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SG/SM/20975
15 October 2021

Amid Persistent Security Concerns, Geopolitical Divides, Europe Needs More Mutual Engagement, Understanding, Secretary-General Tells Riga Conference

Following is the text of UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ video message for the Riga Conference, today:

I am pleased to address this year’s Riga Conference — a unique platform for constructive dialogue on peace and security.

Exactly 30 years ago, Latvia and its Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania joined the United Nations.

As Secretary-General, I take inspiration from the strength of our partnership and your commitment to multilateralism.  Today, this commitment is more valuable than ever.  Multilateralism is essential to promote efforts for defusing regional tensions, countering terrorism, confronting cyberthreats, addressing pandemic and climate risks and so much more.

But let’s be frank.  Our multilateral system is too limited in its instruments and capacities and too focused on the short term.  We need to strengthen global governance.  And we need a United Nations fit to address the challenges of the future.

That is why I presented my report on Our Common Agenda — my vision for a reinvigorated inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism.  Anchored in respect for human rights, it outlines measures to invest in prevention and peacebuilding by addressing the root causes of conflict; increase support for regional initiatives to fill gaps in the global peace and security architecture; and place women and girls at the centre of security policy.

In the face of persistent security concerns and geopolitical divides, the European region needs more mutual engagement and understanding.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the global security landscape was deteriorating.  Today, we must act with urgency, foresight and purpose to address our shared concerns — and we must do so together.  The challenges we confront demand nothing less.

Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.