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thirdly, we will continue to support multilateral and bilateral funds and programs aimed at peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction that contributes to the security, protection, assistance and recovery of women and girls in conflict zones. This includes a four-year project with the Government of Mozambique, in partnership with UN Women and Norway, which aims to promote women and girls´ effective participation in peace, security and recovery in Mozambique. Iceland has also recently signed an agreement with the UN Women regional office in Turkey on a four-year programme to create a more enabling environment for refugee women to lead, participate in and benefit equally from all aspects of migration management, refugee response, peace, security, disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian action. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr Chair, we look forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 and stressing the importance of it. We hope that it will bring clear deliverables and renewed political emphasis on women, peace and security.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p>

23.04.2019 14:32Nordic Statement delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul in the Open debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict

<span> <header> <div class="container"> <h1 class="padded--xsmall">SC: Sexual Violence in Conflict</h1> </div> </header> <section> <div class="container"> <p class="ingress"> Statement by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway delivered by Ambassador Mona Juul in the Open debate on Sexual Violence in Conflict, 23 April 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>I am making this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway, and thank Germany for organising today’s open debate on this critical topic.</p> <p>With the adoption of resolution 2467&nbsp;today, it is essential to advance&nbsp;the&nbsp;agenda of conflict-related sexual violence&nbsp;focusing on the survivors. Let us emphasise that survivors of conflict-related sexual violence&nbsp;deserve&nbsp;basic sexual and reproductive health and rights. We regret that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, as reaffirmed by the Security Council in several resolutions, most recently in resolutions 1889 and 2106, were not included in the resolution. &nbsp;</p> <p>Nadia Murad and Dennis Mukwege. You bring with you the voices of the very people we are here to serve, whose communities the Security Council is set to safeguard. As we once again acknowledge that the devastating harm these women and girls, men and boys have been exposed to is a matter of national and international security, you are here to hold us accountable.</p> <p>--</p> <p>Girls become mothers and children stateless. Women are raped and their husbands forced to watch. Reproductive organs are mutilated, and shame and stigma paralyse families and villages. These injuries of war call for a comprehensive response.</p> <p>Sexual violence destroys lives, tears apart the social fabric of communities, creates rifts between neighbours, and&nbsp; preys on the differences that enrich our societies. Those who are targeted are often discriminated against due to their religious, ethnic, sexual, political or other minority status.</p> <p>It is now ten years since the mandate of the Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict was established. Wallström, Bangura and Patten have done an excellent job not least through UN Action and the Team of Experts. Yet in many conflicts, abuse is still widespread.</p> <p>--</p> <p>We welcome the Secretary-General’s report indicating possible ways forward.</p> <p>We must monitor and document violations of international law, and provide training and funding, where needed. We need to strengthen state institutions and build capacity to combat conflict-related sexual violence. Individual states have the primary responsibility to prevent and respond to sexual violence, as well as to investigate and prosecute persons implicated in such crimes. Perpetrators of conflict-related sexual violence must be held to account.</p> <p>We call for systematic use of gender expertise in UN operations. We welcome the dedicated specialised teams, the new policy and the soon to be launched all-of-mission handbook on the prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence. We echo the need for resolutions, mandates and sanctions to address conflict-related sexual violence.</p> <p>Root causes of gender-based violence, such as gender-based power inequalities and gender-based discrimination must be addressed. Responsive measures, such as providing adequate service to survivors of gender-based violence are crucial, as are measures to prevent the violence from happening in the first place.</p> <p>We support the call to action to end sexual violence in conflict. We rely on survivors and witnesses, civil society and human rights defenders as we strive to build a relevant and effective response without causing survivors further pain.</p> <p>Reparation and justice must go hand in hand. A comprehensive approach is a prerequisite to alleviate both the immediate and long-term impact of conflict-related sexual violence. We must strengthen services for survivors of sexual violence, including by ensuring comprehensive sexual and reproductive health rights, such as access to emergency contraception and safe termination of pregnancies. We must fight impunity, remove stigma, alleviate suffering, rectify injustices, and ultimately help people to rebuild their lives, and communities to build peace.</p> <p>We emphasise in this context the significant progress made by the International Criminal Court, and its Trust Fund for Victims in combating conflict-related sexual violence.</p> <p>--</p> <p>The Nordic countries will do our part, through our embassies, multilateral efforts and many partnerships. The Nordic Network of Women Mediators calls for more gender-transformative peace and reconciliation processes. The Nordic Centre for Gender in Military Operations equips peacekeepers. We deploy many women and men who champion this cause.</p> <p>This anniversary year demands action.&nbsp;</p> <p>Norway, together with Somalia, UNOCHA, UNFPA, ICRC and other partners, will host a conference in Oslo on 23-24 May. The objectives are to mobilise more political awareness and financial support to address conflict-related sexual violence in humanitarian crises, and to highlight best practices to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian situations.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div> </div> </section></span>

11.04.2019 21:23Joint Nordic Statement to the Security Council on Women in Peacekeeping

<header> <div class="container"> <h1 class="padded--xsmall">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;SC: Women in Peacekeeping</h1> <figure><img alt="UNSC 11April - Photo:UN Photo/Manuel Elias" src="https://www.norway.no/contentassets/56cf7db0bef5452b9f22d7b9ecc28b2a/804108---sc-am---11_04_2019---13.09.41.jpg?preset=large&%3bv=1966442421" /><figcaption>Ambassador Mari Skåre in the Open Debate on Women in Peacekeeping. Photo: UN Photo/Manuel Elias.</figcaption></figure></div> </header> <section> <div class="container"> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden delivered by Ambassador Mari Skåre in the Open Debate on Women in Peacekeeping, 11 April 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway, my own country.</p> <p>I would like to commend the Secretary-General for his focus on gender equality and gender parity. Strong leadership is fundamental to combating ingrained prejudice and other obstacles to the full participation of women in peace operations and peace processes. We need to identify the barriers that exist in our home countries and within the UN system, and that are having an adverse impact on women’s participation in peacekeeping.</p> <p>We would like to comment on five issues raised in the Presidency’s concept paper:</p> <p>First,</p> <p>Security Council mandates should be explicit about the need to deploy more women and ensure that they are represented in all categories of personnel, and about the importance of mainstreaming gender issues throughout a mission’s work.</p> <p>Mandates should also be explicit about the importance of ensuring the full participation of women in host communities in political processes. This is vital to the successful resolution of conflict and to enabling a successful transition from a peacekeeping presence to other forms of support.</p> <p>Second,</p> <p>As troop- and police-contributing countries, we all have a responsibility to deploy more women and to address barriers to women’s deployment, including through national action plans for the implementation of resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security.</p> <p>Third,</p> <p>Training is key, both for increasing women’s participation and for enhancing all peacekeepers’ understanding of the gender perspective.</p> <p>Fourth,</p> <p>Member states should actively promote women to leadership positions. This is important both to tap into the valuable resources that they represent, and to provide role models that can encourage more women to participate.</p> <p>We are speaking from experience. The Nordic countries are proud to provide women leaders to UN peacekeeping operations. One example is Major General Kristin Lund. She was the first woman to be appointed as force commander of a UN mission, and she is the first woman to head the UN Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East.</p> <p>Fifth,</p> <p>There is often strength in numbers. The establishment of different forms of women’s networks is a highly effective way of ensuring active outreach and enabling women peacekeepers to exchange experience. The Women Military Network that was initiated by Norway and Sweden here in New York last year is one example.</p> <p>I would encourage all women from fellow member states who have a military background or who work in peacekeeping to join this network.</p> <p>In conclusion, the Nordic countries stand committed to continuing to work to increase the number of women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, at all levels and in all categories of personnel.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div> </div> </section>

29.03.2019 20:20Statement by Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir on Climate and Sustainable Development for All

<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you and the Secretary-General for your steadfast leadership in ensuring that climate change continues to be on the top of the UN agenda as it the single most serious threat to sustainable development and the goals set out in Agenda 2030.&nbsp; </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This meeting and the following meeting leading up to Climate Action Summit in September should be used to forge a greater consensus and seek out concrete actions and solutions that can support our fight against climate change. There still are many, well known and undiscovered, opportunities for mitigation including in energy transformation and nature-based solutions, not least land restoration. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland is firmly committed to the Paris agreement targets and the Icelandic government has recently approved a holistic Climate Action Plan to implement those commitments with the ambitious aim to make Iceland carbon neutral before 2040, by phasing out fossil fuels in transport and increase afforestation and restoration of wetlands. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Tending to our own backyard is not enough, as our policies and actions need to be inclusive and just. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">High-income countries must both reduce their emissions and help low-income countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. There is still a long way to go as more investments are needed. We are committed to doing our bit through multilateral funds, technical assistance and training. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">A stronger partnership with the private sector is called for to bring investments, innovation and know-how into national and global effort to bolster sustainable development and fight climate change. Municipalities and civil society also play a key role in this regard. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It is crucial that those who suffer the most from climate change have their voices heard. I would particularly like to underline the importance of full and equal participation of women in climate-related policy- and decision-making at all levels as women, not the least in developing countries bear the highest burden of the impact of climate change. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">There is also a growing demand for involvement and action by youth. Young girls and boys in almost all corners of the world are demanding clear actions today, in order to safeguard their tomorrow. We need to understand better the intergenerational effects of our policies and provide a more inclusive platform for those that represent the future. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame President</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The clock is ticking. We need to implement the Paris agreement and continue to seek innovative solutions and share best practices on how to accelerate and strengthen our response to climate change. These coming months should be used to make sure that the Climate Action Summit will deliver concrete results.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

27.02.2019 21:16Joint Nordic Statement to the Security Council on Silencing the Guns

<header> <div class="container"> <h1 class="padded--xsmall">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;SC: Silencing the Guns</h1> <figure><img alt="Mona Juul i Sikkerhetsrådet" src="https://www.norway.no/contentassets/d5796e4f33c74b5997598fe1c7e7b903/mona-red.jpg?preset=large&%3bv=528909817" /><figcaption>Ambassador Mona Juul speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries in the Security Council Open Debate on Silencing the Guns. Foto: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe</figcaption></figure></div> </header> <section> <div class="container"> <p> Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway by Permanent Representative of Norway H.E. Mona Juul in the Security Council Open Debate on Silencing the Guns, 27 February 2019. </p> <div class="article-content"> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>We applaud the aspirations of the “Silencing the guns” initiative and Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and secure Africa. We commend the African Union and its Member States for their ambition and active engagement. It will enhance our common future and collective security.</p> <p>Even though the conflicts on the African continent have primarily been intra-state, many have affected regional peace and security.</p> <p>It is crucial that regional and sub-regional organisations and mechanisms, such as IGAD as ECOWAS, continue to improve the delivery of their mandates and that their capacity is further increased. This should happen in coordination with the African Union.</p> <p>Therefore, Mr. President,</p> <p>Ending armed conflict in Africa requires African solutions. We stand ready to support African leadership in this endeavour. We want a more transparent and representative Security Council that better reflects today’s global realities. We support an increase in the number of both permanent and non-permanent seats for Africa in this Council.</p> <p>We welcome and support the strengthened partnership between the AU and the UN, not least between the Peace and Security Council and the Security Council. This includes securing predictable and sustainable funding of AU operations. The Nordic countries are in favour of a system that combines assessed contributions from the UN with funding from the AU. We also call for focused and accountable efforts to ensure protection of human rights and respect for international humanitarian law in all operations.</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>Achieving peace and stability in Africa requires conflict prevention as well as mediation. We actively support the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture, including improved capacity within the AU for preventive diplomacy, mediation and peace building.</p> <p>The Nordic countries are long-term partners for development, addressing root causes and multipliers of conflict, building stronger institutions through promotion of the African Governance Architecture, mitigating climate change and reducing inequality.</p> <p>Protection of civilians is a fundamental concern in all our humanitarian efforts. It is also is a key priority of Norway’s presidency of the Mine Ban Treaty this year.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>There can be no sustainable peace without women’s full and equal participation. Women’s involvement in efforts across the peace continuum is key to enhancing trust, legitimacy and credibility. Women’s participation in preventing and mediating conflicts makes it possible to reach solutions that are more effective and sustainable.</p> <p>This is why the Nordic countries are staunch supporters of Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions on Women, Peace and Security. We will continue to work with key partners such as the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Women, Peace and Security and the AU women mediators’ network, FemWise-Africa, to achieve full inclusion.</p> <p>We will continue to be consistent partners, committed to contributing to our collective security and our common future.</p> <p>Thank you.</p> </div> </div> </section>

