Seventy-seventh Session,
4th & 5th Meetings (AM & PM)

‘World in Peril’ Must Overcome Divisions, Find Common Solutions to Climate Emergency, Armed Conflict, Secretary-General Says, Opening Annual General Assembly Debate

Global Leaders Call for Green Transition, Fairer Global Governance
To Foster More Inclusive Development, Protect Human Rights Worldwide

Amidst war in Ukraine, a climate emergency, and conflict and crisis around the globe, Secretary-General António Guterres sounded the alarm on a world in peril and urged leaders gathered for the first day of the annual General Assembly high-level debate today to urgently overcome divisions and act together.

“Let’s work as one, as a coalition of the world, as united nations,” he said, addressing the largest General Assembly gathering in three years since the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person events and travel worldwide.  The Brave Commander, which sailed the Black Sea with the United Nations flag flying high, signals promise and hope, he said, highlighting that the vessel — loaded with Ukrainian grain destined for the people of the Horn of Africa — navigated through a war zone while guided by the very parties to the conflict.

The international community must start with achieving and sustaining peace, he said, pointing to the widespread destruction in Ukraine and the dire situations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Syria and other parts of the world.  Underscoring the need for concerted action everywhere, he said his report Our Common Agenda outlined elements of a new Agenda for Peace, with women’s leadership and participation front and centre.

Climate action must also be a priority for every Government and multilateral organization, he emphasized, noting that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be slashed by 45 per cent by 2030 to have any hope of reaching net zero by 2050.  Stressing that fossil-fuel companies and their enablers must be held to account, he called on developed economies to tax their windfall profits and direct funds to those suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and those struggling with rising food and energy prices.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are issuing an SOS,” he stressed, noting that more people are poor, hungry and lack access to health care and education; societies are being damaged by hate speech and misinformation; and democracy itself is being threatened.  “Our world is in peril — and paralyzed,” he stressed, urging Member States to develop common solutions grounded in goodwill, trust and human rights.

Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the Assembly’s seventy-seventh session, also underlined the need for solutions to surmount global, interconnected challenges through solidarity, sustainability and science.  Science offers neutral evidence to direct actions, he added, pointing out that the success of climate diplomacy should be replicated in other areas, such as water, energy, food and biodiversity.

The international community cannot compromise on protecting human rights and upholding the rule of law, he went on to say, also calling for women’s full participation in decision-making and leadership.  He also advocated for Security Council reform that reflects twenty-first-century realities.  This is a matter of credibility for the entire Organization and the multilateral order, he stressed, calling on all Member States to take on their responsibilities and cooperate with one another.  “Our opportunity is here and now,” he urged, adding:  “Let us act”.

In the ensuing general debate, 33 Heads of State and Government from around the world outlined their priorities and concerns and echoed the Secretary-General’s calls for urgent, concerted action to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

“Terrorism, which is gaining ground on the continent, is not just an African matter,” stressed Macky Sall, President of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union, urging the Security Council to increase its engagement with the continent in its fight against terrorism and to provide more-appropriate mandates and more-substantial resources for this effort.  Underscoring the need for a fairer, more-inclusive global governance, he also urged the international community to heed Africa’s just demand for Security Council reform “so that Africa can, finally, be represented where decisions that affect 1.4 billion Africans are being taken”.

In a similar vein, Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea, underscored that the United Nations must play a central role in bringing the community of nations together to decisively increase support for countries with limited fiscal and technical resources.  For its part, the Republic of Korea has increased its official development assistance (ODA) budget with a vision to achieve more-inclusive development globally.  He also urged countries with leading environmental technologies to share new and renewable energy technologies with others.

A green transition has a tremendous potential to create jobs and economic growth, underscored Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, pointing out that fighting climate change and taking care of the economy do not contradict each other.  However, the ripple effects of the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine are compounding the pre-existing problems faced by the international community.  “We must not become indifferent or apathetic in the face of these multiple crises,” he said, calling on Member States to build and strengthen peace and prevent conflict wherever possible.

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein, King of Jordan, said his country has worked as a bridge for regional partnerships, international crisis response and humanitarian action, outlining the establishment of multilateral partnerships with Egypt, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other countries in the region.  Although the situation in the Middle East has been “synonymous with conflict and crisis”, he expressed hope that a new-found spirit of collaboration can make the region an example of resilience and integration.

Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, President of Bolivia, joined others in calling for restructuring of the global financial architecture to ease external debt burdens.  This will enable developing countries to implement policies that focus on comprehensive, sustainable social and economic development.  There must also be a specific financial mechanism — based on solidarity — to confront climate-related losses experienced by developing countries.  A low-emissions, resilient future will not be possible, he warned, unless the economic, social and political contradictions of the capitalist model are resolved.

“Many of us in the developing world have had to revise our 2030 aspirations due to lost progress,” said Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Seychelles, also stressing the issue of economic inequality.  He called on international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to look beyond gross national income and embrace other indicators of vulnerability that facilitate access to financing for small island developing States like his own.  He also stressed the need for urgent action to counter climate change, which poses an existential threat to such States.

On that point, Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, said that industrialized nations have a special responsibility to act and noted that his country stands by its pledges to support developing countries in their efforts to adapt to climate change.  Also highlighting his country’s strong support for Ukraine – which must be able to defend itself against the Russian Federation’s invasion – he stressed that Governments have an obligation to their peoples to foster a global order that allows them to live in peace, protects their rights and opens opportunities.

“A Government can never feel defeated when the people speak,” underscored Gabriel Boric Font, President of Chile, noting that the people of his country — the most unequal in the world — have agreed to face their challenges by building a democracy that talks and listens to its citizens.  Voicing hope that Chile will soon have a new constitution that brings together the contributions of all sectors of society and reflects aspirations in justice and liberty, he called on Member States to work together to strengthen democracy in all spaces.

Also speaking today were Heads of State and Government of Brazil, Colombia, Türkiye, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Paraguay, Switzerland, Slovakia, France, Honduras, Philippines, Lithuania, Romania, Peru, Marshall Islands, Argentina, Poland, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, El Salvador, Japan, Morocco and Italy.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 21 September, to continue its general debate.

Opening Remarks

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that despite growing divides and inequalities, the Brave Commander, which sailed the Black Sea with the United Nations flag flying high, signals promise and hope for a world “in big trouble”.  The ship, loaded with Ukrainian grain destined for the people of the Horn of Africa, where millions are on the edge of famine, navigated through a war zone, guided by the very parties to the conflict.  “Ukraine and the Russian Federation, with the support of Türkiye, came together to make it happen, despite the enormous complexities…  Some might call it a miracle on the sea.  In truth, it is multilateral diplomacy in action,” he underscored.  In 2022, the world has enough food, the problem is distribution, he pointed out, stressing the need to continue removing all remaining obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and their ingredients, including ammonia.  The impact of high gas prices on the production of nitrogen fertilizers must also be addressed seriously, he said, warning that without action now, the global fertilizer shortage could quickly morph into a global food shortage.

“A cost-of-living crisis is raging.  Trust is crumbling.  Inequalities are exploding.  Our planet is burning.  People are hurting…  We have a duty to act.  And yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction,” he stressed.  Citing the war in Ukraine, the multiplication of conflicts around the globe, the climate emergency and biodiversity loss, and developing countries’ dire financial situation, he warned that despite new technologies there is a forest of red flags.  Social media platforms based on a business model that monetizes outrage, anger and negativity are causing untold damage to communities and societies.  Hate speech, misinformation and abuse — targeted especially at women and vulnerable groups — are proliferating.  Noting other threats to the integrity of information systems, the media, and democracy itself, he said progress on those, and other issues, is being held hostage to geopolitical tensions.  “Our world is in peril — and paralyzed,” he stressed, noting that geopolitical divides are undermining the work of the Security Council, international law, people’s trust and people’s faith in democratic institutions, and all forms of international cooperation. He called on the “coalition of the world” to urgently overcome divisions and act together.  It starts with achieving and sustaining peace, he said, pointing to the widespread destruction unleashed on Ukraine.

The funding gap of $32 billion for the Global Humanitarian Appeal is at the widest ever, he said, describing the dire situations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, the Horn of Africa, Libya, Israel, the State of Palestine, Myanmar, the Sahel and Syria.  Although the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty failed to reach consensus and a nuclear deal with Iran remains elusive, there are some glimmers of hope.  In Yemen, the nationwide truce is fragile but holding.  In Colombia, the peace process is taking root.  Underscoring the need for concerted action everywhere, he said his report Our Common Agenda outlined elements of a new Agenda for Peace, with women’s leadership and participation at front and centre.  Moreover, prevention and peacebuilding, including expanding the role of regional groups, countering terrorism and recognizing the centrality of human rights, must be prioritized.

Highlighting man’s “suicidal war against nature”, he said climate action must be the first priority of every Government and multilateral organization.  Global greenhouse gas emissions need to be slashed by 45 per cent by 2030 to have any hope of reaching net zero by 2050.  Yet emissions are going up at record levels — on course to a 14 per cent increase this decade.  “We have a rendezvous with climate disaster,” he warned, recalling his recent visit to Pakistan where one third of the country is submerged by a “monsoon on steroids”.  Pointing to Europe’s worst heatwave since the Middle Ages; the megadrought in China, the United States and beyond; and famine stalking the Horn of Africa, he said 1 million species are at risk of extinction and no region is untouched.  “The climate crisis is a case study in moral and economic injustice,” he said, noting that the Group of 20 (G20) emits 80 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, but the poorest and most vulnerable are bearing its most brutal impacts.

“The fossil fuel industry is feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns,” he stressed.  Fossil fuel companies and their enablers, including banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution, as well as the massive public relations machine raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny, must be held to account.  He called on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies, noting that those funds should be redirected in two ways:  to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.

Looking ahead to the twenty-seventh Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt, he called on all leaders to realize the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.  “Lift your climate ambition.  Listen to your people’s calls for change.  Invest in solutions that lead to sustainable economic growth,” he emphasized.  Developing countries need help to make the shift to renewable energy — the pathway to energy security, stable prices and new industries.  The international community must also help countries adapt to worsening climate shocks.  Turning to the biodiversity crisis, he said the world must agree on a post-2020 global biodiversity framework that sets ambitious targets to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, provides adequate financing and eliminates harmful subsidies that destroy ecosystems.  Efforts must also be intensified to finalize an international legally binding agreement to conserve and sustainably use marine biological diversity.

A once-in-a-generation global cost-of-living crisis is unfolding, turbocharged by the war in Ukraine, he said, adding that some 94 countries, many in Africa, face a perfect storm of economic and social fallout from the pandemic, soaring food and energy prices, crushing debt burdens, spiralling inflation, and a lack of access to finance.  Social unrest is inevitable, with conflict not far behind, he warned, stressing that:  “The Sustainable Development Goals are issuing an SOS.”  More people are poor.  More people are hungry.  More people are being denied health care and education.  Gender equality is going backwards and women’s lives are getting worse, from poverty, to choices around sexual and reproductive health, to their personal security.  He called for the launch of an “SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] Stimulus” led by the G20 to massively boost sustainable development for developing countries, noting that the upcoming Group Summit in Bali is the place to start.

Citing the “SDG Stimulus” components, he said multilateral development banks must increase concessional funding to developing countries linked to investments in the Sustainable Development Goals.  Also, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative should be extended and enhanced.  An effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries is also needed, he said, urging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and major central banks to expand their liquidity facilities and currency lines immediately and significantly.  Moreover, a new allocation of special drawing rights must be handled differently based on justice and solidarity with developing countries.  Governments must empower specialized funds like Gavi, the Global Fund and the Green Climate Fund, and “G20 economies” should underwrite an expansion of those funds as additional financing for the Sustainable Development Goals.  Noting that the proposed “SDG Stimulus” is only an interim measure,” he said his report Our Common Agenda proposes a New Global Deal to rebalance power and resources between developed and developing countries.

By acting as one, he said the international community can nurture fragile shoots of hope found in climate and peace activists around the world calling out for change, in young people working every day for a better future, in the women and girls fighting for those still being denied their basic human rights.  The United Nations stands with them all, he affirmed, urging Member States to develop common solutions to common problems grounded in goodwill, trust, and the rights shared by every human being.  “Let’s work as one, as a coalition of the world, as united nations,” he said.

CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly, underlined the need for solutions to surmount global, interconnected challenges through solidarity, sustainability and science. While leaders of the world gather today “at the most consequential moment of the last four decades”, the world is in a permanent state of humanitarian emergency, with over 300 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection, a 10 per cent rise since January.  Driven by climate change, COVID-19 and conflict, global hunger has reached alarming levels.  The effects of war, bloodshed and suffering in Europe and a revival of nuclear treats and record-height inequality and inflation have impacted the international community.  “It all tears the planet apart,” he said, adding:  “We owe it to our children to leave behind a liveable world” he stated and pointed to science to guide us.

