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In a world of new challenges, ‘we need to build on what unites us’, Assembly President tells UN Member States

“This year, we heard from 190 speakers, including 76 Heads of State, 50 Heads of Government, four Vice-Presidents, five Deputy Prime Ministers, 48 Ministers and seven Heads of Delegations,” said General Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi as he summed up the first in-person General Debate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While only 23 speakers were women, he echoed the words of former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who moderated this year’s first General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders, in saying that they “pack a punch”.

‘New era’ of humanity

Unable to boil down 190 statements into a few phrases, Mr. Kőrösi instead focused on some of the common themes, beginning a growing awareness that “humanity has entered a new era”.

Facing complex challenges and multi-layer crises, he said that significant transformations are underway, pointing out that “basic conditions” of global cooperation have changed, leaving “a world of new challenges, changing priorities, changing roles, and changing ways”.

“Fresh pages of history are being written, with new divisions and new alliances, new grievances, and new successes on them,” said the Assembly President.

Spotlight on Ukraine 

Next, he said the Hall reverberated in accord that the war in Ukraine should end.

He recapped Member States’ concern over shortages, inflation, refugees, nuclear safety and the “dangers of misinformation and propaganda”. 

“Yet, be it the largest and the most acute, the war in Ukraine is one of nearly 30 armed conflicts worldwide,” said the senior UN official, adding, “and none of them is improving”.

Climate change 

The third topic resonating throughout the speeches highlighted the dangers of climate change.

Discussions ensued about countries simultaneously experiencing droughts and flooding; unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; and plastic pollution filling oceans and killing fish, “even as waves of rising seas drown shorelines,” he continued.

Yet, despite calls to achieve global net-zero and for climate justice, some still seem unconvinced that “growing our economies can be balanced with limiting emissions and preserving biodiversity,” said Mr. Kőrösi. 

Human rights 

Calls were also heard for improving human rights and meeting the needs of those most vulnerable to exploitation. 

“There is a cost to speaking out about human rights violations,” he acknowledged, “but the freedom of speaking out is strongly supported”. 

The Assembly President recalled addresses affirming diversity as “a strength, not a liability,” and drew attention to the high-level event on minorities marking 30 years since an historic Declaration on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

Revitalization and reform

He also noted the support to revitalize the General Assembly to respond better to interlocking global crises and reform the Security Council to reflect the realities of this century.

The senior UN official then pointed to the goal of a peaceful post-COVID world with increased trust, where together we can work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. He reminded that his vision statement for “solutions through solidarity, sustainability and science” is a step in that direction.

“We need to build on what unites us,” and frame “the most burning challenges” in terms of crisis management and transformation, he said.

“To deepen solidarity, we must build trust”. 

Next steps

With the aim of strengthening universally accepted and owned actions, the Assembly president plans to launch a series of consultations, including with the scientific community.

He said that he is also looking ahead to preparations for the UN Water Conference, the Sendai Midterm review and the SDG Summit.

“When I addressed you a week ago, I said that things…go wrong when we fail to seize the opportunities before us,” said Mr. Kőrösi. “Our opportunity is here and now. Let us act”.

Before concluding, he thanked everyone who made the High-Level Week a success.

High-level independent panel on security and development in crisis-torn Sahel region launched at UN

The independent panel was formally announced on Saturday in New York on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate during a High-Level Event on the Sahel, held under the auspices of the United Nations, the African Union (AU) Commission, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel).

The Sahel extends across Africa from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east and runs through parts of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.

While the UN humanitarian affairs office (OCHA), has said that the Sahel faces “the worst humanitarian needs in years requiring an urgent scale-up of emergency response”, the Secretary-General warned just last week that rising insecurity, including the proliferation of terrorist and other non-State armed groups, coupled with political instability, is creating a crisis in the Sahel that poses a “global threat”.

The crisis is being compounded by climate change… “and if nothing is done, the effects of terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime will be felt far beyond the region and the African continent,” he said.

Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Mahamadou Issoufou, Chair of the Independent High-level Panel on Security, Governance and Development in the Sahel.

UN Photo/Rick Bajornas
Secretary-General António Guterres (right) meets with Mahamadou Issoufou, Chair of the Independent High-level Panel on Security, Governance and Development in the Sahel.

 

In their statements on Saturday, the Chair of the AU Commission, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Executive Secretary of the G5 Sahel [a joint force established in 2017 to respond to the expansion of armed and violent extremist groups and deteriorating security in the region], and Mr. Guterres formally launched the Independent High-Level Panel on Security and Development in the Sahel, led by former President of Niger Mahamadou Issoufou.

They highlighted the underlying challenges in the Sahel, including the surge in violent extremism, growing fragility of the economies of the region due to the impact of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as complex political transitions.

They called for coordinated international, regional and local efforts in the Sahel and in the broader region to address the current security, governance and development challenges and adopt people-centred security approaches based on inclusive political strategies.

The participants also called on the international community to scale up responses commensurate to the needs in the region, including by providing much needed technical, financial, material, and logistical support.;

They reaffirmed the support of the four organizations to the work of the Independent High-Level Panel and looked forward to the findings of the Independent Strategic Assessment being presented during the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government set to be issued in February 2023.

Haiti needs ‘robust support’ to quell gang violence and ease political tensions, Foreign Minister tells UN

“[We are] facing a multifaceted socio-political and economic crisis that is being exacerbated by insecurity,” said Mr. Geneus, telling the afternoon session of the General- Assembly’s annual high-level debate that he was delivering a statement on behalf of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who decided to remain in the county due to the increasingly worrying situation there.

Quickly restoring public order

As gang violence spreads and the political crisis deepens “Haiti finds itself at a crossroads that is difficult but decisive for its future…this dilemma can only be solved with the effective support of our partners,” he explained, adding that with the country’s democracy under threat, his first order of business would be to “restore security and public order without delay.”

Next, he would seek to, as soon as possible, reach broad consensus on a political agreement among a maximum of sectors to achieve peaceful governance. The would be followed by efforts to create a climate conducive to the rapid holding of general elections to return power freely chosen by the Haitian people and restore democratic institutions; and putting measures in place to respond to economic and social issues.

Violent gangs ‘poisoning’ Haitian society

On the issue of security and restoring public order, he denounced the activities of the gangs, which have “created a detrimental climate that is poisoning the daily lives of the Haitian people.” Moreover, clashes among rival gangs had left a high number of casualties and forced many people to flee their homes to escape the terror of these outlaws.”

As such, In his capacity as the head of the Supreme Council of National Police, Prime Minister Henry had taken measures to make the Force more efficient and better prepared to combat insecurity and gang activity, by strengthening operational capacities and improving the working conditions of.

“The intensification of operations has achieved some good results, which has reduced abuses by armed gangs, particularly in the metropolitan areas. However, much remains to be done to end this scourge,” he said. In that context, he noted that some of these efforts were being hampered by the slow delivery of armored vehicles and equipment that the police force lacks.

Elections ‘as soon as conditions permit’

On the political front, he said that despite differences between the various actors, Prime Minister Henry continued to encourage dialogue. Initiatives involving various components of Haitian society are under way, including the restoration of fully operational democratic institutions through free, transparent and inclusive elections, as well as constitutional reform.

He went on to say that while Haiti recognized that it is a constitutional right to peaceful demonstrations, it would nevertheless condemn the looting, acts of vandalism and attacks perpetrated against churches, schools, universities and hospitals, among others, during recent protests.

Finally, in the words of Prime Minister Henry, he said: “Contrary to what some of my adversaries say, I have no desire to stay in power longer than necessary.” His main concern was the return to constitutional order and handing over management of the country’s affairs to elected officials freely chosen by the people. He therefore aspired to find a political agreement to organize presidential, legislative and local elections “as soon as conditions permit”.

