The UN General Debate, held between September 22 and 29, is the international platform where world leaders participate to express their main concerns and ideas about the international situation.
This year’s main theme, proposed by the Assembly´s President-elect, Mr. Volkan Bozkir, is “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action”.
We gathered the speeches of the Latin America and the Caribbean countries, which participated in the second day of the UN General Debate: Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Surinam, Guyana, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama. Their interventions focused on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, post-pandemic recovery measures, progress towards sustainable development, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Find the recording and the PDF of the speeches here!
*Disclaimer: All quotes were translated by Cepei
“This pandemic has largely exposed the real inequity of the world we live in. When we all look for medicines, hospital supplies, equipment or the much-desired vaccines, only a few countries will have wide access to them in the first row; And it is not about the neediest of them.”
“When there is technology and science to anticipate certain situations and, specially, if there is information on a global threat health, that information must be shared with all countries in a transparent and timely manner, preventing it from being manipulated for some interests of particular nations (…) not doing this should be considered a crime against humanity. I consider, with all due respect, that it is time to review the entire United Nations System, it is urgent to seek greater efficiency and effectiveness in achieving the purposes for which it exists.”
“Until now [the multilateral credit organizations] have not lived up to this colossal tragedy and there has been a poor response to the financing and moratoriums need, to address the collapse of our economies.”
Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, President
“We support the “Covax Facility” initiative to accelerate access to anticovid vaccines, and the existence of a technological repository to fight the pandemic. Only then we can have free-patents vaccines and technologies, fairly distributed, with special attention to the most vulnerable and unprotected.”
“Colleague presidents, the sustainable use of natural resources and climate change is an issue that we cannot ignore. The lack of application of environmental agreements has serious, very serious economic and social repercussions”.
“Friend Presidents, and Heads of State, I conclude by underlining that Ecuador firmly supports the initiative to advance in a profound reform of the UN system. It is necessary to ensure greater accountability and maximize its efficiency. It is essential to review the system that we created at the end of the Second World War, as it does not reflect the current reality.”
Lenin Moreno Garcés, President
“Latin America has seen, now clearer than ever, that it has two paths ahead and it must choose. These two paths are not -as many intellectuals in the region have argued- the paths of the left and the right. Neither the paths of statism nor neoliberalism. Or those of socialism and capitalism. These two paths, from which we must choose one, are simpler: One is the path of freedom and the other is the path of oppression.”
“I do not want to end this speech, without denouncing to the world, the systematic and abusive harassment exercised, from Argentina, by the Kirchnerist government, against institutions and values.”
Jeanine Añez Chávez, President
“[COVID-19] compels us as an international community to embrace multilateralism as an effective way to win the battle and as our best defense against future global threats. To continue looking for effective ways to support small and vulnerable nations.”
“The UN has been fundamental in uniting the world in defense of human rights, democracy and democratic institutions, in defense of good governance, in the maintenance of peace and security and in progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
“While the international community’s attention is currently on managing and containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to focus our attention on other challenges of equal or greater impact on the sustainable development of countries and the entire planet. The impact of climate change is one of these challenges.”
Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President
“Developing countries continue facing constraints associated with limited access to development financing. Better access to such finance is vital to the Sustainable Development Goals achievement. The United Nations must continue advocating for the need of greater access to development finance of developing states.”
“One product of our multilateral efforts is the United Nations development program. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains a viable plan of action to lead the world on a sustainable and resilient path. In this Decade for Action and achieving sustainable development results, we must fully focus on eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions. No one should be left behind (…) it is regrettable that we have missed the opportunity to adopt a solid final document at the conclusion of the 2020 high-level sessions of the Economic and Social Council and the sustainable development High-level Political Forum.”
Competing and exacerbated by the pandemic is climate change. Every year it exposes a new record of climatic conditions and extreme climatic events.”
Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President
“The health crisis [created by COVID-19] also led to an economic crisis with job destruction, debt and payment difficulties. No country was prepared for this. For this reason, I believe that multilateral financial organizations should redesign their strategies to promote economic reactivation, with a more humane, supportive and extraordinary look.”
“Today’s world confronts us with problems that cannot be tackled in isolation. Therefore, multilateralism is an effective tool to respond to the needs that we share, such as the peace search, the human rights protection, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the environment protection, the fight against climate change and international trade based on principles and rules.”
“We highlight (…) the value of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a roadmap that should guide us towards a more equitable world for future generations.”
Mario Abdo Benítez, President
“COVID-19 has put the entire planet in check and joins other threats such as climate change, which affects us all, but is particularly serious in island countries such as the Dominican Republic.”
“To talk about peace and security without talking about development is a waste of time. Before the pandemic, this organization was already undergoing a reform process to assist Member States to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that in order to achieve these goals an accelerated implementation is necessary.”
“This meeting should be to create the conditions for universal access to the vaccine against COVID-19 as soon as it is available. From here, we demand the vaccine to be accessible to all human beings on the planet.”
Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona, President
“We insist on the need to strengthen South-South Cooperation and create alternative financing and technical support mechanisms that support the initiatives and priorities defined by our nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“The United Nations and humanity all face a deep and complex crisis, in which the COVID-19 pandemic is combined with the global challenges of climate change and sustainable development.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the collapse of the international geopolitical and geoeconomic order was already happening. However, this emergency has made us gain awareness and critical thinking about the contradictions of capitalism and its logical and operational inability to face these types of crises.”
Nicolás Maduro Moros, President
“The most worrying part of the pandemic is not new. COVID-19 has highlighted the deep inequalities that already existed. Although the pandemic affects us all, it does not affect us all equally. We have to focus the attention of the community on poverty and inequality.”
“One of the main lessons learned in this pandemic, for example, is the importance of betting on science, technology and innovation to provide solutions that allow us to close existing social gaps.”
“If the international community fails to respond now, in a decisive way, the United Nations 2030 Agenda runs the risk of being fatally derailed. A new multilateral order implies a real commitment of each one of our countries, to carry out concrete actions, based on the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, President
Check out the LAC speeches from other sessions