Science offers neutral evidence to direct actions, he continued.  The International Panel of Climate Change’s research has proven to be an invaluable tool for supporting political decisions to combat climate change.  The success of the Panel and climate diplomacy should be replicated in other areas, such as water, energy, food and biodiversity.  In that vein, he announced a series of consultations with the scientific community to bring “knowledge from microscopes to microphones”.  More building blocks for transformation are at the world’s disposal, he pointed out, citing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sendai Framework, Water Action Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, Addis Ababa Agenda and Our Common Agenda all describe the world people want and offer the avenues to get there.

However, during these times of interconnected challenges and crisis, the international community cannot compromise on protecting human rights and upholding the rule of law, he said, also calling for full participation of women in decision-making and leadership.  Noting that the United Nations General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders is also taking place this week, he underscored that data shows crisis response is more effective when women take the lead.  He encouraged for Member States to engage substantively with this issue, stressing:  “It has to do with equity and equality — but above all, human dignity.”  He also advocated for Security Council reform to reflect twenty-first century realities.  This is a matter of credibility for the entire Organization and multilateral order.  Calling upon all Member States to take on their responsibilities and cooperate with one another, he emphasized:  “Things get better, when we make them better.  Things go wrong when we fail to seize the opportunities before us. Our opportunity is here and now.  Let us act.”


JAIR MESSIAS BOLSONARO, President of Brazil, noted that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, his Government made all the efforts to save lives and preserve jobs.  To this end, it launched a broad vaccination programme, including domestic production of vaccines.  “In my administration, we uprooted the systemic corruption that existed in the country,” he asserted, pointing to the implementation of a comprehensive agenda of privatizations and concessions, with an emphasis on infrastructure.  Citing efforts to modernize the Brazilian economy, he reported that his country concluded the São Francisco River transposition project, bringing water to the Brazilian north-east and further adopted new regulatory frameworks, addressing basic sanitation, railroads and natural gas.  “Despite international pressures, Brazil is getting to the end of 2022 with an economy in full recovery,” he said, noting that poverty in his country began to fall sharply.  In 2021, Brazil was the fourth largest destination for foreign direct investment in the world.

Four decades ago, Brazil used to import food; today, it is one of the world's largest exporters.  This was only possible thanks to heavy investments in science and innovation, he underscored, honouring Alysson Paolinelli, Brazilian candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his role in expanding Brazil’s agricultural frontier with the use of new technologies.  With regards to sustainable development, he reported that two thirds of the Brazilian territory remain covered by native vegetation that is found exactly as it was when Brazil was discovered in 1500.

In the Brazilian Amazon, more than 80 per cent of the forest remains untouched, contrary to what is reported by the mainstream national and international media, he stressed, adding that the Amazon region is home to more than 20 million inhabitants, including indigenous and riverside dwellers, whose livelihood depends on some economic use of the forest.  The Government brought internet connection to more than 11,000 rural schools and to more than 500 indigenous communities.

Last year, Brazil was announced by the United Nations as the “global champion for energy transition”, he continued, spotlighting his country’s potential to become a major global exporter of clean energy.  Warning against threats to international peace and security, he pointed to Brazil’s extensive history of participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations.  To Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis, Brazil responded with the “Operation Welcome” and provided territory, emergency assistance and protection to more than 350,000 Venezuelans.  The Brazilian humanitarian reception policy goes beyond Venezuela as Brazil has also received Haitians, Syrians, Afghans and Ukrainians.

Turning to the conflict in Ukraine, he called for immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians and non-combatants, the preservation of critical infrastructure, and the maintenance of all channels of dialogue between the parties in conflict.  “We are against diplomatic and economic isolation,” he said, cautioning against unilateral and selective sanctions that are inconsistent with international law.  These measures have harmed the economic recovery and threatened human rights of vulnerable populations, including in European countries, he asserted.

MACKY SALL, President of Senegal and of Chairperson of the African Union, said the Security Council must ensure all threats to international peace and stability, including in Africa, are handled in the same way.  “Terrorism, which is gaining ground on the continent, is not just an African matter.  It is a global threat that falls under the primary responsibility of the Council as the guarantor of the collective security mechanism, under the Organization’s Charter,” he underscored.  He urged the Council to engage more with the continent in the fight against terrorism in Africa and with more appropriate mandates and more substantial resources.

The African Union calls for the lifting of foreign sanctions against Zimbabwe, he said, noting that those measures continue to fuel a sense of injustice against an entire people and aggravate suffering.  He underscored the right of the Palestinian people in the Middle East to a viable State, living side by side with Israel, each within secure and internationally recognized borders.  He also called for a de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, for a negotiated solution, to avoid the catastrophic risk of a potentially global conflict.  He launched an appeal to put together a high-level mediation mission to which the Union stands ready to contribute.

“It is time for a fairer, more inclusive global governance that is more adapted to the realities of our time.  It is time to overcome the reticence and deconstruct the narratives that persist in confining Africa to the margins of decision-making circles,” he continued.  He urged the international community to heed Africa’s just and legitimate demand for Security Council reform as reflected in the Ezulwini Consensus.  He further reiterated the bloc’s request for a seat in the Group of 20, “so that Africa can, finally be represented where decisions that affect 1.4 billion Africans are being taken”.

On economic and financial governance, he said the 2022 Report on Financing for Sustainable Development, produced by some 60 multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, points to shortcomings in the rating processes of credit rating agencies.  Voicing concern that the perception of risk in Africa continues to be higher than the actual risk, he called on the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance to engage in a constructive dialogue with Group of 20, IMF and the World Bank, on improving the rating agencies’ working and assessment methods.  He further called for the partial reallocation of special drawing rights, much needed for developing countries, and implementation of the Group of 20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

Turning to health emergencies, he urged the mobilization of the Rays of Hope campaign of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to strengthen the capacity of member countries, particularly in Africa, to fight cancer through nuclear technologies such as medical imaging, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy.  On climate change and energy, he pointed out that today more than 600 million Africans still live without electricity, calling on Member States to work towards the goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year to support the adaptation efforts of developing countries.  The “Africa of solutions” wants to engage with all its partners in a reinvented relationship with an open multilateralism system that is respectful of differences, so that the strength and vitality of the United Nations raison d'être can be restored:  to save present and future generations from the scourge of war, he stressed.

GABRIEL BORIC FONT, President of Chile, underscored that the world was in an era of uncertainly, where no country was isolated or immune to global shocks of events.  “Chile needs the world, and the world needs Chile, too,” he said.  He went on to express his solidarity and respect with Ukraine, pointing out that the Russian Federation’s unfair war of aggression on Ukraine pushed up prices and caused shortages of grains and fertilizers.

This, in turn, strongly impacted the Chilean economy, which has already been affected by the United States-China trade war in 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic destabilizing the global economy, he noted.  The humanitarian crisis in Venezuela also generated an unprecedented migratory flow in the region and in Chile, putting tremendous pressure on its society and institutions.  Further, despite being responsible only for 0.24 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Chile meets seven out of nine United Nations vulnerability criteria.  “No country, large or small can save itself on its own,” he stressed.

Notwithstanding important political and social changes introduced by former President Salvador Allende 50 years ago, the Chilean development model has kept the high concentration of wealth, making it the most unequal country in the world, he continued.  Inequality has obstructed the country’s path of development, constituting an inherent threat to democracy.  The way forward in a peaceful democratic process resulted in an agreement between major political forces and a new road map for drafting a new constitution.

Chilean citizens — 80 per cent of voters — called for a new constitution through a plebiscite in October 2019, he reported.  This major challenge would something never before achieved in Chilean history — a democratic constitution, written with the participation of citizens, indigenous people and gender parity — a “constitution for everybody written by everybody”.  The work of the Constitutional Convention was submitted to public consultation and consequently rejected, with 85 per cent of voters participating and casting a vote of 62 per cent against and 38 per cent in favour.  Thus, the Government had to seek new formulas.  However, “a Government can never feel defeated when the people speak,” he stated.  Today Chileans have agreed to face their challenges by building a democracy that talks and listens to its citizens.

Member States have a duty of improving democracy, he said.  The Chilean people have demonstrated a lesson in democracy by calling the political actors to rise to the current challenges; their expectations must be met.  In that regard, the Chilean Government has received the results of the plebiscite “with the open mind and hearts”, willing to hear that the people are telling and trusting their will.  He expressed hope that Chile will soon have a new constitution built in democracy that brings together the contributions of all sectors of society and reflects aspirations in justice and liberty.  To that end, he called for the General Assembly to work together to strengthen democracy in all spaces, expressing the need for “a new Latin America” and modernization of the United Nations.

ABDULLAH II IBN AL HUSSEIN, King of Jordan, noting that the General Assembly met today “as the alarm bells ring all around us”, went on to ask the organ :  “Is this the future we will leave to the generations yet to come?”  Highlighting that the Dead Sea, the Jordan River and coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba are all threatened by climate change, he stressed that no country could heal the “injured” Earth alone.  Also highlighting that the global supply chains have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the situation in Ukraine, he stated that the current food insecurity demands collective measures to ensure fair access to affordable food.

To tackle global crises, he stressed that his country has worked as a bridge for regional partnerships and cooperation, international crisis response and humanitarian action, outlining the establishment of multilateral partnerships with Egypt, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other countries in the region.  He said that his country sees “regional resilience packs” coming together to stimulate fresh opportunities and growth.  He emphasized that Jordan has hosted more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, adding that host countries look to the international community to honour its commitment to meet the needs of refugees, which he said is an international responsibility.

Turning to the situation in the Middle East, which has been “synonymous with conflict and crisis”, he expressed hope that a new-found spirit of collaboration can make the region an exemplar of resilience and integration.  On resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he stressed that it is the people themselves, not politics and politicians, who will have to come together and push their leaders to resolve this.

Referring to the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on which the Assembly will vote later in 2022, he called on the international community to send a strong message of support for the rights of Palestinian refugees, also adding that the road forward is the two-State solution.  As custodians of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, he stressed that his country is committed to protecting their historic and legal status quo.

GUSTAVO PETRO URREGO, President of Colombia, said in his country, violence and beauty exist side by side.  “How can the biodiversity of life intertwine with the dances of death and horror?  Who is responsible for breaking the charming spell with terror?”  he asked.  The oxygen on the planet emanates from the jungle.  One of the plants absorbing carbon dioxide is one of the most persecuted on Earth.  “Wherever it grows, we seek to destroy it,” he noted.  The coca plant — sacred to the Incas — uncovers paradoxical crossroads:  the jungle the world is trying to save is being destroyed at the same time.

To destroy the coca plant they throw poisons, glyphosate en masse that contaminates the waters and arrest their cultivators and imprison them, he went on to say.  For destroying or having possession of coca plants, 1 million Latin Americans have died and 2 million African Americans have been imprisoned in North America.  The destruction of the Amazon has become the catch phrase that States and businesses follow while ignoring scientists who describe the jungle as one of the major climate pillars.

Stressing that there is nothing more hypocritical than the discourse “saving the jungle”, he added that the jungle is disappearing, along with all its life.  The enormous sponge absorbing carbon dioxide is evaporating and the Amazon — the saviour — is seen as the “enemy” to be defeated, while the people who cultivate it are demonized.  “My country interests you only if you spread poison in its jungle, take its men to prison and cast its women into exclusion,” he exclaimed, condemning the war on the jungle, its plants, and its people.

“What is more harmful to humanity: cocaine, carbon dioxide or oil?” he asked.  The will of power has decided that cocaine is the poison that must be persecuted, even though it causes a minimum of overdoses.  On the other hand, carbon dioxide and oil must be protected, even though their use can lead humanity to extinction.  Criticizing endless consumption, he called for saving the Amazon and the life on Earth.  With mathematics and climate models, scientists said that the end of the human species was upon us, that the time left is not even centuries.  However, the world has stopped listening.

