The speech made by Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, on 21 September 2020.
Today, as we renew our commitment to tackle our common challenges, I recall the UN’s beginnings.
Seventy-five years ago, representatives from 51 nations met in London. They showed ambitions to build a global community out of the searing experience of two World Wars.
But it was also an inception rooted in optimism and a determination that ‘we, the peoples’ would create a better future for ourselves and our children.
Over the past 75 years, the UN has achieved many things:
– it has promoted development and democracy
– it has strengthened universal values and human rights, particularly of women and girls
– it has immunised the vulnerable
– it has fed the hungry
– it has negotiated peace settlements and supported stability, reconciliation and reconstruction in places that need it most
The United Kingdom was there at the beginning and we’ve been a major contributor to UN ever since, upholding its principles, providing political and financial support, expertise, and peacekeeping troops as well.
Our commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance is enshrined in law and allows us to support the Sustainable Development Goals.
As a member of the United Nations Security Council, we are resolute in our commitment to international peace and security.
Each generation brings new challenges. So, there is much more to do. But we can rise to these challenges, and I pay tribute to the UN’s tireless efforts to tackle the unprecedented disruption and human impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has highlighted just how interwoven our fates are, and I believe our moral duty to support those hit hardest by the pandemic, alongside the opportunity to collaborate in building a greener, more sustainable future.
We know that when we pull together, we can overcome the toughest challenges and achieve the most amazing things.
Nowhere is that need for cooperation greater than in tackling climate change, for which the UK is proud to be hosting COP26 in Glasgow next year.
With those challenges ahead of us, I am delighted that the United Kingdom will host the Secretary-General in January.
We will commemorate the first anniversaries of the first UN General Assembly and Security Council meetings, both of which took place in London. We will make sure it is a fitting tribute to all that we have achieved together and we will redouble our commitment to rise to the challenges that lie ahead.