As the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) has been founded in Luxembourg in 1946, the Association Luxembourgeoise pour les Nations Unies (ALNU) / United Nations Association UNA Luxembourg is very honored to host this year in Luxembourg a commemoration for the 70th anniversary of the WFUNA. This large international project has been implemented in a close partnership between the WFUNA and ALNU. I would like to address my deep thanks to Mr Bonian Golmohammadi, the Secretary general of the WFUNA , for his full engagement and Ms Irène Martinetti, the Director of programs of the WFUNA, for her intensive collaboration. Mr Bonian Golmohammadi has been previously secretary general of the United Nations Association of Sweden.
Mr Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, will join us later for his speech. He is currently with twelve years in office the longest-serving minister among the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union.
I welcome Ms Deborah Seward, the Director of the United Nations Regional Information Center for Western Europe (UNRIC). She has been previously Director of the Strategic Communications Division in the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Organization in New-York. UNRIC offers a regular support of communication from the United Nations to the European United Nations Associations UNAs.
Ms Simone Beck, the President of the National Commission of Luxembourg for the cooperation with the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) will enlarge the perspective to the large family of institutions characterizing and enhancing the diversity of activities from the United Nations . Ms Simone Beck has been for some time the Secretary general of the Network European Capitals of Culture. Her Commission has offered to ALNU, one of its members, a valuable contribution in favor of this event.
Let me express my thanks to the foreign representatives of UNAs and other organizations from 11 European countries. In Europe, the UNAs are working together in the frame of the European UNA network, which meets on a periodic basis either in Brussels in the United Nations Regional Information Center UNRIC or in Geneva, where the WFUNA has an international office in the . The United Nations Models, organized by many UNAs worldwide about various UN institutions and themes, offer every year to a very large number of students and pupils the training possibilities to practice exchanges of information, negotiations and the elaboration of common documents in a similar way as in real life.
We also take the opportunity to greet Ms Renalde Urbain and Stephanie Altwies from the management of secondary schools, the teachers from secondary schools and the coordinator of the network of UNESCO schools in Luxembourg. With these secondary schools, ALNU implements normally on a yearly basis education projects related to relevant themes of the United Nations such as ‘The urgent humanitarian aid’ in 2016 and ‘The freedom of expression‘ in 2017.
The participation of Mr Amir Vesali, President of the Youth Parliament in Luxembourg and different youth citizens from Luxembourg is appreciated. They have been or are in contact with ALNU on activities in different areas like the accomplishment of a voluntary civic service, an associative traineeship, the conception of a United Nations youth delegate program, the writing of a University master thesis, …. ..
Finally, we address our welcome to the representatives from various Administrations, institutions, associations and to all the participants of this commemoration.
I would like to mention that in 1996, a Congress of the WFUNA had also taken place in Luxembourg for its 50th anniversary. In 2012, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, had made a visit in Luxembourg and had given in this same University lecture hall a speech to youth representatives with the appeal ‘Be a global citizen’. He told to the participants: You, personally, can contribute to the world’s development and human rights
Besides the WFUNA, about twenty United Nations Associations like ALNU had been founded in different countries by the year 1946. Since that time, the United Nations and the related associations have undergone a long evolution of the society towards a deep global transformation of the world, an increasingly fast scientific and technological progress and a growing complexity of situations which need a particular approach. Let me just make some short comments on this evolution.
Last year in 2015, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Organization was celebrated in many countries and United Nations Associations throughout the world to illustrate the strong commitment for a peaceful and prosperous coexistence of nations. In Luxembourg, ALNU in partnership with UNRIC in Brussels had initiated an illumination in blue of the City Hall of Luxembourg.
For the same occasion, a Forum had been organized by ALNU together with the Professor Lehners, holder of the UNESCO Chair on Human Rights at the University of Luxembourg, in this lecture hall on the theme ‘the United Nations: evaluation and perspectives (double point) To a new world order ? (question mark). You can see a bit later a video extract from the intervention of a youth representative. One issue coming up several times was the quest for a more conciliant “living together” in a world where different forms of antagonisms, inequalities and outrageous statements seem to spread out.
During recent years, there has been a constant rise of conflicts and crises in the world, exacerbating the tensions between many countries and undermining the political stability in numerous cases. The United Nations and many associations from the civil society thrive to assume their role in the support of more than one hundred million displaced persons and victims, in the uphold and defense of the human rights and in the steady request for structural changes towards a greater social and economic equality and a greater environmental inclusiveness. In order to achieve their complex missions, they need the support and collaboration not only from the states and governments, but also from many citizens with a mind of solidarity, discernment and justice. A series of information leaks, starting with the whistleblower Edward Snowden about a worldwide secret surveillance program of the electronic communications, have shattered the believe that the western countries were the guarantors for the protection of human rights, concerning notably the freedom of expression, the right to privacy and the right of asylum. It is hilarious to point out that only Russia accepted to grant the asylum status to Snowden, as a fair trial in the United States of America was unlikely.
In September 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations has agreed upon an ambitious and large scale Agenda 2030 embracing a new area of development with sustainable development goals. This has given a new impetus to the efforts of the United Nations to englobe all the countries from the different continents in a global development strategy program. A very large set of statistical indicators should allow an effective follow-up of the progress achieved towards the realization of these goals in each country.
There are 5 designated core domains or 5 P’s in the resolution for that agenda: the people, the planet, the prosperity, the peace and the partnership. On this basis, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had proposed a comprehensible scheme of distinctive themes for the next years, the theme for each year covering mainly one of these domains. The suggested theme for 2017 ‘Ensuring food security on a safe planet by 2030’ would have been a very strong signal for the domain of the planet. It is regrettable that, after the conclusion of the negotiations between the member states, this environmental domain disappeared from the list of the themes for the next 3 years, finally agreed upon by the General Assembly. It looks like the environmental domain does not really have that high priority often claimed by the governments, although the environmental damages and the depletion of the natural resources are progressing at an unprecedented rate.
Nevertheless, in a pilot study ‘Measuring distance to the SDSs targets’ published in July 2016, the Organization for economic cooperation and development (OECD) has picked up the 5Ps of the 2030 Agenda for the aggregation of its indicator scores. One of the interesting results concerns the benchmarking of the performance of the OECD countries. The lowest performances of the OECD countries vis-à-vis the 5Ps are on Peace and Partnership, two domains of a special concern for the United Nations. Examples of this low level of partnership and solidarity are given bv the percentage of the gross national product dedicated to the public development aid (only about 5 member states of the OECD meet the target of 0,7% from the United Nations) and the lack of implementation of innovative alternative financing tools. These are clear indications that the path towards the realization of the goals in 2030 will be quite long and strenuous, demanding renewed efforts from the governments as well as from the civil society and the citizens.
I thank you.