The UN celebrated its 75th anniversary: How were the speeches of LAC leaders at the High-Level Meeting?

September 22, 2020

The United Nations celebrated its 75th anniversary in the middle of a global pandemic that has left unprecedented economic, political, social and health consequences. The Latin America and the Caribbean countries have been especially affected by this crisis: Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile are in the top 10 of the countries with the highest confirmed cases in the world.

What did the leaders of the region say at the High-Level Meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN? How has their progress towards sustainable development been affected by COVID-19? How do they evaluate their progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals?

17 of the 33 countries of the region participated in the celebration: Guyana, Mexico, Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Haiti, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize and Cuba. Find their speeches here.

Disclaimer: All quotes were translated by Cepei


“The 2030 Agenda reflects many challenges that the world’s population faces today.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear what are the bottlenecks of Development, ranging from lack of financial resources, access to markets for goods and services, the digital gap increase, access limitations to drugs and medical equipment (…) among others.”

Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President



“We are going to continue to be guided by the principles enshrined in our constitution regarding foreign policy affairs: non-intervention, self-determination of the people, peaceful settlement of disputes, respect for human rights. And a basic principle: cooperation for development.”

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President



“COVID-19 highlighted the value of the United Nations to build global, effective and inclusive solutions, supported by a strengthened multilateral system. This collective objective is defined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Goals, agreed in this room 5 years ago.”

Martín Vizcarra, President



“Will this United Nations generation have the need to reinvent itself, live up to this pandemic and its disastrous consequences, 75 years later?”

Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, President


Costa Rica

“Achieving the SDGs will cost the world between 2 and 3 trillion USD more per year, but unlike military spending, what is invested in these goals will contribute to guaranteeing human security and the consolidation of just, peaceful and inclusive societies.”

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President



“Certain about multilateral tools, our National Development Plan has incorporated the 17 SDGs to actively comply with the 2030 Agenda and thus be able to take Colombia to a next level of human and competitive development.”

“Following collaborative work, we undertook, at the beginning of my government, together with the agencies, funds and programs established in our country, the implementation of the United Nations Development system reform. After two years of joint work, we see the Secretary General’s vision increasingly materialize, considering that the reform of the organization optimizes resources, improves processes, facilitates impact-oriented results aimed at the generation and strengthening of national and local capacities, and at the same time improves the system´s accountability.”

Iván Duque, President



“We are at the beginning of the Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda fulfillment. And it is time to boost this ambitious plan. And to fulfill it, a spirit of solidarity must reign, focusing on the well-being and sustainability of future generations. However, while we are talking about future generations, it is now when we have to do the job, [and] it is important that the United Nations continues to work on developing instruments to meet these challenges.”

Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, President



Development must not only be sustainable. Peace must also be sustainable. And for this we must strengthen international solidarity and our commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. But we also require a profound modernization of the United Nations, which allows it to act more quickly and efficiently, granting the unity and collaboration of nations to face the problems of the present, and the challenges of the future.”

Sebastián Piñera, President



“Today we face a challenge: Or we build a multipolar world where we all exist, we are respected, a world of balance with full respect for the United Nations system and international law; Or a hegemonic world is imposed, dominated by a single hegemon, a unipolar world. This is the contradiction of our historical time.”

Nicolás Maduro, President



Bolivia ratifies its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, but it also reaffirms its purpose of working in the development of democracy from a multilateral perspective, in the development of human rights, in the development of the preservation and care of the environment, in the development of health for all and, especially, in the promotion and development of women rights and indigenous peoples.”

Jeanine Añez, President


Dominican Republic

Only by working together we can overcome common threats and seize shared opportunities. Only in the United Nations can all countries, large and small, rich and poor, and all people, make their voices be heard. In a rapidly evolving world like ours, the United Nations remains humanity’s invaluable instrument for common progress. Let’s take this anniversary to reflect on the lessons learned over 75 years.”

Luis Abinader, Presidente



“COVID-19 has manifested itself in a perfect storm that threatens to disrupt and lose the global community achievements in 75 years through cooperation. Undoubtedly, it may affect the progress made in small states, such as ours in the Caribbean; Progress we had made towards the 2030 Agenda, and it has undoubtedly already affected our ability to achieve the SDGs while the last decade of implementation begins.”

“Barbados applauds the Secretary General’s call for a new social contract to close trust gaps between people, institutions and leaders, and to conclude a new and more inclusive agreement, recognizing the different levels of development between countries and promote a more prosperous future for future generations.”

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister



“The United Nations Organization occupies a central place in the global architecture for international peace and security, conflict prevention, sustainable development, the promotion of partnerships and international cooperation.”

Jovenal Moïse, President


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

“COVID-19 has exposed the weaknesses of a skewed multilateral system, while the long arm of modern imperialism, with its unilateral interventionist operation mode, threatens further turbulence and fragmentation. We cannot continue down this dangerous channel.”

Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister


Antigua and Barbuda

“75 years ago, in 1945, the colonial rulers of the world defined the future of the oppressed, and the General Assembly of the United Nations, with its capabilities, conceived a new system so there would be a future with greater possibility of success for those peoples.”

Gaston Browne, Prime Minister



We are at a different starting point from where the founding fathers were themselves. Today we have a framework that shows us the way forward: We have the United Nations Charter and its principles guiding us, and we already have 75 years of experience that support us and have culminated in a multilateral and transformative agenda to achieve Sustainable Development.”

Wilfred Elrington



“75 years after having signed the United Nations Charter, it is urgent to reaffirm our commitment to the principles of international law and the strengthening of multilateralism, cooperation with international organizations, and the empowerment of this General Assembly. Let’s multiply cooperation and solidarity. Let’s build a democratic, fair and sustainable international order ”

Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla, Foreign Affairs Minister


Share This