Spotlighting “invented” wars in Ukraine, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, he said wars have served as an excuse to not tackle climate change.  Climate disaster that will kill hundreds of millions of people is not produced by the planet.  The Amazon jungle uncovers the failure of humanity, he asserted, emphasizing that behind the addiction to cocaine, oil, and coal lies the true addiction of this phase of human history:  the addiction to irrational power, profit, and money.  In this context, he called on all Latin America to join Colombia in the efforts to defeat the irrational world that is killing the Amazon and exchange death for life, death for nature.  “Do not put pressure on us to go to war, it is time for peace,” he concluded, adding that without peace with the planet, there will be no peace between nations.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN, President of Türkiye, regarding his country’s response to the pandemic, noted that it has provided humanitarian assistance to 161 countries and 12 international organizations, as well as its national vaccine, “Turkovac”.  The international community is experiencing a new wave of shock due to the situation in Ukraine.  He stressed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was established due to efforts by his country and the Secretary-General, allowed Ukrainian grain exports to reach other parts of the world.  He added that this is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Organization in recent decades.  Referring to the efforts made to settle the conflict in Ukraine and highlighting the importance of diplomacy in this regard, he emphasized that “the war will never have a triumph, and a fair peace process will not have a loser”.

Pointing out that his country has taken a facilitating position to solve disputes in the Middle East, he went on to underline that a peace settlement needs to be reached for the conflict in Syria in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).  He emphasized that his country has hosted 4 million civilians of Syrian descent, while also fighting with the PKK [Kurdish Workers’ Party], which “poses a threat to Türkiye”.  Continuing with the topic of refugees, he stated that “Greece is turning the Aegean Sea into a graveyard for refugees.”  He also pointed out that recently two refugee children aged nine months and four years, respectively, lost their lives “because the Greek coast guard forces sank their boat”.  He urged European countries, the United Nations and other international organizations to call for a stop to such “crimes against humanity”.

On the situation in Iraq, while stressing that his country has invested efforts for its peace and stability, he also underscored the importance of a political reconciliation based on “Iraqi identity”, as well as the need to stop the advance of terrorist organizations in the country.  Turning to Libya, he expressed the need to implement a fair election and therefore establish a strong Government with support of its people, so that the country could achieve the desired level of prosperity.  He also stressed that the two-State solution should be established to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  He added that it is the international community’s responsibility to help UNRWA increase its financial capacity.

Expressing concern over the state of the nuclear negotiations among Iran and other States, he stressed that diplomacy and dialogue are needed to settle the dispute about the country’s nuclear programme.  On the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he emphasized that despite the recent escalation of tensions it is possible to establish a permanent peace between these countries.  On Afghanistan, he noted that the “intermediary government” needs to take steps to ensure fundamental rights and liberties of the country’s people.  Responding to the recent floods in Pakistan, in addition to noting that Ankara has provided humanitarian assistance, he also urged the international community to step in.  Concerning the Balkans, he referred to his recent official visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, and expressed hope that the upcoming elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina would contribute to stability in the region.

Referring to Muslims in other parts of the world, he stressed that Rohingya Muslims will have to go back to their motherlands safely, in a voluntary and dignified fashion.  He added that he has been “sensitive” towards the protection of rights and liberties of “Muslim Uyghur Turks”, in such a way that does not threaten the sovereignty of China.  As for his country’s neighbouring relations, he called on Greece to leave its “escalation and provocation policies” aside and to respond to his country’s calls for cooperation, adding that Türkiye’s proposal to organize an Eastern Mediterranean Conference would serve as a step in this direction.  On the issue of Cyprus, highlighting that there are “two States and two different nations” on the island, he stressed that this should be accepted by all.  He also asked the international community to stop imposing sanctions on the “Turkish Cypriots”.  Finally, referring to the General Assembly resolution proclaiming 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, he expressed hope that the day would be observed widely.  “Islamophobia is equal to antisemitism and is a crime against humanity,” he said.

SADYR ZHAPAROV, President of Kyrgyzstan, addressed the General Assembly by expressing gratitude to the United Nations for its multifaceted contribution to the formation of his country as an independent and sovereign State.  Referring to the unprecedented complication of the geopolitical situation in the world, which has created a threat of the destruction of the fundamental foundations of peaceful coexistence and the inevitability of a major war, he recalled the high goals and objectives fixed in the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security and consequently take effective measures for prevention and removal of threats to the peace.

He further touched upon the actual situation unfolding on the southern borders of his country, recalling that the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 paved way for territorial disputes and border problems, some of which have not been regulated to this day.  In 1999, Kyrgyzstan successfully completed issues of border regulation with China and Kazakhstan at the point of intersection of the State borders of the three countries.  In addition, it signed an agreement on State borders with Uzbekistan.  These agreements have allowed Kyrgyzstan to maintain peace, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with many of its neighbours.

Speaking on Tajikistan, he said that, despite his country being united with its neighbour by common values, culture, traditions and customs, Dushanbe disregarded the Alma-Ata Declaration, signed by 11 former Soviet Republics, which calls for recognizing and respecting each other’s territorial integrity, while also assuming “responsibility to maintain civil peace and international harmony”.  In April 2021, the armed forces of Tajikistan launched an unjustified, unprovoked large-scale aggression on his country’s territory, killing 36 citizens and also causing serious material damage.  On 14 September, Tajik forces attacked border and civilian objects along the entire perimeter of the Kyrgyz-Tajik State border, resulting in the evacuation of 140,000 civilians.

While noting his readiness to “spend as much time as possible to solve this issue [with Tajikistan] once and for all”, he emphasized that Kyrgyzstan does not claim foreign lands, nor does it intend to give a centimetre of its land to anyone.  “All border and internal issues should be resolved over the negotiation table,” he said.

Turning to other issues, he spoke of Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and their gradual implementation, referring to the country’s own potential as the main source and engine of such development.  Kyrgyzstan is actively developing its hydropower industry — the locomotive of the “green economy” — while putting small and medium-sized hydropower plants into operation.  Furthermore, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will participate in the construction of the largest hydroelectric power station — Kambarata — which will contribute to strengthening energy security and optimizing the use of water resources in the region.

KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV, President of Kazakhstan, noted the world met today during a “new, increasingly bitter period of geopolitical confrontation”, drawing attention to the deepening distrust between global Powers, new military conflicts and the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons.  Economic and political sanctions have become “a new norm” — with eroding supply chains and food security as consequences.  Moreover, the foundational and interdependent principles of the United Nations — the sovereign equality of States, the territorial integrity of States and peaceful coexistence between States — are being threatened, he warned.

Welcoming the Secretary General’s report Our Common Agenda, he said that he is convinced that these challenges, crises and gaps in global governance can only be overcome by inclusiveness, cooperation and modernizing the United Nations.  Looking forward, the 2024 Summit of the Future will guide the leaders of the world in preventing crises, instead of simply responding to global challenges.  In this vein, he highlighted Kazakhstan’s initiative, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, and expressed his hope for transforming it into a full-fledged international organization at the upcoming summit in October in Astana.

To get back on track with the Sustainable Development Goals, he said that that a new global security paradigm and honest conversations between the East and West are needed.  Expressing concern over the heightened rivalry and rhetoric between nuclear Powers, he said that Kazakhstan will continuously struggle for a world free of such arsenals.  Besides that, the pandemic has shown the need for managing biological risks and dangers, and he reiterated an earlier proposal to establish an International Agency for Biological Safety.

Fighting climate change also requires international cooperation.  Applauding steps taken by many other States, Kazakhstan has pledged a total transformation of the oil- and coal-dependent energy sector into a net zero economy by 2060.  Stating that “climate action cannot come at the expense of development of modernization”, he urged Member States to scale up their commitments to greater climate finance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November.  These funds are also necessary to mitigate the global food security crisis.  Kazakhstan, “the breadbasket of Central Asia” is the largest landlocked developing country and a vital land corridor on the Eurasian continent.  It is therefore imperative that food and fertilizers remain off any sanction lists and that attention be paid to reliable and diversified global transport and infrastructure to boost economic recovery and tackle supply chain disruptions.  Regional political and economic cooperation is a priority.

Kazakhstan is on the path of transformative political reform to become a just nation, “in which every citizen has the same opportunities, rights and protections”, he said.  The presidential mandate has been limited to one seven-year term, the economy is being demonopolized, the death penalty abolished and a mandatory 30 per cent quota for women and young people in electoral party legislative lists has been implemented and much more.  Not only at home, but also internationally the country will “spare no effort towards building a safer, more sustainable and prosperous global community”, he concluded.

TAMIM BIN HAMAD AL THANI, Amir of the State of Qatar, said the world has become a global village and its issues and concerns are entwined.  Changes in the world now come at an accelerated pace and economic crises and confrontations reverberate globally.  Yet not all countries are developing at the same pace and global policy is still being managed to the logic of uneven capacity.  The logic of one humanity and one world is not being used.  Global crises are not being managed based on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and State sovereignty.  The wisdom of world leaders is needed.  He was aware of the complexities of the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  Calling for an immediate ceasefire, he said that perpetuating the crisis will only increase the number of casualties.

Turning to the Middle East, he said leaders did not need to be reminded that the Palestinian question needs to be settled and he stood in full solidarity with the Palestinian people to achieve justice.  The Security Council must shoulder its responsibility in this area.  Turning to Syria, he said the sacrifices of that country’s people cannot be ignored and the crisis cannot be accepted.  This is what can happen when the international community lacks a long-range vision to end a war, he said, noting that then the refugees become the issue that requires attention.  It is important to address the reasons for a crisis before dealing with the crisis.  In Libya, he called for immediate measures to move towards elections and unify military forces into one national army.  There was a glimmer of hope in Yemen and he hoped the country would move towards peace and all relevant Council resolutions, including resolution 2216 (2015), would be observed.  He believed in a just agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and that a region free of nuclear weapons can be established.  He recognized the right of the people of Iran to benefit from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Turning to Afghanistan, he called on all parties to build on the Doha peace process and ensure that that country does not become a haven for terrorist groups.  There needs to be protection of Afghan citizens and national reconciliation with all parties.

Turning to the global energy situation, he said the lack of planning on the matter has now led to an unprecedented energy crisis.  The Ukrainian crisis is new, but a political crisis turning into an energy crisis is not new.  The international community must develop a sufficient energy supply that includes a combination of sources, from solar to wind to hydrocarbons.  Qatar has invested in its liquefied natural gas production and is expanding its field.  This will help alleviate the global energy crisis.  He added that it is not acceptable to use commodities, such as food and energy, as tools of war.  The Qatar Government uses a balanced approach to settle disputes with peaceful means.

Later in 2022, Qatar will welcome the World Cup.  His Government is ready to open the door in Doha to people around the world without discrimination.  This will be the first time the event is being held in an Arab Muslim country.  The world will see that small- and medium-size countries can host global events that encourage interactions among all people of the world.  Despite differences among people, bridges of understanding can be built.

YOON SUK YEOL, President of the Republic of Korea, underscored that, due to attempts to alter the status quo by force and nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the global community is once again witnessing its citizens’ freedom and peace being put into jeopardy.  Such threats must be overcome through solidarity and commitment to the framework of universal global norms consolidated over the years within the United Nations system.  Genuine freedom and peace can turn into reality when the world is free from disease and hunger, free from illiteracy and free from want of energy and culture.

Further, the United Nations must play a central role in bringing the community of nations together to decisively step up support to countries with limited fiscal and technical resources, he said.  Countries with leading environmental technologies must work to share new and renewable energy technologies with others.  Describing the task of narrowing the digital divide as one of the urgent tasks for the international community, he emphasized that countries at the forefront of digital innovation must offer broader assistance in digital education, technology transfer and investment.

He then emphasized that his country has scaled up support for those who are in need, including by providing more assistance in his country and increasing the official development assistance (ODA) budget with a vision to achieve a more inclusive development globally.  He outlined his country’s efforts in accelerating research and development for COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccine, pledging $300 million towards the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator initiative and $30 million to the Financial Intermediary Fund of the World Bank. 

He also said his country was ensuring a more effective response to future infectious disease outbreak by hosting a ministerial meeting of the Global Health Security Agenda in Seoul this November, as well as taking part in negotiations to reach a “pandemic accord” under the World Health Organization.  Turning to the topic of climate change, he said that his country will scale up its “green ODA” to help developing countries transition to a low-carbon future.  His country has transferred and shared its “e-government” digital technology with developing countries and is pushing forward with its plan to transform the Government into a digital platform Government. 

“As we seek answers to the global crisis we are faced with, the viability of the UN system and the universal global norms architecture is under test,” he said.  The international community must resolve to stand firmly in solidarity to share the universal value of freedom and work together to uphold and spread freedom.  “Any attempt to turn away from the United Nations system and universal norms will divide the global community into blocs, further compounding the crisis and turmoil,” he said.