20.12.2018 15:55Statement to the General Assembly on the Declaration of Human Rights Defenders by Jonas G. Allansson, Deputy Permanent Representative

<span></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. / Madame President,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">As we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by all UN member states, we welcome the opportunity to reflect on our achievements and the challenges that remain. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. / Madame President, </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;line-height:150%;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Iceland continues to support and advocate for the protection of civil society and human rights defenders. Their ability to work safely and without the fear of retaliation is a key element in maintaining open and democratic societies. We have therefore made the protection of human rights defender one of the priorities of our current Membership of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">It remains the responsibility of every state to provide a safe environment for civil society and human rights defenders, including by protecting the rule of law, due process and freedom of speech. Making space for alternative views and criticism, is a source of strength for all states, fuelling political and social development. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Unfortunately, the reality on the ground is of great concern, as human rights defenders are increasingly subject to threats, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and other severe human rights violations.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I would particularly like to draw attention to those human rights defenders, that promote and protect fundamental freedoms as they relate to the enjoyment of a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Empowering environmental human rights defenders is crucial to the protection of the environment and all other related rights. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">If the international community is to translate Agenda 2030 into reality, we <span style="background: white;">must </span></span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">address the increasing violence, harassment and demonization by state and non-state actors of environmental human rights defenders.</span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; background: white; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">States need to support the right of everyone to promote a healthy and sustainable environment, the very foundation for the enjoyment of a vast range of human rights. The current situation of environmental human rights defenders must be addressed and </span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">individuals and groups on the front line of defending sustainable development should be protected. </span><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Mr. / Madame President,</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Let me assure you that Iceland will continue to promote and protect the rights of all human rights defenders as they play a pivotal role in safeguarding international human rights for the benefit of all. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0cm;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-size: 16pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I thank you.</span></p>

12.12.2018 14:46Statement to the General Assembly on Oceans and the Law of the Sea by Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdottir

<p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The two UN draft resolutions under discussions today, on <em>Sustainable Fisheries</em> and on <em>Oceans and the Law of the Sea, </em>relate to issues that are at the core of Iceland’s economy, history, identity – indeed our very existence. It’s therefore difficult to overstate the importance of this topic for Iceland, as the issue addressed in these resolutions touch upon central issues for Iceland´s foreign, economic and trade policies. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Iceland participated actively in the negotiations on the two draft resolutions and we are happy to be among the co-sponsors. We would like to take this opportunity to express our thanks to the two coordinators that ably guided our discussions, Mr. Andreas Kravik from Norway on the Sustainable Fisheries Resolution and Ms. Natalie Morris-Sharma from Singapore on the Oceans and the Law of the Sea Resolution. As is practice, this work was guided by the principle of consensus, which may not always appear to be the fastest way forward but remains the only safe way to reach our destination. It is therefore a demanding job to co-ordinate these negotiations and both Mr. Kravik and Ms. Morris-Sharma demonstrated admirable tact, diplomacy and wisdom in steering us towards a final outcome. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We would particularly like to note that this year we started the important work of streamlining the resolution on Oceans and Law of the Sea. Given the importance of the topics addressed in this resolution, we welcome this effort towards making the resolution more readable, more concise and more relevant and we look forward to continuing our work in this regard.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Let me also use this opportunity to convey our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, and for the Secretariat in general and DOALOS in particular for its valuable work and contribution. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The mandate of the Commission for the Limits of the Continental Shelf continues to be of utmost importance and it remains essential that the Commission´s work is based on thorough deliberations, respect for its procedures and that its conclusions are founded on sound arguments. In this regard my delegation wishes to express our gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the members of the Commission for the Limits of the Continental Shelf. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Two important developments related to the work of the Commission in this year’s resolutions are worth highlighting. First of all, the draft resolution on Oceans and the Law of the Sea invites the General Assembly to decide that members of the Commission have the option to join the Headquarters medical insurance scheme. The working conditions of the Commission have been under a discussion for a longtime, and it is our hope that this new option will be a positive contribution to that debate. Secondly, the draft resolution contains revised Terms of Reference of the Trust Fund for the purpose of facilitating the preparation of submissions to the Commission. The changes to the Term of Reference will hopefully enable developing States, in particular the least developed countries and small islands developing States, to make better use of the Trust Fund during deliberations of their submissions to the Commission. We welcome both of these developments, as each in their own way are important contributions for the further strengthening of Commission’s work. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The General Assembly has consistently throughout the years highlighted the universal and unified character of the Law of the Sea Convention, its strategic importance and its contribution to peace, security and friendly relations among all nations. It is worth highlighting that this strong legal framework already regulates all activities in the oceans. It is complemented by the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement and its provisions on high seas fisheries and regulatory framework for the work of regional fisheries management organizations. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have now embarked on a new complementing process, to develop an international legally binding instrument under the Convention on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. Iceland welcomes the formal start of these negotiations and we will continue to actively and constructively participate in them. We would in particular highlight that this process and its result must not undermine but rather build on existing legal instruments and frameworks, particularly the Convention and the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement. The BBNJ negotiations are not the forum to reopen issues that are already settled. My delegation would also like to stress that while the issues under discussions are complex and that views differ on what is the appropriate legal framework to address them, it is imperative that this works continues to be guided by consensus as that is the only way we can achieve universal application of this instrument.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Without a clean, healthy, productive ocean, Agenda 2030 will be almost impossible to attain. Sustainable management of natural resources is fundamental to our success. Seas and oceans have great potential for innovation and growth in a number of sectors, to contribute to eradicating poverty, as well as sustained economic growth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Climate change and its impact is among the most pressing concerns of our times. Addressing climate change is a prerequisite to healthy and sustainable oceans. Iceland has already witnessed the consequences of climate change, with rising ocean temperatures having already influenced migration patterns of fish stocks. Climate change has therefore had a direct impact on our policies and our interactions with other States. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In few places are the impacts of climate change more evident than in the Arctic, with the sea-ice in the Arctic continuing to decrease. Earlier this year, Iceland along with 9 other parties signed the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. This Agreement is an example of States adopting the Precautionary Approach in practice, as the Parties to the Agreement have committed themselves to refraining from any commercial fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean until scientific basis, proper management measures and procedures are in place. With this commitment, the Parties wish to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of fish stocks in an area where fishing has so far been impossible, but which is undertaking rapid changes. </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President,</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Ocean Science must take center stage in the debate on oceans and sustainable development. Iceland would therefore like to welcome the General Assembly’s decision last year to proclaim the next decade the United Nations Decade of Oceans Science for Sustainable Development. We also welcome the proposal in this year’s draft Resolution to focus the discussions in next year’s meeting of the Informal Consultative Process on the theme of “Ocean Science and the United Nations Decade of Oceans Science for Sustainable Development.” We find it particularly apt that the ICP will devote its 20<sup>th</sup> sessions to this important and cross-cutting theme that relates to all aspects of our work. </p> <p> My delegation looks forward to participating in the next year’s ICP, as well as all the other important meetings, events and processes relating to Oceans and the Law of the Sea that are scheduled for next year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thank you, Mr. President</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

