The UN opens its 75th General Assembly in a “crucial” year due to the coronavirus pandemic
The United Nations inaugurated its 75th session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, in a “crucial” year due to the challenges facing the organization due, especially, to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres.
In an appointment in which the diplomats, equipped with masks, have kept several seats away to protect themselves from COVID-19, Guterres has focused on the UN responding to the “immediate impact” of the pandemic by “strengthening health systems and support for the development and equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines ”.
He has also called for preparing to “build” a “strong recovery” based on the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. To these challenges, Guterres has added peace and security, disarmament, Human Rights, gender equality and sustainable development.
He also highlighted the expectations that the world has placed on the UN as it celebrates its 75th anniversary, as it represents the main platform for multilateralism and international cooperation.
In this sense, he has clarified that “the strength of multilateralism is changing” and has pointed out, as on other occasions, “the need for a more interconnected and inclusive type of multilateralism for the 21st century.”
Guterres has subsequently welcomed the new President of the General Assembly, Turkish diplomat Vokan Bozkir, who is replacing Tijjani Muhammad-Bande of Nigeria in office.
De Bozkir, the Secretary General stressed that he welcomes “with satisfaction” his promise to “work to consolidate trust and cohesion between the Member States of the United Nations, the main groups of countries and other international organizations.”
The diplomat, who has almost 50 years of professional experience and has worked as Minister of European Affairs in Turkey, alluded during his speech that opponents of multilateralism have been more critical since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The pandemic has been used to justify unilateral measures and weaken the international system. International organizations have been criticized and the need for international cooperation has been questioned, ”he said. However, although he has admitted that these criticisms “are not unfounded,” he has qualified that “his conclusions are wrong.
In this sense, he recalled that no country can fight the pandemic alone and that social distancing at the international level is not helpful.
“Unilateralism will only strengthen the pandemic. It will take us away from our common goal. At this time of crisis it is our responsibility to strengthen people’s faith in multilateral cooperation and international institutions, with the UN at its center, “he stressed.