Model United Nations Mongolia: Remarks by Beate Trankmann, UN Resident Coordinator

Oct 22, 2016

Honoured representatives, distinguished students, the bright future of Mongolia:

I would like to begin with the words of the former Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.”

We live in an interdependent world, with interconnected challenges. Poverty has bred terrorism. Terrorism has led to war. War has displaced millions. Uncapped consumption has created climate change and environmental destruction. Our World is at a crucial crossroad.  

In a few days, we will celebrate the 71st birthday of the UN.

The UN was founded against the backdrop of the horrors of the Second World War that affected 60 countries and killed over 60 million people. It was created to bring the world back together.

From the start, in the UN charter, its founders were determined:

  • To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in the 20th century has brought untold sorrow to mankind and;
  • To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,
  • To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.

As one child of war from South Korea put it:

“One of my earliest memories is walking up a muddy road into the mountains. It was raining. Behind me, my village was burning. When there was school, it was under a tree. Then the United Nations came. They fed me, my family, my community.”

That child grew up to become the outgoing UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. 

Promoting a more peaceful world, protecting the rights of all human beings and lifting people out of poverty remain as relevant as when the UN was founded 71 years ago.

If ever you feel far away from the halls of the UN General Assembly, think again. For a nation of just over 3 million people, Mongolia has made extraordinary contributions to global stability, since it joined the UN 55 years ago. It has sent more than 8,500 troops to UN peacekeepers to conflict zones such as Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Western Sahara. At this very moment, 950 Mongolian peacekeepers are active in these places – several times more than the troops sent by some much larger countries. From Mongolia’s example you can see, that size and distance are no match for determination.

Mongolia is a model of democracy, a committed global citizen, an active participant on the UN Human Rights Council and an early adopter of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030, or SDGs.

Just over a year ago, world leaders at the UN unanimously adopted these goals to end poverty, tackle inequality, and protect our planet. They also adopted the Paris Agreement to fight climate change at COP21.

These agendas are extremely relevant for Mongolia. One in five Mongolians remain in poverty. More than half of all residents in the capital live without running water, sanitation or central heating. While out on the steppe, climate-related disasters, such as droughts and dzuds, are putting ever-greater strains on nomadic communities.

You – the Model United Nations – have the opportunity to change all of that, one day. So as your discussions get underway, I implore you to keep these goals in mind. For they are, ultimately, your goals. They will be carried out by, and affect most greatly, your generation. You are the future of an idea that has sustained generations before – the idea of a United Nations that unifies and shields us during, even the most turbulent times.

In every deliberation, ask yourself: how can we ensure our society is fairer, and that our planet survives? These aspirations are complementary. One cannot succeed without the other.  

And, also, ask yourselves this: how can my goal meet my peer’s goal? Because in a United Nations, you can only achieve what you achieve together. Compromise is key for consensus; and consensus is crucial for progress. 

For the first time in history we actually have the means to end poverty. But we are also likely to be the last generation that can save the planet from climate change. The SDGs give us a plan to do this. We have to succeed. There is no planet B.

You – as the next generation – are the ones that can carry the hope and ideals for a better world into the future.

This is why I am so delighted to see you getting involved, by being part of the model UN.

Thank you, and good luck! 

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