01.11.2018 21:02Joint Nordic Statement to the General Assembly on Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters

<span></span> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 16pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">General Assembly</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 16pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">73rd session</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 16pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Sixth&nbsp;Committee</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Agenda item 90: Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 12pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Statement by </span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Delivered by</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Ms. Sesselja Sigurdardottir, Counsellor, Mission of Iceland</span></strong></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="background: white; text-align: center;"><strong><span style="padding: 0cm; font-size: 14pt; border: 1pt none windowtext; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">1 November 2018</span></strong></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <div style="padding: 1pt 0cm 0cm; border-top-width: 1pt; border-style: solid none none; border-right-width: initial; border-right-color: initial; border-bottom-width: initial; border-bottom-color: initial; border-left-width: initial; border-left-color: initial;"> <p style="padding: 0cm; border: none; text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> </div> <p class="Default" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: Garamond, serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Default" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madame Chair, </span></p> <p class="Default" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="Default" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland. </span></p> <p class="Default" style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">We once again commend the ILC and the special rapporteur, Mr Eduardo Valencia-Ospina, for the finalization of the work on the Protection of persons in the event of disasters, and welcome the continued discussions about the draft articles in the sixth committee.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The draft articles deal with an increasingly relevant and topical area of public international law, aiming at further strengthening the international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance system. They constitute a comprehensive framework for the reduction of risks of disasters, including through risk assessments and protection of persons, and set out the duty of the affected state to ensure protection, as well as the role of external assistance in this respect. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Given that this is the first debate on the topic as a subject on the agenda of the General Assembly, the Nordic countries would like to reiterate some of the comments and positions expressed during the discussion on the work of the ILC on the topic at hand:</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">First</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> – the draft articles highlight human rights and the principles of human dignity and underline that response to disasters shall take place in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. In this context, the Nordic countries would like to recall that integration of a gender perspective in humanitarian assistance is necessary to reach all parts of the population. A gender perspective ensures effective and impartial humanitarian assistance and strengthens protection of individuals during times of natural disasters, through the recognition that women, men, girls and boys may have different needs and vulnerabilities. Ensuring children receive adequate protection is of fundamental importance, since experience shows they are often most vulnerable in the event of disasters, with initial chaos causing displacement. &nbsp;The Nordic countries would also like to once again draw attention to reports by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent highlighting increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence in disasters and other emergencies.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Second</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;"> - The draft articles provide that external assistance in general requires the consent of the affected state, but that such external assistance shall not be withheld arbitrarily. With these provisions the draft articles strike an adequate balance between the rights and obligations of the affected state and those of assisting actors. This reflects the dual nature of sovereignty as entailing both rights and obligations, which is also stated in the commentary to draft article 13. Arbitrary denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, can constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. As further stated in the commentary, an offer of assistance that is met with refusal might under certain conditions constitute a violation of the right to life.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The Nordic countries would further like to underline the importance of prevention and in this regard welcomes draft article 9 that reflects the obligations of States to reduce the risk of disasters by taking appropriate measures, including through legislation and regulations, to prevent, mitigate, and prepare for disasters through the conduct of risk assessments, the collection and dissemination of risk and past loss information, and the installation and operation of early warning systems. In this regard, the Nordic countries would like to refer to Sustainable Development Goal no. 13, which requires of us to <em>Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries</em>. The work of the ILC on the protection of persons in the event of disasters may contribute to reaching this goal.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The Nordic countries have noted the recommendation by the ILC that an international convention be elaborated on the basis of the draft articles. We are open to discuss this. </span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you, Madame Chair.</span></p>

