PRINCE ALBERT II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, said the world is now at a pivotal point, amid geopolitical tensions, people defying their Governments and the continuing pandemic, which is having a deep impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. The post-pandemic world must be more resilient and sustainable. While Monaco has rigorously managed a pandemic response to protect its people, its plan was fragmented and must improve going forward. The solution to the global crisis requires collective determination, with multilateralism being the key. The world must now choose cooperation to find common solutions guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter.
The pandemic has demonstrated how essential technology can be, changing business strategies, consumer habits and access to such public services as health and education, he said. Thus, reducing the digital divide is clearly a priority, given that 3 billion people do not have Internet access, with the Secretary-General’s road map for digital cooperation highlighting the essential challenges in this area. For its part, Monaco implements a programme to make the country greener and better connected. However, cyberspace requires vigilance by all, especially as online attacks against infrastructure have increased during the pandemic and social platforms have become an arena of disinformation campaigns, he said, recognizing the subtle balance between respect for fundamental freedoms and the dissemination of conspiracy theories and lies.
Drawing attention to other concerns, he said new energy-intensive technologies are affecting the environment. Measures taken to stem the spread of COVID-19 are heavily impacting the mental health and well-being of people, effects that are likely being underestimated. The pandemic must not be allowed to delay the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. The outbreak of COVID-19 has laid bare inherent inequalities, including in the agriculture sector, he said, highlighting the recent food summit and high-level dialogue on energy. Monaco is implementing an energy transition plan to reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. But these efforts must be matched by the world in order to make meaningful gains to halt global warming, he said, calling on States to honour their pledges for contributions to climate action.
Post-pandemic recovery must be green and sustainable, he said. COVID-19 reminded the world that it can save ecosystems that are at the point of destruction. Calling for concrete measures to protect the environment, he recalled that the fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change offered a unique opportunity to adopt an ambitious global framework for the preservation of biodiversity. Monaco also strongly supports efforts to protect the world’s oceans. Highlighting other sustainable development issues, he said fundamental rights must be enjoyed equally by all, including women and girls. As COVID-19 made clear, he underlined the importance of science, technology and innovation, which represents the path out of the pandemic. Every effort must be made to leave no one behind. States have the responsibility to collectively create a better, sustainable world for all, he said, stressing: “Our failure would be a common bankruptcy, with dramatic consequences.”
While the Earth will no doubt survive the climate crisis, as it has so many times in the past, he wondered whether mankind will. The point of no return is extremely near and, for too long, the world has favoured material and political paths. Faced with an existential risk, it is no longer possible to procrastinate. “We need to put multilateralism back at the heart of our action, to use all the tools at our disposal to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and to meet the needs of our peoples and the planet before our excesses become irreversible,” he said.
Read the full statement, in PDF format.
Access the statements from previous sessions.