MARIAM CHABI TALATA, Vice-President of Benin, recognized the United Nations, and in particular the World Health Organization (WHO), for prioritizing the search for a definitive solution to the global and destructive health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of a COVID-19 vaccine was achieved through international collaboration. Despite sizeable immunization rates around the world, she reminded the Assembly that Africa still has a low vaccination rate and it continues to suffer from other deadly diseases, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. She underlined the initiatives taken by her Government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including vaccinations for all citizens and subsidies to people and companies impacted the pandemic. She thanked international partners who supported Benin’s action programme to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The international community must prepare for future pandemics, she said, stressing: “Isolated, one-off, local actions alone are no longer sufficient,” and common and concerted action is needed. Regarding insecurity due to violent extremism and banditry, she indicated that terrorism in the north and piracy in the south are serious threats to her country. To address this, Benin is committed to continue collaborating with regional and international partners to ensure peace, security and free movement within its territory. She underlined that the same collaborative approach should be followed to address climate change.
Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals is the safest way to deliver on human rights, she said. In this regard, Benin has adopted different strategies, such as ensuring adequate food through school feeding programmes; providing quality life‑long education and health care, including for the most disadvantaged; and bolstering the water distribution system, electricity network and clean energy. The successful issuance of Eurobonds has provided Benin with enough resources to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals. Noting the country’s progress with individual rights, she said Benin has applied to become a member of the Human Rights Council during the 2022-2024 term. Its candidacy has already been formally endorsed by the African Union and she invited other nations to follow suit.
She called for a revitalization of the United Nations by adapting the institution to the modern world. Listing several regional crises, she reiterated Benin’s support for the creation of a Palestinian State coexisting peacefully with Israel. She endorsed the United Nations efforts to find a lasting solution to the question of Western Sahara and she reaffirmed Benin’s alignment with the resolution on the economic embargo between the United States and Cuba adopted in February during the African Union’s thirty-fourth summit. The normalization of relations between the two countries should be pursued, she concluded.
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