15.10.2018 12:11Statement to the Second Committee on Sustainable Development

<span>Statement by<br /> <br /> H.E Bergdís Ellertsdóttir,<br /> Permanent Representative<br /> <br /> <br /> GA73 / Item 20 – Sustainable development<br /> <br /> Second Committee<br /> <br /> 15 October 2018<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Mr. Chair<br /> <br /> Since this is the first time I take the floor, allow me to congratulate you and the members of the bureau on your election and assure you of my delegation´s full cooperation.<br /> <br /> Iceland is firmly committed to Agenda 2030, with its inclusive and bottom-up approach to development. It is a key policy priority with strong ownership and participation of the private sector, civil society and young people. We look forward to Iceland’s Voluntary National Review next year and are hoping for constructive feedback.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> In our development cooperation we focus on human rights and gender equality, social infrastructure and peace-building, as well as sustainable management of natural resources.&nbsp; We take part in projects where we believe Iceland has specific know-how to share. There are particularly four areas of focus, namely land restoration, oceans, renewable energy and gender equality, all of which are a part of the UN training programmes in Iceland. Almost 5.000 experts from 100 countries have been trained since the first program was established almost forty years ago.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> Iceland was honored to chair the 56th session of the Commission for Social Development. The Commission plays a crucial role in advancing the social dimension of the 2030 Agenda. At its session early this year, the Commission tackled innovation and interconnectivity in social policy and considered poverty through the lens of inequality. We welcome the continued focus on inequality next year and believe the Commission can contribute immensely to the universal commitment reflected in SDG 10.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Mr. Chair<br /> <br /> Climate change is fast becoming the single most serious challenge to global peace, security and development. The recent IPCC Special Report on Global Warming paints a dark picture of the magnitude of the problem and the urgency to accelerate our actions. The Government of Iceland has recently put in place ambitious new climate strategy to meet our Paris Agreement targets for 2030 and make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040.&nbsp; Already, all electricity and heating in Iceland is produced from renewable resources. Our plan aims to phase out fossil fuels in transport and increase afforestation and restoration of wetlands.<br /> <br /> Iceland started its green energy transition decades ago and we continue to assist other countries in this regard. We cooperate with the Nordic Development Fund and the World Bank on research in East Africa on geothermal exploitation. With renewable energy becoming more competitive we must strengthen our cooperation and strive towards universal access to modern energy services. Iceland cooperates with different actors in this field, including the World Bank and Sustainable Energy for All.<br /> <br /> Mr. Chair<br /> <br /> Sustainable use of marine resources, through successful science-based management, remains one of the backbones of the Icelandic economy and a clear focus in our foreign policy. We cooperate with many partners, inter alia the World Bank through the PROFISH program. This program promotes fisheries and aquaculture with regards to poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth‚ better nutrition and economic opportunities for women.<br /> <br /> Land restoration is another natural priority for my country, having historically lost large areas of our land to erosion. We proudly chair the Group of Friends on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (DLDD) along with Namibia. Achieving land degradation neutrality, in accordance with target 15.3, accelerates progress on many other SDGs.&nbsp; I would highlight its contribution to ending poverty and ensuring food security, its role in ensuring a reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply and its empowerment of women and girls.&nbsp; The nexus between DLDD issues and current security threats, such as climate change and forced migration, is also clear and merits serious consideration.<br /> <br /> Mr. Chair<br /> <br /> My last and final point is our strong belief that gender equality is the master-key to unlocking sustainable development in all countries. This conviction has led us to steadily increase the emphasis on women empowerment in our development policy. We have also put a particular focus on engaging men and boys in these efforts, as we must all stand together for gender equality.<br /> <br /> Thank you, Mr. Chair.</span>

08.10.2018 14:46Joint Nordic Statement to the General Assembly by Norway on the First Committee

<a href="/library/09-Embassies/New-York-UN/statement-by-norway-8-october%20-%20Copy%20(1).pdf">statement-by-norway-8-october.pdf</a><span class="pdf"></span>

04.09.2018 15:55General statement of BBNJ at the first intergovernmental conference by Sesselja Sigurdardottir, Counsellor/Legal Adviser

<span></span> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President <span style="mso-spacerun:yes;"></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">At the outset let me thank you and your able team and the staff at DOALOS for your excellent work in advance of this intergovernmental conference. In particular, we thank you for providing us with the useful President´s Aid to Discussion to guide our important work. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The opening of this intergovernmental conference is a historic moment. After almost 15 years of BBNJ discussions at the UN, the General Assembly has now mandated us to develop a BBNJ Instrument under UNCLOS. We need to heed the call of the General Assembly and do our utmost to elaborate a good, balanced and useful instrument. We owe it to the people who have worked on this for all these years, we owe it to marine biodiversity and we owe it to future generations. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">This milestone is an important opportunity to rethink our method of work. We must avoid moving in circles and rather start bridging gaps. In order to really move forward we need to tackle, early in the process, some principal issues that will affect the way we proceed with the negotiations. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">One such key issue is the approach to be taken with regards to decision-making and institutional structure. There will be a myriad of issues to address, no matter which approach we take, but we will never be able to truly focus our discussion if we continue to keep all possible approaches on the table. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">One of the mantras of the Preparatory Committee in this regard was “form follows function“. In our view, this mantra may easily be turned around, to say “function follows form.“ We need to know where we´re heading in order to know which steps need to be taken. A solid start is therefore to decide whether the instrument will be based on a global, regional or hybrid approach. By answering this fundamental question, we would narrow the scope of the negotiations considerably and shorten the time needed for our work.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">In the process leading up to this conference, Iceland has clearly stated preference for a regional approach rather than a global one. We want the BBNJ Instrument to be a pragmatic, efficient and economical tool. We therefore strongly favor building on existing structures and bodies, rather than designing a new system. We will work towards this goal in cooperation with other delegations during the course of the negotiations. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes;"></span></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Madam President </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The General Assembly has instructed us to produce the BBNJ Instrument as soon as possible. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes;"></span>In order to get to that point, a wide range of issues need to be tackled. We all know that the subject matter of this conference entails complex and contentious issues. There are, in other words, wide gaps to be bridged before we can conclude our work. Such bridge-building takes time but is essential in order to reach consensus. Universal application is the key to the value and effectiveness of the BBNJ Instrument. Consensus must therefore be our ultimate goal in the negotiations. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">The Icelandic delegation is confident that under your able stewardship this intergovernmental conference will be a successful process and we assure you of our full and dedicated cooperation. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:150%;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif;">Thank you. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-US" style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-align:justify;line-height:normal;background:white;"><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p>

