Speech of Frode Mauring, UN Resident Coordinator in the Russian Federation at the UN Day reception

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Yakovenko,

Excellences, Ambassadors,

Distinguished guests,

Friends and colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

And I would like to specifically thank our host, Zurab Tseretely, a famous artist and a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.

We are here today to mark together the 64th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations on 24 October 1945. On that date, the Charter of the United Nations came into force, and a global institution emerged out of the chaos and destruction of the Second World War. That was to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war - to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights - to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms”.

Last year, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the UN presence in the country. The United Nations family in Russia is very diverse both in terms of the length of presence in Russia, mandates and activities. Most UN agencies, funds and programmes, were set up here in the 1990s. It was a different Russia then, when the country underwent social and economic transition. United Nations provided humanitarian and technical assistance to assist the Russian Federation solving these problems.

A lot has changed over the past years. Russia’s economic growth and development allowed it to strengthen its international positions, to resume it role as an international donor, and to take up ambitious commitments for international humanitarian and development assistance.

The United Nations in Russia has adjusted to these developments, shifting from humanitarian assistance to development programmes, providing technical assistance, international expertise, and channels for experience exchange.

In the North Caucasus, for example, the focus has shifted from humanitarian aid to support government capacities and complement the work towards sustainable solutions, whether for shelter or employment. Elsewhere, the UN is actively supporting development in every corner of Russia, from Kamchatka in the Far East all the way to Kaliningrad in the West.

However, it is becoming more and more a two-way process, benefitting both Russia and, on the other hand, its CIS neighbours and broader international community.

The evolution led to the closure of most UN humanitarian programmes and projects and the reorientation of the work of other UN entities. This to better complement government efforts and to respond to the country’s needs.

Together with our government counterparts and other partners in the civil society and business community, the UN and its agencies are discussing the changing nature of its relationship with Russia. The strong bound between Russia and the UN will continue. Now is the time for accelerated discussions to redefine our collaboration. This may evoke new partnerships models, competency centres, transition towards national entities or regional presence.

This time in Russia, it is the United Nations that is in transition.

The new cooperation is particularly important at this moment in the world affairs, when multiple crises are appearing at once. We have financial crisis, economic crisis, food crisis, pandemic flu, and climate crisis. This on top of the challenges posed by international terrorism, global poverty challenges, disasters and conflicts where United Nations is providing a global framework for solutions. The role of Russia in resolving these challenges cannot be underestimated.

Russia has already generously contributed to WFP global programmes for fighting hunger, to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to UNESCO, to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculoses and Malaria. And I could continue.

And that is why we as UN agencies, funds, and programmes pledge to continue our support where our assistance is wanted or needed. The world needs Russia’s active contribution in defining the future space of multilateralism, and implementing its outcome. And that is why we support the ratification processes on issues like the UN conventions on statelessness and on the rights of people with disabilities.

The upcoming UN Conference of Climate Change in Copenhagen needs a strong global leadership to create a workable framework to combat global warming. Again Russia is a vital partner with 1/7 of the world’s landmass and a huge potential in energy efficiency as also President Medvedev pointed out recently as a key priority.

We are all in the same boat, and we will sink or swim together.

As the UN Secretary General put it, “on this UN Day, let us resolve to redouble our efforts on behalf of the vulnerable, the powerless, the defenceless. Let us stand more united than ever – united in purpose and united in action to make the world a safer and better place.”

I hope you will enjoy this evening with us. Thanks you.