10 July 2015

Marking Fortieth Anniversary of Helsinki Final Act, Secretary-General Urges Resolve to Build More Peaceful, Prosperous Future

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, to the Informal High-level Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, in Helsinki, today:

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this Informal High-level Meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [OSCE] commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the monumental signing of the Helsinki Final Act.  I thank the Serbian Chair-in-Office for convening and Finland for hosting.

The Helsinki Final Act gave hope to a polarized world by affirming that closer relations among States based on mutual understanding would build peace and stability.  This remains true today.  At this time of grave global threats, the international community must strengthen our resolve to defend our common values and foster peace.  Complex, transboundary challenges such as cyber threats, violent extremism, migration, hate speech and discrimination can only be tackled through concerted regional and international engagement.

In this endeavour, the United Nations and the OSCE share a fundamental conviction in the value of putting people first in our efforts to promote security, human rights and sustainable development.  This is the basis for our close cooperation in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, South-Eastern Europe and beyond.

As we celebrate also the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations this year, I especially appreciate the OSCE’s engagement to operationalize the vision of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter on cooperation with regional organizations.

The crises in the OSCE area of responsibility, both active and frozen, can only be solved through dialogue.  The situation in eastern Ukraine, with its dire humanitarian dimension, remains a grave concern.  The parties to the conflict and the international community must intensify efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, ensure the protection of civilians and guarantee the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

Across the region, we must realize the Helsinki Final Act’s vision of collective security in Europe.  Let us resolve together to build on the successes of the past four decades and usher in a more peaceful and prosperous future.

For information media. Not an official record.