27.04.2018 16:44Statement to the Security Council- Debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question by Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Un Security Council</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>26 April 2018</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by H.E. Einar Gunnarsson, Permanent Representative</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>First allow me to thank the Presidency of Peru for convening this quarterly meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestine question.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>Syria and Yemen cast a dark shadow over the Middle East region – and over the UN, particularly this Council.</p> <p>The Secretary-General, speaking of the 8 years of war in Syria, referred to the “systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” and of the “utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.”&nbsp; The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government is well documented and constitutes one of the most serious violations of international law.</p> <p>The latest shocking reports from Douma have yet to be fully investigated – but the Syrian Government has already demonstrated the will and ability to use these cruel and illegal weapons against civilian populations. We urge the Security-Council to find unity on this issue, both for the sake of Syrians, but also to rescue the international non-proliferation regime.</p> <p>The General Assembly finds itself again in a position where it needs to look for alternatives to action by the Security Council. The Council is not fulfilling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.</p> <p>Iceland applauds the commitments made in Brussels earlier this week to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Syria and its neighbors. Iceland has increased its funding with a multiyear contribution and will have contributed close to $9m over the period 2017-2020.</p> <p>The parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian Government, and their backers, must show real commitment to negotiating an inclusive political settlement. The Secretary-General has said peace “is a moral and political imperative for the Syrian people and for the world”.</p> <p>What the Secretary-General has called “a stupid war” continues to devastate the lives of millions of Yemenis. We welcome the appointment of Mr. Martin Griffiths as the Secretary-General’s special envoy on Yemen. His clear analysis offers some hope for progress on finding a political solution.&nbsp; But the search for a political settlement must be inclusive, including women, and outside actors must not sabotage talks in the mistaken hope of achieving military advantage.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>On the Israel/Palestine question, there is a clear objective, the two-state solution, under which both Israel and Palestine will live side-by-side in peace. Yet there are actions and inaction on both sides which make the two-state solution ever more fragile.</p> <p>Israeli settlement policy continues to undermine the possibilities of the two-state solution and Gaza remains a powder keg.&nbsp; If this situation is to be defused, Israel must end the isolation of Gaza and adopt proportionate measures in the face of civil unrest. There must also be an end to provocative acts by Palestinians in Gaza.</p> <p>Finally, a peace process needs to be put on track. There needs to be a viable peace track.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

27.04.2018 10:04Ræða Íslands um málefni Mið-Austurlanda í Öryggisráðinu

<span></span> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Un Security Council</strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Debate on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question</strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">26 April 2018</strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Statement by H.E. Einar Gunnarsson, Permanent Representative</strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Mr. President</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">First allow me to thank the Presidency of Peru for convening this quarterly meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestine question.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Mr. President</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Syria and Yemen cast a dark shadow over the Middle East region – and over the UN, particularly this Council.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The Secretary-General, speaking of the 8 years of war in Syria, referred to the “systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” and of the “utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.”&nbsp; The use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Government is well documented and constitutes one of the most serious violations of international law.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The latest shocking reports from Douma have yet to be fully investigated – but the Syrian Government has already demonstrated the will and ability to use these cruel and illegal weapons against civilian populations. We urge the Security-Council to find unity on this issue, both for the sake of Syrians, but also to rescue the international non-proliferation regime.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The General Assembly finds itself again in a position where it needs to look for alternatives to action by the Security Council. The Council is not fulfilling its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Iceland applauds the commitments made in Brussels earlier this week to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in Syria and its neighbors. Iceland has increased its funding with a multiyear contribution and will have contributed close to $9m over the period 2017-2020.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The parties to the conflict, in particular the Syrian Government, and their backers, must show real commitment to negotiating an inclusive political settlement. The Secretary-General has said peace “is a moral and political imperative for the Syrian people and for the world”.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">What the Secretary-General has called “a stupid war” continues to devastate the lives of millions of Yemenis. We welcome the appointment of Mr. Martin Griffiths as the Secretary-General’s special envoy on Yemen. His clear analysis offers some hope for progress on finding a political solution.&nbsp; But the search for a political settlement must be inclusive, including women, and outside actors must not sabotage talks in the mistaken hope of achieving military advantage.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Mr. President</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">On the Israel/Palestine question, there is a clear objective, the two-state solution, under which both Israel and Palestine will live side-by-side in peace. Yet there are actions and inaction on both sides which make the two-state solution ever more fragile.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Israeli settlement policy continues to undermine the possibilities of the two-state solution and Gaza remains a powder keg.&nbsp; If this situation is to be defused, Israel must end the isolation of Gaza and adopt proportionate measures in the face of civil unrest. There must also be an end to provocative acts by Palestinians in Gaza.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Finally, a peace process needs to be put on track. There needs to be a viable peace track.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Thank you.</p>

24.04.2018 16:46Statement to the General Assembly on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria IIIM by Nikulás Hannigan, Deputy Permanent Representative