At UN, Foreign Minister Wang Yi sees ‘hope’ in turbulent times, reaffirms ‘One China’ policy

“We are at a time fraught with challenges. COVID-19 keeps resurfacing, global security faces uncertainty, the economic recovery is fragile and unsteady, and various other risks and crises are emerging,” he said in his address to the UN General Assembly’s high-level debate.

Nevertheless, amid this “new phase of turbulence and transformation” there were reasons for hope, Mr. Wang continued, pointing to the world’s increasing multipolarity, deepening economic globalization, and societies increasing digitalization and cultural diversity.

‘Stand up for peace, oppose war’

“Peace and development remain the underlying trends of our time. People’s calls for progress and cooperation are getting louder. How should we respond to the call of our times and ride the trend of history to build a shared community for mankind?” he asked and responded with the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has said that the world must stand up for peace and oppose war. “War only opens ‘Pandora’s Box…we must address differences through peaceful means.”

Further, he called for the board pursuit of development and the elimination of poverty. Again, in the words of President Xi, Mr. Wang called for development to be placed at the center of the international agenda and for all countries’ right to development to be upheld. The international community must remain open and inclusive, as “openness is the surest way to prosperity.”

‘Agenda 2030 pacesetter’

Mr. Wang went on to say that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the world’s largest developing country, China is committed to solidarity and cooperation with other countries. “It will follow the trends of the times and pursue the shared interest of the vast majority of countries,” he stated, highlighting China’s efforts to maintain global peace and stability, including its adherence to the global non-proliferation regime and contribution to UN peacekeeping.

Human rights

China was also contributing to global development and had worked to keep global industrial and supply chains up and running. China is a major trading partner to over 130 countries and regions “is the global economy’s biggest engine… and a pacesetter in implementing the 2030 Agenda, having met the poverty reduction goal 10 years ahead of schedule,” Foreign Minister Wang said.

China was upholding the international order and committed to the principles of the UN Charter and had backed the UN-centred international system. “China has been involved in multilateral affairs in all fields and… fulfilled in good faith its international obligations. China abides by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has made relentless efforts to protect and strengthen its human rights.”

In this context, the Foreign Minister said that China stood firmly against attempts to politicize human rights and had worked to promote health development of international human rights cooperation. 

Mediating hotspots

After detailing China’s commitment to a development path based on clean, green growth, and its cooperation initiative aimed at ensuring global food security, Mr. Wang said that China was also mediating global hotspot issues, “while adhering to the principle of non-interference and respecting the will and needs of countries concerned.”

On the war in Ukraine, he said: “China supports all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis … and the fundamental solution is to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture.”

“We call on all parties concerned to keep the crisis from spilling over and protect the legitimate rights and the interests of developing countries,” he added.

Turning to Taiwan, which has been an “inseparable part of China’s territory since ancient times”, Mr. Wang stressed that its ‘One China’ policy has become a basic norm of the international relations and a consensus of the international community.

His country would continue to work for the peaceful reunification with sincerity, he said, adding that, to realize this goal it must combat separatist activities with the firmest resolve and take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference.

“Only when China is completely reunified, can there be enduring peace across the Taiwan Strait…Any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” he said.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister calls for improved climate commitments at COP27

In his speech to the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly, Sameh Hassan Shoukry Selim said that the world is at a delicate historical moment of increased polarization, at which serious action, and a commitment to multilateralism, are needed.

The fault lies, he said, not in the UN system, but in the failure of Member States to respect the Organization. He called for States to reinvigorate and reform it, and urged them not to leave the process incomplete, so the UN can better respond to challenges and meet the goals of the people.

On the Ukrainian invasion of Russia, Mr. Selim warned that this has exacerbated the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to an increased burden for developing countries, especial in terms of growing public deficits.

