Mr President, dear co-coordinators, distinguished colleagues,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.
Allow me to express our strong support for the work of the co-coordinators, and for the transparency and inclusivity of this process.
The COVID-19 Omnibus resolution is an important opportunity for the General Assembly to express itself on key areas:
Multilateralism & Solidarity
We welcome the zero draft as a good basis for discussion. It reflects our joint commitment to international cooperation and multilateral responses in facing the pandemic and its unprecedented consequences. We strongly support reflecting the key role the WHO has to play in this context.
The EU and its Member States are deeply appreciative of the Secretary-General’s leadership, including the multiple initiatives he has taken to address all aspects of this crisis. He has demonstrated that in such critical circumstances the world needs more, not less, multilateralism. The draft resolution is an opportunity for the General Assembly to respond to the calls of the Secretary-General and to outline our shared commitment and actions to tackle all aspects of the crisis and recover better.
We welcome the emphasis placed on a collective response with the UN at its core. We reiterate the importance of taking a holistic approach, covering the three pillars of the United Nations, and reflecting all our obligations under international law and relevant international commitments. In this spirit, we believe that the resolution should identify best practices and promote international initiatives that aim at providing solutions for all people.
COVID-19 is first of all a human crisis and calls for a new approach placing human beings first. The crisis has shown the need to enhance our capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. We will suggest to strengthen the language on health to support a “one health” approach and uphold the right to health for all people. In this vein, a priority of this resolution should be to encourage initiatives for the collaborative and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, such as the Coronavirus Global Response.
The coronavirus pandemic affects everyone and every aspect of our lives, but not uniformly. It increases existing inequalities between and within countries. This is our chance to build back better by addressing those inequalities and ensuring that no one is left behind. We therefore support a stronger emphasis on people in vulnerable situations. People around the world have been marching to call for an end to racism, discrimination, stigmatization, xenophobia and violence. Their call be must reflected in the resolution.
We strongly support references to humanitarian assistance, including humanitarian access to people in need and the protection of humanitarian and medical workers, and will propose further strengthening these elements. More generally, it is essential that the resolution advocates for a human rights-based approach, respectful of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
Recovering together and rebuilding better
We support the emphasis placed on recovering together and rebuilding better. Our efforts should focus on building a more equal, sustainable and inclusive world, with the commitments to the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and gender equality at its core.
The social and economic consequences of the COVID crisis are massive. It is of the utmost importance that we work together towards a sustainable economic path. We are fully committed to implement the Addis Agenda and to increase financial support to partner countries to support recovery by combining all different financial instruments, such as budget support, sovereign lending, debt swaps, financial assistance, guarantees for private investment and foreign direct investments. It is clear that there is a need to face the financing gaps that exist due to the challenging situation on remittances, tourism, commodities, investments and debt sustainability. We believe country-led Integrated National Financing Frameworks are essential as well to link recovery plans to risk-informed and sustainable financing policies, to maintain the course to the long-terms goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. We will propose language in this regard.
As the Secretary General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation Digital technologies acknowledges, there undeniably is the potential to accelerate the realization of the 2030 Agenda, if we seize all opportunities but also mitigate the risks and threats.
All of us want to come out of this crisis more resilient and also greener. Our recovery strategies should be used for progress with more ambitious action to address climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. These crises are looming with existential threats for humankind and the planet. The recovery strategies are an opportunity we should grasp to invest in more sustainable, climate-neutral economies and societies and in better protecting our environment and preventing further future zoonotic pandemics. We owe it to future generations – whose money we borrow to a large extent for our recovery – that we invest in measures that will secure their future.
Women and girls have been disproportionally impacted by the crisis, but will be the backbone of recovery in communities. We believe that the resolution should clearly outline their roles and reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and the empowerment and the human rights of all women and girls. The resolution should recognize their contributions in the health and social sectors as well as in the informal economy and call for more equal repartition of tasks, an increased representation of women in decision-making and leadership positions, and strengthened efforts to end violence and to ensure full access to sexual and reproductive health.
Partnerships & Clear Commitments
We also support the final section of the draft resolution and will propose language to reinforce the reaffirmation of our joint commitments. We must build upon the progress made in the implementation of the UNDS reform to support countries’ responses to the pandemic and its impacts, further strengthen international cooperation, and mobilize resources to support all UN appeals for COVID-19. To help ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19 that leaves no one behind, it will also be crucial to align our investments with both the 2030 Agenda and the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
Recovering together also means that we include all stakeholders, including civil society and human rights defenders, in both the text of the resolution itself and the process leading to its adoption. This imperative must be reflected throughout the text. We can only achieve our objectives if we seize and support the potential of all people and all stakeholders.
In closing, allow me to reiterate our support for an action-oriented document. Existing UN processes, including upcoming committee work starting in the Fall, will certainly have the opportunity to address many policy areas in more detail.
Mr President, dear co-coordinators, with these ideas in mind the European Union and its Member States look forward to working constructively with all partners in order to achieve an ambitious and consensual outcome that will guide us in our efforts to build back a better world for all. Thank you.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.