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Informal meeting of the General Assembly</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria IIIM</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">18 April</span></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Statement by Nikulás Hannigan, Deputy Permanent Representative, Iceland</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>Thank you for convening this very timely informal debate on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria. I also thank Mme Christine March-Uhel for her briefing and Liechtenstein and Qatar for their leadership on this issue.</p> <p>First let me underline Iceland’s strong support for the establishment and mandate of the Mechanism. We provided funding for the first year of operation, 2017 and my government is well advanced in allocating further funds for 2018 and will announce them in the near future.</p> <p>The need for this Mechanism for Syria cannot be in doubt.&nbsp; Only last week, the Secretary-General, speaking of the 8 years of war in Syria, referred to the “systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” and of the “utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The Security Council has struggled to find unity to address these flagrant violations. Most recently, the Security Council failed to ensure accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, a war crime under all circumstances. In the light of the ongoing divisions in the Security Council, the establishment of the IIIM seems an act of great foresight by the General Assembly. &nbsp;Without the Mechanism, there would be a high risk of losing the evidence vital to bringing criminal charges for the most serious crimes. Victims would be left without justice, perpetrators would evade accountability, impunity would encourage further violations in the future. &nbsp;Accountability and transitional justice are essential to a sustainable peace.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>We would like to pay tribute to the work of Mme Catherine Marchi-Uhel, the Head of the Mechanism, for the careful preparatory work already done. The additional focus on gender-based crimes and sexual violence and&nbsp; crimes against children, as well as the outreach to civil society organizations is particularly welcome.</p> <p>While Iceland is proud to contribute financially to getting the Mechanism off the ground, the General Assembly did not intend the Mechanism to be funded from voluntary contributions&nbsp;<em>ad infinitum</em>. This mechanism established by the General Assembly and mandated to assist in investigation of the most serious crimes under international law, must be funded from the UN’s regular budget. We therefore strongly urge the Secretary-General to propose a budget line for the mechanism.</p> <p>Thank you.</p>

24.04.2018 09:57Ræða á Allsherjarþingi Sameinuðu þjóðanna um málefni Sýrlands

<span></span> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Informal meeting of the General Assembly</span></strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria IIIM</span></strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;"><strong style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">18 April</span></strong></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff; text-align: center;">Statement by Nikulás Hannigan, Deputy Permanent Representative, Iceland</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Mr. President</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Thank you for convening this very timely informal debate on the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria. I also thank Mme Christine March-Uhel for her briefing and Liechtenstein and Qatar for their leadership on this issue.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">First let me underline Iceland’s strong support for the establishment and mandate of the Mechanism. We provided funding for the first year of operation, 2017 and my government is well advanced in allocating further funds for 2018 and will announce them in the near future.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The need for this Mechanism for Syria cannot be in doubt.&nbsp; Only last week, the Secretary-General, speaking of the 8 years of war in Syria, referred to the “systematic violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law” and of the “utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter.”&nbsp;</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">The Security Council has struggled to find unity to address these flagrant violations. Most recently, the Security Council failed to ensure accountability for the use of chemical weapons in Syria, a war crime under all circumstances. In the light of the ongoing divisions in the Security Council, the establishment of the IIIM seems an act of great foresight by the General Assembly. &nbsp;Without the Mechanism, there would be a high risk of losing the evidence vital to bringing criminal charges for the most serious crimes. Victims would be left without justice, perpetrators would evade accountability, impunity would encourage further violations in the future. &nbsp;Accountability and transitional justice are essential to a sustainable peace.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Mr. President</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">We would like to pay tribute to the work of Mme Catherine Marchi-Uhel, the Head of the Mechanism, for the careful preparatory work already done. The additional focus on gender-based crimes and sexual violence and&nbsp; crimes against children, as well as the outreach to civil society organizations is particularly welcome.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">While Iceland is proud to contribute financially to getting the Mechanism off the ground, the General Assembly did not intend the Mechanism to be funded from voluntary contributions&nbsp;<em style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">ad infinitum</em>. This mechanism established by the General Assembly and mandated to assist in investigation of the most serious crimes under international law, must be funded from the UN’s regular budget. We therefore strongly urge the Secretary-General to propose a budget line for the mechanism.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px 0px 28px; border: 0px; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Open sans', sans-serif; font-size: 14px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #555555; background-color: #ffffff;">Thank you.</p>

08.02.2018 16:47Statement to the Security Council on The Middle East including the Palestinian Question by Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Permanent Mission of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>&nbsp;to the United Nations</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Security Council open debate</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Middle East including the Palestinian Question</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>H.E. Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Permanent Representative</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>25 January 2018</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong>&nbsp;CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY</strong></p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>First allow me to thank the Presidency of Kazakhstan for convening this quarterly meeting on the Middle East, including Palestine question.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>The Middle East region faces ongoing major conflicts and multiple humanitarian crises. The humanitarian situation in Syria remains “marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life” as OCHA describes it. It is just over a year since the General Assembly adopted resolution 71/248 on establishing a mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes in the Syrian Arab Republic. This resolution demonstrates the determination of the General Assembly to ensure justice in the long term. In the meantime, as the Secretary-General has said, peace “is a moral and political imperative for the Syrian people and for the world”.</p> <p>What the Secretary-General has called “a stupid war” has devastated the lives of millions of Yemenis. It has been called the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe – entirely manmade. We should pay more attention to this conflict, where civilians are paying a huge price in a senseless war that has been overshadowed by other conflicts in the region. One has to wonder about the humanity of those responsible.</p> <p>Compared with other conflicts in the Middle East region, the Israel/Palestine conflict should be soluble. There is a clear objective, the two-state solution, under which both Israel and Palestine will live side-by-side in peace.</p> <p>We must avoid actions that take us further way from the two-state solution, or that have the potential to further undermine trust, enflame passions and spark violence. This applies equally to violence by Palestinian individuals or organisations targeting Israelis and the disproportionate Israeli military response, as well as to ongoing Israeli settlement policy. We also appeal to powerful sponsor countries to work for the conditions and environment conducive to conducting peace negotiations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the precarious existence of many Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, is a humanitarian and security concern. Failure to address the ongoing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian refugee population has the potential to create a breeding ground for extremism among young people who would be out of school and out of hope. On behalf of the UN, UNRWA is carrying out vital work, under the principled leadership of Commission General Krahenbuhl. Undermining UNRWA now, undermines peace and stability in the Middle East.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>Iceland believes that international law and multilateral institutions, even though not always perfect, must underpin relations between states and their peoples.&nbsp; The alternative is the rule of “might is right”, which almost always leads to violence and conflict. As the Secretary-General said a few days ago “we need more dialogue and deeper international cooperation”.</p>

