Michele Bellasich and Åsa Magnusson from Dianova in Sweden participated in the Swedish United Nation Associations member meeting on May 29 at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm. Dianova Sweden have been a member since 2012 and were invited to this meeting with Jan Eliasson who will assume his new position as the UN Deputy General Secretary on the 1st of July.
Mr. Eliasson was invited to give a speech to the Swedish member organizations about his mandate and the issues he intends to urge in his new position. During his speech, he painted a vivid picture of his great experience of international affairs, conflict management and international negotiations.
According to Jan Eliasson, the most important issue for all Member States is to not see national and domestic solutions as a premise for development. International solutions are the way forward for all of us, he says. One example is the environment and climate threat.
Jan Eliasson asks the question; ”How are we going to solve these issues if we only look at each nation’s needs?” We have only one planet, there is no plan B. It is a worldwide issue which needs common solutions.
Further on, Jan Eliasson stated that peace and human rights are issues that should be pushed harder by the UN. We need to find a way to end violence against women and children during conflicts. Sweden has previously shown through Margot Wallström, that it is possible to find help and solutions for those affected by working with strong values and determination. Things are much better today, according to Jan Eliasson. More people are now getting education, and illiteracy is decreasing in the world. Unfortunately we have not been as successful with health and sanitation issues. Far too many people live without access to clean water in the 21th century.
Water and sanitation are issues that are closely associated with the millennium goals and concerns for the next generation. The common future is a responsibility of all countries. The United Nations and Jan Eliasson, is honored to have the opportunity to be involved in shaping these solutions.
NGOs have an important role in the UN. They examine the system and are capable of influencing it through their knowledge by working alongside of governments and authority in many countries. Organizations may not always be represented in the UN, but Jan Eliasson pledge to work for better coordination to be achieved and thereby also strengthen NGOs in their missions.
After Jan Eliasson’s speech were the member organizations given an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments and feedback. The most intriguing question came from a young student at the Tibble Gymnasium. “How can I do to get the opportunity to work internationally?”
Jan Eliasson replied; ”Find your primary cause, get involved where you can and work hard. Your heart has no borders, right?”