Joint Statement: Reinforcing Multilateralism together building on the United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration, Madrid, 10 November 2020

Joint Statement: Reinforcing Multilateralism together building on the United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration, Madrid, 10 November 2020

We, the Heads of State and Government and other High Level Representatives of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Canada, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of South Africa, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Tunisia have gathered in Madrid to express our support for the Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations adopted by all United Nations (UN) member states on 21 September 2020. We underline our strong support for the declaration and the ambition it embodies. We pledge to help ensure the future we want and the UN we need by implementing its twelve commitments with decisive actions and ensuring that the COVID-19 crisis does not derail these commitments.

The dire circumstances the world is going through have reinforced the need for greater collective action. No area and no country have been spared from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must ensure that the existing commitments made toward the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those that address the needs of developing countries and in particular the means of implementation support, are not reversed. We must build back better, reorienting towards a more equitable and sustainable international order, with strengthened international cooperation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, achieve gender equality and  fully implement the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development, leaving no one left behind. The United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration, along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, among other key instruments, constitute a clear roadmap for the years to come.

We are deeply committed to a stronger, reformed and reinvigorated rules-based multilateralism, with a more inclusive UN at its core. We reiterate our call for reforms of the three of the principal organs of the United Nations to create a more agile, effective, and accountable organisation that can deliver better in the field and adapt to global challenges. We will continue to provide our full support to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. We will strive to implement the action-oriented policies through cross-regional engagement anchored in the respect of international law and be catalysers in our respective regions, mobilising others in order to overcome the challenges faced by the current multilateral system. We will respond to the voices of the young girls and boys, who clearly and rightfully demand that we act. Youth deserve a place in global deliberations for the future of humanity. We will prioritise contributing towards the success of established consensus-driven UN processes and join forces with other initiatives and formal or informal networks, such as the Alliance for Multilateralism, in so far as they are supportive of those UN processes; together, we can accomplish more.

We believe this group, at this point in time, particularly, but not exclusively, can be supportive by mobilising the international community to fulfil the stated goals: reducing inequality and leaving no one behind; improving our global health system; protecting our planet; building peace, security and justice; defending human rights and gender equality; harnessing the digital revolution; and provision of sustainable financing.

To that end, we enclose to this Joint Statement an annex with suggested actions to strengthen multilateralism and turn the ambitious United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration into reality.

to the Joint Statement: reinforcing multilateralism together building on the UN 75th Anniversary Declaration

In order to strengthen multilateralism and turn the ambitious United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration into reality, we will strive to, inter alia:

1. Reduce inequality and leave no one behind by:

  • Strengthening our efforts to support the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda placing it at the centre of the recovery, including by delivering on commitments to provide means of implementation support to developing countries and mobilising additional finance through various channels;
  • Fighting poverty, inequality, gender inequality, discrimination and exclusion in all its forms, everywhere, adopting and advancing efforts to rethink our socioeconomic model in order to make it more inclusive and sustainable. Promoting the adoption of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as a metric to better measure progress towards leaving no one behind, and as a system more adjusted to the realities of middle-income countries.
  • Support safe, orderly and regular migration as a means of reducing global inequality. Including migrants in national and global responses and recovery efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising the contribution of migrants to economic recovery, ensuring respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, keep remittances flowing and bring transaction costs to less than 3% and strengthen bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral cooperation to promote effectively post COVID-19 protection, well-being, and social and labour re-integration of migrants into post-COVID-19 job market.
  • Reversing the rise in hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty exacerbated by the pandemic, keeping in mind the gender dimension of poverty, and boosting progress towards a zero hunger world by 2030 through sustainable, diverse and inclusive food systems, striving for a transformational outcome of the UN Secretary-General´s Food System Summit in 2021.
  • Strengthening social dialogue, social inclusion and social security, through comprehensive policies that promotes human rights, equal opportunities and treatment, and just transitions as well as well-functioning labour markets. Ensuring that all actors in labour markets, including manufacturers, brands, buyers, workers and consumers act responsibly in line with the Global Deal initiative and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and towards a world where all work is decent work.

