General Debate
    His Excellency
    Xavier Bettel
    Prime Minister
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    Statement summary

    XAVIER BETTEL, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, said that thanks to the devotion and ingenuity of scientists, researchers and health-care personnel working on the pandemic, leaders were meeting in New York, which is once again the capital of diplomacy and action this week.  However, the world is not returning to pre-COVID conditions anytime soon, with 4.5 million dead, 124 million plunged into extreme poverty and 1.8 billion school-hours lost.  Hope is the theme of the session, but “hope should inspire us to act and respond, as the time for blah-blah is over,” he said.

    The pandemic has forced difficult choices and on-the-job learning, he said, but Luxembourg has reached a 75 per cent vaccination rate.  While more than 6 billion doses have been administered worldwide, 11 billion are needed to surpass the 70 per cent threshold and thereby end the most acute phase of the pandemic.  With access unequal, Luxembourg donated €2 million to the COVAX facility in 2020 and 2021, and in July, decided to share 350,000 doses with partner developing countries in Africa and Asia, with a first batch of 56,000 delivered to Cabo Verde on 13 September.  He noted the country has also sent ventilators to India, Nepal and Tunisia, and refrigerators for vaccine storage to Laos, Burkina Faso, Sudan and Senegal.

    Despite the historic Paris Agreement, on the current trajectory, temperatures will rise 2.7ºC by end of century, despite the goal that they be limited to 1.5ºC compared to pre-industrial levels.  Calling on the European Union to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, he noted Luxembourg has doubled use of renewable energy in 5 years and will double financing to €200 million, above and beyond official development assistance (ODA) of at least 1 per cent of GDP.  COP26 in Glasgow will be “a moment of truth”, he said, as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reports over 1 billion children are exposed to climate shocks.

    Citing the wars and conflicts that have led to unconscionable crimes in Afghanistan, the Sahel, Ethiopia, Yemen and elsewhere, he said Luxembourg has submitted its candidacy to serve on Human Rights Council in 2022-2024.  The country will support the rule of law, civic space and defenders of human rights, prioritizing a human rights-based approach to sustainable development and climate action.  Luxembourg is committed to the self-determination of women and girls, the protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and the rights of children.  Stressing that human rights include the rights of migrants and refugees, he urged the international community to remember those forced to flee Afghanistan, as the world cannot abandon partners there and must not let them down.  His delegation is prepared to help reshape the United Nations to play its pivotal role and make the Security Council more accountable.




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    Portrait of His Excellency Xavier Bettel (Prime Minister), Luxembourg
    UN Photo credit.

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