Thank you, Mr President, for sharing your priorities for the next 9 months, which - no doubt - will still be very much dominated by the Covid19 pandemic, and our response.
I am delivering this statement on behalf of the EU and 27 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.
We appreciate your continued steering and leadership in terms of keeping this body operational, despite the numerous challenges the pandemic has imposed on our work. We managed to hold an unprecedented, though successful High-Level Week, where you delivered the very welcome message that still resonates: only by working together, through an inclusive multilateralism, can we tackle these challenges.
Monsieur le Président, cette horrible pandémie a encore renforcé la nécessité d'agir ! La pandémie n'a fait qu'aggraver les défis antérieurs au COVID, qu’il faut relever avec un sentiment d'urgence renouvelé : la crise du climat et de la biodiversité, la nécessité d'assurer la sécurité de l'eau et un accès abordable à l'assainissement, la détérioration de la situation des droits de l'Homme, les risques pour la paix et la sécurité, ou encore la montée des inégalités entre les femmes et les hommes.
La declaración política del setenta y cinco aniversario de Naciones Unidas capta bien todos estos desafíos. Junto con la Agenda 2030 y el Acuerdo de París, debería servirnos de programa y de guía concreta para dirigir y priorizar nuestro trabajo en común.
Making further advances on GA Revitalisation, closer alignment of the GA and ECOSOC with Agenda 2030 as well as an ambitious ECOSOC and HLPF review must also be top priorities. We should all aim towards mainstreaming our agendas and seeking synergies. Your strong commitment to all these processes is encouraging. You have our full support!
2021 needs to be the year of delivery. Firstly, in terms of ensuring a coordinated and comprehensive pandemic response– both immediate and longer-term - as set out by the Covid19 Omnibus resolution agreed by this body. Its implementation will be a key deliverable during this session. We must ensure that the urgency and resources that have characterized the development and roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines will be matched by the same ambition in distributing them fairly to the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind. Our priority now should be to ensure universal, equitable, safe and affordable global access to these vaccines - we believe COVAX is the best tool to do this.
Secondly, 2021 will also be decisive year for climate and nature, with two major CoPs in Glasgow and Kunming. We must turn the tide by taking the necessary decisions to implement the Paris Agreement, by agreeing an ambitious post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework – building upon a successful Biodiversity summit - and by concluding BBNJ negotiations. We also welcome the High-Level Stockholm+50 follow-up meeting to take place in Sweden in June 2022 to address urgent matters, including climate and sustainable consumption and production.
Mister President, it is very encouraging to see you working hand in hand with the Secretary-General in raising the ambition for climate and nature. We should continue that path by further strengthening the links between the different agendas - climate, biodiversity, land degradation and water. We also encourage you to make good use of the two mandated high-level meetings on water and desertification and appreciate your continuous engagement in taking forward the Ocean agenda.
Thirdly, delivery in these areas will also help us make much needed progress towards achieving the SDG’s and implementing the 2030 Agenda. The pandemic has pushed us further away from that goal, not least when it comes to SDG financing We need to step up to ensure progress made is not lost! Let us use major upcoming summits, such as the 2 CoPs, the Food Systems Summit, the HLPF or the FFD Forum.
Fourthly, we need to strengthen human rights and protection for human rights defenders. As underlined by the SG in his Call to Action, the input of civil society to the UN’s work is more important than ever. Here in New York, NGOs still face obstacles to participation in key events, while those engaging with the UN in the field face increased threats and reprisals.
New virtual formats should be explored to allow for increased civil society’s engagement. The EU therefore strongly supports the request made by NGOs to the Third Committee to organise a meeting with them in the coming weeks to discuss the outcome of the recent session. We would appreciate your active support and participation in such a meeting, Mr President. The EU is also committed to ensuring resolutions adopted by the GA promote human rights law and standards, including the right to freedom of expression.
Fifthly, it is essential to ensure the full involvement and empowerment of women and girls in the ‘building back better’-process. The EU fully supports your commitment to gender equality – a prerequisite for achieving the UN’s three pillars. We look forward to the upcoming CSW session with the highest ambition. It will be an opportunity to shape the foundations of a more equal and inclusive world. We encourage you to contribute to this work by enhancing cooperation between the GA and CSW. We would be very interested to hear about any activities you foresee during CSW and look forward to the conclusions of your gender advisory board.
Sixth, you can also count on the EU’s full support in advancing the humanitarian agenda, in full respect of IHL and the humanitarian principles. We are currently working with partners on identifying paths towards improving the safety and security of humanitarian and medical personnel, with a focus on practical and context-specific solutions.
Finally, but certainly not least important, Mr President, this body under your leadership will have a crucial role in the selection and appointment process of the SG for the next term beginning in 2022. The milestone resolution 69/321, as well as resolution 73//341, provide the framework for ensuring a transparent and inclusive process. We are encouraged by the incumbent’s readiness to engage with the full membership based on his vision statement. As was the case last time, we also very much welcome the involvement of civil society in the process.
Mister President, you can count on the EU’s strong support for delivering on our common priorities and commitments through a strengthened GA. Thank you.