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Volkan Bozkir (General Assembly President) at the 4th meeting of the Second Committee - General Assembly, 75th session
9 Oct 2020 -  H.E. Amrit Bahadur Rai, Permanent Representative of Nepal and Chair of the Second Committee,
Distinguished Delegates,
I would like to congratulate the Chair and all Bureau Members on your election first of all.
And I would like to repeat what I have said in the previous main Committee meetings: that the main Committees are the factory for the General Assembly, with the laboratories and the production lines. So, this production will come to the General Assembly and it will be the honour of the General Assembly to deal with these very difficult but solid issues, I hope.
I would to also commend the work of the Chair, with the support of DGACM and DESA, in managing and continuing the work of the Second Committee during this challenging period. And I wish you all the success.
Distinguished delegates, the theme that you have chosen for this session, “Building back better after COVID-19: ensuring a more equitable global economy, inclusive societies and sustainable recovery”, is most appropriate.
We face the deepest global recession since the Great Depression preceding the Second World War; the broadest collapse in incomes since 1870; and approximately 100 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty.
Trade and travel restrictions, and steep declines in export earnings, tourism, foreign investments, and remittances all put at risk the livelihoods of almost 1.6 billion informal workers, with SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs most severely impacted.
It is in this context that we must look to recovery as an opportunity to build back better.
And we have the framework. The SDGs, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing, together with the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and, I hope, an eventual Framework on Biodiversity, serve as a compass for the sustainable recovery.
Distinguished delegates,
The scope of your work in this Committee – the Economic and Financial Committee, is immense. You consider everything from poverty eradication to financial systems, education to food security. Crucially, your work guides the UN's operational activities as they relate to development and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals – that is, the UN’s work outside these halls that affects the people that we serve.
This session, issues such as trade, debt, information technology and inclusion all have additional meaning and urgency in the context of the pandemic.
Against this backdrop, I have three observations.
First, the post-COVID world requires a UN that is fit for purpose.
The QCPR [the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review] negotiation has taken on an even greater significance than it already had. It must propel us towards accelerated implementation of the SDGs and provide high-level political guidance to the UN development system as countries embark on socio-economic recovery. Successfully concluding this is absolutely essential.
Second, this Committee must signal the need for inclusivity in forging a global and multilateral response to the pandemic. Leaving no one behind is not only the right thing to do morally, but evidence shows that inclusion has social and economic dividends as well.
Finally, thirdly, we must consider the potential of technology as an equalizing force.
As it stands, the digital divide in urban and rural areas, and between developed and developing countries, continues to exacerbate inequalities.
We need to re-commit to equal access to technology. This is particularly crucial for SDG 4: on Quality Education.
Distinguished delegates,
This session, I have been mandated by the General Assembly, in many cases by resolutions passed in this Committee, to convene high-level meetings on water for sustainable development, on culture, and on middle-income countries.
I have also been mandated to convene, with the President of ECOSOC, the Thematic Debate on LDCs Fifth conference. And I will work closely with the Secretary General on both the High-Level Dialogue on Energy, and the 2021 Food Systems Summit.
I also look forward to supporting the Second UN Ocean Conference.
Trust that my priorities of supporting the UN reform process; aiding vulnerable groups and countries in special situations; accelerating SDG implementation; and addressing gender inequality, will guide the preparations for these events.
As we approach our work this year, I encourage you to strive for consensus. Under the guidance of the Chair, I trust that you will endeavour to build bridges and seek compromise in your deliberations. The objective of the norms you develop and mandates you set are to improve the lives of people outside United Nations Headquarters, and to strengthen our community of nations.
I look, from this perspective, very much to working with you.
And I thank you for having me in this meeting today and I wish you all the best in your important endeavours.