Thank you very much Mr. Chairman,
I congratulate His Excellency Ambassador José Alfonso Blanco Conde of the Dominican Republic, and members of the Bureau as they lead the work of this Committee.
But now, I would like to take you out of your comfort zone.
We are at a critical moment. A watershed moment.
I have spoken at length about the interlocking challenges that we face.
Armed conflict, illegal annexations, the undeniable devastation of the environment, climate change, rising xenophobia, increasing inequalities… and the list goes on.
Worldwide, human rights have suffered as a result of these crises.
These crises are deeply interconnected and need to be addressed as a whole.
They require immediate answers, and sustainable solutions.
Business as usual is not an option.
Let me state plainly:
I expect the resolutions of this Committee to be more than technical.
Never forget that human rights are intrinsically linked to our own humanity.
They are undeniable. Inalienable. They should be respected.
This Committee plays a critical role in guiding actions on the ground.
Your responsibility therefore is huge.
For these reasons, I ask three things of you.
First, make your resolutions understandable.
The Third Committee is a place of "living texts".
We are here to serve the 8 billion constituents who are counting on us.
To be impact-oriented, our decisions have to be understood by them.
Implementation depends on this.
Can I explain the relevance of my resolutions, of my work and how it is contributing to making the world a better place – in one minute?
True relevance shall be boiled down to sixty seconds in a time of crisis.
Number 2: Listen and engage with one another.
For many of you, this is will be your first session sitting in the Committee negotiations in-person.
Take advantage of this newfound opportunity.
The essence of diplomacy is human relations.
The two and half years of virtual interactions have contributed to the erosion of trust between delegations.
This year, you cannot turn off your cameras.
Use this session of the Third Committee to engage in honest dialogue.
Be present in the room. Listen to each other.
Hear the voices of the Youth Delegates.
Rely on the support of the UN system.
Use the advice and experience of the civil society organisations.
I am pleased that the Chair has held a briefing with civil society already.
I hope this practice will continue during the whole session.
Number 3: View all of your work through the lens of crisis management and transformation.
The answers of the 20th century may not be the best for today's questions.
We need profound changes in many of our social, economic and political processes.
But transformation does not come cheap.
Scientists would tell you that, in order to transform,
- we have to challenge existing arrangements;
- we should come up with game-changers, valid and robust alternatives;
- we need visions, and
- we must create enabling conditions for realizing our visions.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Everyone must be part of the solution.
This includes women, who, despite representing half of humanity, are still often stripped of their human rights.
Today, up to 10 million girls are newly at risk of child marriage.
We see renewed efforts to keep girls out of school in some regions.
Such attitudes would perpetuate gender gaps – and that will seriously hinder our possibilities to build a better world.
But many women and girls refuse to be defined as victims only.
They are agents of change.
Show them they are not alone.
All human beings are born free and equal.
We know that phrase and we know where it comes from.
Yet, we cannot state that this is today's reality.
No country has a perfect track record.
This Committee's role is to ensure that the rights of all people are respected.
Regardless of gender, race, belief or political affiliation.
Regardless of ethnicity, language, sexual orientation and gender identity or migration status.
The Third Committee's work will range:
- from violence against women to trafficking in persons;
- from the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, to those of migrant workers;
- from the moratorium on the death penalty to freedom of religion or belief.
But, most importantly, from problems to solutions.
And solutions do not emerge organically. You create the solutions. You make the change.
You can show the world not only how connected our problems are, but how connected our solutions can be, too.
Look beyond the individual silos.
Look beyond the Third Committee.
Engage with the UN system.
And get familiar with this basement. It might be your home, sweet home for the next few months.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am here to build bridges.
My job is to help you come to meaningful decisions.
Your job is to find solutions that make the world a better place.
As President of the General Assembly, I am supported by a Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs team that will be your partners in this endeavor.
I thank you and wish you every success.