Former Presidents, Prime Ministers, UN leaders and Government Ministers Call for a Strengthened United Nations System

Ahead of the September 21 High Level Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, a group of prominent former government and UN leaders are calling on current world leaders to take action to strengthen the United Nations system.

In an Open Letter published today, 48 former UN and government officials from around the world are calling for the 75th anniversary to lead to “a stronger, more accountable, inclusive multilateral system.”

According to Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “The 75th anniversary of the United Nations should provide an opportunity to do more than look back and celebrate past achievements. Governments must take stock of the current challenges facing the UN. The hard months and years ahead will require determined and principled leadership. Multilateralism is not an option: it is the only path that can deliver a green, sustainable and equitable recovery.”

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and former Foreign Minister of Ecuador said, “The United Nations is an irreplaceable organization. It has a critical role in leading a concerted, coordinated response to the COVID pandemic, and its recovery process which should allow us to “build back better.” This year’s commemoration of the UN 75th anniversary is a golden opportunity to rejuvenate and retool the organization to build a more effective and inclusive multilateral system.”

And Danilo Türk, President of Club de Madrid and former President of Slovenia, noted that, “The 75th Anniversary of the United Nations is a reminder of the Organization’s rich experience, its unique convening power and legitimacy, assets that remain vital for the future of the world.”

The UN75 Declaration, expected to be adopted September 21 by world leaders, mandates Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to report back before the end of the 75th session of the General Assembly “with recommendations to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges.”

Signatories to the letter provide their support in their individual capacities.  The letter will remain open for additional signatures until October 24, United Nations Day.


Read Letter

Members of World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid who are signatories of the letter:

Mª Elena Agüero, Secretary General of WLA-CdM
Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of The Netherlands (2002-2010)
Ban Ki-moon, Eighth Secretary General of the UN
Joyce Banda, President of Malawi (2012-2014)
Valdis Birkavs, Prime Minister of Latvia (1993-1994)
Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (2007-2010)
John Bruton, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland (1994-1997)
Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland (2007 and 2011)
Fernando Henrique Cardoso President of Brazil (1995-2003)
Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister (1985-1995) and President of Portugal (2006-2016)
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008)
Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of Lithuania (2009-2019)
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland (2000-2012)
Han Seung-Soo, Prime Minister of the Rep. of Korea (2008-2009)
Ivo Josipovic, President of Croatia (2010-2015)
Horst Köhler, President of Germany (2004-2010)
Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005)
Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile (2000-2006)
Zlatko Lagumdzija, Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina (2001-2002)
Carlos Mesa, President of Bolivia (2003-2005)
James Michel, President of Seychelles (2004-2016)
Roza Otunbayeva, President of Kyrgyzstan (2010-2011)
Andres Pastrana, President of Colombia (1998-2002)
Oscar Ribas Reig, Prime Minister of Andorra (1982-1984, 1990-1994)
Mary Robinson, President of Ireland, (1990-1997)
Petre Roman, Prime Minister of Romania (1989-1991)
Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010)
Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1997-1999)
Danilo Türk, President of Slovenia (2007-2012)