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: Belize, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Barbados. 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
“The international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, like its response to the climate catastrophe, remains tepid and the weakest nations and people must bear the worst ravages of the world’s missteps.”
“The wildfires on the west coast of the United States, the hyperactive hurricane season in the Atlantic, the drought in Central America, the floods in Africa, and this global pandemic are clear reminders that we are rapidly approaching the planetary limits of human sustainability survival.”
“2020 is the deadline to present new climate plans with strengthened targets for climate action and a strategy to achieve zero emissions by 2050. But it remains to be seen whether the level of ambition necessary to bend the emissions curve and close the mitigation gap to reach the 1.5 degrees goal.”
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“We are entering the last decade of action to comply with the 2030 Agenda and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and to achieve those goals, we must join forces, have a true global alliance that can counteract the COVID-19 pandemic impacts and other pandemics imposed by some powers to the peace detriment, international security, independence and sovereignty of the States and the self-determination of countries”.
“Although the challenges posed by the pandemic are complex, we cannot forget the existing threat of climate change, which remains latent as a consequence of savage capitalism. It is urgent to ensure the survival of the human species, the life and rights of Mother Earth.”
“The pandemic that affects all countries has shown the need to create a new International Economic Model, based on inclusion, equity and justice, prioritizing health, as a universal right of humanity; Demanding that the resources which are destined for war, will be available for life and peace.”
Denis Moscada Colindres, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“The Guatemalan Government recognizes that no one will be totally safe until everyone is. That is why I want to express the interest of my country, to have immediate and fair access to vaccines, and to show our willingness to collaborate with logistics and distribution in the countries of the region, especially in Central America.”
“The United Nations reform remains a fundamental issue. I want to be very emphatic on this issue, we need reengineering and the promotion of better coordination within the entire System. We must work together to have a less bureaucratic Organization. We want the efforts to have a direct impact on the most needy population, and invest in development with the existing human resources.”
“All actions taken from the global leadership will have an indisputable impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. Countries must take responsibility for our own development, but framed in a common path.”
Pedro Brolo Vila, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“A year ago, in this same General Assembly, I mentioned the urgent need for this format to be changed, because if it wasn’t done, it would become irrelevant. Well, the General Assembly changed its format, a little, but it changed. Driven by a historic pandemic, but it changed. However, what are the results of this change? Become even more irrelevant.”
“Leadership has been lacking on this body to unite the world and confront this virus in a common front.”
“There is something wrong in this world, if billions of people have a super computer in their pocket and the problems remain the same. Historical problems like hunger, homelessness, deaths from curable diseases… All of these are now relatively easy problems for humanity to solve. If the whole world decided to solve each one of them, they would be solved in a matter of months, or even less.”
Nayib Armando Bukele, President
“The world is at a point where the old reality meets the genuine potential of a new world order, we can only seize this moment through genuine multilateralism.”
“The adverse impacts of COVID-19 on small states economies, particularly Small Developing Island States, and on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be greater.”
“We must do everything in our power to bring new economic opportunities to the developing world. Therefore, I urge the Economic and Social Council to promote initiatives that can create an enabling environment for Member States to have the opportunity to raise the living standards of their people, especially in this pandemic period”.
Charles Peter David, Minister of Work and Foreign Affairs
“When Barbados joined the United Nations, it had the intention of owning its own destiny and planning its path for post-colonial development. Now we find ourselves trapped under the false label of being a middle-income country, which has little to do with our daily reality and prevents our access to development finance.”
“[Faced with the COVID-19 impacts] debt relief and additional measures of financial support cannot be conditioned.”
“The UN remains the leading organization to respond to global challenges and to support the international community in rebuilding our societies and economies in an inclusive and sustainable way. However, the organization must be flexible and focus more on people and results, and less on bureaucracy.”
Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Check out the LAC speeches from other sessions