Seventy-eighth Session,
8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)

Climate Funds for Fragile States, Action to Reach Net Zero, Not Mere Promises, Only Way to Build Low-Carbon Future, Speakers Stress on Day Three of General Debate

Building resilience and tackling the adverse impact of climate change should be an urgent priority for all, world leaders stressed today, as the General Assembly high-level debate concluded the third day of its deliberations, with speakers emphasizing that no meaningful climate action or development can take place in conditions of financial distress.

More than a dozen Heads of State and Government spotlighted the need for concrete climate measures, as opposed to mere promises, calling for reforming global financial institutions and unlocking funds for developing countries to allow them to catch up on the path to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, also emphasizing that the current exclusionary architecture, dominated by a few States, is failing to deliver the requisite resources.

Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, citing climate as the most pressing of all emergencies, drew attention to the afforestation initiative that he undertook in his capacity as President of the Congo Basin Climate Commission.  With one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world — 0.06 per cent — his country plays its part in preserving the environment for the survival of humanity, he observed.  Pointing out that arable land in Africa must be protected from the impacts of climate change, he called for effective technical and financial partnerships.

Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi, recalling that his country has lived through the worst cholera outbreak in its history, a drought resulting in a loss of crops and a cyclone that left a trail of death and destruction, urged developed countries to shift from words to actions on climate financing, and called for debt cancellation.  “That’s a decision you can make today so that the money being drained by servicing debts can go towards rebuilding roads, schools, hospitals, businesses and livelihoods,” he emphasized.  Also noting that the world needs a new development paradigm beyond 2030 that considers the interests of the developing world, he said it should also reward developed States for financing climate projects in developing nations.

On that, José Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, proposed to accelerate energy transition in fragile developing States by unlocking finance through debt alleviation, streamlining international finance at the lowest interest rates and increasing development assistance.  Noting that banks and creditor countries remain indifferent to debt cancellation calls, he said it would be a leap forward if all members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were to allocate 1 per cent of their national gross domestic product (GDP) to official development assistance (ODA).

Wesley Simina, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, implored all parties to the Paris Agreement — particularly major emitters — to commit to emissions reductions of at least half by 2030 and peg their net-zero goals no later than 2050.  Eliminating methane and hydrofluorocarbon emissions, as well as other short-lived climate pollutants from industrial products and activities, could reduce global warming by at least a 0.5°C, he said, adding:  “By 2050, Micronesia will achieve net zero.” 

Han Zheng, Vice-President of China, also citing the importance of the Paris accord, stressed the need to stop building new coal-fired power projects abroad, and to vigorously support developing countries to create more green energy projects.  For its part, China will continue to prioritize ecological conservation and the advancement of green and low-carbon development.  Through Chinese modernization and rejuvenation, the country seeks to achieve harmony between humanity and nature while promoting ethical material advancement.

Russ Kun, President of Nauru, noted that for his country, the smallest Member State, United Nations ideals have an important resonance.  “Will only the strong survive, or will we work to ensure that no one is left behind?” he asked. Any progress to expedite action on the 2030 Agenda is at risk if the international community does not address the threat of climate change.  The adverse impacts are no longer a “future” problem, he said, imploring the global community to expedite measures to adapt and mitigate climate change and keep a 1.5ºC limit to temperature rise within reach.

Likewise, Jessica Alupo, Vice-President of Uganda, called on developed countries to fulfil their commitment, in line with the Paris Agreement, to provide $100 billion — annually, through 2025 — to developing countries to assist with mitigation and adaptation. 

Answering that call, Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy of Denmark, said his Government is increasing grant-based climate finance to its highest level ever this year, doubling its contribution to the Green Climate Fund next year, and tripling its contribution to climate finance in developing countries by 2030.  The world needs to better leverage the enormous potential of international financial institutions, and development banks must raise trillions of dollars for climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he insisted.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece — pointing to the fires, heat waves and landslides that have gripped Southern Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean in the past year — said the science is clear:  high temperatures resulting from global warming are driving these threats.  While the world acts decisively on long-term mitigation, the international community is “collectively guilty in not placing enough emphasis on short-term adaptation” he said, calling for the creation of a global forum that can deliver access to new financing to drive such adaptation “before it is too late.”


RASHAD MOHAMMED AL-ALIMI, President of the Presidential Leadership Council of Yemen, commending the international community’s unified position on the constitutional legitimacy of his country, acknowledged the solidarity of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  “Their positions represented a strong fence to prevent the collapse of institutions,” he underscored.  Recalling that his Government had to re-establish the Presidential Leadership Council, he lamented that “peace remained elusive”.  “We do not have enough time or compromises to make to convince the Houthi militias to change their positions,” he stressed, pointing out that they use peace agreements to delay matters further and acquire more resources.

Urging the international community to support the legitimate Government, he said that the “superpowers” must send a clear message to the Houthi militias that they should not overturn constitutional legitimacy. To restore trust and achieve progress in the “Yemen dossier”, the track based on international humanitarian intervention should be reconsidered to also combat terrorism, rebellion and armed groups. In this context, he welcomed United Nations efforts to move from relief interventions to sustainable development.  Underlining the importance of recognizing Yemen’s Central Bank to strengthen the national currency and ensure that funds don’t fall in the militias’ hands, he pointed out that this track contradicts the international rhetoric, which calls for the improvement of the country’s economic indicators at a time when international operations are going through institutions under the Houthis’ control. They impose arbitrary measures to violate the independence of the banking service, the confidentiality of its operations, turning the sector into a money-laundering network, he added.

He went on to report an increase in threats from Al-Qaida and Da’esh, supported by the militias and Iran with money, weapons and intelligence services, observing:  “They also share the same Takfiri ideology.”  Recalling that the public budget had been in good shape since the start of the war, he lamented that this “momentum” stopped as a result of the Houthis attacks on oil facilities.  Was it not for Saudi Arabia’s grant of $1.2 billion to support the public budget, the Government would have been unable to ensure salaries disbursement.  Further, he commended humanitarian and development pledges of the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other regional partners.  However, despite humanitarian intervention, the Houthis have targeted navigation routes in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and the Aegean Sea; used them as military areas; tested new weapons; and targeted commercial ships and tankers, he reported.

In this regard, he reaffirmed the need for guaranteeing the freedom of international navigation; combating extremism, terrorism and piracy; and supporting measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, notably Iran’s nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and their role in sabotaging the region.  Calling on the international community to condemn Teheran’s interventions in Yemen’s affairs, he also urged Member States to commit to an arms embargo and prevent that country from providing the militias with ballistic missiles and drones, used against civilians.  Recalling that his Government established an independent national committee to investigate human rights violations, he observed that the agreements, signed by the Houthis with the UN, have not been implemented.

FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, President of the Central African Republic, said that the entire world “followed with great dismay” in recent days, the arrival of thousands of African migrants to the island of Lampedusa in Italy.  “These young people represent the present and the future of our continent of Africa,” he added.  This escalation of the migrant crisis is one of the terrifying consequences of the looting of the natural resources owned by the countries made poor by slavery, colonialism, Western imperialism, terrorism and internal armed conflict, he said. Turning to Sudan, he said an internal armed conflict erupted in April — at a time when the country was well on the way to normalization.  The Central African Republic has already hosted 15,000 Chadian and Sudanese refugees.  He urged the international community to take into account the impact of this crisis and the effect it is having on regional geopolitics.

It is also deeply concerning that the Russian-Ukrainian conflict continues to play out on the ground with no prospects for a peaceful settlement, he continued.  The increase in the number of hotbeds of tension throughout the world raises questions about the effectiveness of certain global mechanisms.  The UN’s primary mission is to guarantee international peace and security.  “These question marks are why we forcefully reaffirm the common African position regarding Security Council reform,” he said.  That position seeks to increase the number of permanent and non-permanent members on the Council and for a permanent seat to be granted to Africa, “which is the only right and just thing to do”.  For its part, the Central African Republic is pondering how it can expedite the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at a time when certain States wield political, economic and military might and exercise coercive diplomacy.

In July, the people of the Central African Republic learned to their great distress of the renewal of an arms embargo which was brought about by trumped up reports, he said.  This “cynical decision” betrays the unspoken intention of the members of the Council.  Arms embargoes and diamond embargoes happen in parallel with the suspension of budgetary and economic support.  “Both of these factors are real obstacles for my country’s achievement of the realization of the 2030 Agenda,” he said, also adding:  “Here we repudiate this denial of our right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over our wealth and natural resources.”  These trumped-up mechanisms are a “thinly veiled” desire to allow insecurity to reign and to continue a stranglehold over that country’s natural resources for the benefit of foreign Powers.

Turning to climate change, he urged wealthy countries to live up to their commitments.  He decried the disinformation and smear campaigns waged by certain Western media against the Central African Republic.  On 30 July, his country adopted a new Constitution.  And with that vote, the people of the Central African Republic reaffirmed their commitment to self-determination, the stability of their institutions, to peace, to security, to national unity and to development.  “I wish to recall that beyond the Constitution, the national policy of decentralization is the expression of a deeply harboured will of the Central African Republic,” he continued.  It is also an essential component of the peace agreement and of the Luanda Joint Road Map.  Local elections are scheduled to take place in October 2024.  “For us, this is a fundamental step in our journey towards ensuring local ownership of democracy, the promotion of participatory governance and local development,” he added.

LAZARUS MCCARTHY CHAKWERA, President of Malawi, reminded the world leaders that in their addresses during the high-level General Assembly debate, they speak of a future that does not belong to them.  As their decisions will influence future generations, it is insufficient to ask for more trust, global solidarity, peace and prosperity for all, when the actions cause the opposite.  Without changing this, the Sustainable Development Goals “will remain a reality only on paper”, he warned, urging the international community to prioritize the places that are most at risk of not meeting any of them.  His country, aligning its national priorities with the 2030 Agenda, developed a corresponding implementation plan as part of its Malawi 2063 vision.  In this regard, he took pride in his country staying on track to end hunger; safeguard good health and the well-being of its citizens; improve the quality of education; ensure better sanitation; and promote life below water.

Nevertheless, he regretted that progress has been achieved only on five out of 17 Goals, stressing that help is needed not only to make gains but also to safeguard accomplishments.  He thus reiterated:  “We need urgent support in building resilience to inoculate our economy against the adverse effects of shocks.”  Over the past year, Malawi has lived through the worst cholera outbreak in its history, a drought resulting in a significant loss of vital crops and a cyclone that “left a trail of death and destruction”.  In light of this, he urged developed countries to shift from words to actions on climate financing, calling, on behalf of all least developed countries, also for the cancelation of debts.  This will allow these States to catch up on the Sustainable Development Goals as well as revive the global economy after the pandemic. 

Turning to world leaders, he stated:  “That’s a decision you can make today so that the money being drained by servicing debts can go towards rebuilding roads, schools, hospitals, businesses and livelihoods.”  He announced that Malawi is committed to continuing engagement with the United Nations and its development partners to mobilize international support that goes beyond disaster management and seeks to build sustainability.  To this end, it will “continue banging on the door of financial institutions that remain too slow, too unresponsive and too rigid”, he declared.  He underscored that Malawi is committed to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and a rules-based international system, as long as it has the power to change the rules that have worked against the country and held back its development for decades.

Noting that the current structure of the Security Council undermines democracy, inclusivity, accountability and trust, he also advocated for its “radical reform”.  He echoed the United States in calling for a permanent seat [for Africa] on the Council. Without this, rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity will be a challenge.  Further, he emphasized that the world needs a new development paradigm beyond 2030 — one that genuinely considers the interests of the developing world and has partnership at its centre.  It should also promote competition in human ingenuity, science, technology and innovation rather than in militarization and economic exploitation, he stated.  Such a paradigm should also reward developed States for financing climate projects in the developing world, establish effective carbon markets, build each continent’s capacity to cope with future pandemics and unleash the full potential of youth, putting them in the driver’s seat for change.

TANETI MAAMAU, President of Kiribati, said geopolitical tensions, economic disparities and the unforeseen challenges brought about by events like pandemics, climate-related crisis and disasters have tested the resolve of national Governments.  Therefore, it is crucial to re-establish faith in multilateral cooperation and diplomacy, and renew commitment to accountability, good governance and responsive policies.  The idea of global solidarity underscores the principle that “no nation can thrive in isolation” and recognizes the uniqueness of each country’s context and need, he said, noting that the experience from the pandemic is exemplary of “the world coming together as one family”.  While he recognized the importance of science to address pandemics, international cooperation is essential for gaining a better understanding of the variants and vaccines before they are rolled out.

