General Debate
    His Excellency
    Alexander Schallenberg
    Federal Minister for European and International Affairs
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    Statement summary

    ALEXANDER SCHALLENBERG, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, said the world is slowly finding its footing to overcome the pandemic, one vaccination at a time, after the virus brutally exposed its fragility, destroying the illusion that human progress is a one-way street.  In the blink of an eye, the world lost decades of hard-earned development gains, and it will lose even more if nations cannot ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine as soon as possible.  COVAX is among the most important initiatives today, having shipped more than 300 million doses with plans for more.  Despite the pandemic, efforts must address those suffering in ongoing conflicts, including in Syria and Yemen, and the situation in Afghanistan.  Urgent attention is also needed to tackle the climate crisis and to ensure a human-centric approach addresses new and emerging technologies — from artificial intelligence to lethal autonomous weapons systems — with full respect for human rights, online and offline.  Austria has contributed to these and other efforts, including eliminating nuclear weapons and protecting the rule of law.  “As we face the challenges ahead, here are some of the words I want to guide us:  tolerance, trust, solidarity, truth, justice, compassion, humility and hope,” he said.



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    Portrait of His Excellency Alexander Schallenberg (Federal Minister for European and International Affairs), Austria
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