New York

10 November 2020

Secretary-General's video message for "Madrid Call to Action"

Señor Presidente,

Distinguidos invitados, estimadas amigas y amigos:

Permítanme expresar mi más profundo agradecimiento a todos ustedes.

Gracias por tomar la iniciativa de alejarse de las presiones inmediatas para fijar su mirada en el futuro.

Creo que sus esfuerzos, y la coalición que están construyendo, tendrán consecuencias beneficiosas para las generaciones futuras.

Thank you for taking the initiative to step away from the immediate pressures to fix your eyes on the future.

I believe that your effort — and the coalition you are building — will have generational consequences for good. 

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is a moment for celebration — and I commend all of you for marking this milestone in your countries. 

But even more, it is a moment for deep reflection.  For critical thinking.  For constructive dialogue.  For meaningful engagement.  And for real change.

After all, we cannot simply return to the systems that gave rise to the current crisis.  We need to emerge better with more sustainable, inclusive, gender-equal societies and economies. 
In doing so we must reimagine the way nations cooperate.  

As I said in my address to the opening of the General Assembly, we face a 1945 moment.

The central question is: 

How do we reinforce or even build structures for the challenges of our age?

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our world.  The ground shifted under our feet.  The fragilities and fault lines have been exposed like never before. 

How do we make the structures of multilateralism earthquake-proof?

How do we ensure that we are better prepared for any and all future crises?

How do we construct robust mechanisms of global governance through international cooperation?

We have a first blueprint: the UN75 Declaration. 

Now is the time to think together about how to make multilateralism more inclusive, more networked and more effective.

Your alliance has already made a significant difference in efforts to recognize that a COVID-19 vaccine must be a global public good — available to everyone, everywhere, as soon as possible. 

Just as we need a people’s vaccine, we also need the medicine that will help societies as a whole recover better from COVID.

There is plenty of analysis on what the challenges are, but not many answers on how we build the mechanics of governance to make it happen — both at the societal level through a New Social Contract and at the multilateral level through what I call a New Global Deal.

Recovery from COVID requires deeper thinking of what future global governance looks like, keeping in mind future generations.  And it means delivering on commitments to the 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

As you engage in this important endeavour, I have three “asks”:

First, we need your continued strong support on the people’s vaccine as we strive to emerge from the pandemic. 

Second, the COVID crisis is a dress rehearsal for the challenges to come — starting with the climate crisis. 

We need your crucial leadership to reposition climate action as the top item on the global agenda. Concretely, that means taking the necessary actions now to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, reinforce the resilience of our societies and economies, and ensure that financial support is provided. Many of your countries are already on board. 

I look forward to each of your countries making the necessary commitments to be a part of the Climate Ambition Summit I will co-host with France and the United Kingdom on the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement.

Third, I encourage you to brainstorm action-oriented ideas about the future of multilateralism.

I have been calling for a networked multilateralism, with the United Nations working more closely with the Bretton Woods system and the full spectrum of multilateral institutions, regional organizations and others.

I am also advocating for an inclusive multilateralism, in which we can draw on the remarkable capacities of civil society, the business community, local authorities, cities and regional governments.

If we can strengthen international cooperation in these directions, we can move closer to having global governance where it is needed.

I welcome your own timely Call to Action.  And I look forward to your continued engagement to advance our common agenda. 

You are raising the bar of ambition — and blazing the trail to a more sustainable, fair, just, peaceful and inclusive future for all.

I am with you — you can count on me every step of the way.   
Thank you.