MARIO ABDO BENÍTEZ, President of Paraguay, said that, with his country still weathering the economic and social consequences of the pandemic, it began to feel the impact of war on the international platform.  The shortcomings of national and international institutions in tackling emergencies were visible.  Latin America is one of the regions most affected by the economic situation.  Thus, the region has had to adopt a position of principles which are in line the full implementation of human rights and collective self-governance.  Such stances must be part of a broad plan of cooperation, he said, adding that countries that are better placed remain aware of the imbalance that is characterized by the planet in all spheres.

Paraguay, a country representing solidarity consistent with their principles, has always supported the kindred country of Venezuela and the peoples’ struggle for democracy, he said.  For this reason, Paraguay, along with other countries, is leading a resolution in the Human Rights Council that will allow for a continued in-depth investigation into violations of human rights in Venezuela.  “We must rebuild a moral awareness of the continued validity of human rights and democracy,” he said, acknowledging the importance of the existing legal instruments and institutions created for the protection of human rights.  He also underscored his country’s support for the Republic of China (Taiwan) to be a full member of the United Nations system, stressing that the country’s participation would be a valuable contribution in the multilateral system.  

Spotlighting the situation in Ukraine and the humanitarian and economic consequences of the conflict, he urgently called for the cessation of hostilities and a resumption of negotiations.  As well, there was a need to rethink the functioning of the Security Council and steer it towards an efficient performance, while strengthening the role of the General Assembly as a space for channelling the voice of all States.  In addition, it is no longer possible to talk about global initiatives to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable peace when the countries’ economies are being contaminated by the flow of profits from illicit activities.  In that regard, Paraguay received news from the Financial Action Group of Latin America that it had passed its evaluation after modernization of its institutional structure to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Under his Administration, Paraguay aligned, as never before, the efforts of its security institutions and put them to work in the largest operation in history against organized crime through coordinated work with friendly foreign agencies, he reported.  In the area of sustainable development, Paraguay is making headway transforming its production matrix, as well as implementing sustainable practices in agriculture and crop production and providing clean and renewable energy.  For this reason, together with other countries, he called for the creation of a Special Rapporteur on climate change in the Human Rights Council that will contribute to making the true impact of the crisis more visible at a global level.  He also reported that Paraguay is among the five countries in the region that have managed to increase foreign direct investment during the pandemic and have doubled private investment in the last four years.

SAULI NIINISTÖ, President of Finland, said the ripple effects of the Russian Federation’s brutal war in Ukraine are compounding the pre-existing problems faced by the international community.  A triple crisis of energy, food security and finance are weighing especially heavily on vulnerable countries who are already suffering the most from the climate crisis and the pandemic.  “As we gather here, we have an important opportunity to engage in dialogue, find solutions, and understand the concerns of those most in need,” he emphasized.  Highlighting the international community’s common obligation to uphold the international rules-based order, he said:  “We can’t accept, condone or normalize grave violations of international law and human rights.”

Commending the Secretary-General and the President of Türkiye’s tireless efforts, he said the agreement to secure Ukrainian grain transports, if implemented as foreseen, will have a major impact on the lives of tens of millions of people in need.  However, to respond to the wider challenges of global food security, collective action is needed to arrive at sustainable, inclusive and fair food systems.   Turning to the global climate emergency, he called on the international community to change its course “before it is too late” and support those with fewer resources to deal with the threat.  Fighting climate change and taking care of the economy do not contradict each other, he underscored, pointing out that a green transition has a tremendous potential to create jobs, innovations and economic growth, as long as it is done fairly.

Thanking those who supported his country’s membership in the Human Rights Council, he said Finland remains a staunch supporter of the work of the International Criminal Court in investigating all grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.  Noting that one quarter of humanity lives in conflict-affected countries, he asked the Assembly:  “Have we done all we can to avert violence?  Have we done what we can to make a positive change?”  He called on Member States to build and strengthen peace and prevent conflict wherever possible, noting that the Secretary General’s report Our Common Agenda provides a blueprint for more effective multilateralism — paving a way to solutions to current and future global problems.

Pointing to the increasingly challenged international arms control architecture, he said the two biggest nuclear weapon States have a unique responsibility to advance nuclear arms control and disarmament, and others must follow suit.  Progress in nuclear arms control and disarmament must continue beyond the New START Treaty, he added, calling on the United States and the Russian Federation to continue their dialogue on strategic stability with a view to achieving further cuts in their nuclear arsenals.  “We must not become indifferent or apathetic in the face of these multiple crises,” he said, emphasizing that “there is still time to act”.

IGNAZIO CASSIS, President of Switzerland, said that today, 20 years after his country joined the United Nations via a unique referendum, the foundational values and principles the Organization are more important than ever.  The military aggression by the Russian Federation against their neighbour, Ukraine, “violates the basic principles of the Charter” and must be ended.  The violation of human rights and international humanitarian law “is unacceptable and should alarm us”, he continued.  Besides, military conflicts have a direct link to other challenges that disrupt the world:  food insecurity, high energy princes, energy insecurity, climate change, loss of biodiversity, the pollution of the environment, global public health crises, such as the coronavirus, and their social and economic repercussions.  Linking it to the theme of the seventy-seventh General Assembly, he reaffirmed Switzerland’s commitment in finding transformative solutions to interlocking challenges as well as to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Swiss culture is characterized by its direct democracy, federalism and stable nature as well as its diversity and innovative solutions, he continued.  Drawing attention to the powerful example that Switzerland’s culture of compromise and consensus poses for solving problems through peaceful dialogue, he took the opportunity to share their experience with the General Assembly.

Firstly, the importance of fundamental norms and values so that “the power of the strongest cannot prevail over the weakest”.  The mass graves found in Izium show the necessity of strong international laws to combat impunity and hold perpetrators to account.  Secondly, the intertwined nature of independence and cooperation.  Detailing Switzerland’s sovereign history and yet active participation in the global community, he declared:  “Without cooperation, independence would be isolation.  Without independence, cooperation would be constraint.”

Thirdly, the commitment to peace and security.  Switzerland will show during its 2023-2024 Security Council seat that “neutrality does not mean indifference” and that they are indeed “a plus for peace”.  The promotion of lasting peace, participation of women in peace processes, protection of civilians, increased effectiveness of the Council and advocating for climate security to be part of the agenda in the Council are all part of Switzerland’s priorities the coming two years.  Outside of the Council, Switzerland hosted the conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine with Ukrainian, German and British partners.

And last, the courage to stay on a steady course in focusing on peace and lasting coexistence between the peoples of the world.  For this, a stronger, more focused and more efficient United Nations is needed.  He joined the General Assembly President in advocating for the bigger use of science, innovation and diplomacy in solving the issues of our times — jointly, “as partners, not as adversaries”.

ZUZANA ČAPUTOVÁ, President of Slovakia, said “the wrongs of Russia’s aggression could not be clearer”.  Noting that 141 countries deplored Moscow’s war against Ukraine in a General Assembly resolution, she stressed that no veto at the Security Council can change the fundamental truth that rather than protecting global peace, Moscow is doing everything to undo it.  Russian aggression has inflicted harm on the entire world as thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians have been killed and millions have had to leave their homes.  Drawing attention to the 50 million people who are on the brink of starvation in Africa and Asia, she emphasized that the Russian Federation’s blockage of Ukraine’s ports and confiscation of its harvest has made the already grave global food crisis even worse.  In this context, she called on the Russian Federation to fully unblock all Ukrainian ports.

“The democratic world and all of us must be a voice of Ukraine, the voice that won’t be silent, voice that will continue to testify about Russia’s crimes in Ukraine,” she asserted, noting that Moscow has occupied parts of Georgia since 2008 and parts of Ukraine since 2014.  “Our response to these actions was incomplete,” she added, citing “tepid sanctions” and weakness that encouraged more aggression.  “The ignorance of rules is poisoning global security,” she added, pointing to more than 50 countries, including all members of the European Union, that have already imposed tough sanctions on the Russian Federation.  She called on the international community to help Ukraine politically, militarily and financially.

Turning to environmental matters, she asked:  “How much more scorched earth, how many millions more climate refugees, how many flood victims does it take to convince us that ignoring our commitments is no longer an option?”  Despite the current energy crisis, Slovakia plans to stop using coal as a source of energy and has been investing in renewable energy.

Voicing concern over the relativization of facts, decrease of trust in democratic institutions and an epidemic of propaganda, she drew attention to the rise of social media.  “If algorithms favour hatred over truth or nonsense over science, if they appeal to our instincts rather than the greater good, what hope is there for global understanding?” she cautioned, welcoming the efforts towards the so-called Digital Geneva Convention.  She concluded by stressing that Member States must side with the victim over the aggressor, choose international rules-based order over “the power of gun”, urgently deliver on our climate goals and find working rules for social media platforms to protect the fabric of our societies and the international order.

EMMANUEL MACRON, President of France, said he was thinking of all those who have fought for his country to be free, including during the two world wars of the last century.  “Let us not forget that debt,” he said.  There is no other legitimate centre of power other than countries that decide on sovereignty together.  Today, there is a need to make a simple choice, “that of war or that of peace”, he said.  On 24 February, the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the Council, violated the Charter and the sovereignty of Ukraine.  On 16 March, the International Court of Justice called for the withdrawal of Russian military forces.  The decision by the Russian Federation has paved the way for other wars and annexations in Europe today, or in Asia or Latin America in the future.  There are Russian troops in Ukraine and no Ukrainian troops in the Russian Federation.  Security no longer depends on the strength of alliances, but on armed groups and militias.  It is a return to the age of imperialism and colonialism.  He will continue dialogue with the Russian Federation as it is the only way to find peace.

He supported the efforts of IAEA and its mission to Ukraine to provide peace.  The international community is aware that an agreement that respects international law will enable peace to return.  Ukraine must be liberated and its sovereignty protected.  The Russian Federation cannot impose its will militarily.  It is up to the Council and Assembly to support the path to peace.  He called on all members of the international community to act and help end this aggression, refrain from choosing a camp between East and West and respect the Charter.

He said the nations that have remained non-aligned are making an historic error and complicit with a new imperialism.  A new order is trampling over the existing order.  “All are suffering the impact and all are paying the price,” he said, adding none can believe that contemporary imperialism takes the form of invasion.  France stands alongside free people of the world.  Today, there is a risk of a new partitioning of the world.  The Organization holds universal values.  Respect for borders is crucial.  He rejected efforts to split up the world and attempts to exacerbate tensions between the United States and China.

Turning to natural hazards and other crises, he noted the floods in Pakistan; the droughts impacting countries in the Horn of Africa; and the food crisis and hike in food prices affecting people around the world.  Millions are facing hunger.  Other pressing issues, including climate change, terrorism and nuclear proliferation, also need urgent attention.  The international community has a shared responsibility to help the most vulnerable people cope with these challenges.  Turning to the global food crisis, he said France has doubled its contributions to the World Food Programme (WFP) and is working with it to get grain to Somalia.  Regarding the climate and biodiversity, he said France will be in Egypt for the twenty-seventh United Nations Climate Change Conference.  Coal must be eradicated and China and other Powers must make firm decisions at the Conference.  Coalitions must be developed to build alternative forms of energy.  Financial solidarity must be strengthened to provide financing for the poorest countries for their energy needs.  “We must learn from the global pandemic,” he said, adding it was necessary to tackle human and animal health.  The international community must act in solidarity to meet the world’s shared challenges and be respectful of each other.  He said the Council needs reforms, including restricting the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocity crimes.  The international community needs to build peace and a contemporary world order.  The United Nations can count upon France, and each country can count upon France, he concluded.

IRIS XIOMARA CASTRO SARMIENTO, President of Honduras, noting that she is the first woman to lead her country, said that her administration represents the first democratically elected Government in Honduras following 13 years of dictatorship.  It is impossible to understand Honduras’ people and its migrant caravans without recognizing the “cruel suffering we have been forced to endure”, she stressed, pointing out that 13 years of dictatorship — overseen by the international community — led to a sixfold increase in public debt and a poverty rate of 74 per cent.  Stating that these figures are unlikely to astound anyone in a world that today lives under “monetary dictatorship”, she said the same imposes draconian measures of fiscal discipline on the poorest and increases the suffering of the majority left behind.  For Honduras to survive, it must reject this so-called austerity that favours those who concentrate wealth and increase inequality exponentially.

She said that, since her administration took office in January 2022, it has demonstrated an iron will to find consensus to act on its commitments.  However, conspiracies are being fostered in the same sectors that looted the country, emboldened by an anti-democratic attitude cloaked in diplomacy.  The public policy endorsed by international finance’s “rent-seeking model” over the last 13 years has pulled Honduras into a world of poverty, failed projects, corruption, looting and drug-trafficking, she said.  Further, no international witnesses to the fraudulent elections in 2013 and 2017 were ignorant of the fate to which they were dooming the Honduran people.  Capitalist hubris and petty self-interest led many to opt for deceit, she added, and organized crime brought the country to the brink of the abyss.  The poor nations of the world, she underscored, will no longer tolerate coups or the use of revolutions organized to habitually plunder their extensive natural resources.

