Delegates Highlight Central Role of United Nations in Promoting Multilateralism, as General Assembly Concludes Debate on Secretary-General’s 2022 Priorities

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The General Assembly concluded today its debate on the Secretary-General’s priorities for 2022, as delegates called for strengthened international cooperation and multilateralism as key to achieving those strategic objectives.

Today’s discussion followed a meeting on 21 January in which the Secretary-General called upon countries to mobilize against a “five-alarm global fire”, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, an unprincipled global financial system, lawlessness in cyberspace and a rise in violent conflict (See Press Release GA/12401).

Resuming the debate, Cuba’s representative said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains the road map for fair socioeconomic development for all States, calling on Member States to defend multilateralism and reject coercive measures, such as the one imposed by the United States.  Drawing attention to the right to development, he stressed that it must be promoted with the same force the international community applies to other human rights.

Azerbaijan’s delegate described the central role of the United Nations in promoting global solidarity, multilateralism and common efforts as the most effective means to achieve sustainable development and human rights.  Agreeing on the need to confront vaccine nationalism, he said his country has mobilized resources to ensure equitable vaccine access for all States.

Along the same lines, Haiti’s delegate commended the Organization’s contributions to peace and socioeconomic progress, stating:  “Despite its weaknesses, how can we imagine the world without superstructures such as the United Nations?”

Timor-Leste’s representative urged the entire international community to cooperate and fulfil commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and support developing countries’ efforts to address the issue by providing financial resources and technical support.

Wrapping up the debate, the Assembly took note of the Secretary-General’s annual report on the work of the Organization (document A/76/1).

Also speaking today were the representatives of Tajikistan, Peru, Myanmar, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Philippines and India.


PEDRO LUIS PEDROSO CUESTA (Cuba) said that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains the road map for fair socioeconomic development for all States.  The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of achieving the 2030 Agenda on time.  Noting that the pandemic worsened the challenges facing States, he stressed the need for financing for development, official development assistance (ODA), technology transfer and national capacity-building.  Concurring with the Secretary-General on the importance of promoting human rights, he emphasized the need to approach the right to development with the same force the international community applies to other rights.  Coercive measures undermine people’s well-being, multiplying difficulties they have been already facing.  Sovereignty, self-determination and non-interference in domestic affairs are the premises of the United Nations.  The economic embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba is a flagrant violation of his people’s human rights and an impediment to sustainable development, he said, calling for action by the General Assembly to defend multilateralism.

TOFIG MUSAYEV (Azerbaijan) said global solidarity, multilateralism and common efforts, with the United Nations at the core, are the most effective means to achieve sustainable development and human rights.  He looked forward to consultations on Our Common Agenda and outcomes based on unity and solidarity.  He agreed on the need to confront vaccine nationalism, noting that Azerbaijan has mobilized resources to ensure equitable vaccine access for all countries.  He called for greater investments to reach shared goals, noting more broadly that the nature of sustaining peace calls for closer strategic and operational partnership between the United Nations, Governments and others, respecting national sovereignty and taking State priorities into account.  Noting that part of Azerbaijan’s territory was seized in the 1990s and remained under unlawful occupation for nearly 30 years, he said that following the failure of international mediation efforts, his country liberated its territories in 2020, resolving the conflict.  It prioritized the reinforcement of its borders, reconstructing liberated territories and restoring housing, essential services and transportation and communication infrastructure, to ensure the safe return of the displaced population.  He said support to States affected by conflict and engaged in post-conflict peacebuilding must remain a critical United Nations commitment, with humanitarian actors working in an exclusively humanitarian nature, respecting States’ sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity.  The United Nations also must continue to counter racism, hate speech and mis- and disinformation, he added.

ALISHER BAKHTIYORZODA (Tajikistan) said that his country proposed to declare 2025 as the International Year for Preservation of Glaciers, firmly believing that this initiative will help attract more attention to the water and climate issues and the melting of glaciers.  The establishment of the International Fund for Glacier Preservation under the auspices of the United Nations is another step that could provide a basis for comprehensive research and effective solutions to this global problem.  As a leading actor on water- and climate- related issues, his country spares no efforts to contribute to promoting water and climate linked issues in the global development agenda.  The International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018–2028” was initiated by Tajikistan and declared by the United Nations.  With the United Nations medium-term review of the Decade to be held in New York City in 2023, his country this year will host an international high-level forum which his delegation believes will play an important role in the preparations for the 2023 conference.

KARLITO NUNES (Timor-Leste) said his country continues to call for vaccines being made accessible and affordable to developing and low-income countries and countries in special situations.  As climate change is a global issue, the entire international community must cooperate and fulfil commitments under the Paris Agreement and support developing countries’ efforts to address climate change by providing financial resources and technical support.  Peace is the catalyst for development, given that peace, justice and inclusion create the conditions for economic growth and transformation.  Therefore, Timor-Leste believes that conflict and tensions can be solved through peaceful settlement, dialogue and reconciliation.  The United Nations has a key political role in mobilizing international cooperation and solidarity to address the current global multifaceted and interlinked pandemic challenges.

