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The First “Virtual” Post-Pandemic UN General Assembly Meeting

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande is President of the outgoing 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. Adhering to physical-distancing guidelines, the General Assembly met fully in-person on 3 September, for the first time in nearly six months, with its president urging all Members to “galvanize multilateral action…to deliver for all”, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Credit: United Nations

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 4 2020 (IPS) - Although we have not convened in this Hall since March, New York-based delegations have worked tirelessly to uphold the values and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations, whilst contending with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN’s chief deliberative body continued the Organization’s work, all the while forging and deepening partnerships to build back better.

I commend the body for its foresight in adopting and extending Decision 74/544, which has allowed the Membership to adopt more than 70 decisions and resolutions and elect Main Committees chairs for the upcoming milestone 75th Assembly session.

This has ensured business continuity on issues of critical importance.

We employed virtual methods to gather stakeholders from around the world on Charter Day, and once again at the multi-stakeholder hearing on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

I thank the Secretariat for its continued commitment.

I applaud the work of the intergovernmental negotiations on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

The Member States demonstrated leadership in responding to the global pandemic by adopting two resolutions with wide co-sponsorship calling for solidarity and global access to medicines and medical equipment.

The first in-person meeting since March is held in the General Assembly following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

I congratulate the Fifth Committee Chair – responsible for administrative and budgetary matters – for adopting creative methods that allowed the resumed session to conclude with 21 draft recommendations, and a peacekeeping budget of $6.5 billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

Your work has ensured that the United Nations can continue to operate on the ground and meet the needs of the people we serve.

I also applaud the World Health Organization (WHO) for leading the COVID-19 response from the outset.

The entire UN system has rallied to address the needs of the people we serve, and particularly our humanitarian workers in the field and our Peacekeepers, who continue to protect communities in the most complex environments globally.

We maintain the importance of these efforts as we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or as it is likely to become, the decade of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I urge you to galvanize multilateral action now to fulfill our financing for development commitments. We remain in this together, as nations, united. Let us continue striving together to deliver for all.


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