She went on to say that, while the world’s industrialized nations are responsible for grave environmental degradation, they still “make us pay for their lifestyles of excess” and embroil countries like Honduras in endless crises.  She underscored that, by contrast, the Honduras led by her administration will be built on the premise of humanist remodelling coloured by dignity and working to restore the environment and protect the common good.  “Those that think of themselves as civilized,” she said, never tire of staging invasions, waging war, engaging in financial speculation and “crucifying us with their inflation time and time again”.  Against that backdrop, she demanded that her country be respected and that other nations cease trying to destabilize, impose measures on or choose with whom Honduras should have relations.  “Never again will the stereotype of ‘banana republic’ weigh heavy upon us,” she stressed, emphasizing that her country will end the monopolies and oligopolies that impoverish economies.

The Government will return to the rule of law, she said, highlighting national efforts to eliminate abuse of the fiscal system; declare energy a public good; bolster workers’ rights; provide electrical subsidies to the poorest citizens; renegotiate free-trade treaties; and invest in development by substituting imports.  Noting that women have been denied the right to be included in development for centuries, she said that the Government will also recognize their important role as part of society’s “spinal column”.  Further, it will provide healthcare, quality education, security and food sovereignty to the country’s youth.  Stressing that every caravan of migrants that fled the dictatorship “is a severe loss for our country and their families”, she expressed solidarity with and support for the Honduran diaspora.

FERDINAND ROMUALDEZ MARCOS, President of Philippines, cited his country’s solid contributions to resolving crises solely through peaceful means, including the Manila Declaration of 1982, and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  Noting the Philippines “will continue to be a friend to all and an enemy of none,” he called for the floor of the General Assembly to be “the last battlefield.”  The world, he stressed, is confronted by a tectonic shift that will determine the ebb and flow of century.

Further, the time for talk about the “if and when” of climate change has long since passed — the greatest global threat, with its effects uneven and reflecting a historical injustice, as those least responsible suffer.  His country is a net carbon sink, absorbing more than it emits — and yet is the fourth most affected by climate change.  He called on industrial countries to cut greenhouse gases, provide climate financing and technology transfer — to lead by example.  When future generations look back, “let them not ask why we did not act to turn the tide.”

With sharpening strategic competitions affecting the world, he noted the Charter of the United Nations is violated worldwide, with hard-won Asian stability threatened.  Inequalities and inequities were evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when richer States obtained vaccines at the expense of have-nots, and they also lurk in the digital divide and increasing debt burdens.  Calling for public and private resources to expand trade and development, he noted Filipinos have made strides over the past decades towards sustainable development, and the country remains on track to reach upper middle-income status by next year, and become moderately prosperous by 2040.  He further cited its donations to the COVAX Facility, with workers at the frontlines in many countries risking and sacrificing their own lives.

Solidarity with the wisdom of the United Nations founders must be reaffirmed, ending war, respecting human rights, and rejecting the notion of nuclear weapons deterrence, along with eliminating the scourge of all other weapons.  The world has still not seen the end of racism, Asian hate and all prejudice, he noted, while calling for Security Council reform.  He urged the United Nations to also forge ahead with its flagship tradition of global peacekeeping, noting peace in the Philippines had been forged among warring factions and clansmen — demonstrating that unity is possible even in the most trying situations.  It is further crucial to ensure that all nations, especially developing countries, are equipped with tools to navigate uncharted waters of this century.

Sustainability solutions must transcend time and win the future for succeeding generations, he affirmed, including investment in food security — which has been affected by the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine.  Food is not just a trade commodity but an existential and moral imperative, with water being a finite resource requiring stewardship, along with protecting biodiversity.  On development, he noted that gross domestic product (GDP) is an incomplete measure of national progress.  Science, knowledge and discovery are the keys to unlocking a dynamic future, he said, calling for honing the skills and protecting the intellectual property of youth.  The international community must also define the norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace and outer space and prevent the weaponization of artificial intelligence.  “Let the challenges of one people be the challenges of all nations,” he said.

GITANAS NAUSÈDA, President of Lithuania, recalling the struggles of creating a peaceful global coexistence in the aftermath of the Second World War, said the unjustified, unprovoked and illegal war in Ukraine was a gross violation of international law that undermined the very essence of the United Nations.  Despite the toll it has taken, the war has not broken the will of the brave Ukrainian people, who have endured torture, killings and displacement in defending their territorial integrity, he said, calling on the international community to take an even more active role in supporting the resilience of Ukraine.  Every United Nations member, he stressed, must respect the rules of international order and must decide what is tolerable.  “Today I call on all of you.  Look at what is happening in Ukraine.  Look at it attentively.  Who is the aggressor and who is the victim?” he said.  The Russian Federation’s destructive actions have undermined international security for years, he said, from breaching arms control treaties to using prohibited chemical weapons to the continued violations of the territorial integrity of neighbours.  In providing support for offensive operations against Ukraine, Belarus has surrendered its national sovereignty to the Russian Federation.

Turning to military actions of the Russian Federation at the Zaphorizhzhia nuclear plant and its “irresponsible” rhetoric, he called for the collective condemnation of these actions and for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all troops, military, and other personnel from Ukraine, especially the Zaporizhzhia plant.  In welcoming the active and personal involvement of the Secretary-General, he acknowledged the efforts of Türkiye and other actors such as the African Union in achieving a deal to resume grain exports.  While international efforts have helped to avert a global catastrophe, he warned that global hunger will continue to remain a potential threat until the Russian Federation withdraws its armed forces from Ukraine.

Guaranteeing justice and accountability, he pointed out, is vital to the credibility of the United Nations and the international community.  He urged all to consolidate and advance legal efforts.  “We must ensure that all those responsible for this unprecedented assault on Ukrainian and European peace and security” are held accountable,” he said.  He reiterated Lithuania’s commitment to engage in accountability mechanisms and called upon the global community to establish the Special Tribunal to address war crimes and to ensure effective forms of reparations for the victims of these crimes.

The war in Ukraine is an extension of the wider context of developments in the Russian Federation and in Belarus, he said, namely the decline of civil liberties, brutal repression, deteriorating human rights situations, and attacks on independent media and civil society.  The growing situation of political prisoners in Belarus is particularly alarming.  While Lithuania has provided asylum to persecuted representatives of non-governmental organizations and independent media, the international community must pay more attention.  As business-as-usual is no longer an approach, he invited all countries to “stop financing the bloody war by buying [the] aggressor’s energy resources” as Lithuania has done by building its energy independence and accelerating its green transition.

In highlighting Lithuania’s support for Ukraine from providing military and humanitarian aid to welcoming more than 60,000 refugees, he warned that peace must not come at any cost.  Anything other than the full restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine only invites further atrocities and long-standing insecurity.

While the aggressor has already demonstrated its eagerness to endanger the global population, we should not allow ourselves to be frightened,” he said.  “The danger is real.  As history shows, to push back against the aggressor is the only viable option!”  In appealing to the transformative power of collective action based on the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law to ensure global peace and security, he reiterated Lithuania’s commitment in fighting for long-lasting peace.

KLAUS WERNER IOHANNIS, President of Romania, said that eight decades after the adoption of the United Nations Charter, the world is witnessing new threats and challenges to peace — “the most severe since the end of the Second World War”.  Citing the unprovoked and illegal war started by the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the Security Council, against Ukraine, he spotlighted Member State’s solidarity support for Ukraine.  The “consequences of this war are global and are not limited to our security”, he emphasized, underlining that violations of international law should be of interest to all, no matter the distance from the hotspots.  Adding that there is no justification for a military aggression against a sovereign State, he called on the international community to act now and support all who fight for freedom and democracy.  The respect of territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of States must be guaranteed.

Since the beginning of the conflict, over 2.3 million Ukrainians have sought refuge in Romania, he went on to say, adding that they have been provided emergency assistance and medium and long-term support, along with free access to education, health services and the labour market.  Further, Romania is offering direct humanitarian assistance and has put in place a logistic hub for coordinating the international humanitarian assistance from the entire world.  “We know that our response, especially to this war, will shape our common future,” he said, adding that it was essential to stay united and bring everyone on board, including those who are still hesitating.  He also called for engagement and dialogue as tools against divisions, falsehoods and propaganda.

Touching on other challenges, ranging from climate change to food insecurity, education, and social inequities, he pointed out that they need responses and solutions, “as our citizens are rightfully asking for them”. For all these issues, common action is the only way forward.  The global issue of energy security requires joint solutions and responsible action, he added, stressing that it was critical to avoid the use of energy as a tool of blackmail.  In addition, he called for investments in renewables, nuclear power or hydrogen, while keeping prices accessible.

Ensuring energy security goes hand in hand with the green transition for resilient and climate-neutral economies, he said that the nexus between climate change and peace and security should be more prominent in discussions, including in the Security Council.  To this end, he highlighted the upcoming Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Egypt, stressing that commitments towards climate neutrality are necessary, along with the implementation of the decisions already made.  “The clock is ticking; our planet cannot wait any longer,” he declared.

Condemning the weaponizing of food access, he underscored that Romania has facilitated the export of more than 4 million tons of Ukrainian grain (60 per cent of the grain exported by Ukraine), and he praised the Secretary General for the Black Sea Grain Initiative.  With reference to frozen conflicts, he said that the absence of war does not mean peace; protracted conflicts such as those in the Black Sea region need to be addressed without delay.  He commended United Nations peacekeeping as a tool for peace and security, noting Romania’s contribution to it.  He also called for the strengthening of the United Nations human rights system, reminding the Assembly of Romania’s candidacy for a seat in the Human Rights Council, for the term 2023-2025.

LUIS ALBERTO ARCE CATACORA, President of Bolivia, pointed to the multiple and systemic crises of capitalism which are increasingly threatening humanity and the planet.  Urging all to clearly identify their origins in order to change the system that currently reproduces domination, exploitation, and exclusion, he said the construction of a new world order is inexorable.

In expressing dismay at the number of armed conflicts, many of which have been promoted by military transnational corporations to impose a global capitalist world order, he called for the world to be declared as a zone of peace.  Beyond the high human cost, such conflicts lead to the destruction of cultural and environmental heritage.  While reiterating Bolivia’s commitment to dialogue and diplomacy, he observed the increasing deterioration of multilateralism at the “fancy” of capitalist powers.  As any breach of international peace and security is linked to either the inadequate implementation of United Nations mechanisms or the flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, the Organization must work tirelessly to achieve a ceasefire between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, to ensure that the historic rights of the Palestinian people and state are respected and that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) sets aside its expansionist plans.  The manufacture of weapons must be substituted by fair compensation to the poor people of the world.

Turning to the vulnerabilities and inequalities of health care systems around the world and to the inequalities of the global financial and economic system, he advocated for a universal system of health care.  In speaking about the food crisis which has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical conflicts and environmental crises, he called for harmony with Mother Earth and for the urgent implementation of a global programme of food security that guarantees better conditions for small-scale producers.  The productive and economic capacities of countries on the periphery which have been hit hard by inflation and by the concentration of capital must be rebuilt.  In sharing the experiences and policies of Bolivia, he stressed that the global financial architecture must be restructured to ease external debt burdens so that developing countries can implement social policies with a focus on comprehensive and sustainable social and economic development.  There must also be a specific financial mechanism based on solidarity to confront the climate-related losses and damages experienced by developing countries.  A future that is low in emissions and resilient, he warned, is not possible if the economic, social and political contradictions of the capitalist model remain unresolved and if there is no harmony between human beings and nature.

Speaking against the industrialization of lithium, he guaranteed that Bolivia’s reserves will be used to benefit the well-being of peoples and not transnationals.  Rejecting any attempts of interference and of democracy destabilization, he called upon the United Nations to take measures against countries that do not respect the sovereignty of others in the control of strategic, natural resources.  On drug trafficking, he advocated for a change in approach towards a regional and comprehensive one which focuses on demand, is less militarized, and undertakes an economic and social approach.  In drawing attention to the global imbalances and injustices on the law of the sea, he called for international mechanisms to be strengthened with preferential treatment for landlocked countries.  There must be, he added, a just distribution of rights and responsibilities of marine resources.

