Secretary-General Praises Liechtenstein as ‘Pioneer’ in Shaping Debate on Global Governance Needed to Advance Peace, Development, Human Rights, in Vaduz Speech

1 September 2010

Secretary-General Praises Liechtenstein as ‘Pioneer’ in Shaping Debate on Global Governance Needed to Advance Peace, Development, Human Rights, in Vaduz Speech

1 September 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Praises Liechtenstein as ‘Pioneer’ in Shaping Debate on Global


Governance Needed to Advance Peace, Development, Human Rights, in Vaduz Speech


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s speech, as prepared for delivery, at Liechtenstein’s Vaduzer-Saal, in Vaduz, 1 September:

Gruss Gott.

Thank you for that warm welcome.  What a pleasure to be here.  What a wonderful setting.

My distinguished predecessor Javier Perez de Cuellar visited here in 1991, the year after Liechtenstein became a United Nations Member State.

Today I am pleased to congratulate you on 20 years of membership — an anniversary you will mark in less than three weeks.

I hope the next visit of a United Nations Secretary-General comes sooner than the fortieth anniversary!

After all, Liechtenstein may be one of the world’s smaller countries, but its role is large.

If all nations were as committed to the United Nations and its noble causes, the world would be a far, far better place.

Throughout the world, victims of disaster know you as a savior, bearing a banner of help and hope.

You are among our most generous contributors of emergency humanitarian aid.

Women’s rights, human rights, counter-terrorism — in these realms and others, you stand behind the United Nations, and your voice is being heard.

You have helped lead the global campaign to bring those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice.

Earlier this year, your able ambassador worked closely with us to make the recent conference on the International Criminal Court a success. 

The age of impunity is dead, we declared in Kampala.  Thanks to your help, we are entering a new era of accountability… an era where the long arm of justice can reach into the darkest corners of our dangerous world.

Today, I ask your continued help in building on that record.  As nations, and more broadly as engaged citizens of the world, we face truly epic challenges.

In these difficult times, a time when no nation, however large or powerful can solve all problems on its own, we need to think and act collectively.

There is such a thing as the global public good.  And for that very reason, we need to think about the issues of global governance needed to manage them.

Please do not mistake me:  I do not mean global government, or even less a world that takes its orders from United Nations Headquarters. 

What I mean, quite simply, is sovereign states coming together, pragmatically, as partners.

I mean people transcending borders and narrow national identities to defend against common threats — and to seize common opportunities.

Here, too, Liechtenstein is a pioneer, helping to shape the debate.

You are a member of the Global Governance Group — the 3G — two dozen states which may be small in size but have great capacity and influence.  And you have engaged at just the right time.

Our world is undergoing dramatic shifts and transformations. 

New economic powers have emerged.  Complex new challenges have come to the fore.

All have global reach.  And all place new demands on us — on our institutions, mechanisms and frameworks.

We need to adapt.

We need our global institutions to produce better, quicker, more lasting results.

We need stronger, more effective alliances between States and the private sector, civil society and regional actors.

We need policy guidance and regulatory frameworks for a vast array of new and complex issues.

I see three areas where better global governance is especially urgent.

First, getting the world economy to work for all the world’s people, today and tomorrow.

Global governance can be rather abstract.  So let me start with a brief recollection of my trip to Pakistan two weeks ago.

I visited to see for myself the damage caused by the flooding.

I saw how thousands of villages were simply washed away.  Roads.  Bridges.  Buildings.  Crops.  Jobs.  All wiped out.

It is a catastrophe like few I have ever seen… a slow-motion tsunami with destructive power that will accumulate and grow with time.

The United Nations is on the scene, working around the clock to deliver desperately needed food, shelter, medicine and clean water.

We want to do everything we can to help Pakistan rebuild.

What we do there, we must do throughout the world — not only in the aftermath of disaster, but day after day, wherever daily life is beset by poverty.

That job has been made more difficult in the past two years because of the global economic crisis.

Now, there are signs that we are beginning to recover.  We may have emerged from the hurricane, more or less intact.

But we might also be standing in the eye of the storm, with a second wave of recession or stagnation on its way.

The evidence is inconclusive.  However, one thing is clear.  We cannot revert to pre-crisis conditions.  Global economic management must no longer neglect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

This is a basic question of morality:  those least responsible for the meltdown have paid the highest price — lost jobs, higher costs of living, growing tensions as families struggle to make ends meet.

It is also smart economics.  Those who have been hit hardest are also our best hope for future growth.  In today’s economy, the developing world is where the greatest dynamism can be found.

We have a blueprint for setting ourselves right:  the eight Millennium Development Goals.

Later this month, I will convene a Summit in New York to push for faster progress as we approach the deadline of 2015.

Official development assistance (ODA) remains crucial.  In many countries, budget constraints are putting pressure on aid.  I hope that Liechtenstein, which has already made important advances in its commitment to ODA, will keep its longstanding promises and reach the 0.7% global target.

