Diamond Light
Newsletter of the Aquarian Age Community
2016 No. 2
Index | Back Issues

Secretary-General António Guterres’
Vision Statement
for the UN and the World


The United Nations Charter is an achievement exceptional in the annals of history. Seventy years after being adopted, its validity remains undiminished. The Charter is the source of the United Nations' unique legitimacy and provides guidance for its every activity. All its signatories decided to abide by its purposes, principles and provisions to "achieve international cooperation in solving international problems". 

The UN is the institutional expression of the international community, the cornerstone of our international system and the key actor of effective multilateralism. It is the essential instrument of member States to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action, in an enduring quest for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainably developed world, in which international law and the dignity and worth of the human person are fully pursued.

Understanding global mega-trends is crucial. We live in times of multiple, evolving and mutually-reinforcing shifts. These dynamics, of geopolitical, demographic, climatic, technological, social and economic nature, enhance threats and opportunities on an unprecedented scale.

Globalization and technological progress fostered extraordinary economic growth and created conditions for unparalleled reduction of extreme poverty and generalized improvement of living standards. But their unbalanced nature led to high income concentration and extreme inequality, and made exclusion even more intolerable. Exclusion, competition over dwindling resources and shortcomings in governance undermine social cohesion and institutional robustness, further contributing to the eruption of violent conflicts.

In addition to traditional threats to international peace and security, the nature of conflict is changing, with a multiplicity of armed actors, many employing asymmetric methods.  Terrorism, international organized crime and illicit trafficking pose real threats.

Devastating epidemics loom persistently on the horizon. Climate change affects economies and peoples, their lands, oceans and seas. More and more States are turning to the oceans as a source of economic and social development, while realizing that their resources have to be developed in a sustainable manner.

Against this background, the UN faces new challenges in ensuring peace and security, promoting sustainable development, protecting human rights and delivering humanitarian aid.

The UN is uniquely placed to connect the dots to overcome these challenges. To succeed, it must further strengthen the nexus between peace and security, sustainable development and human rights policies - a holistic approach to the mutually-reinforcing linkages between its three pillars.

The 2015 landmark agreements on sustainable development, notably the Agenda 2030, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda lay out a clear strategy for action. They represent a unique opportunity that must be seized. Achieving these important goals has direct implications for peace and the realization of human needs and fundamental rights. For many, it means survival.

Now that we know what, we must work on how. With clear priorities, tangible benchmarks and the power to mobilize all stakeholders, promoting national ownership and ensuring no one is left behind. The reform and fine tuning of the UN Development System should be pursued to deliver full support to member States. With the horizon of 2030 the focus is on action and the watchword is implementation, implementation, implementation.

It's widely recognized that there is no peace without development and no development without peace; it is also true that there is no peace and sustainable development without respect for human rights. Based on its acquis and normative framework, the UN human rights system has a key role to play in strengthening member States' capacity to comply with their human rights obligations, without discrimination. The SG should ensure the mainstreaming of human rights across the whole UN system, notably through the Human Rights Up Front initiative, preventing violations and abuses, ensuring accountability and addressing the plight of victims.

….Similarly, fully respecting the humanitarian principles and the autonomy of the humanitarian space, it is clear that there is no humanitarian solution for humanitarian problems. The solution is always political. And the protracted nature of present humanitarian emergencies also requires a medium and long-term resilience and development perspective.

Peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity are enshrined in the Charter and bind us together. These values are central to all cultures and religions in the world and are reflected in the Holy Books - from the Qur'an to the Gospels and the Torah, from the Upanishads to the Pali canon.

As Kofi Annan put it, "of course having such common values does not solve all problems, or eliminate the scope for different societies to solve them in different ways.( ... ) Each society should be given the space, not to distort or undermine universal values, but to express them in a way that reflects its own traditions and culture."

In times of insecurity, when people feel uncertain about their future, when anxieties and fears are promoted and exploited by political populists, old-fashioned nationalists or religious fundamentalists, the success of the UN and the international community lies in our common commitment to our common values. The UN must be proud of its diversity. A diversity that only enriches the strength of the expression of our common humanity. 

* On April 4, 2016, Mr. Guterres presented his “vision statement” to the General Assembly.  Herein he addressed the challenges and opportunities facing the United Nations and the next Secretary-General.   It was Trygve Lie, the first Secretary-General of the United Nations, who first greeted his successor, Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden, at Idlewild airport in New York on April 9, 1953 with what has now become a widespread recognition: "Welcome, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the most impossible job on this earth.”