General Assembly: 26th Plenary Meeting, 76th Session

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02-Nov-2021 00:42:23
Amid threats to sustainable development progress, partnership key to end climate, COVID‑19 crises, Economic and Social Council President tells General Assembly.

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As the international community faces the most difficult challenges of the twenty-first century, Member States must collaborate and make use of the functions and mandates of the Economic and Social Council to tackle COVID‑19, its impacts and the climate crisis, the President of the Economic and Social Council told the General Assembly today.

“We need to work together to address these challenges that threaten our progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Collen Vixen Kelapile (Botswana).

Presenting the Council’s report of its 2021 session on behalf of his predecessor, Munir Akram (Pakistan), he said the Council, at the closing of its session, adopted by consensus, together with the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, a political declaration committing to a response to COVID‑19 that advances the Sustainable Development Goals, demonstrating its commitment to international solidarity and multilateralism.

As the growing gap between the North and the South threatens to further widen inequalities among countries, the Forum and the Council gave new impetus to supporting least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States, which have been hit hard by the crisis. Ensuring equitable, universal and affordable access to the COVID‑19 vaccine is a moral imperative and the only way to overcome the pandemic. As well, financial resources must be mobilized to support developing countries’ recovery.

Addressing those issues and recovering from the pandemic, he said, requires a whole-of-society approach and innovative partnerships engaging Governments, the private sector, civil society and others. “People must transform the way they live, work, travel and consume in order to address the interlinked crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste,” he emphasized, recalling the deliberations of the High-Level Political Forum and the Council’s meetings.

Following the presentation of the report, the representative of the Maldives stressed that “this trajectory cannot be blamed on the pandemic alone, although COVID‑19 has set us further behind”. Acknowledging the tremendous efforts of women, in the formal and informal sectors, in helping people everywhere get through the pandemic, he urged Member States to reduce and redistribute women’s disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work and close the gender gap in the labour force.

The representative of the Russian Federation noted that for the Council to perform its functions effectively, it is also important to ensure the participation not only of States but also of a broad range of other development actors from different geographical areas, so that not only the voices of the donors of the so-called global North, but also those of the developing countries, are heard.

Also today, the Council took up its agenda item titled “Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit” to hold a specific meeting focused on development, in accordance with its resolution 60/265 of 30 June 2006.

The representatives of Oman and Bolivia also spoke.

The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 5 November, to elect a member of the International Court of Justice.

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