UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Frode Mauring, Speech on UN Day Commemoration – 30 October 2017

Oct 30, 2017

Abu Dhabi (UAE) – UN RC and UNDP RR delivers his speech during the UN Day commemoration © UNDP uae/ Liga Lice da Costa

Your Highness, Sheikh Marwan bin Rashid Al Mualla, Chairman of the Umm Al Quwain Lands and Property Department,

Excellences, Honourable Guests, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening.

Allow me to welcome you all, our distinguished partners from UAE, ambassadors and representatives from the international community, and my colleagues from the different agencies of the UN family.

Seventy-two years ago, 51 nations came together to bring peace, security and economic prosperity to the world.   Directly following the end of World War II, the United Nations was established to “save future generations of the scourges of war”, but also to reaffirm faith in human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, the equal rights between men and women, and of nations large and small;

Furthermore to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.  So says the preamble of the UN Charter that to this day is the beacon of light that guides our work.  

Today, 193 countries and territories make up the world’s largest intergovernmental organisation. And together, have carried on the determination this UN Charter well into the 21st century.  Considering the failure of the quarter of a century existence of the preceding “League of Nations”, this success was not self-evident in 1945.  Therefore, the continued success of the UN is good cause for celebration; every year we pass another milestone of its existence for the betterment of humanity. While he was Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon recognised the importance of commemorating the significance of the United Nations, he said: “Our peacekeepers are on the frontlines of conflict; our mediators bring warriors to the peace table; our relief workers brave treacherous environments to deliver life-saving assistance. The United Nations works for the entire human family of seven billion people, and cares for the earth, our one and only home.

On his first day at the helm of the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year for peace. The UN’s presence in the Middle East is a testament to that. This is a region where progress has sadly been hampered by violence; and where economic prosperity has bloomed alongside unwavering poverty. A shadow of despair looms whenever a step forward is taken. A country can be booming one day and in tatters the next. Over the last 50 years, we’ve witnessed this in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and most recently, in the collapse of Syria.  Simultaneously, we’ve seen dramatic changes in places as the Gulf, where countries like the UAE have transformed themselves into thriving metropolises. And so, we see how the last 40 years have signified a brand-new era for the region. One of economic development for some, and tragedy for others. Our goal is to bring the former to the communities that need it most. This is evident in our work through the various UN agencies stationed across the Middle East.

The UN has witnessed the UAE change tremendously over the last 45 years. The country sets an example of what vision combined with resources, tenacity and courage can do.  It has emerged from the golden desert as a leading example for the region in political stability, rapid development while maintaining an unwavering commitment to tolerance and embracement of cultures.

The theme for this year’s commemoration of UN Day is ‘Potential in Diversity’. Diversity is one of the UN’s core values and the declaration of 21 May as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in 2002 is a testament to that.  Diversity promotes a healthy society.  As Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO put it ‘Just as natural diversity is vital to sustain ecosystems, cultural diversity is the lifeblood of vibrant societies.’ UAE has made history by having the first Minister of State for Tolerance in the world.  In words of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces: “the UAE is a nation of tolerance, peace, cultural diversity, and coexistence”. Apart from ratifying conventions and agreements denouncing violence, extremism and discrimination, the UAE has launched The National Programme for Tolerance which cooperates with local as well as international entities and sets example of promoting civilised coexistence.

While typical UN roles, like peacekeeping and mediation, might not be at the core of the UN country team’s work in the UAE, we help this ambitious country reach its highest aspiration and achieve its developmental vision while overcoming rising challenges.  Together, we have provided better, faster responses to crises and issues across the Gulf and the region at large.  This is true for all UN agencies across the world partnering with the member states. In UAE, partnership for the 2030 sustainable development agenda is our main focus. It is an essential part of making the world a better place. By working together, we will provide a better future for our children and bring forth peace, prosperity and equality globally.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise my fellow agencies for their incredible work this past year.  Our United Nations Country Team represents thirteen Agencies, Funds and Programmes, that are committed to advancing the sustainable development agenda in the UAE and the region. As a UN Country Team, let us unlock the potential of diversity to innovate and become more productive in our collective efforts to help UAE reach its development goals.

Furthermore, I would like to highlight that the United Nations Country Team looks forward to fostering new partnerships and building new synergies for action with our partners. Let us collectively find our common ground; building on our individual achievements, and synergize efforts for more committed actions. The modern world as we know it is not hungry for words, and recommendations alone; it is hungry for real actions on the ground to move forward.

Thank you for celebrating with us tonight.

Abu Dhabi (UAE) – UN RC and UNDP RR delivers his speech during the UN Day commemoration © UNDP uae/ Liga Lice da Costa

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