Koenders wants the world to empower the UN

“In 2014, the UN showed us what it stands for. It is up to its member states to ensure that the UN can even do a better job in the future.” This appeal was made by Mr Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Tuesday January 20 in New York, during a speech at the International Peace Institute.

"The year 2014 demonstrated how important the UN can be. The UN reacted firmly to the Ebola crisis, more assistance was given to refugees than ever before and the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles were dismantled," said the minister. 

"At the same time 2014 has shown us that more needs to be done. Moreover, we need to do it differently: The UN Security Council has been incapable of responding to the atrocities in Syria, while people desperately need our help. There are still 800 million people that suffer from hunger. And women still do not get the place they deserve in peace negotiations."

According to the minister, the UN could use the assistance of individual member states on a number of issues. “This year we need to agree on ambitious and well-thought-out sustainable development goals, which will help eradicate poverty by 2030. Once political agreements are reached, the UN can proceed with the implementation.” 

In addition, the UN must be able to focus on protecting civilians in conflict areas. "We need to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations and need to work ever more closely with regional organizations like the African Union and the European Union." The UN must stand up for women's rights. "With resolution 1325, we made a promise to women in conflict situations that we are going to improve their position. That promise, we must honor. "

Koenders also stated that “we need a Security Council that reflects today’s realities. Now conflicts in places like Syria and Ukraine cannot be addressed, while it is obvious that this is necessary. 

“We must work towards a more effective Security Council. In addition, the UN should discuss ‘about’ countries less, but rather ‘with’ countries.”

Nonetheless, Koenders is firm in his conviction that the UN is the pre-eminent forum to achieve peace, justice and development. Exactly because of that, the Netherlands is a candidate for a seat on the Security Council in 2017-2018.

While in New York, the minister will also have a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.