General Assembly: 18th Plenary Meeting, 76th Session

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11-Oct-2021 02:16:02
Speakers chart best way to move United Nations forward as General Assembly considers Secretary-General’s landmark report on reform proposals, multilateral action.

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Speakers in the General Assembly today discussed the best way to move the United Nations forward over the next 25 years as Member States work to revitalize the Organization and better equip its main organs to address pressing global challenges faster and more efficiently.

Debate centred on the Secretary-General’s landmark report Our Common Agenda, which provides a roadmap for translating the 12 points of the Declaration on the Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the United Nations into concrete action and lays out the Secretary-General’s vision for global cooperation to expedite implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and other international agreements.

Delegates broadly supported the Secretary-General’s call for stronger multilateralism to create a more inclusive, equitable and resilient world. Some speakers called for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines and for policies that address the link between socioeconomic development and the climate crisis.

Costa Rica’s representative said now is the time to stand firm against the decay of ecosystems, international financial systems, democratic ideals and dangerously over-armed societies, stressing that the COVID-19 pandemic is not justification for multilateral inaction. “The pandemic does not excuse our abandonment of obligations to human rights, nor the weakening of our democratic norms, nor the fostering of hate speech or nationalist fervour,” she said.

India’s representative warned that if the international community pursues its current divisive path, it will move further away from its ability to recover from the pandemic. While expressing appreciation for the Secretary-General’s proposals, he said greater focus was needed on terrorism, as it remains the biggest threat to peace and security, as well as an obstacle to achieving a common agenda.

Indonesia’s representative said that “leave no one behind” should not just be a slogan but must be put into practice. On the impact of the pandemic on seafarers, he called on States and all stakeholders to support them, noting that Indonesia has committed to take concrete action and made ports available to facilitate the repatriation of crews.

Ethiopia’s representative noted that Our Common Agenda makes the case for addressing interconnected challenges through an interconnected response. It is time to renew the social contract and to put the needs of the most vulnerable at the centre of pandemic recovery efforts, he stressed. Calling upon regional organizations to continue to provide the support needed to implement programmes under the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa, he added that by doing so, they will be contributing to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The speaker for Morocco endorsed the call in the Secretary-General’s report for equitable and immediate access to vaccines through a global immunization plan. Echoing other speakers, she also reiterated Morocco's position in favour of reforming the Security Council and enlarging it to ensure fair representation for Africa.

The representative of the Russian Federation supported the Secretary-General’s basic thesis on strengthening multilateralism. However, he considered some parts of the report to be ambiguous and detached from the United Nations work. The focus on human rights and gender issues, in the context of international peace and security, is inappropriate. Climate and security are not necessarily inextricably linked, he said, adding that it is inadvisable to force countries to go beyond their Paris Agreement commitments.

In other matters, the Assembly adopted without a vote a resolution submitted by its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) titled “Scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses on the United Nations” and contained in an eponymous report (document A/76/383). By its terms, the Assembly agreed that the failure of Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia to pay the full minimum amount necessary to avoid the application of Article 19 of the United Nations Charter was due to conditions beyond their control, and thus decided to permit these States to vote in the Assembly until the end of its seventy-sixth session.

Also speaking today were representatives of Malaysia, Cuba, Denmark, Brazil, Cameroon, Ecuador, China, Argentina, Pakistan, Hungary, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the European Union.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 14 October, to elect members of the Human Rights Council; pay tribute to the memory of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the Assembly’s twenty-ninth session; and consider requests to authorize the dates for meetings of subsidiary bodies, as well as the second session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

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