Ladies and Gentlemen,
New is the year, renewed are our hopes and spirits, so let me first wish you and your families all the best for 2023. As we have that sentiment of a crossroad, let me also express – along with the hopes and expectations that come with every New Year – a special wish for a stronger resolution to invest – tirelessly and together – in a more peaceful world.
I thank the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan for hosting this ceremony and for the warm words of welcome he addressed to us newcomers, who will certainly never forget this moment. Let me honor the words of my dear colleagues from Ecuador, Japan - our president of the month - Malta and Mozambique about this path that we will walk together in a spirit of shared duty. Let me also acknowledge our predecessors and the strong legacy they have left us elected members of the Council.
And while I stand here, representing my country which joins the Security Council for the first time in its history, I feel a deep sense of humility and responsibility. I would like to express our gratitude to the members of the General Assembly for the confidence you have placed in Switzerland by electing us to the Council. Exactly 175 years ago, my country adopted the first democratic Constitution in Europe. It was far from perfect, but we have built upon this foundation and worked hard, so that today, Switzerland has a deeply rooted democratic tradition. And 20 years ago we became the only country whose membership in the UN was approved by a popular vote. You can believe us when we say: We will honor your trust by upholding the accountability that we owe you as a member of this Council, guided by the principle in our Swiss Constitution which calls upon us to work towards a peaceful and just world.
In today’s ceremony, our youngest team member and former Youth delegate is holding the Swiss flag, since we shall never forget that the Charter mandates us in its very first sentence to work for the “succeeding generations”. To achieve lasting peace, we need the voices of young people. To achieve lasting peace, we need the voices of women. To achieve lasting peace, we need the voices, hands and hearts of everyone.
As UN member states, we owe future generations no less than our full dedication, every single day. So as an elected member, Switzerland will work for a Council which protects civilians and supports communities in building peace. A Council with a keen understanding of Today’s major challenges for peace and security, including climate change. And a Council with efficient working methods. Our actions will be guided by universality and impartiality. And in doing so, let international law, human rights and humanitarian principles be our compass.
The road to peace looks rough today. Millions of people suffer the consequences of armed conflict. Many more live in a peace that is too fragile to build on and prosper. And all along, new threats block the path forward. But we are set on building bridges, fostering dialogue and surmounting these obstacles in a common effort with all members of the Council. Lest we forget, in the words of Henry Dunant, founder of the ICRC and citizen of Geneva: “Our real enemy is not the neighboring nation; it’s hunger, cold, poverty, ignorance, routine, superstition and prejudice”.
Let me end with the Swiss motto written in the cupola of our Parliament building: “Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno”, “One for all and all for one”. It symbolizes that one should strive towards unity and solidarity - together.
We certainly will.