United Nations General Assembly: Our Common Agenda thematic debate – Frameworks for a peaceful world – promoting peace, international law and digital; cooperation.

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Permanent Representative, H.E. Ms. Carolyn Schwalger.

Thank you Mr. Vice-President. New Zealand aligns itself with the statement made by Australia, on behalf of CANZ, the statements delivered on behalf of the Groups of Friends of Women Peace and Security and R2P, and the cross-regional statement on the Global Digital Compact. Allow us to deliver some remarks in our national capacity.

Maintaining international peace and security is a fundamental element of the UN Charter, shaping New Zealand’s engagement at the United Nations.

New Zealand therefore welcomes the UN Secretary-General’s proposed New Agenda for Peace – one that puts risk reduction, conflict prevention and peacebuilding at its centre.

We agree that the New Agenda provides a key opportunity to update our vision for disarmament. We hope that this renewed focus can help break through the stalemate that plagues the multilateral disarmament machinery and compounds the challenges we face in eliminating weapons of mass destruction, effectively controlling conventional weapons and regulating new weapons of technology.

New Zealand is a ready partner in this exercise, having been an early champion of – and party to - the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and a strong advocate for the elaboration of new legally-binding rules on autonomous weapons systems. We applaud the Secretary-General’s emphasis on concrete proposals, including a timeframe for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and believe an ambitious New Agenda for Peace could be a key piece of the proposed Summit for the Future.

The peaceful, secure, and sustainable use of space is central to all our interests. We rely on space-based infrastructure and data for everything from financial transactions, to weather forecasting, to climate monitoring. New Zealand looks forward to discussions at both the open-ended working group on space threats as well as our ongoing work at the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. We support all efforts that can contribute to fulfilling this goal, including the Secretary-General’s proposal for further dialogue on outer space.

We also view the proposed New Agenda for Peace as a means to promote inclusive peacebuilding and peace-making processes that elevate the role of women, youth and civil society stakeholders.

In particular, New Zealand recognises the importance of putting all women and girls at the centre of conflict prevention and is committed to promoting Women, Peace and Security domestically and within the South West Pacific.

New Zealand is a proud supporter of the Peacebuilding Fund and the importance of peacebuilding efforts in regions such as the Pacific. We recognise that core to the ability for states to be resilient to recurrent conflict, is the importance of addressing the root causes, preventing escalation and ensuring there is adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for peacebuilding.

Finally, achieving and sustaining lasting peace and security is not possible without protecting and respecting all human rights.

We must focus on equitable and inclusive approaches to build forward better. Diverse voices improve our multilateral work, and we continue to advocate for inclusive civil society participation. New Zealand further calls for progress on the important discussions on enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples at the UN.

New Zealand fully supports the implementation of the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, including the guidance to help protect and promote civic space – both online and offline.

We are committed to building an inclusive society for all: where diversity is valued; everyone feels safe and their human rights are respected. Our Common Agenda is an important step towards this goal.

Thank you.


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