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Tale til virtuelt møde i Sikkerhedsrådet, 8 maj 2020

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Mr. President, distinguished speakers,
Allow me to extend my appreciation to my Estonian colleague for holding this timely Arria-formula meeting.


“Every end contains a new beginning and a promise.”

The philosopher Hannah Arendt reminded us that after the Second World War.

The UN was that promise.

We must never forget that.



We now mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The UN was born from its ashes to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

A call for “never again” after the cataclysm of two world wars. 

And today we are facing what the Secretary-General has termed “the gravest test” to the UN ever.



Today, the UN’s rationale is re-affirmed in the face of this unprecedented crisis.

COVID-19 has killed more than 240,000 people worldwide.

It stands to have profound and transformative social, economic and political implications.

The health and futures of our populations – not least the most vulnerable ones – now depend on our ability to work together.



We need to find effective solutions.

Not only a vaccine against COVID-19 itself.

But also solutions for the socio-economic and political challenges ahead.

The Secretary General’s call for an immediate global ceasefire in March was a crucial recognition of this.

Denmark fully supported his call.

That the Security Council could not agree to rally immediately behind this call should be cause of concern for all.



Where does the UN and its member states go from here?

In her ever-relevant book The Origins of Totalitarianism – written after the Second World War – Hannah Arendt points out:

“there remains also the truth – that every end in history – necessarily contains a new beginning; this beginning is the promise”.

After the Second World War, the creation of UN was that promise.

Today, we need to re-affirm that promise.

A promise to unite against foreseeable threats to humankind.

A promise that, we together take responsibility for the global community and our shared future.

We need to find a way to strengthen trust, solidarity and cooperation among us.

New infectious diseases will threaten us again if we do not.



Our promise for the post-COVID world should be to “build back better” and greener.

It will only happen if we truly understand and accept what that requires from each one of us.

If we do not wait for our neighbor to take the first step, but are all prepared to lead the way.

If we all insist on being that beginning and that promise, the UN was born to be.

Thank you.