08.02.2018 09:52Ávarp í Öryggisráðinu um málefni Mið-Austurlanda

<p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Permanent Mission of Iceland</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>&nbsp;to the United Nations</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Security Council open debate</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Middle East including the Palestinian Question</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Statement by</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>H.E. Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Permanent Representative</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>25 January 2018</strong></p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong>&nbsp;CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY</strong></p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>First allow me to thank the Presidency of Kazakhstan for convening this quarterly meeting on the Middle East, including Palestine question.</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>The Middle East region faces ongoing major conflicts and multiple humanitarian crises. The humanitarian situation in Syria remains “marked by unparalleled suffering, destruction and disregard for human life” as OCHA describes it. It is just over a year since the General Assembly adopted resolution 71/248 on establishing a mechanism to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes in the Syrian Arab Republic. This resolution demonstrates the determination of the General Assembly to ensure justice in the long term. In the meantime, as the Secretary-General has said, peace “is a moral and political imperative for the Syrian people and for the world”.</p> <p>What the Secretary-General has called “a stupid war” has devastated the lives of millions of Yemenis. It has been called the world’s largest humanitarian catastrophe – entirely manmade. We should pay more attention to this conflict, where civilians are paying a huge price in a senseless war that has been overshadowed by other conflicts in the region. One has to wonder about the humanity of those responsible.</p> <p>Compared with other conflicts in the Middle East region, the Israel/Palestine conflict should be soluble. There is a clear objective, the two-state solution, under which both Israel and Palestine will live side-by-side in peace.</p> <p>We must avoid actions that take us further way from the two-state solution, or that have the potential to further undermine trust, enflame passions and spark violence. This applies equally to violence by Palestinian individuals or organisations targeting Israelis and the disproportionate Israeli military response, as well as to ongoing Israeli settlement policy. We also appeal to powerful sponsor countries to work for the conditions and environment conducive to conducting peace negotiations.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the precarious existence of many Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, is a humanitarian and security concern. Failure to address the ongoing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian refugee population has the potential to create a breeding ground for extremism among young people who would be out of school and out of hope. On behalf of the UN, UNRWA is carrying out vital work, under the principled leadership of Commission General Krahenbuhl. Undermining UNRWA now, undermines peace and stability in the Middle East.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mr. President</p> <p>Iceland believes that international law and multilateral institutions, even though not always perfect, must underpin relations between states and their peoples.&nbsp; The alternative is the rule of “might is right”, which almost always leads to violence and conflict. As the Secretary-General said a few days ago “we need more dialogue and deeper international cooperation”.</p>

20.04.2017 11:30Fastafulltrúi ávarpar Öryggisráðið um Miðausturlönd

<span></span> <div class="page" title="Page 2">&nbsp;</div> <div class="page" title="Page 2"><span>Einar Gunnarsson fastafulltrúi Íslands ávarpaði Öryggisráð Sameinuðu þjóðanna í dag um málefni Miðausturlanda.</span></div> <div class="page" title="Page 2"><span>&nbsp;</span></div> <div class="page" title="Page 2"><span></span> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Madame President</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Allow me to thank the US Presidency of the Security Council for organizing this quarterly debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Madame President</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">The Middle East region remains in a state of turmoil. Complex internal conflicts have led to displacement and suffering on a massive scale, with famine looming in many areas, including Yemen. The work program of this Council is heavily charged with issues of the region, with separate meetings and reports on various aspects of Syria, on Yemen, on Libya and on Iraq.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Iceland participated in the Brussels conference on Syria earlier this month. Along with&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">many others we have committed significantly increased funds to alleviating the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">humanitarian impact of the Syria crisis. We have also welcomed Syrian refugees in&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Iceland, in coordination with UNHCR. The continued targeting of civilians and civilian&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">infrastructure by the Syrian Government and rebel forces, particularly medical facilities is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">completely unacceptable. And use of chemical weapons at the beginning of this month,</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">with strong evidence pointing to the Syrian Government, is outrageous. The perpetrators</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">of this act and of other acts which violate international law must be brought to justice.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">This is why the work of the OPCW/UN Joint Investigative Mechanism is of key</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">importance and why Iceland supports the Syria Accountability Mechanism</span></p> </div> </div> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">(</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-style: italic; font-family: TimesNewRomanPS; color: #444444;">International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011)&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; color: #444444;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">The Security Council has a clear responsibility to end the conflict in Syria and pave the way for a political solution – the only way forward. All parties to the conflict have a responsibility for making peace negotiations work. In particular, this responsibility lies with the Assad government and its state backers, Russia and Iran. The hopes raised by the Astana process, and the energy put into the main UN sponsored Geneva peace process require concerted political energy and will.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Failure to establish a proper political peace process will cause continued suffering among the Syrian people and allow for the violence to further spread into neighboring states such as Lebanon.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Madame President</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Despite the bleak outlook in much of the region, there is one conflict which should be amenable to resolution and where preventing further conflict should be possible. I am referring to the Israel/Palestine conflict. The two-state solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict is the only viable peace-plan – and it has been on the table for years. It should therefore be a key priority of the Security Council to protect and nurture the two-state solution, even when both parties to the conflict seem, at times, hell-bent on tearing this plan up.</span></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="page" title="Page 3"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">On the one hand we have violent acts by individual Palestinians against Israeli citizens and the frequent firing of rockets into Israel – this is totally unacceptable. On the other hand we have Israel ́s constant undermining of the basis for a two-state solution through illegal settlements.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">The Security Council took important damage control measures when it adopted Resolution 2334 last December. The resolution aims to safeguard a key prerequisite for the two-state solution – the possibility of a viable territory for the Palestinian State. We welcome the first quarterly report by the Secretary-General delivered orally on 23 March. Monitoring of the implementation of the resolution must continue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Finally Madame President,</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">In line with paragraph 9 of Resolution 2334 we would urge an intensification and acceleration of international and regional diplomatic efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;">Thank you.&nbsp;</span></p> <div><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: TimesNewRomanPSMT; color: #555555;"><br /> </span></div> </div> </div> </div>

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