Respect sovereignty

There is a need, he said, for developed countries to convert the debt they hold into joint investment projects, which would “create more job opportunities and contribute to positive economic growth.”

There must be an international consensus, said Mr. Selim, without threats to countries, or the undermining of sovereignty. Current challenges, he continued, threaten the very notion of nation-states, leading to a lack of respect, and the weakening of State entities, which allows non-State terrorists to control the destiny of nations.

Support for global food security

The food crisis faced by Africa, claimed Mr. Selim, is the consequences of many years in which there has been a failure to hit the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly those related to hunger and food security.

With one in five Africans at risk of hunger, and the Continent a net importer of food, declared Mr. Selim, the crisis needs to be addressed through an international strategy that tackles its root causes.

Solutions include the implementation of sustainable farming and food systems that meet the needs of people in food importing African countries whose products, he declared, must allowed to be a part of the global supply chain without hindrance.

Mr. Selim offered Egypt’s support in the creation of an international hub in the country, for the storing, supplying, and trading of grain, to guarantee global food security.

Developing countries ‘most deserving of our support’

Turning to the climate crisis, Mr. Selim noted that Egypt will take on the presidency of the COP27 UN Climate Conference, which will be held in the resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh this November.

He appealed to all members of the international community to act on the pledges and commitments of support for developing countries, to cope with the devastation impacts of the emergency. “They are the most deserving of our support,” he said. 

The Minister looked forward to the Conference reaching outcomes that will contribute to a reduction in emissions, and enhanced mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage commitments. He reminded the audience that finance for adaptation needs to be doubled, that the $100 billion promised for climate finance annually must be duly delivered, and that there must be a just transition to renewable energy. 

The implementation of the 2015 Paris climate accord would demonstrate, said Mr. Selim, that climate action remains an important priority on the global scene, despite the challenges facing the world.

Nile ‘always part of Egypt’s history’

On water security, Mr. Selim described the issue as one of those challenges, especially for Middle East and African countries. Many of those countries, he explained, are dry and arid, but the grave human suffering resulting from water shortages, he claimed, is often due to a lack of respect for international law, with some countries monopolizing water resources, to the detriment of nations downstream.

With regards to the Nile, Mr. Selima declared that, whilst Egypt recognizes the right of the Ethiopian people to development, this will never mean that the country lets go of the right of Egyptians to the river’s water, which has, he said, always been part of Egypt’s history. 

A legally binding agreement regarding the functioning of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam must be reached, said the Minister, in line with an agreement reached by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in 2015, and a 2021 Security Council resolution. He called on all three States to respect their obligations in deeds, not word.
 

European Council President deplores Russia’s ‘web of lies’ used to justify aggression

“This is hybrid warfare. It combines the violence of weapons with the poison of lies,” Mr. Michel stated, describing falsehoods coming from the Kremlin – such as the justifying the war as a preventative measure for an alleged genocide of Russian-speakers in Ukraine.

“It is wrong, and it is filthy,” he said.

More lies

Also, in Russia’s “web of lies” was that Russia’s aggression would be a “special operation” and not a war.

Mr. Michel affirmed however, that it is indeed an “unprovoked, illegal and unjustified” war aimed to forcibly change internationally recognized borders.

He next cited the lie that sanctions against Russia would cause food and fertilizer shortages, pointing out that even before the war, Russia itself drastically reduced its exports of cereals and fertilizers – “favoring the volatility of prices” on the world market. 

Moreover, while Russia then militarily blocked the Black Sea ports, making maritime trade impossible, the European Union (EU) opened “solidarity corridors” to export millions of tons of food from Ukraine.

“In truth, there is a very simple way to end the food crisis: for Russia to stop the war, withdraw from Ukrainian territory and lift the blockade of the ports,” stated the European Council President.

‘War of colonization’

Imperialism and retaliation are the only bases of “this war of colonization” targeting Ukraine, he continued, noting that the aggression has deliberately trampled on international law and the UN Charter.