On human rights, he expressed his strongest commitment to the decisions and actions undertaken by United Nations in defence of the most vulnerable.  Citing the incongruity between the privileges of the few at the expense of the economic, social and cultural rights of the majority, he urged an expansion of human rights criteria for democracies.  Noting the need for solidarity and equity across generations, he voiced hope that the lack of a universal treaty which protects older adults presents an opportunity for in-depth reflection.  In calling attention to the persistence of violence against women and girls, particularly indigenous women and girls living in poverty, he proposed that the General Assembly dedicate this decade towards the elimination of patriarchy.  Turning to the unilateral approaches of other countries, namely the United States’ inclusion of Bolivia on a list of major drug transit and major illicit drug producing countries and its inhumane, criminal sanctions on Cuba, he called for the rejection of unilateral sanctions.  Only through guaranteeing the full validity of the United Nations Charter and through multilateralism, he concluded, can the fragile international order be reconfigured to be more pluralistic and stronger.

PEDRO CASTILLO TERRONES, President of Peru, pointing to a world headed towards clashes and interests pitted against one another with grave tensions reaching historic levels, reaffirmed his country’s defence of the principle of non-aggression and the territorial integrity of States.  He reiterated the illegitimacy of the Russian Federation’s intervention in Ukraine and the occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories since 1967.  “There are no good or bad armed interventions,” he said, adding that all unilateral sanctions, including economic ones, are illegitimate and run contrary to international law.  Stressing the need for a ceasefire in Ukraine, he also supported the Secretary-General’s call for arrangements for the export of Russian fertilizer, as its absence is suffocating the poorest farmers of the developing world and threatening the human right to food.  Regarding the situation in Palestine, he said the international community must take up its responsibility to broker a two-State solution along the 1967 lines in order to establish secure borders and lasting peace.  He announced Peru’s intentions to soon open a representative office in Palestine.

With the weakening of diplomatic negotiations to resolve armed conflict peacefully, he stressed the need to strengthen and expand United Nations peacekeeping operations.  For its part, Peru has almost doubled the number of its military contingents in six countries, particularly for the pacification and stabilization of the Central African Republic.  He said that a few days ago he opened in Lima the first conference of Latin America and the Caribbean on peacekeeping operations, which resulted in the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Cooperation in Peacekeeping Operations.  Peru is committed to the immediate implementation of the network.  Recalling Latin America’s role in the creation of the United Nations, he said the region must increase its support for resolving conflict.  For its part, Peru will increase its role to consolidate South America as a zone of peace.

“Since wars begins in the mind of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed,” he said.  This involves promoting dialogue, the peaceful resolution of conflict, and not exploiting the weak.  Hate, racism, intolerant xenophobia and antisemitism must also be rooted out.  States must guarantee freedom as well as the human rights to education, housing, food, water and a decent living wage.  Building peace requires resolving the unresolved situations of colonial territories and peoples and the right to self-determination.  Peru has re-established diplomatic relations with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic and firmly supports its right to self-determination.  He fully recognized Argentina’s sovereignty rights over the Malvinas[*] Islands and demanded that the parties begin consultations towards this imperative goal.

Pointing to low global growth indicators in the wake of COVID-19, he said Latin America is suffered greatly from the negative impact of inflation, reduced economic growth, the reversal of gains in the fight against extreme poverty and   increasing debt.  To address these challenges, Peru’s “Driving Economic Growth. Driving Peru,” plan aims for 3.3 per cent economic growth, higher than the Latin American average.  In a bid to generate more and better employment, Peru is creating a more favourable environment for both domestic and foreign investment, with a focus on micro, small and medium-sized industries, he said, adding that Peru is a country with stable and positive macroeconomic variables.

Echoing the Secretary General’s call for a new social contract, he said realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development must by the priority of the United Nations development system.  Describing this year’s extreme heat and floods as “cries of Mother Earth… asking us not to continue assaulting her”, he called on all Heads of State, particularly of industrialized countries, to bolster efforts to stop global warming.  Meeting the internationally agreed goals for reducing global emissions now requires seven times greater action to ensure global temperature rise is kept to 1.5°C.  He cited the Escazú Agreement as an instrument for reaffirming Latin America’s sovereignty over the natural resources of the Amazon and reaffirmed Peru’s support in negotiating a treaty regulating fishing and eliminating marine pollution beyond 200 nautical miles.  Stressing that coups in all forms are undemocratic, he reiterated the continued need to resolve conflict through negotiation and to respect human rights.  He said his Government’s agenda for social inclusion is based on the United Nations new proposed social contract to ensure no one is left behind.

DAVID KABUA, President of Marshall Islands, said if the world does not adequately respond to the island nations, and as seas rise, then there is really no United Nations at all.  He joined Pacific island neighbours in condemning the Russian Federation’s continued aggression and war crimes in Ukraine, as the Marshall Islands stands as a co-chair of the Group of Friends of Accountability and supports the independent investigations of the Human Rights Council and International Criminal Court.  He noted as a remote, small island developing State, the Marshall Islands’ energy security is at a saturation point.  He further condemned the recent military actions of China in the Taiwan Strait, which has threatened to disrupt peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and across the globe.

Welcoming recent progress with the United States towards a renewed Compact of Free Association and a targeted trust fund, he condemned the threats of further nuclear testing — stressing “here, the Marshallese people also have a unique voice”.  The country was ground zero for the testing of 67 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons for 12 years during the United Nations-United States administered trusteeship era.  The exposure of its people and land has had consequences that will last for generations, with impacts on human rights, land, culture, health and lives — burdens that no other nation or country should ever have to bear.

Turning to climate change, he noted that 31 years ago, the first President of the Marshall Islands called the Assembly’s attention to the dangers faced by the small nation due to the looming threat posed by global warming.  He renewed a call to “declare total war on this century’s greatest challenge — the climate change monster”.  The international community is not investing enough in life‑saving adaptation, particularly for small island States as “we see the toll of this global crisis — how much worse will this be if we breach 1.5°C?” he asked.  The international community must honour commitments and deliver enhanced nationally determined contributions, and policies on coal and fossil fuel subsidies.  His country has proposed a carbon levy that will drive the transition to zero emission international shipping, channelling resources from polluters to the most vulnerable.

Welcoming the recent release by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of a long-delayed report on the situation in the Xinjiang region of China, he expressed concern over findings that “serious human rights violations have been committed” and that widespread arbitrary detention “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity”.  The international community cannot bear silent witness.  In addressing a growing gap in effective oceans management, he called for an ambitious instrument on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction.  Noting Taiwan is a vibrant democracy, he called on the United Nations to better welcome it into the global family — as the Secretariat too often relies on politically motivated interpretations of General Assembly resolution 2758 (1971) when responding to opportunities for the meaningful participation of Taiwan in international bodies and the United Nations system.  The system should further revert to its original policy of consideration of widely accepted passports for basic public access to the United Nations itself.  He expressed strong support for Security Council reform outcomes, in particular Japan’s bid to be a permanent member.

WAVEL RAMKALAWAN, President of Seychelles, said that ranging from climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic to food insecurity, the rising cost of energy and the war in Ukraine, the world has reached an inflection point and the plight of States in vulnerable situations has never been more pronounced.  “Many of us in the developing world have had to revise our 2030 aspirations due to lost progress,” he said.  He stressed the issue of economic inequality, noting that the small island developing States have consistently called for a globally accepted vulnerability assessment put forward in 1992 by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.  “Our island nations have experienced the greatest economic loss from the pandemic, with economic contractions averaging 7 per cent.  Yet, very few of us were able to access the meagre 6 per cent of COVID-19 funding allocated to developing countries,” he noted, calling on the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks to look beyond the gross national income benchmark and embrace indicators that facilitate access to financing, including the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index.

Noting that the current food and energy crisis, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine, threatens sustainable growth, he said that “the challenge for us in Africa is how to guarantee that trade contributes meaningfully to food security”, and stressed the African Continental Free Trade Area’s key role in stimulating intra-trade and food redistribution.  In addition, harnessing the potential of the blue economy by tapping into fisheries and aquaculture resources can be a viable option to address food and nutrition insecurity.

Turning to the climate crisis, he said:  “We are at the cusp of an ecological collapse,” pointing to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warning about the rapidly closing window of opportunity to act to counter climate change, including slow onset events like sea-level rise, which poses an existential threat to small island developing States.  “We need bold actions not unfulfilled promises and pledges,” he said, adding:  “We must also confront the gross injustice of having citizens of States least responsible for the unravelling climate-induced disaster pay for the loss and damage caused by others.”

He welcomed the establishment of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with the mandate to forge an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution, which he hoped would raise ambitions in environmental protection ahead of the United Nations Conference on Biodiversity.  He also stressed his country’s actions in ocean protection, including through its marine spatial plan and its commitment to protect at least 50 per cent of its seagrass ecosystems by 2025, and 100 per cent by 2030.  “We call on other littoral and oceanic States to be as bold,” he said, calling for scientific-based approaches and strong partnerships.

With regards to the Ukraine-Russian Federation conflict, he supported the call of the Chair of the African Union and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission urging the parties to establish an immediate ceasefire, resume negotiations and find a permanent and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.  In this critical time in history, “the choice is clearly with every one of us to decide whether our actions will lead to shared prosperity or mutual destruction”, he concluded.

ALBERTO FERNÁNDEZ, President of Argentina, recalling the recent attempt to assassinate his country’s Vice-President, said that this did not only disturb the peace, but sought to destroy its “beautiful collective project” of four decades of democracy.  This fascist violence — which wears the guise of republicanism — seeks to take advantage of the anxiety generated by the pandemic and the economic effects of war to sow discord in societies, and remaining silent on this matter may plunge the rule of law itself into crisis.  Pointing out that those who seek to erode democracy have specific interests that prompt them to promote extreme polarization, he urged the international community not to resign itself to this state of affairs and, rather, condemn — on a global level — those who spread division in communities.  The General Assembly must take note of the warning signs around the globe, he stressed, lest more serious clashes follow.

Noting that the pandemic has revealed acute inequalities that plague the global population, he asked if it was right that the fortune of 10 men is greater than the income of 40 per cent of the world’s people, or that the pandemic claimed four times more lives in the world’s poorest nations.  Not speaking out against this model of accumulating income in the hands of a few may make the international community complicit in strengthening this inequality, he said, calling for bolstered multilateralism to strengthen the rule of law.  To tackle persistent challenges like war, hunger and inflation, all hostilities now raging must cease, dialogue must prevail and peace must be restored following the Russian Federation’s military advance on Ukraine’s territory.  Further, the international community must abandon the economic and financial practices that the developed world has forced on the developing one, as maintaining the status quo will only increase poverty and marginalization.

On that point, he said that nations in debt have suffered acutely from the established financial system and thanked those countries that have supported Argentina in its process of renegotiating external debt.  There must be a paradigm shift in the international financial system that supports the goals of the 2030 Agenda and, additionally, food security must be guaranteed for all people.  “We cannot allow time to pass and famine to reign,” he stressed.  For its part, Argentina will continue to produce and export nutritious, quality food, but the international community must guarantee a fairer international trade system for agricultural produce.  This will allow food-producing nations to make the necessary investments to increase production and mitigate global hunger.  Highlighting the additional need for safe, predictable access to energy, he said that Argentina is increasing its production to provide the world with clean energy.

He stressed, however, that these efforts will be in vain “if we do not walk this path in the broader context of more equitable economic and social development”.  The international community must advance a form of development that benefits all, and cooperation is needed to address urgent challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and plastic pollution.  He went on to point out that, as not all countries are equally responsible for the climate crisis, the responsibility for tackling this issue must be differentiated to lighten the burden of climate change on those not responsible for the phenomenon.  He also stated that the only legitimate sanctions are those imposed by the Security Council to enforce decisions taken in the maintenance of international peace and security, calling for the lifting of the blockades beleaguering the people of Cuba and Venezuela.

Noting that Argentina holds the Presidency of the Human Rights Council in 2022, he emphasized that the defence of human rights forms part of his country’s identity and history.  In this vein, Argentina has broadened citizens’ rights, championed the equality of women and non-binary persons and extolled social equality.  He also underlined that everyone must be able to access the advances offered by this digital era, calling for universal access to information and communications technology.  On the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, he urged Iran to cooperate with the investigation of this attack and the international community to avoid sheltering any of those charged in the same.  Additionally, reiterating Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands and their associated maritime areas, he called on the United Kingdom to end this “anachronistic colonial situation”.

ANDRZEJ DUDA, President of Poland, said the additional 3 million people in his country, which now has about 41 million people, are predominantly refugees from Ukraine.  Some are permanent guests while others travel between Poland and Ukraine.  The Russian Federation’s decision to wage this war was made by people prompted by imperial sentiment and colonial, nationalist hubris, exalting their own people and denying the right to self-determination to their sovereign neighbours.  “This war is not a regional conflict.  This war by the Russian Federation against Ukraine is a stoke of global fire.  This war will bear on our countries and your countries.  Unless it has already happened,” he said.

