ROBERT ABELA, Prime Minister of Malta, citing World Bank data, said that for the first time in 20 years, and amid the pandemic, there has been a significant rise in poverty worldwide. Bringing the global poverty rate to below 3 per cent by 2030 will be impossible without swift, significant and targeted policies. “We cannot afford to respond to the devastating effects of COVID-19 merely by limiting ourselves to rhetoric,” he said. Vaccines must be fairly distributed to those who need them, he said, noting that Malta has donated 70,000 doses to Libya and intends to provide even more. He emphasized the importance of a fair and inclusive recovery from the pandemic, with debt guarantees, financial aid and loans from international financial institutions to revitalize economic activity. Existing trade and investment rules must be properly implemented and new rules must be negotiated to address emerging issues, he said.
A successful United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow is critical to achieve the world’s long-term climate objectives, he continued. Despite the pandemic, Malta’s ambitious decarbonization programme remains in place. As one of the European Union member States most vulnerable to climate change, Malta advocates a focus on adaptation, and if elected to the Security Council for the term 2023-2024, it will stress the need to bridge the gap between science and global security. As a founding member of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, Malta aims to be a leader in small-island governance, ready to share its decarbonization and digitalization plans with others, he said.
Turning to human rights, he expressed concern about reports of increased violence against women throughout the world, adding: “Our systems must be strengthened to prevent the proliferation of this scourge.” Women must be given space to become enablers for change. Libya’s future must remain at the forefront of the international peace and security agenda, with the international community — led by the United Nations — ensuring a successful political transition there. The situation in the Sahel requires an integrated approach, driven by strong political commitment. He drew attention to the efforts Malta has made over the past 20 months to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. He urged the international community to redouble efforts to bring peace to Syria and emphasized the key role that United Nations peacekeeping operations must play to protect children in armed conflict.
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