The threat of nuclear weapons and using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as a military base “must stop,” underscored Mr. Michel, throwing the EU’s support behind the International Atomic Emergency’s (IAEA) efforts to restore security in Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

Flagging that the EU choses to respect borders rather than aggression, cooperation rather than threats, and a rules-based order rather than the law of the fittest, he said: “Today, Russia is scary. The Kremlin brought war back to Europe”.

The President then warned against letting its destructive actions jeopardize “our fierce will to act for the common good”. 

Widening cooperation

From COVID-19 repercussions to a declining human development index and extreme weather patterns to the whittling down of women and minorities’ rights, he described multilateral cooperation as “collective intelligence in action…[and] the DNA of the European Union”.

In the spirit of “no master, no student,” Mr. Michel stressed that the EU acts at the UN, the G7 and the G20 and reaches out in strategic partnership with Africa, the African Union, Japan, South Korea, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The President said that he looks forward to giving “new impetus” to EU’s relationship with the Latin American continent and the Gulf countries.

“And we hope that emerging powers, including China, will sincerely participate in collective efforts for peace and development,” he said. 

Right of veto

Noting that a robust multilateral system requires mutual trust, Mr. Michel upheld that the current Security Council is neither inclusive nor representative. 

“The use of the right of veto should be the exception, but it is becoming the rule,” he said advocating for “necessary and urgent,” reform. 

“And when a permanent member of the Security Council unleashes an unprovoked and unjustifiable war, condemned by the General Assembly, his suspension from the Security Council should be automatic”.

Climate neutrality

The senior European Union official stated that leadership is “showing the way, and above all delivering results”. 

“Energy and climate change are two sides of the same coin,” he said.

“Overcoming the energy crisis means reducing the climate threat. Protecting our biodiversity and our oceans means guaranteeing our future. Climate neutrality is our compass”. 

The Council President vowed to campaign at the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP27) in November to “implement the promises of Paris, and to go beyond” for a fair and equitable transition, reminding that “no country alone can protect our planet”.

 

With help, Iraq’s spirit of hope, forward-looking youths can keep nascent democracy on track, Prime Minister says

“The hope embodied by the people of Iraq, had enabled them to snatch opportunities for life, progress and peace from the clutches of crisis and conflict,” the Prime Minister told leaders gathered in New York for the Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

The people of Iraq had also used that same spirit of hope to fight terrorism and ultimately defeat it on behalf of the entire world. “That task was arduous. Our people made enormous sacrifices, not only to liberate their land from the terrorist gangs of ISIL, but to also keep them from threatening people everywhere,” the Prime Minister explained.

“We succeeded in uprooting this destructive ideology,” he said, paying tribute to the “martyrs of Iraq” who had sacrificed their lives in defense of the values of justice, democracy and human rights. Iraq looked forward to receiving further UN support to reconstruct areas affected and occupied by ISIL terrorists.

Reconstruction of liberated areas

At the same time, he stressed that any potential UN aid to respond to the urgent and necessary humanitarian needs must enhance Iraq’s capability to rebuild destroyed infrastructure in a way that would help our cities and people, including Internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to normal life.

Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi highlighted that the Iraqi Government had developed a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of those areas that had been under ISIL control, as well as for the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the safe and voluntary return of displaced people, and he expressed profound thanks to donor countries and international organizations for their humanitarian support and assistance.

“From this podium, I reiterate Iraq’s calls for its territories to not be used under the pretext of fighting terrorism or protecting the national security of other countries in a manner that endangers our security and stability,” he stated, called strongly for strengthening cooperative ties and ensuring respect for the principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Free and fair elections

Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi went on to say that Iraq was committed to protecting democratic processes and the peoples’ demands to democratically exercise their right, the Iraqi Government has endeavored to establish free and fair elections with the support of the UN, the Security Council and other international organizations that had praised their integrity.

