Global Elite, Opening Annual General Assembly Debate 2021

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Amid Onslaught of Crises, World Must Restore Trust, Solidarity to Tackle COVID-19, Climate Change, Secretary-General Says, Opening Annual General Assembly Debate,

Global Leaders Call for Vaccine Equity, Inclusive Multilateralism to Alleviate Human Suffering, Close Gap between Rich, Poor.

Secretary-General António Guterres issued a wake-up call that the world is on the edge of an abyss and “moving in the wrong direction”, as he called on leaders gathered for the annual General Assembly high-level debate today to urgently restore trust and act in unison to tackle myriad challenges.

“We face the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes,” Mr. Guterres warned, addressing an Assembly Hall slightly more populated than a year ago, when the sudden and swift onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had all but halted in-person gatherings at United Nations Headquarters. Coupled with the climate emergency, upheaval in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and beyond, a surge of mistrust and science under assault, solidarity is missing “just when we need it most”, he stressed.

— “a moral indictment of the state of our world”, he exclaimed, warning that people may lose faith not only in their Governments… “Promises, after all, are worthless if people do not see results,”…

In charting a path to a brighter #future, he urged Governments to surmount the obstacles to peace, including in Myanmar, the Sahel and Yemen, and beyond to Libya, Syria, Israel and Palestine. He called for creating trust between the global North and South on the issue of climate and for closing the gap between rich and poor…

During the seventy-sixth session, the Assembly will prioritize the issue of vaccine equity and addressing the obstacles to distribution, he said. It will hold a series of events ahead of the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), while maintaining focus on human rights, United Nations reform and better engagement with civil society.

In the ensuing general debate, 35 Heads of State from around the world addressed the Assembly in person and through pre-recorded statements, championing the calls for unity and hope and cautioning against rash and arbitrary decision-making.

“We are not seeking a new cold war or a world divided into rigid blocs,” said Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States. Detailing the ways his country intends to work with its partners and allies, he said it is devoting resources to ending the pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, managing shifts in #global #power dynamics, shaping vital issues around #trade, cyber and emerging technologies and facing the threat of terrorism. It is prepared to return to full compliance in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran does likewise.

For its part, “China has never and will never invade or bully others or seek hegemony,” said Xi Jinping, President of China. He underscored the need to strengthen solidarity and to promote mutual respect and win-win cooperation in conducing international relations. “Democracy is not a special right reserved to an individual country, but a right for the people of all countries to enjoy,” he said, calling on States to practice true multilateralism.

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda,…
added that the world is seriously off track with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Philippines, warned that the world’s future will likely be one of inequality with no hope of ever succeeding in closing the gap between rich and poor. “We have to reverse course,”…

Andrzej Duda, President of Poland,…
“Do we, the rich North, pass the test of solidarity, or do we merely cater to our own statistics by relocating production to the poorer countries of the South where least environment friendly #technologies are applied, and then those countries are blamed for contaminating the planet?”

Jair Messias Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, said that his country is a different from the one portrayed in newspapers or seen on television. “Brazil has a President who believes in God, respects the #Constitution, values family and is loyal to its people.” He emphasized the importance of addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in tandem with unemployment,…

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of Egypt, called for a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace solution,…

Also speaking today were the Presidents of Maldives, Colombia, Qatar, Slovakia, Portugal, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Uzbekistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chile, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Switzerland, Croatia, Peru, Turkmenistan, Finland, Argentina, Romania, Palau, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Latvia, Bulgaria, Zambia, Central African Republic and Somalia.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 September, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks,

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