Swedish statement delivered by Ambassador Irina Schoulgin Nyoni on behalf of the Nordic countries at the United Nations General Assembly adoption of the UNHCR Omnibus resolution, 17 December 2018, New York.
Thank you, Madam President.
The work on the resolution on the “Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees”, the so called “UNHCR Omnibus resolution”, is traditionally facilitated by one of the Nordic countries. I am honoured to make this statement today on behalf of the five Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and my own country Sweden – as it this year has been our privilege to facilitate the resolution in Geneva and present it to the General Assembly in New York.
The subject matter of this resolution is the mandate and work of the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR. It is a humanitarian, non-political text, dealing with the common ground that will enable the UNHCR to continue to work in the interest of us all – most essentially for the benefit of refugees and other persons of concern under its mandate.
This year, as you are aware, is an especially important one for the UNHCR Omnibus resolution. The New York Declaration stipulates that the global compact on refugees – the GCR – is to be presented to the Assembly for its consideration in conjunction with the UNHCR resolution. The GCR is the toolkit that will help us deliver a more effective response, putting the rights and potential of refugees and their hosts at the heart of a more comprehensive approach. We look forward to assessing our common progress at the first Global Refugee Forum in a year’s time.
We commend the UNHCR for the comprehensive and transparent process of consultation they carried out together with us Member States in Geneva to develop the GCR, and we underline the importance of its implementation. The GCR, when implemented and supported, has the potential of strengthening international solidarity and responsibility sharing and paving the way for a more effective collective response to one of the central global challenges of our time.
So far, this resolution has always been adopted by consensus in the General Assembly. It has never been voted on. Our colleagues in Geneva worked hard for over a month to agree on important changes and additions to this resolution. At the adoption in the third committee some weeks ago, an overwhelming majority of Member States expressed their support for the resolution and for the work of the UNHCR.
As the facilitator of this year’s resolution, and on behalf of all the Nordic countries, I today encourage all Member States of the United Nations to support this resolution and to vote in favour of its adoption by the General Assembly.