Despite the success of those elections, the political forces could not agree on the the government’s formation, leading to a political impasse. “My Government has called for a serious and transparent dialogue among all political forces and parties to discuss ways out of the current political crisis in an effort by the Government to meet the peoples’ aspirations and hopes,” he explained.

He added that his Government was seeking to build an Iraq that ensured coexistence among all Iraqi people while respecting diversity and ideological and religious pluralism based on the principles of justice and equality. This would be accomplished by ensuring freedom of expression and human rights.

“Iraq is keen to be a source of stability, both regionally and internationally… and mend ties between the region’s countries, which have long suffered from war and crises. The time has come to rebuild the region based on the balanced policy pursued by this Government,” he said.

Rivers drying up, marshes under threat

Mr. Al-Kadhimi Iraq was facing serious challenges due to scarcity of water sources, shifts in the courses of river flows and the building of projects without taking into consideration the effects on water quotas. “Iraq is now the fifth most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change.”

On top of this, most of the country’s marshes had dried up damaging the livelihoods of hundreds of families living there. These natural preserves were on the UNESCO World Heritage List and their deterioration had sparked internal displacement and a significant decrease in the availability of arable land.

“Iraq calls upon all the region’s countries to enter into a dialogue to resolve these water issues in line with international treaties,” he said, noting at the same time that Iraq was a oil producer and as it was affected by climate change, it would also be affected by measures taken to address the phenomenon regarding reduction in dependence of fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, his Government had worked on a host of projects dealing with clean energy, associated gas extraction and other areas related to the green economy. In all this, Iraq would need help from the international community so that it could mitigate and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

In conclusion, he said: “The challenges facing Iraq today are the result of decades of political crises and conflict. We are working to dismantle them, placing our hopes on our young society’s aspiration to defend democracy. Our nascent democracy still has a spirit of courage and hope. It needs the understanding and support of the international community so that we can continue building the modern State, providing service and reconstructing infrastructure destroyed by wars and rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by wars.

Demark rallies wealthy nations to back ‘climate solidarity’, boost financing for hard-hit poor countries

The industrialized world must acknowledge its responsibility to deliver on the climate crisis “and we must listen to those affected the most by climate-induced damages,” Foreign Minister Kofod said in his early evening address to the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate.

While the most pressing challenges of our time are being felt and even exacerbated all over the planet, particularly as climate-induced disasters impact food supplies and increase inequalities, “there is no doubt that they are being most strongly felt by the poorest and most vulnerable among us,” he stated.

“Developing countries are hardest and most unjustly hit,” continued Mr. Kofod, pointing to the lingering fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, “which is still inflicting human and economic wounds in societies of the global South, and calling for more concerted action to address “both the problems at hand and the fundamental imbalances in the world we share, and we must do it now.”

The future hinges on solidarity

“None of us can steer through pandemics or counter the climate crisis alone. Nor should we. It should be clear that the future we share depends on solidarity and overcoming the fault lines that increasingly drive us apart,” he said, so, solidarity is an investment in prosperity, security and peace for all.

Noting that Denmark was one of the few Member States to live up to the UN-defined target of 0.7 per cent of its GDP for official development assistance (ODA) [which specifically targets support to the economic development and welfare of developing countries], he said another focus of such efforts should be to ensure “climate solidarity”.

Indeed, even as Demark has worked to reduce its own footprint, Foreign Minister Kofod said his country had undertaken major global commitments on climate adaptation and climate financing, including by scaling up grant-based finance to some $500 million a year by 2023, 60 per cent of which would be dedicated to adaptation in poor and vulnerable countries.

“If a small country like Demark can do this, the G20 also can,” he said urging other countries to follow suit. Also citing the need to “step up and listen to those impacted by climate induced damages,” he said that just this week, Denmark had followed up with several new initiatives for the world’s hardest-hit and poorest countries, referring to his Government’s pledge to pay for “loss and damage” in other countries affected by increasing cases of extreme weather events.