2. Improve conditions for health and well-being, our health preparedness and the effectiveness of the global health system by:

  • Building stronger political consensus for a coordinated global response to COVID-19. We will champion the importance and urgency of equitable, transparent, timely, gender-responsive and affordable global access to new and existing tools, especially safe, quality and effective vaccines, diagnostic tests and treatments. We will contribute to promoting and providing sufficient resources to international mechanisms and initiatives, such as ACT-A (Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator).  We recognise the role of extensive immunisation against COVID-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing and stopping transmission in order to bring the pandemic to an end. Favouring changes based on evidence, contributing to shaping a global health architecture fit for purpose, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), in particular by supporting the implementation of the findings of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR), the Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee (IOAC) for the WHO Health Emergencies Program and the International Health Regulations Review. We will seek to support the implementation of the recommendations issued as a constructive exercise aiming to strengthen the WHO and its role in protecting and enabling global health, to make it more effective.
  • Calling for a renewed and urgent focus on universal health coverage (UHC), ensuring that health services are accessible and affordable for all. We will work with the UN Secretary General to convene a UN high-level event on global health, with the aim to promote strong and resilient health systems, with a special emphasis on primary health care, including sexual and reproductive health services, as vital to making progress towards UHC and ensuring effective health crisis management. We will bear in mind the relevance of social determinants of health, paying particular attention to the needs of women and girls, as well as those of the elderly and people in vulnerable situations, including persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, Indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants, respecting their autonomy and their enjoyment of human rights.

3. Protect our planet by:

  • Matching up our collective ambition with the scale of the environmental and climate crisis, taking transformative measures based on international cooperation, solidarity and trust among countries, peoples and generations.
  • Re-affirming our commitment to the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as well as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Paris Agreement.
  • Submitting updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement that represent a significant progression compared to the previous NDCs and reflect the highest possible ambition and long-term strategies consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and contributing towards the Paris Agreement’s objective of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century on the basis of equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light  of different national circumstances and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
  • Promoting international cooperation on adaptation, thus committing to strengthening climate resilience in our economies.
  • Promoting the consistency of climate finance flows with pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development.
  • Providing means of implementation, in the form of climate finance, technology development and transfer and capacity developing, to Developing Countries, taking into account the needs of countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change as well as addressing the specific needs and circumstances of Developing Countries.
  • Paving the way, in the framework of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and beyond, for the endorsement and implementation of a strong Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework on land and in the oceans. Such a Framework will combine strong political will with a set of robust science-based targets. It should be supported by the necessary means of implementation, including appropriate legal, technical economic and financial tools and mutual accountability mechanisms recognising the crucial role of research and indigenous knowledge.
  • Welcoming Sweden’s offer to convene in 2022 Stockholm+50, in Stockholm to reflect on how to redefine our relationship to nature and to foster a green recovery through accelerating a shift towards sustainable consumption and production, leaving no one behind. A Stockholm+50 would be distinct from UNEP@50, which would take place in Nairobi at the headquarters of UNEP.

