Your Excellency, Dr. Dehghani, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Distinguished Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Our partners from Iran in development and humanitarian work,
My colleagues from the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us today to celebrate 73 years of Iran – UN partnership.
Let me start off by expressing, on behalf of the UN Family in Iran, our sincere sympathy to the Government of the I. R. of Iran and those who were affected and injured in the Kermanshah Earthquake which happened on Sunday evening.
I wish a speedy recovery for the injured.
The UN stands ready to provide assistance to the Government and People of Iran upon their request. Please count on our support.
Now, focusing on today’s event.
As many of you know, Iran was one of the founding members of the UN, and 73 years of partnership is a long time, and together with the Government of Iran we have achieved many historical goals which was illustrated in the video we just watched.
The framework through which our UN development work operates is our – jointly agreed – UN Development Assistance Framework – or UNDAF.
Our UNDAF for the current period 2017-2021 has already recorded almost two full years of work in the below four mutually-agreed national development priorities:
- Resilient Economy, and
- Drug Control
Allow me to elaborate on some of our joint efforts with the Government of Iran:
- FAO in providing technical cooperation and assistance to the Government of Iran to improve agricultural production.
- UNAIDS is supporting the Government’s efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
- UNDP is supporting Government’s efforts to overcome Iran’s environmental challenges.
- UNESCO is supporting Government’s efforts in preserving and rehabilitating Iran’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
- UNFPA places emphasis on promoting South-South and Triangular cooperation by linking Iran to international best practices and resources to share its experiences.
- UN-Habitat is promoting socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities in Iran.
- UNHCR together with the Government of Iran are assisting close to 1 million Afghan and Iraqi refugees.
- UNIC is connecting the UN with the people it serves by raising awareness about the work of UN in Iran and globally.
- UNICEF drives change for children and young people of Iran and refugee children residing in Iran.
- UNIDO is supporting the Government’s efforts in creating sustainable jobs for women, youth and people with disabilities.
- OCHA is bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.
- UNODC together with the Government are fighting against illicit drug trafficking and crimes.
- WFP in Iran, is assisting 30,000 of the most vulnerable refugees to meet their daily food requirements and live healthy lives.
- WHO is working closely with the Government to tackle Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) epidemic.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are just a few of the examples of our joint efforts with the Government of Iran.
These efforts are also supported by donor countries who are too many to name, and on behalf of the UN Country Team in Iran, I thank you for your efforts and support.
However, many challenges remain especially with sanctions being imposed on Iran regarding which the United Nations Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy has said: “When an economic blockade is imposed, adequate food, medicines, public health and other humanitarian needs must be ensured.”
Success and overcoming challenges cannot be achieved unilaterally.
Multilateralism is the only answer to the challenges we face today.
As our Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said: Globally, this is a time of multiplying conflicts, advancing climate change, deepening inequality and rising tensions over trade. It is a period when people are moving across borders in unprecedented numbers in search of safety or opportunity.
There is anxiety, uncertainty and unpredictability across the world.
Trust is on the decline, within and among nations.
Key assumptions have been upended, key endeavors undermined, and key institutions undercut.
It often seems that the more global the threat, the less able we are to cooperate.
This is very dangerous in the face of today’s challenges, for which global approaches are essential.
And this, ladies and gentlemen is exactly why the UN Secretary-General has said on multiple occasions that JCPOA constitutes a major achievement of nuclear non-proliferation and diplomacy, and has contributed to regional and international peace and security.
The Secretary-General remains convinced that the JCPOA is the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme and to realize the promised tangible economic benefits for the Iranian people.
In this difficult context, we need to inspire a return to international cooperation.
We need a reformed, reinvigorated and strengthened multilateral system.
In the end, multilateralism is nothing more than countries coming together, respecting one another, and establishing the forms of cooperation that guarantee peace and prosperity for all in a healthy planet.
Toward that end, we need stronger commitment to a rules-based order, with the United Nations at its center, with the different institutions and treaties that bring the Charter to life.
But it is not enough to have laws and international conventions, vital as they are.
We need new forms of cooperation with other international and regional organizations – a networked multilateralism.
And we need closer links with civil society and other stakeholders – an inclusive multilateralism.
As 21st-century challenges threaten to outpace 20th-century institutions and mindsets, let us reaffirm the ideals of collective action while pursuing a new generation of approaches and architecture capable of responding.
Reform of the United Nations has a crucial contribution to make, and the Secretary-General looks forward to continuing to press ahead across the pillars of that effort.
But most of all it is our resilient and still visionary UN Charter that points the way – with its articulation of universal values, its grounding in peace, development, human rights and the rule of law, and its vision of countries living as good neighbors and sharing a common fate and future.
Strengthening multilateralism means strengthening our commitment to the Charter.
Such a commitment is needed now more than ever – from all around this hall, and around our world, and to make this a reality, the UN Country Team in Iran stands ready to support the Government of Iran and the international community.