Reject ‘might makes right disorder’

On wider global affairs, he said that while listening to the speeches that had been made thus far this week, it was clear that the UN Charter continues to inspire and fill us with hope for a better future.

Yet the world was in crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine some six months ago. Despite Russia’s “vicious military onslaught…the bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of brutality has been truly awe-inspiring,” he said.

All this week, Member States had made their views known – from fears of this being the start of a new Cod War to despair over food shortages and price spikes in fuel. But in all this…let’s be clear: these consequences are due to Russia’s aggression, not international sanctions,” Foreign Minister Kofod said.

“President Putin’s blatant imperial ambitions and horrifying allusions to the use of nuclear weapons are unprecedented threats against not only Europe, but international peace and security, and we are extremely concerned,” he said, rallying Member States to stand up for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence.

“We appeal to all Member States to stand firmly on the side of the UN Charter and fight back against an ‘international disorder’ where might makes right,” he stated.

Barbados Prime Minister Mottley calls for overhaul of unfair, outdated global finance system

During her speech, Ms. Mottley spoke extensively about the need to reform the ageing global financial architecture to better reflect today’s realities, for instance making it easier for climate-stricken countries to access capital.

Indeed, the Bretton Woods Agreement that gave rise to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “no longer serve the purpose in the 21st century that they served in the 20th century,” she said.

She called for a global compact establishing that financing for development cannot be short term, but instead should be at least a 30-year loan.

“The world recognized this when allowed Britain to participate in the refinance of its World War I bonds which were only paid eight years ago, 100 years after World War I started,” she said by an example.

She also argued that Germany was allowed to cap its debt payments at the equivalent of 5 per cent of its exports, under the premise that the “cataclysm” experience of a war would not allow them to finance reconstruction while repaying debts incurred during the war.

“We are no different, we have incurred debts for COVID-19, for climate, and now to fight this difficult moment of the inflation and [supply crisis]. Why [must the] developing world find money in 7 to 10 years when others had the benefit of longer terms to repay their [loans]?”, she asked the General Assembly.

Loss and damage

Ms. Mottley also referred to the issue of loss and damage and praised Denmark for becoming the first central Government in a developed country to propose a fund devoted to this purpose, which in practical terms would directly help nations at the frontline of climate crisis.

“Any attempt to deny that the climate crisis has man-made origins is an attempt to delude ourselves and to admit that we want to be accomplices in the continuing death and loss of damage that ensues to the people who are the victims of it”, she said.

The Prime Minister asked countries to take responsibility because otherwise, the world is not going to see any change.

“The commitments of loss and damage are absolutely critical if we are to make serious progress in saving our world… the trust that is needed to propel us to fight the great causes of our time will not be won by breaching promises,” she said.

She also highlighted that while small States like Barbados have made net zero commitments, the current state of global affairs, including Atlantic hurricanes, the war in Ukraine, and the absence of financing, does not allow them to stop accessing their natural gas resources right now.

UN Reform and fairness

The Barbados leader also referred to the United States President’s words earlier this week and supported a reform of the Security Council.

“We call an echo for that, but we go further. We believe that a Security Council that retains the power of veto in the hands of a few, will still lead us to war as we have seen this year, and therefore the reform cannot simply be in its composition but also [must include] the removal of that veto,” she said.

Ms. Mottley also called for the reform of the G20 and G7 groups, arguing that Barbados “cannot accept” these “informal committees of governance” when they have no African-descent representation and exclude 1.5 billion people in the world.

“How could it be expected to reflect fairness and transparency in its decision making?”, she underscored.

She argued that to be able to move from “possibilities” to “realities” it is essential to embrace a transparency framework that would allow the people who are losing faith in institutions that fairness does mean something.

“Fairness and togetherness are needed to bring about peace, love and prosperity in this world. And this is not romanticism these are hard realities that simply require decisions,” she explained.

