Discussion with the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN
The UN is in need of strong leaders who will protect national sovereignty and human rights
The refugee crisis has led to some nationalist sentiment in Denmark, but the government remains dedicated to fair asylum practices
International agreements do not threaten national sovereignty
Denmark seeks to use fully renewable energy by 2050
The Honorable Mr. Ib Petersen, the Representative of Denmark to the UN, visited NYU to speak with a group of students on his role in the UN. Hosted by the NYU UN Initiative, the discussion with Petersen took place in Kimmel 910 at 5:30 pm on Oct. 18, 2018.
Petersen started the discussion by stating that the UN is in need of strong leaders who can protect the national sovereignty of member states and the ideals on which the organization was founded. Thus, Petersen believes that Denmark should prioritize conflict prevention and human rights in UN negotiations. However, key members such as Russia believe conflict prevention is interventionist and therefore do not fall under the responsibilities of the UN.
When asked about the increase in nationalist, anti-immigrant sentiment internationally and in Denmark, Petersen described the process as a slow, gradual one. Denmark has historically had a homogeneous population; the refugee crisis disrupted this, causing many Danish to feel a loss of control. Despite the concerns of many at home, Petersen said anyone seeking refuge in Denmark will be welcomed into the country prior to vetting.
Petersen expressed concerns about the isolationism present in current Trump Administration policies and rhetoric. During the General Assembly vote declaring Israel’s declaration of Jerusalem as its capital “null and void,” Nikki Haley addressed the Assembly not on Jerusalem’s significance as capital but alleged encroachments US sovereignty by foreign powers. Petersen said international agreements do not threaten national sovereignty.
Asked about Denmark’s role as among the most environmentally friendly countries in the world, Petersen defined Denmark’s new progressive climate policies. By 2050, Denmark aims to be independent of fossil fuels. As of now, 38 percent of Denmark’s energy supplies are renewable, notably wind power. The representative’s visit to NYU took place the day before Denmark’s P4G (Partnering for Green Goals) Copenhagen Summit, which gathered governmental, cultural, and academic figures to discuss the future of environmentally-friendly policies.
This report was compiled by Danny Hegberg on Oct. 25, 2018, and edited by Jamin Chen. As part of IR INSIDER’s partnership with the NYU UN Initiative, this report can also be found at uninitiative.org.