The food crisis, along with the spectre of famine, is one of the most dramatic effects of the Russian aggression, he said.  Leaders around the world are worried about food security and further restrictions on the exports of grain and fertilizers from Ukraine and the Russia Federation, which has deliberately destroyed new crops and farming equipment.  The invasion itself has drastically reduced Ukrainian harvests, with data indicating the Russian Federation has seized farmland making up 22 per cent of all agricultural land in Ukraine.  Conservative estimates indicate that in 2022 alone, Ukraine’s harvest will be 35 per cent smaller.  “It is an economic weapon, it is weaponization of food hitting the hardest Africa and the Middle East,” he said.  The number of people suffering from chronic hunger since the war began will increase by about 47 million.  The international community must ensure the compliance of parties to the 22 July agreements, signed in Istanbul, to allow the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

Poland, along with its European Union partners, remains steadfastly committed to ensuring the exports of Ukrainian grain, including by land.  A number of regulations exist in international law to protect food resources and the natural environment during conflicts.  He cited the provisions of Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which recognizes the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, and in which States pledged to distribute the world's food supplies equitably.  In addition, Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (8 June 1977), in Article 54, prohibits, among other things, attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs and agricultural zones.  He believed penalization mechanisms should be developed to bring to justice the perpetrators responsible for violating international law.  “Those who knowingly destroy crops in the “breadbasket of the world” must know that they will be pursued to be prosecuted as long as they live,” he said.

While the response to the challenges on Ukraine are positive, complacency must not be avoided.  “This is how I see the lesson learnt from this war:  if the United Nations is truly to be united, every response to violations of international law should be identical, decisive and principled,” he said.  The world is a system of communicating vessels.  “Today the victim is Ukraine, but if Russian imperialism succeeds — then tomorrow it could be any country in the world,” he added.

Poland recognizes every State within its internationally recognized borders and demands respect for their inviolability.  He said the Russian Federation owes Ukraine war reparations.  It applies to any country plundering another country and to unsettled issues from the past.  Poland shall not cease its efforts to hold the Russia Federation accountable for its violations of international law, both at the State-level as well as on the individual one.  He commended the International Law Commission’s work to lead the drafting of the Convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.  “We will use all our powers and capabilities to ensure that the culprits are tried and punished.  We are already cooperating with the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice to find the most effective ways to identify and prosecute the perpetrators,” he said.

ALEJANDRO GIAMMATTEI FALLA, President of Guatemala, recalling that war led to the establishment of the United Nations and a belief that “peace was going to be there forever”, said that nations have “woken up from this dream to find ourselves in a wounded, contaminated and contradicted world”.  Therefore, the international community must raise its voice to discuss and to build, once again.  Turning to climate change, he said that this phenomenon has caused damage to his country totalling more than $6 billion and that the “industrial world has not responded with answers to the problems it has caused”.  To address this problem, Guatemala has worked to rebuild public infrastructure, recover agricultural production and establish forestry reserves.  In the last two-and-a-half years, almost 15,000 hectares of protected forests have been established, which facilitate local economic development and serve as a barrier to climate change.

He went on to highlight Government efforts to assist small farmers with their harvests, noting that such efforts have helped 50,000 farmers so far — and will help thousands more — mitigate the impact of climate change.  Guatemala is also promoting a national decarbonization policy, strategies to reduce the effects of fossil-fuel vehicles in the medium-term and incentives for electric vehicles.  By 2032, Guatemala will produce more than 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.  He spotlighted, however, an increasing crisis in food security and nutrition, which is threatening famine amidst the “indolence of other countries that are taking more in the face of those countries that have less”.

Turning to migration, he said that, while this phenomenon has multiple causes, economic drivers and climate change are among the principal factors.  To address this issue, Guatemala has worked on structural solutions, which is the only way to enable sustainable migration.  The Government has also enabled an appropriate legal framework to address the population’s basic needs.  Noting that illegal trafficking in migrants has become an issue of transnational security, he said that his country — as one of origin, transit and destination — ensures that such individuals’ human rights are protected.  Solutions to transnational and international threats can be found if the global community works together and — spotlighting the issue of drug trafficking — he appealed to consumer countries to break down the structures that fuel this illicit trade.

He went on to stress that, regardless of their size, relations between countries must be based on respect, that no State can interfere in the internal affairs of another and that global crises result from overlooking sovereignty.  He also highlighted several current challenges not seen since the Second World War:  harmful levels of hate speech, discrimination against migrants, rejecting democracy as a system and widespread violations of human rights.  Joining the global call to end the war in Ukraine — along with threats to the stability of Taiwan and Israel — he stressed that “peace is not a lack of war”.  Rather, a renewed United Nations must create global conditions conducive to the holistic development and wellbeing of all peoples.

Underscoring the urgent need to recall the purposes that led to the birth of the United Nations — “to preserve future generations from the scourge of war” — he called for the Organization to be transformed to ensure that more tools and resources are available with which to overcome global challenges.  In this vein, profound changes to the Security Council are urgently needed, he stressed, and the 15-member organ must uphold its responsibility without ideological bias so that no country can veto resolutions unless it “authentically seeks to protect peace”.  “Hunger and poverty have no ideology,” he added, urging the international community to focus on comprehensive, holistic development.  He also stated that Guatemala stands ready to foster international cooperation that ensures Taiwan’s right to belong to the United Nations and to be recognized as a nation — rights currently denied by one of the permanent members of the Security Council.

FÉLIX-ANTOINE TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said international peace and security crystallizes around the fight against terrorism, as well as calming hotbeds of conflict in Europe and Africa.  Conflict spares no continent, and is metastasizing throughout Africa — with terrorists killing barbarically and destabilizing States in the name of religious extremism.  His country is a victim, and as a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, called for the United Nations to implement its recommendations.

The war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine is a gaping wound disrupting international trade, he stressed, and the United Nations must intervene more firmly — noting Africa has experience in managing security crises by armed groups.  While recognizing the brave United Nations peacekeepers who’ve lost their lives, despite massive United Nations presence and 23 years of diplomatic support, the violence continues — with several agreements signed with armed groups and even neighbouring countries lasting only a few months.  Despite abundant goodwill from his Government, some neighbours “thank” it through aggression and support for terrorist armed groups — as in the case of Rwanda:  not only via direct incursions by armed forces in March and occupation of part of North Kivu province, but through massive support of the 23 March Group — which shot down a United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) helicopter killing eight “Blue Helmets”, a war crime.

His delegation asked the President of the Council to officially distribute a report by the United Nations Group of Experts on the situation in the east of the country, as to do otherwise not only encourages Rwandan war crimes, but also feeds legitimate suspicions of the Congolese people on the impartiality of the United Nations and complicity of some of its Member States in the crimes, he said.  Further, his Government has requested renewal of the progressive responsible withdrawal of MONUSCO.  Stressing that the Congolese State and civil society will never allow tribal, ethnic or xenophobic hate speech in the country, he affirmed that no one can claim that discourse is happening to justify their criminal adventures.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo does not and will never commit genocide.  He said that joint efforts have decapitated the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda.  He demanded the withdrawal of M23, the return of displaced Congolese and the unconditional end of Rwandan army support for that terrorist group, along with deployment of the East Africa Regional Force, and the lifting all obstacles to restructure the armed forces, including acquiring military equipment.

He noted that Africa has sufficient renewable energy sources and raw materials, with his country among the primary producers of minerals for energy transition including cobalt, lithium, nickel and manganese.  It will promote hydroelectricity, solar power, geothermal energy and gas deposits and will continue to be a “solution country” in the fight against global warming.  Calling for rich countries to cede part of their Special Drawing Rights at the IMF and alleviate the debt burden of low-income countries, he also urged that sanctions on Zimbabwe be lifted — an injustice against an innocent people.  Council reform must include the legitimate claim for two additional permanent and two non-permanent seats for Africa, including with veto power.  Given the need to create spaces of gender equality for women, including through the actions of men, his Government launched the Conference of Men on Positive Masculinity leading to an African Union declaration, he said.

FAUSTIN-ARCHANGE TOUADÉRA, President of the Central African Republic, expressing serious concerns for the future of humanity, said global security, peace, the environment and global health are entering into a critical phase while warning signs are being ignored in favour of economic geopolitical and geostrategic interests.  Describing the United Nations as a product of a bygone era in a context of numerous global crises, he reiterated his Government’s support for the African Union position calling for profound reform of the United Nations and an increase of permanent seats in the Security Council which would achieve a fairer representation of all continents.

Citing the theme of the current General Assembly session, “transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” he called for the world’s biggest polluters to honour their commitments to the Paris Agreement and international solidarity for climate justice for the most vulnerable. Commending both the unprecedented solidarity that accompanied COVID-19 in global public health as well as the Health and Emergency Preparedness initiative implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO).  He described with pride the successful vaccination campaigns in the Central African Republic that have led to its polio-free status, as well as a 50 per cent vaccination rate for COVID-19 that show tangible improvement in its ability to manage epidemics.

However, the Central African Republic’s development has been slowed by serious security and health crises in recent years, exacerbated by the persistent lack of international financial support which has interrupted both agriculture and mining, he said.  He reminded the Assembly that though it is a fragile State with food insecurity and a lack of material and human resources, his country continues to sacrifice to improve its macroeconomic management and fiscal governance.  He expected the reestablishment of the Extended Credit Facility programme, which was suspended by the IMF.  He outlines further challenges the country faces which could be remedied through regional and international mechanisms.  Among them, he cited development of transport, energy, water, education and healthcare infrastructure with financing through public-private partnerships; accessing capital markets; trade development with other regions; supporting the education system through teacher training and the establishment of vocational training centres; developing a resilient economy capable of withstanding internal and external shocks through diversification and new technologies; and the promotion of intelligent solutions and approaches to climate change adapted to the country’s needs.

He went on to say that the Central African Republic is the first country in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as a digital currency and the first in the world to pass a law governing cryptocurrencies, which has enormous potential to reposition the economy.  He described his Government’s measures to fight against impunity, the implementation of the 2019 Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation and the Luanda Joint Roadmap, which have helped improve the sociopolitical climate. Upholding its international commitments, the Central African Republic has abolished the death penalty and adopted an anti-human trafficking law as well as a child protection code.

He noted specifically the Security Council’s firm condemnation in resolution 2648 (2022) of the attacks perpetrated against civilian populations by armed groups as well as the Council’s position against transitional trafficking networks that continue to supply groups with arms.  Thanking the “friendly and fraternal countries” that supported the request to lift the embargo, he also deplored manoeuvres aimed at legitimizing armed groups.  Central African youth are a reserve of elites just waiting for peace and security to develop in their country.  He denounced campaigns of disinformation and manipulation “led by certain international media against a backdrop of neo-colonialism” that discredit the country’s democratic institutions.  He called for a relationship of trust and mutual respect and reiterated his Government’s readiness to cooperate with all countries, provided its interests and sovereignty are respected.

NAYIB ARMANDO BUKELE, President of El Salvador, pointing to the freedom yearned by his people and by all peoples to determine their own course, said the powerful must respect the freedom of others.  Recalling the history and struggles of the people of El Salvador, he lamented the lack of respect that countries with more territory, money and power have for his country.  They are incorrect, he pointed out, in thinking that “they are also the master of [El Salvador].”

In utilizing two neighbours who live next to each other — one in a small and humble house and the other in a beautiful and gigantic palace with immense land and treasures — as an extended analogy, he illustrated the dynamic which exists between countries.  The richer neighbour, he said, does not have the right to decide nor the authority to dictate terms to the poorer neighbour.  What the poorer neighbour does by way of repairs, upgrades and improvement should not bother the rich neighbour.  Rather, the richer neighbour should be glad that poorer neighbour is doing better than before.

El Salvador, he continued, is still fighting for its freedom.  It will not be free, sovereign and independent, he maintained, until the powerful understand that “we want to be their friends, that we admire them, that we respect them, that our doors are wide open to trade, for them to visit us to build the best possible relations.”  They cannot, he added, “come to our house to give orders not only because it is our house but because it makes no sense to undo what we’re doing, what we’re achieving.”  El Salvador’s immense progress and achievements — in moving from being the most dangerous country in the world to becoming the safest country in the Americas; from being known for gangs, death, violence and war to being known for its beaches, surfing, volcanoes, financial freedom, good governance and its end to organized crime — are just the beginning.  In asserting El Salvador’s right to continue its path to development, he noted the ongoing need for the recognition of its right to be free for it to be truly independent.