Turning to sustainable development, he pointed to Kiribati’s first-ever long-term development plan to transform the country into a wealthier, healthier and peaceful nation.  The year 2030 is imminent and “time is of the essence”, he said, underscoring the need to stay on track in efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  This entails setting ambitious targets and mobilizing resources, technology, innovation and policy changes.  Kiribati has the human resources yet lacks the capacity or necessary skills to develop the country.  Further, he advocated for gender balance, equal representation and opportunities, noting that Kiribati has strengthened its policies and laws to support and empower women and girls, people with disabilities, elders, the unemployed, youth and children.

He further voiced concern over the continued existence of nuclear weapons, the discharge of nuclear treated water and leak of radioactive materials into the blue Pacific Ocean.  Accordingly, he said Kiribati will continue promoting the non-proliferation and ultimately the total elimination of nuclear weapons, “keeping our region, our land, our upper airspace and ocean free of environmental destruction and pollution with radioactive wastes and other materials including plastics”.  Most important is the health of those who were exposed to the nuclear test blasts on Christmas Island, and those whose ancestral lands have been exploited, he said, emphasizing that compensations must be made to those on Christmas Island, including the Banaban people affected by environmental degradation.

Recognizing that fighting corruption is critical to achieving sustainable development, he drew attention to the first ever regional Anti-Corruption Conference for Pacific Leaders in 2020, hosted by his Government. The outcome document of the Conference, Teieniwa Vision, reaffirms the region’s unity against corruption as well as for integrating good governance principles.  Kiribati is faced with significant challenges due to its geographical isolation, scatteredness of its islands and vulnerability to climate change. Encountered with these significant challenges, delivery of essential services such as education, health and security are very costly.  Therefore, Kiribati should be given increased access to financial resources to obtain equipment and infrastructure to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  To harness its ocean resources sustainably, the country needs financial assistance and access to the right capabilities, technology and equipment.  Likewise, the management of its airspace is important for security purposes.  “This will enable us to effectively manage our maritime domain and airspace, ensuring responsible utilization while protecting our fragile ecosystem,” he added.  At the forefront of climate change, Kiribati is experiencing intensifying severe drought and coastal inundation affecting homes, public infrastructure, food and water security.  The projected cost for adaptation has significantly increased, he said, urging developed countries to increase funds.

EMMERSON DAMBUDZO MNANGAGWA, President of Zimbabwe, said that progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals has been uneven, while global solidarity has been tested and self-interest has superseded cooperation.  “We have a duty to reignite our commitment to the principles of the 2030 Agenda and rekindle the spirit of multilateralism,” he said, calling for scaling up investments in people and communities by ensuring access to quality education, health care, clean water and sanitation for all.  “Zimbabwe continues to entrench democracy, constitutionalism, good governance and the rule of law, following the recently held 2023 harmonized general elections,” he said, highlighting that his country has been under illegal, unilateral economic sanctions for 23 years, imposed by some Western countries, and demanding that such measures be unconditionally lifted, including those imposed on countries like Cuba.

“We are recording unprecedented development and economic success milestones.  For the last three years, our country has been the fastest growing economy in our Southern African region,” he stressed, adding that in 2023, Zimbabwe became a net exporter of wheat, though it has not been spared from the negative impact of climate change.  Mentioning a programme to sink solar-powered boreholes in each of the country’s 35,000 rural villages and schools, he emphasized:  “Alongside each of these water points are commercial nutritional gardens for the empowerment of women and youth.”  Stressing the importance of global solidarity, he said that no nation, no matter how powerful, can stand alone to realize sustainable and inclusive development.  “The high-level meetings on universal health coverage, tuberculosis and pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response are welcome opportunities to reflect on the importance of maintaining essential services during pandemics and health emergencies,” he said, adding that affordable and quality health delivery is a key deliverable for his Administration.

Building resilience and tackling the adverse impact of climate change should be an urgent priority for all, he said, adding:  “In the case of Zimbabwe and the Southern African region, floods and droughts have affected the livelihoods of many, while hindering progress on national development.” Stressing the need for concrete climate action, as opposed to mere promises, he called for the transition to a low-carbon and resilient global economy by increasing investments in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and green infrastructure.  “Commitments made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement must be honoured to deliver climate justice.  It is our hope that progress will be made to operationalize the loss and damage fund,” he said, also urging to reform global financial institutions and unlock funding for developing countries.  “The current exclusionary architecture, dominated by a few States, is failing to deliver the requisite resources for countries to finance their developmental priorities and other pressing health and environmental challenges,” he stressed, adding that Zimbabwe supports the stimulus package proposed by the Secretary-General.

“We strongly condemn tendencies by some powerful countries who preach peace, human rights and democracy and yet clandestinely fund conflicts and the unconstitutional changes of Governments, for their own narrow interests,” he said, condemning sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and countries like Cuba, as such actions hamper trust, global solidarity and multilateralism.  “It is important that we channel our collective efforts towards building peace and driving forward our development agenda, for shared prosperity,” he underscored, adding that the maintenance of peace and security should never be the preserve of a privileged few.  He reaffirmed calls by Africa for the reform of the United Nations Security Council in line with the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.

JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA, President of Timor-Leste, spotlighting that his country is a young, imperfect and vibrant democracy, “an oasis of peace, tolerance and freedom”, said that, since its independence in 2002, the democracy is “alive and dynamic”.  Noting that Timor-Leste is the most democratic country in South-East Asia, he observed:  “We are a multicultural, multi-religious, multilingual and multi-ethnic society. With humility we continue to build the country, that is open to the world, tolerant, free of hate and violence.” Moreover, Timor-Leste has no political violence, no tensions or crimes based on ethnicity or religion, no domestic organized crime, no armed robberies.  However, multidimensional poverty remains high — around 45.8 per cent, he noted, pointing to challenges related to food insecurity, neonatal mortality, rickets and child malnutrition.

Over the 20 years of the country’s independence and the 10 years of its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) membership, most economic and social indicators show progress, he reported, observing that life expectancy has risen from 60 years in 2002 to 70 years in 2023.  Recalling that in 2002, the capital of Timor-Leste had partial energy coverage, while the rest of the country did not have such “privilege”, he reported that currently power is available in 96.1 per cent of its territory.  Moreover, it financed its national budget with the return of the sovereign fund, with an annual return on 9 per cent. Emphasizing that global crises result in geopolitical fragmentation and disproportionally impact fragile countries, he condemned the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has disrupted global trade in grain and energy.  From its history, Timor-Leste knows that wars are seldom won on the battlefield, he stressed, encouraging negotiations.

He went on to underline the need for a new outlook on climate and security nexus, proposing a “bold initiative” to accelerate energy transition in fragile developing States that depend on oil and gas production. Unlocking finance through debt alleviation, streamlining international finance at the lowest interest rates and increasing development assistance will facilitate greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation.  The initiative will also consider the challenges of fragile States in economic turmoil and seek to ensure that the “quest” for rare earth elements and critical minerals does not lead to further instability, nor exacerbate local tensions in the countries where such strategic reserves are found.  Noting that “the super-rich CEOs [chief executive officers] of banks and creditor countries remain indifferent to debt cancellation calls”, he stressed:  “Cancel off this damn debt.”  It would be a leap forward in international solidarity if all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries were to allocate 1 per cent of their national gross domestic product (GDP) to official development assistance (ODA).

“We live in a universe full of dualities:  an increasingly prosperous world, whose wealth has increased by $30 trillion a year,” he observed, adding that the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) and Group of 20 (G20) fail to reflect this in the fight against hunger, stunting and other forms of poverty.  To this end, he underscored the need of adopting a universal child benefit — a new ODA target for a fair share for children in fragile income countries.  “No one should fear the Chinese, Indian, European, American ‘super-Powers’,” he underscored, noting that States can gain more from the free movement of people and goods than from building walls.  He went on to say that “equally, we want to see prosperity in Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia”, while emphasizing that it depends on peace and stability in the Global South.

SALVA KIIR MAYARDIT, President of South Sudan, said that his country is committed to global efforts aimed at addressing challenges that “we face as a human family”.  “We are hopeful that together we can rebuild trust among Member States [and] reignite global solidarity on the basis of sovereign equality of all the States,” he added.  South Sudan is committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to provide a better future for its people.  South Sudan has made some progress in its education sector since its independence in 2011.  For one, the country’s Constitution guarantees all children free access to education.  “We have also designated education as a human right of every child,” he said. Furthermore, South Sudan is committed to paying teachers a living wage.

Turning to the health sector, he said South Sudan plans to dedicate resources towards providing affordable health care in an inclusive and cost-effective manner.  Moreover, it is committed to promoting renewable energy and collaborating with international partners to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.  Developed countries must cut their emissions and honour their pledges to developing countries.

On a national level, Juba “has turned the corner” with the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement in 2018.  “Now we are determined to build on the commitments,” he continued, emphasizing the need to consolidate peace and stabilize the economy. The country is now focused on concluding the transitional period peacefully through fair, transparent and credible elections in 2024.

South Sudan will continue to engage with civil society, women, young people and traditional leaders to ensure that “our peace process is owned and driven by our own people”, he went on to say.  As his country moves in this direction, it calls on the United Nations to lift the arms embargo imposed on it.  The embargo has impeded implementation of security arrangements, he stressed.  Moreover, as a country sharing a border with Sudan, South Sudan has received thousands of Sudanese refugees since the conflict broke out in April 2023. This influx has overwhelmed border communities and created a humanitarian crisis.  “I’m appealing to the international community to avail resources to help refugees and displaced persons who cross into South Sudan,” he emphasized.

MAMADI DOUMBOUYA, President of Guinea, said that his continent was hit by an epidemic of military putsches, particularly in the French-speaking countries south of the Sahara.  “Everyone condemns them, sanctions them and is disturbed by the sudden immergence of this phenomena that we thought was over,” he said.  “To remedy the problem, we must look at the root causes,” he asserted, adding that “the putschist is not only the one who takes up arms to overthrow a regime”.  The real putschists are those who cheat to manipulate the texts of the Constitution in order to stay in power eternally.  Highlighting his efforts to prevent his country from descending into complete chaos, he said “the institutional rectification to which my brothers in arms and I took our responsibilities on 5 September 2021 was only a consequence of that chaotic situation which ended up tearing apart the social fabric of my country”.

The transitions under way in Africa are due to several factors, including broken promises, lethargy of the people and leaders tampering with the Constitution with the aim of remaining in power, he said.  Today, African people are more awake than ever and more determined than ever to take their destiny into their own hands.  Voicing concern over the unequal distribution of wealth which creates endless inequalities, famine and poverty, he said:  “When the wealth of a country is in the hands of an elite while newborns die in hospitals due to lack of incubators, it is not surprising that […] we are seeing transitions to respond to the profound aspirations of the people,” he said.

Noting that Africa is suffering from a governance model that has been imposed on it by the West, he said:  “We are all aware that this democratic model that you have so insidiously and skilfully imposed on us after the La Baule summit in France (…) does not work.”  The various economic and social indices demonstrate this plain and clear, he asserted, adding that “this is not a value judgment on democracy itself”.  This model — “detrimental” to the economy and the local processing of Guinea’s natural resources — has contributed to maintaining a system of exploitation and plunder of its resources.  He also denounced national leaders who have often been granted democratic labels based on their capacity to sell off the resources and property of their people.

“The transition that I lead has chosen to focus methodically on clear objectives in a precise order:  the social, the economic and the political,” he pointed out.  The Sahel is going through one of the most serious crises in its very long history.  In this context, he stressed that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must stop getting involved in politics and favour dialogue.  “The African people are tired, exhausted of the categorizations with which everyone wants to box us in,” he said, declaring: “We are neither pro- nor anti-American, neither pro- nor anti-Chinese, neither pro- nor anti-French, neither pro- nor anti-Russian, neither pro- nor anti-Turkish […] we are simply pro-African.” “It is time to stop lecturing us, to stop treating us with condescension, like children,” he said, underscoring that the international community must look at Africa with new eyes.

