UN Headquarters

09 June 2021

Remarks to Meeting of Group of Friends of Human Security

António Guterres

I am pleased to be with you to relaunch the Group of Friends of Human Security.

In our collective endeavour to tackle COVID-19 and chart a post-pandemic future that will ensure greater equity, opportunity and dignity for all, I believe the concept of human security is an essential framework.

This Group of Friends can be an important platform for advancing the application of human security in the work of the United Nations.

We face complex and major challenges

The pandemic, climate disruption, pollution and biodiversity loss, protracted conflicts, skyrocketing inequalities, the dark side of technological advancement, and large-scale displacement all pose pressing risks.

All these threats can bring dire social, economic, and environmental consequences.

They can erase years of investment and progress towards sustainable peace and development.

They also transcend borders and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable people, communities and nations – providing a compelling argument for an inclusive, effective and networked multilateralism based on human solidarity.

When we fail in our response to these crises, people’s confidence in institutions of governance at all levels erodes, sowing the seeds of discontent.

But every crisis is also an opportunity.

This is our moment to change course, to go farther.

The pandemic has shown us what we need to do.

We must put people at the centre of our actions to bring tangible improvements to people’s daily lives.

We must break down siloes across sectors and institutions because governments and people can no longer afford fragmented, piecemeal responses.

We must boost inclusive partnerships that benefit from the perspectives of youth, women, and those whose voices are rarely heard, such as indigenous peoples.

And we must shift our focus and allocate resources towards prevention to anticipate crises and act early to lessen their most devastating effects.

In this process of strengthening our global system, I am convinced that human security is a necessary conceptual and operational framework.

By bringing together the different agendas of the international community, it is a unifying lens for enhanced multilateral cooperation and integrated action by the United Nations system.

Its focus on people provides a universal benchmark to assess the effectiveness of our development, humanitarian, and peacebuilding strategies.

By prioritizing a ground-up approach, it deepens our capacity to make meaningful progress on the commitment to leave no one behind.

And it guides forward-looking strategies that build the resilience of people and minimize the potential for sudden or slow-onset crises to grow into full-blown human catastrophes.

Applied to our shared priorities, human security can help fashion a better post-pandemic world.

It can drive action to address climate change and accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

We have seen the benefits of this approach in practice through numerous programmes around the world supported by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security.

It is time to place human security at the forefront of our global commitments.

This Group of Friends has taken up the mantle of human security as Member States did in the past with great success.

I look to you to guide the way to mainstream human security within the discussions of the General Assembly.

I urge you to consider expanding the resources of the Trust Fund for Human Security so that it can continue to incentivize a more integrated, localized and preventive approach to multidimensional challenges at the country and community level.

And to support your efforts, I commit to mobilize the systems of the United Nations towards a reinvigorated application of human security to advance our Common Agenda.

Thank you.