4. Build peace, security and justice by:

  • Supporting the Security Council Resolution 2532 (2020) and the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire by the end of this year by actively advocating for its implementation in our bilateral and multilateral engagements. Stepping up international solidarity to address the impact of COVID-19 in countries ravaged by armed conflict, in post-conflict situations or affected by humanitarian crisis.
  • Ensuring that humanitarian access to those in need of assistance be granted without obstacle or delay and in line with the humanitarian principles.
  • Enhancing implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative launched by the UN Secretary-General and its widely endorsed Declaration of Shared Commitments as a demonstration of the renewal of our collective engagement with UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Encouraging and supporting the Secretary-General to enhance his diplomatic toolbox to prevent the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of hostilities.
  • Supporting conflict prevention including climate security and preventive diplomacy, and contributing to the implementation and financing of the Sustaining Peace Agenda, and ensuring the meaningful and continuous involvement of civil society organisations, women, youth, academia, social leaders, etc. in peacebuilding activities.
  • Advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda and gathering support for the Commitment 2025 initiative to fulfil its 15 specific commitments for effective participation and influence of women in peace processes.
  • Actively supporting the integrity and independence of the International Criminal Court and its important task to investigate and prosecute the gravest crimes of international concern where national courts are unable or unwilling to do so, in order to end impunity and bring justice to its victims.
  • Implementing concerted political and development cooperation efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law through democratic, transparent and accountable governance and independent judicial institutions, thus contributing to through concerted political and development cooperation efforts to advance the implementation of SDG 16 for peaceful and inclusive societies.

5. Defend human rights, democracy and gender equality by:

  • Supporting the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and enhancing the contribution of the Human Rights Council to prevent human rights violations through monitoring, dialogue and cooperation, improved access of civil society and National Human Rights Institutions to the Council, and more systematic links with efforts to uphold international peace and security, sustain peace and implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Championing the achievement of gender equality, the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls in all their diversity and the empowerment of women and girls, including by working for concrete results through the global action coalitions of the Generation Equality Forum in the context of the Beijing+25 anniversary and in support of the 2030 Agenda, recognising that gender equality is a pre-requisite to creating a more peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable world.
  • Leading and promoting results for gender equality through joint initiatives at the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council to advance gender mainstreaming throughout the work of the UN, including the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, as well as to enhance gender balance in multilateralism by promoting the appointment of women to strategic and high-level posts and highlighting their crucial contributions through the organisation of a high-level event with women leaders.

6. Harness the digital revolution by:

  • Supporting all global efforts to achieve global connectivity and access promoting a global investment-friendly environment based on private-public collaboration and the exchange of best practices, both in regulatory and investment instruments.
  • Ensuring that the digital transition benefits everyone including by fostering digital inclusion, closing the digital divides, particularly the gender digital divide, and promoting the human rights based use of data and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We will develop evidence-based public policies, provide more efficient public services, build smarter and more humane cities and help tackle societal challenges of our century such as climate change, pandemics or lack of education, and mobility. We will explore the potential for forging an international partnership in the area of innovation and emerging technologies aimed at promoting digital inclusion.
  • Promoting the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms also in the use of information and communication technologies.
  • Noting the gender dimension of the digital divide.
  • Ensuring a fair and effective approach to addressing tax challenges posed by the digitalisation of the economy by supporting ongoing negotiations at the OECD/Inclusive Framework, to ensure that companies in all sectors contribute their fair share.

7. Ensure sustainable financing by:

  • Encouraging the global economic recovery effort by advancing the menu of options developed through the high-level process on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.
  • Assessing ways to coordinate financial efforts by international financial institutions to address global challenges, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, and to develop strategies to reduce financing risk in low and middle-income countries. This could include innovative ways to get and mobilise finance, addressing the consequences of high debt levels on countries’ ability to withstand the impact of the COVID-19 shock and collectively engaging, on a case-to-case basis, in debt treatments for those countries with significant debt vulnerabilities and deteriorating outlook. The strategies should be based on the mandates of each official actor, including official creditors (bilateral, multilateral, plurilateral) and involve close co-operation among the actors, including with the private sector.
  • Redoubling our efforts to implementing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development in support of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.
  • Enhancing the functioning of the global financial and international debt architecture and governance and the international financial system to make it more representative and equitable and promote economic stability and sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Honouring commitments to developing countries and increasing Official Development Assistance, supporting predictable, timely and flexible core funding to the United Nations Development system, as well as access to concessional financing for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
  • Showing our unwavering support for the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core, and support for continued efforts to reform the WTO so that it is as effective as possible.


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