The path to freedom, he asserted, will happen much more quickly without the resistance of powerful countries and with their active assistance.  As each people should find its own path, he humbly offered the friendship of El Salvador to others.

Reflecting on his address to the General Assembly three years ago, he reiterated his view on the obsolete nature of the format.  In reminding countries of the purpose of the United Nations and in referencing the Charter, he suggested that the change from a unipolar world to a multipolar one would be better if it had instead moved towards a world in which each people are truly free to set their own course, one in which all nations — regardless of size — contribute their experiences and abilities to resolve humanity’s problems.  He expressed hope that the United Nations will become relevant again over time once other peoples and other nations emerge to fight for their freedom.

FUMIO KISHIDA, Prime Minister of Japan, said that 77 years after the establishment of the United Nations, the international community is  witnessing the devastation in Ukraine and around the world.  Calling the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine an act that tramples on the vision and principles of the United Nations Charter, he urged “any and all countries to be under the rule of law — not the rule by force, which we absolutely cannot allow”.  Stressing that the Organization exists not only for the benefit of great powers but the entire international community — including the voices that are often unheard but equally legitimate — he said that to reaffirm United Nations principles and ensure an international order based on the rule of law, the United Nations must be reformed and its functions strengthened.

The credibility of the Organization is at stake due to the aggression perpetrated by the Russian Federation — a permanent member of the Security Council — against Ukraine, he said, stressing that Member States must act to restore it.  On Council reform — a subject being debated for over 30 years, he said the time has come to start text-based negotiations, pointing to the Summit of the Future in 2024 as “an excellent opportunity to broadly review the nature of the UN”.  Underlining that the General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning the Russian Federation in the strongest terms with an overwhelming majority, and thus proved to be the sole universal organ that represents all Member States, he expressed his country’s determination to further revitalize the Assembly and push the United Nations so it can pursue an even greater role in the maintenance of peace and security, while continuing to support the work of the Secretary-General.

Calling the threat of nuclear weapons “absolutely unacceptable”, he said that as a Prime Minister from Hiroshima he is firmly dedicated to a world free of nuclear weapons.  Greatly dismayed that the Russian Federation’s sole opposition blocked consensus on an outcome document that would maintain and strengthen the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) regime, he affirmed:  “I, however, refuse to relent.  Because we are only one country away from adopting the draft final outcome document by consensus”.  Japan also seeks to normalize its relationship with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in accordance with the Pyongyang Declaration signed 20 years ago by the two countries, he said, expressing Japan’s willingness to engage on matters of mutual concern and his openness to meet with President Kim Jong-un without any conditions.  He also touched on Japan's contributions to peacekeeping operations since 1992.

Stressing that strengthening the rule of law is especially important for vulnerable nations, while leading to sustainable growth and development for all, he stated Japan’s contribution to cooperation with other countries, including towards the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”  Serving as a non-permanent Security Council member from next January, Japan intends to take action to strengthen the rule of law in the international community and efforts based on the concept of human security in the new era, by enhancing resilience of individuals, societies and nations.  Japan will also continue to support initiatives through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and invest in people.  He said that at the eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, he announced a $30 billion investment in Africa over the next three years, and that his country will also focus on human resource development and capacity-building in other parts of the world, underscoring the role of education.  The country has provided approximately $5 billion to support the COVID-19 response, including through the COVAX Facility, and decided to contribute $1.08 billion to the Global Fund over the next three years, he said, stressing that the country will chair the Group of Seven (G7) Summit next year.  Committing to revise its Development Cooperation Charter, and supporting Our Common Agenda, he concluded by expressing determination to work with all to strengthen the Organization.

OLAF SCHOLZ, Chancellor of Germany, noting that some have seen emerging conflicts and crises “as a harbinger of a world without rules”, said that — while risks to the global order are real — “I don’t hold with the image of a world without rules”.  The world does have clear rules — rules that the Member States of the United Nations created together — and the problem, therefore, is not the absence of rules; rather, it is the lack of willingness to abide by and enforce them.  He underscored that, if the international community does not defend and strengthen the global order, then it will not face “chaos without rules” — instead, it will face a world “in which rules are made by those who can dictate them”.  The alternative to a rules-based world is not anarchy, but the dominion of the strong over the weak.  Stressing that the international community cannot be indifferent to “whether the rule of power or the power of rules wins the day”, he said that it can — and must — stand together to ensure a multilateral world by following three fundamental principles.

He said that, first, the Charter of the United Nations calls on Member States to uphold its purposes and principles.  The international community cannot stand idly by when a major nuclear power — a permanent member of the Security Council — seeks to shift borders through violence.  Underscoring that there is no justification for the Russian Federation’s war of occupation against Ukraine, he said that the return of imperialism is not only a disaster for Europe, but also for the global peaceful order.  Ukraine must be able to defend itself against the Russian Federation’s invasion and, to this end, Germany is providing financial, humanitarian and materiel assistance to Kyiv.  Further, together with its partners, Berlin has imposed tough economic sanctions on the Russian Federation’s leadership and economy.  Noting that Germany is also supporting Ukraine with the export of food and will support efforts to rebuild the country, he stressed that “our message is this: we stand firmly at the side of those under attack”.

The second principle, he noted, is that nations will be judged against the obligations into which they have entered, adding that “responsibility always begins at home”.  Spotlighting the issue of climate change — “the biggest challenge of our generation” — he pointed out that industrialized nations have a special responsibility in this regard.  Germany, for its part, stands by its pledges to support emerging economies and developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.  Recalling his country’s history — and its awareness of “just how fragile our civilization is” — he also underlined the obligation to respect and defend human rights.  Germany is the second-biggest donor to the United Nations system and of humanitarian assistance, and has taken in millions of refugees in recent years.  “This is something we are proud of,” he noted, while also urging action where people are suffering in prison camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria, Iran or Belarus; when the Taliban deprives women and girls in Afghanistan of their rights; and when the Russian Federation commits war crimes.  He also urged China to implement the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ recommendations regarding the situation of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Third, he emphasized the need to adapt international rules and institutions to the reality of the twenty-first century.  For many years, Germany has been committed to reforming and expanding the Security Council to include the countries of the global South.  Asking for support for Germany’s own candidacy, he said that the dynamic countries and regions of Asia, Africa and southern America must be given a stronger political voice on the world stage.  “Nationalism and isolation will not solve the challenges of our age,” he stressed, urging more cooperation, partnership and involvement and highlighting his countries efforts towards these ends through its 2022 presidency of the G7 and through international partnerships to fight hunger, mobilize finances for public and private infrastructure investment, and implement the Paris Agreement.

Noting that the Charter of the United Nations begins with the words “we the peoples” — not “we the Member States” or “we the delegates” — he stressed that Governments have an obligation to their peoples.  They are owed a global order that allows them to live in peace, which protects their rights and opens opportunities for education, health and development.  “Such an order doesn’t come about by itself,” he noted, stressing that it is the United Nations’ task to defend, develop and strengthen that order.  And, in this, Germany extends the hand of cooperation to all, he added.

AZIZ AKHANNOUCH, Head of Government of Morocco, pointing to the multidimensional crises three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, said what prevents the world from managing them is not lack of awareness, but a lack of political will.  The multilateral system is suffering from a crisis of values in which individual interest, divisions within international institutions and the fragmentation of multilateral work undermine cooperation and solidarity.  Affirming the role of the United Nations as more than crisis management, he said those who believe that their own capabilities are enough to contain these challenges are not being realistic.  “Multilateral work was never a luxury and the crisis we are witnessing today affirms this and proves that the security and prosperity of some depends on the stability and prosperity of all,” he said.

Africa is the continent most affected by spillovers from the current geopolitical crises, bearing the brunt of increases in food and energy prices which have undermined sustainable development gains, he said.  Despite setbacks, Africa continues to find solutions and emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.  The continent has important human and natural resources and is committed to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.  “We will work collectively to realize the ambitions of our peoples,” he said, calling for international cooperation to reduce the continent’s debt burden and development initiatives to help it resist the shocks of current and future economic crises.  The King of Morocco’s visits to several African countries reflect this.  Morocco also hosted the fourteenth United States-Africa business summit to increase investment to priority sectors in African countries, built a manufacturing facility for COVID-19 and other vaccines to achieve vaccine sovereignty in the country and across Africa, and has extended health care services to 70 per cent of the population with the goal of universal coverage by year’s end.

Stressing that climate change requires immediate solutions, he said developed countries must mobilize the necessary technological and financial resources to face the consequences of this global challenge.  Morocco has committed to reduce its greenhouse gases by 45 per cent by 2030, as part of an integrated strategy to create low-carbon development by 2050, as well as a green economy in line with sustainability goals.

Highlighting Morocco’s actions to alleviate the global security crisis, he said it will show solidarity in implementing its national strategy for migration and asylum launched in 2013, continue to fight human trafficking networks and guarantee the safety of peacekeeping forces.  He went on to underscore the importance of gender equality and the rights of women going forward.  His Government has launched a national action plan to implement the women, peace and security as an integrated political framework in line with Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

He reiterated Morocco's commitment to finding a final political solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue based on the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative.  In the southern regions, his Government is implementing the new development model launched in 2015.  He reiterated Moroccan support on the forty-sixth anniversary of the Green March to the efforts of the Secretary-General and his personal Envoy to resume the round-table process in the same format and with the same participants to reach a lasting solution, stressing that Algeria’s serious, well-intentioned participation in these round tables and its recognition of its responsibility in creating and pursuing this artificial conflict is a condition to achieving a final political settlement.  He expressed concern over the catastrophic humanitarian conditions in the Tindouf camps and called on the international community to urge Algeria to allow UNHCR to register the camp’s dwellers.  Reiterating Morocco’s support for the Palestinian cause and calling for a two-State Solution, he also affirmed his country’s commitment to safeguard the historical identity of Jerusalem as a place of co-existence and peace.  Welcoming the appointment of Abdoulaye Bathily as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, he said the solution to the crisis in Libya should be “Libyan-led without any interference or any foreign agenda.”

MARIO DRAGHI, President of the Council of Ministers of Italy, said during the Russian Federation’s aggression on Ukraine since February, the international community has witnessed the bombing of theatres, schools and hospitals, as well as terrible attacks and violence on civilians, including children — all in an attempt to subjugate a free and sovereign democracy, which has fought back with pride and courage.  Helping Ukraine to protect itself was not only the right choice — it was the only choice consistent with the ideals of the United Nations Charter.  The European Union, with its NATO and G7 allies, responded to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request and have imposed unprecedented sanctions on the Russian Federation to weaken its military and convince President Vladimir Putin to sit at the negotiating table.  The European Union has welcomed thousands of refugees, he noted, assisting those who have remained in Ukraine and are ready to fund the reconstruction of the country.

Moscow’s plan was to conquer Kyiv in a few weeks, but although the outcome of the conflict remains unpredictable, Kyiv appears to have gained an important strategic advantage, he said.  Under sanctions imposed on Moscow, the IMF expects the Russian economy to contract this year and next year by about 10 per cent in total, making it difficult to respond effectively to the defeats that are piling up on the battlefield.  Noting Moscow tried to divide countries using gas as blackmail, Italy has halved its dependence on Russian Federation gas and expects to become completely independent in 2024.  On this path, it has benefitted from agreements made with many African countries.  “We want to develop green technologies together, to put Africa squarely at the centre of the green transition,” he stated, calling for the European Union to impose a price cap on gas imports.

The Italian Government has long championed Ukraine’s bid for European Union membership and strongly supports the integration of the Western Balkans, Moldova, and Georgia.  Noting the IAEA’s access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, he said he hoped for some form of demilitarization of the area.  Voicing hope there can be a future in which the Russian Federation returns to the principles it chose to subscribe to in 1945, he noted a world divided into blocs, characterized by rigid ideological demarcations and military confrontations cannot generate development.

Citing efforts to overcome vaccine protectionism, he noted the COVAX mechanism, which distributed more than 1.4 billion doses to the countries that needed them the most, enhancing financial assistance to vulnerable States to help them respond to the economic consequences of the pandemic and promoting the extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.  Further, for the first time,  all Group of Twenty member States pledged to try to keep global warming within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels and accepted the scientific facts behind this goal, he cited the need to support the most vulnerable states — for example, the tragic flooding in Pakistan, with millions of people forced to leave their homes.  Italy is the largest contributor of Blue Helmets among European countries, he stated, with the military is deployed in five missions in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia, and is well aware that migration is a global phenomenon, and must be addressed as such.


[*] A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

For information media. Not an official record.