LUIS UGARELLI (Peru) called for reactivating implementation of the 2030 Agenda to promote balanced sustainable development, which is the focal point of his country’s efforts.  He underscored the need for sufficient financing to reverse the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  As the pandemic has made clear, the Agenda’s social component is a key pillar of development.  Drawing attention to increases in unemployment and poverty, he expressed support for the Secretary-General’s request for a new global social contract, with policies focused on individuals, “to ensure more empowerment for our people”.  However, such progress will remain elusive without stronger action on climate change, ensuring a balance between financing, mitigation and adaptation measures, and eliminating subsidies for unsustainable consumption and production patterns.  He also called for implementing the commitment shouldered by 150 countries, including Peru, to reverse deforestation and land degradation.  Emphasizing that vaccines provide “a light of hope and optimism” for exiting the crisis, new variants are disproportionately affecting the poor.  He called for ensuring that vaccines are available as a global common good, and that agreements are in place to guarantee their universal, fair and timely access.

KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar) noted that almost a year has passed since the military coup in his country and more than 1,447 people have been killed by the military, with thousands arrested, detained and tortured.  Many houses, religious facilities, health-care facilities, schools and farmland have been destroyed, with hundreds of thousands of people being displaced.  It is very clear that the people of Myanmar need help and protection from the international community to prevent further atrocities by the military.  “Please do not let more people become victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes of the Myanmar military,” he said, emphasizing that the international community, through the United Nations, has the responsibility to use all possible means in accordance with the Charter to help protect all of Myanmar’s people.  He appealed to Member States for an urgent unified response to help put Myanmar back on the path to democracy, peace and prosperity.

CEREN HANDE ÖZGÜR (Turkey) stressed the necessity of orderly migration and the contributions of migrants to the countries of origin and destination.  Promoting dignified and humane treatment of migrants and providing them with basic services is crucial.  In this regard, strengthening a mechanism of international cooperation is key, including the Global Compact for Migration.  Turkey will fully engage in the upcoming review of the Compact in May.  Turning to the humanitarian crisis, in particular forced displacements as a result of conflict, violence and human rights violations, she said Turkey has witnessed the pains of Syrian people who faced crimes committed by the Syrian regime over the past 10 years.  Therefore, her delegation will not honour the statement made by her Syrian counterpart on 21 January.

ANTONIO RODRIGUE (Haiti) welcomed the Secretary-General’s report, which constitutes a crucial road map for common actions to address major global challenges.  He echoed the Secretary-General’s urgent calls to equitably address the coronavirus, reform the financial system, take action against climate change, foster a more human focused-digital approach and bring about lasting peace.  On the pandemic, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s wish to vaccinate 90 per cent of the world’s population by the end of 2022, which he said was far from a simple one.  While it is commendable that 199 million doses have been sent to 59 countries participating in the COVAX mechanism, as mentioned by the President of General Assembly, he said that much more needs to be done to redress the “enormous disparity” in vaccine access and distribution.  Further, he echoed several delegates’ calls to review, reform and rebuild current multilateral frameworks to align them with today’s global requirements.  Commending the Organization’s contributions to peace and socioeconomic progress, he said:  “Despite its weaknesses, how can we imagine the world without superstructures such as the United Nations?”

AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan) recalled the Secretary-General’s primary goal of post-pandemic rebuilding, underscoring the need to bolster international cooperation to ensure a coordinated response.  She welcomed his efforts to combat the pandemic and mitigate its grave consequences, stressing that “we must work together to protect people’s lives.”  She expressed full support for multilateralism, with the World Health Organization (WHO) as the main dialogue forum for developing consolidated and mutually accepted responses to health challenges.  Noting that Turkmenistan aims to foster cooperation in scientific diplomacy, she more broadly highlighted the need to improve the sustainability of transport systems in emergency situations.  She cited Assembly resolution 75/313 in that context, noting that Turkmenistan, along with the Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and in cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, plans to hold a conference for transport ministers under the theme “Ashgabat Process:  Financing for Communication”.  She also welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on the involvement of young people in solving today’s challenges and expressed support for the Organization’s gender policy.

ANGELITO AYONG NAYAN (Philippines) expressed support for the convening of the five informal thematic debates on “Our Common Agenda” starting in February.  His delegation believes it is imperative to give time to thoroughly discuss the modalities and mechanisms on the follow-up process, and more importantly, to reach consensus on priority issues based on the 90 specific proposals outlined in the report.  His country supports the General Assembly President’s call to have frank and constructive discussions on the revitalization agenda to truly empower the 193-member organ as the pre-eminent deliberative and policymaking body in the United Nations system.  The Philippines looks forward to continuing support for the initiatives of the Assembly President and the Secretary-General and to participating in the United Nations-mandated events in 2022.

DINESH SETIA (India) said that a vibrant United Nations is critical to address the pressures facing the global order and welcomed the Secretary-General’s initiative to modernize the Secretariat, streamline the Organization’s peace and security architecture, and ensure its financial sustainability.  India will support such efforts, including through voluntary contributions.  Commending the Secretary-General’s stewardship in the context of the pandemic, he outlined steps taken by India towards global solidarity in this regard, including through the supply of medicines to 150 countries, and by sharing vaccines with nations in the developing world.  The world cannot afford a vaccine divide.  Turning to terrorism, he said the Organization’s inability to agree on a common definition, let alone draft a coherent policy to tackle it, casts doubt on its relevance.  India is a leader in climate action and is the fourth in the world in terms of installed energy capacity.  He voiced hope that 2022 will be the year that the Organization finally delivers concrete progress on reforming the Security Council, so that it reflects the realities of the contemporary world.


Source: United Nations