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Joint Nordic Statement at the Secretary-General’s briefing on the follow-up of Our Common Agenda

Mr. Secretary-General,

Denmark has the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries: Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country, Denmark.

Thank you for your update on the progress of the implementation of the ‘Our Common Agenda’ recommendations. We also appreciate the updates from the co-facilitators of the three processes that have been initiated. We are pleased to see that work is progressing on these very important tracks, and we look forward to engaging actively.

Let me highlight three points.

First, as we take on the different processes to implement the recommendations of the Our Common Agenda report, we want to emphasize the need to strike an ambitious, but realistic balance. We must avoid aiming too high with regards to what we can manage to agree on ahead of the Summit of the Future. We cannot have an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to delivering on the recommendations, progress on one track should not be delayed by the lack of progress on others.

And just as important – we must not settle for too little. Our Common Agenda – and our current moment – represents a rare opportunity to find new ways to work together for the common good. Not to undermine existing agreements or mandates, but to turbocharge them. The recent HLPF made clear that while there has been progress on the SDGs, we are far behind schedule to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Inequality is increasing. Geopolitical tensions are high. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. This summer we have seen that the planet is quite literally on fire.

Clearly, something is not working. Our Common Agenda present a bold vision for how to revitalize the multilateral system and to deliver on our commitments to future generations. We must not waste this opportunity by only focusing on the recommendations for which there is already a mandate. We must dare to be bold, creative and ambitious. In this regard we look forward to the recommendations from the High-Level Advisory Board upon which we as member states will have the opportunity to engage.

Second, we stress the importance of meaningful inclusion of civil society, youth, women , the private sector and other non-state actors, including those in vulnerable positions, in implementing Our Common Agenda’s recommendations. Women’s rights and gender equality have been given a prominent place in Our Common Agenda. This is important. We would also like to underline the importance of women’s representation and participation in decision-making.

The procedural resolution adopted by consensus and co-sponsored by more than 160 Member States decided that the follow-up process should be in collaboration with all relevant partners through broad and inclusive consultations. The five thematic dialogues organized by the PGA earlier this year included input from a broad range of stakeholders. We must adhere to the mandate of the resolution going forward.

We firmly believe that listening to and engaging with non-state actors does not undermine the intergovernmental nature of the UN, it only enriches it. While Member States will continue to have the decision-making authority, our perspectives can be broadened by bringing in these voices. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by ensuring a multistakeholder process. It is essential, if we are to truly live up to the opening sentence of the UN Charter: “We the peoples”.

Third, we want to express our full support for the Secretary-General’s proposal to convene a Summit of the Future in 2023. We believe it is important that the Summit of the Future is held in conjunction with the SDG Summit, as the two are sister summits, sharing the same overall objective, namely to “create the conditions for a sustainable, equitable and inclusive future”, and are interlinked, complementary and mutually reinforcing. The Summit of the Future is a unique opportunity discuss how we can create global governance mechanisms for global commons and how we can ensure intergenerational equity and justice. We owe it to ourselves to use this opportunity, and more importantly, we owe it to future generations.

As always, we stand ready to engage actively and constructively.

Thank you.