EVARISTE NDAYISHIMIYE, President of Burundi, said that “While we gather every year in such forums and even in other equally important circumstances, the world continues to face serious existential threats, thus unfortunately becoming more and more unstable and vulnerable.”  Turning to his own country, he emphasized that after years of instability, the process of truth and reconciliation is bearing fruit.  “However, the sad truth is that public development assistance, which should support the Government’s efforts as it seeks the well-being of citizens, has little by little faded away in favour of funding intended for non-State actors serving the unacknowledged geopolitical and economic interests of certain so-called donor States,” he said.  In that regard, he highlighted the urgent need of rethinking and strengthening the global partnership which includes debt relief, a substantial increase in resources devoted to the fight against poverty, strengthening South-South cooperation, sharing of technologies and innovation as well as broadening commercial agreements.

“Burundi has made significant progress in terms of democracy, good governance and improving its business climate,” he said, adding that it strives to promote and finance the agricultural sector through a national agricultural subsidy programme which subsidizes fertilizers, selected seeds and plant health products.  His Government has also updated the country’s mining code to create a favourable environment for investors in the sector whose abundant mineral potential remains underexploited.  Citing the ambition of his Government to raise the economy by utilizing natural resources, he announced:  “The goal is to make Burundi an emerging country in 2040 and a developed country in 2060.” 

Stating that there is no more effective weapon than youth in the fight against poverty and in conflict prevention, he welcomed the General Assembly decision to create a United Nations Youth Office.  To expedite the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, free education — available in Burundi since 2005 — has enabled children to have the right to a quality education, he said.  Burundi has also improved the ratio of men to women in the political arena by setting the representation of women in the National Assembly and the Senate at 30 per cent.  Today, women hold around 50 per cent of the positions in Burundi’s Government, he also noted.

He recalled that within the East African Community a series of actions to restore peace and security in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was launched, while Burundi also participates in peacekeeping operations and the fight against terrorism in the Central African Republic and Somalia.  “We also condemn the re-emergence of unconstitutional changes of power which constitute a serious erosion of democratic gains recorded for several years in Africa,” he said.  Referring to the drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), he warned against its hasty closure, which could give terrorist groups an opportunity to grow stronger and regroup.  Regarding migration flows, he called for adopting appropriate and concerted measures enabling young people to improve their chances of finding decent work, self-employment or entrepreneurship.  “However, while awaiting a lasting solution to poverty, countries of transit and destination must understand and provide dignified and humane assistance to migrants and guarantee them their fundamental human rights,” he urged, also condemning States which, under the pretext of protecting human rights, interfere in the domestic affairs of other States.  He reaffirmed Burundi’s commitment to the democratization of the multilateral system, including the reform of the UN Security Council and the international financial system to make them more representative, fair and inclusive.

ALEKSANDAR VUČIĆ, President of Serbia, declared that, while his country is on the accession path to the European Union, it is not ready to abandon traditional friendships.  He criticized world leaders for egoism and “telling fairy tales of the future with an insufficient realistic view of the issues”.  He went further to warn that the breach of international public law can have dire repercussions, highlighting that the violation of the Charter of the United Nations in the case of Serbia was one of the visible precursors of numerous current issues.  “The attempt of cutting my country into pieces, that had formally started in 2008 by the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and Metohija has not ended yet,” he lamented.  Dual standards are an open invitation to achieve interests through war and violence, he emphasized, stressing that he will thus speak about principles rather than boast about his country’s achievements.

He pointed out that almost all Western Powers violated Security Council resolution 1244 (1999), defying the principles they are defending today.  They forgot that it was the same pretext that the Russian Federation used to justify its attack against Ukraine, he noted.  Serbia does not change its principles — it respects the territorial integrity of all States, including Ukraine.  Unless the same rules start applying to all, the world will end up in the deepest divisions ever, he warned.  Today, in Kosovo and Metohija, violence against Serbs is taking place, he said, accusing the “extremist regime” in Pristina of escalating the situation and sowing discord.  Seven innocent civilians were shot by the representatives of the so-called “Kosovo” institutions, he decried.  In addition, he expressed concern that more than 10 years after the Brussels Agreement, the community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija is yet to be formed. 

While being committed to preserving the European Union-facilitated dialogue with Pristina, it is not a solution that Belgrade always has to make concessions, he underscored.  Turning to the role of the United Nations, he stated that the Organization is, in times of conflicts, the last substantial platform that brings all States together, regardless of their differences and divisions.  Serbia thus supports the Organization’s strengthening through reform. He also expressed gratitude to the majority of Member States for supporting the territorial integrity of his country, underlining that this demonstrates their commitment to the Charter. “By safekeeping your borders, you preserve peace,” he reiterated, taking pride in friendly relations of Serbia with countries on all continents.  In this regard, he announced that his country acceded to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia.  He also informed that Belgrade will host the specialized exhibition EXPO 2027.

He went on to underline the importance of regional integration, pointing to the common toll collection from Belgrade almost to the Adriatic Sea, which will soon be extended to the Aegean Sea.  Spotlighting the Open Balkan initiative, he praised that the borders are open, enabling the free flow of people, goods and capital.  This has yielded concrete results and strengthened regional ownership of economic connectivity.  He further welcomed that this initiative improved the political atmosphere in South-Eastern Europe.  Such cooperation with neighbours is inseparable from Serbia’s key aspiration to become a member of the European Union.  On the Sustainable Development Goals, his country undertakes maximum efforts to achieve them.  Arguing that science is key to accelerate meeting these targets, he drew attention to a General Assembly resolution — co-proposed by Serbia — declaring the period from 2024 to 2033 the International Decade of Science for Sustainable Development.

CHARLES ANGELO SAVARIN, President of Dominica, emphasizing that all conflicts must eventually end at a negotiating table, said that, as the war in Ukraine escalates, the reconstruction and recovery of that country is placed by the World Bank at $411 billion.  In this context, he endorsed the G20 joint Declaration. Recalling the Arab Spring, that — with the tacit support of the West — resulted in the removal of several Governments, he observed that the “African summer” is a “drum beat” of sanctions and military interventions.  The international community should pay heed to the wisdom of the African Union, that has opposed military intervention and encouraged diplomatic engagement, he noted, adding:  “Whose interest would a military intervention serve?  Certainly not the people of Africa.”  Also underlining that some countries will always be disproportionally disadvantaged by the actions of other States, he added:  “We live in an imperfect world by virtue of our inherent geophysical and socioeconomic characteristics.”

He said that the 2030 Agenda should enhance the role of science in decision-making and harness information and communications technology (ICT), observing that technology can create an impetus, bridge the generational gap and enable innovation.  Further, he advocated for the inclusion of young people and providing them with access to quality education, health care and decent work. Unfair trade practices must be replaced with those that reasonably benefit primary producers and support downstream processing and manufacturing, he underlined, also noting that international resources must be targeted at the most vulnerable.  Recognizing the central role of Dominica’s citizens in decision-making, he said the Government has initiated a review of its electoral system through cross-sectoral consultations.

He went on to say that the lack of assistance from development partners and international financial institutions in response to global shocks has forced Governments to borrow on unfavourable terms, resulting in high repayment costs and unsustainable debt levels, while reiterating Dominica’s support for the multidimensional vulnerability index, that can unlock necessary financing.  To that end, he expressed support for the Bridgetown Initiative as a blueprint for sovereign debt architecture restructuring.  Turning to Haiti, he said that its deep-rooted crisis is connected with the country’s post-independence relations with the international community, poor governance and the effects of the 2010 earthquake.  He also observed that the World Bank — unlike in the situation in Ukraine — has not provided an estimate of reconstruction costs after that earthquake, stating:  “If ever there was a cause deserving the full attention of the international community, that cause is Haiti.”

Recognizing that the Haiti crisis is not limited to food shortage and security, he urged the Security Council to offer support to that country in governance, education, sustainable livelihoods and long-term development planning.  Further, he called for termination of the economic blockade on Cuba, emphasizing that its inclusion in the State Sponsors of Terrorism List is unjustified. Additionally, he expressed support for the lifting of sanctions on Venezuela to enable that country to realize its potential and enhance its socioeconomic development.

RANIL WICKREMESINGHE, President of Sri Lanka, said that amidst multiple global crises in 2022, his country experienced its most challenging period in recent times.  “Nevertheless, we succeeded in bringing about a democratic political transition, due to our deeply entrenched and resilient democratic traditions,” he added. Turning to technological and scientific advances, he said they offer boundless new frontiers in knowledge and wealth generation.  However, former big power rivalries and geopolitical tensions have reignited in open war.  North-South divisions are widening with the digital divide, the financial and debt crisis, and the energy transition.  “Contrary to the promise of 2030, today we are seeing levels of poverty and hunger not witnessed since decades,” he said.  Neutral, nonaligned countries of the Global South such as Sri Lanka are once again constrained in between new global power configurations.  Conflicts among big powers are adding uncertainty to economies, disrupting supply chains and causing inflation.

“Sri Lanka has not shirked its responsibility to the planet,” he added.  Sri Lanka has pledged that by 2030 it will attain 70 per cent renewable energy in electricity generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14.5 per cent.  “Our low carbon development trajectory gave us one of the lowest per capita carbon emission rates for a lower MIC [middle-income] country,” he added.  But in 2023, because of exogenous shocks and debt, progress has been reversed.  Food inflation put significant pressure on food security.  Children’s education and nutrition have suffered.  As a climate-vulnerable developing country in debt crisis, the urgency to mobilize climate finance is greater than it was ever before.  Developed countries must do their part and assume their share of common but differentiated responsibilities.

The need for global solidarity to restructure the international financial architecture is also paramount, he said.  Recent studies show that the impact of the pandemic on the United States economy from 2020 to 2024 would reach $14 trillion. These numbers would more than double if the rest of the global economy is added.  “If we are unable to restructure the global fiscal order, then certainly we will fail in the struggle to reverse climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.  There is still time for course correction.  Unfortunately, the Security Council has failed to give priority to these connected issues of climate change, debt relief and sustainable development.  He called for the composition of the Council to be expanded and the role of the General Assembly to be strengthened.

He urged restraint in the increase of military expenditures which leads to escalation of conflict.  “Developing countries have been the voice of sanity and reason in this regard,” he said.  Moreover, he said, the war in Ukraine has had far-reaching and severe financial and humanitarian repercussions on food, hunger and debt in all parts of the world including Sri Lanka.  “We need to halt the momentum where this and other big power tensions are spilling over into established areas of international rules-based cooperation,” he added.

DENIS SASSOU NGUESSO, President of the Republic of Congo, stressed the need to eliminate poverty and hunger in the world, to ensure a fairer and more equitable global economy, and to guarantee health care and quality education for the most disadvantaged.  In concrete terms, it means providing water and electricity to as many people as possible; building road, rail, port, airport and energy infrastructure to connect territories, countries and regions; and preserving biodiverse ecosystems, in particular through responsible management of the tropical forests. He also highlighted the importance of respecting the diversity of cultural expressions, promoting mutual tolerance, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Citing climate as “the most pressing of all emergencies”, he voiced concern over the continual rise in sea levels that endangers island countries; the rampant desertification that nothing seems to stop; the suffocating heatwaves which take the lives of so many elderly people; and frequent floods and sudden mudslides which cause immense damage.  In this context, he drew attention to the afforestation initiative that he undertook in his capacity as President of the Congo Basin Climate Commission which was launched during the twenty-seventh United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).  In the same vein, the Republic of Congo has committed to hosting a summit of the three basins of biodiversity ecosystems and tropical forests — the Amazon, Borneo-Mekong and the Republic of Congo — as a collective response and concerted action of these three green lungs of the planet to the climate insecurity which threatens humankind.  Since the dawn of time, forests have made life possible for millions of people.  With one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world — only .06 per cent — the Republic of Congo plays its part in preserving the environment for the survival of humanity.

Relatedly, he welcomed the outcome of the application for the inscription of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo on the World Heritage list, inscription made during the forty-fifth session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, held recently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  It is undeniably an act of recognition which duly gratifies the efforts of his country in the preservation of this natural treasure of nearly 1.2 million hectares, rich in animal and plant biodiversity, in the heart of the Congo Basin, he added.  Turning to agricultural development, he said that, in Africa, arable land must be protected from the harmful impacts of climate change.  Otherwise, production estimates would become completely uncertain.  With a population of nearly 2 billion in 2050, Africa must now make a qualitative leap to ensure that in the future, it has sufficient high-quality food, and ends the spectre of famine and poverty.  Africa urgently needs modern agriculture, supported by modern irrigation and mechanization systems, an agriculture which should enable it to significantly reduce its food imports, which are still too high today.  Accordingly, he called for effective technical and financial partnerships for substantial progress in this sector.

Noting the wars and other armed conflicts which are raging around the world, he said no significant progress is possible on any continent or in any country without peace.  For its part, the Republic of Congo has always worked for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in Africa and around the world.  This is why it decided to take an active part in the African initiative for peace mediation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  Due to the risk of generalized war that these events pose to the world, all Member States should temper the actors in that conflict, stop fanning the flames and commit to peace negotiations.  The world urgently needs peace negotiations to prevent the current clashes from further spiralling, and pushing humanity into what could be an irremediable cataclysm — a total war beyond the control of the great Powers themselves.  “I remain convinced that the wise recommendations made by Africa to restore peace between Ukraine and Russia will ultimately be heeded,” he asserted.

WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO, President of Kenya, said that hundreds of millions of people are besieged by anxiety about their present and future security, dignity and prospects of well-being.  “The poverty, fear, suffering and humanitarian distress haunting the victims of conflict, drought, famine, flooding, wildfires, cyclones, deadly disease outbreaks and other disasters, are the outcomes of sustained violation of the most essential principles, and the systematic neglect of humanity’s dearest values, which lie at the very foundation of the Charter of the United Nations,” he stressed.

The failure of peace and security systems, inadequate development and limited climate action, amidst technological advancement and enormous wealth, has left a state of paralysis, enduring one of the darkest periods of human existence.  “If any confirmation was ever needed that the United Nations Security Council is dysfunctional, undemocratic, non-inclusive, unrepresentative and therefore incapable of delivering meaningful progress in our world as presently constituted, the rampant impunity of its actors on the global scene settles the matter,” he emphasized.  The international community has fallen seriously behind in meeting its targets in both climate action and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as their underlying enabler, peace and security. 

“Kenya is proud of the contributions it continues to make in its tireless endeavour to support peacemaking, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and other interventions undertaken across different regions,” he said, deploring unconstitutional changes to Government.  Among several peace initiatives supported by Kenya, he mentioned a delegation of six African Heads of State to Moscow and Kyiv with a 10-point peace plan and efforts to initiate a mediation process between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.  “The hunger for peace and security in Africa is evident, and this bodes well for the prospects of attaining the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and global peace,” he said, adding that Haiti is the ultimate test of international solidarity and collective action, as it deserves better from the world.  “As we mobilize to show up for Ukraine and countries that have experienced the devastating impact of climate shocks including Libya, Morocco and Hawaii, we must not leave Haiti behind,” he stressed, urging the United Nations to facilitate the deployment of multinational security support to Haiti.

“The tragic spectacle of young people from Africa boarding rickety contraptions to gamble their lives away on dangerous voyages in pursuit of opportunities abroad, as conflict, climate and economic refugees, is a testament of the failures of the global economic system,” he said, adding that each year 30 million young people need jobs and many more need food while half of Africa is in the dark without access to electricity in 2023. “Capital and technology can find no better returns anywhere, than the tremendous investment opportunity in Africa’s potential.  Such investment would drive green growth creating jobs and wealth while decarbonizing global production and consumption,” he underscored, stating that no meaningful climate action or development can take place in conditions of financial distress. Accordingly, the new sovereign debt architecture should extend the tenor of sovereign debt and provide a 10-year grace period.  He also called for more concessional loans and reorganizing the financial market.  “The entire system of risk assessment and the opaque methodologies employed by credit rating agencies and risk analysis needs to be overhauled,” he said, recalling the miscalculation of subprime mortgage risk by these agencies two decades ago which precipitated a financial crisis whose effects reverberate today.  “We also recognize that multilateralism is broken and it is our responsibility to repair it,” he concluded.

WESLEY SIMINA, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, recalling that the 2015 Paris Agreement is a key tool to combat the climate crisis, he lamented that the international community has not done enough to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C or less.  Loss and damage caused by the climate crisis are accumulating in Micronesia every day, he stressed, encouraging those present to use the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as a model for a new agreement on methane.  He also implored all parties to the Paris Agreement — particularly major emitters from the developed and developing world — to commit to emissions reductions of at least half by 2030 and peg their net-zero goals no later than 2050.  Countries should eliminate methane and hydrofluorocarbon emissions, as well as other short-lived climate pollutants, from their industrial products and activities, he stated, noting that this could reduce global warming by at least a 0.5°C.

Although Micronesia has negligible global emissions, it aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by more than 65 per cent by 2030 through its nationally determined contributions strategy.  “By 2050 Micronesia will achieve net zero,” he spotlighted, while also calling for the operationalization of the new loss and damage fund at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference.  In addition, the Government has adopted a constitutional amendment to recognize the right of people to a healthy environment, he reported, also highlighting that it has joined others in requesting the International Criminal Court’s advisory opinion on the obligations of States in relation to climate change.  “Countries like mine, and people like mine, are at the front lines of climate change,” he underscored, adding that the resilience of these countries is not a placeholder for continued inaction.

He went on to recall that Micronesia and other small island developing States, particularly from the Pacific, have advocated for the inclusion of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (conservation and sustainable use of oceans) in the 2030 Agenda, while also spotlighting their contributions to the adoption of the Treaty on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).  “I am honoured to have been the first Head of State to sign the BBNJ Agreement,” he stressed. He also pointed out that through “Micronesia Challenge” and “Blue Prosperity Micronesia” the country is working towards establishing marine protected areas.  “Micronesia is a proud matrilineal society, where our clans, lineage and land control are mainly passed down from generation to generation through women,” he continued, highlighting the increase of female members in its national congress.

Reiterating his country’s solidarity with Ukraine, he urged all Member States to cooperate in addressing the impacts of the war in that country on food security, energy and finance, particularly on small island developing States.  “We must find ways to put an end to this illegal war,” he underscored.  Turning to Security Council reform, he said that permanent membership must be expanded to Japan, India, Germany and others, while non-permanent membership should include a stand-alone seat for small island developing States.  Underlining that these changes are needed to enhance the organ’s legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness, he emphasized:  “The time for Security Council reform is now.”

JAKOV MILATOVIĆ, President of Montenegro, reaffirmed his country’s strong commitment to the goals and principles of the United Nations.  While the current challenges require wise leadership, world leaders often resort only to sharing joint concerns rather than uniting efforts.  Thus, a full return to the binding provisions of the Charter of the United Nations is necessary, he declared.  His recent election, in his view, “marks an unprecedented level of support for a new era of [Montenegro’s] democratic development”.  The citizens demand strengthening the rule of law, developing prosperity as well as ensuring social cohesion and equal opportunities, he claimed.  This is key for safeguarding the country’s young democracy at a time when such systems of governance are in decline globally.  He proclaimed zero tolerance for corruption and organized crime, as building independent institutions is vital for unlocking economic potential and improving living standards.

He detailed that his country’s foreign policy is based on three pillars — accelerating integration into the European Union, strengthening the credibility of Montenegro as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and bolstering relations with all neighbouring countries in the Balkans.  He stated that Podgorica’s speedy accession into the European Union would be the best signal that European integration is still alive.  He went on to highlight the commencement of a meaningful dialogue with the civil society and vulnerable communities in his country, aspiring to create an environment of equal opportunities.  He expressed hope that this will also inspire the world to defend democracy, human rights, freedom of choice, the rule of law as well as to ensure peace, prosperity and preservation of human lives.  In this regard, condemning the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression, he reaffirmed that his country stands with Ukraine.

Turning to humanitarian crises, he pointed out that the international community often replaces preventive responses with reactionary measures — the migration crisis in the Mediterranean region is just one example.  This and other challenges stand in the way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  To accelerate progress, strong political commitment, more financial resources and enhanced cooperation are required, he underscored, calling also for action on combating climate change by unconditionally implementing the Paris Agreement.  He spotlighted that in 1991, Montenegro adopted a declaration that made it the world’s first ecological State.  Taking pride in transposing the 2030 Agenda into the country’s national framework through a corresponding strategy, he informed that, to accelerate its implementation, Podgorica also established a special fund.  Further, he announced the enactment of fiscal, labour market and social security reforms that contributed to reducing inequality. 

“As a member of the Human Rights Council during 2022-2024, we are determined to further strengthen the role of this pivotal international forum,” he stressed, reiterating his country’s adherence to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights.  In this vein, Montenegro fosters a harmonious and inclusive domestic political environment.  He expressed hope that also the Roma population will soon have representation in the Parliament.  Calling on other countries to share responsibility in addressing the situation of refugees and migrants, he emphasized that Podgorica gave shelter to 100,000 refugees and displaced persons during the wars in former Yugoslavia.  Montenegro has also opened doors to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and hosts the highest number of them per capita in Europe.  Advocating for the role and work of United Nations peacekeeping missions, he expressed support for increasing the presence of Montenegrin military forces therein.

MAHMOUD ABBAS, President of the State of Palestine, said that his people are still “struggling for freedom and independence”.  The Israeli occupation challenges over a thousand UN resolutions.  Despite this reality, and 30 years after the Oslo Accords, which Israel has totally discarded, the State of Palestine still maintains hope that the UN will be able to implement some of those resolutions, demanding an end to the occupation of its territory and the realization of a sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  “The Israeli racist right-wing Government continues its attacks on our people and, through its army and its racist terrorist settlers, continues to intimidate and kill our people, destroy homes and property, [and] steal our money and resources,” he said.  Meanwhile, the leaders and ministers of the Israeli Government go as far as to brag about their apartheid policies on the Palestinian people.

The occupying Government also continuously violates the City of Jerusalem and its people, assaulting Islamic and Christian sacred sites and violating the historical and legal status of the holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque, he continued.  The occupying Power is “feverishly digging tunnels” under and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, threatening its collapse, or the collapse of parts of it, “which will lead to an explosion with untold consequences”.  “We have repeatedly warned against transforming the political conflict into a religious conflict, for which Israel will bear full responsibility,” he stressed.  The international community must assume its responsibilities to preserve the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and its sacred places, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil in Hebron.

Israel must be held to account, but so must the United Kingdom and United States for their roles in the Balfour Declaration, he said, stressing that the Palestinian people deserve an apology, reparations and compensation.  He urged the UN and Member States to do everything they can to salvage the two-State solution and prevent the situation from deteriorating more seriously.  This could very well threaten the security and stability of the region and the entire world.  “I also call on the States that have not yet recognized the State of Palestine to declare their recognition and for the State of Palestine to be admitted to full membership in the United Nations,” he continued.  The UN must take deterrent measures against Israel until it fulfils its many obligations.  “We will continue our resistance to this brutal occupation until it is defeated from our land,” he pledged.

As long as the State of Palestine continues to suffer under the abhorrent Israeli occupation, it will continue to need financial assistance from the international community, he went on to say.  That includes providing necessary funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The State of Palestine has recently held local elections, elections for institutions, federations, unions and others. “All that remains for us to hold are democratic general elections, as conducted in 1996, 2005 and 2006,” he said. But the Israeli Government is obstructing this by its decision to prevent elections from being held in East Jerusalem.  Moreover, he urged the UN to designate 15 May as an international day to commemorate the Palestinian Nakba.  This would honour the lives of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were killed in massacres committed by “Zionist gangs” and those who were forcibly displaced from their homes.  Furthermore, he said he had a message to the Israelis:  “This hideous occupation against us will not last.”

CHARLES MICHEL, President of the European Council of the European Union, said “the United Nations was founded to protect us from our demons”, to elevate the global community towards peace, cooperation and solidarity.  Yet, the climate crisis is wreaking havoc, the global effort to combat poverty is weakening, and the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine is worsening food insecurity and causing an energy crisis. He advocated for a multipolar world, which cooperates and progresses towards more democracy and more respect for human rights.  However, with confidence eroding and tensions increasing, a dangerous bipolar confrontation threatens the world.  An example of this is the frantic race for nuclear weapons in the past century or artificial intelligence which — especially in the military domain — is becoming the terrain of geopolitical competition.

Recalling the words of former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld that “the United Nations was not created to take us to heaven, but to save us from hell,” he said the UN system is hampered by hostile forces.  In this regard, he highlighted the need to restore trust, solve the most urgent problems and fix the United Nations system, as well as to ensure respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights.  However, for 19 months, a permanent member of the Security Council, the Russian Federation, has been waging a war of conquest against a neighbouring country which has never threatened it.  The General Assembly has repeatedly condemned Moscow’s war against Ukraine which constitutes a violation of the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The European Union will tirelessly support Ukraine in exercising its right to self-defence, he emphasized.

However, he continued, the war against Ukraine has not made the other major challenges facing the world disappear.  The planet is boiling and the world is torn apart by poverty and injustice, he said, adding:  “There will be no miracle if we do not decide to mobilize the massive financing that is necessary.”  The international community has collectively committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C. However, if it sticks to the plans announced to date, the warming of our planet will reach 2.5°C by the end of the century.  The European Union has increased its targets for the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, he pointed out, calling for the tripling of renewable objectives and the doubling of energy efficiency objectives by 2030.  Moreover, it is in the interest of all developed countries to strengthen the capacities of developing countries to move towards carbon neutrality.

With natural hazards coming one after another, prevention is key and trade is a powerful tool to fight climate change and ensure prosperity, he said.  The economic situation of vulnerable economies has been greatly affected by the COVID‑19 crisis and the war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Calling for a fairer and more robust global financial system, he said:  “It is not about begging, it is about justice.”  Still today, the G7 have almost absolute decision-making power, he observed, noting that the European Union is prepared to better share this decision-making power with regions that have no voice.  Underrepresented countries are deprived of financing which impedes their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and increases the possibility of a debt crisis.  Against this backdrop, he stressed the need to better mobilize public capital and consolidate financial flows.  He also called for United Nations reform on voting rights, representation and the role played by multilateral organizations, voicing support for the initiative to limit veto rights in the case of mass atrocities.

RUSS KUN, President of Nauru, noted that for his country, the smallest Member State, United Nations ideals have an important resonance. “Will only the strong survive, or will we work to ensure that no one is left behind?” he asked.  In his region, there are too many “studies upon studies” without enough support for critical on the ground projects.  “It’s a small island for goodness sakes — it’s like we’re trying to launch a rocket to the sun,” he stated.  Shifting Nauru and others back on track to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require a more nuanced system of categorization.  Based on existing measurements for ODA — gross national income and GDP — Nauru is eligible for neither grants nor loans; however, those measurements do not capture the country’s vulnerabilities.  He called for adoption of the multidimensional vulnerability index to ensure that Nauru is measured as it truly is — a struggling, small island developing State in great need of significant financial aid. 

Looking to another pathway to accelerate action on the 2030 Agenda, he cited recognition and incorporation of the special circumstances of the upcoming small island developing State (SIDS) conference in May 2024 in Antigua and Barbuda.  “If we are to make good on the promises for which the United Nations stands for, the next SIDS conference must deliver the transformation needed to ensure that SIDS are more resilient to external shocks,” he stressed.  However, any progress made is at risk if the international community does not address the threat of climate change.  The adverse impacts are no longer a “future” problem.  It is essential that the global community accelerate its efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change and keep a 1.5ºC limit to temperature rise within reach.  He further expressed disappointment that the goal of $100 billion a year in climate finance has not been reached and that the distribution of funds allocated has not been equitable.

On energy transition, he noted that deep seabed minerals are a central solution, with polymetallic nodules providing the alternative for big emitters to make a just energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards much cleaner and renewable energy technologies.  In this regard, he called on members of the International Seabed Authority to fulfil its obligation and finalize the exploitation regulations that ensure collection of seafloor minerals are conducted with utmost responsibility, and respect for marine ecosystems while providing benefits for all humankind. As a “large ocean State”, Nauru welcomed the adoption of the BBNJ Treaty, reiterating the critical importance of ensuring sustainable fisheries.  This includes ensuring that overfishing is eliminated, fair prices are paid to small islands for fish taken from their waters, and “that we eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,” he stressed. 

Citing measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a stringent “capture and contain” strategy — which saw all visitors to Nauru required to undergo testing and quarantine at the border — he nonetheless stressed that the country needs support and technical expertise to develop innovative solutions to address viral risks.  Thanking “our friends from Cuba” for their help, he called for an end to the embargo imposed by the United States.  He further acknowledged “the Republic of China (Taiwan) for their help and support”, and for recognition of their right to participate and engage within “this global forum”.  Emphasizing that the Security Council and the international financial architecture must be reformed because they are “just not working anymore”, he affirmed that “in Nauru’s case like other small island developing States, we become victims within the global architecture and compromise our freedom and voice as a sovereign State.”

UMARO SISSOCO EMBALÓ, President of Guinea-Bissau, said that the best response to the challenges confronting the international community includes strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation. “Multilateralism is an indispensable instrument and a moral imperative,” he emphasized, if such community wishes to build well—being for all.  He underlined the need for coordinated action towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063; ensuring development financing; and protecting the planet.  To this end, States must comply with both the Paris Agreement on climate change and those accords reached during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference — including the loss and damage fund for vulnerable countries such as Guinea-Bissau.  Further, required changes must be made to the international peace-and-security architecture and to the global financial system to enable them to respond to the current international scenario.

Security Council reform, he went on to say, must consider the African Union’s position and ensure realistic and fair representation consistent with Africa’s “increasingly preponderant” role in building and maintaining balance in the world.  Turning to his own country, he spotlighted the Government’s focus on dialogue, peacebuilding, political stability and socioeconomic development — in Guinea-Bissau, the West Africa subregion and beyond.  He expressed concern, however, over the recurrence of coups d’état and “steps back in democracy and the rule of law in some countries in our subregion”, which flagrantly violate peoples’ freedom of choice as expressed through ballot boxes.

He then pointed out that, despite the harmful effects of the prolonged embargo imposed on the people of Cuba, that country has always supported — and continues to support — the countries of Africa.  Reiterating an appeal for an end to this unjust, irrational measure, he said that it is “an obstacle to the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Cuban people”.  The same is true for those in Venezuela, he emphasized, “whom we must also not forget and to whom we must show our solidarity”.  Turning to African Governments’ prioritization of the struggle against malaria, he reported that — as a result of these efforts — more than 1.5 billion cases of malaria have been avoided and 10.5 million lives have been saved in Africa since 2000.  He added that, if the world wishes to end malaria epidemics and achieve universal health coverage by 2030, “we must act now”.

Noting that his country is celebrating 50 years of independence, he recalled the United Nations historic visit to liberated regions, which confirmed “the existence of effective political, administrative and military control”.  Further, he said that Guinea-Bissau’s people, on this occasion, will strengthen their “determination and energy to consolidate national unity and mobilize even more” to build peace and progress in their nation.  He also reaffirmed the commitment of his country and its people to continue working with the United Nations and to cooperate with all friendly Governments and peoples towards world peace, global development and a protected planet.

BAJRAM BEGAJ, President of Albania, said that that the Assembly serves as a unique platform for global cooperation and hope for a better world, and that rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity is the only way the international community can face today’s common and global challenges which do not only affect present, but future generations.  Stating that since 1955, when Albania joined the United Nations, it has grown from being an isolated country to a proud member of NATO and has facilitated accession negotiations with the European Union.  He also spotlighted the conclusion of Albania’s first term as non-permanent member of the Security Council, and its productive chairing of the Council for the second time this month.  “As part of the Western Balkans, Albania continues to make unwavering contributions to peace and stability in this region,” he said, stressing that it adheres to a policy of friendship and good neighbourly relations within the region.

He expressed deep concern about the “crises that reoccur from time to time regarding the relations among its neighbours”.  Together with Kosovo, the country is committed to peace in the region and hopes to be recognized for contributions and “not let our endeavours be shut down by opposing narratives”, he said.  He restated support for “the difficult yet ongoing dialogue” between Kosovo and Serbia, facilitated by the European Union with the support of the United States, affirming Albania’s dedication to Kosovo’s integrity and prosperity.  Stating that Kosovo still awaits recognition of its independence by many countries, and expressing hopes that countries grant Kosovo the recognition it deserves, he stressed “Kosovo has demonstrated that pain need not bring hostility.”  Though young and marred by wars and dominations it did not choose, Albania has learnt lessons from them, and because of its history, places great importance on international law where nations are respected.  Hence Albania unequivocally condemns the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and “we will continue to do so”.

He recognized that sustainable development serves as an integral component of achieving international peace and security, stating that the Russian Federation’s unprovoked aggression against its neighbour has affected sustainable development progress for the entire world, and “diverted attention and resources away from addressing shared challenges”.  He welcomed the Sustainable Development Goals Summit initiated by the Secretary-General and stated his country’s commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda as “the success of the SDGs lies in our collective efforts to address challenges that hinder sustainable development”.  He acknowledged the imperative for reforms and said his country stands ready to cooperate with the international community to enable developing countries to actively participate and benefit from the global economy.  He further expressed commitment to reducing poverty by aligning his national budget with the SDGs, mainstreaming gender equality, revitalizing public sector capacities, and strengthening data and monitoring systems, in line with his country’s nationally determined contributions.

He stated Albania’s position on multilateralism, saying that critical challenges show that universal reason is the only way out as “no one can have lasting peace until everyone has it”.  Being a candidate for the Human Rights Council next month, he promised that, if elected, his country will champion human, children and minority rights, as well as work with other countries to promote and defend human rights and freedoms.  He also called for Security Council reforms to enable it to intervene in an intelligent and timely manner on issues for which it was created.

ABDEL-FATTAH AL-BURHAN ABDELRAHMAN AL-BURHAN, President of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan, said that since 15 April the Sudanese people have faced a destructive war brought about by the Rapid Support Forces, which have established alliances with internal and international forces and brought in mercenaries from other parts of the globe. They have killed, looted, raped, robbed and seized citizens’ homes and properties, and destroyed infrastructure and Government buildings.  “They intend to obliterate the history of the Sudanese people,” he said, noting their attacks on museums and court registers and the looting of banks and corporations. They have also released prisoners, including people wanted as terrorists.  These rebel groups have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, including sexual violence.

 He called on the international community to designate these groups and their allies as terrorist groups to protect the Sudanese people and others.  “They have killed thousands and displaced millions,” he said.  He said the Government has responded to all initiatives for peace extended by others, such as the Jeddah meeting organized by the United States and Saudi Arabia, Türkiye and South Sudan.  Yet the rebels have refused all initiatives and continue to commit genocide.

Some people say this is an internal feud, yet it extends to all areas of the country and creates a threat to regional and international security, he said, adding:  “It is like a spark of war that will spill over to other regions.”  He thanked the Secretary-General and the United Nations and its agencies for their support and humanitarian aid.  The Government has opened ports and airports and allowed convoys to bring assistance to people in need.  He called on all agencies to fill the gaps and meet the Sudanese people’s needs for food, medicine and shelter.  This is a war launched by the rebel commander Mohamed Dagalo, he stressed.

He stressed he is committed to a transfer of power to the Sudanese people through a peaceful and legitimate process.  A period of transition can be followed by general elections.  He expressed full commitment to the Juba Peace Agreement signed in 2020.  He also stated his commitment to support women, children and vulnerable segments of society, and to the Sustainable Development Goals, pointing out that the freeze on international assistance has directly impacted the country’s ability to achieve the Global Goals.  He again appealed to donors to address the humanitarian situation in Sudan.  He also reiterated his demands that the Rapid Support Forces and their allied militias be designated as terrorist groups.  This, he stressed, is needed to firmly address their sponsors, who have supported killing, burning, raping, torture and the transfer of arms and drugs into the region.  He reiterated that legitimate State forces would not allow the violation of State sovereignty at any cost.  He called on regional organizations to work in the interests of the African people, stressing that he would not allow some external parties to impose solutions to Sudanese problems according to their own interests.

HAN ZHENG, Vice-President of China, called on the international community to “follow the direction of a multipolar world” and to “make global governance more just and equitable”.  He emphasized that there is only one China in the world represented by the government of the People’s Republic of China, as the sole legal government for the whole of China.  “Taiwan has been an inalienable part of China’s territory since ancient times,” he stressed.  No one and no force should ever underestimate the firm resolve, strong will and power of the Chinese people to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity. “Realizing China’s complete reunification is a shared aspiration,” and his Government will “continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and utmost effort”.  More broadly, “China is firm in supporting the international system with the UN at its core,” he reiterated, and opposes hegemony, power politics, unilateralism, and a cold war mentality.  He stressed that China “will never practice hegemony and expand,” and that “independence is the defining feature of China’s diplomacy”.