Speak the truth

Finally, the Prime Minister said that world leaders must have mature conversations and speak to their people instead of relying on headlines and soundbites, to avoid a disconnect between the government and the governed.

“With those commitments, we can make a difference in this world and let us do so recognizing that a world that reflects an imperialistic order, hypocrisy and lack of transparency will not achieve that mission, but one that gives us freedom transparency and levelled playing field will allow for a difference,” she concluded.

South Sudan: Vice-President highlights commitments and challenges to peace

The Revitalized Peace Agreement, signed by the Government and opposition groups four years ago, ended years of conflict in the world’s youngest nation, independent since July 2011. 

“Owing to relative peace, the internally displaced and the refugees have been voluntarily returning home, although more formal reintegration remains a challenge due to limited resources,” said Mr. Abdelbagi. 

Roadmap and challenges 

Furthermore, the parties have agreed on a roadmap to complete the remaining tasks under the agreement, which will pave the way for elections when the transitional period ends in 2025. 

The Vice-President added that the command structure of the National Unified Forces has also been established, describing the development as “a major leap” towards their transformation and regularization. 

However, implementation of the peace deal is facing several challenges, “and sanctions imposed by international partners on individuals and entities are disservice to this course,” he said. 

Revise targeted sanctions 

“We are calling upon the international community, and the UN in particular, to revise individual and targeted sanctions, arms embargo imposed on South Sudan, to enable successful completion of the remaining provisions of the peace agreement outlined in the New Roadmap.” 

Floods and food insecurity 

Mr. Abdelbagi also reported on other obstacles South Sudan is facing. Up to 80 per cent of the country has been affected by floods for the past three years, making it evident that “climate change is real”. 

To mitigate the effects on both lives and livelihoods, the authorities are donating $10 million to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) to assist displaced communities.  

“However, we need the support of the international community to reach all the flood and drought-affected areas and communities,” he said. 

The Government also conducted an analysis earlier this year, which revealed that an estimated 6.8 million people, more than half the population, are facing food insecurity, with some 2.37 million at emergency level. 

“The severe food insecurity is worsened by combinations of shocks including flooding, prolonged draught, physical insecurity, and the effects of COVID-19,” he said. 

COVID-19 impacts 

Addressing the pandemic, Mr. Abdelbagi reported that South Sudan has been able to contain coronavirus spread “through thoughtful and targeted actions”.  The result has been very low morbidity and fatality rates. 

As of 9 May, only 17,513 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 138 deaths, have been reported since the start of the pandemic, and vaccine coverage stands at   45 per cent among adults. 

“Despite this positive health news, the pandemic has had negative effects on the economy, starting with dramatic declines in domestic production and revenue collection, followed by a rising cost of living,” he said. 

“These economic consequences are far-reaching, severely weakening, for example, human capital formation, especially in education, as the lockdown deprived school-age children of learning opportunities.” 

Promoting peace through mediation 

Mr. Abdelbagi also highlighted South Sudan’s efforts to promote peace and stability, both in the region and beyond. 

The country successfully mediated the armed conflict in neighboring Sudan, which resulted in the signing of a peace agreement in 2020.  

“South Sudan stands ready to mediate the current conflict between the army and the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) in Sudan so that Sudan can finally enjoy lasting peace,” he said. 

Recently, the authorities offered to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia in their disagreement over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and in other situations that include the Tigray conflict. 

“By participating in bringing regional peace and stability, South Sudan has demonstrated its ability as a reliable partner in quest for regional and international peace and security,” he said. 

“Further, the Republic of South Sudan is contributing one battalion of peacekeeping forces to be part of the East African Forces to bring peace in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Turning to the war in Ukraine, Mr. Agany pointed to how it has devastated lives in the country and affected the global economy. 

“From the moral point of view, the South Sudan Government is calling on Russia and Ukraine to cease all forms of hostilities and resolve the dispute through diplomatic and constructive dialogue to avert further consequences.” 

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