Amid the resurgent COVID pandemic, the President of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, stressed the importance of solidarity and fostering hope, as he outlined his priorities for the remainder of the 76th session.
Abdulla Shahid told Member States that “we must cherish our common humanity and guard against the drivers of conflict” if the world is to overcome challenges that include the pandemic, as well as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and international strife.
“I urge the global community to recommit to the principles of peace outlined in the United Nations Charter, to work together in the spirit of amity to address the challenges ahead,” Mr. Shahid said at the start of the first meeting of the new year, in the General Assembly Hall.
Outlining the five priories of his self-styled ‘Presidency of Hope’, Mr. Shahid also underscored the importance of his uplifting central theme, calling cynicism a “path to inaction” that would lull the international community into complacency and a “false belief that our actions do not matter.”
He urged the global community to recommit to vaccine equity as the only way to recover from the pandemic, calling for faster production and distribution of inoculations, and a removal of barriers to rollout.
The President, whose “new year’s resolution” campaign calling for vaccine equity has the support of some 120 Member States, will hold a high-level event on 25 February to galvanize momentum for universal COVID vaccination.
Mr. Shahid noted that the communities most adversely impacted by the pandemic often reside in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states, which include the President’s home country of the Maldives.
He called for economic strategies that align with global environmental priorities and preservation of natural resources, pointing to a high-level event on sustainable recovery from COVID through tourism, which is slated for May.
When speaking about the needs of the planet, President Shahid warned that the dangers may not be imminent or apparent right now “but the path we are all on is the same.”
“We have a responsibility to act,” he stressed, noting that Maldives is one of the low-lying SIDS faced with imminent extinction this century if sea-levels continue to rise.
The President also spoke about Tonga, saying the volcanic explosion and tsunami that followed on 15 January are an example of the devastation caused that SIDS are “often confronted with.”
He urged the international community to come together to extend all possible assistance to Tonga, while also offering thoughts, prayers and sympathies for all families impacted.
In his speech, President Shahid also spoke about his work on gender equality and the importance of upholding human rights.
He also lauded his Fellowship of HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Promoting Empowerment of Youth Fellowship) and other items under the revitalization of the United Nations agenda.