Calling for the maintenance of security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, he urged that nuclear war “must not be fought” and nuclear weapons “must not be used”.  He noted China as the only permanent member of the Security Council that has pledged no first use of nuclear weapons, and he recognized the “great importance” of conventional arms control and China’s forthcoming ratification of the United Nations Firearms Protocol.  Regarding Ukraine, he stated that ceasing hostilities and resuming peace talks are the only way to settle the crisis, with China ready to continue playing a constructive role to attain peace.  In the Middle East, he underscored that China will continue supporting the just Palestinian cause of restoring lawful national rights, which is at the core of the Middle East issue.  The fundamental way out lies in a two-State solution.  In Latin America, “China firmly supports the Cuban people in their just struggle” to defend their sovereignty and oppose external interference and blockade.

He reiterated that development should be at the centre of the international agenda, with “win-win outcomes” that should reach every country and individual in a fairer way.  Marking the tenth anniversary of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, he cited over 3,000 cooperation projects and 16,000 freight services on the China-Europe Railway Express last year as examples of the initiative’s vitality.  Furthermore, China will remain a developing country and “natural member of the Global South,” firm in upholding their legitimate rights and interests.  Regarding human rights, he reiterated China’s opposition to politicization and double standards, particularly the use of human rights and democracy as a political tool to interfere in other countries.  He reaffirmed that diversity of civilizations is an invaluable asset for human development, and that different countries should prosper together by respecting each other and pursuing common ground while setting aside differences.

Regarding climate change, he reiterated the need to fully implement the Paris Agreement, to stop building any new coal-fired power projects abroad, and to vigorously support developing countries to build more green energy projects.  He called on developed countries to do more to reduce emissions and provide developing countries with financing, technology, and capacity-building support. China will continue to prioritize ecological conservation and the advancement of green and low-carbon development.  Through Chinese modernization and rejuvenation, the country seeks to achieve harmony between humanity and nature while promoting ethical material advancement.

TIEMOKO MEYLIET KONE, Vice-President of Côte D’Ivoire, representing the country’s President, Alassane Ouattara, noted that current global uncertainty calls for clear-eyed solidarity.  It is time for the international community to ensure that the parties to the conflict in Ukraine commit to a path toward a political settlement of the war.  Beyond the risk of escalation of violence and human rights abuses, this conflict fuels global inflation, causes food shortages and threatens to plunge millions of people into famine.  He further called on the international community to engage alongside Africa in the fight against armed terrorist groups, which are destabilizing entire sections of the continent, from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa.  The fight against terrorism is costly for African countries — particularly for Côte d’Ivoire, which hosts thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries in crisis.  He invited the UN and ECOWAS to examine financing for the anti-terrorism priority action plan, adopted in 2019 yet delayed.

Turning to climate change, he stressed that developing States like Côte d’Ivoire contribute minimally to its effects but pay the heaviest price.  The country is working to improve the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity, and encourage its people to develop civic awareness.  He urged partners to continue their support for implementation of the Abidjan Legacy Programme, a hallmark initiative for land restoration, preservation of biodiversity, and responsible agriculture for current and future generations.   Calling on bilateral and multilateral partners to meet their financial commitments under the Paris Agreement, and ensure entry into force of the Loss and Damage Fund, he welcomed the success of the African Climate Summit — and the exceptional mobilization of Africa to make its voice heard at the next 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai.  He emphasized that the violent climatic episodes observed in recent years — the price of climate inaction — erase progress in achieving the SDGs.

Recalling that the COVID‑19 pandemic has revealed the fragility of health systems and slowed down the pace of economic growth in Africa, he urged the international community to draw lessons from the threat that can once again “imperil then entire world”.  To that end, his country has a regime called Universal Health Coverage, which has come into force since October 2019.  In governance, Côte d’Ivoire is shoring up its democratic progress, demonstrated by the smooth operation of recent municipal, regional and senatorial elections organized on 2 and 16 September respectively.  These elections witnessed the participation of all major political groups in the country and took place in a transparent, peaceful climate.  The solidity of the Ivorian economy has allowed the country to considerably reduce the poverty rate, now at 36.5 per cent compared to 56 per cent in 2011, and expected to fall to 20 per cent by 2030.

He further noted that the Government adopted an ambitious social programme, the PS-Gouv, which makes it possible to fight against social vulnerabilities.  Along with successive national development plans, it has allowed the country to improve the state of the SDGs.  However, this social progress is seriously hampered by the massive influx of refugees from neighbouring countries hit by terrorism.  The international community has drawn a universal conclusion, he said. States are far from being able to achieve the SDGs by 2030.  He therefore stressed the urgency of placing all action within the framework of multilateralism — which is ideal for tackling the global challenges of the moment — and reaffirmed the need to reform global governance at all levels and rediscover the meaning of solidarity between nations.

JESSICA ALUPO, Vice-President of Uganda, said that her country remains committed to Security Council reform, both to make the organ more representative and to “address the historical injustices committed against the people of Africa”, as enshrined in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration. She also urged the international community to reflect on the United Nations’ original purposes and to work to resolve global insecurity through cooperation, diplomacy and peaceful means. For its part, Uganda continues to work with partners to eliminate terrorism, mistrust and other conditions that undermine development.  Further, Kampala remains actively involved in regional initiatives, particularly those of the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.  “Our involvement is based on the fundamental values of multilateralism,” she said.

She went on to report that Uganda has received many refugees from within the region.  The Government is committed to shouldering its responsibility in addressing the plight of refugees as a “pioneer” of the progressive refugee policy outlined in the comprehensive refugee response framework, she said, calling on Member States and stakeholders to commit to initiatives that advance the sharing of burdens and responsibilities.  She also pointed out that her country’s approach to human rights is to respect other people’s values, stating that “we expect others to respect our values, which are deep-rooted in our culture”.  As such, human-rights considerations — especially in the face of varying cultural values — should not become the moderating factor in long-term development partnerships.  On gender equality, she noted that almost 35 per cent of parliamentary and executive seats are held by women and that Uganda has embarked on poverty-alleviation programmes targeting the participation of women and youth in the economy.

Stressing that climate change continues to undermine all nations’ ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, she expressed concern that countries contributing little to global greenhouse gas emissions continue to be disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.  Uganda, for its part, works to increase access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy to enhance production and value-addition; to increase forest and wetland cover; and to operationalize climate-smart agriculture. For their part, she called on developed countries to fulfil their commitment, in line with the Paris Agreement, to provide $100 billion — annually, through 2025 — to developing countries to assist with mitigation and adaptation.  Also expressing concern over increasing biodiversity loss, she detailed national efforts in response, including restoring degraded wetlands and prosecuting those involved in illegal activities that undermine the preservation of flora and fauna.

She also recalled that the COVID‑19 pandemic presented a multitude of challenges to global health systems and essential health services, which reversed hard-fought health gains and inflicted severe economic hardships — “especially in developing countries like Uganda”.  Spotlighting widespread job loss, disrupted supply chains, decreased foreign investment and increased poverty, she underscored that these economic setbacks further exacerbate existing challenges to meeting the 2030 Agenda. However, despite this, Uganda has implemented effective disease-control measures, demonstrated by its swift, successful response to the Ebola outbreak.  Adding that South-South cooperation remains a strong element of international cooperation, she said that her country will continue supporting such cooperation and that it looks forward to welcoming the leaders of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China for the Third South Summit in Kampala in January 2024.

MOHAMMED JALLOW, Vice-President of Gambia, said the current problems the world faces call into question the readiness and suitability of multilateral organizations in addressing them, stating that the “priorities of our times urgently warrant our collective attention and action.”  He therefore called for reform of the multilateral system, adding that a renewed faith in both the United Nations Charter and inclusive multilateralism is the pathway towards attaining this.  Aligning with the session’s theme on rebuilding trust and reigniting solidarity, he also called for better cooperation and greater partnerships to provide solutions to global problems.  He pointed out that with seven years remaining to the end of the Decade for Action, “global attainment of the SDGs is not very positive.  It is a story of unfulfilled commitments, weak international cooperation, and lack of genuine global solidarity.”  He therefore called on the international community to redouble efforts towards attainment of the Goals.

Spotlighting the issue of debt relief for least developing countries, he called for a reform of the international financial institutions, particularly in areas of development finance and debt, to enable them to have “greater participation and a stronger voice in decision-making.”  Against this backdrop, he welcomed the recent accession, on a permanent basis, of the African Union to the Group of 20 (G20), a development, which “will immensely amplify Africa’s voice and participation in global geopolitical and development issues that concern the wellbeing of its people.”  He further noted the negative implications of climate change on Africa, stating that the continent is paying a very heavy price for global warming while being the least contributor to climate change.  He therefore called for an urgent action in rebuilding trust and collective response to the climate crises.

On global peace and security, he highlighted Africa’s challenges with terrorism, armed conflicts and the illegitimate overthrow of Governments as well as the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, a situation which “should serve as a wake-up call for all Member States.”  It also reveals the inadequacy of the institutions, mechanisms and processes of conflict resolution and management, necessitating improvements in same.  He highlighted his country’s commitment to human rights, rule of law, democratic governance, peace and security.

Expressing his nation’s disapproval of the “cruel and degrading treatment meted out to migrants at certain borders in Africa and beyond,” he called on the United Nations to investigate crimes committed against migrants with the objective of protecting them and their families.  He also called for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a two-State solution along the 1967 borders with two contiguous States living side by side in peace and harmony, with east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. For Cuba, he called on the United States to lift the embargo that has endured for too long.  The Gambia also strongly endorses the One-China Policy, while aligning with Africa’s position on reform of the Security Council to regain the world’s trust, he said.

TEODORO NGUEMA OBIANG MANGUE, Vice-President in Charge of National Defence and Security of Equatorial Guinea, speaking on behalf of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, said the theme of this Assembly session is quite appropriate as it is crucial for the global community to rebuild trust and move toward peace and solidarity to achieve the Global Goals and build progress for everyone.  This theme is at the heart of resolving all the issues facing the world, including increased conflicts, greater numbers of armed groups, climate change and the food crisis, which could lead to famine in many countries.  “We are at a decisive and crucial crossroads and leaders must find solutions that impact everyone on the planet,” he added.  At the same time, he denounced the interference by some countries in Equatorial Guinea’s affairs, as well as the exploitation its resources, which leads to conflict and instability.

He voiced his concern with the serious conditions facing the Sahel and other regions of Africa, which has a negative impact on the continent’s development.  Africa needs financing for development and these financing commitments must be implemented so the Global Goals can be reached and “not leave anyone behind,” he added.  Expressing his extreme alarm about the chronic crisis in Haiti, which is besieged by gangs and criminals, he called on the United Nations to hold a special meeting on the Haitian crisis.  This meeting could carry out an in-depth analysis and find a lasting solution, he proposed.

He insisted on reform of the United Nations system, including of the Security Council, which is not implementing international law. Africa still experiences an historic injustice as no permanent member from an African country sits on the Council, even though most issues before the Council impact the continent.  He rejected the use of unilateral coercive measures that undermine the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.

He urged States to stop promoting these measures, which undermine the development of affected countries.  He also called for an immediate lifting of the commercial, economic and financial embargo that has been imposed on Cuba for several decades. “This is a country that deserves an opportunity,” he said.  The Government of Equatorial Guinea has designed a strategic plan for economic diversity through 2035 and is open to partnerships as it carries out this plan. He extended an invitation to the business community of all friendly countries to invest.  As Member States live in a globalized world, he said he hoped for a frank and inclusive dialogue to resolve current conflicts and differences. “More importance should be given to international cooperation and dialogue,” he added, stressing the Government’s unwavering aim to tackle climate change, peace and development issues.

PHILIP ISDOR MPANGO, Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, stressed that shifting geopolitical tectonic plates and the creation of new blocs are seeking to replace the obviously dysfunctional world order.  The massive production of weapons and skyrocketing military spending on armed conflicts is compromising promises to the most vulnerable.  Emphasizing that wars must be avoided at all costs because everyone loses, including non-warring parties, he affirmed that the United Republic of Tanzania will continue to contribute to peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts in Africa and elsewhere.  Noting the United Republic of Tanzania as the twelfth-largest contributor to United Nations peacekeeping missions out of 125 countries, he urged the international community to increase support to regional peace initiatives in Africa.  Moreover, those who fuel conflicts in Africa to profit from the arms trade or access blood mineral wealth should be tracked and condemned openly by the United Nations. The United Republic of Tanzania has also strengthened its capacity to combat cross-border terrorism, including by sharing information and working with neighbours and international partners.

