A PACE delegation at the UN ponders how to uphold common values in challenging times

New challenges to universal human rights, democracy and the rule of law and the need to strengthen co-operation between the Council of Europe and the United Nations for upholding these common values, including the important role that parliamentarians must play, when multilateralism is openly and increasingly being challenged were the focus of discussions with high-level UN officials during the bi-annual meeting of the Sub-Committee on External Relations at UN Headquarters (New York, 5-6 December 2018).

The Sub-Committee met with Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Achim Steiner, Under-Secretary-General, Administrator of the United Nations Development programme (UNDP); Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism; Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist; and Juwang Zhu, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development Goals/Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); Miroslav Jenca, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Craig Mokhiber, Director, New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); as well as with Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; and Ambassador Jussi Tanner, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations, representing the country holding the Presidency in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Adão Silva (Portugal, EPP/CD), Rapporteur on Strengthening co-operation with the United Nations in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, who took part in the visit, had a series of additional meetings on 3-4 December 2018 to discuss the ways of stepping up the parliamentary contribution towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda, with particular focus on Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), Goal 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries), and Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels).