German statement at the fifth thematic consultation on “Our Common Agenda”, UN General Assembly on March 10th, 2022

Logo of the report and ensuing consultation process Our Common Agenda by Secretary-General Guterres

Logo: Our Common Agenda, © UN

10.03.2022 - Speech

Title of the consultation organized by the President of the General Assembly:
“Enhancing International Cooperation”

At the outset, let me express full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia´s military aggression against Ukraine, which grossly violates international law and the UN Charter. The Russian behaviour undermines international security and stability.

Germany aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union.

I would like to highlight a few topics in our national capacity:

We share the Secretary-General's assessment that the multiple challenges and global crises imply one thing above all: We need to find a common response to the world’s challenges.

This is precisely what the reform of the UN development system seeks to achieve: a finely differentiated, perfectly interlocking, efficient and jointly powerful instrument, in other words a UN that delivers as one.

We echo the SG’s call to UN Country Teams to actively support States in renewing their social contract. Resident coordinators have a key role to play here, when it comes to offering cohesive and normative support to Governments.

Covid-19 proved to be a stress test for the renewed RC system and demonstrated that UN country teams can act and work together as one unit to achieve better results in a crisis. We welcome the SG’s aspiration to strengthen Country Teams and the RCs as centre of context-specific prevention expertise.

Regarding the Funding Compact, we have always been advocating for and contributing to sustainably financing the UN development system to ensure strategically forward-looking collaboration.

Ecological change, digitization and demographic change - to name just a few drivers - are key challenges that are also fundamentally changing the world of work.

The skills required of all people, in everyday life and on the labor market, are changing rapidly. The aim is to enable everyone to do the work of tomorrow and, thus, play an active role in society. Initial and continuing education and training is a key response to these developments.

In Germany we say that we have to move towards being a “country where everyone continuously learns” (Zitat Robert Habeck: “Lernendes Deutschland werden”) - perhaps we need to move towards a world where everyone continuously learns.

However, there are numerous structural barriers. This means we need to improve access and affordability, and provide tailored support for those that need it most. Improving basic skills and closing the digital divides will play a key part in equipping us for the future.

We support the plans for the UN to boost its partnerships and to more closely cooperate with external actors as this can further improve the efficacy and impact of its programmes.

Hereby, we particularly highlight the special role that the UN Global Compact can play, with its diverse network of private businesses and NGOs with their vast know-how.

We further note the special role that NGOs and civil society as a whole can and should play for the successful work of the UN system and therefore suggest the reform of the C-NGO at ECOSOC, in order to overcome the evident blockade of applications.

Moreover, we strongly encourage the suggested establishment of dedicated focal point for civil society at all UN entities to further enhance civil society participation and therefore enable more diverse voices from each member state to be heard and given a platform.

This will be part of a wider transformation towards a United Nations “2.0”, a new version that is able to offer relevant and system-wide solutions to the challenges of the twenty-first century. It will accelerate this transformation through a “quintet of change”, a set of cross-cutting agendas that underpin many of the initiatives proposed in this report. The quintet capabilities include data, analytics and communications; innovation and digital transformation; strategic foresight; behavioural science; and performance and results orientation.

Concerning data, analytics and innovation for sustaining peace Germany, the UN and like-minded countries put in place “the Complex Risks Analytics Fund - CRAF’d” last year which is seminal for a broader eco-system of data and analytics which will include a data hub in the near future.

We also call on the UNSG and the member states to make meaningful progress towards funding the Human Rights Pillar. Human rights violations very often are an indicator for imminent armed conflict; addressing them early means preventing worse. Human Rights and Peace and Security are one side of the same medal, both these pillars of the UN deserve adequate financial resources.

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