Underscoring climate change as the world’s greatest threat, he urged all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen mitigation and adaptation measures.  Together, the world must create an enabling environment and facilitate investments to unlock resources and scale up implementation of climate commitments.  Climate change will continue to impact Africa and hamper its progress, which highlights the need for a fair and just clean energy transition for Africa.

Regarding the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Republic of Tanzania is determined to further improve domestic revenue efforts, while capitalizing on public-private partnerships.  His Government is prioritizing investments in the social service sectors, agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure, uplifting youth skills, and harnessing science and innovation.  However, the unfulfilled promises of finance and technology by the Global North and limited fiscal space in most African countries have contributed to disappointing progress towards the SDGs.  It is imperative, he stressed, that the Global North “walks the talk on its promises and listens to the voices of the Global South”.  Furthermore, the Global South “must re-engineer its domestic revenue mobilization effort” and end the haemorrhage of natural resource wealth and illicit capital outflows.

Additionally, warning that unilateral coercive measures have serious adverse effects on targeted economies and innocent lives, especially those of women and children, he called for the limitation of unjust sanctions that undermine sovereignty and prosperity.  Likewise, he reiterated opposition to injustice, wherever committed and by whomever, as well as solidarity with those denied their rights. He called for the end to occupation and the peaceful resolution of all territorial disputes, in accordance with principles in the United Nations Charter.

KEITH ROWLEY, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, offered the sober reflection that the world is in peril, asking:  “Is this the legacy that we would leave for future generations?”  His country faces challenges and threats including the proliferation and use of illegal firearms — worsened largely due to the accelerated commercial availability coupled with illegal trafficking from countries of manufacture into the almost defenceless territories of the Caribbean.  In a population of 1.4 million people, he noted his country experienced over 600 murders last year, 90 per cent of which involved handguns and increasingly, assault weapons, with over 400 violent firearms-driven killings already this year.  His country will continue to work with regional and international partners, especially the United States, to urgently stem illegal firearms, most of which are produced in that country — acknowledging the support of the United States in “confronting this metastasizing scourge.”

Expressing deep concern over developments in fellow Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country Haiti, he applauded the decision of Kenya to offer to help lead a multinational unit and the decision of Bahamas and Jamaica to contribute personnel.  He urged the international community to collaborate with Haiti towards a credible solution, stressing that the country, like any other, deserves peace, prosperity and progress — and requires the intervention of the United Nations now. Turning to the spillover of the conflict in Ukraine, he voiced disappointment that the Black Sea Grain Initiative has been terminated, noting with great anxiety that global food prices during the month of July rose for the first time in months.  This situation is of priority concern for CARICOM as food security remains a crucial issue for the region.

He affirmed that the persistent underdevelopment of Caribbean nations and so many others is directly attributed to the unpaid debt for centuries of enslavement and economic exploitation of African people by Europeans.  “The descendants of these people populate the Caribbean islands where they struggle manfully against the residual rigours of these historic crimes,” even as they face the constant threat of exclusion from the world’s mainstream financial systems, he stressed.  Calling for decisive action to ensure reparatory justice for the untold suffering of millions of people in the developing world, he would welcome Africa’s support in this quest for justice.  Turning to the existential threat of climate change, be emphasized that it does not recognize geographical boundaries.  “The people of small island developing States, those who bear the least culpability for the climate crisis are the ones who continue to be most disproportionately affected,” he affirmed.

Most disconcertingly, he noted with alarm the recent dire warning by scientists that without ambitious climate action, the planet will exceed the critical 1.5ºC threshold.  However, recent developments have shown that over ambitious net-zero targets ought not to be forced upon small island nations.  He urged developed countries to increase their support for the second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund; if these commitments were honoured in full, they would go a long way towards rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity.  He further noted that the global economic crisis has landed heavily on the developing world, with small island developing States facing the harshest impacts of the socioeconomic fallout.  He called on the international community to reach a transformative global blueprint that will drive the sustainable development ambitions towards long-term resilient prosperity.  Sounding a note of optimism, he cited the popular aphorism as inspiration”: “Coming together is the beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, Prime Minister of Greece, observing that words are never quite matched by actions, and achievements never quite meet expectations, said:  “It is as if the United Nations is not quite united enough.”  Underscoring the need to tackle climate change and manage migration, he said the international community’s current approach to both issues “speaks to a failure to match rhetoric with policy”.  The summer of 2023 was the hottest on record, and States continue to talk — rather than act — on tackling the main drivers of regular migration or implementing existing transnational agreements. Recalling his address in September 2022 that the devastating effects of climate change would soon become the norm, he stressed that — 12 months later — “that new norm has unfortunately arrived”.  Fires, heat waves and landslides have gripped Southern Europe, Africa and the Mediterranean. For Greece, this is nowhere more apparent than across Evros, where the largest blaze ever recorded in the European Union burnt continuously for two weeks, leaving an area larger than New York razed to ashes.

While stating that “the climate crisis is not an alibi for everything”, he underscored that the science is clear — high temperatures resulting from global warming are driving these threats.  “This is the new reality of climate change,” he observed.  Detailing national efforts in response — such as pursuing green technology and investing heavily in renewable energy — he emphasized that, while the world acts decisively on long-term mitigation, the international community is “collectively guilty in not placing enough emphasis on short-term adaptation”.  He therefore called for the creation of a global forum that can deliver access to new financing to drive such adaptation “before it is too late”. Additionally, he underlined the need to share technology in advanced forecasting and modelling to accurately predict “where the floods are coming from and where the fires are going”. 

He also pointed out that Greece is at the forefront of the global migration crisis, providing shelter and protection to hundreds of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers.  “Greece will always be an open and welcoming country to those fleeing persecution and violence,” he stressed, “as well as to economic migrants who seek a new future by exercising legal pathways”.  While Greece is home to many job opportunities, it must fill such vacancies on its own terms — not those set by criminal gangs.  The international community, therefore, must work together to address the root causes of migration, counter human trafficking and foster legal pathways for mobility.  This includes challenging the negative political socioeconomic and climate conditions in countries of origin, he said, observing:  “No one wants to leave their home and risk finding work thousands of miles away.”

Turning to his country’s relationship with Türkiye, he said that — while the differences over the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean are extremely important — they can be resolved in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  The two countries have made good progress in terms of normalizing relations, and it is in the mutual interest of both to continue down that path.  On Cyprus, he underscored that the core issue remains the “illegal invasion and occupation” in violation of the Charter of the United Nations.  This issue remains a priority for the Government, and he stressed Greece will continue to support UN-led efforts to facilitate resumed negotiations on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions.

PUSHPA KAMAL DAHAL ‘PRACHANDA’, Prime Minister of Nepal, said there is no better time to rebuild trust and reignite global solidarity as “trust and cooperation are in short supply and crisis of confidence reign the world,” noting that maintenance of world peace and security — the chief objective of the United Nations Charter — has come under serious pressure as a result of a “resurgence of geopolitical competition, power polarization and economic nationalism”.  He therefore spelt the need to change the narrative and pursue common goals of peace and prosperity.  Highlighting how his country has fared in the past 15 years, following a transformation from armed conflict to an inclusive and nationally owned peace process, he listed the 2015 promulgation of a democratic constitution, holding of two successive cycles of multi-tier elections, and the co-signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord and an Amendment Bill on transitional justice as efforts towards peace and stability.  He therefore appealed to the international community to support its journey. 

Nepal will be graduating from the least developed country status by 2026, he announced, adding that it is committed to a smooth, sustainable and irreversible transition, the process of which is in the final stage.  While the Sustainable Development Goals are at the centre of its development vision and priorities, global challenges like the climate crises, COVID-19 and geopolitical competitions have posed a challenge to progress in attainment of the Global Goals.  He therefore called for “an enhanced level of international support in the form of development assistance, foreign direct investment, export promotion, SDR allocation, technology transfer and technical support”.  He further pledged, as current Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries, to actively collaborate with fellow members in safeguarding their collective interest, stressing the need to mainstream the Doha Programme of Action into all important UN processes and development system and the development cooperation framework of partners.

On climate change, he lamented the crisis proportion it has assumed, especially for vulnerable mountainous countries like Nepal, saying “our inaction or little action will surely invite disastrous consequences for humanity”.  He stated his country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, adding that it has set for itself an ambitious target of reaching net zero by 2045.  He also pointed out that “easy access to climate finance will be the key to low carbon and climate resilient development pathways”, spotlighting the irony that his country — with 45 per cent of its territory forests and 15 per cent high mountains, also releasing among the least greenhouse gas emissions in the world — unfairly suffers from the climate crisis.

While highlighting the rise of conflicts between nations, he expressed Nepal’s opposition to the use or threat to use force against the territorial integrity and political independence of any country, stating that the people of Libya, Syria and Yemen continue to bear the brunt of protracted crises and “their suffering must end”.  He reiterated support for the two-State solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in consonance with relevant United Nations resolutions.  He further raised concerns on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, stockpiling of arms, and a continual increase in military expenditures, calling for full disarmament.  He spotlighted the need for multilateral regulations on artificial intelligence and restated his Government’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.  Pointing out that Nepal is the UN’s second-largest troop contributor, he reiterated calls for a “fair share of leadership positions at the headquarters and in the field to the troop- and police-contributing countries”.  He concluded by calling for a reform of the Security Council as well as a revitalization of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.

SHEIKH AHMAD NAWAF AL-AHMAD AL-SABAH, Prime Minister of Kuwait, recognized the Sectary-General’s efforts and actions to realize the Organization’s mission, based on the Charter, to maintain peace and security.  Multilateralism is facing many obstacles today, which tests the international community’s ability to survive and move forward.  These issues include conflicts between States, terrorism, escalating scourges that exacerbate extreme poverty, climate change and food insecurity.  There are also new and emerging risks in the cybersphere.  International cooperation must be sought.  The Secretary-General’s plan, Our Common Agenda, is very important as it diagnoses the situation facing the international community and the challenges that require joint effort at the international, national and regional levels.

For 20 years, Kuwait has believed in being a good neighbour and always worked to help Iraq return to its rightful place in the international community and realize the hopes of its people.  He was surprised by the recent ruling by the Iraqi Supreme Federal Court, regarding navigation in the Khor Abdullah waterway between the two States, which invalidated the 2013 agreement governing maritime navigation in the waterway.  This agreement was ratified and submitted to the United Nations in 2013.  This ruling contains several historic contradictions and will have consequences on maritime security and navigation in the region.  Kuwait believes the agreement is important and can help prevent chaos and provide protection from trafficking in arms and narcotics, which are sources of revenue for terrorist groups.  He called on the Iraqi Government to urgently take tangible measures to remedy the ruling’s consequences and protect neighbourly relations.  Kuwait reserves its right to undertake measures to defend its legal rights and the norms of international law.

Turning to regional issues, he noted the suffering of the Palestinian people for the past 75 years and their endurance under the Israeli occupation.  He supported the creation of an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital.  Noting the serious conflict in Sudan, he urged all parties to immediately end hostilities and return to dialogue and peace and demonstrate respect for territorial integrity.  He supported the approach of the United States and Saudi Arabia presented at the Jeddah meeting.  Regarding Yemen, he supported a peaceful resolution to the country’s difficulties and respect for resolution 2216 (2015).  He appealed to Iran to rebuild trust and build a dialogue based on non-interference in external affairs and affirm maritime safety.

Noting the unprovoked attacks that Muslims still face, he supported an international dialogue based on a culture of peace, including international efforts to end hate speech.  He noted the “New Kuwait” 2035 development plan, which plans to turn his State into a financial and international hub, and the country’s great strides in the environmental area as it diversifies the country’s energy sources.  It is expanding use of renewables forms of energy and aims to ensure carbon neutrality by 2050 in the oil sector.  He expects that the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference will be successful and that countries will implement their Paris Agreement commitments.  He urged Member States to build equitable solutions based on international humanitarian standards and international law without any selectivity and double standards.  He reaffirmed Kuwait’s commitment to multilateralism and goals of the Charter so the United Nations can carry out its mission of maintaining peace and international security.

ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, reiterated his Government’s deep investment in multilateralism, as part of the country’s DNA.  “Militarily neutral, export-oriented, and at the heart of the European continent,” Austria is a “proud home” of one of the United Nations Headquarters and over 50 international organizations.  “The rules-based international order is our only protective shield against a world where might makes right, where unilateralism and the use of force rule,”  he said. Since 1960, Austrian Blue Helmets have been supporting peacekeeping to bring stability to the region.  As a country that shrank after the First World War from an empire with over 50 million people to a State of less than 10 million, with a fraction of its former territory, Austria learned from its history. Societies based on freedom, pluralism, and individual rights are “the best guarantee for our citizens’ security and prosperity.”

At the same time, the current international order is not inclusive enough, and the Security Council needs to offer a seat to more countries left out, including from Africa.  Austria will continue pushing for reform, he emphasized, including through its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in 2026.  The multilateral system has not been proactive or effective enough, including in Afghanistan, the Sahel, and Ukraine — where the Russian Federation has invaded its sovereign neighbour “in a fit of neo-imperialist aggression.”  Reflecting its deep investment in cooperation and partnerships, Austria has increased outreach to the Asia-Pacific region and engaged with African partners in the spirit of mutual respect and common interests. Rather than believing that problems can be solved by simply negating them, pulling up the drawbridge, or decoupling from reality, the international community must adapt, innovate, and recalibrate cooperation.  He cautioned against “polarizing populists who spread fake news and offer seemingly easy answers to complex questions,” from climate change and disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence to growing geopolitical multipolarity and economic dependencies.

Rather than “championing nihilism or moral reductionism,” he called for “real dialogue” and compromise that promotes principles and values without denying other points of view.  Austria will continue to champion “sensible and pragmatic multilateralism” that requires “endurance, strategic patience, and a healthy dose of realism.” There is “simply no better alternative” to tackle global challenges and safeguard prosperity and security. Reverting to moralizing, finger-pointing, or self-righteousness is not responsible statecraft.  “It will only strengthen the fringes of our societies, not the centre,” he warned.

MAHAMAT SALEH ANNADIF, Minister of State, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chadians Abroad and International Cooperation of Chad, stated that the peaceful dream for a world in which all flourish “is crumbling”. He noted that the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Chad has taken place in a context marked by decreased prices of raw materials on world markets, repeated attacks by Boko Haram, climate change, and intercommunal conflicts in nearby countries with direct effects on its people.  This situation is now exacerbated by the war raging in neighbouring Sudan.  As of today, Chad has accepted more than 400,000 new refugees, in addition to the 600,000 refugees already living in the country for several years.  All told, out of a total population of 17 million, almost 2 million people in Chad are refugees — a great burden.  He called for rapid, concerted global action to confront what may be the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. 

Since the shocking and tragic death of former Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, he affirmed that the country has begun a process of inclusive and transparent political transition process. The first milestone was the conclusion of the Doha agreement between the Government and various political-military movements in August 2022, allowing for the return of many exiles or Chadian refugees.  This political will to give the country a new start has resulted in the holding of an inclusive and sovereign national dialogue which brought together the vast majority of the nation’s political forces for 45 days.  The resulting National Union Government is hard at work holding a constitutional referendum which will determine the form of the State, with its adoption paving the way for the gradual restoration of constitutional order. He recalled that, led by the President of the Transition, bold administrative, judicial, security and military reforms have been carried out. 

Turning to the Sudan crisis, he reiterated the call for a lasting ceasefire, as there is no military solution to the conflict, requiring dialogue between “our Sudanese brothers”.  He recalled that on 19 September, UN Secretary-General António Guterres questioned the global governance symbolized by the Security Council and the Bretton Woods system in strong words, stating:  the choice is not reform or the status quo, it is reform or ever greater fragmentation.  In the face of the resurgence of current geopolitical rivalries — with the risk of a new cold war damaging to world peace while multilateralism is facing a serious crisis — he echoed the call for reform of the Council as reflected in the common African position, known as the Ezulwini Consensus, and the Sirte Declaration. 

ROBERT DUSSEY, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad of Togo, spotlighting a “world overcast by shadow”, urged those present to work to repair lost security and trust.  “O Africa, you are wounded and bruised,” he observed, detailing Africa’s many vulnerabilities:  lack of income; low levels of development; major health crises; climate change; disrupted global supply chains; a cyberspace invaded by criminals and disinformation; recurring armed conflict; and the spread of international terrorism.  On that point, he warned that Africa risks becoming a sanctuary for international terrorism and, consequently, the weakest link in the global security system.  For its part, Togo combats violent extremism by marrying security approaches and development.  Further, the Government works to achieve universal health coverage, food sovereignty, socioeconomic inclusion and economic stability, along with protecting marine and coastal ecosystems.  To this latter end, it aims to protect 90 per cent of its coastline by 2025.

He also detailed other climate measures, including initiatives to combat desertification by planting 1 billion trees by 2030 and to provide solar energy kits to vulnerable rural populations throughout Togo. He went on to underscore that terrorism and instability in Africa are problems of international security, and “must be treated as such by the United Nations”.  West Africa — where several States are in transition against a volatile security backdrop — must be supported with active solidarity, and he urged those present to invest more in peace than in war.  Quoting Immanuel Kant — “if those who make war could send their own children to the front, there would never be war” — he pointed out that Togo has never waged war on its neighbours, nor served as a rear base for one. “Peace is in the DNA of the people of Togo,” he emphasized, recalling that his country has hosted peace negotiations such as those relating to Chad in 1982, Sierra Leone and Liberia in 1991 and Côte d’Ivoire in 2000.

Turning to Sudan — affected by concerning armed conflict for several months — he noted that Togo hosted a consultative dialogue in July between political and military leaders in Darfur to contribute to a resolution. He urged the parties to choose dialogue and consultation to settle their differences in Sudan’s greater interest, adding that the conflict does not attract global attention “as much as it should”.  Calling for reform of the Security Council — which “can no longer remain a group of the victors of the Second World War and their allies” — he also underscored that Africa’s partners must change their attitude and approach to an Africa that has radically changed.  He stressed that, while Africa does not have the same “megaphone” as the world’s great Powers, “the voice of Africa counts — and must count — if the world wants to have Africa as a partner on major international issues”.  “We want to be your partners, not your subjects,” he added.

DOMINIQUE HASLER, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Education and Sport of Liechtenstein, spotlighted global challenges, stating that while there have never been more conflicts in the world since the United Nations founding, progress towards attaining the Global Goals are stagnating, with the number of displaced persons at peak levels, and children suffering in unprecedented proportions.  She called for collective efforts towards safeguarding the international order for future generations, stating that doing so presents Member States with “an opportunity to make the United Nations stronger, more equitable, more resilient.”  Recalling how the Organization has survived two devastating world wars, and expressing hopes that member countries “will not allow unlawful war-making to bring devastation, human suffering and instability to the peoples that we represent,” she enjoined leaders to introspect, asking “are we truly trying hard enough to put these promises into action?”

On the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine, which she described as “the most egregious, blatant and manifest violation of the prohibition of the illegal use of force since the creation of the United Nations,” she said that beyond calling for a complete withdrawal of all Russian troops from the embattled nation and defining parameters for a just peace, the international community must “ensure criminal accountability for this act of aggression for the individuals who have ordered it, in line with international law.”  This is a task that belongs to the International Criminal Court, which itself must be given the competence by member countries to exercise full jurisdiction as quickly as possible.  She spotlighted the inability, most times, of the Security Council to take necessary action.  Next year’s Summit of the Future will be “an essential collective test for all of us,” she said.  “We must show our ability to find ways to ensure collective action when the Security Council fails in its task.”

Resonating with the Secretary-General’s description of the climate fight being “the fight of our lives”, she highlighted the devastating effects of climate change, expressing hopes of significant progress in the Conference of Parties meeting in Abu Dhabi later this year.  She also restated her country’s support for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the question of climate change. Further, she expressed Liechtenstein’s commitment to the SDGs, highlighting that bills in the country’s Parliament are now evaluated against the Global Goals.  On gender equality, she said “we will not forget the countless women who suffer from violence and oppression worldwide.  We will continue calling out situations of systematic gender persecutions from Afghanistan to Iran.”

CATHERINE COLONNA, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, outlining the principles of the international community and the United Nations, stressed that what is happening in Ukraine concerns all Member States — for if those common principles can be transgressed there, they can be transgressed everywhere.  The Russian Federation’s war of aggression is also a blow to the most vulnerable countries, which called for a redoubled duty of solidarity from the international community and resulted in France’s support for the World Food Programme (WFP) and exports of Ukrainian grain.  She noted that in 2022, France became the fourth-largest donor country to those threatened by hunger, with a massive increase in food aid to almost €1 billion, benefitting 67 countries, including Nigeria and Sudan this week. France also joined efforts to replenish the International Fund for Agricultural Development, with the goal of raising $2 billion.

Turning to human rights, she emphasized the plight of women, particularly in Afghanistan, where they are repressed by a Taliban regime which has tragically placed a policy of segregation and violence at the heart of its political identity.  She further heralded the Blue Helmets, and the 116 humanitarian workers who were killed in 2022.  On climate, she cited the disasters produced by a lack of international community ambition:  fires, bad weather and floods have marked the year all over the world demanding action and change, which are urgent — but also possible.  She noted the proven method of the Montreal Protocol, which allowed humanity to resolve the problem of the ozone layer.  It is also crucial to bring into force the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement, which will make it possible to achieve the ambitious objectives of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and to adopt a legally binding agreement to eliminate plastic pollution.

Turning to international conflict, she noted that in Nagorno-Karabakh, the international community must ensure that a population subjected to nine months of a blockade, while recovering from a campaign of bombings and destruction, must have its rights and security finally guaranteed. The attacks on Armenian territory must end, she stressed.  In Africa, “we believe in African solutions to African problems” she said.  France offers support to regional organizations whenever they seek it:  in Niger, where her Government supports ECOWAS in its efforts to restore a constitutional order called into question by force; in Sudan, where a deadly war has been raging for more than five months; and in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In rebuilding the Middle East, France tirelessly supports dialogue and cooperation and, at the invitation of Iraq, will participate in the third so-called “Baghdad Conference” on 30 November — a unique format of dialogue between all the countries in the region.

DAN JØRGENSEN, Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy of Denmark, reiterated support for “all meaningful efforts to stop Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula for a just peace.  Denmark seeks full accountability for the Russian Federation’s unlawful war of aggression, he said, including responsibility for crimes under international law and reparations.  The international community must not allow one Member State’s irresponsible behaviour to derail and destroy collective efforts to find common solutions to shared problems.  Denmark stands firmly with Ukraine and its right to defend its territory, because “Russia’s blatant disrespect of the most fundamental principles of the UN Charter” is a tragedy.  Trust in multilateral cooperation depends on universal respect for its underpinning rules and on accountability for violations.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, he underscored that developing countries need a staggering $3.9 trillion by 2030. For more than 40 years, Denmark has met the United Nations target of providing at least 0.7 per cent of gross national income for development assistance.  However, he noted, “even if we all lived up to the 0.7 UN target,” this increase would only cover 10 per cent of the financing gap.  For its part, Denmark is increasing grant-based climate finance to its highest level ever this year, doubling its contribution to the Green Climate Fund next year, and tripling its contribution to climate finance in developing countries by 2030.  Moreover, the world needs to better leverage the enormous potential of international financial institutions, and development banks must raise trillions of dollars for climate action and the SDGs.  He also urged the world’s biggest emitters to reduce carbon emissions, phase out fossil fuels, and commit to renewable energy.  The world needs to scale up adaptation efforts and address loss and damages from climate change — especially for the poorest and most vulnerable who have suffered the worst despite having contributed the least.

At the United Nations, the Security Council needs to be more representative, transparent, and accountable, he said.  Such reforms include limiting the use of the veto, through voluntary restraint and enhanced accountability through the General Assembly. Denmark is actively engaged in such discussions, particularly as a candidate for the Council from 2025 to 2026. Furthermore, as a major donor to the Peacebuilding Fund and member of the Peacebuilding Commission, Denmark reaffirmed peacebuilding and conflict prevention as one of the most valuable and efficient tools in the United Nations toolbox.  “It is the duty of our generation to get the world back on track,” he urged.  “To break the vicious circle of distrust and division that Is undermining our ability to act collectively.”

For information media. Not an official record.