Important as aid is, we cannot talk about the Millennium Development Goals without also focusing on trade.  Trade can generate great levels of wealth, entrepreneurship and innovation — as long as trade is truly free and fair.

Yet harmful, unjust subsidies and restrictions remain in place.  The Doha development round of trade talks has languished for almost a decade, and with it, the prospects for billions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. 

We must think green, too — an ambitious climate change agreement and environmental governance that protects the resource basis. 

This is essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and should be seen by all world leaders as a strategic imperative.

Every year of delay only increases the risk of dangerous climate impacts and adds to the human and economic toll.

In our interconnected global economy, being accountable to the poor and marginalized is also smart accounting back home.

Global governance must also encompass our efforts to advance nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

Here, too, allow me to put a human face on what we hope to achieve.

Last month I visited Hiroshima — the first United Nations Secretary-General to participate in the annual peace memorial ceremony.

I did so as a matter of duty — to remember the victims, and to honour the survivors.

I met some of those who lived through the blasts.  I listened to their horrific tales; saw their terrible wounds; was saddened by their ordeal, then and even now, with memories still vivid so many decades later.

If ever we want a reminder of what a complete breakdown in global governance looks like, we need only reflect on what happened in Hiroshima, in Nagasaki, and in so many other places during the Second World War.

But I was also inspired by the commitment of the survivors — and so many others — to the cause of building a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Today there is real momentum behind that effort.

In the last year alone, we have seen a new START treaty between Russia and the United States; progress at the Washington Summit on Nuclear Security, to be followed by a summit in Korea in 2012; advances at the review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Of course, we face real challenges in managing and then eliminating the nuclear threat.

Thousands of nuclear weapons remain in global arsenals.  Terrorists are trying hard to acquire them.  A catastrophic accident could occur.  The nuclear weapons capability of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a concern.  So is Iran’s nuclear programme.

Only by eliminating nuclear weapons can we eliminate these risks.

Some say disarmament is utopian, premature, impractical.

I say:  abolishing nuclear weapons is common sense.  It’s either that or the status quo:  an endless reliance on nuclear deterrence; a constant arms race; unbridled military spending.

Two years ago, I offered a five-point plan that rests heavily on the framework of legal instruments in this area — the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons), the nuclear test-ban treaty, nuclear-weapon-free zones.

Later this month, I will convene a first-of-its-kind high-level meeting in New York in support of the work of the Conference on Disarmament.

Around the world, there is a rising chorus of conscience, from statesmen and civil society.

Their message:  “no more Hiroshimas.”

Now is our moment.

We must sustain that momentum.  Now is the time to move from ground zero to global zero.

A world economy that creates prosperity for all… a world no longer living under the nuclear shadow… these have long been among the main goals of global governance.

But the problems we have been discussing so far are old ones.  Today, we face a daunting array of new-generation challenges, never seen before.

Our world has never been so mobile.  Borders have never been so porous, even irrelevant.

There are now more than 200 million international migrants, and that number continues to grow.  Climate change could lead to even more.  The key question is not whether or how to stop it, but how to ensure that its development benefits are maximized. 

Like migration, biotechnology has generated hopes and fears alike.  Hopes for new weapons against hunger, disease and poverty.  Fears that it may threaten our security and our environment.  Our challenge is to reap the potential while managing the risks.

Terrorism continues to take a heavy toll.  Organized crime is a growing concern.  In some places, police and armies are being out-gunned. 

Our ability to deliver justice is not evolving as quickly as the criminals’ skill at evading it.  We, too, must organize.

The United Nations has done just that in all these areas, with new conventions, strategies, forums, and cooperation. 

Yet we must go further still.  The imperative of global governance is clear.

We face issues of tremendous consequence for peace and human welfare — highly complex issues that ignore borders, some of which hold great promise, others potentially destabilizing.

As world leaders meet in New York in September for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, many are likely to offer their views on how to advance global governance.

The 3G in which Liechtenstein plays such an important role is not the only group trying to strengthen global governance.  The G8, G20, G24, G30, G77 — the field is crowded. 

Each has a role to play and much to offer.

That said, nothing can rival the legitimacy, expertise and global presence of the United Nations.

We are in the right place… provided we ourselves keep pace.

That means better coordination and communication.  It means developing tools for analysis and problem-solving.  It means knowing which institution has which comparative advantage.

It means reforming United Nations bodies such as the Security Council, as well as the Bretton Woods Institutions.

And it means keeping our eyes on the horizon to see what else might be coming our way, good and bad alike.

The ultimate test is the degree to which, together, we advance our shared agenda of peace, development and human rights:  global governance for global goods. 

Institutions and groupings that produce meaningful, positive change will find themselves respected and in demand.

Those that do not will fade into irrelevance.

I am determined to see the United Nations meet this test.  With the continued help of the leaders and people of Liechtenstein, we will succeed.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.